W. Gary Crampton on the Incarnation

Below is a selection from the booklet, Christ the Mediator, by Dr. W. Gary Crampton dealing with the Incarnation.   I provided this selection here because (1) it provides a helpful exercise for me as I grapple with the problems entailed in the doctrine of the Incarnation, (2) I am interested in continuing to examine the contours of the solution proposed by the late Gordon Clark, (3) I just feel like fanning the flames,  and, (4) I enjoy watching Clark’s critics go bonkers.

Before jumping into Dr. Crampton’s theory of the Incarnation, I would like to preface the following remarks by stressing that I hold Dr. Crampton in the highest esteem.  Next to perhaps John Robbins, he has done more to further an understanding of Scripturalism than anyone I know.   His book, The Scripturalism of Gordon Clark,  is an excellent introduction to the thought of Gordon Clark, and, By Scripture Alone, should be mandatory reading for every seminary student and any Christian interested in defending the centerpiece of the Reformation, sola Scriptura, against contemporary attacks by some of Rome’s most able apologists. His articles which have appeared in the pages of Trinity Review and elsewhere provide a wealth of sound theology found almost nowhere else today.  As with virtually anything else from the pen of Dr. Crampton, Christ the Mediator is a smorgasbord of profound and beautiful truths concerning our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ.  Hopefully the selection below will provide a teaser prompting readers to explore the rest of Dr. Crampton’s well rounded and penetrating Christology.

Now, the first thing to notice about Crampton’s examination of the Incarnation is that he directly answers some of Clark’s critics (I wonder if any of Clark’s critics here will see themselves in Crampton’s discussion of the inadequacies of the “mainline” handling of the Incarnation represented by Louis Berkof and Augustus Strong). Next, he affirms Clark’s insistence that the solution to the problem of the Incarnation lies in carefully defining key terms, specifically “person.”  Crampton quotes Clark approvingly:

Dr. Clark asks some very relevant questions: “If Jesus was not a human person, who or what suffered on the cross? The Second Person [of the Trinity] could not have suffered, for deity is impassable. If then the Second Person could not suffer, could [an impersonal human] nature suffer?”

Dr. Clark continues: “On the contrary, only a person can suffer.” Moreover, he ponders, since the Bible teaches us that Christ possessed a human consciousness, mind, and heart, and will, how can He not be a human person? Is it possible for “a man to be a man without being a human person?” Is the salvation of the elect accomplished “by the alleged death of an impersonal [human] nature?” No, says Clark, “the one who died on the cross was a man, He had or was a soul, He was a human being, a Person.”

While the above quotations from Clark are commendable, there is something rather odd here as well.  In that last quotation from Clark, which is found on page 70 of The Incarnation, the sentence is rendered in the monograph as:

“the one who died on the cross was a man, he had or was a soul,  he was a human being, a person.”

By identifying the human being or person who died on the cross as He or Person is to identify the Second Person as the one who died on the cross. Yet, that is not what Clark was saying or even implying. For example, Clark writes:

Matthew 27:46 and Mark 15:34 support this view: “My God, my God, why hast though forsaken me?” Since a rift within the eternal immutable Persons of the Trinity is absolutely impossible, Jesus is here speaking as a man.

For Clark, the man who died on the cross was a human person, not the Second Person in a human nature, whatever that might entail.

Interestingly, Crampton also agrees with John Murray who argued:

It may be that the term “Person” can be given a connotation in our modern context, and applied to Christ’s human nature, without thereby impinging upon the oneness of His divine-human Person. In other words, the term “nature” may be too abstract to express all that belongs to His humanness and the term “Person” is necessary to express the manhood that is truly and properly His.

Oddly, Crampton seems to think that the connotation of the term “Person” that is “necessary to express the manhood that is truly and properly His” is to simply assert that the human nature in Christ is “personal.” Rather than a human person with a human nature joined with a divine person with a divine nature, Dr. Crampton argues that “there is one Lord Jesus Christ, one God-man (i.e., the one Person), who possesses two distinct and inseparable natures, both of which are to be considered ‘personal’ in that He is fully divine and fully human.”  Then he avers:  “There is nothing impersonal about the divine or the human natures.”

Well, of course there is nothing impersonal about either a divine or a human nature, but calling a nature “personal” is a far cry from agreeing with Clark that “the one who died on the cross was a  . . . human being, a person.” If we can say that a divine Person has a divine nature hence the divine nature is personal, wouldn’t it make sense to say that a human person has a human nature hence the human nature is personal?  Where is this human nature that we see in the life of Christ so clearly expressed in the pages of Scripture derived from if not from a human person?

Earlier in his discussion dealing with the deficiencies with the “mainline” understanding of the Incarnation, Crampton writes:

If He [Christ], as Chalcedon properly contends, did take upon Himself a human nature so that, “according to the manhood,” He is “in all things like unto us,” then He had a human body and a human soul. Is He not then a human person? After all, the Bible repeatedly claims that He is not just a human nature; He is “the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5).

However, and assuming I’ve understood him correctly, it seems Dr. Crampton is back asserting the same deficient “mainline” solution only this time modifying the term “human nature” by calling it “personal.”  Aren’t we again left asking: Who died on the cross? A nature or a person?  Crampton’s answer seems to be that “a personal human nature” died on the cross, but this doesn’t solve anything, much less answer Clark’s objections above.  Evidently Jesus wasn’t a real human person after all, but rather Jesus was the divine Second Person who takes on a personal human nature.  Again, I fail to see how attaching the word “personal” to some still undefined “nature” provides the connotation of the word person “necessary to express the manhood that is truly and properly His”?

It appears that while alluding to Clark’s clear and unambiguous definition of person, instead of actually applying it to the God-man, Jesus Christ, and thereby providing a solution to the problems Clark and Crampton both raise, it seems that Crampton simply avoids the question altogether.  It is almost as if he sees the solution to the problem, sees what it implies, and reflexively reverts back to “one Person/two natures” position without defining either person or nature.  This is unfortunate, because where Murray pointed to a solution, Clark actually solved the puzzle.  Even if Clark is wrong it would have been helpful if Crampton would have at least articulated Clark’s position correctly and then demonstrated where Clark erred and how a two-mind theory (which Crampton does endorse) answers the Scriptural objections and theological concerned raised by Clark, Crampton, Murray, and others.

Interestingly too, according to Crampton the “two mind view of Christ” advanced by Thomas Morris has a long pedigree dating back to the 4th Century.  As Crampton observers; “It is irrational, so these scholars said, to maintain that the God-man has only one divine self-consciousness.  If this were the case, He could not be fully man.” I couldn’t agree more.  Perhaps the answer to the puzzle, and one that doesn’t cross the boundaries outlined at Chalcedon, lies in the two-mind theory of Morris since I can’t seem to find it in Crampton.  Of course, James Anderson in his book defending logical paradox in the doctrines of the Trinity and the Incarnation, as well as biblical incoherence in general, examines Morris’ two-mind solution and while he agrees that it solves the paradox inherent in the traditional formulation, and while technically within the boundaries of creedal orthodoxy, violates it by implying a two-person solution, which brings us back to Clark.

It seems to be a Catch-22.  Either accept that the Incarnation is inherently and hopelessly  paradoxical, or be willing to consider views which by definition will be labeled as heterodox.  That’s not to say that the traditional formulation is formally contradictory, it is not.  There is nothing contradictory about saying Jesus is one Person with two natures.  At least you would be maintaining, even if you never define anything, that Jesus is one in one sense and two in another.  Problems arise in when you try to explain how one divine Person can be simultaneously eternal, omniscient and immutable, yet be ignorant of some things, grow in wisdom, thirst, and die. Natures, even personal ones, don’t grow in wisdom, thirst and die,  people do and the Second Person of the Trinity can, according to His divine nature, do none of these things.

Now, perhaps there is a way to define “nature” in such a way, rather than just modifying it with the words “human,” “personal, or even “impersonal,” that will explain how a nature can grow in wisdom, thirst and die. Unfortunately, no one that I know of has provided such a definition.  Instead of actually defining key terms (as Clark says: “define or discard”) so as to explain and make sense out of the Incarnation (after all, doctrinal formulations should explain not obfuscate the biblical data, shouldn’t they?), it seems the best anyone can do while remaining faithful to the historic orthodox doctrine of the Incarnation is to simply repeat nonsense.

Also interesting is the footnote from the publisher (Richard Bacon? Christopher Coldwell?):

Undoubtedly this is one of the most difficult, yet most sublime, of all the doctrines of the Christian religion. While the Blue Banner specifically denies a Nestorian explanation of the Personhood of Christ, it must also be admitted that much modern explanation of the Chalcedonian Creed is also deficient. We find much of the modern explanation of the term “human nature” to be ambiguous at best. As the Shorter Catechism  (Q 22) clearly teaches, Christ had a true body and a reasonable soul. Another way of saying this is that Christ had everything that is involved in being human.

You would think that the publishers of the Blue Banner and Dr. Crampton would have welcomed Clark’s solution since they agree he not only pointed the way out but provided the much needed definition of “person” (capitalized or otherwise).  They both admit that the modern explanations of the Chalcedonian Creed are “deficient,” yet they are clearly reticent to actually embrace Clark’s two-person solution most likely out of fear of being labeled a “Nestorian.”  Admittedly, and given some of the remarks so far on this blog, I’d say this fear is real.  There are many unthinking match throwers ready to tie to the stake anyone who even mentions a two-person theory, let alone consigning to the pyre those,like Morris and Crampton who propose a more modest two-mind solution. Yet, such fears, while not completely without merit, are not particularly warranted either.  Even a critic as hostile to Clark as James Anderson recently wrote:

I concur with Clark that it wouldn’t be fair to charge him with the heresy of Nestorianism, since Nestorius clearly didn’t employ anything like Clark’s definition of ‘person’. (Who does?) However, the problem with Clark’s formulation isn’t that it is heretical. The problem is that it’s downright incoherent.

While I have to chuckle at Anderson claiming that Clark’s formulation is “downright incoherent” seeing that he wrote a book defending an impenetrably paradoxical Incarnation and a 1 Person/3 Person Trinity, he can at least see the difference between Nestorius and Clark.  That’s not to say that Clark’s view can be harmonized with Chalcedon, it cannot, but if modern explanations of the Chalcedonian Creed are as deficient as both the publishers at Blue Banner and Dr. Crampton say they are, then perhaps Clark’s proposed solution, as radical as it may be, should not be so readily dismissed or ignored.

________________________________________________________________________________________

Christ the Mediator

Dr. W. Gary Crampton

 

The Unity of the Person

As we have seen, throughout church history, there have always been those who have denied Christ’s deity and those who have denied His humanity. It is also the case that there have always been those who have denied the Biblical view of the unity of the two natures in one Person. Rather than merely distinguishing between the two natures of Christ, the fifth century Nestorians31 divided Christ into two separate persons. Nestorianism was condemned at the Council of Ephesus (431). The fifth century Eutychians, on the other hand, averred that after the incarnation there was only one nature in Christ. This nature was neither fully human nor fully divine. Rather, the union produced a mingling of the two natures into a mixed third nature, a tertium quid. This view, which is also known as monophysitism (“one nature”), was condemned at the Council of Chalcedon (A.D. 451).

The Biblical view of the unity of the Person of Christ is taught in the Westminster Confession (8:2), which states of Christ that “two whole, perfect, and distinct natures, the Godhead and the manhood, were inseparably joined together in one Person, without conversion, composition, or confusion. Which Person is very God and very man, yet one Christ, the only Mediator between God and man.”

Theologians call the union of the divine and human natures of Jesus Christ in the one Person the hypostatic union. At the incarnation, as taught by the Confession, the eternal Son of God took upon Himself a true human nature. From that time, Jesus Christ is, and always will be, one Person (that is, one God-man), with two selfconscious natures: one divine and one human. But here is where a difficulty arises. The Chalcedonian creedal statement, quoted above, along with much of mainline “Christianity,” has a different view. This view maintains that from the time of the incarnation, the Second Person of the Godhead is one divine Person with two natures: one divine and one human. Louis Berkhof, an advocate of this view, explains: “There is but one Person in the Mediator, and that Person is the unchangeable Son of God. In the incarnation He did not change into a human person, nor did he adopt a human person; He simply assumed a human nature, which did not develop into a human personality, but became personal in the Person of the Son. The one divine Person, who possessed a divine nature from eternity, assumed a human nature and now has both.”32 Augustus Strong is in agreement with Berkhof. He concludes that the one divine Person assumed an impersonal human nature. In other words, He did not unite Himself with a human person, but with a human nature “without personality.” 33

In this view, the one Person is not the God-man, but the Second Person of the Godhead. The difficulty, then, is that if Jesus Christ has two complete natures, one fully divine and one fully human, and yet is one undivided divine Person, how can that Person be said to be genuinely human? That is, if Jesus Christ is, as taught in Hebrews 2:17, and asserted by the Chalcedonian creedal statement, “in all things like unto us,” how is He not a human person? If He, as Chalcedon properly contends, did take upon Himself a human nature so that, “according to the manhood,” He is “in all things like unto us,” then He had a human body and a human soul. Is He not then a human person? After all, the Bible repeatedly claims that He is not just a human nature; He is “the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5).

Moreover, if the self-conscious Person of the God-man is the Second Person of the Trinity, as much of mainline “Christianity” affirms, then the human nature would not be self-conscious. Yet, in Luke 2:52 we read that Jesus increased, not only in “stature” (i.e., physically), but also “in wisdom” (i.e., mentally), thus showing that Jesus’ human nature (for the divine nature being omniscient cannot increase) has a consciousness. But if the God-man has two consciousnesses, then He is two persons: divine and human.34

This was the matter with which Nestorius wrestled. And, as Thomas Morris points out, other early Christian thinkers, such as Gregory of Nyssa (c. 330-395), Gregory of Nazianzus (329-389), and Cyril of Alexandria (died 444), had also seen this problem. They did not go so far as the Nestorians by claiming that Christ was two separate persons. But they did hold to what Morris calls “the two mind view of Christ.”35 It is irrational, so these scholars said, to maintain that the God-man has only one divine self-consciousness. If this were the case, He could not be fully man. The responses to this problem have been abysmal. Sadly, one typical way of alleviating the difficulty has been the Kierkegaardian approach: place it in the realm of logical paradox. Another solution is to discard the Biblical teaching that God is impassible, and to suggest that the Second Person of the Godhead actually suffered on the cross.

These, of course, are no real solutions at all. In the final book that he wrote, The Incarnation, 36 Gordon Clark attempted to answer this conundrum. According to Dr. Clark, “the fatal flaw” in this matter is the absence of definitions. How does the Chalcedonian creed, and how do others, define “person?” How is “nature” defined? Herein lies the difficulty.37 Apparently, when the early theologians were formulating the doctrine of the incarnation, the terms used were somewhat ambiguous. But we must guard against any alleged solution that does not render the full humanity of Jesus Christ. And to speak of Christ’s humanity as an impersonal human nature (if there is such a thing), which becomes personal in the incarnation, does not solve  the problem. Further, if the human nature becomes personal in the Person of the Son, then He is a human person. Dr. Clark asks some very relevant questions: “If Jesus was not a human person, who or what suffered on the cross? The Second Person [of the Trinity] could not have suffered, for deity is impassable….If then the Second Person could not suffer, could [an impersonal human] nature suffer?” 38

Dr. Clark continues: “On the contrary, only…a person can suffer.” Moreover, he ponders, since the Bible teaches us that Christ possessed a human consciousness, mind, and heart, and will, how can He not be a human person? Is it possible for “a man to be a man without being a human person?” Is the salvation of the elect accomplished “by the alleged death of an impersonal [human] nature?” No, says Clark, “the one who died on the cross was a man, He had or was a soul, He was a human being, a Person.”39

John Murray, an advocate of the Chalcedonian view, has nevertheless also seen the difficulty with “definitions.” He writes:

It may be that the term “Person” can be given a connotation in our modern context, and applied to Christ’s human nature, without thereby impinging upon the oneness of His divine- human Person. In other words, the term “nature” may be too abstract to express all that belongs to His humanness and the term “Person” is necessary to express the manhood that is truly and properly His.40

The present writer is in agreement with Clark and Murray on this point. It seems best, if we are going to retain the classic language on this subject (i.e., Person and nature), to say with the Westminster Confession (8:2) that Jesus Christ possesses “two whole, perfect, and distinct natures, the Godhead and the manhood,” that is that He is fully God and fully man. And that in the incarnation these two natures “were inseparably joined together in one Person, without conversion, composition, or confusion.

Which Person is very God, and very man, yet one Christ, the only Mediator between God and man.” That is, there is one Lord Jesus Christ, one God-man (i.e., the one Person), who possesses two distinct and inseparable natures, both of which are to be considered “personal,” in that He is fully divine and fully human. There is nothing impersonal about the divine or the human natures. Otherwise Jesus Christ could not be fully God nor fully man. As touching His humanity, Christ has a human mind or soul, and a human body. He is “the Man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5).

It is also important to point out that at the time of the incarnation the divine nature of Jesus Christ, being immutable, could not and did not undergo any change. He did not set aside any of His divine attributes when He took upon Himself a human nature. In fact, He could not have done so and remained divine. As Wayne Grudem avers, “no recognized teacher in the first 1800 years of church history…[believed] that the Son of God [at the incarnation] gave up some of His divine attributes.”41 In the nineteenth century, however modernist theologians developed what is known as “kenotic theology,” from the Greek verb kenoo (“to empty”) which Paul  uses in Philippians 2:7, where he writes that Jesus Christ “emptied Himself.” The theory is that at the incarnation, Jesus Christ “emptied” or divested Himself of (at least some of) His divine attributes. One of the reasons the modernists advanced this theory is that if it could be shown that Christ laid aside His omniscience, then it is easy to explain why He erred when He taught that the Bible is the infallible, inerrant Word of God.

This however is not what Paul teaches. As Robert Reymond42 has convincingly argued, what the apostle is saying is that Christ “emptied Himself” after He had taken upon Himself “the form of a servant” (Philippians 2:7),43 by going to the cross (verse 8). The action referred to in Jesus’ “having taken the form of a servant” is antecedent to His emptying Himself in His redemptive cross work. The Second Person of the Godhead, then, did not lay aside any divine attributes at the time of the incarnation. As noted, such is not possible, for He would have ceased being God. Rather, at the incarnation, Christ added something: a human nature. Or said another way, the Son of God, during His earthly ministry, never ceased being fully divine. He continued to exercise all of His divine attributes. Being immutable, He could not do otherwise. As John Calvin writes:

The Son of God descended from heaven in such a way that, without leaving heaven, He willed to be born in the virgin’s womb, to go about the earth, and to hang upon the cross; yet He continuously filled the world even as He had done from the beginning.44

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125 Comments on “W. Gary Crampton on the Incarnation”


  1. Great post. I’m looking forward to the end of this semester so I can delve into this issue more deeply. For now, off to Greek class!

  2. Roger Mann Says:

    Crampton writes:

    It seems best, if we are going to retain the classic language on this subject (i.e., Person and nature), to say with the Westminster Confession (8:2) that Jesus Christ possesses “two whole, perfect, and distinct natures, the Godhead and the manhood,” that is that He is fully God and fully man. And that in the incarnation these two natures “were inseparably joined together in one Person, without conversion, composition, or confusion.

    That is absolutely correct. However, he is incorrect when he says that the “Chalcedonian creedal statement, quoted above, along with much of mainline ‘Christianity,’ has a different view” than the Westminster Confession here. Chalcedon and Westminster are saying precisely the same thing, in precisely the same language here. Crampton is confused, and the point of his confusion is revealed in the following comments.

    Which Person is very God, and very man, yet one Christ, the only Mediator between God and man.” That is, there is one Lord Jesus Christ, one God-man (i.e., the one Person), who possesses two distinct and inseparable natures, both of which are to be considered “personal,” in that He is fully divine and fully human.

