Who died on the cross?

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Civbert

Puritan Board Junior
Just throwing out some ideas.

At this point I like where Sean's is going with his understanding of what death means (spiritual separation). My Great-grandfather is dead (to me) because he is separated from me spiritually. Christ is not dead to me because he is joined to me via the Holy Spirit. My Great-grandfather is alive with Christ because he (his soul) is with Christ.

So death is a spiritual separation or a separation of a soul from something or someone else. Death is always relative to something. One can be dead and alive, but not in the same sense. When one dies, he is separated from his body - but he is also separated from other people. He is dead to his (biological) living family and friends. If he is a Christian, he is alive with Christ. If he is not saved, he remains spiritually dead to God.

Ironically, we are conceived as spiritually dead. We may be alive physically, and have some spiritual life relative to other souls we can communicate with, but we remain dead to the Spirit.


Death is not the end of thought. We have eternal souls, therefore we remain eternally thinking souls.

I don't believe Christ's physical death is the essential point of his atoning death for our sins. He was raised up with the exact same body, with the same wounds and piercings. Although it does seem Christ was separated from his body, this does not seem to be sufficient to say he died. It seems the atoning sacrifice was not simply a function of physical or biological death. The point of his death was to give us spiritual union with God. Although physical life was a part of the end picture, spiritual union with God is the main point of Christ's resurrection. So in order to justify our spiritual union with God, Christ's death must have been the same kind ours is through Adam - spiritual.

It seems that the person of Christ of spiritually separated from the persons of God and the Holy Spirit.

Maybe the body/mind issue is significant. The mind is the soul - separate from the brain - but our awareness seems to be linked to our physical brains. Brain injuries effect our ability to reason and understand. I think the physical brain acts as a limiter to our mental awareness. The brain handicaps us by linking us (soul) to the physical world. And when we suffer from brain damage - we loose awareness of our thoughts.

I'm not sure if the brain/mind issue is import to the discussion. But I'm sure Christ's brain shut down and he did suffer a biological death. Maybe at that point in time, he also suffered real spiritual death too. (I suppose this is some sort of heresy. Please point me to the relevant Scripture so I can know the truth of the matter).
 

Civbert

Puritan Board Junior
...That said, here is my question: In the Godhead we have three distinct persons, yet one God. Not three Gods. Not one Person, but three. Three in one sense, One in another. Nothing earth shattering. Hypothetically - and apart from the obvious objection concerning tradition - what would be the main objection to a two person theory of the Incarnation in which we have a human person and a divine person in one Christ?...
First reaction - WHAT!!!!! Are you nuts!! Have can you say such a thing!!

But once I get past the "gut" reaction...

Hypothetically speaking ... really I think nothing is essentially wrong with it. As you said, it really matters how you define person. You could define person such that it means the same as "nature". The you would have a personal quadrinity instead of a personal trinity. But then you might need a different term to explain how the two persons of Christ make up a single something with is distinguishable from a something that is the Father and the something that is the Holy Spirit.

As far as the way terms like person, nature, essence, "hypo-static union" have been tossed about - you could easily have a "two-person" Christ without any inherent contradiction involved. It would be rather more confusing - and people would be even more less likely to define terms.


And then you'd have people saying things like "God is both unity, trinity, and quadrinity" and thinking that is the ultimate answer to world. I still think "the one and the many" issue is nonsense, but that's another issue for the Van Til/Clark debates. Kind of reminds me of Douglas Adams's "Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy" where he finds the "Answer to The Ultimate Question Of Life, the Universe and Everything" is forty-two.

I think more Christian's need to read Douglas Adams to help them recognize nonsense when they read it. Dilbert helps too. :D
 

Civbert

Puritan Board Junior
We have everlasting souls, not eternal ones.
I stand corrected.

Anyway, given the above, then there's a technical philosophical sense in which we can say that the Person Jesus never died.

But, there's a more common use, our everyday talk, in which we can say He died.
Yes, but I don't think the "common use" works. (Assuming that by "common use" you mean biological death.) Christ died on the cross for our sins. In what sense? His heart stopped? We are dead spiritually! A physical death can not give us spiritual life or we would pay for our own sins by our physical deaths.

I'm trying to move this along. I don't want to rehash your exchange with Sean, no matter how stimulating and exciting it was for you. ;)

Besides, I think my comments were much more interesting and you should go back and consider them. :smug:


So, Anthony, re-read the thread and, though I know it's considered treason, argue against a fellow Clarkian.
Paul, this is not so much a debate as a discussion. I happily argue with Sean in the logical sense - I have no need to fight with him. I could pick apart each tiny flaw I perceive in his text, but that would waste my time. And the only thing a Clarkian might consider treason is irrational thinking. As long as Sean continues to present interesting rational arguments - we can have a healthy discussion. So, let's move along. :D
 

Civbert

Puritan Board Junior
{Side note" Many were chastised for allowing images of Christ here. They were called Nestorians (whether that charge sticks on Nestorius). Sean and Civbert just said it was plausible, and that they'd like to see objections to, that Jesus is two persons... wait, I mean Jesuses is two persons. Now, those (like me) who argued for images of Christ we caled Nestorian even though we didn't explicitly hold to it. That was the charge that was said to logically follow from our position. But here you have two guys actually explicitly entertaining/admiting that Christ is two persons. I'll await the reaction.}
"Reaction" is the name of the game baby!!

