Author Topic: God's regard  (Read 3129 times)

Harvey_Mozolak

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Re: God's regard
« Reply #75 on: March 27, 2021, 04:55:37 PM »
I am not sure I am understanding what you all are saying about the Father and the Son (and we haven't added the Holy Spirit yet) but I do think it can become-- not so helpful things to say.  If one thinks that begotten is a difficult term and subordinate also... being born of the Father can also be very misunderstood (as if one could at all understand anything of the things-within-the-Godhead processes). 

And the difficulty is doubled when we take a mysterious feature of the Trinity (confessed but not understood) and apply it to human relationships like husband and wife or for some women and men...  now we have added more cracks to spring pond. 
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Weedon

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Re: God's regard
« Reply #76 on: March 27, 2021, 05:04:23 PM »
Harvey, I disagree. “Born of the Father” is actually perfect. Because it shows that we’re not taking “born” in the usual way and we’re attributing the sole source of the Son’s being to the Father. Yet since He shares the Father’s nature, He possesses all that the Father has true God. So eternality, omniscience, omnipotence, and so on.

Harvey_Mozolak

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Re: God's regard
« Reply #77 on: March 27, 2021, 05:39:13 PM »
I will not argue that you make a good case but to the average human ear... it is not that clear, you either have all the baggage of human ordinary birth attributed to God or you have the gods have sons and daughters as Greeks and Romans described in their myths and legends.  IMO, of course.  St. John, as you probably agree, handles it best as he describes our Lord's relationship to his and our Father.  But that is set in prayer, in our Lord's teaching and proclamation and not in Pieper-like paragraphs peering into the inner workings of the Trinity using specially crafted and defined terms apart from ordinary usage and often in Latin or Greek.  One of the first notes I wrote in my volumes of Francis' triple header was, "Let's give God some privacy!"  That is why I would never come close to being a lower level dogmatician.  But these things are never taught in average parish bible classes, inquirers classes or confirmation instruction.  And that is a good thing.  IMO.
Harvey S. Mozolak
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Weedon

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Re: God's regard
« Reply #78 on: March 27, 2021, 05:49:05 PM »
But the Athanasian Creed teaches these things precisely in the context of worship: And the catholic faith is this: that we worship one God in Trinity and Trinity in unity, neither confusing the persons nor dividing the substance. And Harvey, I ALWAYS covered these things in Catechism for adults and for children (and frequently pointed to Luther’s original language in the SC, which I think the English obscures a bit). It’s not difficult at all once you grasp that every point of comparison doesn’t hold; how could it? So just teach them the point of comparison that DOES hold: origination. Heavens, I might recommend a reread of Dorothy Sayer’s *Mind of the Maker* for she makes it plain that this is not mysterious mumbo jumbo but truth that can be straightforwardly expressed; and since we always “kinda” grasp things beyond our full understanding (do you really understand what happens when you turn the key in your car’s ignition or type on your iPad? I sure don’t!), but can clearly comprehend their proper “use” (if you will), the Doctrine of the Two Natures in Christ and of the Holy Trinity is like that. We can know it’s great use: to come to know and love and worship and adore the One who proclaims Himself to us in terms that we will not fully fathom to all eternity, but we can still know and love the Person of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. I can love that which I cannot fully comprehend (like I love Cindi and she loves me).

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: God's regard
« Reply #79 on: March 27, 2021, 05:51:49 PM »
I suspect the whole kerfuffle was mostly caused by a departure from the “form of sound words” for surely when the Church confesses: “And in this Trinity none is before or after; none greater or less than another; but the whole three Persons are coeternal and coequal” and so the language of “subordination” which Arius applied to the Son in His divine person, is ruled out of bounds. As Eternal Son, He is most certainly not subordinated to the Father, but as the exalted Son in His human nature, He now most certainly is. It’s okay to admit that it was a mistake to use that term of the Eternal Son in His divine person.

P.S. And I certainly mean not to impugn Dr. Kleinig, from whom I have learned so very much. I just think in that essay he spoke incorrectly and I wrote him directly to tell him so. He’s a great, great theologian and I owe him a debt I can never repay for all the great things he taught me. But like all of us, including myself!, not infallible.
Agreed. My point is that Kleinig didn’t have defective Trinitarian theology, he chose a controversial and unhelpful English word. But what should he have chosen to pinpoint the distinction? We can’t say that as the Son is to the Father, such is the Father to the Son. It isn’t true. There is an eternal relationship of Fatherness and Sonness. If the latter is not subordinate, what what would be a better English word or phrase? If “Son” is not by definition subordinate to “Father,” (and we can’t avoid those words without deviating from God’s self-revelation) then what is Son to Father?


