Full Text for The Presence of Christ's Body and Blood in the Sacrament of the Altar According to Luther (Text)

CO:l\ CORDIA THEOLOGICAL MONTHLY The Presence of Christ's Body and Blood in the Sacrament of rhe Altar According to Luther NORMAN NAGEL The Theology of Communism MARTIN H. SCHARLEMANN Thomas More and the Wittenberg Lutherans CARL S. MEYER Pietism: Classical and Modem -A Comparison of Two Representative Descriptions EGON W. GERDES Homiletics Brief Studies Book Review VolXXXIX April 1968 No.4 The Presence of Christ's Body and Blood tn the Sacrament of the Altar According to Luther The great feature of the 450th celebra­tion of the Reformation is the extent of ecumenical participation. It might al­most be said that our Roman Catholic brethren have taken over the show. Lu­ther studies provide an index of the growth in mutual understanding, but what help is Luther at the heart of Christian unity, the doctrine of the Lord's Supper? Luther's doctrine of the Lord's Supper, it is said, is so enmeshed in the philosophy and scholasticism of the late Middle Ages that it is no longer viable in our day. To test this assertion, we shall go to what some regard as the worst incident of this enmeshedness: Luther's use of the Nom­inalist categories of presence -circum­scriptive, definitive, and repletive. These are adduced in the Large Confession of 1528. We shall note where they are raised and the function they are intended to serve and shall ask to what extent they are necessary for his doctrine of the Lord's Supper. This may also shed some light on the question whether the presence of Christ's body and blood rests on the ubiq­uity of Christ's human nature. That these are no mere academic mat-Norman Nagel is preceptor of Westfield House, Cambridge. He served as guest pro­fessor at Valparaiso University, Valparaiso, Ind., during part of the 1967-68 academic year. As this article was being put into gal­leys, word was received that Dr. Nagel had accepted the appointment as Dean of the Chapel at Valparaiso University. NORMAN NAGEL ters has been made clear by Sasse and Sommerlath.1 They are of very consider­able ecumenical importance. Misunder­standings here may obscure the doctrine of the presence of Christ's body and blood and have it appear as entangled in a by­gone system of thought. This is ecumeni­cally most harmful, for the presence of the body and blood of Christ in the Sacra­ment of the Altar is the place where the divisions of Christendom can alone be finally healed. The apostolic and catholic doctrine of the presence of Christ's body and blood Luther never questioned, although he ad­mits that he once thought of the practical advantage of making a common front against the pope with those who, as some­thing of a novelty in Christian tradition,2 1 Hermann Sasse, This Is My Body (Minne­apolis: Augsburg Publishing House, 1959), pp. 134 ft. Ernst Sommerlath, "Luthers Lehre von der Realprasenz im Abendmahl im Zu­sammenhang mit seiner Gottesanschauung (nach den Abendmahlsschriften von 1527-1528)," Das Erbe Martin Luthers, Festschrift fiir Ludwig lhmels, ed. R. Jelke (Leipzig: Diirffiing & Franke, 1928), pp. 320-38. 2 Martin Luther, "Das diese WaIt Christi 'Das ist mein leib' noch fest stehen, wider die Schwarmgeister" [1527]. D. Martin Luthers Werke. Kritische Gesammtausgabe (Weimar: Hermann Biihlaus N achfolger, 1901 ), XXIII, 129, 4. Hereafter cited as WA. Cpo Luther's Works (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1961), 38, 54. Hereafter cited as AE. Cf. Ernst Kin­der, "Zur Sakramentslehre," Neue Zeitschri/t fUr Systematische Theologie, III (1961), 165, n.41. 228 THE PRESENCE OF CHRIST'S BODY AND BLOOD denied the presence of Christ's body and blood. It is from this body that the church is the body of Christ and hence arises the crucial ecumenical importance of this doc­trine.3 Luther's great service to Christendom here was to confess the fact and revere the mystery of the presence of the body and blood of Christ in the Sacrament of the Altar and to resist any categories and prin­ciples under and into which that fact and mystery might be squashed. Yet is he not guilty of this very thing when he adduces the Occamist categories of pres­ence? To be fair, however, we ought not to begin at that place but approach it by way Jf w~~__ went : __ ~Jre. ::. ... ~ler v .. ,_ ~lot a man contbH co say ,hings once -he was too much the preacher and pastor for that -and least of all in what Sasse calls the Great Controversy, even though his first statement is often his best. Peters points to the Sermon 01Z the Body and Blood of Christ against the Enthusiasts (1526) as the example of this in the great contro­versy.4 Here omnipresence comes as the last of seven points, and Luther is not in the habit of leaving his best point until last. In That These Words (1527) the argu­ment revolves around the Verba and the Right Hand. The Right Hand does not 3 Cf. The discussion of Chrysostom, Cyril of Jerusalem, and Cyril of Alexandria in Werner Elert, Abendmahl und Kirchengemeinschaft in der alten Kirche hauptsachlich des Ostens (Ber­lin: Lutherisches Verlagshaus, 1954), pp.27 to 30; also Eucharist and Church Fellowship in the First Four Centuries (St. Louis: Concordia, 1966), pp.27-30. 