Origen and Calvin: Christological Smackdown!

Debates around the Trinity can be bruising – if esoteric – affairs. I had reason to enter into one last year, when I surveyed the views of two great Christian thinkers, Origen and John Calvin. What follows below represents my thoughts on what they had to say about that most scintillating of topics: the origin of the Son’s divinity.

Introduction

Biblical scholars, theologians and even philosophers have, through the ages, spilled much ink trying to clarify the internal relations within the Trinity. One particular issue concerns the Son and his divinity: if the Son is distinct from the Father, in what way can he properly be said to possess the same divine essence? Two men who gave thought to the matter were Origen and John Calvin. In this essay, I will examine and compare their conclusions regarding the origins of the Son’s deity. In the course of this comparison, I shall argue that although both men evince some linguistic and conceptual affinity in their reflections on the Son’s divine identity, they nevertheless differ significantly. Chief among those differences is precisely the origin of that identity. Indeed, whilst Origen thought of the Son’s divinity as derived – contingent, in other words, upon the Father – Calvin argued that the Son is autotheos (“God of himself”), whose deity is inherent and uncaused. This is what ultimately, and crucially, separates the two men. The essay itself will unfold in three main stages. First, I shall summarise Origen’s and Calvin’s views on the issue at hand. Second, I will highlight the key similarities and differences between them, at which point the salience of the notion of the Son as autotheos will become clear. Finally, I will evaluate their reflections, concluding that of the two, Calvin has provided an account of the provenance of the Son’s divinity that is, relatively speaking, more compelling. Origen’s undoubted genius notwithstanding, I shall suggest that the French Reformer’s view demonstrates greater sensitivity to the relevant biblical and theological issues.

Origen and Calvin: Getting to Grips

Before a proper comparison of Origen and Calvin can take place, it is first necessary to provide a basic summary of each man’s view regarding the Son’s divinity – the better to ground further analysis.

Origen

Origen (c.185-254) was a theologian and exegete of prodigious talent, whose accomplishments have earned him a reputation as one of Christianity’s most creative thinkers. His writings on the nature of God and the Son are no exception, reflecting an innovative blend of biblical exegesis and Hellenistic philosophy. Emulating the Classical milieu in which he was steeped, Origen contends that God is fundamentally one and simple.[1] He speaks of God as “ingenerate”, implying both eternality and absolute transcendence over temporal existence.[2] He is the “first principle” of everything else, revealed through the lower strata of reality.[3] Simultaneously, Origen argues that God is triune for all eternity; there was never a time when the Son (nor the Spirit) was not.[4] Origen refers to God’s Logos, wisdom or reason, which he identifies with the Son (cf. Prov 8:22ff).[5] A concept found in both Platonic and Stoic schools of thought, the Logos was seen as the medium through which the absolute God – the “first principle” – created the diversity of the mundane world, thus pervading it as a kind of universal reason.[6] In Origen’s hands, the Logos is identical with the mind of God, and in fact, has been with him for all eternity as the personal existence of his will and the manifestation of his being.[7] He is the eternal Son, timelessly begotten of God the Father.[8] Aware of the dangers of misinterpretation, the Alexandrian is careful to distinguish this begetting from all temporal instances of generation. Commenting on Hebrews 1:3, he compares the Father’s generation of the Son with “light” creating “brightness”: in both cases, there is no question of temporal generation, for both exist together, in an act of continuous begetting.[9] The Son, or Logos, is therefore not a temporal creation, but a being that eternally shares – participates – in the life of the absolute God.[10]

In wrestling with the relationship between the Son and the Father, Origen tried to make sense of the Godhead’s simultaneous unity and plurality using Middle Platonic categories. He also sought to rebut an inchoate modalism (the idea that God simply manifests himself in three modes) then prevalent in sections of the early church.[11] Origen thus lays great stress upon the Son as a discrete hypostasis – or subsistent identity – from the Father, although given the Son’s eternal inclusion within the divine life, he shares in the same ousia, or essence, as the Father.[12] Indeed, Origen is careful to maintain that both persons possess that nature.[13] Still, he thinks of God the Father as the centre and foundation of action, whose primordial role sets the boundaries of intra-Trinitarian relations.[14] Furthermore, Origen views the Father as God par excellence.[15] Relying on his philosophical heritage, he insists that the “…God and Father” is superior to all, whilst “the Son, being less than the Father” is only superior to rational creatures.[16] It is from the Father, he maintains, that the essence of the Logos-Son is drawn.[17]