    The “two distinct and inseparable natures” are not to be considered “personal” because Christ is “fully divine and fully human” (which merely restates that He has “two distinct and inseparable natures“), but rather because the two distinct “natures” are ” inseparably joined together in one Person.” It is the Second Person of the Godhead that provides the “personality” for both the divine and human “natures.” In other words, both the divine and human natures are “whole, perfect, and distinct natures” apart from the unique subject, ego, or personality supplied by the Second Person of the Godhead. Therefore, the Second Person of the Godhead is “divine” because He fully participates in the essential “divine nature,” and He is “human” because He fully participates in the assumed “human nature.”


  3. No one I know of says that God literally died on the cross. Anyone promoting Nestorianism on that basis is misguided. However, in another sense, as Charles Hodge pointed out, we can say that God died on the cross. That sense is that whatever is said about Jesus of one nature can be said of the other nature. So God experienced human death on the cross through the human soul of Jesus Christ because God the Son assumed a human and reasonable soul. God cannot die but the Son of God suffered for our sins on the cross in the person of Jesus Christ. That’s not too difficult to understand unless you are a Nestorian and wish to divide the two natures into two “separate” persons.

    Of course, Clark said that to hold that Jesus had both a human soul and a divine soul is Nestorianism. And Clark implied in that remark that he did not endorse Nestorianism.

    Charlie


  4. Sean, Clark is good reading. It is your misunderstanding of theology that causes you to commit grave errors in your ignorance.


  5. Why don’t you just come out in the open like Drake Shelton and admit you’re a Nestorian?


  6. Why don’t you just come out in the open like Drake Shelton and admit you’re a Nestorian?

    http://reasonablechristian.blogspot.com/2010/04/re-further-reflections-on-nestorianism.html


  7. Charlie:

    “God experienced human death on the cross through the human soul of Jesus Christ because God the Son assumed a human and reasonable soul.”

    Are you saying that Jesus Christ had two souls, or have I misunderstood you?

    Your comments remind me of a quote from The Princess Bride, which I will modify here: “You keep using that word, ‘person.’ I do not think it means what you think it means.”

    At least, I don’t think Clark means it the same way you do.

    Two asides: 1) You can include multiple ideas in a single comment, so as to simplify things a bit. 2) I’m curious as to what on earth you were talking about the other day about my “papal authority”…?


  8. Sean said:

    It seems to be a Catch-22. Either accept that the Incarnation is inherently and hopelessly paradoxical, or be willing to consider views which by definition will be labeled as heterodox. That’s not to say that the traditional formulation is formally contradictory, it is not. There is nothing contradictory about saying Jesus is one Person with two natures. At least you would be maintaining, even if you never define anything, that Jesus is one in one sense and two in another. Problems arise in when you try to explain how one divine Person can simultaneously be eternal, omniscient and immutable, yet be ignorant of some things, grow in wisdom, thirst, and die. Natures, even personal ones, don’t grow in wisdom, thirst and die, people do and the Second Person of the Trinity can, according to His divine nature, do none of these things.

    Clark specifically denies that Jesus had two souls/minds in the article on traducianism. That, according to Clark, is Nestorianism. So I fail to see on what basis you think Clark’s view advocates Nestorianism per your heretic buddy, Drake Shelton?

    The finer points of the Chalcedonian creed along with the two wills, two natures theory more than adequately answers you objects just as 3 persons and one divine nature are not contradictory.

    There are two levels of consciousness or will in Jesus without dividing Him into two persons. The definition of human person is not to be confused with who He is as the Logos. The Logos does not “replace” the human soul. That’s Apollinarianism. So there is a delicate balance between going the Apollinarian route and the Nestorian route. The other option would be the one nature route with one will, i.e. Eutychianism and the monothelite error.

    However, we discuss the problem, selling out to Nestorianism is a copout. It does not solve anything and if anything it raises more questions than the two wills, two natures view.

    I think Roger Mann has done a fine job of explaining the orthodox view.

    Charlie


  9. Charlie: I don’t understand your inability to respond to a “juvenile delinquent” with “delusions” of “papal authority.”

    While we’re on the subject of orthodoxy, pray tell where in Scripture (or ANY creed, for that matter) it says that “There are two levels of consciousness or will in Jesus…”

    *In best Jerry Seinfeld impression*: Levels of consciousness, Charlie? Really? …Really?

  10. Sean Gerety Says:

    I would like Charlie to define the following two words:

    person and nature

    Then I would like him to explain how a nature can die on a cross.

    Until he does so he will no longer be allowed to post on this blog.

  11. lawyertheologian Says:

    So that’s what Crampton looks like? Sean, where do you find these pictures?

    I agree also that Crampton is next in line from Clark.

    Thus, I wish he would take a greater role in the Trinity Foundation.

    “Personal human nature” does not seem to solve anything. BTW, it seemed from one quote that Crampton was reciting and agreeing with Clark’s view when he said, “Is He not then a human person?”

    In any event, I cannot see how one can claim Jesus was a man in all ways like us apart from sin and not be a person (like us).

  12. Sean Gerety Says:

    I just googled images. It was at a site Theology Explained.

  13. Sean Gerety Says:

    Charlie update:

    I’ve deleted 5 or 6 posts from him already since he still is either unable or unwilling to answer my questions. He did say one interesting thing interspersed in a couple of tons of rubbish. He said:

    “Now God doesn’t die but the human soul of Christ did die. Obviously the hypostatic union ceases at death and is then reunited at the resurrection.”

    This is actually quite good. He’s closer to Clark’s two person theory than he even thinks.

    As a reward, he has one more word to define before he’s allowed to post here again: soul.


  14. […] Some of these charges have been leveled against me in multiple threads over at God’s Hammer, here and here. […]

  15. lawyertheologian Says:

    I’m surprised Charlie didn’t mention me. Or does he consider me one of “Sean’s followers?”


  16. Sean, I don’t know if Charlie has sent you his definition of “soul” yet, but he did define it on his own blog amidst accusing me of heresy.

    Charlie has yet to back up his accusations, but I’m hoping he will realize I’m no heretic, and remove his earlier comments from his post.

    He seems to have misunderstood my comments toward him here. To clarify for everyone to see, I consider Charlie to be a brother in Christ. I approve of his attempts to uphold orthodox doctrine. I disapprove of his accusations levied against Sean & others. My sincere wish is that he remove the untrue statements made on his blog. There is no evidence to support his accusations against me, and therefore no need to proclaim that I am not a brother in Christ. It saddens me that I even have to explain this, but it is necessary.

  17. speigel Says:

    @Sean:
    My comment will be limited to Crampton and his view. From my correspondence with Crampton, he believed that Clark was only arguing against a wrong theory of anhypostasis (while also committing to a one-person theory). This is why Crampton deals with the issue of personal/impersonal in his article. He believed this was what Clark was doing too and not in arguing for two persons.

    Crampton believed that the correct understanding of anhypostasis represents the incarnation – one person, two natures. Crampton admits that he may be wrong about Clark’s view but said that he would disagree with Clark’s two-person view if Clark did adhere to a it. Crampton does NOT accept a two-person theory of the incarnation. He does NOT accept Clark’s solution because it was no solution at all.

  18. Sean Gerety Says:

    Crampton admits that he may be wrong about Clark’s view but said that he would disagree with Clark’s two-person view if Clark did adhere to a it. Crampton does NOT accept a two-person theory of the incarnation. He does NOT accept Clark’s solution because it was no solution at all.

    I know, I had that same conversation with him, but Dr. Crampton is wrong on both counts.

    First, Clark was advancing a two person theory and that should be obvious to even someone who didn’t follow his arguments in the section titled “Divine and Human Persons” where Clark concludes: “Some unfriendly critics will instantly brand the following defense of Christ’s humanity as the heresy of Nestorianism.” Ya think. Then he explains why this charge cannot be sustained and it’s not because he was arguing against any wrong theory of anhypotasis, but because “Neither Nestorius or his opponents had any clear idea of what a person is.”

    Second, IMO that Clark’s solution, based on his definition of person does solve the problems inherent in the Incarnation simply because only Clark’s solution has a real human person dying on the cross and not just a nature. This is something even Crampton says is required to make up the deficiencies in the mainline Christian understanding or (mis)-handling of the Incarnation. As Crampton argues above:

    If He [Christ], as Chalcedon properly contends, did take upon Himself a human nature so that, “according to the manhood,” He is “in all things like unto us,” then He had a human body and a human soul. Is He not then a human person? After all, the Bible repeatedly claims that He is not just a human nature; He is “the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5).

    Frankly, and even following Charlie per the quote I provided from one of his posts I deleted, if Jesus had a human soul, and Crampton and virtually everyone agrees that he does (I don’t want to assume anything because there seems to be no end to the crazy theories people hold under the guise of orthodoxy), then if one grasps Clark’s definition of person a human soul implies, and even necessitates, a human person. Soul, mind, heart are all synonymous with the aggregate of propositions, the collection of thoughts, that individuates one person from another so that no two persons are exactly the same. To further support this I would refer those interested to Clark’s discussion of the word “heart” in Scripture and his treatise on the biblical doctrine of man.

    To put it another way, to love God with all of your heart, soul and mind is to love God with your whole person.

    I agree that Crampton doesn’t accept Clark’s solution, simply because I don’t think he fully understands it. Which should be obvious in that he doesn’t even articulate Clark’s position accurately (he even capitalizes words that are not capitalized in the book to give the impression that Clark was saying something he wasn’t) and never even employs Clark’s definition of person which is key to the whole thing.

    Now, in defense of Crampton, when I first read Clark’s book I couldn’t grasp his position either. I frankly couldn’t bring myself to accept that what Clark was defending was something other than standard Westminster orthodoxy. It was only when I went back and reread the book (and The Trinity) that I began to understand what Clark was saying. Of course the Lord has His reasons, but it would have been interesting had Clark lived longer so he could have defended what he wrote in the book. The Incarnation was like a bombshell Clark left us on his way home. But, when you think about it, he used the same method he used when solving the paradox of divine sovereignty and human responsibility; he carefully defined his terms.

  19. qeqesha Says:

    Charlie, it would seem, does not think definitions necessary to intelligibility, for over at his blog, he dismisses as “….appealing to some nonsensical definition of soul, person, and nature.”, others’ efforts at intelligibility in providing definitions. Charlie does not provide reasons why he considers Clark’s definitions as “nonsensical”. Bear in mind that Charlie has not read much, if any, of Clark’s works. It would seem Charlie suffers from an exaggerated sense of his own learning, and perhaps even from some sort of delirium.

    At his blog Charlie writes,
    “But the word “soul” refers to the conscious and spiritual entity we know as the personality of a human being.”
    Oh dear, oh dear! This unintelligible mangle, Charlie proposes as a replacement for Clark’s carefully considered definitions? “Conscious”, “spiritual”, “we know as”(who is the ‘we’?), “the personality”, “a human being”, all these require definition and nuancing, which Charlie just throws in there. Charlie thinks, if he thought at all, their meanings obvious.

    “Soul” is sometimes used instead of “human being” or “human person”.
    “All the souls that came with Jacob into Egypt” simply means “All the human beings or human persons or people that came with Jacob into Egypt “.
    “My soul is in anguish” simply means “I am in pain”. The “I” or “soul” is the person.
    The Bible says man is created in the image of God. Since God is “without body, parts, or passions”(WCF), the image must refer to the spirit, without the body, for God is a Spirit. And so sometimes “soul” is used to refer to or to mean the spirit. Perhaps one could term this as speaking metaphysically of man. Obviously, man, a human being, persons, are characterized by or capable of certain actions which we term attributes, such as thinking, for instance. This we attribute to the mind. But, isn’t the mind simply the person, the spirit, thinking? The mind refers to the thinking action of the spirit. Further, since we are only aware of or grasp or understand or comprehend “reality” by our minds, it may be appropriate to identify man with his thinking or colloquially, mind. A man or person is his mind!
    A “will” is the thinking action of the mind in approving or disapproving something or other. It is the act of the mind in choosing one thing or another. It can also refer to a plan to a certain end such as “It was the Father’s will that the son of man should suffer and die”.
    The difference in meaning of these words, spirit, mind, soul depends on usage or emphasis or what is under discourse. A ‘person’ will often be used when referring to a human being legally, but not exclusively so. Mind refers to thinking or the person’s thoughts. Ordinarily, the words will often be used interchangeably, and understandably so, for there is only one metaphysical unit, the spirit or mind “behind” all this!

    Charlie continues,
    “Jesus had a real human personality and soul which is assumed into the divine nature and is unified in the hypostatic union with the Logos. Thus, the human soul of Jesus and the Logos are the same Person.”

    This I find totally unintelligible! Just what does it mean for “a real human personality and soul” to be “assumed into the divine nature”? What is a “hypo-static” union other than a nonsense word(It does not mean anything!)which conveys nothing to the mind. If this word meant anything, there would be no debate about the Incarnation!

    Charlie goes on,
    “A “person” is not a “nature” as Clark wrongly thought. No, a nature is what makes up the attributes of what it is to be human or to be divine.”

    Charlie does not provide any quote as to where he gets this nonsense from, which he libelously attributes to Clark.
    Clark says,(The Incarnation, pp 67), “The creeds and the volumes on theology, mindful of the heresies prior to A.D. 451, deny that Christ was a human person. They use the phrase ‘two distinct natures and one Person forever.’ With great uniformity they refuse to define nature. Now this leads to extreme difficulties.” On page 69, “…orthodox theologians generally call Christ’s human nature ‘impersonal’.”
    How do ‘attributes of a person’ (for that is what human nature is, according to Charlie)make an ‘impersonal nature’?

    Denson

  20. lawyertheologian Says:

    Sean:”Now, in defense of Crampton, when I first read Clark’s book I couldn’t grasp his position either. I frankly couldn’t bring myself to accept that what Clark was defending was something other than standard Westminster orthodoxy. It was only when I went back and reread the book (and The Trinity) that I began to understand what Clark was saying. Of course the Lord has His reasons, but it would have been interesting had Clark lived longer so he could have defended what he wrote in the book. The Incarnation was like a bombshell Clark left us on his way home. But, when you think about it, he used the same method he used when solving the paradox of divine sovereignty and human responsibility; he carefully defined his terms.”

    Yes, Clark’s books are very profound and require very careful reading. They are written very concisely, and thus are short.

    “Bombshell?” Yes, but a great treasure.

  21. Sean Gerety Says:

    Charlie suffers from an exaggerated sense of his own learning

    Ya think?

    At his blog Charlie writes,
    “But the word “soul” refers to the conscious and spiritual entity we know as the personality of a human being.”

    A rather sloppy definition from such a highly trained and skilled theologian, but it is a definition. One down.

    Now he must define nature and person before he’s allowed to comment here again. And, per the above, he still needs to explain how a nature can die on the cross. Or, since Charlie now says that the “human soul of Christ” died and was then “reunited at the resurrection” (I assume with his divine soul), how is it that the soul doesn’t pertain to or define an individual person? (Some might also recall at the end of the last blood bath … or… er … thread where Charlie said that he denied that Christ has two minds and assured us that; “He had two wills. Two minds would imply two persons instead of one.” Yet, here we see, at least on the cross, two different souls that are reunited in the resurrection.

    Methinks Charlie boy does affirm a two-person theory he just hasn’t looked into the mirror long enough to figure it out on his own. Let’s pray that when he reads Clark for himself and stops littering my inbox with unsolicited emails (after I’ve repeatedly asked him to stop), that the light will come on and he’ll return to sanity.

  22. Sean Gerety Says:

    I just realized I said “Ya think” in two replies. There must be a some sort of penalty for that. Too bad Charlie is on temporary suspension since I’m sure he could tell me what the appropriate penance would be. =8-P

  23. drake Says:

    1. The assumption that Chalcedon was incomplete is even admitted by patristics which is why the two subsequent councils gave more elaborations on the issue. To assert the incoherence of Chalcedon does not necessarily argue against the traditional construction.

    2. What I think Murray and Crampton are hung up on regarding the impersonal nature is that the traditional construction posits the impersonal generic human nature because, the 2nd Person of the Trinity must BECOME THE PERSONALITY OF THE HUMAN. It has to be this way in order for the construction to get off the ground.

    3. Though i need more study on this Nestorius posited the nature of the union not to be metaphysical but that the human and the divine are in One Sonship. The human person Jesus is not a Son by grace but naturally with the Second person.

  24. speigel Says:

    @Sean:
    From what I understand, Crampton (and Carl Henry) thought that Clark’s emphasis was about anhypostasis and the discussion was about personal/impersonal. Henry acknowledged that Clark espoused a two-person theory but believed that Clark was really arguing for a two-minds position much like Morris’ theory, except Clark used the word “person.” So in a sense, Henry understood Clark as Crampton understood Clark – that Clark was only arguing against a certain version of anhypostasis. Both would argue against for a two-person theory in that the “I” would mean one thing for Jesus and would mean another for God the Son.

    //

    I’m still wondering what the unity is in the two-person theory. One advocate said it was inexplainable. Another said it was a unity in the individual man. I’m not sure how either answer helps clarify the two-person position.

    //

    I find several places, in the posts and the comments, that misrepresent and create a straw-man version of the one-person theory. A good primer would by Macleod’s book on Christa and the other books I previously mentioned on this blog.

  25. Sean Gerety Says:

    I’m still wondering what the unity is in the two-person theory. One advocate said it was inexplainable. Another said it was a unity in the individual man. I’m not sure how either answer helps clarify the two-person position.

    IMO that Clark was arguing for a similar type of generic or propositional unity that obtains for the Trinity. I think his treatise on the Trinity lays the foundation for understanding the Incarnation. Objectively the persons think the same thoughts, but unlike the unity that obtains in the Godhead, Jesus as a human person also still grows in knowledge (I would add that thoughts pass through his mind and are not an immediate eternal intuition), can be ignorant of things (like the date of His return), be tempted just like us, and die (see Charlie’s comment I lifted above).

    If a person is a given set of propositions (which are the meanings of declarative sentences and not the sentences themselves), I would think the two person theory could perhaps be pictured as a somewhat smaller circle expanding (i.e, as in growing in wisdom) within a larger circle represented by the sum total of true propositions in the Second Person.

    For me I thought that the quote from John Robbins at the close of Clark’s book was helpful, so I’ll provide it again here and also include the final paragraph of the book:

    The relationship that obtains between the Logos, the Second Person of the Trinity, and Jesus is unique, unlike that between the Logos and every other man who comes into the world (see John 1:9). The Logos did not merely light the mind of Christ; the Logos Himself is fully in Christ. Christ could therefore say, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” No mere prophet could make such an astounding claim. Prophets, inspired by God, possess some of the divine propositions. Christ, however, possess them all, as the author of Hebrews argues in the first chapter. *All* the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are in Christ, for in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.

    If, as seems to be the case, we now have a solution to the puzzles of the Incarnation, a solution that avoids the contradictions and meaningless words of the traditional formulations, a solution that is supported by Scripture itself, we are obliged to accept it. Jesus Christ was and is both God and man, a divine person and a human person. To deny either is to fall into error. Once the key terms are defined and clearly understood, the Incarnation is an even more stupendous and awe-inspiring miracle than the Church has hitherto surmised. – J.W.R.

  26. lawyertheologian Says:

    I said the unity is inexplainable because there doesn’t appear to be anything that could unite the two persons, as there is in the Trinity. That is why I think Robbins, from the quote Sean provided, simply spoke of it as a unique “relationship”.

    Thus, Clark referred to it as an “enigmatic miracle” and both Clark and Robbins call it “awe-inspiring”.

  27. Drake Says:

    @ Roger Mann: Your 1 plus 1 equals one nonsense has some issues. You find refuge in the 2 natues one person construction as if 1 plus 1 can still equal 1 in one sense and two in another. I am here to tell you that the human nature construction is really a whole person even on the traditional construction’s own merits. How? The human nature has accidents and hypostatical qualities even on the Traditional construction. I have had Eastern Orthodox Apologist Perry Robinson admit this to me. If the human nature has hypostatic/accidental properties, the 2 natures One person construction doesn’t work. And by the by, if Christ takes generic human nature, and not a complete human person, this is indistinguishable from the Universalist constructions of Origen and the like who says in Christ’s Incarnation he deifies the Platonic class “Man.”

