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Incoherency of Mainstream Christology


Sargon

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Blake Ostler writes in the FARMS Review 11/2 1999, regarding "How Wide the Divide":

http://mi.byu.edu/publications/review/?vol=11&num=2&id=319

The logical problem that this creates for Christology (the explanation of how Jesus is both God and man) is easily defined: the essential properties of "God" appear to be incompatible with the essential properties of humans. The most basic law of logic, the law of noncontradiction, is thus to be violated by Blomberg's assertion that Jesus was both fully God, and thus Creator, and also fully human and thus creature. The law of noncontradiction asserts that no thing can be characterized simultaneously by a property and its complement (negation) in the same respectsâ??or the claim that the thing both has and does not have the property in question. For example, it is not possible for a thing to be both red and also noncolored at the same time, or both taller and shorter than Socrates in the same respects.

Ostler then lists 5 essential attributes of God and of Man, according to traditional orthodox views:

Essential Attributes of God

1.Uncaused Being or ontologically necessary

2. Incorporeal(immaterial)

3. Omniscient

4. Omnipotent

5. Omnipresent

Essential Attributes of Humans

1'. Created or ontologically contingent

2'. Corporeal(material)

3'. Not omniscient

4'. Not omnipotent

5'. Not omnipresent

Ostler concludes:

Blomberg's Christology is incoherent because it asserts both that Christ was very God, having essential properties 1 through 5, and also that Christ was fully human, thus having the complements of these properties 1' through 5'. The problem is that Blomberg implicitly asserts that the properties of divinity are incompatible with being human and vice versaâ??they are not compossibly exemplified in the same individualâ??for they are "incommunicable" to humans. If properties 1 through 5 are essential properties belonging to the kind deity or divine person or God, and if properties 1' through 5' are essential to the kind human, then the law of noncontradiction is clearly violated. It is no wonder that John Hick regards the doctrine that Christ was both "very God and very man" to be as "devoid of meaning as to say that a circle . . . is also a square."45 Certainly Christians hope for more than a central and defining belief that either cannot be given any meaning or that, when carefully elucidated, can be shown to be positively incoherent.

Thoughts?

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Blake Ostler writes in the FARMS Review 11/2 1999, regarding "How Wide the Divide":

http://mi.byu.edu/publications/review/?vol=11&num=2&id=319

Ostler then lists 5 essential attributes of God and of Man, according to traditional orthodox views:

Essential Attributes of God

1.Uncaused Being or ontologically necessary

2. Incorporeal(immaterial)

3. Omniscient

4. Omnipotent

5. Omnipresent

Essential Attributes of Humans

1'. Created or ontologically contingent

2'. Corporeal(material)

3'. Not omniscient

4'. Not omnipotent

5'. Not omnipresent

Ostler concludes:

Thoughts?

This little conundrum was the impetus for the doctrine of the Hypostatic Union, which I believe is ad hoc philosophical smoke and mirror meant simply to make the conflict vanish. And in what I feel is the most convenient twist of all, the exact nature of this union is beyond human comprehension.

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This little conundrum was the impetus for the doctrine of the Hypostatic Union, which I believe is ad hoc philosophical smoke and mirror meant simply to make the conflict vanish. And in what I feel is the most convenient twist of all, the exact nature of this union is beyond human comprehension.

Do you expect to comprehend everything about God? I've noted many times that LDS claim that "we do not know" on many aspects of theology related to God, among other areas.

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Do you expect to comprehend everything about God? I've noted many times that LDS claim that "we do not know" on many aspects of theology related to God, among other areas.

I believe there's a fundamental difference between saying that something isn't known and saying that something can not be known.

Perhaps I'm wrong, but Mormonism seems to point in the direction that the things "we do not know" not only can be known/comprehended by "us" but will be known/comprehended by "us." Orthodox Christianity seems (again, caveat emptor) to adhere to a tenet that not only are these things not known by "us," but they can't be known by us. By their very nature (and the nature of G-d), they cannot be comprehended by that which is not divine.

[Edited to improve Smarmy : Sincerity ratio]

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I just wish that at least once, I could hear an understandable definition of the Mainstream Christian's version of Christ/God. I'm not mocking. I really want to understand. And, I'd really like a definition that another Christian won't disagree with.

