Schaff, Hodge, and Murray on Jesus’ Natures

I spent all day Wednesday scouring my systematic theologies on the doctrine of the two natures of Christ, the hypostatic union, and what can be said about it. Most of them were not terribly helpful. Three, however, stand out as the very best on the topic: Schaff, Hodge and Murray, Hodge more so than Murray. I found Hodge a model of lucidity and carefulness that I have not seen in any of the commenters on the blog on this particular subject. This blog post will be my final word on the subject. I have come to a place of comfort in what Hodge says, ALL of what Hodge says, mind you, the qualifications being as equally important as the statements they qualify. Hodge will be supplemented by Schaff’s notes and Murray’s insight.

The difficulties that I have had with statements like “God died” have to do with the fact that such statements are simply not qualified enough. They are too slippery. If you screw up your face and look at them cross-eyed, they can be orthodox. But they can just as easily be understood in a heretical direction. What to do? We will start with the Chalcedonian definition, which I find very helpful, when related in full. Here it is in full, as translated by Phillip Schaff in Creeds of Christendom, volume 2, pp. 62-63:

We, then, following the holy Fathers, all with one consent, teach men to confess one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, the same perfect in Godhead and also perfect in manhood; truly God and truly man, of a reasonable [rational] soul and body; consubstantial [coessential] with the Father according to the Godhead, and consubstantial with us according to the Manhood; in all things like unto us, without sin; begotten before all ages of the Father according to the Godhead, and in these latter days, for us and for our salvation, born of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, according to the Manhood; one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, Only-begotten, to be acknowledged in two natures, inconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably; the distinction of natures being by no means taken away by the union, but rather the property of each nature being preserved, and concurring in one Person and one Subsistence, not parted or divided into two persons, but one and the same Son, and only begotten, God the Word, the Lord Jesus Christ, as the prophets from the beginning [have declared] concerning him, and the Lord Jesus Christ himself has taught us, and the Creed of the holy Fathers has handed down to us.

Several grammatical points need to be made about this formulation. Firstly, the phrase “according to the Manhood” modifies the noun in the genitive “God-bearer” (theotokou). Schaff comments on this that “Mary was the mother not merely of the human nature of Jesus of Nazareth, but of the theanthropic person of Jesus Christ; yet not of his eternal Godhead…but of his incarnate person, or the Logos united to humanity…In like manner, the subject of the Passion was the theanthropic person; yet not according to his divine nature, which in itself is incapable of suffering, but according to human nature, which was the organ of suffering” (p. 64). I like this care and precision. Furthermore, Schaff notes that it was the Monophysites who “taught only one composite nature of Christ…making his humanity a mere accident of the immutable divine substance, and using the liturgical shibboleth ‘God has been crucified’ (without a qualifying ‘according to the human nature, or ‘the flesh,’ as the theotokos is qualified in the Symbol of Chalcedon)” (p. 65). In other words, it is Chalcedonian to utter the qualifying “according to the Manhood.” It is Monophysite to say “theotokos” without the qualification.

Hodge adds a level of sophistication that is quite helpful. I recommend everyone read it. The sections I am going to highlight (with quite a few ellipses: I encourage everyone to read the original, so that they can see that I am quoting him entirely in context) are located in volume 2, pp. 390ff:

No attribute of the one nature is transferred to the other…the properties or attributes of a substance constitute its essence, so that if they be removed or if others of a different nature be added to them, the substance itself is changed…The union of the two natures in Christ is a personal or hypostatic union. By this is meant, in the first place, that it is not a mere indwelling of the divine nature analogous to the indwelling of the Spirit of God in his people…it is intended to affirm that the union is such that Christ is but one person…the personality of Christ is in the divine nature…It was a divine person, not merely a divine nature, that assumed humanity, or became incarnate. Hence it follows that the human nature of Christ, separately considered, is impersonal…To personality both rational substance and distinct subsistence are essential. The latter the human nature of Christ never possessed. The Son of God did not unite Himself with a human person, but with a human nature. The proof of this is that Christ is but one person…the person is the koinonos, or partaker of the attributes of both natures; so that whatever may be affirmed of either nature may be affirmed of the person…it is on this principle, that what is true of either nature is true of the person, that a multitude of passages of Scripture are to be explained. These passages are of different kinds…Passages in which the person is the subject, but the predicate is true only of the human nature (Murray says the same, as does a’Brakel and a number of others, LK). As when Christ said, “I thirst;” “My soul is sorrowful even unto death…” There are two classes of passages under this general head which are of special interest. First, those in which the person is designated from the divine nature when the predicate is true only of the human nature. “The Church of God which He purchased with his blood.” “The Lord of glory was crucified…” The forms of expression, therefore, long prevalent in the church, “the blood of God,” “God the mighty maker died,” etc., are in accordance with Scriptural usage. And if it be right to say “God died,” it is right to say “He was born.” The person born of the Virgin Mary was a divine person. He was the Son of God. For, as we have seen, the person of Christ is in Scripture often designated from the divine nature, when the predicate is true only of the human nature…It is instructive to notice here how easily and naturally the sacred writers predicate of our Lord the attributes of humanity and those of divinity, however his person may be denominated…his person may be denominated from one nature when the act ascribed to Him belongs to the other nature…Such being the Scriptural doctrine concerning the person of Christ, it follows that although the divine nature is immutable and impassible, and therefore neither the obedience nor the suffering of Christ was the obedience or suffering of the divine nature, yet they were none the less the obedience and suffering of a divine person…It is to this fact that the infinite merit and efficiency of his work are due.

Now, some of my readers will be saying, “But we’ve included these qualifications all along.” I have not seen it. I have seen many unqualified statements being bandied around as shibboleths. I have felt that if I was not willing to say what they wanted me to say (and without the careful qualifications of Hodge), then I was a Nestorian, or bordering on being one. Interestingly, and a slight side-note here, the work of Harold Brown (entitled Heresies) is fascinating here. He argues that although Nestorius the person was condemned by the council (which was due largely to political and Machiavellian machinations), it was actually Nestorius’ doctrine which is more comfortable with the Chalcedonian formulation than Cyril’s was.

Murray adds something which I felt was very helpful when one is considering the relationship of the divine nature to the human nature in the suffering of Christ, and especially in His death. He writes, “The death meant separation of the elements of his human nature. But he, as the Son of God, was still united to the two separated elements of his human nature. He, as respects his body, was laid in the tomb and, as respects his disembodied spirit, he went to the Father. He was buried. He was raised from the dead. He was indissolubly united to the disunited elements of his human nature” (from the collected works, volume 2, p. 139).

I agree with these formulations of Schaff, Hodge, and Murray. Read carefully, and then re-read carefully so that ALL the qualifications are firmly fixed in your mind. I agree with (especially) Hodge’s qualified way of saying these things, not the commenters’ unqualified way of saying them. In particular, the way Hodge speaks of the biblical way of writing (actions and effects of one nature are often attributed to the person which can be designated by either nature) is so carefully thought out and helpful. It reminds me of how sacramental union works: there is a union between the sign and the thing signified whereby the names and effects of the one are attributed to the other (WCF 27.2). It doesn’t mean that the effects of the thing signified actually belong to the sign itself (as the WCF goes on to carefully qualify). Rather, because of the union, one can be spoken of in terms of the other.

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270 Comments

  1. Darren said,

    April 13, 2012 at 2:52 pm

    Thank you for the careful attention to important nuances in the hypostatic union and the “theandric” activity of Jesus. I’ve only found your blog today and read the recent Christology posts with interest (this is my dissertation topic), though I’m wary to enter into those massive and apparently quite polemical comment threads.

    This is a very old debate, and one of the central points of conflict between the Lutheran and Reformed traditions from the sixteenth century. Can we say that, in Jesus’ death on the cross, “God died.” Luther insisted that such confession must be theologically permissible; the Reformed chimed in that qualifications are necessary so that the statement is not misleading. Both, I think, are right. Just as we confess Mary to the Theotokos, we do so under qualification because by that confession we mean something rather particular.

    But let’s not lose the stark reality of the confession(s) by qualifying it to death.

    I’ve blogged a bit on related topics, and will continue to do so, at Out of Bounds. I’d point you and anyone else who may be interested particularly to a post from last August on christological predication and the notion of natures “acting.”

    Best to you.

  2. April 13, 2012 at 3:11 pm

    Thanks, Lane. Of course, I completely reject the notion that I haven’t added the proper qualifications. For instance, here is my initial foray into this discussion (or at least one of my first comments… they’re all sort of jumbled in my brain now):

    “I’m having trouble seeing why you object to saying “God died” in the qualified sense of “the person of the Son of God in his human nature.” The person you’re talking about, whose human nature died, is none other than the second person of the Trinity. The *person* is divine. He didn’t become a different person in the union, but simply took a human *nature* to himself–that’s the Chalcedonian doctrine. And if he truly united human nature to himself, he (who in his person is God) died in his flesh.

    So, the *person* who died was divine, he died in his human nature, and the divine nature remained all the while impassible. This is the same reason we confess Mary to be Theotokos in the definition of Chalcedon–God was born of her. That didn’t in the fifth century mean, and it never has meant, that Mary is somehow the origin of the divine nature in Christ. It means she bore a divine person who united human nature to his divine nature. It’s the same with Jesus eating, drinking, learning, suffering, dying. The person who did all those things was the eternal Son of God, who did them precisely in his humanity.”

    I see nothing in Hodge, Schaff, or Murray (with all of whom I’m rather extensively familiar) that adds anything of substance to the qualifications I provided in those two paragraphs. And those are qualifications I reiterated over and over and over again.

  3. Jack Bradley said,

    April 13, 2012 at 3:19 pm

    >some of my readers will be saying, “But we’ve included these qualifications all along.” I have not seen it.

    Add me as another reader saying this. And if you haven’t seen it. . .
    whew.

    Great stuff. Glad you agree with Hodge. Since you include it, may we then take it that you agree Him here:

    “they were none the less the obedience and suffering of a divine person.”

    If “divine person” has been our shibboleth, it’s also Hodge’s.

  4. April 13, 2012 at 3:24 pm

    It’s also worth noting that in the course of this discussion, I quoted from the very same section of Hodge’s ST as you do here. And my purpose was to no other affect than what Hodge there clearly says. It was a divine person who assumed an impersonal human nature, and because of that union, what is true of that nature is true of the person who took it upon himself. My issue was that you kept saying that we can’t predicate what is true of the human nature of the divine person — we can’t say “God the Son did x, *as to his humanity*”

  5. greenbaggins said,

    April 13, 2012 at 3:31 pm

    I agree with the whole of what Hodge said as a whole, not in any one of his statements abstracted from the rest of it. The subject of the sentence can be any designation *of the person of Christ* coming from either nature, while the predicate can be what strictly belongs to one or the other. This is perfectly well qualified. You may think that the proper qualifications were always there, but you did not qualify them nearly as clearly as Hodge did.

  6. TurretinFan said,

    April 13, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    Nice job, Lane!

  7. April 13, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    Hodge’s conclusion: “Such being the Scriptural doctrine concerning the person of Christ, it follows that although the divine nature is immutable and impassible, and therefore neither the obedience nor the suffering of Christ was the obedience or suffering of the divine nature, yet they were none the less the obedience and suffering of a divine person.”

    You know, Lane, the more I think about what you’ve written here, I have a really hard time seeing you as being anything but disingenuous. What Hodge says is exactly what I’ve said during the course of this discussion, over and over again, ad nauseam. And now you simply assert, “I haven’t seen these qualifications.” Give me a break, brother.

  8. Jack Bradley said,

    April 13, 2012 at 3:42 pm

    ditto

  9. TurretinFan said,

    April 13, 2012 at 3:49 pm

    There’s a more charitable interpretation of “I didn’t see anyone qualify them,” even if you think you did qualify them, namely that he overlooked the qualifications you think you provided. Why needlessly disparage our brother or pick a fight over whether you already agreed with him before he posted?

  10. April 13, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    TF,

    Lane interacted specifically with many posts in which I provided *those exact qualifications*. I find it insulting to have wasted as much time commenting on these threads, to have been engaged by Lane in the process, and then to have his concluding post be quotes demonstrating *the exact things I’ve said*, and Lane saying, “O, you never really said any of these things.” No. The issue isn’t that I didn’t say them. The issue is that my name isn’t Charles Hodge.

  11. matthew n. petersen said,

    April 13, 2012 at 4:16 pm

    I agree there is much nuance in how we can say “God died” but I’m very uncomfortable with “qualifications.” Our view can and should be nuanced, but must it be qualified?

    Regarding the quote: I maybe reading it wrong, bu tit sems that he is saying that “I thirst” are only true of the human nature, but can be said of the Word. Evenmore troubling, he seems to be saying that “God” refers to the nature, not the Peraon, so when we say “the blood of God” we do not mean “The blood of God the Word” but “the blood of a person who also has a Divine Nature.” Which makes me wonder who the person is. Mayby Im reading him wrong, and I dont want to be the sole obstinate voice, but I think these points need clarified.

    Im also troubled by the assertion in passing that theologically Chalcedon is more Nestorian than Cyrilian. Chalcedon may be able to be read in that way, but Ephesus is still Ecumenical, and a later council pronounced that reading of Chalcedon anathema. We can perhaps read Chalcwdon in a Nestorian way, but we cannot read the Ecumenical Councils in a Nestorian way. Cyril was ultimately vindicated.

    Again, I do not want to be obnoxious, but questions remain that I wiuld like to have addressed.

  12. Matthew N. Petersen said,

    April 13, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    That was posted from my nook, hence the multitude of typos.

  13. Jack Bradley said,

    April 13, 2012 at 4:35 pm

    “The issue is that my name isn’t Charles Hodge.”

    No, Jonathan, even that is not the issue. Let’s compare Lane’s excerpt of Hodge above:

    “although the divine nature is immutable and impassible, and therefore neither the obedience nor the suffering of Christ was the obedience or suffering of the divine nature, yet they were none the less the obedience and suffering of a divine person.”

    with my excerpt of Hodge in Communication of Attributes thread, Post # 3:

    Hodge: “although the divine nature is immutable and impassible, and therefore neither the obedience nor the suffering of Christ was the obedience or suffering of the divine nature, yet they were none the less the obedience and suffering of a divine person.”

    Huh.

    Well, Jonathan, rest assured that it was still time well spent. I think many will benefit as a result of these discussion. I know I have.

  14. Matthew N. Petersen said,

    April 13, 2012 at 4:54 pm

    “The subject of the sentence can be any designation *of the person of Christ* coming from either nature, while the predicate can be what strictly belongs to one or the other.”

    This is what is troubling me. I believe that the predicates not only can be said of the Person of Christ, but strictly belong to the Person of Christ, and not to the nature. Moreover, I believe the Person of Christ is precisely, God the Logos, who is God qua person, and not merely as possessing a Divine Nature; whereas the quote (and especially Lane’s interpretation of it, inasmuch as I can access his interpretation) seems to claim that the person is divine inasmuch as he possesses a Divine Nature, but it is the nature which is Divine, and not strictly the Person, qua person; and that there is a communion of names from the nature to the person, but that the particular idomata which mark off this man as opposed to others, and this Person of the Trinity as opposed to others, belong properly to the individual natures, and not to Christ. Conversely, I believe that the idiomata that mark off the Logos as opposed to the Father and the Spirit (being begotten) and that mark off the Logos as opposed to you or I (Mary’s Firstborn etc.) mark off precisely the same individual, God the Logos, and strictly speaking, do not mark off natures at all, except in a derivative sense, like what we use when we say “my ear hears, my eye sees” but it is the one I who sees and hears.

  15. Matthew N. Petersen said,

    April 13, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    One last post (I know these should be better consolidated):

    “It is Monophysite to say “theotokos” without the qualification.”

    Setting aside the question of whether they are Monophysites or Miaphysites, “qualification” is still bothering me. I’m not accusing anyone of anything, but that word seems to imply that we limit what we mean, not that we nuance it. Particularly, “This is true in a qualified sense” is usually opposed to “this is true, strictly”. But both John of Damascus, and II Constantinople say that Mary is Theotokos in strict truth. Is the insistence on qualification a denial of “strict truth”, or is it meant as synonymous with “nuance”? If synonymous to “nuance”, I can accept it, though I protest that “nuance” would be better. If, however, it is meant as a denial of “strict truth”, then I cannot accept it. Which is it? I’m not sure I have enough grounds to judge.

  16. Lee said,

    April 13, 2012 at 5:29 pm

    I have been a little amazed at how often systematics are quoted and how little the confessions are quoted. Take for example Heidelberg Catechism Q#17 “Why must He also be a true God? A. That by the power of His Godhead He might bear in His manhood the burden of God’s wrath, and so obtain for and restore to us righteousness and life.”

    It seems to me that the Heidelberg is quite careful to separate the divine nature from the suffering on the cross. That is all born in His manhood. But not only reformed creeds, I think the genius of Chalcedon is to say talk of the person not the nature.

    So in reply to Jonathan in #2, I think Chalcedon objects to saying “God died” because you then have to give qualifications. Is it not infinitely better to say Jesus Christ died? The trouble many have with speaking of God dying and suffering is because it is not talking of the person, but rather starting the discussion with the natures.

    So I think I agree with everything Jonathan wrote in #2 except that it leads to not having a problem with saying “God died”. I think everything he said about the person being a divine person and a human person it is all right, I just think Chalcedon’s conclusion then is talk about the person and avoid things like “God died”.

  17. April 13, 2012 at 5:42 pm

    Lee,

    But it’s precisely with the qualifications that I said it. I said specifically, “I’m having trouble seeing why you object to saying “God died” in the qualified sense of “the person of the Son of God in his human nature.””

    With respect to Chalcedon: “Mary bore God.” How is that different than, “God died”? All this understood, of course, once again (for the, what, 83rd time?), in the qualified sense of “the person of the Son in his human nature.” Hodge even says it, “neither the obedience nor the suffering of Christ was the obedience or suffering of the divine nature, *yet they were none the less the obedience and suffering of a divine person*.”

    Btw, if you go ahead and look through the previous threads (there have been something like 5 threads, including well over 500 comments, over the course of around 3 weeks), you’ll see that exactly what I’ve been saying over and over and over again is that we need to make the proper Chalcedonian distinction between person and nature.

  18. matthew n. petersen said,

    April 13, 2012 at 5:44 pm

    Lee, what aout “the Logos died.”? Is that acceptable on your reading? If you want God to refer only to the nature, fine (though Scripture and the Book of Common Prayer use it mostly to refer to the Father). But how do you name the Persons then? Do you prefer Jesus Christ died to The Logos died?

  19. Jack Bradley said,

    April 13, 2012 at 5:47 pm

    Lee, if you’ve followed the discussion, you know that Jonathan has been very clear saying that in a normal, pastoral context you do indeed avoid saying such things as “God died”. However, in the kind of technical discussion we’ve been having, there is a time to use this kind of language, in the carefully qualified sense Jonathan has given it.

    One sample of Jonathan’s careful yet gracious terminology:

    . . . we should allow people freedom to speak the words with which they’re comfortable, as long as the meaning behind them, given their explanations, is orthodox. If someone has a problem with “God suffered,” I’d be fine to settle for “the person who suffered is divine” or better yet, “God suffered in his human nature.” Actually, those are more precise statements, anyway.

    Lane took issue at the time even with “God suffered in his human nature.”
    Apparently he now has that cleared up.

  20. rcjr said,

    April 13, 2012 at 7:30 pm

    Lane,
    Your opponents here are a smart bunch and I am not eager to enter into the fray against them. Just wanted to let you know that all that you said, along with the esteemed Charles Hodge resonated with me. Though it may be apocryphal, I have heard it said that Luther said, “If you don’t sound antinomian in your exposition of the gospel, you are doing it wrong.” My personal adaptation is that if you don’t raise Nestorian flags, especially on the passion of Christ, you are doing it wrong. That is not, of course, a confession of actually being Nestorian. Just want you to know this Israelite is rejoicing in watching you enter into the valley against my Goliathite friends.

  21. Jack Bradley said,

    April 13, 2012 at 8:08 pm

    RC,

    Please be assured that my appreciation of Lane and his blog, while somewhat diminished, is still strong.

    And please know that you remain much in my prayers in your time of bereavement. I have very much appreciated your reflections on the loss of your beloved wife.

  22. Lee said,

    April 13, 2012 at 8:18 pm

    Jonathan,
    I agree with all of your qualifications, and I am not saying your are unorthodox on this point at all. I hope I did not come across that way. You have made the appropriate qualifications, and as I said, I agree with everything you seemed to say. You have made the distinction between person and nature very nicely.

    My point is I just don’t see what benefit you gain from saying “God died with all the appropriate qualifications” when the same thing can be said by saying “Jesus Christ died” without having to add qualifications. It seems the first just asks to be misunderstood while the second does not. And I think that is part of the warning of Chalcedon.

    Yes, Chalcedon said Mary is the God bearer when we properly understand it, but look at what happened through the elevation of the phrase Theotokos throughout history. Mary is now an idol, a co-redemptrix, and out right abused. I think it is not historically unfounded then for people to worry about the phrase “God died” even with all of your correct qualifications.

    Matthew,
    I think the fact that God often refers to the Father is another excellent reason to avoid it even with all the qualifications. It simply begs to be misunderstood. I would still prefer “Jesus Christ died” to “Logos died” because it speaks of the person rather than the nature. It just seems clearer to me, and should that not be one of our goals to be as clear as possible?

    Jack,
    I do not have time to go through 500 comments! Wow! You guys amaze me with the time to read that much. But, I hope I have made clear that I do not believe Jonathan unorthodox, and I think he has done a nice job at drawing the distinction between person and nature in what I have read. I think our disagreement is in simple what we are comfortable with, and the wisdom of using phrase that have to be so carefully qualified. He seems to believe we ought to give great latitude as long as the “meaning behind them in orthodox”, and I would be more restrictive and careful. That is about it.

  23. April 13, 2012 at 8:30 pm

    Lee,

    It’s the clarity in “The Logos died” that I’m after. The Logos is the Second Person not the Second Nature of the Trinity. He is the One Person of Christ. If “Logos” means the Divine Nature, then the Father is also the Word, for there is only one Divine Nature. Jesus is not distinct from the Logos. They are different names for the same exact Person, God the Word, who begotten of His Father before all ages, and in these latter days, born in Bethlehem. To distinguish between Jesus and the Word precisely is Nestorianism.

  24. Jack Bradley said,

    April 13, 2012 at 8:36 pm

    Lee,

    That’s fine. I just think someone who jumps in after 500 or so comments without reading them and begins chastening, however gently, is being just a tad presumptuous :-)

  25. Bryan Cross said,

    April 13, 2012 at 8:52 pm

    Lane,

    I’m glad the disagreement is resolved. However, if Christ suffered in His human nature, but is impassible in His divine nature, this doesn’t fit with the notion that on Good Friday, “the ancient, eternal fellowship between Father and Son was broken”. (to quote Thabiti) That’s because in His divine nature, Christ enjoys the perfect happiness of eternal communion with the Father and Spirit.

    So here’s the dilemma: on Good Friday either Christ suffered in His divine nature or He did not suffer in His divine nature.

    On the one hand, if on Good Friday Christ in His divine nature did not suffer, then in His divine nature He must have retained the perfect beatitude of communion with the Father and Spirit, in which case the *eternal* fellowship between Father and Son was not broken on Good Friday.

    But, on the other hand, if the *eternal* fellowship between Father and Son was broken on Good Friday, then not only in His human nature but also in His divine nature Christ lost fellowship with His Father. And if in His divine nature He lost fellowship with the Father on Good Friday, then He must have suffered in His divine nature on Good Friday, since losing fellowship with the Father in His divine nature would be cause of the greatest suffering and deprivation of happiness, infinitely more so than losing fellowship with the Father in His human nature. And in that case God is not impassible in His divine nature, because any one of the Persons can [potentially] break fellowship with the others, and thus cause those others (and Himself) the pain of loss of communion with another member of the Trinity.

    So it seems to me that although a kenotic Christology is compatible with the notion that “the ancient, eternal fellowship between Father and Son was broken,” a Chalcedonian Christology is not compatible with a notion that the ancient and eternal fellowship between Father and Son was broken on Good Friday.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  26. April 13, 2012 at 8:53 pm

    For what it’s worth, Jonathan, you’ve sounded absolutely clear to me all along, and all the necessary qualifications are there for all who wish to find them

  27. Lee said,

    April 13, 2012 at 9:37 pm

    Jack,
    Presumptuous? Probably, but why let that stop me. And besides, you guys have argued with each other enough, why not argue with someone new?

  28. Lee said,

    April 13, 2012 at 9:46 pm

    Matthew,
    My concern over “Logos died” is because John 1 so closely ties it to being God. It still seems to me it could be more confusing than Jesus Christ died. I am not saying the “Logos died” is wrong. I would just bet that if you talked to 100 people in the pews, Logos died would conjure up God died more often than Jesus Christ died. So why use it?

  29. matthew n. petersen said,

    April 13, 2012 at 9:59 pm

    Because its corect, and more clear than “Jesus died”. John I also clearly ties the Word in with becoming flesh. The Divine nature in the Logos is not the person, the Logis is the person. God died is entirely correct, because one of the Holy Trinity died, as the Ecumenical Councils say. It is perhaps potentially confusing sinc ethe Father did not die, nor did Godness (whatever it could possibly mean for an abstract noun to do something concrete). But “The Logos died” is important because it avoids the Nestorian error that God did not die, and, indeed, insisting on “Jesus died”, over against “God died” is specifically condemned.

    So why use it? Because its true, in strict truth, and not at all open to the interpretation tnat Jesus died, but God did not.

  30. Alan D. Strange said,

    April 13, 2012 at 10:46 pm

    I agree, Jason, that the Hodge statement was what I heard brothers, like Jonathan, saying all along.

    And as for Bryan’s concern, I fully agree that Christ did not suffer in His divine nature on the Cross. Statements to the effect that our Lord’s cry of dereliction indicates some sort of rupture among the members of the Blessed, Holy, Undivided, Trinity are being made with alarming frequency these days.

    To me, this discussion, in all its parts, highlights the need for instruction on this in the church. I know that several have said, perhaps including our gracious host, that these matters of discussion here are not brought into the pulpits. I agree that the way that we’ve discussed things here is not appropriate as a part of our sermonizing. But the content of this Christology, particularly, who Christ is in His person, needs to be taught–and even preached–more clearly in our churches.

    Some years ago, I was using the Apostles’ Creed to structure a sermon series, as one might preach using the catechism in that same way (I’ve used the WSC that way and the WLC in teaching mid-week). I decided to preach longer on the person of Christ than the work, because we Protestants talk a lot about the latter and not so much about the former. The fourth through the seventh centuries, of course, had a lot to say about the person of Christ.

    I preached about six or seven sermons on the person of Christ from various gospel passages, also using Warfield’s magisterial “Emotional Life of our Lord” to structure part of the series. I received a very strong response from the congregation in that series. There were some challenging things there. I had some times out of worship for questions and answers. I had a number of private conversations explaining things. It was most worthwhile. People were unusually edified.

    Just as people were discussing issues surrounding soteriology in the streets and shops of Amsterdam in the run-up to the Synod of Dordt (1618-19) so people were discussing, and debating, Arianism and Nestorianism in the fourth and fifth centuries. Read about it. Good stuff. We have more ability than ever for people to learn and further investigate these matters. Yet, it’s all about, “Your best life now.”

    How do we–here’s my question and burning desire–in appropriate and encouraging ways, better instruct our people in these things? They need to know about the Trinity and the Incarnation, particularly, not simply in the shallowest of ways, but we need to teach them this in some depth. This discussion puts me in mind of that.

    How do we better teach our people not only about the work of Christ but also about person of the One who is their beloved Lord and Savior? We need to give our people substance and not hold back on these marvelous truths. Losing them to Osteen is not the only danger. The other is losing them to Rome or the East. And I know that some of you men involved in this discussion are not Protestant and we could critique Rome for underdeveloping the doctrine of the work of the Holy Spirit and the East for mysticism and never moving theologically beyond the Seven Councils. I am not seeking a debate on that here and now, but I don’t pretent that we don’t have serious differences.

    I firmly believe that Protestantism, the Reformed faith, specifically, is Christianity come into its own. But we have our own real problems, and one of them is in the area of Theology proper and Christology. We may learn it in seminary (I hope), but we often fail to pass it along in our preaching and teaching. And that’s a shame.

  31. Brad B said,

    April 13, 2012 at 11:34 pm

    Hodge!

    “if you don’t raise Nestorian flags, especially on the passion of Christ, you are doing it wrong.
    rcjr, I thought the exact thing about 2 weeks ago.

  32. greenbaggins said,

    April 14, 2012 at 8:03 am

    Jonathan, if I wanted, I could be offended at the almost constant hinting that I was Nestorian or bordering on it. I could also, if I wanted, be offended at what could be interpreted as nit-picking at a guy who simply wanted to be cautious. Believe you me, some have been offended on my behalf, and have sent me emails to that effect. I made my statements from impressions received. There are now over 60,000 comments on this blog as a whole. Do you think I have read them all carefully? It is just possible I may have missed your careful qualifications, for which I apologize. Lots of people put in hard work in their comments. I choose not to be offended by the above things. Everything I say tends to get overly dissected every time I write anything. I have learned to live with that. One must have a relatively thick skin to be on the internet much. So why not let it drop and move on?

  33. April 14, 2012 at 8:50 am

    Lane,

    Fine. I’ll let it drop. But the fact remains that you consistently refused to say that it was a divine person who suffered for our sins in his flesh, and then ended up agreeing with Hodge who says exactly that (when I already quoted him as saying just that in comments you engaged with), while at the same time claiming that I didn’t make the proper qualifications. And I even defended you by correcting those who insisted that you needed to say “God suffered” without qualification. Concerns over such refusal are not nit picking. It is a matter of creedal orthodoxy. What if you were in a discussion on justification, and someone who is a teacher in the Reformed church, when asked point blank, “Is faith the sole instrumental cause of our justification?” consistently refused to give an affirmative answer? How would you respond? I would think that you of all people, Lane, should understand when someone has concerns over perceived compromise of creedal orthodoxy. My concern is for the church and the integrity of her teaching.

  34. greenbaggins said,

    April 14, 2012 at 10:01 am

    Fair point. But it took a while to establish what was meant by divine person. If it means anything to you, you weren’t my primary target in those comments anyway.

  35. April 14, 2012 at 11:57 am

    Lane,
    A few things to note about Brown’s work.

    Brown is working during a time when a few writers tried to rehabilitate Nestorius, off and on from around 1900-1960’s. The main later advocate of that view was Anastos. That attempt collapsed. By the time Gray’s, The Defense of Chalcedon in the East (1977) and other works like Meyendorff’s, Christ in Eastern Christian Thought, came out it was effectively dead. It gets mentioned in the literature but usually to mark the history of the modern discussion. Some writers like Fairbairn give it no mention at all (Brown’s discussion never gets discussed so far as I know). That is because Anastos’ read just isn’t sustainable by the evidence and why the scholarly consensus is that in the main, Cyril’s gloss of Nestorius’ teaching was accurate.

    Some other things to note about Brown’s work. It is a popular work, not a work devoted to that question per se. Second, Brown’s area of specialization is not in the early church or patristic theology, but Reformation history. To get a sense of the evidence and issues one should focus on the primary texts and specialists such as Fairbain, McKinnon, Clayton, McGuckin or Russell.

  36. Bryan Cross said,

    April 14, 2012 at 12:52 pm

    Alan, (re: #30)

    The difficulty, given what I said in #25, is fitting Chalcedonian Christology with the claim that the Father imputed sin to the Person of Christ and that the Father’s wrath and complete punishment for that sin was poured out on Christ. (see the Larger Catechism Q.49.) Such a claim would be easily compatible with Nestorianism, where God pours out His wrath only on the human person Jesus, or only on Jesus’ human nature, while keeping perfect communion with the Logos.

    The Father pouring out His punishment for sin on Christ is also compatible with a kenotic Christology, which is a kind of monophysitism, in that at the moment of the incarnation, Christ effectively gives up His divine nature, and possesses only a human nature, though His Person is the same Person the Logos was prior to the incarnation. At the incarnation, His consciousness ‘descends’ and gives up His omniscience, restricting itself to that of a human mind limited to the perspective of two human eyes and whatever can be observed by sensory experience, like our consciousnesses. He is aided cognitively only in whatever the Spirit supernaturally reveals to Him. In that kenotic Christology, there is personal identity (Jesus is truly the eternal Son of God), but He no longer has His divine nature during His incarnation. So, during His incarnation His only relation to the Father is through His human nature, and that relation is broken during the crucifixion, as the Father pours out His wrath on Christ.

    But, given Chalcedonian Christology, and this conception of propitiation by the exhaustion of divine punishment for sins on a substitute victim, then to whom were our sins imputed, and who bore the Father’s wrath? It has to be a who; it cannot be a mere nature. So it has to be the Logos. But this only raises further difficulties. If the sin was imputed to the Logos without qualification, then the break in communion between the Father and the Logos during the crucifixion entails that God is passible even in His divine nature, as I explained in #25. The rejoinder is that sin was imputed to the Logos only according to His human nature. But, even so, it is still the Logos, not a human nature, who becomes guilty. And therefore the wrath of the Father cannot be directed only to a human nature, but must be directed to His own Logos. So this rejoinder doesn’t resolve the problem of a breakdown in intra-Trinitarian communion, or preserve divine impassibility. And a breakdown in intra-Trinitarian communion entails either polytheism or Arianism, as I’ve argued elsewhere (see comment #69).

    But let’s grant, for the sake of argument that sin was imputed to the Logos only according to His human nature. In that case, on Good Friday there must have been a break within the Person of the Logos, as He retained perfect fellowship with the Father in His divine nature, but lost fellowship with the Father and received the wrath of the Father in His human nature. The Logos, being the perfect image of the Father, and doing only what He sees the Father doing, would also have had no less wrath for sin, and poured out this same wrath onto Himself in His human nature. So in that case in His divine nature the one Logos was not forsaken by the Father, but in His human nature He was forsaken not only by the Father, but also by the Spirit and, in some respect, by Himself, the Logos. So this notion of propitiation, combined with Chalcedonian Christology, entails that on Good Friday a kind schizophrenia occurred within the Logos, as He loved Himself in His perfect communion with the Father, and at the same time He poured out wrath on Himself, and felt and bore the weight of His own wrath toward Himself, and in that way broke fellowship with Himself. But that thesis is possible only if one part of the Person of the Logos rejects another part of the Person of the Logos. So this theory splits the Logos into a two-part Person, one part of the Logos maintaining fellowship with the Father, and the other part of the Logos receiving the Father’s wrath. But that’s just the equivalent of Nestorianism, only semantically avoided by replacing the term ‘person’ with the term ‘part of a person’.

    And if the Logos’ human will were to avoid sin, then it must remain in perfect conformity to the divine will. In that case His human will must have shared the Father’s wrath toward the Logos in His human nature. And then His question from the cross, “Why have You forsaken me?” turns out to be part of a Smeagol-Gollum kind of internal dialogue, because He knows full well why He has forsaken Himself — because of His wrath toward Himself for sin; in fact, He Himself is willing it at that very moment. So, His next comment from the cross could then have been, “Because you’re a filthy worm, guilty of all the sins of the elect; I hate you.” And again, this implication is obviously problematic, not only because the Passion and death of Christ is turned into a bizarre schizophrenic drama, but because it implies a kind of Nestorianism, in that the Logos is pouring out His wrath in conformity with the Father, and the other person (not a mere nature) is on the cross suffering, forsaken, receiving that wrath, and asking why.

    So the question is how a full embrace of Chalcedonian Christology is compatible with the Reformed conception of propitiation. I’m glad for a Reformed affirmation of Chalcedon — my question is whether that’s truly compatible with the Reformed conception of the atonement. It seems to me, for the reasons I’ve just laid out, that such a notion of the atonement depends implicitly on a kenotic or Nestorian Christology. So I want to know how this problem is resolved.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  37. TurretinFan said,

    April 14, 2012 at 12:54 pm

    The accusations in #36 are interesting, but perhaps deserve their own thread.

  38. Alan D. Strange said,

    April 14, 2012 at 3:41 pm

    Bryan (#36),

    I understand your questions with respect to the atonement rendered by the theanthropic person.

    I agree that it is a challenge but am not ready to concede that it is not for the RCC as well. I would need to study this further but my impression is that your position on the atonement is not monolithic in the RCC.

    I do fully affirm the teaching of the Westminster Standards with respect to the atonement, including WLC 49 (that you cite). The question of the integrity of the person of our Lord in his two natures with respect to his mediation particularly is addressed in these earlier questions:

    Q. 38. Why was it requisite that the mediator should be God?
    A. It was requisite that the mediator should be God, that he might sustain and keep the human nature from sinking under the infinite wrath of God, and the power of death; give worth and efficacy to his sufferings, obedience, and intercession; and to satisfy God’s justice, procure his favor, purchase a peculiar people, give his Spirit to them, conquer all their enemies, and bring them to everlasting salvation.

    Q. 39. Why was it requisite that the mediator should be man?
    A. It was requisite that the mediator should be man, that he might advance our nature, perform obedience to the law, suffer and make intercession for us in our nature, have a fellow-feeling of our infirmities; that we might receive the adoption of sons, and have comfort and access with boldness unto the throne of grace.

    Q. 40. Why was it requisite that the mediator should be God and man in one person?
    A. It was requisite that the mediator, who was to reconcile God and man, should himself be both God and man, and this in one person, that the proper works of each nature might be accepted of God for us, and relied on by us, as the works of the whole person.

    WLC 38, particularly, notes that the deity of the mediator sustained and kept the human nature from sinking under the infinite wrath of God. There seems to be a supposition on your part, Bryan, that the essential relationship would be disrupted by the Father manifesting wrath to the Son immanently, but no more so if an earthly father manifests such to a son. It certainly does not mean that the Father ever ceases for a moment to love the Son. The essential relationship is maintained; in fact, had Christ not been God, He could not have sustained such wrath as a mere man (as no mere man could).

    But I understand that it is convenient for you to allege that we have a non-Chalcedonian Christology, because you have a different view of the atonement that supposedly does not “trouble” your Christology. What did Christ’s cry of dereliction mean or his drinking the cup {of wrath, as traced throughout revelation} in the garden? Westminster does offer an answer–though I realize you reject it–to the allegedly insuperable problem you pose. I realize that there’s much more to say but that’s the beginning of an answer.

  39. April 14, 2012 at 7:34 pm

    [...] Schaff, Hodge, and Murray on Jesus’ Natures (Lane Keister) [...]

  40. David Reece said,

    April 15, 2012 at 6:28 am

    Lane,

    I would ask you to please consider an important point about the Hypostatic Union and an aspect of the doctrine that arises out of the Hodge quote.

