A Response to Boethius
I have greatly enjoyed your series on Boethius. It is all very good and interesting stuff!
However, I must say that I disagree with some of the general contours of Boethius’ thinking on those matters addressed in your last installment, and I thought it might be fun for me to offer them here for some further discussion, etc. There are really two main points of disagreement:
- Whereas Boethius affirms that Christ assumed a sinless / unfallen human nature, I affirm that Christ assumed a fallen human nature. “What is not assumed is not redeemed,” so that if fallen human nature is not assumed, fallen human nature is not redeemed.
One derivative point that I would want to press here is whether or not Jesus could have sinned. I think that we have to say that Jesus could have sinned, although he did not sin. If we are to say that Jesus’ temptations were actual temptations in which he underwent all the torment that we undergo in temptation, it must have at least been possible for him to have chosen to sin. He had opportunity. He was fully human, although also fully God. Because he was fully God, he did not sin; because he was fully human, he could have.
- Whereas Boethius affirms that it is only through sin that humanity (Adam) becomes mortal, I affirm that humanity was created mortal and that immortality existed even then only as grace and promise. Why else should there be a Tree of Life from which Adam and Eve were banished?
One derivative point that I would want to press here is whether or not God would have become incarnate had humanity not fallen into sin. I tend to think that the incarnation would still have happened, although perhaps only with ramifications in the prophetic and maybe the kingly offices and not the priestly office. Of course, we are just speculating here (something that shouldn’t take up too much of our time), but I tend to think that the fellowship with God made possible after the incarnation is superior to that shown to us in the opening chapters of Genesis.
Yes, I am swimming against some very dominant currents of the Christian theological tradition, but I do not think that I am without certain supporting currents in that tradition, as well as recourse to some superior exegesis and the depth grammar of God’s self-revelation in Christ.
P.S. One of the most profound theological questions that can be be asked is this: "Where is true humanity found, in Adam or in Jesus?"