Friday, January 30, 2009

Response to Jay Dyer on Calvinism (Part 4 of 13)

This is part 4 of the thirteen part series in response to Jay Dyer. The previous part may be found here (link).

Jay Dyer says:
3) "[A consistent Calvinist must be] A Monothelite, in that in conversion, the divine will supplants the human will. And this would go for Christ's divine will as well."

I answer:

a) The Calvinist Position (whether right doctrine or error let Scripture decide)

In regeneration, man is given a new heart (Ezekiel 11:19) - which (together with the on-going work of the Spirit) leads to good things, like repentance and faith, coming forth from him (Luke 6:45). Christ affirmed a distinction between his human and divine will (Luke 22:42) - and, of course, Christ was resurrected, but was not regenerated. Sometimes conversion and regeneration are spoken of interchangeably, other times they are distinguished, but this nuance of theology (as important as it may be) is not particularly relevant, since it is in regeneration (properly speaking) that man's will is changed.

b) The Accusation Disputed

The error for which Monothelites were criticized was a denial of the human nature of Christ. While this may not have been justified (as with the criticism of Nestorius), it has become the primary defining characteristic of what is viewed as Monothelitism. Perhaps a more precise expression would be saying that in Monothelitism, Christ had only a divine will and no human will. Such a view is unacceptable in Calvinism, which teaches that Christ was both fully God and fully man. How this can be is hard to understand. Nevertheless, Scripture teaches it, and so we believe it. A view that denied Christ's true human will would compromise the active obedience of Christ, which is imputed to believers. The active obedience of Christ is his obedience, as a man, to the moral law. Arguably, Monothelitism also undermines the ill-named "passive" obedience of Christ in voluntarily suffering during life and dying on the cross, since it does not show the true submission Christ showed in consenting to die for us, his people, as taught in Scripture (John 10:18).

The fact that man's heart is changed in regeneration has nothing to do with Monothelitism. Man only has one will - and the number of wills of man is not really part of the Monothelite controversy. Furthermore, since Christ himself doesn't experience regeneration (since Christ's nature was not depraved by the fall, as he was not under Adam's federal headship), it's far fetched (to say the least) to imagine that there can be any regeneration-Christ-Monothelitism connection.

c) The Accusation Redirected

Of course, Catholicism doesn't deny that Christ had both a human and a divine will. Nevertheless, the superstitious error of transubstantiation could be said to deny the true humanity of Christ (which would be as serious an error). How so? The doctrine of transubstantiation claims that the bread and wine physically become the body and blood of Christ. However, a careful investigation of the bread and wine reveals them to be physically just bread and wine, unlike true human flesh and blood, which has identifiable biological characteristics. Aristotelian categories are brought into play (by, for example, Trent) to try to assert that the substance of the body and blood are there under the accidents of bread and wine. This explanation, however, makes little philosophical sense, and certainly makes no scientific sense. The physical sciences can confirm there is no physical change. God does certainly have the power to perform physical changes (just as the water was transformed to wine at Cana), but when those physical changes occur, the changed thing exhibits the physical qualities of what it has been changed into. To assert that the bread and wine are literally the physical body and blood of Christ are implicitly to deny that Christ's body and blood have human DNA, have human cells, or are in any way like our human bodies. Such an assertion amounts to an implicit denial of the true humanity of Christ.

This should be concern enough, but it gets worse. One of the bishops of Rome actually was condemned by an ecumenical council (The Sixth Ecumenical Council, Constantinople III) as a Monothelite. It's popular for modern Catholicism to try to dismiss Honorius' posthumous excommunication as being simply based on his private views, and not on his teachings in an official capacity.

Nevertheless, the Sixth Ecumenical Council declared:
But as the author of evil, who, in the beginning availed himself of the aid of the serpent, and by it brought the poison of death upon the human race, has desisted, but in like manner now, having found suitable instruments for working his will (we mean Theodoras who Bishop of Pharan, Sergius, Pyrrhus, Paul and Peter, who were Archbishops of this royal city and moreover, Honorius who Pope of the elder Rome, Cyrus Bishop of Alexandria, Macarius who was lately of Antioch, and Stephen his disciple) has actively employed them in raising up for the whole Church the stumbling of one will and one operation in the natures of Christ our true God one of Holy Trinity; thus disseminating, in novel terms amongst the orthodox people, an heresy similar to the mad and wicked doctrine of the impious Apollinaris, Severus, and Themistius, and endeavouring craftily to destroy the perfection of the incarnation of the same our Lord Jesus Christ, our God, by blasphemously representing flesh endowed with a rational soul as devoid of will or operation.


How to deal with this contradiction between a pope and an ecumenical council has proved challenging for those in modern Catholicism. Schaff notes, that one "Roman Catholic Curialist writer[]" named Pennacchi affirmed that "Honorius's letters were strictly speaking Papal decrees, set forth auctoritate apostolica, and therefore irreformable, but he declares, contrary to the opinion of almost all theologians ... that they are orthodox, and that the Council erred in condemning them ... " (quotation is Schaff writing). The majority approach (as mentioned by Schaff, and probably still true today) is to assert that Honorius' letters were errant but were not ex cathedra.

Nevertheless, the historical fact is that Honorius was condemned as an heretic and monothelite, as established by at least 13 points of evidence that Schaff provides, including the following: "The Papal Oath as found in the Liber Diurnus taken by each new Pope from the fifth to the eleventh century, in the form probably prescribed by Gregory II, "smites with eternal anathema the originators of the new heresy Sergius etc together with Honorius because he assisted the base assertion of the heretics." (footnote omitted)

Of course, this sort of thing (posthumous anathemas for heresy) are, or should be troubling, for those who wish to trust that their church is providing them with the truth and not an heretical error. Who can confidently say that John Paul II or Benedict XVI will not be found by a later ecumenical to be heretics on some point that today is widely accepted (note how many patriarchs and bishops from a wide geographic area were condemned by the Sixth Ecumenical Council)? Who is in a position to judge whether Benedict XVI is teaching you heresy or truth?

