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August 09, 2010

Comments

This is wonderful. When Jesus said "I am a door," he didn't mean he was an actual door. When Jesus said, "I am water," he didn't mean he was actual water. When Jesus said, "I am the vine," he didn't mean he was an actual plant. As Greg said: "We see that readily as a figure of speech."

But why stop there, Greg? You are so close. What if when Jesus said, "I am the son of God," he just meant that he was someone who tried his best to live right and be an example to others -- what if he meant "child of God" in the figurative sense? All of his other "I am" statements you seem more than willing to call metaphors. But this one is special somehow?

But perhaps you've just been socialized into these beliefs, and it's hard for you to imagine that they might not be true. I don't mean that as any judgment or anything, just as an observation of reality.

The problem with the Protestant view on communion is that it is totally out of line with the teachings of the Church up until the Reformation. For quotes from the Church Fathers on this issue see this site: http://www.catholic.com/library/Real_Presence.asp.

NFQ,

Is it simply that you believe Greg's arguments are weak or that you disagree with his conclusions. If it's simply the former, then fine. If it's that latter, please provide your own counter arguments. Your response does not move me intellectually or emotionally toward considering the merits of transubstantiation.

NFQ, I don't think Greg takes "son of God" literally, either. Jesus wasn't the result of procreation. Mormons are really the only ones who take that literally.

When Jesus instituted this sacrament at the Last Supper was the bread actually his body at that time and place?

Yes, Alan. Jesus is God and as God is master of all time, matter and space.

BillyHW, do you think God can violate the laws of logic? Because it seems to me that transubstantiation causes problems with the law of identity.

It's not just Catholics that believe in the Real Presence, it's also the Eastern Orthodox Church, the non-Chalcedonian (Oriental Orthodox) Churches, the Assyrian Church of the East, the St. Thomas Christians in India...even many Lutherans and Anglicans believe in the Real Presence.

How is it possible if Scripture is so clear on the matter that even Lutherans, the group that invented Sola Scriptura could also come up with the Real Presence. Are they all just not as smart as Greg Koukl? Is it only Protestants of Greg's particular ilk that read the Bible? Do Protestants think they can learn anything from the Christians who came before them?

Jesus, like everybody else, sometimes spoke literally and sometimes spoke metaphorically. The trick is to know in which manner he is speaking in each passage. That's why we need Sacred Tradition to help us understand correctly.

The Mass is older than the Bible.

"But there are some of you who do not believe." (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.)

No it doesn't Sam. Not at all. You lack imagination.

Billy, if Jesus had his entire body intact at the last supper, then whatever the disciples were eating could not have been his body. If the bread was turned into flesh, there's only two ways that could've happened. Either the flesh was created ex-nihilo while the bread was extinguished, or the subatomic particles in the bread rearranged themselves to turn the bread into flesh. Either way, the flesh could not have been part of Jesus' body.

I mean think about it. Imagine Jesus has a red ball in his hand, and he wants you to have the red ball, too. So he miraculously causes a red ball to appear in your hand, while the red ball is still in his hand. Is it possible for these "two" red balls to actually be the same ball? Clearly not, because even if both balls had identical physical properties, they are located in two different places.

Maybe you could say Jesus tore off a piece of his red ball, created a mini wormhole, and transported the chunk to your hand, in which case, you'd have a part of the same ball. But he'd have to remove a piece of the red ball to do that, and I don't think any Catholics thinks Jesus cut off a piece of his flesh for the disciples to eat.

Maybe I do lack imagination, but I would like to know what makes the food the disciples ate identical with Jesus' body while at the same time, Jesus' body was fully in tact and reclining at the table with them. What constitutes identity?

Jesus' body had a particular size and mass. There was a particular amount of stuff his body was made of. But when you think about how many Masses are performed around the world, with all that bread turning into the body of Jesus, you have to realize that there is more "body of Jesus" than there really is of the actual body of Jesus. Some of that material must be created ex nihilo, or out of pre-existing material (e.g. bread), which means it has no continuity with the actual body of Jesus. What makes all that extra stuff Jesus' body? It seems like, at the best, it's just a lot of replicated flesh, but not really Jesus' flesh.

