Even More Twisted Fruit From A Poisionous Mind
I’m hard pressed to spend any time examining the unstable thoughts bouncing around the fevered mind of Drake Shelton. It’s like trying to take the ravings of some lunatic howling in the asylum seriously. The only reason I have even ventured onto his blog was because I was shocked to learn that some men, even one or two thinking themselves Scripturalists, take this man’s ravings seriously. It really is amazing, because besides denigrating the Son this guy is easily the vilest racist I’ve ever come across and one who dreams of deporting Blacks, along with “other necessary persons such as inter-racial spouses,” into a handful of separate self-governing Northern states. Admittedly, the logistics of his plan are a little fuzzy. For example, I wonder if Asian women in interracial relationships will be exempt from Shelton’s one-way forced busing plan since he maintains that White men like Asian women (just not Black women). I wonder too will he even employ buses to transport Blacks, inter-racial couples, and other “necessary persons” to these Northern “set-aside” enclaves or will Shelton just march them there at the end of a gun barrel in leg irons and chains? Being a “superior” White man I have to think Shelton has already thought through these questions in his master plan.
Now, I know that some sensitive souls are either offended by my even mentioning any of Shelton’s racist rants or they do not see the relevance to his so-called “triadology” and fail to make the connection. Yet, people do need to realize that for Shelton the subjugation of the Son to the Father as his superior in being and power is foundational to his racism. He hopes that if you buy the one you’re eventually buy the other. It’s a package deal.
That said, Shelton did have a moment recently of semi-clarity, but even then he got his facts completely backasswards and for some strange reason started to make my arguments for me. I realize it was unintentional on his part, but it is just more proof (as if anyone really needed any) that Shelton has no idea what he’s talking about. But before we get to that momentary clear spot in Shelton’s mental swamp, he prefaced some otherwise interesting quotes (made by other people of course) by arguing:
Sean Gerety demands that Orthodoxy affirms only one being shared between the three divine persons. He demands that the Orthodox position denies that the divine persons are each individual beings. When will he admit then, that he rejects the Nicene Creed?
Of course, unlike Shelton and his tiny band of miscreant Internet followers, the Nicene creed affirms that the Three Persons of the Godhead are of one homoousios or substance. WCF II:3 affirms this too: “In the unity of the Godhead there be three persons, of one substance, power, and eternity; God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost.”
Othodoxwiki (a source one would think would be sympathetic to Shelton’s subordinationism) has the following under their entry for homoousious:
Homoousios is a Greek word meaning “same substance” or “same essence.” It is used in the Nicene Creed to say that Jesus Christ is of one essence with the Father. Although it does not appear in the Bible, the fathers of the First Ecumenical Council ultimately decided that this was the best language to use concerning the Holy Trinity.
The competing term at that council was homoiousios meaning “similar essence”; it was favored by the moderates among the Arians, the Semi-arians. Because of how close these two words are in the Greek, it has been said that there was only “one iota” of difference between them.
Wikipedia has the same definition except it includes “ousía” and “being” along with “substance” and “essence” and adds that homoousios
is a technical theological term used in discussion of the Christian understanding of God as Trinity. The Nicene Creed describes Jesus as being homooúsios with God the Father — that is, they are of the “same substance” and are equally God. This term, adopted by the First Council of Nicaea, was intended to add clarity to the relationship between Christ and God the Father within the Godhead.
Notice, the word homoousios doesn’t mean three “individual beings” or even three “individual beings” sharing a similar essence, for that would be semi-Arian. The word means that the Father, Son, and Spirit share one being or substance and was a term “adopted by the First Council of Nicaea” to clarify the relationship between the Son and the Father “within the Godhead.” No three individual beings here. So, it was bizarre for me to read Shelton supporting citations by authors that agree with me confirming that “Orthodoxy affirms only one being shared between the three divine persons.”
For example, he first quotes Leo Donald Davis as follows:
“However, homoousios was at the time a notoriously slippery word and could have three principal meanings. First, it could be generic; of one substance could be said of two individual men, both of whom share human nature while remaining individuals.
Secondly, it could signify numerical identity, that is, that the Father and the Son are identical in concrete being. Finally, it could refer to material things, as two pots are of the same substance because both are made of the same clay. Constantine himself explained that “homoousios was not used in the sense of bodily affections, for the Son did not derive His existence from the Father by means of division or severance, since an immaterial, intellectual and incorporeal nature could not be subject to any bodily affection. These things must be understood as bearing a divine and ineffable signification.” The point was that the third meaning of homoousios, with its connotations of materiality was not the meaning used in the creed. That left the two previous meanings. It seems that the Council, intent on stressing the equality of the Son with the Father, had the first meaning explicitly in mind. Father and Son are homoousioi in that they are equally divine (The First Seven Ecumenical Councils. Collegeville, Minnesota: The Liturgical Press, 1983. Pg. 61).
Now, I appreciate this quote if only because it is a nice foil to James Anderson’s contention in Paradox in Christian Theology that Trinitarian orthodoxy necessitates numeric as opposed to generic unity whereas Davis says it’s the reverse (you can see my review of Anderson here and here). That’s because Gordon Clark’s theory of unity among the divine persons is generic. The problem for Shelton is that neither numeric or generic unity has any similarity to his Unitarian or semi-Arian scheme where only the Father is the one true God. That’s because in his subordnationist scheme there is no need to unify anything as the Son and Spirit emanate like appendages from the Father. Three equals are not unified as one, but one superior concrete person, the Father, unites the two inferior persons within himself (see Shelton’s goofy illustration above). I don’t recall who it was, but someone commenting on Shelton’s loony “triadology” called it “Monarchal modalism” and I think that is a pretty good description. Heresy is another.
