The Relation of Christ’s Divine Mind to His Humanity: A Logically Coherent Model of the Incarnation – Part 2/5

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Modeling a Mind
In order to present a model of the relationship of Christ’s divinity to his humanity at the level of his mind, I will present the following illustration as a general model of a mind, which is in principle applicable to both a human and a divine mind (and, perhaps, to an angelic mind and any other mind that is properly called a mind). Even though some might object that the mind of God cannot be qualitatively similar enough to a human mind for such illustration to work with both of them, it is far from clear that this objection is successful. As Craig & Moreland point out, the doctrine of the image of God (imago Dei ) provides reasons to think otherwise.[6]


Picture #1
A mind can be analyzed in terms of four aspects: cognition, volition, causation and affection.

Rather self-explanatorily, “cognition” denotes the aspect and the set of functions of a mind that pertain to knowing. “Volition” similarly represents aspects and functions of a will, and “affection” refers to the emotional aspect of a mind.[7] The term “causation” represents that faculty of a mind that initiates action and thus functions as a cause. This is closely related but distinct from volition in that one’s willing something and one’s doing it are separable aspects of an intentional action. To use the terminology of action theory, we may think of causation here as encompassing the set of all basic actions that a person can initiate.

The Basic Model of the Incarnation
In picture #2, I will present a basic model of the Incarnation. The picture represents the divine mind of the second person of the Trinity, whereas the blue circle represents the human mind of the incarnate Christ.


Picture #2
The human mind of Christ can be thought of as encompassing all four aspects of the divine mind, but each of them to a limited extent.

This picture illustrates what seems to be a significant improvement on Morris’ model (at least on the assumption that it is correct interpret him as not intending to present this same idea). The improvement is the location of Christ’s limited human consciousness. Unlike what Morris seems to imply, I do not see Christ’s human consciousness as a distinct, finite sphere of consciousness to which the unlimited divine mind of Christ has an access. Rather, in my model, it is literally contained within the divine mind (thus making the terminology of “two minds” potentially misleading). It seems to me that this move suffices to block any charge of elements of Nestorianism[8] that might be raised against Morris’ original model. However some may think that this proposal raises the possibility of a charge of another heresy, namely, Apollinarianism.[9] But as Moreland & Craig point out, this charge can be avoided by seeing the pre-incarnate Logos as the archetypal man – not in the sense that Apollinarius’ opponents understood him (that the flesh of Christ was pre-existent), but rather, by postulating that the Logos contained a perfect human personhood archetypically in his own nature.[10] It seems to me that the crucial point to understand in this context is that fundamentally, this means that the nature of human personhood is molded after the image of the person of the Logos, rather than vice versa.[11] Furthermore, it might be useful to distinguish between a qualitative and a quantitative sense of the pre-incarnate Logos’ being the archetype of human personhood. Moreland & Craig seem to suggest that the Logos in his pre-incarnate state is such an archetype in quantitative as well as qualitative sense. This would entail that a human person can be omniscient, which may be thought of as at least very counterintuitive. But it seems to me that one only needs to postulate a qualitative sense of the archetypal characteristics, so that the pre-incarnate Logos is qualitatively, in an unlimited way, what a human mind is in a limited way.

6. Moreland & Craig, 2003, 609.
7. Whether or not God can be said to have emotions is a controversial issue, but I cannot pursue this issue here. Therefore, I have chosen to include the aspect of affection in my model, as it clearly does apply at least to a human mind.
8. For a definition of Nestorianism, see the relevant sections in Moreland & Craig, 2003.
9. For a definition of Apollinarianism, see the relevant sections in Moreland & Craig, 2003.
10. Moreland & Craig, 2003, 608-609.
11. To some extent, this is independently implied by the doctrine of imago Dei. Without the realization of this order between the image and its original archetype, this postulation would become problematic at best and incoherent at worst.

Continue to Part 3


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