Sonship. Meyer explains eJautou~ in <450803>Romans 8:3 ? ?God, sending his own Son,? as an allusion to the metaphysical Sonship. That this Sonship is unique, is plain from <430114>John 1:14, 18 ? ?the only begotten from the Father? the only begotten Son who is in the bosom of the Father?; <450832> Romans 8:32 ? ?his own Son?; <480404>Galatians 4:4 ? ?sent forth his Son?; cf. Prov.8:22-31 ? ?When he marked out the foundations of the earth; Then I was by him as a master workman?; 30:4 ? ?Who hath established all the ends of the earth? What is his name, and what is his son?s name, if thou knowest?? The eternal procession of the Spirit seems to be implied in <431526>John 15:26 ? ?the Spirit of truth which proceedeth from the Father? ? see Westcott, Bib. Com., in loco; <580914>Hebrews 9:14 ? ?the eternal Spirit.? Westcott here says that para> (not ejx ) shows that the reference is to the temporal mission of the Holy Spirit, not to the eternal procession. At the same time he maintains that the temporal corresponds to the eternal.

The Scripture terms ?generation? and ?procession,? as applied to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, are but approximate expressions of the truth, and we are to correct by other declarations of Scripture any imperfect impressions which we might derive solely from them. We use these terms in a special sense, which we explicitly state and define as excluding all notion of inequality between the persons of the Trinity. The eternal generation of the Son to which we hold is

(a) Not creation, but the Father?s communication of himself to the Son. Since the names, Father, Son and Holy Spirit are not applicable to the divine essence, but are only applicable to its hypostatical distinctions, they imply no derivation of the essence of the Son from the essence of the Father.

The error of the Nicene Fathers was that of explaining Sonship as derivation of essence. The Father cannot impart his essence to the Son and yet retain it. The Father is fons trinitatis, not fons deitatis. See Shedd, Hist. Doct., 1:308-311, and Dogmatic Theology, 1:287-299; per contra, see Bibliotheca Sacra, 41:698-760.

(b) Not a commencement of existence, but an eternal relation to the Father ? there never having been a time when the Son began to be, or when the Son did not exist as God with the Father.

If there had been an eternal sun, it is evident that there must have been an eternal sunlight also. Yet an eternal sunlight must have evermore proceeded from the sun.

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