Is that asking too much?

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Do you expect to comprehend everything about God? I've noted many times that LDS claim that "we do not know" on many aspects of theology related to God, among other areas.

True. However, our list of Do Not Knows, is shorter. And our list of Knows is comprehendable.

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I just wish that at least once, I could hear an understandable definition of the Mainstream Christian's version of Christ/God. I'm not mocking. I really want to understand. And, I'd really like a definition that another Christian won't disagree with.

Is that asking too much?

If they are mc's then they will agree. That's the point.

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Do you expect to comprehend everything about God? I've noted many times that LDS claim that "we do not know" on many aspects of theology related to God, among other areas.

Is there a verse of scirpture that tells us specifically taht one cannot know the nature of God or that it is incomprehendable?

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I believe there's a fundamental difference between saying that something isn't known and saying that something can not be known.

Perhaps I'm wrong, but Mormonism seems to point in the direction that the things "we do not know" not only can be known/comprehended by "us" but will be known/comprehended by "us." Orthodox Christianity seems (again, caveat emptor) to adhere to a tenet that not only are these things not known by "us," but they can't be known by us. By their very nature (and the nature of G-d), they cannot be comprehended by that which is not divine.

[Edited to improve Smarmy : Sincerity ratio]

So can you fully comprehend God in this life? At least for Catholics, we will be able to fully comprehend God in Heaven. This is called the "beatific vision". We are currently limited by human minds to comprehend something eternal. However in the afterlife, we will be able to comprehend God.

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Just last Sunday in class, someone was explaining the traditional Christian version of God/Jesus. I thought, at that moment, no--not all of them believe that. But even though I've had MANY online conversations on this subject, I still couldn't, for the life of me, explain what they believe.

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True. However, our list of Do Not Knows, is shorter. And our list of Knows is comprehendable.

Okay, and where did you find the list of "do not knows" for "mainstream Christianity"? Which version of mainstream Christianity? Likewise with the list of "knows". Where can we see the LDS list for reference?

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If they are mc's then they will agree. That's the point.

But do they understand what they are all agreeing about?

I had a conversation with a MC and she explained the trinity to me in a modalistic way. When i told her that she wasn't explaining trinitarianism but modalism, which trinitarians completely disagree with, she told me that wasn't true because she was a trinitarian and she was explaining it exactly as it really was.

I then directed her to CARM of all places because it described the difference between modalism and trinitarianism and she still claimed that her modalistic definition of the Trinity WAS trinitarianism and that those 'anti-Christian' people at CARM must be messed up. (i wanted to agree with her there but it was besides the point so i let it go)

So what does 'agreeing' really mean except that you have all agreed to use the term 'trinitarian'? It certainly doesn't mean that MC's agree on the doctrine or understanding behind the term, as i've experienced myself.

This idea that just agreeing to be 'trinitiarins' somehow means one is a true Christian is about as arbitrary as one can get.

:P

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So can you fully comprehend God in this life? At least for Catholics, we will be able to fully comprehend God in Heaven. This is called the "beatific vision". We are currently limited by human minds to comprehend something eternal. However in the afterlife, we will be able to comprehend God.

Here you are talking about one aspect of God and that is the eternities. Which as an LDS I agree that you cannot comprehend this now.

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If they are mc's then they will agree. That's the point.

Maybe my problem is that I'm lumping all non-LDS Christians into one group. Yet, don't they all call each other Christian? Is an EV not a Christian to a Baptist? Or a Baptist a Christian to a Catholic?

Maybe I'm just wanting simplicity, consistency, and clarity, to be where it just isn't.

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Okay, and where did you find the list of "do not knows" for "mainstream Christianity"? Which version of mainstream Christianity? Likewise with the list of "knows". Where can we see the LDS list for reference?

Good luck on finding a central source of doctrine for MC. Oh how I wish there was one. As for LDS doctrine, there are a number of sources. Start with lds.org.

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So what does 'agreeing' really mean except that you have all agreed to use the term 'trinitarian'? It certainly doesn't mean that MC's agree on the doctrine or understanding behind the term, as i've experienced myself.

This idea that just agreeing to be 'trinitiarins' somehow means one is a true Christian is about as arbitrary as one can get.