    You quoted Hodge as saying, “It was a divine person, not merely a divine nature, that assumed humanity, or became incarnate. Hence it follows that the human nature of Christ, separately considered, is impersonal…To personality both rational substance and distinct subsistence are essential. The latter the human nature of Christ never possessed.”

    Hodge’s definition of a person here is a rational subsistence. This definition is clear from his statement that makes the point that Christ’s human nature would have been a human person if only it had also possessed the attribute of subsistence. Hodge makes subsistence the difference between Christ being two persons and Christ being one person.

    What does Hodge mean by subsistence? Does he mean a subject? Every noun is a subject. Every noun can be connected to predicates.

    You claim to agree with Hodge. What does he (do you) mean by subsistence? If a person is a rational subsistence it is important that we know. I would ask you to consider the possibility that “person” is not rightly defined here.

  41. johnbugay said,

    April 15, 2012 at 11:06 am

    This comment and my next comment are together a response to Bryan Cross 25 and 36:

    In #25, Bryan posits a faulty thesis when he asks, “if Christ suffered in His human nature, but is impassible in His divine nature, this doesn’t fit with the notion that on Good Friday, “the ancient, eternal fellowship between Father and Son was broken”…That’s because in His divine nature, Christ enjoys the perfect happiness of eternal communion with the Father and Spirit.

    Impassibility as Bryan posits it requires a good deal of qualification, and his implied definition is more in line with that given by Clark Pinnock and the “neotheists”, who are “notorious for incorrectly explaining the meaning of such terms as … impassible” (see the discussion of impassibility here.

    As John Frame notes in his, “The Doctrine of God”:

    is there any sense in which God suffers injury or loss? Certainly Jesus suffered injury and loss on the cross. And I agree with Moltmann that Christ’s sufferings are the sufferings of God. The Council of Chalcedon (451) … said that Jesus has two complete natures, divine and human, united in one person. We may say that Jesus suffered and died on the cross “according to his human nature,” but what suffered was not a “nature,” but the person of Jesus. And the person of Jesus is nothing less than the second person of the Trinity, who has taken to himself a human nature. His experiences as a man are truly his experiences, the experiences of God.

    Are these the experiences of only the Son, and not of the Father? The persons of the Trinity are not divided; rather, the Son is in the Father, and the Father is in the Son (John 10:38; 14:10-11, 20; 17:21)…

    However, the Father does not have exactly the same experiences of suffering and death that the Son has. Although they dwell in one another, the Father and the Son play different roles in the history of redemption. The Son was baptized by John; the Father was the voice from heaven at his baptism. The Son was crucified; the Father was not. Indeed, during the Crucifixion, the Father forsook the Son as he bore the sins of his people (Matt 27:46; see my discussion of Mark 15:33-34 below).

    Was the Father, nevertheless, still “in” the Son at that moment of separation? What exactly does it mean for the Father to be “in” the Son when he addressed the Son from heaven? These are difficult questions, and I have not heard any persuasive answers to them. But we must do justice to both the continuity and the discontinuity between the persons of the Trinity. Certainly the Father empathized, agonized, and grieved over the death of his Son, but he did not experience death in the same way that the Son did.

    Paul, in Romans 8:32 says, “He who did not spare his own Son, but delivered him up for us all—how shall he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” Here Paul states the cost of our salvation to God the Father. Surely this is loss to the Father. We cannot imagine how much. The Father did not die, but he gave up his own Son.

    But God the Son did die, and of course he rose again. So in his incarnate existence, God suffered and even died—yet his death did not leave us with a godless universe. Beyond that, I think we are largely ignorant, and we should admit that ignorance (pgs 613-614).

  42. johnbugay said,

    April 15, 2012 at 11:07 am

    This comment and my previous comment are together a response to Bryan Cross 25 and 36:

    Bryan posits another faulty notion in #36 as he asks:

    given Chalcedonian Christology, and this conception of propitiation by the exhaustion of divine punishment for sins on a substitute victim, then to whom were our sins imputed, and who bore the Father’s wrath? It has to be a who; it cannot be a mere nature. So it has to be the Logos. But this only raises further difficulties. If the sin was imputed to the Logos without qualification, then the break in communion between the Father and the Logos during the crucifixion entails that God is passible even in His divine nature, as I explained in #25. The rejoinder is that sin was imputed to the Logos only according to His human nature. But, even so, it is still the Logos, not a human nature, who becomes guilty. And therefore the wrath of the Father cannot be directed only to a human nature, but must be directed to His own Logos. So this rejoinder doesn’t resolve the problem of a breakdown in intra-Trinitarian communion, or preserve divine impassibility.

    Commenting on Mark 15:33-34, the authors of “Pierced For Our Transgressions” say:

    As we reflect on the terrible final moments of our Lord’s earthly life, two elements of Mark’s account call for closer scrutiny: the supernatural darkness at midday, and Jesus’ cry of dereliction, a quotation from Psalm 22:1.

    On numerous occasions in the Old Testament, darkness denotes God’s wrath. This imagery is used in particular with reference to the Day of the Lord; for example, in Isaiah 13:9-11:

    9 See, the day of the LORD is coming
    —a cruel day, with wrath and fierce anger—
    to make the land desolate
    and destroy the sinners within it.
    10 The stars of heaven and their constellations
    will not show their light.
    The rising sun will be darkened
    and the moon will not give its light.
    11 I will punish the world for its evil,
    the wicked for their sins.
    I will put an end to the arrogance of the haughty
    and will humble the pride of the ruthless.

    (see also Joel 2:31; Amos 5:18-20; Zeph. 1:14-15)

    Significantly, Mark himself quotes from these verses two chapters earlier, in Mark 13:24-25. The meaning of the darkness at the cross therefore seems unambiguous. God was angry. But angry with whom? … the juxtaposition of the darkness with Jesus’ cry of abandonment suggests that [this is the primary meaning]: God’s judgment was falling on his Son as he died as a substitute, bearing the sins of his people.

    So we have exegetical reason for saying that “that the Father’s wrath and complete punishment for that sin was poured out on Christ.”
    In a footnote, the authors say, “Some have attempted to evade this conclusion by suggesting that Jesus’ quote from Ps. 22:1 was not intended to describe the experience of God-forsakenness; rather his intention in speaking these words was to call to mind the whole psalm, particularly its concluding note of victory. But as Stott comments, this seems ‘far-fetched. Why should Jesus have quoted from the psalm’s beginning if in reality he was alluding to its end? … Would anybody have understood his purpose?’ (Stott, Cross of Christ, p. 81. For further discussion see pp. 78-82).”

    “Others object to the idea that Jesus was forsaken by his Father because they fear this might entail a sundering of the Trinity. Certainly, care is needed here, and a theologically nuanced exposition would need to avoid suggesting that God the Father was no longer ‘there’ at Calvary (even in hell God is not absent in every sense…). Rather, the language of ‘abandonment’ or ‘forsakennes’ is a metaphorical way of referring to divine judgment.” For this also see the selection from John Frame posted in my previous comment.

    Continuing with the authors:

    Mark presents one final piece of evidence. On the Mount of Olives just before his arrest, Jesus predicted that his disciples would shortly desert him:

    “You will all fall away,” Jesus told them, “for it is written:
    “‘I will strike the shepherd,
    and the sheep will be scattered.’ (Mark 14:27)

    The remarkable thing about the text in Zechariah 13:7 from which Jesus quotes is that God is the agent of the shepherd’s suffering. Jesus is categorical: the afflictions that lie ahead of him, in consequence of which his disciples will desert him, come from his Father’s hand.

    Summary
    The cup Jesus must drink, the darkness at noon, the cry of dereliction, and Jesus’ own prediction that he will be handed over to the Gentiles all testify that at the cross he suffers God’s wrath. Why is this? He dies as our substitute, paying the ransom price of his death for our life. Thus Mark’s Gospel teaches penal substitution (pgs 71-73).

    Roman Catholics are fond of pointing out “mystery”. Here is a genuine Scriptural mystery. Yes, God’s wrath is poured out on Christ on the cross. Yet the Trinity is not in any way “broken down”, as he suggests. Nor is there anything wrong with Chalcedonian Christology. Rather, it is Bryan Cross’s questions that need to be adjusted.

  43. ljdibiase said,

    April 16, 2012 at 8:18 am

    I guess the conversation has sort of moved on from this, but I wanted to say that I agree with Jonathan Bonomo, and I also find it hard to believe that his many careful and frequently repeated ‘qualifications’ were overlooked.

    As far as Chalcedonian language, while the Definition itself doesn’t say it, Leo’s tome does say,

    “So it is on account of this oneness of the person, which must be understood in both natures, that we both read that… the Son of God took flesh from the virgin from whom he was born, and again that the Son of God is said to have been crucified and buried, since he suffered these things not in the divinity itself whereby the Only-begotten is co-eternal and consubstantial with the Father, but in the weakness of the human nature. That is why in the creed, too, we all confess that the only-begotten Son of God was crucified and was buried, following what the apostle said, “If they had known, they would never have crucified the Lord of majesty.”

  44. ljdibiase said,

    April 16, 2012 at 9:06 am

    Bryan, what view of the atonement are you advocating?

  45. Bryan Cross said,

    April 16, 2012 at 9:10 am

    Ljdibiase, see the article at the link in comment #36.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  46. Bryan Cross said,

    April 16, 2012 at 10:28 am

    Alan, (re: #38)

    There seems to be a supposition on your part, Bryan, that the essential relationship would be disrupted by the Father manifesting wrath to the Son immanently, but no more so if an earthly father manifests such to a son. It certainly does not mean that the Father ever ceases for a moment to love the Son. The essential relationship is maintained; in fact, had Christ not been God, He could not have sustained such wrath as a mere man (as no mere man could).

    You seem to be construing the Father’s pouring out His wrath for all the sins of the elect on His Son as mere “discipline,” not punishment. Discipline is corrective, whereas punishment (in this sense) is retributive. So if what the Father poured out on His Son was mere discipline, then the sins of believers have not been fully punished in Christ. And in the Reformed conception of propitiation, that leaves the Father’s wrath unquenched, and all believers therefore doomed at the Judgment. But the full punishment for sin necessarily includes separation from God. So, if the Son received the full punishment for all the sins of the elect, then the Son had to endure separation from God. And ‘separation’ here doesn’t mean spatial or geographical separation — it means loss of communion. So if Christ endured the punishment for sin (loss of communion with God), then either it is not true that the essential relationship [between the Father and the Son] was maintained (which leads to the problem I describe in comment #25), or there was a division within the Logos as the Logos maintained fellowship with the Father in His divine nature, but poured out wrath on Himself in His human nature (which leads to the problem I describe in comment #36). And both those alternatives seem incompatible with Chalcedonian Christology.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  47. ljdibiase said,

    April 16, 2012 at 10:40 am

    Bryan, thanks. Not to open up a whole new discussion about it, but I did have one question that I didn’t see you address in your article or comments (or if you did, I missed it — although one of your commenters did touch on it.) It concerns the Old Testament sacrifices as a type of Christ. We see this, for example, with the passover lamb, which was killed in place of the punishment that was to come on the firstborn in Egypt. Christ as a type is also explained in places like Hebrews 10:11-12:

    “And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God….”

    How, in your view, would you explain the animal sacrifices as a type which is fulfilled in Christ?

  48. Bryan Cross said,

    April 16, 2012 at 11:00 am

    ljdibiase, (re: #47)

    In the Catholic perspective the animal sacrifices are types, as gifts offered to make reparation for sin, not as objects of divine wrath. Only Christ’s self-sacrifice to the Father, being an act of perfect love even unto death by an innocent and divine Person sharing in our nature, is greater in its goodness and merit than all our sins are wicked and demerit, and is thus capable of making satisfaction for sin.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  49. ljdibiase said,

    April 16, 2012 at 11:11 am

    Bryan, thanks again. I don’t think that’s a very satisfying answer to the issue of the passover lamb, but so be it.

    One other question, if you would be so kind. You said that Christ’s sacrifice was “greater in its goodness and merit than all our sins….”

    Why then do we need the merits of Mary and the “saints?”

  50. Jeff Cagle said,

    April 16, 2012 at 2:47 pm

    Bryan,

    (1) Does the term “self-sacrifice” suggest that the Father had nothing to do with the crucifixion?

    If not, then what was the Father’s role?

    (2) Further, in what sense did Christ “become a curse” for us (Gal 3.13)? Who was doing the cursing?

  51. Bryan Cross said,

    April 16, 2012 at 3:09 pm

    ljdibiase (re: #49), we don’t need *absolutely* anyone else’s merits or prayers, because Christ’s work is super-abundantly sufficient. But Christ in His generosity has allowed fellow members of His Body to be participants in the salvation of others in many ways, including prayer and evangelism, just as Simon of Cyrene helped carry Christ’s cross. Simon represents every Christian, in union with Christ. This participation is itself made possible by the grace merited by Christ. Participation with Christ in carrying His cross, in being a fellow worker in His Kingdom, a genuine instrument in bringing eternal salvation (in some respect, whether by our prayers, our sacrifices, our encouragement, or works of mercy), in filling up what is ‘lacking’ in Christ’s sufferings (Col 1:24) is a great gift from Christ, who is not selfish, but graciously allows us to share in His work which bears fruit for eternity.

    Jeff, both your questions are answered in the article at the link in #36.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  52. Jeff Cagle said,

    April 16, 2012 at 3:45 pm

    Bryan, I found this explanation: “What the Son endured, in His human nature, was the curse for sin, which as St. Augustine explains, is suffering and death, not wrath or anger or rejection or hatred from the Father.”

    This explanation appears to me (who admittedly has a Protestant paradigm) to be drawing a distinction without a difference.

    If the sinner deserves the wrath of God, as you agreed to in the link you posted; and if the wages of sin is death as you surely admit; then how is there a distinction between the ‘curse for sin’ and the just punishment for sin?

    You say that suffering and death is not wrath or anger or rejection or hatred. Yet these are not all equally true. We can agree that suffering and death are not necessarily rejection or hatred, and yet Romans itself equates the wrath of God with the just punishment for sins.

    Bear with me a bit and answer clearly if you will: What is the distinction you are drawing between ‘death and suffering’, the ‘just punishment for sin’, and the ‘wrath of God’?

    Further, how do you understand “He descended into Hell” from the creed?

    From my perspective,

  53. Jeff Cagle said,

    April 16, 2012 at 3:46 pm

    Oops, ignore the last orphaned phrase in #52.

  54. Matthew N. Petersen said,

    April 16, 2012 at 3:54 pm

    Jeff:

    Did Christ free us from Hell? And does God’s justice demand Hell? If so, then you do not believe that there is no distinction between the wrath of God and the wages of sin, namely death. You draw a distinction between “death and suffering” and “the just punishment for sin”. One is temporal, and terminates, the other is eternal. If they were the same, then either an annihilationist position would follow, or a universalism like Origen’s that after a period of suffering, all will be saved; or something completely different, like the Orthodox understanding that Christ’s death and resurrection not only establishes the resurrection to glory, but also the resurrection of the damned.

    Moreover, the Calvinist position of double predestination, namely, that God actively hates the reprobate is very much at odds with the claim that God does not hate sinners, and therefore, since He became the sinner of sinners, the that God does not hate Christ. Which brings back all the problems Bryan mentioned.

  55. Jeff Cagle said,

    April 16, 2012 at 3:59 pm

    For what it’s worth, Augustine’s reply to Faustus goes further than you do, Bryan. In your “Protestant v. Catholic” diagram, you omit the role of the Father’s curse on the Son. The motion is entirely from Son to Father (in the Catholic view, in your presentation of it)

    But Augustine admits that there is also motion from Father to Son, and that motion is one of hatred and curse, as he bears our sin in his humanity:

    If we read, “Cursed of God is every one that hangs on a tree,” the addition of the words “of God” creates no difficulty. For had not God hated sin and our death, He would not have sent His Son to bear and to abolish it. And there is nothing strange in God’s cursing what He hates. For His readiness to give us the immortality which will be had at the coming of Christ, is in proportion to the compassion with which He hated our death when it hung on the cross at the death of Christ.

    But as Christ endured death as man, and for man; so also, Son of God as He was, ever living in His own righteousness, but dying for our offenses, He submitted as man, and for man, to bear the curse which accompanies death. And as He died in the flesh which He took in bearing our punishment, so also, while ever blessed in His own righteousness, He was cursed for our offenses, in the death which He suffered in bearing our punishment. And these words “every one” are intended to check the ignorant officiousness which would deny the reference of the curse to Christ, and so, because the curse goes along with death, would lead to the denial of the true death of Christ.

    — Augustine, contra Faustum

    It is important to admit that denying that the curse of the Father falls on the Son is tantamount, to Augustine, to denying the true death of Christ at all.

  56. Jeff Cagle said,

    April 16, 2012 at 4:04 pm

    Matthew, I’m confused by your reasoning.

    Did Christ free us from Hell?

    Yes.

    And does God’s justice demand Hell?

    Yes.

    If so, then you do not believe that there is no distinction between the wrath of God and the wages of sin, namely death.

    Correct.

    You draw a distinction between “death and suffering” and “the just punishment for sin”.

    No, I’m trying to understand where Bryan is coming from. He seems to be drawing that distinction: Christ endured suffering and death, but not the wrath of God. That seems to me to be a distinction without a difference. I’m trying to give him a small benefit of doubt.

  57. Matthew N. Petersen said,

    April 16, 2012 at 4:07 pm

    A few quick thoughts:

    1) The Father’s hatred is for death. Which He destroyed by the Death of His Son.

    2) The Curse is not reprobation. It is perfectly consistent here to say that the Father loved the Son and accepted Him lovingly even as the Son died. On a Calvinist reading that is not true, because justice demands reprobation, and so if Christ was not reprobate, Christ did not save.

    At least as far as I understand hard-core penal substitution.

  58. Matthew N. Petersen said,

    April 16, 2012 at 4:11 pm

    What do you mean by “a distinction without a difference”? You say on one hand that the distinction between “death and suffering” is without a difference (which is to say, is not a real distinction) but just above you said “You do not believe there is no distinction between the wrath of God and the wages of sin, namely death.”

    Perhaps you were confused by the double negative. Your “correct” in the above comment says that there is a distinction between the wrath of God–which is Eternal–and the wages of sin, namely death–which is temporal. But then in the next paragraph you call that distinction a distinction without a difference. Something isn’t adding up.

  59. Bryan Cross said,

    April 16, 2012 at 4:51 pm

    Jeff, (re: #52, #55)

    If the sinner deserves the wrath of God, as you agreed to in the link you posted; and if the wages of sin is death as you surely admit; then how is there a distinction between the ‘curse for sin’ and the just punishment for sin?

    Because the just punishment for sin includes eternal damnation. But the curse for sin is physical death. Many people fail to make this distinction, and mistakenly think of the curse as including not only suffering and death, but also eternal damnation.

    We can agree that suffering and death are not necessarily rejection or hatred, and yet Romans itself equates the wrath of God with the just punishment for sins.

    Yes, that is true.

    What is the distinction you are drawing between ‘death and suffering’, the ‘just punishment for sin’, and the ‘wrath of God’?

    All those in a state of grace are not under the wrath of God, and yet even we undergo suffering and death. So, there is a real difference between suffering and death on the one hand, and being under the wrath of God on the other hand. What Revelations speaks of as the “second death” is receiving the wrath of God, being eternally separated from fellowship with God.

    Further, how do you understand “He descended into Hell” from the creed?

    The lecture at “The Harrowing of Hell” thoroughly answers that question.

    But Augustine admits that there is also motion from Father to Son, and that motion is one of hatred and curse, as he bears our sin in his humanity:

    You’re misunderstanding St. Augustine there, precisely because you don’t yet see that being subjected to suffering and death does not necessarily entail being hated by the Father, or receiving the wrath of God. God hates sin, but He never hates or despises or rejects His Son, nor does St. Augustine say that God hates the Son.

    It is important to admit that denying that the curse of the Father falls on the Son is tantamount, to Augustine, to denying the true death of Christ at all.

    True, but it is no less important to understand exactly what is mean by the term ‘curse,’ here, and not to read into it the wrath of God. It refers to being subjected to suffering and physical death, which is the condition of man in this present life, because of Adam’s sin. We (even though under grace) still endure that suffering and death, but the sting of death has been removed — because by Christ’s death we have been freed from sin, and no longer live in sin, and death has been swallowed up in victory, with the sure hope of the resurrection.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  60. Jeff Cagle said,

    April 16, 2012 at 5:14 pm

    I’m having trouble making a coherent picture of your view (sorry!). You say,

    Because the just punishment for sin includes eternal damnation. But the curse for sin is physical death. Many people fail to make this distinction, and mistakenly think of the curse as including not only suffering and death, but also eternal damnation.

    All those in a state of grace are not under the wrath of God, and yet even we undergo suffering and death.

    So on your view …

    (1) The curse of the law was physical death and suffering, not eternal damnation,

    (2) Jesus endured the curse of the law on our behalf, but

    (3) Those in a state of grace are still subject to suffering and death.

    Wouldn’t it follow then that those in a state of grace are still subject to the curse? In what sense then did Jesus receive the curse on our behalf?!

  61. Jeff Cagle said,

    April 16, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    Matthew (#58): You’re correct … I missed the double negative. See here starting at 1:00.

  62. Jeff Cagle said,

    April 16, 2012 at 5:24 pm

    Matthew (#57): 2) The Curse is not reprobation. It is perfectly consistent here to say that the Father loved the Son and accepted Him lovingly even as the Son died.

    But it is also consistent to say that the Father cursed the Son with damnation, not because of his own sin, but because he represented the sins of his people; and yet also that the Father loved the Son insofar as He was the spotless lamb of God.

    I mean, at some point whether in the RCC view or the Protestant, we have to accept the fact that the Father is taking two simultaneous views of the Son. Either

    (RCC)

    (1) The Father loves the Son and views him blameless according to the law, and
    (2) The Father visits the curse of the Law on the Son,

    OR

    (Protestant)

    (1) The Father loves the Son according to his divine nature, but
    (2) The Father turns away from the Son as second Adam.

    Take your pick of mysteries!

  63. Bryan Cross said,

    April 16, 2012 at 5:37 pm

    Jeff, (re: #60)

    Wouldn’t it follow then that those in a state of grace are still subject to the curse?

    In one sense, yes, because we still suffer and die in this present life; Christ has not yet returned. We live in the time between His first and second comings, when the work of redemption is still being carried out in the world, the battle continues, and the harvest is not yet completed. But, in another sense, no, because the devil has been defeated, the sting of death has been removed, and our suffering and death, in union with Christ, is turned into an opportunity for sanctification and storing up treasure in heaven. We do not fear death, as those who have no hope. In Christ our Victor and our Head, we see the way that lies ahead for us — this is the meaning for us of His resurrection and ascension. As He is, so we shall be.

    In what sense then did Jesus receive the curse on our behalf?!

    As I explained in #59, Christ the Life of God, bore in His body the curse of sin which is death, and thereby removed the sting of death, redeeming us from sin, and providing us with eternal life and the hope of the resurrection and glorification of our bodies, never to die again.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  64. Bryan Cross said,

    April 16, 2012 at 5:58 pm

    Jeff, (re: #62)

    I mean, at some point whether in the RCC view or the Protestant, we have to accept the fact that the Father is taking two simultaneous views of the Son. Either

    (RCC)

    (1) The Father loves the Son and views him blameless according to the law, and
    (2) The Father visits the curse of the Law on the Son,

    First, in Catholic doctrine it is not merely the Father who wills the incarnation, passion and death of the Logos. It is willed by all three Persons of the Trinity, with the one divine will. And the Logos also consents to the divine will, with His human will. That’s what’s going on in the Garden on Maunday Thursday.

    Second, there is nothing contradictory in loving the Son, and willing the Son to undergo suffering and death in His human nature for our salvation. The Catholic doctrine does not posit wrath directed from one Person of the Trinity to another Person in the Trinity, or a break in fellowship between any Persons of the Trinity, or wrath directed from one part of a divine Person to another part of that same divine Person. So the Catholic doctrine does not face the difficulties faced by the attempt to combine the Reformed conception of propitiation with Chalcedonian Christology, as I described in comments #25 and #36.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  65. Jeff Cagle said,

    April 16, 2012 at 7:42 pm

    Bryan (#64): Second, there is nothing contradictory in loving the Son, and willing the Son to undergo suffering and death in His human nature for our salvation.

    Right, there would be nothing contradictory about that; but that is not the entirety of the Catholic doctrine.

    As Augustine pointed out, an essential feature of the doctrine is that the Father visits the curse of the Law on the Son.

    Now, you posit that this curse is only suffering and death, and not the wrath of God. And what motivates this is the desire to preserve justice: God the Father cannot, in your view, treat Jesus as an unrighteous man. Nor can the Father both love the Son and also visit wrath against sin on the Son.

    But at some point, you must admit that in “willing the Son to undergo suffering and death”, God is treating Jesus as a sinner.

    The mystery remains: How can Jesus be righteous and still be treated as a sinner? Or to put it in Paul’s terms, how did God “make him who knew no sin to become sin on our behalf”?

    Bryan, my concern here is that in your eagerness to paint Protestantism as hopelessly conflicted, that you are not fully presenting the similar conflict within Catholic theology. Jesus, the righteous one, becomes sin for us.

    “Surely he took up our pain
    and bore our suffering,
    yet we considered him punished by God,
    stricken by him, and afflicted. ”

    Catholics everywhere admit that Jesus was punished by God; why then are you so eager to distance yourself from this teaching?

    Here is Cath En on the Atonement, criticizing the Protestant view. It alleges two errors in the Protestant view.

    The first is indicated in the above words of Pattison in which the Atonement is specially connected with the thought of the wrath of God. It is true of course that sin incurs the anger of the Just Judge, and that this is averted when the debt due to Divine Justice is paid by satisfaction. But it must not be thought that God is only moved to mercy and reconciled to us as a result of this satisfaction. This false conception of the Reconciliation is expressly rejected by St. Augustine (In Joannem, Tract. cx, section 6). God’s merciful love is the cause, not the result of that satisfaction.
    The second mistake is the tendency to treat the Passion of Christ as being literally a case of vicarious punishment. This is at best a distorted view of the truth that His Atoning Sacrifice took the place of our punishment, and that He took upon Himself the sufferings and death that were due to our sins. Catholic Encyclopedia, Doctrine of the Atonement

    Whatever we might say about Protestant and Catholic views of the atonement, they agree on this point: The sufferings of Jesus were punishment, a just desert, for our sins.

    When you say, True, but it is no less important to understand exactly what is mean by the term ‘curse,’ here, and not to read into it the wrath of God. It refers to being subjected to suffering and physical death…

    then you are placing too great a distance between Catholics and Protestants here. That extra distance comes about because, on the one hand, you distort the actual Protestant teaching; on the other, you are soft-pedaling the genuine punishment aspect in Catholic teaching.

    So the Catholic doctrine does not face the difficulties faced by the attempt to combine the Reformed conception of propitiation with Chalcedonian Christology, as I described in comments #25 and #36.

    Actually, I think the difficulty begins with Thabiti’s emphasis on wrath as “separation from God.” From this, he is compelled to say that the eternal fellowship between Father and Son is broken.

    I would, as a Protestant, look askance at his conclusion. It seems better to me to say that the Father treats the divine man Jesus as a sinner, and visits our sin on him as the second Adam and not as God.

    There is a unity of person in Jesus, but He was able to act according to one nature (Nathan under the fig tree) or the other (No man knows the day nor the hour, not even the Son), or both. In dying on the cross, he acts according to his human nature, both in passibility and also in his role as high priest; but the ‘eternal fellowship’ between Father and Son is unbroken.

    To my understanding, propitiation is entirely compatible with Chalcedon, and does not entail breaking of eternal fellowship nor the death of the Triune God.

    IV. This office the Lord Jesus did most willingly undertake; which that He might discharge, He was made under the law, and did perfectly fulfil it; endured most grievous torments immediately in His soul, and most painful sufferings in His body; was crucified, and died, was buried, and remained under the power of death, yet saw no corruption. On the third day He arose from the dead, with the same body in which He suffered, with which also he ascended into heaven, and there sits at the right hand of His Father, making intercession, and shall return, to judge men and angels, at the end of the world.

    V. The Lord Jesus, by His perfect obedience, and sacrifice of Himself, which He through the eternal Spirit, once offered up unto God, has fully satisfied the justice of His Father; and purchased, not only reconciliation, but an everlasting inheritance in the kingdom of heaven, for those whom the Father has given unto Him.

    VII. Christ, in the work of mediation, acts according to both natures, by each nature doing that which is proper to itself; yet, by reason of the unity of the person, that which is proper to one nature is sometimes in Scripture attributed to the person denominated by the other nature. — WCoF 8

    What is there here for a Catholic to object to?

  66. David Reece said,

    April 17, 2012 at 3:50 am

    Lane (Greenbaggins),

    You claim to agree with Hodge.

    What does do you mean by subsistence?

    If a person is a rational subsistence it is important that we know.

  67. Sean Gerety said,

    April 17, 2012 at 8:25 am

    So the Catholic doctrine does not face the difficulties faced by the attempt to combine the Reformed conception of propitiation

    Well, of course not. The Roman church has no real conception of propitiation at all. Which explains all the help you need from “Mary” and all the other ersatz-Saints.

  68. Bryan Cross said,

    April 17, 2012 at 8:30 am

    Jeff,

    First, I’ll note that the problem I raised in comments #25 and #36 has not been solved. Your response has been primarily a tu quoque (i.e. Catholic doctrine has this problem too). So, after I explain below why the tu quoque fails, it will still be the case that the problem I raised in #25 and #36 has not yet been solved.

    You wrote:

    But at some point, you must admit that in “willing the Son to undergo suffering and death”, God is treating Jesus as a sinner.

    Here’s your argument. Since in Catholic doctrine God wills the Son to undergo suffering and death, and since to will someone to undergo suffering and death is to treat them like a sinner, therefore the Catholic doctrine faces the same problem I described in comments #25 and #36.

    But that conclusion does not follow, because the claim that God is treating Jesus as a sinner trades on an ambiguity in the phrase “treating Jesus as a sinner.” In Catholic doctrine, in willing the incarnation God wills to enter into the condition of fallen man with respect to the loss of the preternatural gifts of impassibility and immortality, and the consequences of losing those gifts (i.e. suffering and death). So, Jesus is “treated as a sinner” in the sense of entering the post-fall human condition without these preternatural gifts. But that does not imply any wrath from the Father or loss of communion between the Logos and the Father.

    By contrast, imputing sin to the Logos, and pouring out upon the Logos the full measure of divine wrath for the sin of the elect does imply loss of communion between the Father and the Logos. And in Catholic doctrine God does not will to treat Jesus as a sinner in that sense of the phrase “treat as a sinner.” But that sense of the phrase is what is needed in order to arrive at the conclusion that the Catholic doctrine faces the same problem I described in comments #25 and #36. So the conclusion of your tu quoque argument does not follow from the premises.

    Or to put it in Paul’s terms, how did God “make him who knew no sin to become sin on our behalf”?

    See comment #29 of this thread.

    Catholics everywhere admit that Jesus was punished by God; why then are you so eager to distance yourself from this teaching?

    It is convenient to appeal to the abstract “Catholics everywhere.” However, Catholic doctrine is defined in, and determined by, her authoritative documents.

    You quote from the Catholic Encyclopedia article on the Atonement. You seem to think that the article supports the notion that God poured out His wrath for sin on the Logos. But that’s not what it says or entails. Look again at the parts you put in bold font. Here’s the first:

    The first is indicated in the above words of Pattison in which the Atonement is specially connected with the thought of the wrath of God. It is true of course that sin incurs the anger of the Just Judge, and that this is averted when the debt due to Divine Justice is paid by satisfaction.

    This is talking about atonement in the Catholic conception of satisfaction by way of a gift more pleasing than sins are displeasing. (That’s what is meant by ‘satisfaction.’) It is explicitly denying the notion that God pours out His wrath for sin on Christ, and affirming instead the satisfaction conception of the atonement.

    Here’s the second quotation:

    The second mistake is the tendency to treat the Passion of Christ as being literally a case of vicarious punishment. This is at best a distorted view of the truth that His Atoning Sacrifice took the place of our punishment, and that He took upon Himself the sufferings and death that were due to our sins.

    You seemingly think “took the place of our punishment” means something equivalent to the Reformed notion of literal vicarious punishment. But, in fact, the quotation it is explicitly denying that. By making satisfaction through His gift of loving self-sacrifice, He takes the place of our punishment, but that does not mean that the wrath of God for our sins was poured out on Christ. It means instead that Christ by His sacrificial gift of love in His human nature made satisfaction to God (i.e. by the upward arrow of loving gift, not the downward arrow of divine wrath). So, not only does the Catholic encyclopedia article not support your claim (i.e. that the Catholic doctrine of the atonement also involves the Father pouring out His wrath on the Son), it directly denies it.

    You wrote:

    Actually, I think the difficulty begins with Thabiti’s emphasis on wrath as “separation from God.” From this, he is compelled to say that the eternal fellowship between Father and Son is broken.

    I would, as a Protestant, look askance at his conclusion.

    The notion that the wrath of God involves separation from God (in the sense of lose of communion with God) is straightforward and uncontroversial in Reformed theology. For example, R.C. Sproul writes:

    “God certainly did forsake Him. That is the whole point of the atonement. Without forsakenness, there is no curse. God, at that moment in space and time, turned His back on His Son.”

    If wrath does not involve separation from God (i.e. loss of fellowship with God), then those in hell are no less happy than those in heaven, for in that case both groups retain fellowship with God, which is true happiness. And if the wrath of God does not involve loss of communion with God, then Jesus’ being forsaken by the Father on the cross in His human nature was not a “a just desert, for our sins” but merely a spiteful act by the Father. That would raise only more problems.

    You wrote:

    It seems better to me to say that the Father treats the divine man Jesus as a sinner, and visits our sin on him as the second Adam and not as God.

    It is easy to rest in clichés such as “visits our sin on him,” but any theology worth its salt can’t rest in clichés, and must unpack them.

    but the ‘eternal fellowship’ between Father and Son is unbroken.

    Ok, but that leads from comment #25, to the problem in #36.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  69. TurretinFan said,

    April 17, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    Bryan:

    You wrote: “It is convenient to appeal to the abstract “Catholics everywhere.” However, Catholic doctrine is defined in, and determined by, her authoritative documents.”

    Where in any of her authoritative documents does Rome deny:

    1) That the wrath of God was poured out upon the person of Jesus Christ;
    2) That the punishment due to sin was received by Jesus Christ; or
    3) That Jesus was a penal substitute in his atoning work.

    You repeatedly make various assertions about “Catholic theology.” But you are not authorized to speak for the magisterium, just as the others are not. So, where precisely does Rome deny those things?

    -TurretinFan

  70. TurretinFan said,

    April 17, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    Now the Devil, seeing that there was no protection for him, was at a loss, and as having no other resource, tried at last to offer him vinegar to drink. But he knew not that he was doing this against himself; for the bitterness of wrath caused by the transgression of the law, in which he kept all men bound, he now surrendered to the Savior, who took it and consumed it, in order that in the place of vinegar, He might give us wine to drink, which wisdom had mingled.

    From Thomas Aquinas’ Golden Chain, at Luke 23.

    But, of course, St. Thomas also affirmed that only canonical Scriptures are the rule of faith and denied that Mary was immaculately conceived. So, of course, the ancient view that he adopted need not represent Rome’s position, even though he is to Roman Catholicism what Calvin is to Presbyterianism.

    -TurretinFan

  71. TurretinFan said,

    April 17, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    Bryan you concede:

    Second, there is nothing contradictory in loving the Son, and willing the Son to undergo suffering and death in His human nature for our salvation.

    However, previously you had argued:

    The difficulty, given what I said in #25, is fitting Chalcedonian Christology with the claim that the Father imputed sin to the Person of Christ and that the Father’s wrath and complete punishment for that sin was poured out on Christ. (see the Larger Catechism Q.49.)

    If, however, suffering and death in His human nature is an exhibition of God’s wrath and complete punishment for the sin, then there is no problem.

    You seem to argue that the full punishment includes loss of communion with God:

    By contrast, imputing sin to the Logos, and pouring out upon the Logos the full measure of divine wrath for the sin of the elect does imply loss of communion between the Father and the Logos.

    However, you further argue that Christ cannot experience this loss of communion in his human nature only, without resorting to Nestorianism:

    But that thesis is possible only if one part of the Person of the Logos rejects another part of the Person of the Logos. So this theory splits the Logos into a two-part Person, one part of the Logos maintaining fellowship with the Father, and the other part of the Logos receiving the Father’s wrath.

    This is just an assertion on your part, in need of a supporting argument. After all, Jesus’ divine knowledge of all things is able not to extend to his human nature, so that Jesus can be said to grow in wisdom (Luke 2:40) and not to know of the day and the hour (Mark 13:32).

    That’s because we hold that Jesus did not only assume a human body, but a complete human nature, including a human mind/soul/will. It was possible for this human spirit to experience things that the impassible divine spirit is unable to experience as such.

    In short, while your objection would make sense on the premise of monothelitism or monophysitism in general, it does not make sense on Chalcedonian and Scriptural premises.

    -TurretinFan

  72. Jeff Cagle said,

    April 17, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    Bryan, you are incorrect that I am arguing tu quoque. The argument is an argument by contradiction, in this form:

    Prove: Bryan’s argument that “the Reformed doctrine of penal substitution is contrary to Chalcedon” is incorrect.

    (1) Bryan argues that the doctrine that “the Father imputed sin to the Person of Christ” is contrary to Chalcedon.

    (2) His ground is that if God’s wrath is directed towards Christ, then there is a breakdown in intraTrinitarian communion, which is contrary to Chalcedon.

    (3) However, the Catholic doctrine of satisfaction also declares, in a different way, that the just penalty for sin is directed towards Christ; not by way of vicarious substitution, but by way of self-giving sacrifice.

    (4) And the just penalty for sin is synonymous with God’s wrath, so that

    (5) If (2) were true, then the Catholic doctrine would also be contrary to Chalcedon,

    (6) And Bryan admits that the Catholic doctrine is not contrary to Chalcedon.

    Therefore, (2) is false, and the proof is complete.

    I do not wish to go many rounds here, so I’ll limit myself to two more interactions so as to give space to others.

    As to what Catholics everywhere believe, I have in mind the Catholic Catechism:

    By doing so, he reveals that Jesus is at the same time the suffering Servant who silently allows himself to be led to the slaughter and who bears the sin of the multitudes, and again

    Like ours, his human nature is destined for eternal life; but unlike ours, it is perfectly exempt from sin, the cause of death Above all, his human nature has been assumed by the divine person of the “Author of life”, the “Living One”. By accepting in his human will that the Father’s will be done, he accepts his death as redemptive, for “he himself bore our sins in his body on the tree.”

    and again,

    Jesus atoned for our faults and made satisfaction for our sins to the Father. — CCC 606-623.

