Thursday, February 11, 2010

Calvin's framing of the question about the Incarnation--i.e. Jesus' body, is flawed

Calvin’s philosophical commitment to his view of the Incarnation--that the God-Man's body is like ours in all respects--leads him, and by extension his theological descendants, down some Incarnational dead-ends. To wit, when confronted with an action by Jesus Christ which does not fit this philosophical paradigm, he merely argues from assertion because to not do so would mean he would have to abandon his philosophical commitment. In my previous post, I pointed to Scriptural examples of Jesus disappearing, going through doors, walking on water, glowing etc. Calvin in his writings has answers for these, of course, but we will see if they hold up.

Calvin's view can be summarized with this: "But it has been demonstrated by strong and clear passages of Scripture, first, that it is bounded by the dimensions of the human body; and, secondly, that its ascension into heaven made it plain that it is not in all places, but on passing to a new one, leaves the one formerly occupied."

As stated, Calvin's claim above is true of our human bodies. But let us rephrase it and see if it still rings quite as true if we speak of the God-Man in like terms:

"But it has been demonstrated by strong and clear passages of Scripture, first, that [the person Jesus Christ] is bounded by the dimensions of the human body; and, secondly, that [the person Jesus Christ's] ascension into heaven made it plain that [he] is not in all places, but on passing to a new one, leaves the one formerly occupied."

I think even Calvinists would have issues with this claim. The reason I made it is because "a human body", a "nature" don't do things, persons do things. My body does not fight off infection, I do, my body does not walk down the street, I do. A typical human being cannot heal sickness and cast our demons, but the person Jesus Christ can--asking if his nature is what is doing this is to attribute personal properties to nature, which is a category error. We read in Scripture "The Word became flesh"--the Word being the second person of the Trinity--"I and the Father are one"--the "I" referring to the person making the claim and not the divine nature--"For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily"--the fullness dwells in a person, Jesus Christ. Calvin’s framing of the question as "what is omnipresent" as opposed to "who is omnipresent" is the wrong question. So instead of asking "how can human nature be everywhere?" we should ask "When a human nature is divinized, how many of our pre-conceived notions of human limitations must we give up?" Can a human being raise the dead on his own authority? Yes, if that human being is also God. Can a human being create food out of nothing? Yes if that human being is also God.

When discussing Jesus Christ, his body is not an "it" but "who". In other words, Jesus Christ is a person with two natures, which means that what the person does includes both natures. So it is not proper to ask "did Jesus' human body walk on water?", instead we should ask "did Jesus Christ walk on water?" When we answer in the affirmative the questions about Jesus' body become less important because of whom Jesus is--he is God in the flesh so normal rules don't apply so it will not do to simply look at the properties of a human body and limit the glorified, deified body of Jesus to the same properties. It is not wrong, though, to discuss Jesus' body, it is just that we should not speak of it as if it has no connection to his person, as Calvin does in places when he treats it like a coat he can put on or take off, depending if we are talking about his local presence or his divine presence. For instance he writes "But it is clearly gathered from Scripture that the one person of Christ is composed of two natures, but so that each has its peculiar properties unimpaired." (Calvin Institutes IV 17:30). So far so good. Unfortunately Calvin makes the right statements but paints a non-chalcidonian picture even though he formally agrees with Chalcedon when things would go against his adopted philosophy. For instance he wrote "Although the whole Christ is everywhere, yet everything which is in him is not everywhere." (Calvin Institutes IV 19:30) To preserve his claim regarding Jesus' body, he has to assert that the whole Christ, though being omnipresent, is not wholly omnipresent. (Did you get that?) By this claim he says that the human nature of Christ, though it is of the whole Christ is not part of the whole Christ but is "in" him. And he does this based on his philosophical commitments to the nature of a human body, and not even considering that Jesus Christ's divinity has anything to tell us about his body.

And this is why he has to reinterpret "the doors were locked" into "the doors were opened (somehow)", and "the stone at the tomb was rolled away, and rolled back again" (Calvin Institutes IV 17:29) Yes, he actually wrote that the stone was rolled away, and then rolled back--all because Jesus' human body has to be exactly like ours! In other words, any explanation, no matter how strained or ridiculous, is OK for Calvin so long as he can maintain his doctrine that Jesus' body is exactly like ours. Jesus is omnipresent? Of course, but though the whole Christ is omnipresent, part of him is not. Scripture says the tomb was sealed? Of course, it must have been moved away and then back, because Calvin's philosophy cannot be wrong. Locked doors? Any explanation is OK, so long as Calvin can maintain his doctrine Jesus divinized body is just like ours.

This is in large part due to his misframing of the question, along with a too high view of philosophy which he uses to interpret Scripture.

Update: This post was inspired in part by Rhology's thread at Beggars All.

35 comments:

Steve Martin said...

It's painfully clear that Calvin was a bit mixed up.

This mix up has led to a great many others being mixed up, and has had a deleterious affect on their ability to trust in the promises of God.

Keep up the good work, Ed.

Steve Martin said...

Another Lutheran pal of mine )who used to be a Baptist/Calvinist, writes extensively on the matter at his blog:

http://aliengoodnews.wordpress.com/

Rhology said...

