Transubstantiation in modern science: How can substance change without accidents
#31
(12-07-2012, 05:41 PM)Pilgrim Wrote: (hence my question about the website analogy).
I think substance might by what something is defined as.
Lets say in Gods code of the universe it looks like this

flesh= (whatever flesh is)
flesh accidents= (what it normally is)
if bread is consecrated then bread=flesh
If flesh has been consecrated then accidents=bread

This would mean that the bread is no indeed flesh. Which is basically what Allen said.
The problem I see with this, it that all I did is change the name of bread to flesh. I did not not in anyway alter the existence of the bread, so that it is replaced with the existence of flesh.
Reply
#32
(12-07-2012, 06:31 PM)jim111 Wrote:
(12-07-2012, 05:41 PM)Pilgrim Wrote: (hence my question about the website analogy).
I think substance might by what something is defined as.
Lets say in Gods code of the universe it looks like this

flesh= (whatever flesh is)
flesh accidents= (what it normally is)
if bread is consecrated then bread=flesh
If flesh has been consecrated then accidents=bread

This would mean that the bread is no indeed flesh. Which is basically what Allen said.
The problem I see with this, it that all I did is change the name of bread to flesh. I did not not in anyway alter the existence of the bread, so that it is replaced with the existence of flesh.

I think that substance is what a thing is (its essence) but as it exists in a particular thing.  Substance is what underlies a thing.   A substance only has its accidents.   When we say "this bread is white, this bread is soft", THIS BREAD is something very real, APART from its accidents that we list (or don't list).  Otherwise, how could we speak this way? Maybe it can only be understood intellectually in an abstract way, but it is real.

The change is not only in the name of the bread to flesh.  "This bread" becomes "this Flesh", but the accidents don't change.  The bread no longer exists, rather Christ's Flesh now exists, although with the same accidents.
Reply
#33
It's not a physical change, because by physical we mean "accidents."

However it's not spiritual, if we define spiritual as not related to matter. Bread is matter, it has no spirit.

So it's a metaphysical change.  We need to be careful about terms here. Physical vs spiritual is one distinction. Bread is physical, not spiritual. Physical vs metaphysical is a different distinction -- transubstantiation is a metaphysical change because it doesn't affect accidents.

Physical objects have both accident and substance. However a physical approach to physical objects considers only accidents. A metaphysical approach to physical objects considers accidents and substance.

Transubstantiation is a change in substance but not in accidents.

It has nothing to do with molecular theory, which is physicall. Physically, chemically, molecularly, atomically, in terms of extension, density, weight, color ... nothing has changed. However the substance has changed as we know.

In fact, the traditional pre-Christian understanding of accidents as properties which inhere of their nature in a substance is not correct. A Christian would have to see accidents differently: **in the normal course of things**, they inhere in a substance, but there is a exception. After transubstantiation, the accidents of bread and wine remain but without the substance, and the substance of Our Lord is there, but without related accidents.

The Real Presence is described as really, truly and substantially present. However, Our Lord is not physically present ("locally") in the Host.
Reply
#34
Two concepts at work here:

The Mass or consecration as an "experience" that changes the substance (defined, recall, as what a thing REALLY is), making my analogies perfectly clear and spot on, except for the following concept, also at work in transubstantiation:

The supernatural - God working through the priest, fulfilling His promise, in a way that we can neither see nor understand.  Faith tells us it happens, but it is a mystery how or why.

Why did God deign to create this thing called the Eucharist?  Why is eating His flesh and drinking His blood necessary for our salvation?  As opposed to eating fish or doing the hokey pokey?  We don't know.  We never will in this life.  It's a mystery.  Don't try to figure it out. 

Think logically:

Jesus was God.
God can do anything.  ANYTHING.
Jesus gave us the Eucharist, the Church and the priesthood and told us what to do.
Therefore, the bread changes.  The wine changes. 

And we understand all we are meant to. The furthest analogies can go is to demonstrate that we humans instinctively know that a thing can be much more than what it looks like, or the sum of its parts.  Because of things that happen and experiences, objects and people can become different things without changing their appearances.

Last example:

Two men, identical twins.  No one can tell them apart.  One is ordained priest.  Both say Mass.  From an observer's position, there will be absolutely no way to know which is the valid Mass, and on which corporal resides the Body and Precious Blood of Our Lord.  Yet, we KNOW for CERTAIN that one corporal containers the Body and Blood, and the other wine and bread.  But yet the accidents (what you erroneously keep calling the substance) on each corporal are identical.  One substance is Body, the other bread.

