Some pages back a person was defined as a complex of propositions. A man is what he thinks, for as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he. G. Clark, The Incarnation, 64.
Accordingly the proposal is that a man is a congeries, a system, sometimes an agglomeration or miscellany, but at any rate a collection of thoughts. A man is what he thinks: and no two men are precisely the same combination. G. Clark, The Trinity, 106.
Several romantically inclined students, and a few professors as well, have complained that “this makes your wife merely a set of propositions.” Well, so it does. This suits me, for I am a set of propositions too. And those who complain are as they think. Is a person to be considered unconscious, mute substance? Why is he not conscious thoughts? Of course, one may just say “thoughts,” for thoughts cannot be unconscious. Ibid. 106.
i) Let us pause for a moment to consider the implications of this. If a man is a collection of thoughts, a set of propositions; if a man is identical with his thoughts, then a man is a purely mental entity.
At a minimum, this commits Gordon Clark to anthropological idealism. Now, perhaps Clark limits his idealistic ontology to God, angels, and men, while switching to dualism or physicalism for the subhuman order. But for man and above, metaphysical idealism is the reigning ontology.
ii) Clark’s idealistic anthropology in turn entails an idealistic Christology. According to his idealistic anthropology, men don’t have physical bodies. Their “bodies” are, at best, mental projections.
In that event, the Son never became incarnate, was never crucified, or resurrected.
At most, the hypostatic union would involve a union between the Son and a human soul. But on Clark’s idealistic anthropology, Jesus never had a physical body. You can’t square that with Clark’s proposition definition of a human being. On his view, a man is constituted by his thoughts.
Hence, the Gospels are reduced to allegories. Berkeleyan allegories.
iii) Another odd consequence of his claim is that no man can be asleep or be in a coma. For we are what we think, and thoughts are conscious. How he accounts for the illusion of unconscious states I can’t say.
iv) If you combine Clark’s idealism with his doctrine of creation, this would logically lead to pantheistic idealism. If God is the Creator, and man is a collection of thoughts, then man is a collection of divine thoughts.
v) For folks who pride themselves on their orthodoxy and rationality, it’s striking how readily the Clarkians succumb to the most glaring heresies and absurdities.
For all their affectations of rationality, they are blinded by the personality cult of Gordon Clark.