On Authority, Order, and Equality within the Godhead

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Bumped to the top so that people can follow the comments/answers. I had made a comment on Twitter that no one had registered their concerns here. The problem with that comment is that I had forgotten to turn the comments on. The fault was entirely mine, but there was no guile in it—just incompetence.

I saw a video clip of me talking with James White about authority and submission within the Godhead, and I think some people were going to get worked up. So I told some other people that I would post this statement that our presbytery adopted four years ago. So . . . here it is. The comments are open and, as always, behave. [Whoops. I thought they were open. They are open now.]

Endorsed by Knox Presbytery CREC
October 9, 2019
Commended to Council

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On Authority, Order, and Equality within the Godhead
Affirmations and Denials

Preamble: Statement of Intent

In light of the recurring debate over the “eternal subordination of the Son,” it was our desire to make a statement that all orthodox believers on both sides of this discussion could affirm. While acknowledging that great care must be taken when it comes to our choices of words in all discussions of the Trinity, we do not want unnecessary division on the basis of mere terminological differences. This calls for a delicate balance, which Michael Ward describes quite well: “Lewis accepted the Nicene and Athanasian Creeds with their insistence on the co-eternity of the Son with the Father, but believed that the essential equality of divine being among the Persons of the Trinity was not incompatible with an ordering, even a kind of hierarchy, therein. Obviously, Christ was subject to the Father as man; but Lewis also thought he was to the Father as God. This position is distinguishable from the heresy of subordinationism; its locus classicus is 1 Cor. 15:27-28”[i] We submit the statement below to the candid evaluation of all those who love the truth of orthodoxy, the purity of the faith, and the peace of the church.

A Digest of Our Statement

1

We affirm, without qualification, the truths we have inherited from our Fathers in the Nicene and Chalcedonian Creeds, and as confirmed and reaffirmed in the Reformed standards.

We deny that the high mystery of the Trinity means that we cannot discuss it in edifying ways, conducive to true worship and as an encouragement to righteous living.

2

We affirm the utter simplicity of God.

We deny that God is in any way a composite Being. He is not an aggregation of His attributes, and He is not the sum total of three beings.

3

We affirm that the Father is the ultimate and infinite Speaker (Gen. 1:3), that the Son is the ultimate and infinite Word (John 1:1-2), and the Holy Spirit is the ultimate and infinite Interpreter (1 Cor. 2:10).

We deny that the eternal generation of the Son by the Father, and the eternal procession of the Holy Spirit from the Father and the Son, are in any way an indication of inferiority in the one begotten or in the one proceeding.

4

We affirm that, even as Scripture reveals to us the names of Father and Son, so God has placed real meaning in those words, and our mortal relations, such as earthly fathers and sons, are analogical but real reflections of the eternal Father and Son.

We deny that creaturely realities of finitude, mortality, or sin invalidate the archetypal nature of the Trinity with respect to man, or the capacity and responsibility for us to learn fatherhood and sonship from their immutable archetypes in the Holy Trinity.

5

We affirm that even as God is the Father of the Son, and the Author of all being, so there is real authority (auctoritas) within the Godhead.

We deny that the authority of the Father and the “responses” of the Son and Spirit are according to essence, divinity, rank, or station, but rather that they are according to eternal origin, generation, procession, operation, and order.

6

We affirm that in His incarnate state, the Son in His humanity submitted to the will of His Father in Heaven.

We deny that scriptural statements concerning the submission of Christ in His humanity can be transferred without qualification to the relations of the persons internally within the Godhead.

7

We affirm that the Son and Spirit in their respective missions reveal the authority and order of God the Father from all eternity.

We deny that within the Godhead this authority and obedience contained any tension, distance, conflict, friction, or resistance whatsoever.

8

We affirm that when God speaks a command, the Son is Himself the very Command that is spoken.

We deny that the asymmetry affirmed in this statement in any way contradicts or threatens the doctrine of divine simplicity or the Godhead’s single will. 

9

We affirm that the unified will of God is in no way in contradiction with the dispositions of the persons toward the Father, or with their distinct yet inseparable operations in the cosmos.

We deny that this is in any way a contradiction, while confessing that it is a high mystery.

10

All statements regarding the eternal God, and above all those truths regarding His triune nature, are a mere knife’s edge away from heresy. Yet we speak, not that we may try to explain the unfathomable, but lest we be completely silent, as Augustine said, remembering that while the secret things belong to the Lord, those things that are revealed belong to us and to our children (Deut. 29:29).

