The Word Made Flesh: Dualism, Physicalism, and the Incarnation
Merricks (Trenton)
Source: Van Inwagen (Peter) & Zimmerman (Dean) - Persons: Human and Divine
Paper - Abstract

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From "Zimmerman (Dean) - Persons: Human and Divine - Three Introductory Questions"

    In earlier chapters, there are defenses of a wide variety of views about a human person's relation to her animal body. The most straightforward theory, represented by van Inwagen, is identity: a human person just is her body, just is a living, breathing human organism. Hudson and Baker think humans coincide with, but are not identical to, the organisms that are their bodies. Plantinga and Swinburne think humans are substantial souls, related to their bodies by particular causal relations. In this Chapter, Trenton Merricks describes the differences amongst these views; and considers how, on each, a Christian would understand the doctrine of the incarnation. He takes it to be a theological desideratum for a theory of the incarnation that Christ should be related to his human body in the way each of us is related to his or her human body. He explores the different relationships between person and body implied by the competing metaphysics of human persons, and considers the results for a theology of the incarnation. He then argues that the theological preferability of a certain interpretation of the incarnation vindicates one of the theories of person–body relations. According to Merricks, belief in the incarnation supports the view that humans are identical with their bodies; that they are — contra Hudson, Baker, Swinburne, and Plantinga — human animals1.


Part 5: Personhood in Christian Doctrine

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