Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Deification in the Bible - Part 1 (Introduction)


Before delving into passages from the Bible that are directly related to the doctrine of deification, I would like to start with an 'introduction' of sorts. The following material is from a preliminary draft of one of the chapters from a book I have been working on—all rights reserved.

=============================================

"Deification in the Bible" (by David Waltz)

Chapter abstract: The terminology used to describe the doctrine of deification in the New Testament has many points of contact with the terminology used to describe the relationship between God the Father and God the Son. The terminology used to describe this relationship between God the Father and God the Son has convinced the vast majority of Christians down through the ages of the Church to conclude that because Jesus Christ shares so deeply in the nature and divine life of God, He too must be of the same order of being as God the Father. One must water down the motifs of “image of God”, "Son of God", “immortality”, “heir”, “kingly rule”, etc. in order to avoid the clear teaching that Jesus Christ truly shares in God the Father’s “divine nature.” If the same terminology used to describe this relationship between God the Father and God the Son is used to describe the relationship between Jesus Christ and God’s adopted Sons, what should are conclusions be?

Phase one: The New Testament

I am fully convinced that the foundational source of the doctrine of theosis lies within the pages New Testament.[i] Although some interesting parallels exist in the writings of the some of the ancient Greek philosophers[ii] and Mystery Cults[iii] (and that some intimations of the doctrine can be read into the Old Testament and inter-Testament writings[iv]), there is no question that the early Church Fathers believed (and rightfully so) that the doctrine was clearly taught by Jesus Christ and His apostles, and as such, is to be found the New Testament writings.

One modern scholar who certainly seems to agree with this assessment is David L. Balás—Balás penned the following:

The real sources of the doctrine of divinization are found in the Bible. In the Old Testament, the teaching of the creation of the human couple in the image and likeness of God and the call of the chosen people through the covenant to a closer communion with God prepared for the theme. The New Testament’s central teaching on God’s Son becoming man in order to make human beings in and through himself adopted children of God animated by God’s Spirit is theologically elaborated primarily in the Pauline letters and later in the Fourth Gospel. Whereas the doctrinal foundations of the theme of divinization are thus broad in the New Testament, the literary antecedents are limited to a few texts.[v]

For the first 25 years of my life, the very thought that redeemed mankind could “become God[vi]” never crossed my mind, and for a good reason: I was an Arian[vii] through and through. I was raised a Jehovah’s Witness (4th generation), and their strict, absolute monotheistic theology placed a filter on my mind that would never allow such a concept to be examined, let alone seriously studied.

However, shortly after 1975 (a date predicted by Jehovah’s Witnesses as the second coming of Jesus Christ in judgment of the world, and the ushering in of His millennial kingdom[viii]) I, for the first time, started to have grave doubts about my faith, and began an independent study of the Bible. My personal Biblical studies soon compelled me to reject my Arian theology, for I had come to believe the Bible taught that Jesus Christ was fully divine. But I was not content to limit my studies to just the Bible, and began devouring theological books, especially books concerning the doctrine of the Trinity and the early Christian church. This led to my purchase of the 38-volume set of the American (Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company) reprint of the famous Edinburgh edition of the Ante-Nicene and Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers series. I was now ‘hooked’, such that my studies of the Church Fathers now consumed a sizable portion of my study time. As my knowledge grew, I began to sense a need to share my personal studies with others.

In October 1992, I presented my first public lecture at a conference promoted by Northwest Bible Conferences (a public forum started by a group of former Jehovah’s Witnesses back in 1979). From 1992 through 1999 I ended up delivering a total of nine public lectures. My third lecture (delivered in the spring of 1994) was titled: “Deification in the Bible” (see appendix for the notes of that lecture). I have chosen to include this personal, historical excursus, for the simple reason that the seeds of this chapter were planted in early 1994 as I prepared for my upcoming lecture that spring.