    It is not necessary for this argument that the CCC teach penal substitution; I am fully aware that it does not. It is, however, clear from the CCC that Jesus bears sin for which he is not guilty, and receives the punishment in his body that our sins deserved.

    To that extent, in the Catholic doctrine, the Father treats Jesus as He would treat a guilty sinner. He numbers Jesus among the transgressors. The CCC specifically quotes Isaiah 53 at this point, and it is worth considering that passage:

    Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer,
    and though the LORD makes his life an offering for sin,
    he will see his offspring and prolong his days,
    and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand.
    After he has suffered,
    he will see the light of life and be satisfied;
    by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many,
    and he will bear their iniquities.
    Therefore I will give him a portion among the great,
    and he will divide the spoils with the strong,
    because he poured out his life unto death,
    and was numbered with the transgressors.
    For he bore the sin of many,
    and made intercession for the transgressors.

    You argued above that

    So in that case in His divine nature the one Logos was not forsaken by the Father, but in His human nature He was forsaken not only by the Father, but also by the Spirit and, in some respect, by Himself, the Logos. So this notion of propitiation, combined with Chalcedonian Christology, entails that on Good Friday a kind schizophrenia occurred within the Logos, as He loved Himself in His perfect communion with the Father, and at the same time He poured out wrath on Himself, and felt and bore the weight of His own wrath toward Himself, and in that way broke fellowship with Himself.

    And here’s where my argument comes into play. If your analysis was correct, then it would have been impossible for God to visit any punishment whatsoever upon Jesus, for He was righteous, and it would be unjust to punish a righteous man.

    But God does indeed visit punishment on Jesus. Why? Because Jesus bears our sins on himself — whether vicariously or in some other way. Jesus is numbered among the transgressors. This is something that all faithful Catholics believe.

    So: if your analysis is correct, then the Catholic doctrine is equally contrary to Chalcedon. You, of course, don’t believe that to be true. So carry the logic to its conclusion: your analysis must be wrong.

    And it is wrong in this way. You falsely assume that God cannot simultaneously love and hate. But He must. He must love Jesus as faithful Son; and He must number Him among the transgressors for our sake. The God takes the life of the Son (CCC 614) as an act of punishment upon sin.

    And in this way, intraTrinitarian communion remains unbroken.

    I’m not bound by statements RC Sproul makes. While he is a fine theologian in many ways, he is not the Protestant Pope. It would be better for you to show me in what ways the Westminster Confession is contrary to Chalcedon.

  73. Bryan Cross said,

    April 17, 2012 at 1:39 pm

    Jeff, (re: #72)

    (3) However, the Catholic doctrine of satisfaction also declares, in a different way, that the just penalty for sin is directed towards Christ; not by way of vicarious substitution, but by way of self-giving sacrifice.

    The Catholic paradigm is so foreign to you, that you have not yet grasped it. But you don’t realize this, so you keep misconstruing it in a Reformed way. I’ll try once again to explain it. In the Catholic doctrine of satisfaction, it is not the case that “the just penalty for sin is directed towards Christ.” Instead the arrow of sacrifice is upwardly directed from Christ in His human nature, not downwardly in the sense of wrath from the Father being poured out on His Son.

    The statements in the Catholic Catechism about Christ “bearing our sins” are not talking about bearing them in the sense of being the object of God’s wrath. Christ bears them in His heart as priest, second Adam, and mediator, in love offering Himself to God on our behalf to make reparation for our sins, bearing them in the sense of sorrowing in His human nature over each sin in its offense against God and detraction from His glory. Likewise, the statement, “Jesus atoned for our faults and made satisfaction for our sins to the Father” is talking about atonement and satisfaction in the Catholic sense, not in the sense of Christ being the object of divine wrath.

    it is, however, clear from the CCC that Jesus bears sin for which he is not guilty, and receives the punishment in his body that our sins deserved.

    Again, you are so immersed in the Reformed paradigm, that you can only see terms like ‘bear sin’ in the Reformed sense. What you don’t realize is that in Catholic theology, ‘bear sin’ doesn’t mean the same thing it means in Reformed theology. Nor do these statements in the Catechism say that Christ received “the punishment” in His body that our sins deserved. Yes, Christ suffered death, and death is a penalty of sin, suffered by all men for Adam’s sin. But as I explained in my previous comment, entering into man’s mortal and passible condition does not entail loss of fellowship with God — this is why in Catholic doctrine Christ in His human nature possessed both sanctifying grace and the beatific vision from the moment of His conception, until this present day, without any interruption. That’s altogether different from the breach in communion with God, entailed by the wrath of God being poured out on someone.

    To that extent, in the Catholic doctrine, the Father treats Jesus as He would treat a guilty sinner.

    I already addressed the ambiguity in this statement in my previous comment, and explained why it does not entail what you think it entails.

    and was numbered with the transgressors.

    In Catholic theology, that Christ was numbered among the transgressors does not mean that God saw Christ as a transgressor, or conceived of Christ as guilty in any way. God ordained the events, but men numbered Him among the transgressors: “we esteemed him not,” “we esteemed him stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted,” “they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death.”

    Because Jesus bears our sins on himself — whether vicariously or in some other way. Jesus is numbered among the transgressors. This is something that all faithful Catholics believe.

    The problem, however, is that you don’t yet understand the Catholic doctrine, and don’t know that you don’t understand it. So you keep misinterpreting it through your Reformed lenses, and then calling it “what all faithful Catholics believe.” In order for us to make progress, you have to let Catholics tell you what Catholics believe, rather than attempting to tell Catholics what Catholics believe while they keep telling you that that’s not what the Catholic Church believes and teaches. Otherwise, you could never come to see when you have misunderstood it.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  74. johnbugay said,

    April 17, 2012 at 3:04 pm

    Yes Jeff, in post de-Lubac, post Vatican II Catholicism, [i.e., "Bryan's World"], everything is nice and soft and gentle. To explain it, for someone who does not have Catholic sensibilities, I have to rely on a recent TV show, Dharma and Greg, in which, when Dharma was having a bad day, she’d take her troubles, and put it in a bubble, and let it float away.

    Yes, Jeff, you just don’t understand, but Jesus is your bubble. Cast your sins upon him, and it’s like you put them in a bubble, and let them float away.

  75. Jeff Cagle said,

    April 17, 2012 at 3:15 pm

    Bryan,

    By contrast to your explanation, every other source I’ve ever heard — Catholic, Reformed, or otherwise — explains the Anselmian/Aquinian doctrine more or less as I’ve presented it: That Jesus’ death, though not vicarious substitution in the sense of “this for that”, nevertheless is a general reception by Jesus of suffering due to sin, that is meritorious because voluntary, and that provides satisfaction for the penalty of sin due to us.

    Thomas Aquinas: It is indeed a wicked and cruel act
    to hand over an innocent man to torment and to death against
    his will. Yet God the Father did not so deliver up Christ,
    but inspired Him with the will to suffer for us. God’s “severity”
    (cf. Rom. 11:22) is thereby shown, for He would not remit
    sin without penalty: and the Apostle indicates this when
    (Rom. 8:32) he says: “God spared not even His own Son.”
    Likewise His “goodness” (Rom. 11:22) shines forth, since by
    no penalty endured could man pay Him enough satisfaction:
    and the Apostle denotes this when he says: “He delivered Him
    up for us all”: and, again (Rom. 3:25): “Whom”—that is to
    say, Christ—God “hath proposed to be a propitiation through
    faith in His blood.”
    — Summa III.47.3

    ‘Propitiation’ — the turning away of wrath.

    It is clear that Aquinas regards Jesus’ death as a penalty paid for sin.

    And again: As Augustine says (Contra Faust.
    xiv), sin is accursed, and, consequently, so is death, and mortality,
    which comes of sin. “But Christ’s flesh was mortal, ‘having
    the resemblance of the flesh of sin’ ”; and hence Moses calls it
    “accursed,” just as the Apostle calls it “sin,” saying (2 Cor. 5:21):
    “Him that knew no sin, for us He hath made sin”—namely, because
    of the penalty of sin. “Nor is there greater ignominy on
    that account, because he said: ‘He is accursed of God.’ ” For,
    “unless God had hated sin, He would never have sent His Son
    to take upon Himself our death, and to destroy it. Acknowledge,
    then, that it was for us He took the curse upon Himself,
    whom you confess to have died for us.” Hence it is written (Gal.
    3:13): “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being
    made a curse for us.”
    — Summa III.46.4.

    And again: As stated above (a. 7), the whole soul can be
    understood both according to its essence and according to all
    its faculties. If it be understood according to its essence, then
    His whole soul did enjoy fruition, inasmuch as it is the subject
    of the higher part of the soul, to which it belongs, to enjoy
    the Godhead: so that as passion, by reason of the essence, is attributed to the higher part of the soul, so, on the other hand,
    by reason of the superior part of the soul, fruition is attributed
    to the essence. But if we take the whole soul as comprising all
    its faculties, thus His entire soul did not enjoy fruition: not directly,
    indeed, because fruition is not the act of any one part of the soul; nor by any overflow of glory, because, since Christ was still upon earth, there was no overflowing of glory from the higher part into the lower, nor from the soul into the body. But
    since, on the contrary, the soul’s higher part was not hindered
    in its proper acts by the lower, it follows that the higher part of
    His soul enjoyed fruition perfectly while Christ was suffering.
    — Summa III.46.8.

    The bottom line is that your own church literally teaches that Christ is accursed of God in the Passion; this is incompatible with your notion that the motion is entirely from Christ to God.

    I don’t have confidence that you are adequately representing Catholic doctrine. You seem allergic to saying that Christ was accursed of God.

  76. Bryan Cross said,

    April 17, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    Jeff, (re: #75)

    St. Anselm’s Cur Deus Homo is the ‘upward arrow’ account of satisfaction. In Book II, chapter 14, he explains that Christ’s life is more loveable than sins are hateful, and that this is “so great a good that it suffices to pay the debt which is owed for the sins of the whole world.” “You see, therefore,” writes St. Anselm, “how, if this life is given for all sins, it outweighs them all.” And he explains this in more detail in Book II chapter 18, where he explains that Christ (in His human nature) gave to God a gift of loving obedience, and that this is the recompense paid to God for the sins of mankind. The vicarious punishment theory (in which the Father exhausts His wrath for sin on the Son) is nowhere to be found in the whole work.

    And St. Thomas taught the same thing, as I explained in “Aquinas and Trent: Part 6.”

    You wrote:

    ‘Propitiation’ — the turning away of wrath.

    Yes, but once again, in the Catholic conception of the term, i.e. by satisfaction, not by God getting His wrath out of His system on Christ for man’s sins. You’re reading your Reformed conceptions of these terms into Catholic authors who didn’t mean by them what you (as Reformed) mean by them. You still have not grasped that magnitude of the difference between the two paradigms; that’s why you are still assuming that the terms in the two paradigms mean the same thing, when in fact, they don’t.

    Nor is there greater ignominy on that account, because he said: ‘He is accursed of God.’

    Yes, but once again, ‘accursed’ here is meant in the Catholic conception of the term ‘curse,’ which I explained in comment #59, drawing from St. Augustine; not in the Reformed conception of the term, which includes the wrath of God for sin, and thus includes damnation (hence Sproul says that on the cross the Father damned the Son, because of the curse.) In the Reformed system, the full punishment of the sins of the elect has been born by Christ from the Father by Christ’s being cursed. But that’s not what St. Augustine or St. Anselm or St. Thomas thought, because they didn’t conceive of the ‘curse’ in that sense, or ‘propiation’ as appeasing God’s wrath by Christ bearing the full punishment for sins on the cross.

    The bottom line is that your own church literally teaches that Christ is accursed of God in the Passion; this is incompatible with your notion that the motion is entirely from Christ to God.

    I never said that the motion is entirely from Christ to God. The Father *loves* the Son throughout the crucifixion. So you’re criticizing a straw man. What I have said all along is that in Catholic doctrine the Father does not pour out His wrath for sin on the Son. And, once again, the term ‘accursed’ here means that Christ endured death, not that the Father poured out wrath on Him during His passion and death, or that He took the full punishment that any mortal sin deserves. So, once again, you are reading your Reformed conception of terms into Catholic statements.

    Like I said before, in order for us to have a fruitful conversation, you need to allow Catholics to define the Catholic position. If you’re not willing to do that, then there is no point continuing my conversation with you on this subject.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  77. ljdibiase said,

    April 17, 2012 at 4:36 pm

    Sorry for butting in, but:

    “Propitiation’ — the turning away of wrath…. Yes, but once again, in the [Roman] Catholic conception of the term, i.e. by satisfaction, not by God getting His wrath out of His system…. ”

    So ‘propitiation’ means the turning away of wrath, but not the turning away of wrath. And the problem is on our end?

  78. Bryan Cross said,

    April 17, 2012 at 4:47 pm

    ljdibiase, (re: #77)

    The Reformed conception of propitiation is appeasement of divine wrath by God pouring out that wrath on a substitute victim. The Catholic conception of propitiation is appeasement of divine wrath by the giving to God (by a substitute) of a gift of greater worth to God than all our sins are displeasing, not by the venting of divine wrath on a substitute. This is explained in more detail at “Catholic and Reformed Conceptions of the Atonement.”

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  79. rfwhite said,

    April 17, 2012 at 6:31 pm

    76 Bryan Cross: Not having access to Cur Deus Homo, let me ask a question for clarification: granting for the sake of discussion that Christ’s life is more loveable than sins are hateful, and that this is so great a good that it suffices to pay the debt which is owed for the sins of the whole world, was Christ’s death necessary and, if so, why?

  80. Bryan Cross said,

    April 17, 2012 at 7:03 pm

    rfwhite,

    If you don’t mind me referring you to something I’ve already written elsewhere, the second section (titled “Was the Passion Necessary?”) of “Aquinas and Trent: Part 6” addresses that very question.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  81. rfwhite said,

    April 17, 2012 at 7:24 pm

    80 BC: don’t mind. thanks.

  82. Jeff Cagle said,

    April 17, 2012 at 8:00 pm

    Bryan: Like I said before, in order for us to have a fruitful conversation, you need to allow Catholics to define the Catholic position.

    There are two obstacles to conversation here.

    One is certainly that we disagree on what the Catholic teachings actually mean. Ordinarily, I would defer to the Catholic on this matter.

    But consider how this conversation started. We began with your declaration that the Reformed doctrine of the atonement is contrary to Chalcedon. This despite clear explanations as to how this is not so.

    Your primary evidence is not the Reformed confessions, but the statements of Sproul and Thabiti. I asked you, twice, to use the Reformed Confessions as the source for Reformed doctrine. You ignored the request.

    In the face of determined lack of deference concerning Reformed doctrine, I feel a little stubborn.

    Second, while the Catholic catechism is certainly uniquely Catholic, Augstine, Anselm, and Aquinas are not. They wrote what they wrote, and their texts stand for themselves, not peculiarly subject to Catholic or Protestant interpretations thereof. There is such a thing as plain language.

    So perhaps it’s best we drop it. But if you care to interact in the future, I would ask you to defer to Protestants in the same way that you wish for them to defer to you.

    We’re Chalcedonians.

  83. TurretinFan said,

    April 17, 2012 at 8:19 pm

    Psalm 80 provides a good example of the Reformed doctrine. There are three sections capped by the refrain: “Turn us again, O God, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved,” namely vss. 1-3, 4-7, and 8-19. The first section is a plea for salvation. The second section provides the “from what”

    “O LORD God of hosts, how long wilt thou be angry against the prayer of thy people? Thou feedest them with the bread of tears; and givest them tears to drink in great measure. Thou makest us a strife unto our neighbours: and our enemies laugh among themselves.”

    The third section, which is itself divided into two parts first speaks of the good God had done to Israel (vss. 8-11) and then of the woe she faces and the divine solution (vss. 12-18).

    Within the woes, there are two parallel pleas for mercy the first punctuates the woes at vs. 14, and the second punctuates them at vs. 17. It is the second that is most interesting, immediately before a concluding reiteration and expansion of initial plea for mercy. That second way is this:

    “Let thy hand be upon the man of thy right hand, upon the son of man whom thou madest strong for thyself. ”

    The expression of letting the hand of God be upon the son of man refers to the redirection of God’s anger from Israel to this “Son of man.”

    -TurretinFan

  84. TurretinFan said,

    April 17, 2012 at 8:24 pm

    I note that we still haven’t received any official word from Bryan from his own church documents. But perhaps he is busy looking. In the meanwhile, I have identified another portion of St. Thomas that may or may not reflect modern Roman theology.

    Thomas Aquinas, even in the Summa, affirms that Christ became accursed by God. In fact, when faced with the objection that such was inappropriate, Thomas replied:

    As Augustine says (Contra Faust. xiv), sin is accursed, and, consequently, so is death, and mortality, which comes of sin. “But Christ’s flesh was mortal, ‘having the resemblance of the flesh of sin'”; and hence Moses calls it “accursed,” just as the Apostle calls it “sin,” saying (2 Cor. 5:21): “Him that knew no sin, for us He hath made sin”—namely, because of the penalty of sin. “Nor is there greater ignominy on that account, because he said: ‘He is accursed of God.'” For, “unless God had hated sin, He would never have sent His Son to take upon Himself our death, and to destroy it. Acknowledge, then, that it was for us He took the curse upon Himself, whom you confess to have died for us.” Hence it is written (Gal. 3:13): “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us.”

    ST 3:46:4, reply to objection 3

    In order for Bryan’s point to have any merit, he must find a principled distinction between being made a curse and being under the wrath and anger of God. This seems like a difficult task.

    -TurretinFan

  85. TurretinFan said,

    April 17, 2012 at 8:27 pm

    Scrolling back up, I see Jeff already pointed that out. LOL. The point remains, however. Bryan has simply alleged that Aquinas and Augustine didn’t mean “curse” in the Reformed sense. But he has not established a difference in principle between God exhibiting wrath toward someone and God cursing them.

  86. Bryan Cross said,

    April 18, 2012 at 9:38 am

    Jeff, (re: #82)

    We began with your declaration that the Reformed doctrine of the atonement is contrary to Chalcedon. This despite clear explanations as to how this is not so.

    The conversation did not begin with a “declaration” from me; in my first comment in this thread (comment #25), I presented an argument, more specifically, a dilemma. In my second comment (comment #36), I presented a further extension of the problem, and asked how this problem is solved. There is no need to spin it as a “declaration.”

    And there have been no explanations (in this conversation) resolving the problem I raised in #25 and #36. If you disagree, please direct me to the comment that provides a clear explanation of the way Chalcedonian Christology fits with the Reformed conception of the atonement, in light of the difficulties I raised in #25 and #36.

    Your primary evidence is not the Reformed confessions, but the statements of Sproul and Thabiti. I asked you, twice, to use the Reformed Confessions as the source for Reformed doctrine. You ignored the request.

    You think that the problem I raised depends on something unique in the statements by Sproul and Thabiti, and not intrinsic to Reformed theology. But, the problem I raised (in #25 & #36) arises from a combination of the notion of penal substitutionary atonement, and Chalcedonian Christology. And no leading Reformed figure denies penal substitutionary atonement, and you just assured me that Reformed theology is Chalcedonian in Christology. The problem I presented in comments #25 and #36 concerns the compatibility of those two positions. So there is no need, presumably, in addressing this problem, to establish first that Reformed theology holds, or seeks to hold, both penal substitutionary atonement and Chalcedonian Christology.

    Second, while the Catholic catechism is certainly uniquely Catholic, Augstine, Anselm, and Aquinas are not. They wrote what they wrote, and their texts stand for themselves, not peculiarly subject to Catholic or Protestant interpretations thereof. There is such a thing as plain language.

    Jeff, not a single medieval scholar I know, and I knew a few, would claim that St. Anselm believed in penal substitutionary atonement. See Jeffrey Waddington’s Ref21 article “Surveying the Wondrous Cross” where he distinguishes St. Anselm’s satisfaction position from that of the early Protestants. Waddington writes:

    First, consider that Anselm sets up a false dichotomy when he suggests that atonement comes through either satisfaction or punishment. The Protestant Reformers will later tweak Anselm and point out that satisfaction, in fact, comes through punishment. Related to this, Anselm has no sense that Christ’s sufferings are endured as a penalty since he has set up the discussion as a choice between satisfaction or punishment. Christ’s sufferings are rather seen as a voluntary gift offered up to God whereby he merits an unneeded reward which he then passes on to a sinful human race.

    That’s not merely a “tweak;” that’s a major change. But the point is that anyone with any legitimate academic credentials regarding St. Anselm, whether Catholic or Protestant, recognizes that St Anselm’s doctrine of satisfaction is not the penal substitutionary theory of Protestants. Yes, there is such a thing as plain language, but it is also very possible to assume falsely that a text written nine-hundred years ago in a different country in a different language, over four hundred years before Reformed theology even came into existence, is using theological terms in a Reformed sense.

    If your plain language theory leads you to believe that St. Anselm taught penal substitutionary atonement, then this is just another piece of evidence against your plain language theory or more specifically, against your assumptions regarding its application, in that it shows that appealing to ‘plain language’ to justify one’s interpretation *can* be a way of ‘justifying’ what is in fact a false interpretation when the interpreter does not realize that the concepts he associates with the terms are not the concepts the author associated with the terms. The interpreter’s mistaken assumption that the text is ‘plain language’ prevents him from coming to see that the terms have different concepts from his own, and thereby traps him in his false interpretation. The ‘plain language assumption,’ therefore, can be an error-preserving assumption.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  87. Jeff Cagle said,

    April 18, 2012 at 10:44 am

    Bryan,

    The purpose of #82 is to suggest that we have reached a crisis of confidence in our interactions. I would like to treat you as an honest broker, but you are not acting like one.

    To wit:

    (1) You demand the right to explain Catholic doctrine, but you assert the freedom to define the doctrine of penal substitution to suit your own purposes.

    Simply put, Thabiti’s statement is not an accurate reflection of penal substitution. It is false that penal substitution entails a ‘breaking of the eternal fellowship between Father and Son.’

    Your explanation of penal substitution, which is derived from statements such as these, is a distortion of Reformed doctrine.

    Hence, I asked you to use the Confession as your source. It, and not Thabiti, is the proper place to find the doctrine of penal substitution.

    An honest broker would immediately comply to this reasonable request. You did not, and have not to date.

    (2) You distort the arguments presented here. You say,

    Jeff, not a single medieval scholar I know, and I knew a few, would claim that St. Anselm believed in penal substitutionary atonement.

    But I said,

    It is not necessary for this argument that the CCC teach penal substitution; I am fully aware that it does not.

    It is reasonably clear that I am aware that the Catholic doctrine, which is Anselmian at its core, is not penal substitution.

    An honest broker would not try to misconstrue my argument in this way, especially an honest broker with your clear mental ability.

    Peace requires truth, Bryan, and I am asking you to use a higher standard of truthful accuracy in your interactions. You are certainly capable of it. And I would like to believe that it is your desire, that you do not in your heart desire to win converts to Catholicism by twisting the truth.

    Peacefully, but unyieldingly,
    Jeff Cagle

  88. ljdibiase said,

    April 18, 2012 at 11:04 am

    “It is false that penal substitution entails a ‘breaking of the eternal fellowship between Father and Son.’

    Your explanation of penal substitution, which is derived from statements such as these, is a distortion of Reformed doctrine.”

    It should be noted that John Bugay explained this all the way back at comments 41 & 42,.

  89. ljdibiase said,

    April 18, 2012 at 11:26 am

    Here, for example, is Thomas Ridgeley’s commentary on WLC 49:

    “It is farther observed that the death of the cross was a cursed death…. For understanding this, let it be considered, that to be accursed, sometimes signifies to be abandoned of God and man. But far be it from us to assert this concerning the blessed Jesus, ‘who had done no violence, nor was any deceit found in his mouth.’ The meaning of that scripture, as applied to him, is only this, that the death of the cross had a curse annexed to it, and denoted that the person who suffered it died the death of those who were made a public example, as if they had been abandoned of God. Now, though Christ’s death had this appearance, yet he was, at the same time, God’s beloved Son, in whom he was well-pleased, how much soever he bore the external marks of God’s wrath, or abhorrence for our sins, for which he suffered.”

  90. Bryan Cross said,

    April 18, 2012 at 11:29 am

    Jeff, (re: #87)

    To wit: (1) You demand the right to explain Catholic doctrine,

    No, I have nowhere demanded anything, let alone a “right” to explain anything.

    but you assert the freedom to define the doctrine of penal substitution to suit your own purposes. Simply put, Thabiti’s statement is not an accurate reflection of penal substitution. It is false that penal substitution entails a ‘breaking of the eternal fellowship between Father and Son.’ Your explanation of penal substitution, which is derived from statements such as these, is a distortion of Reformed doctrine. Hence, I asked you to use the Confession as your source. It, and not Thabiti, is the proper place to find the doctrine of penal substitution. An honest broker would immediately comply to this reasonable request. You did not, and have not to date.

    Once again, the problem I raised in #25 and #36 does not depend on Thabiti’s notion that the eternal fellowship was broken. Please re-read both comments. I refer to Thabiti’s comments, but the problem I raise does not depend on Thabiti’s position; the problem arises even for those who think the fellowship of the Father and the Logos remained intact, but hold to penal substitution.

    (By the way, where is the Reformed outcry regarding Thabiti’s error? Why is it rewarded with a slot as celebrity speaker at T4G? I haven’t seen a single protest or objection from any Reformed person anywhere. Is that because kenoticism is within the pale of Reformed orthodoxy?)

    You wrote:

    It is reasonably clear that I am aware that the Catholic doctrine, which is Anselmian at its core, is not penal substitution.

    After I had explained the Catholic conception of the atonement as satisfaction in #73, you wrote in #75:

    By contrast to your explanation, every other source I’ve ever heard — Catholic, Reformed, or otherwise — explains the Anselmian/Aquinian doctrine more or less as I’ve presented it

    And what you had been presenting up to that time, was penal substitution. So at no point in the conversation (until #87) did you say or imply that the Anselmian position was not penal substitution. Acknowledging (in #73) that the Catholic position is not penal substitution does not change that, because you had not said or implied (until #87) that the Catholic position is essentially Anselmian.

    You originally (in #75) construed the “Anselmian/Aquinian doctrine” to be penal substitution, and now (in #87) you are saying “I am aware that the Catholic doctrine, which is Anselmian at its core, is not penal substitution.” So you have changed your position regarding Anselm’s position. And yet you are accusing me of being dishonest for representing you as claiming that Anselm’s position is that of penal substitution. It seems more honest, simply to admit that you originally construed him as supporting penal substitution, and subsequently realized that he didn’t.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  91. Jeff Cagle said,

    April 18, 2012 at 11:57 am

    At no point did I represent Anselm or Aquinas or the CCC as teaching penal substitution. All that I said is that Aquinas and the CCC represent Jesus’ sacrifice as bearing punishment for our sins.

    That does not need to be full-blown penal substitution, which would entail Jesus’ bearing the specific guilt and penalty for the specific sins of his people.

    I was attempting to be clear — but perhaps I was not clear enough — that there is a distinction between penal substitution and general punishment-bearing. Anselm, and Aquinas, and the CCC, teach the latter without teaching the former. Anselm, Aquinas, and the CCC teach that Jesus was accursed because of our sin, but not in the penal substitution sense.

    No change of position here, but a distinction that you did not pick up, whether through my lack of clarity or something else.

  92. Bryan Cross said,

    April 18, 2012 at 12:10 pm

    Jeff,

    … that there is a distinction between penal substitution and general punishment-bearing. Anselm, and Aquinas, and the CCC, teach the latter without teaching the former. Anselm, Aquinas, and the CCC teach that Jesus was accursed because of our sin, but not in the penal substitution sense.

    Yes, exactly. Thanks for clarifying. I should have assumed that you may have been making that distinction in your mind.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  93. Jeff Cagle said,

    April 18, 2012 at 12:34 pm

    Thank you. I look forward to future interactions of a more fruitful nature.

    I want to be clear about the position. It is my position that any notion of ‘accursedness’ or ‘punishment-bearing’ whatsoever creates the exact same kind of problem as penal substitution: How can God justly punish the Righteous One? How can God punish himself?

    Aquinas’ answer appears to be that God punishes Jesus according to His human nature, but not His divine. That is precisely the argument that Lane put forward at the beginning, citing Schaff (‘Such being the Scriptural doctrine concerning the person of Christ, it follows that although the divine nature is immutable and impassible, and therefore neither the obedience nor the suffering of Christ was the obedience or suffering of the divine nature, yet they were none the less the obedience and suffering of a divine person’)

    Whether you agree or no, this is the position I’m taking: Chalcedon and penal substitution are compatible because of a principle that Catholics and Protestants agree to: That Jesus’ suffering was according to His human and not His divine nature.

    As a postscript, I agree with you (and the Catholic church) that Jesus’ suffering was voluntary, and that His voluntary obedience is a part of the merit that accrues to us.

    I hope that clears things up. Take care.

  94. Bryan Cross said,

    April 18, 2012 at 1:37 pm

    Jeff, (re: #93)

    It is my position that any notion of ‘accursedness’ or ‘punishment-bearing’ whatsoever creates the exact same kind of problem as penal substitution:

    I explained earlier in the comments (see comments #68 and #73) why that is not the case. ‘Punishment’ in the sense of voluntarily entering the post-fall human condition, which is susceptible to suffering and death, does not necessarily involve loss of communion with the Father, even in Christ’s human nature. Entering into the post-fall human condition in this way allows for communion between the the Logos and the other two members of the Trinity to remain intact, even in Christ’s human nature. And as I explained above, that is why the Anselmian, Thomistic, Catholic conception of the atonement is not susceptible to the problem I raised in #25 and #36. But ‘punishment’ in the sense of the spiritual punishment for sin in the pouring out of divine wrath (entailed by the Reformed conception of penal substitution) for sin does entail a cutting off of communion with the Father. That’s in essence what hell is, and is the primary suffering of hell. The rejoinder that restricts that breach in fellowship to Christ’s human nature leads to the problem I described in #36.

    Aquinas’ answer appears to be that God punishes Jesus according to His human nature, but not His divine. That is precisely the argument that Lane put forward at the beginning,

    Here you are equivocating, by treating the term ‘punish’ as though it has the same sense in penal substitution theory as it does in St. Thomas. But as you just acknowledged in #91, the term does not have the same sense in these two theological systems. And the difference between those senses, as I explained in the previous paragraph, makes Aquinas’ position not susceptible to the problem I raised in #25 and #36, but makes the penal substitution position susceptible to the problem I raised in #25 and #36.

    this is the position I’m taking: Chalcedon and penal substitution are compatible because of a principle that Catholics and Protestants agree to: That Jesus’ suffering was according to His human and not His divine nature.

    Of course I agree that Jesus suffered only according to His human nature. The problem again, is that you are conflating two different conceptions of what that suffering was, into the one term ‘suffering.’ In Catholic doctrine, Christ suffered the effect of losing two of the preternatural gifts, as I explained in #68. He did not suffer (in His human nature or divine nature) rejection or excommunication by the Father. He did not suffer the wrath of God in the sense of being cut off from the Father. He did not suffer hell (which is the essence of the wrath of God), not even for a moment. But in the Reformed system, that’s precisely what Christ, in His human nature, suffered, and that was His greatest suffering — the equivalent of all the suffering each elect person would have endured by being cut off from the Father in everlasting hell for every single sin, multiplied by the number of the elect and then multiplied by the number of sins each elect person committed over the entirety of his or her life. And because penal substitution requires a break in fellowship with God, whereas the Catholic conception of the atonement does not, therefore the Reformed position, but not the Catholic (or Orthodox, by the way) position, has the problem I described above, especially in comment #36.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  95. ljdibiase said,

    April 18, 2012 at 2:21 pm

    Bryan,

    In comment 90, you said, “the problem I raised in #25 and #36 does not depend on Thabiti’s notion that the eternal fellowship was broken.” But in comment 94, you affirmed that your argument is predicated on the idea that penal substitution “does entail a cutting off of communion with the Father.”

    Could you please clarify the difference and specify what kind of loss of communion you think penal substitution entails? And could you do so with reference to our Confessional documents or, for example, Ridgley’s commentary that Christ was not abandoned by God?

  96. Jeff Cagle said,

    April 18, 2012 at 2:46 pm

    And as I said before, I think you are overstating the notion of ‘break in fellowship with God.’ You are reading into the Reformed doctrine something that is not there. Here’s the Reformed teaching:

    Question 49: How did Christ humble himself in his death?

    Answer: Christ humbled himself in his death, in that having been betrayed by Judas, forsaken by his disciples, scorned and rejected by the world,condemned by Pilate, and tormented by his persecutors; having also conflicted with the terrors of death, and the powers of darkness, felt and borne the weight of God’s wrath, he laid down his life an offering for sin, enduring the painful, shameful, and cursed death of the cross. — WLC 49

    There is nothing here about breaking of eternal fellowship. Your post #25 entirely passes the Reformed teaching by. You should take that issue up with Thabiti (who is, I should mention, a Baptist. So …)

    Here is the background to the WLC 49.

    Though feeling, as it were, forsaken of God, he did not cease in the slightest degree to confide in his goodness. This appears from the celebrated prayer in which, in the depth of his agony, he exclaimed, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Mt. 27:46). Amid all his agony he ceases not to call upon his God, while exclaiming that he is forsaken by him. This refutes the Apollinarian heresy as well as that of those who are called Monothelites. Apollinaris pretended, that in Christ the eternal Spirit supplied the place of a soul, so that he was only half a man; as if he could have expiated our sins in any other way than by obeying the Father. But where does the feeling or desire of obedience reside but in the soul? And we know that his soul was troubled in order that ours, being free from trepidation, might obtain peace and quiet. Moreover, in opposition to the Monothelites, we see that in his human he felt a repugnance to what he willed in his divine nature. — Calv Inst 2.16.12

    Here, Calvin expresses clearly that while experiencing God’s wrath and even feeling himself forsaken by he Father (“In order to interpose between us and God’s anger, and satisfy his righteous judgment, it was necessary that he should feel the weight of divine vengeance.” — 2.16.10), Jesus still maintains his relationship with the Father.

    In fine, there is a distinction between what happens to the Logos in regard to his human nature, and what happens to the Logos in his divine nature.

    And that distinction is commonly accepted by all RCC and Protestant alike. If you deny the distinction, and insist that the distinction is anti-Chalcedonian, then you are at the same time condemning Aquinas.

    And this dispenses of your post #36.

    The core problem is that you are reading too much into the doctrine of penal substitution, which is why I’ve asked you to restrict yourself to the Confessions.

  97. ljdibiase said,

    April 18, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    Bryan said: “He did not suffer hell (which is the essence of the wrath of God), not even for a moment. But in the Reformed system, that’s precisely what Christ, in His human nature, suffered, and that was His greatest suffering — the equivalent of all the suffering each elect person would have endured by being cut off from the Father in everlasting hell”

    But again, here is Ridgley:

    “The most probably opinion concerning Christ’s descent into hell, and one which I cannot but acquiesce in, is what is observed in this Answer [WLC 50], implying his continuation in the state of the dead, and under the power of death, until the third day. The word ‘hell’ indeed, in our English tongue, generally if not always signifies that place of torment to which they are adjudged who are forever excluded from divine favor…. But the Hebrew and Greek words… have not only that but another sense affixed to them, for they sometimes signify, ‘the grave.’

    “Thus our Savior, after death, continued in the state of the dead, his soul being separate from his body until the third day, when his state of humiliation was finished…. That Christ immediately went into heaven, as to his soul, when he died upon the cross, appears from his last words, ‘Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit…’”

  98. Bryan Cross said,

    April 18, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    ljdibiase,

    Yes, I am claiming that penal substitution, in which Christ bears the full punishment for sin, requires that Christ be cut off from communion with God, because a cutting off of communion with God is the essence of the punishment sin deserves according to justice. If Christ was not cut off from fellowship with God, then Christ did not receive or bear the full punishment for even one sin, and in that case, penal substitution theory is false.

    Otherwise, if one affirms penal substitutionary atonement, while denying that Christ was ever cut off (whether in His human nature or divine nature or both) from fellowship with the Father, one turns hell into a kind of purgatory wherein the damned receive the equivalent of a crucifixion, all while in communion with God, and then they’re released to heaven. That form of hell is perhaps even more rosy than Rob Bell’s version. Not only that, it dishonors and degrades God, by making offenses against Him require only some physical punishment, as though God is a mere human king. The essence of hell is not physical punishment, but the loss of communion with God, because communion with God is the essence of heaven. And if God merely scolded Christ, “I am angry with you, but I still love you” then that’s just discipline, which even justified believers receive, not the punishment the damned receive (see comment #46), and in that case too penal substitution is false.

    (And my argument here does not depend on any particular interpretation of the line in the Apostles’ Creed “He descended into hell.”)

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  99. TurretinFan said,

    April 18, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    Bryan wrote: “Like I said before, in order for us to have a fruitful conversation, you need to allow Catholics to define the Catholic position. If you’re not willing to do that, then there is no point continuing my conversation with you on this subject. ”

    Then Bryan wrote: “No, I have nowhere demanded anything, let alone a “right” to explain anything. ”

    Meanwhile, the request for Bryan to actually document where his church denies that Jesus was under the wrath of God on the cross goes unanswered.

    Likewise, Bryan has not yet identified any principled distinction between under the curse of God and being under the wrath of God.

    Moreover, even the CCC at #580 admits:

    Jesus fulfills the Law to the point of taking upon himself “the curse of the Law” incurred by those who do not “abide by the things written in the book of the Law, and do them”, for his death took place to redeem them “from the transgressions under the first covenant”.

    So, it does not seem that Bryan can deny that Christ took on himself the curse of the Law, and Bryan has yet to distinguish that on any principled basis from being under the wrath of God.

    So, for Bryan, the question remains: (a) where does your own church deny what you deny? and (b) how can you distinguish being under wrath from being under a curse?

    -TurretinFan

  100. matthew n. petersen said,

    April 18, 2012 at 5:43 pm

    TF, Death is temporal, and passing. If you take “death” to mean spiritual death if damnation, then the curse of the law and a brwach of fellowship with God are thw same thing. But if we assert that the curse of the Law is passing temporal death, then the curse of the law–death, as is falling asleep, or going to Sheol–is not even related to a severance of fellowship with God. Bryan has concistently taken the second option, that the curse of the law is death, not Death, not separation from God, but death as in “Chuck Colson is on the brink of death”. There is not even remotely a problem for him here.

