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How did Jesus escape having a sin nature if he was born a human being?
Posted by Gregory Koukl on September 23, 2013 at 03:30 AM in :Greg Koukl, Theology, Video | Permalink
An interesting discussion once again by Mr. Koukl. Another possibility: Jesus was born to Mary, but what if Mary was very young and innocent and at the time had not yet sinned? That is also a possibility to consider. We know, of course, that later Mary sins in the gospels, but this would also solve this problem. Jesus did have some qualities of Adam pre-fall, and also qualities of Adam after the fall. Jesus ages and he is not immortal, but can die. However, it seems like he is back to ground zero, and has the ability to choose not to sin ever, unlike us. Interesting thing to think about.
Jared Berryman |
September 23, 2013 at 09:06 AM
Rather like listening to Richard Dawkins who refuses to categorically deny that fairies might live at the bottom of his garden, and then wonders why he sounds to confused and ill informed to those who've had their spiritual eyes opened by Jesus Himself.
Nevertheless, carry on. I'm sure you'll be able to amuse yourself till your dying day.
September 23, 2013 at 07:05 PM
If Sin were passed down by the father only, then it seems that it would have to come through the Y-chromosome. The X-Chromosomes would not seem to 'know' whether they came from a man or a woman.
As such, if it were true that Sin is passed down only through the father, then no women would have Sin. Now, while this is arguably true in the case of my wife, I do not think it can be generally said to be so.
Indeed, it would seem that if there were one sex responsible for transmitting Sin to the next generation, it would have to be the female sex. For all humans have X-chromosomes.
But I think that flies afoul of Total Depravity. There is not an unfallen part of Man. Not his X, and not his Y, chromosomes, and not his P, D or Q chromosomes (or whatever you like) either.
As such, I think that what Greg said toward the end of his remarks hits closer to the mark. God chose to make a sinless human being in the womb of Mary just as he did from the dust of Eden.***
Luther argued that God healed that sinful part of Mary's flesh that contributed to Christ. Now the question arises: "How could that healing have taken place?" Don't we have a theological chicken-egg problem here? As far as I can tell, Luther did not answer that question.
But it seems like there is a ready answer. How is it that Joseph, Moses, David and all the rest of the OT saints of God were saved? Weren't they saved, just as you and I are, by the shed blood of Christ?
Why shouldn't the stripes of Jesus, by which we have been healed, also have healed that portion of Mary's flesh from which Christ himself descended?
You don't like that story because it involves retrocausation?
God will do whatever He likes with His creature, time.
***BTW, I don't see any reason to suppose that had Joseph and Mary performed a paternity test, Jesus would not have shown up as Joseph's son. Jesus's genetic makeup was like any human's with 23 chromosome pairs, half of each pair coming from Mary in Jesus case. The other half, presumably, being created by God. But why shouldn't God have created Chromosomes that match those that Joseph might have provided?
Of course, both sides of this genetic brew would need somehow to be purified.
September 23, 2013 at 08:46 PM
But how can Christ truly and completely save us if he didn't assume all of our humanity? In other words, if the sin nature is an integral, even an accidental property of human nature, as you call it, then how can Christ truly bridge that gap between us and the Divine Life if he doesn't assume everything essential or accidental to our humanity? In the words of Saint Gregory Nazianzen, "What has not been assumed has not been healed". If this is true then it stands to reason that a sin nature is not essential or accidental to human nature. This is fully consistent with the traditional / historical interpretation of Holy Scripture.
September 23, 2013 at 09:41 PM
"it stands to reason that a sin nature is not essential or accidental to human nature."
Isn't every property a being possesses either essential or accidental?
BTW, I've always assumed that "nature" and "essence" are more or less synonymous. So I don't think Greg's argument that our sin nature is not essential quite flies.
What seems essential to humanity (and to the entire order of creation capable of moral action) is this: If we do not rely on God, we fall into sin. This is our nature or essence.
When we ate the fruit in the garden, we stopped relying on God for knowledge but instead relied on a tree. And our essential dependence on God for guidance then drove us into sin.
When we say we are by nature sinful and unclean, we are saying, I think, that because we do not rely on God, there is only one thing that our nature will allows us to do, and that is sin. What is more, we are also morally sick so that we cannot rely on God. Christ must heal us of that.
In His human nature, Christ had that same essential property that if He did not rely on God, He would fall into sin. But the difference is that Christ never stopped relying on God. Of course, it would have been impossible for Him to cease to rely on God in His Divine Nature, but it was quite possible in His human nature.
September 24, 2013 at 09:57 AM
If we understand that the Holy Spirit's role was to impregnate Mary's egg then Jesus would have inherited her sin nature.
Hasn't anyone ever considered that Mary was a surrogate mother and that the Holy Spirit didn't "impregnate" her but placed the embryo in her womb?
Joseph was legally Jesus' father but, if it was truly a virgin birth...and it was, his genetic makeup had nothing in common with Jesus. I see no reason why Mary's genetic makeup was essential for conception of the God-man, Jesus either.
Rick Austin |
September 24, 2013 at 12:27 PM
Joseph was legally Jesus' father but, if it was truly a virgin birth...and it was, his genetic makeup had nothing in common with Jesus. I see no reason why Mary's genetic makeup was essential for conception of the God-man, Jesus either.
Still, Jesus had some genetic makeup...even if Mary was a surrogate mother.
I don't see any reason to suppose that his genetic makeup would not be consistent with Joseph and Mary's.
The point being that Jesus might well pass every test you could devise for establishing a 'blood right' to the throne of David and still be conceived of a Virgin.
Like Luther, I don't think that Jesus would have inherited the sin nature of Mary or Joseph provided God first healed Mary's flesh of the moral disease that makes it impossible for us to rely on God. Might He have done the same for both Joseph and Mary and allowed Jesus to be born in the normal way? I think He might have, but the Bible tells us that He didn't do that.
I also think that the idea that Mary was a surrogate mother probably undercuts the idea that the seed of the woman would crush the head of the serpent, as God promised in Genesis.