4 Albrecht Peters, "Luthers Turmerlebnis," Neue Zeitschrift fiir Systematische Theologie, III (1961),212. establish the sacramental presence. Christ's presence everywhere is not yet His gra­cious bestowing presence "for you" ( dir da}.5 Luther expounds the Right Hand to demolish Zwingli's insistence on only a circumscriptive presence as possible for the body of Christ. He is in fine fettle when he depicts the enthusiasts with lan­tern and skeleton key climbing stealthily at midnight into heaven and there hunt­ing through all the drawers and cupboards where God keeps His power, but finding none that weighs heavy enough on their precise little scales to manage a body simul­taneously in heaven and the Supper.6 His major omnipresence excursion he, how­ever, calls uberfitts.7 The dam is full and the water that flows ove ~_ not ~ ____ ssary to keep it full, and yet this water plainly flows from the dam. The case against Zwingli's "right hand" is drawn from what Scripture says about God's right hand. God's power is every­where creating and preserving. Where His right hand is at work, He must be present, and where He is, Christ is, and apart from Christ there is no God. Luther quotes "Heaven is my throne and the earth is my footstool" and mocks the Zwinglian spatial limitation and expansion: "Come on, guess what happens to his head, arms, chest, and body when he :fills the earth with his feet and heaven with his legs?" 8 "Wherever and whatever God's right 5 WA XXIII, 151, 14; AE 37, 68. 6 WA XXIII, 119, 1; AE 37, 48. 7 WA XXIII, 139,24; AE 37, 61. 8 WA XXIII, 131, 18-135,33; d. AE 37, 56-59. Occam would seem to qualify for simi­lar mockery. Cf. Erwin Iserloh, Gnade und Eu­charistie in der philosophischen T heologie des Wilhelm von Ockham (Wiesbaden: Steiner, 1956), p.206. THE PRESENCE OF CHRIST'S BODY AND BLOOD 229 hand is and is called, there is Christ, the Son of man." 9 Luther, however, is not con­tending for infinite attributes. His op­ponents draw him into discussion of omni­presence, but his soteriology pulls him back home to the certain and specific place as­sured by Christ's words. Though he is in your bread, you will not grasp him there unless he binds himself there for you and appoints a particular table with his word where you are to eat him. This he has done in the Sacrament saying, "This is my body," as if to say, "You may also eat bread at home where I am indeed present enough, but this is the true 'touto,' "This is my body." When you eat this, you eat my body and no­where else. Why? Because here I would fasten myself with my word so that you are not to flutter about and desire to seek me all over the place -where I am. That would be too much for you. You are too small for grasping me there without my word.lO That Word and that bestowing presence are what matter. God binds Himself to our humanity, wine and bread through His Word and words to give Himself and His salvation into our grasp. Luther's basis for this is simply the fact that this is what God has done and does. He will therefore allow nothing that He sees as a diminution or disruption of this. The heart of His concern is not some notional omnipresence, but what God has said, done, and gives. Here is the contingency of what God does and says which cannot survive in any philosophical system. Why then ubiquity? The Real Presence does not need it, nor is it Luther's basis for 9 WA XXIII, 145,1; d. AE 37, 64. 10 WA XXIII, 151,29; AE 37, 69. Cf. WA XX, 400, 25; XXXI/I, 223, 28. the Real Presence. It posits too much and has in it indeed the danger of flattening the peculiar character of the presence of the body and blood of Christ. Luther flows on so voluminously beyond what might be thought necessary to establish the sacra­mental presence that this is quite dearly not the point for which he is seeking a foundation. This stands whether Zwingli can demolish ubiquity or not,u His home ground is the Verba, and here he feels con­fident no attack can score against him, but he does go off to rout his opponents on their ground. He borrows their bat to pun­ish them with,12 but it is not really their kind of cricket at all, nor his either. The Swiss would allow only one way for Christ's body to be present. This would permit it to be in only one circumscribed place13 and so would catastrophically sun­der the Personal Union. Their local Right Hand Luther rejects for an omnipresent one of God's power that is at work every­where, creating and sustaining all things.H He insists that Christ has more than one way of being present. He gives examples zum uberflus, and if these are disallowed, God doubtless has yet other ways.15 He is not to be fenced in.16 However, Zwingli was not intent on fencing God in but rather Christ's human 11 WA XXVI, 319, 4; AE 37,208 f. 12 Actually Goliath's sword. W A XXIII, 143,25; AE 37, 62. 13 WA XXIII, 133,23; AE 37, 57. 14 WA XXIII, 133, 21; 135, 12; 143, 10; XXVI, 339, 25; 333, 20; AE 37, 57, 58, 63, 227 f., 219. 15 W A XXIII, 139, 4; 145, 33; XXVI, 319, 7; 329, 34; 331, 30; 336, 28; 338, 9; AE 37, 61,65,208 f., 216, 217, 223, 226. 16 W A XXIII, 152, 15; XXVI, 339, 36; AE 37,69 f., 228. 