  101. matthew n. petersen said,

    April 18, 2012 at 5:44 pm

    Regarding a) I would recommend Elenore Stumps Aquinas.

  102. ljdibiase said,

    April 18, 2012 at 6:30 pm

    Bryan, if the phrase, “the Son of God suffered on the cross according to his human nature” is Chalcedonian; then why isn’t the phrase, “the Son of God was alienated from the Father on the cross according to his human nature” Chalcedonian?

    It seemed that you were trying to insist that the doctrine of penal substitution required the Son in his divinity to lose communion with the Father. Now that you have been corrected on that point, what’s the problem?

  103. matthew n. petersen said,

    April 18, 2012 at 6:39 pm

    It is Chalcedonian. But it implies God changed internally as a result of the Incarnation. The relationship between the Father and the Son is not what it was. The Son lost communion with the Father. In His humanity, He is still the Son.

  104. ljdibiase said,

    April 18, 2012 at 6:45 pm

    No more than the first phrase implies that God changed internally by suffering. In his humanity, he was still God.

  105. matthew n. petersen said,

    April 18, 2012 at 6:53 pm

    No. Nothing, including pain is external to God. And the Word did not have pain and suffering come upon Him, but rather came upon suffering, actively taking up suffering. But separation from the Father would be new. There are no new relations in God due to the Incarnation

  106. ljdibiase said,

    April 18, 2012 at 6:59 pm

    Christ increased in wisdom (Lk. 2:40). In his humanity, he was still God. Therefore, God learned something new. How is that any different?

  107. matthew n. petersen said,

    April 18, 2012 at 7:29 pm

    Ignorance is not God’s opposite. But a new relationship–or actually the lack of a new relarionship is actual change.

  108. ljdibiase said,

    April 18, 2012 at 8:30 pm

    Matthew, no offense, but now it sounds like special pleading. You are not identifying a principled difference.

  109. April 18, 2012 at 9:11 pm

    Ljdibiase,

    Is it your view that Christ doesn’t experience the torments of hell on the cross and/or that those torments do not imply or entail an improper relation of the person to God?

  110. ljdibiase said,

    April 18, 2012 at 9:16 pm

    Perry, I’m asking a question. Can you answer?

  111. April 18, 2012 at 9:35 pm

    Ljdbiase,

    I believe I can, but I asked a question too. Can you answer?

    You asked if one phrase is Chalcedonian, why isn’t another. The first is Chalcedonian for a few reasons. First because it doesn’t entail a lack of communion between the persons of the Trinity and it doesn’t imply a remove of one person from the consubstantiality of the Divine essence. If you think it does, then you can give me your reasons for thinking so and we can discuss it.

    The second doesn’t seem to be Chalcedonian because it implies a lack of communion between the persons of the Trinity, specifically between the Son (because the Son is the proper object of the torments of Hell, which entails separation from divine communion qua subject) and the other two persons. Simply because the Logos has experiences via human sensory powers doesn’t make it any less so that it is the Logos that has the experiences. It may require a sui generis notion of experience, but given the sui generis nature of the incarnation, that doesn’t seem especially problematic.

    If you mean to say something else, such as that the Son was alienated from the Father qua humanity which amounts to the human nature experiences things that do not reach the Logos as the subject of those things, then either an anhypostatic nature can suffer, experience and be the proper object of subject attribution without being a subject or there is a human subject in Christ that isn’t the Logos. Neither of these options are Chalcedonian but either Nestorian or Apollinarian.

  112. ljdibiase said,

    April 18, 2012 at 9:42 pm

    “because the Son is the proper object of the torments of Hell”

    Then the Son is the proper object of Christ’s growth in learning, so God learned something new, which is also a problem, no?

    You’ve distinguished the two cases on the facts, but I’m not seeing where they are distinguished on principle.

  113. Jack Bradley said,

    April 19, 2012 at 3:51 am

    Bryan wrote:

    “I am claiming that penal substitution, in which Christ bears the full punishment for sin, requires that Christ be cut off from communion with God, because a cutting off of communion with God is the essence of the punishment sin deserves according to justice.”

    Bryan,

    Without conceding to all of your related points, I think you are right on this point. I think Bavinck is saying basically the same, in his Reformed Dogmatics. Vol. III, p. 390:

    “There he was, and felt, forsaken by God, so that in precisely that fashion he might be able to taste death for everyone (Heb. 2:9).”

    “in precisely that fashion he might be able to taste death”: “forsaken by God”.

    I think that is what John Murray (Redemption Accomplished and Applied, p. 77) is also saying: “It is the Lord of glory, the Son of God incarnate, the God-man, drinking the cup given him by the eternal Father, the cup of woe and of indescribable agony. We almost hesitate to say so. But it must be said. It is God in our nature forsaken of God.”

    “It must be said.” And yet it is important how we say it. Bavinck, p. 389:

    “In the cry of Jesus we are dealing not with a subjective but with an objective God-forsakenness: He did not feel alone but had in fact been forsaken by God. His feeling was not an illusion, not based on a false view of his situation, but corresponded with reality. On the other hand, this must not be understood in the sense that the Father was personally angry with Christ. . . Also on the cross Jesus remained the beloved Son, the Son of his Father’s good pleasure.”

    It may not satisfy our fallen reason, but biblically we have to say both: truly forsaken / truly always the beloved Son.

    And, without question, biblically, we must say with Bavinck (pp. 344ff):

    “Inasmuch as the Reformation had learned to know sin primarily as guilt, atonement became central in the work of Christ. Sin was of such a nature that it aroused God’s wrath. Needed above all to still that wrath, to satisfy God’s justice, was the satisfaction accomplished by the ‘God-man.’ He achieved it by putting himself in our place was the guarantor of the covenant, taking upon himself the full guilt and punishment of sin, and submitting to the total demand of the law of God.

    . . . there is no such thing as a conflict between God’s justice and his love. . . on the one hand, we must reject the notion that Christ was solely a revelation of God’s punitive justice. . . On the other hand, Christ must not be viewed as solely a demonstration of God’s love, at least not love as we frequently conceive it and which is totally different from the love of God in Scripture.”

    In saying that penal substitutionary atonement is “needed above all.” Bavinck is not saying that this is the only aspect of the atonement:

    “. . . one can find in the New Testament different appraisals of the person and work of Christ, which, however, do not exclude but rather supplement one another and enrich our knowledge. Just as in the old covenant there were diverse sacrifices and the promised Messiah was repeatedly presented under different names, so this many-sidedness in the description carries over into the New Testament and even markedly increases. . . Still, though the mystical and ethical ideas concerning the death of Christ are not incorrect as such, by themselves they are incomplete and insufficient. . . Christ, they say, did not take over the guilt of sin from us, nor did he bear its punishment in our place.

    . . . The obedience of Christ, however, is not only a satisfaction: it is a vicarious satisfaction. . . Vicarious punishment cannot be expressed more powerfully than it is in Isaiah 53. The Servant of the Lord has borne our diseases and carried our sorrows. He was wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities. Upon him was the chastisement that made us whole, and with his stripes we are healed. The Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was stricken for the transgressions of his people. . . The mystical and moral interpretation of Jesus’ suffering and death cannot even be maintained if it is not acknowledged beforehand that in a legal sense he suffered and died in our place.

    . . . when it [the New Testament] says that Christ, though personally without sin, has been put forward as an expiation to show God’s righteousness (Rom. 3:25), has been made to be sin for us (2 Cor. 5:21), became a curse for us (Gal. 3:13), bore our sins in his body on the tree (1 Pet. 2:24); that God condemned sin in his flesh (Rom. 8:3) and punished him with the accursed death on the cross. . . then we can construe the interconnection between all these scriptural pronouncements in no other way than that Christ put himself in our place, has borne the punishment of our sin, satisfied God’s justice, and so secured salvation for us.”

    Another helpful resource:

    J. I. Packer: What did the Cross Achieve? The Logic of Penal Substitution http://www.the-highway.com/cross_Packer.html

  114. Jack Bradley said,

    April 19, 2012 at 5:02 am

    “I am claiming that penal substitution, in which Christ bears the full punishment for sin, requires that Christ be cut off from communion with God, because a cutting off of communion with God is the essence of the punishment sin deserves according to justice.”

    Again, your claim is correct, Bryan. And its correctness undermines your denial of the centrality of penal substitutionary atonement: “a cutting off of communion with God is the essence of the punishment sin deserves according to justice.”

    I think Morris would gladly affirm your correct characterization.
    Leon Morris, The Cross in the New Testament, pp. 43ff:

    “. . . one of the most difficult problems in biblical interpretation, namely the meaning we are to assign to the cry of dereliction, ‘My God, my God, why has thou forsaken me?’

    . . . He could not be mistaken in a matter of this kind. If He said that God had forsaken Him, then the hitherto unbroken communion between the Father and the Son must have been clouded over. We must not water down an unpalatable saying. . .

    . . . the worst part of the punishment of sin is the cutting off of the sinner from God. . . The cry of dereliction shows that the price of sin has been paid in full.

    . . . We should not forget that these are the only words from the cross recorded by the first two evangelists. They must have selected them for a purpose. As they stand the words can scarcely be taken as anything other than a declaration that in the manner of His death Jesus was cut off from the Father.

    . . . Cf. John Marsh (The Fulness of Time, p. 100): ‘in our view the desolation expressed in this cry was one which faced Jesus because he was dying as a man. To have died our physical death and not tasted its spiritual awfulness in the final separation from God that spiritual death means, would have been to have missed the characteristic “sting” of death for man. It would have been to cease to be man at this point of man’s death.’ He quotes 2 Cor. 5:21, and proceeds, ‘Though sinless, he died the sinner’s death and tasted the bitterness of its desolation.’

    . . . The cry of dereliction must be considered in conjunction with the agony in Gethsemane. There, as Jesus prayed, His soul was in veritable torment. ‘He. . . began to be greatly amazed, and sore troubled’ (Mk. 14:33). This is very forceful language. Of the word translated ‘sore troubled’, J. B. Lightfoot says it ‘describes the confused, restless, half-distracted state, which is produced by physical derangement, or by mental distress, as grief, shame, disappointment’, and H. B. Swete refers to it as conveying ‘the distress which follows a great shock.’ The language is vivid, almost shocking. Clearly the evangelists were describing no ordinary perturbation. Jesus was in agony as He faced death. Why? Death is never a pleasant prospect, but many have faced it calmly. . . It is impossible to hold that He was afraid of leaving this life. It was not death as such that He feared. It was the particular death that He was to die, that death which is ‘the wages of sin’ as Paul puts it (Rom. 6:23), the death in which He was at one with sinners, sharing their lot, bearing their sins, dying their death.

    . . . Nor should we overlook His reference to drinking the ‘cup’. This is usually taken as no more than a metaphor for suffering, but C. E. B. Cranfield has pointed out that ‘in the O. T. the metaphorical use of “cup” refers predominantly to God’s punishment of human sin’. He concludes that ‘His cup is the cup of God’s wrath against sin. We must connect Mk 14:36 [“remove this cup from me”] with the Cry of Dereliction on the Cross, which marks the veritable descent into hell of the sinless Son of God – His descent into the hell of utter separation from the Father – and with 2 Cor. 5.21 or Gal. 3.13’

    The cry of dereliction must not be watered down. It is a shocking statement, and we must beware of trying to render it innocuous. The death that Jesus died was full of horror, and no understanding of the atonement can be satisfactory which does not reckon with that. It is the terrible nature of the death that He died that is significant, and not merely the fact that He did die. . . That this presence was withdrawn is the measure of the horror of Jesus death. This shows us, as nothing else does, the cost of the atonement.

    . . . J. P. Hickinbotham reminds us that. . . ‘the desolation Christ suffered was our penalty transferred to Him’.

    . . . This, of course, must be held in such a way as not to obscure that other truth that the unity of the Trinity is unbroken and unbreakable. No one wants to speak of a rupture within the depths of the divine Being. But the incarnation means something. It means among other things that it became possible for Christ to die. And if it became possible for Him to die it became possible for Him to die the most bitter of deaths, the death of God-forsakenness. . . So fully did He make Himself one with sinful man that He entered into the God-forsakenness that is the lot of sinners. He died their death.”

  115. Jeff Cagle said,

    April 19, 2012 at 8:06 am

    But Jack, the key point that Bryan wants to push is that penal substitution requires a break in intra-Trinitarian communion.

    Whatever we may say about Christ being forsaken, His forsakenness is according to the human nature as second Adam, and not according to the divine nature.

    It is crucial that we not lose sight of this point. The ‘eternal fellowship of Father with Son’ was not broken at the cross.

  116. Bryan Cross said,

    April 19, 2012 at 10:17 am

    ljdibiase, (re: #112)

    Then the Son is the proper object of Christ’s growth in learning, so God learned something new, which is also a problem, no?

    If by ‘proper object’ you mean in Himself, that would be the form of Nestorianism we discussed earlier that treats the Person of Christ as in Himself a composition of the Logos and a human nature, rather than as in Himself a divine Person who contingently, but everlastingly [since the incarnation] subsists also in a human nature. (See comment #99 in the Nestorianism thread.)

    The Logos in Himself is eternally omniscient, and cannot grow in knowledge. Only in His human nature could He grow in knowledge. Same with suffering. In Himself He is impassible. Only in His human nature can He suffer.

    You’ve distinguished the two cases on the facts, but I’m not seeing where they are distinguished on principle.

    The principled difference lies in the fact that, as Perry said, the object of wrath for sin is necessarily a person, not a nature. The breaking off of communion, by its very essence, is between persons, not between God and a nature, because communion is essentially and intrinsically interpersonal. Communion is not between natures, or between a person and a nature.

    So, given penal substitution in which Christ bears the full punishment for each sin committed by the elect, then it is the Logos who is cut off from communion with the Father, not merely His human nature that is cut off from communion with the Father. And without qualification, this would entail an intra-Trinitarian rupture, which would itself then entail either polytheism or Arianism (as I’ve explained at the link in #25).

    The qualifying Reformed response, as I pointed out in comment #36 above, is that it is the Logos-in-His-human-nature who is cut off from communion with God and bears the full wrath of God. And the problem here, given penal substitution, is that it leads to a kind of schizophrenia within the Logos, as I explained in #36. If the object of divine wrath is not a nature, but a Person, then the Logos pours out wrath on Himself. The Logos, being God, must therefore break communion with Himself, because (a) breaking communion with God is required by full penal substitution, (b) the Logos must be the penal substitute, and (c) the Logos is God. But breaking communion with Himself is impossible on a Chalcedonian Christology. To make it possible, one must either (1) posit parts within the Logos, such that the Logos-in-His-human-nature is the part of the Logos on which the remainder of the Logos pours out His wrath and with which He breaks communion, and that is a kind of Nestorianism [as I explained in #36] because it entails that these ‘parts’ are themselves persons, or (2) one must treat the human nature of Christ as in itself personal, and the object of the Logos’ wrath, and that is Nestorianism, or (3) one must take a kenoticism of the sort Thabiti affirms (see comment #25), which is to concede an intra-Trinitarian rupture.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  117. Jeff Cagle said,

    April 19, 2012 at 10:25 am

    Bryan, your last post pretty clearly outlines the issue and provides a good point to indicate the problem. You say,

    The Logos in Himself is eternally omniscient, and cannot grow in knowledge. Only in His human nature could He grow in knowledge. Same with suffering. In Himself He is impassible. Only in His human nature can He suffer.

    and also

    The qualifying Reformed response, as I pointed out in comment #36 above, is that it is the Logos-in-His-human-nature who is cut off from communion with God and bears the full wrath of God.

    And I would agree with both of these here. But now,

    And the problem here, given penal substitution, is that it leads to a kind of schizophrenia within the Logos, as I explained in #36. If the object of divine wrath is not a nature, but a Person, then the Logos pours out wrath on Himself.

    There is no more schizophrenia than there is in saying that the Logos is omniscient, but the Logos-in-his-human-nature learned something. Keep in mind that Jesus is one person and not two; so we cannot say that “Jesus learned something” but “the Logos did not learn.”

    We can only say that “the Logos according to his human nature” learned something, but “the Logos according to his divine nature” did not.

    The same is true of the Catholic version of suffering. The Logos according to his human nature experienced suffering and death. The Logos according to His divine nature is impassible and eternal.

    If you charge Protestants with “Logo-schizophrenianism”, then you must accept the same charge.

    That was the point of my argument by contradiction in #72.

  118. johnbugay said,

    April 19, 2012 at 10:27 am

    Bryan, there is a 4th option, and that is, “Bryan Cross really doesn’t understand what goes on within the Godhead the way he thinks he does: Yes, God does pour out his wrath upon the Logos, and your question really is nonsensical on the order of “Can God build a triangle so heavy he can’t lift it”. But in your smugness, you can’t honestly believe that you could ask a question like that.

  119. TurretinFan said,

    April 19, 2012 at 10:38 am

    Bryan wrote: “The principled difference lies in the fact that, as Perry said, the object of wrath for sin is necessarily a person, not a nature.”

    This attempt to distinguish fails on two grounds.

    First, that’s not a principled distinction between God cursing Jesus and God having wrath toward Jesus. Both curses and wrath have persons as objects.

    Second, what is true of Jesus in one nature is true of Jesus as a person. Therefore, (a) if Jesus was under the curse of God as to his human nature, he was under the curse of God as to his person. And also (b) if Jesus is under the wrath of God as to his person, it does not imply that Jesus was under the wrath of God as to his divine nature.

    Therefore, it has been demonstrated that this distinction cannot avail Bryan.

    Meanwhile, we still wait for Bryan to back up his claims about what his church denies, with actual citation to some kind of authoritative documents from his church.

    -TurretinFan

  120. Jack Bradley said,

    April 19, 2012 at 10:39 am

    “The Logos according to his human nature experienced suffering and death. The Logos according to His divine nature is impassible and eternal.”

    Jeff says it as well as it can be said, Bryan. If you’re asking for the fathomless mystery of “the Word became flesh” to make better sense to satisfy your intellect, you really are, as John says, smug.

  121. TurretinFan said,

    April 19, 2012 at 10:55 am

    Matthew:

    You, on the other hand, have offered up a different distinction.
    You wrote:

    Death is temporal, and passing. If you take “death” to mean spiritual death if damnation, then the curse of the law and a breach of fellowship with God are the same thing. But if we assert that the curse of the Law is passing temporal death, then the curse of the law–death, as is falling asleep, or going to Sheol–is not even related to a severance of fellowship with God. Bryan has consistently taken the second option, that the curse of the law is death, not Death, not separation from God, but death as in “Chuck Colson is on the brink of death”. There is not even remotely a problem for him here.

    a) Are you going to seriously suggest that the curse of the law is only physical death?
    b) If so, that seems to imply that either everyone or no one is free from the curse of the law. In other words, all men suffer physical death (save Enoch, Elijah, and the last generation of believers) and there will be a general resurrection (both of the righteous and the unrighteous). Yet Paul in Galatians 3 distinguishes those under the curse from “us” whom Christ has redeemed from the curse.

    So, it seems that this distinction as proposed cannot work, because it cannot seriously be maintained that the curse of the law is only physical death.

    But suppose it could be seriously maintained that the “curse of the law” is only physical death.

    While “breach of fellowship” and physical death are different in some ways, they are not necessarily different as to what matters. That is to say, it remains to be established that Christ can experience physical death in one nature, but must experience breach of fellowship in two natures. It is fallacious to say that what is true of Jesus as a person is necessarily true of both natures.

    -TurretinFan

  122. Bryan Cross said,

    April 19, 2012 at 11:05 am

    Jeff, (re: #117)

    There is no conflict with Chalcedon in saying that Christ suffered in His human nature, but did not suffer in His divine nature, or that Christ learned in His human nature, but did not learn in His divine nature. But there is a conflict with Chalcedon in the implications of penal substitution, for the reasons I explained in #116. If you want to refute my argument, then you need to provide a fourth alternative [to the three I listed in #116], and show how it upholds the fact that the cutting off of communion is between persons. That’s why saying “the Logos in His divine nature cut off communion with the Logos in His human nature” is not an option, because there is only one second Person, and “He cannot deny Himself.” (2 Tim 2:13)

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  123. Bryan Cross said,

    April 19, 2012 at 11:11 am

    Jack, (re: #120)

    When I encounter Mormons, I ask them who created God the Father, when he was a mere, contingent, man. They typically say, “That’s a mystery.”

    I agree that there are mysteries in the Christian faith. But a mystery is not an incoherence or contradiction; otherwise, bad theology would be indistinguishable from good theology, since contradictions and incoherencies could always be propped up by appeal to mystery. And a problem or error in one’s theology would remain undetectable. That would make semper reformata quite impossible.

    The problem I’m pointing out is an incompatibility between penal substitution, and Chalcedonian Christology. So, if the problem I’m pointing out were in fact a real problem, and not merely a mystery, how would you know? What would be different?

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  124. johnbugay said,

    April 19, 2012 at 11:24 am

    Bryan, you’re equivocating on the word “mystery”. The mystery of what happens within the Godhead is revealed to us in Scripture, and that Christ suffered wrath for sins is well documented within that Revelation, as it has been exposited over the centuries. It is a doctrine of Scripture. There is no comparison here with your question to Mormons.

    On the other hand, your comment about “the cutting off of communion” is your own invention, based on your imaginings of what happens within the Trinity. The “problem in one’s theology” is a problem of your own imagination.

    But you don’t have to take just my word for this. Turretinfan has posed a number of questions to you, which you have simply ignored.

  125. ljdibiase said,

    April 19, 2012 at 11:34 am

    Bryan, are you trying to say that, by some standard or definition, a nature can grow and suffer but it cannot lose communion? If so, can you supply that standard rather than just asserting it? And what of the fact that Christ’s human nature does not exist in the abstract but subsists in his person? It seems you would have to draw a wedge between His nature and person to maintain the difference here.

  126. Sean Gerety said,

    April 19, 2012 at 11:56 am

    For the record, I have to give credit to Bryan Cross particularly for #36 and his subsequent defense. Honestly, it was a brilliant move. My hat is off. Of course, Gordon Clark’s construction easily overcomes Bryan’s objections, but I thought his objections are quite good re the Reformed and biblical understanding of propitiation and the related doctrine of imputation (even though the connection to imputation was not mentioned directly it certainly was implied) and are just more reasons to question the “ecumenicism” of the so-called “ecumenical” creeds. Again, Clark:

    Matthew 27:46 and Mark 15:34 support this [Clark's] view: “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” Since a rift within the eternal immutable Persons of the Trinity is absolutely impossible, Jesus is here speaking as a man. An impersonal human “nature” cannot speak. Nor is there much intelligibility in supposing that the Father could forsake a “nature.” Those words from Psalm 22:1 were the words of a true man, a real human being, whom the Father forsook, thus imposing the penalty of propitiation by which we are redeemed. The Incarnation 70-71

  127. Bryan Cross said,

    April 19, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    ljdibiase, (re: #125)

    A nature in itself cannot grow or suffer. Dog nature does not grow or suffer — dogs grow and suffer. It is the hypostasis that has dog nature, that grows or suffers. That is, e.g. Fido grows and suffers.

    Likewise, human nature does not grow or suffer, but that hypostasis which has a human nature grows (e.g. from infancy to adulthood) and suffers. That is, e.g. Bob grows and suffers. In the case of Christ, it is the Logos who grows and suffers in His human nature.

    In #116 (and earlier) I’m pointing out that communion is inherently interpersonal, that is, between persons. So a mere nature cannot have communion with anything, because a nature is not a person (otherwise, contra Chalcedon, having two natures would entail there being two persons). Because communion is inherently interpersonal, the breaking of communion entailed by penal substitution (see Jack’s comments #113, #114) requires a breaking of communion between persons. And that leads to the difficulty with Chalcedonian Christology I described in #116.

    And what of the fact that Christ’s human nature does not exist in the abstract but subsists in his person?

    I agree that the Logos subsists in human nature, but that doesn’t get around the problem I am laying out here (in #36 and #116).

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  128. TurretinFan said,

    April 19, 2012 at 12:33 pm

    Bryan:

    Your #127 is already fully answered by #119.

    -TurretinFan

  129. Jeff Cagle said,

    April 19, 2012 at 12:38 pm

    Bryan (#122):

    If you want to refute my argument, then you need to provide a fourth alternative [to the three I listed in #116], and show how it upholds the fact that the cutting off of communion is between persons.

    The fourth alternative is that Jesus-according-to-his-human-nature was judged, Jesus-according-to-his-divine-nature was not, and that your premise that “cutting off of communion is between persons” is incorrectly applied in this situation.

    Obedience is relational and between persons; and yet Jesus-according-to-his-human-nature had to grow in his obedience to the Father, whereas Jesus-according-to-his-divine-nature did not.

    Likewise, knowledge is a property of persons (especially if we define ‘person’ as ‘mind’!). And Jesus-according-to-his-human-nature learned and did not know some things; yet Jesus-according-to-his-divine-nature is omniscient.

    So the root problem here is a faulty premise, the premise that if God pours out wrath on Christ, then He must necessarily pour out wrath on Christ according to both natures simultaneously; that actions toward the divine person of Christ must be actions towards Christ according to both natures.

    The mystery of the incarnation is how it is that Jesus could be one person, yet be fully both natures without commingling.

    Your premise, that what is relationally true of the person must be relationally true of both natures, is a kind of practical monophysitism.

    So I reject it.

    And in rejecting it, I perceive that your argument is drained of its force.

    My shot clock has long expired, so I will bow out at this time. I’m glad, though, that we could have interactions on better footing.

    Jeff

  130. ljdibiase said,

    April 19, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    Bryan,

    “A nature in itself cannot grow or suffer, but that hypostasis which has a human nature grows…. In the case of Christ, it is the Logos who grows and suffers in His human nature.”

    So far, so good.

    “a mere nature cannot have communion with anything, because a nature is not a person”

    Still good.

    “I’m pointing out that communion is inherently interpersonal, that is, between persons.”

    And by analogy, learning and suffering are personal, because as you said above, persons do these things, not natures.

    “Because communion is inherently interpersonal, the breaking of communion entailed by penal substitution… requires a breaking of communion between persons.”

    And by analogy, because learning something new is personal, in that it is a person who learns something new, the learning of something new entailed by Lk. 2:40 requires the learning of something new by a person, so therefore God learned something new.

    Put another way, Christ learned, suffered, and lost communion, all according to his human nature, but not in his divinity. Again, where is the relevant principled distinction? I hear you saying, this case involved communion, and that case involved learning, but those are differences of fact, not principle.

    Forgive me, but it’s like me saying Hitler was a criminal but Goebels wasn’t, and the reason is because Hitler had a mustache and Goebels didn’t. It may be true, but it’s not relevant to the question. The issue here is that Christ experiences something in his human nature – whether it’s suffering or loss of communion (which is one kind of suffering) – and despite the fact that it’s ‘personal’ it doesn’t mean that he experienced that in the same way in his divinity as he did in his humanity. If it’s Chalcedonian in one case, it’s Chalcedonian in the other.

    Do you at least understand my point now? If so, could you explain again the principled difference between those cases? Because I’m listening, but I’m not hearing it.

  131. ljdibiase said,

    April 19, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    I’d also affirm Jeff’s comment in #129, because I believe he is saying the same thing.

  132. Bryan Cross said,

    April 19, 2012 at 12:55 pm

    TF,

    I’m not sure how closely you have been following this thread, but your rejoinder has already been addressed in #59, #63, #68, #73, and #76.

    You wrote:

    that’s not a principled distinction between God cursing Jesus and God having wrath toward Jesus. Both curses and wrath have persons as objects.

    As explained above, ‘curse’ in Catholic doctrine means being subject to suffering and death. It doesn’t entail damnation. We don’t believe, for example, that everyone who happened to die on a tree prior to Christ’s crucifixion, went to hell. A person in a state of grace could, even prior to Christ’s coming, hang on a tree, thereby be cursed, and yet not go to hell. It is fully possible to suffer and die (i.e. suffer the curse), while being in a state of grace and in communion with God. This is precisely why there is a distinction between the first death and what Revelations terms the “second death.” But the wrath of God entailed by full penal substitution requires a loss of communion, for the reasons explained above. So, merely being subject to the curse does not cause the problem (with Chalcedon) that full penal substitution causes.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  133. Dozie said,

    April 19, 2012 at 2:29 pm

    “Meanwhile, we still wait for Bryan to back up his claims about what his church denies, with actual citation to some kind of authoritative documents from his church.”

    If you look bad with your comments, you have only yourself to blame. You have posed this challenge long enough to allow you time to pause and reflect on what it is you are asking. You have repeatedly failed to take advantage of the passage of time.

    What a reasonable person in your position would do is show that he or she is capable of understanding Catholic teachings with respect to what is being discussed on this thread and to produce any such teachings, properly understood, that contradict what Bryan writes here. You have neither shown that you are disposed to understanding Catholic theology and you continue to insist that Bryan do your homework for you. Produce Catholic teaching that contradicts what the Catholic is saying here and then allow others to examine such contradictions with you.

    John Bugay…

  134. TurretinFan said,

    April 19, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    Bryan:

    You wrote:

    I’m not sure how closely you have been following this thread, but your rejoinder has already been addressed in #59, #63, #68, #73, and #76.

    It seems I’m paying closer attention than you are, as those comments do not address the problem of the absence of principled distinction between being under the curse of God and being under the wrath of God.

    Even if we granted all the points you raised in those comments, you still have only identified a difference between being under the curse and being under the wrath of God – you have not established that it is a difference that matters.

    In other words, at most your earlier comments are related to #121, not #119.

    And your earlier comments were allegations about what “Catholic theology” teaches – allegations that were not actually supported with proper citation to any authoritative sources of Roman Catholic dogma. Indeed, the questions asked you at #69 remain unanswered.

    -TurretinFan

    P.S. Dozie: Rome hasn’t taken a position on everything. Bryan’s opinions can be his own erroneous speculations, even if they don’t clearly contradict anything Rome has already said.

  135. TurretinFan said,

    April 19, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    And let me reiterate Bryan, just to be clear:

    What you have failed to do (at a fundamental level) is to explain why the distinction between physical death and loss of communion is a difference that matters. Saying that loss of communion is personal does not do the job, because physical death is personal too.

    Then, at a secondary level you have not established that Christ being under the curse of the law really means only being subject to physical death. But that secondary level can wait, because it is not so fundamental.

    Finally, at a third level, you haven’t demonstrated that these particular rejections of Reformed theology are actually the teachings of your church.

    -TurretinFan

  136. Bryan Cross said,

    April 19, 2012 at 3:05 pm

    TF,

    What you have failed to do (at a fundamental level) is to explain why the distinction between physical death and loss of communion is a difference that matters.

    I shouldn’t have to explain that to anyone who claims to be a Christian. Read the New Testament. Read the accounts of the martyrs who embraced martyrdom for the sake of Christ. The first death is not the second death, and the difference between them matters tremendously, because it matters for eternity. This is the gospel of Christ. Christ has demonstrated this through His death, resurrection and ascension into heaven. We face the first death without fear, precisely because we know that it does not entail the second death. Otherwise, if the difference didn’t matter, either everyone who endured the first death would go to hell forever, i.e. universal damnation, or no Christians in a state of grace would have to endure physical death.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  137. TurretinFan said,

    April 19, 2012 at 3:12 pm

    Bryan:

    “I shouldn’t have to explain that to anyone who claims to be a Christian. Read the New Testament.”

    I’m glad to see you affirm my ability to rightly interpret Scripture on my own. Some Roman Catholics have spread around the idea that us Christians require the Roman magisterium in order to do so. Your mini-testimonial to the perspicuity of this part of Scriptures is always nice to see.

    It is remarkable, though, that I repeatedly demand your church’s teaching and you commend Sola Scriptura to me.

    That said…

    “Read the accounts of the martyrs who embraced martyrdom for the sake of Christ. The first death is not the second death, and the difference between them matters tremendously, because it matters for eternity.”

    Oh, indeed.

    But simply because something matters for eternity does not mean it matters for a particular argument. I hope that you have simply somehow dramatically misunderstood my point.

    The question to you, Bryan, is not why the distinction between loss of communion matters to people in general, but why the distinction should matter to the argument.

    Now that this has been clarified, perhaps you can provide the answer to the question I was asking, which was not a general question about the difference between the two, or why that difference matters in general, but why that difference matters to the argument.

    -TurretinFan

  138. Jack Bradley said,

    April 19, 2012 at 3:20 pm

    “So the root problem here is a faulty premise, the premise that if God pours out wrath on Christ, then He must necessarily pour out wrath on Christ according to both natures simultaneously; that actions toward the divine person of Christ must be actions towards Christ according to both natures.”

    Extremely well said, Jeff. This is indeed Bryan’s root problem.

  139. Bryan Cross said,

    April 19, 2012 at 3:20 pm

    TF,

    The reason the difference matters to the argument was explained in #59, #63, #68, #73, and #76. The tu quoque doesn’t work because enduring suffering and death does not entail breaking communion, whereas receiving the full penalty for sin, does entail breaking communion. And breaking communion is the problem raised in #25 and #36.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  140. ljdibiase said,

    April 19, 2012 at 3:34 pm

    Bryan,

    With your last comment I’ll have to conclude that you have no credible case. And I was really, really trying to give you the benefit of the doubt — although it’s been difficult ever since you cited T4G as some sort of authority on Reformed doctrine. Anyway, have a nice day.

  141. TurretinFan said,

    April 19, 2012 at 3:42 pm

    Bryan:

    You are still not answering the question in a way that actually addresses the objection raised.

    As I already said at #134, your earlier posts merely argued that there is a distinction between physical death and wrath.

    But you haven’t shown what enables God to inflict death and suffering on the person of Jesus Christ according to his human nature but prevents God from being able to inflict wrath on the person of Jesus Christ according to his human nature.

    After all, that would be the relevant distinction.

    That’s not a “tu quoque” either in the correct sense of being a logical fallacy or in the sense in which you routinely use it. I wouldn’t use it in that latter sense, because you haven’t actually shown that your own church dogmatically rejects the idea that God’s wrath was poured out on Christ on the cross. And, of course, I wouldn’t use in the former sense either.

    Saying that wrath involves “breaking communion” (even assuming you could establish this) does not suffice. It simply pushes the question back to a distinction between physical death and breaking communion, and makes us ask what makes you think that God cannot break communion with the person of Christ according to his human nature.

    Surely you do not deny that Christ had a fully human spirit that could, therefore, suffer in the way that all men are able to suffer.

    -TurretinFan

  142. April 19, 2012 at 3:57 pm

    Perhaps we can simplify things a bit:

    Does the punishment for sin include the loss of communion with God?

    Did Jesus suffer the punishment of sin?

    If yes to both, then Jesus suffered loss of communion with God.

    Now the only question we need to answer is whether Jesus suffered loss of communion with God, or whether Jesus’ human nature suffered it.

  143. TurretinFan said,

    April 19, 2012 at 3:59 pm

    I suppose I should add that I don’t intend to concede in #141 that enduring wrath necessarily entails loss of communion. But for the sake of the argument, even assuming it did … (to avoid unnecessary argument)

    I would add that what Jesus underwent for us was something he underwent only according to his human nature and not also according to his divine nature. Accordingly, the way Thabite expressed this is not useful, although Thabite was quick to clarify what he meant in response to your question.

    But Thabite’s clarification is useful. We can liken the problem to the one of economic subordination. Jesus became subordinate to the Father according to his humanity and within the plan of redemption, while remaining equal to the Father according to his divinity.

    By analogy, Jesus came under the wrath of God according to his humanity and within the plan of redemption, while remaining in intra-trinitarian love according to his divinity.

    -TurretinFan

  144. TurretinFan said,

    April 19, 2012 at 4:05 pm

    “Now the only question we need to answer is whether Jesus suffered loss of communion with God, or whether Jesus’ human nature suffered it.”

    I think I know what you mean, but the way you wrote it is a false dichotomy. Jesus can suffer X and he can do so by suffering it accordin got his human nature. Just as Jesus suffered hunger and thirst, but only as to his human nature.

    Bryan’s framing of the discussion seems to suppose that in order for Jesus to suffer loss of communion with God, he must do that according to his divinity, and not only according to his humanity. But Bryan hasn’t established that.

    -TurreitnFan

  145. April 19, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    I think I know what you mean, but the way you wrote it is a false dichotomy. Jesus can suffer X and he can do so by suffering it accordin got his human nature. Just as Jesus suffered hunger and thirst, but only as to his human nature.

    Let me clarify: Either Jesus the Person (the Logos and Son of God) suffered, or one of his two natures suffered. We would obviously go with the first option if we’re Chalcedonians, wouldn’t we? Natures are, but persons act.

    Bryan’s framing of the discussion seems to suppose that in order for Jesus to suffer loss of communion with God, he must do that according to his divinity, and not only according to his humanity. But Bryan hasn’t established that.

    That’s not how I’m reading him at all. I am understanding him to be saying that the subject of the action “suffer loss of communion with God” is not a nature of Jesus’ but the Perrson of the Logos.

  146. TurretinFan said,

    April 19, 2012 at 4:20 pm

    “Let me clarify: Either Jesus the Person (the Logos and Son of God) suffered, or one of his two natures suffered. We would obviously go with the first option if we’re Chalcedonians, wouldn’t we? Natures are, but persons act.”

    Ok, so now I’m not sure you meant the right thing. If Jesus suffered in his human nature, then Jesus the person suffered. Just as if Jesus thirsted in his human nature, then Jesus the person suffered. There is not a dichotomy there.

    And I’m not sure I follow your attempt to split being and action, but perhaps that’s a moot point.

    “I am understanding him to be saying that the subject of the action “suffer loss of communion with God” is not a nature of Jesus’ but the Perrson of the Logos.”

    There is no question that the person does what the person does in either nature. The question is whether “suffer loss of communion with God” is necessarily predicated of both natures, if it is predicated of the person at all.

    -TurretinFan

  147. TurretinFan said,

    April 19, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    So, for example, “Jesus wept.” That is an action that Jesus (the person) took according to his human nature. It does not mean that Jesus the person took that action according to his divine nature. It does not suggest that the divine nature is passable.

    By analogy, “Jesus suffered the wrath of God” does not suggest that the divinity nature of Jesus is able to experience anything other than infinite, eternal, divine, self-love.

    -TurretinFan

  148. April 19, 2012 at 4:24 pm

    There is no question that the person does what the person does in either nature. The question is whether “suffer loss of communion with God” is necessarily predicated of both natures, if it is predicated of the person at all.

    It seems to me that it is the nature of the action predicated upon the subject of the divine Son that Bryan is arguing against. It is one thing for the Son to suffer thirst in his human nature, but it is another thing altogether for the Son to suffer disruption in his communion with the Father.