John Calvin

We turn now to John Calvin (1509-1564), the great Protestant Reformer whose clearest statements on both the Trinity and the Son’s deity are encapsulated in his magnum opus, Institutes of the Christian Religion. Drawing on a rich and eclectic range of sources, Calvin contends that God is both one and essentially, eternally Triune.[18] He thus affirms the unity and (three-fold) plurality of God.[19] After making plain Scripture’s testimony to the Son’s divinity, Calvin expounds his eternal generation from the Father. For him, the Father is “unbegotten”, whilst the Son is the uniquely “begotten” one – though he emphatically rejects the idea that the Son was created in time.[20] Moreover, Calvin contends that the Son is one in essence and being with the Father, and so possesses the fullness of deity. He clearly insists that both Father and Son are completely God, each in his own right. Prominent in Calvin’s reflections on the matter is the notion of the Son’s essential aseity, or self-existence, which he shares with the Father.[21] He uses the language of autotheos (“God of himself”) to describe the Son’s divinity, which amounts to the idea that he, the Son, he fully God in himself. However, lest he be accused of failing to reconcile the Son’s “begotten-ness” with the intrinsic possession of deity, Calvin seeks to make a careful distinction between the Son’s underived essence and his begotten person. Indeed, he argues that “the Son simply, without reference to the Father…is of himself, and, accordingly… [is] the only beginning”; it is with the Son’s relation to the Father that one should make the latter the “principle” of the former.[22] According to Calvin, then, the Son, in reference to himself, is God without qualification. His deity is completely underived, and is his inherently, whilst his person has its “beginning” in the Father.

Comparing Origen and Calvin

The foregoing summary of Origen’s and Calvin’s reflections on the Son’s possession of deity reveals a number of distinctive features. It remains now to highlight them in more detail, by juxtaposing their views. From the outset, one should acknowledge that the two men’s views do bear a degree of affinity. As the above summary indicates, both men hold to some notion that the Father timelessly generated the Son, who represents a distinct hypostasis within the Godhead. Simultaneously, the doctrine – for Origen as for Calvin – is meant to uphold the claim that the Son is not substantially different from the Father, but has the same substance.[23] Taken in isolation, the Son’s eternal generation ensures his deep, essential identification with the Father.[24] However, despite this degree of accord between the two men, there is, on a deeper level, division over the question of the origin of that identity. As I will demonstrate, it is, for Origen, derived;[25] for Calvin, it is emphatically intrinsic. The differences contained in these positions are significant and consequential.

The Scope of Eternal Generation

We begin with the rather revealing ways the two men parse the notion of eternal generation, which provides a convenient entry-point into their key dissimilarities. Origen, whilst plainly adhering to the Son’s deity, holds to a model of eternal begetting that encompasses the totality of the Son’s being. His image of light and brightness, though intended to point to a shared essence between Father and Son, is used to uphold the idea of continuous communication.[26] That is, Origen contends that that Father conveys the divine essence to the Son in dynamic and unceasing fashion. For him, it would seem that the Son’s eternal generation, whilst providing a safeguard against any notion that he is a temporal creation, includes the ongoing transmission of the divine ousia.[27] Some of his language gives the impression that Origen sees the Son as a “created” being (albeit in an atemporal act of begetting).[28] Evincing reliance upon his Middle Platonic background, Origen contends that the Son participates in the deity of the Father. He does not possess deity inherently, but rather by attribution.[29] Not only is Origen committed to the generation of a distinct hypostasis from the Father – i.e. the Son-Logos – but appears, in the case of the latter’s being, to endorse a kind of deity-by-derivation.