230 THE PRESENCE OF CHRIST'S BODY AND BLOOD body. The whole crux is that he could think of this separately while Luther could not. It is impossible, Zwingli affirmed, for this body to be in more than one place. Luther expends much hot ink to show this possibility. But this does not provide a foundation for the positive affirmation. For this Luther has to return home to the Verba. To them every notion and category of ours must be brought into subjection. In the Large Confession the battle thunders over much the same country, and Luther, who is a poor strategist, allows his opponents to choose the ground. Instead of staying dug in in the Verba he charges out against their various positions throw­ing at them whatever he can lay his hands on. ! r lent bombardment .of their local Right dand he confesses that his aim is not to prove Christ everywhere but in the Supper.17 The former does not really belong here.1S We are now, at last, nearing the point where he picks up Occam and throws him in, too. He has just said for the umpteenth time that the words "This is my body" say what they say.19 He will give ground to no alloeosis, synecdoche, or trope.20 Then he defines the position on which he stands, and the order is significant.21 The first is this article of our faith that Jesus Christ is essentially, naturally, truly, and completely God and man in one insepa­rable and undivided person. Second, God's right hand is everywhere. Third, there is no falsehood or lie in God's word. 17 WA XXVI, 318, 1; 329,34; AE 37, 207, 216. 18 WA XXVI, 320,25; AE 37,210 19 WA XXVI, 325, 22; AE 37, 213. 20 WA XXVI, 326,26; AE 37, 214. 21 WA XXVI, 326,29; AE 37, 214f. Fourth, God has many a way and manner of being in a place, and not only that single way which the enthusiasts pullout of their hats and which the philosophers term "local." The sophists22 are justified in speaking of three ways of being in a place: local or circumscriptive, definitive, and repletive. Local presence is as wine in a barrel or straw in a sack or Jesus of Nazareth in a boat. Here a body displaces the amount of air required by its mass. This can be measured and grasped. Defini­tive presence is when something is in a place but where there is no congruence between it and the limits of space, as an angel in a room, house, town, or even a nutshell. Thus Christ rose through the stone and passed through a door without 22 Occam, Super q1tat?!Or libros sententiamm quaestiones, IV, q. 4C (London: Gregg, 1962). Quodlibet I, q. 4. De Sacramento Attmis, ed. T. Bruce Birch (Burlington: Lutheran Literary Board, 1930), pp.188-97. Biel, who is in substantial agreement with Occam, quotes at length from this chapter. Canonis Misse Expositio, ed. H. A. Oberman and W. J. Courtenay (Wiesbaden: Steiner, 1965), II, 146. Collectorium, IB, d, x, q. 1, art. 2, concl. 2. Biel clarifies his logic by establishing the third category of repletive presence and so has a definitive presence that, in contrast with Occam, is demarcated against repleti ve suffusion. Friedrich Loofs finds in Occam a bent toward a virtual presence. Leit/aden z?!m St?!dium de,. Dogmengescbichte, 4th ed. (Halle: Niemeyer, 1906), p.619. Cf. Heiko Oberman, The Har­vest 0/ Medieval Theology (Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 1963), p.276. Ober­man and Courtenay, p. 158. Reinhold Seeberg, Lehrb?!ch der Dogmengeschichte, 5th ed. (Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgemein­schaft, 1953), III, 789 f., IV/I, 471-75. Ru­dolf Damerau, Die Abendmahlslehre des Nomi­nalism?!s insbesondere die des Gabriel Biel (Giessen: Schmitz, 1963), pp.179-97. Al­brecht Peters, Realprasenz (Berlin: Lutherisches Verlagshaus, 1960), pp. 79-86. Sasse, pp. 155 to 158. For Usingen see Otto Scheel, Martin Lu­ther (Tiibingen: Mohr, 1917), I, 194 f. THE PRESENCE OF CHRIST'S BODY AND BLOOD 231 displacing any stone or door.n This can­not be measured or grasped. This is the way Christ's body is and can be in the bread (WA XXVI, 329, 2), and yet He can also show Himself tangibly wherever He wishes. The Easter stone and door re­mained stone and wood. Bread and wine 23 Luther does not follow Occam's definition of definitive presence. Quando aliquid est in loco sic quod tatum est in toto et tatum est in quali­bet parte, tunc per se et vere in loco diffmitive, sic est de quantitate corporis Christi sub illis specie bus, igitur non est ibi per concomitantiam naturalem. Quoted by Iserloh, p.174, n. 1. Lu­ther follows a more general use of the term. E. g. Aquinas, Summa I, 52, 2c. Cf. Ludwig Schutz, Thomas-Lexikon (Paderborn: Schiiningh, 1881), p.91; 2d ed. (1895), p.450. Occam's definition is vital to his argument, which intends to demonstrate a metaphysical miracle. L111'1,,,,,,"'(' ~l1("~r\C'Pc nn thp nthPr hand, is to remove obstacles from taking Christ's words as saying what they say. Bie! is dominated by Occam's definition. He also would use the rules of logic to furnish proof, and adduces Occam's examples from De Sacramento, vi [Birch], p. 193, plus the Easter stone. Oberman and Courtenay, p.147. Occam there lists soul, angels, Easter door, the Virgin's closed womb and the ascension. This last is significantly not used by Luther. For Oc­cam the ascension is definitive and the session circumscriptive with uhiquitarian possibilities. To put it no stronger, Occam (for Occam's al­loeosis see Iserloh, pp. 32-35), Biel, and Zwin­gli accept at least theoretically a presence of Christ apart from His human nature. This is utterly repugnant to Luther, for it threatens his Christology, soteriology, and theology. For Oc­cam's extra Calvinisticum see Super IV libros sententiarum IV, q. 4N. The relation of the two natures is said to be that of subject and accident, and hence potest natura divina et verbum esse et est alicubi ubi non est natura assumpta. When such a Christ was commended to Luther by Oecolampadius, he recoiled from it. Oberman, pp. 264 f., finds extra Calvinisticum in Biel and keno sis as well, but his evidence is not compelling. Kenosis is far from Biel, for the divine nature is for him of predominant import­ance. Extra Calvinisticum, on