Transubstantiation in modern science: How can substance change without accidents
#41
Is it proper to say that God can do any conceivable or possible thing?  Someone once said that asking if God can make a four sided triangle is like asking if God can al;sdifjasdfklajsdlfij.  No such thing. 
More Catholic Discussion: http://thetradforum.com/

Go thy ways, old Jack;
die when thou wilt, if manhood, good manhood, be
not forgot upon the face of the earth, then am I a
shotten herring. There live not three good men
unhanged in England; and one of them is fat and
grows old: God help the while! a bad world, I say.
I would I were a weaver; I could sing psalms or any
thing. A plague of all cowards, I say still.
Reply
#42
(12-08-2012, 06:28 PM)Mithrandylan Wrote: Is it proper to say that God can do any conceivable or possible thing?  Someone once said that asking if God can make a four sided triangle is like asking if God can al;sdifjasdfklajsdlfij.  No such thing. 
I believe the answer to these questions is not that God can do anything, but that God is limited by nothing, or no laws can limit Gods ability.

Take the classic, can God make a rock so heavy he cant lift it. The laws of the universe state that Force X Acceleraton= weight. No matter what weight is pushing down God could always add a stronger opposing weight to lift the rock. However the idea that a rock is or is not moveable, is only possible because the laws of the universe (created by God) don't or do allow it to be moved. God could make a rock that defies the laws of physics and cant be moved by anything.
Here's another way of looking at it. Without gravity there is no weight, so anyone can lift anything. Now if the laws of gravity exist then we must use the laws of energy to overcome gravity. These laws only exist because God creates them, and even Gods laws can not limit God.
God not being a physical create makes the rock argument no more logical then to ask God if he could make a rock so blue he could not life it. This would make no sense in or universe sense God has not made a law that causes the color blue to have any effect on lifting a rock. However he could change the laws of the universe so that it did affect the weight of the rock.
What it amounts to, is that people try to make it look like there is something God can't do, when in reality there is just nothing that can limit his power.
Reply
#43
(12-08-2012, 06:28 PM)Mithrandylan Wrote: Is it proper to say that God can do any conceivable or possible thing?  Someone once said that asking if God can make a four sided triangle is like asking if God can al;sdifjasdfklajsdlfij.  No such thing. 

This question probably approaches the limits of human understanding.  God does not act contrary to His nature, so in that sense, He cannot do evil.  If we define evil as a "possibility" then we could say that there is a possibility that is outside God's power.  But...
then we have to realize that evil and good alike depend on God's constant will:  the possibilities of good and evil exist within an existence that contains freedom that is itself dependent on God.
Reply
#44
(12-08-2012, 07:31 PM)Warrenton Wrote: This question probably approaches the limits of human understanding.  God does not act contrary to His nature, so in that sense, He cannot do evil.  If we define evil as a "possibility" then we could say that there is a possibility that is outside God's power.  But...
then we have to realize that evil and good alike depend on God's constant will:  the possibilities of good and evil exist within an existence that contains freedom that is itself dependent on God.
  I believe you are talking about moral evil, but though God never has or will commit a moral-evil (something contrary to Gods desire), because he is perfect. There is no reason to believe God does not have the ability to commit an action that would be contrary to his desire. I will hit not my self because it hurts and is contrary to my goodness, however I have the ability too hit myself, and could in the event that a higher power were to force me too.
Reply
#45
(12-08-2012, 06:28 PM)Mithrandylan Wrote: Is it proper to say that God can do any conceivable or possible thing?  Someone once said that asking if God can make a four sided triangle is like asking if God can al;sdifjasdfklajsdlfij.  No such thing. 

Yes, that's the correct way of looking at it.  And it's not about "thinking God" as opposed to "receiving Him" though that's fine if Allan sees it that way because I don't think he's fallen into any of the issues raised by not doing so.  But it is important that theologians make this distinction as it's fundamental to our entire conception of God and His nature.  As I mentioned before, without it the very foundations of truth become arbitrary, as they are in Islam, and God is allowed to contradict Himself, making the truth less real.
Reply
#46
(12-08-2012, 07:27 PM)jim111 Wrote:
(12-08-2012, 06:28 PM)Mithrandylan Wrote: Is it proper to say that God can do any conceivable or possible thing?  Someone once said that asking if God can make a four sided triangle is like asking if God can al;sdifjasdfklajsdlfij.  No such thing. 
I believe the answer to these questions is not that God can do anything, but that God is limited by nothing, or no laws can limit Gods ability.