Paul, I recall defending you over your argument of a hypothetical quadrinity. I recall even Sean defended you in that thread.

How soon we forget. :(
 

Civbert

Puritan Board Junior
Interesting:
I don't know if this article was at all helpful. Not that I'm in a position to defend MacArthur, and he does say confusing things at time, but saying that God "has no body and has no blood" hardly implies Nestorianism any more than the Confession which asserts that God is without body, parts or passions is a denial of the deity of Christ and the Incarnation.

Also, the author quotes Dr. John R. Rice and says he "was a well-trained and intelligent man. He attended Decatur Baptist College, Baylor University, Southwestern Baptist Seminary and the University of Chicago. He was the author of more than two hundred books." But, isn't this the same Dr. Rice who attacks the doctrine of predestination as being essentially anti-Christian? I got into a debate with an Arminian Baptist not long ago and he referred me to a Dr. Rice to support his arguments against the doctrine of election. Not sure if this is the same Dr. Rice, but I suspect it is.

I think the biblical data is such that I don't know that two natures or essences solves the problem of the Incarnation or, better, explains very much. We know the Second Person became flesh and dwelt among us in. I want to stress the word "Person" here. We don't say the divine nature became flesh and dwelt among us. A Person did - the Logos. Jesus said before Abraham was, "I am." We also know that Jesus grew in wisdom, thirsted and tired. Something the Second Person could not do. Men grow in wisdom, thirst and get tired. Jesus also claimed to be God and not merely a man. Taking for granted all the data supporting Christ's deity, Jesus Christ is most assuredly fully God and fully man.

I also think most theologians (at least those I've read) distinguish various biblical data as pertaining to Christ's "human" or "divine" natures. My problem is what's a nature? Rich says Christ in His human nature died on the cross. I don't have any problem with that in the least, but, again, what does it mean? {I got nowhere with Manata and I'm sure most of that was my fault}. My problem with the idea that human nature consists of, in part, a body, is that animals have bodies too. What makes a man a man is not a body, but rather it's his rational soul or mind. Man is the image of God. It is reason which makes men responsible for their actions. The forms of logic presuppose moral choice. Animals do not have a rational mind, hence they are incapable of immorality.

That said, here is my question: In the Godhead we have three distinct persons, yet one God. Not three Gods. Not one Person, but three. Three in one sense, One in another. Nothing earth shattering. Hypothetically - and apart from the obvious objection concerning tradition - what would be the main objection to a two person theory of the Incarnation in which we have a human person and a divine person in one Christ?

Of course "person" needs to be defined (just as those who defend a two natures view are required to define what they mean), but what is the main objection(s) to the above hypothetical?
 

Magma2

Puritan Board Sophomore
I don't believe Christ's physical death is the essential point of his atoning death for our sins. He was raised up with the exact same body, with the same wounds and piercings. Although it does seem Christ was separated from his body, this does not seem to be sufficient to say he died. It seems the atoning sacrifice was not simply a function of physical or biological death. The point of his death was to give us spiritual union with God. Although physical life was a part of the end picture, spiritual union with God is the main point of Christ's resurrection. So in order to justify our spiritual union with God, Christ's death must have been the same kind ours is through Adam - spiritual.
While I'm not going to be drawn again into a debate with Paul, at least not at this time around, he has (unwittingly) conceded one point:

"A fetus has a soul, yes,"

Yes, indeed. Among other things, we know the Law of God is written on the hearts or minds of all men. A blank mind is a contradictions in terms. Further, the whole rabbit trail started when I asked how he knew babies don't think. Well, despite his dissecting babies into trimesters and calling them fetuses, he is the one who should have to support his contention, not the other way around. Psa 22:10; I was cast upon thee from the womb: thou art my God from my mother's belly.

As to the point about the spiritual nature of death, I agree, even though I didn't get there fast enough for some. I also admit that Clark's books on theology proper are the toughest to get my mind around. I picked up the Incarnation again tonight and came across this which might help:

Matthew 27:46 and mark 15:34 support [my] 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 here is speaking as a man. An impersonal human "nature" cannot speak. Nor is there much intelligibility in supposing that the Father could forsake a "nature." Those words from Psalm 22:1 were the words of a true man, a real human being, whom the Father forsook, thus imposing the penalty of propitiation by which we are redeemed.
 

Magma2

Puritan Board Sophomore
Now that was interesting and helpful. Who was it?

Some of his comments I found particularly intriguing:

God could just control one of us so that we could live a sinless life and die on a cross
I don't see how this would be possible? First, for those who contend that sin is passed through ordinary generation, the virgin birth was necessary since the line of Adam had to first be broken. Secondly, if a sinless man were to die on a cross thereby fulfilling the covenant of works, wouldn't we be looking to a mere man -- a fellow creature -- as the author of our salvation and wouldn't that be idolatry? Wasn't the Incarnation necessary so that God might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus?

