Monday, May 28, 2018

Clone soldiers

Apostate Dale Tuggy continues his back and forth with me. Before responding to the specifics, I'd like to make a general point: I've been describing the incarnation of a timeless Deity because I'm stating my own view of the Incarnation, and I take the classical theistic view that God is timeless. 

However, a doctrine of the Incarnation doesn't require a timeless Deity. In theory, there are several different positions you can take on God's relation to time:

1. God is timeless

2. Time is a divine attribute. Time is coeternal with God. God has an infinite past.

3. Time is a product of creation. God was timeless apart from creation, but enters time at the moment of creation.

4. God enters time at the moment of the Incarnation (i.e. conception of Jesus).

5. God is both inside and outside of time. 

I opt for (1), but a doctrine of the Incarnation doesn't rise or fall on that particular refinement. 

The heart of my objection was that his Incarnation theory seems to involve three Jesuses, three selves which might be called “Jesus” or “the Son of God” – the Logos (an eternal god, an individual with all the divine attributes), the man, and the composite of the two. What does he say that actually addresses this charge?
First, Hays stakes his claim on the composite – that which consists of Logos+soul+body.
Dale is at liberty to use his preferred terminology, but by the same token I reserve the right to use my preferred terminology. As I said before, when referring to the ontological Trinity I talk about the Son (or Son of God) rather than the Logos since Logos is an economic title. 
This “human nature” – what sorts of changes would it have to undergo? Being conceived, then born. Sleeping and rising. Getting hungry, eating, feeling full. Getting mad then calming down. Feeling sad then feeling better. Making choices and carrying them out. Learning new things. Growing up mentally and physically. Talking to God and sometimes hearing back. Receiving direction from God and then acting on it. Eventually, dying. Only a man, a real human being can do all these things.
1) Actually, as an open theist, Dale believes that some of these things are true of God: Getting mad then calming down. Feeling sad then feeling better. Learning new things.
2) Conversely, a classical theist believes that God makes choices and carries them out.
3) Moreover, generic orthodox Christology affirms that Jesus is a man, a real human being. 
What Hays, following catholic traditions, is calling “the human nature of Christ” is what any of us would call a man, a human self. Hence, we’re up to two Jesuses – the man, and the combination of the man and the Logos (in his view, an individual with all the divine attributes – so, what any of us would normally call “a god”). And then, of course, there is that Logos – the eternal Son of Trinity theories.
So yeah, there are your three Jesuses. We could call them the man, the god, and the godman, or if you like Jesus, the Logos, and the Composite Christ. How do we know they’re three? They’re different from each other. The man (that combo of body and soul) started to exist roughly two thousand years ago. The Logos always existed. And the Composite Christ, unlike either of the others, has both a “divine nature” and a “human nature.”
Let’s see if Hays does anything to try to get the number back down to one, where it should be.
1) That's not three or even two Jesuses. In generic orthodox Christology, the Son asarkos isn't Jesus. 
2) Although a combo of body and soul is sufficient to be a man or male human being, it's insufficient to be Jesus. 
i) For one thing, every human male is a combo of body and soul, but every human male isn't Jesus. To say Jesus is a man doesn't entail that any particular man is Jesus.
ii) In generic orthodox Christology, the human nature of Christ (body and soul) is a necessary but insufficient condition to be Jesus. Jesus isn't just a human being. Rather, "Jesus" is the whole package: the divine Son Incarnate. Not just part of the package. 
iii) In Dale's humanitarian unitarianism, Jesus is merely human, so that's one Jesus from his own viewpoint, but that doesn't represent the position he's laboring to critique.  
He’s saying that the god and the godman are the same self. It’s hard to see how that could be, when they’re not the same being! 
1. "Same self" is Dale's lingo, not mine.
2. There's a conceptual distinction between God in himself and God's economic relations. A distinction between necessity and contingency.
That's not unique to the Incarnation. For instance, there's a distinction between God in the actual world and God in possible worlds.  
Remember, the first existed long before the second. The first isn’t composite, but the second is. And he can’t say that the first changed into the second, as in his view, the first can’t change.
Why does Dale find that so difficult to grasp? Take Yahweh as the Lord of Abraham. That's a contingent relation. It's the same Yahweh, yet Yahweh exists necessarily, whereas "Yahweh as the Lord of Abraham" is a contingent fact. While it's impossible for Yahweh not to exist, it's possible for Yahweh not to be Abraham's Lord, since Abraham's nonexistence is possible. Moreover, Yahweh could have chosen someone other than Abraham. 
These are basic modal distinctions. Unless Dale is a necessitarian, he must acknowledge the validity of modal distinctions in reference to God. 