Take the classic, can God make a rock so heavy he cant lift it. The laws of the universe state that Force X Acceleraton= weight. No matter what weight is pushing down God could always add a stronger opposing weight to lift the rock. However the idea that a rock is or is not moveable, is only possible because the laws of the universe (created by God) don't or do allow it to be moved. God could make a rock that defies the laws of physics and cant be moved by anything.
Here's another way of looking at it. Without gravity there is no weight, so anyone can lift anything. Now if the laws of gravity exist then we must use the laws of energy to overcome gravity. These laws only exist because God creates them, and even Gods laws can not limit God.
God not being a physical create makes the rock argument no more logical then to ask God if he could make a rock so blue he could not life it. This would make no sense in or universe sense God has not made a law that causes the color blue to have any effect on lifting a rock. However he could change the laws of the universe so that it did affect the weight of the rock.
What it amounts to, is that people try to make it look like there is something God can't do, when in reality there is just nothing that can limit his power.

We're not saying that God is limited by anything.  All we're saying is that He acts in accordance with His nature.  That's it.  We don't put any more limitations on Him by saying this than we put on Him by saying He cannot sin.  In fact, allowing Him to sin (error of the will) takes away from God just as allowing Him to rework His own nature to create absurdities (error of the intellect) takes away from Him.
Reply
#47
(12-07-2012, 08:14 PM)newyorkcatholic Wrote: 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.

I understand what you are saying, but I still wonder if in some sense our Lord can be said to be physically present in the Eucharist (and so in this sense the change is physical).  This sense would need to be explained to exclude physical accidents and being tied to locality and bounds of a physical body; and so it would certainly mean physical in a different way than scientists see it (they always see only accidents).

Here are a couple of quotes that make me wonder:
"Pope Paul VI, Mysterium Fidei" Wrote:As a result of transubstantiation, the species of bread and wine undoubtedly take on a new signification and a new finality, for they are no longer ordinary bread and wine but instead a sign of something sacred and a sign of spiritual food; but they take on this new signification, this new finality, precisely because they contain a new "reality" which we can rightly call ontological. For what now lies beneath the aforementioned species is not what was there before, but something completely different; and not just in the estimation of Church belief but in reality, since once the substance or nature of the bread and wine has been changed into the body and blood of Christ, nothing remains of the bread and the wine except for the species—beneath which Christ is present whole and entire in His physical "reality," corporeally present, although not in the manner in which bodies are in a place.

And something less authoritative, but also interesting:
"The Reality of the Real Presence" Wrote:http://www.adoremus.org/0302RealPresence.html

It follows that, insofar as "physical" is understood to mean "empirical", the Real Presence is not "physical". [b]However, the denial that the Real Presence is physical can easily be misunderstood to mean that the Real Presence is not historically objective because not corporeal -- for our ordinary language associates "physical" reality with corporeal reality. Anyone accustomed to that interpretation of the "physical" would understand a denial of the "physical" presence of Christ in the Eucharist to be a denial of his substantial or concretely actual Real Presence. It must be insisted that the Real Presence is precisely corporeal, objective, and historical: it is a concrete Event -- presence, whether the Event be termed transubstantiation, or the offering of the One Sacrifice. It is in this specifically Catholic understanding -- that the Eucharist is concretely an Event, identically the Event of the Cross, that the Catholic Church parts company with those Protestants who affirm, with Luther, a Real Presence, but who, with Luther, deny the Sacrifice of the Mass, and deny transubstantiation.

It is also hard to see how drinking Christ's blood and eating His flesh would be simply a metaphysical reality.  Body and blood seem physical, even if their accidents aren't there.

Of course "sacramental" is probably a better word than physical or metaphysical.  But all these words will be misinterpreted by some people - they are human words trying to describe a divine mystery.
Reply
#48
(12-09-2012, 01:53 AM)Doce Me Wrote:
(12-07-2012, 08:14 PM)newyorkcatholic Wrote: 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.

I understand what you are saying, but I still wonder if in some sense our Lord can be said to be physically present in the Eucharist (and so in this sense the change is physical).  This sense would need to be explained to exclude physical accidents and being tied to locality and bounds of a physical body; and so it would certainly mean physical in a different way than scientists see it (they always see only accidents).