FONS TOTIUS DIVINITATIS[ix]

Before proceeding onto what scripture has to say about the destiny of redeemed mankind, it is important to begin with an examination of the relationship between God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. For as we shall shortly see, there is a direct correlation between that relationship, and the relationship that Jesus Christ[x] has with God’s adopted Sons.

One important doctrine (rarely discussed in theological literature) is the Biblical teaching that the Son of God, Jesus Christ, owes His very existence to the Father. In John 5:26 we read, “For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself” (KJV), and 6:57, “As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father” (ASV). One New Testament scholar wrote the following about John 5:26:

God is eternally living and lifegiving (see  ζῶν πατὴρ ‘the living Father’, 6:57) and the Son possesses his life in its fullness and power. The formula with διδόυαι in the aorist indicative is distinctively Johannine. God does not give his life externally, like a gift, to his Son, but grants him a share in his own inner possession, without himself losing anything of the fullness of his life. Both the Father and the Son equally have ‘life in themselves’, but the Father is the one from whom the movement of life goes out.[xi]


A respected Evangelical scholar when commenting on the same verse wrote:

None but God the Father, unbegotten and uncreated, inherently possesses life-in-himself. He is in his very being ‘the living God’…To the Son alone, begotten but not created, has the Father imparted his own prerogative to have life-in himself.[xii]

And in the first volume of the new Foundations of Evangelical Theology Series – The Doctrine of God we read that, “Jesus says that the Father has life within himself, and has given to the Son to have life in himself.”[xiii]

The famous Reformed theologian, Jonathan Edwards (whom many consider the greatest American theologian of all time), provided an excellent summation of this teaching:

The Father is the deity subsisting in the prime, unoriginated and most absolute manner, or the deity in its direct existence. The Son is the deity generated by God’s understanding, or having an idea of Himself and subsisting in that idea…Hereby we see how the Father is the fountain of the Godhead, and why when He is spoken of in Scripture He is so often, without any addition or distinction, called God which has led some to think that He only was truly and properly God.[xiv]

And finally, from the pen of the equally famous 17th century British Reformed theologian, John Owen, we read:

Now the Son receives all from the Father, and the Father nothing from the Son. Whatever belongs unto the person of the Son, as the person of the Son, he receives it all from the Father by eternal generation: “For as the Father hath life in himself, so hath he given unto the Son to have life in himself:” John v. 26. He is therefore the essential image of the Father, because all the properties of the divine nature are communicated unto him together with personality—from the Father.[xv]

That the Son, Jesus Christ, owes His existence to God the Father is well attested in the Church Fathers[xvi], starting before the end of the first century. The patristic evidence will be explored in greater depth in chapter 3, but at this time I will cite one Church Father who is representative of so many others:
(We believe) in one Father, the beginning, and cause of all: begotten of no one: without cause or generation, alone subsisting…All then that the Son and the Spirit have is from the Father, even their very being: and unless the Father is, neither the Son nor the Spirit is…because of the Father’s existence, the Son and the Spirit exist.[xvii]

Due to the fact that Jesus Christ owes His existence to the Father, we see a strong emphasis of the Father/Son motif through out the New Testament. The generative import of this motif is further emphasized when we read that Jesus Christ is “the only begotten”[xviii] Son of God.

Fundamentally linked to the Father/Son motif, is the phrase “image of God” when used in direct reference to Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the “the image of God”, “the image of the invisible God” (Col. 1:15), and “the very image of his substance”[xix] (Heb. 1:3). Concerning precisely how one is to understand the usage of this phrase we read:
Image is not to be understood as a magnitude which is alien to the reality and present only in the consciousness. It has a share in the reality. Indeed, it is the reality. Thus εἰκὼν does not imply a weakening or a feeble copy of something. It implies the illumination of its inner core and essence.[xx]

Just as Seth bore the image of his father Adam (Gen. 5:3), so too, Jesus bears the image of His Father. In addition, and this importantly, Seth, begotten in the image of father, shares without any loss, the full nature of his father. The same can be said of the pre-existent Jesus, for He shares, without any loss, the divine nature of His heavenly Father. Keeping the above in mind, we shall now move on to the Biblical verses that teach the doctrine of theosis.