But it's even worse than that, because it isn't even much of a replica since it doesn't have any of the properties of Jesus' actual flesh. According to the indiscernibility of identicals, if A and B are the same thing, then they must have every property in common. If none of the properties of the bread change into properties of flesh, then the bread is not flesh. It's bread.

Saying that flesh can have all the properties of bread and still be flesh is just like saying a Christmas tree can have all the properties of a computer and still be a Christmas tree. If a world like that is possible, then how do you know what anything is? How do you know your car isn't actually a glass of water? And how do you know your computer isn't a Christmas tree? Maybe nothing has its own properties.

But things are DEFINED by their properties. A tree is an organism made of wood, sap, branches, needles, bark, etc. If it doesn't have any of these things, it's not a real tree. Likewise, human flesh is a particular thing. It has human cells, DNA, etc. If it doesn't have human cells and DNA, it's not human flesh.

So, I lack imagination. Maybe if I had a better imagination, I'd realize that circles can be squares, and bachelors can be married. After all, isn't it possible for a square to have all the properties of a circle, and none of the properties of a square and still be a square?

Why do Cathlolics think John 6 supports transubstantiation? At the last supper, Jesus said about the bread, "This is my body." If you take that literally, the bread was actually Jesus' body. But in the bread of life discourse, Jesus said exactly the reverse. Instead of saying, "This bread is my body," he said, "I am the bread of life." If we take that literally, that means the person standing there talking was actually made out of bread. But I don't think any Catholic thinks Jesus turned into bread while giving that discourse.

Notice that Protestants don't like to address the fact that their view of the Eucharist is completely novel in the 16th century. You will find no group of Christians before the Reformation who thought the Eucharist was just a symbol.

Sam:

Jesus didn't have a problem making more fish out of a few fish.

Johnnie, do you think the 5000 or so fish that Jesus made were all the same fish?

Boy this one has irked me...but of course STR sees it as part of their evangelical mission to correct error, so I don't blame them for it. I enjoy listening to Greg's responses very much, but I have to say that this is one topic where it actually seems like Greg doesn't fully understand the Catholic view. There's more going on here than just "during the process of the Mass" the "wafer" becomes the "literal body and blood". It is not just that that Catholics think it becomes flesh and blood, as if somehow cannibalism makes us holy, but about "Presence". Jesus gives us everything that He is, Body Blood, Soul, and Divinity. He holds nothing back. It is Jesus whole and entire Who is present. To only refer to the Body and Blood literally is missing the Catholic point. Also necessary in understanding the Catholic view is an understanding of what the Church teaches concerning the sacraments and the priesthood. All these things are wrapped up together. The protestant view seems, to be frank, a bit gnostic.

It's also surprising that Greg claims there is no scriptural evidence for belief in the Real Presence in the Eucharist. Jesus use of metaphor like "I am the door" is quite different than when He speaks about His Body and Blood. His other metaphors have "explanations" attached to them. The Eucharist doesn't. In fact, when His disciples leave because of the "hard saying", He offers no explanation other than to reiterate what he's already said.

The main points concerning the historicity of belief in the real Presence have already been made above, so I thought I'd just pass along some resources for any one who is interested in seeing some Catholic explanations. One is from the Summa.

Some resources:

http://www.catholic.com/library/Real_Presence.asp

http://www.catholic.com/library/Christ_in_the_Eucharist.asp

http://www.newadvent.org/summa/4075.htm

But He said to them, “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.” And when they found out they said, “Five, and two fish.” Then He commanded them to make them all sit down in groups on the green grass. So they sat down in ranks, in hundreds and in fifties. And when He had taken the five loaves and the two fish, He looked up to heaven, blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to His disciples to set before them; and the two fish He divided among them all. So they all ate and were filled. And they took up twelve baskets full of fragments and of the fish. Now those who had eaten the loaves were about five thousand men.