    @ Charlie J. Ray: 1. Our argument that your view posits God literally dying on the cross is an inference, in linea recta, from the always undefined “metaphysical/hypostatic union”, where the word metaphysical (which means reality/essence) is employed to describe the union of the human and the divine as they become, as the word metaphysical means, one being or one substance. So yes, on your view the substance of the divine Second person must suffer on the cross for your construction to work. So the denotation of Hodge will not work, this is literal because it is metaphysical. When you say we divide the two natures can you define the word “divide” as it operates in the context of this issue?

    2. A Clarkian is not Nestorian in the sense that he operates on a different set epistemic principles that are very different from the Aristotelian influences on Nestorius (Which is why we define person different). We are Nestorian in the sense that we refuse to compromise the immutability of the Second Person which the hypostatic union clearly does as Shedd admits “the second person was modified”; I believe in his Dogmatic theology.(Shedd, William G.T., Dogmatic Theology Vol II (New York.: Charle’s Scribner’s Sons, 1891), 281 And we hold to two distinct and complete persons. I have not read Sean on the issue of the union but i would affirm everything in Clark’s Incarnation and the section by Robbins at the end. However, I would add the Nestorian construction of the union in that the human and divine are not in a metaphysical union but a union of Sonship which you must have to explain the verses where Jesus’ body is receiving worship. I will not impute this to Sean as I have not read him commenting on this before.

    See the rejection of two souls minds in his article on traducianism

    3. @ Charlie, April 16, 2010 4:22pm post, second paragraph- As I have mentioned to my One Person friends before, if you parallel the union of the persons in the Trinity to the union of the human and divine in the Incarnation you must admit the union is a union of essence because the union in the Trinity is of essence. I have mentioned that before to numerous of my Protestant One peron friends to their embarassment and hopefully if you have a conscience, to yours.

    You say that our two person view produces more problems than your One Person view. As a Protestant I am more than excited to write out a list of what problems I think your position produces compared to mine; Are you Game? I think Sean kicked him off. Sean please let him back in I want to make an example of this man that he may know Clark is THE Philosopher of Protestantism.

    The hypostatic union ceases at death and then reunites? Then it is not Cyril’s “physis after all.” An unbreakable union is the way the Patristics described it as they rejected penal substitution. Sean great comments. He must have this break in order for Penal sub to work. Rubbish!

  28. Drake Says:

    Speigel,

    What have you read by Nestorius? I just gave a defintion of the union and then you say there is no view of the union. There has been a two perosn view of the union for 1600 years now. I mean to read through all of Nestorius’ Bazaar

    Chapter 5 of Richard A. Muller’ Post Reformation Reformed Dogmatics has a section on the ectypal knowledge of the human nature of Christ that I find commensurate with Clark’s view. Robbins’ comments at the end seems to be seekig a metaphysical union which is the problem to begin with. I believe what he is saying there I just don’t know if it’s a commensurate conclusion to Clark’s view.

    I have read my brain numb in the last year on this issue if anyone wants to read a reply to the major objections to Clark’s view that I have received from my Presbytery: Google The Kings Parlor and on the left side look under “The Incarnation”. I tried to post the articles but Sean site would not let them through.

    Dialogue with a One Person Protestant

    The Hypostatic Union and its Relationship to Epistemology, the Nature of God, Biblical Inspiration, the Conscience and Implicit Faith

    The Incarnation, The Atonement and their Theological Relationship

    The Incarnation, Did Calvin Get it Right?

    The Incarnation Issue; Did the Puritans Miss it?

    The way I got to Clark’s view was that i spent the last few years studying all the Patristic arguments against Protestantism and I kept running into the argument that the One Person view is designed specifically for Patristic theology and to accept it commits one to the whole system, and I think they are right.

  29. Drake Says:

    This the Clark quote that Charlie used about Traducianism and Nestorianism:

    “J. Oliver Buswell, Jr. defends creationism in a most unfortunate way. In his A Systematic Theology of the Christian Religion (Zondervan, 1962, Vol. I, 250-252) he speaks three times of Christ having been born with a sinless body: “The body of Christ was perfectly sinless.” Nothing is said about a sinless soul. This is peculiarly strange, for, contrary to orthodox doctrine, Buswell teaches, “He, that is, his personal eternal being, his soul, became a human person, a human soul, without in any way ceasing to be a divine person, a divine Soul” (251). But this seems to be Nestorianism unless Buswell means to annihilate the divine Person, and other creationists would not be pleased with this defense of their doctrine.”

    I just take this as Clark’s earlier view that he changed at the end of his life when he gave the issue specific study. We are allowed to change aren’t we? John owen changed his view of the necessity of the Atonement and the divine nature in his dissertation of divine justice.

  30. Sean Gerety Says:

    Drake, I would appreciate it if you didn’t reply to Charlie Ray since I’ve suspended him from posting and he cannot reply to you here. Thanks.

  31. Sean Gerety Says:

    Actually, Drake if you want to continue with Charlie you can probably do it at his blog. Maybe then he’ll stop emailing me.

  32. speigel Says:

    @Sean:
    I don’t agree with your position, but I thank you for answering my question.

  33. speigel Says:

    @Drake:
    Some who accept Clark’s view assert that it is not the same as Nestorianism or Nestorius’ view. Therefore telling me about the union as explained by Nestorious doesn’t tell me anything about the union in Clark’s view. Nor do all of those who advocate Clark’s view agree as to what that union is. Sean was generous enough to give me his view on it.

  34. Drake Says:

    Sean, I will not address Charlie here anymore. Sorry. I don’t care to chase after him at his blog. I am a bit weary of reading the same lame answers to this issue. I am playing on reading Nestorius’ Bazaar of Heracleides’, Cyril’s that Christ is One, and then another book on the text and decrees of the 7 ecu councils and then work my way through one by one of the major refomred scholars and show they didn’t deal with the issues. Maybe after ten years or so people will start to wake up. I just finished with Loraine Boettner’s Studies in Theology. The book has one section on Christology and then another on the Atonement. It’s the same old stuff, but reading the clear contradictions in the hypostatic union compared with his penal sub section just puts the nails in the coffin. In the Christology section the human is in an inseperable union with the divine. In the penal sub section, the human is seperated from the divine. I mean how much clearer do we need to make it?

  35. Drake Says:

    planning on, i can’t spell today

  36. Roger Mann Says:

    lawyertheologian wrote,

    I said the unity is inexplainable because there doesn’t appear to be anything that could unite the two persons, as there is in the Trinity. That is why I think Robbins, from the quote Sean provided, simply spoke of it as a unique “relationship”.

    The so-called “unity” of the two-person heresy is “inexplainable” because it doesn’t exist (and the yet the orthodox view is derided as mystical nonsense — go figure!). The three Persons of the Trinity are united in the one divine nature. But there isn’t one common nature that a “divine Person” and a distinct “human person” can be united in. At best, all you have is a “divine Person” indwelling a distinct “human person” in a fleshly body, in direct opposition to Scripture: “And the Logos [the Second Person of the Trinity] became flesh” (John 1:14) — that is, assumed a complete human nature, thus becoming a true man. ” The Logos didn’t merely take up residence in a man; He became a man. It was the divine Logos, who, “being in the form of God [i.e., the very nature of God], did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant [i.e., the very nature of a man], and coming in the likeness of men…” (Philippians 2:6-7). Yet, the two-person heresy explicitly denies that the divine Logos ever became a man, that He ever assumed human nature, that He ever grew in wisdom, suffered, and died on the Cross. No matter how you try to define “person” in such a view, it is heretical, plain and simple.

  37. lawyertheologian Says:

    “The three Persons of the Trinity are united in the one divine nature.”

    It’s not enough to simply they are united. You need to say how/what it is that unites them. Clark said that it is the propositions they share in common. These are such as “The Son will be incarnate.” These each Person thinks and it is true because they think it (which is what Deity is).

    Two natures in one person suggests unity also. We are both claiming that Jesus was a unity or two somethings combined into one. I’m not sure unity is the best word. An association or again simply a relationship, a unique one, between the Logos and a man.

    “The Logos didn’t merely take up residence in a man; He became a man.”

    Well, obviously He didn’t go from being Divine to being a human. Yes, He changed his identity in that something was added to Him. No one has asserted that there was a preexisting man who took to himself Deity.

    “Yet, the two-person heresy explicitly denies that the divine Logos ever became a man, that He ever assumed human nature, that He ever grew in wisdom, suffered, and died on the Cross. No matter how you try to define “person” in such a view, it is heretical, plain and simple.”

    How many times are such blatant falsehoods to be posted here?

    No one has explicity asserted that the Logos did not become man. Again, some explanation is needed when making the statement “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” I’ve just given one above.

    It is not correct to say that the Logos “grew in wisdom, suffered, and died on the Cross.” Even the WCF says that it is “the Lord Jesus… (“The One Christ” 8:2).. who died” (8:4)referring to the unit, not the “Son of God, the Second Person of the Trinity”

  38. lawyertheologian Says:

    “The three Persons of the Trinity are united in the one divine nature.”

    It’s not as if a nature does the uniting. The Three Person eternally existed and no one did anything to them, no one,no nature, nothing apart from them did the uniting. They are united simply means that there is something about them that ties/unites them as one. And that something again has to do with their thoughts.

    I don’t see how there can be any unity, any oneness between the Jesus the man and Jesus the Logos. For just as the Logos could never think “I grew in wisdom, suffered and died” the man Jesus could never think “I am eternal.” But they are truly and eternally linked. Quite the enigma as to how God has done this.

  39. Sean Gerety Says:

    I don’t agree with your position, but I thank you for answering my question.

    You’re welcome.

  40. lawyertheologian Says:

    “At best, all you have is a “divine Person” indwelling a distinct “human person” in a fleshly body, in direct opposition to Scripture: “And the Logos [the Second Person of the Trinity] became flesh” (John 1:14) — that is, assumed a complete human nature, thus becoming a true man. ” The Logos didn’t merely take up residence in a man; He became a man. It was the divine Logos, who, “being in the form of God [i.e., the very nature of God], did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant [i.e., the very nature of a man], and coming in the likeness of men…” (Philippians 2:6-7). ”

    At best, or at least, you have to acknowledge that the Logos must have become two minds; for only a human mind can grow in knowledge.

  41. drake Says:

    @lawyertheologian

    “But there isn’t one common nature that a “divine Person” and a distinct “human person” can be united in”

    Not metaphysically, no. So what? Be careful you do not fall into a union of essence. Which is what you must do when you parallel the Trinity (the persons are unitd in essence) and the incarnation unions. Appollinarianism is the only choice then which leads straight to Arianism. My favorite answer so far is that the union is not of essence but its metaphysical. That’s like saying its bacon but its not pork. What?

    “At best, all you have is a “divine Person” indwelling a distinct “human person” in a fleshly body, in direct opposition to Scripture: “And the Logos [the Second Person of the Trinity] became flesh” (John 1:14)”

    1. We can quote scripture as well: Col 2:9 for in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. I can support the “dwell” statement with this passage and you can support your Arianism “became” with your passage. What the bottom line is what do these words mean in the context of the whole Bible? Clear vs unclear. What is clear? God is immutable; God is three in one sense and One in another. All three persons are of equal power and glory. A change in the second Person necessarily posits a different deity than the father. Thus Arianism. Heresy, plain and simple.

    In Wallace’s Greek grammar page 268 he comments on the meaning of “became” in John 1:14: In commenting on the definiteness of Theos in John 1 Wallace quoting Alford says in passing in a footnote: “Theos must then be taken as implying God, in substance and essence, -not ho theos, ‘The Father’ in person …as in sarz egeneto John 1:14 , sarz expresses that STATE into which the divine Word entered by a definite act, so in theos en, Theos expresses that ESSENCE which was his”
    Here there is no evidence that the Greek “sarz egeneto” means a metaphysical (substance/essence) union. He makes it clear by contrasting the State and the Essence. Earlier on page 264 he mentions “the Word partook of humanity” also not a help for your hypostatic metaphysical view.

  42. drake Says:

    Sorry, that lst post was aimed at Roger Mann.

  43. restingtransparently Says:

    This is rather incidental to your post, but I think you’re misreading a kind of gross fideism into Kierkegaard when you describe the “Kierkegaardian approach.” There’s a difference between existential contradictions and logical contradictions. The absurd and the paradox are for him existential notions, not logical ones.

  44. qeqesha Says:

    restingtransparently,
    “There’s a difference between existential contradictions and logical contradictions. The absurd and the paradox are for him existential notions, not logical ones.”
    Is it not the case that we see or perceive all things with the mind, and hence “existential notions” refers to the mind’s conception of ‘existence’ and their “absurdity” is a judgement of the mind? It follows then that “existential paradoxes” refers to logical paradoxes in the mind’s perception of ‘existence’.

    Denson

  45. Sean Gerety Says:

    Reading Clark’s The Trinity this morning before church I thought the following proof that the Holy Spirit is a person also speaks to Charlie’s excellent point that “God doesn’t die but the human soul of Christ did die. Obviously the hypostatic union ceases at death and is then reunited at the resurrection.”

    After citing John 14:26, 16:13 and 1 Cor 12:8,11, Clark writes:

    “The first of these verses says that the Holy Spirit teaches; therefore he must know something; therefore he is a person, a mind, an intelligence.”

  46. drake Says:

    “There’s a difference between existential contradictions and logical contradictions. The absurd and the paradox are for him existential notions, not logical ones.”

    Clark says that logic is a law of thought an dbeing. I agree with qeqesha.

  47. drake Says:

    Well I changed my mind and started a full out debate with Charlie. i requested he define a number of things before we began and this is what he said:

    “Drake, what I need from you is for you to state clearly where you depart from the Westminster Confession of Faith and why. After that we can proceed. Since you’re the one who thinks the Definition of Chalcedon is in error and that Christ is not one Divine and Human person, the onus is on you to define your terms and why you’re departing from orthodoxy. Until then I can only assume that you are outside the Christian faith.”

    That’s Anglican thinking for you. He believes in the hypo union. I do not. And he actually thinks the burden of proof is on me. The affirmative has the burden but Charlie has the stage fright gitters.


  48. Charlie has also placed the burden of proof upon me, to prove that I am orthodox. Since his accusations against me are completely unfounded, he has declared me guilty until proven innocent. I’ve downright pleaded with him to remove his statements against me, and assured him that I believe that he is a sincere brother in Christ, and that I desire peace with him.

    He has only responded by calling me a liar and ignoring my questions regarding his evidence against me. I’ve given up trying to convince him; he seems to be unrepentant of his false accusations. Thankfully, all correspondence between Charlie and I is readily available online here, and at our respective blogs. I trust any rational person can look at the evidence and see that he is the liar, not I.

  49. qeqesha Says:

    In the previous blog topic, Charlie said,
    “Second of all, you fail to acknowledge that if the creeds and confessions “can and do err” that means YOU are even LESS trustworthy…”
    That would imply, when they err, we can never know, since we are even ‘less trustworthy’!!! This is Roman Catholicism! One cannot object to RC beliefs, because one is de facto wrong for even thinking the magisterium could err. In the Reformed creeds, one is required to base and prove their beliefs from scripture and those that oppose him/her show it from scripture, not by appealing to what is in contention for authority, as Charlie is doing. If one can show that someone’s beliefs are not based on scripture or unintelligible as I think Clark has shown concerning this issue, no one is under obligation to uphold what may in fact be false belief! If Martin Luther had Charlie’s attitude, he would not have started the Reformation. Or Athanasius on the doctrine of the trinity, who stood virtually alone and was exiled a couple of times before he was acknowledged as in fact correct and biblical!

    Denson

  50. Roger Mann Says:

    Patrick wrote,

    Charlie has also placed the burden of proof upon me, to prove that I am orthodox. Since his accusations against me are completely unfounded, he has declared me guilty until proven innocent. I’ve downright pleaded with him to remove his statements against me, and assured him that I believe that he is a sincere brother in Christ, and that I desire peace with him.

    He has only responded by calling me a liar and ignoring my questions regarding his evidence against me. I’ve given up trying to convince him; he seems to be unrepentant of his false accusations. Thankfully, all correspondence between Charlie and I is readily available online here, and at our respective blogs. I trust any rational person can look at the evidence and see that he is the liar, not I.

    If you haven’t seen this yet, here’s what Charlie wrote to you on his blog:

    “Patrick, I would be more than happy to retract my accusation against you. I’ll give you another chance. Since you asked and since I have seen no further comments at God’s Hammer, you are more than welcome to post your comments here. Please tell me what your view of the hypostatic union is in the light of the Westminster Confession, Chapter 8 and in light of the Belgic Confession, Chapter 10. While you’re at it, maybe you can check out the Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 5?”

  51. drake Says:

    I can’t swallow any more of Charlie’s insults and attacks. This guy is a total jerk for a lack of better word. Most immature person I have ever debated. That’s is not even fun. That guy needs to smoke a cigar and drink a beer with his boys every now and then.I get the impression he is on a personal vendetta.

  52. drake Says:

    I answered everyone of his arguments with no problem at all. He posted like 40 something arguments. Most of his replies were these obnoxious insults. I never even felt like I was against the ropes once.

  53. Roger Mann Says:

    Here’s Gordon H. Clark, commenting on the Westminster Confession 8.2, prior to his descent into heresy in his final book before he died, The Incarnation:

    The first three lines of section ii refer back to the doctrine of the Trinity in Chapter II. Jesus Christ is “very and eternal God.” Unlike angels, the physical universe, and mankind, he never came into existence. He is not a creation. He is the Creator. He is God and equal with the Father.

    Since this chapter as a whole deals with the mediatorial work of Christ, the remainder of section ii naturally goes beyond the doctrine of the Trinity and centers on Christ’s incarnation. This second Person of the Trinity became man

    Accordingly it took the Church some centuries to digest the teaching of the Bible. First came the doctrine of the Trinity, formulated by the Council of Nicaea in A.D. 325. The next important advance was to define the doctrine of Christ as one Person with two natures. This was done at Chalcedon in A.D. 451…

    The main idea is not too difficult to understand [unless, of course, you are Sean Gerety, Drake Shelton, Denson, a host of other “Clarkians” on the God’s Hammer blog, or Clark himself in his waning years — RM]. In order to serve as a mediator, the Son of God had to become man. This is most evident with respect to the crucifixion. Obviously if the mediator was to die on the cross, or died in any way, it was necessary that he have a body. A pure Spirit could not be executed. As it says in Hebrews 2:14, “Since then the children are sharers in flesh and blood, he also partook of the same, that through death he might bring to nought him that had the power of death, that is, the devil.”

    But the distinguished evangelist, previously mentioned as having no creed, was quite wrong when he described Jesus as “God in a body.” What we call the incarnation involves more than God’s taking a body. What the second Person of the Trinity took to himself was “man’s nature, with all the essential properties and common infirmities thereof.” That is, Jesus had a human mind as well as a human body [notice that Clark identifies a “human mind” here as an attribute common to “man’s nature” not a characteristic of “personhood” per se]. It was only because he had a human mind that he could advance in wisdom, as well as stature, and in favor with God and men (Luke 2:52).

    In addition to the view that Jesus was “God in a body,” a theologian by the name of Nestor conceived Jesus Christ to be two different persons: one person purely human, the other purely divine [precisely the same view that is being aggressively advanced on Sean Gerety’s blog]. Another attempt was to conceive of the Savior as neither God nor man, but a sort of “chemical” mixture in which the characteristics of the components were both lost. The student is urged to look up Nestorianism, Eutychianism, and Docetism in a theological encyclopedia. The subject matter is very interesting.

    Eventually the Council of Chalcedon, after nearly four hundred years of church history, arrived at the orthodox doctrine that “two whole, perfect, and distinct natures were inseparably joined together in one person, without conversion, composition, or confusion.”