the other hand, is inimical to the human nature. Damerau, p. 165 f., presents Biel as orthodox regarding the are not changed from bread and wine when Christ's body is in them. They are measurably long and wide, but not He. The repletive presence can only be as­cribed to God who fills all in all. This must be held by faith alone in the word. Then a sort of analogy comes to Lu­ther's mind, and unfortunately it is not the last. The sight of our eyes is present to all places up to 20 miles and more. H this is so, cannot God's power find a personal union and excuses passages that sound like separation as due to merely logical distinc­tions. While we must be as fair to Biel as to Luther and acknowledge that he also works as a devout servant of the church, this plea of Damerau does not quite cover Lectio 46P, where the extra Calvinistiwm is stated. Oberman and Courtenay, p.206. And milk that has color but is not white will not really wash. It is also worth noting that when Luther speaks of the bread and the presence of Christ's body there, he says, "is and can," (W A XXVI, 329, 2; 332, 21; AE 37, 216, 218) and not with Occam, "can and is." When Luther says only "can" we may well suspect that he is ploughing with Occam's heifer of the poten­tia absol1tta, as when with Scotist voluntar­ism he mentions in passing the possibility of a multiple circumscriptive presence. This last is unequivocally expressed in a section (W A XXVI, 336, 28; AE 37, 2235.) following meine sachen. Not content with that he goes over the three modes again and then charges off, throwing anything he can lay his hands on. These missiles, however, are leftovers from the time before gunpowder. There are broken pieces of mirror and a crystal. Angels and spirits re­appear together with other odds and ends. But then like a naughty boy who has rather enjoyed clouting the other boy, who was not nice to him, he feels somewhat ashamed -though not too much -and so we then get the usual excuses: He started it, so I can speculate too. I am not now speaking from Scripture. I do not hold this idea as certainly so, but such things are not im­possible, and they do help to show what a fool he is. On this potentia absoluta line it is indeed impossible to disprove that God has bacon and eggs for breakfast every morning. 232 THE PRESENCE OF CHRIST'S BODY AND BLOOD way by which all creatures can be present and permeable to Christ's body? Sensing the weakness of his argument here, Lu­ther has his opponents interpose the ob­jection that nothing is proved in this way. He has no better rejoinder than that they cannot prove such a thing impossible to God's power.24 Occam would do no worse. However, he does return to what matters to him (meine sachen). Our faith holds that Christ is God and man. The two natures is [I} one person. . . _ He can indeed show himself in the bodily apprehensible way in whatever place he wishes as he did after the Resur­rection and will do at the Last Day . . . but he can also use the second way that cannot be grasped as we have proved from the Gospel as he did at the grave and the locked door.25 . . . Since, however, he is 24 Unfortunately Elert's telling observation does not apply here. Es steht hier nicht die W underbarkeit, S01zdern die Tatsacblichkeit eines Geschebens in Frage. (It is not the mar­vellous character of the event but its factuality that is at issue.) Werner Elert, Der Christliche Glaube Od ed., Hamburg: Furche-Verlag, 1956), p. 383. When it does apply, Luther is back at home with the Verba. See n. 46. 25 Here Luther has no weapon of a definition and the only examples are two Scriptural in­stances which serve to demonstrate that Christ can be present in a way that cannot be rationally grasped. This last is just what Occam would demonstrate. He is certain that by using the rules of logic he can furnish a proof. Birch, p. 191. The disappearance of the angels is significant. Biel could not so easily do without them. For him they show the kind of presence which Christ uses in the Eucharist. It is not a mediate pres­ence. Zwingli could agree with this but certainly not Luther. Lectio 46Q: Unio corporis Christi non est specialis ad species panis, non enim est alia quam angeli ad corpus el1i assistit. Oberman and Courtenay, p.107. Here Luther is more Thomist than Nominalist. Cf. Leif Grane, Con­tra Gabrielem (Copenhagen: Gyldendal, 1962), p.76. such a man who is supernaturally one per­son with God and outside of this man there is no God, it must follow that he also is and may be everywhere where God is according to the third supernatural way. . . . Where you can say, "Here is God," there you must also say, "Then Christ the man is also there." If you would point to a place where God is and not the man, then the person would already be divided. Then I could in truth say, "Here is God who is not man and never became man." None of that God for me please! From this it would follow that space and place sundered the two natures from one another and divided the person, which indeed death and all devils could not part or tear asunder. That would leave me a sorry Christ. . . . He has become one person and does not separate the humanity from himself.26 Only in this humanity is God graciously there for us, and this saving fact may never be put in doubt by any question of "how" which can think only of extension and circumscriptively. It is nonsense to talk of Christ as high up there or way down here,27 as up and down or hither and thither,28 or as small or big.29 He is not subject to any such dimension, cate­gory, or criterion.so Luther repudiates the 26 W A XXVI, 332, 12; see also trans. in AE 37,218-19. 