Wednesday, February 17, 2010

More Response to Edward Reiss

Edward Reiss has provided a further response. He writes:
This argument is used to show that, in particular instances, what Jesus did, e.g. walk on water, was done by others, e.g. St. Peter, so this is no proof Jesus' flesh is divinized.

The problem goes back to the question of "what" instead of "whom". My reformed interlocutors insist that the "who" has little to do with anything the "what" can do. In the example of walking on water, Jesus did it because of who he is while Peter did it because of Jesus. It is not like a force or energy outside of Jesus kept him walking on water, he did himself based on his own power as God in the flesh. Peter was able to walk on water because his faith in Jesus sustained him--until he doubted. If Jesus walked on water because of a different "whom" then per force we have two persons in Jesus Christ, as opposed to two natures. The difference between the "who" of St. Peter and the "who" of Jesus Christ can be shown by Jesus' statements about himself, such as "...You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world." (John 8:23), "For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink." (John 6:55). I could supply more examples, but suffice it to say there is something intrinsic in Jesus that makes his miracles of a different kind from those done for e.g. Daniel or St. Peter. Now, if the miracles of e.g. Daniel and those of Jesus Christ really are the same, I would ask who sustained Jesus Christ on the water? I don't want to hear about a "nature" because a nature doesn't do anything--a nature is not a personal actor while a person is.
(source)

Actually, Reiss' argument proves the very point I was making. The miracles of Jesus had to do with a "who" not a "what." They did not prove that his human nature was different from ours, rather they were a testimony to his divine power as a result of who he is, the Son of God.

Reiss tries to continue the argument thus:
Is there any indication in Scripture that the "who" of Jesus Christ makes a difference as to his humanity as compared to others?

"Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper." (John 13:3-4)

Since as the divine Son, the Word already had all godhead, it is evident that St. John here is speaking of giving all things into Jesus' hands according to his human nature. Thus as the God-Man, Jesus has all that God has as per his nature. (q.v. Matt 11:27, Matt 28:18)
Jesus' unique authority, even when that is expressed according to his humanity, does not suggest a difference in Christ's human nature as compared to our human nature.

Reiss continued:
"Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." (Philippians 2:9-11)

As above, as the divine Son, the Word already was entitled to be worshipped as God. But when God became man, it is now appropriate to worship a man as God. The worship rightly given to God as Spirit is also rightly given to the flesh and bone man, Jesus Christ, which means what is God's by right also belongs to the man Jesus Christ by right. Put another way, the man Jesus Christ is capable and welcomed into the full communion of the trinity.
Two natures, one person is all that is implied here - not a blending of the natures or a "divinizing" of Jesus' flesh. Furthermore, the exaltation of Christ comes more than 30 years after the incarnation (and after many of the miracles that Reiss had pointed to previously). To appeal to the exaltation of Christ seems odd, to say the least.

Reiss continued:
"And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed." (John 17:5)

As above, this pertains to his human nature not his divine nature; so Jesus Christ, the Man, has all the glory he had before he became incarnate. And part of this glory is omnipresence.

Unless one wishes to assert that omnipresence is not part of God's glory.
Omnipresence is one of God's attributes, not necessarily a "part of God's glory." Furthermore, it should be immediately obvious that Christ's human body isn't everywhere. It is not omnipresent. An easier explanation of this passage is referring to the end of Christ's humiliation and the forthcoming exaltation of Christ. But again - this glorification is something different from the incarnation per se.

- TurretinFan

1 comment:

natamllc said...

Although the whole verse gives insights necessary to grasp this argument, I would ask Ed to explain just how Jesus rejoices in the Holy Spirit as it is what Luke indicates He does? here:

Luk 10:21 In that same hour he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, "I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.



Now, TF, you wrote above, this:

"....They did not prove that his human nature was different from ours, rather they were a testimony to his divine power as a result of who he is, the Son of God."

I would say, precisely!

I would note that Jesus, the Scripture teaches, emptied Himself of His "Divine Nature" and became a man and a low man at that.

That makes two things remarkable, IMO, with this next verse:

Luk 5:17 On one of those days, as he was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there, who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was with him to heal.

We see Jesus operating no differently than the signs and wonders Prophets of Old. And how did He? He had the "Spirit" without measure so we see some very remarkable things accomplished by Him "only" and "according" to the Will of God.

What was accomplished by, let's say, these fellows?:::>

Luk 10:9 Heal the sick in it and say to them, 'The kingdom of God has come near to you.'

and

Luk 10:16 "The one who hears you hears me, and the one who rejects you rejects me, and the one who rejects me rejects him who sent me."
Luk 10:17 The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, "Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!"

The idea here is the fact that Christ, as the Son of Man did not operate outside of the Will of God and when He did "extraordinary" things, He only did them by the direction of God, in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Jesus is now back where He came from by resurrection of His body. The Holy Spirit is still here because He has been here from the beginning, cf. Genesis 1:2.

One more verse that seems to me indicates the "nature" of Christ, the man, here on earth during His Public Ministry, well, two verses then:

Heb 9:14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.

There we see the Ministry of the Holy Spirit.

Here we see the affirmation of the Holy Spirit and I might add, if Christ sinned once, one little jot or tittle violation of His Law of Righteousness, this affirmation would never have happened and the Resurrection as we know it would never have happened and Christ's death would have been justified!:::>

1Ti 3:16 Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness: He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated by the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory.