April 17, 2010 6 Comments
A Calvinist has asked: how can Christ assume a fallen nature and not be sinful?
In Calvinism, the tendency is to say that sin is actually in our nature, almost as a kind of substance, giving it ontological status. The answer to this lies in the Catholic nature/grace distinction and our view that sin is negation and non-being. For us, sin is, and can only be an act of the will, as 1 John 3:4, 7, says–it’s transgression of the law–an act of the human will. It’s not a state of being, as in Calvinism. For the Calvinist, nature is inherently evil and passed on now, due to the fall. This is flat-out Manichaean. It’s also why Calvinists end up hating creation and images–God cannot have anything to do with matter.
In fact, I often use the question posed to me years ago from one’s reading of Berkhof: when we worship Christ, do we worship His human nature, or just the divine? When you asked me that, I answered as any good Calvinist would–as a Nestorian. I said we only worship the divine nature, as Rushdoony said. However, the meaning of in the Incarnation according to Ephesus, which most Calvinists profess to hold, teaches that we worship Christ with one adoration which includes his flesh (see the quote below). This means we do, in some sense, worship something created–namely the deified humanity of Christ. This the Calvinists cannot grasp. Read more of this post