The Nature of the Son of God

I propose two givens. God is the (intentional, competent) ground of eternal being. They joined in nature with the human nature of a late ANE Jewish country carpenter.

Meanwhile, John, and Paul… in Colossians 1, interestingly both… Come Together, blur the distinction between God the Son and the Son of God. That was fine for an ANE cosmology and theology. But it’s totally inadequate for a modern one. And the damage was done all the way up to and including Chalcedon and beyond, despite the genius of the hypostatic union. Roman and Greek theologians had no excuse but could not dare challenge John and Paul (Like, er, I mean, man, who can?). Because, of course, it would have occurred to gentile genius, that God beyond infinity and beyond eternity, could not collapse to a Spirit sperm, surely?

So. What sense is there in having God the Son? Isn’t He just a backward extrapolation from the Son of God? Why is He rationally faithfully necessary? Because the Bible tells me so? So what? Bearing in mind the two givens above. John and Paul made Him up to elevate Jesus. Well one of them did. And Paul came first. Not that Colossians is in the consensual seven. Is there any trace of Him elsewhere? Not that I can see. It’s as if Persons have to be proliferated to accommodate a divine person and leave someone running the store: The God the Son Person became the Son of God person, so there had to be another Person (at least) doing all the omnis. Which, again, is fine for the apostolic inchoate time. But not after. And certainly not now.

I can see the Persons of the Father and the Spirit. But the Son Person? Back forever before Jesus? What for? Regardless of the fact there will have been an infinity of incarnate, dead, resurrected, transcendent saviours from eternity, the eternity of universes, each with trilions of concurrent hypostatic messiahs. Which is implicit in Lewis? So a Son Person could not coterminously become any and therefore all of them. And what have they all become? What have their infinity of persons become?

Man? (As in ‘Hey man’)

Klax,
Before I can say anything about the content of your proposal, I need to understand it better. Could you give me a hand with the following, please?
Thanks!

You wouldn’t mention intentional and competent, if they weren’t important to mention. However, I’m not sure, why you find them specifically important to mention, so I ask: why?

As different from “the ground of being?” Why this distinction?

Sorry to sound like a broken record. Again, why?

Tricky questions.
Are you implying that God or the Persons of God exist because we need him to? Or somethng else?

Note: In lingustics this is called a backformation.

You’ve mentioned this elsewhere, I think. What is it?

I’m reading this a number of ways. You aren’t implying a multiverse of “Groundhog’s Day”s are you? I’ve never gotten that impression before.
Rather than throwing out a number of wrong possible interpretations of this, I’ll just ask how you intend for this to be understood. Thanks!

I haven’t read that much of Lewis. Can you give a hand, please?

Thanks.

Swimming anadromously.

Lewis was OK with plural incarnation.

And no, not GHD. That ends. And it had a beginning.

It’s never the same incarnation twice. God has always incarnated. From eternity. As I’ve always said here.

There are seven consensual letters of Paul. Colossians isn’t one.

Thanks for back-formation.

God the Son seems to exist to elevate the Son of God. From Paul and John’s POV, Jesus is so cool He can’t ‘just’ have been a person of two natures and be a transcendent, glorified, parochial (Terran in our case) version of the same. Just like the infinity of others from eternity. Why not?

So, God the Son is back-formed from the Son of God, then works forward, once, from eternity, on the only ever inhabited world, to become God the Son. All very early Classical antiquity, sorry not late ANE. The theology matches to the primitive cosmology. It’s OK if God becomes a man once upon a time as there’s no one else and never has been and never will be. Pre-neoplatonistically. People like Plotinus were far more rigorous philosophically. The implications of eternity and the infinite were sinking in. That God could not become human, let alone an incarnate Person an infinite number of times from eternity.

As for intentional and competent, well the difference between God and a natural ground of being is intentionality, and a competent God is a decent one. Not a psychopathically meaninglessly righteous one. One that levels up everything that suffers.

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Thanks.
I have homework.

Has this ever not been the case?
Sometimes that’s what is required. Sometimes there is even help.