Footnotes:

[i] Other treatments on this topic include: Jules Gross, trans. Paul A. Onica, The Divinization of the Christian (Anaheim, CA: A & C Press, 2002) pp. 61-69, 80-92; Keith E. Norman, Deification: The Content of Athanasian Soteriology – FARMS Occasional Papers, Vol. 1, 2000 (Provo, Utah: Foundation For Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 2000) pp. 5-9; and Norman Russell, The Doctrine of Deification In The Greek Patristic Tradition (Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 2004) pp. 79-89.
[ii] The most important figure of this group being Plato.
[iii] Some of the more important of which include the cult of Eleusis, the cult of Isis, the cult of Dionysus, and Orphism.
[iv] Two important collections of these writings in English are: The Dead Sea Scrolls Study Edition, 2 volumes, edited by Martínez and Tigchelaar (Grand Rapids, MI: Brill and William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., vol. 1, 1997; vol. 2, 1998 – paperback edition 2000); and The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, 2 volumes, edited by James H. Charlesworth (Garden City, NY; Doubleday & Company, Inc., vol. 1, 1983; vol. 2, 1985).
[v] David L. Balás, “Divinization”, in Encyclopedia of Early Christianity – Second Edition, Everett Ferguson editor (New York, NY: Garland Publishing, Inc., 1997, 1999) p. 338.
[vi] To “become God” was the phrase used by some important Church Fathers to describe the doctrine of theosis.
[vii] Arianism is the name given to theology promoted by a Catholic presbyter of Alexandria named Arius (d. 336) in the early 4th century. Arius explicitly taught for the first time (at least from the extant writings that have come down to our time) that the Son of God was created ex nihilo by God the Father. Noted patristic scholar, R.P.C. Hanson wrote, “The part of Arius’ doctrine which most shocked and disturbed his contemporaries was his statement that the Father made the Son ‘out of non-existence’. [The Search for the Christian Doctrine of God (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1998), p. 24.] Many Catholic bishops, including Arius’ own bishop of Alexandria, Alexander, believed that Arius was teaching heresy, yet despite their early efforts to quench Arius and his teachings, many lay and clerical members of the Catholic Church embraced nascent Arianism. This led to the first “general/universal” council of the Catholic Church: the Nicene Council of 325. Arius’ and his teachings were condemned at this council, and the vast majority of bishops who attended the conference endorsed the first draft of what is now known as the Nicene Creed (the final form of this creed was expanded and ratified at the first Council of Constantinople of 381). Because Jehovah’s Witnesses fully embrace the doctrine that the pre-existent Jesus Christ (Michael the archangel) was non-existent before he was created ex nihilo by Jehovah (God the Father), they are classified (rightfully) as Arianians.
[viii] For a scholarly assessment of the importance of the 1975 date and it’s apocalyptic implications see M. James Penton, Apocalypse Delayed (Toronto: Univ. of Toronto Press, 1985, second edition 1997), pp. 91-126.
[ix] Latin for: “the source of the whole divinity”.
