TRINITY IN UNITY.
Athanasius: Contra Arianos; De Decretis Synodi Nicaenae (Oxford Library, Tr.). Augustine: De Trinitate; De Civitate, XI. x. (Nicene Library, Tr.). Anselm: De Fide Trinitatis; De Processione Spiritus. Easse: Anselm, II. 287 sq. Aquinas: Summa, Pars L Quest, xxvii. -xliii. Calvin: Institutes, I. xiii. 5. Ursinus: Christian Religion, Quest. 25. Witsius: Covenants, I. ii. 5-7; Apostles' Creed, Dis. VI. YET. XII. XXIII. Turrettin: Institutio, III. xxiii.-xxxi. Hooker: Polity, V. li.-lvi. Stillingfloet: Trinity and Transubstantiation compared. Bull: Defensio Fidei Nicaenae (Oxford Library, Tr.). Pearson: Creed, L H. VIE. Usher: On the Incarnation. "Waterland: First and Second Defences; Importance of Doctrine of the Trinity. Howe: Calm Discourse of the Trinity; Trinity of Persons. Owen: Brief Declaration; Saints' Fellowship with the Trinity; Vindiciae Evangelicae; Person of Christ. Leighton: Theological Lectures (VTL). Cudworth: Intellectual System, IT. 311-433 (Pagan Trinity). Edwards: Observations on the Trinity. Horsley: Belief of First Ages; Tracts. Smith: Scripture Testimony. Magee: On Atonement. Wardlaw: Reply to Yates. Wilberforce: On the Incarnation. Kidd: On the Trinity. Treffrey: The Trinity. Smeaton: On the Holy Spirit. Neander: History, H. 403-477. Dorner: Christology (Nicene Trinity); Christian Doctrine, ? 28-32. Baur: Dreieinigkeitslehre, L 395-470. Frank: Christian Certainty, J 33, 36. Billroth: Religions-Philosophie, I 89, 90. Miiller: On Sin, H. 136 (Urwick's Tr.). Nitzsch: Christian Doctrine, ? 81-84. Martensen: Dogmatics, 8 52-58, 181184. T. Maurice: Oriental Trinities. Morgan: Trinity of Plato and Philo. Christlieb: Modern doubt, rV. Schaff: History, DX 600-689. Shedd: History of Doctrine, I. 243-391; Introduction to Augustine on the Trinity.
It has been remarked, in the investigation of the Divine Nature, that the doctrine of the Trinity, though not discoverable by humaii reason, is susceptible of a rational defence when revealed. This should not be lost sight of, notwithstanding the warning of the keen Dr. South (Sermon XLHL), that " as ho that denies this fundamental article of the Christian religion may lose his s0ul, so he that much strives to understand it may lose his wits."
It is a noticeable fact, that the earlier forms of Trinitarianism are among the most metaphysical and speculative of any in dogmatic history. The controversy with the Arian and the Semi-Arian brought out a statement and defence of the truth, not only upon scriptural but ontological grounds. Such a powerful dialectician as Athanasius, while thoroughly and intensely scriptural; while starting from the text of scripture, and subjecting it to a rigorous exegesis; did not hesitate to pursue the Arian and Semi-Arian dialectics to its subtlest fallacy in its most recondite recesses. If anyone doubts this, let him read the four Orations of Athanasius, and his defence of the Nicene Decrees. In some sections of Christendom, it has been contended that the doctrine of the Trinity should be received without any attempt at all to establish its rationality and intrinsic necessity. In this case, the tenets of eternal generation and procession have been regarded as going beyond the scripture data, and if not positively rejected, have been thought to hinder rather than assist faith in three divine persons and one God. But the history of opinions shows that such sections of the church have not proved to be the strongest defenders of the scripture statement, or the most successful in keeping clear of the Sabellian, Arian, or even Socinian departure from it. Those churches which have followed scripture most implicitly, and have most feared human speculation, are the very churches which have inserted into their creeds the most highly analytic statement that has yet been made of the doctrine of the Trinity. The Nicene Trinitarianism is incorporated into nearly all the symbols of modern Christendom; and this specifies, particularly, the tenets of eternal generation and procession with their corollaries. The English church, to whose great divines, Hooker, Bull, Pearson, and Waterland, scientific Trinitarianism owes a very lucid and careful statement, has added the Athanasian creed to the Nicene. The Presbyterian churches, distinguished for the closeness of their adherence to the simple scripture, yet call upon their membership to confess, that " in the unity of the Godhead there be three persons, of one substance, power, and eternity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost. The Father is of none, neither begotten nor proceeding; the Son is eternally begotten of the Father; the Holy Ghost eternally proceeding from the Father and the Son." Westminster Confession, II. iii.