Calvin, on the other hand, whilst also affirming the Son’s eternal generation, is equally clear that this does not imply a continuous communication of essence.[30] In contrast with Origen, Calvin is very careful to say that although the Father is, in some sense, the “beginning” of the Son, he does not donate the Son’s divine ousia;[31] if there is a beginning, it is a relational one of (eternal) self-differentiation.[32] Indeed, in his debate with the anti-Trinitarian Peter Caroli, who argued that eternal generation corresponds with the Son’s possession of divinity from the Father, Calvin made this very point.[33] He explicitly rejects the notion that the Father is, as he puts it, the “essentiator” of the Son, thinking it “…a detestable fiction to maintain that essence is proper to the Father alone, as if he were the deifier of the Son.”[34] Calvin’s aforementioned distinction between the divine essence of the Son and the begetting of his personal subsistence – one that Origen does not appear to make – allows the French Reformer to parse the notion of eternal generation in such a way that the former remains an intrinsic possession, even as the latter finds its origination in the Father.[35]

Who is Autotheos?

The issue over precisely what was generated in the Father’s act of begetting the Son, and how it divides Origen and Calvin, leads naturally to the already-mentioned category of autotheos. Whilst both men use the term, the way they do so – and the exact referent(s) in each case – offers a crisp encapsulation of their fundamental variance over the provenance of the Son’s deity. It is at this point that their differences are starkest.

In concert with his view that the Son’s divine essence is derived in the Father’s act of eternal begetting, Origen contends that only the Father can justifiably be called autotheos. The Son, whilst fully possessing deity, cannot be seen as God in himself, precisely because of his participation in the Father’s underived deity.[36] He “streams” from the Father, the ingenerate One, who alone is God unqualified.[37] This introduces a strong subordinationist element into the Alexandrian’s Trinitarian thinking, and suggests a kind of gradation of deity:[38] whilst the Logos-Son is whatever the Father is, he is so in a different sense, and in a different manner.[39] Origen thus commits himself to saying that only the Father is downright deity;[40] it is the First Person of the Trinity who is God in himself. Origen draws such a distinction between the Father and the Son/Word in his reading of John 1:1-2,[41] and cites John 17:3 to substantiate this contention.[42] In addition, he states that some “incautiously assert that the Saviour [i.e. the Son] is…Most High God” – a criticism of those who would identify the Son with God (i.e. the Father) so straightforwardly.[43]

The contrast with Calvin could not be greater, for as we have seen, the French Reformer is at pains to argue that the Son, along with the Father, is autotheos.[44] The notion of autotheos dovetails with Calvin’s contention that the Son’s deity is neither contingent upon, nor communicated by, the Father. Noting the (eternal) derivation of the Son’s person from the Father, he nonetheless insists – vigorously – that the Son has deity in himself. Departing from Origen’s exegesis of Hebrews 1:3, Calvin argues that his preferred distinction is warranted from a reading of that passage.[45] Furthermore, he cites a battery of OT and NT texts to show that what is predicated of Yahweh is also predicated, without qualification, of the Son, and contends that Paul’s statement in Philippians 2:6-7 regarding the Son’s “equality” with the Father “admirably settles all disputes”.[46] Calvin’s emphatic rejection of the Father as “essentiator” of the Son thus naturally contains its corollary: borrowing the ecclesiastical concept of in solidum, he maintains that both Persons essentially hold the name “God” in common, and the divine nature it denotes.[47] Otherwise, he asserts, “…the essence which in the Father is unformed and unbegotten will in [the Son] be formed and begotten.”[48] For the Son, just as much as the Father, divine identity is causeless, timeless and “origin-less”.[49]

This is inextricably tied to the way the two men conceive of the Son’s existence. Whereas Origen thinks the Father is uniquely ingenerate, whose being depends on nothing else but his own nature, Calvin insists that the Son also possesses aseity (self-existence).[50] For both men, aseity is a property unique to God – but whereas Origen reserves it for the Father,[51] stating that the Logos exists in a different manner, Calvin plainly states that the Son, too, considered in himself, is God a se. He even quotes Exodus 3:14, where Yahweh famously declares his own self-existence, and applies it to the Son.[52] Calvin reasons that if aseity is an attribute of God, then it belongs to the Son fully and without derogation.[53]

Alexandria or Geneva?

Origen and Calvin exhibit several crucial differences in their writings on the origin of the Son’s deity. But which one provides a more satisfying account? Based on a number of formidable issues Origen’s account faces, I suggest that the French Reformer’s contribution is comparatively more persuasive (or at least less problematic), and that he navigates the various theological pitfalls with greater agility. I shall organise my evaluation under a series of broad rubrics.

