Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Augustine - Metaphor - Bodily Presence

In this clip, we respond to Mr. William Albrecht's continued (but unsupported) insistence that apparently terms like "the bread becomes the body of Christ" or "the bread is the body of Christ" must be understood neither literally (as actual flesh with skin, veins, DNA, etc.) nor analogically but transubstantially. We note that Mr. Albrecht doesn't like the comparison between Latin and modern English, and so we provide commentary from Augustine himself on the use of metaphor in Scripture.



natamllc said...

TF, you end your video talk with these words:::>

"a spiritual/divine presence"!


It appears to me that the problem is the old saw, not "seeing" the forests for the trees.

What then is the forest?

Paul, dealing with this subject and I would say, he must have had in the back of his mind or in the forefront of it, at a minimum, this forest when he wrote to the Romans this:

Rom 5:18 Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men.

The major point of the Sacraments is to lead us through this narrow door into the majestic mighty awesome awful Presence of His Glory, "Life" forevermore!

The Sacraments as I believe the similitude intended, when one looks at the word "justification", one sees two Greek Words, one at verse 16 and then here at verse 18.

Justification, verse 16, in the Greek:

From G1344; an equitable deed; by implication a statute or decision: - judgment, justification, ordinance, righteousness.

What symbol does Jesus put forward at the last supper but bread and wine as a similitude for His own Body dying on the Cross with the grief, sorrow and suffering He is about to "experience" there. It is this I posit that Paul had in mind when writing that to the Romans.

Now in verse 18, Justification, that Greek word is:

From G1344; acquittal (for Christ’s sake): - justification.

So, it is reasonable to note Paul's understanding of what the similitude is. Isn't it simple enough to conclude it is what Jesus puts forth as a similitude of an actual event, His equitable deed? He did not teach that every time we partake, Christ has to transubstantiate Himself into His literal flesh and experience the pain inflicted upon His person as He did once, for all, that infamous day, again and again?

It cannot be that Jesus meant His literal flesh and blood was coming to earth again and again is it, but rather a similitude of "His" literal sufferings He literally suffered? He was going into our mind's imagination by these symbolic acts of the Last Supper and by this means, we are to focus on the "meaning" of the equitable act not to literally think He will experience such sufferings every time we partake of the Sacraments ourselves so as to gain the acquittal by Just means so that we can presently experience Eternal Life in Him, "a spiritual/divine presence".

The only conveyance from God of His Eternal Life and Nature to us, sinners, is through the literal death Jesus experienced by torture at the hands of godless men. By that one act of Righteousness His spiritual/divine Presence comes to ours. The Sacraments were not instituted so that we too had to experience the same thing or by some magical means evoke such metaphysical evolutions upon bread and wine. Christ "died" "once" for all. He left us a ceremony of rememberance, as a similitude of that "once for all" death that He literally died, the Sacraments.

Again, as with every major doctrine of the Faith Once delivered to the Saints, we can see Satan's attempt to blur the meaning of it, that is, the full meaning of the Sacraments instituted by Jesus that fateful night with His disciples, so that we never fully embrace Eternal Life in this life on earth ourselves and so suffer the consequences of his, that is, Satan's eternal damnation with him instead of as Paul writes at Romans 5:18!

Ironically as it is, Jesus did say this to Peter:

Mat 16:18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

I want to believe Mr. Albrecht is being drawn to His Light and Life and that God is using this debate forum to do that so that he too can be led to justification and life in Him?

Coram Deo said...

I think you really hit the nail square on the head with this one, TF.

In fact when listening I was reminded of a similar objection put forth by R. Scott Clark over at the Heidelblog which deprived his poor Confessional Lutheran denizens of their favorite arguments for consubstantiation.

To wit - and I'm paraphrasing here - "Christ ain't here bodily anymore, folks! There is in fact another (allos), the Comforter, the Holy Spirit who is sent in Christ's physical absence"Would you agree that the classic Reformed position on the subject of the Lord's Supper equally decimates both Confessional Lutheran consubstantiation and RCC transubstantiation?

For your viewing pleasure I'd like to direct you to a thoughtful piece entitled "Some (after)thoughts on the Lutheran-Calvinist debate" by Michael Brown, and I'd be interested in your thoughts on the article (assuming such isn't completely off topic and beyond the scope of this discussion).

In Christ,