I would also like to marvel, in passing, at the inordinate derision directed at this particular miracle. From a purely rational point of view, there is only one miracle that really needs to be debated, and it isn't the Virgin Birth. It's Creation. If the Creation miracle occurred, then the gate is open, and God might just do anything. And if it didn't, then Christianity, and the Virgin Birth along with it, are rendered moot.
It's absurd to talk of any other miracle if your cavil with Christianity is the miraculous. Honestly, can anyone take seriously the idea that God could create the entire universe, but not a child in the womb of a Virgin?
This leads me to believe that it is really something else that animates the scorn of the Virgin Birth in particular. I'm not quite sure what it is that that accounts for it, but I'm pretty sure that the devil is happy to have as many creationists as you like who don't trust the Word become flesh. But he probably gnashes his fangs at the thought of a theistic evolutionist who trusts the Son of the Virgin.
The Virgin Birth is right near the very center of the story that makes the devil's horns bleed. Apart from the Resurrection, there is no miracle closer to the center. And so the world and her prince despise it.
September 24, 2013 at 05:19 PM
I think this question is not answered without the support of the whole biblical revelation.
WL, you are correct in answering Rick's view when you see conflict with the seed of the woman in Gen 3. That view also destroys prophecy of Abraham's seed, a mystery revealed, made clear in Galations. Jesus' is Abrahams seed, indirect descendent through Mary.
I also think you are on the right track when you said:
"What seems essential to humanity (and to the entire order of creation capable of moral action) is this: If we do not rely on God, we fall into sin. This is our nature or essence."
Jesus was tempted in all ways common to man...yet without sin. One thing along this line also, is that Jesus wasn't born guilty, under Adam. He is the second Adam, with a complete human nature--in essence with normal accidental qualities with the exception that His communion with the Father was unbroken and He was/is Alive--until judgement came upon Him for the sake of the elect. The rest of humanity are dead men walking until some following the Firstborn among many are called to life in Christ. Original sin is forensic...David said "in sin did my mother concieve me". Not to say that she was an adulteress, but that the whole human race from Adam on was under sin...all were declared guilty in Adam.
Brad B |
September 24, 2013 at 08:13 PM
"Isn't every property a being possesses either essential or accidental?"
I don't know. I'm not a philosopher, but I do know that the ancient historic/ traditional view of Christ (as in the Nicene Constantinople Creed and the Definition of Chalcedon) came down to us from the early church fathers who used philosophy in their explanations but didn't base Christianity on it. They knew that human constructions of thought fell far short in trying to pry into the mind of God (if only many of us Christians, myself included, would follow their example)
I believe that we commit a grave error when we think we can fully explain what it means to be human, for we as a person are created in the image and likeness of God, who is beyond our pale descriptions. As a result, we are truly mysterious beings, fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139), especially since Christ is the archetype of the human person. How can this be so if God creates us with a sin nature?
I fully agree: "If we do not rely on God, we fall into sin." And as Gen.4:7 says "And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. It's desire is for you, but you must rule over it."
David said "in sin my mother conceive me", but isn't hyperbole used throughout the Scriptures? He also says in Psalm 7:8 for God to to judge him by his righteousness and integrity and he talks about his blamelessness in Psalm 101. It doesn't appear that David was writing a systematic theology on the human person.
September 24, 2013 at 10:38 PM
I agree with the forensic aspect of Original Sin, but I think there's something deeper involved as well. I think we are actually morally sick. We aren't just under a verdict of guilt. We actually are guilty. It is this moral sickness that makes it impossible for us to rely on God, and so by the nature that we share with all unfallen moral agents, we cannot avoid sin, but in fact are drawn to it and enjoy it.
September 25, 2013 at 12:40 AM
In our privation we have been corrupted.... the Old Man is found with volitional motions knocking on Heaven's door, and, refusing God. Hebrews 11, Enoch, and Pharaoh reveals that Timelessness out reaches Time. Faith, though necessary, though present, willed by Power to exist, is not sufficient. Both our Privation and our having been therein Corrupted play into this inability of a very real Faith to claim sufficiency. There is quite another something which must transpire and be actualized, not in God's reality, but in Man's reality, before our knocking on Heaven's door can manifest anything at all.
We find in both the First Adam and the Last Adam [Man] fully Human, fully tempted.
There is more, of course.
September 25, 2013 at 04:21 AM
Word's Corporeal is born Innocent, and, then, becomes Sin.
[Man] is fully Man, fully Human, and is not "inhuman" in the First Adam before he becomes sin, nor in the Last Adam before He becomes Sin.
We must avoid moves which make definitions of evil purely man-contingent in relation to no other anything.
September 25, 2013 at 06:44 AM
I think we are actually morally sick. We aren't just under a verdict of guilt. We actually are guilty. It is this moral sickness that makes it impossible for us to rely on God, and so by the nature that we share with all unfallen moral agents, we cannot avoid sin, but in fact are drawn to it and enjoy it.
This is how I’ve always viewed our nature and man’s sins. It’s the personal part. When I think sin, I think, I did it.
September 25, 2013 at 08:13 AM
BTW, WL is correct on the business of creating dissolving this question.
In fact Jesus takes this same line and specifically ties it to Abraham's Seed: "If not you (and it's not us) then God will take these stones and make descendants....."
He means literally, of course. Such is not a mere hyperbolic con.
September 25, 2013 at 09:30 AM
Can I, the person typing this text, be tempted to give up the Kingdom? To surrender all that is Human to Hell’s Gates? To hand over all of Humanity to Heaven’s Gates? No. I never will know that degree, distance of “temptation”.
Could the First Adam? Yes.
And the Last Adam? Yes.
We think, or assume, it seems to me, that this First Adam, this Last Adam, fully [Human], fully [Man], in no way [In-Human], in no way [Un-Man], these that are innocent, still yet corruptible, not yet incorruptible, are somehow tempted with less than we who are corrupted are tempted with, or we suppose that we are tempted somehow with more than they can possibly imagine, they being not yet corrupted.
As if we, or I, hold the Kingdoms of Heaven and Hell in our, or my, hands.
It seems that these other two Adams are (we must here even say necessarily) tempted with more than we could ever imagine.
