Triune Botherations

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Introduction

I feel like the guy right before Pickett’s charge who thought he could make peace by walking between the armies in a gray coat and blue trousers. So wish me luck everybody.

As many of you know, a controversy with two layers erupted within the last month, having to do with Trinitarian theology and complementarianism. I have provided some links to all this at the bottom of the post here. Theologians like Wayne Grudem have taught that within the Godhead there is an eternal functional subordination, which provides a model for a complementarian approach to marriage. Critics like Mark Jones have maintained that this necessitates three wills within the Godhead and that the orthodox position has always maintained that there is only a single divine will, and that to say anything otherwise is to mess with the divine simplicity. A third set of critics like Tim and David Bayly agree with Grudem as far as it goes, but emphasize that the complementarian world needs to be a lot more robust in its opposition to egalitarianism.Harder Than I Thought

And I agree with everybody!

Maybe Not Quite

Actually, here is what I agree with. I agree that there cannot be three wills within the Godhead. I agree with the critics there. I agree that true and ultimate authority/submission must be grounded within the Godhead. I agree with Grudem there. And I agree with the Baylys that a thin and deracinated complementarianism won’t get you anywhere.

Where do I differ? The main thing I differ with is the use of the word subordination as part of the name for your position. This is a rhetorical point. Given that subordinationism is the name of one of the classic heresies concerning the Trinity, calling your position by a name involving this word root is simply inviting confusion. Having issued the invitation, we have gotten it.

Trying to use this word formally is like trying to say that you are simply arguing for the “orthodox kind of Nestorianism.” And I say this acknowledging at least the possibility that Nestorius himself was not Nestorian, and that he felt vindicated by Chalcedon. Case in point. On this subject, we not only have to consider the substance of our doctrine, but also what it might sound like to reasonable critics.

Important note: As I have argued for headship and submission in the past I have used the word subordination with reference to the Godhead. I have meant nothing other than a divine obedience to divine authority that was fully consistent with the divine equality. I now think that use of this particular word ought to be dropped, in the interests of clarity and peace. That is why this post is tagged under “Retractions.” But I don’t think authority and obedience ad intra should be dropped. I don’t think it can be dropped. For more on that, see below.

So I also differ with Dr. Liam Goligher.

“On the other hand, to say, suggest, or speculate that God’s life in heaven sets a social agenda for humans is to bring God down to our level.”

I differ when he denies that “God’s life in heaven” has anything to do with how authority and submission work on earth. “For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named,” (Eph. 3:14–15, ESV). It is not social Trinitarianism (albeit a conservative kind) to simply accept what the apostle teaches us here. When we call our fathers fathers, and we are taught to call God our Father, we are not bringing God down to our level. He is in the process of raising us to His. He did this by uniting us to His Son, and adopting us. That is what salvation is.

Now I agree with Goligher that God the Son did not wrestle with the will of His Father prior to the Incarnation. The experience of submission in the Garden of Gethsemane was incarnational and ad extra. I would agree that there was no turmoil in Heaven prior to the Incarnation. The Eternal Word did not wrestle to submit as did the Incarnate Word in the Garden. But it does not follow from this that there was obedience in the Garden only. It does not follow that the eternal Father has no authority, or that the Son was not sent into the world.

Not at All Arbitrary

The decision on which Person of the Trinity should become Incarnate was not an arbitrary or capricious one. There was no rock, paper, scissors determination on who should go. Given the reality of the one divine will, which I grant and fully embrace, it is nevertheless the case that the Father sent the Son, and that the Son was sent.

The Lord confesses His equality with the Father in the same breath in which He says that He came to earth because He was sent — “that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me” (John 17:21, ESV). The Father begets the Son, and the Son is begotten. This is ad intra. The Father sent the Son to Jerusalem to be crucified. This is ad extra, a revelation of the economic Trinity. But there also has to be an intersection of these two realms in the ad intra decision to have there even be an ad extra realm.

The Father gave the Son and the Son was given. The Father sent the Son and the Son was sent. It is true that Jesus was sent by the Spirit into the wilderness to begin His ministry. The God/man was also sent to Jerusalem to die. But He was also sent into the world. He was an Apostle of God (Heb, 3:1), sent into the world.

Having agreed, I think, with the Baylys here, I also differ with their understanding of what they think I am trying to do. They appear to think that I have abandoned my previous claims that feminism is at root a Trinitarian heresy, while I have not. But I also think that feminism is exegetical disobedience, as well as a revolt against natural law and common sense. Men and women are men and women everywhere they go, and not just in the pulpit and in the home.

Caution . . .

But another important point must be made. Let us all remember, when doing Trinitarian theology, that we are an unwieldy committee of learned chimps, charged with issuing a report on quantum physics tomorrow, and we just started yesterday. Our report is for the edification of all the stupid chimps. Getting in over our heads would be kind of easy.

Now someone will point out that they don’t see how it is possible to have “authority and submission within the Godhead coupled with complete ontological equality” without that position logically entailing three wills, which would then be heterodox. I frankly confess that it would be heterodox, and that I don’t know how there can be anything resembling authority and submission with only one will. I get the problem. But I also don’t see, and on exactly the same grounds, how there can be anything like a Father and a Son with only one will. If I could do the math on this kind of thing, I would be a good deal richer than I am.

So Fatherhood is ultimate, and Fatherhood is ad intra. The Fatherhood of the Father did not come into existence after the decision to create the world. It is not in any way dependent upon the decision to create the world. And so there should be no more difficulty in saying that the Son is eternally obedient than there is in saying that He is eternally begotten. His existence is obedience — eternal obedience, obedience that could not be otherwise. The Father’s existence is authority.

And I say all this while embracing the classic Nicene understanding of Trinitarian orthodoxy — one divine will, divine simplicity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, world without end, amen.

Postscript

If you need to get up to speed, here are a few links. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but I think it is fairly representative. Here is a post by Liam Goligher, and one from Wayne Grudem. Here is my previous post on the controversy, and responses from the Bayly brothers here and here. And this would be a sample of the way I would talk about it prior to this controversy. I still agree with everything I wrote there, but would want to provide additional qualifiers to my use of the phrase “economic subordination.” And one of the things that complementarian critics of Grudem’s position have discovered is that some people are cheering them on because they are egalitarians. So here is Tim Bayly challenging Trueman for his thin complementarianism — the kind of complementarianism that could draw egalitarian support.

One last comment: we need more careful Reformed scholasticism in our discussions of all these topics, not less. At the same time, we need to understand the enormous pressure that the Reformed world is under to cave on human sexuality. This debate cannot be conducted as though that pressure were not there, or is somehow irrelevant to the motivations of many.

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Andrew Bieber
Andrew Bieber
5 years ago

Solid!

David C Decket
David C Decket
5 years ago

I’m going to have to get out my systematic theology to understand all this from a laymans viewpoint!

"A" dad
"A" dad
5 years ago

I am a father, I am a son, I have a spirit.
I am one guy, with one will, a will that serves all of my interests, and directs them at the same time! (Not unlike The Triune God!)

How is that for “chimp speak”!?????

These discussions might be more productive if they explianed more about the errors of Catherine Clark Kreoger, and less on the resulting confusion.