Our Statement in Full

1

We affirm that God’s wisdom is unsearchable (Rom. 11:33), and that He dwells in unapproachable light (1 Tim. 6:16). His ways are not ours, and His thoughts are not ours (Is. 55:8). The doctrine of the Trinity should therefore be handled by us with all due humility, and this is particularly the case when reasoning by extension to or from that doctrine. Such humility should check us from any rash speculations, as well as from hasty accusations. We affirm, without qualification, the truths we have inherited from our Fathers in the Nicene and Chalcedonian Creeds, and as confirmed and reaffirmed in the Reformed standards.

We deny that the high mystery of the Trinity means that we cannot discuss it in edifying ways, conducive to true worship and as an encouragement to righteous living. We therefore insist that the doctrine of the Trinity is not an irrelevant doctrine when it comes to a practical Christian life—we worship the eternal Father, after all, from whom lesser and temporal fatherhoods derive their name (Eph. 3:15). The doctrine of the Trinity is essential to all rightly-ordered Christian living, and particularly to our worship. In our Christian discipleship, we are called to imitate things that we cannot really duplicate (John 17:21; Eph. 5:25), and we accept our responsibility to do so.

2

We affirm the utter simplicity of God. The fact of His triune majesty does not negate the truth that our God is in fact one God (Dt. 6:4). The one true God is infinite, omnipotent, utterly and inexhaustibly sovereign, without shadow of turning, variation, or change, without body, parts or passions, all-sufficient, all-knowing, and without any contingency whatever.

We deny that God is in any way a composite Being. He is not an aggregation of His attributes, and He is not the sum total of three beings. He is not a large version of anything we might conceive or experience. What we know about God is what He reveals to us, not what we project into His place. Every earthly illustration or analogy of the Trinity taken from human experience is, if pressed inappropriately, simply the illustration of some heresy or other. But because our knowledge of God is analogical, it is necessary to use such illustrations, and possible to do so responsibly.

3

We affirm that the Father is the ultimate and infinite Speaker (Gen. 1:3), that the Son is the ultimate and infinite Word (John 1:1-2), and the Holy Spirit is the ultimate and infinite Interpreter (1 Cor. 2:10). And the Speaker, the Spoken, and the Interpreter are all one truth, the one true God. And so there is only one will within the Godhead, not three competing wills or three agreeing wills. As Father, Son, and Spirit mutually indwell each other, so also each glorifies the other in accordance with the love they share for each other.

We deny that the eternal generation of the Son by the Father, and the eternal procession of the Holy Spirit from the Father and the Son, are in any way an indication of inferiority in the one begotten or in the one proceeding. All that is begotten by God in this way is God, and all that proceeds in this way from God is God. At the same time, the revealed names of Father and Son bring with them some indication of authority and order within the Godhead, as addressed below.

4

We affirm that, even as Scripture reveals to us the names of Father and Son, so God has placed real meaning in those words, and our mortal relations, such as earthly fathers and sons, are analogical but real reflections of the eternal Father and Son. In God the Father Almighty resides all authority, dignity, dominion, might, majesty, and honor. He is the Origin of all that is, including the Son and Spirit. He is the Monarch of all Being, and the First Principle without Principle. Solely His is the property of Fatherhood within the Trinity, so that in God, the name Father signifies not only relation, but indeed His very Person. As Father, He is the Origin or Auctor of the Son and Spirit, and so it is necessary for Him to be the Teacher and Sender of the Son and Spirit.

We deny that creaturely realities of finitude, mortality, or sin invalidate the archetypal nature of the Trinity with respect to man, or the capacity and responsibility for us to learn fatherhood and sonship from their immutable archetypes in the Trinity. In descending from His loftiness to communicate with men, God speaks as with a lisp, as Calvin says, accommodating His eternal realities to our weakness, yet revealing through His Word such truths as are necessary and edifying for us. That we cannot understand or map all aspects of the Trinity onto those of human experience is sure; yet to use this to deny the truths that are revealed is impudence and an affront to the Father’s gracious condescending revelation.  

5

We affirm that even as God is the Father of the Son, and the author of all being, so there is real authority (auctoritas) within the Godhead. This authority is the pattern for all authority delegated by the Father to men, yet intra-Trinitarian authority differs from this insofar as the Son and Spirit are uncreated, and share with the Father all power, might, divinity, and equality. This authority is therefore the asymmetrical authority of the Father with respect to the unique paternity He possesses: it is the dignity of authorship, the preeminence of principle, the distinction of generation, and His own, peculiar, and unshared honor of Fatherhood. 

