ReKnewing Christology—Postscript

ThreeFacedTrinity
I know, I know. The picture is pretty weird. But it gets an essential point across about the mutually defining nature of the triune relations. You can’t remove one of the faces and still have trinitarian monotheism. But it is a weird picture.

So, rereading Trinity & Process, Dwayne ran across a section in the final few pages which Greg devoted to a brief summary of how his thesis of God’s essential, necessary disposition to be God (realized as unsurpassably intense aesthetic satisfaction) might be expressed in terms compatible with Chalcedon. Yes, you heard us right: Chalcedon. The section is titled “The Two Natures of Christ” (pp. 399-401). Check this out:

“Our modified understanding of Edwards’ understanding of dispositions can, we believe, also lay the groundwork for a fruitful understanding of the person of Jesus Christ in line with the Chalcedonian Confession as well as with modern non-substantival categories…

“…Christ may be said to be distinct from all other humans in that in this one person the disposition which defines God as God [and Greg is unambiguously clear that this definitional disposition includes God’s unsurpassably intense aesthetic satisfaction] and the disposition which defines humanity as human converged. In Christ, and through Christ, the unsurpassably intense sociality of God is replicated ad extra.

“Thus, we might say that the dynamic essence of the man Jesus was wholly taken up into the dynamic essence of God, so that God now “aims” at Godself — as God eternally does — but now God does so through this one man. In this one man, God achieves Godself anew. The necessary triune disposition for primordial satisfaction now encompasses this spontaneous feature: it now encompasses the person and work of this one man. The event of God, one might say, now includes the event of the man Jesus, and through him, the event of the entire creation. The Incarnation is thus most fundamentally the dynamic convergence of these two events…

“The ultimate effect of this dynamic Incarnation is the redemption of the world. In the expansion of the divine sociality to essentially include the man Jesus , the process of the Trinity expands to include the process of the world. The ceaseless achievement of the expression of God’s deity in the Trinity will now eternally include the expression of beauty in the non-divine order, and all of this through Christ. This is the Good News….”

There are parts of this that are best appreciated through understanding the previous arguments in the book. His terms and concepts are those of Process thought. But we quote it here because we think it’s plain enough to get his point. The “definitional disposition” to be God (which “defines God as God”) just is the actual experience of God’s own beauty in triune self-defining unsurpassable delight. Being this, God then “expands to include” human nature (or humanity’s essential definitional disposition) while maintaining the “ceaseless achievement” of his necessary and self-sufficient disposition; God’s unsurpassable satisfaction “will now eternally include” the expression of this beauty in the non-divine order.

You don’t get any of this with Kenoticism. Given Trinity & Process, Greg’s present talk of God becoming his antithesis, of an absolute cessation of experienced oneness on the part of Father, Son and Spirit, and of a real break in the relationship between Father and Son is complete metaphysical nonsense.

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4 comments on “ReKnewing Christology—Postscript

  1. Fr Aidan Kimel says:

    It is a weird picture.

    Tom, you have convinced me that I really do not want to read Greg Boyd’s books. I have read Jenson, Pannenberg, and Moltmann. I doubt I will find further insight from Boyd. At this stage of my life, I think I will stick with the Church Fathers. I trust them more than I do 20th-21st century folk. From what you have written, Boyd is too eager to redefine Christianity according to his own brilliance. I’m sure he’s a wonder man, and I’d love to sit down with him over a cup of coffee and enjoy a long theological conversation. But I think it’s safer to stick with Athanasius and the Cappadocians.

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  2. tgbelt says:

    He is a wonderful man. And you would totally love conversation with him. Some of the best conversation I’ll ever have. But just remember, the whole context of his work then was Process thought, and that’s a very different conceptual world. When you break it down, there are some wonderful insights. But where he’s at today is pretty much where Moltmann is on key issues, the very issues he explicitly criticizes in Trinity & Process.

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  3. yieldedone says:

    The insight, Fr. Aiden, is that Greg finds a way to articulate Chalcedonian dogmatic truth (asarkos logos, Creation as free and gracious, etc) within a Process metaphysical framework. Something has got to be said for that.

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  4. yieldedone says:

    Something I also appreciate: Greg’s Trinitarian reconstruction of Hartshorne and the Church Fathers come to essentially the SAME conclusions about the Incarnation of God in Jesus…*from two totally different starting points.* Almost like a type of independent confirmation of sorts. To me personally, that’s HUGE!

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