This is not hard. 
Reply
#35
(12-07-2012, 10:50 PM)Allan Wrote: Think logically:

Jesus was God.
God can do anything.  ANYTHING.

Not to be too nit-picky, but there are things God cannot do.  He cannot change.  He cannot create a 4-sided triangle.  He cannot sin.

I'm sure you agree, but I just wanted to point this out for others reading the thread.
Reply
#36
(12-08-2012, 12:18 PM)Walty Wrote:
(12-07-2012, 10:50 PM)Allan Wrote: Think logically:

Jesus was God.
God can do anything.  ANYTHING.

Not to be too nit-picky, but there are things God cannot do.  He cannot change.  He cannot create a 4-sided triangle.  He cannot sin.

I'm sure you agree, but I just wanted to point this out for others reading the thread.

Well...I think it is safe to say God does not do those things, but cannot is a bridge too far.  I may not be able to conceive of a four sided triangle, but maybe He can. Maybe my own understanding of what a triangle is, is incomplete or flawed somehow, or I understand it as best as I am meant to.  And so on.

Reply
#37
(12-08-2012, 12:30 PM)Allan Wrote:
(12-08-2012, 12:18 PM)Walty Wrote:
(12-07-2012, 10:50 PM)Allan Wrote: Think logically:

Jesus was God.
God can do anything.  ANYTHING.

Not to be too nit-picky, but there are things God cannot do.  He cannot change.  He cannot create a 4-sided triangle.  He cannot sin.

I'm sure you agree, but I just wanted to point this out for others reading the thread.

Well...I think it is safe to say God does not do those things, but cannot is a bridge too far.  I may not be able to conceive of a four sided triangle, but maybe He can. Maybe my own understanding of what a triangle is, is incomplete or flawed somehow, or I understand it as best as I am meant to.  And so on.

A four-sided triangle is a logical impossibility and thus is an impossibility.  It's an absurdity which would actually take more away from God than it would add, in much the same way that sin would.  This is the same response we give to the "Can God create a stone so heavy he cannot lift it" question.  It's meaningless, an absurdity.  It's like asking if God is powerful enough to both exist and not exist at the same time.

It's not simply that we cannot comprehend the answer.  We can.  God cannot contradict His own nature, and thus the nature of truth (which begets mutual exclusivity).
Reply
#38
I don't perceive a lot of value in pursuing these types of arguments.  I have found it liberating to avoid any temptation to "put God in a box" or draw lines around what He can and cannot do.  He is.  He can.  That's enough for me, one of his creatures.  Where we perceive a tautology (e.g. "A triangle has three sides" because that is the definition of the word), He may not.  Rules of logic and grammar exist for our benefit because we need rules and physical laws to discern meaning.  He does not. 
Reply
#39
(12-08-2012, 03:51 PM)Allan Wrote: I don't perceive a lot of value in pursuing these types of arguments.  I have found it liberating to avoid any temptation to "put God in a box" or draw lines around what He can and cannot do.  He is.  He can.  That's enough for me, one of his creatures.  Where we perceive a tautology (e.g. "A triangle has three sides" because that is the definition of the word), He may not.  Rules of logic and grammar exist for our benefit because we need rules and physical laws to discern meaning.  He does not. 

This is just grounding theology in logic.  It's simple Thomism, not some intellectual gymnastics.  And it's actually quite important.  Without these distinctions God would be something quite different than we know that He is.

It's fine if you don't really care that much about them, but they are vitally important.  Without this we lose God's immutability and actually fall into a sort of voluntarism.  In fact, the desire to not "put God in a box" in this regard, and its logical end in voluntarism, is one of the fundamental differences in how Christians and Muslims see God.
Reply
#40
It's mostly that I don't have any educational foundation in theology, so I'm wary of dabbling in it.  What I know is self taught.  Like the way I tried (and failed) to explain transubstantiation...that's just how it finally made sense to me.  Also, for me, a need to control can lead to anxiety.  I actually understand God much better when I don't try to "think" Him, but receive him.  I have come to know Him quite well through the Psalms when I pray the office.

Probably doesn't make any sense.  But it works for me....
Reply




Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)