"But it has been demonstrated by strong and clear passages of Scripture, first, that [the person Jesus Christ] is bounded by the dimensions of the human body; and, secondly, that [the person Jesus Christ's] ascension into heaven made it plain that [he] is not in all places, but on passing to a new one, leaves the one formerly occupied."


I don't have a problem saying precisely that, actually. Why should I?
I don't know the context of Calvin's statement, but when he says "it", I at least imagine him discussing Christ's body, but like I said I could be totally off. If he was wrong, he was wrong, but that doesn't make the RP right.


So instead of asking "how can human nature be everywhere?" we should ask "When a human nature is divinized, how many of our pre-conceived notions of human limitations must we give up?"

Good question, but Scr never answers with "you should give up unilocality".
See, here *I'm* the one keeping Christ together. For all your talk about Nestorianism and such nonsense, YOU'RE the one trying to separate Him into pieces, it seems.
(B/c I blv you to be a brother in Christ, I don't prefer to talk in such ways, but you started it after all.)


And this is why he has to reinterpret "the doors were locked" into "the doors were opened (somehow)",

John 20:
19 So when it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” (NASB)

It says nothing about HOW He came in. Maybe He created a key and let Himself in; maybe He knocked and they let Him in; maybe He passed through the door via "teleportation"; the text does not tell us. Obviously He can perform miracles such as walking on water and perhaps passing through walls, disappearing right in front of two disciples at dinnertime on the road to Emmaus, etc, but we never see Christ in more than one place at any one time.


all because Jesus' human body has to be exactly like ours!

Strawman of MY position anyway. (For any readers who don't know me, I refer to this post, which doesn't address Lutheran theology at all actually.)


Grace and peace,
Rhology

Edward Reiss said...

Rhology,

"I don't have a problem saying precisely that, actually. Why should I? "

Becasue you would be saying that the person Jesus Christ is not omnipresent. BTW, calvin agrees that Jesus Christ is omnipresent but hedges by saying even though the whole Christ is omnipresent, not everything in him is omnipresent. This pretty much divides the person of Jesus Christ into a divine person and a human person.

"See, here *I'm* the one keeping Christ together."

I would disagree. If you agree with Calvin's claim here I would say you have a divided Christ:

"Although the whole Christ is everywhere, yet everything which is in him is not everywhere."

Doesn't this mean that the whole Christ does not necesarily have a body because his body is "in" him? Compare Col 2:9:

"For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily"

from this passage we conclude the whole deity is in Jesus' body.

"It says nothing about HOW He came in. Maybe He created a key and let Himself in; maybe He knocked and they let Him in; maybe He passed through the door via "teleportation"; the text does not tell us. Obviously He can perform miracles such as walking on water and perhaps passing through walls, disappearing right in front of two disciples at dinnertime on the road to Emmaus, etc, but we never see Christ in more than one place at any one time."

Your first two propositions boil down to "the doors were un-locked", Scripture says they were locked. Teleportation means Jesus went from point A to point C without transporting point B. This violatees calvin's precepts abut a human body, and comes closer to th eLutheran view than his view.

Rhology said...

Hi Edward,

the person Jesus Christ is not omnipresent.

Well, He isn't. Since we're making sure to keep Him together, He's in one specific physical location - at the right hand of the Father.
He qua person also has a human nature, you know, and His human nature isn't everywhere. I'm not sitting in Jesus right now, I'm sitting in my house on a chair.
You know, Col 2:9 was true of Jesus when He was walking the streets of Galilee, too. The only thing that's changed is that the seed died and was thus reaped imperishable.


Your first two propositions boil down to "the doors were un-locked", Scripture says they were locked.

Yes, and then they unlocked it for Him. Or He unlocked it. Or He teleported - Philip the Evangelist teleported; that doesn't make his human body somehow divine, does it?
Besides, the question is about SIMULTANEOUS multilocation, not instantaneous displacement.

Grace and peace,
Rhology

Edward Reiss said...

Rhology,

"Well, He isn't."

Then he isn't God. Omnipresence is part and parcel of being God. If you say Jesus' human nature isn;t God, that is to frame the question incorrectly again, because the second person of the Trinity is God in the flesh.

Regarding keeping him together, no one is separating Jesus Christ--except Calvin, as he himself said that Jesus is without his human nature in certain places.

"He qua person also has a human nature, you know, and His human nature isn't everywhere. I'm not sitting in Jesus right now, I'm sitting in my house on a chair."

OK, but this is a philosophical claim, and does not take into account Jesus' divinity. I am not calling you a Nestorian, but I hope you can see how your description of the relationship between Jesus divine and human natures separates the natures.

Regarding Col 2:9, it seems to me your theology contradicts that passage. BTW, Calvin doesn't mention it according to the catalog of Scripture quotes...) I would also ask you how the infinite can be contained in a finite body--is your body capable of the infinite? It is questions like these which show the inadequacy of Calvin's doctrine of Christ's body.

"Yes, and then they unlocked it for Him. Or He unlocked it."