Was Christ in his person -- His whole person -- separated from God? -- Of course He was.
Then the speaker goes on to say concerning Christ's cry of distress on the Cross, "My God, my god, why have thou forsaken me" that it is something "we have no idea what that means-- it's a mystery." The important thing is that this statement is a mystery precisely because its unintelligible. Could the reason this all important statement in Scripture lacks meaning be due to the theory attached to the Incarnation itself? Shouldn't a theory be able to explain and account for such a critical passage? Frankly, if it is biblical, shouldn't a particular theory or doctrine be able to account for all, and no way controvert any, of the biblical material? And, if it doesn't, isn't this an indication -- or even a tacit admission -- that more work needs to be done? :detective:
 

caddy

Puritan Board Senior
These are off of Monergism's Site:

Christology: The Humanity of Christ in History & the Scriptures
by The Theology Program MP3s
-------------------------------------------------------------
Concerning Christ's Cry, "Why have you forsaken me," I have questions. Actaully one of my H.S. Student's came to me and asked me this very question. What does it mean. I gave him an answer but told him I would certainly dig to see IF I understood it correctly. Maybe I haven't. Is it possible that Jesus--in His humanity, was experiencing the weight of ALL the Sin ( beginning to end ) via his Human nature? He bore our Sins as God, but He is also fully man is He not? Would not that nature cry out as we cry out to God. Anyhow, I am open to correction and humbly submit to those who think they have understood this passage and His words better than I. :think:


Now that was interesting and helpful. Who was it?

Some of his comments I found particularly intriguing:



I don't see how this would be possible? First, for those who contend that sin is passed through ordinary generation, the virgin birth was necessary since the line of Adam had to first be broken. Secondly, if a sinless man were to die on a cross thereby fulfilling the covenant of works, wouldn't we be looking to a mere man -- a fellow creature -- as the author of our salvation and wouldn't that be idolatry? Wasn't the Incarnation necessary so that God might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus?



Then the speaker goes on to say concerning Christ's cry of distress on the Cross, "My God, my god, why have thou forsaken me" that it is something "we have no idea what that means-- it's a mystery." The important thing is that this statement is a mystery precisely because its unintelligible. Could the reason this all important statement in Scripture lacks meaning be due to the theory attached to the Incarnation itself? Shouldn't a theory be able to explain and account for such a critical passage? Frankly, if it is biblical, shouldn't a particular theory or doctrine be able to account for all, and no way controvert any, of the biblical material? And, if it doesn't, isn't this an indication -- or even a tacit admission -- that more work needs to be done? :detective:
 

Magma2

Puritan Board Sophomore
Here is another verse adduced to show that death isn't simply or merely the separation of the soul from the body, but also is separation from God.

John 8:51; "Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he shall never see death."

Since there are many who have kept Christ's word and have died physically, what do you think Jesus is referring to here?

Gill says of this passage:

. . . he shall never see death; the second death, eternal death, which is an everlasting separation of a man, body and soul, from God: this death shall have no power on such a person, he shall never be hurt by it; and though he dies a corporeal death, that shall not be a curse, a penal evil to him; nor shall he always lie under the power of it, but shall rise again, and live in soul and body, for ever with the Lord: seeing and tasting death, as in Joh_8:52, are Hebraisms expressive of dying.
 

Magma2

Puritan Board Sophomore
Glad to see you coming around to what I've been saying, Sean. See, I knew we could agree!
? I really must be missing something, ether that or you are? Jesus said if anyone keeps His word he shall never see death. The death spoken of, per Gill, is not just the separation from a physical body (which, for the believer, is no longer "a curse, a penal evil to him"), but rather "separation of a man, body and soul, from God." It does not follow from this verse, or from Gill's exegesis, that Jesus did not "technically" die or did not experience separation from God. Not only does Matthew 27:46 and Mark 15:34 already adduced strongly suggest that He did experience this separation which you claim is "heretical," but Heb 2:9 states: "But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man." Again, Gill is helpful:

to taste death . . . signifies the truth and reality of his death, and the experience he had of the bitterness of it, it being attended with the wrath of God, and curse of the law; though he continued under it but for a little while, it was but a taste; and it includes all kinds of death, he tasted of the death of afflictions, being a man of sorrows all his days, and a corporeal death, and what was equivalent to an eternal one . . . .
You completely miss and ignore the force and penalty of death due to sin. 2 Cor 5:21; For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

You and I don't agree on much of anything.
 

Magma2

Puritan Board Sophomore
Steven, can you tell me who the speaker was on this link?

I couldn't find it at the site. However, I did come across this from The Death of Deaths by Bob Deffinbaugh , Th.M. which might be of some use:

The words of the Psalmist perfectly conveyed the agony of soul of our Lord as the Suffering Servant: “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” (Psalm 22:1; Mark 15:34). As someone has rightly pointed out, here is the hell our Lord dreaded, but nevertheless experienced for us. Hell is not merely the presence of pain and suffering, but the absence of God in the midst of that pain. This is also true for those who reject Christ as their Savior: “And these will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power” (2 Thessalonians 1:9).
http://www.bible.org/page.php?page_id=629
Consider Clark's comments again on Matthew 27:46 and Mark 15:34:

Since a rift within the eternal immutable Persons of the Trinity is absolutely impossible, Jesus here is speaking as a man. An impersonal human "nature" cannot speak. Nor is there much intelligibility in supposing that the Father could forsake a "nature." Those words from Psalm 22:1 were the words of a true man, a real human being, whom the Father forsook, thus imposing the penalty of propitiation by which we are redeemed.
Was Clark correct? It seems to me that the weight of Scripture and the force of logic is still in his favor, in spite of Paul Manata's best efforts.
 

Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
Remember those fun words anhypostasia and enhypostasia? I think they would be relevent at this point of the discussion. :2cents:
 

Civbert

Puritan Board Junior
...
Consider Clark's comments again on Matthew 27:46 and Mark 15:34:

Gordon Clark said:
Since a rift within the eternal immutable Persons of the Trinity is absolutely impossible, ....
Why is a "rift within the eternal immutable Persons of the Trinity" impossible?

I agree that "an impersonal human "nature" cannot speak" and that "supposing that the Father could forsake a "nature"" sounds like nonsense with respect to Christ's "Why have you forsaken me". Why would Jesus cry out for the forsaking of an impersonal human nature. Jesus said "Why have you forsaken me". Not "my nature". But "me" myself, a person, an individual man.

So can not there have been a rift between the person of Jesus and the persons of the Father and Holy Spirit?? I ask because I would like someone to clearer that up for me.

I guess I'm still a step behind. :candle:
 

Magma2

Puritan Board Sophomore
Remember those fun words anhypostasia and enhypostasia? I think they would be relevent at this point of the discussion. :2cents:

anhypostasis

1. The belief that Jesus Christ, when incarnated, did not take on the characteristics of a specific human being, but of humanity in a 'generic' sense; is traditionally rejected by the Church at large as an inadequate explanation of the dynamics involved.

THE DUAL FORMULA of anhypostasis-enhypostasis has become an increasing popular way of describing the relation of the human and divine natures of Jesus Christ. The formula aims to express the doctrine that the human nature of Jesus has no subsistence (anhypostasis) apart from the union with the Logos, but that it has its being only "in" the subsistence (en-hypostasis) of the incarnate Son of God. The use of this formula is especially prevalent among theologians influenced by Karl Barth who in adopting the terms appealed to "the older dogmatics--using the language of later Greek philosophy."(1) Unfortunately, Barth's appropriation of the terms and his dialectical reconstruction of the formula are problematic in several ways, especially since in fact this is in no way the "language of later Greek philosophy" but an invention of Protestant Scholasticism.
Enhypostasia

Literally, "being hypostasized," i.e., having substantial existence, this term took on a technical Christological significance in the post-Chalcedonian period (late fifth and sixth centuries), when difficulties arose over the definition of Christ as "two natures (ousiai) in one person (hupostasis)." These difficulties centered around the term ousia (nature or substance) and its philosophical import. Aristotle had taught that every substance (ousia) is composed of both matter and form. In order for matter (hulê) to exist, according to Aristotle, it must be actualized in a form (eidos). Christologically speaking, then, in order for Christ's divine nature to exist, it must be contained in/as a person (hupostasis). The person of Christ, however, is identical with the divine Logos; therefore, it logically follows, the substance or nature of Christ is purely divine. Putting this in Aristotelian terms, Christ's form is the Logos, and His matter is the divine nature - united together a single, divine, person. What place, then, is left (if we follow this reasoning) for the presence of a distinct human nature in the person of Christ? The concept of enhupostasia was developed to answer this question, and to counteract the tendency to downplay the full humanity of Christ. Since Christ, as divine Logos, is identical with the creative power of God, He is not limited to a single nature. In His capacity as Logos, Christ hypostasized both natures, the human and divine, in a single person.

While I suppose anhypostasia can be excluded without further discussion, and while I guess enhypostasia should be applauded for at least trying to maintain Christ's humanity, I still don't see how this theory overcame the difficulties surrounding the words nature or substance? At least from what I've been able to read, enhypostasia really didn't solve anything. Maybe you can show me how it did, that is, if you think it did? It seems to me that it just shifted the confusion from one place to another. However, the above does points to the root of the problem which has plagued the development of the doctrine of the Incarnation and that is its underlying Aristotelianism.

For what it's worth, Clark's theory at least completely jettisons the word substance (and nature) from his formulation since, and despite some attempts by Hodge, Shedd and others, not to mention more than a few non-Christian philosophers, the word defies any coherent, much less biblical, definition. Clark did however define "person" as being the propositions one thinks and per the Scriptures (Prov. 23:7a). Whereas Hume defined a person as a complex of sensations and images, Clark argues a person is a complex of truths. And, since men think both truths and falsehoods, he settled on the idea that a person is the thought he thinks.

I think if someone doesn't like his definition, that's certainly fine, but I think they should at least try to come up with something better and simply not dismiss him. The sad thing is that he died right at the conclusion of his monograph. I would have loved to have seen how he would have defended his formula against his critics and how he might have devolved his arguments. I'm certainly not the man to pick up where he left off, but I think his attempt has considerable merit.

