I hold to philosophical realism. There is a problem, though, when some Anchorites use realism as a foil against the Reformed faith. The argument goes something like this:
- The Reformed faith is nominalist (usually no evidence is cited)
- Orthodoxy (and to a lesser degree Roman Catholicism) hold by contrast that the Logos assumed the universal form of human nature in the Incarnation.
- This therefore defeats Reformed theology.
The problem is that the word “essence” is used equivocally (and for the moment, I am using essence, nature, and ousia somewhat synonymously. I know they are not the same thing, but they are close enough for this purpose). When we say that Christ assumed all of human “nature” in the incarnation, are we using nature in Aristotle’s first or second sense? The primary sense is a concretized object. The secondary sense is an abstract. The usage in these debates tends towards the latter, but the problem is that after Cappadocian theology, nature is used more towards the concrete. This is why the Confession (and probably the Cappadocians, cf Sergius Bulgakov, The Comforter, pp. 29-31) use nature in the concrete sense: The Logos concretized a human nature.
Therefore, how can Anchorites accuse us of not holding to a universal assumption of human nature when it seems that Tradition-Christology doesn’t hold to a universal assumption of human nature?