And as I said, Scripture says the doors were locked, you re-interpret them as being unlocked. That is not in Scripture, but is speculation based on how you view the body of Christ. If you have to explain things in that way because of your commitment to a Calvinistic view of Jesus' body, doesn't that raise any issues for you? Is it really necessary that the stone at Jesus' tomb was moved away and back just to keep this doctrine of his? (This was his own argument).

Regarding Philip, no one is claiming Philip is the God-Man--which all orthodox Christians claim for Jesus Christ. And in any case, it would be just as easy to explain away the account of Philip as him being "carried away" by the Spirit by walking to a new location--if one desired. It is certainly less troublesome than Stephens ability to see into heaven--because according to Calvin Jesus cannot ever come to earth because he is limited.

Rhology said...

No, I don't think you've got me at all. As I mentioned, Christ was just as much God with sandals on the ground in Galilee as He is now. And He wasn't omnipresent. And all the fulness of God dwelt in Him in bodily form. I'm not fleeing from Col 2:9, K?
Maybe you could explain how a human body could be omnipresent. I'd love to hear it - you might accuse me of special pleading if I say that "He's omnipresent in that He's omniscient, He's omnipotent, and thru His Spirit" but you'll be just as open to such if you say that "well, He is really for real human and we don't divide Him up but His human body isn't really everywhere". It's crazy, confusing, and we just need to admit that, but we don't need monophysitic teachings on the Eucharist. We can have it all, AND leave monophys behind. Come on, have your cake, eat it too, and be a Baptist.


And as I said, Scripture says the doors were locked, you re-interpret them as being unlocked.

Come on, you're smarter than that. They WERE locked, THEN LATER they weren't, like when He arrived, when He unlocked them, etc.
But like I said, it doesn't bother me at all to say that He teleported. Are you going to answer what I identified as the main problem?


It is certainly less troublesome than Stephens ability to see into heaven--because according to Calvin Jesus cannot ever come to earth because he is limited.

Um, Jesus WILL come to Earth, when He returns at the Parousia. Again, if Calvin's wrong, let him be wrong, fine; deal with MY arguments.
Stephen could easily be given 'shortened' vision into Heaven. That's where Christ is, after all. Stephen saw Him. He didn't say "Look, I see Heaven opened and Christ is there, but of course He's everywhere so it's not really a big deal; I just wanted to let you know I'm seeing into Heaven and that's pretty cool all by itself".

Peace,
Rhology

Steve Martin said...

One thing I've always found to be a bit odd, is that many Christians believe that Christ Jesus is actually present and living in their hearts...but then they turn right around and say that He couldn't be present in a cup of wine, or piece of bread, or bowl of water accompanied by His Word of promise.

How odd.

Craig said...

Steve Martin:

Apparently it's a metaphor.

According to Steve Hays,
"Of course, "separation" is literally a spatial relation–although we can also extend it to a temporal relation. Since God is not a spatial (or temporal, or spatiotemporal) being, the hypostatic union doesn't involve a physical union from God's side of the ledger.

To say that Jesus is "present somewhere" in the "heart" of a believer is a metaphor. What this literally means is that God/Jesus causes sanctified affections in the mind of a believer."

Go figure.

Rhology said...

Gentlemen,

Yes, it's a metaphor and I think that is pretty obvious. Yet it is also a descriptor of a SPIRITUAL reality. Jesus dwells in us SPIRITUALLY. Surely you wouldn't argue that the spiritual is not real, would you?
But that's not what y'all say about the Eucharist - you in fact get all upset when we say it's spiritual b/c you insist it's more real than that, and say that the spiritual is not the "real presence". It's disingenuous on YOUR part, not ours.

Edward Reiss said...

Rhology,

If you say Jesus Christ is God, and he isn't omnipresent, you are saying he is not God. And by "He" I refer to the second person of the Trinity who "became fesh". For this reason it seems from my end you deny the full deity of Jesus Christ--even if you don;t mean to.

You wrote: "I'm not fleeing from Col 2:9, K?"

I didn't say you were fleeing from it. I am saying that your account of the Incarnation seems to contrdict it. If all th efulness of deity dwells in Jesus Christ, it means that human anture is capable of the infinite. You claim otherwise. Which brings us to your nest question.

"Maybe you could explain how a human body could be omnipresent. I'd love to hear it."

I donlt have an "explanation", I just confess that since the person Jesus Christ is God, he is omnipresent, onniscient etc. And since I believe his taking on of human nature is as true today as yesterday, I elieve that he is present, as a person, everywhere. What I will not do is start with a definition of human nature and then, like Calvin, re-interoret Scripture to conform to that definition even if the text of Sctripture goes against it. Calvin falls flat on a couple of occasions--the most amusing of which is that the stone roled away and then rolled back--and that Stephen can see into heaven but Jesus Christ cannot be everywhere because he is limited by his humanity. my approach starts with faith while Calvin's starts with knowledge.

"Come on, you're smarter than that. They WERE locked, THEN LATER they weren't, like when He arrived, when He unlocked them, etc."

Show me where you have a word from God the oors were unlocked and I will recant every word. You are adding to Scripture by saying that the Apostle didn't bother to tell us the doors were opened later. You don;t have any Scripture for any of the theories you have given.

