Going Beyond What is Written

Ryan Hedrich has continued his attack on the Trinity, but thankfully in doing so he now correctly identifies his present opponents as “Clarkians.”  In a recent blog post where he further explores his new found belief in the ontological subordination of the Son, he writes:

Several Reformed theologians hold to the position that the “person” of the Son is generated whereas the “essence” of the Son is not.

… I imagine that these Clarkians who argue that the Son’s essence is not generated mean that the divine nature or set of attributes of the Son is not generated. In other words, the Father doesn’t “communicate” the [or a] divine nature to the Son if such implies the divinity of the Son is in some sense derived from the Father; rather, Clark (and probably these Clarkians) thinks “communicate” merely suggests that the Son has the [or a] divine nature “in common” with the Father. This would suggest that the Son may well communicate the [or a] the divine nature to the Father

As strange as these things may sound to Ryan, had he been more of a “Clarkian,” or even a better theologian (armchair or otherwise), he would have realized that the idea of communication in Nicene orthodoxy is not a transfer of something from one person to another, much less from a superior to an inferior, rather it carries the idea of sharing something in common.  As difficult as it may be for Ryan,  this is why the communication of essence in one sense is perfectly acceptable, and, in another, the more common or colloquial sense, the one Ryan prefers,  it is not acceptable at all.  In Clark’s discussion of Hodge in his chapter on the Eternal Generation he notes that “Hodge complains that the Nicene fathers went too far when they derived the essence of the Son from that of the Father.”  Clark called this “an historical mistake” and explains:

The common English usage of communication has lost the meaning of the Greek koinonia. To communicate does not mean the Father hands over or gives certain things to the Son. To communicated means to have something in common. The Father and the Son hold in common the essential characteristics of the Godhead. The English word share would be a better translation.

Of course, Hodge clearly asserts the generation of the Son, and correctly rejects the generation of the essence.  His theology is impeccable.  It is an historical question here, and so far as any criticism of Hodge is concerned, not a theological issue.  It is therefore a matter of Hodge’s misunderstanding of the Greek term communicate. He writes:  “That the essential idea [of paternity] is assumed to be the communication of the essence of the parent to his child; and therefore it is maintained the there must be a communication of the essence of the Godhead from the Father to the Son.”  Note the words from and to. This suggests that the Father gives the essence to the Son. But such is not what the Greek fathers meant.  Communication means that there is a quality common to the Father and the Son.  (The Trinity, 113,114)

Even Wikipedia has this right and states; “Koinonia is the anglicisation of a Greek word (κοινωνία) that means communion by intimate participation …The essential meaning of the koinonia embraces concepts conveyed in the English terms community, communion, joint participation, sharing and intimacy.”

My objection to Ryan in his dogmatic rejection that the Son is autotheos, along with his insistence that if self-existence can only be predicated on the Father who then communicates His existence to the Son, is that he ends up with the from/to relationship that Hodge rightly rejects and Clark said was never intended by the Nicene fathers.  While thinking he is being faithful to Nicene orthodoxy he rejects it.  As Kevin Giles explains in his book, The Eternal Generation of the Son: Maintaining Orthodoxy in Trinitarian Theology:

The begetting of the Son by the Father, the creed goes  on to assert, means that the Son is “God of [ek] God, Light of Light, true God of true God.”  In other words, whatever the Father is, so too is the Son.  Then comes the climactic statement, the Son of the basis of his begetting is “one in being [homoousios] with the Father.”  T.F. Torrance says that “an absolutely fundamental step” was made in the Christian understanding of God when the words, “one in being with the Father” (homoousios to parti) were included in this creed . . . These words clearly assert that on the basis of the Son’s eternal begetting “there is no division between the being of the Son and the being of the Father, but also that there is no division between the acts of the Son and the acts of the Father.”  They are one in being and power.  Similarly, Carl Beckwith says that when the bishops of Nicaea included the term homoousios they not only “assert” that “the Father and Son are of the same essence” but also, “Whatever we predicated of the Father’s being or essence, so too we predicate of the Son.  This means when we say the Father is almighty, we also say the Son is almighty.  When we say the Father is all-powerful, good, wise and holy, we also say the Son is all-powerful, good, wise and holy.

… The Nicene bishops also in this creed confess that while the Son is fully God in all might, majesty and power “for our salvation [he] came down [from heaven] and was incarnate and became man and suffered.” The Lord of glory stooped to save.  These two affirmations in this christological clause affirm both the eternal and unqualified deity of the Son and his temporal subordination for our salvation, reflecting the teaching of Philippians 2:4-11.” (119,120)

Unitarians, Arians, and assorted subordinationists are of a different opinion and think a from/to relationship is precisely what is meant and therefore affirm the ontological subordination of the Son to the Father.  The problem with their interpretation is that they end up losing the Son while thinking they still have the Father when in fact they end up with neither.  That’s why Unitarianism is heresy.  Unitarians are going to hell.  There is really no other way to say it.  

However,  and in spite of the overwhelming evidence against him, Ryan maintains:

Generation implies some sort of derivation (though not, in this case, temporal).  If it is merely that the second person of the Trinity derives His property of Sonship from the Father, then it’s rather misleading to say the “second person” qua “second person” is eternally “generated.”

And, on his blog Ryan protests:

If the Son is autotheos, how is it that His “person” can be generated? What does that mean? Generation is a word which implies logical, if not temporal, derivation. But if the “second person” of the Trinity is self-existent and autotheos, He cannot be said to be eternally generated; that is, the second person wasn’t “generated” per se, since the second person qua second person is allegedly underived, self-existent, and God-of-Himself . . . I cannot see how eternal generation is compatible with the view that the persons of the Trinity are each autotheos and self-existent.

According to Clark the idea of generation was used “as a contrast with the term creation, as well as a contrast with eminationism, to preserve the New Testament teaching on the doctrine of the Second Person.”  The word “eternal” was to address the heresy of Arius.  He is also notes that “Terminological difficulties abound in every line.  Modern theologians could have avoided some, if they had a greater knowledge of pagan Greek philosophy.”  I think that is an understatement given the many ancient and modern controversies surrounding the doctrine of Eternal Generation of the Son.  After all, if John Calvin can be accused of being a heretic over this issue (and he was), and more recently Robert Reymond has taken some heat too even to the point of having to revise the second edition of his systematic theology, I think Clark’s warning suggests that we need to tread very lightly before trying to draw rigid implications from the ancient creeds especially while reading our own definitions of key terms back into them.  Of course, Ryan’s mentor, Drake Shelton, thinks all the Reformed are heretics and have rejected the correct and historic understanding of Nicene orthodoxy and that he, along with Unitarian Samuel Clarke and other like minded anti-trinitarians, have discovered the creed’s true meaning that was intentionally perverted by the “Latin West.” Actually, Drake goes even further and in a truly bizarre video argues that Trinitarianism is a Roman Catholic conspiracy designed to justify the papacy.  Besides, Drake laments, think about all the Muslims and Jehovah Witnesses that might become “Christians” who are currently repulsed by what he calls the “Trinitarian monad.”

Interestingly, just as Ryan can’t “see how eternal generation is compatible with the view that the persons of the Trinity are each autotheos and self-existent,” some modern Evangelicals agree with Ryan and want to modify or even abandon the creed on that account.  But, as Kevin Giles observes:

… for the Nicene fathers, the words “God from God, light from light, true God from true God” indicate their belief that the Son is as much God as the Father, with whom he is homoousios (“one in being”). These words were included in the creed not to indicate the subordination of the Son but the exact opposite. Claims that the Nicene Creed (let alone the Athanasian Creed) allows or implies the eternal subordination of the Son do not bear critical scrutiny. The primary goal of the Nicene fathers was to exclude the idea that in the eternal life of God the divine three are hierarchically ordered in being or power.

…David Cunningham, a well-informed trinitarian theologian, is even more emphatic. He says the Council of Nicaea intentionally excluded all expressions of subordinationism known at that time. In order to rule out Arianism and other forms of subordinationism, the Nicene Council rejected a whole variety of attempts to place the three in hierarchical order-logical, causal, temporal or otherwise. The Council’s clarity on this point is especially visible in the Nicene anathemas, which claim that there was no time when the Word was not. And to make it clear that the begetting of the Son need not imply temporal order, the Creed states that this begetting takes place eternally. Nor is there any logical hierarchy among the Three; they all imply one another and are dependent on one another, so that no one of them can be understood in a position of primacy over the others.  These “perverse”… interpretations of the doctrine of the eternal generation of the Son not only disclose a profound ignorance of doctrinal history but also a profound misunderstanding of what theology is and how all theological language works.

The irony in the historical analysis of Giles and Cunningham is that the creedal language was designed specifically to guard against the type of ontological subordinationism, along with the subordination of authority, Ryan and Drake believe is central to a correct understanding of Nicene orthodoxy.  Unfortunately, that doesn’t stop Ryan, much less give him pause,  as he continues to press his objection to the historic and orthodox understanding of the creed as he speculates:

. . . why must the second person have “derived” His property from the first if each of the persons of the Trinity are autotheos, ontologically co-equal in every respect . . . I cannot see how eternal generation is compatible with the view that the persons of the Trinity are each autotheos and self-existent.

