Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Plan for 2011

Hi all,

I want to submit blog posts that will touch on my research projects. I have some book plans and ideas for journal articles. My plan is to submit research work to this blog in 2011.

All the best,


Origen of Alexandria on God's Hardening of Pharoah

"And now we must return an answer also to those who would have the God of the law to be just only, and not also good; and let us ask such in what manner they consider the heart of Pharaoh to have been hardened by God— by what acts or by what prospective arrangements. For we must observe the conception of a God who in our opinion is both just and good, but according to them only just. And let them show us how a God whom they also acknowledge to be just, can with justice cause the heart of a man to be hardened, that, in consequence of that very hardening, he may sin and be ruined. And how shall the justice of God be defended, if He Himself is the cause of the destruction of those whom, owing to their unbelief (through their being hardened), He has afterwards condemned by the authority of a judge? For why does He blame him, saying, 'But since you will not let My people go, lo, I will smite all the first-born in Egypt, even your first-born,' and whatever else was spoken through Moses by God to Pharaoh? For it behooves every one who maintains the truth of what is recorded in Scripture, and who desires to show that the God of the law and the prophets is just, to render a reason for all these things, and to show how there is in them nothing at all derogatory to the justice of God, since, although they deny His goodness, they admit that He is a just judge, and creator of the world. Different, however, is the method of our reply to those who assert that the creator of this world is a malignant being, i.e., a devil."

See Origen of Alexandria's De Principiis III.1.9

Saturday, March 26, 2011

God the Father and Genderlessness

John Cooper writes:

"From the time of the Church Fathers, teachers of the
faith have used this doctrine [of divine
genderlessness] to explain that calling God Father
does not imply that God is masculine. Thus the
doctrine helps us rightly to interpret Scripture. It
prevents us from wrongly inferring from the gendered
language in Scripture that God is masculine while we
work to understand what this language does mean . . ."
(Our Father in Heaven, pages 188-189).

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Justin Martyr and the Eternal Generation

(1) I do not understand Justin to say that the LOGOS
or SOPHIA is eternally generated by the Father.
Granted, the LOGOS [in Justin] is begotten
prior to and for the purpose of creatures. However,
that does not mean that Justin professes or affirms
the eternal generation of the Son-Logos. Edmund Fortman,
a scholar who argues that Justin believes the LOGOS is divine,
nonetheless writes:

"It is not clear whether the eternal Logos is
eternally a distinct divine person [in Justin], as
some scholars think, or originally a power in God that
only becomes a divine person shortly before creation
of the world when He emanates to create the world, as
others believe. Nor is it clear that Justin held an
eternal generation of the Son, as some maintain, or
merely an 'economic' emission of the Son in order to
be creator, as others hold" (The Triune God, page 46).

(2) I find it highly unlikely that Justin posited
an/the eternal generation doctrine. He explicitly states that
the LOGOS is begotten by the Father's will. This information
suggests that the Son's generation is a contingent act.
In other words, it is logically possible that the
Father might not have generated the Son. The Son is
not SEMPER NATUS for Justin. The logical implications of God
generating the Son by means of the divine will
motivated Athanasius to maintain that God generates
the Son by nature, not will (See Contra Arianos

Monday, March 14, 2011

Irenaeus on Free Will

Irenaeus writes:

"This expression [of our Lord], 'How often would I have gathered thy children together, and thou wouldest not,' set forth the ancient law of human liberty, because God made man a free [agent] from the beginning, possessing his own power, even as he does his own soul, to obey the behests (ad utendum sententia) of God voluntarily, and not by compulsion of God. For there is no coercion with God, but a good will [towards us] is present with Him continually. And therefore does He give good counsel to all. And in man, as well as in angels, He has placed the power of choice (for angels are rational beings), so that those who had yielded obedience might justly possess what is good, given indeed by God, but preserved by themselves. On the other hand, they who have not obeyed shall, with justice, be not found in possession of the good, and shall receive condign punishment: for God did kindly bestow on them what was good; but they themselves did not diligently keep it, nor deem it something precious, but poured contempt upon His super-eminent goodness. Rejecting therefore the good, and as it were spuing [sic] it out, they shall all deservedly incur the just judgment of God, which also the Apostle Paul testifies in his Epistle to the Romans, where he says, 'But dost thou despise the riches of His goodness, and patience, and long-suffering, being ignorant that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? But according to thy hardness and impenitent heart, thou treasurest to thyself wrath against the day of wrath, and the revelation of the righteous judgment of God.' 'But glory and honour,' he says, 'to every one that doeth good.' God therefore has given that which is good, as the apostle tells us in this Epistle, and they who work it shall receive glory and honour, because they have done that which is good when they had it in their power not to do it; but those who do it not shall receive the just judgment of God, because they did not work good when they had it in their power so to do."

See Adversus Haereses IV.37.1

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Tertullian on God's Spirit Body

"For who will deny that God is a body, although 'God is a Spirit?' For Spirit has a bodily substance of its own kind, in its own form" (Adversus Praxean 7, Dr. Peter Holmes English Translation from 1870).

"quis enim negabit deum corpus esse, etsi deus spiritus est? spiritus enim corpus sui generis in sua effigie" (Adversus Praxean 7.8, Ernest Evans' Latin text from 1948)