Billy, I'm not sure how you're answering me. Are you saying, "Yes, Jesus CAN violate the law of identity since he did so in multiplying the fish and bread," or are you saying, "Transubstantiation does not violate the law of identity since it is analogous to Jesus multiplying the fish and bread, which also does not violate the law of identity"?

If you are saying Jesus can violate the law of identity, then I don't have any further response since logic cannot be invoked to settle any of our differences. But if you are saying transubstantiation does not violate the law of identity, I need something more specific from you. I need you to grapple with my arguments and explain precisely where my reasoning went wrong.

I have the same question for you that I had for Johnnie. When Jesus multiplied the fish, were all those fish actually the same fish? Were 5000 fish actually two fish? If so, how is that not a contradiction?

I have no doubt that Jesus can create replicas of fish. But 5000 fish is 5000 fish, not two fish. He may have begun with two fish, and he may have created exactly replicas of those two fish, but in the end, there were a lot more than two fish.

But that isn't analogous to transubstantiation since you are not saying Jesus created replicas of himself or even replicas of his flesh. You are saying, not that the communion wafer is a replica of Jesus' flesh, but that it is Jesus' flesh itself. Therein lies the problem. To make transubstantiation analogous to the multiplication of the fish, you would have to say that even though there were a multitude of fish, they were all actually just two fish. Do you see the problem there?

Here's another thought experiment to help you see what I'm saying. Let's say Jesus took a loaf of bread, broke it, and passed it to Peter and John. Jesus decided to turn Peter's bread into Jesus' flesh. But then he decided to turn John's bread into Peter's flesh. (Of course, Jesus, Peter, and John did not have to lose any body parts in this process.) Since the object in Peter's hand and the object in John's hand have not changed any of their properties, what makes one Jesus' flesh and other Peter's flesh? What's the difference between them? What's the difference in what Jesus did?

Here's another thing to think about (actually, the same thing, just put in a different way). Let's say there's some distance between John, and a loaf of bread. They are across the room from each other. At the moment, John's body is contained in a precise location--where John is. Now let's suppose that Jesus wants to turn that loaf of bread into the body of John. But nothing affects John himself. Jesus doesn't remove any parts from John. John doesn't have to go across the room and touch the bread. John doesn't have to eat the bread. So Jesus turns the bread into flesh. In what sense is that flesh John's flesh? Since there is absolutely no connection between John and the bread, and John hasn't lost any body parts, how is it that the bread across the room from him has actually become his flesh?

I grant that Jesus could replicate John's flesh. He could create some flesh that has the same DNA and all. But it wouldn't actually be John's flesh, because he never "wore" it. It has no continuity with him. It was never really part of him. John played no part whatsoever in the causal chain leading up to the bread becoming flesh since John was separated from it by spacial distance.

It just doesn't seem possible. It's like building a car just like yours and saying, "No, this isn't a replica of your car. This is the same car." Except that it's worse since bread doesn't even resemble flesh except maybe in colour.

Jesus was reclining at the table with his disciples when he declared, "This is my body." I'm surprised there isn't a Monty Python skit where one of the disciples is holding a piece of bread in his hand, and he looks at the bread, and he looks at Jesus, and he looks back at the bread, and he leans over to the disciple next to him and says, "That's an odd thing to say." I doubt the disciples took Jesus quite that literally.

St Ignatius of Antioch, a disciple of the Apostle John, wrote to the Smyrnaeans somewhere between 105-115 A.D. and said:

"They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer, because they confess not the Eucharist to be the flesh of our Saviour Jesus Christ, which suffered for our sins, and which the Father, of His goodness, raised up again."

Can someone find me the origin of the idea of body, blood, soul and divinity? I've searched the historical church doctrine and can't find the beginnings of that doctrine. Where does it first appear? It seems to me, that if we take John 6 literally, Jesus is implying a both/and, not an either/or that is practiced today. Unless you eat my flesh AND drink my blood, you have no life in you.