You see, Ryan wants to invest the word “generation” with a metaphysical meaning that runs completely counter to the underlying metaphysical reality that the creed intended to protect; “that the Son is as much God as the Father, with whom he is homoousios (“one in being”).”  Ryan pushes the meaning of these words beyond their intended purpose and ends up on the other side of orthodoxy (which is a nice way of saying heterodoxy).   As Gordon Clark explains:

Though we must apply to the Son some sense of the term “generation,” let it be admitted that the sense is not completely clear. Christ is indeed Son of God, and the relationship is filiation.  But since this relationship is eternal, and there was no time before the Son was Son, and though there was not time before the Father was Father, and though to be Biblical we must call the first Person Father and the second Person Son, it has please God not to have revealed much further as to the nature of this relationship. At least no theologian has succeeded in extending the implications of Scripture very far. Perhaps the best we can do is to suggest that the three Persons are identical with the exception of their personal differences. (122)

I also very much agree with Reymond who similarly argues:

. . . I do not intend to deny that the three Persons of the Godhead do have distinguishing, incommunicable properties which are real, eternal, and necessary: Indeed, without them there would be no Trinity. The distinguishing property of the Father is paternity (paternitas) from which flow “economical” activities in which the Son and Spirit do not share; the Son’s is filiation (filiatio) from which flow “economical” activities in which the Father and Spirit do not share; and the Holy Spirit’s is spiration (spiratio) from which flow “economical” activities in which the Father and the Son do not share, all descriptions which can be justified by Scripture.

We must be extremely cautious, however, in asserting what these distinguishing properties mean lest we go beyond Scripture.  There can be no question that in his paternity the Father is the Father of the Son. But we must not attempt to define, beyond the fact of the clearly implied order, a modal “how” of the Father’s paternity.  And there can be no question that the Son is the Son of the Father. We know that his Sonship means that he is equal with the Father with respect to deity (John 5:18; 10:33-36), and we also know that as the Son he is to be distinguished from the Father with respect to his personal property of filiation (John 1:1-3, 18). We know also that his Sonship implies an order of relational (not essential) subordination to the Father which is doubtless what dictated the divisions of labor in the eternal Covenant of Redemption in that it is unthinkable that the Son would have sent the Father to do his will). But beyond this we dare not go. We must not attempt to define, beyond the fact of the clearly implied order, a modal “how” of the Son’s filiation.  It is enough to know that the Scriptures affirm that the titles “Father” and “Son” speak of a personal, differentiating manifoldness (that is, “subjective conscious selves”) within the depth of the divine Being. Finally, there can be no question that the Holy Spirit is a divine Person who is the Spirit of God and of Christ (Rom. 8:9), and that he “proceeded” or “came forth from” the Father and the Son (John 14:26; 15:26; 16:7; 20:22) at Pentecost on his salvific mission. But we must not attempt to define, beyond the fact of the clearly implied order, a modal “how” of the Spirit’s spiration. It is enough to know that the Scriptures affirm that this title distinguishes a third subjective conscious self in the depth of the divine Being.” (A New Systematic Theology, 336).

I realize that neither Clark’s nor Reymond’s warning not to push the creedal terms too far “lest we go beyond Scripture” will do much to calm the itching ears of some, but it is precisely the sort of speculations coming from Ryan and his mentor Drake Shelton that we need to reject.

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80 Comments on “Going Beyond What is Written”

  1. Joseph Says:

    Hi, I would appreciate your opinion on this piece: http://www.orthodoxanswers.org/media/documents/filioque.pdf

    It seems they are saying very similar things to Drake et al. Are we to consider the entire eastern churches to be unitarians and thus to be hell bound? Thanks.

    Joseph

  2. Sean Gerety Says:

    If it makes you feel any better Joseph, I consider the entire Roman state/church hell bound (and every member of in it if the pope and his prelates have their way). But I’ll read it when I get the chance, although I do agree that Shelton and Ryan could perhaps be categorize as EO without any change in their eternal status.


  3. Good post. As I understand it, the Nicene Creed teaches that the Son is “eternally begotten” of the Father in terms of relationship, not essence or even a beginning of His personhood as the Son. All three Persons are eternally self-existent or in possession of aseity. If there was ever a time that the “Person” of the Logos did not exist–not just His divine essence or nature–then the doctrine of the Trinity would collapse into modalism.

  4. David Waltz Says:

    While you gents are on ‘the condemning them to hell’ band-wagon, you had better include the pre-Nicene Church Fathers, the Nicene Fathers, and most of the post-Nicene Fathers of the 4th and 5th centuries, because those who spoke of eternal generation clearly affirmed that the eternal generation of the Son from the Father was both His person and essence, for the Father alone is the ‘fount of divinity’.

    Grace and peace,

    David

  5. Sean Gerety Says:

    Yeah, we got it Waltz, until you and that deranged racist you associate with over at Nonexistent Light discovered the true meaning of the Nicene creed Christians were left professing the “absolute blasphemy of the Tri-Theistic or Monadistic phrase ‘God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost.’”

    What a load of hogwash. Thanks for stopping by … oh, and take your grace and peace with you.

  6. Steve M Says:

    26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” (Gen 1:26 NAS)

  7. LJ Says:

    Since I’m at home too sick to go to church I re-read the chapter in THE TRINITY entitled BAVINCK AND VAN TIL. It just dawned on me now why so many Westminster types, Van Til’s boys, have disparaged that book by Clark; at least I think it’s a possible reason why.

    Clark is unusually sharp and to the point about Van Til’s irrational and unorthodox views:

    “The falsity of such a position should be obvious to all, even to Van Tilians. But it appears to me that it does not so appear to them.”

    Excerpt From: Gordon H. Clark. “The Trinity.” The Trinity Foundation, 2010-08-11T05:00:00+00:00. iBooks.
    This material may be protected by copyright.

    That’s near the end of a chapter that surgically exposes Bavink and, especially, Van Til’s tumors.

    I don’t think they like it much. That’s why they disparage the book. That’s why it’s on the banned book list.

    LJ


  8. I thought Van Til was considered orthodox.

  9. Steve M Says:

    The following is a set of divine attributes:
    Omnipotent, Omniscient, Omnipresent, Holy, Merciful, Immutable Creator.

    Ryan Hedrick writes, “But substituting this definition (“The [divine] attributes constitute the definition of God) for “God” in Sean’s statement, we get the idea that “the divine attributes are three persons.” This does not make sense; rather, the divine attributes are exemplified in three persons. Attributes are predicated of persons. Persons are not predicated of attributes.”

    SM: Attributes are not only predicated of persons, they may also be predicated of beings. Being is a genus of which person is a species. Every person is a being, but every being is not a person.

    Ryan writes, “I am not aware of any Scripture in which “set of divine attributes” can intelligibly be substituted for “God.” In fact, the WCF’s use of singular personal pronouns for “God” was what first led me to question the idea “God and His attributes are one.” Rather, it seems to me there are two primary Scriptural meanings of “God” – 1) the Father in a peculiar, preeminent sense; 2) a divine person in general. In either case, it seems to me it always refers to a single person.”

    SM: What Ryan does is to substitute the phrase “set of divine attributes” which is very nondescript for the actual attributes themselves which would be attributes only applicable to God. The verses in which he chooses to substitute this phrase for God would not sound strange at all if the attributes listed above where substituted instead.

    For instance: “The Omnipotent, Omniscient, Omnipresent, Holy, Merciful, Immutable Creator is three persons.”

    Or: Thomas answered and said to Him (Jesus), “My Lord and my Omnipotent, Omniscient, Omnipresent, Holy, Merciful, Immutable Creator.”

    Or: “Is not my word like fire,” declares the Omnipotent, Omniscient, Omnipresent, Holy, Merciful, Immutable Creator, “and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?

    Ryan: “It seems to me it (God in Scripture) always refers to a single person.”

    SM: …God said, “Let Us make man in Our image”……
    And God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him….

    Let Us Make…Created He
    …in Our image…His own image

    Here we have both singular and plural pronouns used in Scripture of God. I am sure Ryan will have some complicated explanation for this, but convincing Ryan is not my aim here. I don’t believe he is searching for the truth. I don’t think the Scriptures are as unclear on this as he would like to suggest.

  10. Ryan Says:

    “SM: Attributes are not only predicated of persons, they may also be predicated of beings. Being is a genus of which person is a species. Every person is a being, but every being is not a person.”

    You’re missing the point. The persons are not predicated of the divine attributes, the divine attributes are predicated of the persons. Since this is true, if it were the case that the or a definition of “God” was “the divine attributes,” it would be incorrect to say God is three persons. It’s a fairly straightforward point.

    “For instance: “The Omnipotent, Omniscient, Omnipresent, Holy, Merciful, Immutable Creator is three persons.””

    No, that does not make sense. “Creator” is singular. “Persons” is plural. How can one creator be plural unless you, like Van Til, think the attributes are a person? Furthermore, you have not addressed the fact this would mean “The Omnipotent, Omniscient, Omnipresent, Holy, Merciful, Immutable Creator” is both “unbegotten, and begotten,” an obvious contradiction.

    “Or: Thomas answered and said to Him (Jesus), “My Lord and my Omnipotent, Omniscient, Omnipresent, Holy, Merciful, Immutable Creator.””

    Notice that the understood you of this verse would mean the subject of this sentence is the person of the Son, not the divine nature.

    “Or: “Is not my word like fire,” declares the Omnipotent, Omniscient, Omnipresent, Holy, Merciful, Immutable Creator, “and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?”

    Again, this is an example which has nothing to do with the predicating persons of nature.

    “I am sure Ryan will have some complicated explanation for this, but convincing Ryan is not my aim here.”

    It’s simple: God created man is His image which, since the other persons perfectly mirror as their divinity is co-equal, means that to create man in God’s image means to create man in the image of each of the persons of the Trinity. If I say “let us go to the store” followed by “so I went to the store,” does that exclude you from having gone to the store?

  11. Steve M Says:

    Ryan
    “Let us make”!