In discussing the subject of the personality of God (183, sq.), we have seen that this involves three distinctions in the Infinite Essence. God cannot be self-contemplating, selfcognitive, and self-communing, unless he is trinal in his constitution. The subject must know itself as an object, and also perceive that it does. This implies, not three distinct substances, but three distinct modes of one substance. Consequently, the Divine unity must be a kind of unity that is compatible with a kind of plurality. The unity of the Infinite being, is tri-unity, or trinity. God is a plural unit.
The attempt, therefore, of the deist and the Socinian to construct the doctrine of the Divine unity is a failure, because it fails to construct the doctrine of the Divine personality. Deism, with Socinianism and Mohammedanism, while asserting that God is personal, denies that he is three persons in one essence. It contends, by implication, that God can be self-knowing as a single subject merely without an object; without the distinctions involved in the subject contemplating, the object contemplated, and the perception of the identity of both. The controversy, consequently, is as much between the deist and the psychologist, as it is between him and the theologian. It is as much a question whether his theory of personality and self-consciousness is correct, as whether his interpretation of scripture is. For the dispute involves the necessary conditions of personality. If a true psychology does not require trinality in a spiritual essence in order to its own self-contemplation, self-knowledge, and self-communion, then the deist is correct; but if it does, then he is in error. "That view of the Divine nature," says Smith (Faith and Philosophy, 191), " which makes it inconsistent with the incarnation and trinity, is philosophically imperfect, as well as scripturally incorrect."
In speaking of the Divine unity, therefore, a peculiar kind of unity is intended, namely, a unity that is trinal. And when the Divine trinality is spoken of, a peculiar kind of trinality is intended, namely, a trinality that constitutes only one essence or Being. As a unity which excludes trinality is not meant, so a trinality which excludes unity is not meant. "Cum dico unum, non me trinitatis turbat numerus, qui essentiam non multiplicat, non variat, nec partitur. Rursum, cum dico tria, non me arguit intuitus unitatis, quae illa quaecumque tria, seu illos tres, nec in confusionem cogit, nec in singularitatem redegit." Bernard: De Consideratione, V. 8.
Consequently, in reference to God, we may not discuss mere and simple unity, nor mere and simple trinality; but we must discuss unity in trinality, and trinality in unity. See Athanasius: Contra Arianos, IV. 13 sq. We may not think of a monad which originally, and in the order of nature, is not trinal, but becomes so. The instant there is a monad there is a triad. Neither may we think of a triad which originally, and in the order of nature, is not a monad, but becomes so. The instant there is a triad, there is a monad.
"tlivih at peris, "tfivw at rptds.
Movds ?i rpids <&v, Tpids ?t fuwis Hv.—SYNESIUS.
The Christian trinity is not that of Sabellius and Pythagoras: namely, an original untrinal monad that subsequently, either in time or in the order of nature, becomes a triad: whereby four elementary and constituent factors are introduced into the problem; namely, one essence, and three additional persons. God is not one and three, but one in three. There is no primary monad, as such, and without trinality, to which the three distinctions are adjuncts. There are only three constituent factors in the problem. For the essence has no existence outside of and apart from the three persons, so as to constitute a fourth factor in addition to these three. The monad, that is, the essence, never exists in and by itself untrinalized, as in the Sabellian theory, and in the Pythagorean scheme of the tetractys, adopted by Coleridge (Works, V. 18, 19, 404). It exists only as in the persons; only as trinalized. The essence, consequently, is not prior, either in the order of nature or of time, to the persons, nor subsequent to them, but simultaneous with them. Hence, the essence is not one constituent factor by itself, apart from the persons, any more than the persons are three constituent factors by themselves, apart from the essence. The one essence is simultaneously three persons, and the three persons are one essence. The trinity is not a composition of one essence with three persons. It is not an essence without distinctions united with three distinctions, so as to make a complex. The trinity is simple and incomplex. "If," says Twesten (Dogmatik, II. 229), "we distinguish between the clearness of light and the different degrees of clearness, we do not imply that light is composed of clearness and degrees of clearness." Neither is God composed of one untrinal essence and three persons.