27 WA XXIII, 115, 36; AE 37, 46 f. 2.8 W A XXIII, 147, 25; XVIII, 206, 17; XIX, 489, 24; 492, 1; AE 37, 66. Cf. Biel's exhaustive treatment of the question utrum corpus Christi loealiter mutetur. Oberman and Courtenay, pp.206-10; Damerau, pp. 193 f. He decides for a 'lnutatio localis and against a motus 10 calis. His general presupposi­tions are also those of Zwingli. 29 WA XXIII, 137,8; XXVI, 339, 33; AE 37,59. so WA XXIII, 137, 25; XXVI, 333, 22; AE 37, 60, 219. THE PRESENCE OF CHRIST'S BODY AND BLOOD 233 imposition of these categories, which are the preoccupation of Occam, Biel, and Zwingli. We need not follow the argument farther. Luther finds his opponents cap­tive to their terms and categories in which they would confine Christ. This he will not allow, but is he not compromised by the way he puts the case against them? He cannot do without words, and some of the words he uses certainly do arouse suspicion. The critical question is whether they have more than a negative function for him. The infinite attributes of omnipotence and omnipresence that he contends with against the Swiss are more theirs than his, more of the kingdom of power than the kingdom of grace. He fights desper­ately for them for the kingdom of grace, but Saul's armor does not make it easier for him, and one can only regret that he did not stay with the shepherd's lowly sling. When Luther uses potentia absoluta against the Swiss, he is not sufficiently aware of his proximity then to the deus absconditus. There he is not at home, and the potentia ordinata has been clarified for him by the distinction between the Law and the Gospel. God's potentia is then no longer the ultimate reference that it is in Augustine and his disciples.31 Potentia ordinata belongs rather under the heading of the Law and the opus alienum. The Gospel and opus proprium proclaim the 31 Among whom was the young Luther. Cf. Erich Vogelsang, Die An/ange von Luthers Ch1'istologie nach der ersten Psalmenvorlesung (Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 1929), p.47, n.2; Adolf Hamel, Der iunge Luther und Augustin (Giitersloh: Evangelischer Verlag, 1934), I, 175, n. 5. lowly Christ who suffers Himself to be re­jected, there for us upon the arms of Mary and the cross and on the altar.32 This last Luther here passionately af­firms, but this positive affirmation has to be seen through the dust of his negative attack upon Swiss obstructions. An alli­ance between potentia absoluta and po­tentia ordinata offers him doubtful ad­vantage. For Biel they are in cordial entente.33 For Luther, however, their equipment has changed. These terms are indeed not formally used here but their Nominalist content lies behind what Lu­ther says in the passages where he speaks about "possibility." Yet what appears is not quite that content either, but that content transformed by his prior given understanding of Christ and the Gospel -a transformation that is hete at times rather blurred. In Luther's defense it must be acknowl­edged that he points out his excursions, but not always. A book or two would be needed to deal with this potentia absohtta and ordinata and also the Scotist-sounding voluntarism which enables Luther to as­sert the absurdity of Biel's multiple cir­cumscriptive presence.34 If the absurdity is God's, it must stand, but this is sheer speculation. The best that can be said for Luther is that this is an excursion to harass his opponents. 32 WA IV, 649, 6; XXV, 107,5; XXVIII, 136, 19; XXXIII, 160, 32; XXXVII, 42, 33; XL/I, 76, 9. 33 Cf. Damerau, pp. 188, 90; Oberman, pp. 36 f. 34 Oberman and Courtenay, pp. 196 ft., 206; Damerau, pp. 188, 190. See above, n.23. Cf. Gordon Rupp, The Righteousness 0/ God (Lon­don: Hodder and Stoughton, 1953), pp. 88 to 93. Unfortunately Rupp's "grateful quotations" do not include the modes of presence. 234 THE PRESENCE OF CHRIST'S BODY AND BLOOD The remarkable thing, however, is not that Luther used Occamist terms of pres­ence against those whom he regarded as rationalists. At various points he makes the bluff confession that he is speculating. The terms are those for the problem of the quantity and extension of the body of Christ in the Eucharist.35 This was a pre­occupation of his opponents. The really remarkable thing is that he uses this terminology in his repudiation of any such preoccupation. This does not rest on any Occamist theory about substantia and quantitas, but on the fact that Christ does what He says He does, and what He says and does is all of a piece with the sort of person He is. So often when Luther s0J.nds like an Occamist, closer examinatIon reveals a radical difference. In this matter Occam's reasoning does not take him beyond pos­sibility -Luther is aware of this.36 It is integrally bound up with his (Occam's) distinction between substantia, qua1Ztitas, and qualitas. Without this it would col­lapse. Not so for Luther. The basis for definitive presence is supplied for him by instances of a noncircumscriptive pres­ence of Christ, and for them it provides a label. Not the term or its philosophical presuppositions but these instances prove his point that Christ may not be restricted to a circumscriptive presence. The presence of Christ's body and blood in the bread and wine is also an instance that is not proved by any theoretical ne­cessity but is affirmed on the basis of the contingent words of Christ. This affirma­tion does not rest on the validity of Oc-35 Cf. Iserloh, pp. 174-253. 