I word I suggested above is "obedient". The Son obeys the Father.
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

peter_speckhard

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Re: God's regard
« Reply #80 on: March 27, 2021, 06:21:22 PM »
But the Athanasian Creed teaches these things precisely in the context of worship: And the catholic faith is this: that we worship one God in Trinity and Trinity in unity, neither confusing the persons nor dividing the substance. And Harvey, I ALWAYS covered these things in Catechism for adults and for children (and frequently pointed to Luther’s original language in the SC, which I think the English obscures a bit). It’s not difficult at all once you grasp that every point of comparison doesn’t hold; how could it? So just teach them the point of comparison that DOES hold: origination. Heavens, I might recommend a reread of Dorothy Sayer’s *Mind of the Maker* for she makes it plain that this is not mysterious mumbo jumbo but truth that can be straightforwardly expressed; and since we always “kinda” grasp things beyond our full understanding (do you really understand what happens when you turn the key in your car’s ignition or type on your iPad? I sure don’t!), but can clearly comprehend their proper “use” (if you will), the Doctrine of the Two Natures in Christ and of the Holy Trinity is like that. We can know it’s great use: to come to know and love and worship and adore the One who proclaims Himself to us in terms that we will not fully fathom to all eternity, but we can still know and love the Person of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. I can love that which I cannot fully comprehend (like I love Cindi and she loves me).
Origination seems to me identical to St. Paul's arguments re: Adam and Eve, which then gets rendered "order of creation." It isn't chronological so much as it is a matter of origins. She shall be called woman because she was taken out of man. But then it is reciprocal; every man since Adam, including the second Adam, is born of woman. The Son loves the Father with the same love He received from the Father. That doesn't mean the Son loses His Sonship and becomes a Father, or that the Father, in receiving love from the Son, loses His Fatherhood and becomes a Son.

Obedience language is even worse than subordination language in in terms of how it strikes modern ears. But what I find troublesome is that so many of the objections stem from a beginning point at the practical level that amounts to little more than modern sensibilities taken as a given. "Given that we can't say wives are to obey or submit to their husbands (unless the husband makes the identical promise to his wife), given the validity of the sexual revolution, given interchangeable equality of all people regardless of sex as a Christian ideal, how can we understand verses in Scripture that speak of source and authority?" What we end up with, then, is a focus on all the things the verses in question can't possibly be saying. The positive assessment of what the verses actually do mean is that they would mean the same thing at a practical level if the sexes were reversed in them. Every practical, concrete application that sees a difference between men and women (beyond reproductive function) ends up being declared wrong, and every theological assessment essentially says the Bible would mean the same thing and be less confusing is these verses weren't in it.

In nearly every thread that includes a discussion of male/female I end up asking people to quit pointing out what is wrong and say what would be right. And if they do, I then ask how anything would be different if the sexes were reversed.

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: God's regard
« Reply #81 on: March 27, 2021, 07:18:48 PM »
Obedience language is even worse than subordination language in in terms of how it strikes modern ears.


Yet, obedience language is used of children obeying parents, of soldiers obeying officers, of obeying commands from law enforcement, of the people of God obeying God's commands.


There are objections to its use in marriage vows; but I've heard no objections in other arenas where obedience is expected. We willingly obeyed the instructions given to us when we went to get our Covid-19 vaccines. That helped the whole process be done "decently and in order."
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Weedon

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Re: God's regard
« Reply #82 on: March 27, 2021, 09:15:00 PM »
Again, Peter, origination is the way the Church does this.

The Father is neither made nor begotten.
The Son is of the Father alone, begotten, not made.
The Spirit is of the Father and of the Son, neither made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding.

This is what preserves there being ONE Father, not three Fathers, etc. Basic Athanasian Creed stuff. The persons are not distinguished except in these inter-Trinitarian relationships so that the God who is born of Mary is identified for us not as the Father or the Spirit, but the Son, that is the sole-begotten One. Order is a fine word for it: there is an order of origination and it is absolutely not reciprocal. The Father receives from no one; the Son from the Father alone; the Spirit from the Father and the Son (because He receives from the Father, and to be Father always includes having the Son).