"Um, Jesus WILL come to Earth, when He returns at the Parousia. Again, if Calvin's wrong, let him be wrong, fine; deal with MY arguments."

Jesus said "And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age". So according to Jesus, he is with us today. And your arguments are Calvin's. You have not added any Scriptures or concepts to his as of yet.

Edward Reiss said...

Rhology,

"But that's not what y'all say about the Eucharist - you in fact get all upset when we say it's spiritual b/c you insist it's more real than that, and say that the spiritual is not the "real presence"

This is because Jesus said "this is my body...." SO the "real' presence is the one in line with the words of his last will and testament.

As to whether or not we are "upset", I am not "upset", but saddened because so may would deny his words due to their philosophical commitments.

natamllc said...

ED,

I just think you don't understand the Scriptures well enough.

Let me ask, are you three or four parts? Are you, "flesh/sarx", "body/soma", "soul/psuche" and "spirit/pnuema" or just a human being with a quickened spirit?

Let me ask, are you right now "conjoined" to Christ by the Hand of God? cf. Eph. 2:5 and Col. 2:13. And I point out that the Greek Word "suzoopoieo" is used in those two verse only and nowhere is it used or by any other writer of the New Testament. The Greek Word "zoopoieo" is far more times.

I believe you just misunderstand Calvin's ability to see clearly Christ as four parts. And I am not sure the strain of this matter is a major issue when it comes to the body of his work and his contribution and its importance in the development of the Reformation that he most certainly was a major voice of and party too as Martin Luther and others, even to this day? What is the major relevance of your point as to the Gospel of the Kingdom being preached to every creature for a witness so that God can end this godless world devils full?

You noted:::>

"....A typical human being cannot heal sickness and cast our demons, but the person Jesus Christ can--asking if his nature is what is doing this is to attribute personal properties to nature, which is a category error. We read in Scripture "The Word became flesh"--the Word being the second person of the Trinity--"I and the Father are one"--the "I" referring to the person making the claim and not the divine nature--"For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily"--the fullness dwells in a person, Jesus Christ. Calvin’s framing of the question as "what is omnipresent" as opposed to "who is omnipresent" is the wrong question.".

I believe it is you I asked over at Triablogue to explain for me Hebrews 9:14 and pointedly asked if you were personally washed with His "blood"?

Let me ask you with regard to the apparent appearance of Christ, and ask inside that question also where He went after being recoginzed, if it was His "four" part being, flesh, body, soul and Spirit, that was seen in the fiery furnace at Daniel 3?

With that, can you explain the phenomenon that maybe upwards to six or more men "instantly" died throwing those three men into that fiery furnace and not one of those three men were smoked or burned one bit while they approached, thrown into the air and falling into, standing around inside and then, somehow removed from that fiery furnace afterwards, all the while Christ was there, and there "only" while they were inside the belly of the furnace? How is it physical persons, those men that carried the three men die instantly by the heat of the furnace but they don't? How did God pull that miracle off, if you know?

I am not sure really where I am going with this, except I am poking at you poking at Calvin's philosophical commitment, which, I believe isn't meritorious for you to do. What's the great benefit of doing that? Are you attempting to convert some weak Calvinist believers to you form of Lutheranism by undermining this great man or the PCA to boot?

Thanks for your consideration in any event!

Edward Reiss said...

natamll,

I would say that if Calvin teaches the whole Christ is present, but his human nature is not present, we have a good case for Calvin's dividing the person of Jesus Christ. And this is actually the issue--Calvin and his descendants don't think of the Incarnation in terms of Jesus Christ as a person, except nominally, they think of his humanity as something not essential to Christ. Hence, the "whole Christ" can be omnipresent, but not everything in him is omnipresent. This makes Jesus' human nature something "in" Christ and not essential to his person. This error is due to his commitments to the nature of a Divine-Human person without taking into consideration the divine part of the equation. It's not my fault he whiffed on that, and makes up stories about the sepulcher stone rolling away and back to suit his pre-conceived notions.

"I believe it is you I asked over at Triablogue to explain for me Hebrews 9:14 and pointedly asked if you were personally washed with His "blood"?"

Explain what your question is and I will try and answer it. One does not just "exegete" a passage, as exegesis answers questions as to the passage's meaning.

"Let me ask you with regard to the apparent appearance of Christ, and ask inside that question also where He went after being recoginzed, if it was His "four" part being, flesh, body, soul and Spirit, that was seen in the fiery furnace at Daniel 3?"

This was a miracle. But like Calvin, you are acting like the divinity of Jesus has nothing to tell us about his humanity in his person. No one said of Daniel the fullness of the divinity dwells in him bodily. No one said the Word became Daniel. So, like Calvin, you are framing the question in the wrong way. You are asking "what" about Jesus' body by allowing all other human bodies to define what the limits of a human body is, when you need to be asking "who" is it that is omnipresent etc. Jesus is not Daniel or Ezekiel.

natamllc said...

ED,

you might be undermining my position?

Let me ask for clarification, what do you think I mean about the Christ, the Person present in the furnace that miraculous day? Was it a Deity phantom or a real Person like the three friends of Daniel?

