The fundamental problem of Christology is the apparent contradiction of Christ as recorded at Chalcedon. Christ is human and Christ is divine. Being divine entails being immutable. Being human entails being mutable. Were Christ two different persons there’d be no apparent contradiction. But Chalcedon rules as much out. Were Christ only partly human or only partly divine there’d be no apparent contradiction. But Chalcedon rules as much out. Were the very meaning of ‘mutable’ and/or ‘immutable’ other than what they are, (...) there’d be no apparent contradiction. But the meaning is what it is, and changing the meaning of our terms to avoid the apparent contradiction of Christ is an apparent flight from reality. What, in the end, is the explanation of the apparent contradiction of Christ? Theologians and philosophers have long advanced many consistency-seeking answers, all of which increase the metaphysical or semantical complexity of the otherwise strikingly simple but radical core of Christianity’s GodMan. In this paper, I put the simplest explanation on the theological table: namely, Christ appears to be contradictory because Christ is contradictory. This explanation may sound complicated to the many who are steeped in the mainstream account of logic according to which logic precludes the possibility of true contradictions. But the mainstream account of logic can and should be rejected. Ridding theology of the dogma of mainstream logic illuminates the simple though striking explanation of the apparent contradiction of Christ — namely, that Christ is a contradictory being. Just as the simplest explanation to the apparent roundness of the earth has earned due acceptance, so too should the simplest explanation of the apparent contradiction of Christ. (shrink)
Which Trinity? : the doctrine of the Trinity -- In contemporary philosophical theology -- Whose monotheism? : Jesus and his Abba -- Doctrine and analysis -- "Whoever raised Jesus from the dead" : Robert Jenson on the identity of the Triune God -- Moltmann's perichoresis : either too much or not enough -- "Eternal functional subordination" : considering a recent evangelical proposal -- Holy love and divine aseity in the theology of John Zizioulas -- Moving forward : theses on the (...) future of Trinitarian theology. (shrink)
Classical Christian orthodoxy insists that God is Triune: there is only one God, but there are three divine Persons — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit — who are somehow of one substance with one another. But what does this doctrine mean? How can we coherently believe that there is only one God if we also believe that there are three divine Persons? This problem, sometimes called the ‘threeness-oneness problem’ or the ‘logical problem of the Trinity’, is the focus of this (...) interdisciplinary volume. It includes a selection of recent philosophical work on this topic, accompanied by a variety of essays by philosophers and theologians to further the discussion. The book is divided into four parts, the first three dealing in turn with the three most prominent models for understanding the relations between the Persons of the Trinity: Social Trinitarianism, Latin Trinitarianism, and Relative Trinitarianism. Each section includes essays by both proponents and critics of the relevant model. The volume concludes with a section containing essays by theologians reflecting on the current state of the debate. (shrink)
In the second chapter to his Galatians letter, Paul makes some striking statements. He says that he has been “crucified with Christ,” and indeed that he no longer lives but that Christ lives “in” him. Such claims raise fascinating exegetical and metaphysical issues that are important for theology. Just who is this “I”, and what is the relation of this “I” to Christ? How are we to understand union with Christ – indeed, is the relation spoken of here something stronger (...) than mere union? Is it identity? In this essay, I offer an analytic engagement with traditional and more recent “apocalyptic” interpretations of this passage, and I argue that a traditional account is preferable. (shrink)
Trenton Merricks argues that the Incarnation gives us strong reasons to embrace physicalism. I argue that these reasons are not so strong, and that there are important questions remaining about both the coherence and the orthodoxy of physicalist Christology.
In this essay we analyze some of the most influential of the recent claims that the Son is permanently and necessarily subordinate to the Father. After first summarizing the case made by Bruce Ware and Wayne Grudem for their view, we evaluate the strength of their case and advance some counterarguments. In spite of the fact that their view has attracted a great deal of attention and criticism, the massive and important metaphysical claims made by Grudem and Ware have not (...) yet received adequate scrutiny. (edited). (shrink)
What Michael J. Murray and John Ross Churchill offer as “Mere Theistic Evolution” is an intriguing proposal that should be taken seriously by Christians who are convinced of the truth of classical Christian theology while also engaged in respectful and appreciative dialogue with the natural sciences. In this essay, I argue that the main theological arguments against theistic evolution put forth in the influential volume Theistic Evolution: A Scientific, Philosophical, and Theological Critique are not decisive against mere theistic evolution. The (...) proposal raises many interesting and important issues, and it deserves further engagement. (shrink)
Professor Ward has offered a bold alternative to traditional doctrines of the Trinity. I focus on his proposal for understanding the identity of Jesus Christ. I note some ambiguities and raise some concerns, and I show that his theology is not obviously free of the error that motivates his rejection of more traditional views.