Scripture has the answer - it is not to follow a church that has been led by fallible and even heretical men. Instead, it instructs us to follow the example of the Bereans (Acts 17:11), search the Scriptures (John 5:39), test the spirits whether they are from God (1 John 4:1), go to the very thing that is given as profitable for doctrine (2 Timothy 3:16), that is alone described as being given by God's inspiration (2 Timothy 3:16), and which can make one wise unto salvation (2 Timothy 3:15), so that you might be thoroughly furnished (2 Timothy 3:17). In short, the answer is that believers must turn to Scripture to judge whether the spirit of Rome today is the spirit of God, or whether it is one of the many false teachers that were prophesied (2 Peter 2:1).

-TurretinFan

Continue to Part 5

32 comments:

Rhology said...

I would add that in transubstantiation, Christ's body is now in more than one place at one time. Yet human bodies are space-bound, not able to do so. So Christ's body is somehow other-than-human, and that seems non-Chalcedonian. So that's another criticism along the same lines.

Turretinfan said...

P.R.,

Thanks for your comment. I have not decided to publish it. I will however, address a few points that it raised.

First, while I recognize that Trent relies on the Aristotelian categories of essence/substance and accidents/species, they do insist that this is a physical change. That is to say, they insist that Christ is physically present in the "host" after the consecration. This can be seen, for example, from the explanation provided at CCC 1374, where it is stated of the "real presence that "... it is presence in the fullest sense ... ."

To argue that modern science can only deal with the specifics (the "accidents" not the substance), begs the question (i.e. it assumes without showing) of whether "substance" in the absence of "accidents" is a valid mental category, especially as applied to the present discussion.

Obviously, I could (and perhaps should) further acknowledge that even the CCC acknowledges that Christ cannot be detected in the bread and wine with the senses (CCC 1381). This helpfully avoids the question of whether perhaps those investigating just haven't seen a true consecration in order to test the bread for human DNA, to see whether the bread had literally become Christ.

The Cana point was a response to an anticipated (and oft-heard) objection, not an objection itself.

As far as the idea that the Romanist could argue "in that case God changed both essence and accidents, so it is not a fit comparison," the rejoinder is to request that the Romanist identify any Scriptural miracle that is a fit comparison.

Of course, the answer will be, that they cannot, because this is "unique" (CCC 1374 and 1380). May I respectfully suggest that it is "unique" because it has been specially plead to accommodate a superstitious medieval innovation, rather than because of any valid reason to accept the doctrine.

Maximus' dialog with Phyrrus (and its relation to the discussion) would make for an interesting paper (particularly since it appears that Maximus attempted to defend Honorius' position (while Phyrrus is the monothelite).

Nevertheless, the issues raised in that dialog are tangential to this particular discussion, since the basis for Honorius' condemnation is the basis stated in the acts & decrees of the 6th ecumenical council.

-TurretinFan

Matt said...

There are some serious confusions about what the view of Transubstantiation demands of a Catholic, from a philosophical, theological, and even common-sense point of view. I will be depending upon Thomas Aquinas since his views were widely accepted as the greatest "explanations" of this doctrine.

First of all, Catholic theologians generally make a distinction between real, true, etc., presence and local presence (a distinction reaffirmed in the relevant encyclical of Paul VI). This distinction may be rejected by Calvinists as nonsensical, but it has implications for what the doctrine of Transubstantiation is and is not saying.

http://www.newadvent.org/summa/4076.htm#article5

And it does not imply that Christ's body is NOT physically at the right hand of the Father and that, moreover, (as a true human being), he can bi- or multi-locate, as Rhology suggests.

I will quote a few relevant passages from Thomas Aquinas:

Reply to Objection 1. Christ's body is not in this sacrament definitively, because then it would be only on the particular altar where this sacrament is performed: whereas it is in heaven under its own species, and on many other altars under the sacramental species. Likewise it is evident that it is not in this sacrament circumscriptively, because it is not there according to the commensuration of its own quantity, as stated above. But that it is not outside the superficies of the sacrament, nor on any other part of the altar, is due not to its being there definitively or circumscriptively, but to its being there by consecration and conversion of the bread and wine, as stated above (1; 15, 2, sqq.).

First of all, because Christ's body under its proper species can be seen only in one place, wherein it is definitively contained. Hence since it is seen in its proper species, and is adored in heaven, it is not seen under its proper species in this sacrament.

Also see the relevant passages from Ratzinger's God is With Us as well as Fr. Kimel's rather helpful essays here:

http://pontifications.wordpress.com/2008/03/17/is-transubstantiation-bodily-enough/

It is really frustrating when the most obvious of objections are brought forward against Catholic positions, as if (in the past 800, let alone 2000 years) we had never thought of them and, at least, attempted to address them before.

Again, Rhology or you can respond by saying that the doctrine of Transubstantiation necessarily entails multilocation and, hence, a dimunition of Christ's true humanity. Fine. But you must acknowledge that no serious Catholic theologian permits that inference and that they have articulated, over a period of at least 700 years, how that is possible.

Turretinfan said...

Matt,

The last 800 years is about the maximum relevant time period for this particular doctrine. Furthermore, it really gets "defined" at Trent, which cuts the time period by another 400 years.

There are obvious objections (and I don't mind making obvious as well as sophisticated objections), but they haven't been satisfactorily answered.

One of the problems with the answers to the objections, is that they tend to go every which way. Some proponents of Catholicism argue one way, some another, and they are not all consistent with each other.

The massive multi-location explanation is actually a popular one that I've heard a number of times. To attempt to bolster this, there is usually appeals to legends of medieval saints supposedly bi-locating. We, however, don't accept these legendary accounts, and we note that these explanations are not necessarily consistent with other explanations.

It's one of the risks of doing apologetics with respect to Roman positions - there are often no single, consistent official answers to the objections. So, if one shoots down one of the answers, one simply finds well-intentioned folks bringing up new and inconsistent answers to the same objections.

There's also an interesting temporal component, in that answers today are sometimes not the same as the answers 400 years ago.

And, of course, when they are the same, we've already addressed those answers 400 years ago. :)

-TurretinFan

Turretinfan said...

P.R. wrote:
"I am not clear on why you decided not to publish my comments. They were direct, non-inflammatory and directed to the arguments."

I wasn't trying to imply that they were bad comments. I just don't want to head down the tangents that it raised. I also don't want to turn this combox into a debate over whether the change in the Eucharist in the papist view is "physical" or not.