36 Iserloh, p. 77. W A XXVI, 337, 23; XXIII, 267, 29; AE 37, 225, 140. cam's categories of definitive or repletive presence. In the Catechisms and the Smal­cald Articles he has no use for them; nor in his final Short Confession. Much of the uberfius is indeed superflus. Luther's argument about divine possi­bilities does indeed sound rather Occam­ist, but its use is in getting at his oppo­nents and is only of negative value. Omni­presence is not his point of departure and the one present in bread and wine is not first of all the omnipresent, majestic God but the gracious and incarnate God who appoints the place and means where He is there for us, bestowing His body and blood, forgiveness, life, and salvation. Words, wine, and bread give the location without ,hicl1 the God Wh8 is every­where is ~S good as nowhere. Omnipres­ence as such fits better with the majestic God on a velvet cushion upon a golden throne, uninvolved with our condition.37 Luther is not at home with the merely omnipresent God, for He is the dread deus nudus.38 He insists on seeing the omni-37 WA XXIII, 131, 12; 155, 16; 705, 25; AE 37, 55 f., 70 f. 38 CE. WA XXV, 107,2: Neque enim coram Maiestate quisquam consiste1"e potest, sed in so­lum Christum est respiciendum. XXV, 106, 30; XL 1, 75,9; 76, 9; 77, 11; XL 2, 330, 1; IV, 649,6; VII, 369, 20; 371, 14; 358, 31; XVIII, 684, 37; 685, 6; L, 647, 6; 628, 16; XXIX, 669 if. Theodosius Harnack, Luthe-rs Theologie (Munich: Chr. Kaiser Verlag, 1927), I, 41 if. Somerlath, p. 326: "An den Anfang dec Aus­einandersetzung mit den "Schwarmern" fallt in zeitlichem Zusammentreifen die Abfassung seiner SchrHt 'De servo arbitrio.''' Cf. Hellmut Bandt, Luthers Lehre vom Verborgenen Gott (Berlin: Evangelische Verlagsanstalt, 1958), pp. 186-90. Alfred Adam seems to labor under the equation revelatus=misericors. "Der Begriif Deus absconditus bei Luther nach Her­kunft und Bedeutung," Luther-Iabrbuch, XXX (1963), 105 f. Cf. Bandt, p. 191. The above cited statements of Luther must THE PRESENCE OF CHRIST'S BODY AND BLOOD 235 presence of God in Christ, and there he is at home. There it does not terrify, for there is God for us. The assertion of im­possibility based on the incapacity and unfitness of words, wine, bread, and hu­manity Luther rejects with the statement of the Verba, and by allowing here noth­ing less than Christ, God and man. Noth­ing less may be confessed of Christ than we confess of God, for what we confess of God is above all given in Christ. Dis­parity here would disintegrate Christ and also the achievement and bestowal of sal­vation.39 Luther uses the scholastic terms, but they do not hold sway, and their content he finds in Scripture. What he strives to say with' terms is connected with the heart of hi.s under­standing of Christ. He recoils from any God outside of Christ. Where God is, there is Christ, and He is inseparably God and man. Therefore this presence is not a ubiquity of spatial extension but simply and soteriologically "Where God is, there control the weight we attach to such statements as the following adduced by Peters, who seems at times a little too philosophically allured by Metzke, p. 169: Mihi est facile credere in pane esse, imo credo in corde omnium tyrannorum. Si est ubique et super omnes creaturas, ergo est in vino et pane, W A XX, 383, 8. Here the logic actually moves from the less to the greater. The really staggering thing about God is not His omnipotence but His grace, as Luther knows very well. 39 WA XXXIII, 160, 3; XL 1, 76, 13; XXVI, 420, 20; AE 37, 280. Cf. Georg Merz, "Zur Frage nach dem rechten Lutherverstand­nis," Zwischen den Zeiten, VI (1928), 439: "Dass in Christus und nur hier Gott nahe ist, darin liegt das Pathos der lutherischen Predigt." ("That in Christ and only here God is near: therein lies the Pathos [emotion, solemnity?} of Luther's preaching.") He [Christ} must be also, otherwise our faith is false." 40 The presence of Christ in bread and wine comes under definitive presence and not the repletive presence which is Chris­tologically rather than sacramentally im­portant.41 This terminology is, however, incapable of conveying the magnitude of the issue at stake just as the failure of the Marburg Colloquy was more than a disagreement about the 15th point. There two theologies confronted each other.42 40 WA XXVI, 336, 18; AE 37,223. Cf. Paul Gennrich, Die ChristoZogie Lttthers im Abend­mahZsstreit 1524-1529 (Gottingcn: Vanden­hoeck & Ruprecht, 1929), p, 61. But it is not for the joy of metaphysical speculation, nor for the sake of a secondary foundation for his doc­trine of the LOid's Supper ,;,ar LUIl1er argued the God-manhood of Christ with the aid of scholastic categories; rather this followed neces­sarily from his religious interest in the unity and the separation of the two natures in Christ, which provide the foundation of salvation. This combined view of the two sides of the Redeemer is crucial; everything depends on the complete Christ. 41 This tends to be undervalued by those who favor a Christological and systematic foun­dation for the doctrine of the Lord's Supper rather than an exegetical one. Cf. Hans Grass, Die AbendmahZsZehre bei Luther und Calvin, 2d edition (Giirersloh: C. Bertelmanns Verlag, 1934), pp. 60 f. See berg, pp. 427 f., makes a valid distinction (p.479, n. 2) in opposition to Otto Ritschl, but this applies to the repletive presence as well as to the definitive, and so he does not touch Ritschl's assertion that the esse j'epletive is not the sacramental presence for Luther. Significant also is Seeberg's observation that "in, with, and under" are used of the defini­tive presence and not the repletive. The Nomi­nalist line of argument leads to a circumscrip­tive presence of the body of Christ in the Sac­rament. Cf. Damerau, p. 188. 