Apostate anti-Trinitarian Dale Tuggy did two new posts in response to me:
One’s normal life functions are relative to one’s kind. Yes, they did think back then that God is alive, that he enjoys divine life-processes (whether temporal or timeless).
i) This is one of Tuggy's trademark equivocations. That's his modus operandi. Yes, Bible writers say God is the "living" God. That stands in contract to the idols and nonexistent deities of paganism.
But that hardly means "alive" in the sense that alive is an antonym for "dead", where "alive" and "dead" mean biological life and biological death.
ii) What's a timeless process? A process is temporal. A serial event.
iii) Tuggy imagines that ancient Jews thought God had life-functions and life-processes? What is that even supposed to mean? A divine metabolism?
The triad is interesting because many will want to affirm all three. But on the face of it, they ought not, since it can’t be that all three are true. One sort of reply is showing that the three could all be true after all.
Once again, the truth or falsity of the propositions that comprise a triad are not what make it a consistent or inconsistent triad. Tuggy repeats his category error. In principle, all three propositions could be false, but be logically consistent with each other.
Nope. What died is Methuselah, the human person. The dier is not at issue; it’s him. Yes, this will understood to have different implications on different views of human persons.
Tuggy is simply reiterating his equivocation. Sure, we can say the decedent is Methuselah. But if we wish to be philosophically precise about what died, that's specific to his body, and not to Methuselah in every respect.
Again, there is no ambiguity about who or what dies. It is the man Methuselah.
But according to substance dualism, that statement surely is ambiguous. Since Methuselah is not reducible to his body, then it's mereologically inaccurate to say that Methuselah dies. It's okay to say that as a matter of popular usage, but a part is not equivalent to the whole, especially when the whole is a composite of two categorically different kinds of substances.
So no, the dualist should not say that “Bob died” means “Bob’s body died.” It does not mean that.
It's revealing to see Tuggy's aversion to philosophical precision. Evidently, his fanatical commitment to unitarianism requires him to champion slipshod formulations.
It means that Bob died, which (according to the dualist) involves the separation of soul from body, and normally the dissolution of the latter. And according to everyone, dying is losing all or most of one’s normal life processes.
But according to Tuggy's own definition, the soul didn't lose all or most of its normal life processes, so if Bob is a composite being, and death involves the separation of soul from body, then it's philosophically inaccurate to say "Bob died".
We can say that for ease of reference, since death is something that happens to Bob, just as we can say Bob underwent a tooth extraction or had a haircut. But Tuggy is addicted to the composition fallacy. What's true in reference to a constituent of the whole may not be true of the whole. To say I drank a glass of water doesn't mean oxygen is water or hydrogen is water. Rather, they are only water in combination.
If he just is (we’re assuming) the soul, that soul (= that human being) is the one thing here that can undergo a human death.
i) I didn't equate a human soul with a human being. A discarnate human soul is an incomplete human being.
ii) I didn't say the soul can undergo death. Just the opposite: only a body can die. Or, if you prefer, you can say death is when body and soul are decoupled. But that's because the body ceases to function.
“All of him” here is not supposed to be an additional human person who might die. Of course, “Methuselah died” does not imply that all parts of Meth died. But it does imply that the whole Methuselah died!
Tuggy repeats the composition fallacy. Methuselah died in the sense that Methuselah is the possessor of the body that expired. But that doesn't mean what happened to his body happened to Methuselah in toto.
Specious, yes. That is not even apparently an inconsistent triad, unlike the one I’ve been discussing.
Tuggy's original presentation was based on the apparent inconsistency in saying "the immortal dies". My parallel triad mimics his own illustration.
You’ve granted that the person just is the soul.
i) I never said that. To begin with, I've avoided the word "person" since that has lots of baggage which isn't germane to the issue at hand. Rather, I've used the more neutral term "individual".
ii) Moreover, I never said a human being just is his soul. Indeed, I explicitly said a disembodied soul is an incomplete human being. Tuggy is such a careless thinker.
So contrary to scriptural teaching and common sense, you’re asserting that all humans are always immortal.
That piggybacks on Tuggy's equivocal misrepresentation of my stated position. But there is a sense in which all humans are always immortal. That's not contrary to scriptural teaching and common sense if we bother to define our terms.
It doesn’t help to say that the body dies.
It helps if you wish to speak with analytical clarity.
Sure, even if the soul is immortal, the body may rot and fall apart. But it does not die a human death, the death of a human self – not on dualism, which we’re assuming.
His syntax is ambiguous, but Tuggy seems to be saying the body doesn't die a human death (rather than the soul). And what reason is there to accept his denial?
I note in passing that this requires the natures to be concrete beings. Abstracta can neither die nor be alive.
I already anticipated that objection in my initial response to Tuggy ("The Immortal dies!") when I carefully defined my terms: Human nature isn't something a human being is, but has. A human being is a concrete exemplification or property instance of a human nature. If we view human nature as an abstract universal, then to be human is to be a concrete particular. By "concrete," I mean existing in space and/or time. Angels exist in time, but not in space. Humans naturally exist in both, although humans can exist in time but not in space (the intermediate state).
Is Tuggy too addlebrained to keep track of what I said? If he's going to interact with my position, is it asking too much to pay attention to what I actually said?
If God is timeless and spaceless (my own position), then in that respect God is analogous to abstract objects.
And I agree that God can't die or be alive–in the biological sense. God isn't that kind of being.
“Jesus died” is a claim about Jesus. In effect, the view you’re suggesting is just denying that Jesus died. Not the NT view of course.