    This Chalcedonian doctrine is necessary to support the function of Christ’s mediatorial office. The reason is that if Christ were a mere man, he could not function as a mediator; nor could he if he were simply God. In both cases he would be confined to one extreme and fail to link the two. If Christ were neither God nor man, but an angel or something else, he would be a barrier between God and man rather than a mediator. But as both God and man, as truly God as man and as truly man as God, Christ can be the Mediator and unite God and men. (What Do Presbyterians Believe?, pp. 93-95)

    Too bad Clark didn’t retain this careful, sober thinking in his later years, when he heretically maintained the following:

    The usual theological treatment of the problem is so self-contradictory that nearly any escape looks promising. After stating that Jesus was a man, a “true” man, the theologians continue by arguing that he was not a man at all — he was only a “nature.” For them the boy in the temple and the assistant carpenter in Nazareth was some set of qualities attaching to the Second Person. But this is impossible [proving that he had come to reject the biblical doctrine the Logos “became flesh” — RM] for two reasons. First, it attaches contradictory characteristics to a single Person. He is both omnipotent and frail; he is both omnipresent and localized; he is omniscient, but he is ignorant of some things. In the second place, closely related to the first, the characteristics of an ordinary man cannot possibly attach to Deity [once again denying the biblical doctrine of the Incarnation — RM]. The Logos never gets tired or thirsty; the Logos never increases in either stature or wisdom. The Logos is eternal and immutable. How then can these human characteristics possibly be characteristics of God? But by irresponsibly assigning such qualities to God, the theologians contradict their other statement that Jesus was a true man. Even the word true betrays the weakness of their position. Let your yea be yea and your nay be nay. The Scripture simply says, ‘The Man Christ Jesus.'” (The Incarnation, p. 76-77)

    One would do well to follow the early Clark here and to reject the latter.

  54. Sean Gerety Says:

    FWIW I could care less what Charlie says. He says contradictory things, changes his position constantly, and, in general, has proven himself to be an unstable bag o’ nuts.

    Charlie prides himself on being a “trained theologian” (that’s a laugh), yet when asked to define his terms he refuses to do so, instead he hurls insults and false charges. He then whines on his blog that the only way I’ll let him post here is that if he agrees with me. Well, last I checked Roger, Cliffton, Patrick McWilliams, Speigel and others have all disagreed with me, some more vehemently than others.

    Dr. Crampton whose opinion probably matters most to me in this debate doesn’t even agree with me and told me he thinks that John Robbins is responsible for essentially putting a “Nestorian” twist on Clark. He does admit that he could be wrong about Clark and JWR right (my position), but if so then Clark and Robbins were both wrong. Of course, if that’s the case then he should at least correctly articulate their position in order to show where the error lies.

    Where I stand, and I’ve said this repeatedly, is that I think Clark’s position is compelling and if it fails to take into account the full deity and humanity of Jesus Christ I still don’t see it. I completely agree with Dr. Crampton and that to deny that Jesus Christ had two-minds is “foolishness,” but I still fail to see how two-minds are not two-persons? Can the words “person” and “mind” be defined in such a way so that you can have one person with two minds? As I said in the above piece, perhaps Morris provides an answer to this question, because Crampton definitely does not.

    As I wrote on the combox of Patrick McWilliams’ blog site:

    I’m not even sure if I agree with Clark, but I find his arguments compelling and the discussion necessary (at least for me). I tend to think Clark was correct, but if the two-mind theory of Morris or someone else can explicate the biblical data and remain within the boundaries of Chalcedonian orthodoxy (and I’m not sure that is possible) then we have a solution that is shielded from the charge of “Nestorianism” and unhinged men with matches like Charlie Ray. Morris does seem to be a likely candidate only because Van Tilian paradox monger and RTS prof James Anderson says that Morris avoids any charge or even hint of paradox, even if a two-mind theory implies a two-person theory (which I think is correct, but not having read Morris I have to withhold judgment).

    OTOH I’ve been studying Clark’s work for years and his arguments are usually biblically sound and tightly constructed. I think his theory of the Incarnation deserves a hearing, particularly in light of the deficiencies most people agree are inherent in the tradition formulation and explanations of the creed. The other option is that we simply agree with men like Anderson who maintain that the Incarnation is irrevocably contradictory, at least to finite minds, and that the Scriptures present to the mind any number of antinomies with the Incarnation and the Trinity as prime examples. Then we can all join hands with the melancholy Dane and worship at the absurdity of the Christian faith (interestingly, if not telling, Anderson begins his book on biblical paradox with a meaty quote from Kirkegaard).

  55. Sean Gerety Says:

    One would do well to follow the early Clark here and to reject the latter.

    Perhaps you are right, but I’m sorry to say, and despite all your efforts, not to mention your high passions, you have not been able to show why or even how the position Clark came to at the end of his life, and after turning his mind to examine the problems inherent in harmonizing the contradictory biblical data that you to cavalierly just dismiss, that he in any way denied any of the essential theological requirements of Chalcedon mentioned in WDPB.

    Clark’s final position completely denies that Christ “were a mere man” or that Christ was “simply God.” His later position is not “confined to one extreme” nor does it “fail to link the two.” Christ, according to his later position, “can be the Mediator and unite God and men.” What could be more obvious? The Second Person did take on flesh and in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily (Col 2:9). Two minds were joined as one so that Jesus could say “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” All the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are in Christ, but because there were two-minds or persons (as Clark defined it) and not one, no rift in the Godhead occurred on the cross (which is impossible) and a real person did cry out: “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me.” Again, as I think Charlie rightly says (even a broken clock is right twice a day) “God doesn’t die but the human soul of Christ did die. Obviously the hypostatic union ceases at death and is then reunited at the resurrection.” And, if you understand Clark’s definition, a person is defined by his soul or mind.

  56. qeqesha Says:

    Hi Roger,
    “The reason is that if Christ were a mere man, he could not function as a mediator; nor could he if he were simply God. In both cases he would be confined to one extreme and fail to link the two. If Christ were neither God nor man, but an angel or something else, he would be a barrier between God and man rather than a mediator. But as both God and man, as truly God as man and as truly man as God, Christ can be the Mediator and unite God and men.”
    This is hardly Clark’s opinion. He was just echoing Reformed theologians!

    In fact, this explanation, which is no explanation, seems to suggest some sort of metaphysical “linking” of God and man by the Incarnation, God to God on one end and man to man on the other.
    Adam was created in fellowship with God, and did not need a mediator to “link” him to God. The piece above does not explain why mediation requires both God and man, though it gives a semblence of doing so.

    What necessitated the Incarnation was sin and the demands for justice for the sin(s) committed by man before God and God’s intention to reconcile or restore (elect sinners)man to fellowship with Himself. The wages of sin is death. And so the mediator would take the punishment of sin, death, to satisfy the demands of God’s justice and not some unintelligible “linking”. If the mediator had to die, he had to be a man. But a man cannot die for another’s sins. Justice requires the death of the one who sinned. To substitute one man with another would be injustice. This is where God Himself had to be involved, for then none can accuse Him of injustice for punishing the innocent for the guilty. Since it was God who had initiated redemption, He had to bear man’s sin. And hence God had to become man and subsitutionally die on behalf of sinners without incuring the accusation of being unjust!

    This is how I view the reasons for God’s becoming a man and not this “mere man cannot bear God’s infinite justice/wrath” nonsense.

    Denson


  57. Roger, thanks for posting that, I hadn’t seen that reply from Charlie yet. However, it doesn’t change anything. Someone needs to tell Charlie that you can’t accuse someone of being a heretic with no evidence, then demand that they give a full explanation of the hypostatic union in order to prove themselves orthodox. That’s ridiculous.

    Sean, you said “Well, last I checked Roger, Cliffton, Patrick McWilliams, Speigel and others have all disagreed with me, some more vehemently than others.”

    Actually, I haven’t stated disagreement with you. I’ve been very careful to not state agreement with *anyone* involved here, since with all the terms flying around it’s hard to make sense of some of it. My criticisms of Charlie were of his argumentation. However, he made a leap and accused me of being your follower, when I hadn’t made any statements of agreement whatsoever.

    Much as that might make me sound like a fence-rider, I simply don’t like to argue about things I have not fully studied and come to a conclusion about, unlike Charlie with regards to Clark’s work. I told Charlie I believe him to be orthodox, but the trouble is that orthodoxy has not been too clear. I also believe that many of Charlie’s accusations against Sean, myself, and others have been completely ridiculous and/or outright lies. That was where my problem with Charlie was: His horrible argumentation style, some incorrect notions regarding reason & the confessions, and his rampant accusations of heresy against his brothers in Christ.

    So let the record state that while I don’t understand all the ins and outs of Clark’s, Sean’s, Denson’s, etc. position(s), and therefore cannot state full agreement with them, it’s plain to me that they are attempting to carefully understand God’s Word, and if Charlie and others would actually use logical definitions and argumentation instead of repeating creedal quotes over and over, perhaps this whole conversation would actually accomplish something.

  58. drake Says:

    So if anyone cares, I unloaded on Charlie for like 4 hours last night and about 1/3 of my posts are posted on his blog. That guy answered zero of my main arguments and ommitted 2/3 of them. What a coward.

    He can’t show how the union can be inseperable and also have the human seperate from the divine in penal sub atonement when Christ is forsaken on the cross.

    He can’t show how the hypo union leaves him with a faith and word sacrament. Why would you need faith if your eating deified matter?

    His primary argument is that we posit a human person that is receiving worship that is not one of the persons of the trintiy. However, he says that the essence of the human is not the essence of the divine. And so on his view an essence is receiving worship that is not the divine essence. He has no advantage over us here. I have yet to figure this one out completely myself. But certainly neither have the Aristotelians.

    He can’t show how he escapes the relic worship. If Christ has indeed deified matter in the incarnation, what’s the problem with worshiping material things? I could invite some EO apologists to bury him on this one.

    The One person view is a rejection of divine simplicity, covenant theology (In that the fathers taught the incarnation introduced a new economy and not the way we think of new economy. In the OT Duet 4-5 God forbids use of images in worship because they had seen no image but in the NT the deifying of matter in the incarnation produces an image of one of the persons of the trinity, therefore a seen image of God, therefore new economy. Thus the groundwork for their dispensationalism), which leads to antinomianism (this one is probably known by One Person Protestants but its a hush hush issue) relic worhip, and pretty much the rest of the eastern system.

    At the end of the day, I could completely understand why someone would want to beleive the one person theory of the Incarnation. Just not a Western Christian. The epistemological consequences leave you with one consistent choice: Oriental Orthodoxy. That’s really the only somewhat consistent option.

    Charlie’s whole page there is one post after another of the typical misunderstanding of my Clarkian ad hominem arguments. He is constantly understanding my ad hominem gloss arguments as positve expositions of his position. He like most other Clark opponents does not understand how we use ad hominem argumens to test our opponents consistency.

    Him and his budies think I am saying that the traditional understanding of the hypostatic union is a union of essence. This one is laughable. I have read so many answers to this issue that I am convinced the One Person Protestants do not know what to believe. What I made clear from the start is that I think the councils, the fathers, and modern theologians IMPLY IT as a logical consequence. Here again they do not pick up that this is an ad hominem argument that shows how they are inconsistent with themselves.

    Clarkian brothers, we are just going to have to accept that we are going to be slandered, attacked and misrepresented probably for the rest of our lives on this issue and may others. God causes all things to work together for good to the elect and let’s take it like men.

  59. Roger Mann Says:

    Sean wrote,

    Clark’s final position completely denies that Christ “were a mere man” or that Christ was “simply God.” His later position is not “confined to one extreme” nor does it “fail to link the two.” Christ, according to his later position, “can be the Mediator and unite God and men.” What could be more obvious? The Second Person did take on flesh and in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily (Col 2:9). The Second Person did take on flesh and in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily (Col 2:9). Two minds were joined as one so that Jesus could say “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” All the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are in Christ, but because they were two-minds or persons as Clark defined it and not one, no rift in the Godhead occurred on the cross (which is impossible) and a real person did cry out: “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me.”

    Clark’s later heretical view logically places God in a human body only in the sense that the divine second Person merely takes up residence or indwells a distinct human person in an especially “unique” way. In other words, the human person (Jesus) receives more of God’s indwelling presence than other men do (i.e., he receives the Spirit “without measure” and “all the fulness of the Godhead bodily”), but nevertheless the divine and human persons remain separate from one another for all eternity. It is only the distinct human person (as opposed to the second Person of the Godhead in full possession of a human nature) that grows in wisdom, is ignorant of some things, and suffers and dies on the Cross. Truly, the two-person heresy leave us with no genuine Incarnation at all. And without a genuine Incarnation, “the Lord of glory” (1 Corinthians 2:8) was never crucified in our stead, and the second Person of the Trinity never purchased the church of God “with His own blood” (Acts 20:28).

    You claim that Christ’s distinct human and divine minds “were joined as one” in Clark’s later view. But in what way can two “minds” be joined together in any meaningful sense in two different “persons” with two different “natures?” Not only do you not say, but you can’t say! As I’ve mentioned before, the three Persons of the Trinity are “joined as one” by equally sharing the One divine “nature.” The reason the three Persons do not have three separate “minds” and “wills” is because the terms “mind” and “will” are attributes of the one divine “nature” — not characteristics of subjective “personhood” per se.

    However, in Clark’s heretical two-person view of the Incarnation, if the divine Person has His own “mind” and “will” in accordance with His divine “nature,” and a different human person has his own “mind” and “will” in accordance with his human “nature,” then there can be no real metaphysical union between the two persons. The only way there can be a genuine metaphysical union between the human and divine “natures” is if the second Person of the Trinity assumes to Himself a complete human “nature” (with a limited human mind and will) while retaining His essential divine “nature” (with the infinite divine mind and will) — without conversion, composition, or confusion (i.e., the hypostatic union as asserted in the orthodox and biblical doctrine of the Incarnation). Moreover, in the orthodox doctrine both the divine and human “natures” are subjectively “personal” by being hypostatically united in the second Person of the Godhead. There is nothing confusing or contradictory about that.

  60. drake Says:

    @Roger
    “In order to serve as a mediator, the Son of God had to become man. This is most evident with respect to the crucifixion. Obviously if the mediator was to die on the cross, or died in any way, it was necessary that he have a body. A pure Spirit could not be executed. As it says in Hebrews 2:14,”

    Can you provide us scriptural reasons to believe that the defintion of person includes a body?

    “The reason is that if Christ were a mere man, he could not function as a mediator;”

    We are not saying Christ is one human person, a mere man, we are saying he is human and divine. Two persons.

    Pat says,
    “That was where my problem with Charlie was: His horrible argumentation style, some incorrect notions regarding reason & the confessions, and his rampant accusations of heresy against his brothers in Christ.”

    Here, here, Amen. I was going to go back for more abuse today but he tapped out.

  61. Roger Mann Says:

    Sean wrote,

    Two minds were joined as one so that Jesus could say “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” All the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are in Christ, but because they were two-minds or persons as Clark defined it and not one, no rift in the Godhead occurred on the cross (which is impossible) and a real person did cry out: “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me.”

    Sean, you are contradicting yourself here. If Jesus could say “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life,” and “My God, my God, why has thou forsaken me,” then there is only one “subject” or “person” in Jesus Christ (i.e., the second “Person” of the Godhead, as the orthodox and biblical doctrine maintains) not two. In other words, it is the same “subject” or “Person” who claims “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life” and laments “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me” as He hung on the Cross. One “Person” with two distinct “natures” — human and divine.

  62. Sean Gerety Says:

    You claim that Christ’s distinct human and divine minds “were joined as one” in Clark’s later view. But in what way can two “minds” be joined together in any meaningful sense in two different “persons” with two different “natures?” Not only do you not say, but you can’t say!

    Not only can I say, but I have said. See above. It frankly amazes me that you would even argue this way Roger. Let me ask you, in the Trinity are there three distinct persons who are joined as one? Do you worship three gods or one God? How is it that God is one? Is it a generic unity or is God as Van Til says and is three persons and one person or is it some other kind of unity entirely?

    However, in Clark’s heretical two-person view of the Incarnation, if the divine Person has His own “mind” and “will” in accordance with His divine “nature,” and a different human person has his own “mind” and “will” in accordance with his human “nature,” then there can be no real metaphysical union between the two persons.

    Seeing you have not defined “nature” I can only assume you have some foggy idea what you’re talking about. If by “nature” you mean something along the lines of “characteristics” that are either distinctly human or divine (since the Creed of Chalcedon asserts two natures), then the God-man has both, the human nature which one would think is presupposed by the human person and the divine nature with is presupposed by the divine Second Person.

    The only way there can be a genuine metaphysical union between the human and divine “natures” is if the second Person of the Trinity assumes to Himself a complete human “nature” (with a limited human mind and will) while retaining His essential divine “nature” (with the infinite divine mind and will)

    I’ll ask again since you seem either unable or unwilling to answer me for some reason. What is it about a human nature that would render the Second Person ignorant of somethings, grow in knowledge, etc., etc.? I honestly have no idea and you don’t seem to want to tell me. You just assert God in His human nature grows in knowledge, but how is that possible? Isn’t the Second Person as omnipotent and omniscient as the First and Third Persons? Is the Divine Person somehow thwarted in, say, His ability to know the date and time of His return, by taking on a human nature? If so, how can this be and God still be God?

    Moreover, in the orthodox doctrine both the divine and human “natures” are subjectively “personal” by being hypostatically united in the second Person of the Godhead.

    So, you’re you saying that Jesus wasn’t objectively a real human?? He was only subjectively a human, subjectively a man, because the human nature, i.e., the thing that makes a man a man, was only subjectively personal due to being united to the Second Person. Have I got it?

    There is nothing confusing or contradictory about that.

    I for one am confused. Maybe if you’d actually answer my questions and define your terms you might actually say something meaningful and clear up some of the confusion you’re creating. Can you start by answering my questions above and also define what you mean by “nature”?

  63. qeqesha Says:

    Roger,
    You do not explain how it necessarily follows that ‘it is the same “subject” or “Person” who claims “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life” and laments “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me” ‘. How do you know that it is the same person? You simply assert it! In fact it would seem the opposite is the case!

    Denson

  64. Sean Gerety Says:

    Sean, you are contradicting yourself here. If Jesus could say “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life,” and “My God, my God, why has thou forsaken me,” then there is only one “subject” or “person” in Jesus Christ (i.e., the second “Person” of the Godhead, as the orthodox and biblical doctrine maintains) not two.

    I don’t think I’m contradicting myself at all and there is only one subject, the God-man Jesus Christ. His thoughts as a man are the thoughts of the Second Person. In Clark’s theory, at least as I understand it, there is a near total interpenetration of persons. I say “near,” because if there was a total interpenetration Jesus “in his human nature” would be ignorant of nothing and the limitations of the “human nature” would be overcome by His divine omnipotence. For example, Jesus could not be tempted simply because God cannot be tempted. Now, if you feel more comfortable with a near total interpenetration of centers of consciousness or minds let me know. Because if you’re OK with the that, then I am at a loss why the idea of person ***as Clark defined it** is qualitatively different? I think Clark’s position is more intelligible, but not all that different from a two-mind view. (As a side note, Crampton thinks that Clark was “headed” in a two-mind direction, but IMO that the two-mind view is really headed in Clark’s two-person direction and Clark drew out the necessary implication whereas Crampton did not. I think Crampton has it precisely reverse).

    In other words, it is the same “subject” or “Person” who claims “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life” and laments “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me” as He hung on the Cross. One “Person” with two distinct “natures” — human and divine.

    You can say it is the same person, but since you haven’t defined what you mean by “person,” you really haven’t said anything. Charlie at least has a temporary split of two-souls at the crucifixion, one human and the other divine. To put it another way, the hypostatic union subdivided on the cross. He said the hypostaic union “ceases at death.” Do you agree with Charlie, or is he a heretic too?

