[Common Places] Pro-Nicene Theology: Eternal Generation Exegetically Considered

Fred Sanders on 6 months ago. Tagged under ,,.

Our current series, Pro-Nicene Theology, offers doctrinal and exegetical entries to the key tenets of basic Trinitarian orthodoxy as developed in the early centuries of the church. For introduction to the series, see this first post.

Stammheim Nativity moses dialogue.jpg

[Image (attached): Detail from the Stammheim Missal (Germany, 1170s). God summons Moses: “Come, I send you.” Moses replies, “Send who you will send” (Ex. 3:10, 4:13).

When in the course of theological events Christians have wanted to make their confession of the identity of Jesus Christ clear and definite, they have usually taken recourse to the doctrine of his eternal generation.

The relation…

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[Common Places]: Pro-Nicene Theology: Eternal Generation

Josh Malone on 6 months ago.

Our current series, Pro-Nicene Theology, offers doctrinal and exegetical entries to the key tenets of basic Trinitarian orthodoxy as developed in the early centuries of the church. For introduction to the series, see this first post.

 ConcilioNicea_SanNicolas_Myra

“When the vital article of the eternal generation is lost, the whole gospel becomes mere history.”[1]

The doctrine of eternal generation seeks to specify the origin of Jesus Christ in the eternal life of the one God in a very particular way—a way that simultaneously shows a resonance between theology and economy yet never ceases to maintain a clear distinction between Creator and creature. Together with divine simplicity, inseparable operations, and the rest of the pro-Nicene toolkit, eternal…

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[Common Places] Pro-Nicene Theology: Exegesis and Inseparable Operations of the Trinity

Fred Sanders on 7 months ago. Tagged under .

Our current series, Pro-Nicene Theology, offers doctrinal and exegetical entries to the key tenets of basic Trinitarian orthodoxy as developed in the early centuries of the church. For introduction to the series, see this first post.

A Tale of Three Agents?

There’s a kind of conventional Christian wisdom about the New Testament that goes like this: the Gospels tell the story of three distinct characters who co-operate beautifully to save us. The Father so loves the world he created that he sends the Son to it; the Son takes on human nature and atones for the sins of the world; the Holy Spirit applies that purchased redemption and indwells the redeemed. When you add up the three parts, as you simply must, you get the complete work of salvation. And that complete work of salvation corresponds precisely to the…

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[Common Places] Pro-Nicene Theology: Inseparable Operations

Scott Swain on 7 months ago. Tagged under .

Note: The author of today’s column, Scott Swain (PhD, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School), will be giving a plenary address at the 2016 Annual Meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society on the doctrine of the Trinity.

Trinity-shield-cross-diagram-from-oxford

Our current Common Places series, Pro-Nicene Theology, offers doctrinal and exegetical entries to the key tenets of basic Trinitarian orthodoxy as developed in the early centuries of the church. For introduction to the series, see this first post.

The living God

The triune God is a living God and, as such, he is intrinsically active. The Trinity is active in knowledge, love, and beatitude. The Trinity is active in the production of creatures. And the Trinity is active in a care that extends, beyond bringing…

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[Common Places] Pro-Nicene Theology: Simplicity in Scripture

Fred Sanders on 8 months ago.

Our current series, Pro-Nicene Theology, offers doctrinal and exegetical entries to the key tenets of basic Trinitarian orthodoxy as developed in the early centuries of the church. For introduction to the series, see this first post.

Moses from Getty german manuscript                 Moses in danger of being distracted by the manifold manifestations of God.

The unity of God is a basic datum of Scripture, and it is something easily unpacked in terms like uniqueness, singularity, and indivisibility. But the doctrine of divine simplicity seems to take a further step. Though it is a doctrine classically confessed by pro-Nicene theologies East and West, simplicity is a much more particular claim. Denying composition in God,…

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[Common Places] Pro-Nicene Theology: Divine Simplicity

Steven J. Duby on 9 months ago. Tagged under ,.

Initial-D--The-Trinity

Our current series, Pro-Nicene Theology, offers doctrinal and exegetical entries to the key tenets of basic Trinitarian orthodoxy as developed in the early centuries of the church. For introduction to the series, see this first post.

