Blogfriend WTM has an interesting post up at the moment on whether Christ assumes a fallen human nature. He spends a considerable amount of time working through some biblical texts and makes some interesting constructive proposals. I’m not saying I agree–in fact I’ve written a comment sketching my own view–but definitely worth checking out.
Thanks to everyone who has been bearing with me for the last few weeks as posting has slowed to a crawl. After a brief stay with family and friends I have now arrived at my new home in New York. It’ll take a few days still to get settled and to get internet access and such set up, but hopefully I’ll be back to posting more soon and very soon. Thanks for your patience.
[This is the full text of Luther’s 1517 Disputation Against Scholastic Theology. I hope to have more analysis and interaction with the text soon! I’ve highlighted the propositions I find most problematic.]
1. To say that Augustine exaggerates in speaking against heretics is to say that Augustine tells lies almost everywhere. This is contrary to common knowledge.
2. This is the same as permitting Pelagians and all heretics to triumph, indeed, the same as conceding victory to them.
My theological colleague WTM has written a fine book review of Stephen Grabill’s book Rediscovering the Natural Law in Reformed Theological Ethics (Emory University Studies in Law and Religion; Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2006). WTM’s review is published at the website of the Barth Center of Princeton Seminary, and it is available here.
One question which tweaked me, but which WTM did not explore in depth was the relation between goodness as such and the arbitrariness of God’s will. WTM summarizes Grabill on the medieval antecedents to protestant scholastic versions of natural law:
All these positions [realism, mediating realism and nominalism] ground natural law in God’s will: “what makes something ultimately obligatory is that God commands it” (58).
WTM notes that this is tied to the late medieval debate about potentia absoluta and potentia ordinata, but doesn’t explore the issue further. Not having read the book I can’t say how Grabill is using the term ‘realism’, for instance, but I would have expected a ‘realist’ position on natural law to ground the goodness of a moral act in the nature of goodness itself rather than in the arbitrarity of God’s will. The position that the only ultimate ground of the goodness of a moral action sounds to me like the nominalist position of Ockham.
Of course, I can’t raise this problem without referring to one of my favorite essays: “Abraham, Isaac and Euthyphro” by Norm Kretzmann.