    And saying that is happens according to his human nature doesn’t help if we say of the person what we say of either nature. The Son of God cannot undergo an interruption in his fellowship with his Father, but he can thirst in his human nature.

  149. April 19, 2012 at 4:26 pm

    We overlapped there. There is an essential difference between crying and suffering rupture in his fellowship with the Father, is what I hear Bryan saying.

  150. Matthew N. Petersen said,

    April 19, 2012 at 4:35 pm

    TF,

    (This is to your question to me way back, I haven’t caught up yet.)

    a) Are you going to seriously suggest that the curse of the law is only physical death?
    b) If so, that seems to imply that either everyone or no one is free from the curse of the law. In other words, all men suffer physical death (save Enoch, Elijah, and the last generation of believers) and there will be a general resurrection (both of the righteous and the unrighteous). Yet Paul in Galatians 3 distinguishes those under the curse from “us” whom Christ has redeemed from the curse.

    a) Yes.

    b) That there would be a general resurrection to glory of the righteous and unrighteous only holds if resurrection is natural. But it is not. Resurrection is a Divine act, and only a Divine act. Even if Mary is without sin, she still can rightly say God is her savior because He has saved her by Rising from the Dead.

    While “breach of fellowship” and physical death are different in some ways, they are not necessarily different as to what matters. That is to say, it remains to be established that Christ can experience physical death in one nature, but must experience breach of fellowship in two natures. It is fallacious to say that what is true of Jesus as a person is necessarily true of both natures.

    No one has said that the Logos must experience a breach of fellowship in both natures. Indeed, one of Bryan’s sub-points has been based on the fact that there is no breach of fellowship in the Divine Nature. What it implies is that there is a breach of fellowship between the Eternal Logos, and the Father. Your objection only makes sense if the Eternal Logos is the Divine Nature, which is, as before, Nestorianism.

  151. TurretinFan said,

    April 19, 2012 at 4:38 pm

    It seems to me that it is the nature of the action predicated upon the subject of the divine Son that Bryan is arguing against.

    Perhaps so, what other option could there be? So, the question is why that difference in nature (a confusing use of that term in this context) matters.

    It is one thing for the Son to suffer thirst in his human nature, but it is another thing altogether for the Son to suffer disruption in his communion with the Father.

    Is that because the Son was not able to commune with the Father according to his human nature? If that’s so, then what are Jesus’ prayers? But if Jesus can commune with the Father according to his human nature, just as he can weep according to his human nature, then the fact that they are two things should not matter.

    And saying that is happens according to his human nature doesn’t help if we say of the person what we say of either nature. The Son of God cannot undergo an interruption in his fellowship with his Father, but he can thirst in his human nature.

    Why can’t the Son of God undergo an interruption in his fellowship with the Father, according to the Son’s human nature? You and Bryan cannot just assert that. You need to show why that is.

    We overlapped there. There is an essential difference between crying and suffering rupture in his fellowship with the Father, is what I hear Bryan saying.

    Understood – this is just a restatement of your first paragraph above. Same answer.

    -TurretinFan

  152. TurretinFan said,

    April 19, 2012 at 4:40 pm

    Matthew:

    You wrote: “That there would be a general resurrection to glory of the righteous and unrighteous only holds if resurrection is natural.”

    I don’t know where you got that. There will certainly be a general resurrection of all mankind on the last day. Some to eternal life, others to the second death, which will be eternal torment in the lake of fire.

    Physical death is not the entirety of the curse of the law.

    -TurretinFan

  153. TurretinFan said,

    April 19, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    CCC850 The origin and purpose of mission. The Lord’s missionary mandate is ultimately grounded in the eternal love of the Most Holy Trinity: “The Church on earth is by her nature missionary since, according to the plan of the Father, she has as her origin the mission of the Son and the Holy Spirit.”(footnote 341) The ultimate purpose of mission is none other than to make men share in the communion between the Father and the Son in their Spirit of love.(footnote 342)Of course, RC theology does teach that even once men enter into true communion with God, they can actually fall away. So, at least in principle, the communion should be considered severable (as to men – and consequently as to Jesus in his human nature as fully man) in RC theology.

    As I mentioned to Bryan above, I suspect that this largely amounts to a tempest in a teapot, in the sense that Bryan’s church does not actually endorse this particular criticism of Reformed theology. Bryan’s church does not deny that God’s wrath was poured out against Jesus at the cross. At least, let’s say, Bryan has not pointed us to any such clear teaching from his church.

    It may not be a case of Bryan criticizing us for something his own church holds to be true, but rather Bryan criticizing us for something his own church doesn’t hold to be false. Of course, Bryan ties it into all sorts of dramatic things (like polytheism and Arianism in response to Thabiti), but his own church does not seem to support his categorization.

    -TurretinFan

  154. Jack Bradley said,

    April 19, 2012 at 6:11 pm

    Jason: “Either Jesus the Person (the Logos and Son of God) suffered, or one of his two natures suffered. We would obviously go with the first option if we’re Chalcedonians, wouldn’t we?”

    Yes, we would. But Bryan won’t.

    Jason: “I am understanding him to be saying that the subject of the action “suffer loss of communion with God” is not a nature of Jesus’ but the Person of the Logos.”

    Jason, this is, again, why Jeff’s analysis is so cogent:

    “So the root problem here is a faulty premise, the premise that if God pours out wrath on Christ, then He must necessarily pour out wrath on Christ according to both natures simultaneously; that actions toward the divine person of Christ must be actions towards Christ according to both natures.”

    I don’t know how to say it any better, any more accurately and incisively, than that.

  155. Jack Bradley said,

    April 19, 2012 at 6:18 pm

    I’ve decided maybe the Roman Catholic are right and I need to join the True Church

  156. Jack Bradley said,

    April 19, 2012 at 6:20 pm

    Sorry for that last comment. A clueless “friend” sent that when I left my laptop unattended.

  157. Bryan Cross said,

    April 19, 2012 at 6:22 pm

    Jeff, (re: #129)

    The fourth alternative is that Jesus-according-to-his-human-nature was judged, Jesus-according-to-his-divine-nature was not

    That proposed alternative needs to be unpacked. It entails, given penal substitution, and given the unity of the divine will, that Jesus-according-to-His-divine-nature poured out His wrath on Jesus-according-to-His-human-nature, and therefore (for the reasons explained in #116) that Jesus-according-to-His-divine-nature broke communion with Jesus-according-to-His-human-nature. This is therefore problematic for the intra-Personal unity of the Logos. If Jesus cannot deny Himself (2 Tim 2:13), then He cannot break communion with Himself, period. He cannot remove Himself from a state of grace, i.e. from His own favor, in His human nature. Otherwise Peter couldn’t be guilty for denying Jesus-according-to-His-human-nature, since Jesus-according-to-His-divine-nature was at that very moment denying Jesus-according-to-His-human-nature. When the cock crowed the third time, Peter could have said to Jesus, “Hey, I’m only doing what you’re doing in your divine nature, and what the Father the Spirit are doing too. So get off my back already. You can’t possibly expect me to outdo the Three of You.”

    Moreover, the proper object of imputation and wrath is a person, not a nature. The Logos could not receive the imputation of sin by its first being imputed to his human nature, or in virtue of something acquired by His human nature. And that’s why the imputed guilt of the Logos cannot be restricted to something true of Him through His human nature, as can His obedience (true of Him through His human will), His learning (true of Him through His human intellect), His suffering (true of Him through His human soul). And that’s also why my argument does not depend on or presuppose “that actions toward the divine person of Christ must be actions towards Christ according to both natures.”

    In order to make a distinction between what is true of the Logos “according to His human nature” and what is true of the Logos “according to His divine nature,” the truth maker for these truths must be in the relevant nature, not the Person proper. So in order to claim that Jesus-according-to-His-divine-nature broke communion with Jesus-according-to-His-human-nature, the truth maker for each must be in the respective natures. But, what breaks communion is fundamentally a person, not a nature. So the truth-maker for “Jesus-according-to-His-divine-nature broke communion” cannot be the divine nature, and thus cannot be “Jesus-according-to-His-divine-nature.” It must be the Logos Himself. Likewise, for the same reason, the truth maker for “in His human nature loses fellowship with the Logos” cannot be in the human nature; it must be in the Person, because it is not a nature that loses fellowship, and therefore not the Person losing fellowship in virtue of a nature losing fellowship. And that leaves us with the Logos breaking communion with the Logos. And the only way to make sense of that, in light of the intrinsically personal nature of communion, is to divide the Logos into two parts (each of which is personal), or into two persons. And both options are Nestorian.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  158. matthew n. petersen said,

    April 19, 2012 at 6:23 pm

    I didnt deny that. By Man came resurrection of the dead. Even the damned are raised in Christs resurrection.

  159. matthew n. petersen said,

    April 19, 2012 at 6:28 pm

    And, following Bryan, as oir will is conformed to the Divine will–whichwills to be wrathful toward sin, but pour it out on Christ on the Cross–we will to be wrathful toward sin, and pour it out in Christ become sin. Therese of the Child Jesus was actually delighting in sin, and seeking that it would endure when she desired to comfort Christ on the Croas. And Wither and the NICE were actually asking Mark to do exactly what God would have had him do when they asked him to stomp on the cross.

  160. TurretinFan said,

    April 19, 2012 at 7:25 pm

    “This is therefore problematic for the intra-Personal unity of the Logos. If Jesus cannot deny Himself (2 Tim 2:13), then He cannot break communion with Himself, period. ”

    That’s a non sequitur. The verse about Jesus not denying himself relates to Jesus not contradicting his own salvific purpose. Even if we suppose that Jesus’ receiving the wrath of God entails a break in communion, that break in communion does not contradict his salvific purpose, rather it fulfills it. So, there is no analogy.

    And, of course, “he cannot deny himself” is not about the relationship between the natures. So, Scripture has been misapplied to the text.

    Moreover, if Jesus willingly submits to the break of communion that has been hypothesized, there is no lack of intra-personal unity. And, of course, it is our position that Jesus was a willing substitute.

    “He cannot remove Himself from a state of grace, i.e. from His own favor, in His human nature.”

    First, “curse” and “favor” at least sound opposite. But, second, if they can be reconciled, then it seems that also “wrath” and “favor” are able to be reconciled along the same lines, namely by distinguishing the senses in which they apply.

    Moreover, “passable” and “impassable” are at least as opposite as “wrath” and “favor.” Yet if those can both be predicated of Christ, in different ways and as to different natures, it seems reasonable that both “favor” and “wrath” can similarly be present in different ways according to the different natures.

    “Otherwise Peter couldn’t be guilty for denying Jesus-according-to-His-human-nature, since Jesus-according-to-His-divine-nature was at that very moment denying Jesus-according-to-His-human-nature.”

    This is bizarre. God’s punishment of Jesus for our sins was fully just. Peter’s denial of Jesus was one mechanism of God’s just punishment, but he’s also guilty for his own sin. The same principle applies to every ungodly human means that God has used in history, from the bondage of Joseph to the crucifixion itself.

    – TurretinFan

  161. Alan D. Strange said,

    April 19, 2012 at 9:18 pm

    I’ve been away from here for the last few days and I see that there has been much discussion.

    But not to worry. I see that a number of good brothers have upheld the truth. For my part, what I would wish to express with respect to this has been well put by Jeff Cagle.

    Bryan has not escaped what he seeks to bring against us and this is the mystery of Chalcedonian Christianity: The Son suffers the Father’s wrath immanently without essentially losing communion. The mystery is “resolved” only in the rationalism of real Nestorianism (#126) or in denying wrath, as Bryan has done. I think Isaiah 53 has not been properly touched by Bryan.

    And, as has been noted, I am not convinced that Bryan’s “solutions” are those of the magisterium.

  162. Jack Bradley said,

    April 20, 2012 at 1:08 am

    I am sincere in my appreciation for Bryan reminding Protestants, pointedly and articulately, “that penal substitution, in which Christ bears the full punishment for sin, requires that Christ be cut off from communion with God, because a cutting off of communion with God is the essence of the punishment sin deserves according to justice.”

    John Stott, The Cross of Christ, 76ff:

    “. . . the cup from which he shrank. . . symbolized neither the physical pain of being flogged and crucified, nor the mental distress of being despised and rejected even by his own people, but rather the spiritual agony of bearing the sins of the world, in other words, of enduring the divine judgment which those sins deserved. That this is the correct understanding is strongly confirmed by Old Testament usage, for in both the Wisdom literature and the prophets the Lord’s ‘cup’ was a regular symbol of his wrath.

    . . . This Old Testament imagery will have been well known to Jesus. He must have recognized the cup he was being offered as containing the wine of God’s wrath, given to the wicked, and causing a complete disorientation of body (staggering) and mind (confusion) like drunkenness. Was he to become so identified with sinners as to bear their judgment? From this contact with human sin his sinless soul recoiled. From the experience of alienation from his Father which the judgment on sin would involve, he hung back in horror.

    . . . The agony in the garden opens a window on to the greater agony of the cross. If to bear man’s sin and God’s wrath was so terrible in anticipation, what must the reality have been like?

    . . . Up to this moment, though forsaken of men, he could add, ‘Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me’ (Jn. 16:32). In the darkness, however, he was absolutely alone, being now also God-forsaken. As Calvin put it, ‘If Christ had died only a bodily death, it would have been ineffectual. . . Unless his soul shared in the punishment, he would have been the Redeemer of bodies alone.’ In consequence, ‘he paid a greater and more excellent price in suffering in his soul the terrible torments of a condemned and forsaken man’. (Inst. II, xvi. 10, 12)

    . . . the God-forsakenness of Jesus on the cross must be balanced with such an equally biblical assertion as ‘God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ.’ . . . Cranfield is right to emphasize both the truth that Jesus experienced ‘not merely a felt, but a real, abandonment by his Father’ and ‘the paradox that, while this God-forsakenness was utterly real, the unity of the Blessed Trinity was even then unbroken.’”

    John Murray’s words become ever more expressive:

    “We are spectators of a wonder the praise and glory of which eternity will not exhaust. It is the Lord of glory, the Son of God incarnate, the God-man, drinking the cup given him by the eternal Father, the cup of woe and of indescribable agony.”

  163. David Reece said,

    April 20, 2012 at 2:13 am

    Alan D. Strange,

    You said, “Bryan has not escaped what he seeks to bring against us and this is the mystery of Chalcedonian Christianity: The Son suffers the Father’s wrath immanently without essentially losing communion. The mystery is ‘resolved’ only in the rationalism of real Nestorianism (#126) or in denying wrath, as Bryan has done.”

    You lead a reformed seminary, yet this is pure mystery Babylon religion.

    It is one thing to argue against a position as being contradictory and false, but it is quite another to pronounce that God’s “revelation” is really no revelation at all and is instead an unsolvable apparent contradiction.

    If a doctrine leads to contradiction, then either your premises are false or your reasoning has been invalid. God’s holy word consents in all its parts.

    I call on you to repent for teaching that God’s Word leads to contradiction. You have no right to claim that the truth leads to unsolvable mysteries.

  164. Alan D. Strange said,

    April 20, 2012 at 7:34 am

    Mr. Reece:

    You have no right whatsoever to speak to me in the peremptory manner that you have here and I appeal to the moderators not to permit you to do so unrebuked. I refuse to yield to the demands of your rationalism that knows not of what it speaks.

  165. TurretinFan said,

    April 20, 2012 at 9:23 am

    Agreed, Prof. Strange. “Pure mystery Babylon religion” is absurd and offensive. Even if Reece thinks himself indebted to Clark, Clark would certainly not endorse this kind of behavior or lack of reasoning.

  166. paigebritton said,

    April 20, 2012 at 9:24 am

    David (#163),
    Please limit your comments to engaging another person’s arguments, rather than making pronouncements at a personal level. If we have concerns about the tone of future comments, we will remove them and contact you about them offline.
    Thank you,
    Paige B. (moderator)

  167. Bryan Cross said,

    April 20, 2012 at 10:14 am

    Alan, (re: #161)

    What I was trying to point out in my reply to you in #46, is that the notion that while on the cross Christ, in His human nature, simultaneously received both love and wrath from the Father, and in His human nature never lost communion with the Father, reduces the Father’s wrath to discipline, because in that case nothing would differentiate the two (i.e. wrath and discipline). And this would entail that Christ did not receive the full punishment for sin, because the full punishment for sin requires loss of communion with the Father (unless we’re going soft on hell). So this notion of Christ in His human nature maintaining communion with the Father, while receiving the full punishment for sins, does not seem to be compatible with penal substitutionary atonement. Moreover, since you (I presume) agree that Christians presently receive the Father’s discipline, then if wrath and discipline are the same, this implies that the punishment Christ received was not sufficient, since justified believers still have to receive more punishment/discipline. Penal substitutionary atonement, therefore requires a more-than-merely-semantic distinction between wrath and discipline in order to avoid both reducing hell to a kind of purgatory (i.e. a temporary place of mere discipline, not loss of fellowship with God), and denying the penal sufficiency of Christ’s finished work on the cross. And so far as I can tell, the only basis for that distinction is that divine wrath excludes communion, while the Father’s discipline does not.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  168. Sean Gerety said,

    April 20, 2012 at 10:37 am

    Why was my request that Jon and T Fan now call on Alan Strange to repent of his libel against Gordon Clark?

  169. Sean Gerety said,

    April 20, 2012 at 10:38 am

    … removed?

  170. Sean Gerety said,

    April 20, 2012 at 10:39 am

    Are erstaz-“doctors” of theology and pastors above the need to repent of their sins?

  171. TurretinFan said,

    April 20, 2012 at 10:51 am

    Bryan:

    Two weaknesses of your argument arise from your attempt to suggest that what distinguishes discipline from punishment is communion.

    Consider a judge in ancient Israel whose son burgles. The judge as judge can require the law’s justice of triple restitution from the son, without ceasing to love the son as a father.

    A better way of distinguishing discipline and punishment is with respect to its purpose and intent. The intent of discipline is improvement of the person being disciplined. The intent of punishment is retributive justice.

    Thus, substitutionary discipline makes little sense, because the subject of the discipline does not need the improvement that discipline is capable of providing.

    On the other hand, substitutionary punishment makes sense, because justice can be satisfied through the infliction of retribution.

    Indeed, the son would not receive the benefit of discipline by the father paying his debts on his behalf, but human justice would be satisfied by that same act.

    The second weakness is that even if “communion” is relevant in some sense, it is not the intra-trinitarian communion that is in view.

    -TurretinFan

  172. Alan D. Strange said,

    April 20, 2012 at 10:53 am

    Bryan:

    I understand, and have understood all along, what you are saying. To keep repeating yourself, to keep asking the same question when you don’t like the answer you’ve received, is “badgering the witness.”

    As I indicated in # 161, I affirmed the answers of those who had engaged since my last being on, especially the exchanges that you had with Jeff Cagle.

    And the answer, one last time, is that Christ on the cross in his humanity suffered the loss of the favorable presence of God (cf. WLC 89–hell is not the absence of God– there is nowhere He is not– but is the lack of the “favorable presence” of God–I’m not “going soft on hell”) while sustained in this by His deity (recall WLC 38 ” It was requisite that the mediator should be God, that he might sustain and keep the human nature from sinking under the infinite wrath of God.”).

    This is the Reformed answer, certainly the Westminster answer, and it speaks of something that is knowable but not comprehensible, as Westminster time and again affirms that God is incomprehensible and His ways “past finding out.”

    We believe that God’s justice demands that all sin be punished (as well as all righteousness accomplished; thus we affirm the imputation of the passive and active obedience of Christ), either by our Substitute or by us suffering in hell eternally. This Christ does for us. We do not believe in pitting God’s attributes off against each other, which is what you are doing, and simply declaring that His love trumps His justice. No, we believe that His justice is satisfied and asks no more and that HIs love is the moving cause of that atonement that is part of satisfying His justice. Rome has tended to pit grace and justice against one another and this causes not a Christological problem, in the first place, but a theological problem.

  173. TurretinFan said,

    April 20, 2012 at 11:00 am

    To pile on to that last comment from Prof. Strange, even if we assume that Christ would need to experience punishment in the sense of absence of favor (though I am not convinced that a substitute needs to have that same aspect of the punishment), all that is necessary for that subjective experience is the absence of the sense or awareness of God’s favor. The same would apply if we replace “favor” with “communion.” The subjective experience of Christ is the same if the sense of communion is missing.

    Moreover, if Christ in his humanity can be unaware of the day and hour, then Christ in his humanity can be unaware of other things.

    -TurretinFan

  174. Alan D. Strange said,

    April 20, 2012 at 11:43 am

    T-fan:

    I very much appreciate you comment. I, too, am uncertain about what precisely was entailed in the wrath and punishment poured out on Christ as our substitute as to its specific nature.

    I think that we can say that He who had only known the Father’s favor experienced, on the cross, in some measure, the lack of that favor. By citing WLC 89 my intention was not to equate what He experienced simpliciter what the damned experience, but to note that what the damned experience is not the loss of God’s presence but of his favorable presence. He experienced something of this in some measure. Given that He was infinite and in perfect union and communion with His Father the presence of such disfavor but for a short time would be more than eternity in hell for us.

  175. Jack Bradley said,

    April 20, 2012 at 11:48 am

    Alan wrote: “We do not believe in pitting God’s attributes off against each other. . . His love is the moving cause of that atonement that is part of satisfying His justice.”

    This really does get to the root of the problem for those who have a problem with penal substitutionary atonement. They think they are emphasizing God’s love, but they are actually dramatically deemphasizing the depth His love.

    Michael Horton, The Christian Faith, 513f:

    “In covenant theology, the legal and relational aspects are never set at odds. . . At various points in the history of evangelical theology, distorted treatments of penal substitution have provoked reactions (overreactions) within evangelical circles. . . the penal aspect is often abused when expressed in terms of an angry Father who takes out his frustrations on a loving and passive Son. . . The punishment that Christ bore was not an arbitrary act of revenge, but a fulfillment of the standard that God had established in creation: namely, life for obedience, death for disobedience. The cross was a satisfaction of the claim of justice, not of dignity or irrational anger.

    . . . John Stott’s warning is salutary: ‘Any notion of penal substitution in which three independent actors play a role – the guilty party, the punitive judge, and the innocent victim – is to be repudiated with the utmost vehemence.’ At the cross, the Father was fulfilling his loving purpose toward sinners through the one whom he loved most dearly. Yet he could not satisfy his love at the expense of his justice.

    . . . If there is a danger in reducing Christ’s accomplishment to penal substitution, the opposite danger is to see other aspects as alternatives to it. . . the condition of sin and its penalties is first of all judicial. Christ’s death saves because it resolves the serious crisis between God and human beings in the cosmic courtroom.”

    Stott, The Cross of Christ, 168:

    “Moved by the perfection of his holy love, God in Christ substituted himself for us sinners. That is the heart of the cross of Christ.”

  176. Alan D. Strange said,

    April 20, 2012 at 11:51 am

    Moderator:

    Am I missing something? To what is Sean Gerety referring in #168-170? Is he accusing me of sin? What sin and why is this here without explanation? I would ask that this be cleared up. As it stands, he appears to be accusing me of sin and calling me to repent.

    Please either remove this (apparently earlier posts were removed) or otherwise make it possible for me to deal intelligibly with this.

  177. Sean Gerety said,

    April 20, 2012 at 12:07 pm

    Yes, Alan, I am accusing you of sin, specifically sin against Gordon Clark and by extension, me. Your remarks #161 falsely accuse my post (#126) of “rationalism” and “real Nestorianism” both charges that cannot be historically or logically sustained. So, I will ask you directly, will you repent of your sin?

  178. matthew n. petersen said,

    April 20, 2012 at 12:23 pm

    Sean,

    Sheesh! You saidnon the other thread that younthink Chalxedon is self-contradictory, and irrelevant. If you’re going to say something like that, you shouldn’t be offended by a charge of Nestorianism.

    Alan,

    I seriously do not understand something in your last comment. You said that on the Reformed view the humanity of Christ is sustained by the Divinity while the Father is pouring out His wrath on the humanity. Nevermind that this treats the humanity as a subject. Isn’t the Divinity of the Son exactly the same as the Divinity of the Father? So if the Divinity of the Son is supporting, so is the Divinity of the Father, and if the Divinity of the Father i spouring out wrath, so is the Divinity of the Son. I’m having a hard time seeing how you can avoid the charge of Tritheism. You can’t mean that the Father is both pouring out wrath, and supporting, and likewise the Son. That’s just a contradiction.

  179. ljdibiase said,

    April 20, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    Bryan,

    You said: “Given the unity of the divine will, that Jesus-according-to-His-divine-nature poured out His wrath on Jesus-according-to-His-human-nature, and therefore (for the reasons explained in #116) that Jesus-according-to-His-divine-nature broke communion with Jesus-according-to-His-human-nature. This is therefore problematic for the intra-Personal unity of the Logos. If Jesus cannot deny Himself (2 Tim 2:13), then He cannot break communion with Himself, period.”

    Is this correct? I am not an expert on the Trinity by any means, so somebody please correct me if I am wrong, but it seems that this is not allowing for a full distinction between the persons of the Trinity. While there is unity in the divine will, there is distinction in roles. Just like the Father sends the Son, and the Son is the one who is sent, so the Father pours out wrath, and the Son receives that wrath. The Son does not pour out wrath on himself.

    Owen says the following, with the last clause being key:

    “The agent in, and chief author of, this great work of our redemption is the whole blessed Trinity; for all the works which are outwardly of the Deity are undivided and belong equally to each person, their distinct manner of subsistence and order being observed.”

    I wonder about this, because you seem later in your comment to affirm it yourself. You said, “the proper object of imputation and wrath is a person, not a nature,” and “what breaks communion is fundamentally a person, not a nature.” If that is so, then it is not the indiscriminate divine nature that pours out wrath, but specifically the person of the Father who pours out wrath on the Son, who specifically receives it – in his human nature. And if this is so, then the rest of your comment falls apart.

    Could you, or someone, please comment on this?

  180. April 20, 2012 at 12:34 pm

    Brothers,

    This is insanity, and to my mind clearly so. Alan has done nothing but make a historical-theological judgment about a position. Sean has now extended the definition of sin to be a failure to concede to his own hangups about the terms and concepts that inform such judgments as Alan has made. And so, in effect, now any insinuation that someone’s position is Nestorian (or, it would seem, monophysite, too, since such a judgment rests on the same set of terms and concepts) as such is automatically sinful, because Sean has determined that the terms and concepts that inform such a judgment are meaningless.

    In effect, Sean has set his own dictates of what constites rationality and meaning as setting the standard for what is and is not sinful. Whereas David has positively insulted a brother, Alan has done nothing but not grant Sean’s assessment of the terms and concepts. And Sean would now have us believe that the latter is as much a sinful offense as the former. I believe this is now the time when you all cease engaging with Sean or David.

  181. Sean Gerety said,

    April 20, 2012 at 12:47 pm

    @181 And, this from a man who has no intelligible definition of “person” at all and who has insinuated, sometime in the strongest terms, that Lane Kesiter is similarly “Nestorian.” You’re right about one thing, this is insanity.

  182. Alan D. Strange said,

    April 20, 2012 at 12:50 pm

    Moderator:

    Is this Sean’s blog or yours?

    I am on this blog because I have confidence in my gracious host, Lane Keister, and his good judgment. I differ with Sean just in the way that Jon notes in #180. I have not sinned against him or Dr. Clark.

    And by the way, I do not recognize, in any sense at all, that Sean can in any way speak or act on behalf of Dr. Clark. I do not take him as representing Dr. Clark and though I have my differences with Dr. Clark, I would never speak about him as Sean has spoken to me.

    I would appeal to the owner of this site to deal with this problem fairly. I’ll leave it to his judgment. But, sinful as I am, I do not believe that I have sinned here and that Sean is, in every sense of the word, out of his place on this blog and needs to be rebuked for presuming to act as he has.

  183. ljdibiase said,

    April 20, 2012 at 12:58 pm

    Matthew, I believe the opposite error is called Sabellianism.

    Bump on comment # 179.

  184. April 20, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    It should be apparent to all that the idea that I’ve insinuated that Lane is Nestorian “in the strongest of terms” is nothing but an attempt to discredit me with the moderators of this site. I have not once done anything of the kind. As prof. Strange has done, I’ve done nothing but make judgments about *positions* based on received terms and concepts (never once said Lane actually holds a Nestorian position). Whether or not 2 or 3 individuals might consider those terms and concepts understood in their historic, theological sense adequate is quite beside the point. And to exalt one’s own criteria of terminological adequacy to the standard of divine law, such that to transgress that criteria is equated with sin, is, well, I’ll let y’all fill in the blank.

  185. Bryan Cross said,

    April 20, 2012 at 1:12 pm

    Alan (re: 172),

    Thanks for your reply. In no way did I intend to imply that *you* were going soft on hell. I was intending only to lay out the implications of a position in which it was denied that Christ in His human nature lost communion with the Father. Sorry if that wasn’t clear.

    In no place have I pitted God’s attributes off against each other, nor does my argument require doing so. If you disagree, please back up your claim, and show how my argument pits God’s love and justice (or any two divine attributes) against each other.

    If your position is that of Jeff (in #129), I presented an argument in the last two paragraphs of #157 showing why I think that position doesn’t avoid the conflict with Chalcedon.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  186. TurretinFan said,

    April 20, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    “So if the Divinity of the Son is supporting, so is the Divinity of the Father, and if the Divinity of the Father i spouring out wrath, so is the Divinity of the Son.”

    Be careful about this attempt. Just because all three persons are one God, does not mean that all three persons are rightly described as doing the same thing.

  187. Sean Gerety said,

    April 20, 2012 at 1:46 pm

    @185 It’s interesting that you say that Jon because on another thread Lane wrote:

    “Jonathan and Jack now seem to be disagreeing as to how close my position is to Nestorianism.”

    And, again in response to you:

    Jonathan, if I wanted, I could be offended at the almost constant hinting that I was Nestorian or bordering on it. I could also, if I wanted, be offended at what could be interpreted as nit-picking at a guy who simply wanted to be cautious.

    Now why did Lane write those things? While I haven’t the time or inclination to go back through all your many posts you did say re Lane:

    But in the comments of that post it seemed to me you were coming close to Nestorian-ish sounding formulations because you seemed to be saying the person of Christ is the product of the union of natures rather than identical with the Second Person of the Holy Trinity. As I saw it, your concern there was to shy away from admitting that the one who acted in and through the human nature of Christ is a divine person.

    That and other statements from seem very much like you were strongly insinuating that Lane had crossed the line into Nestorianism. I’m confident there are more statements. Shall I find those also?

  188. TurretinFan said,

    April 20, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    Bryan:

    Thanks for highlighting these paragraphs you wrote earlier.

    Let me provide some specific responses. You wrote:

    Moreover, the proper object of imputation and wrath is a person, not a nature. The Logos could not receive the imputation of sin by its first being imputed to his human nature, or in virtue of something acquired by His human nature. And that’s why the imputed guilt of the Logos cannot be restricted to something true of Him through His human nature, as can His obedience (true of Him through His human will), His learning (true of Him through His human intellect), His suffering (true of Him through His human soul). And that’s also why my argument does not depend on or presuppose ‘that actions toward the divine person of Christ must be actions towards Christ according to both natures.

    Whether or not the proper object of imputation and wrath is a person, not a nature, your argument missteps because the imputation of sin to Christ is certainly connected with his being a man – it is connected to his human nature. It is only by virtue of being a man that he is a suitable federal head for his people.

    Thus, the imputed guilt does seem to be attributed to Christ in a restricted way, as to his humanity and in his role as sin-bearer.

    Moreover, his active and passive obedience is properly imputed to him (and then imputed to believers) on account of what he did according to his humanity.

    Indeed, since it is human demerit that is being imputed to Christ, it seems fully appropriate that it be imputed to Christ as man, or more precisely Christ according to his humanity.

    But there is also a problem on the flip side. To say that the guilt cannot be “restricted to something true of Him through His human nature” you seem to be suggesting that we need to make both natures the proper object of the guilt. But if guilt is not properly the object of either nature, it cannot properly be the object of both natures.

    Indeed, the supposed conflict only arises if we are doing what is impossible without contradiction, namely imputing guilt to the divine nature.

    In order to make a distinction between what is true of the Logos “according to His human nature” and what is true of the Logos “according to His divine nature,” the truth maker for these truths must be in the relevant nature, not the Person proper.

    The level of abstraction of this analysis may be the source of your confusion. Nevertheless, the reason that it is true that the guilt of mankind has been imputed to Christ does lie in the fact that Christ is consubstantial with us. If the Word had not become flesh, such imputation would not be possible.

    But, what breaks communion is fundamentally a person, not a nature.

    The expression “fundamentally” there is susceptible of a variety of meanings. One might just as easily say that fundmentally it is a person who dies or who is raised. Yet the death and resurrection of Christ were restricted to his human nature and did not touch the distinct divine nature.

    Additionally, as noted above, you need to clearly identify the kind of communion you have in mind. If you simply mean an expression of favor … that is one thing. If you mean something like the intra-Trinitarian fellowship, that is another thing.

    -TurretinFan

  189. April 20, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    1. Jack and I disagreed about how close Lane was from Nestorianism precisely in that I said that Lane sufficiently guarded himself from it, while Jack said he was having trouble keeping himself from making the accusation.

    2. The closest I came to insinuations of Nestorianism is precisely what you quoted: “coming close to Nestorian-ish sounding statements.” So, that is “the strongest of terms”? Fine. Guilty.

    Raising questions about statements made that sound like a certain position and seeking clarification of what is meant by those statements is entirely different than accusations.

    Sean, you are becoming increasingly childish, divisive, and down right obnoxious. Stop it.

  190. Sean Gerety said,

    April 20, 2012 at 2:55 pm

    I guess we’re even then Jon, because I find many of your remarks equally childish, divisive and downright obnoxious. Yes, you didn’t explicitly say that Lane’s understanding and construction was “Nestorian” as some others have said, even though it was difficult at times to distinguish your arguments from, say, Jack’s, but your persistent criticism of Lane’s Chalcedonian construction, particularly his affirmation that “If God suffered on the cross, then God died on the cross. I, for one, cannot go there” implied that Lane was “Nestorian-ish” on more than one occasion, which, on the face of it, is absurd.

    Basically, if he wouldn’t confess things in precisely the terms you wanted them confessed he was somehow veering away from orthodoxy. Further, what you call “seeking clarity” came across at times more like something out of a pogrom.

  191. ljdibiase said,

    April 20, 2012 at 2:57 pm

    As I said in comment # 179, Bryan’s comments at #157 are ‘coming close to modalistic-ish sounding statements.’ Still waiting for a response.

  192. Jack Bradley said,

    April 20, 2012 at 3:02 pm

    I corroborate the complete accuracy of #1.

    I corroborate the complete accuracy of paragraph 4.

  193. greenbaggins said,

    April 20, 2012 at 3:15 pm

    David Reece, you are completely out of line. Sean, please tone it down. Alan, may I ask you a question: couldn’t Clark’s formulations in 126 be understood in a non-Nestorian direction? Personally, I am not sure that Clark is saying anything other than that Jesus as a man suffered. Surely we would be happy with that.

  194. David Reece said,

    April 20, 2012 at 3:49 pm

    Paigebritton,

    You said, “Please limit your comments to engaging another person’s arguments, rather than making pronouncements at a personal level.”

    I was making a judgement about Alan D. Stange’s assertion that Clarkians, Sean, and I are rationalists and Nestorians. Alan D. Strange said, “The mystery is ‘resolved’ only in the rationalism of real Nestorianism (#126) or in denying wrath, as Bryan has done.”

    In this same post where he asserted that we are nestorians and rationalists he asserted that resolution of the “mystery” is impossible within the bounds of orthodoxy.

    I was making the judgement that the claim that only error could allow one to escape contradiction or unintelligibility was Mystery Babylon religion.

    Alan D. Stange,

    Did I understand you correctly? You are suggesting that Chalcedon is correct and at the same time you are asserting that Chalcedon leads to irresolvable apparent contradictions?

    I proudly believe that God’s truth is not contradictory.

  195. Jack Bradley said,

    April 20, 2012 at 3:51 pm

    Lane,

    Just to jump in for a moment. We would be happy with “Jesus as a man suffered” if, at the same time, we say that this man is a divine person. Therefore, the divine person / God-man suffered.

  196. David Reece said,

    April 20, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    Lane,

    I did not see your post until after I had responded. I did not respond after you as a sign of disrespect.

    I am concerned that the willingness to accept mystery is destructive of Chritianity as a whole.

  197. David Reece said,

    April 20, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    I retract the use of the term “Mystery Babylon.”

    I would like to replace it with the claim that without the willingness to reject all contradiction as deadly, then Christianity is endangered as a whole.

  198. Bryan Cross said,

    April 20, 2012 at 4:04 pm

    TF (re: 188),

    It wasn’t clear to me in your comments which premise of the argument you were denying, or how you were showing that the conclusion doesn’t follow from the premises. Here’s a numbered outline of the argument from the end of #157:

    (1) The truth-maker for what is true of the Logos according to a nature must be in that nature.

    (2) If Jesus broke communion with Himself, either He did so in His Person (i.e. Logos breaking communion with Logos), or the Logos-according-to-His-divine-nature broke communion with the Logos-according-to-His-human-nature.

    (3) What breaks or loses communion is fundamentally (i.e. directly) a person, not a nature.

    (4) If Jesus broke communion with Himself in His Person, He is a composite of parts each capable of communion.

    (5) If Jesus is a composite of persons, Nestorianism is true.

    (6) If the Logos-according-to-His-divine-nature broke communion with the Logos-according-to-His-human-nature, then the truth-maker for “the Logos-according-to-His-divine-nature broke communion with …” must be in His divine nature, and the truth-maker for “the Logos-according-to-His-human-nature lost communion with … ” must be in His human nature. [from (1)]

    (7) If Jesus broke communion with Himself, He did so in His Person. [from (2), (3), and (6)]

    (8) If Jesus broke communion with Himself in His Person, He is a composite of persons. [from (3), (4)]

    (9) If Jesus broke communion with Himself, then Nestorianism is true. [from (5), (7), and (8)]

    Have at it. :-)

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  199. TurretinFan said,

    April 20, 2012 at 4:07 pm

    Jeff (in case you are still hanging around), I like this piece you provided from Augustine Against Faustus:

    But as Christ endured death as man, and for man; so also, Son of God as He was, ever living in His own righteousness, but dying for our offenses, He submitted as man, and for man, to bear the curse which accompanies death. And as He died in the flesh which He took in bearing our punishment, so also, while ever blessed in His own righteousness, He was cursed for our offenses, in the death which He suffered in bearing our punishment.