  65. Sean Gerety Says:

    BTW, since I refer to Charlie’s post that I deleted, here it is in full:

    A Person died on the cross, Sean. His Name is Jesus Christ, the King of kings and the Lord of Lords. He is from everlasting to everlasting, very God of very God. Almighty God. If you do not understand this, then you really are lost.

    Now God doesn’t die but the human soul of Christ did die. Obviously the hypostatic union ceases at death and is then reunited at the resurrection.

    With Love Charlie [OK I added that bit – SG]

  66. Sean Gerety Says:

    And, since I’m waiting to see if Roger will tell me if if Charlie-boy is a heretic too, the Creed of Chalcedon has nothing about a subdivision of the hypostatic union or that it “ceases at death.” Rather the creed asserts; “but rather the property of each nature being preserved, and concurring in one Person and one Subsistence, not parted or divided into two persons, but one and the same Son, and only begotten, God the Word, the Lord Jesus Christ….”

    But, per Charlie, there is very much a split and a division.

  67. Sluggard Says:

    This interchange has been hugely disappointing. The usually logical (yet never gracious) Sean Gerety turning out to be a Nestorian? Wow. Too much pride for him to retract I’m guessing…

  68. Sean Gerety Says:

    Sluggard, do you have a name, or are you too lazy to provide it?

  69. George Says:

    I have been enjoying this discussion. Thanks for putting it out there.

    I almost always agree with GHC and JWR, but maybe not here. I don’t know if I’d define “person” as a collection of propositions — if I did, maybe I’d agree with GHC’s view on the incarnation.

  70. speigel Says:

    @Sean:
    If I remember correctly Roger has defined “nature” in a previous post. I believe he has adopted something like Cheung’s definition. He has also answered what it means to say that Jesus grew in knowledge in another post. You may not agree with the answer, but he has answered it.

    Second, there is something lacking between the analogy of the unity between the Trinity and the two-person view of the Incarnation. You stated that the unity in the incarnation was possibly a generic unity or a propositional unity.

    But a generic unity of what? In the Trinity it’s a generic unity of essence. But that doesn’t seem to be what you are arguing for or at least not one you can argue for as there is no commonality of essence in the two-person view. I also don’t understand how the unity is a propositional unity as it is the propositional differences that separate the alleged two persons.

    In your recent comments, you seem to be asserting some sort of perichoresis with your language of interpenetration. Is this the unity you are speaking of with regards to the two-person view of the incarnation? Perichoresis with regards to the Trinity deals with essence. So I’m still unsure as to how perichoresis, if that is what you are thinking about, which you may not be, answers what the unity is in the two-person view.

    I think Roger has been asking the same question I have been regarding this unity. One says it’s inexplainable and even quotes Robbins saying much the same in that the two persons have a unique relationship and doesn’t elaborate on this relationship. Clark himself says that the relationship that obtains between the alleged two persons is difficult to explain nor does Clark try to explain it. And any answers so far given as to the unity seems to be unable to fill the gap in the theory. I’m not currently asking if the view (of the unity of of two-persons) is correct. I’m asking if it’s even internally consistent. Also, can any of this be deduced from Clark’s last book?

    Lastly, Morris is nowhere close to or even leading into Clark’s view. I really hope that you read Morris’ book before you continue associating Morris’ view with Clark’s view of the Incarnation. Morris doesn’t agree with Clark that some propositions apply to a person, Jesus the man, distinct from another person, God the Son. Morris discusses why his two-minds view is not a two-persons view. I ask that you no longer suggest that Morris’ view heads to Clark’s view.

  71. Roger Mann Says:

    Sean wrote,

    I don’t think I’m contradicting myself at all and there is only one subject, the God-man Jesus Christ. His thoughts as a man are the thoughts of the Second Person. In Clark’s theory, at least as I understand it, there is a near total interpenetration of persons. I say “near,” because if there was a total interpenetration Jesus “in his human nature” would be ignorant of nothing and the limitations of the “human nature” would be overcome by His omnipotent power. For example, Jesus could not be tempted simply because God cannot be tempted.

    Of course you are contradicting yourself. Even if, for the sake of argument, we posit a total interpenetration of persons in the heretical two-person view of the Incarnation, we are still left with two distinct “subjects” or “persons” in Jesus Christ (just as the total interpenetration of Persons in the Trinity still leaves us with three distinct “subjects” or “Persons” within the Godhead). Yet Scripture always uses singular personal pronouns when referring to Jesus, such as “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life” and “My God, my God, why hast thou fosaken me.” There’s not a shred of textual evidence to suggest that two persons are in Jesus here or anywhere else in Scripture. It is merely a figment of your imagination and irrational thinking. Moreover, if Jesus’ “thoughts as a man are the thoughts of the Second Person,” as you now claim, then His thoughts “as a man” must be omniscient, since you also claim that the Second Person never becomes a man or experiences limited and mutable thoughts, as all men do. Thus, you have been contradicting yourself at every turn during this debate, and you have demonstrated yourself to be quite irrational indeed (all the while imagining yourself to be preeminently rational!). Your attempted Vulcan mind-meld “interpenetration of persons” here is merely an evasion, and in no way allows you an escape from your irrational position.

    Now, if you feel more comfortable with a near total interpenetration of centers of consciousness or minds let me know. Because if you’re OK with the that, then I am at a loss why the idea of person ***as Clark defined it** is qualitatively different?

    I feel more comfortable sticking with the orthodox, biblical, and rational view that there is only one “Person” (i.e., distinct self-conscious Ego) in the Incarnation who equally shares all of the attributes of the divine “nature” (to include omniscience and immutability) and human “nature” (to include finiteness and mutability) at the same time. And, no, this does not constitute a contradiction, despite that ridiculous charge having been thrown around over and over now. Vincent Cheung is absolutely correct when he writes:

    “Any objection based on the assumption that divine and human attributes necessarily contradict one another when possessed by the same person fails to take into account that the two sets of attributes remain separate in God the Son, in the sense that they are not mingled. For example, although Christ’s divine nature is omniscient and omnipotent, his human nature is not. And this remains true today. His divine attributes have not deified his human attributes, and his human attributes have not diminished his divine attributes. There is no point where the two sets of attributes clash, and thus there is no place or occasion for contradiction. Thus the doctrine is immune to the charge of contradiction, but it is established if there is a biblical basis to affirm that Christ is both God and man [which, of course, there is].” (Systematic Theology, p. 144, new updated version)

    Now, I don’t believe that this excludes the possibility that there are “two ‘levels’ of consciousness in Jesus — a level of active consciousness at which level Jesus as a man developed in wisdom and knowledge as do all other men and at which level he acknowledged ignorance of some things and another (subconscious?) level of awareness at which level as the Son of God he knew all things at the same time” (Reymond, Systematic Theology, p. 619). But it is quite another thing to posit the heretical view that within Jesus there are two distinct “persons.” There is only one “Person” who became Incarnate and experienced death on the Cross in accordance with His assumed human “nature” for the salvation of His elect people. John Murray makes a pertinent observation on this crucial point:

    “The anhypostasia would simply mean that however integral to the incarnate Son is his human nature and however impossible it is to think of his person in abstraction from his human nature, yet to predicate ‘personality’ of his human nature would run counter to the evidence that self-identity in his case can never be conceived of or defined in terms of human nature alone. This could not be expressed by saying that his human personality can never be conceived apart from his divine personality. It is rather that the very notion of personality can never be predicated of him except as it draws within its scope his specifically divine identity. And if this is so, it is not feasible to speak of his ‘human personality.'” (Reymond, Systematic Theology, p. 613).

    As the Definition of Chalcedon makes quite clear, the properties of both the divine and human “natures” each concur “in one person and one subsistence, not parted or divided into two persons, but one and the Same Son, and only-begotten, God the Word, the Lord Jesus Christ…” There is no biblical, rational, or theological reason to abandon this definition — unless, of course, you enjoy being in the ranks of heretics who have always existed throughout church history.

    “In other words, it is the same ‘subject’ or ‘Person’ who claims ‘I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life’ and laments ‘My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me’ as He hung on the Cross. One ‘Person’ with two distinct ‘natures’ — human and divine.”

    You can say it is the same person, but since you haven’t defined what you mean by “person,” you really haven’t said anything. Charlie at least has a temporary split of two-souls at the crucifixion, one human and the other divine. To put it another way, the hypostatic union subdivided on the cross. He said the hypostaic union “ceases at death.” Do you agree with Charlie, or is he a heretic too?

    First, I have defined what I mean by “person” and “nature” numerous times throughout this debate, so you obviously haven’t been paying close attention. Second, Charlie admitted that he misspoke there, and has explained what he meant to say in his debate with Drake on his blog. Nevertheless, I have no intention of trying to find it right now (I have more important things to do), so you can look for it yourself if care to know what he meant — or is it just easier to continue slandering him after you have barred him from posting here and he can no longer defend himself on your blog? Anyway, if Charlie actually meant that “the hypostatic union subdivided on the cross,” then, yes, he would be espousing heresy too. But since that is not what he actually meant, and his position is perfectly in line with the orthodox creeds, he is not a heretic in any sense of the term. The only heretics are those on this blog who are espousing a two-person view of the Incarnation, such as yourself.

    “You claim that Christ’s distinct human and divine minds ‘were joined as one’ in Clark’s later view. But in what way can two ‘minds’ be joined together in any meaningful sense in two different ‘persons’ with two different ‘natures?’ Not only do you not say, but you can’t say!”

    Not only can I say, but I have said. See above. It frankly amazes me that you would even argue this way Roger. Let me ask you, in the Trinity are there three distinct persons who are joined as one? Do you worship three gods or one God? How is it that God is one? Is it a generic unity or is God as Van Til says and is three persons and one person or is it some other kind of unity entirely?

    Yes, in the Trinity there are three distinct Persons who are joined as one God. But what you are apparently too dull to grasp is that the three Persons of the Trinity are joined together by equally sharing all of the attributes of the one divine “nature” or “essence”. Even Clark himself has pointed this out: “Now, when we face the subject of the Trinity, the common unity in the three Persons, may we not say that the three Persons share or communicate the common characteristics of omnipotence, omniscience, and so forth, and so constitute one essence” (The Trinity Review 9). I agree with that assessment wholeheartedly. However, this cannot be the case in the heretical two-person view of the Incarnation, where we have two distinct “persons” with two distinct “natures” that never share the attributes of one common “nature” or “essence”. On the contrary, according to the heretical two-person view of the Incarnation, both “persons” have separate “natures” that are eternally independent of one another. Thus, there can be no real metaphysical “unity” of persons in such an irrational view, period. That’s why over 1,500 years ago this error was condemned in Cyril’s letter to Nestorius, and was later adopted by Chalcedon:

    “If anyone divides in the one Christ the hypostases after the union, joining them only by a conjunction of dignity or authority or power, and not rather by a coming together in a union by nature, let him be anathema… If anyone distributes between two persons or hypostases the expressions used either in the gospels or in the apostolic writings, whether they are used by the holy writers of Christ or by him about himself, and ascribes some to him as to a man, thought of separately from the Word from God, and others, as befitting God, to him as to the Word from God the Father, let him be anathema… If anyone dares to say that Christ was a God-bearing man and not rather God in truth, being by nature one Son, even as “the Word became flesh”, and is made partaker of blood and flesh precisely like us, let him be anathema.”

    “However, in Clark’s heretical two-person view of the Incarnation, if the divine Person has His own ‘mind’ and ‘will’ in accordance with His divine ‘nature,’ and a different human person has his own ‘mind’ and ‘will’ in accordance with his human ‘nature,’ then there can be no real metaphysical union between the two persons.”

    Seeing you have not defined “nature” I can only assume you have some foggy idea what you’re talking about. If by “nature” you mean something along the lines of “characteristics” that are either distinctly human or divine (since the Creed of Chalcedon asserts two natures), then the God-man has both, the human nature which one would think is presupposed by the human person and the divine nature with is presupposed by the divine Second Person.

    I’ve repeatedly defined both “nature” and “person” (both explicitly and contextually) throughout this debate. You need to open your eyes and actually read what I have written if you want to have an honest discussion. Moreover, the notion that the human nature “is presupposed by the human person” and the divine nature is “presupposed by the divine Second Person” is an incorrect assumption. While I’ve already quoted this, I’ll quote it one more time as you apparently missed it (as you have my repeated definitions of “nature” and “person” throughout this debate):

    “The [Chalcedonian] council made it clear that person and hypostasis were the same thing, not different as Nestorius had said. It also stated that the person/hypostasis was a principle in its own right, not to be deduced from the nature. It further maintained that in Christ there was only one person/hypostasis, that of the divine Son of God. The human nature of Jesus did not have a hypostasis of its own, which in simple language means that Jesus would not have existed had the Son not entered the womb of Mary. There was no ‘man’ apart from this divine action.” (Wells, Person of Christ, p. 108, cited by Reymond, Systematic Theology, p. 610)

    “The only way there can be a genuine metaphysical union between the human and divine ‘natures’ is if the second Person of the Trinity assumes to Himself a complete human ‘nature’ (with a limited human mind and will) while retaining His essential divine ‘nature’ (with the infinite divine mind and will).”

    I’ll ask again since you seem either unable or unwilling to answer me for some reason. What is it about a human nature that would render the Second Person ignorant of somethings, grow in knowledge, etc., etc.?

    Since the Second Person assumed a complete human “nature,” and a human “nature” is defined by finiteness and mutability, it necessarily follows that the Second Person is ignorant of some things, and grows in knowledge in accordance with His assumed human “nature.” It isn’t my explanation that is lacking, Sean, it is your deficient mental capability to grasp the concept.

    You just assert God in His human nature grows in knowledge, but how is that possible? Isn’t the Second Person as omnipotent and omniscient as the First and Third Persons? Is the Divine Person somehow thwarted in, say, His ability to know the date and time of His return, by taking on a human nature? If so, how can this be and God still be God?

    Yes, the Second Person is “as omnipotent and omniscient as the First and Third Persons” in accordance with His essential divine “nature.” But the Second Person is not omnipotent and omniscient in accordance with His assumed human “nature.” Again, the problem isn’t with my explanation, but with your deficient mental capability to grasp the concept.

    “Moreover, in the orthodox doctrine both the divine and human “natures” are subjectively “personal” by being hypostatically united in the second Person of the Godhead.”

    So, you’re you saying that Jesus wasn’t objectively a real human?? He was only subjectively a human, subjectively a man, because the human nature, i.e., the thing that makes a man a man, was only subjectively personal due to being united to the Second Person. Have I got it?

    No, you haven’t “got it.” I was using the term “subjective” in its non-psychological sense of a quality that is “particular to a given person.” In other words, I simply meant that the “subject” or “ego” or “personality” of both the divine and human natures in Jesus is derived from the Second Person of the Godhead; they are in no sense “impersonal.”

  72. Roger Mann Says:

    Vincent Cheung recently updated his Systematic Theology, and his explanation of Christ’s Person is very good. While I have sometimes used slightly different words or expressions in my explanation, there is no significant difference between what I have been saying, and what Cheung says here:

    Christ possesses two natures – he is both divine and human. He is God the Son, and he took up a human nature in the INCARNATION. The result neither confused nor compromised the two natures, so that Christ is fully God and fully man, and he will remain in this condition forever. The two natures of Christ subsisting in one person is called the HYPOSTATIC UNION.

    There is no contradiction in this doctrine. To understand how it is self-consistent, we will first recall the earlier exposition on the Trinity.

    The historic doctrinal formulation of the Trinity says that God is “one in essence and three in person.” The proposition entails no contradiction. For there to be a contradiction, we must affirm that “A is non-A.” In our case, this translates into, “God is one and not one,” “God is three and not three,” “God is one in essence and three in essence,” or God is one in person and three in person.” There is contradiction only if we affirm that God is one and not one or that God is one and three at the same time and in the same sense. However, the doctrine says that God is one in one sense and three in a different sense.

    The Father, Son, and Spirit are distinct “persons” because they represent three systems of consciousness. To illustrate, all three knew that Christ would die on the cross to save the chosen ones, but God the Father or God the Spirit did not think, “I will die on the cross to save the chosen ones.” Instead, they thought, “He will” – that is, the Son – “die on the cross to save the chosen ones.” On the other hand, God the Son affirmed the same thought in the first person: “I will die on the cross to save the chosen ones.” Thus although all three members possess omniscience, they have different relationships to the known propositions.

    The “essence” in the doctrinal formulation refers to the divine attributes, or the very definition of God. All three persons fulfill the definition of deity, but this does not become tritheism because the very definition of deity involves all three members, so that each member is not an independent deity. The only idea of God in the Bible is the Trinity – it never asserts a non-triune God. Thus when the Bible says that there is one God, it means that there is one Trinity.

    The objections that the doctrine is self-contradictory and that it amounts to tritheism, therefore, entail a contrast between a biblical idea of God, where the one God is triune, and a non-biblical idea of God, where one God might mean a non-triune deity. In other words, to suggest that the doctrine teaches that God is one and three, and so contradicts itself, or that it teaches three deities, means that the biblical idea of God has already been ignored. And when an objection against a doctrine ignores what the doctrine teaches, it is an irrelevant objection. The Christian idea of God is bound to the Trinity. It affirms and assumes that God is a Trinity, and that there is only one Trinity – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

    In a similar way, the doctrinal formulation for the personhood and incarnation of Christ states that he is one in one sense, and two in a different sense. That is, he is one person who possesses two natures. To ensure the clarity and coherence of this doctrine, we need to define the terms and relate them to the doctrine of the Trinity. The way “nature” is used in the doctrine of the incarnation is similar to the way “essence” is used for the Trinity. They refer to the definition of something, and the definition of something refers to the attributes or properties of something. A “person” is again defined by the consciousness or intellect.

    In the incarnation, God the Son took up a human nature, or human attributes. The divine and the human natures did not combine or mingle, so that both sets of attributes remained separate. His divine nature was not diminished by his human nature, and his human nature was not deified by his divine nature. Since the divine nature was not modified by the human nature, as indeed the divine nature cannot be modified, this doctrinal formulation reaffirms the immutability of God the Son. And indeed, a human nature cannot be deified, and neither can deity be conferred. Since deity is eternal, if a person is not deity to begin with, he can never become deity.

    God the Son took up a human nature, and a human nature must include a human soul or mind. Although a “person” is defined in terms of the mind or intellect, the doctrine is that Christ remains one person even though he possesses two natures. This is so because of the definition of a person as a system of consciousness, and because of the nature of the relationship between the divine mind and the human mind.

    First, we must insist that Christ is one “person,” because the Bible never refers to him as “they,” as it sometimes does the Trinity. Based on the way that the Bible refers to him, the way that he refers to himself, and the way that he behaves, there is no reason to think that he is not one person. Thus there is a need to arrive at a formulation that retains the view that Christ is one person even though he has two centers of consciousness. This need is not arbitrary, but it is necessitated by the biblical data.

    The proper formulation is to state that God the Son took up a human nature, including a human mind, in such a manner that the human mind is contained by the divine mind, although the two are not in any way mingled or confused. Whereas the divine mind has complete control over the human mind, the human mind does not have free access to the divine mind, but it receives special information and capabilities only as granted by the divine mind.

    In the Trinity, there are three systems of consciousness working in unison, each fully participating in the divine attributes. When God the Son took up a human nature, he also took up a human center of consciousness. But there remains only three centers of consciousness in the Trinity, because the human nature of Christ was not deified. It was not added to the Trinity as such, since what is human cannot become divine.

    There is nothing inherently impossible about this, and if this is the only formulation that accommodates the biblical data, then it is the correct position.

    Any objection based on the assumption that divine and human attributes necessarily contradict one another when possessed by the same person fails to take into account that the two sets of attributes remain separate in God the Son, in the sense that they are not mingled. For example, although Christ’s divine nature is omniscient and omnipotent, his human nature is not. And this remains true today. His divine attributes have not deified his human attributes, and his human attributes have not diminished his divine attributes. There is no point where the two sets of attributes clash, and thus there is no place or occasion for contradiction.