Wish I had more for you than backformations, fishladders and questions.

Books with the same, maybe unknown, authorship?

Lewis & plural incarnations:
I think it comes up in his space books, which I read over 30 years ago and not again. Other place?
Plural incarnations would certainly make impossible any current understanding (that I know of) regarding Jesus’s resurrected body. Which I guess is largely what you’re working out.

Of course you have. You’re very consistent.
I have consistently wondered what you meant by it.
But I think you’ve also been consistent in your wondering about the incarnation—if it really occurred. No?

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Back-formation is good enough. And I love the echo of that with anadromous that you hear.

John and Colossians having the same authorship! Wow. A Bridge Too Far even for me. A question for some AI somewhere.

And it’s not just Lewis!

Abstract

Formulated by Aquinas, commented on by post-Copernican philosophers and theologians, analysed in depth by C.S. Lewis, and deliberated by some contemporary writers, the question of multiple incarnations either within humanity or amongst extra-terrestrial sentient species is all too intermittently examined: ‘Can the Christ be incarnated more than once in our reality, or somewhere else in the universe, or another reality?’ In this paper, we examine the debate and the conclusions: that is, Lewis’s position within his philosophical theology and his analogical narratives; also, some contemporary philosophers of religion and theologians (Karl Rahner, with Christopher L. Fisher and David Fergusson; Sjoerd L. Bonting and William B. Drees; E.L. Mascall and Brian Hebblethwaite; Oliver Crisp and Keith Ward). How do they relate to Aquinas’s handling of the question and how do they compare with Lewis’s approach based on a theology of the imagination (grounded in Augustine and Alice Meynell)? Can Lewis resolve the argument? Could alien species have witnessed wholly different acts, equally unique, costly to God, and necessary to the process of salvation? Any answer or explanation relates to the function and purpose of the incarnation: the Fall, original sin—therefore, how we define the boundaries, limits, of atonement.

Looks like I’ll have to stump up ten bucks and screen shoot!

I have no problem with Jesus’ resurrected body and person. Should I have?

And yes, I wonder, in the absence of any other divine intelligence - in all senses.

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The Heythrop Journal is widely held in libraries. Will your local library perform an interlibrary loan request for you?
Let me dig around. I might be able to help you on this one.

[I couldn’t leave the mess as it was. The top half of this is a tidied up and slightly expanded string of thoughts that are mostly topically connected. Below the line I drew is the original, multi-edited complete mess.]

The article was interesting, but I wonder what your response is to it. Even the universalists mentioned saw a connection between Incarnation/s and sin. In regard to other-worldly persons, who may not sin, Lewis saw Incarnation/s as unrelated to sin in their case. I don’t remember, though, if there was an explanation of the purpose of Incarnation/s to the sinless. Maybe you saw one?

This does bring me to ask, what you view the purpose of Incarnation/s to be?

And after reading more views on the possibility (or not) of multiple Incarnations, do you feel closer to an explanation that satisfies you? In what way?

Earlier I had brought up Jesus’s resurrected body, and you replied:

Certainly not! No, I see no reason to have a problem with Jesus’s resurrected body and person. Although, I’m pretty sure we mean different things, when we talk about this.
A multiverse cosmology does, certainly, bring your question to the forefront. Whatever is, is. Whether I grasp it or not. However, what/how/who/when/wherever God is is also unified with the reality that exists. Whether I grasp it or not. I don’t intend to be reckless, but what is is.

Further regarding resurrection you said:

Would this non-existence then imply no soul or spirit or anything like that? No permanence of the Self, or any sort of self-awareness?
It does give a different insight into how a purely humans-to-humus model not only provides for but requires “making all things new,” if it is to include resurrection. It would certainly provide for your understanding of reconciliation. Although, really, it would remove any need for reconciliation, wouldn’t it? What would be left to reconcile?
A model of resurrection from obliteration is new to me. If I’ve misunderstood what you mean, please help me with that.