[x] I am going to be using the name “Jesus Christ” to refer to the pre-incarnate and incarnate (earthly and post-resurrection) person known by such names/titles as “His Son” (τὸν υἱὸν αὐτοῦ – Gal. 4:4), “firstborn” (πρωτότοκος – Col. 1:15; Heb. 1:6), “only begotten” (μονογενὴς – John 1:14, 18; 3:16, 18; 1Jn. 4:9), “the Word” (ὁ λόγος – John 1:1, 14; Rev. 19:13), “Lord” (κύριος – numerous texts), and “God” (θεὸς – on the controversial issue of whether on not the term God is used unequivocally as a name/title for Jesus Christ see Murray J. Harris, Jesus as God, Grand Rapids, MI; Baker Book House, 1992).
[xi] Rudolf Schnackenburn, The Gospel According to St John (New York, NY: Crossroad, 1987), vol. 2, p. 112 – emphasis mine.
[xii] F.F. Bruce, The Gospel of John (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1983) p. 132.
[xiii] John S. Feinberg, No One Like Him (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2001) p. 212.
[xiv] Jonathan Edwards, “An Essay On the Trinity”, in Treatise On Grace and other posthumously published writings (Cambridge: James Clarke & Co., 1971) pp. 118, 122.
[xv] John Owen, The Works of John Owen, Volume 1 (Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1965, 3rd printing 1981) pp. 71, 72.
[xvi] For an excellent summary of the patristic evidence on this topic see Yves Congar’s, I Believe In the Holy Spirit, trans. by David Smith (New York, NY: The Crossroad Publishing Co., 1983, 2001) vol. 3, pp. 133-143.
[xvii] John of Damascus, Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, I.8, in NPNF2, IX.6, 9.
[xviii] John 1:14, 18; 3:16, 18; 1 John 4:9 (John 1:14 reads “the only begotten from the Father”). Though many modern commentators had tried to weaken the generative sense of the term “only begotten” [some translating it as simply “only” (NJB, RSV, NRSV), or “the One and Only” (NIV)], one must not lose sight that of the fact that the term still retained much of it’s generative sense during the NT period, and this is reflected in its early ecclesiastical usage by many of the Church Fathers [see G.W.H. Lampe, ed., A Patristic Greek Lexicon (Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 1961, 17th impression 2003), pp. 880-882; Gerhard Kittel, ed., English translator and editor, Geoffrey W. Bromiley, Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI; Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1967), vol. IV, pp. 740-741; and John V. Dahms, “The Generation of the Son”, in Journal of the Evangelical Society, vol. 32.4 (Dec. 1989) p. 496.] Particularly insightful are Clark’s comments, “the two verbs themselves are derived from an earlier common stem…the genes in monogenes derives immediately from genos”; and then importantly that the word genos, “as a matter of fact suggests begetting and generation, as much as if it had been derived from gennao”, Gordon H. Clark, The Trinity (Jefferson, MD: The Trinity Foundation, 1985) p. 120. On the somewhat controversial issue of whether “only begotten Son” or “only begotten God” is the best reading of John 1:18 see Bruce M. Metzger, A Textual Commentary On The Greek New Testament (London – New York: United Bible Societies, 1971, corrected edition, 1975), p. 198.
[xix] χαρακτὴρ τῆς ὑποστάσεως αὐτοῦ.
[xx] Gerhard Kittel, ed., English translator and editor, Geoffrey W. Bromiley, Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI; Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1967), vol. II, p. 389.