    Notice the opposites present there by virtue of the hypostatic union (bold for his humanity, italics for his divinity):

    But as Christ endured death as man, and for man;
    so also, Son of God as He was, ever living in His own righteousness,
    but dying for our offenses, He submitted as man, and for man, to bear the curse which accompanies death. And as He died in the flesh which He took in bearing our punishment,so also, while ever blessed in His own righteousness, He was cursed for our offenses, in the death which He suffered in bearing our punishment.

    It reminds me of another similar passage from Augustine:

    For even the Lord was subject to death, but not on account of sin: He took upon Him our punishment, and so looses our guilt. With reason then, “In Adam all die, but in Christ shall all be made alive.” (1 Corinthians 15:22) For, “Through one man,” says the Apostle, “sin has entered into this world, and through sin death, and so has passed unto all men, in that all have sinned.” (Romans 5:12) Definite is the sentence: “In Adam,” he says, “all have sinned.” Alone then could such an infant be innocent, as has not been born of the work of Adam.

    (Exposition on Psalm 51) For anyone who thinks Mary was immaculately conceived, don’t worry about that last line. Surely Augustine was just absent-mindedly forgetting Jesus’ mom. :grin:

    But seriously, the point about punishment-bearing is the same.

    Likewise, consider Chrysostom on 2 Corinthians 5:21:

    “For Him who knew no sin He made to be sin on our account.”

    ‘I say nothing of what has gone before, that you have outraged Him, Him that had done you no wrong, Him that had done you good, that He exacted not justice, that He is first to beseech, though first outraged; let none of these things be set down at present. Ought ye not in justice to be reconciled for this one thing only that He has done to you now?’ And what has He done? “Him that knew no sin He made to be sin, for you.” For had He achieved nothing but done only this, think how great a thing it were to give His Son for those that had outraged Him. But now He has both well achieved mighty things, and besides, has suffered Him that did no wrong to be punished for those who had done wrong. But he did not say this: but mentioned that which is far greater than this. What then is this? “Him that knew no sin,” he says, Him that was righteousness itself , “He made sin,” that is suffered as a sinner to be condemned, as one cursed to die. “For cursed is he that hangs on a tree.” Galatians 3:13 For to die thus was far greater than to die; and this he also elsewhere implying, says, “Becoming obedient unto death, yea the death of the cross.” Philippians 2:8 For this thing carried with it not only punishment, but also disgrace. Reflect therefore how great things He bestowed on you. For a great thing indeed it were for even a sinner to die for any one whatever; but when He who undergoes this both is righteous and dies for sinners; and not dies only, but even as one cursed; and not as cursed [dies] only, but thereby freely bestows upon us those great goods which we never looked for; (for he says, that “we might become the righteousness of God in Him;”) what words, what thought shall be adequate to realize these things? ‘For the righteous,’ says he, ‘He made a sinner; that He might make the sinners righteous.’ Yea rather, he said not even so, but what was greater far; for the word he employed is not the habit, but the quality itself. For he said not “made” [Him] a sinner, but “sin;” not, ‘Him that had not sinned’ only, but “that had not even known sin; that we” also “might become,” he did not say ‘righteous,’ but, “righteousness,” and, “the righteousness of God.” For this is [the righteousness] “of God” when we are justified not by works, (in which case it were necessary that not a spot even should be found,) but by grace, in which case all sin is done away. And this at the same time that it suffers us not to be lifted up, (seeing the whole is the free gift of God,) teaches us also the greatness of that which is given. For that which was before was a righteousness of the Law and of works, but this is “the righteousness of God.”

    Again, penal language is used there, even if Chrysostom never formalizes it into fully developed penal substitution.

    And what is interesting is to see how both Augustine and Chrysostom do not hesitate to say that Christ received punishment, and not merely discipline.

    -TurretinFan

  200. TurretinFan said,

    April 20, 2012 at 4:27 pm

    Bryan:

    There are a lot of issues that I have with the list, perhaps to keep it simple, here is the most obvious problem:

    (4) If Jesus broke communion with Himself in His Person, He is a composite of parts each capable of communion.

    That premise is problematic.

    Depending on what you mean by communion, how does Jesus maintaining communion with himself as opposed to breaking communion with himself have any effect on whether he is a “composite of parts each capable of communion”?

    Assuming you say it has no effect, then what you are really saying is that Jesus cannot be said to have communion with himself, because that implies that Jesus has parts that are each capable of communion.

    Which, of course, leads us back to the question of what do you mean by “communion.”

    A second problematic premise is this:

    (3) What breaks or loses communion is fundamentally (i.e. directly) a person, not a nature.

    First, even with “directly,” it seems that this amounts to a category error. Persons and natures are different categories, not competing members of a same category.

    Second, the experience of communion is according to a nature, not immediately personal as though a person could do or have something apart from a nature. When Christ communed with the disciples at the last supper it was according to his human nature. When Christ communed with the Father from all eternity, it was according to his divine nature. Of course, these are two different kinds of communing, but in both cases the communion is according to a nature, even while being by a person.

    Those seem to me to be the two of the glaring problems of the argument.

    -TurretinFan

  201. greenbaggins said,

    April 20, 2012 at 4:38 pm

    Jack, given the Hodge qualifications on how we can say that, then yes. The subject in the sentence is the whole person of Christ, which can be denominated by either nature. The predicate is related to the human nature. I think Lee Johnson’s words are wise here. We run into trouble when we have the wrong direction in the statements. When we use the word “God” in the subject of a sentence having to do with suffering, we are referring to the person of Christ, not the divine nature considered abstractly, nor the divine person considered apart from the human nature.

  202. David Reece said,

    April 20, 2012 at 4:41 pm

    Lane,

    You quoted Hodge as saying, “It was a divine person, not merely a divine nature, that assumed humanity, or became incarnate. Hence it follows that the human nature of Christ, separately considered, is impersonal…To personality both rational substance and distinct subsistence are essential. The latter the human nature of Christ never possessed.”

    You claim to agree with Hodge. What does he mean by subsistence?

  203. Bryan Cross said,

    April 20, 2012 at 4:54 pm

    TF, (re: #200)

    The problem with denying (4) is that it requires positing that the Logos, who is simple, can break communion with Himself in Himself. In order to break communion with Himself in Himself, there must be in Himself [at least] two things in communion, that can cease to be in communion, then later be restored to communion. However, what is absolutely one in itself cannot be divided in itself, because in an absolutely simple divine Person there are no component parts. So, denying (4) entails a denial of divine simplicity. And if preserving penal substitution requires denying (4), then penal substitution runs up against the doctrine of divine simplicity.

    The problem with denying (3) is that if natures can break and form communion, there is only a semantic difference, but not a principled difference, between such natures and persons. So denying (3) runs up against Chalcedon. And in that case, if preserving penal substitution requires denying (3), penal substitution runs up against Chalcedon.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  204. April 20, 2012 at 5:16 pm

    Your charges, Sean, are so downright absurd that I hesitate to respond. But one thing:

    “if he wouldn’t confess things in precisely the terms you wanted them confessed he was somehow veering away from orthodoxy. Further, what you call “seeking clarity” came across at times more like something out of a pogrom.”

    Right. That’s exactly why I wrote the following on March 30: “we should allow people freedom to speak the words with which they’re comfortable, as long as the meaning behind them, given their explanations, is orthodox.”

    It was in fact such orthodox explanations such as we have in the Hodge quote cited with Lane’s approval that I was wanting to hear.

  205. TurretinFan said,

    April 20, 2012 at 5:33 pm

    Bryan:

    “The problem with denying (4) is that it requires positing that the Logos, who is simple, can break communion with Himself in Himself.”

    a) First, you’ve left “communion” undefined. One can reject (4) for using an undefined term, without denying it in the way you’ve suggested.

    b) Second, simplicity is an attribute of the divine nature. It cannot possibly be an attribute of the hypostatic union as a union. Jesus is God and Man in two distinct natures. To suggest that the two natures are one and simple is an error (a heresy per your church).

    c) Third, one can reject (4) on the ground that it is impossible, on your terms, for Jesus to have communion with himself, so it is nonsense to speak of him breaking something he cannot have.

    So, not it is not true that denying (4) in the sense of rejecting it requires positing that something simple can break communion with itself.

    “The problem with denying (3) is that if natures can break and form communion, there is only a semantic difference, but not a principled difference, between such natures and persons.”

    That is not a necessary consequence of rejecting (3). (3) can be rejected not by saying that natures break and form communion but by saying that a person breaks or forms communion according to a nature.

    It’s a puzzle whether you read the reasons for rejecting (3) and (4), or if you simply identified that (3) and (4) were in scope and then responded. There doesn’t seem to be any significant interaction with the actual arguments presented.

    Indeed, with respect to (3), you simply seem to provide further ground for suggesting that (4) should be rejected as nonsense (as a statement without meaning), namely that your position is that communion is not possible within the person of Jesus. Not just that breaking it is impossible, but that communion itself is impossible.

    -TurretinFan

  206. Alan D. Strange said,

    April 20, 2012 at 6:27 pm

    Lane:

    In his book on the Incarnation especially, and in his wider corpus, more generally, I think that Dr. Clark fell into the Nestorian error. This does not mean that I don’t believe that he was a very gifted and able man and helped the church in many ways. I do, but I believe that he was wrong here. The latter part of the quote in #126 makes it sound as if this human being named Jesus received this wrath: what connection this man had in receiving such to the Second Person of the Holy Trinity is very unclear. Christ was an eternal divine person who added humanity to deity, not who added a human person to His divine person.

    Clarkians have called Van Til a modalist for saying that God is one person and three persons. Now I don’t think that he was–I think the confusion was terminological and otherwise explained–but I think that Van Til’s expression was not only infelicitous and unwise but, in fact, wrong–an error. I don’t defend it. I understand why Dr. Clark would have a problem with it. And I have a problem with the way Clark deals with the Incarnation.

    Somewhere herein Dr. Clark was quoted acknowledging that most theologians would not like his “solutions” to the problems. They don’t, whether its his definition of the Incarnation or of saving faith. And I must say here, and I don’t mean to be pejorative as such–Dr. Clark had philosophical training, but not theological training. And I think that this makes a difference.

    Clark was not trained as a theologian. Philosophy is the handmaiden of theology. Not the other way around. And I fear in Dr. Clark’s hands, theology became, at various points, philosophy’s handmaiden. This is not my private judgment. Dr. Clark’s approach is widely criticized and regarded as rationalistic. HIs followers might not like that, but that’s simply the case. And it will not do for Clarkians to fulminate and engage in mock outrage We who are not Clarkians (and few are) have these differences and they are not unknown.

    I do not expect to be attacked here, Lane, by maintaining the same thing that your professor at Westminster, Scott Oliphint, taught. Yes, this is my read of Dr. Clark. I realize that folk have a read of Van Til with which I disagree. But I don’t scream “repent” and “libel” and all sorts of stuff that continues to make dialog with Clarkians, frankly, impossible. Where this ended is where it so often ends with these self-identified Clarkians.

    And having said that (“self-indentified Clarkians”), I do not accept that they are proper representatives of Dr. Clark, and I do not attribute their emotional, illogical behavior to him. Dr. Clark would apologize for such and would not recognize the spirit that accompanies it as properly associated with his teaching. He was a brilliant man with some strong convictions, but he was also a gentleman. I have not seen gentlemanly behavior here. It is not ungentlemanly to say someone is in error, particularly when such is widely held. It is to go off on me and others as have Messrs. Gerety and Reece. I withstand and will continue to withstand such: I pray with meekness and humility which I surely lack but always seek.

  207. Bryan Cross said,

    April 20, 2012 at 6:51 pm

    TF, (#205)

    Second, simplicity is an attribute of the divine nature. It cannot possibly be an attribute of the hypostatic union as a union. Jesus is God and Man in two distinct natures. To suggest that the two natures are one and simple is an error (a heresy per your church).

    In case you missed it, premise (4) is about the Logos in Himself. So it is not about the divine nature per se, or the hypostatic union (which is a created thing). If defending penal substitution requires positing composition in the divine Persons themselves (while attempting to affirm simplicity of the divine nature), then I don’t see any need to say more.

    it is nonsense to speak of him breaking something he cannot have.

    So much the worse for the position according to which the Logos lost communion with Himself. If He cannot lose communion with Himself, then He (being God) cannot receive the essence of the divine punishment for sin, which is the loss of communion with God. On the other hand, if He in Himself (i.e. the Logos proper) can lose communion with Himself, then it follows that one thing in Him can be not in communion with another thing in Him, and that each of these things in Him is capable of communion, making them ontologically indistinguishable from persons. An absolutely simple Person cannot lose communion with Himself in Himself. Again, if defending penal substitution requires positing composition in the Second Person (and presumably thus also in the other two Persons), let alone persons as component parts of the Second Person), then, I don’t see any need to say more.

    And nothing you said falsifies the following [from #203]: if natures can break and form communion, there is only a semantic difference, but not a principled difference, between such natures and persons. To falsify that proposition, you would have to show how natures can form and break communion, and yet not be persons. You haven’t done that, or even provided an example of a nature forming or breaking communion. So you haven’t yet shown how denying (3) is compatible with affirming Chalcedon’s teaching concerning the distinction of persons and natures.

    So unless someone else has some other objection, I’ll just leave it at that.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  208. Sean Gerety said,

    April 20, 2012 at 7:31 pm

    I think that Dr. Clark fell into the Nestorian error.

    Well, did he or didn’t he? Much of what you write I find self serving. You attacked Clark’s construction as Nestorian (actually, you said Clark was guilty of “real Nesorianism”) , but you make no effort to back up your charge. Frankly, I’ve seen everyone from Lane to Calvin labeled or libeled as “Nestorian” so just your say so isn’t going to cut it. I cite a respected, albeit very confused. professor from RTS concurring with Clark “that it wouldn’t be fair to charge him with the heresy of Nestorianism, since Nestorius clearly didn’t employ anything like Clark’s definition of ‘person.’” Now, I admit the RTS prof is philosophically trained so perhaps his opinion is no good, but I would think it would carry as much weight as your own.

    Don’t get me wrong I understand the frustration of some here and how it must look being so theologically trained and failing so miserably when asked to define a simple term that is so utterly central to this debate. As matter of fact it is the make or break word. Yet, I’ve been told repeatedly that defining a “person” in terms of self-consciousness or a rational mind or as a congeries of propositions are all “modern,” “bad”, and “Lockean.” Then when I’m provided with what I’m told is the traditional definition to include additional words like “substance” and “subsistence” or definitions that can apply to plants, monkeys and men I’m told to suck it up and bow to the magisterial deliverance of the “Church.” So, I don’t want to embarrass you Alan, but would you care giving it a try? Maybe you can succeed where all your fellow theologically trained compatriots failed so miserably and unambiguously and clearly define what you mean by the word “person.”

  209. Jack Bradley said,

    April 20, 2012 at 8:38 pm

    “When we use the word “God” in the subject of a sentence having to do with suffering, we are referring to the person of Christ, not the divine nature considered abstractly, nor the divine person considered apart from the human nature.”

    Very well put, Lane.

    I so appreciate the forum you provide here.

  210. TurretinFan said,

    April 20, 2012 at 9:12 pm

    Bryan:

    In case you missed it, premise (4) is about the Logos in Himself. So it is not about the divine nature per se, or the hypostatic union (which is a created thing). If defending penal substitution requires positing composition in the divine Persons themselves (while attempting to affirm simplicity of the divine nature), then I don’t see any need to say more.

    Two natures in one person is Chalcedonian. If a rejection of Chalcedon is necessary to criticize penal substitution, I think it’s safe to say your criticism is plainly out of line with your own church’s teachings.

    Moreover, of course, the union of the two natures in one person relates only to the person of Christ aka the Logos aka Jesus aka Emmanuel (etc.). It does not follow that the Father and Spirit have any similar characteristic, because they only have one nature.

    Your reasoning, therefore, does not follow.

    But it gets worse. Trying to speak of his person in the abstract, ignoring the reality of the incarnation, you have framed the matter in a way that makes your item (4) nonsense, as already stated.

    To which you replied:

    So much the worse for the position according to which the Logos lost communion with Himself. If He cannot lose communion with Himself, then He (being God) cannot receive the essence of the divine punishment for sin, which is the loss of communion with God.

    You making a nonsense statement does not reflect badly on anyone else’s position – or even on your own position. Nonsense is not an argument for or against anything.

    There is more than one person in the Godhead. If Christ can lose communion in some sense with the Father, then he could still lose communion with God in that same sense, since the Father is God. That would not be the intra-trinitarian communion, but it would still be some kind of loss of communion.

    Of course, we cannot know whether that would qualify under your definition of “loss of communion,” because you haven’t actually defined what “loss of communion” is. And once we see what you intend by “loss of communion,” it will be easier to evaluate whether what you have in mind is something experienced according to the human nature or not. But it seems it must be, for God punishes men who only have such a nature.

    With your further comments, therefore, we are not faced with any kinds of problem for our position – we are simply back to:

    a) define what constitutes “loss of communion” and
    b) demonstrate that “loss of communion” (what you mean by it) is the “essence” of punishment (since it does not appear to be, based on the fact that human punishments do not entail loss of communion)
    c) demonstrate that the kind of communion you think exists and needs to be lost for punishment to occur cannot be lost

    In point of fact, you have quite a long row to hoe.

    You haven’t done that, or even provided an example of a nature forming or breaking communion. So you haven’t yet shown how denying (3) is compatible with affirming Chalcedon’s teaching concerning the distinction of persons and natures.

    a) I have shown how rejecting (3) does not entail the consequences you allege, and you haven’t interacted with that demonstration.

    b) Moreover, the position we take is not that a nature on its own apart from a person forms or breaks communion. You are engaging in what amounts to a denial of the antecedent fallacy.

    Moreover, even if we had suggested that a nature abstracted from a person can form or break communion, since you haven’t defined what sort of communion you are talking about, you haven’t really offered an objection that is worth answering.

    You conclude: “So unless someone else has some other objection, I’ll just leave it at that.”

    I hope you won’t give up without at least trying to answer the objections framed against your argument.

    – TurreitnFan

  211. greenbaggins said,

    April 20, 2012 at 9:48 pm

    Dr. Strange, I consider the attacks on you as being out of line, and I have said so in 193. Folks, I judge that Dr. Strange has not sinned in this thread.

    Alan, have you read the biography of sorts that compile personal recollections of Dr. Clark? If you read that, you will discover that Clark was theologically trained, although maybe not quite the way that most seminarians were. He read his father’s entire theological library of 1500 books before he went off to school, and taught himself Hebrew and Greek. So, yes and no. He wasn’t trained in the same way you or I was. However, he still read rather a lot of theology. I haven’t read The Incarnation, and so I’m not really in a position to judge from the complete context of the entire work whether Clark was Nestorian or not. It only seemed to me that the quotation in question

    I think that the controversy between Clark and Van Til has never really died down among their respective followers. It is a pity. I have always thought (and the evidence seems to suggest that Clark and Van Til also came to understand this later on in life) that they were closer together than they sometimes made out. Clark always was a gentleman, and I think that Van Til was definitely too harsh with him. The followers of Clark have not always followed Clark in this regard. There often seems to be little patience.

  212. Alan D. Strange said,

    April 21, 2012 at 7:09 am

    Thanks, Lane. I am aware of some of these background matters for Dr. Clark. I’ve lectured at Sangre de Cristo Seminary in Colorado, started by a son-in-law of Clark’s and where the bulk of his library is. Both of his daughters are a delight and I have heard some wonderful stories about him from them.

    For my part, this is a principled disagreement and if cannot be conducted on that level with certain folk, I can deal with that and move on. I do think on the broader level, as I have indicated in earlier posts, this is an important conversation to be having in the church and I thank you again for making this forum available to discuss some important issues.

  213. Bryan Cross said,

    April 21, 2012 at 11:10 am

    ljdibiase, [#179]

    Given full penal substitution, and limiting the pouring out of divine wrath only from the Father onto the Son, here’s the logical space as I see it, and the implications of each option. If the Logos does not pour out wrath on Himself, but retains perfect communion with Himself, during the crucifixion, and the wrath of God was poured out only by the Father onto the Son, then (I) either this outpouring of wrath broke the ancient and eternal communion between the Father and the Son, or (II) it did not.

    If this pouring out of divine wrath did break the Father-Son communion, this entails polytheism or Arianism, as I have argued at the link in #36.

    But if this wrath did not break the Father-Son communion, then that’s either because (IIa) wherever the wrath was received it was always accompanied by the Father’s love, or (IIb) because the Father maintained love for the Logos-according-to-His-divine-nature, but withheld love for the Logos-according-to-His-human-nature.

    According to the first option (i.e. IIa) if wherever the wrath was received it was always accompanied by the Father’s love, then as I explained in #167 this ‘wrath’ reduces to mere discipline, equivalent to what justified believers receive from the Father in their Christian walk in this life. And in that case, if hell is in essence the loss of communion with God, Christ did not receive the full punishment for even one sin, and since believers still receive more punishment/discipline in their Christian walk, it entails that Christ’s punishment was not sufficient. And if mere discipline is the full measure of the Father’s wrath for sin, hell is reduced to a kind of purgatory. So this option isn’t compatible with penal substitution, at least not without giving up on the doctrine of hell.

    According to the second option (i.e. IIb), this divine wrath that did not break the Father-Son communion was poured out only by the Father, only onto the Logos, and onto the Logos only “according-to-His-human-nature” such that the Father-Son communion was retained according to the Logos’s divine nature, but the Father’s love and communion was withheld from the Logos-according-to-His-human-nature. The problem with this position is that communion is irreducibly and fundamentally personal. Communion is not with a nature primarily and only derivatively with the person having that nature. To claim that natures can form or break communions would be to lose the distinction between persons and natures, and thus to abandon Chalcedon. Even though persons have natures, and act through the powers they have by their natures, communion is primarily and fundamentally by and with persons. That is why we cannot have communion with the Logos-according-to-His-human-nature while breaking communion with the Logos-according-to-His-divine-nature, or vice versa. To break communion with the Logos in either nature, is to break communion with the Logos Himself. So if the Father broke communion with the Logos-according-to-His-human-nature, this position either reduces to position (I), and thus to either Arianism or polytheism, or “the Logos-according-to-His-human-nature” is a semantic placeholder for a person other than the Logos, which entails Nestorianism.

    That’s the logical space as I see it, and the implications of each option.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  214. David Reece said,

    April 21, 2012 at 2:26 pm

    Lane,

    Since you refuse to respond to my question abotu the meaning of the word “subsistence” I want to say that I think subsistence normally means an individual object within a substance.

    In other words, it is a subject about which the predicates applied to the substance can be applied to.

    Hodge’s point then falls flat. Obviously, Christ’s human nature is a subject to which predicates can be applied. So, if Christ is a man to whom both rationality and subistence are attributed, then by Hodge’s definition the man Christ is a person.

    This of course is a two person theory.

    If no otehr definition is given that can be defended as meaningful and coherent, then Hodge’s solution falls flat.

    I respect hodge, of course, but I think his solution here is a failure.

  215. David Reece said,

    April 21, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    Alan D. Strange,

    I have thought about what I said yesterday, and I want to apologize. I should not have pronounced that you are definiately in sin or judged your writing as “mystery babylon religion” wihtout asking you for clarification since htis foruim allows for clarification very easily. I made a judgement based upon previous things I have seen you write about epistemology, but I think my quick judgement is what I should have restrained. I apologize for makening and pronouncing a judgement so quickly without seeking clarifiction.

    Will you please forgive me and clarify your statement?

    You said, “Bryan has not escaped what he seeks to bring against us and this is the mystery of Chalcedonian Christianity: The Son suffers the Father’s wrath immanently without essentially losing communion. The mystery is ‘resolved’ only in the rationalism of real Nestorianism (#126) or in denying wrath, as Bryan has done.”

    If a doctrine leads to contradiction, then either the premises are false or the reasoning has been invalid. God’s holy word consents in all its parts.

    Do you beleive the4 doctrine of the incarnation as delivered by Chalcedon is true?

    Do you believe that the doctrine of the Incarnation as delivered by Chalcedon leads to irresolvable problems?

  216. David Reece said,

    April 21, 2012 at 3:09 pm

    My additional apologies for the bad typing. I should have read it over before posting.

  217. Alan D. Strange said,

    April 21, 2012 at 3:59 pm

    Dear Mr. Reece:

    I certainly forgive you fully and freely.

    I agree that the Bible consents in all its parts and that no part of it contradicts another. I’ve never said otherwise. That it may seem or even appear to us to contradict does not mean that it does to Him who is transcendent and incomprehensible. I do believe that Chalcedon was seeking to be faithful to God’s revelation with respect to the integirty of the the theanthropic person and that it was. I agree with its Christological formulary.

    I gather that you do not. I understand your objections (as I do Mr. Cross’s with respect the person and work of Christ). I shall retire from this discussion as I have other things to which I must attend. A good Lord’s Day to you all.

  218. olivianus said,

    April 21, 2012 at 4:32 pm

    Matthew Peterson,

    “This is what is troubling me. I believe that the predicates not only can be said of the Person of Christ, but strictly belong to the Person of Christ, and not to the nature. Moreover, I believe the Person of Christ is precisely, God the Logos, who is God qua person”

    >>So then you reject the Monarchy of the father?

  219. olivianus said,

    April 21, 2012 at 4:40 pm

    Matthew Peterson,

    “It’s the clarity in “The Logos died” that I’m after. The Logos is the Second Person not the Second Nature of the Trinity.”

    >>That Is Western Modalistic numerical unity. So then you believe in a single subject Godhead with three modes to it.

    “He is the One Person of Christ.”

    >>>The One subject? A different subject than the Father? If not then you believe in one person in the Godhead, if so, then the Logos is the Second divine nature in the Trinity.

    “If “Logos” means the Divine Nature, then the Father is also the Word, for there is only one Divine Nature.”

    >>>That’s Modalism-Sabellius.

    “Jesus is not distinct from the Logos. They are different names for the same exact Person, God the Word, who begotten of His Father before all ages”

    >>>And on your view the Father is the exact same subject as Jesus and the logos as well.

  220. olivianus said,

    April 21, 2012 at 4:46 pm

    Methinks it erroneous to say that Christ lost the ancient fellowship with the Father. The separation between Father and Son at the cross was no absolute. Turretin, Institutes of Elentic Theology Vol 2, section 13.14

    “Now this desertion is not to be conceived as absolute, total and eternal(such as is felt only by demons and the reprobate), but temporal and relative; not in respect of the union of nature (for what the Son of God once assumed he never parted with); or of the union of grace and holiness because he was always blameless (akakos) and pure (amiantos), endowed with untainted holiness; or of communion and protection because God was always at his right hand (Psa 110:5), nor was he ever left alone (Jn 16:32). But as to a participation in joy and felicity, God suspending for a little while the favorable pressence of grace and the influx of consolation and happiness that he might be able to suffer all the punishment due to us (as to withdrawl of vision, not as to a dissolution of union; as to the want of the sense of the divine love, intercepted by the sense of the divine wrath and vengeance resting upon him, not as top a real privation or extinction of it). And, as the Scholastics say, as to ‘the affection of advantage’ that he might be destitute of the ineffable consolation and joy which arises from a sense of God’s paternal love and the betific vision of his countenance (Ps. 16); but not as to ‘the affection of righteousness’ because he felt nothing inordinate in himself which would tend to desperation, impatience or blasphemy against God.”

  221. olivianus said,

    April 21, 2012 at 5:44 pm

    Bryan re: 36,

    “Such a claim would be easily compatible with Nestorianism, where God pours out His wrath only on the human person Jesus, or only on Jesus’ human nature, while keeping perfect communion with the Logos.”

    >>Nestorianism would not be necessary to that affirmation as I showed from Turretin above, the wrath was not exactly the same as what sinners deserve and the separation was not absolute.

    ” But, given Chalcedonian Christology, and this conception of propitiation by the exhaustion of divine punishment for sins on a substitute victim…If the sin was imputed to the Logos without qualification, then the break in communion between the Father and the Logos during the crucifixion entails that God is passible even in His divine nature, as I explained in #25.”

    >>But as I pointed out from Turretin, the punishment was not exhausted in the Logos as it is in the reprobate and the wrath was not absolute.

    And I firmly affirm as did the Scottish Church (Sum of Saving Knowledge) that it is the Person of the Logos to whom the sin is imputed and it is the person of the logos who dies in a human nature.

    “a kind schizophrenia occurred within the Logos, as He loved Himself in His perfect communion with the Father, and at the same time He poured out wrath on Himself, and felt and bore the weight of His own wrath toward Himself”

    >>That assumes the modalistic numeric unity among the divine persons. The Nicene Creed 325 is clear that the unity is generic, “of the essence”, not numeric “of one substance”.

  222. olivianus said,

    April 21, 2012 at 5:45 pm

    Matthew re:45,

    “And does God’s justice demand Hell?”

    NO. You are basically saying that both the essence and the mode and circumstances of the punishment must be the same for the sinner and his substitute. I deny it and I will never say that divine justice requires the same mode and circumstances of punishment for both sinner and substitute. I simply affirm that God punishes sin in the same nature that sinned and that the person of the substitute be of such a character that his merit can offset the eternal guilt of the sinner. Turretin spoke on this long ago,

    “But here again the actual punishment, which the judge demands, must be distinguished accurately from the mode and circumstances of punishment, for these two things are not upon the same footing. . . . For though a sinful person fully deserves punishment and may justly be punished, yet it is not so necessary and indispensable but that for certain definite and weighty causes a transference of punishment to a substitute may be made. And in this sense it is said by theologians that impersonally punishment must of necessity be inflicted upon all sin, but not immediately personally upon every sinner; since by His singular grace God can exempt some from it, a surety being substituted in their stead. But that it may be conceived that God can accomplish this, He must be viewed, not as an inferior and subordinate judge, set up under the law, who would be unable to dispense from the rigour of the law by transferring the punishment to another, but as a judge supreme and free from liability, who, even as He wills to satisfy His own justice by the punishment of sin, so in accordance with His supreme wisdom and pity, was able to relax the strict justice of the law by exempting sinners from the punishment due, and by transferring it to a sponsor (A Short History of the Doctrine of the Atonement, quoted in Grensted, pg. 242-43)…Again as the satisfaction which is demanded by God’s justice it makes two special demands, (1) that it should be paid by the same nature which had sinned, and (2) that it should be of value and even of infinite price to take away sin’s infinite demerit : In Christ were the two natures necessary to the payment of satisfaction, the human to suffer, the Divine to add value and infinite price to the sufferings (pg. 243).

    http://books.google.com/books?id=5WpLAAAAIAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=A+short+history+of+the+doctrine+of+the+atonement+By+Laurence+William+Grensted&source=bl&ots=a1DLbOM4N3&sig=YJf-e9bINXvcp8gmiRU_3Ua7HiQ&hl=en&ei=1jgJTKK8HMOAlAf2sajzDg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CBIQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false

  223. olivianus said,

    April 21, 2012 at 5:46 pm

    Bryan, re: 51:

    ” But Christ in His generosity has allowed fellow members of His Body to be participants in the salvation of others in many ways, including prayer and evangelism, just as Simon of Cyrene helped carry Christ’s cross”

    This is Socinian. You are making a distinction between Christ‘s mediation of redemption and Christ’s mediation of intercession. You may say Christ is the only mediator of redemption but there are many mediators of intercession, namely, the saints. Yet the point of Hebrews 7, 9, 10, and Romans 8:34 is that Christ, the High Priest of the New Covenant entered into the holy place, heaven itself, offering his own blood for the sins of his people once for all and based upon this alone he is the intercessor and mediator of these people. The Socinians denied the deity of Christ and divided his person into his natural essence which was merely human and his office as the Word or spokesman for God which is merely his function. This distinction is used to explain the scriptures that speak of Christ as God. “In his commentary on the Johannine prologue, Socinus insisted that the ‘Word’ ‘did not refer to his ontological nature but to his office as the one who ‘expounded the evangelical word[Bryan's Evangelism] of his Father’ (Pelikan, 4:327).”Quoted by Sam Storms (http://www.enjoyinggodministries.com/article/23-socinianism/)

    In the same way, you are affirming more mediators and intercessors with this distinction and trample upon the perfect nature of Christ’s intercession, and therefore trample upon the nature of Christ himself.

  224. olivianus said,

    April 21, 2012 at 5:49 pm

    Bryan, re:73:

    “Yes, Christ suffered death, and death is a penalty of sin, suffered by all men for Adam’s sin. But as I explained in my previous comment, entering into man’s mortal and passible condition does not entail loss of fellowship with God”

    Neither does it absolutely on the Reformed system as I showed above.

    Bryan, re: 78

    “The Reformed conception of propitiation is appeasement of divine wrath by God pouring out that wrath on a substitute victim. The Catholic conception of propitiation is appeasement of divine wrath by the giving to God (by a substitute) of a gift of greater worth to God than all our sins are displeasing, not by the venting of divine wrath on a substitute. This is explained in more detail at”

    Then it is not a satisfaction. It is a bribe. It’s like a crooked judge whose trying a guilty murderer and sentences him to community service because the guilty murderer’s mafia ties bribed him with a few million dollars to get him off the hook. He thought to himself, like a good Borgias, that he could use this money in his Roman Catholic Church (Where he takes communion with the same mafia members who just bribed him) to feed the poor, thus creating more good than the evil the murderer performed. Second, what then is your necessity for the eternal punishment of hell? It seems you have none and fall right back into a remedial view of the afterlife.

  225. olivianus said,

    April 21, 2012 at 5:53 pm

    And isn’t Bryan’s explanation of the Atonement, so typical of the ethical theory within Romanism, that the means are justified by the ends?

  226. TurretinFan said,

    April 23, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    D.S. wrote:

    Methinks it erroneous to say that Christ lost the ancient fellowship with the Father. The separation between Father and Son at the cross was no absolute. Turretin, Institutes of Elentic Theology Vol 2, section 13.14 …

    Amen!

    -TurretinFan

  227. TurretinFan said,

    April 25, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    Since it seems Bryan has exhausted his arguments here, I have provided a summary response to what seems to be the core of those arguments:

    http://turretinfan.blogspot.com/2012/04/response-to-bryan-cross-on-penal.html

    I would like to address a few points he raises in his most recent comments, however:

    And if mere discipline is the full measure of the Father’s wrath for sin, hell is reduced to a kind of purgatory.

    This is a strange argument from comparison to a fictional place. Of course, Aquinas or more technically his disciple Reginald di Piperno in the supplement to Aquinas’ Summa, speaking of the location of purgatory, argues: “It is probable, however, and more in keeping with the statements of holy men and the revelations made to many, that there is a twofold place of Purgatory. One, according to the common law; and thus the place of Purgatory is situated below and in proximity to hell, so that it is the same fire which torments the damned in hell and cleanses the just in Purgatory; although the damned being lower in merit, are to be consigned to a lower place … ” So, why should it be an objection at all if the same fire that tortures those in hell tortures those in Purgatory?

    In the peace of Christ, – Bryan

    It’s worth pointing out that Bryan keeps using this sign-off, but Bryan does not have peace with Christ, on Roman theology, only a temporary cease fire. If Bryan commits a mortal sin, God will impute that to him, and Bryan will not be just in God’s sight.

    By contrast, Christians have peace with God, through faith in Christ. The wrath of God against our sin has been removed. Thus, we are the blessed men to whom God will not impute sin. In this way, we have peace (not just absence of present conflict) with God. God is propitious to us for the sake of Christ.

    Bryan, sadly, cannot fairly claim the same thing within Rome’s theology, for he must (to be a loyal member of his religion) acknowledge that mortal sin can still condemn him, if he commits it.

    -TurretinFan

  228. Sean Gerety said,

    April 25, 2012 at 3:42 pm

    but Bryan does not have peace with Christ, on Roman theology, only a temporary cease fire.

    In all fairness TFan, Bryan doesn’t even have that.

  229. Bryan Cross said,

    April 25, 2012 at 3:43 pm

    TF, (re: #227)

    So, why should it be an objection at all if the same fire that tortures those in hell tortures those in Purgatory?

    Because the fire by which the corporal bodies of the damned are punished is not the essence of hell, nor its greatest torment. The essence of hell is the loss of communion with God, while those in purgatory, by contrast, remain in a state of grace, and have faith, hope, and charity, as well as the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, while enduring temporal punishment. (There’s an example of punishment without loss of communion with God.)

    Bryan does not have peace with Christ, on Roman theology, only a temporary cease fire.

    If you had the authority to define for all Christians what constitutes peace with God, your objection based on your stipulated definition of ‘peace with Christ’ would have weight. But not only do you have no authority to set the definition of theological terms, your ‘cease-fire’ conception is a strawman of what peace with Christ is “on Roman theology.” One can have peace with God without also having, in addition, the power necessarily never to lose that peace, as do the saints in heaven. When Adam walked with God in the cool of the day, this wasn’t a mere cease-fire or truce he had with God; it was a friendship, even though he later sinned and lost communion with God. And that understanding of peace with Christ in the Christian life, as well as the real possibility of apostasy, is what the Church Fathers taught as well. Here’s just one example from St. Augustine:

    If, however, being already regenerate and justified, he relapses of his own will into an evil life, assuredly he cannot say, ‘I have not received [grace],’ because of his own free choice he has lost the grace of God, that he had received.” (On Rebuke and Grace, 6:9)

    Your stipulated definition is an example of “over-realized eschatology,” in that it defines peace with Christ according to the mode in which it is possessed only by the saints in heaven. That definition is a novelty constructed in the 16th century by those not having ecclesial authority, on the basis of their own interpretation of Scripture, and on the implicit basis of an ecclesial deism which presupposes that Christ let His Church go entirely wrong for 1500 years regarding both what peace with Christ is, and the possibility of genuine apostasy in the Christian life. But according to the Tradition, peace with Christ is compatible with not yet having the additional power necessarily never to turn away from Christ.

    (I noticed that you edited my comments on your site. As a general rule, I do not comment on sites where my comments are modified or edited. )

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  230. TurretinFan said,

    April 25, 2012 at 5:12 pm

    Bryan:

    A) The corporal bodies of the damned are not presently in torment on Roman theology. Nor are the corporal bodies of the venially sinful tormented in Purgatory on Roman theology.
    B) It’s nice to see you abandon your previous position where Purgatory was mere discipline (at #167). But now you have conceded that Christ can be punished without needing to lose communion, since you concede that those in Purgatory are being punished without needing to lose communion.
    C) Moreover, on penal substitution the punishment of Christ need not be in every way identical to the punishment due to sinners. Therefore, the punishment need not be eternal in duration, for example.
    D) Furthermore, fatal to your objection is the fact that it is sufficient for Christ to experience the punishment of hell for Christ to experience absence of communion with God according to his human nature. It is not necessary for Christ objectively to lose communion with God in order to have such an experience. Therefore, even if the loss of communion is really an essential aspect of hell, still it is only the subjective experience of that loss that is essential, not the objective loss itself. (We might add that it is strange to speak of the “loss of communion” among the always-unbelieving reprobate. In what sense did they “lose” something that they never had? But this is a tangent.)