Notice too that according to Davis the intent of the Council was to stress “the equality of the Son with the Father” and not the Son’s imagined subordination to the Father.
Then there is quote by John Norman Davidson Kelly who similarly makes the argument that Clark’s preferred generic solution to the problem of the Three in One is the correct way to understand the Nicene creed and how the Persons of the Trinity are one being or homoousios:
It is reasonable to suppose, pace Eusebius, that a similar meaning, viz. ‘of the same nature’, was read into the homoousion. But if this is granted, a further question at once arises: are we to understand ‘of the same nature’ in the ‘generic’ sense in which Origen, for example, had employed ὁμοούσιος, or are we to take it as having the meaning accepted by later Catholic [i.e. Western] theology, viz. numerical identity of substance? The root word οὺσία could signify the kind of substance or stuff common to several individuals of a class, or it could connote an individual thing as such…Indeed, the doctrine of numerical identity of substance has been widely assumed to have been the specific teaching of the Nicene Council. Nevertheless there are the strongest possible reasons for doubting this. The chief of these is the history of the term ὁμοούσιος [homoousian] itself, for in both its secular and its theological usage prior to Nicaea it always conveyed, primarily at any rate, the ‘generic’ sense (Early Christian Doctrine, pages, 234-235).
I’m actually grateful to Shelton for these quotes, not because they even remotely make his subordinationist and heretical point in the slightest, but because I can used them against men like Anderson who think that only numeric unity, “accepted by later Catholic [i.e. Western] theology,” is the only acceptable and orthodox way of understanding the unity of the divine Persons. But, regardless of whether or not one holds to numeric or generic unity, all Trinitarians hold to the truth that the God of Scripture is three Persons of one being, substance, or homoousian. I confess don’t know why this is so hard for Shelton to understand, but then I’m asking a lot from a man who thinks that God gave him “an understanding into things that maybe a handful of people alive understand.” Thankfully, I’m not one of the handful.
Finally, he provides a quote from Davis that confirms my understanding of Athanasius against claims made by Shelton’s subordinationist shill, Ryan Hedirch. However, rather than just the portions of the paragraph Shelton selectively cites on his blog, here is the paragraph in its entirety:
At first Athanasius did not much use the Nicene homoousios, but gradually he saw its full implication and became its most resolute defender. The likeness and unity of Father and Word cannot consist in just harmony and concord of mind and will, but must be in respect of essence. The divinity of the Father is identical to the divinity of the Word. The Word is other than the Father because He came forth from the Father, but as God, the Word and the Father are one and the same. What is said of the Father is said of the Son, except the Son is not called Father. Humans can be said to be homoousioi because they share human nature, but they cannot possess one and the same identical substance [homoousios]. The divine nature, however, is indivisible; possessed equally by Father and Word. God is thus the unique, indivisible monad; there is only one monarchy and supreme principle. But though Father and Word are one identical substance, “two they are because Father is Father and not Son; the Son is not the Father.” G. L. Prestige brings out very clearly how Athanasius went even beyond Nicaea. “Though Father and Son are not one but two objects as seen in relation to each other — the names denote distinct presentations of the divine being —yet their `substance’ is identical; if you analyze the meaning connoted by the word God, in whatever connection, you arrive in every case at exactly the same result, whether you are thinking of the Father or of the Son or of the Spirit. That is the point at which the creed was directed: the word God connotes precisely the same truth when you speak of God the Father as it does when you speak of God the Son. It connotes the same truth. So much the Council affirmed. But Athanasius went further. It must imply, he perceived, not only the same truth about God, but the same actual God, the same being. If you contemplate the Father, who is one distinct presentation of the deity, you obtain a mental view of the one true God. If you contemplate the Son or the Spirit, you obtain a view of the same God; though the presentation is different, the reality is identical.” Still, Athanasius has no word to express the subsistence as persons of Father and Son. For him even in 369 hypostasis which designates the three is the same as ousia which designates the one, and both signify being itself. This lingering imprecision in terminology will continue to bedevil theological discourse. – Leo Davis, The First Seven Ecumenical Councils (325-787), Their History and Theology.
What Shelton doesn’t understand (although he probably does which is why he completely butchered the above paragraph) is that what Davis is doing is showing the distinction between numeric unity (the failure to sufficiently differentiate the three hypostases from the one ousia to where the words become interchangeable per Athanasius) and generic unity (the view that the Three Persons are united under the genus or definition of God so that there are not three omnsciences, omnipotents, etc., but one per Clark). Consequently, not only is generic unity within the bounds of orthodoxy, but according to Davis is the view expressed in the original 325 creed. Generic unity maintains “the word God connotes precisely the same truth [or definition] when you speak of God the Father as it does when you speak of God the Son. It connotes the same truth. So much the Council affirmed.” The problem with numeric unity is that in ends in paradox because there is no clear sense in which God is three and one, which is why “Athanasius has no word to express the subsistence as persons of Father and Son” and why, for him, hypostasis and ousia “both signify being itself.” I should add the same can be said for Augustine who is the person usually associated with the idea of numeric unity. This is why Gordon Clark writes:
Augustine finds himself unable to define various terms especially person and substance. However, he is neither confused nor trapped into a contradiction, for he clearly says that the Godhead is one in one sense and three in a different sense. (The Trinity, 52-53)
Yet, whether someone holds to numeric or generic unity, the fact remains that neither the Council of Nicaea, nor Athanasius, nor the great Augustine, held to any notion of the ontological subordination of the Son, much less did they affirm that the Father alone is the one true God while leaving the Son and the Spirit out in the cold. All Three Persons of the Godhead are truly God and God is one. Of course, one would think Shelton would have picked all that up from the quotes he cited on his blog that were, I assume, designed to “refute me,” but like I said it’s hard to take the ravings of some lunatic howling in the asylum seriously.