My point in asking you about Hebrews 9 was to flush out your understanding as to "how" any one of us is being "washed" with that human Blood undoubtedly spilt that wonderful yet horrifying day of Christ's Good Friday execution to wit both God Our Heavenly Father shared as much anquish as God the Holy Spirit did all the while Jesus comes across as One who looked beyond what followed with "Joy"! Seems there was a bit of a contradiction between the Three except by the Faith once delivered to the Saints, us included, we come to grips with the reality of Their Exceedingly Great Love for us so that we too were born again to this Living Hope!

1Pe 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
1Pe 1:4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you,
1Pe 1:5 who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

Rhology said...

Edward,

I explained what I meant by that CHrist is omnipresent already. Let me try again. He is omnipresent in that He is omniscient and -potent, and His Spirit is everywhere and sees everything.
And yet YOU are acting like a Docetist, acting like His human body doesn't matter. It's more like a ghost, a phantom, a mist that can be everywhere and yet be totally undetectable, have no mass, have no volume, no extension in space. I refute this Docetic garbage and say that Christ is as much God AND as much man now as He was when He was age 30 in Galilee.
You have not answered my question about Col 2:9 and Christ's incarnate time on Earth yet. Please do so.


I donlt have an "explanation"

Which is what I predicted in my last comment.
So, fine - I don't have an explanation for how Jesus is God and yet was limited to a human body. It's a mystery. Sauce for the goose, sauce for the gander.


the most amusing of which is that the stone roled away and then rolled back

OK. I don't have any comment on this. I don't have a problem with JEsus teleporting, as I've said I don't know how many times. It's being in more than one place simultaneously that is the huge problem. Why not stop flitting around the issue? Why keep bringing up teleportation? And as for the doors being locked, show me one verse that says DEFINITIVELY PRECISELY how Jesus came into the room. I'm just saying it's not specific. You're making a big deal about nothing.


Jesus said "And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age".

You've taken on a nasty habit of repeating assertions just refuted, like you're behind one comment or sthg. Respond to what I said about the spiritual and real.


Peace,
Rhology

Edward Reiss said...

natamllc,

"Was it a Deity phantom or a real Person like the three friends of Daniel?"

I am not sure what you mean by "real person". It sounds like for you a "real person" means one of flesh and blood. Is that true? If so, it was an angelic being, probably the Son of God before he was boen of the Virgin Mary.

Re: Heb 9:4, I receive the "sprinkling" every time I am justified and believe the Gospel.

natamllc said...

ED,

hmmmmm? Like Rhology, it seems you are dodging me?

Maybe not and we just have to refine our ability to communicate and understand one another? Fair enough.

Yes, I do not believe a phantom appeared. I believe that is one of the many Christologies of Our Lord, the Son of God, Who is coequal with the Father and the Holy Spirit, yet able, like the Angels, to have manifested miraculously at that time.

In my humble opinion, for you to claim Him as a phantom argues that the three men morphed into some sort of Heavenly Body, that Resurrection Body momentarily and that is why their physical bodies were not incinerated like the six or more servants of the king who in a fit of anger and rage ordered them incinerated in the fiery furnace.

?

I am at a loss here? How does this verse apply to Hebrews 9:14 or did you not at the number 1 in front of the number 4 above?:::>

Heb 9:4 having the golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant covered on all sides with gold, in which was a golden urn holding the manna, and Aaron's staff that budded, and the tablets of the covenant.

Supposing that was a typo, 4 should have been 14, I would like to understand what you mean by this sentence?:

".... I receive the "sprinkling" every time I am justified and believe the Gospel."

Edward Reiss said...

Rhology,

"I explained what I meant by that CHrist is omnipresent already. Let me try again. He is omnipresent in that He is omniscient and -potent, and His Spirit is everywhere and sees everything."

No, you deny the person Jesus Christ, the God-man in two natures, is omnipresent. You are dividing the person of Christ. Now, I don't think you really deny the deity of Jesus Christ, but your doctrine, if followed consistently, would mean you do so. God is omnipresent etc. as three persons, and since the person Jesus Christ is omnipresent that should say something about his humanity, too. And as I explained, this does not entail a mixture of natures, but that the personal union means that e.g. God died on the cross for us.

"It's more like a ghost, a phantom, a mist that can be everywhere and yet be totally undetectable, have no mass, have no volume, no extension in space.“

No, I just have a wider view of what God can do than Calvin does, and you do. Suppose Jesus multiplied his flesh as necessary, and made it small so you couldn't see it? Because of your naturalistic philosophy, you would simply have to deny it so. That, BTW, is an "explanation", but it is not a doctrine--just like ubiquity.

Now, we go back to the doors, where you are forced to either say the doors are opened (no, you didn't "refute" this...) or that Jesus teleported. The first is not in Scripture, and the second means Jesus' body disappeared, making his flesh like a coat he can put on or take off at will. That Jesus can pass through doors does not make him immaterial--any more than my passing through water makes me less material.

"So, fine - I don't have an explanation for how Jesus is God and yet was limited to a human body. It's a mystery. Sauce for the goose, sauce for the gander."