David Koenig
David Koenig
5 years ago
Reply to  "A" dad

That’s modalism, Patrick.

Tim Bushong
Tim Bushong
5 years ago
Reply to  David Koenig

Aye–’tis modalism dere, roight down to da groun’.

"A" dad
"A" dad
5 years ago
Reply to  Tim Bushong

I looked up modalism.
I am not a modalist.
The distictions here are semantic .

matt massingill
matt massingill
5 years ago
Reply to  "A" dad

You may not be a modalist, but the example is. I think the relevant distinction here is that you the father, and you the son, are not distinct persons, but various relational roles of the danger person. The persons of the trinity are not simply different roles, but distinct persons.

matt massingill
matt massingill
5 years ago

Correction -meant “same” person – not “danger.” Blasted auto-correct!

"A" dad
"A" dad
5 years ago

Yet Jesus Himself says;
“I and the Father are one.”
John 10:30.????

Let’s just agree that being God , is not as limiting as being a man!????????????

"A" dad
"A" dad
5 years ago
Reply to  David Koenig

What’s “modalism”? Please shift to explain mode!????

Tim Bushong
Tim Bushong
5 years ago
Reply to  "A" dad

Modalism is the doctrine that the persons of the Trinity represent only three
modes or aspects of the divine revelation, not distinct and coexisting
persons in the divine nature.

"A" dad
"A" dad
5 years ago
Reply to  Tim Bushong

This does seem like a Lilliputian dialectic, where some insist the issue must be one or the other, when it can be both.

Aaron Hale
Aaron Hale
5 years ago
Reply to  "A" dad
NewChristendom
NewChristendom
5 years ago
Reply to  David Koenig

My wife and kids and I got a kick out of the Lutheran Satire reference. Looks like a couple others at least caught the allusion.

Steve Perry
Steve Perry
5 years ago

The Reformed world has already caved in the heavenly throne room of God. The church was the first to change the sign of our sexuality.

Clayton Hutchins
Clayton Hutchins
5 years ago

I think there’s a lot of sense here, Doug. My only qualm is with the statements that the Son’s existence “*is* obedience” and “the Father’s existence *is* authority.” While I do think authority and submission is found ad intra, I don’t think it’s found in the relations of origin. I don’t think it makes much sense to say that the Son “obeys” the Father’s “command” to exist. I think that pushes language a bit too far. I do think authority and submission is found ad intra, but it’s found in those ad intra works that look outward—you could say, the… Read more »

Clayton Hutchins
Clayton Hutchins
5 years ago
Reply to  Douglas Wilson

I agree that with “begetting” as well as “obeying,” we have to make clear the analogical nature of our speech when applied to God. But I think “begetting” is a more fitting term to describe eternal relations of origin than “obeying.” As long as we are talking about *origin* it helps to use a term that has to do with origins, such as begetting, generation, or spiration. I think the relations of origin parallel and perhaps even necessitate relations of authority-submission in outward works (even in eternal outward works: the ad intra works that face outward), but I don’t think… Read more »

geoffrobinson
geoffrobinson
5 years ago
Reply to  Douglas Wilson

Isn’t “begotten” language derived from the Greek “monogenes”? And don’t Greek scholars today think the term means something like “unique” or “one and only” instead of “begotten”?

It seems, unless I’m mistaken, that our knowledge of Greek has shown the creeds or at least our understanding of the creeds is a bit deficient on this point.

I would also like more Scripture to be brought to bear on this.

Clayton Hutchins
Clayton Hutchins
5 years ago
Reply to  geoffrobinson

“Begotten” language is also derived from notions of “Sonness” and “Fatherness.” Jesus makes mention of the fact that he pre-existed with the Father as the Son in the eternal state (John 17). There are a number of passages that point to the truth of the fact that the Father begets/generates the Son, without using that term–“as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son to have life in himself” (John 5) being one of the most prominent. Jonathan Edwards offers a lot more Biblical support for eternal generation in his “Discourse on the Trinity,” which can… Read more »

Brandon Klassen
Brandon Klassen
5 years ago

Is anybody else troubled by one side of this discussion seemingly arguing purely from tradition/creed/confession?

katecho
katecho
5 years ago

This is a very good point. Unless we simply grant the inerrancy of all ecumenical councils, we should take Wilson’s analogy about chimps and quantum physics to heart. I think it’s quite unfortunate that a deep stake was already sunk in the ground, centuries ago, over the monothelite controversy. I believe it was hasty. Wilson wrote: Now I agree with Goligher that God the Son did not wrestle with the will of His Father prior to the Incarnation. The experience of submission in the Garden of Gethsemane was incarnational and ad extra. I would agree that there was no turmoil… Read more »

Jacob Schroeder
Jacob Schroeder
5 years ago

Brandon, I’m assuming you’re contrasting their method with those who rely more on Scripture in these debates. I’m in favor of discussing biblical texts, but to be fair, a good chunk of the arguments have not been over whether ESS/ERAS is biblical, but whether it is Nicene trinitarianism. So far as that conversation goes, the Scriptures don’t help us out much. Now, when we turn to discussing biblical texts, perhaps your concerns are well-founded concerning the non-ESS/ERAS folks. But arguing from Scripture is only helpful if the texts actually address the issue at hand. In this controversy, that has often… Read more »

Brandon Klassen
Brandon Klassen
5 years ago

I’ve nothing against creeds and confessions and the philosophical and metaphysical meanderings taken by more erudite individuals, but when that appears to be *all* they offer, I get troubled. Let’s see them argue from the texts in question (1 Cor. 11:3, 15:28, etc) themselves instead of resorting to tradition. That route has already been taken by the RCers and we, on the other side, soundly (and rightly) condemn such cop outs. >>I’m in favor of discussing biblical texts, but to be fair, a good chunk of the arguments have not been over whether ESS/ERAS is biblical, but whether it is… Read more »

Jacob Schroeder
Jacob Schroeder
5 years ago

Brandon, thanks. Those fourth and fifth paragraphs helped me understand your point. Trueman and Goligher did set this off with a bang and the discussion has clearly suffered for it. As for the charge of setting creeds as the ultimate authority, I don’t hear anybody saying that. While CT & LG used some strong language, I cannot recall them saying this. In fact, CT said quite the opposite: “Now, we live in a free country and, as Protestants, we are committed to scripture alone as the norming norm. Thus, you are free to say that Nicene orthodoxy has no place… Read more »

Brandon Klassen
Brandon Klassen
5 years ago

>>As for the attitude at the forefront of this debate, I agree. It is at times lamentable. But I have seen numerous folks on the anti-ERAS side who would be happy to discuss this in a brotherly manner with anyone who can get past the inflammatory comments of CT & LG. Right, and Dr. White is one of those. And nowhere about him is the alarm and rhetorical hoopla that has consumed the instigators of this discussion. I am waiting (impatiently) for him to devote an entire Dividing Line (or several) to this discussion. It was three Dividing Line’s ago… Read more »

Jacob Schroeder
Jacob Schroeder
5 years ago

I haven’t tuned into Dr. White on this one yet. I’ll have to check him out. Thanks!