We deny that the authority of the Father and the “responses” of the Son and Spirit are according to essence, divinity, rank, or station, but affirm rather that they are according to eternal origin, generation, procession, operation, and order. Even as the Son and Spirit are of one substance with the Father, there are no gradations of divinity, rank, or dignity among them; yet as they are “of the Father,” so they are not of themselves, but Son is of the Father, very God of very God, and the Holy Spirit is from the Father and the Son. By affirming this we in no way deny the equality of the Son and Spirit, but rather join them in magnifying the original sovereignty of the Father.

6

We affirm that in His incarnate state, the Son in His humanity submitted to the will of His Father in Heaven. The Incarnate Christ learned obedience through the things that He suffered (Heb. 5:8), and was obedient even to the point of death on the cross (Phil. 2:8). For example, Christ in His humanity has God for His head in some way analogous to how a man has Christ for his head, and woman has man for her head (1 Cor. 11:3).

We deny that scriptural statements concerning the submission of Christ in His humanity can be transferred without qualification to the relations of the persons internally within the Godhead. Texts that display the obedience of Jesus of Nazareth cannot be simply applied to the eternal Son as though they were talking about the same thing, or addressing the same issue. For example, the Incarnate Son, Christ in His humanity, was sent to Jerusalem to die (Matt. 26:39; Phil. 2:8), and He obeyed His Father as He went. This is not the same thing as the eternal Son being sent into the world, but is still analogous to it.

7

We affirm that the Son and Spirit in their respective missions reveal the authority and order of God the Father from all eternity. The Son has nothing but what is begotten and received from the Father; even as the Son has received all honor and glory from the Father (John 8:54), so all that the Son receives is to the honor of Him who begat Him before all worlds. So also the Spirit speaks nothing but what He has heard from the Father and the Son, and so all honor given to Him redounds first to the glory of the Father from whom He principally proceeds, and then to the Son, who for us men and our salvation sent Him as the Lord and Giver of Life.

We further affirm that prior to the Incarnation, and independent of it, the eternal Son was sent into the world (John 3:17; 10:36; 17:18) which He created. Even as it would be unfitting and impious for the Father to be sent, and as the Son always does what pleases the Father, so the eternal Son received and carried out the will of His Father. 

We deny that within the Godhead this authority and obedience contained any tension, distance, conflict, friction, or resistance whatsoever. The relations of the persons within the Godhead are always and necessarily harmonious.

8

We affirm that authority as it exists within the Godhead cannot be fully imagined by us, and must not be understood as though the Father were barking orders, and the Son were obeying them as a subordinate. Rather, in fear and trembling we remember (as Augustine reminded us) that when God speaks a command, the Son is Himself the very Command that is spoken. Insofar as His will is indissolubly one with the Father’s, the Father’s command is also the Son’s command, yet insofar as the Father is the Origin, it is first, principally, and authoritatively the Father’s command.

We deny that the asymmetry affirmed in this statement in any way contradicts or threatens the doctrine of divine simplicity or the Godhead’s single will. We acknowledge it is impossible to fully conceive of one unified will issuing in the economic works, order, or subordination of the distinct persons of the Trinity, but since this is how Scripture speaks, we must be content with the revealed mystery. We also cannot comprehend how the reciprocity of the Father’s love for the Son, and the Son’s love for the Father, can be a function of one will. And yet our salvation depends upon this being so.

9

We affirm that the unified will of God is in no way in contradiction with the dispositions of the persons toward the Father, or with their distinct yet inseparable operations in the cosmos. God the Father as Sender and God the Son as Sent and God the Spirit as Enabler act as one, so that when the Son came into the world and obeyed the Father, He was acting in a way absolutely fitting to the eternal relation between Him and the Father. In obeying the Father and always doing what He sees His Father do (John 5:19), Jesus acts in a way consonant with the eternal relation between them, in which the Son’s will is also the Father’s, even as He received it from the Father.

We deny that this is in any way a contradiction, while confessing that it is a high mystery. The will of the Father and the will of the Son are the same will, and so the authority of the Father results necessarily in a relation wherein the Son and Spirit delight to magnify the Father’s authorship, regency, dignity, and prerogative. Such authority is unseen by men in its perfection, yet is the archetype and pattern for the authority, power, and dominion the Father has distributed among men, even in this world wherein we see “through a glass, darkly.”

