Aside

The Humanity Present by the Divinity’s Spirit

To take a stab at real presence for sake of the Lutherans: Christ’s humanity is not ubiquitous, but his divinity being everywhere present, in his Holy Spirit (who delivers the Word), does make true his offer of his human body and blood – personally – to all who take the bread and wine with faith; and so those enjoy his humanity’s real presence who meet it by the power of the Holy Ghost.

Is this truly something the Lutherans cannot accept? For so they will have both their ubiquity and their communicatio idiomatum, albeit by no other means than the Spirit of Christ. Although surely better minds have tried and failed, I cannot see but that this already gives all that is of any moment. For what does it matter that a genus maiestaticum is affirmed, if it be confessed that the humanity of Christ is present in every manner that evangelical piety would seek?

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2 responses to “The Humanity Present by the Divinity’s Spirit

  1. I’m sort of a Philippist on this issue and don’t really look at it from the point of view of metaphysics but more of the Gospel and the concept of the “external Word” which is anterior to and precedes faith.

    As such, it is not really so important for me in what sense and by what metaphysics Christ is “really” present in the bread and wine, that is, on the oral eating side of the question, rather, I am more concerned with the manducatio impiorum rather than by what metaphysical mechanics the promise of Christ in the Eucharist is true for us.

    As far as I can see, my main problem with the clause of “with faith” in “to all who take the bread and wine with faith” is that this would lead to a short theological circuit of placing the faith before the promise. If I may shamelessly cite my own argument in a blog post,

    According to some Calvinist accounts, the bread and wine communicates the Body and Blood through the faith of the receiver. Thus, the “moment of consecration” and the “act of consecration” is the reception of the bread and wine and the mental act of believing or faith. Thus, the impious unbeliever who simply eats the bread without faith does not receive the Body of Christ at all, the promise is not true for him. Rather, he simply eats bread and receives nothing more beyond that.

    However, this conception fundamentally short-circuits of the process of how grace is communicated to faith and leads into an infinite self-referential loop. The promise of Christ must be true anterior to faith. The confidence of faith is fundamentally contingent upon the truth of the promise which necessarily goes before faith. But by making the truth of Christ’s promise dependent upon the faith of the receivers, we are trapped into an infinite self-referential loop. If asked, why do you believe that this bread is truly the Body of Christ given to you? You answer, because I believe it! Therefore you believe something because you believe it. This line of thinking has lead to excessively introspection concerning one’s internal state or whether one has faith or not before one receives the promise because the promise is not grounded and effected objectively independently of your sinful weak faith but dependent upon it.

    To prevent this therefore we must insist upon a manduncatio impiorum or the eating of Body and Blood by the impious or disbelieving. The promise of Christ is true and the Body and Blood of Christ truly given, administered, presented and distributed to all who receive it, independently of and anterior to their faith. The truth of this substantial and real giving is the ground for faith and does not have as it’s condition faith, it is the premise and not the conclusion of faith. Therefore when the Lord’s Supper is celebrated according to Christ’s institution, that is, taken, blessed with thanksgiving, given and eaten, Christ’s promise is true for us, the Body and Blood of Christ is truly, really and substantially given to us, independently of whether we have faith. Yet faith grasps this truth of Christ’s promise which is sure and not a lie, and believes this truth, that indeed Christ’s promise is good (that is, beneficial, salvic, etc) for those who obey the institution and believe and rejoice at the gift.

    In the same blog post, I did do an extensive critique of the Lutheran concept of the “oral eating” as somewhat superfluous and dependent upon a “consecrationist” view of the Words of the Institution which confuses obeying command in the the Words of the Institution with reciting the Words of the Institution.

    http://rationalityofaith.wordpress.com/2013/09/15/some-irenic-thoughts-on-the-eucharist-can-we-have-a-manducatio-impiorum-without-an-oral-eating/

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