The Son’s Deity: Underlying Logic. At the outset, it must be said that Origen’s advocacy for the Son’s derived essence leads unavoidably to his diminution. Indeed, it jars sharply with a basic understanding of God’s identity (shared, apparently, by the Son himself) as self-existent and self-subsistent being.[54] By saying that only the Father is autotheos, who conveys his unsourced deity, Origen implicitly undermines the Son’s claim to godhood, the result of which is a pronounced subordination.[55] Whether it is ontological in character is a matter of debate; certainly, some of Origen’s language implies the “existential” subservience of Son to Father, where the being of the one is dependent upon the power of the other.[56] One wonders whether the Son is truly and completely God, if his essence is conditional on something apart from himself (ie. the Father), and he lacks the self-existence unique to God. Paired with the complementary notion of a continuous communication of essence, the charge of some measure of contingency in Origen appears reasonable.

Calvin’s view of the Son as autotheos avoids this pitfall, and quarantines his identity against any risk of ontological diminution. He rightly points out that anything less reduces the Son to a “titular” deity – one whose nature has been bequeathed in an act of fatherly attribution.[57] If the Trinity is eternally comprised of three centres of personal activity, who together constitute the one divine essence, then the French Reformer’s account of the Son as autotheos seems to be a logical inference from such a view of God.[58] This isn’t to say that Calvin’s rendition is beyond question. One may argue that so defined a distinction between the Son’s intrinsic deity and begotten personhood represents an unwarranted abstraction, which fails to reckon with the inherent inseparability of these two dimensions. To think of the Son as God apart from his personage is as illusory as theoretical conceptions of his Sonship without reference to his divinity.[59] Calvin’s scheme seems to rest on a kind of theoretical deconstruction: artificially parsing, according to their respective sources, aspects of the Son’s identity that are necessarily one in order for him to exist as he is in the first place.[60] Can a being possibly bear his essence intrinsically – and, moreover, enjoy aseity – if he exists, hypostatically, by virtue of generation? Whether this critique ultimately succeeds, it exposes the insuperable mystery of God’s inner life, and the challenges involved in efforts – even those as careful as Calvin’s – to articulate it. Still, his is a venerable attempt to maintain both the Son’s absolute deity and relational distinctions within the Godhead. Difficult though it is to conceive of the Son apart from his deity (and vice versa), an Origenist understanding of the extrinsic nature of the Son’s essence within the three-fold unity of God appears to raise even larger theological obstacles.[61]

Influences and Doctrinal Implications. Origen’s rejection of the Son’s intrinsic deity is partly attributable to a consistent reliance upon his Middle Platonic frame of reference. The Alexandrian’s fundamental commitment to a Platonic view of God forces him to distinguish the Logos-Son to such a degree that his being is qualitatively different – a mediating influence between the ingenerate and generate realms of existence, but not quite belonging to either.[62] Similarly, the notion of essential communication rests on the Platonic assumption that an effect is inferior to its cause.[63] Origen’s analysis of Scripture is inordinately shaped by this framework, as his exegesis of John 1:1-2 demonstrates: forging an artificial distinction between the Father’s absolute deity and the Son’s mere “divine-likeness”.[64] Origen also moves beyond the import of the NT’s “subordinationist” texts (e.g., John 14:28) to argue that they self-evidently reveal something of the eternal, immanent status of the Son.[65] Of course, Calvin also acknowledges the (limited) viability of non-biblical terms and categories in Trinitarian reflection, but is careful to corral his speculations with Scripture.[66] He proceeds on the basis of the NT’s Christological re-appropriation of language reserved for Yahweh, of which his exegesis of John’s prologue is an example: eschewing an Origenist interpretation of the text, he insists (correctly in my view) that the passage pushes towards the essential unity between God and his Word, and the latter’s unqualified godhood.[67] Simultaneously, Calvin’s proffered distinction between the Son’s person and essence does have the advantage of negotiating the basic biblical ingredients in a way that better balances unity and plurality within the Godhead (cf. John 1:1-2).[68]