  12. Ryan Says:

    Do you know what a majestic plural is? Read Genesis 3:22, Genesis 11:7, and Isaiah 6:8, and tell me if those passages each exclusively refer to the divine persons. If not, then tell me how you can infer that the action taking place is by a God who is multiple persons rather than a God who is a numerically singular person addressing His court in the royal “we.”

  13. Sean Gerety Says:

    The “royal we.” Spoken like a real Arian. And to think you got you all bunched up by the label “Unitarian.”

  14. Ryan Says:

    So you think anyone who doesn’t think Genesis 1:26 is an adumbration of the Trinity is an Arian? I’m sure Wenham, Wallace, &c. will be horrified.

  15. louiskbb Says:

    Sean,
    Allow me the following:

    Ryan: “Do you know what a majestic plural is? Read Genesis 3:22, Genesis 11:7, and Isaiah 6:8”

    Gesenius’ Hebrew Grammar. 1910: 398, N2:
    “The Jewish grammarians call such plurals [majestic plurals] רִבּוּי הַכֹּהוֹת plur. Virium or virtutim; later grammarians call them plur. Excellentiae, magnitudines, or plur. Maiestaticus. This last name may have been suggested by the we used by kings when speaking of themselves (cf. Already I Macc 10.19, 11.31); and the plural used by God in Gn 1.26, 11.7, Is 6.8 has been incorrectly explained in this way. It is, however, either communicative (including the attendant angels; so at all events in Is 6.8, cf. Also Gen 3.22), or according to others, an indication of the fullness of power and might implied in אֱלֹהִים (see Dillman on Gen 1.26); but it is best explained as a plural of self-deliberation. The use of the plural as a form of respectful address is quite foreign to Hebrew.”

    Comment: It is true that when אֱלֹהִים refers to the one God of the Bible, it is often joined with a singular attribute, as for instance in Ps 7.10 (9): אֱלֹהִים צַדִּיךְ “righteous God”. But there are many instances where a plural attribute follows. So in Deut 5.23 : אֱלֹהִים חַיִּים “the living God” (KJV vers 26), and other instances in 1 Sam 17.26, 36; Jer 10.10; 23.36; Jos 24.19, etc. (Gesenius, ibid.: 428-429).

    Comment: Grammar is a descriptive science. The above examples need to be understood in context. However, despite the horror of Wenham, Wallace and others (I have not seen their Old Testament writings), “The use of the plural as a form of respectful address is quite foreign to Hebrew.”

    Whatever solution you aim at, it is safer to abandon the so-called majestic plural.

  16. Steve M Says:

    Ryan
    “We are not amused.”

  17. Steve M Says:

    Ryan asked, “If I say “let us go to the store” followed by “so I went to the store,” does that exclude you from having gone to the store?”

    SM: Apparently it does, Your Highness.

  18. LJ Says:

    @ Patrick: I thought Van Til was considered orthodox.

    He is. But there are many things “orthodox” now-a-days that I don’t think were previously “orthodox,” e.g., the WELL MEANT OFFER, COMMON GRACE, VAN TIL’S TRINITARIAN VIEWS, and I’m sure I’ve left some out.

    LJ

  19. Ryan Says:

    So is no one going to address the contradiction which arises in predicating the divine persons of the set of divine attributes? How can a Creator (is the divine nature a person) be both begotten and unbegotten?

  20. Sean Gerety Says:

    Ryan this has been addressed and readdressed and you just ignore what is said/ Begotten and unbegotten are not to be taken in a literal sense but are implied by the names Father and Son. They are relational terms intended to designate the eternal relationship between the first two persons of the Godhead. The problem they were addressing is the question of individuation in opposition to Sabellianism on the one hand and stressing that the differentiation of the Persons is eternal in opposition to Arianism on the other. You seem to ignore the fact that the Father and Son are one being. According to Nicene orthodoxy the Persons of the Godhead are coessential. Yet in your heterodox understanding on the Father is the one true God and the Son and Spirit are lesser derivative beings and you arrived at this by a complete misunderstanding of “unbegotten” and read it as meaning “self-existent.”

    So where does that lead? Well, I never asked you directly, but did you have any objections to Mark Xu’s defense of your position on Shelton’s dirt pile, in particularly this little piece of blasphemy:

    …the unity of Godhead is God the Father, as the fountain and source of deity, the only true God, the supreme governor of the universe and the ultimate object of our worship. To him be glory for ever and ever Amen.

  21. Ryan Says:

    “You seem to ignore the fact that the Father and Son are one being.”

    You seem to be ignoring the fact I am arguing that one being is the Father and the Son, which is as contradictory as the idea God is begotten and unbegotten. The argument is about whether persons are predicable of natures. Saying “the Father and Son are one being” is not relevant to that because it’s a statement in which the Father and Son are subjects.

    Be that as it may, are you and I one being?

    “According to Nicene orthodoxy…”

    As if you’ve cited any Nicene father without refuting yourself.

    I agree with Mark. I remember citing a source you provided in which Edwards said the Father was the fount of deity. Do you?

  22. Steve M Says:

    Ryan you wrote, “If I say “let us go to the store” followed by “so I went to the store,” does that exclude you from having gone to the store?”

    Then you asked, “Do you know what a majestic plural is?”

    Do you not realize you are arguing both sides? If the Father said, “Let Us make” using the majestic plural (which seems to be your position), then the other two Persons would be excluded from having made. But you offer your simple explanation using the non-majestic plural “let us go” and argue that “so I went” would not exclude me. You are one confused fellow.

    We are now back to your unsupported position that one being (the Creator) cannot be Three persons. My position is (I repeat), “Can so”!

  23. Ryan Says:

    “…your unsupported position…”

    You ignored the rest of my post, actually.

  24. Sean Gerety Says:

    “I agree with Mark.”

    Just checking, I didn’t think you would agree that only the Father is the proper object of worship. I was wrong.

  25. Ryan Says:

    “I didn’t think you would agree that only the Father is the proper object of worship.”

    If proper means ultimate, then yes.

  26. Ryan Says:

    “Did not!”

    Let’s see, why don’t you just point to where you replied to all of this, then:

    //“SM: Attributes are not only predicated of persons, they may also be predicated of beings. Being is a genus of which person is a species. Every person is a being, but every being is not a person.”

    You’re missing the point. The persons are not predicated of the divine attributes, the divine attributes are predicated of the persons. Since this is true, if it were the case that the or a definition of “God” was “the divine attributes,” it would be incorrect to say God is three persons. It’s a fairly straightforward point.

    “For instance: “The Omnipotent, Omniscient, Omnipresent, Holy, Merciful, Immutable Creator is three persons.””

    No, that does not make sense. “Creator” is singular. “Persons” is plural. How can one creator be plural unless you, like Van Til, think the attributes are a person? Furthermore, you have not addressed the fact this would mean “The Omnipotent, Omniscient, Omnipresent, Holy, Merciful, Immutable Creator” is both “unbegotten, and begotten,” an obvious contradiction.

    “Or: Thomas answered and said to Him (Jesus), “My Lord and my Omnipotent, Omniscient, Omnipresent, Holy, Merciful, Immutable Creator.””

    Notice that the understood you of this verse would mean the subject of this sentence is the person of the Son, not the divine nature.

    “Or: “Is not my word like fire,” declares the Omnipotent, Omniscient, Omnipresent, Holy, Merciful, Immutable Creator, “and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?”

    Again, this is an example which has nothing to do with the predicating persons of nature.//

  27. Mark Says:

    Hi Sean,

    “Just checking, I didn’t think you would agree that only the Father is the proper object of worship. I was wrong.”

    I did not say only the Father is the proper object of worship, I said he is the ultimate object of worship. It is proper to worship the Son, and it is commanded for us to do so.

    What I mean by ultimate is such, in the doxologies of Paul, Peter and Jude, we have it to the Father alone, to the Father through the Son, and to the Son alone, however, NEVER to the Son through the Father or to the Holy Spirit.

    When I say the Father is the only true God, it is the same word of Jesus. You are trying to interpretate is so that we deny the Son’s deity, perish the thoughts, the Father is never without his Son, the Only True God is never without His Son who is also true God, being God from God, light from light.

    “and that the God we worship and preach is the only true One, Who is Lord of Creation and Maker of all existence. 2. Who then is this, save the Father of Christ, most holy and above all created existence, Who like an excellent pilot, by His own Wisdom and His own Word, our Lord and Saviour Christ, steers and preserves and orders all things”

    Athanasius Contra Gente Lib 3, 40

    I prayed for you and Drake, that we may love each other like Jesus loved the Roman soldiers who killed him.

    Best regards,

    Mark

  28. Steve M Says:

    Ryan
    Your post is not a response to what I said. It is you who ignore what I posted and simply rehash the same old double-talk as if you are making some new point. At some point it becomes futile to engage someone like you. I trust that those who read the posts can judge for themselves who is ignoring whom and who is missing the point.

  29. Mark Says:

    Hi Steve,

    You responded to Ryan by saying :”Do you not realize you are arguing both sides? If the Father said, “Let Us make” using the majestic plural (which seems to be your position), then the other two Persons would be excluded from having made. But you offer your simple explanation using the non-majestic plural “let us go” and argue that “so I went” would not exclude me. You are one confused fellow.

    We are now back to your unsupported position that one being (the Creator) cannot be Three persons. My position is (I repeat), “Can so”!”

    In this following verse, “I am the LORD, who has made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth by myself.” Isaiah 44:24

    If the creator is three persons, then the ONLY conclusion is that the three persons are the same HIM, same Me, same Self, this is plane Sabellienism. Creator by virtue is a person not an essence, to say creator is three persons, is saying one person is three persons.