When I asked about Jesus’s (or maybe rather the Son of God’s) resurrected body, I was referring to a challenge that comes up in the article and that I’ve only become aware of as a topic of controversy, when I started reading about Reformed doctrines related to the Lord’s Supper. I learned that there are/have been heated doctrinal debates about the exact location of Jesus’s physical body right now. Baptist lay people don’t worry about this. We’re more concerned that God the Son not actually be at his table with us, because we’re set on a memorial, rather than a supper with the host.

Multiple Incarnations of God the Son would potentially complicate traditional understandings of where Jesus’s currently resurrected human body resides (at the right hand of God the Father) and what he is doing there. If there were more than one, much less infinite, Incarnation/s of God, would there (according to this system of thinking) imply infinite individual Gods-the-Son in heaven at one time? I think you were getting at this at the end of your OP.

Hebblethwaite addressed this in his work, quoted in the article:

"Even he does not take seriously enough the fact that a series of divine incarnations would have to be the same person, human as well as divine. And there lies incoherence – an incoherence brought out only too clearly by the eschatological implications of the simultaneous existence of a number of risen humans each alleged to be the incarnate Son of God.
(p 401-402)

But Lewis and some of the others, got around it by simply saying that while God could incarnate multiple times, He didn’t.

I thought Ward’s and Mascall’s views were probably the most interesting. [Possibly useful to you.]

Ward:

‘God could in theory take many minds and bodies to be finite forms of the divine nature. There is nothing to prevent the infinite God from taking any number of finite forms. But two main factors are necessary if a human person is to be a finite form of God. That person must be wholly obedient to God, and there must be an historical and cultural context which makes the expression of the divine nature in that person intelligible. The number of people who are wholly obedient to God must be very small indeed.’77

and

‘A human life that shows perfect knowledge and love of God, and which is selflessly devoted to the service of God, is so rare that its appearance is almost, if not quite, a miracle. It becomes truly a miracle if that human soul is such that it could not fall away from God, but is indissolubly united to the divine will.’78

Mascall:

To Mascall a second incarnation is irrelevant because Christ had already been taken up in glory, drawing humanity with Him, and the rest of creation. Both Bonting and Mascall note how the orthodox view is that the incarnation is not the conversion of Godhead into human flesh, but rather the taking up of humanity into the Godhead (a point of confluence with Lewis who also asserted the divinization of the human as God descended to reascend), so there is no reason why another finite rational nature, the inhabitants of another planet, could not also be taken up in this way.

But I don’t think that’s a problem in your view, because…

Does this mean, then, that you see the hypostatic union as temporary?
If that’s the case, then one infinite eternal Person of the Godhead could in theory be present in any infinitely present Progenies of God, because there’s no human aspect of resurrected remains to consider.

However, you did mention a resurrected Jesus, which makes me ask about him. Still hypostatically unified? If not, then what was/is he and where? How to understand this Jesus? I don’t expect that you’re going all Dan Brown on us.

And going back to the beginning (of the hypostatic union) from the (potential) end, Who is Jesus’ father/Father? Sorry. You’ve probably covered that elsewhere, and I forgot. (There’s a lot to put together here. A Choose-Your-Own-Theology-Adventure novel with no page number references.)

Regarding resurrection: you mentioned it is delayed. Delayed until? In an eternal and infinitely infinite multiverse, such a delay could be a problem, if resurrection is ever going to occur at all, couldn’t it? When could it possibly fit?

Sorry to nail you with so many more questions. They multiply infinitely as I think this through. Thanks for taking the time to read all this and for any thoughtful response.

N.B.:
Most useful to me in this article was the background on Lewis’s “doctrine” of Christological prefigurements and views on myth and legend. This explained what I found particularly off-putting in the Space Trilogy. I was baffled by his inclusion of characters like Merlin. This article provided the missing piece I needed to make more sense of that. So, thanks! 30 years was a wait, but now that’s done.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The article was interesting, but I wonder what your response is to it. Even the universalists mentioned saw a connection between Incarnation/s and sin. In regard to other-worldly persons, who may not sin, Lewis saw Incarnation/s as unrelated to sin in their case. I don’t remember, though, if there was an explanation of the purpose of Incarnation/s to the sinless. Maybe you saw one?