Aaron Hale
Aaron Hale
5 years ago

I am not sure who said it, but I have heard it said that “mystery is the lifeblood of theology”. Not to cop-out, but we must acknowledge an element of mystery when seeking to know the Triune God. Thank you for the article and for your firm stand on calling what God established in creation as “very good” still very good in the 21st century. Truly, Satan is relentlessly trying to redefine good to God’s people and may we “put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil” Eph.… Read more »

lloyd
5 years ago

“On this subject, we not only have to consider the substance of our doctrine, but also what it might sound like to reasonable critics.” Not to change the subject, rather just as an aside. The above is what I think of flying the stars and bars. Also I thought Liam Goligher was the lead singer of the 90s band Oasis. And third, I really appreciate your analogy to us as chimps in trying to understand the trinity. I’m gonna go ahead and say that I’m probably not up to the chimp level yet. Just put me in the Golden Retriever… Read more »

Capndweeb
Capndweeb
5 years ago
Capndweeb
Capndweeb
5 years ago
Reply to  jillybean

I cannot find a “satire” or “humor” tag on this, so I shall present it without further comment: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/26/us/politics/a-born-again-donald-trump-believe-it-evangelical-leader-says.html?_r=0

katecho
katecho
5 years ago
Reply to  Capndweeb

Mr. Anthony referred to the Damascus-road conversion of Saul, a zealous
Pharisee, who later became the Apostle Paul: “He didn’t know the
language either.”

Ya, that Saul was really ignorant of Scripture before his conversion.

Capndweeb
Capndweeb
5 years ago
Reply to  katecho

If Trump is now Paul, the photo-op of the scales falling from his eyes is gonna be ‘uuuuge!

Joseph Bayly
5 years ago

Yes, He is above us, and we must approach this issue acknowledging that. I’ve said much the same to other men about the Son’s obedience. Just because you can’t grasp how it works doesn’t mean you should ignore the clear words of Scripture. The Son obeys eternally. If you cannot acknowledge that, you’re allowing your own limited philosophical categories to limit who God is in contradiction to His word.

Tim Bayly
5 years ago

>>I also differ with their understanding of what they think I am trying to do. They appear to think that I have abandoned my previous claims that feminism is at root a Trinitarian heresy, while I have not.

Never crossed our minds that you had.

>>challenging Trueman for his thin complementarianism

Actually, challenging Trueman and Liam for their misrepresentation of John Calvin. Scandalous, it is.

"A" dad
"A" dad
5 years ago
Reply to  Douglas Wilson

Wow!
Commentarianism at it’s best!
????

ME
ME
5 years ago

God exists outside and beyond our human hierarchies. So the triune God’s will is aligned, one part with the other. Therefore, within that dynamic there is no need for a chain of command and varying degrees of authority, because they are all one. You see the same thing in a healthy marriage, the two become one. One does not submit out of fear of mandated authority, one is not subordinate or inferior to another, our wills are aligned, we are on the same team.To submit is simply to align oneself with God’s will, like we submit one to the other,… Read more »

"A" dad
"A" dad
5 years ago
Reply to  ME

One body, different parts! The eyes might do the guiding, but the feet do the walking. One needs them both, and everything in between to get anywhere!????

Chuck
Chuck
5 years ago

“And so there should be no more difficulty in saying that the Son is eternally obedient than there is in saying that He is eternally begotten. His existence is obedience — eternal obedience, obedience that could not be otherwise. The Father’s existence is authority.” First, let me confess that I’m not a Trinitarian scholar. I am not even seminary educated. I’ve simply been reading a little bit here and there. With that in mind, please feel free to correct me if I’m in error. I have no problem with affirming generation as a distinguishing personal property of the Son within… Read more »

John
John
5 years ago
Reply to  Chuck

I don’t quite understand the issue with having a single will and an inherent authority within the trinity. Why can’t the Father and Son both have their wills, or their combined will, be that the Father be in a place of authority over the Son?

So, the Son’s will is that he obey the father and the Father’s will is that the Son obeys the Father, and in the same way the Father’s will is that he is in authority over the Son and the Son’s will is that the Father is in authority over him.

Chuck
Chuck
5 years ago
Reply to  John

Simply this: I think authority is inherent to the single divine essence, thus is equally attributable to all three Persons and not a distinguishing personal attribute among the Persons. While the Athanasian Creed is not actually an ecumenical creed, it is useful here:

“Similarly, the Father is almighty,
the Son is almighty,
the Holy Spirit is almighty.
Yet there are not three almighty beings;
there is but one almighty being.”

Authority is constitutive of what it means to be God.

John
John
5 years ago
Reply to  Chuck

I don’t know. I’m still not seeing the inherent contradiction. I don’t see how love existing between the Son, Father, and Holy Spirit is any less contradictory than the Father having authority over the Son. In both cases, the will of both persons of the trinity is equivalent. The only difference is in the pronouns used when describing it.

Authority, as it relates to persons, like love, is relational in nature.

katecho
katecho
5 years ago
Reply to  John

What’s interesting is that we see the Father giving all authority to the Son, and not the other way around: “For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God; for He gives the Spirit without measure. “The Father loves the Son and has given all things into His hand. — John 3:34-35 (see also John 5:21-23, and Matthew 28:18) It is interesting to me who is doing the giving in this passage. The Father is giving to the Son, because the Father loves the Son. I don’t take this to mean that the Father only loves the incarnate… Read more »

John
John
5 years ago
Reply to  katecho

Just to clarify, are you agreeing, disagreeing, or just commenting for clarification?

I don’t disagree with anything you said. In order to give authority you must be the one in authority.

katecho
katecho
5 years ago
Reply to  John

Just adding more ingredients to the conversation. Chuck wrote: I think authority is inherent to the single divine essence, thus is equally attributable to all three Persons and not a distinguishing personal attribute among the Persons. … Authority is constitutive of what it means to be God. The Son is eternally begotten of the Father. With this concept in mind, what if the equality of authority in the Trinity is what it is because the Son is eternally authorized of the Father? The authority of the Father passes to the Son eternally, as His gift. He has given Him the… Read more »

ME
ME
5 years ago

“They appear to think that I have abandoned my previous claims that feminism is at root a Trinitarian heresy, while I have not. But I also think that feminism is exegetical disobedience, as well as a revolt against natural law and common sense” Feminism is actually a response to Trinitarian heresy. It is exegetical disobedience, it is a revolt against natural law and common sense. However, it is a very predictable response to lies, deception, and false teachings. It is revoked authority. We beget exegetical disobedience when we try to replace our beautiful scriptures with words like “obey” rather than… Read more »

OKRickety
OKRickety
5 years ago
Reply to  ME

“Feminism … is a very predictable response to lies, deception, and false teachings.”

Who is lying, deceiving, and teaching falsely?

ME
ME
5 years ago
Reply to  OKRickety

Christian masculinists of the red pill variety.

mkt
mkt
5 years ago
Reply to  ME

Monomania strikes again.

Ian Miller
5 years ago
Reply to  ME

I was under the impression that the red pill-ers are a response to feminism, rather than the incitement?