    And please consider,

    “See now that I myself am He! There is no god besides me. I put to death and I bring to life, I have wounded and I will heal, and no one can deliver out of my hand.” Deut. 32:39

    To make the ruler, healer, governor three persons, is to make the three persons the same HE, the same ME, or if we insist they are different persons or mode of subsistence, that is to say a person without his essence, this again is plane Sabellienism.

    There is only one Creator, that is God, and there is also one Lord, through whom God created the world, He is the Word of God, the very wisdom and image and only begotten son of THAT ONE GOD we worship.

    Thanks,

    Mark

  30. Steve M Says:

    Mark
    You ignore what I wrote. Your are talking to yourself. Have fun.

  31. Ryan Says:

    “Your post is not a response to what I said.”

    Lol. Your post was originally in response to what *I* said about the fact persons cannot be predicated of persons. Who are you trying to fool?

  32. Steve M Says:

    Mark and Ryan
    I repeat: I trust that those who read the posts can judge for themselves who is ignoring whom and who is missing the point.
    Enough said.

  33. Steve M Says:

    I said, “Attributes are not only predicated of persons, they may also be predicated of beings.”

    Bryan replied, “The persons are not predicated of the divine attributes, the divine attributes are predicated of the persons.”

    Can someone please explain how this has anything to do with what I said?

    The divine attributes are predicated of a being. Is it some brilliant point that the being is not predicated of the attributes? Is anyone contending that the being is predicated of the attributes? If so, whom? Certainly not me. If not, to whom is Bryan trying to make his utterly irrelevant point?

    If it is true that “The use of the plural as a form of respectful address is quite foreign to Hebrew.” , then Ryan’s (and Mark’s) argument about singular pronouns dissolves. Now Ryan may produce Hebrew language scholars who will take the opposite position, but if Scripture supplies us with everything we must know to solve this problem (and it must if it is sufficient), we should be able to look to the Scriptures themselves to determine whether the above statement is true. If the plural as a form of respectful address is not foreign to Hebrew (that is Biblical Hebrew), we should find numerous examples of the kings of the OT using it. If we do not, we must assume that Gesenius is correct or we must look outside of Scripture to verify that he is in error. Maybe someone can supply me with numerous examples of the kings of the OT using the majestic plural. I may have missed them.

  34. Ryan Says:

    Steve asked,

    “Can someone please explain how this has anything to do with what I said?”

    Since you are once again confused, here is what you originally wrote in response to me:

    //Ryan Hedrick writes, “But substituting this definition (“The [divine] attributes constitute the definition of God) for “God” in Sean’s statement, we get the idea that “the divine attributes are three persons.” This does not make sense; rather, the divine attributes are exemplified in three persons. Attributes are predicated of persons. Persons are not predicated of attributes.”//

    You are quoting my blog. I was correcting your misunderstanding of the statement you quoted. It’s relevant because you made it relevant. Get it?

    “Is anyone contending that the being is predicated of the attributes?”

    Yes. Everyone who:

    (A) defines God as the divine attributes, and
    (B) says God is three persons.

    Sean does both. I pointed this out in my blog post which you replied to here for some reason.

    And while we’re on the subject of bringing up two week old comments which you probably hoped I would miss, your last paragraph is as fallacious as everything else you’ve said here. Scripture doesn’t have to say things x number of times in order for them to be true, and the fact is that there are multiple possible interpretations of some passages if one doesn’t eliminate all but one of those options by looking at the larger theology of Scripture. Your myopic obsession with one OT passage on a doctrine which is the product of progressive revelation is an indication that your priorities lie with defending your preconceptions rather than Scripture.

    Finally, spell my name correctly. It’s Ryan, not Bryan. It’s Hedrich, not Hedrick.

  35. Steve M Says:

    Ryan
    You should be happy I didn’t call you Lyin’ Hat-Trick


  36. Just an observation… Whether or not the majestic plural is foreign to Ancient Hebrew or no, Clark himself brought it up as a possible understanding of certain passages which speak of plurality in the Godhead (e.g. “Let us create…”). No one (here) questions Clark’s being a trinitarian, therefore (right or wrong) to cite majestic plural as a possible interpretation of a given passage does not imply a rejection of trinitarianism.

  37. Sean Gerety Says:

    First, you need to start providing citations Patrick. I don’t recall Clark ever saying that interpreting passages like Genesis 1:26 as examples of the “majestic plural” is either acceptable or correct. Jews and Jehovah Witnesses might interpret these passages that way, Christians do not.

    Second, interpreting Gen 1:26 as “majestic plural” by men who reject the Trinity is a rejection of trinitarianianism.


  38. Sean,

    First, sorry for the lack of citation, as I’m at work. I can tell you it’s in The Trinity, near the beginning, where he’s talking about hints of plurality in the OT. He mentioned that it would be natural for pre-NT Jews to assume the “Let us…” statement(s) as a plural of majesty. I do not mean to misrepresent Clark and say that he accepted that interpretation, but only to point out that he did not dismiss the possible use of a majestic plural as one way the OT hinted at plurality in the Godhead. (Again, I have no knowledge of Hebrew as to whether or not the majestic plural existed/was commonplace as disputed above.)

    Your second point is of course true, but I did not claim otherwise.

  39. Sean Gerety Says:

    OK, so for people who reject Jesus Christ as God incarnate and who similarly reject God’s full revelation I can understand they have limited options. Ryan has no excuse and it did appear as if you trying to give him one. I would still like the citation though.


  40. Not to further provoke you or appear to side with Ryan, but I’ve definitely heard of the plural of majesty interpretation of those verses before from orthodox sources. And this will make you mad, but I don’t remember who they were, as it was from my school days (and again I’m at work). So feel free to ignore my comment(s). Just conversatin’. If you like, I can try to find the page number for the Clark reference later (although it’ll probably take less than a minute to find if you have the book handy). It was at the top of a page, if I remember correctly 🙂


  41. Lest you think me ingenuous or biased, I also provide a quote from Calvin (whose view of the Trinity Ryan has clearly rejected) who states in his commentary on Genesis 1:26,

    “Others who deem themselves more acute, but are doubly infatuated, say that God spoke of himself in the plural number, according to the custom of princes. As if, in truth, that barbarous style of speaking, which has grown into use within a few past centuries, had, even then, prevailed in the world. But it is well that their canine wickedness has been joined with a stupidity so great, that they betray their folly to children. Christians, therefore, properly contend, from this testimony, that there exists a plurality of Persons in the Godhead.”

    I do wonder how such a passage would have been understood by ancient believing Jews. If they had no clear understanding of the Trinity, and the majestic plural was not in use, how did they interpret the “Let us…” phrasing? A reference to the angelic court, perhaps?


  42. And Gill (who also points out early Jewish interpretations):

    “And God said, let us make man in our image, after our
    likeness”
    These words are directed not to the earth, out of which man was made, as consulting with it, and to be assisting in the formation of man, as Moses Gerundensis, and other Jewish writers, which is wretchedly stupid; nor to the angels, as the Targum of Jonathan, Jarchi, and others, who are not of God’s privy council, nor were concerned in any part of the creation, and much less in the more noble part of it: nor are the words spoken after the manner of kings, as Saadiah, using the plural number as expressive of honour and majesty; since such a way of speaking did not obtain very early, not even till the close of the Old Testament: but they are spoken by God the Father to the Son and Holy Ghost, who were each of them concerned in the creation of all things, and particularly of man: hence we read of divine Creators and Makers in the plural number, ( Job 35:10 ) ( Psalms 149:2 ) ( Ecclesiastes 12:1 ) and Philo the Jew acknowledges that these words declare a plurality, and are expressive of others, being co-workers with God in creation…”

  43. Sean Gerety Says:

    Not to further provoke you or appear to side with Ryan, but I’ve definitely heard of the plural of majesty interpretation of those verses before from orthodox sources. And this will make you mad, but I don’t remember who they were, as it was from my school days (and again I’m at work).

    Then why do you say things if you can’t provide a source? The only people I know of who pull that royal “we” garbage are JWs, Unitarians, and other Christ deniers.


  44. As I said, just conversatin’ with friends. I hope nobody would assume I was lying. But if you’d rather I only respond with accompanying quotes, I’ll pipe down.


  45. Clark, Pages 1-2 of The Trinity: “The needed emphasis on the unity of God precluded any understanding of the Godhead as a Trinity. There were hints, however. The plural ‘Elohim’ might have suggested some sort of plurality in the divine being; but with the idea of ‘three’ absent, and no explanation given, it was natural to understand the word as a plural of majesty.”

    It seems Clark did not realize the majestic plural was not in use at the time.


  46. Again, not stating agreement (as I disagree), but here you go:

    “Dr. Charles Ryrie explains the plurals as plurals of majesty: “Gen. 1:26 us . . . our. Plurals of majesty” (Ryrie Study Bible, NIV, p.6).

    “The explanation of the first person plural forms is probably that the Creator speaks as heaven’s King accompanied by His heavenly hosts” (The New Bible Commentary, p. 82).

    “It is possible that this plural form implies a discussion between God and his heavenly court… Alternatively, the plural expresses the majesty and fullness of God’s being” (New Jerusalem Bible, p. 19).

    “It is now universally admitted that the use of the plural in Gen. 1:26 did not mean to the author that [God was more than one Person.]” (The Word Bible Commentary)”

    (Above quotes taken from http://www.21stcr.org/21stcr_commentary/genesis1_26.html)

  47. Sean Gerety Says:

    It seems Clark did not realize the majestic plural was not in use at the time.

