Forward this issue to a Friend 

Join Our Mailing List Like us on Facebook
 
Psalm 89:1-8
 
I will sing of the steadfast love of the LORD, forever; with my mouth I will make known your faithfulness to all generations.  For I said, "Steadfast love will be built up forever; in the heavens you will establish your faithfulness."  You have said, "I have made a covenant with my chosen one; I have sworn to David my servant:  'I will establish your offspring forever, and build your throne for all generations.'"
 
Let the heavens praise your wonders, O LORD, your faithfulness in the assembly of the holy ones!  For who in the skies can be compared to the LORD? Who among the heavenly beings is like the LORD, a God greatly to be feared in the council of the holy ones, and awesome above all who are around him?  O LORD God of hosts, who is mighty as you are, O LORD, with your faithfulness all around you? (ESV)
Redeemed Humanity
Jerome, Translator of Holy Scripture
30 September 2015
Heresy has its own strange results and makes unusual bedfellows. The Arians of the fourth century A.D. tried to convince the world that Jesus was a creature, albeit a creature whom the Arians thought was God in some sense or other, although being inferior to the Father, and being begotten in such a way as to imply a beginning. In part, they defended this point of view by arguing from human generation to divine generation. If humans were born so that they had a beginning, then, if the Son had a birth, that birth implied He must have a beginning and therefore, there was a time when He was not. Gregory Nazianzus mocked this comparison of divine generation with human generation by pointing out that if there were such significant or requisite parallels, then why not add marriage, gestational length, the possibility of miscarriage, and others to the divine experience of generation.
 
The problem is that when an Arian viewpoint is accepted, then all manner of unworthy things are attributed to God; things attributable to fallible, broken, and weak humanity. It dissolves the gap between the holy God and fallen humanity. In an Arian viewpoint we can attribute to God all our human weaknesses, even our depravity. What if Christ has had a consort and really produced children? What if the Father has abandoned His Son to a brutal death, then is He not susceptible to the charge of child abuse? So-called theologians have stated baldly: "To argue that salvation can only come through the cross is to make God a divine sadist and a divine child abuser." Kyrie, eleison! This is to subject God to our human, fallible, and even perverted standards of judgment; very much in keeping with the method of the ancient Arians. God comes under human judgment. He has to do things in the way we say He should do them. This is entirely backward. Are we not subject to divine judgment, instead?
 
A perfect parallel does not exist between human conditions and the divine relations. In God, the Father is the Father in such a way that He is not the Son, and the Son is the Son in such a way that He is not the Father. Humans are fathers and sons at the same time; one relation does not preclude the other. In fact, I am still a son, even though my father is deceased, and yet at the same time I remain a father to my own children.
 
Once we begin to say that God must be like us in the manner and mode of the generation of the Son of the Father, then God must be like us in all manner of our perversity. And if so, then we begin to attribute to God our perversity, as the Greeks did to their pagan pantheon. God becomes merely a human projection of our broken humanity. Instead he has become the Son of the Father eternally begotten of Him to redeem us from our broken humanity.

 

Gregory of Nazianzus

"How can the generation [of the Son by the Father] occur without change? By its being incorporeal. For if corporeal generation involves change, incorporeal generation excludes it. I will ask of you in turn, 'How could Christ be God if He is created?' For that which is created is not God. I refrain from reminding you that here too is change if we take the creation in a bodily sense, as time, desire, imagination, thought, hope, pain, risk, failure, success, all of which find a place in the creature, as is evident to everyone. I am amazed that you do not venture so far as to conceive of marriages, times of pregnancy, and dangers of miscarriage, as if the Father could not have begotten at all if He had not begotten in this specific way; or again, that you did not count up the modes of generation of birds, beasts and fish, and bring under some one of them the divine and ineffable generation, or even eliminate the Son out of your new hypothesis. You cannot even see that as His generation according to the flesh differs from all others (for where among humans do you know of a virgin mother?), so does He differ also in His spiritual generation; or rather He, whose existence is not the same as ours, differs from us also in His generation.
 
"Who then is that Father Who had no beginning? One whose very existence had no beginning; for one whose existence had a beginning must have begun to be a Father. He did not then become a Father after He began to be, for His being had no beginning. He is Father in the absolute sense, for He is not also Son. The Son is also Son in the absolute sense, because He is not Father. These names do not belong to us humans in the absolute sense, because we are both father and son, and not one more than the other; and we are of both, and not of one only. So we are divided, and by degrees become men, and perhaps not even men, and such as we did not desire, leaving and being left (by death), so that only the relations remain, without the underlying facts.
 
"But, the objector says, the very form of the expression "He begat" and "He was begotten," brings in the idea of a beginning of generation. But what if you do not use this expression, but say, "He had been begotten from the beginning" so as readily to evade your farfetched and time-loving objections? Will you bring Scripture against us, as if we were forging something contrary to Scripture and to the truth?" 

Gregory Nazianzus, Third Theological Oration, 4-5
 
Prayer
Lord Jesus, make us ever more faithful to Your Word, that we might properly confess you as the begotten of the Father, come to redeem us poor sinful humans. Amen.
 
For Luke Rivera, who was born prematurely, that the Lord would grant him strength and the care that he needs
 
For Pr. William Heine, that he would have wisdom from on high as he serves as Headmaster of Memorial Lutheran School
 
For those who feel the burdens of earthly troubles, that they might be freed from their burden by the grace of Christ
Art: Dürer, Albrecht  The Adoration of the Trinity (1515) 

Find me on Facebook                                                                             © Scott R. Murray, 2015
 

 
Forward email



This email was sent to by smurray@mlchouston.org |  


Memorial Lutheran Church | 5800 Westheimer Rd. | Houston | TX | 77057