I note that pope John Paul II wrote: "My Predecessor Paul VI deemed it necessary to explain the uniqueness of Christ's real presence in the Eucharist, which “is called 'real' not to exclude the idea that the others are 'real' too, but rather to indicate presence par excellence, because it is substantial”. Under the species of bread and wine, “Christ is present, whole and entire in his physical 'reality', corporally present”."

This alleged physical reality is contradicted by the physical sciences, and I find the use of Aristotelian categories to attempt to avoid the problem to be both intuitively (it looks a duck and quacks like a duck but you're telling me this is a lion?) and philosophically untenable both from a metaphysical philosophy standpoint (there is no valid epistemic foundation for the distinction) and from a natural philosophy standpoint (there is a loosely identifiable relation between the physical accidents and the physical substance - but this is not present in the alleged miracle of transubstantiation).

-TurretinFan

Mike Burgess said...

St. Luke himself addressed your errors in chapter 24 of his Holy Gospel:

31 And their eyes were opened, and they knew him: and he vanished out of their sight. 32 And they said one to the other: Was not our heart burning within us, whilst he spoke in this way, and opened to us the scriptures? 33 And rising up, the same hour, they went back to Jerusalem: and they found the eleven gathered together, and those that were staying with them, 34 Saying: The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon. 35 And they told what things were done in the way; and how they knew him in the breaking of the bread.

36 Now whilst they were speaking these things, Jesus stood in the midst of them, and saith to them: Peace be to you; it is I, fear not. 37 But they being troubled and frightened, supposed that they saw a spirit. 38 And he said to them: Why are you troubled, and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? 39 See my hands and feet, that it is I myself; handle, and see: for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as you see me to have. 40 And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet.

41 But while they yet believed not, and wondered for joy, he said: Have you any thing to eat? 42 And they offered him a piece of a broiled fish, and a honeycomb. 43 And when he had eaten before them, taking the remains, he gave to them. 44 And he said to them: These are the words which I spoke to you, while I was yet with you, that all things must needs be fulfilled, which are written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. 45 Then he opened their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures.

46 And he said to them: Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise again from the dead, the third day: 47 And that penance and remission of sins should be preached in his name, unto all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 And you are witnesses of these things. 49 And I send the promise of my Father upon you: but stay you in the city till you be endued with power from on high. 50 And he led them out as far as Bethania: and lifting up his hands, he blessed them.

Obviously there is no way, according to your philosophical and (if I might coin a word) scientistic mindset to explain the vanishing and appearing of Christ, nor the supposition of the gathered disciples, nor the vivid descriptions of our Lord's bodily yet glorified presence. You are content to live with these mysteries, yet you wish to cast aspersions of absurdity on your opponents. Forgetting that, in the fulness of time, Christ died, was buried and resurrected, you neglect to make the necessary conclusion that He then manifested in the fullest sense His glorification and full "re-entry" (as it were) into an eternal mode of being. Temporal constraints do not affect Him any longer. One of your fellow Protestants, the brilliant astronomer and astrophysicist Dr. Hugh N. Ross, wrote an excellent book called "Beyond the Cosmos" in which he addresses the "multi-location" argument and demonstrates the flaw in your logic.

As to the original point of monotheletism (alternatively: monotheletelism), you again (as with Nestorianism) imply that the heresy was improperly condemned. (You went farther there, seeming to follow A.A. Hodge and Harold O.J. Brown in rehabilitating Nestorius.) You hastened to add your condemnation of the tenet, but one wonders why you felt, here as before, the need to apologize in some fashion for the heretics. Monotheletism was an offshoot of monophysitism, as Nestorianism was an echo of Apollinarianism. All of them were in error, and rightly condemned. Peppering your defense with veiled excuses, as has been pointed out, tends to give rise to concern about the total adherence to the orthodox doctrine.

As an aside, I look forward to further discussion in subsequent posts about your assertion that the Eucharistic Presence is "physical," as you put it. Specifically, I am curious as to your definition of physical, and the implications for your rejection of the doctrine of transubstantiation.

Mike Burgess said...

Having now seen your second response to P. R. (whomever that might be), I would add to my comment (should you choose to publish it or not) that it looks like a Lamb, acts like a Lamb, sounds like a Lamb, and is, in fact a Lion.

natamllc said...

As I read the part 4 and the comments I have staring in my face, glaring, these words of Scripture:

1Co 8:1 Now concerning food offered to idols: we know that "all of us possess knowledge." This "knowledge" puffs up, but love builds up.
1Co 8:2 If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know.
1Co 8:3 But if anyone loves God, he is known by God.
1Co 8:4 Therefore, as to the eating of food offered to idols, we know that "an idol has no real existence," and that "there is no God but one."
1Co 8:5 For although there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth--as indeed there are many "gods" and many "lords"--
1Co 8:6 yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.

There is bound up in these verses the basis of carnal "knowledge" and "Spiritual Knowledge".

The tug and pull of this debate seems to center around "how much I know that you do not know". As we can read above, knowledge puffs up one's understanding. God's Love edifies.

The cutting separation of it all is this, "God's Grace" that would "conjoin" us, wretched sinners, by His Hand, to Christ.

We are now the "temple" of the Holy Ghost. If our piety does not express that or exhibit that in our religious and pious practices, what does it show those watching us?

I would have to say according to the Scriptures above cited, we would be showing those watching our lives a lessor god and lord.

It is evident that Christ came into this world. There seems to be no argument of that "fact". He was here Emmanuel, "God with us".

What seems to me to be missed goes to the heart of what Jesus taught here:

Joh 10:37 If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me;
Joh 10:38 but if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father."

Here we see in Jesus' own "words" "where" Christ is.

Where is He? Is He here and there? Where is He, then?

Well we see clearly Jesus answers the question which seems to be the centerpiece of this discussion. He is in and with the Father!

Now, further on in this particular vein, we read these words from the Gospel according to John:

Joh 14:23 Jesus answered him, "If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.
Joh 14:24 Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father's who sent me.
Joh 14:25 "These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you.
Joh 14:26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.

So, it remains to be seen if you have received the Gift of Faith too?

Faith is the "substance" of things "hoped" for and the "evidence" of things "not" seen.

