Tag Archives: hypostases

The Easter Paradox

As it is Easter, I thought I’d just do a quick write up on why the Christian onto-theological model of God does not find much mileage in Islam. One of the classic go-to arguments by our Christian brothers and sisters is to argue that only the human nature suffered, not the divine nature. The reason this is argued is to circumvent the law of non-contradiction. What is the law of non-contradiction?

A cannot be A and not-A at the same time.

To circumvent this, we are told Jesus has two natures, so he suffered in one nature (the human nature or A) and didn’t suffer in another nature (the divine nature or B). On the surface this may seem like a reasonable response, until you break it down into notation form:

Jesus the Person {(divine nature), (human nature)}

In other words, Jesus, the 2nd Person of the Trinity and therefore God, can be said to have suffered, to say otherwise is to deny the personhood of Jesus in totality as the Trinitarian schema is presented to us. Calvinists in particular are fond of this argument but as RC Sproul has noted, other Christians accuse them of being Nestorians by dividing Jesus into two persons, a human person and a divine person. Those who argue in the form that Calvinists and most other popular Christian speakers do, fall prey to being declared apostates:as per the Council of Ephesus (431 CE):

If anyone distributes between the two persons or hypostases the expressions used either in the gospels or in the apostolic writings, whether they are used by the holy writers of Christ or by him about himself, and ascribes some to him as to a man, thought of separately from the Word from God, and others, as befitting God, to him as to the Word from God the Father, let him be anathema.

We can abstract this ontological model even further:

One Divine Being {(Father), (Son), (Holy Spirit)}

In this rendition, we can also say the Divine Being also suffered, as we are told each member of the Godhead is fully divine. Meme-ified we see:

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And:

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and God knows best.

Pagan Influences in Christian Theology

I recently read from a budding South African theologian of Ad Lucem Ministries that the New Testament’s concept of God is not based on Graeco-Roman philosophy. Yet this does not seem to be the case…(see attached photo), Acts 17:28 (NIV):

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It is quite peculiar that the New Testament uses the term “ειμι” (to exist) for God but never in the present participle form of “ὤν” (being). What’s interesting is that New Testament’s translators continue to replace in their translations “ειμι” for “ὤν” in English, almost as if the allegedly inspired texts in and of themselves use insufficient language…

We see further examples of a dependency on Platonic-Aristotelian metaphysics in Philippians 2:6, where “μορφε” (form) is translated as “nature or essence”, a completely Platonic-Aristotelian pre-Christian concept in philosophy, referring to the “material whole”.

The Trivium Final

This is why in Christianity, God who is a “ουσια” (substance) can also be immanent, because it fits into the Aristotelian pre-Christian concept of an “accident” (a substance that exists in another substance), i.e. God (a being) in flesh (another substance). This can also be seen in the sense of passion, from the “Praedicamenta”/ 10 Categories of Being, where God (a being) uses a form and thus can experience pain in one sense and not in other because this Being can distinguish between itself (read as quantitatively, therefore “Persons” in the Godhead) and can have various forms (read as qualitatively) hence the hypostatic union.

The Trivium Final

While some Christian apologists deny these dependencies on Platonic-Aristotelian pre-Christian philosophies, by using these terms, they are implying an already understood meaning, which in this case would be the predominant Platonic-Aristotelian metaphysics for their onto-theology of “God”.

It should be noted that this is the reasoning behind Justin Martyr’s statement of:

“And when we say also that the Word, who is the first-birth of God, was produced without sexual union, and that He, Jesus Christ, our Teacher, was crucified and died, and rose again, and ascended into heaven, we propound NOTHING DIFFERENT from WHAT YOU BELIEVE regarding those whom you esteem sons of Jupiter.”

Source: Justin Martyr, The First Apology, Chapter 21.

Some apologists have argued that Justin was using “hyperbole”, this is an ignorant claim, without understanding of basic Graeco-Roman metaphysics.

and Allah knows best.