Ironically, and in support of Clark, while Paul can't control his abusive tirade :mad: long enough to even realize what he is saying, he supposes Clark's definition relegates "fetuses" to non persons. Of course, since he also asserts these "fetuses" (as opposed to babies) have souls, he fails to note that a thoughtless soul is as much a contradiction in terms as a blank mind. But, as the ever dedicated Van Tilian devotee he won't let any contradiction in his own thought or theology get in his way. :banghead:
 
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Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
I'm still looking up anhypostasia and enhypostasia.
Could you point me to a sussinct reference? :candle:
Macleod in his book The Person of Christ has a helpful discussion of these terms in Ch. 7 (pg. 199-203). He covers their historical development and their importance in Reformed theology.

By anhypostasia is meant that Jesus took an impersonal human nature to be His own. This doesn't mean that Jesus in his humanity was not an individual or that as a man he was not personal. The term was used in opposition to Adoptionism (and Nestorianism) to basically say that the Logos did not take over the human nature of someone else. God in the Incarnation created a human nature for the Logos which belongs solely to Him. So anhypostasia denies an independent existence of the human nature of Jesus apart from the Logos. Christ's human nature did not belong to another or independently before the Logos was united to it.

But there are limitations to this idea, which led to the term enhypostatia. It means that the human nature of Jesus, though not an individual in itself, be became individualized by the Logos when it was created. It was developed in response to the Monophysite argument that there cannot be a nature without a person. As Macleod explains, "The import of enhypostatos is that the human nature of Christ, although not itself an individual is individualized as the human nature of the Son of God. It does not for a single instant exist as anhypostatos or non-personal." From the moment of conception onward, the full human nature (with all the limitations of human nature) belongs to the Second Person of the Trinity.

With these terms, its not an either/or. They go together. They both take place at the virgin conception. The human nature created in the womb of Mary did not belong to someone else or exist autonomously apart from the Logos (anhypostatia), and it has always belonged and had its individuality and personality from the Person of the Logos (enhypostatia). Minor but important distinctions.

Hopefully that will help nudge Sean out of the Nestorian pitfall he seems to be leaning. I'm not trying to criticize Sean on this point. I realized I was leaning into Apollinarianism until recently. These are hard distinctions and its very easy to slip off the edge (especially if you haven't studied the issues before), just as with discussions of the Trinity. The church fathers were building a fence around the mystery of the Incarnation. They often had to argue for what it was not in opposition to heretics, in order to articulate what it was. I would not be so anxious to jettison their use of "person," "subtance," and "nature" (keeping in mind their definitions, not our modern twists on the terms). They have stood the test of time because they work, and because no one yet has been able to think of anything better without slipping into the heretical pitfalls on all sides. :2cents:
 

DTK

Puritan Board Junior
The church fathers were building a fence around the mystery of the Incarnation. They often had to argue for what it was not in opposition to heretics, in order to articulate what it was. I would not be so anxious to jettison their use of "person," "subtance," and "nature" (keeping in mind their definitions, not our modern twists on the terms). They have stood the test of time because they work, and because no one yet has been able to think of anything better without slipping into the heretical pitfalls on all sides.
Patrick has offered a very helpful observation here, apophatic theology (as it's called), which dominated the thought of many eastern church fathers who refused to think that God could in any way be identified with or by any human concept, thus affirming the absolute transcendence of God in a negative way. It is through the emphasis of what God is not (apophatically) that one is able to speak the truth concerning God. This emphasis is predominate especially in the theology of the Cappadocian Fathers (Basil of Caesarea, Gregory of Nyssa & Gregory of Nazianzus), who established this traditional methodology for those who followed after them. It was their emphasis that through the process of elimination of what God is not that that divinity is described, but which never truly finds a positive end. Patrick is right, those men did not think the way we do today in their expressions of "person," "substance," and "nature."

DTK
 

Magma2

Puritan Board Sophomore
Patrick is right, those men did not think the way we do today in their expressions of "person," "substance," and "nature."
Patrick may be right, but it's not so important how men thought of the expressions they used, but rather how they defined, or, failed to define them. It's hard for me to imagine the advantage of retaining words that cannot be clearly defined. Certainly Christian scholarship isn't that paltry that it is impossible for a modern to grasp the meaning of a word or concept used by an ancient. Maybe it is impossible, but if that's the case, what good is it?

in my opinion much of theology in this area has been plagued with interminable verbiage and meaningless phrases that their only usefulness is as a disguise for ignorance. Consider; "The import of enhypostatos is that the human nature of Christ, although not itself an individual is individualized as the human nature of the Son of God. It does not for a single instant exist as anhypostatos or non-personal." Is this like a puppet? The "Being John Malkovich" doctrine of the incarnation? Seriously, what is an individualized non-individual or something that is personal without any relation to a real person? Does the Second Person animates an impersonal human nature or substance making it, whatever *it* is, personal? Again, a puppet comes to mind. Yet, the Scriptures say the man Christ Jesus.