What this debate seems to do is try to make visible "Christ" contrary to all sound wisdom from the knowledge of Scripture.

It is not the transubstantiation of Christ as the RCC and obviously several commenters in here, want us to believe, that is important, in my view. Rather, it is understanding what the Scriptures clearly teach.

I hasten to say now by the "Words" of Jesus what He said while a man in a human's body, [a human body designed and prepared for Him to dwell in while He fulfilled His mission on earth, a mission He was "sent" to fulfill]:

Joh 14:15 "If you love me, you will keep my commandments.
Joh 14:16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever,
Joh 14:17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.
Joh 14:18 "I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.

He makes the distinction here. The "world" cannot receive the "Spirit" of Truth. Why? Because it neither sees him nor "knows" him.

We know Him by knowing Him in the Spirit of Truth. We are not left out of the Father's dwelling place. Christ will not leave us. He will send us the Spirit of Truth so that we too might know Him and be with Him, where He is!

This transubstantiation teaching is not one found in Scripture. It seems to focus us on lessor gods and lords as taught by the spirit of man. I could go further with this assertion to the next descent but I will leave it to your own imagination where that descent would bring you?

I suggest it be discarded immediately, transubstantiation, and a reformation or turning to the Christ, who we have established by His own "Words" from Scripture, is right now where He says He is, with the Father.

Peter said this during a most difficult period in Church History when another similar sort of debate was among the sons of men. Read it carefully and ask yourselves, is it so with you?

Act 15:7 And after there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, "Brothers, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe.
Act 15:8 And God, who knows the heart, bore witness to them, by giving them the Holy Spirit just as he did to us,
Act 15:9 and he made no distinction between us and them, having cleansed their hearts by faith.
Act 15:10 Now, therefore, why are you putting God to the test by placing a yoke on the neck of the disciples that neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear?
Act 15:11 But we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will."

Turretinfan said...

Mike:

a) The fact that Jesus' had a real human body (still bearing the scars of his crucifixion) after the resurrection is supportive of my position, not a rebuttal to it.

b) You wrote: "Obviously there is no way, according to your philosophical and (if I might coin a word) scientistic mindset to explain the vanishing and appearing of Christ, nor the supposition of the gathered disciples, nor the vivid descriptions of our Lord's bodily yet glorified presence."

This "my mindset" line is a rhetorical flourish that is unhelpful. The physical sciences are what they are. They deal with what exists in the physical world. They cannot explain miracles, but they can observe the results.

Thus, for example, if the bread in the Eucharist changed into human flesh, the physical sciences could not explain this, but they could confirm that the flesh had human DNA, whereas before it had wheat (or whatever) DNA.

c) You wrote: "You are content to live with these mysteries, yet you wish to cast aspersions of absurdity on your opponents."

The absurdity is saying that Christ is physically present, when it is so obvious that he is not. Arguing that his presence can only be perceived "by faith" (I think I already provided the CCC cite above) just makes the Emporer-clothing analogy too tempting.

You wrote: "Forgetting that, in the fulness of time, Christ died, was buried and resurrected,"

I obviously don't forget that. Let's not play games.

You wrote: "... you neglect to make the necessary conclusion that He then manifested in the fullest sense His glorification and full "re-entry" (as it were) into an eternal mode of being."

That's a very vacuous claim - one I could easily grant, because it doesn't really say anything positive. He still had a real human body, and he could still do miracles (as he could before his crucifixion).

You wrote: "Temporal constraints do not affect Him any longer."

That's an interesting claim, but not one that is necessary to debate, since it is not really germane to the topic at hand.

You wrote: "One of your fellow Protestants, the brilliant astronomer and astrophysicist Dr. Hugh N. Ross, wrote an excellent book called "Beyond the Cosmos" in which he addresses the "multi-location" argument and demonstrates the flaw in your logic."

If the argument itself were brilliant, I'm sure you'd use it, instead of him. :)

You wrote: "As to the original point of monotheletism ... you again (as with Nestorianism) imply that the heresy was improperly condemned."

I am just recognizing the reality of the fact that people have disagreed over what the Monothelites actually taught. Nevertheless, Monothelitism has reasonably well-established definition. I'm not too interested (at this time) in getting into a debate over whether the Monothelites were really Monothelites.

Finally, you wrote: "As an aside, I look forward to further discussion in subsequent posts about your assertion that the Eucharistic Presence is "physical," as you put it."

I quoted JP2 above. Obviously, the doctrine of transubstantiation is not "my" doctrine. Would you care to interact with JP2's explanation?

-TurretinFan

steve said...

William Lane Craig wrote a detail critique of Ross on that very contention:

http://ldolphin.org/craig/index.html

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3817/is_199906/ai_n8859942

Mike Burgess said...

"The physical sciences are what they are. They deal with what exists in the physical world. They cannot explain miracles, but they can observe the results."

The physical sciences can most assuredly tell us all about the accidental properties. What they cannot do is divulge hidden supernatural realities. They are natural sciences. When you start up a metaphysical laboratory, let me know.

"The absurdity is saying that Christ is physically present, when it is so obvious that he is not. Arguing that his presence can only be perceived 'by faith' (I think I already provided the CCC cite above) just makes the Emporer-clothing analogy too tempting."

The "physical" reality is present in a sacramental manner, as has always been asserted. The explanation of transubstantiation is a metaphysical construct, and you know this, yet you wish to misapply natural sciences to investigate it, and then wish to hurl invective at your straw man. Go right ahead. You fall prey to the same criticism, of course. You rightly reject that criticism from others with regard to issues where faith is a proper and necessary precursor, so I fail to see why you insist on using the criticism now. Other than that you either don't mind being inconsistent, that is. Reductio ad absurdum here is awfully tempting, as well.

"Let's not play games."

I'm not. I'm contending that you haven't held up your contentions to as many aspects of orthodoxy as necessary. Take issue with the contentions as you may, but don't brush them off as gamesmanship. If you had in mind Christ's glorification and eternal manner of existence, you wouldn't have objected to His sacramental presence in the Eucharist, or the re-presentation of the once-for-all-sacrifice of Calvary, or any of the other carefully elaborated distinctives with improper methodology or inapt criticisms like you did. Claiming DNA testing of a consecrated Host should reveal human DNA is akin to claiming that a sphygmomenometer should reveal emotional states. Or that satellite telescopes should clearly give scientific evidence of Jesus in the heavenly places. Make big enough mirrors and lenses and you should be able to see Him on the throne, right? Given that you can point it in the right direction. He's physical, therefore spatial, therefore detectable. Just using your logic, TF.

