I’ve documented difficulties here before. I keep seeing this phrase bandied about on internet message boards. While I appreciate the truth in it, I really don’t think it delivers all its proponents think it does. Too often Calvinists are accused of violating the person-nature distinction. I don’t want to come across as belligerent. I am not the ones advertising a certain blog as a meeting ground between Calvinists and Orthodox, yet writing posts against Calvinism. Okay, here goes:
1. Please define what a “person” is for us. You may go the Western Thomist route and call it a “rational subsistence of an individual nature.” You will probably need to abandon your EO triadology while you are at it. Opting for an Eastern route, while better, does not get you out of the ditch. Most Eastern fathers, per Farrell’s gloss, didn’t even define what a person is (since they thought definitions = limitations). If that’s so, how can we be violating the person-nature distinction when no one can even tell us what a person is!
1a. At this point several options are available: you can say a person is “hyper-ousia,” but that only moves the difficulty back a few places and introduces other difficulties.
1b. Opting for Farrell’s route and calling it a “who” or an “agent” only gives me a synonym for the term; it does not define it.
2. Please define “nature.” Is it being used in a generic, numeric, or cardinal numeric sense?
3. Do you believe in a gnomic will (Maximus oscillated on this his entire career)? If so, how is that not positing three wills in Christ? If you want to make modal distinctions and say, as I think I would, that the gnomic will is simply a mode, not a substance, then you must also grant Drake his contention when he makes the modal/substance distinction.
4. David Bradshaw (following Palamas) says that simplicity is an energy. He also says that God’s essence is simple. Given the essence/energies distinction, can we even speak of God’s essence any more, since essence has collapsed into the category of energy? The collapse is unavoidable if simplicity of essence is an energy. Simplicity of essence is an energy. Ergo, collapse.
5. Since we are talking about a person-nature distinction, please provide for us your theory of logic and individuation.