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My Friendly Friday Questions


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2 hours ago, 3DOP said:

I have heard people here say that we are the same "species" as God the Father. If this is granted, since we are human, how could God not also be human? Elevated humanity? Sure. Deified humanity? Sure. If I were LDS, I think I would admit to being currently undeified and unelevated. But I would not grant that my essential humanity is different from the Father. (Here we are using those words you guys hate when we start talking Trinity!). I thought the Father Himself is not finished being elevated in his humanity, in LDS thought, and neither are we.

I regret to resist correction from one who believes, But I just can't see how we can be the same species and the Father is no longer human. Catholics hold that Christ became human and always will be from now on. His humanity is also glorified to a state where it is so wonderful that it seems to be beyond human. But the marvel is that we are not the model of "true" humanity. He is! That is our blessed hope. That is why we rejoice that His Sacred Humanity resides at the right hand of God the Father. God's humanity (the Son) is destined to be the norm in the Catholic faith. It seems like the Father and the Son would provide the model of "true" humanity for LDS?

Humbly submitted...

3   

I just tend to link the word "human" to our mortal life, and our human experience represents only one small stage of our existence and progression.  We were created in God's image, but our physical bodies came from the dust of this earth.  And we are not merely defined by our bodies, we are spirit beings that have bodies. 

And I consider the fact that we are all the very génos of God to be built upon a relationship that existed with God long before this earth was ever created, and it isn't limited to our human existence.  

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3 hours ago, InCognitus said:

I just tend to link the word "human" to our mortal life, and our human experience represents only one small stage of our existence and progression.  We were created in God's image, but our physical bodies came from the dust of this earth.  And we are not merely defined by our bodies, we are spirit beings that have bodies. 

And I consider the fact that we are all the very génos of God to be built upon a relationship that existed with God long before this earth was ever created, and it isn't limited to our human existence.  

Those who do not like the ideas associated with God being material and human,  base that feeling on pagan Platonic ideas and Original Sin.  We therefore come into the world created evil because of Eve's "sin" and are cursed for something we did not do.

That makes God unjust.

It makes no sense that we should be punished for someone else's sin.

Edited by mfbukowski
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18 hours ago, 3DOP said:

Saint B...

May we then as David suggests above, assume that you "ground all subordination of the Son of God—to God the Father—to His human nature"? (LDS do not acknowledge that distinction. For them, God the Father is human too.)

I will let the LDS answer more authoritatively as to why the Son is subordinate. I conjecture that it is mainly because of the relationship of sons to fathers, not any kind of ontological differences. They cannot, like us, refer it to the human nature of Christ, since that is also the Father's "nature". (They don't approve of our ideas about nature, substance, or essence. But they DO use the word "species", as in "after their kind" in Genesis. Of course I will be corrected by them if I misunderstand.) I am thinking that as with the LDS, the Catholic view that Christ is subordinate in the New Testament, should suggest nothing to do with inferiority of nature, and is based on a truly recent event (the Incarnation) when compared to eternity. Rather, we should agree with the LDS (and the Catholic theologians David cited) that subordination is based on relationship, an hierarchy that begins in the eternal Godhead, and flows into creation, without implying any inequality of nature. 

"For this cause I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom all paternity in heaven and earth is named..."

---Eph. 2:14, 15

Thanks, Rory

Rory--

I would say that there are three keys for me in these discussions, although maybe there is only one key, since we're considering the Trinity (and Latter-day Saints are conversing from their understanding of what I believe they call the "Godhead.") For me, the three keys are:

  • The Divine Nature (the "what" of God)
  • The relationship among the Three Persons of the Divine Nature (the "who" of God)
  • The union of Christ's Divine Nature and human nature (the hypostatic union, although I'm trying not to use the technical terms)

One place I would gently disagree is when you indicate mention a "hierarchy that begins in the eternal Godhead, and flows into creation, without implying any inequality of nature." I would more completely agree with a statement such as a "hierarchy that, because it is eternally, alpha to omega, expressed in the relationship among the Three Persons of the Divine nature and through the union of Christ's Divine Nature and human nature, and flows (or processes?) into creation, without implying any inequality of nature."  