There is no contradiction in my saying I don't know exactly how Jesus' human nature can be everywhere and that I believe his human nature is everywhere. There are several "explanations" I could give. However, your argument is based on understanding human nature, and drawing exegetical conclusions from this understanding. Part of this understanding is that the finite cannot contain the infinite (for then it would burst or become infinite itself...), which Col 2:9 directly contradicts. Just look at the similarity of these questions:

Can a human body contain infinite power?

Can a human body be everywhere?

You will no doubt answer "yes" for the first question, and "no" for the second, and the reasons why will be totally arbitrary because the second contradicts your theological and philosophical commitments.

Edward Reiss said...

natamllc,

"In my humble opinion, for you to claim Him as a phantom argues that the three men morphed into some sort of Heavenly Body, that Resurrection Body momentarily and that is why their physical bodies were not incinerated like the six or more servants of the king who in a fit of anger and rage ordered them incinerated in the fiery furnace."

This simply does not follow from my post.

natamllc said...

Well, ok then. What do you mean, is Jesus a phantom Deity who did all that for the three humans?

Rhology said...

Edward,

No, you deny the person Jesus Christ, the God-man in two natures, is omnipresent.

Insofar that He self-limited and self-added a human nature, yes. Not that omnipresence apart from omniscience and omnipotence has a whole lot of meaning, honestly, and He has both of those attributes.
And like I mentioned, YOU are acting like a Docetist, acting like His human body doesn't matter. It's more like a ghost, a phantom, a mist that can be everywhere and yet be totally undetectable, have no mass, have no volume, no extension in space. I refute this Docetic garbage and say that Christ is as much God AND as much man now as He was when He was age 30 in Galilee.



You are dividing the person of Christ.

You keep SAYING that, but you never SHOW it. Since *I'm* the one saying that Christ's human nature and divine nature are inseparably joined into His unilocational person, and since *you're* the one erasing His human nature when you multilocate Him, I don't see how any reasonable person would agree with you.


since the person Jesus Christ is omnipresent that should say something about his humanity, too.

It does. Once again you haven't even responded to the previous comment. It's a really bad habit, Edward.


And as I explained, this does not entail a mixture of natures, but that the personal union means that e.g. God died on the cross for us.


You asserted it, but it's inconsistent with the rest of your position.


Suppose Jesus multiplied his flesh as necessary, and made it small so you couldn't see it?

That would be sthg that human bodies don't do. Adding divine attributes to the human nature. Monophysitism...


Because of your naturalistic philosophy

Hahaha. Anyone who reads my blog in which I rip naturalism up one side and down the other will know how laughable this is.


where you are forced to either say the doors are opened

The...passage...doesn't...specify...how...He...entered.


the second means Jesus' body disappeared, making his flesh like a coat he can put on or take off at will.

?? You mean like Elijah? Or Enoch? Or Philip the Evangelist? Or Peter when he walked on water?
For the 4th time or so, I don't see a problem with teleportation. Why don't you argue for the actual problem, that of multilocality of a human body?


which Col 2:9 directly contradicts. Just look at the similarity of these questions:

I repeat my challenge to deal with my answer to this. From two comments ago.


Can a human body contain infinite power?

I'll repeat my answer again: Did it when Jesus was walking around in Galilee? Answer that and you have my answer.


Can a human body be everywhere?

See my comment on Docetism above.

Please, I want to advance the conversation, but you're not making it any easier for anyone with your repetition.

Grace and peace,
Rhology

Edward Reiss said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Edward Reiss said...

Rhology,

Repeating "you are are acting like a Docetist" again and again does not make it so. This "Docetist" flap is a cheap rhetorical ploy in place of an argument because your Christology, which you inherited from Calvin, cannot give an account of all things bein under Jesus Christ as a single person without qualification. You constantly have to say in effect "his divinity is here, while his humanity is there..." and maintain he is a single, undivided person. If you assert a nature is present without a person yuo assert an abstraction in place of the second person of the Trinity. It would be as if I stated you are present in Indonesia because human nature is present there, too.

Anyway, I responded to your argument (which you share with Calvin) that the doors were not locked when Jesus entered the room. Your response?

"Docetist!"

I responded to your argument that teleportation means Jesus was without a body for an instant. Your response?
"Docetist!"

Do you have an argument besides an assertion about Jesus' body and an ancient heresy? If so I don't see it.

Anyway, I was wondering if, when the Scriptures say Jesus Christ was exhalted, glorified etc, you believe that this speaks of him as pertains to his human nature or his divine nature? If you say the former, it means you deny the full deity of the Son, if the altter, you have a lot of explaining to do. For instance we read in Ephesians 4:10 we read "He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things." (emph. added)

Unless you divide the person, you have to admit that St. Paul says Jesus Christ, as a human being, fills all things.

Edward Reiss said...

Rhology,

ER: "Can a human body contain infinite power?"


RHO: "I'll repeat my answer again: Did it when Jesus was walking around in Galilee? Answer that and you have my answer."

Answering a question with a question is not an answer, it is a question. Changing the question to one more amenable is a debater's trick--used by the one who cannot answer the question.

If you deny the fullness of the deity was in Jesus Christ bodily, say so. If not, change your Christology.

"You mean like Elijah? Or Enoch? Or Philip the Evangelist? Or Peter when he walked on water? "

Elijah didn't "disappear" he was taken onto heaven, not the same thing. I answered this, specifically about Phillip.