It follows, consequently, that we cannot discuss the Divine unity by itself, exclusive of trinality, as the deist and the Socinian endeavor to do. Trinality belongs as necessarily and intrinsically to the Divine unity, as eternity does to the Divine essence, "If," says Athanasius (Oration L 17), "there was not a Blessed Trinity from eternity, but only a unity existed first, which at length became and grew to be a Trinity, it follows that the Holy Trinity must have been at one time imperfect, and at another time entire; imperfect until the Son came to be created, as the Arians maintain, and then entire afterwards."
The necessary connection between the Divine unity and trinality, is like that between the Divine essence and attributes. God's essence is not prior to and separate from his attributes. He is never an essence without attributes. The essence and its attributes are simultaneous and inseparable. God cannot be conceived of as developing from an essence without attributes, into an essence with attributes. He is not essence and attributes, but essence in attributes. The whole essence is in each attribute; and the whole essence is also in each trinitarian person. As we cannot logically conceive of and discuss the Divine essence apart from the Divine attributes, so we cannot logically conceive of and discuss the Divine unity apart from the Divine trinality.
The unity of God is unique. It is the only unity of the kind. An individual man is one; and any individual creature, or thing, is one. But there are others like it, each of which is likewise numerically one. God is not merely one, but the only one; not merely unus, but unicus. He is not one of a species, or one in contrast with another of the same kind. God is one God, and the only God. The notion of the unique must be associated with that of unity, in the instance of the Supreme Being.
God is not a unit, but a unity. A unit, like a stone, or a stick, is marked by mere singleness. It admits of no interior distinctions, and is incapable of that inherent trinal ity which is necessary to self-knowledge, and self-consciousness. Mere singleness is incompatible with society, and therefore incompatible with the Divine communion and blessedness. God is blessed only as he is self-knowing and self-communing. A subject, without an object could not experience either love or joy. Love and joy are social. They imply more than a single person.
The Scripture doctrine of the Divine plenitude favors distinctions in the Divine essence. Fulness of being implies variety of existence. A finite unit has no plurality or manifoldness. It is destitute of modes of subsistence. Meagreness and barrenness mark a unit; opulence and frnitfulness mark a unity. This irXrjpiofia, or, plenitude of the Divine essence, is spoken of in Eph. 3 : 19, " Filled with all the fulness of God ;" in Colos. 1: 19; 2 : 9, "The fulness of the Godhead." Ambrose (De Fide, V. i.) marks the distinction as follows: "Singularitas ad personam pertinet, unitas ad naturam." Says Twesten (Dogmatik, II. 228), " so far as plurality lies in the idea of the trinity, it is not contradictory to the unity belonging to the Divine essence, but only to that solitariness which cannot be harmonized with the living plenitude and blessedness which are ascribed to God in revelation, and which God possesses in himself, and independently of the finite." Owen (Doctrine of the Trinity Vindicated) remarks that "it may be true, that in one essence there can be but one person, when the essence is finite and limited, but not when the essence is infinite." The following from Leasing (Erziehung des Menschengeschlechts, § 73) is remarkable, as coming from one who would not be supposed to have devoted much study to metaphysical trinitarianism. "What if this doctrine [the trinity] should bring us to see that God cannot possibly be one in the sense in which finite things are one; that his unity must be a transcendental unity that does not exclude a kind of plurality (Mehrheit)? Must not God have, at least, an absolutely perfect idea (Vorstellung) of himself; that is, an idea in which is contained all that is in himself? But would all that is in himself be contained in this idea, if it included merely the notion, or bare possibUity of his necessary and actual existence, as well as of his attributes? Possibility might exhaust the nature of his attributes, but does it that of his necessary and actual existence? It seems to me that it would not. Consequently, God must either have no perfect idea or image of himself, or else this perfect idea is as necessarily actual, [that is, objectively real] as he himself is. The image or representation of myself in a mirror, it is true, is nothing but an empty and unreal image of me, because it has in it only so much of me as is reflected by the rays of light falling upon the mirror. But if this image contained aU—all without exception—which I myself contain, would it then be a mere empty and unreal representation; or not rather a true duplication of myself? If, now, I aflirm a similar self-duplication in God, I get perhaps as near to the truth as the imperfection of human language permits. And it is unquestionable, that those who would make this idea which God has of himself level to the popular apprehension, could not express it more appropriately and clearly than by denominating it a Son whom God generates from eternity."