"That's an interesting claim, but not one that is necessary to debate, since it is not really germane to the topic at hand." and "If the argument itself were brilliant, I'm sure you'd use it, instead of him. :)"

While I appreciate the inapt comparison to Dr. Ross, whose intellect causes me no little wonder, temporal constraints are germane to the multilocative criticism you and Rhology raised. The basic point Dr. Ross made to which I was referring is (and here I think Dr. Craig's critique falls short) is precisely that He is (or can be properly conceived of as being) perpendicular to our temporal line. I will revisit the book in question to find the section from which I took that conclusion, but Steve (Mr. Hays, I presume), I concur with Dr. Craig's critique insofar as he points out the ill-formed kenotic position of Dr. Ross. The two positions do not depend on one another, and a Christologically orthodox rendering of the underlying atemporality is precisely what I was briefly arguing.

TF, if you recall, I started my remarks with citation from St. Luke where physical attributes which really substantially exist can and did exist in ways transcending physical limitations. The eyesight of the disciples on the road to Emmaus, which theretofore had no problem discerning the identity of the Lord, did not function as it should have. Jesus was still Jesus, and their eyes were still their eyes. Something supernatural was at work. Something which interfered with natural means of detection. Physical people don't just suddenly appear in the midst of a group in a room, most especially not after they've been dead for a few days. Something supernatural happened, which you concede without minding apparent logical and scientific difficulties.

As to interaction with PP John Paul II and Paul VI, I think, as usual, clarifying remarks were excluded. Paul VI elaborated "For what now lies beneath the aforementioned species is not what was there before, but something completely different; and not just in the estimation of Church belief but in reality, since once the substance or nature of the bread and wine has been changed into the body and blood of Christ, nothing remains of the bread and the wine except for the species—beneath which Christ is present whole and entire in His physical 'reality,' corporeally present, although not in the manner in which bodies are in a place."

The manner is a sacramental manner. I would remind you that this has a quite specific meaning which you ignore at no little risk to your criticism, as I have attempted to explain above.

orthodox said...

Sorry if this is dup.

The WCF says that Christ's body is present in communion spiritually. If lack of DNA is a problem for us in Christ being human and present, why isn't total lack of physicality a bigger problem for you?

And does't your claim that Christ's body is present spiritually, both deny the basic nature of bodies which is that they are physical things, and call into question the bodily resurrection, since now bodies don't need to be a physical thing?

Turretinfan said...

Orthodox:

Perhaps you have a different version of the WCF than I do.

Could you give me a quotation where you think it says that?

The closest I could find off hand was "There is in every sacrament a spiritual relation, or sacramental union, between the sign and the thing signified; whence it comes to pass that the names and effects of the one are attributed to the other."

-TurretinFan

orthodox said...

XXIX - VII "the body and blood of Christ being then, not corporally or carnally, in, with, or under the bread and wine; yet, as really, but spiritually, present"

So Christ's body is present, not carnally but spiritually.

BTW, is it a matter of dogma for you that human bodies will have DNA in heaven?

Turretinfan said...

In context:

"VII. Worthy receivers, outwardly partaking of the visible elements in this sacrament, do then also inwardly by faith, really and indeed, yet not carnally and corporally, but spiritually, receive and feed upon Christ crucified, and all benefits of his death: the body and blood of Christ being then not corporally or carnally in, with, or under the bread and wine; yet as really, but spiritually, present to the faith of believers in that ordinance, as the elements themselves are to their outward senses."

So, yes, not carnally but spiritually present. No, I don't dogmatize that believers will have DNA in heaven, although I see no reason at all to doubt it.

-TurretinFan

Mike Burgess said...

TF, I posted a lengthier response over at my place. Feel free to drop by and comment if you have time.

Turretinfan said...

Mike: I saw that, thanks!

Turretinfan said...

By the way, since Mike linked to this post, Blogger provided a link-back in the "comments elsewhere" section automatically.

***

Orthodox wrote: "The WCF's claim of being spiritually present but no physicality whatsoever is much worse than mere DNA problems."

If we claimed that his body was physically present without any physical presence, that would be a problem.

In fact, obviously, we don't. So no ... there is no such problem.

-TurretinFan

natamllc said...

It amuses me that the acronym DNA is being bandied about these days on a number of levels and in some seeker and progressive circles within the pious communities that supposedly is the "Church".

DNA is a way of tracing one's carnal existence to the exclusion of all others. We know it as the genetic code of the human.

Mostly it is used as a crime detector. Then, of course, to establish paternity or maternity. Having knowledge of DNA one has some intrinsic values with it.

In Heaven with Our God, who knows all, DNA won't be a matter of our daily life, now will it? :)

Someone rightfully noted of God, that "if God learned anything" it wouldn't be God, since God is all knowing and learns nothing.

The rest of us, His creations, only know in part!

Alexander Greco said...

Turretinfan, I think that the counter-point would be that Jesus is physically present, but hidden under the accidents of bread and wine. That is why Aquinas says that our senses deceive us. So on the one hand you can say that Jesus is physically present. On the other hand, because his presence is hidden by the accidents, there is no way that the physical sciences can detect his presence. The physical sciences are limited to what they can detect via the accidents.

Had someone extracted the DNA of Jesus would they have been able to detect that he was God? Jesus took on the flesh provided by Mary, so I would think that the DNA would resemble his mother's.

I don't think that an appeal to the natural sciences would be a credible argument against transubstantiation.

What do you think of consubstantiation? I am of the understanding that consubstantiation teaches that Jesus is also physically present along with the actual substance of the bread and wine. A) Is this correct? and B) Is this the traditional Lutheran position? and C) If you disagree with this position, would it not be more consistent of you to devote just as much effort in refuting the Lutheran position in a similar fashion?

Turretinfan said...