We dance and shout about the temptation of cocaine or a one night stand ripping at our nervous system, as if my dopamine rush and serotonin surge can rip the Kingdom of Heaven (or the Kingdom of Hell) into pieces on my Will’s Command. I never will be tempted with such. It’s not that I won’t be, but, rather, it is that I simply lack the capacity to be offered, tempted with, that much weight.
Two other men have been tempted with just that. By one, death. By the Other, Life. We are (perhaps) foolish in this assumption that [Corrupt] can taste more temptation than [Yet Corruptible], and must ask ourselves what is harder to resist, what is more burning to the tongue, to be a slave of sin and yield to her, or, to be Free of her and, in the Full Might of the Uncorrupted, feel, to the end of all that is Self, to the end of all that is Humanity itself, every bit of Hell’s pull upon not only Body, but upon Mind, and not only upon Body and Mind, but upon Will, upon Spirit, and therein exercise a force, a power strong enough to pull Hell herself down and crush her head, or, yield to her and she crush ours. Where is the greatest struggle fought, and lost? Where is the greatest struggle, once again, fought, and won?
“Satan was an archangel once; his natural gifts were as far above yours as yours are above those of a chimpanzee.” (C.S. Lewis)
The First Adam and the Last Adam know, on necessity, far more temptation than you or I can know, and perhaps more than we will ever, know.
Jesus, Word’s Corporeal is, it seems even necessarily, if He is to have the Capacity to know the whole depth, breadth, and height of hell’s temptations, thus born Innocent, and, that we may live, He, then, becomes Sin.
Uncreated Love becoming Sin, pouring Himself out, Forsaking Self, a Self Forsaken…….not in gesture, but utterly, actually, unchangingly…. that is another beautiful picture to draw in love’s unchanging landscape atop Love’s Cross where Justice and Death, Mercy and Life, perfectly collide…….
September 25, 2013 at 09:51 AM
WisdomLover and Jesus raise the lines of creating and stones and Abraham’s Seed, and so forth, and, if you ask me, that is enough. Period.
However, another line, again which Jesus must be the end of, is raised by WL (this is in no way meant to put words in his mouth). It is the healing of sin, and, of course, that annoying, but unavoidable, bit about Timelessness and Time and God’s Unchanging motions. Well, a brief look seems to offer a second mechanism for the Non-Corrupted to enter Time.
Nothing in God changes. We find in Him that Eternally Sacrificed Self Who is the Means and Who is the Ends of Man’s actualization and we know that those motions and movements within Him, within Timelessness, bend Time and not the other way around. That is to say, what we witness in Gethsemane on His End is not “God Actualizing In Front Of Us”. There is no discovery on His End. God does not “actualize”. Human nature, of course, does, whether [Corrupted] or [Non-Corrupted], and so on. Christ is (it seems) Two Natures with One-Will and we need not wonder at “Thy Will and not My Will” for inside of God in Timelessness we find no automaton but instead those volitional motions amid love’s triune landscape of [Self / Other / E Pluribus Unum], for He need not save Man from his chosen hell of love-less-ness, but, in delight, we hear Him whisper, “I have no delight in any of that. Prepare for Me a Body” and such is not obligatory on His End, for Justice is Good, and Perfect, and Lovely. There is nothing Imperfect or Un-Good about Perfect Justice. That Will. Just as, there is nothing Imperfect or Un-Good about Perfect Mercy. That Will. Those motions of Justice and Love, of Judgment or Salvation inside of Timelessness are volitionally comprised amid Perfectly Good Distincts, for the Triune just is Multiple Perfect Distincts. Such This/That is, are, fully actualized in the Unchanging God and none of this is discovery or actualization for God, as [All-Possibilities] are housed as but some small “part” (whatever that means) inside of [God]. Once God motions to This Perfectly Good choice (Justice), or, to That Perfectly Good choice (Ransom), the thing we perceive as creating begins to actualize, not for Him to discover, but here inside of Time for us to discover. Gethsemane is raw, literal, brutal choice, and, it just cannot go other than it did here inside of Time, for the choice is made in Timelessness and such bends Time, and not the other way around. Nothing Jesus utters is a motion towards Evil for though He has two natures, He has but One Will. “Father forgive them, for they know not” is not pleading for the growth of evil, a motion towards sin but is simply those utterances we find inside of Love’s Triune from before forever amid those Multiple Perfect Distincts inside of Love’s E Pluribus Unum.
Enoch here comes to mind. Not as an assertion, but only as a perfectly plausible descriptive of a perfectly coherent prescriptive as to the question asked by this opening piece. There are no Means, no Ends, other than Love’s Eternally Sacrificed Self and, whether we motion in obedience or in disobedience, such is our inevitable confrontation. Time is of no concern as [All Possibilities] are, inside of [All-Actuality], ever at hand. Discovery is non-entity in [God]. For what it’s worth, open theism is wholly incoherent for many reasons, this being but a glimpse into one of those many reasons.
September 25, 2013 at 12:42 PM
On "Not my will but thy Will", we see both Man saying thus in temptation, and, we see God saying such in / via the reasoning described earlier. Thus we have no schizophrenia, but instead we see [Man] in his perfect temptation and [God] in His perfect Goodness.
September 25, 2013 at 06:35 PM
Greg - thanks for your thoughts on this theologically-sticky subject. I hope to see a follow-up video from you on this soon.
I've gotten into this debate/argument with my brother-in-law & in-Christ many times, and it always comes back to how we define our terms: with the dictionary, or with the Word of God.
Scripture defines sin as lawlessness (1 John 3:4). Not once does Scripture ever describe sin as a physical property. It's only in Rom. 7 and the Psalms that we could possibly make that argument, and even in context, those passages are easily explained.
Paul says very clearly in Romans 7, before describing the so-called sin nature, that sins (plural- lit. offences) "did work in our members" (v.5) while we were the flesh, i.e. unregenerate.
In v.9, Paul even says he was alive at one time before the law came, meaning the Roman Catholic definition of "original sin" - we are all born sinful and condemned - cannot be true.