10

All statements regarding the eternal God, and above all those truths regarding His triune nature, are a mere knife’s edge away from heresy. Yet we speak, not that we may try to explain the unfathomable, but lest we be completely silent, as Augustine said, remembering that while the secret things belong to the Lord, those things that are revealed belong to us and to our children (Deut. 29:29). With firm reliance on Holy Scripture, then, and in accord with the holy fathers of our faith, we magnify and exalt the Holy Trinity: the Father in His authority, the Son in His nativity, and the Spirit in His communion—authority and response, order and equality, in perfect and ultimate harmony. “Unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen” (1 Tim. 1:17).


[i] Michael Ward, Planet Narnia (Oxford: OUP, 2008), p. 135.

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Josh Sommer
2 months ago

Doug, I recently saw your complaint on X that there have been no efforts to engage the CREC statement here on your website. (See https://x.com/douglaswils/status/1735313824201498690?s=20) I’m not sure why no one has jumped on here to engage, but I’d suspect it’s because comment features on websites and web forums have largely been replaced by social media platforms like X. In any event, instead of replying to your comments and the above statement on X or anywhere else, I thought I’d ask some questions here first, per your request. All these questions pertain to the above subject matter. 1) How does… Read more »

Jeff Moss
Jeff Moss
2 months ago
Reply to  Josh Sommer

Good questions, Josh. I look forward to seeing what answers are given to them.

Jeff Moss
Jeff Moss
2 months ago
Reply to  Douglas Wilson

More Nicene theology from St. Gregory of Nazianzus, who presided over the Second Ecumenical Council which put the Nicene Creed in its final form: “It is impossible and inconceivable that the Son should do anything that the Father doeth not.” So then, does the Son eternally obey? (I.e., does He obey the Father within the eternal Godhead?) If yes (as you have said in the past), then either (a) the Father likewise eternally obeys the Son (I don’t believe this, and I doubt that you do); or (b) you think the Nicene theology as represented by Gregory is wrong on… Read more »

Jeff Moss
Jeff Moss
2 months ago
Reply to  Jeff Moss

And while the Nicene theology truly is great, here is the same teaching in our Lord’s own words:

“Jesus answered…’I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.'” John 5:19.

According to the Son Himself, He can do nothing except what the Father does.
And everything that the Father does, the Son likewise does.

So does the Son, as God, obey?

Jeff Moss
Jeff Moss
2 months ago
Reply to  Douglas Wilson

Doug,

On the same day you’ve reposted a statement that says:

“We acknowledge it is impossible to fully conceive of one unified will issuing in the economic works, order, or subordination of the distinct persons of the Trinity, but since this is how Scripture speaks, we must be content with the revealed mystery.”

and also asserted:

“I am not a subordinationist, and I am not unsure about that. I am not a subordinationist.”

What is a subordinationist, if not one who proclaims that Scripture teaches the “subordination of the distinct persons of the Trinity”?

Jeff Moss
Jeff Moss
2 months ago
Reply to  Jeff Moss

I realize that your view may hinge on the qualifier “economic” in the Presbytery-approved statement…but I’d still like to hear you explain how it works together in your mind. Thank you.

Jeff Moss
Jeff Moss
2 months ago
Reply to  Douglas Wilson

Doug, please let me ask you another question, in complete good faith:

Do you worship Jesus Christ?

Jeff Moss
Jeff Moss
2 months ago
Reply to  Douglas Wilson

Thank you.

Josh Sommer
2 months ago
Reply to  Douglas Wilson

I very much appreciate your responses. Just a quick note on #1 — If authority is proper to essence, it would seem asymmetric authority between Father & Son could not be understood in the same way eternal processions are understood. The eternal generation of the Son just is the communication of the whole divine essence, which would mean the same authority attributed to Father would also be attributed to Son (& Spirit). And at the risk of coming off pedantic… I don’t at all want to be that annoying kid in class, but your responses here seem more clear than… Read more »

Gordon
Gordon
2 months ago
Reply to  Josh Sommer

We really are rubbing up against the limits of language in discussions like this, so it is very important to maintain a loose grip and sincere humility of mind. However, it seems to me that once you move the locus of attention from eternity into time, you open the door to some kind of subordination by necessity. For example, the Son eternally proceeds from the Father, but apart from time (I.e. sequence) this is impossible to conceive. It is the same with the Spirit proceeding from the Father and the Son, which conceptually, in time, requires movement (one prior to… Read more »

Demosthenes1d
Demosthenes1d
2 months ago

Doug,

This post is buried, and i doubt it will get any attention. But could you please respond clearly with what you mean by “We affirm that when God speaks a command, the Son is Himself the very Command that is spoken.”