ME
ME
5 years ago
Reply to  Ian Miller

Well, if it’s just a response to feminism, can you explain to me why Christian men who are called to lead, are instead passive aggressively sitting back and responding to feminism, spewing hatred towards all women, and misappropriating scripture?? It seems to me that “I’m just a response to feminism” is not leading at all, it is not going forth and spreading the good news, it is allowing yourself to become the very example of why feminism exists.

Ian Miller
5 years ago
Reply to  ME

I agree that it’s a terrible, sinful, cowardly, stupid response. I just thought that feminism, chronologically, came first. It’s joined a cycle now.

ME
ME
5 years ago
Reply to  Ian Miller

Yes! So let’s get together and break the cycle.

Ian Miller
5 years ago
Reply to  ME

I am with you.

mkt
mkt
5 years ago
Reply to  Ian Miller

Here’s an analogy: floods have wreaked havoc in a region for over 100 years. In an effort to stop them, a community gets a bit overzealous in building a dam, spending more time and money than is necessary.

Blaming the “red pill movement” on feminism is like blaming the dam for the floods.

Ian Miller
5 years ago
Reply to  mkt

My counter-analogy – when the flood wipes out a region because some stupid group of people wrecked the dam that already existed, instead of rebuilding the dam, the people from the wiped out region go and wreck the original dam-wreckers’s dam.

Christopher Casey
Christopher Casey
5 years ago
Reply to  Ian Miller

Like the blind leading the blind.

Ian Miller
5 years ago

Yup. That’s is it exactly. If you flip the races and sexes in the rhetoric of both of them, their tactics are clearly the same.

"A" dad
"A" dad
5 years ago
Reply to  Ian Miller

Let’s just make sure that the Bill Clintons , Hugh Hefners and Jon Edwardes of the world get their due portion of blame for feminism!????
And be thankful for Memi and other women, who speak a godly point of view on the issue!????

mkt
mkt
5 years ago
Reply to  "A" dad

Be thankful for what? Her whacked out view of sin and responsibility? As OKRickety has pointed out, “Her primary perspective is that women are being mistreated greatly by all of society and the church specifically, so they have the right to avoid personal responsibility until ‘the cause’ is first corrected.” What about men who are victims of frivorce and a legal system that ruins them financially and takes away their children? Can they avoid responsibility too? Should we be thankful when someone maligns others, making blanket statements and false claims with no quotes, links, etc.? And again, the idea that… Read more »

"A" dad
"A" dad
5 years ago
Reply to  mkt

Mkt, one sign of occupying the good center of an issue, is that you get disapproval from both sides. Memi gets grief from both sides on many issues. Please note that despite previous doubts, OKrickety is having “functional discussions” with Memi, both here and on her own blog. Memi is all for everyone being accountable for their own faults, however, she does advocate her understanding of the Word grounded principle that wives and women be dealt with gently, and not harshly. AKA, “safely”, with the understanding that God is not “safe” for anyone. If you listen to her and ask… Read more »

OKRickety
OKRickety
5 years ago
Reply to  "A" dad

Discussions with ME seem to only be functional when I relatively agree with her. When I disagree, she occasionally responds nicely, but most often her response could be described as unpleasant at best. For example, see her response to my question above. I’m sorry, A-dad, but she only wants to state her case, not discuss or argue its merits. “Memi gets grief from both sides on many issues.” I think that’s because of how she operates. When you behave as she does, you’re not going to make many friends, and it’s going to be hard to keep them if you… Read more »

"A" dad
"A" dad
5 years ago
Reply to  OKRickety

Romans 14 12 So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God. 13 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister. 14 I am convinced, being fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for that person it is unclean. ……….. 19 Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. Rick: “Feminism … is… Read more »

OKRickety
OKRickety
5 years ago
Reply to  ME

You regularly make this claim that feminism exists, and may even be increasing, because of red pillians. So, what qualifies you as an expert on feminism, its roots, and development?

ME
ME
5 years ago
Reply to  OKRickety

You’re really very argumentative and prone to try to play endless gotcha games, so I don’t trust that you are genuinely interested in receiving an answer.

OKRickety
OKRickety
5 years ago
Reply to  ME

And you’re not argumentative? My strong suspicion is that you don’t have any evidence for this claim, but you like to believe that you do. It’s really no different from any red pillian making unfounded claims. Believe what you want about my question, but that doesn’t make what you believe to be the truth.

ME
ME
5 years ago
Reply to  OKRickety

You often have a “strong suspicion” and accuse people of having “no evidence,” but you do this with all the wrong things. What I am suggesting is not really rocket science requiring great proof. Feminism, Marxism,and the LGBT lobby have joined forces in a rather unholy trinity, something that is observable and evident within our culture. The red pills, the far alt right, they all fuel a powerful desire in people to keep those fools out of power no matter what. And so the Left wins elections over and over again and women align themselves with feminism more and more,… Read more »

JohnM
JohnM
5 years ago
Reply to  ME

Why didn’t you say so before? This is the first time you connected the dots in a way that made sense to me. Still, I have to point out that feminism predates red pill and alt-right, and the dirty work that has been done and still is being done by feminists is the cause for the bitter reaction against them, more than the other way around. Telling people you hate them is one thing, being straight up about camouflaged monsters when you recognize them for what they are is another.

"A" dad
"A" dad
5 years ago
Reply to  JohnM

On her site, Memi tells the story of her parents split. It is a tough story. Memi learned from both sides of it.
“Dot connecting” does take time, sometimes! ; – )

Ian Miller
5 years ago
Reply to  JohnM

Part of the problem for me is that I don’t follow the links the alt right posts here. I made a choice not to do so after reading Vox Day and Free Northerner for an hour or two, and realizing that they are incredibly evil places. The alt right, despite its abrasive posting here, is actually much, much more blatant in its own spaces. Based only on the posts here, the alt right might possibly be a bunch of far-right chaos-drivers. But if you follow them down the hole, the full weight of their hatred becomes apparent. Because they are… Read more »

ME
ME
5 years ago
Reply to  Ian Miller

Well, speaking of links to the red pills, Dalrock has just posted about Wilson and from what I glean, he seems to find him lacking because he is not hostile towards women enough. Feminism is not an inception of the red pills on the internet, it sprung forth due to the attitudes and ideas espoused by those who today call themselves red pills. When women are hated and silenced enough, we tend to rebel. Since Pastor Wilson is allegedly a rad/fem, you can see the dilemma for the rest of us. There is nothing any woman can do to please… Read more »

JohnM
JohnM
5 years ago
Reply to  ME

Now maybe you have looked so far and so long down that hole your eyes have trouble adjusting to the light. If would be a horrible irony if you let their twistedness twist you in any way. Don’t let it.

Ian Miller
5 years ago
Reply to  ME

I did a tiny bit of reading over there to see – I’m half amused, half horrified. When one commentor made a “Wilson’s wrong but I think he means well” post, the pile-on was vicious.

You make a good point that feminism sprang from the abuses of misogynists/selfishness that has found a new root in the manosphere. I hadn’t considered that – thanks.