Our Lord himself used little children to describe the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 19:14) If we are born sinful - if little children are under the wrath and condemnation of God for "Adam's sin" - then why would Jesus ever use them as a illustration of the kingdom? He wouldn't.
Rom. 5 says all who are in Adam die physically (which we do) - a part of the curse in Gen. 3, just as all who are in Christ are made alive.
But Ezekiel 18 is equally clear why every man will die (spiritually) because of his OWN sin, not another man's. As a Hebrew of Hebrews, Paul surely knew what the prophet said about this.
So what does this mean for Jesus Christ and "sin nature"? It simply means that our Lord - who was fully man and fully God - cannot possibly have a sin nature because such a thing, as it has been traditionally defined, is biblically inaccurate. I don't think we need to come up with - much less find support for - the theory that Greg put forth in the video.
I am a sinner because I personally have transgressed the law of God, and I am justified because Jesus Christ, as the God-man, kept the law perfectly on my behalf.
September 25, 2013 at 08:17 PM
Hi WisdomLover, I think I am substantially in agreement with you that forensic guilt is not the only problem unregenerate have and that having lost communion with God, [which is necessary for life] leaves those totally depraved individuals unable to not sin. So yes, there is something wrong with man.
Having been born under Adam as the representative head of all mankind, all fell with him...by imputation. We all cement our guilt in time and space by sinning in thought word and deed, by what we do and what we have left undone, etc...by willing, for ourselves, to disobey God.
scblhrm, I'd refer you to someone you've shown respect for regarding Christ's TWO WILLS.
Ian highlights why I think it takes the whole biblical revelation to answer this question since out of context scripture quoting can lead to specious conclusions.
Brad B |
September 25, 2013 at 10:48 PM
scblhrm, Here is another resource you might find informative [that isn't from WLC].
Also, btw, your point about the capacity of the first and second Adams to resist sin being far above that of the rest of humanity is one all should consider. I've heard people ask why they should accept guilt based on Adam's sin when the fact is they themselves would've fallen sooner and worse than he did.
Brad B |
September 25, 2013 at 11:04 PM
I enjoyed WLC and the other link. I think WLC comes down on the side of one person / one will / two natures, at the end of that link. Clearly there is the Thy Will and not My Will. It seems to me that in this case the Christian can have his cake and eat it too ;)
The [Man] nature can in all honesty shout this out and we find Man in his perfect temptation. Just as, the [Divine] can shout this out and we find God in His perfect Goodness as we have but those same motions in Time as "first happen" in Timelessness as Justice and Mercy, Forsaking Man or Saving Man (and so on) are all Perfect in Goodness, and in Him such motions happen who-knows-where, though we find that God Himself just is that geography of Multiple Perfect Distincts. A is not B, and, B is not A, and, each is Perfectly Good.
It is reasonable to describe two wills, but two "persons" seems less welcome to my mind.
September 26, 2013 at 02:25 AM
A few thoughts…..
It seems true that we are born with a corrupt nature. The two year old who lies is, we may say, ignorant of the "wrongness" so it is not a sin. Well, it is not, on those terms, a will-ed sin against light. But it is a sin of his little two year old nature to engage in the business of the father of lies, though not of his will in the midst of the light of the Father of Light, so to speak. This very conflict is why Nature/Will is so important. When he gets older, he will find within himself the desire to have the girl, or to lie, or to whatever, and, he will find his Will in conflict with such, sometimes with it, sometimes against it. Little children need to be disciplined, or, punished, and so on. And, the first 10 years of life is when that is most necessary, for, if a parent should not bring correction during those first 10 years and then start discipline at age, say, 11, well the game is lost by then and what will follow in the teen years will be quite ugly.
Also, there is this: If we say sin is the business of Laws being broken, then two faults on that show up.
First, the New Testament talks of God overlooking the sins of those in eons past prior to His Law coming. I think it’s in Corinthians? Now, God there defines Sin apart from Law, and Law only serving to make aware, to aggravate and hasten. Remember, the Law of Moses never would be Man’s Hope, but only Power (Judgment) restrained. (I described this a bit further in “Early Abolitionist” earlier this month)
Second, there is this. Okay, what if I never break any law in thought or deed. There is this Pre-Fall and Post-Fall, but both leave Man in need of another Means, another Ends beyond this obedience, and this is true even in the First Adam prior to his fall. If I sin not, am I in need of Power's All-Sufficiency to fill me up, or, may I claim, in my own sin-less-ness, All-Sufficiency and thus need no amalgamation with Him? Is the First Adam Immutable prior to his fall? No way! Or, am I not in need of His Ransom? If Adam fails to sin in Eden, does Man then escape the revelation of, the beholding of, the becoming of, Love’s Eternally Sacrificed Self? Nonsense. Man’s amalgamation with God and his revelation of the Knowledge of God necessarily will involve all the business of Change and therefore of what we perceive as Time, and the Dying-Self inside of Love just does lose all, and therein the business of Pain pours in from all vectors (we just can’t get around that). Nothing about God’s Plan for Man is contingent upon Man there in Eden. Man-In-God is not complete in Eden. God’s part being finished, Man had yet to move and he passes through all of the above even in obedience, though, by a somewhat different course should he have obeyed. There are no cons in Eden, and, Power’s Will is not contingent upon Man. The First Adam void of Sin is not the species we find in Man-In-God, God-In-Man, or, if it helps, not Immutable. Not yet. The Means and the Ends of Love’s Eternally Sacrificed Self are Man’s only means, Man’s only ends, for that Amalgamation.
Also, it seems that should a man obey every Law on this side of the Fall then He is still lost. This is the entire point of so much that we find in the Good News (the necessary news) of Grace and, in the Law as only housing the ability to bring death. The Law cannot bring Life, otherwise, there would be no need for Love to bring Himself as the New Covenant, as the Means, as the Ends. Such cannot be otherwise whether we obey or we disobey.
September 26, 2013 at 03:03 AM
Hi scblhrm, I should've known Craig would drop the ball...I read through about the first 1/3 of that answer where it seemed he'd come down on the side of historic Christian thought and linked it. Instead he aligns himself with heretical thought, exposed already, not too different from his other crush, Middle knowledge. This is why I went ahead and linked a more formal explanation. Craig's problem, imho is that he's primarily a philospher first who plays in theology but lets his desire to make a philosophical point rule his exegetical outcomes.