Additionally, commentators have reasonably argued that Origen’s view of the Son’s subordination to the Father unwittingly provided a “stepping stone” to later Arianism.[69] Whilst the Alexandrian was certainly no proto-Arian,[70] his rendering of the Logos’ derived deity provided the seedbed for conceptions of the Son as a temporal creation, possessed of only relative eminence.[71] Calvin’s insistence on the Son as autotheos guards against such deviation, and helps conserve the umbilical link between the deep tri-unity of God and other aspects of Christian doctrine and practice. For instance, can worship of the Son – praxis that appears to be an extremely early aspect of the church,[72] and is part of the warp and woof of Christian spirituality – retain the same legitimacy if the Father alone is the primordial bearer of the divine nature? Similarly, if the Son represents God’s movement into created multiplicity (so Origen), is it possible for such a being to be the agent of redemption, given the possible susceptibility to change and mutability?[73]

Consequences for Intra-Trinitarian Relations. Apart from reflecting a diminution of the Son’s rank and status, Origen’s subordinationism entails a hierarchical view of God[74] – a gradation of deity, that is, where Father and Son occupy different strata.[75] Unfortunately, his simultaneous commitment to Platonic notions of divine simplicity leads to an unremitting tension, even confusion, in his understanding of God’s being. On the one hand, he attempts to preserve God’s monarchical simplicity via the Son’s substantial diminution.[76] On the other hand, he cuts across that simplicity by insisting that the Son is nonetheless incorporated into the divine nature, despite his qualitative difference. Origen thus undermines his own commitment to God’s (read: the Father’s) radical oneness by welding a subordinationist Trinitarianism to it. Ironically, he ends up with a kind of hierarchical “composite” of the divine nature – of which the Son’s ambiguous ontology is symptomatic – at odds with his stated commitment to God’s utter unity.[77] At the same time, if a thoroughgoing Trinitarianism requires that the divine essence only exists as it is equally instantiated in the three hypostases (of which the Son is one),[78] then Origen’s monarchical tendencies – thus delimiting underived essence to the Father – threaten to subvert that conception. This is closely linked with Origen’s participatory understanding of the Son’s deity, since it implies a deeply unequal view of the Son’s relationship with the Father, with the former acting as an instrument of the latter’s will.[79]

Recognizing the risk inherent in this kind of division,[80] Calvin adopts a perichoretic understanding of the Triune God’s unity, where the Son exists in intimate union with the Father (and the Spirit), completely and equally sharing in the underived and indivisible being of the divine monarchia.[81] Protecting the parity of their relationship (functional-economic subordination notwithstanding), it also leads to a more satisfying view of divine inter-relations, where Father and Son – autotheos both – utterly indwell and permeate each other.[82] The Son is not merely an organ of the Father’s will, nor an isolative individual, but an equal partner in creation and redemption. Cohering well with Scripture (e.g., John 14:10-11; 17:21-23; cf. Rom 8:9), Calvin’s model of the Son’s deity aids him in conceiving of God’s nature as a dynamic unity – grounded in an equality of essence, and substantiating relational harmony.

Conclusion

The foregoing examination has attempted to uncover the major differences that exist between Origen’s and Calvin’s views on the provenance of the Son’s divinity. Though sometimes obscure, those differences are, in fact, significant. Chief among them, and underlying all else, is the distinction between Origen’s contention that the Son’s deity is derived from the unsourced being of the Father, and Calvin’s emphatic insistence that the former is autotheos – “God in himself”. Of the two men, it is Calvin’s rendition that faces less difficulties. Of course, any comparative evaluation is in some sense unfair, for the French Reformer had the benefit of 1300 years of intensive Trinitarian reflection. Nevertheless, Origen’s ingenious attempts to give voice to the Son’s divine identity are ultimately hampered by his fundamental commitment to Middle Platonic categories of thought, leading to a significant diminution of the Son’s deity, a marked subordinationism, and a confused conception of God’s being. Calvin’s scheme, though not entirely unproblematic, offers an account that is more satisfying theologically, facing squarely the natural implications of the Son’s eternal inclusion within the identity of God. Furthermore, it is subtle in its distinctions, relatively judicious in its speculations, and sensitive to biblical pressures and intimations. Calvin preserves the Son’s genuine deity and provides a clear, more coherent, re-statement of historic Trinitarianism.