JohnM
JohnM
5 years ago
Reply to  Ian Miller

I haven’t gone far down that hole either – no need to, I see clearly enough from where I stand. You know, what has kept coming to mind this whole election year, as I read the Trump applauding posts here, and the alt right-ish posts by professing Christians? What comes to mind is the scene in Prince Caspian where the hag and the werewolf offer Caspian and those with him an alliance to overthrow Miraz. Caspian and the others, – with the exception of the dwarf Nikabrik, who is hardened and bitter over the mistreatment of his kind – won’t… Read more »

Ian Miller
5 years ago
Reply to  JohnM

Oh, man, that’s such a great analogy. The red-pilling Nikabrikians.

Too bad the virtuous dwarf’s name is Trumpkin. Haha. :)

jillybean
jillybean
5 years ago
Reply to  Ian Miller

From the little I have read, I think some of the red pill-ers are not responding to feminism so much as they are expressing a genuine dislike of women. The feeling I got was that they have not experienced happy relationships with women who combine good character, intelligence, and likeability.

Ian Miller
5 years ago
Reply to  jillybean

Dislike of women, or dislike of feminist women? I agree that it manifests in some extremely ugly misogyny, but I don’t think most of them outright admit that they don’t like women in general.

jillybean
jillybean
5 years ago
Reply to  Ian Miller

No, they don’t admit it, but it comes across regardless. I was surprised at the number of posts on those sites that said intelligence in a woman is a complete turn-off. Some said they believe women are incapable of authentic moral behavior. Almost everyone I read took it as an article of faith that any man can out-reason any woman. This, of course, requires them to believe that the Village Idiot is more logical than Madame Curie, but it would be unfeminine to point that out to them. It seems to me that if you limit your dating pool to… Read more »

Ian Miller
5 years ago
Reply to  jillybean

I think there’s probably some motte and bailey action going on there, just as there is similar “logical” wickedness with the term racism on progressive websites. I think they’d say that a feminist is a woman who hates marriage, men, and God (for the “Christian” red pill sites), but when they get to talking, that starts to include women who just like things other than those three.

JohnM
JohnM
5 years ago
Reply to  jillybean

Not a red pill-er here, but the thing is, feminism is largely what has made so many contemporary women the kind with whom a man could not experience happiness. That includes women who would not be about to identify as feminists, so much have the goals of feminism been realized and are now things taken for granted.

jillybean
jillybean
5 years ago
Reply to  JohnM

I think that probably the biggest happiness-killer is a chronic spirit of resentment and discontent. I don’t see how a marriage can thrive when it is dominated by demands about rights, feelings, and needs. Some women who don’t consider themselves feminists have nonetheless bought into some of that rhetoric.

Heaven save us from people with a permanent grievance!

Scott
Scott
5 years ago

That moment when you realize that a lot of these guys aren’t even orthodox Trinitarians…

Gabe Wetmore
Gabe Wetmore
5 years ago

Doug, I think your post shows that you feel the conflict between orthodox trinitarianism and a certain way of insisting on the unity divine will. This means we have to be careful how we define the unity of the divine will. The problem with the way that some of the people in the present debate have argued is to insist on the unity of the divine will in such a way that it not only makes you have a hard time understanding the possibility of authority and submission, but it actually undermines trinitarianism itself. When someone says that there can… Read more »

geoffrobinson
geoffrobinson
5 years ago
Reply to  Gabe Wetmore

In my very limited ability to comprehend the issue at hand, I think your post makes the most sense. unity in diversity. If it doesn’t work “will(s)” it seems persons will have the same issue.

katecho
katecho
5 years ago
Reply to  Gabe Wetmore

Well said. This is somewhat similar to what I expressed in a reply to Klassen earlier in this post. Certain views of divine simplicity, and divine will, also banish the possibility of expression of love and honor through willing obedience between persons.

Jeff Moss
Jeff Moss
5 years ago
Reply to  Gabe Wetmore

Gabe, how do you know that there are three centers of self-consciousness in God, and how do you answer the claim that this view of God necessarily implies tritheism? The issue of self-consciousness seems to be a recent (19th century?) addition to the concept of “person” which has muddied the waters in discussions of the Trinity, as theologians using the ancient language of “three persons” unconsciously or consciously import the modern definition into it. None other than Karl Barth described the problem in this way: “What is called ‘personality’ in the conceptual vocabulary of the 19th century is distinguished from… Read more »

Gabe Wetmore
Gabe Wetmore
5 years ago
Reply to  Jeff Moss

So if we believe that the Father knows that he is the Father and not the Son or the Spirit, then we are tritheist? Really? I reject that out of hand. No authoritative creed of the church binds me to anything like this. I don’t believe that I can know something like this about the Father that he doesn’t know himself. When Jesus says that he and the Father are one, he is both saying that they are one and he is making a distinction between himself and the Father. That isn’t because he’s speaking incarnationally. When the Father says,… Read more »

Jeff Moss
Jeff Moss
5 years ago
Reply to  Gabe Wetmore

Gabe, again you’re presupposing that self-consciousness is one of the essential characteristics of personhood. The quotes I posted from Barth and Congdon argue that that view is very recent, tied particularly to the 19th century. (Not to put too fine a point on it, that would make it roughly as old as Dispensationalism, which also seems self-evidently true to many American Christians.) Can you cite any Christian writer prior to the 19th century who says that there are three centers of self-consciousness in God? God’s knowledge of Himself in Scripture is stated in the phrase, “I am,” which is spoken… Read more »

Gabe Wetmore
Gabe Wetmore
5 years ago
Reply to  Jeff Moss

Jeff, I’m presupposing that when the Father speaks of the Son that he knows the difference between himself and the Son even though they are of the same substance. And yes, I am presupposing that the Father knows that he’s the Father, and not just that he is generically God. Because there is no such thing as generic divinity. There is only the Father, and the Son and the Spirit who are all of the same being. Are you suggesting that when the Father says “This is my beloved Son” he is simply speaking about the human nature of Jesus,… Read more »

Jeff Moss
Jeff Moss
5 years ago
Reply to  Gabe Wetmore

Do you know of any writer before the 19th century who makes the assumptions you do about three self-consciousnesses in the Godhead? Also, I note that you wrote, “There is no such thing as generic divinity,” but then in the next sentence you said that the Father, Son, and Spirit “are all of the same being.” That “same being” is, by definition, “generic divinity” in the strict sense: divinity as a genus. If there is truly no such thing as generic divinity, then it is meaningless to say that the Son is homoousios with the Father, and then we’re back… Read more »

Gabe Wetmore
Gabe Wetmore
5 years ago
Reply to  Jeff Moss

No I didn’t simply mean to say that there is no God who is not triune. I mean that there is no such thing as a substance of Divinity that exists outside of the three persons. I mean there is only the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. When we speak of God, we are always talking about those three persons. They don’t partake of something outside of themselves, the substance of which is God. There is no such thing as uninstantiated deity. That is what I mean when I said the Father doesn’t simply know he’s divine,… Read more »

Jeff Moss
Jeff Moss
5 years ago
Reply to  Gabe Wetmore

We are agreed on everything you just wrote, except possibly the last sentence. If the wisdom of God *is* Christ (1 Corinthians 1:24 and Proverbs 8), then the Father has no self-knowledge outside of Christ. How does your view of three self-conscious individuals work with that passage?