    Whether he did or he didn’t, Clark had no doubts that the Godhead is a Trinity. Of course, there are those like Ryan who reject that God is Triune, but then so do Jews, JWs and Muslims. Again, I don’t know what you’re trying to prove other than that Ryan and Drake are not Christians.


  48. I just meant to point out that they are not alone in (erroneously, in my opinion) bringing up the majestic plural. Last I checked, Ryrie did not deny the Trinity.

  49. Sean Gerety Says:

    I’m not a dispensationalist so I’m not sure what Ryrie believes or how he interprets Genesis 1:26. However, I don’t think I would give much credence to a handful of isolated quotes you lifted from 21st Century Reformation which appears to be a Unitarian or Arian website. I did find Ryrie’s comments re Gen 1:26 online in Survey of Bible Doctrine and it’s pretty standard Trinitarian fare providing Ryan no support whatsoever.

    So, apart from the isolated quotes you provided I’d say Ryan and Drake are completely outside of any Christian exegetical tradition, even to include dispensationalism.


  50. Please don’t act like I’m saying something I’m not. I did a quick google search for majestic plural to satisfy your request for sources, and found some quick ones. Believe it or not, my *only* point was that just because someone mentions the use of majestic plural doesn’t automatically make them a Christ-denying heretic. When you try to act like it does, it hurts your case.

  51. Sean Gerety Says:

    Hurts my case? What case would that be Patrick? Ryan and Drake have made it clear that they deny Jesus Christ is God, that the Trinity is heresy, and that one true God is the Father. What more proof do you need Patrick? You really need to wake up because you’re starting looking like a stooge.


  52. A poor argument is still a poor argument, even if one is on the right side. You are right to point out the error of the majestic plural in Gen 1:26, but you are wrong to claim it necessitates heresy.

  53. Steve M Says:

    Patrick
    The mere mention of majestic plural may not be heresy. I don’t see where Sean has stated that is the case. But the notion is not scriptural. It is not derived from scripture. You have cited a few people who mention it whom you don’t believe are heretics. I can cite many who use the notion as a foundation for their arguments that are heretics. It is a flawed notion and deserves to be exposed as such.


  54. Steve,

    “The mere mention of majestic plural may not be heresy. I don’t see where Sean has stated that is the case.”

    Sean said,

    “Jews and Jehovah Witnesses might interpret these passages that way, Christians do not. […] The only people I know of who pull that royal “we” garbage are JWs, Unitarians, and other Christ deniers.”

    The implication being if someone used that interpretation, they were a heretic.

    You said, “It is a flawed notion and deserves to be exposed as such.”

    I already stated as much in my last comment, in which I said to Sean, “You are right to point out the error of the majestic plural in Gen 1:26.”

  55. Sean Gerety Says:

    You are right to point out the error of the majestic plural in Gen 1:26, but you are wrong to claim it necessitates heresy.

    I never said the error of the so-called “majestic plural” necessitates heresy. It could just be stupidity and a failure to interpret Scripture in light of Scripture. However, coming from Ryan and given the depth of his attacks on the Trinity and the deity of Christ his use of the “majestic plural” is indicative of his particular Christ denying heresy.

    You really are Ryan’s and Drake’s stooge.


  56. “I never said the error of the so-called “majestic plural” necessitates heresy. ”

    I must have taken this the wrong way then: “Jews and Jehovah Witnesses might interpret these passages that way, Christians do not. […] The only people I know of who pull that royal “we” garbage are JWs, Unitarians, and other Christ deniers.”

    For some reason, I thought that implied that if someone held that interpretation, they couldn’t be a Christian.

    “You really are Ryan’s and Drake’s stooge.”

    Nah, I just prefer a constructive, logical debate or discussion. I’m not sure how such a remark is remotely helpful, or why you want to make me out to be your enemy when I’ve repeatedly stated agreement with you on the interpretation of the passage.

    Not to mention the emails I’ve sent you highlighting exactly why I think Drake & Ryan’s construction fails, which have gone unanswered and unacknowledged. It is as if you do not want me to agree with you.

  57. Sean Gerety Says:

    Hey, Patrick, you should read Drake’s review of Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained. Even though he hasn’t seen the film, his review is filled with biblical insights including why white men can’t be guilty of raping black women (Drake says white men “are not very interested in black women” and he has known “zero white men who had a black girlfriend or a black wife”) and how wonderful slavery was in the old South.


  58. An odd comment. Why would I want to read such schlock? Why would you even bring that up when I’ve publicly repudiated Drake along with his racism? When will your fallacious ad hominem rhetoric stop?

  59. Sean Gerety Says:

    Not an odd comment at all, I just don’t know why you seem to think his denials of Jesus Christ as Lord even stripping him from the act of creation in Genesis (which is a rejection of John 1:3, Colossians 1:16, Hebrews 1:2, and other verses) are fine, but his racism is somehow unrelated even when he makes it clear that it rests on his so-called “triadology.”

    Also, what is even more disturbing is that while you repudiate his racism you don’t repudiate his and Ryan’s denials of Christ. I think their treatment of Jesus Christ is far more despicable than any of Drake’s self-loathing racism.


  60. I’m beginning to run out of things to say. I think your Trinitarian position is correct, and Ryan’s is wrong. However, not *everything* Ryan has said is wrong. Some of it has been quite historically orthodox. In your zeal to defend the correct view of the Trinity, you have unfortunately, at several points, condemned many orthodox Trinitarians. (For example, when you rejected the Father’s communication of the divine essence to the Son as a heresy, when it’s obviously not. You rejected outright the idea that Christ is the Son of the Father as Isaac is the son of Abraham, and again implied that to speak in such human terms must be masking a denial of the Trinity, forgetting that Clark said that.)

    I don’t care what Drake says, and I’ve said so repeatedly, so stop painting me as his lackey. It’s dishonest.

  61. Sean Gerety Says:

    For example, when you rejected the Father’s communication of the divine essence to the Son as a heresy, when it’s obviously not.

    This is false. What I objected to and still object to is that the Son derives his being from the Father which is an unwarranted conclusion that comes from a misunderstanding of what the Greek father meant by communication. As Clark explained, and as I have quote him repeatedly on this score even if you failed to notice, “Communication means that there is a quality common to the Father and the Son.” It doesn’t mean to impart or to give something to another.

    You rejected outright the idea that Christ is the Son of the Father as Isaac is the son of Abraham, and again implied that to speak in such human terms must be masking a denial of the Trinity, forgetting that Clark said that.

    Again false. What I objected to is the idea that the Son derives his being from the Father which is an idea Clark similarly rejects. What I reject is pushing the analogy to the extent Ryan and Drake have and that the idea of the Son’s generation implies human generation.

    I don’t care what Drake says, and I’ve said so repeatedly, so stop painting me as his lackey. It’s dishonest.

    You care very much what Ryan says even though he derives his entire rejection of the Trinity and Jesus Christ as the one true Lord God Incarnate from Drake. You just prefer the messenger to the source of the message, but a bad tree can’t bear good fruit. You need to repudiate both Drake and Ryan. It’s not good enough to just say you “don’t care what Drake says,” because you have repeatedly defended what Drake says through his mouthpiece Ryan.


  62. Thanks for the clarification. Apparently I have completely misunderstood a good many of your repeated statements on Facebook.

    “What I reject is pushing the analogy to the extent Ryan and Drake have and that the idea of the Son’s generation implies human generation.”

    What do you mean by “human generation”? Clark said human begetting does not divine the human essence. Do you mean begetting in time? Ryan has denied this.

    Very interesting. In my last comment, I said I disagreed with Ryan’s view of the Trinity (and it wasn’t the first time I’ve said it). I simply wish to accurately represent him. You’ve no hope of convincing him if you can’t articulate his view. Unless convincing him is not your aim…

  63. Sean Gerety Says:

    Why is this so confusing and difficult for you Patrick. The communication of essence means that the Father and Son share the same essence. Generation is a similarly ambiguous term that too can be easily abused. As Clark wrote, but again you seemed not to notice:

    “Though we must apply to the Son some sense of the term “generation,” let it be admitted that the sense is not completely clear. Christ is indeed Son of God, and the relationship is filiation. But since this relationship is eternal, and there was no time before the Son was Son, and though there was not time before the Father was Father, and though to be Biblical we must call the first Person Father and the second Person Son, it has please God not to have revealed much further as to the nature of this relationship. At least no theologian has succeeded in extending the implications of Scripture very far. Perhaps the best we can do is to suggest that the three Persons are identical with the exception of their personal differences. (The Trinity, p. 122)”

    Very interesting. In my last comment, I said I disagreed with Ryan’s view of the Trinity (and it wasn’t the first time I’ve said it). I simply wish to accurately represent him. You’ve no hope of convincing him if you can’t articulate his view. Unless convincing him is not your aim…

    You act like the ontological subordination of the Son is something we can all agree to disagree on and you insinuate that I have not accurately represented him when in fact I have. Ryan is trapped in some of the crassest Christ denying heresy that he got from one of the most unstable minds on the Internet (a place filled with unstable minds) and you act like this is something open for discussion. Sorry, there are some cardinal truths of the Christian faith that are not open to discussion and one of those is the fact that God is a Trinity and that Jesus Christ is the one true God who has come in the flesh. Unitarians and semi-arians are not to be coddled and treated as “brothers,” but repudiated in the strongest terms and I don’t care if some of them mistakenly think of themselves as “Scripturalists” or even if they’ve won some TF contest.