I dont want to come off as judging the good professor, but want to see if it can be pointed out what is at stake. The Chalcedonian Creed was formulated to clarify the biblical teaching. Refer to it, read the ccel link to see if it's not logically sound.
Simple question. do you agree with the Chalcedonian Creed?
"We, then, following the holy Fathers, all with one consent, teach people to confess one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, the same perfect in Godhead and also perfect in manhood; truly God and truly man, of a reasonable [rational] soul and body; consubstantial [co-essential] with the Father according to the Godhead, and consubstantial with us according to the Manhood; in all things like unto us, without sin; begotten before all ages of the Father according to the Godhead, and in these latter days, for us and for our salvation, born of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, according to the Manhood; one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, only begotten, to be acknowledged in two natures, inconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably; the distinction of natures being by no means taken away by the union, but rather the property of each nature being preserved, and concurring in one Person and one Subsistence, not parted or divided into two persons, but one and the same Son, and only begotten God (μονογενῆ Θεὸν), the Word, the Lord Jesus Christ; as the prophets from the beginning [have declared] concerning Him, and the Lord Jesus Christ Himself has taught us, and the Creed of the holy Fathers has handed down to us."
2 natures, 1 person. Is will a property of nature for rational beings, or is it only a property of person?
Brad B |
September 26, 2013 at 08:51 PM
That was the reason for my disclaimer on two wills being reasonable, yet one person. I've never gone wrong by pausing and taking what Brad B says seriously ---
In the Triune we find this same geographical makeup. One Person and Multiple Perfects amid Will's Perfectly Good This/That's. "AND" is the word by which we avoid error. As we are to be both made in Love's Image and in Amalgamation with Him (ultimately) there is no conflict. One AND Three. It just so happens that in those words comming out of Jesus' mouth inside of Time we can in fullness say -tis Man's perfect temptation, -tis the Triune's Perfect Distinct-s in Timlessness witnessed inside of Time. Perfect Judgment, Perfect Mercy. Will/Will. "AND". Power has actual, literal options, all Perfect. This amalgamation is a window of sorts into both Love's Perfect Triune and into Man's final Felicity.
September 27, 2013 at 03:39 AM
Love's E Pluribus Unum ~~~
September 27, 2013 at 04:11 AM
2 natures, 1 person. Is will a property of nature for rational beings, or is it only a property of person?
I think it is important to recognize that the meaning of "person" has changed over time. Originally, it just meant "mask" or "role" or some such. That is not what the creeds mean because the 'mask' notion of personhood would then lead to modalism.
On the other hand, today, "person" means something like a center of conscious moral thought and action distinct from other centers of conscious moral thought and action.
Apart from whether there is any such thing, that can't be what the creeds mean either because there are not three almighties, but one Almighty etc. If, for example, Christ were wholly distinct from the Father in His activity, there would be (at least) two almighties.
Scholastic thought says that a person, or hypostasis, is the ultimate possessor of the essential properties of a being...the thing, as it were, to which the properties attach. Even if that is coherent, I'm not sure how helpful it is. Especially when it comes to avoiding polytheism when you apply that notion to the Trinity.
The best I've been able to do is that the credal meaning of the term "person" falls somewhere in between "mask" and "distinct conscious being".
September 27, 2013 at 06:46 AM
It has to be between on necessity. Love's triune I-You-Us that just is Love's E Pluribus Unum is never three, never one. Let Us create.....the Great I-AM......
September 27, 2013 at 08:01 AM
Hi WisdomLover, your post has prompted me to consider two scripture references, one by the Apostle Paul and the other by Jesus, maybe you or scblhrm [or anyone else-feel free] might consider and comment regarding 2 wills 1 person. [I think we fit that description also although significantly less perfectly]. May be best to take the time to check the whole passages for context.
The Apostle Paul from Romans 7:
"Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin."
Then Jesus' words in Mat. 26:
"“Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”"
I think both passages depict contrary wills within single persons. I cant help but think of the cartoon type characature of a guy with a little angel on one shoulder and a little devil on the other, each one trying to convince him to take action for either good of bad. Paul's Rom. 7 most plainly depicts 2 wills vying for ultimate activity. Jesus' words maybe less overtly, but I dont see any violence to the text to take the phrase flesh being weak as not willing by/or/in contrast to the phrase that the spirit is willing.
Jesus said in Luke 24:
"Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.
Brad B |
September 27, 2013 at 09:26 PM
Universalism moves a bit in this direction. “I” am one person but I have in me two wills, two natures, and, therefore, because there is that part of “me” that is Godly / Of-God, it is impossible for the One-Person that is “me” to miss out on heaven. Here they make the move that “I” get to heaven, but purified by fire, and the bad “nature-parts” are “left behind” while the “spirit-part” goes to heaven. In this sense ALL I’s, ALL “Persons” get to heaven because in that “Me” there are two wills, and half does make it to heaven and so “I” make it to heaven. Because there is only ONE person in “me”, and THAT (the 1-Person) makes to heaven, then the bad nature / bad will is just burnt out by fire, purified, and so forth, and so “THE PERSON” makes it to heaven. So here it is two wills inside the one-me, rather than one will / person faced with choices.
I think we have to be careful because this runs into problems. This is not to say that two wills is unreasonable, it is just to say we have to first decide how far we mean to maintain that, and, define how that plays into the First Adam’s makeup, the Fallen-Man’s makeup (which includes Hebrews 11 and also the disciples in the Garden falling asleep), and the Last Adam’s makeup, and finally our own makeup here in the Post-Resurrection makeup.