Mr. Greco:

You wrote: "Turretinfan, I think that the counter-point would be that Jesus is physically present, but hidden under the accidents of bread and wine."

Sure. That might be a counter-point. But the Scriptures don't say "hiding under the bread." Where does the "hiding" concept come from? It seems to come from an attempt to rationalize the "strictly literal" reading of "this is my body." Counter-points that "well - he could be hiding" are fairly obviously special pleading.

You wrote: "That is why Aquinas says that our senses deceive us."

I think you've put the cart before the horse there.

You wrote: "So on the one hand you can say that Jesus is physically present."

I don't say that. You say that.

You wrote: "On the other hand, because his presence is hidden by the accidents, there is no way that the physical sciences can detect his presence."

Again - that is you. And it is just special pleading. "Oh yeah, he's there - he's just hiding really well."

You wrote: "The physical sciences are limited to what they can detect via the accidents."

The physical sciences address the physical realities. If something is not investigable by the physical sciences, it is probably because it is not a physical reality.

You wrote: "Had someone extracted the DNA of Jesus would they have been able to detect that he was God?"

No. God is a Spirit. Spirit is something outside of the physical world, and while it is a reality, it is not a physical reality.

You wrote: "Jesus took on the flesh provided by Mary, so I would think that the DNA would resemble his mother's."

I would think so too. In fact, he probably looked like his mother (like all children resemble, to some extent their mothers), which is scientific evidence that he was her offspring according to the flesh.

You wrote: "I don't think that an appeal to the natural sciences would be a credible argument against transubstantiation."

As long as you allow special pleading in defense of thing "X", nothing is ever a credible argument against thing "X".

You wrote: "What do you think of consubstantiation? I am of the understanding that consubstantiation teaches that Jesus is also physically present along with the actual substance of the bread and wine. A) Is this correct? and B) Is this the traditional Lutheran position? and C) If you disagree with this position, would it not be more consistent of you to devote just as much effort in refuting the Lutheran position in a similar fashion?"

I have a greater concern in my heart for those in Catholicism than for those in the many varieties of Lutheranism. So, while there might be value in trying to address the "in, with, and under" view of consubstantiation, I'll leave that for another time.

-TurretinFan

orthodox said...

"The physical sciences address the physical realities. If something is not investigable by the physical sciences, it is probably because it is not a physical reality."

Then there are no miracles.

Turretinfan said...

Mike:

You wrote: "The physical sciences can most assuredly tell us all about the accidental properties. What they cannot do is divulge hidden supernatural realities. They are natural sciences. When you start up a metaphysical laboratory, let me know."

See my comments to Mr. Greco above about special pleading that "it's real, it's physical, it's just hiding."

You wrote: "The "physical" reality is present in a sacramental manner, as has always been asserted."

The "sacramental manner" apparently (to you) means "not physically present" or "physically present, but hidden from any possible physical detection." This is just that same special pleading as above.

You wrote: "The explanation of transubstantiation is a metaphysical construct, and you know this, yet you wish to misapply natural sciences to investigate it, and then wish to hurl invective at your straw man."

a) If someone claims something is a "physical" reality, then it is not a misapplication of the physical sciences to investigate the claim.

b) The fact that the same person also claims (as they do) that the physical sciences are useless to investigate the claim of physical reality doesn't make (a) a straw man or "invective."

You wrote: "If you had in mind Christ's glorification and eternal manner of existence, you wouldn't have objected to His sacramental presence in the Eucharist, or the re-presentation of the once-for-all-sacrifice of Calvary, or any of the other carefully elaborated distinctives with improper methodology or inapt criticisms like you did."

a) The fact that Rome claims something, doesn't make it so.

b) It may make it so for you, if you just mindlessly accept whatever Rome says, but I cannot hope to reach such a person with the truth.

c) If you examine Scripture, this sort of nonsense about communion being itself the sacrifice of Christ (as Rome claims), or Christ being physically present but impossible to find physically by anyone (as Rome claims), or any of a number of problematic innovations that Rome has made, you won't find them. They aren't in Scripture, they aren't of apostolic origin, and they aren't the truth.

You wrote: "Claiming DNA testing of a consecrated Host should reveal human DNA is akin to claiming that a sphygmomenometer should reveal emotional states."

No. It's not. If you don't see the difference, I'm sorry that I haven't been clear.

If the claim is "physical" presence, then the physical sciences should detect that physical presence. Claiming that "yeah, well it's hidden" is just like claiming "yeah, the silk we wove your clothes from is so fine, it is invisible."

You wrote: "TF, if you recall, I started my remarks with citation from St. Luke where physical attributes which really substantially exist can and did exist in ways transcending physical limitations."

Let's examine your explanation of this claim.

You continued: "The eyesight of the disciples on the road to Emmaus, which theretofore had no problem discerning the identity of the Lord, did not function as it should have."

Yes. For whatever reason, they did not recognize Jesus. We are not told it is because their eyesight did not function as it should have. God can deceive our senses so that we see something than is actually there, though. No doubt about that.

You wrote: "Jesus was still Jesus, and their eyes were still their eyes. Something supernatural was at work. Something which interfered with natural means of detection."

a) Scripture doesn't say that (the part about what happened being supernatural).

b) Even if that were the case with respect to the folks on the road to Emmaus, there's no reason to make an accidents/substance distinction there.

c) Finally, even if that were the case with respect to the folks on the road to Emmaus, that was a man under the accidents of a man. Not under the accidents of something non-man.

You wrote: "Physical people don't just suddenly appear in the midst of a group in a room, most especially not after they've been dead for a few days."

Obviously, the claim is that Jesus worked a miracle. No doubt he did.

It's a very similar miracle to the one he worked in John 8:59:

John 8:59 Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.

You wrote: "As to interaction with PP John Paul II and Paul VI, I think, as usual, clarifying remarks were excluded."

I don't think the clarifying remarks take back the "physical" and "corporal" claims. If they did, I wouldn't use the quotation.

You wrote: "The manner is a sacramental manner. I would remind you that this has a quite specific meaning which you ignore at no little risk to your criticism, as I have attempted to explain above."

Not ignore - reduce to absurdity. It is an absurd special pleading to claim that God is working a special miracle here to hide the physical reality of the matter from physical observation.

-TurretinFan

Turretinfan said...