42 Cf. Barth's famous dictum: "Luther would have said it quite differently from Zwingli, even if he had not found the problem-posing est in the Bible." "Ansatz und Absicht in Luthers 236 THE PRESENCE OF CHRIST'S BODY AND BLOOD For the one the point of departure was the infinite attributes together with the philosophical incubus of restrictive finitude and its incapacities. For the other it was the lowly incarnate God there for us upon the arms of Mary and the cross and on the altar. The protagonists talked past each other, for the Swiss were quite happy with a detached, divine Christ and did not share Luther's insistence on no God apart from the whole Christ.43 Here then, we have no Occamist zest for spinning out divine possibilities.44 Lu­ther is first of all an exegetical theologian. What Christ says He does, He does. This is Luther's fortress. Although he makes ex­cursions into alien waters, he never surren­ders this rock. His line is not: God can, lhl'Tl'foTC He may or do~s. If he goes over to this in order to get at his opponents, his heart is not really in it, and to those who are expert at it he does not appear to do it ther is first of all an exegetical theologian. well. He promises not to speculate and to stay with the Verba. Yet to get to grips with his opponents he does not hesitate to dive in with them and splashes about so lustily that one cannot help won­dering whether he does not get a little Abendmahlslehre," Die Theologie und die Ki,­ehe, Gesammelte Vortrage (Zurich: Zurich-Zolli­kon Verlag, 1928), II, 50. Cf. Otto Fricke, Die Sakramente in der Protestantischen Kirche (Til­bingen: J. c. B. Mohr, 1929), p.12; Werner Elert, "Luther in Marburg," Zeitwende, V (1929), 315-24; Sasse, pp.187-294. For the necessary qualification of Barth's dictum see Sommerlath, "Das Abendmahl bei Luther," Vom Sakrament des Altars, ed. H. Sasse (Leipzig: Dorming & Franke, 1941), p. 10l. Quoted and disagreed with by Peters, p. 164. 43 Cf. Peters, p. 69; "Zwingli's confidence rests ultimately in the divinity alone." The same could be said of Occam and Biel. See above, n.23. « Cf. Oberman, p. 34, n. 16. too carried away and does not return soon enough to his towel and terra firma. To the extent that he is drawn into the ocean of the infinite attributes, he is pulled away from the heart of his theology. This holds the tension between the infinite God and His condescension to us in the earthly things of our humanity, words, wine, and bread. ·For him there is con­junction and identification here.45 The finitude of the earthly things is not set against the infinite God and not allowed to set him bounds.46 Seeing this conjunc­tion threatened, Luther does not shrink 45 Cf. Gennrich, p. 20. Iserloh, p. 74, points the contrast with Occam. 46 Here Luther is with Occam. Tanta est enim divina potentia quod de creaturis suis po­terit facere qtticquid sibi placuerit. Birch, p. 220. Luther, however, does not propound a philosoph­ical demonstration. His conclusion is that the fact which the words of Christ state is not im­possible, while Occam concludes, "If He makes a cause of a natural object, He is not bound to make the effect." Iserloh finds Occam's demon­stration frought with unresolved difficulties. Pp. 207 ff. Zwingli is with the Realists here. He shares his view of the Right Hand with the schoolmen. Their shared theologia gloriae cannot accept the lowly earthly element as capable of the con­junction. It must either be risen above or dis­placed. The ttnitas /initi et in/initi (W A XXXIX, 112,9) is as abhorrent to most school­men as to the Swiss. Cf. Grass, pp. 58 f. Peters, pp. 90 f.: "A scholastic just as a reformed separa­tion of the two components from each other would only endanger the mystery." Contra Erich See berg, Luthers Theologie (Stuttgart: Kohl­hammer, 1937), II, 346; "Der Gegensatz zwi­schen Zwingli, Schwenckfeld und Luther," Rein­hold Seeberg Festschrift, ed. W. Koepp (Leip­zig: Deichertsche Verlag, 1929), p.80; Franz Hildebrandt, Est, das lutherische Prinzip (Got­tingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1931), p. 83. The magnitude of Luther's achievement can be seen against the background of what Heim­soeth says of the long regnant notion of finitude. Heinz Heimsoeth, Die sechs grossen Themen der abendlandischen Metaphysik und de, Ausgang des Mittelalters, 4th ed. (Darmstadt: Wissen-THE PRESENCE OF CHRIST'S BODY AND BLOOD 237 from absurdity in its defense. The ab­surdity is born of the terms rather than the theology, and by it he would crack the terms to serve the deus i7Zcarnatus, who is graciously there for us according to the appointment and action of his words. When Oecolampadius urged Luther to raise his thoughts away from the human to the divine Christ, Luther replied with the heart of his theology. He neither knows nor worships any other God than Him who became man. He would have no other apart from him, for there is no other who can save. Hence he could not bear that the humanity be treated as of so little worth and cast aside." 