    So, even with your modified position (and it is good that you modified your position – your characterization of Purgatory at #167 is not consistent with Roman theology), your position still cannot succeed.

    I’m content to let what I already said stand on the tangent of your absence of true peace with Christ, except to point out that your charge of “ecclesial deism” is an absurd charge against a Calvinist.

    The only edit to your comment on my site was to add material, and that added material was clearly identified.

    -TurretinFan

  231. Bryan Cross said,

    April 25, 2012 at 8:22 pm

    TF, (re: #230)

    Bryan: A) The corporal bodies of the damned are not presently in torment on Roman theology.

    True.

    Nor are the corporal bodies of the venially sinful tormented in Purgatory on Roman theology.

    True. Both those truths are fully compatible with my answer to your question being true. The same fire can be punishment for one person, and discipline for another, because the corporal fire is not the essence of the punishment of hell, as I explained in #229, and being embodied is not necessary to suffer the pain of corporal fire.

    B) It’s nice to see you abandon your previous position where Purgatory was mere discipline (at #167).

    I haven’t abandoned any position. And this kind of rhetoric seems quite unhelpful for reaching agreement.

    But now you have conceded that Christ can be punished without needing to lose communion, since you concede that those in Purgatory are being punished without needing to lose communion.

    It is not a “concession” (again, the rhetoric is unhelpful) for me to point out that punishment doesn’t require loss of communion, because I’ve said it all along. See, for example, comment #94. If you think my argument depends on the notion that punishment requires loss of communion, then you have not yet understood my argument.

    C) Moreover, on penal substitution the punishment of Christ need not be in every way identical to the punishment due to sinners. Therefore, the punishment need not be eternal in duration, for example.

    That doesn’t impinge upon my argument, because my argument does not depend upon the punishment being identical. Full penal substitution does require that the punishment Christ receives be the same in essence, because anything less (e.g. a toe-stubbing) would not be commensurable. And the essence of the punishment in hell is loss of communion with God.

    D) Furthermore, fatal to your objection is the fact that it is sufficient for Christ to experience the punishment of hell for Christ to experience absence of communion with God according to his human nature. It is not necessary for Christ objectively to lose communion with God in order to have such an experience. Therefore, even if the loss of communion is really an essential aspect of hell, still it is only the subjective experience of that loss that is essential, not the objective loss itself.

    According to this thesis, the Logos in His human nature retained communion with God, but did not know in His human nature that He retained communion with God. The Father’s wrath toward Him was faked, the turning of His back on His Son was faked. Damning His Son, as Sproul says, was faked. The Logos (who is the Truth) was, in His human nature, merely confused and deceived, mistakenly thinking that this was the Father’s wrath and rejection of communion with Him. Drinking the “scalding liquid of God’s own hatred of sin mingled with his white-hot wrath against that sin … omnipotent hatred and anger for the sins of every generation past, present, and future — omnipotent wrath directed at one naked man hanging on a cross” (to quote Gamache), as “divine wrath rained down like a million Soddoms and Gomorrah’s” (to quote Thabiti), was all a misunderstanding, sort of like the speaker in Mary Stevenson’s “Footsteps in the Sand” poem. The Father had no wrath for the Son, only love, but the Son in His human nature, misunderstood, and thought that the Father was pouring out wrath on Him, and turning His back on Him. But then the whole misunderstanding was cleared up between the Father and the Son-in-His-human-nature at the moment He breathed His last.

    Again, if that is what it takes to avoid a conflict between the theory of penal substitution and the Council of Chalcedon, then, I think I need say no more. The deception-of-the-Truth form of penal substitutionary atonement theory is self-refuting.

    (We might add that it is strange to speak of the “loss of communion” among the always-unbelieving reprobate. In what sense did they “lose” something that they never had? But this is a tangent.)

    They lost forever what they had the opportunity to have, and without which happiness is impossible. If you had an opportunity to have eternal union with God, and foolishly rejected it, you would be miserable with the greatest torment, even if you had never been regenerate.

    So, even with your modified position (and it is good that you modified your position – your characterization of Purgatory at #167 is not consistent with Roman theology),

    I haven’t modified my position, nor is anything I said in #167 inconsistent with Catholic doctrine. Mere assertions are easy. If you want to claim that something I wrote is incompatible with Catholic doctrine, then I suggest that you quote what I said, and then show how it is incompatible with Catholic doctrine. That way, we can reduce the frequency of you making accusations that turn out to be false.

    I’m content to let what I already said stand on the tangent of your absence of true peace with Christ, except to point out that your charge of “ecclesial deism” is an absurd charge against a Calvinist.

    That’s the best you can do (i.e. assert that my claim is absurd) because you can’t find Church Fathers who taught that all who are regenerated persevere, or that the gift of perseverance is given to everyone who is regenerated, such that we don’t have to pray “deliver us from evil,” since our perseverance is guaranteed by our regeneration. You won’t find the Church Fathers teaching that. And the notion that all the Church Fathers were wrong on this, and that the Church and the Tradition were wrong on this for 1,500 years, that is precisely the hubris of ecclesial deism.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  232. TurretinFan said,

    April 25, 2012 at 9:43 pm

    Bryan:

    I wrote:

    B) It’s nice to see you abandon your previous position where Purgatory was mere discipline (at #167).

    You replied:

    I haven’t abandoned any position. And this kind of rhetoric seems quite unhelpful for reaching agreement.

    You referred to purgatory this way in #167: “a kind of purgatory (i.e. a temporary place of mere discipline, not loss of fellowship with God), ” Now you refer to what occurs in Purgatory as being punishment. I think most people would call that a an abandonment of your previous position. Honesty is important in these sort of dialogs if you want the other other side’s respect.

    I continued:

    But now you have conceded that Christ can be punished without needing to lose communion, since you concede that those in Purgatory are being punished without needing to lose communion.

    You replied:

    It is not a “concession” (again, the rhetoric is unhelpful) for me to point out that punishment doesn’t require loss of communion, because I’ve said it all along. See, for example, comment #94. If you think my argument depends on the notion that punishment requires loss of communion, then you have not yet understood my argument.

    You mean comment #94 in which you stated: “But ‘punishment’ in the sense of the spiritual punishment for sin in the pouring out of divine wrath (entailed by the Reformed conception of penal substitution) for sin does entail a cutting off of communion with the Father.” Unless Purgatory isn’t supposed to be a spiritual punishment, it’s fair to say your newly enunciated position is a concession.

    I continued:

    C) Moreover, on penal substitution the punishment of Christ need not be in every way identical to the punishment due to sinners. Therefore, the punishment need not be eternal in duration, for example.

    You replied:

    That doesn’t impinge upon my argument, because my argument does not depend upon the punishment being identical. Full penal substitution does require that the punishment Christ receives be the same in essence, because anything less (e.g. a toe-stubbing) would not be commensurable. And the essence of the punishment in hell is loss of communion with God.

    The bare assertion that “the essence of the punishment in hell is loss of communion with God,” has already been addressed above.

    I also wrote:

    D) Furthermore, fatal to your objection is the fact that it is sufficient for Christ to experience the punishment of hell for Christ to experience absence of communion with God according to his human nature. It is not necessary for Christ objectively to lose communion with God in order to have such an experience. Therefore, even if the loss of communion is really an essential aspect of hell, still it is only the subjective experience of that loss that is essential, not the objective loss itself.

    You replied:

    According to this thesis, the Logos in His human nature retained communion with God, but did not know in His human nature that He retained communion with God. The Father’s wrath toward Him was faked, the turning of His back on His Son was faked. Damning His Son, as Sproul says, was faked. The Logos (who is the Truth) was, in His human nature, merely confused and deceived, mistakenly thinking that this was the Father’s wrath and rejection of communion with Him. Drinking the “scalding liquid of God’s own hatred of sin mingled with his white-hot wrath against that sin … omnipotent hatred and anger for the sins of every generation past, present, and future — omnipotent wrath directed at one naked man hanging on a cross” (to quote Gamache), as “divine wrath rained down like a million Soddoms and Gomorrah’s” (to quote Thabiti), was all a misunderstanding, sort of like the speaker in Mary Stevenson’s “Footsteps in the Sand” poem. The Father had no wrath for the Son, only love, but the Son in His human nature, misunderstood, and thought that the Father was pouring out wrath on Him, and turning His back on Him. But then the whole misunderstanding was cleared up between the Father and the Son-in-His-human-nature at the moment He breathed His last.

    Oh complainer about rhetoric, what have we here! Was the sun being eclipsed at the crucifixion a “fake” of night? Surely not. Faking requires an intent to deceive. The area was darkened, but there was no intent to deceive anyone. The sun’s warmth and light could not be felt, and so darkness was experienced, although the sun continued to shine. “Faked” indeed!

    You have demonstrated an excellent example of unhelpful rhetoric with that word. Just as an eclipse is not a faking of the sun’s being extinguished, so also the crucifixion was not a faking of the Father’s wrath, but a subjective experience of it by Jesus, according to his humanity.

    You continued:

    Again, if that is what it takes to avoid a conflict between the theory of penal substitution and the Council of Chalcedon, then, I think I need say no more. The deception-of-the-Truth form of penal substitutionary atonement theory is self-refuting.

    If mockery of it as “faking” and “deception” is the only rebuttal you have, then it stands unrebutted.

    I wrote:

    (We might add that it is strange to speak of the “loss of communion” among the always-unbelieving reprobate. In what sense did they “lose” something that they never had? But this is a tangent.)

    You replied:

    They lost forever what they had the opportunity to have, and without which happiness is impossible. If you had an opportunity to have eternal union with God, and foolishly rejected it, you would be miserable with the greatest torment, even if you had never been regenerate.

    Lost opportunity for union is obviously different from lost union. This tangent seems moot, however.

    I wrote:

    So, even with your modified position (and it is good that you modified your position – your characterization of Purgatory at #167 is not consistent with Roman theology),

    You replied:

    I haven’t modified my position, nor is anything I said in #167 inconsistent with Catholic doctrine. Mere assertions are easy. If you want to claim that something I wrote is incompatible with Catholic doctrine, then I suggest that you quote what I said, and then show how it is incompatible with Catholic doctrine. That way, we can reduce the frequency of you making accusations that turn out to be false.

    Roman theology doesn’t deserve the monicker “Catholic.” The point that is inconsistent is referring to purgatory as “a place of mere discipline” (your words at #167). In fact, it’s a place of temporal punishment for the expiation of venial sins. For those in your communion, even those venial sins can continue to be imputed against you and you can personally expiate them through the suffering, which punishment is inflicted by God’s holiness and justice.

    I wrote:

    I’m content to let what I already said stand on the tangent of your absence of true peace with Christ, except to point out that your charge of “ecclesial deism” is an absurd charge against a Calvinist.

    You replied:

    That’s the best you can do (i.e. assert that my claim is absurd) because you can’t find Church Fathers who taught that all who are regenerated persevere, or that the gift of perseverance is given to everyone who is regenerated, such that we don’t have to pray “deliver us from evil,” since our perseverance is guaranteed by our regeneration. You won’t find the Church Fathers teaching that. And the notion that all the Church Fathers were wrong on this, and that the Church and the Tradition were wrong on this for 1,500 years, that is precisely the hubris of ecclesial deism.

    There’s some more rhetorical flourishes from someone who seems so deeply offended by my suggestion (How dare I?!) that you might have modified your position or conceded any ground.

    Perseverance is not guaranteed by regeneration, neither in the sense we mean it, nor in the sense that it widely came to be used amongst Christian writers. Baptism, in particular, is no guarantee of perseverance.

    Perseverance, however, is guaranteed by the sufficiency of the merit of Christ’s atoning work. Thus, Augustine wrote: “not one perishes for whom Christ died” (John 17:12). But even if no Augustinian writings had survived, it would not mean that all Christians had erred on this particular point of doctrine until Calvin, Luther, or whomever.

    Of course, we Calvinists don’t think that one has to have a correct understanding of the golden chain of redemption to be saved.

    But if that is really the standard, that you must find a particular doctrine explicitly taught in the fathers to avoid the “hubris” of “ecclesial deism,” good luck finding explicitly taught the dogma of the bodily assumption of Mary in any of the fathers of the first three centuries.

    – TurretinFan

  233. ljdibiase said,

    April 25, 2012 at 9:50 pm

    “I know not whether that stubborness of style wherein they delight in explaining the sufferings of Christ arises from this, that they think he was so substituted for sinners that he behoved to undergo precisely the s ame punishment which was otherwise due to our sins, and which the damned shall suffer in their own persons….

    “I profess truly that I agree with those Divines who believe that the Father demanded from the Son a sufficient ransom indeed, and worthy of his injured majesty; yet so that all clemency was not excluded, nor was everything found in Christ’s sufferings which shall be found in the most righteous punishment of the reprobate. For from the dignity of his Divine person, some things are to be observed in his sufferings which have no place in the eternal misery of the damned.

    “While impious men, roaring and gnashing their teeth, and raging with diabolical fury against Divine justice, are forced to undergo the punishment inflicted on them; so much the more grievous for this reason, that they wretchedly weary themselves in vain resistance, and because they are gnawed with the never dying worm of conscience, continually upraiding them with their crimes; Christ from the purest love to the Divine glory voluntarily underwent his afflictions….

    “The rigour of a stubborn law, and the peremptory sentence of an inexorable judge, whereby they are condemned to unavoidable and eternal anguish, being continually before the eyes of the wicked, inconceivably increase the terror of their torments, through horrible despair. But the… steadfast faith of Christ, representing to him ever and anon the Father’s most certain promises…. certain of victory….

    “Neither by asserting these things do we any how detract from the value of Christ’s sufferings, which is to be esteemed not from their degree only, nor from their duration, but also from the dignity of the person suffering: since in such pains of our Divine Savior there is a sufficient ransom, and equivalent to the debts of the elect.”

    (Herman Witsius, “Conciliator Animadversions.”)

  234. ljdibiase said,

    April 25, 2012 at 10:03 pm

    Owen makes a similar point with regard to the duration of the punishment:

    “Christ underwent the punishment which, in the justice or judgment of God, was due unto sin… That which was due to sin was all of it contained and comprehended in the curse of the law… for the curse of the law is nothing but an expression of that punishment which is due unto the breach of it… He was ‘made a curse for us’ (Gal. 3:13)….

    “Death eternal was in the punishment due unto our sin, not directly but consequentially; for that the punishment of sin should be etneral arose not from the nature and order of all things, namely, of God, the law, and the sinner, but from the nature and condition of the sinner only. This was such that it could no otherwise undergo a punishment proportional unto the demerit of sin but bny an eternal continuance under it.

    “This, therefore, was not a necessary consequence of guilt absolutely, but of guilt in or upon such a subject as a sinner is, who is no more but a finite limited creature.”

  235. Bryan Cross said,

    April 25, 2012 at 11:22 pm

    TF, (re: #232)

    You referred to purgatory this way in #167: “a kind of purgatory (i.e. a temporary place of mere discipline, not loss of fellowship with God), ” Now you refer to what occurs in Purgatory as being punishment. I think most people would call that a an abandonment of your previous position. Honesty is important in these sort of dialogs if you want the other other side’s respect.

    The standard isn’t what you surmise “most people” would call a theological explanation, if they don’t have theological training, especially in that particular theological tradition. You are inferring that there has been a change of position on my part, based on your assumption that if purgatory is a kind of punishment, then it cannot be a kind of discipline. But that’s an incorrect assumption. So your mistaken assumption is misleading you to make a false accusation about having changed my position, and then falsely accuse me of dishonesty when I deny that I’ve changed my position. The safer thing to do, to avoid falsely accusing your interlocutor, is just ask whether I’ve changed my position, or how my earlier claim fits with the latter.

    But ‘punishment’ in the sense of the spiritual punishment for sin in the pouring out of divine wrath (entailed by the Reformed conception of penal substitution) for sin does entail a cutting off of communion with the Father.” Unless Purgatory isn’t supposed to be a spiritual punishment, it’s fair to say your newly enunciated position is a concession.

    Again, instead of accusing me of conceding or changing my position, the more charitable thing is to ask me. Purgatory is a spiritual punishment, not a physical punishment. But that doesn’t mean that purgatory is the pouring out of divine wrath. You are assuming a change of position on my part, because you are assuming that there is only one kind of spiritual punishment. But this too is a false assumption. Both purgatory and hell are spiritual punishments because they involve man’s spirit, but they differ in what they are punishments for, and in the nature of the punishment. Communion with God is not possible in the latter, but remains during the former.

    Oh complainer about rhetoric

    My point concerning rhetoric was not about rhetoric per se, but about uncharitable rhetoric, rhetoric that assumes the worst of one’s interlocutor.

    so also the crucifixion was not a faking of the Father’s wrath, but a subjective experience of it by Jesus, according to his humanity.

    If He experienced it, and wasn’t deceived, then this outpouring of wrath was really there, in which case communion was actually (and thus objectively) cut off, which opens the conflict with Chalcedon. But if He subjectively experienced this wrath and loss of communion, and was deceived by believing that He had lost communion with the Father, when in fact He hadn’t, then the cutting off of communion was faked by the Father, and the Son was deceived. There seems to be no way around this dilemma. The first horn of the dilemma runs up against Chalcedon. The second horn of the dilemma makes the Father to be the deceiver of the Second Adam. That’s a theological problem.

    The point that is inconsistent is referring to purgatory as “a place of mere discipline” (your words at #167).

    If you look at the context, you will see that ‘mere discipline’ there doesn’t mean that purgatory involves no punishment at all; it means that purgatory does not include the loss of love and communion with God. When the nature of the punishment under discussion is the full outpouring of divine wrath, purgatory can be said to be ‘mere discipline,’ since it does not include that sort of punishment, even though in the broader sense of the term ‘punishment’ (poena), purgatory involves a kind of punishment, namely, temporal punishment.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  236. TurretinFan said,

    April 26, 2012 at 1:03 am

    Bryan:

    Notwithstanding your attempts to harmonize “mere discipline” with “both discipline and punishment,” I’m not persuaded that your position remains unchanged. But whether or not your position has changed (or whether or not you are a dishonest person) is not really the issue. If you want to insist that your position has remained constant, so be it. If you want to try to prove your honesty, I won’t spend effort trying to prove otherwise – I was trying to applaud your intellectual honesty in conceding points you had lost and moving away from the indefensible position of “mere discipline.” You have wrongly judged me, but that’s not really the point either.

    I’m tempted to ask where your church dogmatically declares that Purgatory is discipline at all, but that too is not the point.

    Regarding:

    If He experienced it, and wasn’t deceived, then this outpouring of wrath was really there, in which case communion was actually (and thus objectively) cut off, which opens the conflict with Chalcedon. But if He subjectively experienced this wrath and loss of communion, and was deceived by believing that He had lost communion with the Father, when in fact He hadn’t, then the cutting off of communion was faked by the Father, and the Son was deceived.

    Your supposed dilemma is only created by imposing the framework of “deception” onto the situation. Just because Jesus could not, according to his humanity, feel or sense the presence of God’s favor does not imply that Jesus was “deceived.”

    When God hid the light of the Sun from the people of that part of the world, it did not require deceiving people as to the objective fact that the Sun was still burning. Even so, when God hid the light of his favor from Christ, according to Christ’s humanity, it did not requiring deceiving Christ regarding the objective reality of God’s favor. It merely permitted Christ to suffer the anguish associated with not feeling the favor of God.

    Your own former pope (Blessed) John Paul II stated:

    Here one can sketch a summary of Jesus’ psychological situation in relationship to God. The external events seemed to manifest the absence of the Father who permitted the crucifixion of his Son, though having at his disposal “legions of angels” (cf. Mt 26:53), without intervening to prevent his condemnation to death and execution. In Gethsemane Simon Peter had drawn a sword in Jesus’ defense, but was immediately blocked by Jesus himself (cf. Jn 18:10 f.). In the praetorium Pilate had repeatedly tried wily maneuvers to save him (cf. Jn 18:31, 38 f.; 19:4-6, 12-15); but the Father was silent. That silence of God weighed on the dying Jesus as the heaviest pain of all, so much so that his enemies interpreted that silence as a sign of his reprobation: “He trusted in God; let God deliver him now, if he desires him; for he said, ‘I am the Son of God'” (Mt 27:43).

    In the sphere of feelings and affection this sense of the absence and abandonment by God was the most acute pain for the soul of Jesus who drew his strength and joy from union with the Father. This pain rendered all the other sufferings more intense. That lack of interior consolation was Jesus’ greatest agony.

    However, Jesus knew that by this ultimate phase of his sacrifice, reaching the intimate core of his being, he completed the work of reparation which was the purpose of his sacrifice for the expiation of sins. If sin is separation from God, Jesus had to experience in the crisis of his union with the Father a suffering proportionate to that separation.

    On the other hand in quoting the beginning of Psalm 22, which he perhaps continued to recite mentally during the passion, Jesus did not forget the conclusion which becomes a hymn of liberation and an announcement of salvation granted to all by God. The experience of abandonment is therefore a passing pain which gives way to personal liberation and universal salvation.

    (General Audience, 30 November 1988) Let your “blessed” bishop be the judge as to whether Jesus experiencing a sense of the absence of abandonment of God requires God deceiving Jesus or not.

    And consider the material for 12th station of the cross for 2012:

    Jesus, until now you had been one of us,
    one with us in all things but sin!
    You, the Son of God made man,
    You, the Holy One of God,
    became completely one with us
    willing even to experience our sinful state,
    our separation from God, the hell of the godless.

    Look at that! He experienced “our separation from God, the hell of the godless.”

    But no, no. That would entail either heresy or Jesus being deceived. A curious dilemma – but one that seems to be primarily a concern to you, the magisterium of one, Bryan.

    I asked you before and I’ll ask you again, since you chide me for not asking you things: where does your church dogmatically declare that Christ did not experience separation from God? or indeed that Christ did not receive the punishment due to sin on the cross? Where is that a dogmatic teaching of your church?

    But to put the matter bluntly: if John Paul II is allowed to say that Christ had a “sense of the absence and abandonment by God,” then we should be allowed to also. If the Vatican materials for the 12th station of the Cross for 2012 can say that Christ experienced “our separation from God, the hell of the godless,” then you shouldn’t be able to accuse us of heresy for saying that.

    But before I sign off, enjoy the very next couple of lines from that prayer I partially quoted above:

    You experienced darkness in order to give us light.
    You experienced this separation in order to unite us.

    I could go on and on, but since it is readily evident that the dilemma is not real, but simply the result of imposing the rubric of “deception” on subjective experience, we can stop there, I think.

    -TurretinFan

  237. Jeff Cagle said,

    April 26, 2012 at 8:43 am

    Link to TFan’s quote of the 12th station is here.

    Bryan, a couple of observations and questions if I may:

    (1) My thesis earlier was that your argument exaggerates the distance between the Catholic and Protestant understandings of the atonement.

    TFan’s citation of the 12th station material (of which I was unaware) is a very good illustration of what I mean.

    Catholics, as it turns out, are in fact willing to say that Christ the divine man experienced wrath for us.

    They do not mean penal substitution, of course, but they still think of it as “God laying our punishment on Christ” in a more general and Aquinian sense.

    Can you admit that Catholics are both able to say that Christ experienced separation from God for us and at the same time are fully Chalcedonian?

    (2) And having made that admission, can you also admit that it is therefore possible that Protestants could do the same?

    (3) Thabiti continues to not be a good source for Reformed doctrine. Nothing against the man, but he’s a Baptist.

    (4) Part of the difficulty here is reasoning from the hypostatic union to other implications that must be true. Your argument goes from

    Hypostatic Union –> One person –> Inconsistency with penal substitution.

    However, since Jesus’ situation is unique, it is hard to say that your second conclusion is correctly reasoned. We don’t really know the properties of a single person with two natures. I think that’s tripping you up, because you have a particular picture of how it must go with such a person.

    But perhaps your mental model is simply mistaken? I’m sure mine is, in some way or other.

  238. ljdibiase said,

    April 26, 2012 at 8:59 am

    Jeff, apparently you are not getting the memo. Bryan gets to define our doctrine for us, and if he decides that Anyabwile and Sproul are authoritative, then so be it. He also gets to frame the issues, and now it seems he has interpretive authority over the pope. This isn’t really about rational argument, so much as it is about Bryan Cross. The sooner we all realize that, the better.

  239. Bryan Cross said,

    April 26, 2012 at 9:05 am

    TF, (#236)

    Just because Jesus could not, according to his humanity, feel or sense the presence of God’s favor does not imply that Jesus was “deceived.”

    Of course that’s true. But either He retained communion with the Father, or He did not. If He did retain communion, but in His soul He no longer *felt* God’s presence, then He did not receive the divine wrath, because hell isn’t about mere feelings, but is the actual loss of communion with God. And that’s a problem for penal substitution. But if He did actually lose communion with God, then that’s a problem in relation to Chalcedon, as explained above. A third option I was describing in my previous comment is that in which He retains communion with God, but believes He does not have it (rather than merely not *feeling* God’s presence in His human nature). That would require some kind of deception, since it would require Him to be misled into believing something false. And therefore that position is problematic as well.

    Yes, the Catholic Church teaches that Christ, while retaining the beatific vision in his human intellect, experienced a loss of spiritual consolation in His human soul. That’s what Pope John Paul II is talking about, and I’ve written about that elsewhere in previous years on CTC (see, for example, comment #26). Jeff even brought it up earlier in this present thread, when in #75 he quoted from St. Thomas. This loss of spiritual consolation, while retaining the beatific vision, is not a problem for the Catholic doctrine of the atonement, because the Catholic doctrine is not a penal substitution theory. But construing Christ’s internal suffering as only the loss of spiritual consolation *is* a problem for a penal substitutionary theory in which the essence of the punishment our sins deserve is the loss of communion with God, because Christ remained in a state of grace, retained faith, hope, and charity, and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. In His human nature He retained communion with God, even though He experienced the loss of spiritual consolation. But those in hell not only suffer the absence of spiritual consolation; they suffer the loss of communion with God. Therefore, the loss of spiritual consolation is not sufficient for a penal substitution theory of the atonement.

    I asked you before and I’ll ask you again, since you chide me for not asking you things: where does your church dogmatically declare that Christ did not experience separation from God?

    This is a loaded question, because it already presupposes that the Church has dogmatically declared that Christ did not experience separation from God — when you know from the JPII quotation you cited that that is not true. Asking loaded question is just as unhelpful as making accusations on the basis of false assumptions.

    or indeed that Christ did not receive the punishment due to sin on the cross? Where is that a dogmatic teaching of your church?

    It can be found in various magisterial documents, though no such document is devoted exclusively to this topic. The Council of Trent, for example, teaches that the meritorious cause of our justification:

    “is His most beloved only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, who when we were enemies, for the exceeding charity wherewith he loved us, merited justification for us by His most holy passion on the wood of the Cross, and made satisfaction for us to God the Father.” (VI.7)

    On a penal substitution model, Christ does not merit our justification by His passion and death, such that our justification is a reward to Christ for something pleasing He has given to the Father. Instead the debt of punishment is paid by Christ receiving the full measure of the wrath of God. Likewise, on a penal substitution model, God is satisfied not by what He receives from Christ, but by what He inflicts upon Christ. So Trent teaches a satisfaction conception of the atonement. This is just one example, among many, in which it is clear that the Catholic doctrine is the satisfaction doctrine (see Waddington’s Ref21 article linked in #86), not the penal substitution theory.

    But to put the matter bluntly: if John Paul II is allowed to say that Christ had a “sense of the absence and abandonment by God,” then we should be allowed to also.

    I completely agree. I never claimed you aren’t allowed to say something. The problem is that “having a sense of the absence and abandonment by God” is not sufficient for penal substitution theory. What is needed is actual absence and abandonment by God. Pope John Paul II doesn’t have that problem, because the Catholic doctrine is not penal substitution theory. (Again, see Waddington’s Ref21 article linked in #86.) So of course you can say what you like. I’m only pointing out a theological problem, not attempting to inhibit free speech.

    If the Vatican materials for the 12th station of the Cross for 2012 can say that Christ experienced “our separation from God, the hell of the godless,” then you shouldn’t be able to accuse us of heresy for saying that.

    I haven’t accused anyone of heresy, at least not on this thread. :-) What “our separation from God, the hell of the godless” is referring to is the present human condition, in the midst of persons bereft of sanctifying grace, bereft of faith, hope, and charity. It is talking about this present life; it is not talking about the hell of the damned. But merely entering into the human condition, and suffering at the hands of godless men, is not the essence of the punishment our sins deserve. Penal substitution requires much more, an infinitely greater suffering, namely loss of communion with God. So this suffering isn’t sufficient for a penal substitution theory.

    You experienced darkness in order to give us light.
    You experienced this separation in order to unite us.

    Amen. May we see even here, the unifying efficacy of His suffering.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  240. TurretinFan said,

    April 26, 2012 at 10:05 am

    Bryan:

    You wrote:

    But either He retained communion with the Father, or He did not. If He did retain communion, but in His soul He no longer *felt* God’s presence, then He did not receive the divine wrath, because hell isn’t about mere feelings, but is the actual loss of communion with God. And that’s a problem for penal substitution. … But those in hell not only suffer the absence of spiritual consolation; they suffer the loss of communion with God. Therefore, the loss of spiritual consolation is not sufficient for a penal substitution theory of the atonement.

    You seem to be asserting that it is not sufficient (for penal substitution) for Christ to experience every suffering and anguish associated with hell. There does not seem to be any merit to that assertion. Rather, it seems that the penalty lies in the suffering of the person. It lies in what the person experiences. If that is correct, then it is sufficient for Christ to experience every suffering and anguish associated with hell. Indeed, since penal substitution does not require the exact same thing (for example, the sufferings of Christ were passing, not permanent), it is sufficient that Christ experience a measure of the suffering and anguish associated with hell.

    Is that what you are asserting? If so, what is your demonstration for that assertion?

    Regarding your comments distinguishing “separation from God” and “loss of communion,” your own catechism states: “The chief punishment of hell is eternal separation from God, in whom alone man can possess the life and happiness for which he was created and for which he longs.” (CCC 1035 and 1037) You have previously argued (at #94) “sin does entail a cutting off of communion with the Father. That’s in essence what hell is, and is the primary suffering of hell.” Assuming you intend not to change your position, and assuming that you intend to be consistent with your church’s teaching in the CCC, then by “cutting off of communion,” it seems you mean “separation from God.” But then, you cannot properly distinguish loss of communion and separation from God.

    Then again, perhaps you just mean to argue that although Christ fully experienced “separation from God” (as per JP2 etc.) he was not actually separated from God. If that’s the case, we simply back to my central point above, namely that you haven’t actually demonstrated that experiencing the suffering isn’t experiencing the punishment for the purposes of penal substitution.

    As for your citation of Trent, that passage does not seem to state that Jesus Christ did not receive the punishments due to the sins of the elect. While what Trent asserts may be rejected by all the Reformed churches, that does not mean that Trent has rejected what the Reformed churches teach on penal substitution.

    -TurretinFan

  241. Jeff Cagle said,

    April 26, 2012 at 10:50 am

    Bryan (#239): But either He retained communion with the Father, or He did not.

    And then,

    Yes, the Catholic Church teaches that Christ, while retaining the beatific vision in his human intellect, experienced a loss of spiritual consolation in His human soul.

    The either/or of your first statement needs to give way to something more nuanced. Apparently, the Catholic Church teaches that Christ both did and did not retain communion with the Father, in different senses (intellectual, ‘soulish’).

    Likewise, I don’t see any principled reason that we couldn’t also say,

    “The Reformed doctrine is that Christ, while remaining fully in fellowship with God according to His divine nature, nevertheless experienced the wrath of God poured out upon Him according to His human nature.”

    The one person, Christ the Logos, undertakes one action — suffering both physical and spiritual — and experiences it in two different ways simultaneously. With regards His human nature, He experiences it as dereliction and judgment. With regards His divine nature, He experiences the joy set before Him and scorns the shame being heaped upon His body.

    If you want to argue that this is a wrong way to look at it, you need to offer a principle that is stronger than “but Christ was one person.” We all agree to that; but reasoning correctly from the one-personhood-but-two-natures is much harder, if not impossible.

  242. Jeff Cagle said,

    April 26, 2012 at 10:53 am

    Bryan: I’m only pointing out a theological problem, not attempting to inhibit free speech.

    Good thing, ’cause we don’t seem to be able to stop talking.

  243. Bryan Cross said,

    April 26, 2012 at 11:48 am

    TF, (re: #240)

    You seem to be asserting that it is not sufficient (for penal substitution) for Christ to experience every suffering and anguish associated with hell.

    If by “every suffering and anguish associated with hell” you mean “everything the damned suffer except loss of communion with God” then yes, that’s not sufficient for penal substitution, because penal substitution, by its very definition, requires that Christ receive the full penalty for each sin, and the essence of that full penalty is loss of communion with God. As I explained in #231, a toe-stubbing wouldn’t be commensurable, because the punishment is not the same in essence, regardless of the difference in accidents. If Christ retained communion throughout the crucifixion, then He didn’t receive the wrath of the Father. He received a kind of discipline. And if the rejoinder is that the wrath of the Father just is the loss of spiritual consolation even while retaining communion with the Father, then as I explained earlier in this conversation, not only would hell be reduced to a kind of purgatory, but Christ’s work would not be sufficient, since in this present life believers still receive the Father’s discipline (including the loss of spiritual consolation), and thus also receive the wrath of the Father, implying that it wasn’t fully spent or exhausted on Christ.

    Regarding your comments distinguishing “separation from God” and “loss of communion,” your own catechism states: “The chief punishment of hell is eternal separation from God, in whom alone man can possess the life and happiness for which he was created and for which he longs.” (CCC 1035 and 1037) You have previously argued (at #94) “sin does entail a cutting off of communion with the Father. That’s in essence what hell is, and is the primary suffering of hell.” Assuming you intend not to change your position, and assuming that you intend to be consistent with your church’s teaching in the CCC, then by “cutting off of communion,” it seems you mean “separation from God.” But then, you cannot properly distinguish loss of communion and separation from God. Then again, perhaps you just mean to argue that although Christ fully experienced “separation from God” (as per JP2 etc.) he was not actually separated from God. If that’s the case, we simply back to my central point above, namely that you haven’t actually demonstrated that experiencing the suffering isn’t experiencing the punishment for the purposes of penal substitution.

    It isn’t clear to me what you are trying to say in that paragraph. Here’s my response to what I think you’re getting at. Cutting off of communion is surely a kind of separation from God. But not every sense of “separation from God” involves cutting off of communion with God. Christ experienced in His human nature the loss of spiritual consolation; that’s the sense in which He experienced a separation from God. But at no point did He lose communion with God. In His human nature He retained the beatific vision. So He did not experience the separation from God experienced by those in hell, i.e. loss of communion. And that loss of communion is the essence of the punishment our sins deserve, and therefore what penal substitution entails Christ must have received on our behalf.

    As for your citation of Trent, that passage does not seem to state that Jesus Christ did not receive the punishments due to the sins of the elect.

    Of course it does not explicitly state that. But the satisfaction view of the atonement is entailed by what it does explicitly state. It is entailed also by the Catholic liturgy, which according to Catholic doctrine is a participation in Christ’s sacrifice. If the Church taught a penal substitutionary view of the atonement, then to receive the Eucharist would be to receive the Father’s wrath, through union with Christ on the cross. But that’s exactly the opposite of what the liturgy says. I won’t go through all the relevant lines in the liturgy, but if you go to a mass and just listen to the words, you’ll hear that the conception of Christ’s sacrifice, to which the participants are thereby united in the Eucharist, is one of gift of love to the Father, pleasing to the Father, and meriting grace for our salvation. In the eucharistic liturgy, our union with Christ in His sacrifice is a union in which we, in Christ, offer our lives to the Father in love. It is not a union in which we, together with Christ, bear the wrath of the Father. In short, penal substitution is contrary to the Catholic liturgy. Moreover, it is contrary to the sacramental system. Penal substitution is not about meriting grace, but about exhausting the Father’s wrath. So the response to the gospel, given penal substitution, is faith alone, trusting in what Christ has already done for oneself in receiving in our place the punishment our sins deserve, because there can be no double jeopardy. (Yes I know its more than just that, but that’s undeniably at the heart of it.) But the response to the gospel, given a satisfaction conception of the atonement, is receiving through the sacraments, the grace merited by Christ’s sacrificial gift to the Father. That’s why Pope Clement VI in 1343 writes:

    “Therefore, how great a treasure did the good Father acquire from this [sacrifice of Christ] for the Church militant, so that the mercy of so great an effusion was not rendered useless, vain or superfluous, wishing to lay up treasures for His sons, so that thus the Church is an infinite treasure to men, so that they who use it, become the friends of God.” (Unigenitus Dei Filius)

    So the whole idea of a storehouse or treasure of grace merited by Christ and entrusted to the Church as steward, granted to believers through the sacraments, is not compatible with a penal substitutionary view of the atonement, because the penal substitutionary model isn’t about meriting grace at all, but about Christ enduring the wrath of the Father, which thereby ipso facto brings us back judicially into God’s favor. All we need to do is believe in what Christ has already accomplished. Given that model, the sacraments would be mere reminders of what Christ has done, i.e. the Word signed. But given the satisfaction conception of the atonement, the sacraments becomes channels from that storehouse of the grace Christ merited through His gift to the Father. So the whole Catholic sacramentology is incompatible with a penal substitutionary theory of the atonement. And those are reasons why the tu quoque response doesn’t work.

    Unfortunately, I don’t have time to continue the conversation at present. So it will be some time before I can reply to any further comments. Thanks for being more gracious in your most recent comment.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  244. TurretinFan said,

    April 26, 2012 at 12:59 pm

    Bryan:

    I asked: “You seem to be asserting that it is not sufficient (for penal substitution) for Christ to experience every suffering and anguish associated with hell.”

    You replied: “If by ‘every suffering and anguish associated with hell’ you mean “everything the damned suffer except loss of communion with God” then yes, that’s not sufficient for penal substitution … .”

    No, I mean every suffering and anguish including any suffering and anguish associated with “loss of communion,” whatever you mean by that.

    You continued: “because penal substitution, by its very definition, requires that Christ receive the full penalty for each sin, and the essence of that full penalty is loss of communion with God.”

    I think you’re mistaken about the definition of penal substitution. For example, the “full penalty” could be said to be eternal in duration. You jump from “full penalty” to “essence of the penalty,” but essence of the penalty is suffering (i.e. subjective feeling of anguish), as discussed above. In other places, you have argued that “loss of communion” is the essence because it is something that you think distinguishes it from other kinds of suffering. However, (a) it isn’t actually a distinctive characteristic of the suffering in hell as distinct from every earthly suffering and (b) just because it is (assuming my (a) is wrong) distinctive doesn’t make it essential.