Further, what is a nature? A substance? Hodge says they're the same thing. OK, does a nature or a substance thirst? How does a nature or a substance become a man? Matthew said he can defined substance but it would take him at least 8 pages to do it. Well, I can read 8 pages, but I guess he had better things to do. So where do I find this definition? Someone has to have a citation somewhere? Supposing enhypostatos can be explained and is intelligible, where are the biblical arguments in its defense? Where are the deductions from Scripture? Could you imagine if the idea of Trinity was advanced without any arguments or support from Scripture? If you look over just this short thread I've provided a number of passages and Scriptural references in support of the idea that Jesus was a real man, a real human person, not an *it* or an overcoat or even an individualized non-individual, and I could easily provided more.

Again, maybe you or Patrick can answer my question posed earlier and slightly revised here; Hypothetically - and apart from the obvious objection concerning tradition - and provided "person" is clearly and biblically defined - what is the main objection to a two person theory of the Incarnation in which we have a human person and a divine person in one Christ, fully man and fully God? What other doctrine or doctrines does this view undermine or controvert? I would be happy to say that Gordon Clark was all wet, but am I wrong to want to see some arguments advanced in order to refute him?

I am thankful to the mods for letting this thread go on for as long as they have (I'm very surprised) and I apologize for my part in the spitting match with Paul Manata, but I just don't think Chalcedon has given us the final word and I think there are legitimate biblical questions that the theory, to the extent it is intelligible, simply does not answer.
 

DTK

Puritan Board Junior
Again, maybe you or Patrick can answer my question posed earlier and slightly revised here; Hypothetically - and apart from the obvious objection concerning tradition - and provided "person" is clearly and biblically defined - what is the main objection to a two person theory of the Incarnation in which we have a human person and a divine person in one Christ, fully man and fully God?
I decline the invitation. I've seen how you conduct exchanges, and for myself I'm not interested. I was only interested in underscoring Patrick's very helpful insight.

DTK
 

Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
Again, maybe you or Patrick can answer my question posed earlier and slightly revised here; Hypothetically - and apart from the obvious objection concerning tradition - and provided "person" is clearly and biblically defined - what is the main objection to a two person theory of the Incarnation in which we have a human person and a divine person in one Christ, fully man and fully God? What other doctrine or doctrines does this view undermine or controvert? I would be happy to say that Gordon Clark was all wet, but am I wrong to want to see some arguments advanced in order to refute him?
Before I enter into such a discussion, I would like you to read and think about Berkhof's ST, Part 3, chapter 3 on the Unipersonality of Christ. See if it answers your immediate questions.

Men much more capable than I have already dealt with this question long ago. I encourage you to thoughtfully reflect on their writings on the Trinity and Incarnation. Read for yourself (not through the lenses of Clark or other historians) the Cappadocians, Hilary of Poitiers, Augustine, Asthanasius, even John of Damascus. Then read Calvin. Read Bavinck, who provides helpful historical reviews of these doctrines in his Reformed Dogmatics and interacts with more modern insights. Berkhof provides some helpful summaries as well. Deal with the primary sources first. I'm sure Rev. King could supply more. Then read Clark again and see if he contributes anything to the discussion. Your trying to reinvent the wheel Sean. Until you've done your homework and understand the concerns of the early church, you won't appreciate their insights, nor the development since then. Most of these men were pastors. These doctrines were hammered out because of practical problems in the faith of the Church. They were not concerned with articulating profound intellectual insights.

I have found this warning helpful from Berkhof, "The doctrine of the two natures in one person transcends human reason. It is the expression of a supersensible reality, and of an incomprehensible mystery, which has no analogy in the life of man as we know it, and finds no support in human reason, and therefore can only be accepted by faith on the authority of the Word of God." (ST, pg. 322)
 

Magma2

Puritan Board Sophomore
Before I enter into such a discussion, I would like you to read and think about Berkhof's ST, Part 3, chapter 3 on the Unipersonality of Christ. See if it answers your immediate questions.

Thank you. It's on the list.

Men much more capable than I have already dealt with this question long ago. I encourage you to thoughtfully reflect on their writings on the Trinity and Incarnation. Read for yourself (not through the lenses of Clark or other historians) the Cappadocians, Hilary of Poitiers, Augustine, Asthanasius, even John of Damascus. Then read Calvin. Read Bavinck, who provides helpful historical reviews of these doctrines in his Reformed Dogmatics and interacts with more modern insights. Berkhof provides some helpful summaries as well. Deal with the primary sources first. I'm sure Rev. King could supply more. Then read Clark again and see if he contributes anything to the discussion. Your trying to reinvent the wheel Sean. Until you've done your homework and understand the concerns of the early church, you won't appreciate their insights, nor the development since then. Most of these men were pastors. These doctrines were hammered out because of practical problems in the faith of the Church. They were not concerned with articulating profound intellectual insights.
There is no question I have to do more work, but I don't think I'm totally unsympathetic or completely in the dark as to the concerns and serious problems Chalcedon was trying to avoid and did avoid. I completely and without reservation confess that Chalcedon was the high water mark of Chistology. That said, I just don't think it is, or can be, the last word. Admittedly, I'm not as well read as I should be on this subject, but that shouldn't prohibit me from raising questions and objections particularly for those who are more "up to speed," even if some refuse to interact with me personally.

