ADS Thesis IV: Short Incarnational Addendum to Trinitarian Argument

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The last argument I will examine from Hughes is the incompatibility of ADS with the orthodox doctrine of the Incarnation. The problem for the proponent of ADS is derivative from the problem of the Trinity. If there is not a real distinction between the persons of the Trinity, if they are all merely ways of referring to the one absolutely simple essence, then there is no way to block the inference that the Father became incarnate and suffered and died on the cross. As Hughes puts it, “If the Word is the same as the divine nature, and the Father is the same as the divine nature, then the Word is the same as the Father; and if the Word is the same as the Father, and the Word stands in the relation of assumption to a human nature, then the Father must also stand in the relation of assumption to that nature.”

The best possible line of reply for the proponent of ADS is also derivative from the best possible line of reply against Hughes’s Trinitarian argument: a response utilizing RI logic. Once again, Van Inwagen provides an interesting defense of the logical coherency of the doctrine of the Incarnation using RI logic in his paper, “Not by Confusion of Substance, but by Unity of Person.” Although his account is quite clever, I will not get far into it. I will preemptively strike by referring the reader back to the last argument against the RI logic strategy. If this last argument is successful, then it is a problem for RI logic in general and will thus block Van Inwagen’s strategy here as well. Because I cannot see any other way out for the proponent of ADS, I must tentatively conclude that there is none and that ADS is incompatible with the orthodox doctrine of the Incarnation which clearly denies that any person of the Trinity besides the Son became incarnate, suffered, and died on the cross.

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5 Responses to “ADS Thesis IV: Short Incarnational Addendum to Trinitarian Argument”

  1. Grail Seeker Says:

    Thanks for posting this. I spent a few hours yesterday reading some stuff on this site. Very helpful. I come from a Reformd philosophical background, but have been looking more into Orthodoxy. Found that Reformed faith deconstructs itself. Awesome site here. Many good articles.

  2. David Nilsen Says:

    Grail Seeker,

    What lead you to the conclusion that the Reformed faith “deconstructs” itself?

    Thanks!

  3. ZSDP Says:

    David –

    Remember that video I posted some time ago? About Calvinist witnessing?

    Yeah, that’s probably what did it for him. ;p

  4. Grail Seeker Says:

    Hi David,
    I partly said that because I had been reading Derrida and it sounded cool.

    Seriously, in seminary when i tried to defend sola scriptura, I felt that it was the weakest link in the reformed case. Given the presuppositional argument I was using (ala bahnsen and van til), I felt that if true, and given the historical facts on the formation of the canon, it self-destructs at that point. I could go into it, but I don’t want to hijack the thread.

  5. Krause Says:

    Grail Seeker,

    Don’t worry about hijacking the post. This one was pretty short and merely derivative off of the last post. It wasn’t going anywhere anyways.

    So if you and Nilsen want to talk about Reformed theology, MG, ZSDP, and I are all fine with that.

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