Orthodox walked into the trap I set with this line: "The physical sciences address the physical realities. If something is not investigable by the physical sciences, it is probably because it is not a physical reality." I don't usually do this, but he's been haggling me for a bit, so I had to throw some reddish meat into the water with a hook, to reel him in a bit.

His response: "Then there are no miracles."

a) Note the "probably."

b) The "something" at Cana was water (scientifically provable) and now is wine (scientifically provable). Science can prove that there was a change in the physical reality. That was a miracle. Therefore, your claim is false.

c) There is a difference between a scientific explanation for something, and a scientific investigation of something. Science may not be able to explain the virgin birth, but a scientist can confirm that a woman is a virgin, and they can confirm that there is a child in her womb. Science can confirm (and did!) that Christ died, and science can confirm (and did!) that Christ was alive again (ghosts don't eat food, but Jesus did).

Miracles in the physical world produce physical realities. So, yes, there can be, despite the meat you thought you saw in the water.

-TurretinFan

P.S. I do much appreciate you taking the bait, as I so rarely try to bait a hook.

natamllc said...

TF,

with the way they venerate Mary, so pretty and Saintly looking, you probably have gained their ire by answering thus:

Tf, "....I would think so too. In fact, he probably looked like his mother (like all children resemble, to some extent their mothers), which is scientific evidence that he was her offspring according to the flesh. ..."

For me, when I read Isaiah and reflect on what you answered, I simply walk away from that one!

Isa 53:2 For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him.


Now, every baby, in the eyes of their mommy, are not of just any form or beauty, that one should desire him.

I have to say, I have been to Israel and many other Jewish communities in various parts of the world where I can attest, all of the Jewish females were formly and beautiful! :)

I guess it just irks me that they can't just let Him be an ordinary guy yet extraordinary in that form of being, Emmanuel, God with us!

Matt said...

Nice try, but how would you scientifically prove that human nature was united to the Second Person of the Trinity? This wasn't necessarily a miracle in the sense of signs and wonders bringing glory to God because it wasn't evident in the same way as parting the Red Sea or something that. But it was a miracle, at least in the sense of being beyond the normal course of nature.

Turretinfan said...

Matt:

I wouldn't try to prove the hypostatic union, beyond proving that Jesus was truly human. That Jesus was truly human is the only physical part of the claim.

I'm not sure why this is confusing.

-TurretinFan

Matt said...

Your response(s) would work if transubstantiation claimed to have a physical result in the scientific sense of the term "physical". It doesn't. I understand that you think so, given the type of people you often talk to and even muddled thinking/language among some more important theologians defending the doctrine today.

If you are content to refute their views of the Eucharist, then fine. But don't think you are striking at the core of Catholic orthodoxy if you haven't handled Thomas Aquinas...

Indeed, if you understood the classic teaching on transubstantiation (Fr. Kimel's blog post is rather helpful on this point), you would see that the consequences you are drawing are precisely what the teaching was DEVELOPED to account for. It is avoiding a materialistic, "carnal" interpretation of the Eucharistic presence as much as it is avoiding a view of the Eucharistic presence as merely a sign. Indeed, this is part of Luther's critique. He thinks that the scholastics abandoned the more "materialistic" reading of the Sacrament found in the oath imposed by Innocent III (I think?).

As a result, your analogy to the Incarnation as a "detectable miracle" only in a limited sense is somewhat helpful here, though the cases are different in fundamental ways since Christ was FULLY human (thus, I am not espousing impanation).

As with looking for Christ's divinity, in the case of the Eucharist, based on every single scientific and common-sense assessment of the Eucharist species, you will only detect bread and wine. There is no physical evidence at all, not because Christ is tricking us but because Christ is not present locally, not present in the manner of a natural body. Any sort of thing you'd be looking for--appearance, color, smell, taste, DNA, etc.--would be accidents. This is not ad hoc.

Here's Thomas Aquinas on this point.

"But substance, as such, is not visible to the bodily eye, nor does it come under any one of the senses, nor under the imagination, but solely under the intellect, whose object is "what a thing is" (De Anima iii). And therefore, properly speaking, Christ's body, according to the mode of being which it has in this sacrament, is perceptible neither by the sense nor by the imagination, but only by the intellect, which is called the spiritual eye."

Rather, Christ is really and truly present in a sacramental though substantial way. Indeed, the analogy that Thomas uses is to the soul in the body, which you are also not able to find based on empirical experiments.

This is all supported by what Thomas Aquinas says in the following passages (and, as I said before, to dismiss Thomas Aquinas' formulation of transubstantiation makes very little sense, given his key role in the history of this doctrine):

"But in Christ, being in Himself and being under the sacrament are not the same thing, because when we say that He is under this sacrament, we express a kind of relationship to this sacrament. According to this being, then, Christ is not moved locally of Himself, but only accidentally, because Christ is not in this sacrament as in a place, as stated above (5)."

"it is impossible for the same thing to be in motion and at rest, else contradictories would be verified of the same subject. But Christ's body is at rest in heaven. Therefore it is not movably in this sacrament."

"Christ's body is not in this sacrament definitively, because then it would be only on the particular altar where this sacrament is performed: whereas it is in heaven under its own species, and on many other altars under the sacramental species."

I could continue...

Look, say that this is nonsense, I don't have a problem with that; say that it doesn't make sense to have accidents without substance (the argument, mutatis mutandis, of Wycliffe and Crackenthorp); say that it finally collapses into the Calvinist position (as many Lutherans have said!); but don't use these arguments about DNA, and don't suggest that transubstantiation destroys Chalcedonian orthodoxy. These things are really insulting to our intelligence because they are PRECISELY, mutatis mutandis (DNA!), what the doctrine was meant to address.

And I won't start a debate about who does or does not betray Chaledonian orthodoxy with their views of the Eucharist. Of course, Zwingli doesn't, but it has other problems. The Lutheran position has been accused of Monophysitism because it allows, to put it bluntly, for the omnipresence of Christ's human body, and the Calvinist position has been accused of Nestorianism because, somehow, you are able to unite with Christ in the Eucharist while having no union with His human nature. When you put it that way, the Thomist position seems like Goldilock's (sp?) baby bear. :-)

Turretinfan said...