I have found this warning helpful from Berkhof, "The doctrine of the two natures in one person transcends human reason. It is the expression of a supersensible reality, and of an incomprehensible mystery, which has no analogy in the life of man as we know it, and finds no support in human reason, and therefore can only be accepted by faith on the authority of the Word of God." (ST, pg. 322)
I don't find this warning helpful at all. The Scriptures were given so that we might understand, know and believe -- and this too by God's grace. I don't agree at all that the truths of Scripture, even those truths concerning the Incarnation, "transcends human reason." Jesus said that the Spirit 'will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear . . . ." I think that is more encouraging to the pursuit of truth than the brickwall Berkof erects in its place.
 

Magma2

Puritan Board Sophomore
And this is what Van Til was getting at with paradox.

Rather than let our "rationalism" dictate the rules, Scripture does,
I see, thanks Paul. It's rationalism to believe the Scriptures and not Berkof or Van Til. Thanks for clearing that up. :p
 

Civbert

Puritan Board Junior
...
I have found this warning helpful from Berkhof, "The doctrine of the two natures in one person transcends human reason. It is the expression of a supersensible reality, and of an incomprehensible mystery, which has no analogy in the life of man as we know it, and finds no support in human reason, and therefore can only be accepted by faith on the authority of the Word of God." (ST, pg. 322)
I too find this unhelpful. If Berkhof wants to be really honest, he could have simply said he didn't understand the doctrine of the incarnation.

The term "supersensible reality" merely says to me it is "supernatural" issues. No problem there. I can understand things from a supernatural perspective. God created everything in 6 days, flooded the whole earth, raised the dead, turned water into wine. There are are events with supernatural causes. That the Son of God was born fully man, and to a virgin, is clearly a supernatural event.

To claim it is "incomprehensible mystery, which has no analogy in the life of man as we know it, and finds no support in human reason," says he simply could not resolve all of the internal contradictions in a satisfactory manner. That is fine also. The Scriptures may not give us enough information to resolve all the problems in the doctrine of the incarnation.

But it also means that all the intricate formulations Berkhof was working with entailed some error. That does not mean they were completely false, only false at some points. A system which contains contradiction does not tell you which proposition is false, only that one must be false. We may never know which is false, but we do know something is undoubtedly false.

Now does this mean the truths of Scripture are beyond human reason? Not if we are to believe them. It only means that Berkhof's understanding of the truths of scripture is faulty when it comes to the incarnation. Something in Berkhof's understanding is not scriptural.

So the main problem I have with what Berkhof said comes when he said it then must be "accepted by faith on the authority of the Word of God." Now I have not problem accepting anything on the authority of the Word of God. But I also know that there is nothing false or unreasonable in God's Word. If any doctrine of the incarnation is beyond " support in human reason" then it is unbelievable. One can not believe something that one finds is unreasonable or contradictory.

Berkhof seem to have the Thomistic view of reason and faith (or I should say reason verses faith), that faith is belief in what is not reasonable. I say one can not have faith in a contradiction or paradox. If upon examining a set of statements, one finds they lead to a contradiction, then one must accept they do not understand the statements correctly, or one or more of the statements is false. There is no other choice. One can not believe all the statements and still believe they cause a paradox. Any attempt to do so makes the whole system irrational. Berkhof should not ask anyone to accept any doctrinal formula he knows is irrational.

Now, to give him the benefit of the doubt, I guess I should assume he is saying that we should simply believe simply that Jesus was the divine Son of God and was also fully man, even if we don't know how. I can do that just as I can believe that Jesus turned water into wine without knowing how he did it. But if I try to understand how exactly Jesus was fully man and fully God, and my reasoning leads to contradictions, they I must accept I do not understand what being fully man and fully God means. And this means my faith in the doctrine of incarnation is itself a shallow one. But I guess this is inevitable when we can not define the terms we use to explain what fully man and fully God means (nature, person, substance, etc.)
 

Magma2

Puritan Board Sophomore
This will be my final post on this thread, but I did want to leave anyone interested with at least a few more objections and/or problems to consider that I have been chewing on (honestly, this has been keeping me up at night):

Mat 24:36; " But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.” The parallel in Mark adds specific mention of the Son; “But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.”

Here we have a situation where there is a proposition that Jesus did not know. The problem here is how can the unity and simplicity of the Godhead be maintained so that omniscience is not lost, since the Second Person knows all truth, is all truth, and is “as omniscient” as the other two divine Persons? How does a substance or nature, or even an individualized non-individual or a personalized non-person know or not know anything? Wouldn’t a human person know or not know something? If we grant that a person is a complex of thoughts, then here we have an instance of the person, the man Christ Jesus, not knowing something.

On that note, here is another passage which supports the idea, along with Prov. 23.7a, that a person is the thoughts he thinks:

1 Cor 2:11; For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man, which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God.

To know a person is to know the thoughts he/she thinks.

