Wednesday, May 30, 2018


Apostate Dale Tuggy is a pain freak. He can never be refuted too often to satiate his masochistic appetite:

To clarify: the objection is not that there are three beings in his theory which one can or must call “Jesus.” A problem like that would be easy to solve. (“I say: only call this one ‘Jesus.'”)

Hays here misinterprets the objection. It’s not that there is more than one on the theory called “Jesus.” So then, to say that we shouldn’t call the Son/Logos before he has a body “Jesus” is irrelevant to the objection.

i) Dale repeatedly and emphatically framed his argument in terms of more than one "Jesus". Indeed, he continues to do that in his latest post. When I respond to him on his own terms, he accuses me of misunderstanding that objection. More like he's having to backpedal after his original argument went down in flames.

ii) Moreover, this isn't just a question of which synonym to use. Rather, it concerns concepts rather than labels. 

Rather, the objection is that his christology entails that hiding behind the apparent one self of the gospels, the human Jesus, there are in fact three selves – again, the man, the godman, and the god (the eternal Son, second Person of the Trinity). If you like, call it the objection that his theory is “Nestorianism on drugs.”

Do you hold to a Chalcedon-inspired christology on which Jesus has “two natures,” a divine and a human one? If so, how do you keep the number of selves in your theory down to one?

Dale neglects to spell out what he means, but what he seems to be gesturing at is that according to Chalcedonian Christology, Jesus is said to unite two natures in one person. But how can one person have two minds? Doesn't that entail two persons?

There is, however, a complication. "Person" is an English translation of the Greek prosopon. The natural tendency of a native English-speaker is to define "person" in the modern  sense (mind, consciousness). 

But that's anachronistic. The question is what it means in patristic usage, whether it has a uniform meaning in patristic usage–and if the meaning varies, whether the usage of one church father should take precedence over others.

Like so many of Dale's arguments, this objection is vitiated by equivocation. If you say Jesus has two minds, that doesn't automatically contradict the creed of Chalcedon unless prosopon meant person in the modern psychological sense (e.g. Descartes, the hard problem of consciousness). 

Of course, by Protestant standards, creeds have no intrinsic authority. They are authoritative insofar as they are true, not vice versa. So Dale's objection is more geared to a Greek Orthodox opponent. 

Depends on the theorist. There is a tradition of saying that Christ is “man” but not “a man.” This is associated with the idea that precisely because of the mysterious union of the Logos with the body and soul, the body and soul don’t combine to form a man in this case (for this would be a second person in the picture). 

That harkens back to debates about whether the human nature of Christ is anhypostatic/enhypostatic. However, I didn't frame my position in those terms. 

If something is complex and is a person, then it is a person. Hays’s point here seems irrelevant to the objection, which does not depend on saying that Christ (in this theory) is a non-complex person.

Dale can't follow his own argument. Suppose, for discussion purposes, that we equate one mind or one "person" with one "self". On that definition, an individual with two minds can't be one "person" or one "self". 

Ah, but it doesn't follow that a "complex person" can't have two minds. It doesn't follow that one individual with two minds can't be a complex person. 

Well, those are three different distinctions, and it’s not clear how these distinctions could help with his proliferation of Jesuses.

Something can be conceptually distinct without being separate in reality. 

Not clear what his point is here.

The point was clear from the italicized word in the original post. I reject Dale's contrast between the "self" of the Son and the other two "selves".  

So neither of these latter two is numerically the same as the Son.

Unlike the Trinity, which has no parts, the hypostatic union has parts: the Son-cum-body-cum-rational soul. 

A part is not identical with the whole. My arm is not identical with me. My body is not identical with me. 

Also, in the NT, “Jesus,” “Christ” etc. are on the face of it coreferring terms that refer to one who is explicitly called “a man.”

Also, in the NT, “Jesus,” “Christ” etc. are on the face of it coreferring terms that refer to one who is explicitly called “God/Yahweh.”

Generally, if we take a human, and add a part to it, the resulting whole is not itself an additional human.

In generic orthodox Christology, we take the Son, then add a part (human nature). 

If Hays is serious in insisting that his “Jesus” (the Composite Christ, the godman) is truly a human being, then on his theory Mary gave birth to two human beings, two human selves, on the first Christmas.

That only follows from Dale's befuddled effort to bifurcate an individualized human nature. 

The point is that if Hays is right then walking around with the twelve disciples, and on the cross, and now exalted, are three different beings, three selves, which are (rather misleadingly, at best) portrayed as one self in the gospels.

Of course, he can use the name “Jesus” how he wants. But my point stands that, contrary to the New Testament, his christology features three selves, and not one self.

i) Even if resort to Dale's tendentious "self" lingo, the two natures would only be equivalent to two "selves", not three.

ii) Moreover, that's only a problem on a unitarian reading of the NT. But the unitarian interpretation isn't the benchmark for Trinitarians. So Dale's objection is circular. He objects to a multiple-"self" Christology, but his objection is confused because he fails to distinguish between what's inconsistent for unitarian Christology from what's inconsistent for generic orthodox Christology. The two-natures Christology is one nature too many for unitarians, not one nature too many for Trinitarians. 

iii) This goes back to Dale's lack of critical detachment. His chronic inability to differentiate his own position from the position he presumes to critique. He constantly blurs the two by importing assumptions from unitarianism into his analysis of orthodox Christology.

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