Sunday, November 08, 2015

Yes, Jesus knows who will win the World Series

Arminian theologian Randal Rauser did an odd post recently:

Well, I guess it's not odd coming from Rauser. His post has an illustration, like those garish pictures in Watch Tower pulp literature, of the disciples asking a very Aryan Jesus: "Master, who will win the 2015 World Series?"

And this is framed by questions like "Was Jesus omniscient?" or "Did Jesus know absolutely everything?"

It would be easy to mistake Rauser for a unitarian at this juncture. He belittles the notion that Jesus was omniscient by this mock question about the World Series.

i) To begin with, what's silly about the question is not whether Jesus would know enough to  answer that question, but whether the disciples would know enough ask that question. Obviously, 1C Jews knew nothing about a 21C American baseball championship. They could only know about that if God revealed it to them, and God had no occasion to do so.

But it hardly follows from the absurdity of the question that it's equally absurd to suppose Jesus could know the answer. The silliness of putting that question on the lips of his disciples hardly makes it silly to put the answer on the lips of Jesus. 

ii) Moreover, the question trades on equivocation. Given the two-natures of Christ, there's a sense in which Jesus both is and is not omniscient. That's not contradictory, because that's true or false in different respects. It takes different referents. Jesus qua the Son, Jesus qua divine, is omniscient. Jesus qua a man, Jesus qua human, is not omniscient. Because Jesus is a complex person, he can be simultaneously omniscient and not omniscient. 

iii) Furthermore, the scope of Christ's knowledge isn't especially paradoxical. It's analogous to divine inspiration. God can reveal something to a human that a human wouldn't or couldn't naturally know. 

Only the relationship is more direct in the case of the hypostatic union. The divine nature can share information with the human nature. That's standard Christology.

iv) The problem is that Rauser needs Jesus to be fallible because Jesus affirmed some things that Rauser denies, or denied some things that Rauser affirms. 

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