  64. Steve M Says:

    Patrick
    “The implication being if someone used that interpretation, they were a heretic.”
    Used it to do what?
    Sean said, “pull that royal “we” garbage”. I assume that phrase refers to more than just mentioning the idea as possibility. People who use the royal we argument as means of avoiding the implications of the verses in Genesis regarding the doctrine of the Trinity are heretics. It is possible that an uninformed Christian could fall for the notion, but it is a notion that is most often used in attacks on the crucial doctrine of the Trinity.


  65. Sean,

    “The communication of essence means that the Father and Son share the same essence. Generation is a similarly ambiguous term that too can be easily abused. As Clark wrote, but again you seemed not to notice…”

    I agree with both you and Clark. Why is that so confusing and difficult for you, Sean? 😛

    I’m not saying Ryan isn’t wrong; I’m saying he doesn’t fit what has historically been meant by Unitarian or Arian. Assuming ‘ontological subordination’ means the Son does not possess all the attributes in the definition of deity, Ryan rejects this. That is not your argument. The argument is over whether or not aseity is a divine attribute, and historical theologians often contradict themselves and each other on this point. This is where the Jehovah/I AM passages come in handy, as I believe Ryan is either begging the question or relying on myopic interpretations of other passages to insist that the Father alone is Jehovah. But until the problem is correctly and specifically identified, it will continue to be, “Ryan says Christ isn’t fully divine.” “No I don’t.” “Yes you do.” ad infinitum.

    Steve,

    “Used it to do what?”

    Used it to explain the plurality in Genesis 1:26.

    I’m not sure what you think your argument is with me. I’m aware that the majestic plural interpretation is used by Arians etc.

  66. Ryan Says:

    Sean,

    “You care very much what Ryan says even though he derives his entire rejection of the Trinity and Jesus Christ as the one true Lord God Incarnate from Drake.”

    I corrected you on facebook when you wrote this lie, so why are you repeating it? I wrote one post summarizing Drake’s view. Every other post has been the product of my own study. And you and I both know I provided dozens of citations from Trinitarians Athanasius, Alexander of Alexandria, and Novatian on the GHC board that affirm the subordination of the Son, monarchy of the Father, and generic unity. You can’t deny my view without denying theirs, and you can’t deny theirs without denying an orthodox strain of Trinitarianism.

  67. Steve M Says:

    Patrick
    Is creator an attribute in the definition of diety?

  68. Sean Gerety Says:

    And you and I both know I provided dozens of citations from Trinitarians Athanasius, Alexander of Alexandria, and Novatian on the GHC board that affirm the subordination of the Son, monarchy of the Father, and generic unity.

    And you and I both know that I provided dozens of citations from Athanasius refuting your heretical anti-trinitarianism misreading of him on the GHC board and here. It seems to me that you are the liar, but I do admit you and Drake have an uncanny inability to correctly understand great Trinitarians like Athanasius and have twisted them into virtual Arians. I realize that irony is somewhat beyond you and your mentor Drake as your handling of the ancient writers is amateurish at best. Further, I similarly refuted your inane misuse of the phrase “generic unity,” which is neither generic nor does it unify the Persons (since per you only the Father is true God and there really isn’t any need to unify a single person). I would recommend some professional training, but given your Unitarianism no Christian seminary would have you.


  69. Steve, I’m not entirely sure I understand your question, but I think I’d say no, it’s a title. If that answer is unsatisfactory, perhaps you could rephrase the question?

  70. Steve M Says:

    Patrick
    Is creator a quality or characteristic inherent in or ascribed to someone or a descriptive name? When creator is predicated of God, which is it? Is that a better question?

  71. Ryan Says:

    Generic unity pertains to unity among species due to a common genus. Mentioning an individuating property of the Father about which we disagree does not show my view of generic unity to be defective, and you’ve obviously not read my exposition of Clark on the subject if you think otherwise.

    You can’t be serious regarding our discussion of Athanasius? You seriously need to read De Synodis:

    //Nor again, in confessing three realities and three Persons, of the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost according to the Scriptures, do we therefore make Gods three; since we acknowledge the Self-complete and Ingenerate and Unbegun and Invisible God to be one only, the God and Father of the Only-begotten, who alone has being from Himself, and alone vouchsafes this to all others bountifully.

    Nor again, in saying that the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is one only God, the only Ingenerate, do we therefore deny that Christ also is God before ages: as the disciples of Paul of Samosata, who say that after the incarnation He was by advance made God, from being made by nature a mere man. For we acknowledge, that though He be subordinate to His Father and God, yet, being before ages begotten of God, He is God perfect according to nature and true, and not first man and then God, but first God and then becoming man for us, and never having been deprived of being.//

    – The Father alone has being from Himself (rejection of the Son’s aseity and autotheos).

    – The Father alone is the the reason Trinitarianism does not necessarily contradict monotheism.

    – The Son is subordinate to the Father with respect to the immanent as well as economic Trinity.

    – The Son is eternally begotten of the numerically distinct nature or essence of the Father, ever with Him.

    – None of this precludes our being able to refer to the Son as God.

    For every citation of Athanasius you provided, I addressed what he said and whether I agreed with it. Every one. You didn’t do the same. I’ve mentioned the above to you several times and the only response I’ve received is that it only pertains to the economic Trinity, period and without justification.

    I mean, you just cited a long post by Steve Hays virtually gifting me the fact the Nicene Creed and Fathers taught the subordination of the Son. The principle opponent of Arius – Alexander of Alexandria – believed it. I cannot fathom how you can still dispute this, nor, therefore, how you can say I “deny Christ” with a straight face. It’s mind-boggling.

  72. Sean Gerety Says:

    Generic unity pertains to unity among species due to a common genus. Mentioning an individuating property of the Father about which we disagree does not show my view of generic unity to be defective

    Actually it does since for you the Son and Spirit are ontological inferiors to whom you attach the predicate “divinity” but who lack deity as you consider only the Father as the one true God. Per you and Drake (the father of your error) God the Father is a different species entirely and a superior one at that. Wolves and Labradors may be both canines, but no one would be stupid enough to confuse a black lab with a wolf. The idea of generic unity as Clark uses it unifies three divine persons who are of the same species and who are one being and not three “omnipotents” as you maintain along with the rest of your anti-Christian subordinationist drivel.

    You can’t be serious regarding our discussion of Athanasius? You seriously need to read De Synodis

    I have read De Synodis and as I explained to you on FB and here you don’t understand Athanasius and your handling of him is clumsy and amateurish. You’re reading him from your own “Drakian” and Unitarian presuppositions which are literalistic and wooden. Terms like “unbegotten” and “begotten” are terms used to differentiate the persons not divide the essence for even in the quote you provide Athanasius affirms “Christ also is God.” Instead of grasping what he says you proceed in reading the economy back into the immanent Trinity. In your ignorance and schoolboy arrogance you have Athanasius violating his own rule; “The same things are said of the Son which are said of the Father except for calling him Father.” You read into words like “generation” a literal meaning when none was ever intended and if you paid closer attention to how Athanasius develops his arguments, rather than reading him through Drake’s dirty glasses, you would see that Clark captured the exact meaning of the word “generation” as Athanasius and the Christian creeds (Westminster included) meant when he said “the best we can do is to suggest that the three Persons are identical with the exception of their personal differences.”

    Consequently, all your silly inferences that you derive from the passage you cite, like your rejection of the Son’s aseity and your subordination of the Son both in the economic and immanent Trinity, are all based on your clumsy mishandling of the primary material. You are not reading the authors in a way that they intended and not only do you “preclude” the Son from properly being referred to as God, but in your final inference you even twist the title “Son of God” into your subordinationistic box, something for which Athanasius would have marked you as a heretic.

    You need to humble yourself and repent of your damnable rejection of God the Son or you will end up alone with Drake standing outside of the Christian church, that is, if you’re not there already.

  73. Ryan Says:

    You assume divinity means one true God. If the Father, Son, and Spirit are each the one true God, tritheism follows.

    Please show where the reference to economic activity is in what I quoted from Athanasius.

    Also, unless you think eternal generation means the Son is from the essence of the Father, you don’t agree with Athanasius. Athanasius doesn’t just mean they have a common nature, he means the Son is the offspring of the Father, not of Himself. He is the “effect,” not the “cause”:

    //And again, Christ is the Word of God. Did He then subsist by Himself, and subsisting, has He become joined to the Father, or did God make Him or call Him His Word? If the former, I mean if He subsisted by Himself and is God, then there are two Beginnings; and moreover, as is plain, He is not the Father’s own, as being not of the Father, but of Himself. But if on the contrary He be made externally, then is He a creature. It remains then to say that He is from God Himself; but if so, that which is from another is one thing, and that from which it is, is a second; according to this then there are two. But if they be not two, but the names belong to the same, cause and effect will be the same, and begotten and begetting, which has been shown absurd in the instance of Sabellius. But if He be from Him, yet not another, He will be both begetting and not begetting; begetting because He produces from Himself, and not begetting, because it is nothing other than Himself. But if so, the same is called Father and Son notionally. But if it be unseemly so to say, Father and Son must be two; and they are one, because the Son is not from without, but begotten of God. But if any one shrinks from saying ‘Offspring,’ and only says that the Word exists with God, let such a one fear lest, shrinking from what is said in Scripture, he fall into absurdity, making God a being of double nature.//

    Do you not remember these from the GHC board? How can you continue to pander your false opinions when the very people you cite agree that those who affirmed the Nicene Creed also affirmed the subordination of the Son in the immanent Trinity?

  74. Sean Gerety Says:

    You assume divinity means one true God. If the Father, Son, and Spirit are each the one true God, tritheism follows.