    Thus the doctrine is immune to the charge of contradiction, but it is established if there is a biblical basis to affirm that Christ is both God and man. (Vincent Cheung, Systematic Theology, pg. 142-144)

  73. lawyertheologian Says:

    Speigel:”I think Roger has been asking the same question I have been regarding this unity. One says it’s inexplainable and even quotes Robbins saying much the same in that the two persons have a unique relationship and doesn’t elaborate on this relationship. Clark himself says that the relationship that obtains between the alleged two persons is difficult to explain nor does Clark try to explain it. And any answers so far given as to the unity seems to be unable to fill the gap in the theory.”

    There is no gap in the two person theory because it cannot explain the unity (if it is even correct to say there is one) of the two persons. Again, the Scriptures themselves don’t explain the relationship between the two persons (or if you wish, the two natures). They simply declare that both (persons or natures) are part of Jesus. Again, the Scriptures simply indicate that Jesus is both God and man, without telling us HOW.

  74. lawyertheologian Says:

    Roger:”Yet Scripture always uses singular personal pronouns when referring to Jesus,”

    Again, the fallacy of this thinking is seen in that God also is referred to in the singular personal pronouns, as if God is one singular acting subject, when again we know “He” is three persons.

  75. speigel Says:

    @lawyertheologian:
    Scripture does tell us that actions or attributes of either nature is attributed to the person but not to the other nature. So Scripture tells us something of how the two natures work. This fits with the traditional understanding and the communication of attributes. Yet I haven’t seen a anything close to an explanation under the two-person theory.

    But since you say that Scripture does not tell us HOW the incarnation works, I find it odd that two-person theorists continue to ask HOW the one-person theory works.

    Second, Clark discusses the use of the third person singular “he” in reference to the word “God.” In regards to the Trinity, we know there are three persons since we have biblical evidence of the use of “us” and “they” whereas in regards to the incarnation there is no evidence of first or second person plurals.

  76. lawyertheologian Says:

    Chueng: “First, we must insist that Christ is one “person,” because the Bible never refers to him as “they,” as it sometimes does the Trinity.”

    Where? 1 John 5:7? That doesn’t appear to be authentic. Possibly Gen. 1:26 “us” refers to some plurality in God. In any event, it’s a weak, fallacious argument: asserting the consequent. Even if the Trinity was referred to as “they” being three persons, does not mean that Jesus cannot be two persons because he is not referred to as “they.”

  77. lawyertheologian Says:

    Spiegel:”Scripture does tell us that actions or attributes of either nature is attributed to the person but not to the other nature.”

    Where? You’re begging the question. The actions or attributes are attributed to “Jesus” which you’re assuming is one person. I’m saying Jesus is one unit of two persons, not two natures.

  78. lawyertheologian Says:

    Speigel:”But since you say that Scripture does not tell us HOW the incarnation works, I find it odd that two-person theorists continue to ask HOW the one-person theory works.”

    No, we’re asking what does it mean that Jesus is a nature, a human nature that thinks? Only persons think, can grow in knowledge.

  79. lawyertheologian Says:

    Speigel:”In regards to the Trinity, we know there are three persons since we have biblical evidence of the use of “us” and “they”.”

    Again, our evidence for the Trinity being three persons is far beyond the fact of the use of “us” and “they” (which is nill). In fact, we couldn’t deduce three nor likely even persons from “us.” But it does seem that there is more revelation regarding the three persons of the Trinity verses the two persons of Jesus.

  80. Roger Mann Says:

    lawyertheologian wrote,

    In any event, it’s a weak, fallacious argument: asserting the consequent. Even if the Trinity was referred to as “they” being three persons, does not mean that Jesus cannot be two persons because he is not referred to as “they.”

    Well, yes, if you partially quote Cheung out of context, as you have done, it may appear that he is asserting the consequent. But that wasn’t all he said. The entire quote is as follows:

    “First, we must insist that Christ is one ‘person,’ because the Bible never refers to him as ‘they,’ as it sometimes does the Trinity. Based on the way that the Bible refers to him, the way that he refers to himself, and the way that he behaves, there is no reason to think that he is not one person. Thus there is a need to arrive at a formulation that retains the view that Christ is one person even though he has two centers of consciousness. This need is not arbitrary, but it is necessitated by the biblical data.”

    Cheung is actually making a valid biblical/theological argument here. All the biblical evidence points to a single “subject” or “person” when referring to Jesus. Therefore, based on the biblical evidence we must conclude that Jesus is one Person. As I mentioned in my post to Sean, there’s not a shred of biblical evidence to suggest that Jesus is really two Persons — it is merely a figment of your imagination and irrational thinking. You are basing your entire heresy on thin air — an argument from mere silence.

  81. speigel Says:

    @lawyertheologian:
    I agree with you that there is more evidence, more than just “us” and “they,” for the Trinity. But this seems to be unhelpful for your two-person view of the Incarnation as there is no similar evidence of two persons in the Incarnation. It seems that you have one standard in determining three persons in the Trinity and a much lower standard for your view of the incarnation.

  82. Sean Gerety Says:

    If I remember correctly Roger has defined “nature” in a previous post. I believe he has adopted something like Cheung’s definition. He has also answered what it means to say that Jesus grew in knowledge in another post. You may not agree with the answer, but he has answered it.

    Both Roger and Cliffton both used Cheung’s definition and the reason I don’t like it is because it doesn’t explain anything and repeating it over and over does not give it any additional meaning. According to Cheung man’s nature is the “set of attributes that define man.” Cliffton said he was using attributes “as another word for definition,” but I don’t see how this clarifies anything. So when I ask, how does a set of attributes grow in wisdom, etc., the responses have been either completely incoherent or just tired restatements of the idea that Jesus grew in wisdom “in his human nature.” I guess I’m to suppose a definition grew in wisdom too.

    The deficiencies in Cheung’s position (and by extension in Roger’s, Cliffton’s, Charlie’s and perhaps your own) should be obvious and I’ve done my best to make them plain. Take this from Cheung that Roger posted for example and notice carefully how he relates the doctrine of the Trinity to the Incarnation:

    The Father, Son, and Spirit are distinct “persons” because they represent three centers of consciousness within the Godhead. Therefore, although all three fully participate in the divine essence so as to make them one God, these three centers of consciousness render them three persons within this one Godhead. In a similar way, the doctrinal formulation for the personhood and incarnation of Christ states that he is one in one sense, and two in a different sense. That is, he is one in person, but two in natures.

    …The way “nature” is used in the doctrinal formulation of the incarnation is similar to the way “essence” is used in the doctrinal formulation of the Trinity.

    “Persons” in the Trinity represent three “centers of consciousness” not essences or natures. Person in the Incarnation is one center of consciousness with two “essences” or natures. Yet, Dr. Crampton says, and I think rightly, that to deny two centers of consciousness in the God-man is “foolishness.” But why is it foolisheness? Simply because a set of attributes or even a definition does not grow in knowledge. A definition does not pray “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.” Similarly, God did not forsake a “set of attributes” or a definition. God foresook a real man; a real person. And if according to Cheung persons in the Trinity represent three “centers of consciousness,” then ipso facto two centers of consciousness in Jesus Christ represent two persons. Admittedly, Cheung doesn’t have two centers of consciousness in the Incarnation, or even two souls like Charlie Ray does, he has one mind with two sets of contradictory attributes; one that evidently learns, sleeps, thirsts, and is tempted (things I always thought minds did), and the other set of attributes that, by definition, cannot do any of these things.

    And, as Dr. Crampton rightly asks, “if Jesus Christ is, as taught in Hebrews 2:17, and asserted by the Chalcedonian creedal statement, ‘in all things like unto us,’ how is He not a human person?” Well, Doc, that’s a darn good question that no one seems able to answer. Instead, Jesus is not a human person at all, therefore he is not “in all things like unto us.” QED.

    Cheung continues:

    Personhood is again defined by the consciousness or intellect. Now, the definition of God includes the ontological attribute of the Trinity, and therefore there is only one God although there are three divine persons who share fully and equally in the same set of attributes that define deity.

    I agree. Personhood is defined by consciousness or intellect (which is why a two mind theory, which evidently is the only way to avoid the contradictions implied in the traditional formula is really just a two-person theory in disguise). 😉

    In the incarnation, God the Son took upon himself the nature of man; that is, he added to his person the set of attributes that define man. He did so without mingling the two natures, so that both sets of attributes remained independent. Thus, his divine nature was not diminished by his human nature, and his human nature was not deified by his divine nature. This formulation also protects the immutability of God the Son, since the human nature did not modify his divine nature at all.

    This also seems to me to be incorrect, for the human nature must have modified the divine nature because the divine Person does not grow in wisdom according to His nature. Besides, something caused Jesus to be ignorant of the day of his return. Gill says this was Jesus talking “as a man,” but then isn’t this a case of the human nature modifying the divine nature? Just asking? 🙂

    Second, there is something lacking between the analogy of the unity between the Trinity and the two-person view of the Incarnation. You stated that the unity in the incarnation was possibly a generic unity or a propositional unity.

    But a generic unity of what? In the Trinity it’s a generic unity of essence. But that doesn’t seem to be what you are arguing for or at least not one you can argue for as there is no commonality of essence in the two-person view.

    Good question (not necessarily that I have a good answer). They way I’m thinking is somewhat similar to what Cheung says above. You might say it’s a modified Cheungian explanation. The divine Second Person and the human person represent two centers of consciousness within the God-man. Both persons fully participate in both the divine and human natures so as to make them one Christ, not two. This way Jesus can say that before Abraham was “I AM,” and also say that he was born as a human baby from a carpenter’s wife in Bethlehem.

    I also don’t understand how the unity is a propositional unity as it is the propositional differences that separate the alleged two persons.

    Good question, and, again, I’m not necessarily sure I have a good answer, but in light of Clark’s theory of the Trinity in conjunction with Joel Parkison’s Intellectual Trinuity of God perhaps there is an answer. For example, concerning the Trinity Parkinson writes:

    Now I would modify Dr. Clark’s definition slightly to say that a person is distinguished by how he thinks rather than what he thinks. This is simply because the content of human thoughts changes day to day without destroying the personality. I do not cease to be Joel Parkinson when I learn something new nor do I become someone else when my memory fails me. Yet concerning God, such a subtlety is irrelevant. His thoughts are all encompassing and immutable. Therefore how God thinks and what he thinks are one and the same. Accordingly, we shall adopt Gordon Clark’s definition for the purposes of this proposal.

    In the case of the Incarnation I would think that what differentiates the persons in Clark’s theory would also include how each of the persons think. As a human person thoughts pass through Jesus’ mind just like they do in our minds and he doesn’t cease to be Jesus when he learns something new or “grows in wisdom.” Whereas as in the case of the divine Person His thoughts “are all encompassing and immutable.” While both persons think the same thoughts objectively, since they don’t think in the same manner and there are admittedly some areas of divine content that is in the mind of the Second Person not present in the mind of the human person, like the time and day of Jesus’ return, then it would seem to me that while the two persons are one objectively, subjectively there are differences. I would think if there were no such distinction to be drawn then I would agree Jesus is one Person, but the biblical data prohibits this and we must make a distinction. The question is; is it a distinction merely of “natures” or “persons” or something else entirely? Again, since a nature doesn’t think, doesn’t have a center of consciousness, doesn’t grow in wisdom, etc., but a person does, I think this favors Clark’s solution.

    However, and to answer your concern below, I did order Morris’ book and I am interested to see if “person” can be defined in such a way so that one person can have two centers of consciousness without being two persons. Yet, even here I would think Morris would be heterodox and Charlie, Roger and the rest will be screaming “HERETIC” simply because One Person/two-minds is not the same as One Person/two-natures no matter how you slice it, even though two-minds would still necessitate two-natures (actually two persons would too in the case of the God-man).

    In your recent comments, you seem to be asserting some sort of perichoresis with your language of interpenetration. Is this the unity you are speaking of with regards to the two-person view of the incarnation? Perichoresis with regards to the Trinity deals with essence. So I’m still unsure as to how perichoresis, if that is what you are thinking about, which you may not be, answers what the unity is in the two-person view.

    Perichoresis would not be the right word, neither would coinherence. Since Jesus is unique maybe we need a unique word to describe this unity. Although, I think perichoresis is on the right track. I don’t know if it could be said that the divine Person “subsumes” the human person so that they become one in that sense? I’ll have to think about it more. But since it is almost impossible to discuss these things without some cranks going completely bonkers and generally frothing at the mouth (your recent posts excepted), I don’t really anticipate any progress. And, I can assure you, I am not going to be “running my mind numb” worrying about it.

    OTOH, and the reason I find this whole issue interesting, is because I do think some of the objections Anderson raises in his book concerning the paradoxical nature of traditional creedal orthodoxy, specifically concerning the Incarnation (I think he just misses the boat on the Trinity), has considerable warrant. Even those who reject Anderson’s view of biblical paradox like those at Blue Banner, Drs. Crampton, Clark, and Robbins agree that modern explanations are deficient (which might be an understatement). In any case, I don’t agree that Chalcedon is the last word or even the best possible solution simply because it does not account, and evidently cannot account, for all of the biblical data concerning “the man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim 2:5).

    I think Roger has been asking the same question I have been regarding this unity. One says it’s inexplainable and even quotes Robbins saying much the same in that the two persons have a unique relationship and doesn’t elaborate on this relationship. Clark himself says that the relationship that obtains between the alleged two persons is difficult to explain nor does Clark try to explain it.

    Citation please. 🙂

    And any answers so far given as to the unity seems to be unable to fill the gap in the theory. I’m not currently asking if the view (of the unity of of two-persons) is correct. I’m asking if it’s even internally consistent. Also, can any of this be deduced from Clark’s last book?

    I’ve been trying.

    Lastly, Morris is nowhere close to or even leading into Clark’s view. I really hope that you read Morris’ book before you continue associating Morris’ view with Clark’s view of the Incarnation. Morris doesn’t agree with Clark that some propositions apply to a person, Jesus the man, distinct from another person, God the Son. Morris discusses why his two-minds view is not a two-persons view. I ask that you no longer suggest that Morris’ view heads to Clark’s view.

    Well, you can ask it, but I am not interested in complying simply because Anderson says Morris’ theory implies two-persons and Cheung says “The Father, Son, and Spirit are distinct ‘persons’ because they represent three centers of consciousness within the Godhead.” It seems to me to be a fair cop. But, I certainly hope that Morris, unlike most of the people here, at least takes the time to define his terms or else I probably just wasted $20.

  83. speigel Says:

    @Sean:
    I can only give a short reply right now but Cheung defines person as a “system of consciousness” such that you can have two centers of consciousness yet be one person. Please refer to his new edition of his Systematics. Therefore it can’t be argued that Morris’ and Cheung’s view lead to a two-person view.

    I’ll provide citations from Robbins and Clark later in the day.

  84. Sean Gerety Says:

    Therefore it can’t be argued that Morris’ and Cheung’s view lead to a two-person view.

    Sorry, that won’t cut it. Cheung said “Personhood is .. defined by the consciousness or intellect” AND “The Father, Son, and Spirit are distinct “persons” because they represent *three centers of consciousness* within the Godhead.” Therefore, if a “system of consciousness” has two centers of consciousness, wouldn’t these two centers constitute two persons? If not, why not? Does Cheung explain that in his updated systematic theology?

    I’ll provide citations from Robbins and Clark later in the day.

    Thanks. That will be helpful.

  85. speigel Says:

    @Sean:
    I don’t understand what you mean by “won’t cut it.” I’m simply telling you what Cheung has written. Cheung says a person is a system of consciousness. This does not preclude the idea that within a system there are two minds. Therefore two-minds doesn’t mean two persons. If you want, you can email Cheung for clarification.

  86. Sean Gerety Says:

    Therefore two-minds doesn’t mean two persons.

    I say it does if person is defined by “the consciousness or intellect.” I’m not saying Cheung is wrong for defining person that way, but if three centers of consciousness defines and individuates the three Persons of the Trinity, then why wouldn’t two centers of consciousness in Jesus Christ constitute two persons? Just asserting that it doesn’t is not good enough. As I said, it doesn’t cut it.

    Also, I’m not so much interested in what Cheung thinks as I’m more interested in trying to understand what Clark thinks. If I thought Cheung could help me there, maybe I would email him.

  87. speigel Says:

    @Sean:
    Cheung defines the persons of the Trinity as systems of consciousness. Therefore two centers of consciousness in Jesus do not constitute two persons. I wasn’t trying to defend Cheung’s definition. I’m just correctly laying out his position.

    You may not be interested in what Cheung states, but you entered his name in the discussion. I was only clarifying Cheung’s position. This should be my last post as to Cheung’s position as his works can be read for free online.

    I’ll get you the citations when I get a hold of the books. Though I will tell you, it’s what Clark and Robbins state. This shouldn’t be a surprise as no one else knows what the unity in a Clarkian two-person view of the Incarnation.

  88. Sean Gerety Says:

    And, for those interested, here is an interesting quote from Alvin Plantinga (cited in Anderson’s book):

    “Can we say that Christ qua human being (according to his human nature) suffered while Christ qua divine (according to his divine nature) did not? … I’m inclined to think this suggestion incoherent. There is this person, the second person of the divine trinity who became incarnate. It is this person who suffers; if there really were two centers of consciousness here, one suffering and the other not, there would be two persons here (one divine and one human) rather than the one person who is both human and divine.” – Warranted Christian Belief, 319.

    Anderson notes that Plantigna “reflects [the above] intuition while raising criticisms of the doctrine of divine impassibility.”

  89. Sean Gerety Says:

    Though I will tell you, it’s what Clark and Robbins state.

    I wasn’t doubting you Speigel, I just wanted the citation so I could look it up without hunting for it since you brought it up. And, as far as entering Cheung’s name, I did nothing of the sort. Roger, Cliffton, Charlie and you entered him and keep re-entering him as evidence and in defense of your position.

  90. speigel Says:

    @Sean:
    I was referring to the most recent posts which referred to Cheung. I should have noted Roger’s post along with yours. Sorry.

    Plantinga’s quote is interesting. Morris also finds reduplication unnecessary and I think Morris argues that the method is invalid. But Morris also finds that Plantings is wrong on issues of identity statements and issues of the philosophy of the mind.

    I understand. I’ll get the citations when I get home. But Robbins is in the last two paragraphs of Clark’s book in the incarnation. Clark’s quote is in the second half of the book.

  91. lawyertheologian Says:

    Spiegel:”I’ll get you the citations when I get a hold of the books. Though I will tell you, it’s what Clark and Robbins state. This shouldn’t be a surprise as no one else knows what the unity in a Clarkian two-person view of the Incarnation.”

    Let me try helping this along:

    As I said previously,”Clark refers to it as an ” enigmatic miracle.” That’s p.1 of “The Trinity.” And both Clark and Robbins said it was a “stupendous, awe-inspiring” miracle.” P.1 and 78. But again, it should be clear that the incarnation is such, that the Bible does not explain the incarnation.

  92. lawyertheologian Says:

    Chueng:”“First, we must insist that Christ is one ‘person,’ because the Bible never refers to him as ‘they,’ as it sometimes does the Trinity.”

    First, it hasn’t been shown that “they” is used to refer to the Trinity.

    “Based on the way that the Bible refers to him, the way that he refers to himself, and the way that he behaves, there is no reason to think that he is not one person.”

    I think Clark has shown, and the discussion here has shown, that there is plenty of reason to think that Jesus is not ONLY one person.

    Spiegel: “Cheung is actually making a valid biblical/theological argument here. All the biblical evidence points to a single “subject” or “person” when referring to Jesus.”

    Again, this would be the same evidence regarding the Trinity. They can all be said to refer to a single subject, namely God. Again, no one is saying that we not view Jesus as one, just as God is one. Rather, again, I am saying Jesus is one unit, made of two persons. Again, we can say both that Jesus did not suffer and he did suffer. And the way we avoid the inconsistency is to say that is with respect to different aspects of Jesus, either his deity or manhood, that these things can be said to be true. And again, a man is a person, i.e., a thinking being.

