Thursday, August 23, 2007

Ahh, that's a negative, over...

My Professor and I were discussing over lunch and in passing the notion of negation. What happens when we negate a proposition? For example NOT P. If it is NOT NOT P, does this mean P? In classical logic, yes, but that is an axiom (depending on how you structure, it can also be a theorem). We have a thing called "negation as failure". For example if I can not prove NOT P, we conclude it is P. Yet that is because we assume that NOT NOT P ->P, i.e. implies P. In general this is not true, I know this is hard to believe, I still get mental on this.

Now what does this have anything to do with theological ideas? Well, a plenty. Notice that when we say NOT P, we are not saying what it IS. We are saying what it is NOT, and not what it IS. For example, if I say "this is not a pen", I am saying what it is not, but what it IS has a myriad if not infinite of possibilities. Using your eyes and looking to where I point my finger to the thing I am referring to, well, you can infer what it might be. Now if we are only communicating non-visually, like conversing like this, via blog, then nothing helps to clarify when I state a negation to you.

My concrete example then is found in the Chalcedonian Formula. There we read this words in reference to the Lord Jesus being God-Man...
inconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably
The above is what we are not to do with his God and Human natures. That is, NOT confuse them, NOT change them, NOT divide them, NOT separate them.

Whatever we do, we are not to do the above. You can do plenty of reflecting on it but see to it that you do not fall on the negation's edge. Because, if you do, you get into error and that can be fatal spiritually.

As you notice, the mathematical-logician's downfall is negation. For the theologian, well, he gets into trouble when he crosses "negation" too.


Augustinian Successor said...

Dear Bro. Lito, I find the thread very intriguing. For one, as you say, the "not p" formulation has a bearing on theology, and for that matter, christology. I like it when you said ...

"Whatever we do, we are not to do the above. You can do plenty of reflecting on it but see to it that you do not fall on the negation's edge. Because, if you do, you get into error and that can be fatal spiritually.

As you notice, the mathematical-logician's downfall is negation. For the theologian, well, he gets into trouble when he crosses "negation" too."

Spot on!

None more so as the fatal error of the NPPs, Shepherdists, etc. On Judgment Day, it's either the righteousness of Christ or none at all. No, they insist, it is both. Christ's and my own personal righteousness in union with Christ through and through a Spirit-driven life of obedience to the Law. The trouble is they are confusing an "ontic" and "metaphysical" union with God and an axiological and ethical union. When one pleads and presents his own so-called "sanctified" works of obedience before God, he NEGATING the *union* he claims to profess and enjoy. What the NPP doesn't understand at all is that Justification is a LEGAL union with ethical/moral implications which forms the ONLY BASIS for acquittal on Judgment Day. This is why St. Paul is so adamant and insistent that it is either grace or works. Either/or, not both/and. In other words, the professing Christian who follows the NPP et l is in effect nullifying or making of none effect the legal union expressed by justification.

The ontic union we enjoy with Our All Blessed Lord is a result, effect, consequence, etc. of our legal union with him. The legal qualification must be there in the first place because of sin, a juridical category. Or else we are bastards!

Put it simply, either Christ's "merits" have been imputed or reckoned to me or they are not. There's no half-way thing. In other words, you are either guilty or not guilty, acquitted or no acquitted.

So, I'd say that the RefCath folks have committed the error of confusing, mingling, mixing, etc. the righteousness of Christ- the GOD-MAN - with their very own, falling into the Euthychian heresy at the one end, and the Nestorian here on the other extreme of the polar opposite. This bi-polar heresy is evident from the treatment of human works as EQUIVALENT or APPROXIMATING Christ's acquired righteousness, so that is a CO-partner in summing up the entire life of a Christian.