    This may be moot, though, in view of your misunderstanding of what I meant by “every suffering … .”

    You continued: “As I explained in #231, a toe-stubbing wouldn’t be commensurable, because the punishment is not the same in essence, regardless of the difference in accidents.”

    Intuitively, the reason it is not commensurate is because it is either not of the same kind or not of the same degree. But the experience of the absence of God’s favor by Christ according to his humanity is of the same kind and we don’t insist that the degree be the same.

    “If Christ retained communion throughout the crucifixion, then He didn’t receive the wrath of the Father. He received a kind of discipline.”

    This is a non sequitur at least because we have already explained how Christ can voluntarily accept wrath, while remaining in unity of purpose with the Father, thereby maintaining Trinitarian communion. It is also a non sequitur in that discipline requires an intent that is not present.

    You continued: “And if the rejoinder is that the wrath of the Father just is the loss of spiritual consolation even while retaining communion with the Father, then as I explained earlier in this conversation, not only would hell be reduced to a kind of purgatory …”

    However, if Christ experiences the same kind of subjective anguish and subjective suffering as the damned (by virtue of the sense of abandonment and separation described above), then hell is not changed into anything else, simply because the damned have a different objective basis for their sufferings (their personal guilt vs. imputed guilt). It’s an error to suppose that because Christ suffered the wrath of God one one objective basis that all people who suffer the wrath of God do so on the same objective basis.

    You continued: ” … but Christ’s work would not be sufficient, since in this present life believers still receive the Father’s discipline (including the loss of spiritual consolation), and thus also receive the wrath of the Father, implying that it wasn’t fully spent or exhausted on Christ.”

    To which the response is that what distinguishes punishment and discipline is primarily the intent of the administrator, not the specific suffering that we receive, as already explained above.

    You wrote: ” … at no point did He lose communion with God. In His human nature He retained the beatific vision.”

    a) What’s the reason to suppose this?
    b) Why couldn’t the beatific vision be temporarily withdrawn?

    You wrote: “But the satisfaction view of the atonement is entailed by what it does explicitly state. It is entailed also by the Catholic liturgy, which according to Catholic doctrine is a participation in Christ’s sacrifice.”

    It’s possible for Rome to teach more than one thing on many topics.

    You continued: “If the Church taught a penal substitutionary view of the atonement, then to receive the Eucharist would be to receive the Father’s wrath, through union with Christ on the cross. But that’s exactly the opposite of what the liturgy says. I won’t go through all the relevant lines in the liturgy, but if you go to a mass and just listen to the words, you’ll hear that the conception of Christ’s sacrifice, to which the participants are thereby united in the Eucharist, is one of gift of love to the Father, pleasing to the Father, and meriting grace for our salvation. In the eucharistic liturgy, our union with Christ in His sacrifice is a union in which we, in Christ, offer our lives to the Father in love. It is not a union in which we, together with Christ, bear the wrath of the Father. In short, penal substitution is contrary to the Catholic liturgy.”

    This doesn’t seem to follow, but I’ll leave it aside as a tangent for now.

    “Moreover, it is contrary to the sacramental system. Penal substitution is not about meriting grace, but about exhausting the Father’s wrath.”

    Must the two be in opposition? From a merely logical analysis, they don’t seem to be in opposition. But clearly Rome and Geneva are opposed on the nature of the atonement, mostly because Rome denies sola fide rather than because Rome denies penal substitiution itself.

    It does seem that we are whittling the central elements of the discussion down to a few narrow points:

    1) Whether it is enough for Christ to experience, according to his humanity, every kind of anguish and suffering that the damned do. We affirm, and further indicate that this may be more than enough. You seem to deny.

    2) Whether penal substitution requires that Christ have the same objective basis for the suffering and anguish he experienced as the damned do. We deny, you seem to affirm.

    3) Whether Christ can experience any suffering or anguish associated with “loss of communion,” without objectively being God’s enemy. We affirm, you seem to deny.

    4) Whether what chiefly distinguishes punishment from discipline is intent of the administrator. We affirm, you seem to deny.

    5) Whether people can experience “loss of communion” in this life. Your argument seems to imply that you deny, but it appears that your theology requires you to affirm.

    6) Whether people can experience the wrath of God in this life. We affirm. It is unclear whether you agree.

    -TurretinFan

  245. ljdibiase said,

    April 26, 2012 at 1:59 pm

    Bryan said: “penal substitution, by its very definition, requires that Christ receive the full penalty for each sin, and the essence of that full penalty is loss of communion with God.”

    i. “By its very definition,” really means “by Bryan’s definition,” because we have given more nuanced explanations of what penal substitution entails, from those very divines who helped articulate the Reformed doctrine in the first place, and Bryan has refused to deal with those.

    ii. Bryan’s refusal to deal with the Reformed doctrine on its own terms just shows that he’s arguing in bad faith. He’d rather criticize a straw man than risk losing the arument.

    iii. Bryan’s conception of penal substitution is even inconsistent with his own view of the atonement. He holds that for the punishment of sin to be effectual, it has to equal, as imposed on Christ, “the full penalty for each sin,” just essentially the way the damned would receive it. But for his satisfaction theory, Christ’s one life of obedience and sacrifice can infinitely outweigh all the sins of all the world.

    If the divine majesty can add weight to merit, than it can add weight to punishment. Conversly, if our view of penal substitution is equivalent to “stubbing a toe,” then his view of satisfaction is equivalent to “walking an old lady across the street.”

    iv. Bryan still hasn’t adequately explained how ‘loss of communion,’ however it is defined, poses any more of a problem for Chalcedon than much else in the incarnation — special pleading aside — given that the Second Person of the Trinity is the agent behind all of Christ’s actions.

  246. olivianus said,

    April 26, 2012 at 4:00 pm

    Bryan re:243,

    “If by “every suffering and anguish associated with hell” you mean “everything the damned suffer except loss of communion with God” then yes, that’s not sufficient for penal substitution”

    >>>Turretin already answered this. Yes he loses communion it is just not absolute.

    “because penal substitution, by its very definition, requires that Christ receive the full penalty for each sin”

    >>> I will quote again from post 222,

    “You are basically saying that both the essence and the mode and circumstances of the punishment must be the same for the sinner and his substitute. I deny it and I will never say that divine justice requires the same mode and circumstances of punishment for both sinner and substitute. I simply affirm that God punishes sin in the same nature that sinned and that the person of the substitute be of such a character that his merit can offset the eternal guilt of the sinner. Turretin spoke on this long ago,

    “But here again the actual punishment, which the judge demands, must be distinguished accurately from the mode and circumstances of punishment, for these two things are not upon the same footing. . . . For though a sinful person fully deserves punishment and may justly be punished, yet it is not so necessary and indispensable but that for certain definite and weighty causes a transference of punishment to a substitute may be made. And in this sense it is said by theologians that impersonally punishment must of necessity be inflicted upon all sin, but not immediately personally upon every sinner; since by His singular grace God can exempt some from it, a surety being substituted in their stead. But that it may be conceived that God can accomplish this, He must be viewed, not as an inferior and subordinate judge, set up under the law, who would be unable to dispense from the rigour of the law by transferring the punishment to another, but as a judge supreme and free from liability, who, even as He wills to satisfy His own justice by the punishment of sin, so in accordance with His supreme wisdom and pity, was able to relax the strict justice of the law by exempting sinners from the punishment due, and by transferring it to a sponsor (A Short History of the Doctrine of the Atonement, quoted in Grensted, pg. 242-43)…Again as the satisfaction which is demanded by God’s justice it makes two special demands, (1) that it should be paid by the same nature which had sinned, and (2) that it should be of value and even of infinite price to take away sin’s infinite demerit : In Christ were the two natures necessary to the payment of satisfaction, the human to suffer, the Divine to add value and infinite price to the sufferings (pg. 243).

    http://books.google.com/books?id=5WpLAAAAIAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=A+short+history+of+the+doctrine+of+the+atonement+By+Laurence+William+Grensted&source=bl&ots=a1DLbOM4N3&sig=YJf-e9bINXvcp8gmiRU_3Ua7HiQ&hl=en&ei=1jgJTKK8HMOAlAf2sajzDg&sa=X&oi=book”

    Christ does not have to receive the full penalty respecting essence and the mode and circumstances; he has to receive the essence of the penalty, while the mode and circumstances of the penalty may be different.

    “because the punishment is not the same in essence, regardless of the difference in accidents.”

    >>>But you are showing the differences between mode and circumstance, not essence.

    “since in this present life believers still receive the Father’s discipline (including the loss of spiritual consolation), and thus also receive the wrath of the Father, implying that it wasn’t fully spent or exhausted on Christ.”

    >>>The suffering on the cross was not the father’s discipline. It was the Father’s judicial wrath (In essence not mode and circumstance), therefore not purgatorial. There is a difference between paternal and judicial sufferings and forgiveness.

    “Penal substitution is not about meriting grace, but about exhausting the Father’s wrath.”

    >>>That is not true. This is the typical confusion Anchoretics have over active and passive obedience. Christ was active in his sufferings and they were meritorious.John Owen says in Works Vol. 11. Pg. 339,

    “I have met with nothing that had the appearance of any sobriety for the eluding of this express testimony, but only, that *****by the obedience of Christ, his death and sufferings are intended*******, wherein he was obedient unto God; as the apostle saith, he was ‘ obedient unto death; the death of the cross;’ Phil. ii. 8. But yet there is herein no colour of probability. For, 1. It is acknowledged that there was such a near conjunction and alliance between the obedience of Christ, and his sufferings, that though they may be distinguished, yet can they not be separated. ****He suffered in the whole course of his obedience, from the womb to the cross; and he obeyed in all his sufferings unto the last moment wherein he expired***. But yet are they really things distinct, as we have proved; and they were so in him, who ‘learned obedience by the things that he suffered;’ Heb. v. 8. 2. In this place [Rom 5:18-190-DS] [the obedience-g5218- ὑπακοή {hypakoē}] ver. 19. and [the righteousness-g1345- δικαίωμα {dikaiōma}], ver. 18. are the same: obedience and righteousness. By the righteousness of one, and by the obedience of one, are the same.”

    http://books.google.com/books?pg=PA339&lpg=PA339&dq=It+is+acknowledged+that+there+was+such+a+near+conjunction+and+alliance+between+the+obedience+of+Christ+and+his+sufferings&sig=TArq6fgNViSFsYzLCfHR7qKzfJM&ei=Db2CT_L7CurM2gXFhPT2Bg&id=hXEAAAAAMAAJ&ots=2_a-pg1sSa#v=onepage&q=It%20is%20acknowledged%20that%20there%20was%20such%20a%20near%20conjunction%20and%20alliance%20between%20the%20obedience%20of%20Christ%20and%20his%20sufferings&f=false

    “But the response to the gospel, given a satisfaction conception of the atonement, is receiving through the sacraments, the grace merited by Christ’s sacrificial gift to the Father.”

    >>>I don’t have a problem with that unless you are collapsing all meritorious gifts in the sacraments. The preaching of the word and the hearing of the word, and the singing of the word are also channels of divine grace and the merit of christ.

    “WCF 7. VI. Under the gospel, when Christ the substance was exhibited, the ordinances ******in which this covenant is dispensed*******, are the preaching of the Word, and the administration of the sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper; which, though fewer in number, and administered with more simplicity and less outward glory, yet in them it is held forth in more fullness, evidence, and spiritual efficacy, to all nations, both Jews and Gentiles; and is called the New Testament. There are not, therefore, two covenants of grace differing in substance, but one and the same under various dispensations.”

  247. Michelle said,

    April 26, 2012 at 5:24 pm

    “The problem, however, is that you don’t yet understand the Catholic doctrine, and don’t know that you don’t understand it. So you keep misinterpreting it through your Reformed lenses, and then calling it “what all faithful Catholics believe.” In order for us to make progress, you have to let Catholics tell you what Catholics believe, rather than attempting to tell Catholics what Catholics believe while they keep telling you that that’s not what the Catholic Church believes and teaches. Otherwise, you could never come to see when you have misunderstood it.”

    Brian, I know exactly what you mean! And you have the patience of a Saint! Fruit is ~only~ by the Holy Spirit. Pax Christi. God IS good, and I don’t have to sacrifice my reason to know it.

  248. April 26, 2012 at 6:11 pm

    [...] that preface out of the way, Dr. Strange wrote: In his book on the Incarnation especially, and in his wider corpus, more generally, I think that [...]

  249. Michelle said,

    April 26, 2012 at 7:09 pm

    Also, just a poor lay person’s thought on “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” The psalms have not always been conveniently numbered for easy reference. In Jesus’ day, how would someone reference a psalm? By the first sentence of the psalm. Notice in Matthew, they are cruelly mocking him right before he says this first verse of the psalm, then they are no longer mocking him. Read the whole psalm and then you have the correct context. Jesus has identified himself as the speaker of the whole psalm not just the first verse.

  250. ljdibiase said,

    April 26, 2012 at 9:03 pm

    And yet he recites the first verse. Or do you suppose that they didn’t know how to recite a verse at the end of a psalm in those days?

  251. ljdibiase said,

    April 26, 2012 at 9:10 pm

    “In order for us to make progress, you have to let Catholics tell you what Catholics believe, rather than attempting to tell Catholics what Catholics believe while they keep telling you that that’s not what the Catholic Church believes and teaches.”

    Thank you, Michelle. I had forgot about that statement. It’s quite ironic when Bryan has spent this whole thread telling us what our doctrine is, despite us constantly telling him otherwise.

  252. Michelle said,

    April 28, 2012 at 6:34 am

    ljdibiase, Christ recites the first verse because he is self identifying as the ~speaker~ of the psalm and as such the content of the whole psalm and the movement of thought, not just one verse at the beginning or end. This tradition of recitation of the first verse has its root in the liturgy of the synagogue and any first century Jew would have understood, as those there at the cross did.

  253. Michelle said,

    April 28, 2012 at 6:56 am

    “Twinkle, twinkle little star…”
    I wonder if your mind completed the song.

  254. Michelle said,

    April 28, 2012 at 7:02 am

    But in case your still trying to see the parallels, compare this from right before Jesus speaks:

    “Those who passed by derided him, shaking their heads and saying, “You who would destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” In the same way the chief priests also, along with the scribes and elders, were mocking him, saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. He is the King of Israel; let him come down from the cross now, and we will believe in him. He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he wants to; for he said, “I am God’s Son.’ ”

    with these from the psalm

    “All who see me mock at me; they make mouths at me, they shake their heads; “Commit your cause to the Lord; let him deliver— let him rescue the one in whom he delights!” Yet it was you who took me from the womb; you kept me safe on my mother’s breast. On you I was cast from my birth, and since my mother bore me you have been my God.”

    but let Christ truly answer those who question his deliverance “.. he has done it.” psalm 22:31

    Pax

  255. TurretinFan said,

    April 28, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    I have not read all of Thomas H. McCall’s new book, “Forsaken: The Trinity and the Cross, and Why it Matters.” There is an interesting couple of paragraphs bridging pages 46-47:

    “So all of our affirmations matter. As Baukham puts it, “It is essential to recognize both that the forsakenness of Jesus is concretely real and also that both Jesus and the Father remain faithful to each other.” It matters that the incarnate Son has not abandoned humanity at the point of suffering and death. If he had done so, we would still be in our sins and without hope. It matters that the incarnate Son was abandoned by God to this death, for in doing so he identifies with us and stands in for us. And it matters – indeed, it makes all the difference in the world – that the relationship of purest holy love between the Father and Son was not broken on the cross. For not only is the broken-Trinity view biblically unwarranted and theologically impossible, but it would also be terrible news if it were true – Jesus might be on our side, but he would be lost as well. As Thomas F. Torrance puts it, “Cut the bond in being between Jesus Christ and God, and the Gospel message becomes an empty mockery.
    Properly understood, the cry of dereliction means that the Father abandoned the Son to this death at the hands of these sinful people, for us and our salvation. …

    McCall confirms at pages 28-29 that Calvin and Turretin did not assert that the Trinity itself was broken, but rather that Christ “felt, ‘as it were, forasken by God,’ but ‘he did not cease in the slightest degree to confide in his goodness.” Likewise, per McCall, Turretin

    denies that Christ enjoyed the beatific vision, and he is certain that the sufferings of Christ were not merely physical or outward but also internal and spiritual. But he also denies that the desertion of Christ was “absolute, total, and eternal.” In even the darkest moment of his passion, the Son did not lose “communion and protection because God was always at his right hand (Ps. 110:5), nor was he left alone (John 16:32).” The forsakeness Jesus experienced was, then, at most only a loss of the intimate sense of his Father’s power and presence. It was a “withdrawal of vision, not as to dissolution of union; as to the want of the sense of the divine love” – but “not as to a real privation or extinction of it.”

    Considering then that, per McCall, the Reformed theologians thought it was sufficient for Christ merely to feel forsaken by God, it is curious what definition of “penal substitution” Bryan wants to suggest that “by definition” requires something more.

    It seems that this has been a very extended straw man battle from Bryan’s side, if what he imagines penal substitution to entail is not what either Calvin or Turretin taught.

    -TurretinFan

  256. Sean said,

    May 3, 2012 at 11:24 pm

    TurretinFan,

    You wrote:

    //The level of abstraction of this analysis may be the source of your confusion. Nevertheless, the reason that it is true that the guilt of mankind has been imputed to Christ does lie in the fact that Christ is consubstantial with us. If the Word had not become flesh, such imputation would not be possible.//

    I find this comment curious given your devotion, as a Calvinist, to the “L” of TULIP, namely Limited Atonement (and since I also just observed some comments made by you on Youtube indicating that you hold to Limited Atonement, I think I am justified in this assessment). So perhaps you can shed some light on the matter.

    1.) Saying that “the guilt of mankind has been imputed to Christ” can easily be understood to mean that the guilt of all men, and not just the guilt of the Elect, has been imputed to Christ and consequently Christ has been punished in the stead of all mankind. The end result of this, of course, given Penal Substitution, is universalism. It’s therefore not very hard to see why you might object to unlimited atonement (the idea being that it results in universalism), but your comments certainly seem to lead that way in this instance.

    2.) Your other alternative would seem to involve arguing that, in context, when you said “mankind” you meant (or should have meant) “the Elect.” Such avoids universalism, and it avoids Unlimited Atonement in favor of Limited Atonement. The unfortunate part about it is that it involves arguing that Christ is only consubstantial with the Elect, and is not consubstantial with the reprobate; consequently, the damned are not truly human. And since the reprobate, the goats, do not share Christ’s human nature, their physical resurrection from the dead at the time of the Second Coming and Final Judgment is inexplicable.

    It’s even possible given such a view that even the Elect are not consubstantial with Christ except legally; that is, total depravity has so destroyed human nature that not only the reprobate but the Elect are not consubstantial with Christ, but once one is justified, one is legally regarded as being consubstantial with Christ, which either implies that there is no such thing as a “shared nature” in the first place, or at least implies that any sort of relationship with Christ has nothing to do with nature. That does not appear to be your position, however, given what you said here:

    //Second, the experience of communion is according to a nature, not immediately personal as though a person could do or have something apart from a nature. When Christ communed with the disciples at the last supper it was according to his human nature. When Christ communed with the Father from all eternity, it was according to his divine nature. Of course, these are two different kinds of communing, but in both cases the communion is according to a nature, even while being by a person.//

    But it seems as if the aforementioned idea SHOULD be your position (that is communion with Christ is not according to a nature), since a union with Christ predicated on solely a shared human nature demands either of the above two conclusions, neither of which is very satisfactory.

    As for my own position, I would suggest that all humanity is consubstantial with Christ according to His humanity, but only the justified (and ultimately, the Elect) further participate with Christ by being partakers of the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4). Such explains the resurrection of the damned and avoids the two pitfalls of 1) an Unlimited Atonement which demands Universalism and 2) a Limited Atonement which denies the humanity of the unjustified and/or reprobate; it affirms a different version of Unlimited Atonement which steers clear of both errors. But it doesn’t involve Penal Substitution; while Christ dies in solidarity with all of mankind, and then rises such that all mankind will rise, the commonality has to stop at some point. Christ can’t participate either in straight-up damnation nor is human nature “destroyed” by the Fall, such that at least part of the basis for union with the Elect is removed. Neither does my position treat union with Christ as being based on something other than nature/

    It would be most helpful if you could clarify your previous statements and explain their theological ramifications.

    Take care and God bless.

  257. TurretinFan said,

    May 4, 2012 at 8:00 pm

    Sean:

    First, thanks for listening to my Youtube comments. I don’t know which particular ones you had in mind, but it is certainly true that I’m devoted to God, and consequently study His Word, which teaches the doctrine of particular redemption.

    It’s a little hard to make out which parts of my comments are unclear to you. I suppose your confusion might arise from my use of the term “mankind” to refer to the kind of being we humans, as distinct from angel-kind or dog-kind. To avoid that confusion, I suppose I could have just said “humans” rather than “mankind” there.

    Perhaps with that cleared up, the rest of the puzzle pieces will fall into place for you. I’m not sure, but please let me know if you need further clarification.

    -TurretinFan

  258. Sean said,

    May 5, 2012 at 2:51 pm

    TurretinFan,

    When it comes to individuals I dialogue with on Facebook, I tend to not worry too much about doing research about their beliefs prior to discussing something with them – plus there isn’t usually some source I can easily consult. When it comes to the blogosphere and so forth, and an individual has material online that can be accessed, I think it a better idea to research where he/she is coming from first, rather than put the person in a situation where he/she needs to repeat material in a tedious fashion.

    I have no doubt that you believe that God’s Word teaches the doctrine of particular redemption – limited atonement rather than unlimited atonement. What I attempted to do was see if that belief can be reconciled with the comment that you made regarding “mankind.” Saying just “humans” rather than “mankind” doesn’t exactly touch upon my area of concern, although I suppose it does clarify your intention. When you say “to the kind of being we humans, as distinct from angel-kind or dog-kind” I think I understand your clarification – that you aren’t so much making a passing comment regarding the scope of what has been imputed to Christ as distinguishing that it is human sin and guilt which is imputed to Christ. If so, that still raises other questions, especially given your second comment regarding communion and nature. I basically read that comment keeping what you said about mankind at the forefront of my mind, in order to decipher your perspective. I recognize that the original context of that comment was distinguishing between Christ eating at table vs His relationship with God, that is, you were trying to distinguish between His two natures. But saying that communion is “according to nature” has serious consequences for your view of that atonement. Forensic imputation doesn’t involve our communion with Christ being on the basis of nature.

    If the imputation to Christ is on a “person” basis rather than a “nature” basis, then it is easy to hold to Limited Atonement, but such results in you being left with no clear way to explain the reason for the physical resurrection of the damned. But if the imputation to Christ is on the basis of “nature” (and seemingly that is what your comment regarding nature and communion would involve) then you are stuck with a) unlimited atonement and universalism or b) limited atonement, but the reprobate are not human.

    If you wish to hold to Limited Atonement and avoid both a and b, then you can’t predicate communion on “nature.” Christ took on human nature, but you can’t believe that He took on the sin and guilt of the reprobate, only that He took on the sin and guilt of the Elect. So the basis of this imputation to Christ has to be based on a personal application; the basis of the relationship, of the “communion,” has to be on what is legally declared, and cannot be according to a nature. The sin and guilt of some humans (for you, the Elect) is legally transferred to Christ, and then the righteousness of Christ is then transferred to those humans (the Elect). The sin and guilt of the reprobate, then, never gets imputed to Christ, nor is His righteousness imputed to them. So how is what you said about communion on the basis of nature compatible with such a forensic understanding? Is it the case that nature-based communion applies with regards to Christ’s relationship to humans, and it applies with regards to Christ’s eternal relationship with the Father, but doesn’t apply when it comes to our relationship with Christ? That comes across as some sort of Realism-Nominalism hybrid – one kind of relationship gets to be declared, while the other kinds of relationships are actually “real.”

    I’m curious as to why you would object to my proposal for Unlimited Atonement (theologically speaking, beyond the mere exegetical confidence you may have that a given text supports Limited Atonement), given that it avoids Universalism (since the reprobate do not ultimately become partakers of the divine nature) as well as the dehumanizing of the reprobate, and communion still ends up being according to nature. Furthermore, it avoids the danger of Nominalism.

    Take care and God bless.

  259. TurretinFan said,

    May 5, 2012 at 8:01 pm

    Sean,

    Thanks again for your comments.

    “But saying that communion is “according to nature” has serious consequences for your view of that atonement. Forensic imputation doesn’t involve our communion with Christ being on the basis of nature.”

    When you say that “forensic imputation doesn’t involve …,” I’m guessing that you mean that forensic imputation, as a concept standing alone, doesn’t require any specific view of our communion with Christ. I’m not sure whether I agree with that, but at least I don’t see any obvious connection between the two. So, I’m not sure what serious concerns you have in mind on that front. Perhaps there is some less obvious connection that you can bring out.

    “If the imputation to Christ is on a “person” basis rather than a “nature” basis, then it is easy to hold to Limited Atonement, but such results in you being left with no clear way to explain the reason for the physical resurrection of the damned. ”

    I understand that there is a vein of thought, particularly popular amongst Byzantine theologians, that one of the effects of Christ’s death (perhaps even the main effect) was to bring about the general resurrection. I don’t agree.

    The general resurrection is a curse to the reprobate. Their merely spiritual sufferings are augmented by bodily sufferings as well. Thus, the general resurrection is not, with respect to the damned, an expression of mercy. Instead, it is strict justice.

    As such, there is no need for Christ’s death to bring about the resurrection of the damned. Justice is a sufficient explanation.

    There’s another aspect to your question that I should clarify. When I say “according to his nature,” I’m not suggesting that the sins of the elect were not imputed to the person of Christ. Rather, I’m specifying the way in which they were imputed.

    I’m not sure if that clarifies my position sufficiently, but I hope so. Feel free to ask if you have additional questions.

    -TurretinFan

  260. Sean said,

    May 9, 2012 at 4:30 pm

    TurretinFan,

    Thank you for your response.

    When I say that forensic imputation doesn’t involve our communion with Christ being on the basis of nature, I mean that it involves our communion with Christ being on the basis of the Father’s legal declaration. The supporter of imputation would then have to do one of two things when it comes to our partaking in the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4) – say that we (legally) partake by imputation, or view the expression as having to do with sanctification. Strictly speaking, union with Christ, given the Protestant notional distinction between justification and sanctification, is on the basis of the former, and the latter is better conceptualized as a simultaneous reality but one that doesn’t ground the union – incidental, perhaps, and certainly always there, contra antinomian views (just as it is held that the justified will perform good works, but those works won’t justify). Our union with Christ could conceivably be on the basis of human nature if the reprobate were no longer human (that would involve a rather severe view of total depravity), but given imputation it isn’t on the basis of nature at all. The only serious consequences I meant to bring up if communion is on the basis of nature are what I said before: since you hold to Limited Atonement, making communion on the basis of nature would result in universalism or a dehumanizing total depravity (distinct from a version of total depravity which affirms that we are all consubstantial with Christ according to His humanity). That’s all.

    The idea that one of the effects of Christ’s atonement is to bring about the general resurrection is actually more widespread than just among Byzantine theologians. It has a fair amount of patristic support, and seems quite in keeping with the overall “participatory” soteriology that we can find among the Fathers.

    I agree with you that the general resurrection involves a curse to the reprobate and their physical sufferings (justly deserved) can be understood through the lens of justice. But you can’t ignore the fact that the primary punishments of mankind as a result of the Fall are both physical and spiritual death. The damned, damned though they may be, are saved by Christ from physical death, although not from spiritual death, the “second death.” Christ conquers death and the reprobate benefit from that, even though their experience of it is hardly the most charming of things. If Christ’s death and resurrection did not affect the reprobate (by virtue of affecting all humanity), then they shouldn’t have escaped physical death. It is by Christ’s power that they do.

    By the same “justice” token I could suggest that Christ’s substitutionary death means the justified should all escape death (entirely) – something that, to me, seems to be a logical consequence of the pretribulational rapture perspective, as wrongheaded as it is. The fact that it doesn’t happen that way suggests something less substitutionary and more participatory (eg. Christ dies changing what it means to die when we are in Him, altering the experience). While I’m aware that many Protestants oppose the concept of temporal punishment for the justified and use it in their anti-purgatory arguments, it seems like the Westminster Confession (thankfully) didn’t go that far and affirms the Father’s discipline (see 17.3). While such is certainly more biblical (Hebrews 12 is a good place to start), if Christ taking on the physical punishment of death is insufficient to keep the justified from experiencing it at all, it stands to reason that Christ taking on the spiritual punishment of the Father’s wrath is insufficient to keep the Elect from making a pit-stop in Hell once they die.

    Perhaps a fitting metaphor, if I may, is the one that Paul provides in 1 Corinthians 15: the firstfruits. Christ’s resurrection is typologically foreshadowed by the Israelite offering of the firstfruits; Christ is the firstfruits, and all who are united to Him (the justified, which for you is synonymous with the Elect) are raised up with Him (James 1:18; Revelation 14:4) . Christ is the firstfruits, a fitting offering of thanksgiving made to the Father.

    By virtue of being incompletely united to Christ, only being consubstantial with His humanity, the reprobate die but not “in Him,” and consequently are not part of the firstfruits. Their union with His humanity is sufficient to effect their physical resurrection and (physical) immortality, but since it is not a union with His divinity, since they are not made partakers in the divine nature (and it is in His divinity that Christ is firstborn Son), they are not the “cream of the crop” if you will. They do not qualify as acceptable “living sacrifices” (Romans 12:1) like those in Christ are. All are joined to Christ in His death and resurrection, but the reprobate are joined only to His humanity and that just isn’t good enough…certainly not good enough for them to escape condemnation.

    I could also refer to Ephesians 5:2 and 2 Cor. 2:15-16; we are the “aroma of Christ for God” and God will smell the sweet fragrance and deem us acceptable (understandably in a legal manner given forensic imputation, that is, the Father reckons us as being the aroma of Christ even thought we “really” aren’t or aren’t so entirely). Such involves the burnt offering typology and connects us to Christ’s Ascension. The reprobate may be “offered” but they certainly do not constitute a sweet fragrance. They are “burned” as Christ was (that is, they suffer) but they are not sanctified by the experience like the justified are, who are the ones “bearing the reproach that He bore” (Hebrews 13:13) outside the camp. This goes along with an idea that you might have heard from those Byzantine folk, namely that God is a consuming fire and is experienced differently by those in Christ and those apart from Christ.

    Such doesn’t in any way involve universalism, but it does involve a version of Unlimited Atonement. And it does bear a resemblance (although it is not identical) to the Lutheran understanding of the atonement that distinguishes between a universal, objective justification and a limited, subjective justification.

    //There’s another aspect to your question that I should clarify. When I say “according to his nature,” I’m not suggesting that the sins of the elect were not imputed to the person of Christ. Rather, I’m specifying the way in which they were imputed.//

    This is probably one of the only things you said that I would appreciate further clarification on, but I *think* I get the idea. Are you saying that the sins of the elect were imputed to the person of Christ “according to His human nature”? That is, you are not departing from the idea that those sins were forensically imputed on a person (rather than a nature) basis to Christ, you are merely asserting that they are not imputed to Christ’s divine nature. Am I understanding you correctly?

    Of course, this leads us into the waters where one side suggests that it is Nestorian to speak in this manner and the other side suggests that it is Monophysite to reject that. Avoiding that for but a moment, I think that we have to be very careful when it comes to our language. I do not hold to the position, say, that “the Father is greater than I” (John 14:28) is best explained by attributing that comment to the difference between the Father and Christ’s human nature. Nor do I think that’s an appropriate way to deal with 1 Corinthians 11:3 where the Father is the head of Christ; consideration of the Monarchy of the Father is enough.

    Given that some of this thread has dealt with the question of what exactly Christ experienced, could you clarify what you believe is the experience of those in Hell and what, if any, commonalities there are between what they experience and what Christ experienced? Bryan’s criticism of PSA is that what Christ would “need” to experience, according to the logic of PSA, is an outright damnation that is incompatible with the Christology of Chalcedon. You and Drake appear to be conceding that such an outright damnation is unacceptable (which is great), but are seemingly “commuting” Christ’s punishment.

    As I understand it, for Christ to experience spiritual death – the only way to truly suffer the Father’s full wrath against sin – a number of things need to happen that cannot happen; those in Hell certainly do not have the Holy Spirit, yet for Christ to lack the indwelling Holy Spirit of sonship suggests that His sonship temporarly ceased (and thus is not eternal), as in an Adoptionist framework. So perhaps you can say that Christ did not lack the Holy Spirit, but only felt what it was “like” to be damned. But there are also other things experienced by the damned that Christ certainly did not experience – lack of faith, hope, and charity, a hatred of the Father, etc. It seems to me that since more sin itself is a punishment for sin (see Romans 1), for Christ to even be sinless suggests that He did not truly suffer what the damned experience.

    Why is less than the full experience sufficient when it comes to a substitutionary act? It seems that in order to say that Christ received the “essence of the penalty” you have to limit what clearly is the essence of the penalty by suggesting that parts of it are more so accidental.

    Take care and God bless.

    – Sean

  261. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 21, 2012 at 7:13 pm

    Friends, non-Romans, countrymen, lend me your ear:

    Ok, I’m gonna be playing catch up for a while.

    Do we have firmly committed reformed GB readers who have encountered John Anthony McGuckin’s work on Cyril of Alexandria?

    I don’t want to nettiquete fail here, but I am asking some serious questions about my current Christological views, as brought about by some allegations on a post about creation days and pre-fall animal death. So I’m gonna dig deep and go back to McGuckin again if I have to. I have read the book 2 times already, and can go for a third.

    I will be busy reading the comments on this thread and all here on GB. But as was mentioned in on of the earlier posts, I have a concern about placing Nestorian thought over and against Cyril’s. It sounds like Nestorian thought, per Lane’s post, is something that was regarded well at Calcedon? Ok, remember, I am learning here. But as one who read McGuckin, I am very leery of Nestorian thought. I was referred to the McGuckin book after I was getting into the modern theologians. Guess what – McGuckin righted the ship for me! And thank goodness. But I have much to learn.

    I want to hear more about the alleged good Nestorian thoughts at Chalcedon. Just expressing my feelings.

    I will be reading. Intently.

    Peace, brothers.

    AB

  262. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 21, 2012 at 7:14 pm

    *not posts. I mean comment 11. This resonates, friends:

    m also troubled by the assertion in passing that theologically Chalcedon is more Nestorian than Cyrilian.

    Digging deep,
    andrew

  263. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 21, 2012 at 7:31 pm

    And if I understand correctly, from Dr. Strange’s comments in 161, Isaiah 53 is helpful in resolving my question.

    Still pouring my heart out to you all. Please consider, I am in a dangerous theological position, given my agnosticism over the definition of the “when” of the fiat creation moment. I am having to really think here folks. People in this forum are accusing me of Christological error.

    It is to Isaiah 53 and Dr. Strange, I now turn.

    Oh, and a shout out to Dr. Strange. The animus conference of 2009, and the creation report of 2004, represents an island of sanity. It was what I told you when I saw you at the lunch, on that Saturday in 2009.

    Thanks be for Godly men, whom our Lord uses to minster his Word (see shorter catechism #89).

    peace for now,
    andrew

  264. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 21, 2012 at 7:42 pm

    And so you know, one of my favorite quote from Cyril, was, “not everything a Heretic says is necessarily Heretical.”

    So sure, there may have been Nestorian thought that prevailed at Chalcedon. But what I will say is that Nestorious was indeed deemed a heretic.

    I would caution us to qualify where necessary the statements of Heretics. Apologies to GB if you guys have done this. I just was relatively rescued by the work of McGuckin, from some nasty strains of Nestorianism.

    I will keep reading these comments.

    Thanks be to God for Godly men and women in our midst,

    Andrew

  265. TurretinFan said,

    June 22, 2012 at 9:43 am

    Andrew:

    Lots of councils have labelled lots of people “heretics.” What ought to be your rule of faith is not the vacillating yardstick of conciliar decisions, but the concrete canon of Scripture.

    After all, although a council condemned Nestorius as a heretic (and Nestorianism is a heresy), another council condemned Cyril as a heretic, and the men of the council that condemned Cyril were (at least to outward appearances) more righteous than those of the council that condemned Nestorius.

    Don’t let the political success of Cyril over Nestorius (getting him labelled a heretic and effectively exiled to an oasis in the Egyptian desert) decide the matter for you. Instead, judge the theological matters according to Scripture and the historical matters (for example, what did Nestorius actually believe – as opposed to what Cyril accused him of) according to the historical evidence.

    After all, recall that John Chrysostom died in exile, having been deposed and banished. Surely we judge him rather by his works, which show forth his right doctrine, rather than by the ecclesiastical decisions.

    -TurretinFan

  266. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 22, 2012 at 9:51 am

    I will look into. Remember, my Tiber trunks are still hanging in the closet. But Cyril is the doctor of the incarnation…

    Still digging deep over here.

    Thanks. I haven’t read any Turretin yet. He’s now on my growing list of things to read.

    You all are really to gracious.

    Peace.

  267. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 22, 2012 at 9:54 am

    I still feel like a heretic because I am not ussherian. But for your all sake, I am 6/24 again. These christology questions are too hard for me. And I have to go to work in 10 minutes.

    I simply ask for patience. You all are doing this. I ask for more…

  268. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 22, 2012 at 9:57 am

    But since I bring up the Tiber, again, I will read Truemans blog again. Haven’t yet found a cogent analysis of Stellman as Trueman’s is.

    For the sake of the Gospel, I now fall silent,
    Andrew

  269. jedpaschall said,

    July 27, 2012 at 7:30 pm

    It’s been a long while since we left this Christological discussion behind, but the Reformed Forum recently interviewed Dr. James Dolezal on Divine Impassibility that relates to some of the issues discussed here. It’s a fairly in-depth discussion, but I thought it was excellent.

  270. August 25, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    Dudes, any Dolezal interview on Reformed Forum is worth the free price of admission. His stuff on divine simplicity is best left to the professionals, but I like to pretend I know theology.

    TF, I want to add, also, yes, your comment is very true. Its just, the Mcguckin book explaining nesorius vs. Cyrillian christology has to be one of my top 5 book of all time. Leave it to an EO priest to use language so well..

    Cyril wasn’t The Savior, but by all accounts, that dude seemed like the ‘bee’s knees.’

    I’m always looking for more book recommendations, tho. Anyone know of any good Christology books? I think mcguckin has to be one of the very best… I will reread Lane’s post here, and maybe buy Schaff or something…

    Peace,
    AB


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