  93. lawyertheologian Says:

    Spiegel: “As I mentioned in my post to Sean, there’s not a shred of biblical evidence to suggest that Jesus is really two Persons.”

    As I’ve said, there is no direct explicit evidence that Jesus is two natures. Again the explicit biblical evidence is that Jesus is a man. The question resolves itself in answering what is a man. Is man simply one having a human nature? Or is a man one who is a human person?

  94. lawyertheologian Says:

    Spiegel: @lawyertheologian:
    I agree with you that there is more evidence, more than just “us” and “they,” for the Trinity. But this seems to be unhelpful for your two-person view of the Incarnation as there is no similar evidence of two persons in the Incarnation. It seems that you have one standard in determining three persons in the Trinity and a much lower standard for your view of the incarnation.

    What kind of evidence for the Trinity do you believe there is that there is not with the Incarnation involving two persons? I merely suggested that there it appears to be a greater quantity of evidence for the Trinity than Jesus being two persons.

  95. Sean Gerety Says:

    I just need the location of the Clark quote. Thanks.

  96. Sean Gerety Says:

    “First, it hasn’t been shown that “they” is used to refer to the Trinity.”

    What about Genesis 3:22?

  97. speigel Says:

    @lawyertheologian:
    Most of your citations are not from me but from Roger.

  98. lawyertheologian Says:

    “First, it hasn’t been shown that “they” is used to refer to the Trinity.”

    What about Genesis 3:22?

    That’ “us” not “they.” And again, it appears to show a plurality to God, but not that he is a Trinity of persons.

  99. speigel Says:

    @Sean:
    Clark on 72 and 74.

  100. lawyertheologian Says:

    p. 72 of “The Incarnation”, Clark refers to the impersonal human nature as an insoluble enigma, not the Incarnation per se, nor his two person view.

    74?

    On p.77 he says that it is impossible to contradictory characteristics to a single person.

  101. lawyertheologian Says:

    Sorry, I left out the word “attach” before “contradictory.”

  102. Sean Gerety Says:

    Thanks Speigel.

  103. Sean Gerety Says:

    What about Genesis 3:22?

    That’ “us” not “they.” And again, it appears to show a plurality to God, but not that he is a Trinity of persons.

    I decided to keep the combox open a little longer (even though things are winding down and the arguments are starting to just repeat themselves), because the above is a good point and pretty well obliterates Roger’s “exegetical” objection against Clark’s theory. I was thinking in terms of plurality and not specifically in terms of the specific pronoun “they” or even “them.” Pat is correct and singular personal pronouns are used when referring to God and exclusively so as far as I can tell. Interestingly, this is the same exegetical key Vantilian James Anderson uses to justify his openly contradictory doctrine of the Trinity where God is said to be one person and three persons. Of course he uses the qualifier “in some sense,” but that makes about as much sense as if Clark were to argue that Jesus is one person and two persons “in some sense.” Thankfully, Clark isn’t as stupid as a Vantilian.

    The important point is that the singular pronouns used in reference to God is the exegetical basis for Anderson claim the the orthodox Trinity presents us with a numeric (as opposed to a generic) unity, and that God must be 1 person and 3 persons “in some sense” in order to be considered within the boundaries of creedal orthodoxy. Again, Roger and Anderson have a lot in common. I also have to laugh at Roger’s little hissy fit against the idea that the traditional creedal formula of the Incarnation leads to internal contradictions when logicians and theologians as diverse as Clark, Robbins, Crampton, Anderson and Van Til, just to name a few, all agree that it does. Admittedly, they all could be wrong and Roger right, but IMO that Roger just cannot seem to draw a distinction between explicit and implicit contradictions yet he calls me irrational.

    Also, just to remind everyone, since Roger seems to suffer from short-term memory loss, Charlie is free to return to this blog to defend himself any time he wishes. I am also free to post or not to post anything of his submitted to God’s Hammer (or from anyone else for that matter). However, since Charlie was spewing enough bile to kill a horse and since he refused to define his terms, I gave him a simple question to answer and very short list of words to define, words that he used repeatedly in his slanderous attacks against me and others, as a prerequisite before continuing to post here. But if now Charlie is saying that the human and divine souls of Christ did not separated at the time of death, something he said was “obvious” (an observation I even agreed with), then I accept Charlie’s retraction and maintain his defense of the Incarnation is as logically impenetrable and incoherent as Rogers.

  104. Cliffton Says:

    Sean writes: Sorry, that won’t cut it. Cheung said “Personhood is .. defined by the consciousness or intellect” AND “The Father, Son, and Spirit are distinct “persons” because they represent *three centers of consciousness* within the Godhead.” Therefore, if a “system of consciousness” has two centers of consciousness, wouldn’t these two centers constitute two persons? If not, why not? Does Cheung explain that in his updated systematic theology?

    Cliffton: First off, I do not keep bringing up Cheung as evidence for my position (others may or may not be so doing). In fact, I believe it is Clark’s definition of person and his understanding of individuation that has laid the groundwork for a clear and articulate understanding of the doctrine of the incarnation. If you mean that I refer to the particular ideas Cheung expressed as a fairly clear articulation of what I believe the Scriptures to teach concerning the incarnation, then I stand corrected.

    Two, I understand there to be a distinction between the set of propositions that define a person, and the particular proposition(s) that constitute the person an individual. Whereas in the definition of the person of the Son, there is included in His set of propositions particular propositions that are included in the Father’s (or Spirit’s) set of propositions. That is, some of the propositions of each person’s set are shared. However, when we speak of the INDIVIDUAL, we are speaking of particular propositions that only one possesses. This necessitates that when we are speaking of the individual as such, we cannot be referring to divine attributes for the simple reason that all three persons partake of the definition of deity. When we speak of God, we are necessarily speaking of the Trinity. Your understanding of the incarnation necessitates the Trinity taking to Himself humanity. The one I am articulating does not confuse the definition of deity, man, or Jesus Christ. These definitions are clear and distinct in the mind of God, and therefore ought to remain as such for us!

  105. Sean Gerety Says:

    First off, I do not keep bringing up Cheung as evidence for my position (others may or may not be so doing). In fact, I believe it is Clark’s definition of person and his understanding of individuation that has laid the groundwork for a clear and articulate understanding of the doctrine of the incarnation. If you mean that I refer to the particular ideas Cheung expressed as a fairly clear articulation of what I believe the Scriptures to teach concerning the incarnation, then I stand corrected.

    I’m sorry for lumping you in with the others Cliffton. I’m the one who stands corrected.

    This necessitates that when we are speaking of the individual as such, we cannot be referring to divine attributes for the simple reason that all three persons partake of the definition of deity. When we speak of God, we are necessarily speaking of the Trinity. Your understanding of the incarnation necessitates the Trinity taking to Himself humanity.

    OK, but how do you understand, say, John 1:14 since that is a stickler for Roger? In the Incarnation are we dealing with a single person that partakes of the definition “man” and “deity” simultaneously? If so, how does this answer Clark’s question concerning who died on the cross? Did a person die or did the definition “man” die (whatever that might entail)?

    Your view just seems confusing to me and I don’t see how it squares with either Clark’s definition of person or how it specifically relates to his proposed solution in The Incarnation? Can you elaborate on your theory, specifically the definition of Jesus Christ and how it accounts for the biblical data? Do you agree Jesus Christ is the Second Person incarnate or are we dealing with just the definition of the Second Person in the incarnation? Is Jesus Christ a separate being altogether and not really the Second Person at all? Does your theory avoid incorporating a human person or are you talking about something else entirely? How does your theory deal with the humanity and deity we see in Jesus Christ? Like I said, I don’t really understand where you’re going.

  106. Roger Mann Says:

    Sean wrote,

    I decided to keep the combox open a little longer even though things are winding down and the arguments are starting to just repeat themselves, because the above is a good point and pretty well obliterates Roger’s “exegetical” objection against Clark’s theory.

    You ought to just be honest and refer to it as “Clark’s heresy,” since not only do the early Ecumenical Creeds condemn the two-person view of the Incarnation as a heresy, but every Reformed Confession does as well. It’s hardly “slanderous” to label you as a heretic, when the view you are espousing has been refuted and anathematized for over 1,500 years now. For instance, in replying to Nestorius’ “polluted and unholy dogmas,” Cyril writes:

    Confessing the Word to be made one with the flesh according to substance, we adore one Son and Lord Jesus Christ: we do not divide the God from the man, nor separate him into parts, as though the two natures were mutually united in him only through a sharing of dignity and authority (for that is a novelty and nothing else), neither do we give separately to the Word of God the name Christ and the same name separately to a different one born of a woman; but we know only one Christ, the Word from God the Father with his own Flesh

    But we do not say that the Word of God dwelt in him as in a common man born of the holy Virgin, lest Christ be thought of as a God-bearing man; for although the Word tabernacled among us, it is also said that in Christ “dwelt all the fulness of the Godhead bodily”; but we understand that he became flesh, not just as he is said to dwell in the saints, but we define that that tabernacling in him was according to equality (κατὰ τον ἴσον ἐν αὐτῷ τρόπον)…

    One therefore is Christ both Son and Lord, not as if a man had attained only such a conjunction with God as consists in a unity of dignity alone or of authority. For it is not equality of honour which unites natures; for then Peter and John, who were of equal honour with each other, being both Apostles and holy disciples [would have been one, and], yet the two are not one. Neither do we understand the manner of conjunction to be apposition, for this does not suffice for natural oneness (πρὸς ἕνωσον φυσικήν). Nor yet according to relative participation, as we are also joined to the Lord, as it is written “we are one Spirit in him.” Rather we deprecate the term of “junction” (συναφείας) as not having sufficiently signified the oneness. But we do not call the Word of God the Father, the God nor the Lord of Christ, lest we openly cut in two the one Christ, the Son and Lord, and fall under the charge of blasphemy, making him the God and Lord of himself. For the Word of God, as we have said already, was made hypostatically one in flesh, yet he is God of all and he rules all; but he is not the slave of himself, nor his own Lord. For it is foolish, or rather impious, to think or teach thus. For he said that God was his Father, although he was God by nature, and of his substance. Yet we are not ignorant that while he remained God, he also became man and subject to God, according to the law suitable to the nature of the manhood. But how could he become the God or Lord of himself? Consequently as man, and with regard to the measure of his humiliation, it is said that he is equally with us subject to God; thus he became under the Law, although as God he spake the Law and was the Law-giver. (The Third Ecumenical Council, Cyril’s Letter to Nestorius)

    As far as God being referred to in Scripture as “us” (the objective case of “we”) instead of “them,” so what? It makes no difference to the point I was making — that Jesus is never referred to using plural pronouns such as “us” or “we” or “our” in Scripture. Therefore, unless you can produce an instance where a plural pronoun is used of Jesus in Scripture, my “exegetical” objection not only stands but undercuts your entire heretical “theory.” As I said before, there’s not a shred of biblical evidence to suggest that Jesus is really two distinct persons sharing a human body — it’s merely a figment of your imagination and irrational thinking (a strange standard indeed for a self-proclaimed “Scripturalist”). A.A. Hodge makes this very same point:

    In the very same manner the Scriptures teach us all we know of the Person of Christ. Pointing to that unique phenomenon exhibited biographically in the four Gospels, the Scriptures affirm — (a) ‘He is God.’ Then we would naturally say, if he is God, he cannot be man; if he is infinite, he cannot be finite. But the Scriptures proceed to affirm, pointing to the same historical subject, ‘He is man.’ Then, again, we would naturally say, if that phenomenon is both God and man, he must be two Persons in reality, and one Person only in appearance. But yet again the Scriptures prevent us [unless, of course, you are a “Clarkian” — RM]. In every possible way they set him before us as one Person. His divinity is never objective to his humanity, nor his humanity to his divinity. His divinity never loves, speaks to, nor sends his humanity, but both divinity and humanity act together as the common energies of one Person. All the attributes and all the acts of both natures are referred to the one Person. The same ‘ I ‘ possessed glory with the Father before the world was, and laid down his life for his sheep. Sometimes in a single proposition the title is taken from the divine side of his Person, while the predicate is true only of his human side, as when it is said, ‘The Church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.’ The same Person is called God because of his divinity, while it is affirmed that he shed his human blood for his Church. Again: while standing among his disciples on the earth, he says, ‘The Son of man, which is in heaven.’ Here the same Person, who is called Son of man because of his humanity, is declared to be omnipresent — that is, at the same time on earth and in heaven — as to his divine nature. This, of course, implies absolute singleness of Person, including at once divine and human attributes.

    Again: the Scriptures teach us that this amazing personality does not centre in his humanity, and that it is not a composite one originated by the power of the Spirit when he brought the two natures together in the womb of the Virgin Mary. It was not made by adding manhood to Godhead. The Trinity is eternal and unchangeable. A new Person is not substituted for the second Person of the Trinity, neither is a fourth Person added to the Trinity [the same point that Charlie made in refutation of your heresy — RM]. But the Person of Christ is just the one eternal Word, the second Person of the Trinity, which in time, by the power of the Holy Ghost, through the instrumentality of the womb of the Virgin, took a human nature (not a man, but the seed of man, humanity in the germ) into personal union with himself. The Person is eternal and divine. The humanity is introduced into it. The centre of the personality always continues in the eternal personal Word or Son of God. (A.A. Hodge, The Person of Christ)

    Thankfully, Clark isn’t as stupid as a Vantilian.

    Then why couldn’t he (nor you) explain how two distinct “persons” with two distinct “natures” can be unified in “one Christ?” It certainly isn’t a unity of “natures,” as the Second Person has a “divine nature,” and the human person has a distinct “human nature.” Neither can it be a “propositional” unity (as exists between the three Persons of the Trinity), for the Second Person possesses all possible propositions according to His omniscient “divine nature,” and the human person possesses only limited propositions according to his finite “human nature.” That’s why your earlier attempt to explain this objection away (to Speigel) failed miserably. There can’t be a “propositional” unity unless the human person possesses the same objective unlimited propositions as the Second Person does. So what’s left, Sean? Cat got your tongue? That’s because there is no “unity” in the two-person heresy…The Logos never actually becomes “flesh” or a human-being in such a view, for the human-being is really a distinct “person” with a distinct “nature.” Thus the two-person heresy is inherently self-contradictory (and self-damnable). So much for your impeccable logic.

  107. Cliffton Says:

    Cliffton: Thank you for your first comment.

    Sean writes: OK, but how do you understand, say, John 1:14 since that is a stickler for Roger?

    Cliffton: If you agree with what I wrote then the answer has already been given. If you understand why Clark says that the Son is not deity because He is the Son, but because He is God, the principle upon which he makes this claim is the answer.

    In order to understand John 1:14 (the incarnation) we have to correctly understand the doctrine of the Trinity, which by the way, the prologue to the Gospel of John introduces. The prologue identifies the Logos relative to His deity(the Word was God), and as He stands in distinction- not separation- from God (The Word was with God). That is, all the propositions that define the Triune God are included in the set of propositions defining the Logos. Therefore we conclude with John, “the Word was God.” At the same “time”, included in the set of propositions that define the Son (which as I have said, include the propositions relative to the definition of God), are also included propositions that distinguish the Logos from God. Therefore we conclude with John, “the Word was with God.” Yet when we are speaking of the Logos as an individual, that is, those propositions in particular that allow us to say the “Word was with God”, we can no longer be speaking about anything relative to deity. This does not imply (and I think this is where much of the confusion stems from) that the individual can be separated from the other members of the Trinity, that is, from God. This would be a form of nominalism.

    For example, if you were to look up the definition of Man in the dictionary, it would not say- “see Sean.” This does not imply that Sean is not a man. Further, if you were to look up in the dictionary the definition of Sean, it would include the class to which you belong (Man), as well as particular propositions that distinguish you as a man from every other man.

    Now, if someone were to ask, what distinguishes Sean as a man from every other man, we would only refer to those particular propositions that distinguish you from everyone else. We would not include all the other propositions for the simple reason that they do not distinguish you, as an individual, from everyone else.

    When the Scriptures teach “the Word was made flesh”, it is speaking of the Logos as He stands distinct from the other two persons of the Trinity. They are referring to the Logos as an individual.

    Sean writes: In the Incarnation are we dealing with a single person that partakes of the definition “man” and “deity” simultaneously?

    Cliffton: Yes. Although it might be proper to say “conceptually” rather than “simulaneously” because the Logos, with respect to what He shares in common with the other persons of the Trinity, is eternal.

  108. Roger Mann Says:

    Clifton wrote,

    At the same “time”, included in the set of propositions that define the Son (which as I have said, include the propositions relative to the definition of God), are also included propositions that distinguish the Logos from God. Therefore we conclude with John, “the Word was with God.” Yet when we are speaking of the Logos as an individual, that is, those propositions in particular that allow us to say the “Word was with God”, we can no longer be speaking about anything relative to deity.

    Excellent observation, Clifton. And that is why the Logos could assume a complete human “nature” to Himself while never ceasing to possess the divine “nature” that He equally shares with the Father and the Spirit. In other words, it is those “propositions that distinguish the Logos from God” that constitute the personal quality or hypostasis for both the divine and human “natures.”

    When the Scriptures teach “the Word was made flesh”, it is speaking of the Logos as He stands distinct from the other two persons of the Trinity. They are referring to the Logos as an individual.

    Bingo!

    Sean writes: In the Incarnation are we dealing with a single person that partakes of the definition “man” and “deity” simultaneously?

    Cliffton: Yes. Although it might be proper to say “conceptually” rather than “simulaneously” because the Logos, with respect to what He shares in common with the other persons of the Trinity, is eternal.

    That sounds reasonable enough to me, unless someone can think of a better term that conveys the same meaning.

  109. speigel Says:

    In regards to the exegesis of the third person singular pronoun “he” in connection with the word “God” Clark talks a little about it in the Trinity (pages 6-7). Clark says that “God” may only be referring to the single person of the Father and therefore “he” presents no problem. Clark also says that “God” may also be referring to the entire Godhead. But this should be viewed analogous to the following: “Man thinks he is autonomous.” The third person singular pronoun “he” in that sentence refers to “Man.” But Man is no individual person. So I find lawyertheologian’s exegesis wanting. Oddly, I found that Robbins has used this argument on singular pronouns to refute the idea that God is one person by way of the use of “he” in reference to “God”.

    As Roger has stated, and which lawyertheologian admits, there is less, “not even a shred of,” evidence of two persons in the Incarnation.

  110. speigel Says:

    I forgot an entire section:
    Robbins states that the Trinity is established by other verses which indicate a plurality in the Godhead and therefore we can understand how “he” is to refer to “God” and not mean that there is a one-person God. But no verses establish a plurality within the Incarnation. Therefore arguing that “he” may refer to plurality doesn’t establish a plurality in the Incarnation. Robbins says you need other verses for that.

  111. lawyertheologian Says:

    @Spiegel: I don’t know what your point is about the use of “he” with reference to God or my supposed exegesis (?). I simply stated that “he” is used for God though God is three persons. My point was that the use of the word “he” for Christ does not make him one person.

    “But no verses establish a plurality within the Incarnation.”

    Again, that’s begging the question. Yes, there is no verse explicitly saying so. But just as with the persons of the Trinity, we look at what it says about Jesus and deduce from there. Again, Jesus is a man. A man is a person. Thus Jesus was a human person (as well as a divine person).

  112. speigel Says:

    @lawyertheologian:
    “He” is a third person singular possessive pronoun. It refers to a single person. But unless the context or other verses establishes otherwise, I see no reason to think that “he” refers to anything other than a single person. Robbins argued, correctly I think, that other verses are required to establish a plurality of persons. None exist and you haven’t shown otherwise. Based on your reasoning, there could be four, five, or six persons in the Godhead. Reread Roger’s quote from A.A. Hodge.

    I’m not here arguing that your position is wrong, though I think it is. I’m arguing that your reasoning is bad. So even if you’re right about there being two persons, you haven’t established it. But your position is even worse than that because your view is wrong and therefore it’s inherently unprovable.