The Nestorian heresy is evident from the treatment of the Subject of the legal union of justifying righteousness as implying two, instead of ONE only. The two distinct objects involved in the union or event constitute only one Subject however as it is only the righteousness of Christ which is "embodied" by the sinner extra nos. This is to say, the irreducible and unique hypostatic IDENTITY of Christ's righteousness remains His, i.e. Christ's. In other words, because the person of the saint/sinner is placed within the Person of Christ (the maximum man - to use the phrase of the Finnish theologians), the saint/sinner assumes Christ's legal identity with all the concomittant implications of personhood and personality. To postulate as the NPP in positing works-obedience as the instrument of faith is to sever the union and place the Christian outside as a co-synergist -- CO-REDEMPTRIX!!!

At the root of the NPP et all heresies are christology errors. Thank you for raising the issue of the Chalcedonian Definition/Formula, Bro. Lito!

L P Cruz said...

Bro. Jason,

You said this There's no half-way thing. In other words, you are either guilty or not guilty, acquitted or no acquitted.

Absolutely! Either you are pregnant or you are not!
Either there is something in you that God can salvage or there is not, if there is, then what is Jesus doing at the cross?

You are either saved by Jesus' works or your own. Any combination devoids Jesus' works and in fact insults him, thus it is not finished like Jesus said,

From what I have studied, the man who is saved does not want to be accepted by God on the basis of some worthy act he has done, in fact, he is affraid of such a thing, he wants to be accepted for Jesus's sake only, period. Phil 3:9-10.

It is the old revert to synergistic view of salvation, an old sleepery slope process. Melanchton was like that. What is going on is an exhibition of Melanchton all over again. In his attempt to go for unity, he winded up viewing as of old the synergistic view of salvation, eventually he was rejected. Also in Melanchton, there is always a need to revise signed statements of confession, he kept on moving and articulating. The confession is our limits of thinking and when you articulate, you need to compare that with the confession and scripture.

I am bowing out of RefCath, I will read from time to time and find out what new inventions they are up to (I need some amusements from time to time) .I do not like the arrogance. It is shown by demeaning words they use for those who hold contrary views as theirs.

Basically, the position I see no matter how from time to time they give lofty credits to Calvin or Luther is that their position is akin to this - one is saved by faith through grace. This is not the same as Eph 2:8-9 and I wonder what part of it they do not get.

I have completely lost respect for those people's reasonability.

I will visit the site, no longer to interact but to be entertained.

William Weedon said...


A mathematician or even logician, I am not, but your meditation here reminded me with joy of a great insight from my beloved Dr. Nagel:

To say the opposite of a falsehood is not yet to say the truth.

Always enjoy your thoughts - and your extra nos-ness!

L P Cruz said...

Pr. Will,

Thanks for visiting.

Now, that Nagel quote is again, one of those nice thumb rules I will put in my pocket. I am glad you shared it.

Now are you sure Dr. Nagel is no logician? (LOL)!


Augustinian Successor said...

Amen, Bro. Lito! Amen ...

They have finally "kicked me out". Well, it only serves to confirm my "prediction" that all will be soon forgotten afterwards. I mean, I am the one trying to defend the REFORMATION doctrine of sola fide, and they are jumping all over the place with their brandishing about of so-called scholars who are NO THEOLOGIANS (including Wright!) ---talk about innovators! And they really don't understand the meaning catholicity. My oh my ...

The thing is what has happened to church tradition on the doctrine of justification by faith alone? And they call themselves "Reformed Catholics"? A justification as per the NPP et al which is I must say again and again, NEITHER HERE NOR THERE.

"Ever learning but never able to come to the acknowledgement of the truth" ...

And speaking about Melanchthon, the Hoss figure is really ignorant or wants to show his ignorance of the Lutheran tradition. He seems to be blissfully unaware of the Majoristic and Agricola controversies! How confessional Lutheranism upheld the necessity of good works as flowing out of faith and at the same time made a distinction between justification and sanctification.

And yes, Bro. Lito, Melanchthon later on life compromised sola fide and sola gratia. The irony is that the fears of the antinomian, John Agricola of Eisleben was to proved justifiable.

Yes, I also join you in tuning to RefCath whenever I want to have a laugh or two. ;-)