Gabe Wetmore
Gabe Wetmore
5 years ago
Reply to  Jeff Moss

I didn’t say the Father had self-knowledge apart from Christ. He can’t be the Father without the Son. But surely you will acknowledge that the Father knows the difference between himself and his Son. If the persons of the Trinity don’t know who’s who among themselves, then you can’t have a Father, Son and Spirit. How can the Father determine to send the Son into the world if he doesn’t even know who he is and who the Son is? I’m honestly not trying to sound rude (tone is so hard to convey in this method of communication), but I’m… Read more »

katecho
katecho
5 years ago
Reply to  Gabe Wetmore

This distinct self-knowledge (“the Father knows the difference between himself and his Son”) seems to directly imply distinct consciousness in each Person. Or is someone suggesting that knowing is possible without personal consciousness?

Jeff Moss
Jeff Moss
5 years ago
Reply to  katecho

Katecho, how would you respond to the orthodox Trinitarianism of St. Maximus the Confessor (7th century), as summarized by Pastor Peter Wallace in this article I posted on a different subthread?

http://michianacovenant.org/maximus-trinitarian-debate/

Jeff Moss
Jeff Moss
5 years ago
Reply to  Gabe Wetmore

Gabe, as I understand classic Trinitarian theology (and we have to remember that we’re trying to express the inexpressible), the Father’s self-knowledge IS the Son. (If each of the three Persons had a self-knowledge that was distinct from the other Persons, would we end up with a trinity of trinities as Benny Hinn used to teach—or at least a trinity of composite people, as James Jordan seemed to suggest elsewhere on this thread?) But I don’t think you and I are likely to solve this question on this forum. Thanks for the discussion—I have learned some things by talking through… Read more »

Gabe Wetmore
Gabe Wetmore
5 years ago
Reply to  Jeff Moss

Jeff, I had said that the Father’s knowledge of who he is obvoiusly involved the Son, after all he can’t be the Father without the Son. I then asked if you thought the Father knows the difference between himself and the Son. You responded by saying his “self-knowledge IS the Son,” and then you say that each of the three persons don’t have self knowledge that is distinct from the other person. So you believe the Father doesn’t know he’s the Father. The Son doesn’t know he’s the Son. The Spirit doesn’t know he’s the Spirit. The obvoius question is… Read more »

katecho
katecho
5 years ago
Reply to  Gabe Wetmore

Wetmore wrote: Does that mean the Father thinks he’s actually the Son, so that he’s wrong? Are you saying the Father thinks he is the one who is incarnate? It seems that Moss is actually saying (along with Congdon) that these persons are not really functional at all. They don’t have distinct consciousness, and therefore no distinct thoughts or communications. The Father doesn’t know He’s not the Son because the Father is not distinctly conscious or knowing of anything. Only God is conscious and God knows that He is a trinity of unconscious persons. The persons seem to collapse into… Read more »

Gabe Wetmore
Gabe Wetmore
5 years ago
Reply to  katecho

Katecho,
That’s the exact thing I’ve been getting at since my first post in this thread. The position is really unitarian. It undermines the necessary preconditions of having three persons in the Trinity. If every person’s self awareness is simply “I am” so that there is only an understanding of divinity and not of person, then what reason is there to think that there even are three persons? If God doesn’t function as Triune, why would we think he is Triune? It is truly one of the strangest things I’ve ever heard in my life.

Jeff Moss
Jeff Moss
5 years ago
Reply to  Gabe Wetmore

The further I go into this discussion, the more I’m over my head (all of us are, right?). With that said… Another analogy that occurs to me is that the Son is the mirror image of the Father—but in an infinite, eternal fashion: not only is the Father’s knowledge of Himself summed up in His Son, but there is never any distance or separation between these Two. (As far as I know, this is normal historic Trinitarianism, from Augustine and earlier, to John Piper.) Remember the dialogue between Philip and Jesus, where Philip asks Him to show him the Father?… Read more »

Gabe Wetmore
Gabe Wetmore
5 years ago
Reply to  Jeff Moss

Jeff, This is just weird. You’re basically saying that the Father and the Son are in every respect identical, such that there can’t be anything that distinguishes them as separate persons, or we end up with tritheism. That isn’t at all what the ecumenical councils say. Yes Jesus says that to Philip, but you don’t think that means that Jesus and the Father are the same person do you, so that the Father was actually incarnate? And yes, your knowledge that the Father is the Father, and the Son is the Son, and the Spirit is the Spirit is finite… Read more »

katecho
katecho
5 years ago
Reply to  Gabe Wetmore

Wetmore wrote:

There is no such thing as uninstantiated deity.

Is this another way of saying that if God does something, then it must be one or more of the particular persons of God who has done it, and not God in the abstract? I can agree to that.

katecho
katecho
5 years ago
Reply to  Jeff Moss

Jeff Moss wrote: Gabe, again you’re presupposing that self-consciousness is one of the essential characteristics of personhood. … God’s knowledge of Himself in Scripture is stated in the phrase, “I am,” which is spoken by the Father and the Son alike. When God says, “This is My beloved Son,” He is speaking about the incarnate Christ. … That’s all clear in the Athanasian Creed without having to posit three separate self-consciousnesses in God. Is Moss suggesting that there is only one consciousness of God prior to the incarnation, where Jesus picked up a human consciousness? I’m curious how Moss would… Read more »

Jeff Moss
Jeff Moss
5 years ago
Reply to  katecho

Katecho, thank you for your question. In order for me to understand it better, could you give me some illustrations from Scripture of the inter-Trinitarian fellowship that you’re talking about? Thank you!

katecho
katecho
5 years ago
Reply to  Jeff Moss

Sure. Let’s start with John 3:34-35:

“For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God; for He gives the Spirit without measure. The Father loves the Son and has given all things into His hand.

Gabe Wetmore
Gabe Wetmore
5 years ago
Reply to  katecho

I’ll add another “God is Love”

katecho
katecho
5 years ago
Reply to  Gabe Wetmore

I almost offered 1John 4:8. Love is not possible without an object to receive. This is what distinguishes the Triune God from Allah. Allah may decide to love something, one day, but he cannot be said to “be love” in his essence, because he was eternally alone.

katecho
katecho
5 years ago
Reply to  Jeff Moss

John 17:24 is also a good illustration:

Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.

Note the gifting between Father and Son, and the love relationship between the persons, before the foundation of the world.

Jeff Moss
Jeff Moss
5 years ago
Reply to  katecho

Yes! St. Augustine suggested that the love of the Father for the Son, and of the Son for the Father, is one and the same love. And being the love of God Himself, it is not only eternal and infinite but also personal: the Holy Spirit.

I hope we agree that the inexpressible relationship between the Three Persons is *more* full and glorious in Triunity than it would be if They were merely three different beings.

katecho
katecho
5 years ago
Reply to  Jeff Moss

Moss has responded that the love of the Father for the Son, and of the Son for the Father, is one and the same love. So now we are back to my original questions: Is Moss suggesting that there was only one consciousness of God prior to the incarnation, until Jesus picked up a human consciousness? I’m curious how Moss would preserve the eternal fellowship of the Trinity in this view? How does one monadic consciousness fellowship with itself? If conscious and loving Triune fellowship is not part of God’s eternal nature, how can God then offer us an invitation… Read more »

Gabe Wetmore
Gabe Wetmore
5 years ago
Reply to  Jeff Moss

Jeff, Do you have Ralph Smith’s book “eternal covenant”? It’s a good resource for what you’re asking about.