    This will be my last post in regards to the use of “he,” “they,” “us,” or any other pronouns.

  113. lawyertheologian Says:

    @Spiegel:

    I am not trying to establish Jesus being two person by the use of “he.” I’m refuting the claim that the use of “he” requires that Jesus be one person.

    “But unless the context or other verses establishes otherwise, I see no reason to think that “he” refers to anything other than a single person.”

    Well, that’s what is needed to be determined, i.e., whether Jesus is more than a single person. The biblical texts will use “he” (or “I”) as a pronoun for Jesus. But just as such pronouns are used for God,where we have to look at biblical texts to determine who God is, we also have to determine who Jesus is by looking at biblical texts. Again, I’ve already suggested, if not shown, that by the terms used in biblical texts to describe Jesus, “God” and “man”, we can conclude that he, Jesus, is two persons.

  114. lawyertheologian Says:

    Roger is beginning to sound like Charlie.

    “You ought to just be honest and refer to it as “Clark’s heresy,” since not only do the early Ecumenical Creeds condemn the two-person view of the Incarnation as a heresy, but every Reformed Confession does as well. It’s hardly “slanderous” to label you as a heretic, when the view you are espousing has been refuted and anathematized for over 1,500 years now. ”

    Again, it has already been pointed out that Clark’s view is not precisely Nestorius view, mainly because Nestorius didn’t define “person.” And on that score, and the fact that none of his opponents had a clear view of “person,” nor whether it was his views or his followers, Nestorius wasn’t rightly condemned, as Clark points out (p.75). Again, when looking at actual statements made by Nestorius, there doesn’t appear to be anything incorrect.

    ‘Then why couldn’t he (nor you) explain how two distinct “persons” with two distinct “natures” can be unified in “one Christ?”

    For the nth time, because God didn’t reveal to him. That is, it’s not in the Bible. How are two distinct natures unified in one Christ? Again, the Bible doesn’t tell us.

    “The Logos never actually becomes “flesh” or a human-being in such a view, for the human-being is really a distinct “person” with a distinct “nature.”

    Distinct from what? Of course, whether it is a human nature or a human person, it is distinct from his divine person or divine nature. Distinct does not imply separate.

  115. Sean Gerety Says:

    For instance, in replying to Nestorius’ “polluted and unholy dogmas,” Cyril writes:

    Roger, just an FYI when quoting Cyril as some sort of champion of the faith. This is from A.A. Hodge:

    “The Nestorian heresy, charged upon Nestorius, a Syrian by birth, and bishop of Constantinople, during the fifth century, by his enemy Cyril, the arrogant bishop of Alexandria. Cyril obtained a judgment against Nestorius in the Council of Ephesus, A.D. 431, to the effect that he separated the two natures of Christ so far as to teach the coexistence in him of two distinct persons, a God and a man, intimately united. But it is now, however, judged most probable by Protestant historians that Nestorius was personally a brave defender of the true faith, and that the misrepresentations of his enemies were founded only upon his uncompromising opposition to the dangerous habit then prominently introduced of calling the Virgin Mary the mother of God, because she was the mother of the human nature of Christ.” (Outlines of Theology, Chapter 20, Question 15, 3rd Answer)

    This is from John Bugay’s blog concerning Cyril and the Council of Ephesus:

    Samuel Hugh Moffett, writing in “A History of Christianity in Asia,” describes this council:

    “On Easter Sunday in 429, Cyril publicly denounced Nestorius for heresy. With fine disregard for anything Nestorius had actually said, he accused him of denying the deity of Christ. It was a direct and incendiary appeal to the emotions of the orthodox, rather than to precise theological definition or scriptual exegesis, and, as he expected, an ecclesiastical uproar followed. Cyril showered Nestorius with twelve bristling anathemas…As tempers mounted, a Third Ecumenical Council was summoned to meet in Ephesus in 431 … [it was] the most violent and least equitable of all the great councils. It is an embarassment and blot on the history of the church. … Nestorius … arrived late and was asking the council to wait for him and his bishops. Cyril, who had brought fifty of his own bishops with him, arrogantly opened the council anyway, over the protests of the imperial commissioner and about seventy other bishops. … “They acted … as if it was a war they were conducting, and the followers of [Cyril] … went about in the city girt and armed with clubs … with the yells of barbarians, snorting fiercely … raging with extravagant arrogance against those whom they knew to be opposed to their doings, carrying bells about the city and lighting fires. They blocked up the streets so that everyone was obliged to fee and hide, while they acted as masters of the situation, lying about, drunk and besotted and shouting obsceneties… (Moffet 174).

    The anathemas of this council were directed at Nestorius; they ratified 12 “anathemas” that, as Moffett relates, had nothing to do with Nestorius’s actual teachings.

    This is a travesty of church authority, and yet as Moffett and others have written, this schism was far greater extent than either the 1054 split with the EO’s or the Protestant Reformation. In this split, (effected by Cyril’s armed thugs and a council that bore false witness against Nestorius), the entire eastern portion of the church (farther east than Jerusalem) was cast off and later left to die at the hands of Islam. Yet this church was far larger in numbers and scope than the churches surrounding the Mediterranean see.

    You can also find an interesting discussion that Bugay was apart of over at PB (http://www.puritanboard.com/f18/nestorius-council-ephesus-53817/ )

  116. Roger Mann Says:

    Roger, just an FYI when quoting Cyril as some sort of champion of the faith…

    Yes, I’m well aware of the controversy and political wrangling associated with the Council of Ephesus. So what? And I’m also well aware of the fact that some historians question whether Nestorius himself actually espoused the heresies that were condemned by the Council. Again, so what?

    First of all, various historians have drawn different conclusions regarding the details of what actually took place at the Council. So, while I find reading about the history involved interesting, I don’t take much stock in any one conclusion. I have no idea how the details of the events actually unfolded, and neither do you. Thus it is an irrelevant issue.

    Second, it makes no difference to me whether Nestorius personally taught the heretical views that were condemned or not. The only issue that matters is whether Cyril and the Council were correct in condemning the false teachings that were attributed to Nestorius (whether rightly or wrongly). I’ve personally read through the transcripts of the entire proceedings (have you?), and Cyril’s theology was absolutely correct, and the Council was fully justified in anathematizing the false views that were under consideration. Moreover, their decision was upheld by later church councils, and by every Reformed Confession that has been written. Thus, once again, raising this point is merely a distraction. It is an irrelevant issue.

    Finally, any two-person view of the Incarnation that opposes the biblical and creedal doctrine of the hypostatic union of the divine and human natures of Christ is legitimately labeled as a “heresy,” and those who espouse such a false view are legitimately labeled as “heretics,” period. You can’t just ignore or rewrite 1,500 years of church history, Sean. If you claim to be a Christian and deny the biblical and creedal doctrine of the Trinity, you are a “heretic.” If you claim to be a Christian and deny the biblical and creedal doctrine of the Incarnation, you are a “heretic.” If you claim to be a Christian and deny the biblical and creedal doctrine of the Substitutionary Atonement, you are a “heretic.” If you claim to be a Christian and deny the biblical and creedal doctrine of the Resurrection, you are a “heretic.” These are non-negotiable doctrines, Sean. They constitute the very heart and soul of the Christian and Reformed faith. You cannot be considered a “Christian” or “brother in Christ” if you deny or reject any of them, period (and I would add Justification by Faith Alone to that list). As of now, I must consider you a heretic. I pray that you will repent and recant the false views that you have been espousing here. If you do, I will be more than happy to change my opinion of you. Indeed, I would much prefer that to be the case.

  117. Sean Gerety Says:

    Yes, I’m well aware of the controversy and political wrangling associated with the Council of Ephesus. So what? And I’m also well aware of the fact that some historians question whether Nestorius himself actually espoused the heresies that were condemned by the Council. Again, so what?

    What do you mean, so what? Does the Ninth Commandment means nothing to you (which, I guess it doesn’t as anyone reading your posts can see). You seem to believe that Chalcedon was some sort of vindication of Cyril’s christology. It was not. As Bugay points out in that PB discussion:

    Cyril’s Christology at Epheusus was overturned to some degree at Chalcedon and Nestorius’s “one person, two natures” formulation did make it into the final definition at Chalcedon. It took “the sword” of an emperor to make all parties sit down and make nice. That, I think, is one good explanation for all the inconsistencies that came out of that council. (For example, Cyril is lauded, but his theology gets whacked; Nestorius is still condemned, but his theology makes it into the definition, etc.).

    I think the politics, as extremely dirty as they were, play a very definite role and much of it had more to do with Nestorius’ disagreements with Cyril over identifying Mary as the “Mother of God” and what word should be used in describing Mary’s relationship to her son who was also her Lord. I think history has shown Nestorius’ concerns were more than justified, that is if along with violations of the 9th you see nothing wrong with Marion devotion?

    What we have as the result of Chalcedon is a “mixed bag” and if the history shows it was a compromise, and it was, then I hardly see how Chalcedon “orthodoxy” can be the last word and any deviation the damnable heresy you and Charlie fanatically make it out to be. Frankly, I think you’re being not only irrational, you’re downright hysterical.

    There are other reasons why I think the history is relevant.

    First, unlike the Trinity where with only slight modifications, like getting rid of meaningless words like “substance” and clearly identifying the senses in which God is one and three, not to mention providing a definition of “person” along with a theory of individuation, the orthodox formulation is both intelligible, non-contradictory, and explicates the biblical data, the Incarnation compromise at Chalcedon on the other hand leads to paradoxes when trying to explicate the biblical data. I realize you don’t see it that way, but I agree with the vast majority of other scholars from all sorts of backgrounds and theological persuasions who argue that saying things like the omniscient, immutable and impassable Second Person grew in wisdom, suffered and died according to his “human nature” is completely incoherent and inexplicable (which is why James Anderson appeals to “mystery” as his “deafeter-defeater” and/or “defeater insulator”). The creed as you’ve explained and defended it is simply nonsense and repeating it in mantra like fashion as you have done changes nothing. So save your breath.

    Second, it could be the case that until recently, and because the question is so difficult (IMO it is the most difficult doctrine in the entire Christian faith), not to mention a topic that is emotionally charged, that most theologians since Chalcedon have simply assumed or hoped that the matter was settled even if a reexamination is in order. Let sleeping dogs lie and all that. Besides, there always seems to be other fights and issues that clearly take precedent. However, the Reformed position is that synods and councils do err and have erred. The Creed of Calcedon is not the infallible Word as you and others make it out to be. You guys act like superstitious and blind Romanists kissing the pope’s a….eh… ring. And, just because it’s “ecumenical” doesn’t make it sound either. Ever hear of ad populum? I think Robert Reymond is a better judge of the problem at hand than either you or Charlie “Bag O’ Nuts” Ray and has a much better grasp of the insufficiency and limitations of Chalcedonian formulation when he wrote:

    The temptation, confronted as we are by the great incarnational mystery, is to deny one of the two series of Scripture data [Christ as represented as not knowing this or that matter and equally represented as knowing all things – see Warfield’s “Human Development”], and this is precisely what many in our generation have done . . . While I hold the Chalcedonian Definition in the highest esteem, I do not intend to suggest that it should have been the ‘terminal point’ in christological reflection [for the very reasons Clark sought to, and arguably did, improve on the traditional and largely meaningless formulation of Chalcedon] in the sense that any and all reflection on the Incarnation since Chalcedon has been and is out of order. Dogma, however much revered and however much it becomes time-honored tradition, must be subject in all of its expressions and in all times to the Word of God, and it is uninterrupted research into Scripture that must ultimately guide the church [evidently not if Roger and Charlie can help it].”

    Reymond notes that J. Oliver Buswell Jr. argued for a two levels of consciousness solution to the problems Clark outlined in his book and we all know that Thomas Morris argued for a “two-mind” solution. I suppose some dishonest reviewer could claim these men resemble Nestorianism too, but why should anyone care? If a charge is made than the charge should be supported and proved according to Scripture. In the case of Clark this you have failed to do and on all counts.

    I’ve personally read through the transcripts of the entire proceedings (have you?), and Cyril’s theology was absolutely correct, and the Council was fully justified in anathematizing the false views that were under consideration.

    Got me there. I have not read through the transcripts, but you’re off your nut as well if you think Cyril’s theology was “absolutely correct.” See Bugay above. Cyril’s theology got “wacked” at Chalcedon. Ironically, it was Nestorius who was evidently vindicated (something I never even suspected.). Here is Bugay again:

    Second Helvetic, too, “detests the heresy of Nestorius, which makes two Christs of one and dissolves the union of the person…” But this, too, does not seem to be what Nestorius actually taught. Nestorius’s work, in fact, is full of “one prosopon after the union.” So I do see some disconnect there.

    But consider Nestorius’s words from that council:

    “I could say much on this subject and first of all that those holy fathers, when they discuss the economy, speak not of the generation but of the Son becoming man. But I recall the promise of brevity that I made at the beginning and that both restrains my discourse and moves me on to the second subject of your reverence. In that I applaud your division of natures into manhood and godhead and their conjunction in one person. I also applaud your statement that God the Word needed no second generation from a woman, and your confession that the godhead is incapable of suffering. Such statements are truly orthodox and equally opposed to the evil opinions of all heretics about the Lord’s natures. If the remainder was an attempt to introduce some hidden and incomprehensible wisdom to the ears of the readers, (This is Nestorius’s counter-charge — not sure what “the remainder” is — maybe it is “Mother of God” language? At any event he is not dogmatic about it — JB) it is for your sharpness to decide. In my view these subsequent views seemed to subvert what came first. They suggested that he who had at the beginning been proclaimed as impassible and incapable of a second generation had somehow become capable of suffering and freshly created, as though what belonged to God the Word by nature had been destroyed by his conjunction with his temple or as though people considered it not enough that the sinless temple, which is inseparable from the divine nature, should have endured birth and death for sinners, or finally as though the Lord’s voice was not deserving of credence when it cried out to the Jews: “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.” He did not say, “Destroy my godhead and in three days it will be raised up.”

    I would like to know what is detestable in this. Note that he qualifies his own belief with Scripture.

    Now, you’re free to think Gordon Clark and John Robbins are at this very moment crackling in the fires of Hell, because, according to you they both transgressed “a non-negotiable doctrine” and that I’m headed there too for even trying to weigh the merits of Clark’s proposed solution, but who cares? A lot of people, and not just wack-a-doos like Marc Carpenter, think Clark and Robbins were “smoking sons of Satan” and were both hell bound. You have plenty of like minded irrationalists and firebrands to keep you company. In fact, why don’t you go and post somewhere else? I think you’ve said your piece and now you’re just repeating yourself.

  118. speigel Says:

    I’ve said this before about Sean’s use of Reymond in regards to the Definition of Chalcedon: Everyone should read Sean’s quotation of Reymond more carefully as the portion quoted does not give the complete picture as to Reymond’s position on Chalcedon.

    Several lines after the end of Sean’s quotation from Reymond, you will find Reymond saying the following:

    So the Definition should never be used to stifle continuing reflection upon Scripture. But I would insist with Berkouwer that “there is a ‘halt’ at Chalcedon which will indeed continue to sound against every form of speculation which attempts to penetrate into this mystery [of the divine human Person – Reymond] further than is warranted in the light of revelation.”

    Said another way, the Definition of Chalcedon does mark the terminal point and legitimately so, of all speculation which would discard either its “one Person” doctrine or its “two natures” doctrine so as to eliminate the supernaturalness of the Incarnation and the incarnate Christ. And history is replete with examples that justify the oft-made declaration that “when one moves beyond the borders of Chalcedon he has decided to choose a heresy.” — Robert Reymond, Systematic Theology, page 621.

    Reymond thinks that Chalcedon is not the terminal point for MORE reflection. But more reflection is NOT the same as saying possible erasure or reversal of what Chalcedon does say – one Person, two natures. So I again fail to see how quoting Reymond helps those whose cause is to deny Chalcedon it’s role in Christological reflection.

    Finally, the last sentence of my quotation from Reymond shows that Reymond agrees with Roger in calling the two-person view heretical. It would also seem that Roger does grasp what Chalcedon does and doesn’t do.

    Now, if I am reading Reymond wrong, please inform me. Otherwise I will have to stand by my case that quoting Reymond in such a fashion was incomplete and stands against the very reason for quoting him in the first place.


  119. Speigel quoted Reymond:

    “Said another way, the Definition of Chalcedon does mark the terminal point and legitimately so, of all speculation which would discard either its ‘one Person’ doctrine or its ‘two natures’ doctrine so as to eliminate the supernaturalness of the Incarnation and the incarnate Christ.”

    I could be mistaken myself, but I don’t think anyone here wants to discard any doctrines “so as to eliminate the supernaturalness of the Incarnation and the incarnate Christ.”

    Anomoeanism would be a heresy which denies the supernaturalness of Jesus.
    Docetism would be a heresy which denies that Christ was actually incarnate.

  120. speigel Says:

    I take Reymond to mean that discarding of the “one Person” doctrine or the “two natures” doctrine itself takes away from “the supernaturalness of the Incarnation and the incarnate Christ.” I do not take Reymond to mean that the discarding of such doctrines is valid so long as the “supernaturalness of the Incarnation and the incarnate Christ” remains. It would be helpful to read Reymond’s section on Christology in full.

  121. Sean Gerety Says:

    Good point Patrick. And, Speigel, Clark was not engaged in any “speculation” but he did try and understand and make intelligible the mystery of the Incarnation as God has revealed it in Scripture. I only wish more theologians were more like Clark.

  122. qeqesha Says:

    “The creed as you’ve explained and defended it is simply nonsense and repeating it in mantra like fashion as you have done changes nothing.”
    ….
    “The Creed of Calcedon is not the infallible Word as you and others make it out to be. You guys act like superstitious and blind Romanists kissing the pope’s a….eh… ring.”

    Well said Sean!
    Creeds are not a “paralell”, “subsidiary”, or “complimentary” standard to the bible! There is only one standard, the infallible inspired word of God. Creeds are a “derived” standard, derived from the Bible, which requires correct understanding of the Bible. This opens up the possibility of misintepreting the Bible! That is why the creeds themselves say they can be in error!

    Denson

  123. speigel Says:

    Clark’s view as defended in various ways and by various answers evidences to be much nonsense. Chanting the same Clarkian mantra over and over again changes nothing. Clarkians should stop brown-nosing Clark. If Clark had a ring…

    Clark isn’t infallible. He himself admits that he has erred more times than he knows. Clark had precise definitions but no biblical warrant for his view on the incarnation. Clark speculated in that he went “further than warranted in the light of revelation.”

  124. Sean Gerety Says:

    Speigel no one has said that Clark never erred or even that he might not be mistaken here. The one thing I am sure of is that those who try and explicate and defend Chalcedonian orthodoxy end up speaking nonsense. You very much included.

    So, I guess this as good a place as any to shut the combox and put this discussion to bed. And since this has been a discussion about Clark, I’ll give Clark the last word with the quote Roger so nicely provided:

    The usual theological treatment of the problem is so self-contradictory that nearly any escape looks promising. After stating that Jesus was a man, a “true” man, the theologians continue by arguing that he was not a man at all — he was only a “nature.” For them the boy in the temple and the assistant carpenter in Nazareth was some set of qualities attaching to the Second Person. But this is impossible for two reasons. First, it attaches contradictory characteristics to a single Person. He is both omnipotent and frail; he is both omnipresent and localized; he is omniscient, but he is ignorant of some things. In the second place, closely related to the first, the characteristics of an ordinary man cannot possibly attach to Deity. The Logos never gets tired or thirsty; the Logos never increases in either stature or wisdom. The Logos is eternal and immutable. How then can these human characteristics possibly be characteristics of God? But by irresponsibly assigning such qualities to God, the theologians contradict their other statement that Jesus was a true man. Even the word true betrays the weakness of their position. Let your yea be yea and your nay be nay. The Scripture simply says, ‘The Man Christ Jesus.’” (The Incarnation, p. 76-77)


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