The union produced a complex person. In a sense, Jesus has a human mind and a divine mind, but the relation is asymmetrical…
He tells us that the Logos coming together with the man (“human nature”) “produced” the godman, and then he expostulates on this godman having two minds. But this godman is in his words, a “person,” and it doesn’t seem like it’d be the same person as either the Logos or the man, because it’s not the same being as either. 
Notice that Dale drops my qualification. I didn't say the union produced a "person", simpliciter. Rather, I said the union produced a "complex person". So, yes, it's more than either side in isolation. 
In his view, the Logos existed long before the other two 
No, in my view, the Son did not exist before the other two. The Son preexists Jesus. The Son preexists the human nature. 
Once again, there is no Jesus apart from the Incarnation. The Incarnation doesn't add Jesus to the Son. 
so it ain’t either of them. And the godman, in his view, has two minds, but the man (what he calls “the human nature”) in his view does not ever have two minds. So, he has three selves in this picture, three Jesuses.
Once again, "the man" isn't Jesus. In generic orthodox Christology, Jesus is more than a man. "Jesus" is the complete package. All the constituent elements in combination. 
Dale keeps demonstrating that he never understood the basics of generic orthodox Christology. It's not that he rejects it. It's that he's persistently unable to accurately represent it. 
Jesus just is the composite. There is no Jesus apart from the composite. There is no Jesus separate from the Incarnation. There is no human Jesus who preexisted the Incarnation, who existed apart from the Son, with whom the Son subsequently formed a union. The Incarnation occurs at the moment of conception. That’s when Jesus comes into being. The Son is ontologically independent of human nature he assumes. The human nature is dependent on the union.
Here, he insists that “Jesus” should mean the composite Christ, the godman. He distinguishes this person from the preexisting Son (the Logos, a god). Hays says that Jesus here comes into being, whereas in his view the Son is eternal. So he embraces two Jesuses here, one which is eternal, and one which comes to exist, as it were, late in time. 
Notice that Dale keeps repeating the same blunder. He suffers from an incorrigible mental block. 
But he wants to stop it there:
Although human nature can, and generally does, exist apart from Incarnation, this individualized human nature only exists in virtue of the Incarnation.
Here, he’s free-wheeling, and the suggestion makes no sense. If there is a union of A and B, this logically presupposes that both A and B exist. So it can’t be that B exists only because of the union. 
They must exist at the time of the union. Which doesn't imply that each one must preexist the union. 
But maybe he’s speaking loosely here, and what he really means is that this “human nature” was brought into being solely for the purpose of this union with the Logos (the eternal Son).
Correct. Take science fiction stories about clone soldiers. Soldiers who are cloned solely for the purpose of supplying a renewable, inexhaustible source of military manpower. 
Be that as it may, remember that this “individualized human nature” is what any person of common sense would call a man...It doesn’t matter if (as Hays speculates) this fellow exists because of the union of that soul and body with the Logos. It exists, and is a different being, and so a different self than the Logos or the Composite Christ. It’s a third Jesus.
Dale is a tape recorder on playback. He reiterates the same equivocations ad nauseam.  
It is the man, the human self who dies, not only his body – whether you think the man is the soul, or the composite formed of soul and body. 
We've been on this merry-go-round before. The music gets to be monotonous. 
But in any case, the NT records the one called “Jesus” undergoing numerous changes. For Hays, “Jesus” must refer to the Composite Christ. But one part of this, the Logos, is fully divine and so (in Hays’s view) can’t change in any way, being timeless. So if the Composite changes, it must be in virtue of the other part, the “human nature.” It is this which undergoes all the changes that a typical human does, short of changing from not-sinning to sinning, and so which must be a man, a human self. Hays has not given us any reason to think that this “human nature” that does all of these things is any thing less than a man.
It's a truism that human nature isn't anything less than human. In generic orthodox Christology, Jesus isn't subhuman. Rather, he's both human and superhuman. 
What people should be wondering is whether or not the Bible really requires more than one Jesus.
If you think that it really does require these three selves, take your New Testament, and locate all the terms like “the Son of God,” “Jesus,” “Christ,” “the Lord Jesus,” and so on – and try to color-code them by which “Jesus” the author must have meant – the man, the god, or the godman. Try to disambiguate all the Jesus-talk there, and see how that goes.
There are passages that describe the Son asarkos. There are passages that describe the Son Incarnate. There is no tertium quid of a "man" Jesus who's not the God-man. 

1 comment:

  1. Can you say hypostatis? I KNEW you could :)

    ReplyDelete