September 28, 2013 at 06:52 AM
Necessary Pain and Christ’s Landscape:
We find in that innocent, un-fallen Adam, whether in Eden or in Gethsemane, the very unfinished business of Immutability, and, therein, the very unfinished actualization of Man-In-God, God-In-Man. Man in Eden is not that species. The thing we call Time seems here necessary, as does love’s volitional motions, and therein, what we perceive as Change. And by Change we do not mean the programmed sort such as a two year old body changing into a three year old body, but rather a very different sort of Change which [Man] not yet actualized must dive into amid all the business of that necessary death-of-self either by obedience or by disobedience. We find here the necessity of what we call Pain wrapped up inside that Change, that Death that is Love’s Sacrifice. Two stand at an Altar to be married, and though the work of One is finished, such cannot be marriage without that motion of the Other Person, on necessity. In God we discover that there is no such thing as love void of self-sacrifice, void of dying, void of what is in necessity loss, and, therein, what is necessarily, on some level, what we perceive as pain. We find in Eden no way out of Gethsemane whether [Man] obey or disobey. The [Man] Adam will go through such, whether by Disobedience or by Obedience, and, what awaits [Man] on the other side of this necessary dying, this necessary Gethsemane there in Eden, is exactly what lies on the other side of that death-of-self which every Groom willingly submits to that he may have his Beloved, and therein love’s e pluribus unum is necessarily begotten, thus completing love’s trio of I and You and that Singularity of Unity that just is Us. Let Us create Man in Our Image. We will be made in Love’s Image. God’s work is finished there in Eden. Only, Man’s motions are, were, yet to actualize. We find that nothing is contingent upon Man here, for whichever way Man motions, into hell’s privation, or into God’s interior, Man runs face first into Love’s Eternally Sacrificed Self.
[Adam Uncorrupted, yet Corruptible] knows more and sees farther than any of us, who are corrupted, will ever see pending our final amalgamation with Him, and, to know [God], or, to know the Whole that just is the Triune [Self / Other / E Pluribus Unum] just is to know far, far more than any [Part] thereof can ever offer to Man’s perception. It seems Pain is unavoidable there in Eden, just as it is of course unavoidable here now outside of Eden, however, it seems the Pain there necessitated in Innocence is of a nature far, far more vast in degree and distance than any we could perceive her in our corruption. The First and the Last Adam both perceive and wrestle within Humanity’s distant ends for Worlds upon Worlds as Innocence finds in, sees more in, Self/Other far more distant worlds than Corruption ever can perceive and that First Adam and that Last Adam know thereby Pains far higher, far broader, far wider than you or I could even imagine, which is frightening given the sheer, raw, brutality of this hell’s sort of Pain. Satan’s Idolatry of the wrong Tree cannot deliver to us the awareness promised. It seems Love’s dying, even in Innocence, even in obedience, just cannot be avoided, as in, I die for my beloved, as in, this is what love does. Nothing is contingent upon [Man] in Eden as Man cannot short-circuit the revelation of, manifestation of, [God], whether he obey or disobey. Man cannot evade by obedience nor by disobedience all the necessary dying-in-to his final amalgamation and therein he can never evade the thing we call Time nor Actualizing, nor all the business of Change, nor the Self’s Dying, and therein Man cannot evade what the Self perceives as Pain for in obedience Man journeys through all of these and finds the Knowledge of God which on necessity also houses the Knowledge of the mere part we perceive as Good and Evil, yes, that and far, far more as perception here in Time is by no means the mechanism of knowledge for we will, in the blink of an eye, behold, and in seeing Him, become, and we will there see much farther in much more brutal vividness than anything we can imagine here in our corruption. To know the Whole is to know the Parts necessarily as we find that Evil is nothing more than one-third of Love’s Triune I-You-We for Evil is but that fierce privation of the Isolated-I, the Pure-Self, which is on definition this: Love-Less-Ness. That horrible condition which is on necessity void of love just is what Evil is.
Privation in any Created Self is as Man in Privation is, which is necessarily Man void of Uncreated Love, which is but Love-Less-Ness, which is on necessity the entirety of Evil, and we find, we intuit, that Love-Less-Ness merits abhorrence necessarily. Such is Man in volitional Privation, and this we find cannot be locked out of reach there in Eden by Power for Power wills His Own Image, and that motion into Self exists in God, which is but the Great I-AM, for Love is One there inside E Pluribus Unum, and thus the incoherency of Universalism. Just as, we find that it is not necessary that Man motion into that Privation, for, in God, we find necessarily available the motion out of I/Self and into You/Other, and thus the incoherency of Hyper-Calvinism. Just as, that condition of Man in Privation, which is Man void of Love, which is Personhood void of Love, which is what we call Evil, we find worthy of abhorrence, on necessity, for Man void of Uncreated Love is on necessity Love-Less-Ness Actualized, whereas, Privation inside of God’s Triune is but the Great-I-AM, and therefore the Self therein can never merit such hate, for Evil is not a move Love Himself can make, on necessity, as all motions in Him lead into Love Himself, for Love is Three there inside E Pluribus Unum, just as Love is One there inside E Pluribus Unum.
Gethsemane is, for the thing that is [Man], the only Way out of Eden, and into, not hell on earth (he need not, though he can), not into Privation, not into Evil (he need not, though he can) that just is the Isolated-I, but rather, into Man’s destiny, into that beholding and becoming of Love’s Eternally Sacrificed Self wrapped up inside of Love’s Whole of that triune landscape comprised necessarily of [Self / Other / E Pluribus Unum], for, such is necessarily available to him there in Eden. [Man] must Die if he is to know Life. This is necessary in Eden for this just is necessary in Love.
We find no Love anywhere (and those who have loved will know this) void of dying. That process is what [Man] in that Last Adam, availed of Other vs. Self, from within Innocence demonstrates for all of Mankind. The First Adam is fully human, just as, the Last Adam is fully Human. Each is Innocent and, remarkably, each faces raw, brutal, actual temptation in power struggles we who are corrupted cannot begin to imagine. They see, taste, and feel the pull of Privation’s I and not You, of that foreboding evil there in their Non-Corrupt condition far more than we ever will. Will it be Self in the economy of Humanity’s Possible Worlds or will it be Other in the economy of God? That thing that is [Man] “cannot not-taste” such a thing and in fact must pass through such a thing, for such is that change we call actualization’s pain. This seems to be so until that full amalgamation that is our final felicity is fully actualized as it seems then that such a thing ends as that which is corruptible puts on that which is incorruptible and this dying, this utter loss of all that can be called Self which we find necessary in both innocence / obedience as well as in guilt / disobedience is finally ended in In-Sufficiency’s amalgamation with All-Sufficiency.