Jeff Moss
Jeff Moss
5 years ago
Reply to  Gabe Wetmore

I have read it, but it was a long time ago.

katecho
katecho
5 years ago
Reply to  Jeff Moss

Congdon offers a warning against appropriating the Trinity as an argument for complementarianism, which I won’t disagree with. However, there are some concerns with his views of the Trinity. Congdon wrote: There is no deliberation between Father, Son, and Spirit, as there is with human beings. How does this square with: Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness …” — Gen 1:26 Who does Congdon suppose makes up the “Us” and the “Our” in that passage? What definition of deliberation is Congdon using? Is he assuming antagonism in the deliberation? Even a single… Read more »

Jeff Moss
Jeff Moss
5 years ago
Reply to  katecho

In my understanding of Christian theology, references to God deliberating within Himself are like references to God’s body parts (eyes, ears, hands): they’re a way that God takes things about Himself that are beyond our comprehension, and puts them in terms that we can relate to. If God actually deliberated in making His decisions, He would be changeable, and therefore not be God. PCA pastor/theologian Peter Wallace, expounded the theology of St. Maximus the Confessor (7th century), writes, “But what does it mean for God to will? After all, we are used to deliberating and deciding (that is what we… Read more »

Gabe Wetmore
Gabe Wetmore
5 years ago
Reply to  Jeff Moss

We’re not saying that God deliberates as if he debates with himself, trying to work out disagreements. We’re saying that there is a relationship of love between the persons of the Trinity. God is love. It’s ad intra. It’s who God is from all eternity. Are you denying the possibility of inner trinitarian dialogue? I’m not talking about how that dialogue takes place, I mean that things can be expressed (however that mysteriously happens) between persons?

katecho
katecho
5 years ago
Reply to  Jeff Moss

Moss wrote: If God actually deliberated in making His decisions, He would be changeable, and therefore not be God. Congdon takes for granted that God does not change, or struggle over decisions, but he is going further to argue against conscious communication of any kind between the persons of the Trinity that might be called “social”. Because of this agenda, Congdon cannot permit the persons to address each other distinctly. Deliberation is just one example of interpersonal address that can’t be permitted. Down this path, the persons of the Trinity seem to lose will and communication and action and fellowship… Read more »

John Barry
John Barry
5 years ago

Where in Scripture does it say that the Son is eternally begotten of the Father?

And why is it a problem to believe that the Son was begotten 2,000 years ago? (Taking “begotten” to mean conceived in the womb and born).

It is the Word that became flesh, not the Son.

Jeremy Sexton
Jeremy Sexton
5 years ago

Doug, You wrote, “I don’t know how there can be anything resembling authority and submission with only one will. I get the problem.” What is the problem? There is only a problem if we assume that the one will that belongs to God’s essence is the only sense in which the persons of the Godhead have a will. But what compels us to assume this? It’s a situation where stipulating definitions comes in quite handy. One is only heretical if he simultaneously defines “will” as a property of God’s one essence and affirms that the Godhead has three of these… Read more »

Jeff Moss
Jeff Moss
5 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Sexton

Jeremy, I appreciate your efforts to struggle through Biblical statements and historic orthodoxy to reach a balanced statement of the truth! Historically, orthodox Christian theology long ago clarified that there is one God in three Persons, and it just as firmly established that since God (the whole Trinity) is one Being, He has one will. When Christ prayed, “Not My will, but Yours be done,” He was submitting the will He had *as man* to the will of God, which is the one will shared by all three Persons. Because Christ is both God and man, He has two wills:… Read more »

James Jordan
James Jordan
5 years ago
Reply to  Jeff Moss

Jeff, I don’t know what this classical trinitarian theology is. It is in no creeds or confessions. As for “will,” that’s just a matter of stipulated definition. A person is mind, emotion, and will, traditionally. Thus, such is each Person of God. Of course, Van Til taught us loooooong ago that God is in one sense One Person and in another Three Persons. In that sense we can say “one will.” From a simple theological point of view, there is just no problem here. If people want to discuss the ins and out of how God is one and three,… Read more »

Jeff Moss
Jeff Moss
5 years ago
Reply to  James Jordan

James, don’t you mean to say that a *man* is mind, emotion, and will? God is not a man, and is not made up of parts; He is “simple,” to use the classical theological term. Augustine’s analogy of the three Persons of the Trinity to the mind, emotion, and will of a man, was just that: an analogy, not a straight-up statement of what is true within the Godhead. And to say that each of the Divine Persons is “mind, emotion, and will,” is to go beyond Augustine—that makes it sound as though there were three trinities. Actually, all of… Read more »

James Jordan
James Jordan
5 years ago
Reply to  Jeff Moss

Jeff, man is the image of God. There is nothing and there CAN be nothing in the creation that is not an analogue to something in God. God it not “made” of “parts” (neither are you and I), but God has aspects, right?

Jeff Moss
Jeff Moss
5 years ago
Reply to  James Jordan

James, are you suggesting that “mind,” “emotion,” and “will” (or their infinite antitypes) are different aspects of the being of God? That would be a different statement from the one you made before, that *each Person* of the Holy Trinity “is mind, emotion, and will.”

katecho
katecho
5 years ago
Reply to  Jeff Moss

Moss wrote: James, are you suggesting that “mind,” “emotion,” and “will” (or their infinite antitypes) are different aspects of the being of God? God is simple in the following senses: God is not, and is not dependent on, an assembly of preexisting things. God is not built up from lesser non-divine self-existing components. God is not reducible. There’s nothing extraneous that could be removed from Him. God cannot be any more or less divine than He is. However, God is not simple in the sense of being flat and featureless, or without distinctions. God is not elemental or homogeneous like… Read more »

Gabe Wetmore
Gabe Wetmore
5 years ago
Reply to  Jeff Moss

Jeff, You said “According to classical Christian orthodoxy, anyone who says that each of the Persons of the Trinity has His own divine will separate from the wills of the other two Persons (even if those three wills function in unity), is necessarily implying that there are three Gods, not one.” I understand an aversion to speaking of three wills in unity, if we think of an analog of three people who happen to agree on something. The Father, Son and Spirit don’t just happen to agree on everything, and thus have a unified will. But if someone insists on… Read more »

Jeff Moss
Jeff Moss
5 years ago
Reply to  Gabe Wetmore

Gabe, the orthodox doctrine of the Three in One was stated by John of Damascus in the eighth century more clearly and profoundly than I could ever dream to do. Here’s a money quote: “And to put it shortly, the Father has no reason, wisdom, power, will, save the Son, Who is the only power of the Father, the immediate cause of the creation of the universe: as perfect subsistence (hypostasis) begotten of perfect subsistence in a manner known to Himself, Who is and is named the Son.” If it seems as though affirming one will in the Godhead undermines… Read more »