:P

You know I had several people on my mission tell me that the trinity is like "being a Father and Son, but also a Doctor". "I am 3 distinct things but I am one person".

I also heard the egg anaology and the 3 leaf clover a lot as well.

I guess people that beleive like this really are not Chritsian. They just don't udnerstand the Trinity like Hoops does.

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Is there a verse of scirpture that tells us specifically taht one cannot know the nature of God or that it is incomprehendable?

At least for Catholics, we cannot fully know everything about God's nature in this life.

Also, Catholics do not hold to sola scriptura, where there must be a verse of scripture to tell us everything "specifically". Nor do LDS believe this from what I am aware (neither of us is sola scriptura).

Ecclesiastes 8:16-17

16When I applied mine heart to know wisdom, and to see the business that is done upon the earth: (for also there is that neither day nor night seeth sleep with his eyes:)

17Then I beheld all the work of God, that a man cannot find out the work that is done under the sun: because though a man labour to seek it out, yet he shall not find it; yea farther; though a wise man think to know it, yet shall he not be able to find it.

Isaiah 55:8-9

8For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.

9For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

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So can you fully comprehend God in this life? At least for Catholics, we will be able to fully comprehend God in Heaven. This is called the "beatific vision". We are currently limited by human minds to comprehend something eternal. However in the afterlife, we will be able to comprehend God.

If something is logically incoherent, as Blake Ostler argues mainstream Christology to be -- and I agree with him on this point -- it will never be comprehensible.

Some believing Christian philosophers have made similar arguments regarding what they see as the irreducible logical incoherence of Nicene Trinitarianism, as well. And I find their arguments convincing.

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Do you expect to comprehend everything about God? I've noted many times that LDS claim that "we do not know" on many aspects of theology related to God, among other areas.

It's not a question of not thinking it's right for us not to comprehend something. That's just fine. My problem is the route this doctrine took. Some Christians said Christ and God were separate, per the Bible. Others said, no, we believe in monotheism, and so they have to be one, 100% God and 100% human. The first asked how that was possible, and the second said it just is and we can't know how. Then the first were killed or imprisoned for being heretics.

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You know I had several people on my mission tell me that the trinity is like "being a Father and Son, but also a Doctor". "I am 3 distinct things but I am one person".

I also heard the egg anaology and the 3 leaf clover a lot as well.

I guess people that beleive like this really are not Chritsian. They just don't udnerstand the Trinity like Hoops does.

Haha, those are...interesting analogies.

The best one that I have heard is this:

The molecular formula of water is H2O. That is the "substance" of water, it is what water is. Now, I can have a cup of water, a bowl of ice, and some water vapor. They are completely separate and distinct. Yet they all still have "H2O" as the molecular formula. That is the analogy that I like the best, and from the Catholic perspective, explains "consubstantial" well. Of course, one can nitpick and say that the ice is melting and water evaporating, but that's besides the point of the analogy. The point is that there is water, ice, and vapor, and they have the same molecular formula, yet they are separate from each other on the table (with vapor in the air).

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If something is logically incoherent, as Blake Ostler argues mainstream Christology to be -- and I agree with him on this point -- it will never be comprehensible.

Some believing Christian philosophers have made similar arguments regarding what they see as the irreducible logical incoherence of Nicene Trinitarianism, as well. And I find their arguments convincing.

Will it "never" be comprehensible in the next life, or only this one? What are we using to "comprehend", our human brains? How will we "think" in the spirit world? I think these are important questions to discerning how far this incomprehensibility goes. For Catholics, it ends in Heaven where we have the beatific vision, and become co-heirs in Christ, partakers of the Divine nature (the culmination of a process that began with baptism).

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The molecular formula of water is H2O. That is the "substance" of water, it is what water is. Now, I can have a cup of water, a bowl of ice, and some water vapor. They are completely separate and distinct. Yet they all still have "H2O" as the molecular formula. That is the analogy that I like the best, and from the Catholic perspective, explains "consubstantial" well.

I disagree. According to the doctrine of consubstantiality, they are separate and united at the exact same time. The three physical states of water fail because water molecules cannot be all three at the same time. If the Hypostatic Union truly is incomprehensible then there are no adequate analogies for it.

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