The Presbyterian Philosopher, Part 17, Chapter 12 – “Persons, the Trinity, and the Incarnation” 3 Comments / Notes on the thought of Gordon H. Clark / By Douglas Douma / December 6, 2022 Share this:FacebookTwitter
3 thoughts on “The Presbyterian Philosopher, Part 17, Chapter 12 – “Persons, the Trinity, and the Incarnation””
Doug – as always thank you for the audio recitation of this chapter. I tend to agree with you that Clark was not actually Nestorian nevertheless I can appreciate how the formulation of his position and the terminology he employed could lead readers (especially non-friendly critical ones) to label him with that theological epithet. Clark’s unique definition of “person” as a congeries of propositions (I might use the phrase “mutually inter-related set of propositions”) sufficiently distinguishes his views from Nestorianism as historically understood. There are, in fact, some newer developments and mathematical techniques for describing sets of knowledge (e.g., “knowledge graphs” used in organizational information structures and artificial intelligence linguistic/semantic systems) that suggest that Clark’s definition of “person” might actually be a more intuitively viable and powerful definition than one might initially suspect. Much work to be one to flesh that concept out, but I thought I would offer it in the context of your discussion of Clark’s analysis of the Incarnation.
One additional thought here. With Clark’s definition of man (a person) as being “what he thinks” does this introduce some merging or conflation of considering a person from an epistemological perspective rather than a metaphysical perspective? That is, is Clark combining or merging the ontological essence of a person with the epistemological essence of a person? Or, stated differently, Clark seems to be locating the “essence” of a person within that person’s epistemological framework rather than a metaphysical framework. If this is true (even accounting for my vague and imprecise language) this seems like it would be sufficient to refute charges of Nestorianism as applied to Clark simply due to his (Clark’s) understanding of the fundamental nature of a person in a manner different not only from Nestorius but also from nearly all other philosophers or theologians. Am I misreading Clark here?
Yes, I think you’re on the right track.
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