Of course Christ is the Command in an ontological sense, as he executes the action of the godhead, consonant with the unified will, but he isnt “God’s command.” I cant read this in any non muddled way. Please help!

Demosthenes1d
Demosthenes1d
2 months ago
Reply to  Douglas Wilson

I see where you are goung with it, but can’t you see how “We affirm that when God speaks a command, the Son is Himself the very Command that is spoken” is confused due to the semantic range of command. Christ is the command, or divine executive word, of the Godhead. But he isn’t every “command” issued by God. “Let their be light” is different from “thou shalt not kill!”

Do you agree?

Gordon
Gordon
2 months ago
Reply to  Demosthenes1d

Hmm. “Let there BE…” is authoritative in creating what the word intends. “Thou shalt not…” is also authoritative in creating the reality of the standard. Same degree of authority embodied in each “word” but different intent by the speaker. I know what you’re getting at, but I think it’s not that clean.

Demosthenes1d
Demosthenes1d
2 months ago
Reply to  Gordon

Gordon (and Doug),

I think Doug answered pretty well. It gave me more to chew on, at least. As long as we understand the command coming from the unified will of God and not being something where the son is submitting or conforming to the will of the Father then I think I’m ok with this as a speculative analogy (which is what Augustine was doing).

Your description is also helpful, but (I think) the command to the Israelites is proclaiming a pre-existant reality. So there remains a distintion between commands.

Thanks!

Demosthenes1d
Demosthenes1d
2 months ago
Reply to  Douglas Wilson

Thanks.

I see where you are going with it, but can’t you see how “We affirm that when God speaks a command, the Son is Himself the very Command that is spoken” is confused due to the semantic range of command. Christ is the Command, or divine executive word, of the Godhead. But he isn’t every “command” issued by God. “Let their be light” is different from “thou shalt not kill!”

Do you agree?

Demosthenes1d
Demosthenes1d
2 months ago
Reply to  Demosthenes1d

Sorry for the double post, I thought it glitched the first time. Also, thanks for bumping this to the top, its important.

Sean Wilson
2 months ago

Possibly of interest both for Pastor Wilson and for other commenters: Thomas Aquinas did have a category of the Father having a kind of authority (auctoritatis) in opposition to the Son. As I understand it, this authority is simply the Father’s eternal generation of the Son under another name, and shouldn’t be understood as the Father willing anything against the will of the Son (since there is one undivided divine will). […] although we attribute to the Father something of authority by reason of His being the principle, still we do not attribute any kind of subjection or inferiority to… Read more »

Justin Parris
Justin Parris
2 months ago

“Ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand if God the Father almighty” I’m no expert on this topic, and frankly don’t find it very interesting as there are hard limitations on earthly man’s ability to comprehend the triune. But from a purely grammatical perspective, how did anyone find Jesus being in submission controversial? Being someone’s “right hand” *is* a lesser-than phrasing. Right there in the apostles’ creed it sits. Right or wrong, it’s certainly not a strange conclusion to draw. But not for my will, but thy will be done. The prayer in the garden struck me so… Read more »

Last edited 2 months ago by Justin Parris
Jeff Moss
Jeff Moss
2 months ago
Reply to  Justin Parris

The ascension into Heaven and sitting at the Father’s right hand speaks of Jesus as incarnate: “our Man in glory,” as A. W. Tozer described it. The prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane also is the prayer of the incarnate Christ: the Man, God in flesh, who was soon going to be nailed to the wooden cross for our salvation! The ancient heresy of Monophysitism involved a blending of the two natures of Christ, mixing them together to lose track of the difference between God and man. Christ is one Person but into eternally truly and fully existing in His… Read more »

