July 13th 2011, 09:42 AM #1
Why There is no such Thing as "Christian Physicalism"
by Michael Burgos grassrootsapologetics.org
This post is intended to demonstrate the heretical nature of physicalist (or monisitic) anthropology. Presented below are various objections that identify a specific flaw wherein physicalist anthropology departs from biblical Christianity.
1. Objection from Trinitarian monotheism
The doctrine of the Trinity acknowledges the possession of the one divine being by three co-equal, co-eternal persons; namely, the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit. Each of these divine, eternal persons is fully God and therefore exhausts the divine being of what it means to be God (Mark 12:29, 1Cor 8:6, John 1:1-2, Heb 1:10-12, Acts 5:3-4, 2Cor 3:17). Although the respective persons exhaust the divine being, they share by nature the absolute indivisible unity of that one infinite being. Should one of the divine persons be said to have operated in such a way that is essentially different to properties of the divine being, monotheism has then been discarded for something else. The physicalist contends that the Theanthropic person of the Son ceased to possess consciousness in every sense (or ceased to have being). Therefore, the physicalist has created a separation in the indivisible God because consciousness is an essential property of the being that is God (Ex 3:14LXX "I Am the Being," see also John 8:24/58). The belief that the Son, the second person of the Trinity, ceased to have conscious being in every sense during His three postmortem/pre-resurrection days is called "transitory monotheism" and it is neither Trinitarianism or truly monotheistic.
2. Objection from the eternality of God
Physicalism violates the eternality of God. To demonstrate this allow me to pose an analogy: A hammer by nature displays the unique qualities that make a hammer what it is. Those qualities consist of a set number of definitive attributes that differentiate a hammer from say, a microphone or a lamp. If I were to remove any of those qualities from the hammer, the object would cease to be a hammer and become something else. For example, if the metal portion of a hammer were removed the object would go from being a hammer to being a piece of wood. Now consider the being of God. The Triune God possesses a set of definitive attributes and qualities that make God what and who He is. Prior to the incarnation, these qualities included (according to orthodox Christianity) three co-equal, co-eternal persons. If any of those definitive qualities (i.e.; God's Triune nature) become essentially different (i.e.; the physicalist death of the Son), then God has ceased being God and has become something else. That is, the physicalist's position necessitates that the one true God prior to the death of Christ is not the one true God after the death of Christ. This essential change in the being of God is in contradiction with any and all texts in the text of Scripture that identify God as eternal. (i.e.; Gen 21:33, Deut 33:27, Is 40:28, Jer 10:10, Rom 16:26)
3. Objection from the immutability of God
The physicalist's rendition of the death of the Son of God demands that the Theanthropic person of the Son changed in His essential being. The being of God is essentially immortal and immutable (Ps 90:2, Ps 102:25-27/Heb 1:10-12, Mal 3:6, Rom 1:23, Heb 13:8). The immutability of God demands the continuity of His existence as three divine persons. Perhaps the physicalist might object in suggesting that the incarnation itself constituted some kind of change in the being of God. To this objection or any like it I would note that the addition of a human nature would not constitute a change in the being of God, but the addition of a being to the person of the Son (not an ontological shift of the being of God, but an addition of a human existence to a divine person).
4. Objections from the historic creeds of Christianity
a. Definition of Chalcedon
The physicalist's rendition of the death of the Son would confuse the divine and human natures of the Son of God. If the Theanthropic Son ceased consciousness (or ceased to have being) the human nature of the Son would have superimposed itself upon the Son's immortal divine nature, thereby confounding the natures. Even if it were suggested as does Seventh Day Adventistism, that the Logos existed in a state of "twilight" during the period of the Son's death, there would still be a situation wherein the mortal nature superimposed itself upon the immortal nature.
If the physicalist were to suggest that the divine nature of Christ stayed conscious, but the human nature ceased consciousness (or ceased to have being) the physicalist introduces a Son who is two persons (Nestorianism). The one Theanthropic person of the Son is by nature both human and divine (Heb 13:8), and this position by the physicalist posits a divine immortal person and a mortal person who ceased to be conscious in every sense during the postmortem/pre-resurrection period; thus turning the Lord of glory into two persons.
As to His humanity, the definition of Chalcedon also plainly affirms that the Son consists of "a reasonable soul and body." While some may attempt to redefine the language used in this clause, it remains nonetheless an affirmation of dualistic anthropology, especially in light of the church's historic dealings with the heresy of Apollinarianism.
b. Athanasian Creed
The Athaniasian creed explicitly condemns the division introduced into the Trinity by the physicalist's transitory monotheism. The creed denies the dividing of the one God by the physicalist's separation and extinction of the person of the Son . The creed also affirms both the co-eternality of the divine persons of the Trinity and it also affirms a dualistic understanding of the Son's humanity . The authors of the creed even went so far as to use the union of soul and flesh to exemplify the hypostatic union of God and man in the one person of Christ . Clearly, neither the Athanasian creed nor the defintion of Chalchedon permit the heresy that is physicalism.
 Transitory monotheism is a phrase coined by the author.
 "Neither confounding the persons, nor dividing the substance"
 "But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit is all one, the glory equal, the majesty co-eternal." "The Father eternal, the Son eternal, and the Holy Spirit eternal." "But the whole three persons are co-eternal, and co-equal."
 "Perfect God and perfect man, of a reasonable soul and human flesh subsisting."
 "For as the reasonable soul and flesh is one man, so God and man is one Christ."The doctrine of the Trinity is the only doctrine of God that satisfies the totality of scripture.
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