This does bring me to ask, what you view the purpose of Incarnation/s to be?

And after reading more views on the possibility (or not) of multiple Incarnations, do you feel closer to an explanation that satisfies you? In what way?

Earlier I had brought up Jesus’s resurrected body, and you replied:

Certainly not! Assuming resurrection at some point for all, what a great way to find out the definitive answers to all these questions. Just ask him. Spend the Resurrection with the person all this frustrating yearning is about. No, I see no reason to have a problem with Jesus’s resurrected body and person.
[Edited 2022.11.19, 05:33]
No, wait! Those questions wouldn’t be possible or practical, because:

This non-existence would also imply no soul or spirit or anything like that, wouldn’t it? No permanence of the Self, or any sort of self-awareness.
It does give a different insight into how a purely humans-to-humus model not only provides for but requires “making all things new.” It would certainly provide for your understanding of reconcilliation.
A model of resurrrection from obliteration is new to me.[/edit]

When I asked about this [edit 2022.11.19–Looking back and forth to your OP I see that you did address this and I misunderstood that you were addressing it. Sorry. Sometimes there’s a lot to take in and assemble. The structure is not always clear until I hash it over.], I was referring to a challenge that comes up in the article and that I’ve only become aware of as a topic of controversy, when I started reading about reformed doctrines related to the Lord’s Supper. I learned that there are/have been heated doctrinal debates about the exact location of Jesus’s physical body right now. Baptist lay people don’t worry about this. We’re more concerned that God the Son not actually be at his table with us, because we’re set on a memorial, rather than a supper with the host.

Multiple Incarnations of God the Son would potentially complicate traditional understandings of where Jesus’s currently resurrected human body resides (in heaven) and what he is doing there. If there were more than one, much less infinite, Incarnation/s of God, would there (according to this system of thinking) imply infinite individual Gods-the-Son in heaven at one time? I think you were getting at this at the end of your OP.

Hebblethwaite addressed this in his work, quoted in the article:

"Even he does not take seriously enough the fact that a series of divine incarnations would have to be the same person, human as well as divine. And there lies incoherence – an incoherence brought out only too clearly by the eschatological implications of the simultaneous existence of a number of risen humans each alleged to be the incarnate Son of God.
(p 401-402)

But Lewis and some of the others, got around it by simply saying that while God could incarnate multiple times, He didn’t.
I thought Ward’s and Mascall’s views were probably the most interesting. [Possibly useful to you.]

But I don’t think that’s a problem in your view, because…

[yet another edit on 2022.11.19]This would mean, then, that you see the hypostatic union as temporary then, wouldn’t it?
If that’s the case, then one infinite eternal Person of the Godhead could in theory be present in any infinitely present Progenies of God.
[/edit]

[Another edit 2022.11.19, 06:07]
Regarding resurrection: you mentioned it is delayed. Delayed until? In an eternal and infinitely infinite multiverse, such a delay could be a problem, if resurrection is ever going to occur at all, couldn’t it? When could it possibly fit?
[/edit]

Most useful to me in this article was the background on Lewis’s “doctrine” of Christological prefigurements and views on myth and legend. This explained what I found particularly off-putting in the Space Trilogy. I was baffled by his inclusion of characters like Merlin. This article provided the missing piece I needed to make more sense of that. So, thanks! 30 years was a wait, but now that’s done.

[Ok. I must stop editing and let this rest. It becomes more disorganized by the minute. Sorry. You can hash it over (or not) as you see fit.]

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So a Jewish carpenter who already was was minding his own business when the almighty ground of being decided “why don’t I infuse this pile of dust with my ground-of-beingness? I guess that make Jesus twice grounded in being? Somehow that just seems to add more wrinkles without smoothing any out.

The joining was at conception. Sorry for the misdirection.

This is going to take some time… : )

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But I thought God was the grounding of all being. If you are you’ve already been grounded.

I think the problem is in thinking of God as in any way separate from all that is. The ground of being is an equal opportunity ship raiser. We need to think about the mythic point of this way of speaking. What about who we are and what the world is for does it convey?