Is Tuggy playing dumb or is he really that obtuse? Sure, "Jesus died". But the question is how to unpack that claim, given substance dualism as well as the hypostatic union. A two-word phrase is hardly exhaustive.
Perhaps you want to say that “Jesus died” should be counted as true because his body…
As if I haven't been explicit on that point.
– or maybe you mean to say here, is human nature – died.
I explicitly denied that in my initial response. Once more, is Tuggy too scatterbrained to keep track of my stated position?
i) All J are D. (All things which are Jesus are things which have died.)ii) All J are F. (All things which are Jesus are things which are fully divine.)iii) No F is D. (No thing which is fully divine is a thing which has died.)
(i) is false. All things which are Jesus include his immortal soul and his divine nature. Those things never died. Those things are incapable of dying.
(ii) is false. All things which are Jesus include his human body and human soul. Those are not divine.
"All things" which are Jesus comprise disparate things. Not all of a kind. Neither death nor divinity are true of "all things" that are Jesus, but only some things that are Jesus. A subset of "things" that are Jesus.
In (iii), notice Tuggy's illicit slide from "all things" to "a thing" (or "no thing"). He abruptly collapses a plurality of things into a singular thing. Tuggy is addicted to systematic equivocations.
If “God” is systematically ambiguous between: the Trinity, the Father, the Son, and the Spirit, then user of “God” would (normally) fail to unambiguously refer to any of those. If Steve has, say, three kids, and I go around talking about “Steve’s kid” – where nothing about the context fixes the referent as one of them – I fail to refer to either Huey, Duey, or Louie, or even to the group of them.
You only fail to refer X if you unsuccessfully attempt to refer to X.
No NT term was then understood to mean the tripersonal God. This is just a fact about the terminology of that era. But what Mr. Hayes says here is trivially true if by “Trinity” here he just means this group: Father, Son, Spirit. The NT writers of course refer to each of these using various terms. What they do not do, is refer to all three together as a single being. They have no singular referring term for the triune god. By the time of Augustine, catholics have acquired such a term: “Trinity.” (Earlier, c. 180-370, this was used only as a plural referring term, for God, his Son, and his Spirit/spirit.)Any term, of any kind, “technical” or not – which was then understood to refer to Father, Son, and Spirit as being one god.
Suppose NT writers used the term "Trinity". But that would be opaque without definition. The Bible isn't written like a systematic theology, with complex abstract definitions and formulations. Church fathers like Augustine don't just use a "singular referring term for the triune God". Rather, that's prefaced by lots of background exposition to explain the terminology. But the NT is a different genre.
Let the readers judge. An ill-tempered blogger vs. a couple of leading trinitarian scholars – Harris and Rahner. For now, I’m happy to appeal to excerpt and hostile (to my theology) witnesses.There is no fallacy in so doing.
I didn't say it was fallacious for Tuggy to cite them. The fallacy, rather, is for him to claim it's scholarly for him to selectively agree with them, but unscholarly for me to selectively agree with them.
The evidence is strong though. Sample: writers swapping out “God” with “the Father” for purely stylistic reasons. eg. John 1:18, John 6:45-6, Acts 2:33, 1 John 3:1, 2 John 1:9. This only works in a non-confusing way when “God” normally means the Father.
That begs the question of whether the reason for the variation is merely "stylistic".
The difference between Harris and me, is probably something like 4- 5 passages (where he thinks theos refers to Jesus but I think it refers to the Father) – out of many hundreds of passages. Not a significant % difference, no.
Tuggy missed the point, even though I explained it to him. I don't contend that there are many NT passages which designate Jesus as "God".
Because the Gospels record the earthly ministry of Christ, when the Gospels talk about "God", that normally refers to someone other that Jesus to differentiate the Deity in heaven from the Incarnate Son. So the terminology will draw that distinction.
But although, in this context, the word "God" will most often be used in contrast to Jesus, that doesn't imply that the word "God" is used to designate the Father in contrast to the Spirit. For the Father and the Spirit are both in heaven, in contrast to the earthly ministry of the Son.
Tuggy's fallacy is to infer that because the word "God" typically doesn't refer to the Son, it must refer to the Father instead. But this is not a process of elimination between two candidates, for there are three candidates. The alternative to Jesus isn't the Father, for the alternative to Jesus can be both the Father and the Spirit of God. In the Gospels, both the Father and the Spirit are in heaven, in contrast to the Son on earth–except when the Spirit of God descends from heaven to earth.
I agree that Jesus is “the” Son – a Son in a sense in which a Christian is not. But it is just special pleading to suggest that NT writers would be “deceptive” unless they meant Jesus to be divine. They shout uniformly that he’s the unique Messiah, which seems to be synonymous with “the Son of God” – see Matthew 26:63, Luke 4:41, Matthew 16:16, John 11:27, John 20:31. And yet, he is also a man. Again, it is catholic tradition (“He’s not ‘true Son’ unless he’s divine!”) vs. the NT. And the “sola scriptura” guy takes the catholic side.
Two basis problems with Tuggy's claim:
i) In Johannine theology, the Son is the mirror image of the Father. Same thing in Hebrews. In that setting, sonship indicates resemblance. Two of a kind. Like Father/like Son.
ii) In Biblical theology generally, you have the paradigmatic metaphor of royal succession, whether "God" is to the aging king as messiah is to the crown prince. On this metaphor, what makes the prince the rightful heir is that he is the biological son and, indeed, firstborn of the king.
By analogy, we need to keep both on the same ontological plane. A divine monarch and a human successor destroys the parity within the metaphor, and the analogy must carry over at an equivalent level. A prince is the same kind of being as the king whom he succeeds. Indeed, as son, he's more like his father than anyone else.