Sunday, March 1, 2009

Question 4 from Affirmative

In your constructive essay, you wrote:
“The Father could never turn His Wrath upon His Son, such a notion should make anyone cringe. The Father could never forsake His Son in a spiritual 'divine punishment' sense, nor could Jesus feel or experience what a condemned sinner before God feels, nor could Jesus experience the equivalent of an eternity in Hell, that is pure blasphemy and a form of Nestoriansim (if not worse).”

In your rebuttal essay, you wrote:
“As I noted in my last essay, to interpret the phrase “My God, why has thou forsaken me” in the sense of divine punishment/wrath is a form of Nestorianism. Despite this, my opponent insists this passage proves “Jesus felt the wrath of God upon the cross.” Jesus is God and thus cannot be “forsaken” by God without causing His Divine Nature to separate from His human nature, leaving a purely human man named Jesus on the cross. That's heretical. Jesus is quoting Psalm 22, in which God's wrath was never on David nor Jesus.”

Obviously Nestorianism (denying that Jesus was one person with two natures) is heretical. It appears, however, that your entire claim that somehow Jesus must be split into two persons two accomplish the penal substitution is just your own assertion, not a logical consequence of the doctrine itself.

There are certainly many things that were true of Jesus as a man (such as that he got tired) that are only applicable to Jesus’ human nature. Take, for instance, this account:

Mark 4:37-39
37 And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. 38 And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? 39 And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.

In this account, Jesus was asleep. But surely it would not be proper to say that the Holy Spirit and the Father were also sleeping. To do this would be to flirt with Sabellianism – a confusion or conflation of the persons of the Trinity, as though they were but one person. In contrast, since Jesus is truly a different person than the Father, although they are both persons of one godhead, nevertheless it is possible for Jesus to stand in the place of sinners as their penal substitute to satisfy divine justice and reconcile the elect to God.

So then, how can you truly affirm that every concept of penal substitution necessarily involves Nestorianism?


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