=============================================


Grace and peace,

David

10 comments:

SkepticHeretic said...

Interesting article.

First, from a writer's perspective, this seems a bit over the top - the exact term escapes me.

"The famous Reformed theologian, Jonathan Edwards (whom many consider the greatest American theologian of all time), provided an excellent summation of this teaching:
" The parenthetical comment is not needed I believe and weakens this section as a whole.

Secondly, I cannot get my head around this idea.

If Jesus as the Son (both pre-incarnation, and post-incarnation) shares the divine nature of God, doesn't that include immortality?

If so, how is it that Jesus aged and would have died a normal death of old age if he hadn't died on a cross? (I think that is a valid assumption since He clearly aged)

How is it He shares in the divine nature and that nature was somehow subservient to the created nature of a body? Does that make sense?

The body/man is a creature created by God and yet we're saying this creature/created thing was somehow more powerful than the divinity within it?

David Waltz said...

Hello again SkepticHeretic,

Nice to see you back; you wrote:

>> First, from a writer's perspective, this seems a bit over the top - the exact term escapes me.

"The famous Reformed theologian, Jonathan Edwards (whom many consider the greatest American theologian of all time), provided an excellent summation of this teaching:
" The parenthetical comment is not needed I believe and weakens this section as a whole.>>

Me: I agree; as I said in the opening paragraph of the post, the material is only a "preliminary draft", and a "preliminary draft" that was composed a little over 9 years ago. I think (well at least hope) that my writing skills have 'developed' over the last 9 years, for I realize that the piece needs not only style improvements, but also some work on the content too.

>>Secondly, I cannot get my head around this idea.

If Jesus as the Son (both pre-incarnation, and post-incarnation) shares the divine nature of God, doesn't that include immortality?>>

Me: The Logos, the pre-incarnate Son of God, has/possesses the attribute of immortality (an attribute that God the Father 'gave' to Him).

>>If so, how is it that Jesus aged and would have died a normal death of old age if he hadn't died on a cross? (I think that is a valid assumption since He clearly aged)>>

Me: The answer lies in the Christology of Chalcedonian definition of 451, which speaks to what is termed the two natures, one person Christology. Have you read/studied Chacedonian Christology? (If not, I can recommend some good sources.)

>>How is it He shares in the divine nature and that nature was somehow subservient to the created nature of a body? Does that make sense?>>

Me: Not clear on what you are asking, could you rephrase?

>>The body/man is a creature created by God and yet we're saying this creature/created thing was somehow more powerful than the divinity within it?>>

Me: Man (mankind) is for sure created by God, and is substantially inferior to God. Deification speaks to the doctrine that God bestows certain divine attributes to redeemed mankind—His adopted "Sons".

In upcoming threads, I hope to present some of the differing theological conceptions that have 'developed' over the centuries within Christendom (e.g. Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Protestant, et al.), concerning the doctrine of deification.


Grace and peace,

David

Ken said...

In the quote from Jonathan Edwards:

". . . The Son is the deity generated by God’s understanding, or having an idea of Himself and subsisting in that idea…"

Does he mean that God the Father came to this "understanding of Himself" at a later time? (I think not)

"Given" in John 5:26 implies, on the face of simple language, that there came a point in time when God the Father "gave" to the Son to have life in Himself. But if the Son is also eternal (into the past), then this wording of "given" has to have a sense of not "in time", but in the sense so that we can understand with our finite minds, that Jesus the Son is God from all eternity; and has life in Himself, indeed is life, and that it flowed out of the Father; the writer speaks this way, because all monotheists assume that the Father Almighty and Creator has life within Himself, is eternal, and has the quality of "aseity". But the Son is also creator and one with the Father; so it is a hard concept to communicate. John seems to be accommodating to the weakness of our minds with the word "given".

And, Edwards seems to be defining the understanding of "logos" as "the Father's understanding of Himself and subsisting in that idea".

Ken said...

This is well written and focused - mostly hinging on John 5:26 and the Father's relationship to the Son.

Problem is, "given" is metaphorical, and has no time element, like the grace given to us in adopting us as sons, we are still creations, creatures, and we never gain "eternity into the past" quality, or All-mighty, all knowing, all wise, all present, aseity, immutability. We are sons by adoption and grace; the Son of God is Son by nature from all eternity and the Creator; so the creator-creature distinction must be maintained.

It was a good introduction, but it only shows that the Father and the Son are God; it does Not seem to me to show that same "becoming Deity" for humans that you and the ECF seem to be trying to communicate, despite the Genesis 5:3 connection.

