April 10, 2010 Leave a comment
Still trudging through the voluminous Books Against Eunomius by St. Gregory of Nyssa, there is a literally a treasure trove of lucid argumentation and points that can be applied to many modern errors, especially as they are found in “reformation Christianity.” Almost every other page finds St. Gregory refuting some error found in Luther and his heirs. Lately, I’ve been thinking about the Manichaean error often attributed to Luther and the reformed, who believe that human nature has itself become evil. This has been repeated ad nauseam by reformed friends and others I have debated, such as Turretinfan.
In their view, nature was good until the Fall, after which, it became alienated from God and totally depraved. Corruption, for them, is equivalent to evil itself, and evil is given a reality–evil becomes created being. Most of them would not affirm that God created evil as some kind of entity, but they hold that after the Fall, both angels (that fell) and men are now evil, inherently. Their very being–to its very core, is evil by nature. So, evil is given a substantial reality, and is in fact identified with God’s creation. Some Protestants may want to demur here, and insist that it’s not God’s creation, but how is it that nature “is evil,” with the is of identity, given that God is the author of nature?
Again, Luther argued in The Bondage of the Will that humanity had lost its capability for free will. Calvin said the human will could will nothing good before God, whatever “civil righteousness” might be performed. The point that these reformed guys still aren’t getting is that evil is not a thing: it is not a substance. Turretinfan tried to come up with some argument that I treated human nature as a “thing,” when this is his failure to understand enhypostatized–that human and divine nature only exists in the mode of persons. But this doesn’t make nature the same as or necessitate collapsing it into person as the reformed do, all day long. Read more of this post