Here are a couple of quotes that make me wonder:
"Pope Paul VI, Mysterium Fidei" Wrote:As a result of transubstantiation, the species of bread and wine undoubtedly take on a new signification and a new finality, for they are no longer ordinary bread and wine but instead a sign of something sacred and a sign of spiritual food; but they take on this new signification, this new finality, precisely because they contain a new "reality" which we can rightly call ontological. For what now lies beneath the aforementioned species is not what was there before, but something completely different; and not just in the estimation of Church belief but in reality, since once the substance or nature of the bread and wine has been changed into the body and blood of Christ, nothing remains of the bread and the wine except for the species—beneath which Christ is present whole and entire in His physical "reality," corporeally present, although not in the manner in which bodies are in a place.

And something less authoritative, but also interesting:
"The Reality of the Real Presence" Wrote:http://www.adoremus.org/0302RealPresence.html

It follows that, insofar as "physical" is understood to mean "empirical", the Real Presence is not "physical". [b]However, the denial that the Real Presence is physical can easily be misunderstood to mean that the Real Presence is not historically objective because not corporeal -- for our ordinary language associates "physical" reality with corporeal reality. Anyone accustomed to that interpretation of the "physical" would understand a denial of the "physical" presence of Christ in the Eucharist to be a denial of his substantial or concretely actual Real Presence. It must be insisted that the Real Presence is precisely corporeal, objective, and historical: it is a concrete Event -- presence, whether the Event be termed transubstantiation, or the offering of the One Sacrifice. It is in this specifically Catholic understanding -- that the Eucharist is concretely an Event, identically the Event of the Cross, that the Catholic Church parts company with those Protestants who affirm, with Luther, a Real Presence, but who, with Luther, deny the Sacrifice of the Mass, and deny transubstantiation.

It is also hard to see how drinking Christ's blood and eating His flesh would be simply a metaphysical reality.  Body and blood seem physical, even if their accidents aren't there.

Of course "sacramental" is probably a better word than physical or metaphysical.  But all these words will be misinterpreted by some people - they are human words trying to describe a divine mystery.

I agree, as long as we are clear about definitions. The Real Presence is not physical if we understand that word in the usual, narrow, scientific sense. But it's real, true, corporal. Metaphysical realities are not "lesser" realities - if anything they are more real.

If we speak easily about the Real Presence  being physical w/o making this careful distinction, then science appears to easily disprove Transubstantiation.
Reply
#49
(12-08-2012, 09:33 PM)Walty Wrote:
(12-08-2012, 07:27 PM)jim111 Wrote:
(12-08-2012, 06:28 PM)Mithrandylan Wrote: Is it proper to say that God can do any conceivable or possible thing?  Someone once said that asking if God can make a four sided triangle is like asking if God can al;sdifjasdfklajsdlfij.  No such thing. 
I believe the answer to these questions is not that God can do anything, but that God is limited by nothing, or no laws can limit Gods ability.

Take the classic, can God make a rock so heavy he cant lift it. The laws of the universe state that Force X Acceleraton= weight. No matter what weight is pushing down God could always add a stronger opposing weight to lift the rock. However the idea that a rock is or is not moveable, is only possible because the laws of the universe (created by God) don't or do allow it to be moved. God could make a rock that defies the laws of physics and cant be moved by anything.
Here's another way of looking at it. Without gravity there is no weight, so anyone can lift anything. Now if the laws of gravity exist then we must use the laws of energy to overcome gravity. These laws only exist because God creates them, and even Gods laws can not limit God.
God not being a physical create makes the rock argument no more logical then to ask God if he could make a rock so blue he could not life it. This would make no sense in or universe sense God has not made a law that causes the color blue to have any effect on lifting a rock. However he could change the laws of the universe so that it did affect the weight of the rock.
What it amounts to, is that people try to make it look like there is something God can't do, when in reality there is just nothing that can limit his power.

We're not saying that God is limited by anything.  All we're saying is that He acts in accordance with His nature.  That's it.  We don't put any more limitations on Him by saying this than we put on Him by saying He cannot sin.  In fact, allowing Him to sin (error of the will) takes away from God just as allowing Him to rework His own nature to create absurdities (error of the intellect) takes away from Him.

I think the real answer to "can God make an immoveable object?" is "there is no such thing as in immoveable object because there is God."

1. God can move anything.
2. Therefore everything can be moved (at least by God if not by creatures).
3. Therefore there is nothing immoveable.

"Immoveable" applied to any created thing is impossible, it's nonsense. Only God Himself is "immoveable" in a sense.

ETA: I'm agreeing with Walty, just saying it in a different way.
Reply
#50
(12-07-2012, 08:14 PM)newyorkcatholic Wrote: 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.
Then what is substance? How can i determine the substance of something?
Reply




Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)