Another problem is that in much of what I’ve read concerning the doctrine of the incarnation, where we have one person and two natures or substances is that, and ironically, many theologians do not consistently apply this formulation even when insisting upon it. I’ve read many times were the Second Person became flesh. Not surprising, because it’s completely biblical and supported by John 1 and elsewhere. However, no one says (or, I suppose almost no one), that the substance or the nature of the Second Person took on flesh. The Second Person took on flesh and became a man. Few seem to have problems affirming the divine person is still a real person in the Incarnation, but the human person is nowhere to be found. What we really have is a divine person and an impersonal human nature. Which, if I understand it, and I think I do, is what is meant by enhypostatia. The divine personhood is maintained and asserted and it is that divine person who “individualizes” and “personalizes” the non-individual and non-personal human “substance”?

I consider Brian Schwertley a first class theologian, so this isn't any criticism against him, I'm just using him as one example of what I mean. In “The Incarnation of Christ” he writes;

“God the Son (who was and is one with the Father and the Holy Spirit) became man. The second person of the trinity assumed a human nature . . . When the second person of the trinity was incarnated He was hypostatically united to a genuine human nature. The Mediator did not unite Himself to a human person with a separate personality but with a human nature and thus the personality of Christ and the personality of the Logos are one and the same. The unipersonality of the Mediator is by far the most difficult aspect of the incarnation to understand. The doctrine of the two natures in one person is to a certain degree beyond human comprehension.”
Echoes of Berkof. However, note that the two natures or substances in one person disappears almost by sleight of hand. The Second Person, not the nature or substance of the Second Person, “assumed a human nature.” Why is the idea of person maintained and allowable when applied to the divine "substance" and dropped and not allowable when applied to the human "substance"? I guess if it is true that this is all "beyond human comprehension," then I suppose there is little sense even studying the doctrine in the first place and I should just get a good night sleep.

Schwertley also writes:

Because our Lord’s human nature is not lacking any of the essential qualities belonging to that nature (e.g., a real body, a genuine soul) and also has its individuality and personhood in the person of the Son of God, the human nature should not be considered imperfect and incomplete.

. . . just not considered a human person.
 

Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
Anthony, the quote is from the same chapter I recommended to Sean to read. I recommend the same reading list to you. :)

And I will add to it Donald MacLeod's The Person of Christ. He answers your questions specifically Sean.
 

Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
This will be my final post on this thread, but I did want to leave anyone interested with at least a few more objections and/or problems to consider that I have been chewing on (honestly, this has been keeping me up at night):

Mat 24:36; " But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.” The parallel in Mark adds specific mention of the Son; “But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.”

Here we have a situation where there is a proposition that Jesus did not know. The problem here is how can the unity and simplicity of the Godhead be maintained so that omniscience is not lost, since the Second Person knows all truth, is all truth, and is “as omniscient” as the other two divine Persons? How does a substance or nature, or even an individualized non-individual or a personalized non-person know or not know anything? Wouldn’t a human person know or not know something? If we grant that a person is a complex of thoughts, then here we have an instance of the person, the man Christ Jesus, not knowing something.
This is an instance where we encounter the finite limitations of Jesus' human nature. Just as Jesus grew tired, hunger, thirsty, etc. his human knowledge was also limited. He had a human mind as well as a divine "mind." As such, in His human mind, it is impossible to know everything His infinite divine mind knows. His human mind could only know that which the divine mind communicated to it. So in the verse above, the divine person of Christ did not communicate to His human mind the knowledge of His second coming.

Another problem is that in much of what I’ve read concerning the doctrine of the incarnation, where we have one person and two natures or substances is that, and ironically, many theologians do not consistently apply this formulation even when insisting upon it. I’ve read many times were the Second Person became flesh. Not surprising, because it’s completely biblical and supported by John 1 and elsewhere. However, no one says (or, I suppose almost no one), that the substance or the nature of the Second Person took on flesh. The Second Person took on flesh and became a man. Few seem to have problems affirming the divine person is still a real person in the Incarnation, but the human person is nowhere to be found. What we really have is a divine person and an impersonal human nature. Which, if I understand it, and I think I do, is what is meant by enhypostatia. The divine personhood is maintained and asserted and it is that divine person who “individualizes” and “personalizes” the non-individual and non-personal human “substance”?
I think your confusion may be over the idea of what defines human nature.
Personhood does not define human nature per say. Person's have natures.

Otherwise all humans would be one person/nature or there would be no humans at all, just billions of similiar looking creatures called Sean, Paul, Patrick, etc. Jesus took up a human nature (body, soul, mind, will, emotions, etc.) whatever defines man in the biblical sense, and take it as his own.

Similar within the Trinity, it is not the essence of God taking up the human nature but the person of the Son who is God. If it were the essence of God, then the entire Trinity would be incarnate in Jesus. Instead we have the person of the Son within the Godhead uniting a human nature to himself, but somehow not united to the Father or Holy Spirit.

So everything that makes a man human, Jesus has taken up so that we can confess faithful with the Scriptures that Jesus is a man. And at the same time he is still the second person of the Trinity and is to be worshipped and adored. His personality as a human is the same personality as the Son of God.

That's about as far as I am willing to probe for now. I always fear becoming heretical when discussing this delicate matters. Chew on it, think it over and read what I recommended above, especially Calvin, Berkhof, and MacLeod on your specific questions.
 
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