NFQ

Jesus never used these words "I am the son of God,". Since He did not, why do you feel within your rights to use it to advance your argument?

i think an often ignored passage in pauls letter to the corinthians.

1 cor 11:26-27 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes. Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord.

paul seems to say explicitly that the Lords supper is bread and wine (the cup), not flesh and blood.

p.s.
guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord, not guilty concerning the body and blood you are consuming.

Greg is not just attacking a Roman position. He is attacking a Scriptural position held by the oldest Protestant denomination. Luther refused to allow the Reformation to be united because of the heterodox views of Zwingli and Calvin on this subject.

"I am the door"

Jesus is literally a door. He is not made out of wood nor does he have a handle. But these are not necessary conditions on doorhood. The doors I go through, to get into the supermarket, for example, do not have these qualities. Even in Christs day, not all doors were made of wood, and not all doors had handles. So this objection is just silly. A door gets you from one place to another (or keeps you from getting from one place to another). Jesus does that.

"I am the living water"

Christ is in fact mostly water...it even came out of Him when he was pierced. Baptism with water is a real participation in the death and resurrection of Christ. Christ is really present in the waters of baptism. He literally is the living water.

John 6 is clearly about communion. Only someone in the throes of an overarching theory could miss that. I imagine that this is one of those passages that liberal scholars use to argue that the author of John was pressing the practice of communion back into the words of Christ. What it is, in fact, is John cracking down in a late writing on one of the early heresies of the church.

The only reason Greg has for thinking that it is not about communion is that Jesus is talking about salvation! This merely shows that he utterly misses the point of communion. What we're to learn about communion from John 6 is that it is a saving meal. It is not just bread and wine. It is the body and blood of Christ broken and shed for us for the remission of all of our sin.

Communion saves the believer, but harms the unbeliever. 1 Corinthians 11:28-29

Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord. But a man must examine himself, and in so doing he is to eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself if he does not judge the body rightly.
This passage is not describing punch and crackers. How could one possibly be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord by eating and drinking punch and crackers? Why is judging the body rightly so important to worthiness? Why would it matter if the meal is one of punch and crackers. How could one be in danger of death because of a meal of punch and crackers.

Mere symbols can't save. Mere symbols can't harm.

I strongly recommend that Greg not show up to the communion rail at my church if he has these views. The passage contains a very stern warning that only makes sense if Christ is really present. It makes no sense at all if we are serving up punch and crackers.

The fact is that God had five or six chances to explicitly tell us that the meal is a symbol, and never managed to do so even once. You can assume that He wasn't quite up to the job of getting that point across if you'd like. I'm not going to take that chance.

Isn't the reason behind why we do this clearly spelled out in

And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. (1Co 11:24 KJV)

Is not the purpose of this to remember Christ and His work? Does not focusing on something other than that purpose move our attention away from where Christ said it should be?

Sam-

I think your arguments (good or bad) also apply to Consubstantiation and Real Presence views about the Supper. So even though I'm Lutheran and hold only to the Real Presence, I'll try a hand at answering your charges.

Your arguments are based on a prior assumption that the law of the conservation of mass is binding on God.

It is not (Him being God and all that).

You are also assuming that what it is to be the body of Christ is to consist of a certain set of sub-microscopic particles (SMPs). That's clearly not the case for any body, even given the false materialist assumptions involved in saying that my body is made of SMPs. I have the same body now that I was born with, but it is outrageously unlikely that I have a single SMP in common with the body I was born with. So sameness of body is not about sameness of SMPs. Indeed, identity of SMPs is actually a pretty dodgy subject in the first place...one collision and every identity claim about an SMP goes by the wayside.

But Berkeley was right in any event. My body isn't made of SMPs. At least, that's not the best characterization of its primitive constitution. My body is made of sense impressions and other ideas. SMPs themselves are only complex ideas (and it's only insofar as this is true that it makes sense to say that my body is made of them).

