January 27, 2021

The Council

Proclaiming the truth to the world.

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I have an interest in issues around the doctrine of God and for sake of keeping stuff I read orderly I put it here. Here is something Dr. Bolt directed me to and I wish to share it for you people as well:

As I understand Oliphint, having read and listened to most of his other works, God possesses contingent/covenantal/”God with us” properties due to his having condescended through the act of creation. As he explains especially in the fourth chapter of God With Us, these contingent properties do not constitute a nature, but in Oliphint’s scheme they function analogously to the human nature in Christ. Thus, just as the human nature is an addition to the divine Son in the incarnation, so also God’s contingent properties are an addition to essential/a se/God properties. Oliphint applies Christological categories such as the extra Calvinisticumcommunicatio idiomatum, and reduplicative strategy to the doctrine of God in an attempt to render the essential properties of God safe from limitation and hence his overall theology immune from criticism. Per the extra Calvinisticum, the Son acts in and through the divine nature ‘apart’ from the human nature, and so also according to Oliphint God acts in and through the essential divine properties ‘apart’ from the contingent properties. Per the communicatio idiomatum, there is an asymmetrical relationship between the divine and human natures of Christ, and so also with the essential and contingent properties of God. Per the reduplicative strategy, apparently contradictory states of affairs may be predicated of Christ since what is said of Christ is stated with respect to one or the other nature, and so also apparently contradictory statements may be predicated of God (God is omniscient, God is ignorant; God is immutable, God changes) since what is said of God is stated with respect to his essential or contingent properties. Theology proper describes God as he is essentially, and God remains what he is essentially while taking on contingent properties by condescending through covenant relations to his creation. The Christological categories are applied to this theological layout in order to account for the relationship between the essential and contingent properties of God in much the same way as they are to applied to Christ to account for the relationship between the divine and human nature of Christ.

I have some reservations here. For example, Jay Wesley Richards bases his construal of something very similar to Oliphint’s scheme on S5 modal logic, but recently there have been some strong philosophical objections to S5 especially where it is contingent on S4. The relationship of the doctrine of God to possible worlds semantics is not the clearest topic in the world. But setting that aside, just what is it that Oliphint means when he says that God takes on these various contingent properties? How does God ‘condescend’ to his creatures without taking on any physical property or nature? How would Oliphint state the property he would ascribe to God in the place where God ‘comes to know’ something? Since coming to know something presupposes ignorance, let’s say that the property of ignorance is ascribed to God such that, ‘God is ignorant.’ It is easy to see how this property can be ascribed to God if God takes some finite property or nature to himself. But what finite property or nature is it that God takes to himself in the types of accounts that Oliphint hopes to explain? God takes on the property of ignorance in terms of…? (God is ignorant in terms of…?) It must be in terms of something other than God; else the property of ignorance is no addition at all, for the property of ignorance in such an instance just is being ignorant. Perhaps Oliphint would respond that God is ignorant in terms of the contingent realm itself. Since God condescends to a chronology God takes on the property of ignorance in terms of that chronology. Perhaps this is what Oliphint is trying to say. I do not know that he has been specific enough concerning what these properties look like.

http://choosinghats.org/2014/02/review-covenantal-apologetics-principles-practice-in-defense-of-our-faith-by-k-scott-oliphint/

I think that someone willing to take a further step would just claim theophanies just are incarnations and thus can be attributed to God. Whether that idea is true or orthodox is up for some debate. 

[responsivevoice_button]
I have an interest in issues around the doctrine of God and for sake of keeping stuff I read orderly I put it here. Here is something Dr. Bolt directed me to and I wish to share it for you people as well:

As I understand Oliphint, having read and listened to most of his other works, God possesses contingent/covenantal/”God with us” properties due to his having condescended through the act of creation. As he explains especially in the fourth chapter of God With Us, these contingent properties do not constitute a nature, but in Oliphint’s scheme they function analogously to the human nature in Christ. Thus, just as the human nature is an addition to the divine Son in the incarnation, so also God’s contingent properties are an addition to essential/a se/God properties. Oliphint applies Christological categories such as the extra Calvinisticumcommunicatio idiomatum, and reduplicative strategy to the doctrine of God in an attempt to render the essential properties of God safe from limitation and hence his overall theology immune from criticism. Per the extra Calvinisticum, the Son acts in and through the divine nature ‘apart’ from the human nature, and so also according to Oliphint God acts in and through the essential divine properties ‘apart’ from the contingent properties. Per the communicatio idiomatum, there is an asymmetrical relationship between the divine and human natures of Christ, and so also with the essential and contingent properties of God. Per the reduplicative strategy, apparently contradictory states of affairs may be predicated of Christ since what is said of Christ is stated with respect to one or the other nature, and so also apparently contradictory statements may be predicated of God (God is omniscient, God is ignorant; God is immutable, God changes) since what is said of God is stated with respect to his essential or contingent properties. Theology proper describes God as he is essentially, and God remains what he is essentially while taking on contingent properties by condescending through covenant relations to his creation. The Christological categories are applied to this theological layout in order to account for the relationship between the essential and contingent properties of God in much the same way as they are to applied to Christ to account for the relationship between the divine and human nature of Christ.

I have some reservations here. For example, Jay Wesley Richards bases his construal of something very similar to Oliphint’s scheme on S5 modal logic, but recently there have been some strong philosophical objections to S5 especially where it is contingent on S4. The relationship of the doctrine of God to possible worlds semantics is not the clearest topic in the world. But setting that aside, just what is it that Oliphint means when he says that God takes on these various contingent properties? How does God ‘condescend’ to his creatures without taking on any physical property or nature? How would Oliphint state the property he would ascribe to God in the place where God ‘comes to know’ something? Since coming to know something presupposes ignorance, let’s say that the property of ignorance is ascribed to God such that, ‘God is ignorant.’ It is easy to see how this property can be ascribed to God if God takes some finite property or nature to himself. But what finite property or nature is it that God takes to himself in the types of accounts that Oliphint hopes to explain? God takes on the property of ignorance in terms of…? (God is ignorant in terms of…?) It must be in terms of something other than God; else the property of ignorance is no addition at all, for the property of ignorance in such an instance just is being ignorant. Perhaps Oliphint would respond that God is ignorant in terms of the contingent realm itself. Since God condescends to a chronology God takes on the property of ignorance in terms of that chronology. Perhaps this is what Oliphint is trying to say. I do not know that he has been specific enough concerning what these properties look like.

http://choosinghats.org/2014/02/review-covenantal-apologetics-principles-practice-in-defense-of-our-faith-by-k-scott-oliphint/

I think that someone willing to take a further step would just claim theophanies just are incarnations and thus can be attributed to God. Whether that idea is true or orthodox is up for some debate.