[1] Origen, On First Principles, 1.1.6; G.L. Prestige, God in Patristic Thought (London: SPCK, 1952), 9.

[2] Presitge, Patristic Thought, 51; Henri Crouzel, Origen (Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1989), 183.

[3] John Peter Kenny, “The Greek Tradition in Early Christian Philosophy,” in The Columbia History of Western Philosophy, ed. Richard H. Popkin (New York: Columbia University Press, 1999), 124; Robert M. Berchman, From Philo to Origen: Middle Platonism in Transition (Brown Judaic Studies 69; Chico, CA: Scholars Press, 1984), 119.

[4] FP, 1.2.9; Kevin Giles, The Eternal Generation of the Son: Maintaining Orthodoxy in Trinitarian Theology (Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2012), 99; cf. Charles Kannengiesser and William L. Peterson, Origen of Alexandria: His World and His Legacy (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1988), 242.

[5] See, for e.g., FP, 1.2.2

[6] Berchman, From Philo to Origen, 126; Franz Dunzl, A Brief History of the Doctrine of the Trinity in the Early Church (London: T & T Clark, 2007), 23.

[7] FP, 1.2.2; Berchman, From Philo to Origen, 127; R.A. Norris, God and World in Early Christian Theology: A Study in Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Tertullian and Origen (London: Adam and Charles Black, 1966), 128.

[8] Giles, Eternal Generation, 100-101.

[9] FP, 1.2.2; Dunzl, A Brief History, 38.

[10] Cf. Origen, Comm. John, 1.22; FP, 1.2.9. Joseph W. Trigg, The Early Church Fathers: Origen (London: Routledge, 1998), 24.

[11] Paul R. Hinlicky, Divine Complexity: The Rise of Creedal Christianity (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2010), 180.

[12] Giles, Eternal Generation, 101.

[13] Berchman, From Philo to Origen, 135.

[14] Crouzel, Origen, 185.

[15] Hinlicky, Divine Complexity, 181.

[16] FP, 1.3.5.

[17] FP, 1.2.13; Hinlicky, Divine Complexity, 183; Robert S. Franks, The Doctrine of the Trinity (London: Gerald Duckworth, 1953), 93.

[18] John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, 1.13.16.

[19] Institutes, 1.13.17; 1.13.20.

[20] Institutes, 1.13.23; Giles, Eternal Generation, 177.

[21] Brannon Ellis, Calvin, Classical Trinitarianism and the Aseity of the Son (Oxford: OUP, 2012), 1-2.

[22] Institutes, 1.13.19.

[23] Giles, Eternal Generation, 177.

[24] See Ellis, Calvin, Classical Trinitarianism, 42, and his comments about Calvin’s views at this point.

[25] Robert Letham, The Holy Trinity: In Scripture, History, Theology and Worship (Phillipsburg: P & R Publishing, 2004), 106

[26] Letham, The Holy Trinity, 103.

[27] Crouzel, Origen, 187-188.

[28] Peter Widdicombe, “The Fathers on the Father in the Gospel of John”, Semeia 85 (1999): 109; Berchman, From Philo, 128.

[29] Widdicombe, “The Fathers,” 111.

[30] Institutes, 1.13.29; Giles, Eternal Generation, 185; Ellis, Calvin, Classical Trinitarianism, 33; Young-Ho Chun, “The Trinity in the Protestant Reformation: Continuity within Discontinuity”, in The Cambridge Companion to the Trinity, ed. Peter C. Phan (Cambridge: CUP, 2011), 139.

[31] Ellis, Calvin, Classical Trinitarianism, 34.

[32] Institutes, 1.13.25.

[33] Ellis, Calvin, Classical Trinitarianism, 49-50.

[34] Institutes, 1.13.24.

[35] Institutes, 1.13.20; Thomas F. Torrance, “Calvin’s Doctrine of the Trinity”, CTJ 25 (1990): 179-180; Ellis, Calvin, Classical Trinitarianism, 45, 47.

[36] Comm. John, 2.2; Franks, The Doctrine, 92-93.

[37] Norris, God and World, 128.

[38] E.g., Berchman, From Philo, 118; Dunzl, A Brief History, 38; Widdicombe, “The Fathers”, 111; Cf. Roger E. Olson and Christopher Alan Hall, The Trinity (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2002), 25.