Matt:

Thanks for your lengthy but thoughtful comment.

You wrote: "Your response(s) would work if transubstantiation claimed to have a physical result in the scientific sense of the term "physical". It doesn't."

I think you are looking for my response to "work" in a different way than it works. It works to show that the claim that Christ's presence in the Eucharist is "physical" is either (1) a lie, (b) equivocation (which is pretty close to a lie), or (c) just confusion.

You wrote: "I understand that you think so, given the type of people you often talk to and even muddled thinking/language among some more important theologians defending the doctrine today."

Whether or not Rome can communicate its doctrines with clarity is really an issue for another day, as far as I am concerned.

You wrote: "If you are content to refute their views of the Eucharist, then fine. But don't think you are striking at the core of Catholic orthodoxy if you haven't handled Thomas Aquinas..."

Aquinas is viewed as a "doctor of the church," but his explanations are not necessarily "the" Roman position. That said, of course, he had an enormous impact in the West. His justifications for various positions have often been adopted without further improvement, and it can be worth dealing with what he says.

You wrote: "As with looking for Christ's divinity, in the case of the Eucharist, based on every single scientific and common-sense assessment of the Eucharist species, you will only detect bread and wine. There is no physical evidence at all, not because Christ is tricking us but because Christ is not present locally, not present in the manner of a natural body. Any sort of thing you'd be looking for--appearance, color, smell, taste, DNA, etc.--would be accidents. This is not ad hoc."

a) For something to be present, it must be present in either a local or universal sense. The claim that Rome makes is not the latter, but the former. Now, I recognize that Aquinas recognizes that to say Christ is locally present is wrong, but in doing so he appears to be inconsistent.

b) The comparison between search for divinity and humanity is odd. If the claim is just that the bread and wine take on divine qualities, we would not have an objection based on lack of physical evidence. But the claim is that the humanity of Christ is present: his flesh and his blood - and that this humanity of Christ is physically present.

c) Christ's body, even after the resurrection, was a true human body. That is the point of him eating food in the gospel accounts.

d) Note that we do not reject the idea that Christ's body and blood are present, just not physically present. They are spiritually present - and their spiritual presence is only detectable by faith.

You wrote: "Here's Thomas Aquinas on this point."

"But substance, as such, is not visible to the bodily eye, nor does it come under any one of the senses, nor under the imagination, but solely under the intellect, whose object is "what a thing is" (De Anima iii). And therefore, properly speaking, Christ's body, according to the mode of being which it has in this sacrament, is perceptible neither by the sense nor by the imagination, but only by the intellect, which is called the spiritual eye."

Naturally, I'm familiar with what Aquinas said. His defense of the indefensible view of transubstantiation here is about as good as it gets, and I haven't heard any better defense presented. The problem with Aquinas defense here, though, is that it is just special pleading. It's just claiming that something is so, without having a foundation for saying that. In other words, the only reason to agree with Aquinas's explanation is that one has already accepted transubstantiation as a fact.

You wrote: "Rather, Christ is really and truly present in a sacramental though substantial way."

The issue is not whether Christ is present (we agree he is present). The issue is how he is present - whether physically or spiritually. The position of Rome on this is that Christ is physically present.

You wrote: "Indeed, the analogy that Thomas uses is to the soul in the body, which you are also not able to find based on empirical experiments."

The soul, of course, is not a physical thing, but a spiritual thing.

You wrote: "Look, say that this is nonsense, I don't have a problem with that; say that it doesn't make sense to have accidents without substance (the argument, mutatis mutandis, of Wycliffe and Crackenthorp); say that it finally collapses into the Calvinist position (as many Lutherans have said!); but don't use these arguments about DNA, and don't suggest that transubstantiation destroys Chalcedonian orthodoxy. These things are really insulting to our intelligence because they are PRECISELY, mutatis mutandis (DNA!), what the doctrine was meant to address."

Aquinas was not the innovator of the doctrine. He simply tried (better than anyone else) to give a rational defense of the doctrine. Unfortunately for him, his defense simply resorts to special pleading. He first assumes that transubstantiation is correct, and then proceeds to state the consequences of that, trying his best to harmonize it with other things. A good example of this is Aquinas' tortured answer to the question, "Whether Christ's body is in this sacrament as in a place?" (at least part of which you quoted above) Aquinas finds reasons to deny the question, but the end of all of Aquinas' denials is just a state of confusion in which he creates a special category of thought for this particular sacrament, in order to accomodate the doctrine.

You wrote: " ... the Calvinist position has been accused of Nestorianism because, somehow, you are able to unite with Christ in the Eucharist while having no union with His human nature."

a) We are born with a human nature. Christ was incarnate to take on a human nature. We are renewed, but not incarnated.

b) Our union with Christ is legal, fiducial, and spiritual. It is not a physical union.

-TurretinFan

-Turretin

Turretinfan said...

One commenter wrote: "Well... ahem... there is a physical presence of some type, at least that is what my eyes report. Are you saying the proper words of institution should be "this is _not_ his body given for you", because he does not manifest physical presence?"

Your eyes report the truth that it is bread before the consecretation and after the consecreation. Although it serves the purpose of bringing Christ's body to rememberance and symbolizes his body, it does so without any physical change. Language permits the expression of symbolism without explicitly symbolic language.

-TurretinFan

orthodox said...

"Although it serves the purpose of bringing Christ's body to rememberance and symbolizes his body, it does so without any physical change"

Except that the WCF says it isn't merely symbolic, but that Christ becomes present spiritually. So we have the absurd situation of the presbyter pointing to the bread and saying "body and blood of Christ", and he really and truly means it is Christ, yet without any physical manifestation, even though your eyes report a physical entity. Get your head around that if you will.

And I still want to see the biblical proof that the bible teaches that a swma (body) need not have physical presence.

Turretinfan said...

Orthodox:

You should probably rethink your line of attack.

1) The physical item is "bread."

2) The bread symbolizes the body of Christ.

3) Christ's body is present spiritually not physically in the sacrament.

4) Your request for Biblical proof has already been addressed above - not by defending the straw man you've erected, but by pointing to the flexibility of language. There are plenty of examples of figures of speech in the Bible, as you well know.

-TurretinFan