Monday, May 29, 2006

The Father Died (revised 1)

I thought all right-thinking would agree with me on the following:

*Original Post*

In the death of God the Son, the Father (who operates inseperably with and mutually indwells said Son) died in the Human Nature of the Person of the Son?

Thus the Father died, but not as God nor as the Son since it was the humanity of the Son (not his divinity) and the Person of the Son (not the Father) who died.

That's the Reformed Orthodox consensus, isn't it? Or rather, the true and necessary consequences of the Bible: what the Protestant Scholastics believe now and would have believed then if they'd thought about it much? Would Dr Weinandy agree with me? What's his email address, I wonder?

Or does the Father only indwell the divine nature of the Son not his human nature? Or is that heresy? There is scope for useful hair-splitting on the mode of perichorisis here, then? Dr Ovey?

It always feels that one is a semi-colon from Anathema in such discussions, don't you think?

* But it seems that my good readers all disagree with me. So I've revised my views: *

Thank you for bothering to address your disagreement, Gentle Commentors.

But the stuff above still seems to me the set of options if you accept the corrolate ideas of:

(1) Inseperable Operation


(2) Mutual Indwelling or Perichorisis

By (1) I mean, in Augustine's phrase, that the Father is not (ever) without the Son and vice versa. The inseperability is of a different order from that merely of friends who always agree. Father and Son always do the same actions together and in every act and every aspect of that act they act together. Yet their modes or manners of action may be distinguished. The Father does not have to act in the same way as the Son though he must do all the actions of the Son with the Son. For example, the Son is begotten and the Father is not but the being begotten of the Son is not an action independent from or seperable from the Father. In this action Father and Son are not merely subject and object as if they are to seperate persons involved in the same stuff. John 5 would be the main text here, I think.

Which is related to (2). The actions of the Trinity ad extra are undivided since the persons indwell one another.

The economic Trinity is the immanent Trinity, and so on, as Rahner's dictum has it. They are eternally related: in one another. A kind of dance?! (see Ros's blog, was it, on the Triune Conga? - who leads etc? hierarchy and subordination of dance partners!)

The Father is in the Son not so much in a spacial way as the Father has no physicality. But the Father is always "there", in and with the Son. If you've got the Son you havent just got "God" (some divine essence behind the persons) you've got The Triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

I imagine the Father indwells the Person of the Son, but perhaps in the divine nature only.

Though the Father is certainly in the Human Son by the Spirit (whom the Father also indwells!). Tricky.

So once again, maybe as I suggest above it is just as simple as saying that the Father only indwells the divine nature of the Son not his human nature? This seems a bit wierd to me, but perhaps that's right. It is corrolate with the correct orthodox view that the Son dies according to his humanity or in his human nature not in his divinity, yet it is truly the Divine Son who really dies...

I'm not at all sure.

So what we are after is a non-heretical articulation of the death of God which upholds the mutual indwelling of the Father and Son and their inseperable operation without seperating the divine persons, please?

And some good historical articulations would be happy too, if you've got them handy. Ta.

To complicate matters, what of the Spirit? Surely the Spirit must indwell the Son (1) as a divine person from all eternity (2) as a man, the architypal believer.

But Dr Ovey must have all this at the tip of his tongue? I'll email him this. As my supervisor, perhaps he'll be alarmed into action if I really am going heterodox here.


Ros said...

No, we're not all agreed.

DavidF said...

indeed not

Anonymous said...

No, indeed.

Define inseperable operation, please.

Ros said...

Perhaps it's different from inseparable operation?

Daniel Newman said...

I hope you don't mind someone from your group poking his nose in.


Your post sounds suspiciously like heresy to me. Someone might like to correct me on that. At least I'm not on my own in disagreeing with you.


It's reassuring to learn that I am not alone in my pedantry!

Daniel Newman said...


I hop you don't mind someone from *outside* your group poking his nose in.

Marc Lloyd said...

Daniel, of course not. Your comments have always been most welcome. I'm hoping for a huge public hanging on my every post, not only a little elite group of expert bloggers! :) But I am very pleased that Neil Jeffers is squatting on my blog rather than bothering to have his own. And unlike Ros' blog, I've never had a malfunction when trying to post a comment on mine.

Of topic, what do people make of the adverts?

Anonymous said...


Touche (sorry, don't know how to do accents)

Ros said...

Actually, that was meant to be a dig at Marc; your comment was just a pleasing coincidence!

Daniel Newman said...

Regarding advertisements, I'd be very, very wary - quite often there are links to some pretty dodgy stuff, including the Quakers.

Marc Lloyd said...

Re Ads Daniel, I think part of the deal is that I'm not allowed to click on the ad links, so I dont know what they say!

If anyone does find anything truly awful on the ads please let me know and I'll try to get rid of them. I think there are certian filters one can set up. Ta

Marc Lloyd said...

We've been discussing this a bit more by email as follows:

*Ros said:*

I agree with Matthew. It seems to me that if you follow your line of reasoning Marc, you end up saying ridiculous things like 'the Father begets the Father' and 'the Father abandons the Father'... You do need to preserve personal distinctions at some point.

*I replied to Ros:*

That I dont think those statements are necessarily nonsense in every sense: The Father begat the Son in so far as the Father is in the Son but the Father (simply speaking) is unbegotten. There is a great and infinite happy inter-relation of mutal indwelling with distiction but never any seperation, except for the Father from the Sin-bearing Human Son in his human nature.

*I said to Matthew:*

Yes, I agree that their action is not symmetrical. But *in the Son’s action* the father must be there or they are just acting as a team doing different actions. The words of Jn 5 support my view, I think.

*Matthew said:*

Of course you may put my thoughts on your blog.

In response to your response, I think there must be a sense in which the Father is there, sustaining the Son by the Spirit, enabling him to offer himself, even at the point of the cry of dereliction. But I still don't think this necessitates a view that states that, in some sense, the Father died.

*I replied to Matthew:*

So the Father is not in the Son’s action of dying or not in the Son as dying Son? That cant be right.

*Are we any further on, anyone? Dr Field? Jeffers?*

Marc Lloyd said...

* Neil Jeffers said:*


You cite John 5 rightly for inseparable operation. Note v. 22, "The Father judges no one, but has given all judgement to the Son..." Obviously, it is within a wide context of inseparable operation and perichoresis (10:38). But, it seems to me that your formulation would make this difficult to say. As Doug Wilson points out, a system becomes problematic if it doesn't allow us to speak phrases the Scripture itself uses. This verse, at least, seems to uphold personal distinction to some degree.


*Rev'd Dr Mike Ovey, who ought to know said:*

augustine De Trinitate I.7. helps. Inseparable operation in that tradition speaks of the Persons acting 'not without' each other. That phrasing allows for asymmetrical involvement in particular actions. Thus, it is the Son who is incarnate, not the Father - which Augustine keeps saying - but the Son's actions in the Incarnation are to be identified with the Father (John 14:9-11), and in a sense this must be so if Jesus is to say truly 'If you have seen me you have seen the Father.'

*Marc says:*

So is that all clear to everyone and settled, then?

It still seems like there are questions and lose ends to me and that we havent said enough about the Spirit either. Maybe I'm being thick but it feels like we are being scared off by complexity and a distinction too far - because I really do think my articulations preserve the disticntions and unities of the persons, avoiding separation?

I'm not just saying "The Father Dies" (just like a man or even just like the Son, or The Divine Son...

Dr Field?