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In Defense of Conciliar Christology : A Philosophical Essay (Hardcover) (Timothy Pawl)
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This work presents a historically informed, systematic exposition of the Christology of the first seven Ecumenical Councils of undivided Christendom, from the First Council of Nicaea in 325 AD to the Second Council of Nicaea in 787 AD. Assuming the truth of Conciliar Christology, Timothy Pawl considers whether there are good philosophical arguments that show a contradiction of incoherence in that system of thought. He presents the definitions of important terms in the debate and a helpful metaphysics for understanding the incarnation.Pawl offers three types of philosophical objections to Conciliar Christology. Firstly, he highlights the fundamental philosophical problem facing Christology--how can one thing be both God and man, when anything deserving to be called "God" must have certain attributes, and yet nothing that can aptly be called man can have those same attributes? He then argues that were the Second Person of the Holy Trinity immutable, as Conciliar Christology requires, then that Person could not become anything, and so could not become man. For becoming is a type of change, and the Second Person, if Conciliar Christology is correct, is unchanging, but according to Conciliar Christology he did become a man and so it is inconsistent. He also poses that if there is a single Christ then there is a single nature or will in Christ. If that conditional is true, though, then Conciliar Christology is false, since it affirms the antecedent of the conditional to be true, but denies the truth of consequent.