"Please, I want to advance the conversation, but you're not making it any easier for anyone with your repetition."

It seems to me you want to say "Docetist!" when the data goes against you, and avoid giving answers about passages which don't fit within your pre-conceived framework. I however have replied to your arguments re: teleportation, doors being unlocked later or "it just happened that way..." I even showed you that matter passing through other matter does not make the thing passing through immaterial--do you walk through air, water? I suppose you are a phantom then.

Your response though, as always, is "Docetist!"

Rhology said...

Edward,

But you ARE acting like a Docetist in your rampant minimisation of Christ's human nature to suit your preconceived notions of Eucharist. To you, Christ's human body is somehow massless, volumeless, unidentifiable on the molecular level, able to be everywhere at all times, extensible and multipliable unto infinity apparently. Hmmm, that sounds alot like SPIRIT, not man! What else do you want me to call it? I could call it monophysite, but it's not orthodox.


your Christology, which you inherited from Calvin, cannot give an account of all things bein under Jesus Christ as a single person without qualification.

1) You keep saying that but you never argue for it.
2) As if I care what Calvin said if he's wrong.


You constantly have to say in effect "his divinity is here, while his humanity is there..."

WHAT? **YOU** are saying that! *I'M* the one saying that HE, THE PERSON, is there. He's there, whole, unseparated. YOU keep breaking Him apart. How blind.


If you assert a nature is present without a person

I challenge you to show ONE PLACE where I've done that.



I responded to your argument

Actually, you've been at least one comment behind most of this thread, preferring to repeat yourself than to argue. You can just keep repeating that I haven't replied, or you can advance the convo. Your choice.


I responded to your argument that teleportation means Jesus was without a body for an instant.

Now you're switching the goalposts to make a strawman for me.
1) You never said that Jesus was w/o a body for an instant.
2) If you did, that's ridiculous. What happened to His human body?
3) It's also ridiculous b/c you assume that God can't teleport instantaneously.
4) I guess Philip was also w/o a body in Acts. So how can I partake of his body and blood too?


you believe that this speaks of him as pertains to his human nature or his divine nature?

Both. JESUS was glorified. What is wrong with you? See? YOU keep dividing Him up!



ER: "Can a human body contain infinite power?"


RHO: "I'll repeat my answer again: Did it when Jesus was walking around in Galilee? Answer that and you have my answer."

Answering a question with a question is not an answer, it is a question.


Another complete avoidance from you. It's getting pretty sad at this point.
Seriously, examine yourself and start answering, Edward. I'm begging you.

Peace,
Rhology

Rhology said...

Let me clarify something. I'm not trying to say you are a monophysite, nor am I trying to say that you are a Docetist, OK? I apologise for not expressing that well.
I'm just trying to say that THIS PART of your doctrine is best classified as a Docetic idea, or at best a monophysite idea. But of course I'd think you inconsistent (blessedly so) on that, so that you don't spread that around to most of your doctrine as a whole.
Does that make sense? I'm trying to say obviously that I think you're wrong, but I'm not trying to throw the h-word around.

Edward Reiss said...

Rhology,

I don't think it is necessary to say that if Jesus' human nature shares properties it therefore becomes a divine nature. From a philosophical standpoint, it is possible that accidents were added to Christ's human nature which it received from the personal union with the divine nature. An accident does not change a nature so it would not mix the natures. In a similar way, sin adheres to human nature because of the fall, but it is not part of human nature proper. I don't think you would want to say therefore human nature "is" sin.

Rhology said...

-- I don't think you would want to say therefore human nature "is" sin.

Correct, I would not say that.

Edward Reiss said...

Rhology,

"Correct, I would not say that." (The human anture is sin)

Well then, you have undermined your own argument that Jesus being omnipresent nullifies his humanity. All that has to be said is that a quality of deity, in this case omnipresence, is applied to Jesus' human nature without changing the nature. In effect, it is the opposite of our sinful "nature", in that sin is not beneficial. I would like to hear a coherent response from you on that.

You have more or less dropped the "teleportation" argument, as far as I can tell. My response to it was that it means Jesus' body essentially disappeared, which means he did not have a body, even for an instant, which is a heresy. I have not heard a coherent reply from you on that. DO yo ustill believe teleportation is a viable explanation?

WHen you claimed the doors to the room in which the Apostles were staying were unlocled later and that was how Jesus "appeared", I replied that is not what the Scriptures say. I have not heard a coherent reply from you on that.

When you used Philip to show teleportation is a possible explanation for Jesus' arrival in the room, I replied that the passage can be read as his being transported through the air. I have not heard a coherent reply from you on that.

In short, I have answered your objections, and all you have done is reassert your position and claim you have thus proven something.

I have cited several Scriptures, and your reply is more or less to "spiritualize" the verses in question. So I would like to ask why we cannot spiritualize the resurrection, if what ever offends reason has to be explained according to reason.

Rhology said...

Refusing to say that the human nature is sin is not the same as confusing divine attributes such as nonmateriality, nonextension in space, nonvolume, nontangibility, and multilocality, with human nature. Not even close.


in this case omnipresence, is applied to Jesus' human nature without changing the nature.