47 Luther ,viII have ) God art from Christ, no gap be0lf. 1 God d Christ, no gap between his two natures, no gap between his body and the bread, no gap between Christ and us, or a part of us, and no gap between any of these and God's words.48 schaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1958), pp. 61 if. "Where there are no limits, there there can be no all-embracing understanding." P. 68. To the Wittenberg "Professor of the Old Testament" the living God is Lord of His crea­tion in which He does wondrous things. This marveling recognition leads to a more glorious digni/icare natttram than Vignaux dreams of when he sets a gloomy Luther in opposition to the Nominalists and their digni/icare naturam. Paul Vignaux, Philosophy of the Middle Ages (London: Burns & Oates, 1958), pp.211-13. Jaroslav Pelikan, Luther's Works, Companion Volume, Luther the Expositor (St. Louis: Con­cordia, 1959), pp.45-47. 47 W A XXX/3, 132, 23. Elert calls these the most important words Luther uttered in Mar­burg. Luther in Marbttrg, p. 317. W A XXVIII, 135, 15. 48 WA XX, 603, 28; XXX 1, 53, 24; XXVI, 437·445; XXIII, 147, 24; 239, 8; XXVI, 317, 1; 420, 20; XXIII, 181, 36; AE 37, 294-303, 66, 121, 206, 280, 87 f. This insistence of Luther's on whole­ness -Lasse das Sacrament ga1ztz bleiben49 -applies also to Christ and to man. His understanding of these is also not in­formed by any philosophical principle but by Scripture. His theology breaks the bondage of philosophy. The analyzing and unifying philosophers and philosophical theologians are more available for his op­ponents' use than for his. Their labels will not stick to him. When he uses their weapons, it is for a negative purpose, and his use of them is rather left-handed. The labels make a curious picture. The Nominalist sophists he cites held to a local "Right Hand" and had no in the lowly earthly elemento Their empirical principle belongs rather with Luther's op­ponents. They also thought ot higher and lower parts in Christ and in man, as did Biepo Occam's inductive method is not at home with Luther here, and certainly not his comfortably held immediate pres­enceo51 Luther is more Thomist than Nominalist in his understanding of the role of the Verba.52 He is more a Realist in the insistence on the identity of Christ at the Right Hand and in the Sacrament,53 although he is innocent of their Realist basic, absolute universals. His rejection of these is not that of the Nominalists. He has no use for the distinctions of sub­stance, quantity, and quality that are basic for distinguishing the modes of presence, nor for the philosophical definition of these. He throws them to his opponents 49 WA XXX/I, 55, 19. 50 Cf. Oberman, pp. 58 f.; Gram~, pp.79 to 82,363. 51 Cf. Isedoh, p. 197. 52 Cf. Damerau, pp. 196 t 53 Cf. Damerau, p. 181. 238 THE PRESENCE OF CHRIST'S BODY AND BLOOD as nuts on which to crack their rationaliz­ing teeth. This, however, is not all. They are also put to break our narrow and rigid categories and to enlarge our wonder at Christ's gracious works and ways. As Peters puts it, they would "teach us to marvel." 54 Labels of philosophical theology do not help us to the heart of the matter. That does business in an inflated currency while Luther is a doughty protagonist of the gold standard. His is not a theology of postulate, proof, and conclusion, but of the received data. If God does or says some­thing, it is sheer impertinence to question its possibility or fitness or to prescribe its manner. Nor is there any need of proving it. When Luther speaks of "proof," this may not be understood as being contrary to the whole data character of his theology. 54 Peters, p. 83. Cf. Rudolf Hermann, "Zu Luthers Lehre vom unfreien Willen," Greifs­walder Studien, No.4 (1931), p. 21: "An den in Christus offenbaren Gott glauben, heisst lernen Geheimnisse stehen zu lassen." If God had done or said otherwise in any case, Luther would "prove" that, too. The answer in the Small Catechism to the question "What is the Sacrament of the Altar" needs no dephilosophizing. It stands there in its data character with the same confidence as do the Words of Institution in the Large Catechism. They say what tiley say. The fact is confessed and the mystery revered. It is the attempts to modify, explain, and qualify that betray philosophical infiltration. It is His will to make His gift to you through the humanity, through the word, and through the bread in the Communion. What an arrogant and ungrateful devil you are that dares to ask why He did not do it otherwise and not in this way' 'wrould you de::,-c(! and choose manner :Ind measure for Him? You ought to leap for joy that lie does it by whatever way He wishes. What matters is that you receive it.55 Cambridge, England 55 WA XXIII, 269, 3; AE 37, 140. CORRIGENDUM David W. Lmz has called to our attention an editorial error in his article in the January 1968 (XXXIX) issue of this journal. We had changed to a question what had been an affirmative statement. The paragraph on page 32 should read: Can the "historical problem" really be dismissed in such summary fashion? For one thing, why should faith be in any seme concerned with history? It is not logically absurd, for example, to hold that "authentic existence" is possible through confronta­tion with a fictional story. Put otherwise: how does faith in the crucified and risen Lord differ from faith in a mythical Christ, if what is primary is my existential in­volvement, my reception of a new self-understanding? We apologize to Mr. Lotz for unintentionally changing his meaning.