    While the Trinity is not a simple topic as the solution of how God can be three Persons yet one God has been elusive to many in light of the clear teaching of Scripture, I think Gordon Clark’s solution that rests on realism and generic unity is probably the best theory I’ve come across. Of course, the simple Christian humbly maintaining that God is one in one sense and three in another is far more acceptable than the Unitarianism or semi-arianism you are mired in.

    And, let’s not forget that according to your derange basement dwelling mentor the idea that God is Triune is nothing more than a “squared circle anagogy idol” invented by Rome. I guess according to you Gordon Clark, John Robbins, Robert Reymond, John Calvin along with every other Reformed theologian either living or dead along with all of the Reformed creeds have a view of God that is all based on mystical allusions errantly drawn from Scripture and all have been papist shills until a light shined on you from some racist sitting on a bucket in a Kentucky basement.

    Frankly, in twenty plus years in conservative politic I’ve met plenty of tinfoil headed conspiracy nut jobs, but none have anything on you and your mentor.

    Please show where the reference to economic activity is in what I quoted from Athanasius.

    That’s easy because for any inference to be valid anything found in the conclusion must also be in one the premises and the only time any sort of subordination is even mentioned is in response to the disciples of Paul of Samosata who thought that Jesus eventually became God following the incarnation which has to do with the economy.

    Also, unless you think eternal generation means the Son is from the essence of the Father, you don’t agree with Athanasius. Athanasius doesn’t just mean they have a common nature, he means the Son is the offspring of the Father, not of Himself. He is the “effect,” not the “cause”

    Thank you for again providing another example of your amateurish and sloppy handling of Athanasius. Your odd interpretation of the quote you cite from Against the Arians Discourse Four, sections 3 and 4, is not only grossly mistaken, but completely ignores the foundational groundwork to Athanasius’ subsequent arguments he lays in section 1:

    1. The Word is God from God; for ‘the Word was God John 1:1,’ and again, ‘Of whom are the Fathers, and of whom Christ, who is God over all, blessed for ever. Amen Romans 9:5.’ And since Christ is God from God, and God’s Word, Wisdom, Son, and Power, therefore but One God is declared in the divine Scriptures. For the Word, being Son of the One God, is referred to Him of whom also He is; so that Father and Son are two, yet the Monad of the Godhead is indivisible and inseparable. And thus too we preserve One Beginning of Godhead and not two Beginnings, whence there is strictly a Monarchy. And of this very Beginning the Word is by nature Son, not as if another beginning, subsisting by Himself, nor having come into being externally to that Beginning, lest from that diversity a Dyarchy and Polyarchy should ensue; but of the one Beginning He is own Son, own Wisdom, own Word, existing from It. For, according to John, ‘in’ that ‘Beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God,’ for the Beginning was God; and since He is from It, therefore also ‘the Word was God.’ And as there is one Beginning and therefore one God, so one is that Essence and Subsistence which indeed and truly and really is, and which said ‘I am that I am Exodus 3:14,’ and not two, that there be not two Beginnings; and from the One, a Son in nature and truth, is Its own Word, Its Wisdom, Its Power, and inseparable from It. And as there is not another essence, lest there be two Beginnings, so the Word which is from that One Essence has no dissolution, nor is a sound significative, but is an essential Word and essential Wisdom, which is the true Son. For were He not essential, God will be speaking into the air 1 Corinthians 14:9, and having a body, in nothing differently from men; but since He is not man, neither is His Word according to the infirmity of man. For as the Beginning is one Essence, so Its Word is one, essential, and subsisting, and Its Wisdom. For as He is God from God, and Wisdom from the Wise, and Word from the Rational, and Son from Father, so is He from Subsistence Subsistent, and from Essence Essential and Substantive, and Being from Being.

    Notice that the Second Person is “God from God,” not a lesser being who derives his divinity from the Father, but rather the Son and the Father are the One God, “For the Word, being Son of the One God, is referred to Him of whom also He is; so that Father and Son are two, yet the Monad of the Godhead is indivisible and inseparable.” I can see smoke shooting from your buddy Drake’s head now who, like you, thinks the monad “is found nowhere in the early Fathers or in the Bible” rendering the Son as “nothing but another name for the Father.”

    The irony is that in the section you quote Athanasius is defending the Christian position found in section 1 against both Sabellianism and Arianism. Also telling is how you conveniently left off the last little bit in section 3 which reads:

    For not granting that the Word is from the Monad, but simply as if He were joined to the Father, he introduces a twofold essence, and neither of them Father of the other. And the same of Power. And we may see this more clearly, if we consider it with reference to the Father; for there is One Father, and not two, but from that One the Son. As then there are not two Fathers, but One, so not two Beginnings, but One, and from that One the Son essential. http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/28164.htm

    Like I said, your handling of the early church fathers is pathetic for if you read them correctly, and without the dung stained glasses your pal Drake provided you with, you’d see Athanasius affirms and defends the very “monadistic” Trinity you two lost canines reject.

  75. Ryan Says:

    Why is there one God but not one Person? After all, are not all persons generically united under the genus “Person”? Or why do we say there are three and thirty men but not three Gods? Clark notes this problem in his article on the Trinity but doesn’t answer it there. Do you have the answer?

    I’m not sure where you are getting your information, but I have made no claims about why Calvin et. al. reject the view of the Nicene fathers. I don’t pretend to know. I suspect this is just a smear campaign on your part. And I recall your citing of Jonathan Edwards which noted that the Father is the fount of divinity, first in priority in the immanent Trinity. Did you forget again?

    “That’s easy because for any inference to be valid anything found in the conclusion must also be in one the premises and the only time any sort of subordination is even mentioned is in response to the disciples of Paul of Samosata who thought that Jesus eventually became God following the incarnation which has to do with the economy.”

    But his point is that Jesus is not God according to economic activity, so it should be obvious that what he is rather talking about is the fact Jesus is God according to His immanent relation to the Father: “…He is God perfect according to nature and true, and not first man and then God, but first God and then becoming man for us, and never having been deprived of being.” It is obvious that when explaining his own position, Athanasius is not talking about the economic Trinity. But then, the subordination of the Son to the Father is not merely economic.

    “Notice that the Second Person is “God from God,” not a lesser being who derives his divinity from the Father, but rather the Son and the Father are the One God,”

    Um, no. In what you just cited, Athanasius says the Word is the “Son of the One God,” not the one God Himself. Perhaps you should reread it. In fact, I can hardly picture a more damaging passage for you to have cited, and it really has nothing to do with the fact Athanasius believes the Son is from the essence of the Father, effect of cause, begotten of begetter.

    “Like I said, your handling of the early church fathers is pathetic…”

    What relevance did you last citation have to this discussion? It’s like you are randomly pasting quotes by Athanasius here to give the impression that you have any idea what you are talking about. The Father is the one beginning, and the Son is from that One. Ok? That’s actually my point. Now please address the fact that Athanasius rejects the Son’s alleged aseity and autotheos, for if the Son “subsisted by Himself and is God, then there are Beginnings; and moreover, as is plain, He is not the Father’s own, as being not of the Father, but of Himself.” Please address the fact that he refers to the Son as from the essence of the Father, effect of cause, begotten of begetter, and not some notion of a mere communion of essence.

  76. Sean Gerety Says:

    Why is there one God but not one Person? After all, are not all persons generically united under the genus “Person”?

    No, all three persons are not “generically united under the genus Person, all three persons are generically united under the genus God. This is why you don’t understand Discourse 4, sec. 1 and why you continually think “the Father” every time you see the word “God.”

    For Athanasius the Godhead “is strictly a Monarchy” and phrases like “very God from very God” do not mean that the Son is an ontological subordinate who derives his being from the Father, but rather that Christ too is God “yet the Monad of the Godhead is indivisible and inseparable.” Both the Son and the Father are God, “but One God is declared in the divine Scriptures.” I realize for you and Drake this is a Roman Catholic “squared circle anagogy idol,” but this is a monster of your own twisted imaginations and is why you have placed yourself outside of the Christian faith and into Drake’s basement.

    Until you can correctly understand section 1 of Discourse 4, you can’t even begin to pretend you understand sections 3 and 4.

    I’m not sure where you are getting your information, but I have made no claims about why Calvin et. al. reject the view of the Nicene fathers.

    Calvin et. al. do not reject “the view of the Nicene fathers” just your erroneous anti-trinitarian interpretation of them. This is why T. F. Torrance said that for Athanasius the monarche “is identical with the Trinity.” And, while I have issues with his neo-orthodoxy, it’s hard to deny that Torrance, unlike Drake who continues to spoon feed you guano from his basement floor, was a first-rate scholar. I stumbled on a post on the Puritan Board regarding Torrance by Richard Zuelch (who at the time was an OPC RE, but I think now he might be a pastor) that includes this passage from The Christian Doctrine of God: One Being, Three Person ( a book Zuelch says is “one of the best books ever published on the doctrine of the Trinity”):

    “In our understanding of the New Testament witness to God’s revelation of himself, “the Father,” “the Son,” and “the Holy Spirit” are unique and proper names denoting three distinct Persons, or real Hypostases, who are neither exchangeable nor interchangeable while, nevertheless, of one and the same divine Being. There is one Person of the Father who is always the Father, distinct from the Son and the Spirit; and there is another Person of the Son who is always the Son, distinct from the Father and the Spirit; and another Person of the Holy Spirit who is always the Holy Spirit, distinct from the Father and the Son. In this three-fold tri-personal self-revelation of God, one Person is not more or less God, for all three Persons are coeternal and coequal. They are all perfectly one in the identity of their Nature and perfectly homoousial or consubstantial in their Being. Each of the three Persons is, himself, Lord and God, and yet there are not three Lords or Gods, but only one Lord God, and there is only one and the same eternal Being of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The Holy Trinity of three divine Persons is, thus, perfectly homogeneous and unitary, both in the threeness and oneness of God’s personal activity, and in the threeness and oneness of his eternal unchangeable personal Being. One Being, Three Persons.”