As you see fit, and as time allows.
It took me considerable time.
And then this morning, I felt like it needed yet more time, but the thing was out there. Sorry the writing isn’t polished at all.

2022.11.20 06:32 EST
And I see this morning you had already developed some of the background of this OP over in the mysteries and orthodoxy thread, which I had only glanced at.

Mark,
This might help from another thread:

Thanks. Going back for more winks now. I’ll let that percolate without ‘me’.

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More words:

Not sure I made that connection or really still do. The concept of “backformation” always implies an error. Swimming anadromously does not (always). For some, particularly salmon, it’s how one survives to make progress, or at least progeny.
The ladders are engineered correctives to engineered problems. I think that is more likely what you seek and have identified.
However, echoes can be helpful–hearing thoughts bounced back, when swimming under a bridge.

Thinking more about your OP and multiple incarnations, do you see any answers to your earlier question:

While considering with you elegance in the Godhead, I have wondered, why

I’m proposing nothing, but asking for your view on the matter.

And finally, for the moment at least,

I did actually hear “George and Ringo” in the back of my mind, when I saw this the first time. Ach!

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Trouble is, I see no need for ‘the Son’ now.

The conversation in the transcendent might be woeful. It might be wise to give skeptical theism some consideration.

@Klax, before I bring up anything else: if you are done with this topic here, just say so. I’ll leave it. But I understand that it is important to you — for you. And if you think continuing discussion here could be of some value to you, I’m willing to do that. In any case, I have no interest in attempting to push one view or another on you.

Sorry.1 I realized late that the example I shared with MarkD was out of date. I shared it because it provided your wording for the establishment of the hypostatic union local. But I was sloppy in using that particular example.

I do want to clarify, however, if by “the Son” in post 16 you mean “God the Son” or also “the Son of God.” That would change — well — nearly everything I think.

Was the article of any help? I found it spawned more questions actually as does the process of attempting to articulate some of them. You? Do you have any more insights that help you make sense of multiple (or single) incarations, the purpose/s of those incarnations, the purposes or existence of the death/s of the Incarnated, the existence and even purpose of some or all resurrections of the Incarnated, the location of the Resurrected now, etc. I don’t need to rewrite them all. I think we both have already here and there. And I don’t need to add to them. You have more than enough to work out.

If you find the contemplation of it all just make it worse, please forgive me for adding to what disquiets you.

1 Read this as from a Canadian. Michigan is close enough to and has enough interaction with Canada that there are some cultural similarities. We generally actually mean to ask pardon, when we say “sorry.”

Kendel! I was being too subtile for my own good. God the Son. Therefore

At conception the nature of God suffused a human. The light of God… shone in to, through, a Spirit fertilized ovum sized window. A window that grew to a man and the light of God the Sun intensified a billion times through that human portal. On death the window was shuttered. Winked out.

On resurrection it opened wider than ever. Not as far as it could at first. But on the first ascension it obviously did. It’s wide enough for Earth’s heaven for a start now. When did that start to fill up? Questions, questions.

Thanks for explaining. So, that hasn’t changed. Just wasn’t clear to me.

I am still wondering about that first resurrection, though, and how that fits in, what purpose you see for it. To provide the needed warrant? Maybe that’s obvious to you. I have other thinking present as well and am not able to set it aside entirely.

Questions, questions……
What is the nature of the one or One resurrected and how does that fit? I think actually an entirely divine person simplifies the first resurrection (and maybe heaven)quite a bit. But how that fits with anything else?
Heaven/s and starting points? Hugely challenging.

Thinking back (half awake, at the kitchen counter with the tablet (desktop is downstairs with the cat who seems to be sleeping now)) to the article from (poor) memory Whatsizname talked about (if I remember rightly) humanity being taken into God. Precisely what this means I don’t know, but it might help figure out the question of when Earth’s (or any other world’s) heaven. What exactly does it mean to “be in God” after all?

Questions, questions…
I understand that figuring this out is important to you. I wish I had something that resembled answers or even better questions.

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