And Christ's body also is made of sense impressions and ideas. When you look at it that way, there is not any reason at all to think, as I do, that I am swallowing the very body that hung for me on the cross. God brings it to me through time, which is itself nothing more than a complex set of ideas, and I swallow it whole.

Yes, it looks different than it did to those who saw it while standing on Golgotha. But any physical object looks different when viewed from different perspectives. The wafer that I ate last Sunday looked round and thin. It looked very different nearly 2000 years ago just outside of Jerusalem.

So there's nothing illogical about the claim of Real Presence. I do freely grant that it's something that I have no direct experience to justify. I must defer to the Scripture (and hence to the reasons I have to believe Scripture) to believe it.

Sam:

Have you read Alex Pruss' chapter on the Eucharist in the Michael Rea edited volume on Philosophical Theology? You should. Pruss, a Catholic colleague of mine at Baylor, deals with some of the philosophical issues pertaining to the Catholic view of the Eucharist: http://tinyurl.com/2aw2pxj

I don't know you, but I suspect you are a philosophy student somewhere. And you have probably not delved into the portions of Summa Theologica where St. Thomas deals with many of these issues. Am I right? If so, here's Thomas: http://www.newadvent.org/summa/4076.htm

Enjoy.

Hey Francis, isn't the Roman view heavily rooted in the Platonus' view of forms / essences and how we experience them indirectly ala accident?

It's because of this-as I undertand it-that the bread and wine still appear to be bread and wine, but the essence has changed. Accident/essence relationship give the Roman view of transubstantiation logical consistency within the doctrine, but to my thinking it grinds against the Chalcedonian Creed.

Protestants don't believe the sacrament is merely symbolic. Both Luther and Calvin maintained the real presence of Christ's body. They disagreed on the manner, not the reality.

WisdomLover, reading your posts makes me think I may have a misunderstanding about what consubstantiation is. I didn't take Greg to be arguing against the consubstantial view of real presence, but only the transubstantial view. Likewise, I don't think my arguments amount to anything contrary to consubstantiation either. I (and I think Greg) are only arguing against transubstantiation. I don't think my arguments can be applied to anything beyond that. I could be talked into consubstantiation because it doesn't seem illogical to me, but I don't find your scriptural arguments at all persuasive.

With that being said, I am not assuming God is limited by conservation of mass. As I've said, I see no problem with God multiplying fish. The problem I'm raising is a problem of identity. I don't think God can create extra fish and have all those fish be the same fish. In the same way, I don't think God can create flesh independently of the physical Jesus who is sitting right there with his disciples and have that flesh actually be Jesus' flesh. And I don't think one thing can be in two different places at the same time. Parts of one thing can be in different places, as I explained in the red ball analogy, but Jesus didn't lose any parts as far as I can tell from the narratives in the gospels.

I also disagree with you that you have the same body today that you you were born with. So you and I clearly have a difference in view about what constitutes identity.

I know you probably wanted more argument than this, but I had a long day today, and I've spread myself kind of thin arguing with people who are wrong on the internet. :-)

Dr. Beckwith, no, I haven't read Pruss' chapter on the Eucharist, but I'll have a look-see.

You're right that I haven't read the portion of Summa Theologica that deals with this subject, but I'm not a philosophy student. Thanks for the link to the Summa Theologica, but I can't promise I'm going to read that any time soon. I will look at Pruss' article soon, though.

Real Presence as question of quantum coherence.
http://books.google.ca/books?id=ZcoW519KLMcC&printsec=frontcover&dq=frank+tipler+transubstantiation&source=bl&ots=OAD_2cgSBX&sig=kVAsLrQKa_UyyBwK5NvCHnXBTWE&hl=en&ei=UuFgTOfnCIL6lweyntTCCw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CBQQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=transubstantiation&f=false

That didn't work. If this doesn't I may have to learn to do real links again.
http://books.google.ca/books?id=ZcoW519KLMcC&lpg=PP1&ots=OAD_2cgSBX&dq=frank%20tipler%20transubstantiation&pg=PA241#v=onepage&q=transubstantiation&f=false

Were 5000 fish actually two fish?