Once again it's obvious who's separating Jesus out. I'm keeping Him one person, you're talking about parsing between natures.


You have more or less dropped the "teleportation" argument, as far as I can tell.

Honestly, are you even reading what's gone before? Where has teleportation EVER been a point of contention between us? You quote me one time where I've disagreed about ANYthing about it, except for the bizarre "teleportation means He's without a body for an instant" assertion you made up out of thin air.


DO yo ustill believe teleportation is a viable explanation?

Yes. Yes. Yes. How many times do I have to say it?
Yes Edward, I have ALWAYS considered teleportation as a viable explanation for Christ's entry into the room. ALWAYS CONSIDERED IT VIABLE.
OK? Sheesh, man, I don't know how to communicate with you sometimes.
All I've said is that OTHER EXPLANATIONS ARE ALSO VIABLE, and you have no argument except to ridicule them. Ridicule is a sorry substitute for an argument.


were staying were unlocled later and that was how Jesus "appeared", I replied that is not what the Scriptures say.

Unlocked WHEN HE ARRIVED. And the Scriptures don't say He teleported either. Maybe it would help if you read the passage instead of consulting your apparently warped memory of it.

Anyway, I find your claims of "you haven't responded" laughable. Self-awareness is apparently not your strong suit.

Grace and peace,
Rhology

Edward Reiss said...

Rhology,

"Honestly, are you even reading what's gone before? Where has teleportation EVER been a point of contention between us? You quote me one time where I've disagreed about ANYthing about it, except for the bizarre "teleportation means He's without a body for an instant" assertion you made up out of thin air."

Right here:

"It says nothing about HOW He came in. Maybe He created a key and let Himself in; maybe He knocked and they let Him in; maybe He passed through the door via "teleportation"; the text does not tell us. Obviously He can perform miracles such as walking on water and perhaps passing through walls, disappearing right in front of two disciples at dinnertime on the road to Emmaus, etc, but we never see Christ in more than one place at any one time."

It is in the second post on this thread, from you. So, yes, I have been reading what has gone before. And I would say I didn’t make it up out of thin air. It is, as I said, a solution you offered but have not retracted.

"Yes, and then they unlocked it for Him. Or He unlocked it. Or He teleported - Philip the Evangelist teleported; that doesn't make his human body somehow divine, does it? "

This is fom the third comment, again, by you.

"But like I said, it doesn't bother me at all to say that He teleported. Are you going to answer what I identified as the main problem?"

This is from the fifth comment, again by you.

"I don't have a problem with JEsus teleporting, as I've said I don't know how many times."

Well, you get the idea.

And you still have not given a coherent answer as to the "bizarre" idea that teleportation means Jesus didn't have a body. That notion is how I argue against your contention that teleportation is a valid explanation. Calling it "bizarre" only makes it look like you don't have an explanation. By eliminating your objections I am showing your objections are not worth considering upon further reflection.

I think you need to clear this up before we go forward, especially because you accused me of not reading the thread, when I have been and it is apparent you have not been reading the thread. In fact, this is a good microcosm of how you have been arguing--vigorous assertion of your point without responding to critiques, and changing the meaning of words to suit your POV.

Rhology said...

More floundering about from you. This is getting a little tiresome.
Further, precisely what word have I changed?


And I would say I didn’t make it up out of thin air. It is, as I said, a solution you offered but have not retracted.

Go back and look at what I said you made up out of thin air. Then check what you provided as an answer to my charge. Notice how they don't match.
Further, notice how I never said I had a problem with Jesus teleporting.


And you still have not given a coherent answer as to the "bizarre" idea that teleportation means Jesus didn't have a body.

What answer do you think is required? You've asserted it; YOU argue for it.

Edward Reiss said...

Rhology,

"Further, notice how I never said I had a problem with Jesus teleporting."

Which is why it is a "point of contention", despite your claims to the contrary.

I have responded to every one of your critiques, you have not responded to the rejoinders. This is, I believe, because at some level you realize you don't have an an answer--except to say "spiritual" when the words of Scripture don't fit your paradigm.

It is not possible for Jesus to teleport because that means he did not have a body while teleporting. And I find it interesting that you will entertain any theory, including teleportation, except Jesus can pass through walls and doors. That would just be too much for him, but disappearing and reappearing is OK. A rather subjective approach, it seems to me. At least you have not advanced Calvin's yo-yo stone in front of the tomb. :-D

You have not responded to this except to say it was never an issue of contention--which an even elementary examination of this thread shows to be simply untrue.

When it is pointed out that your own words refute your claims about what you argued, you just say you really didn't say that--no matter what the words say.

Come to think of it:

"This is my body..." really means "This is not not my body...". "Baptism now saves you..." really means "Baptism does not save you..." "All the fullness of the deity dwells in him bodily" really means "part of the deity does not dwell in him bodily".

You can have that.

Rhology said...

I don't grant that teleportation robs one of one's body. Make the argument.
As for "passing thru walls and doors" - what do you think teleportation is?

Anyway, you pass on later in the comment to argumenta ad incredulum. You, sir, can have THOSE.

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