Saturday, July 27, 2013

Johannes Maccovius - Theological Distinctions, Part I.I

Chapter I: Concerning Sacred Scripture

 I. The Word of God is received either as scripture and called the prophetic word, or as the Son of God, that it is, and is called the internal word ἔμφυτος, as John 1: 2, 3, 4.  That (former) word is the accidental word, this (latter) the essential.

1. Richard Muller in his dictionary of terms states the verbum internum is that “which testifies to the human heart concerning the truth of the written or external Word (verbum externum),” whereas to Maccovius, the internal word is referring to the Logos.

2. It is interesting that Maccovius uses the Prologue of John’s gospel as a reference to internal word, when the only time emphutos is found in scripture is 
in James (1:21).

3. I am not sure how the prophetic word is considered accidental, as “the word of the Lord endures forever.”  Perhaps he is referring to the medium of revelation, and not the revelation per se.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Gregory Nazianzen on the Problem of Trinitarian Analogies

"I have very carefully considered this matter in my own mind, and have looked at it in every point of view, in order to find some illustration of this most important subject, but I have been unable to discover any thing on earth with which to compare the nature of the Godhead.  For even if I did happen upon some tiny likeness it escaped me for the most part, and left me down below with my example.  I picture to myself an eye*, a fountain, a river, as others have done before, to see if the first might be analogous to the Father, the second to the Son, and the third to the Holy Ghost.  For in these there is no distinction in time, nor are they torn away from their connexion with each other, though they seem to be parted by three personalities.  But I was afraid in the first place that I should present a flow in the Godhead, incapable of standing still; and secondly that by this figure a numerical unity would be introduced.  For the eye and the spring and the river are numerically one, though in different forms." St. Gregory Nazianzen, Oration 31, Chapter 31, emphasis mine.  *note: eye = source

Hmm, I wonder what Greg would think of the Cerberus analogy.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Hugo Grotius on John 17:3

3. and this is eternal life]  In this it is placed; prepared in this way.  A Metonymy, as above 6:63, 11:25, 12:50, 14:6.  Similar kind of speech – Romans 11:12.

that they may know you the one true God]  This ἵνα is εἰδιϰὸν [specificative].  For it is described a manner of prepared eternal life, which such is that the glory of God the Father chiefly may be viewed.  Γινὠσϰειν this will be understood πραϰτιϰῶς [active], that 1:10, that they may know, be embraced, cultivate, and may revere you the only God, excluding all them who had introduced the falsehoods of the nations*.  Ignatius speaking to the Magnesians concerning Jesus: “who having been thrust to the multitude of gods has declared the one and only God his Father. “  In the Constitutions of Clement to the converts from the gentiles: "For you are translated from your former vain and tedious mode of life and have contemned the lifeless idols, and despised the demons, which are in darkness, and have run to the true light, and by it have known the one and only true God and Father, and so are owned to be heirs of His kingdom."  See 1 Thessalonians 1:9

And Jesus Christ whom you have sent]  Thinking of himself modestly he speaks in the third person.  The sense is, "and that they may know me as your envoy."  In this voice he shows himself honor retained to return to the Father.  For the interest of the King is that the envoy may be honored.

*Persuasio (nominative noun meaning persuasion) is used, but I could not figure out how to fit in the sentence.

Bible Study Tools translation of Ignatius to the Magnesians: “and to those who had fallen into the error of polytheism He made known the one and only true God, His Father.”

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Maccovius' distinction on the Son

"II.  The Son is from the Father by reason of manner of subsistence in essence, not by reason of essence

It is an excellent distinction with theology where it is said, the Son is not autoousios but autotheos.  It must be known a great disputation arose between the Arminians, Vorstius and our churches, because the Arminians and Vorstius were declaring the Son to be from the Father with respect to essence, and thus not autotheon - God from himself: which if so, is depending God, therefore a creature." - Johannes Maccovius, Restored Work, Chapter 5, Concerning God the Father

It would seem that Maccovius agrees with the ancient church that the Son receives his essence from the Father (not autoousios), and his only objection to the Arminians is over the term autotheos.  Two things: 
1.  I think Arminius' clarification on what Autotheos means is helpful (see this post).  
2.  I don't believe his argument stating that the Son would be a creature if not autotheos is conclusive.  The Father is "dependent" on the Son in order to be a Father.  Does this mean he is also a creature?

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

What is Tritheism?

The following is from Joseph Bingham's (in)famous sermon on the Trinity that got him booted from Oxford in 1695.