Gabe Wetmore
Gabe Wetmore
5 years ago
Reply to  Jeff Moss

Jeff, I think this misses my point. If we say that the Father, Son and Spirit are one, yet they aren’t the same person, so that the Father is not the Son or Spirit, the Son is not the Father or Spirit and the Spirit is not the Father or Son, then we are saying that there are distinctions between the persons that make them unique. If we then say there is one divine will and define that in such a way that makes personal distinctions impossible, then we aren’t thinking about it correctly. Again I would simply ask if… Read more »

Jeff Moss
Jeff Moss
5 years ago
Reply to  Gabe Wetmore

Gabe, who ever said that the Father, Son, and Spirit having one will (which is orthodox Trinitarianism) made personal distinctions impossible? The personal distinctions, to the extent that we mortals can talk about them at all, are none other than those given in the Athanasian Creed: “The Father is made of none; neither created, nor begotten. The Son is of the Father alone; not made, nor created; but begotten. The Holy Ghost is of the Father and of the Son; neither made, nor created, nor begotten; but proceeding. So there is one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three… Read more »

Gabe Wetmore
Gabe Wetmore
5 years ago
Reply to  Jeff Moss

Jeff, You said “who ever said that the Father, Son, and Spirit having one will (which is orthodox Trinitarianism) made personal distinctions impossible?” Again, this all depends on what we mean by “one will.” That’s my point. If a person defines “one will” to mean that there can be no personal distinctions in the divine will, then they inadvertently destroy the foundation for distinct personhood. If the Son doesn’t know the difference between the Father’s willing to send him, or his willing to be sent, then how is there actually two persons at all? Who’s who? Likewise, the Son is… Read more »

Jeff Moss
Jeff Moss
5 years ago
Reply to  Gabe Wetmore

Gabe, it seems to me that you are continuing to use the term “person” with more of a modern definition than one consistent with how it is used in classical Trinitarianism. If you and I can’t come together on the definition of our most basic term, there is no way this discussion can be fruitful. Thank you for the engagement, though.

Gabe Wetmore
Gabe Wetmore
5 years ago
Reply to  Jeff Moss

Jeff, You said “it seems to me that you are continuing to use the term “person” with more of a modern definition than one consistent with how it is used in classical Trinitarianism.” I don’t see how I am using person differently. There is none of God that exists outside of one of three hypostases. That means the divine will always and only exists and is manifest in one of the three persons. I asked a simple question that I don’t think relies on a different understanding of person. I’ll paste it in again. “Does the Father know that he… Read more »

Jeff Moss
Jeff Moss
5 years ago
Reply to  Gabe Wetmore

Gabe, this quote from Richard Muller’s theological dictionary (a required text when I was at Greyfriars) illustrates, I think, how your definition of “person” differs from the usage of “persona” (hypostasis) in historic Trinitarian theologizing. “In none of these usages does the term persona have the connotation of emotional individuality or unique consciousness that clearly belongs to the term in contemporary usage. It is quite certain that the trinitarian use of persona does not point to three wills, three emotionally unique beings, or, as several eighteenth-century authors influenced by Cartesianism argued, three centers of consciousness; such implication would be tritheistic.… Read more »

Gabe Wetmore
Gabe Wetmore
5 years ago
Reply to  Jeff Moss

Jeff,
You said “I’ll get back to you on your question about the self-knowledge of the Persons.”

Hold up a minute. Is the question of whether the Father knows that he’s the Father, and not the Son or Spirit, really something that has to be researched? I asked it almost rhetorically, because the answer seems so obvious. The fact that your way of understanding the Trinity means you have a hard time answering that speaks for itself, I think.

Jeff Moss
Jeff Moss
5 years ago
Reply to  Gabe Wetmore

Gabe, I gave that response because I know there is an ongoing debate about whether “three centers of self-consciousness” accurately reflects historic Trinitarianism, or whether it is only a modern recasting of the Trinity in anthropomorphic terms that undermines the unity of God. And I’m not familiar with that debate, so I hesitate to wade into it! I found this article on the Trinity from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy that discusses quite a few different models of the Trinity from various theologians. You’ll find the theory that “God has three centers of self-consciousness” addressed under heading 2.4, “Trinity Monotheism.”… Read more »

Gabe Wetmore
Gabe Wetmore
5 years ago
Reply to  Gabe Wetmore

Jeff, Since we’re quoting John of Damascus, he also says “one essence, one divinity, one power, one will, one energy, one beginning, one authority, one dominion, one sovereignty, made known in three perfect subsistences.” Notice the last clause “made known in three perfect hypostases.” So, for instance, we have the one divine will for the Father to send the Son into the world. But the divine will never exists independently of a personal subsistence like that, it is always made known/revealed in three distinct persons. Thus it is revealed with personal distinctions of will. The Father wills to send his… Read more »

Jeremy Sexton
Jeremy Sexton
5 years ago
Reply to  Jeff Moss

Jeff, You wrote, “When Christ prayed, ‘Not My will, but Yours be done,’ He was submitting the will He had *as man* to the will of God, which is the one will shared by all three Persons.” Why does Jesus’ second will (the one that is not the will of the divine essence) need to be the will of his human nature rather than of his whole person? It makes far greater sense to say that Jesus has two wills, not because he’s God and man, but because he (like the Father and Spirit) is God and person. It wasn’t… Read more »

Jeff Moss
Jeff Moss
5 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Sexton

Jeremy, the problem is that if Christ does not have a human will alongside His divine will, then He is not fully Man. And if Christ is not a true and full man, then we are not saved; we are still in our sins. Unfortunately, I think that taking “divine” out of my sentence actually muddies the waters even more. “Divine” means “as God.” Are you really saying that each of the Persons of the Godhead shares in the one Will of God, but also has another will that they exercise not-as-God? How could the Holy Spirit, for example, sometimes… Read more »

Tom
Tom
5 years ago

I’m sure this has been dealt with somewhere, though I can’t instantly find it, but what do those who insist on a singular will in the Godhead do with the Lord’s words, “not my will, but yours, be done”? On the surface, that seems about as clear a statement of a second “will” as is possible.

James Jordan
James Jordan
5 years ago
Reply to  Tom

What is odd to me after the Federal Vision fracas is to see the H-bomb dropped so promiscuously once again. Is it possible for Reformed and Presbyterian people to discuss theology at the Lord’s Table without anathematizing other people and calling them heretics? This behavior is pretty disgusting.
For all here, I recommend three books published by Canon Press (yes, Canon),. All three are by CREC pastor Ralph Smith. These will explain basic presuppositionalism.

Jeff Moss
Jeff Moss
5 years ago
Reply to  Tom

Tom, I’ll copy here what I wrote on another thread in this discussion: Historically, orthodox Christian theology long ago clarified that there is one God in three Persons, and it just as firmly established that since God (the whole Trinity) is one Being, He has one will. When Christ prayed, “Not My will, but Yours be done,” He was submitting the will He had *as man* to the will of God, which is the one will shared by all three Persons. Because Christ is both God and man, He has two wills: the singular will of God, and also a… Read more »

Dioscorus
Dioscorus
1 year ago

Oriental Orthodox here. This is absolutely heresy on an astounding level. I can’t even call you a Trinitarian. Don’t pretend for a second to be defending anything of traditional Christian teaching. Every traditional Christian Church (Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Lutheran, Anglican) condemns your blatant heresy.