[39] Norris, God and World, 128.

[40] Widdicombe, “The Fathers”, 111.

[41] Franks, The Doctrine, 92.

[42] Comm. John, 1.20.119.

[43] Contra Celsum, 8.16.644; Hinlicky, Divine Complexity, 180.

[44] E.g., Institutes, 1.13.25; cf. Chun, “The Trinity in the Protestant,” 140.

[45] Calvin, Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews, trans. John Owen (reprint; Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2009), 37.

[46] See Institutes, 1.13.23, 24.

[47] Institutes, 1.13.23; Torrance, “Calvin’s Doctrine”, 182-183, 190-191; Charles Partee, The Theology of John Calvin (Louisville: William John Knox Press, 2008), 67.

[48] Institutes, 1.13.24.

[49] Torrance, “Calvin’s Doctrine”, 183.

[50] Ellis, Calvin, Classical Trinitarianism, 45

[51] See Stephen Edmonson, Calvin’s Christology (Cambridge: CUP, 2004), 19, where he makes this comment of Origen.

[52] Institutes, 1.13.23; Ellis, Calvin, Classical Trinitarianism, 43.

[53] Ellis, Calvin, Classical Trinitarianism, 33; Torrance, “Calvin’s Doctrine”, 183.

[54] Louis Berkhof, Systematic Theology (London: Banner of Truth, 1941), 58.

[55] John S. Feinberg, No One Like Him: The Doctrine of God (Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2001), 477.

[56] Bryan Liftin, “Origen”, in Shapers of Christian Orthodoxy, ed. B.G. Green (Nottingham: Apollos, 2010), 137.

[57] Institutes, 1.13.23.

[58] Letham, The Holy Trinity, 257; Donald G. Bloesch, God the Almighty: Power, Wisdom, Holiness and Love (Downers Grove: Intervarsity Press, 1995), 184-185.

[59] Roger Beckwith, “The Calvinist Doctrine of the Trinity,” Churchman 115 (2001): 310.

[60] Beckwith, “The Calvinist Doctrine”, 310-311.

[61] Cf. Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology (2nd edition; Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 1998), 362, who argues that qualitative and extensive equality is an essential component of an orthodox conception of the Trinity.

[62] Franks, The Doctrine, 94; Stephen R. Holmes, The Holy Trinity: Understanding God’s Life (Milton Keynes: Paternoster, 2012), 79.

[63] Giles, Eternal Generation, 100.

[64] See the direct quotations in Franks, The Doctrine, 92-93.

[65] Widdicombe, “The Fathers”, 111.

[66] Institutes, 1.13.21; Letham, The Holy Trinity, 265; Torrance, “Calvin’s Doctrine”, 176.

[67] See Andreas Kostenberger, John (BECNT; Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2004), 28-29, for a complementary analysis of this passage.

[68] Calvin, Commentary on the Gospel According to John, Volume 1, trans. William Pringle (reprint; Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2009), 28-29.

[69] Berkhof, Systematic Theology, 82.

[70] Presitge, God in Patristic, 134.

[71] Holmes, The Holy Trinity, 83.

[72] See Larry W. Hurtado, One God, One Lord: Early Christian Devotion and Ancient Jewish Monotheism (2nd edition; London: Continuum, 1998), 100-115.

[73] Bloesch, God the Almighty, 173; Millard J. Erickson, God in Three Persons: A Contemporary Interpretation of the Trinity (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1995), 26, for further analysis of the integral relationships between the Trinity and other Christian doctrines; cf. Kenny, “The Greek Tradition”, 124.

[74] Giles, Eternal Generation, 100.

[75] Bloesch, God the Almighty, 173; Franks, The Doctrine, 93.

[76] Cf. Feinberg, No One Like Him, 479.

[77] See Feinberg, No One Like Him, 479; cf. Olson & Hall, The Trinity, 25.

[78] Erickson, God in Three, 264.

[79] Bloesch, God the Almighty, 173.

[80] Institutes, 1.13.23.

[81] Cf. Torrance, “Calvin’s Doctrine”, 190-191.

[82] Institutes, 1.13.19.

Advertisements

One comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s