In Christ we find two worlds wholly actual and this Last Adam is not the same species as that First Adam it seems. Christ is this: [Man Un-Corrupted, yet Corruptible] amalgamated with [Uncreated Word, Incorruptible]. It seems in the First Adam we find these Two Worlds in juxtaposition one to another and not yet in amalgamation one in another as in this Last Adam. In Christ, that Last Adam, we have Mutable-Man amalgamated within Immutable Word and, therein, Man yet lives, just as Man yet lives in the First Adam Uncorrupted, and by “yet lives” we mean not yet having passed through love’s sacrifice of self, as the First Adam must pass into should he know Immutability, and, as the Last Adam must pass into should he know Immutability. There is no way out of Eden but through Gethsemane as Love has but One Garden and we find that such is even the case for that Uncorrupted First Adam as this just is what Love does for the beloved. As in, where I find Me, and, My Wife, and, My Child, Love finds itself with a necessary Death for where I rise to the top, my wife must give way and fall to the bottom, or, where I fall out of sight and give up what is my Self, my child can be raised up in my place. Self and Time and Change and Dying and Other and a very real Pain all motion inside of one anthology of geographical actualization. Love entails my humiliation, my debasement, that My-Will may give way, happily, for my wife’s will. I must die. I must lay down my own self, my own life, for my wife. This is the business of marriage wrapped up inside of love and in Uncreated Love’s E Pluribus Unum we find these motions necessarily, that is to say, unavoidably, present.
While the First Adam Uncorrupted stands in juxtaposition to Uncreated Word, we find that in the Last Adam these Two Worlds stand, not in juxtaposition, but instead in amalgamation. Yet, in both of these we find that the thing that is [Man] has not yet chosen a beloved, has not beheld, and, become, Love’s Eternally Sacrificed Self. It seems Christ has Two Wills, Two Natures, in One Person, though, it seems such may not be the case for the First Adam nor for the Old Man, for those we find not in amalgamation with Word, but in juxtaposition to Him, knocking on His Door in Faith there in Hebrews 11, yet not able to enter into amalgamation. Faith, though necessary, just is not sufficient to birth the New Man. God Alone can create, and though Faith calls things that are not, it is God Alone Who creates, and Faith, very present in the Old Man there in Hebrews 11, can only knock, which it did believing, and they therefore in Faith died waiting for Love’s Door to open. In Christ that promise is fulfilled.
In the Triune we find this same geographical makeup as is found in Christ, the Last Adam. One Person and Multiple Perfects amid Will's Perfectly Good This/That's. "AND" is the word by which we avoid error. We never find the Will of God “void of Justice”, just as we never find the Will of God “void of mercy”, for “Both-Motions” are “ever at His Hand” in Uncreated Actuality. As we are to be made in Love's Image and also in Amalgamation with Him (ultimately) there seems to be no conflict. One AND Three. It just so happens that in those words that we hear coming out of Jesus' mouth inside of Time (not my will but thy will) we can in fullness say -tis Man's perfect temptation as [Man] in and by love’s delight/motions that it be, not the Self, but the Beloved instead, and, we can also say of those words coming out of Jesus’ mouth there inside of Time that such -tis the Triune's Perfect Distinct-s in Timelessness witnessed here inside of Time. By that we mean that in Him there in Timelessness we find both Perfect Judgment and Perfect Mercy (and many more) and the choice to motion into “Prepare for Me a Body” is ever present in amalgamation with the choice to employ Perfect, Utter Forsaking of Evil. My-Will/Thy-Will (if it helps, This/That) is on these two fronts (and countless other fronts) necessarily housed within God. We cannot fault His Willing of Perfect Justice nor can we fault His Willing of Perfect Mercy. Will-A, Will-B, so to speak, neither being wholly the other, both being Perfect. With the Triune’s Multiple Perfect Distinct-s it is the use of the word "AND" which allows us to avoid errors. Power has actual, literal options, all Perfect, never three, never one, always at hand / present up there inside of [Uncreated Actuality] Who cannot know “actualization”, Who Just-Is on all fronts ever Actual. “Not This but That” is wholly coherent inside of Love’s Triune landscape and that we find [Uncreated Word] in Christ uttering just that line inside of Time (Not This but That) is not a proof of schizophrenia but is instead yet one more manifestation of that necessarily triune topography of Love’s E Pluribus Unum. This amalgamation is a window of sorts into both Love's Perfect Triune in Timelessness/Time and also into Man's final Felicity, and therein Christ truly is Mankind’s ultimate Archetype.
A clarification here on the notion of the Triune God eternally demonstrating Dying, Resurrecting, and Begetting within love’s interior:
Inside of that Everlasting Love that is the Triune composite of [“I and You and the Singular-We”], which is the Self, the Other, and the singular Self-Other we call E Pluribus Unum, we find, even before "creation" of any kind, that perpetual death and that perpetual resurrection and that perpetual begetting-of-love that just is found inside of Love. We say even “before” creation, yet this is not that there are tenses in God, as it is we the created which do actualize and discover, and not Him in Whom [All-Possibilities] are ever Actual (thus the incoherence of open theism).
How is that in Love’s Interior we find perpetual Dying, perpetual Resurrecting, and perpetual Begetting? Well, let’s take a look at love’s motions:
There is no Love void of Death. There is no Love void of Resurrection. There is no Love void of Begetting. Inside of Love’s embraces we find that there is no Love void of that very distinct essence we taste as Self. And we find that there is no Love void of that very distinct essence we taste as Other. There is no Love void of this Self-Other and, how is it that such entails dying? Well love will show us. How is that such entails though dying, found yet quite alive again? Well love will show us. How is that such by embrace do necessarily beget love’s third very distinct essence which we taste as E Pluribus Unum inside of that singularity of Unity that just is Us wherein both Self and Other, having died, are both there found alive again? Well love will show us.