And as a sort of parallel. We know from Scripture that the Son prays for us. The Spirit intercedes within us with groans too deep for words. But the Father does not pray for us. He is the one who RECEIVES the prayers of the other two divine persons on our behalf. Everything is “toward” the Father “through” the Son and “in” the Holy Spirit. Or as the Larger Catechism puts it: the Spirit brings us to the Son who presents us to the Father (paraphrase).
« Last Edit: March 27, 2021, 09:18:26 PM by Weedon »

jebutler

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Re: God's regard
« Reply #83 on: March 27, 2021, 10:22:03 PM »
I will not argue that you make a good case but to the average human ear... it is not that clear, you either have all the baggage of human ordinary birth attributed to God or you have the gods have sons and daughters as Greeks and Romans described in their myths and legends.  IMO, of course.  St. John, as you probably agree, handles it best as he describes our Lord's relationship to his and our Father.  But that is set in prayer, in our Lord's teaching and proclamation and not in Pieper-like paragraphs peering into the inner workings of the Trinity using specially crafted and defined terms apart from ordinary usage and often in Latin or Greek.  One of the first notes I wrote in my volumes of Francis' triple header was, "Let's give God some privacy!"  That is why I would never come close to being a lower level dogmatician.  But these things are never taught in average parish bible classes, inquirers classes or confirmation instruction.  And that is a good thing.  IMO.

I've taught these things to inmates at the jail.

Some of the guys are looking for just about anything and they'll come to the Protestant service which I conduct and then also attend the Jehovah's Witness Bible study on another day of the week. So the issue of who Jesus is and the doctrine of the Trinity often comes up.

Another time it came up when I was preaching on John 3 and one of the guys wanted to know why Jesus is called God's "only begotten" Son. Why did John describe Jesus that way?

Actually, last Sunday I had a tenth grader come up to me after the service and ask me questions about this. Granted, she's unusually bright (pre-COVID, she asked me if Lutherans are Chalcedonian in their Christology). But yes, such questions do come up!
These are things that we can discuss among learned and reasonable people, or even among ourselves. (Luther, SA III, paraphrased).

David Garner

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Re: God's regard
« Reply #84 on: March 29, 2021, 10:33:22 PM »
When speaking of the Son obeying the Father (submitting to, doing the will of, etc.), it might be helpful to recognize that the Father also obeys the Son.  "Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do."  Etc.

The Father and the Son conform their wills to one another in perfect love, not necessarily perfect obedience in the sense we tend to use the term.  It is right to say Jesus is perfectly obedient to the Father.  It would not be right to say our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ is in some way beholden to obey the Father, as if He is the Father's slave or hireling or pet.  Jesus obeys the Father because He loves the Father.  The Father acts on Jesus' prayer to forgive because He loves His Son.  They do not owe one another obedience.  Yet they cannot do otherwise, so perfect is their love.

Add in the Holy Spirit to the discussion and the math stays the same.
Orthodox Reader and former Lutheran (LCMS and WELS).

peter_speckhard

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Re: God's regard
« Reply #85 on: March 30, 2021, 12:26:29 AM »
When speaking of the Son obeying the Father (submitting to, doing the will of, etc.), it might be helpful to recognize that the Father also obeys the Son.  "Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do."  Etc.

The Father and the Son conform their wills to one another in perfect love, not necessarily perfect obedience in the sense we tend to use the term.  It is right to say Jesus is perfectly obedient to the Father.  It would not be right to say our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ is in some way beholden to obey the Father, as if He is the Father's slave or hireling or pet.  Jesus obeys the Father because He loves the Father.  The Father acts on Jesus' prayer to forgive because He loves His Son.  They do not owe one another obedience.  Yet they cannot do otherwise, so perfect is their love.

Add in the Holy Spirit to the discussion and the math stays the same.
Yes. But also consider the prayer in the garden. "Father, if it be your will, let this cup pass from me..." God the Son is asking. God the Father in love has a different plan. But the point remains-- love and obedience go hand in hand, and obedience is not about acting on orders but hearing love and responding in love, like an echo. If my son asks me for a fish to eat, there is a sense in which I obey him by giving him one. But his asking me for a fish and my telling him to brush his teeth are not the same thing. Sons honor and obey their fathers in a different way than fathers honor and obey their sons. The relationship is not the same in both directions, and erasing that difference erases the distinction between father and son altogether. The Son prays to the Father. If we can say the Father prays to the Son, it is in a different way altogether.