A mainstay of catholic Christian teaching, the doctrine of divine simplicity has recently become a much debated topic in contemporary dogmatics and philosophical theology. Despite its historical importance and constructive fecundity, it is still often misunderstood today and merits careful attention as the relevant literature continues to grow. For many, simplicity remains, in the words of Alvin Plantinga, a “dark saying indeed,”[1] so in this post I aim to offer a brief dogmatic description of divine simplicity and to suggest some of the ways…

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[Common Places] Pro-Nicene Theology: Ineffability in Scripture

Fred Sanders on 9 months ago.

psalm 40 from st albans psalter.jpgOur current series, Pro-Nicene Theology, offers doctrinal and exegetical entries to the key tenets of basic Trinitarian orthodoxy as developed in the early centuries of the church. For introduction to the series, see this first post.

It seems odd that the doctrine of divine ineffability should be found among the crucial presuppositions of trinitarian theology. To confess God’s ineffability is to confess that God exceeds, eludes, and finally escapes our statements about him. That confession would seem to be a conversation stopper, or at least an objection preemptive enough to shame any lecturer into quietly filing away his or her notes for a learned discourse on the Trinity. Clever philosophers of religion have even observed that…

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[Common Places] Pro-Nicene Theology: Entryways and Ineffability (Part 2)

Michael Allen on 9 months ago. Tagged under ,.

640px-HomiliesOfGregoryNazianzusCod6GregoryOfNazianzusAndPaupers-640x417

Our current series, Pro-Nicene Theology, offers doctrinal and exegetical entries to the key tenets of basic Trinitarian orthodoxy as developed in the early centuries of the church. For introduction to the series, see the first part of this post.

Our entryway to this series should begin where Gregory Nazianzus started his theological orations on God and Christ.[1] In Oration 27, Gregory does not cut right to the issue of deity or number, of unity or essence. Rather, he introduces this cycle of theological homilies by attending to fundamental matters of divine self-revelation and, correspondingly, of human knowledge of the true God. He observes that theology, the knowledge of God, is the greatest need for everyone, for all need…

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[Common Places] Pro-Nicene Theology: Entryways and Ineffability (Part 1)

Michael Allen on 9 months ago. Tagged under ,,,.

CPThe doctrine of the Trinity serves as the fundamental lodestar of all Christian belief, the shining center of all Christian truth and the focal point of every instance of our trust and hope. God is. More particularly, God—the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit—is, and in, through, and to this one are all things. What light is shed upon life and being, then, flows forth from this fiery being. It must be admitted, however, that the Trinity has overwhelmed due to the power of its beam. Its very brilliance is the source of its difficulty. Theologians from Anselm to Sonderegger have reminded us that the divine mystery is not owing to a lack of revelation but a preponderance of it. This the hymn-writer attested so…

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[Common Places] Reading Notes: The Soul

Christina Larsen on 10 months ago. Tagged under ,,.

Open book on wooden deck

While Christianity is by no means the only faith—nor theology the only discipline—concerned to know the soul, it is because the Christian church confesses the goodness of creation, the incarnation, and the resurrection of the dead that her enquiry is vitally concerned to know the soul as the soul of the embodied saint seeking eternal communion with God as part of the body of Christ. Much of the church’s discussion takes the form of critiques of Greek and Hellenistic conceptions of the soul, though these critiques often remain appreciative in their dissents, recognizing their debts to the Greek and Hellenistic conceptions at a number of points. Here are some key sources for entering into the…

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[Common Places]: Christological Anthropology: An Interview with Marc Cortez

Michael Allen and Scott Swain, editors of Common Places on 10 months ago. Tagged under ,.

For the concluding post on christological anthropology, we offer an interview with Marc to further explore some questions and issues related to his recent book Christological Anthropology in Historical Perspective: Ancient and Contemporary Approaches to Theological Anthropology (Zondervan Academic).

cortezWhat is a “christological anthropology”?

I explored a few ways of defining this in the book. From one perspective, almost all Christian anthropologies are “christological” in the sense that we think Jesus was fully human and is, therefore, relevant to understanding what it means to be human. We also have the imitatio Christi tradition, in which Jesus serves as an exemplar of a human life well lived, and the imago Dei discussions in which Christology often features prominently. So you could define the concept rather broadly and include many kinds of theological…

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[Common Places]: Reading Notes: Christological Anthropology

Marc Cortez on 11 months ago. Tagged under ,.

Open book on wooden deck

Trying to identify the most significant works on christological anthropology can be a little tricky. On the one hand, since incarnation and atonement both involve some connection between Christology and anthropology, we should not be surprised to discover an almost countless number of works on the relationship between these two loci. Nearly all theological anthropologies draw on Christology at some point in their discussion of what it means to be human. If that’s all we mean by a christological anthropology, then it would seem that the following list should just include a few of the more influential theological anthropologies.

But that’s not quite what I have in mind when talking about specifically christological anthropologies. Instead,…

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