"...and the two fish He divided among them all."

BillyHW, what are you trying to communicate? That the fish got bigger? That God added flesh to their bodies? What do you think happened, and how is it relevant to my arguments?

Okay, if anyone cares,
Google
frank tipler transubstantiation

Then go to the first link, his book The Physics of Christianity and there search "transubstantiation".

I would like to know Greg's explanation for why he thinks the Catholic Church believed wrongly about the Eucharist and the meaning of Jesus's words for so many hundreds of years. Were there any early church fathers who believed according to the Protestant understanding? If not, then why not? They studied the texts of the Bible. This is what is hard for me to understand. How could so many people be mislead for so long?

Sam:

I'm not sure what you mean by the law of identity if it is violated if mass is increased. A river can increase and decrease in mass and still be the same river. A wheat crop can have bigger ears in the morning than it did the night before and still be the same crop. Jesus can increase his blood supply to provide enough for a world of communicants on a Sunday morning and still be the same Jesus.

Johnnie, it's the lack of continuity between Jesus and the bread the disciples ate that concerns me. Of course people can gain and lose weight, but that's not what happened at the last supper. Supposedly the bread, which was in no way attached to the physical Jesus, was transformed into human flesh, and it was Jesus' flesh.

Given the fact that the communion wafer does not have a human cellular structure (and in fact none of the properties of human flesh) in what sense is it human flesh? What makes it human? And even if it did have a human cellular structure, and even had Jesus' DNA, what determines whether it is a mere replication of Jesus flesh or the actual flesh of Jesus himself? In both cases, the properties of the flesh would be exactly the same, and the process of generating the flesh would be exactly the same.

If a scientist took some chemicals and was able to create, in a lab, from scratch, some flesh that was like your flesh in every way--same DNA, cell structure, and everything--but he did not use any of your present body parts to grow it from, would the flesh the scientist made actually be your flesh? Would it not just be a replication, wholly discontinuous from your body? How much worse would the scenario be if the "flesh" created by the scientist had none of the properties of human flesh, and in fact resembled a piece of bread in every way, down to it's molecular structure? Is it even possible for that piece of "flesh" to actually be your body?

Sam:

Why should a lack of continuity be a barrier to identity? The United States Senate has a hundred discontinous components yet it has an identity.

Have you ever heard of bilocation, Sam?

Johnnie, without continuity, there just is no sufficient account of identity that can distinguish between a piece of "bread" that is Jesus' body, and a piece of "bread" that is not Jesus' body. That's what my Jesus/John/Peter thought experiment was meant to illustrate.

It's very similar to the problem faced by those who subscribe to soul sleep. If somebody ceases to exist, what is the difference between God bringing a perfect replica into existence and God bringing the actual person back into existence? There's no difference in properties between them, and there's no difference in God's causal action. It's possible for God to bring two people into existence who are both exactly like the person who died, both physically and mentally. But since one person can't be in two different places at the same time, these two people God brings into existence can't be the same person. At least one of them is a mere replica. That shows that having identical properties is not sufficient for identity. What's needed is continuity.

But it's even worse for transubstantiation, because the flesh that replaces the bread does not share any properties in common with Jesus' original body. It retains all the properties of bread. In what sense is it even human?

In the case of Jesus turning bread into his body, there's no continuity. Jesus didn't cut off any part of his body and replace the bread with it. Rather, either the bread itself turned into human flesh or human flesh was created out of nothing while the bread ceased to exist.

If the flesh was created out of nothing, then there's an obvious disconnect between Jesus' actual body and whatever came into existence. The problem is the same as the resurrection scenario above--what's the difference between bringing a replica into existence and bringing Jesus' actual body into existence?

If the bread turned into flesh, then unless the bread was Jesus' flesh to begin with, then no amount of transformation of the bread can turn it into Jesus' flesh.