We must note this of God: nothing in Him is “fake” or “a con” or mere pretend but all in Him is on necessity [Actuality Ever Fully Actualized]. In Love’s Triune we find that Self does die and utterly so. Self is lost. Not in mere gesture, not in jest, but actually. Self dies. Self shouts utterly, "Thine and not Mine! You and not I! Other and not Self!" Now, in God we mean here to avoid any notion of jest, for Love is Actuality within Love’s topography of I-You amid the begotten E Pluribus Unum and in Actuality-Himself we find, not these in gesture but these motions to the full inside [Actuality].
This is that Motion which Self makes, takes, does, into Other which we call the Self's Death. It is not a con or a gesture but is, rather, raw actuality. Self glorifies Other. Praises Other. Honors Other. Self is debased. Self tastes in His Joy what we in our sin call humiliation, debasement which He tastes as that “Joy Ever Before Him” and this whether in Timelessness or here inside of Time. In God this Motion is to the uttermost such that all our attempts at comparisons here within our tattered and frayed Now cannot by the Mind encompass its raw distance, its raw costliness, its raw totality. The Timelessness on His end is Actuality, Un-derived, whereas Time’s Tenses tasted on our end is but Reflection, Image, Derived.
And then? In Everlasting Love’s interior we find that the Self is, in this Eternal Sacrifice, in this Pouring-Out, thus received by the Beloved who in loving return, who in love’s reciprocity, also, then, Dies. With arms open wide She receives this Offering that is Love's Sacrifice, that is Love’s Humiliation, and this Beloved, this Other, now Lifted-Up, now Made-Full, now Poured-Into, is herein Glorified. She is Alive and to the Full and not with Her own life alone but also, now, with that Life that is both Her life and that Sacrificed Life poured into Her.
And then? This is that Motion by which Love does Glorify not Self but Other. It is not simple con or gesture. Nor jest. It is Actuality. She is Glorified. Other is Glorified. Self is lost. Self is no more. And in God this Motion is raw, brutal actuality to the uttermost such that all our attempts at comparisons here within our tattered and frayed Now cannot by the Mind encompass its raw distance, its raw costliness, its raw totality. The Timelessness on His end is Actuality, Un-derived, whereas Time’s Tenses tasted on our end is but Reflection, Image, Derived.
And then? In this Fullness She, this Other, too now does, having been thus Glorified, having been thus Praised, also offer Her Perpetual Sacrifice and in like manner, in love’s reciprocity this Glorified-Other now pours Herself out. And here we find Two Deaths in Actuality there inside of Uncreated Love and now a Third, fully Alive. In these Deaths we find that which is Perpetually Begotten via these embraces, that which was no more, which was Dead, yet is now Alive-Again for in this Third and Perfect Distinct we taste that necessarily begotten that is love’s third very distinct essence which we taste as E Pluribus Unum inside of that singularity of Unity that just is Us wherein both Self and Other, having died, are both there found Alive-Again, and this is not in jest but in sheer Actuality.
We find here Love's Fruition as that which was offered in Full, that which was Debased, which was Lost, which was Dead not in gesture nor in jest but in sheer Actuality, is now found Alive Again there within this Singular-We, this E Pluribus Unum necessarily Begotten for this Us is itself comprised of that very I and that very You, that very Self and that very Other which had by Love's Eternal Sacrifice in reciprocity both Poured Out and Lifted-Up, had in reciprocity both Debased and Glorified, Who had thus Died and Who now are found quite Alive Again in that singularity of Unity that is love’s necessarily Begotten-Us. In Actuality Fully Actualized we find that in Love’s Uncreated Triune Each does taste, actually, of what we perceive to be Death and all these things are in Him not con nor gesture but are Utter Actuality and to the Full. And in the Triune God Who is Love's I-You-We all these Motions are to the uttermost such that all our attempts at comparisons here within our tattered and frayed Now cannot by the Mind encompass their raw breadth, nor height, nor depth. The vividness of all these motions are not less-than anything we here in Time can experience but are to the Nth degree more dense, more opaque, more costly than anything within Time can ever spy.
In all these things we find inside of Uncreated Love the reality of, the actuality of, the coherence of this: Motion which yet Change-Not. We begin to peer into Ultimate Actuality and discover that within the Everlasting God Love just is Eternal Dying, just is Eternal Resurrecting, just is Eternal Debasement, just is Eternal Glorifying, and just is the Eternal Begetting of Love’s E Pluribus Unum, ad infinitum. Love just does forever beget yet more Love for we find that Love just is that Eternal Begetting. My Beloved gives Herself to Me, and I to Her, and that Begotten We is birthed and that Third Distinct yet lives: E Pluribus Unum. My Beloved glorifies Me, and I Her. These Two, and then, E Pluribus Unum, and then, now Three.
Unchanging-Pouring forever birthing Unchanging-Filling just is that Living Water in which we never can find thirst. Yes, it is true: Gethsemane’s Thine and not Mine is from the foundation of the world uncreated and is Man’s only road into the knowledge of God. These are Reciprocity’s motions which on necessity are never static and which on necessity never change. Timeless Word manifests inside of Time and we observe Him, full of Grace and Truth, and Love spreads His arms wide and pours Himself out, and He is eternally sacrificed and therein He makes of your sins and mine non-entity, He is forever poured-out, He is forever filled-up, He is forever poured-into, and Love is forever dying, is forever rising, is forever debased, is forever glorified, is forever alive-again, is forever begotten for that which never changes up there in Love’s Eternity is to us here inside of Time that unthinkable incarnation that just is that beautiful amalgamation of Timelessness/Time, of Uncreated/Created, of Word/Flesh, of God/Man, of Man/God, which is Man’s Bliss, which is Love’s Delight.
This is what Everlasting Love looks like in all its vectors.
This is what God looks like.
God is Love.
When Love Manifests, He looks like this. If we have not seen these everlasting motions then we have not seen the Unchanging God, for God is everlasting love.
Love’s necessarily triune E Pluribus Unum declares this of Man: ~~ Let Us make Man in Our Image ~~
September 28, 2013 at 12:23 PM
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