Cultural Encounters: A Journal For The Theology Of Culture Volume 11 Number 1 (Winter 2015) - Page 102

RESPONSE TO CRITICS - Webb I do not recommend that theologians embrace a bundle theory of accidents to replace hylomorphic analysis, nor do I endorse the other alternatives: a modern variant of atomism, reductive materialism, or the very popular alternatives of event and process ontologies. In my own thinking about matter, I begin with Christian themes and try to keep the focus on Jesus Christ. In these reflections, I try not to be open to the whole sweep of Christian history, just as, in my personal life, I accept as Christian anyone who seeks to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. Sherlock stipulates a set of definitions of Christianity that, he says, precludes Mormonism as one of its branches. I will offer my own counter-stipulation here and say that I think Christianity is best defined by people who try to let the love of Jesus Christ shine through all that they do, and that Christians who want to be philosophers should also let the love of Jesus shine through the criticisms that they make. One of Sherlock’s stipulations is that Christians must believe (in order to be considered Christian) that God is one essence and three persons. Traditionally, theologians prefer to talk about one divine substance, since essence (depending on how it is defined!) can seem to suggest something abstract and merely nominal. So, God is one substance shared in three persons. Classical theism insists that God is simple, without parts, which makes it very hard to distinguish the divine persons, other than saying that the Father generates the Son and the Son is begotten by the Father (and the Holy Spirit proceeds from both of them). If God is simple, then the divine relations are not God’s parts, nor are they something like aspects of the divine oneness. The relations are, instead, simply what God is; God is a set of relations that are identical with the three persons who are so related. Consequently, God is not a person in any ordinary sense of that term. Neither are the three “persons” of the Trinity individuated from each other in any ordinary way. This leads to a bundle of paradoxes, mysteries, and confusions. If the substantial unity of the persons is constituted by something like matter in its most perfect and refined state, th VF7FwV6rFRW'62vVB&PBV6W"F&WGW&FVWGvW.( 2VW7F&WBvvB&V6RVB@6R&6VB&fRFR&wVVBFBFW&R2fGFvW72 666R&WGvVVvBBW2FBW2FR6&F6WFrV6W72FƖV7BbvB6&7Fv6FW'&WFFbFRvFV7VvvW7G2FBvR&RW'62&V6W6RvRvW&R7&VFVBFRvRbFPW'6Bb'WBrvBF6FffW&VBVW7FFB&VFW2FFRVB&FW"FFRV6֖2G&GFRVW7F2F3vFBFR6&V6RV7FVBbRbFRFW"W'62bFRG&Gg&FR7FGBbFRG&GG6VbB6VV2FRFR6W7B&P