Think about that for a second. Let's suppose I've got a wax statue of a horse in front of me. And I've got a piece of wax in my hand. And let's say there is a piece of glass separating me from the wax statue. Is there anything at all I could do with the piece of wax in my hand that would turn it into the wax statue on the other side of the glass? Or even cause it to be part of the wax statue on the other side of the glass? Maybe I'm crazy, but to me the answer seems obvious. Even if I was all-powerful, there is absolutely nothing I could do to the piece of wax in my hand to cause it to be the statue on the other side of the glass without at least somehow attaching it to the statue. Now replace the piece of wax in my hand with a piece of bread, and see if the problem gets easier.

Of course if I had gotten the wax in my hand from the statue, then I could at least say it had once been a part of the statue. And if Jesus had cut off a part of his body, replaced the bread with it, then we could say the disciples were eating Jesus' flesh. But no Catholic I'm aware of claims that that's what happened.

Billy, yes I have.

Sam-

Consubstantiation and Real Presence amounts to the claim that the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Christ (as far as I can tell, Real Presence is different from Consubstantiation primarily because it doesn't speak in Aristotelian terminology or presuppose Aristotelian categories). Transubstantiation involves the same claim (plus the commitment to Aristotle). It also involves the claim that the bread and wine are gone.

The first two views do not involve this second claim. Lutherans like Martin Chemnitz will go on to say that the bread is preserved and glorified in the miracle of the Eucharist in much the same way that the humanity of Christ is preserved and glorified in the incarnation.

But I think that Greg's (and your) problem with the Roman position is about the first claim. As such, I think the Lutherans and the Orthodox are subject to the same arguments. Perhaps I am wrong about that.

Just to be clear, I don't think that I'm swallowing part of Jesus body when I consume the host. I'm swallowing Christ whole. So is the brother or sister next to me. I don't know whether that is a generally held position among believers in the Real Presence. But from my perspective, the bit about Christ having to cut part of himself off doesn't seem germane.

Your example of the red ball seems more on point. Could two distinct individuals holding a red ball in two distinct hands be holding the same thing? I don't think that we can say that the answer is in principle "no". To be sure, if they were holding the same thing, it would be a very interesting thing that can exist whole in two different places at the same time.

I don't have experience of any physical object such that, apart from divine revelation, I'd feel justified in saying it can exist whole in two different places at the same time. But I think I do have good evidence that such entities, albeit non-physical, do exist. The number two is one example. God the Father is another. These items exist whole in every place and at every time.

I also think that the Bible reveals that the body and blood of Christ are like that. That is, they can exist whole at two different places at the same time.

Sam:

"Johnnie, without continuity, there just is no sufficient account of identity that can distinguish between a piece of "bread" that is Jesus' body, and a piece of "bread" that is not Jesus' body. That's what my Jesus/John/Peter thought experiment was meant to illustrate."

This quote is not made true on your mere say-so. Show that continuity is a requirement for identity and I will read the rest of your post.

Johnnie, if you didn't read the rest of my post you couldn't possibly know whether I already defended that claim or not. Let's not play games, okay?

Sam:

I'm not interested in soul sleep right now, so I stopped.

WisdomLover, you should read that article Beckwith linked to. It's very good and clearly written. Interesting, too. I definately had a misunderstanding about what consubstantiation is, and now I agree that my arguments apply to consubstantiation, too.

The reason I don't think it's possible for one whole thing to be in two different places at the same time is because that would violate the law of identity--especially the indiscernibility of identicals. One property the "two" entities would not have in common is location. But it becomes more obvious they cannot be the same thing when you start doing things to one but not the other, like eating one but not the other.

I don't really know what to think about ascribing location to non-physical things like numbers and spirits, but I also don't think it's sufficiently analogous to physical things. Maybe non-physical things can be located in more than one place at a time, but that wouldn't move me in the least toward thinking physical things can.

Johnny, the paragraph on soul sleep was part of an argument from analogy. You might as well just say you're not interested in my arguments and end the conversation.

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