For an entertaining exercise, name the third person of the Unholy Trinity.
Who is it? Mini-Me? Fat Bastard? Frau Farbissina? Or … ?
Brian Leftow on “One Person Christology” is Glenn Peoples’ latest blog post.
How can a Chalcedonian Christology avoid ending up with Christ being two people? If the divine logos (the second person of the Trinity) combined with a fully functioning human body and soul (which some people take to be the ingredients of a human being), that is surely two people and not one, right?
Commenter Nathan thinks it would be an entertaining exercise “to try and define Logos and Human as classes, and then try and bring them together to get incarnate Jesus.” He adds, “but ultimately it won’t work.”
Class, superclass, subclass, interface, implementation, instantiation, inheritance—these are all concepts in object-oriented programming (OOP). Object-oriented programming is a programming paradigm that represents things in the real world as objects with attributes (“properties”) and abilities (“methods”). In software development, object-oriented programming is the one true way. But in theology?
The theology question of the day is not
How can God be three persons?
but the closely related
How can the Incarnate Christ be only one?
By implementing the Human interface, that’s how! Not sure if serious or trolling? I’m serious. I think everything is software.
(Incoming! Genetic fallacy! “When you’re a hammer, everything looks like a nail,” you say. “You’re a progr(h)ammer, Richard, so *of course* everything looks like software to you!” Nice try but no chocolate fish. Thales was not a tap.)
I’ll try to elaborate. But there’s a problem. Whereas the procedural paradigm is intuitive, the object-oriented paradigm is counter-intuitive. I started out in the procedural paradigm. Next stop, bitter experience. That’s when I made the paradigm shift. But it wasn’t easy explaining the object-oriented paradigm to myself then, and it won’t be easy explaining it to you now. That’s the problem. But I’ll try to elaborate.
I don’t always determine the meaning of a word by looking at its etymology, but when I do I look at the etymology of the word ‘logic’. The word ‘logic’ derives from the Greek λόγος or Logos, which has no exact translation but means, roughly, “reason, idea, word”. But Logos is the second person of the Trinity. Christ is Logos.
God is the author of the logic of the world, and his son is the expression of this logic.
So says philospher Nicholas F. Gier. Now, what is software but an expression of logic? Think about it.
In the beginning was the Code, and the Code was with God, and the Code was God.
Controversial? Heretical? Or just plain bat-shit crazy? No more so than the Logos Christology of the Gospel of John is any of those things.
A brain (and the body housing it) and a mind (the software running on it) are what constitutes a human person. Christ Incarnate was a human person. He was simultaneously the second person of the Trinity. How come he was not two persons, but just one? Simple. He was running different software. You and I instantiate the class DomesticatedPrimate. Christ Incarnate instantiated the class Logos. Christ is the class Logos. He instantiated himself.
An interface is an abstract class that defines a set of abstract methods. The Human interface is an abstract class that defines what it is to be human in terms of distinctively human attributes and distinctively human abilities. The classes DomesticatedPrimate and Logos have this in common. They both implement the Human interface.
That’s my destructive heresy for today. I’m not teaching it, mind. Just putting it out there.
OOP or Oops!? Be sure to let me know in the comments.
12 thoughts on “He that hath seen me”
“A brain (and the body housing it) and a mind (the software running on it) are what constitutes a human person.”
No room for consciousness in this model? Or do you believe that consciousness is a function of the mind?
I must admit to being a little confused by Glenn’s post myself, but that’s probably because I slept through most of my Philosophy of Mind lectures. The trouble is that he seems to predicate his view on his bizarre belief that human beings can live soulless, yet refuses to explain why.
He seems to be working on the assumption that Christ’s conception “interrupted” the normal course of human reproduction, which is nonsense. The Creed says that Christ was “begotten not made”, distinguishing him from Adam, who was most definitely “made”. He was conceived of the Holy Spirit and the Theotokos. That means that Mary’s egg was quickened with the Holy DNA. There’s no “interruption”, he was conceived just like any other human being. And yet, conceived of the Spirit of God. So therefore fully God and fully man. Unique, yet ordinary. It’s a Holy Mystery. I don’t see any real need to define “how it works”. I’m perfectly happy letting it rest there.
I think your analogy with software is helpful. But as I say, it’s more than that – Christ is not “made” software, but a begotten Son, who wrote all the software (John 1).
My philosophy of mind is physicalism.
Philosophy of mind is a highly fluid situation. You plan on your contingencies, and I have. You keep your initiative, and I will. One thing you don’t do is share command. It’s never a good idea.
Thanks, Blair. 🙂
More than helpful or more than an analogy? 😉
Perhaps it’s helpful to think of Christ as both software and programming language. We’re written in Word.
Microsoft is evil. But we already knew that.
class Branch extends Vine?
Christianity is bizarre beyond belief for many people. But to put a worldview “beyond belief” because it’s “bizarre” is irrational. Likewise with the view “that human beings can live soulless.”
Bizarre is no reason at all. Truth is stranger than fiction.
What does the Bible say about the soul? Nothing.
The concept of the soul is Platonic, but it’s more than that. Be ye not deceived!
I just noticed I made a logical blunder (in the post).
Extra points if you notice it too.
Richard, you’re being a singleton.
“He seems to be working on the assumption that Christ’s conception “interrupted” the normal course of human reproduction”
Don’t take this the wrong way, but why are you coming over here and saying these things where I might not have seen them (and not also asking me if I do indeed think this)? I never said this at all. I presented An argument by Brian Leftow, and I said that if it is sound, it helps a materialist view of human persons.
“The trouble is that he seems to predicate his view on his bizarre belief that human beings can live soulless, yet refuses to explain why.”
Refuses to explain? I’m sorry, I am a bit inattentive at times and I don’t always see the questions that are put to me online. I’m not intentionally refusing to do anything asked of me. Can you point to where this question was asked?
Or if you just mean that I have not ever offered an explanation of my position on the mind – that’s not a refusal, in spite of the rhetorical pleasure you might derive from using that word. An in any event, I’ve said plenty along these lines. You could have asked for directions to where I have done so if you wanted to know.
Glenn, I’m sure it wasn’t an active refusal. My apologies for a poor choice of language. However, I’m not obliged to comment on your blog regarding your views before I comment on someone else’s. No pity party to be had there. If you wish to expand on your views to enlighten me, some links would be helpful, but that’s up to you. I’m not really game for a discussion on the presence or absence of souls as it doesn’t really interest me, and I suspect you have thought about it a great deal more than I have. But I am interested in defending the seven Councils and their doctrines. And as I said above, I’m pretty comfortable with the Chalcedonian view of Christ, and there’s no point in trying to overthink the mechanics.
I don’t know where the “pity party” comment came from. I was just noting that it’s untrue that I have refused to explain myself on the mind/body front. If you wanted to know what I have to say, you might find something to chew over here: http://www.rightreason.org/category/philosophy-of-mind/