Justin Parris
Justin Parris
2 months ago
Reply to  Jeff Moss

I’m not forming an argument. I’m pointout out that its hardly a wildly out of nowhere perspective. To a plain reading, it would seem to be a sensible interpretation at face value. I am not arguing that this is the case because as I said, I don’t find it very interesting. I don’t find it an especially meaningful distinction from our perspective. Plenty of things are submissive in one sense and dominating in another. Rock submits to paper, but holds authority over scissors. Whatever the relationship within the Godhead, it is infinitely more complex than whatever it is you’re picturing.… Read more »

Jeff Moss
Jeff Moss
2 months ago
Reply to  Justin Parris

The trouble here is that it was an ancient error to take Scriptures referring to Jesus’ humanity and apply them to His divinity. The people who first famously made this error were called Arians, and their teaching was definitively proclaimed to be heresy in the 4th century. Some of those who commonly do the same thing today are called Jehovah’s Witnesses. This is a dangerous deception that has led, over and over, to denial of the fully deity of Christ. Sincere people can fall into this error, certainly. But they need to be gently but firmly rebuked when they do,… Read more »

Justin Parris
Justin Parris
2 months ago
Reply to  Jeff Moss

“The trouble here is that it was an ancient error to take Scriptures referring to Jesus’ humanity and apply them to His divinity. “ A silly topic upon which to criticize someone unless they openly affirm it, as there’s no objective measure determining which verse is which nature, regardless of how apparent it may seem. True criticism or not, you have no measuring stick. “Some of those who commonly do the same thing today are called Jehovah’s Witnesses.” Not a relevant comparison unless you’re suggesting the person in question is teaching JW doctrine, which no one here is. You might be… Read more »

Jeff Moss
Jeff Moss
2 months ago
Reply to  Justin Parris

Justin, you wrote, “There’s no objective measure determining which verse is which nature, regardless of how apparent it may seem.” Actually, there is an objective measure, and that measure is what we know from Scripture about God, and about man—since Christ is truly both. If a particular Scripture about the God-man is saying something that other Scripture describes as belonging only to God (for example, that He is immortal by nature), then that refers to Christ in His divinity. On the other hand, if a Scripture says something about Him that can belong only to man (for example, that He… Read more »

Jeff Moss
Jeff Moss
2 months ago
Reply to  Justin Parris

By the way, Justin, the reason that I asked Doug whether he worships Jesus Christ is that I have never (to my memory) actually heard him say before that he does worship Christ, or that Christians should do that.

He’s certainly very clear on worshiping the Father, and on worshiping “the Triune God” (e.g., praying to the Father through the Son and the Spirit, as he has written elsewhere). He has not been so forthright about Christians worshiping the Son.

So I am grateful that he has responded strongly, and rightly, on this point.

Steve Long
Steve Long
2 months ago
Reply to  Jeff Moss

Jeff,

When you say that it is a serious error to “take Scriptures referring to Jesus’ humanity and apply them to His divinity,” does that leave any room for the concept of communicatio idiomatum (which Schaff defines as “the communication of attributes or properties of one nature to the other, or to the whole person”)?

Jeff Moss
Jeff Moss
2 months ago
Reply to  Steve Long

Yes, it most certainly does leave room for communicatio. The doctrine of communicatio idiomatum applies to passages like Acts 20:28: “Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.” Now, blood is not literally a property of the Godhead. Importantly, that fact remains true, even though this Scripture also speaks truly. Blood is a property of created being, and in this case, human nature in particular. BUT because of the personal union, Christ, who is God, shed… Read more »

Steve Long
Steve Long
2 months ago
Reply to  Jeff Moss

Thanks for clarifying!

Bijan Mahlouji
Bijan Mahlouji
2 months ago

“We deny that within the Godhead this authority and obedience contained any tension, distance, conflict, friction, or resistance whatsoever. The relations of the persons within the Godhead are always and necessarily harmonious.” (Article 7) This denial is an affirmation of authority and obedience within the Godhead. How do you have authority and obedience without two wills: the will of the authority and the will obeying (or submitting)? Glen Butner pointed out in article that locating authority and submission were properly located in the nature not in personhood, which was crucial for dyothelite/monothelite controversy. We affirm dyothelitism precisely because Christ has… Read more »

J. J. Griffing
J. J. Griffing
1 month ago

The one point I’d ask to clarify (though it’s a quibble) is in the introduction above; it’s unclear until one pursues the footnotes which “Lewis” is being referenced by the Ward quote. Perhaps a simple emendation as “[C. S.] Lewis affirmed …” since nowhere in the brief passage is any particular indication that the Lewis theologian noted is Clive Staples, and not Jerry Lee.