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Monday, February 21, 2022


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A quick word about 'Word' for your consideration. It really seems to me that the question is one of interpretation of the scripture, not the opinions of councils and heresy-hunters.
"Commentators have long recognized that John is thoroughly Hebrew in his approach to theology. He is steeped in the Hebrew Bible. “Word” had appeared some 1,450 times (plus the verb “to speak” 1,140 times) in the Hebrew Bible known so well to John and Jesus. The standard meaning of “word” is utterance, promise, command, etc. It never meant a personal being — never “the Son of God.” Never did it mean a spokesman. Rather, word generally signified the index of the mind — an expression, a word. There is a wide range of meanings for “word” according to a standard source. “Person,” however, is not among these meanings."
Anthony Buzzard https://21stcr.org/commentaries/john-1-articles/john-1-1-caveat-lector-reader-beware/


There are serious questions about the interpretation of Scripture, and one can reasonably question whether there is scriptural support for a doctrine of the Trinity. But that is not what this post is about. It is about the internal coherence of Catholic Christology according to which God is triune and the 2nd person of the Trinity becomes man. "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us." (John 1:14)

Since you are a unitarian, my questions in the above entry are not your questions.

By the way, Dave, what do you do with John 1:14? Dismiss it? Re-interpret it?

I know what the post is about, Bill. My comment was germane to the 'downstream' issues that result from a possibly -probably - misuse of John 1.1 - notably, the hypostatic union, docetism, pre-existence, dual-nature - you know, the stuff that has divided Christianity since the 4th century.
Whatever you mean by unitarian - I am not defending any -ism at all. My interests - and yours if I'm not mistaken - go far beyond sectarianism.

I gladly bow out of this and leave it to your intra-mural hashiangs-out.

1.14 - now I'm ignoring it, or re-interpreting? Really? If you re-read what I posted, you will see that the word is not a pre-existing 'person' or 'spirit' that takes on flesh. God's purposes, thoughts, plans were fully expressed in the man Jesus Christ. It's not a difficult concept; and certainly not worth the contendings and heresy-seekings and martyrdoms of the past. IMHO.
I'll leave ya'll to it.


>>1.14 - now I'm ignoring it, or re-interpreting? Really? If you re-read what I posted, you will see that the word is not a pre-existing 'person' or 'spirit' that takes on flesh. <<

But surely, Dave, if you take John 1:14 at face value and do nor dismiss or re-interpret it, then you would have to conclude that the Word is a person. So how are you reading 1:14? Assuming that you are not dismissing it.

What I'd like to say is this: the problem is in the use of the essence/accidental duality in describing the God-man, Jesus. Essence, ontological being, assumes accidental qualities in temporal time, and as such, the essence is the reality of the thing. All else is temporally and contingently bound and subject to change and alteration.

But this is not true of the Hypostatic Union: Jesus is essentially Divine and essentially human; ie, what are normally accidental qualities of an essence are here essential. Thus, we clearly have a different order of things for which the essence/accidental duality is inapt. At best, in the God-man, 'essence' and 'essential' are metaphors for the true nature of Jesus.

What the Incarnation points to is the true nexus between the Divine/Eternal and temporal reality, in which the entrance of the Divine makes the accidental essential and necessary. Here is another example following the paradigm of the Incarnation: Divine Grace takes BV, clearly an accident born of a woman in the slipstream of time, and gives him absolute value as a child of God. An accidental person is thereby made essential - but again, only in a metaphorical sense. If you apply the literal meaning of essential to BV, then everything collapses into confusion - as the questions you have raised in this post indicate.

The Divine is its own category. Divinity breaking into time divinizes the temporal and accidental in a way that we can only point to by analogies and metaphors. Such is true of all spiritual truths, actually. That God created the Heavens and the Earth and called it all 'good,' makes creation essential and necessary (ie, Real), but only in a metaphorical sense. My sacred wedding vows transform my relation to this woman from an accidental meeting within a world of alternate contingent possibilities into an essential relationship - never to be broken. That the Cross defeated Evil does not stand up in the face of the rampant Evil seen every day since the Cross, but it was a full and final defeat nonetheless - because 'defeat' is a metaphor or analogy about something that is ontologically real but simply incapable of being described in ordinary human terms.

My answer to your question about the necessary/contingent modality problems with the Incarnation are the same as above, so I'll just leave it here.

Analogical predications, however, are not intended as metaphorical but as literal. But thanks for the comment.

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