Genesis 5:3 was your other main Scriptural text. Seth was begotten of Adam and was in the likeness and image of Adam. This is physical and biological and genetic yes. But in God, there is no physical sense or biological or genetic sense. Adam had a wife called Eve and Seth had a mother, Eve. (biological reproduction, sex) This is why the words "Father and Son" stir up emotions of disgust in Muslims who hear us talking this way. The Qur'an says, "How can Allah have a son, when there is no wife for Him?" 6:101

In short, it seems to me that God chose to communicate to us about Himself, in order to describe the relation of the Father and Son in the Godhead (Trinity); He uses human terms like "father" and "Son" to communicate to our limited understanding how we can conceive of two eternal persons (three with the Spirit) who are the same nature (hence the "image", "likeness" language and "Son" language.) It is the only thing we have in our languages that can adequately communicate the concept. The Spirit and eternity into the past help us fill out the remaining ideas to help us at least grasp a little of what the Trinity means.

Colossians 1:15 and Hebrews 1:3 are wonderful descriptions of Christ and His Deity. The use of "image of the invisible God" and "exact representation of His nature" seem to exhaust language in order to say "Jesus is God in the flesh". John 1:18 is also quite possible the most expressive and shows us what the Bible is trying to communicate, namely, the Christ is God.

David Waltz said...

Hi Ken,

You posted the following:

>>Does he mean that God the Father came to this "understanding of Himself" at a later time? (I think not)

"Given" in John 5:26 implies, on the face of simple language, that there came a point in time when God the Father "gave" to the Son to have life in Himself. But if the Son is also eternal (into the past), then this wording of "given" has to have a sense of not "in time", but in the sense so that we can understand with our finite minds, that Jesus the Son is God from all eternity; and has life in Himself, indeed is life, and that it flowed out of the Father; the writer speaks this way, because all monotheists assume that the Father Almighty and Creator has life within Himself, is eternal, and has the quality of "aseity". But the Son is also creator and one with the Father; so it is a hard concept to communicate. John seems to be accommodating to the weakness of our minds with the word "given".>>

Me: As you know from my thread on "The Eternal Generation of the Son", the generation of the Son occurs before time, and is in some real sense an "eternal" act. I prefer, at this time, to let the words of Scripture on this issue stand as they are without the imposition some philosophical and/or theological system.


Grace and peace,

David

David Waltz said...

Hello again Ken,

Sincerely appreciate your participation. You posted the following:

>>This is well written and focused - mostly hinging on John 5:26 and the Father's relationship to the Son.>>

Me: Thanks Ken; coming from your pen, this really means a lot to me.

>>Problem is, "given" is metaphorical, and has no time element, like the grace given to us in adopting us as sons, we are still creations, creatures, and we never gain "eternity into the past" quality, or All-mighty, all knowing, all wise, all present, aseity, immutability. We are sons by adoption and grace; the Son of God is Son by nature from all eternity and the Creator; so the creator-creature distinction must be maintained.>>

Me: I agree with what you relayed above with the exception that it is somehow a "problem"; the concept of deification is no more problematic than the infinite, divine Son becoming finite (i.e. 100% man), without ceasing to be what he already was. IHMO, a heavy dose of 'mystery' remains.

>>It was a good introduction, but it only shows that the Father and the Son are God; it does Not seem to me to show that same "becoming Deity" for humans that you and the ECF seem to be trying to communicate, despite the Genesis 5:3 connection.>>

Me: Once again, thanks much. Keep in mind that this thread is merely an "introduction"; hopefully, subsequent threads will lend greater clarity.

>>In short, it seems to me that God chose to communicate to us about Himself, in order to describe the relation of the Father and Son in the Godhead (Trinity); He uses human terms like "father" and "Son" to communicate to our limited understanding how we can conceive of two eternal persons (three with the Spirit) who are the same nature (hence the "image", "likeness" language and "Son" language.) It is the only thing we have in our languages that can adequately communicate the concept. The Spirit and eternity into the past help us fill out the remaining ideas to help us at least grasp a little of what the Trinity means.>>

Me: As I related above, the Incarnation and Christology present just as much 'mystery' as the Trinity and deification do. What we must do as interpreters (IMHO), is to remain consistent in the application of the terminology utilized for ALL.

>>Colossians 1:15 and Hebrews 1:3 are wonderful descriptions of Christ and His Deity. The use of "image of the invisible God" and "exact representation of His nature" seem to exhaust language in order to say "Jesus is God in the flesh". John 1:18 is also quite possible the most expressive and shows us what the Bible is trying to communicate, namely, the Christ is God.>>

Me: I want you to keep the above in mind when reading my upcoming threads on deification.


Grace and peace,

David

Jnorm said...

David,


Wouldn't the doctrine of the eternal generation of the Son imply what John 5:26 & 6:57 are saying?

"“For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself”"

and

"“As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father”"


We both know that in the pre-nicene world they only called the Word "Son" once He was sent by the Father to create all things. And we know in the post Nicene world they dropped that distinction due to the rise and fueds with Modalism and Arianism.


But the Word and the Son are one and the same Person. And so wouldn't the doctrine of the Eternal Generation of the Son imply what John 5:26 & 6:57 are saying?

And wouldn't those who reject that doctrine imply some type of autotheos for the Son?

Just asking. My bad for asking so many questions.

David Waltz said...

Hi Jnorm,

Yesterday, you posted the following:

>>Wouldn't the doctrine of the eternal generation of the Son imply what John 5:26 & 6:57 are saying?>>

Me: Yes.

>>We both know that in the pre-nicene world they only called the Word "Son" once He was sent by the Father to create all things. And we know in the post Nicene world they dropped that distinction due to the rise and fueds with Modalism and Arianism.>>

Me: Very interesting. Apart from Irenaeus, I think your assessment of the pre-Nicene Fathers is pretty much spot-on. As for the post-Nicene CFs, I need to ponder over your thoughts—you may be 'on to something' here.

>>But the Word and the Son are one and the same Person. And so wouldn't the doctrine of the Eternal Generation of the Son imply what John 5:26 & 6:57 are saying?>>

Me: Once again, yes (IMHO).

>>And wouldn't those who reject that doctrine imply some type of autotheos for the Son?>>

Me: That is may take on the matter. And while on this issue, I think it is important to point out that Calvin's proposition that the Son is autotheos, was a theological novem, and raises some serious questions about his 'orthodoxy' (not only by Catholics and the EO, but also among some Prots).

>>Just asking. My bad for asking so many questions.>>

Me: Great questions and reflections—keep asking away...


Grace and peace,

David

Ken said...

David,
You forgot about/ignored/or skipped over this part:

Genesis 5:3 was your other main Scriptural text. Seth was begotten of Adam and was in the likeness and image of Adam. This is physical and biological and genetic yes. But in God, there is no physical sense or biological or genetic sense. Adam had a wife called Eve and Seth had a mother, Eve. (biological reproduction, sex) This is why the words "Father and Son" stir up emotions of disgust in Muslims who hear us talking this way. The Qur'an says, "How can Allah have a son, when there is no wife for Him?" 6:101

I hope the Grandverbalizer19 comments on that also; as well as your further thoughts.

David Waltz said...

Hello Ken,

Yesterday afternoon you wrote:

>>Genesis 5:3 was your other main Scriptural text. Seth was begotten of Adam and was in the likeness and image of Adam. This is physical and biological and genetic yes. But in God, there is no physical sense or biological or genetic sense.>>

Me: Socinians and Unitarians use this very argument to deny that Jesus Christ is literally the Son of God. Now, even though 'orthodox' Christians believe that God the Father is pure spirit, such a conception does not exclude the ability to 'reproduce' in kind. If one removes the generative aspect of "begotten" as it pertains to the Son of God, one is left with only the OT conception of "anointing", and this 'opens the door' (so to speak) to Socinianism and/or Arianism.

As for the implications concerning Islam, I shall defer to GV19 on this issue.


Grace and peace,

David