I'm not a licensed theologian or anything, but I was taught to start thinking theologically by first considering Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition, and then moving forward through the unfolding of understanding in the Church. The Council of Nicaea is important to me in this discussion. In my own study since we've been on this topic I've been going back and forth between St. Athanasias, St. Augustine, and St. Thomas Aquinas. I dare say that while I greatly appreciate St. Thomas' elaboration and systematic treatment of St. Augustine's work on the Trinity, there are some aspects of St. Augustine's thought on this topic that St. Thomas does not attend to. That's neither here nor there, other than I can't recommend highly enough St. Augustine's master work The Trinity.  

I am immensely grateful for your statement that for Latter-day Saints, God the Father is also human in some sense. Maybe for LDS there is a continuum-like relationship between the human and the Divine that is held together by this "species" idea or the "intelligences" idea?  

As usual, I have arrived at the point of needing clarity. Nonetheless, I appreciate you pulling some threads together.

 

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Hello again SB,

Over the weekend, you wrote:

>>One thought I'm having is regarding your description as an "ecclesiastical agnostic," as someone who uses "sources that are held in high regard with each specific tradition that I dialogue with." Fair enough. Still, although you say you hold St. Thomas in high regard, you haven't convinced me that you hold St. Thomas in sufficiently high regard to believe and emulate him. In my perspective, depending on where you're coming from regarding St Thomas your comments about historic Catholic theology, Jesuits, Franciscans, etc. are cast in very different lights.

I hold St. Thomas Aquinas in high regard and several years ago did nine days of prayer regarding him (a novena). He certainly deserves his acclaim as a systematic theologian, although I personally feel a little more resonance with his contemporary, Saint Bonaventure.>>

I am not a devout, practicing Catholic, as such, I am not in a position to “emulate him”. If the Holy Spirit leads me to become a devout, faithful, full-blown Catholic, then it would be the theology/thought of the Angelic Doctor that would foremost mentor me.

 >>When you write that, "The Three Divine Persons of the Godhead are homoousios (same essence/nature)," I agree. When you write that "the Father is the font/source of Divinity," we might agree if 1) you're not slipping in a notion that there was a time when the Son was not, 2) if you accept that the Father is eternally giving and the Son is eternally receiving, and that 3) the Father cannot withhold from the Son in the same way that the Son must receive all of the Father. That's the "ground," so to speak, where I'm coming from and informs my discussion of the Son's human nature, the relation of the persons in the Trinity, etc.>>

 1.) I believe in the eternal generation of the Son of God from the Father.

2.) I also “accept that the Father is eternally giving and the Son is eternally receiving”. Once again, I believe that all that the Son has and is, comes from the Father.

3.) Could you elaborate a bit more on your #3; I am not understanding what you are attempting to convey.

>>Something that is surprising me, though, is that you said that "The Three Divine Persons of the Godhead are homoousious.">>

I embrace the teachings of the Nicene Creed (325), including the anathemas.

>>Are you a believer in the Trinity?>>

A qualified yes; qualified in that there are differing forms of Trinitarianism. For some important aspects concerning the Trinity that I embrace, see THIS THREAD

 

Grace and peace,

David

Edited by David Waltz
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On 11/21/2022 at 10:04 PM, David Waltz said:

 

3.) Could you elaborate a bit more on your #3; I am not understanding what you are attempting to convey.

 

Glad to do so:

The Father gives all he has to the Son, and holds nothing back. The Father is not able to withhold anything from the Son. 

At the same time, the Son receives all the Father has. The Son is not able to refuse anything from the Father. 

Both the Father's giving and the Son's receiving are intrinsic to the Divine Nature (Eternal generation). 

I don't imagine that this point would matter much to most Latter-day Saints, but it often arises in discussions of the procession of the Holy Spirit from the Father and from the Son (the filioque issue that arises with our Orthodox friends).

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On 11/21/2022 at 10:04 PM, David Waltz said:

 

I am not a devout, practicing Catholic, as such, I am not in a position to “emulate him”. If the Holy Spirit leads me to become a devout, faithful, full-blown Catholic, then it would be the theology/thought of the Angelic Doctor that would foremost mentor me.

 

I can relate to what you've written here. Life is short and precious; the Holy Spirit, like the wind, blows where it wills.

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