    While I’m sure the above is completely lost on you, it still is a nice illustration of just how far you’ve fallen from the historic Christian faith as you continue to follow Shelton and his little band of subordinationist miscreants.

    Um, no. In what you just cited, Athanasius says the Word is the “Son of the One God,” not the one God Himself. Perhaps you should reread it.

    LOL! You’re the one who needs to reread it Ryan, only next time try reading it after you pull your head out of Drake’s … um … basement. 🙂

    What relevance did you last citation have to this discussion? It’s like you are randomly pasting quotes by Athanasius here to give the impression that you have any idea what you are talking about.

    The fact that you can’t see the relevance of the portion of section 3 you intentionally left out, only again demonstrates how deeply deluded and entrapped in heresy you really are. I even highlighted the relevant section for you as I didn’t want you to miss it.

    I understand you have a hard time following his arguments as Athanasius moves from a refutation of the “Sabellianisers” to the other error of the Arians and the semi-Arians in between. And, I can see why you wanted to leave that bit out from section 3 because Athanasius is refuting those, like you, who divide the divine essence: “For not granting that the Word is from the Monad, but simply as if He were joined to the Father, he introduces a twofold essence, and neither of them Father of the other. And the same of Power.” The Father and Son are from “the Monad” and are identical in being and in power are two truths lost on you as you continue to blindly wander around your heretical subordinatist basement. That’s why the relevancy of the missing portion of section 3 should have been crystal clear. Athanasius rejects your “monarchy of the Father,” and instead maintains “the Monad of the Godhead is indivisible and inseparable. And thus too we preserve One Beginning of Godhead and not two Beginnings, whence there is strictly a Monarchy.”

    Like that lost soul Drake, you are unable to deal with Athanasius’ whole argument and instead lift and twist sections that seem to suit the very sort of semi-Arian/Unitarian subordinationism Athanasius so clearly rejects no matter how hard you try and twist him.

    I know you will want to go on endlessly, but talking to you is like talking to some irrational mind-numbed cult member. It’s really not even a debate at this point and it’s become hardly worth my time.

  77. Ryan Says:

    They are generically united under both. Likewise, we are both generically united under man, male, person, human, etc. So if there is one God purely because there is one definition of God which applies to each sub-species (Father, Son, Spirit), why do you not believe there is one person purely because there is one definition of person which applies to each sub-species (each individual divine, angelic, demonic, or human person)?

    “Until you can correctly understand section 1 of Discourse 4, you can’t even begin to pretend you understand sections 3 and 4.”

    I just pointed out that in section 1, Athanasius says the Word is Son of the One God. Who is the One God here, Sean? An abstract essence or the Father? He also says, “there is one Beginning and therefore one God.” Who or what is the one Beginning for Athanasius, Sean? Well, since it is from this Beginning that the Son subsists, and since he says “Son from Father,” not “Son from abstract essence” or some such remark, it’s quite obvious the one Beginning from whom the Son subsists is the Father. Athanasius also explicitly equates them at the end of section 3. So the Father is the one God. You are just posturing in implying otherwise.

    Also, a monarchy does not preclude subordinates. Read Tertullian’s Against Praxeus, chapters 3-4.

    “The fact that you can’t see the relevance of the portion of section 3 you intentionally left out, only again demonstrates how deeply deluded and entrapped in heresy you really are.”

    I left it out because it’s simply not relevant, and you hadn’t said why it is. Emboldening words does not make them somehow relevant. You say:

    “The Father and Son are from “the Monad” and are identical in being and in power are two truths lost on you as you continue to blindly wander around your heretical subordinatist basement.”

    Firstly, I repeat that what you cite is not relevant to the fact Athanasius denies the Son is a Beginning or subsists of Himself. So what do you have to say about that? He rejects that the Son is aseity or autotheos outright.

    Secondly, nowhere does Athanasius say they are one being. That is your interpretation, an interpretation which, in fact, Athanasius denies that in his very first section. He says the Son is “Being from Being.” That’s two beings, not one. The are of the same essence, but they are not the same essence. You need to get a grip on the difference between generic and numeric unity.

  78. Sean Gerety Says:

    They are generically united under both. Likewise, we are both generically united under man, male, person, human, etc.

    I’m really not sure how to put this, and I understand you’re desperate, but that’s just stupid. If you are I are “generically united” under person, then since God consist of Three persons (or in your heretical vernacular, one person), then all men are all generically united and are one being with God.

    I just pointed out that in section 1, Athanasius says the Word is Son of the One God. Who is the One God here, Sean? An abstract essence or the Father?

    The One God is Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Athanasius was not a Unitarian semi-arian subordinationist. Remove the “Drakian” blinders from your eyes already. Next thing you’ll be saying; “When he is using the word Monad of the Godhead, he is simply saying that the three ontologically distinct persons are inseparable….” The man you follow is a moron as Athanasius is saying the exact opposite and that the three persons are ontologically inseparable because they are one being. If the persons were ontologically distinct you would have tritheism. It is really amazing how deep into Drake’s basement you’ve gone.

    He also says, “there is one Beginning and therefore one God.” Who or what is the one Beginning for Athanasius, Sean?

    Of course God has no beginning, but his point is that the monad of the Godhead has always existed as the Father, Son, and Spirit. As Athanasius said; the “Father and Son are two, yet the Monad of the Godhead is indivisible and inseparable. And thus too we preserve One Beginning of Godhead and not two Beginnings, whence there is strictly a Monarchy.” The one beginning refers to the Godhead and not to the Father. You don’t even understand what it is you’re reading, do you Ryan?

    “The fact that you can’t see the relevance of the portion of section 3 you intentionally left out, only again demonstrates how deeply deluded and entrapped in heresy you really are.”

    I left it out because it’s simply not relevant,

    No, you left it out because it refutes your narrow and errant reading of Athanasius. You want to make it seem like you know what you’re talking about when, like Drake, you haven’t a clue. It really is embarrassing for you.

    Firstly, I repeat that what you cite is not relevant to the fact Athanasius denies the Son is a Beginning or subsists of Himself. So what do you have to say about that?

    Again, the beginning is the Monad which consists of Father, Son and Spirit. Do you even understand what and who Athanasius was refuting? Here’s a hint, it’s in the title of the discourse.

    He rejects that the Son is aseity or autotheos outright.

    He doesn’t do anything of the sort as anything that can be predicated on the Father can be predicated on the Son with the exception that the Son is the Father. Have you forgotten Athanasius’ own rule already? The fact that he doesn’t use the word “autoheos,” a word that I don’t even believe was coined until much later, doesn’t mean that the idea isn’t present.

    Secondly, nowhere does Athanasius say they are one being.

    Of course he does, what do you think monad means? Now, of course the Christian monad isn’t the same as Pythagorean as it consists of three distinct persons, but God is without question the ultimate and indivisible source of all being.

    You need to get a grip on the difference between generic and numeric unity.

    LOL 🙂 You’re a hoot Ryan.

    May the one true Triune God of Scripture break you free from your dank Kentucky subterranean prison. 🙂

  79. Ryan Says:

    “I’m really not sure how to put this, and I understand you’re desperate, but that’s just stupid. If you are I are “generically united” under person, then since God consist of Three persons (or in your heretical vernacular, one person), then all men are all generically united and are one being with God.”

    Lol, you’re just now getting my point, which is that generic unity is an insufficient defense of monotheism.

    “The One God is Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.”

    So Athanasius is saying the Son is the Son of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost? Be serious, Sean.

    “Of course God has no beginning, but his point is that the monad of the Godhead has always existed as the Father, Son, and Spirit. As Athanasius said; the “Father and Son are two, yet the Monad of the Godhead is indivisible and inseparable. And thus too we preserve One Beginning of Godhead and not two Beginnings, whence there is strictly a Monarchy.” The one beginning refers to the Godhead and not to the Father. You don’t even understand what it is you’re reading, do you Ryan?”

    No, it is you who plainly doesn’t understand. I told you Athanasius explicitly equates Beginning with the Father at the end of section 3. You obviously decided not to read that, so here it is: “As then there are not two Fathers, but One, so not two Beginnings, but One, and from that One the Son essential.” The Son is from the One Beginning, Sean. Thus:

    “He doesn’t do anything of the sort as anything that can be predicated on the Father can be predicated on the Son with the exception that the Son is the Father. Have you forgotten Athanasius’ own rule already?”

    You just don’t get it. “Father” and “Son” are not just an empty words. They have meaning. Again, to quote Athanasius, if the Son “subsisted by Himself and is God, then there are two Beginnings; and moreover, as is plain, He is not the Father’s own, as being not of the Father, but of Himself.” But there are not two Beginnings because the Son does not subsist by Himself and is not of Himself. Rather, he is from the Father.

    “Of course he does, what do you think monad means? Now, of course the Christian monad isn’t the same as Pythagorean as it consists of three distinct persons, but God is without question the ultimate and indivisible source of all being.”

    The Monad is the divine essence. This divine essence belongs to the Father of Himself and is communicated to the Son who is “Being from Being.” When we speak of one Trinity, we do not speak merely of one Being. The persons may be one in being, but they are not one being per se. In Clark’s terms, each has His own definition (three beings), but because they are homoousios and the divine nature is a reality too, this single definition (being) of the divine nature is undivided even though predicable of three persons. None of this changes the fact Athanasius says the Son is the effect (begotten) and the Father the cause (begetter).


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