I’ve been throwing sources out there for your reading pleasure. Permit me another. David Andrew Graham’s “The Christological Function of Divine Impassibility: Cyril of Alexandria and Contemporary Debate” (MA, Toronto School of Theology, 2013). His summary of Cyril is good and he engages/summarizes Moltmann, Jenson, McCormack and Hart. Worth the read.
My thanks to Jacob for pointing me to this great piece (“Mahakashyapa’s Smile: Language, Silence, and Mysticism” by Sebastjan Voros, Synthesis Philosophica 29/1-2 , forthcoming.) I’ve been searching for a way to express the logic of mysticism and the transcendent, and I really like the way he conceptualizes things.
The title sounds like a form of torture, but all I have in mind is a key portion of Trinity & Process (T&P) that I think distills the heart and soul of Greg’s thesis in a few pages. If you could only read a few pages and wanted to get Greg’s main point, I’d suggest the section under the section A Critical Evaluation And Trinitarian Reconstruction Of Di-Polar Theism on pp. 43-53 of the summary document linked to in the previous post. I hate to say that 10 pages could get it, but these short pages come closer than any other brief selection of the book to expressing Greg’s thesis. That’s not to say you don’t need everything leading up to p. 43 to appreciate the logic or everything that follows to fill out the arguments. But if you want the briefest CliffNotes on T&P, pp. 43-53 will do it.
And once you appreciate what Greg says in this brief section you’ll understand why kenoticism and passibilism of the sort Greg advocates now are, strictly speaking, logically impossible (given T&P that is). It’s right there.
For those interested and daring souls who can’t afford the big-bucks to purchase Greg’s PhD dissertation but would like to explore it, I’m happy to share this just over 100 page redux of it: Trinity and Process: A Critical Evaluation and Reconstruction of Hartshorne’s Di-polar Theism Towards a Trinitarian Metaphysics (Peter Lang, 1992). (If you want the briefest of summaries, pp. 43-53 will pretty much do it.)
Fr Aidan over at Eclectic Orthodoxy is in a wonderful series on the Eucharist, not a subject on the top of the list for most Evangelicals. It would be nice to see that change since so much of our larger cosmology and beliefs about divine-human relationality (even re: the eschatological destiny of creation) can be manifest in how we view the bread and the cup of communion. I’ve posted my thoughts to a particular post of his and thought I’d put them up here as well. But you’ll have to read his post to get the context of my comments.
As I understand what Fr Aidan has shared, I’d want to say that what he describes as becoming true of the relationship between the glorified humanity of Christ and the bread and wine in the Eucharist, is in my view already true universally, so that in the Eucharist we are celebrating what is everywhere true and not what becomes true on occasion. I’m open to changing my mind, but that’s where I am at present. Everything he says about the union of the world in Christ’s resurrected humanity as ‘occurring’ in the Eucharist I’d want to say occurs universally as a consequence of resurrection and that the Eucharist is simply where and how we declare “here and now” what is in fact true everywhere about everything.
But this means the entire created order, via Incarnation, really is Christ’s body—now. The Church is just where that body gets steadily transformed into the full exercise of its God-given capacities for relationship with God. Why isn’t the whole universe now as immortal and gloried as Christ now is? Good question. I think the answer may be because in the end the universal body that Christ seeks is the concrete union of hypostatically (‘personally’, if I may) distinct others. This means the glorification of the rest of the material order awaits the hypostatic (freely personal) surrender of all other embodied, sentient human beings (even if on Christ’s end the divine presence is sufficiently present already). That is, when created persons are sufficiently defined in their own personal reality (perspective) by the transcendent reality of Christ’s presence (i.e., beatific vision), glorification follows. It’s not that we ‘become’ his body; it’s that our understanding and perceptions of ourselves catch up to the truth of his already abiding presence. So the Eucharist is a celebration that declares this to be so, not an event which achieves a divine presence not already the case everywhere.
I don’t know if this makes me Orthodox or a heretic. It’s certainly more than your common Evangelical ‘memorializing’ of a past event.
Free books are always good news. Blackwell’s A Companion to Philosophy of Religion (2nd ed, 2010) has been available online for free download for a while.
Patrick Sherry’s entry “Beauty” is inviting. I’ve believed for years now (from reading the Old Testament) that God’s ‘glory’ just is his ‘beauty’, the two being perfectly convertible. Sherry touches on that. And references to Weil (“The beautiful is the experimental proof that the incarnation is possible”) are never disappointing. And the answer to the question you are likely to have at the end of Sherry’s contribution is — don’t be mad at me — Boyd’s Trinity & Process.
Then there is an update from Richard Creel (“Immutability and Impassibility”) on his views. He hasn’t to my knowledge said anything new on the subject since his 1986’s Divine Impassibility. Creel, an open theist, advocates divine impassibility (grounded in God’s essential divine bliss). In his contribution to this volume he softens his 1986 position a bit.
I’m also in the middle of Rob Lister’s God is Impassible and Impassioned: Toward a Theology of Divine Emotion (2013), a book every open theist should read if just to appreciate the diversity and nuances of competing positions. Lister argues for a qualified impassibilist view (of which there are apparently several). The best part about Lister’s book may be the footnotes. Excellent patristic sources to run down. (Rod Thomas may enjoy Lister’s reading of Clement.) He’s no friend of open theists; dismisses them whenever they enter the conversation. But surprisingly he has good to say about Creel’s position even though he recognizes Creel’s view on divine epistemic openness regarding the future. Lister apparently doesn’t connect Creel’s view on divine knowledge of the indeterminate future as essentially ‘open theism’ and sees no incompatibility with God’s being mutable with respect to his knowledge of the world and immutable with respect to his beatitude. I wonder if Lister not categorizing Creel among open theists is evidence of how much ‘open theism’ (the movement) is associated with theological claims that have nothing to do with the open view of the future per se, so that Creel’s views on God’s epistemic openness regarding the open future pass under Lister’s radar simply because Creel promoted a more traditional view on impassibility. Just a thought.