The argument for the truth and reality of the Trinity from the characteristics of the Christian experience, is conclusive. There must be trinality in the Divine unity, in order to the qxercise of the peculiar affections in the Christian consciousness. The Christian experience as portrayed in the New Testament, and as expressed in St. Paul's case, for example, is both impossible and inexplicable, without the three persons in the one God. St. Paul is continually alluding, in his hopes and joys, to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Abstract the Father, Son, and Spirit, and leave merely a bare untrinal substance as the object of love, hope, and worship, and St. Paul's religious experience cannot be accounted for. If, from the common Christian consciousness, those elements should be eliminated which result from the intuition of the Divine being as Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier, little would remain. Let any one think away all of bis religious experience that relates to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and retain only what relates to the Divine essence as a monad and untrinalized, and he will perceive how very much of his best religious experience grows out of trinitarianiem, and cannot grow out of unitarianism. Men cannot and do not love, pray to, and adore a mere abstract infinite nature. They love, address, and worship certain persons in that nature. Upon this point, Frank (System of Christian Certainty, § 33) remarks as follows: "God is the unity, the one Being, who is the originating author and agent in the Christian experience. But this unity has trinality in relation to this experience. God in judgment causes the sense of sin and guilt; God in atonement expiates sin and guilt; God in regeneration and conversion removes sin and guilt. Here are three modes or forms of God. Yet it is one absolute personal God, to whom the Christian owes all this. In such way, and to this extent, the Christian is assured, by means of redemption and the objects of faith implied in it, of God as the triune God."
Although trinal, the Divine essence is simple, not compound. In this respect, the unity of the finite spirit resembles that of the Infinite. The spirit of man is not composed of two substances. It is homogeneous. It is all spirit. A material unity is complex, being composed of a variety of elementary substances. Hence, there are varieties of matter, but not of spirit. By reason of its incomplexity and simplicity, the Divine essence is indivisible. Not being made up, as matter is, of diverse parts or properties, it cannot be divided or analyzed into them. "The nature of the Trinity is denominated simple, because it has not anything which it can lose, and because it is not one thing and its contents another, as a cup and the liquor, or a body and its color, or the air and the light and heat of it." Augustine: City of God, XI. x.
The doctrine of the Divine unity, in opposition to polytheism, is taught in the Scriptures. Deut. 6:4," The Lord our God, is one Lord." 1 Kings 8 : 60, " The Lord is God, and there is none else." lsa. 44 : 6, " Beside me there is no God." Mark 12:29, "The Lord our God is one Lord. John 10 :30, "I and my Father are one" (&). 1 Cor. 8: 4, "There is none other God but one." Eph. 4:6," One Lord, one God and Father of all." Gal. 3:20, " God is one." Iso sin is more severely prohibited and threatened than the worship of idols.
The rational proofs of the Divine unity are the following: 1. Unity is implied in the idea of God as the most perfect Being. Each of his infinite perfections excludes a second of the kind. There cannot be two eternal beings; or two omnipotent; or two supreme; or two self-existent; etc. "Hence," says Aquinas (Summa, I. xi. 3), "the ancient philosophers, as if compelled by the truth, in postulating an infinite principle (principium), postulated only one such principle." Turrettin (III. iii. 7) cites Pythagoras, Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, Epictetus, and Seneca as teaching the unity of the Supreme being; pater hominum deorumque. 2. The unity and harmony apparent in the created universe demonstrate the Divine unity. There would be two conflicting plans, had there been two creating architects.
The doctrine of the Trinity is one of revelation, not of natural religion, and therefore the first work to be done respecting it, is to deduce it from the language of Scripture. It is not directly formulated, as an affirmative proposition, in any single text; if 1 John 5:7 is spurious. But it is indirectly formulated in some texts, and taught part by part in many others. To collect, collate, and combine these, is to construct the dogma biblically.
There are two general classes of Trinitarian texts: 1. Those which mention all of the three persons of the Godhead. 2. Those which teach the deity of one or another of the persons singly.
1. Texts of the first class are the following: The account of the baptism of Christ, in Matt. 3 :16,17, mentions three persons. A person speaks from heaven, saying: "This is my beloved Son." The person who is spoken of in this address is the " beloved Son," and another than the person speaking. The "Spirit of God" who descended like a dove, alighting upon the Son, is still a third person, differing from the other two. The- person who speaks is not seen. The person spoken of is seen, and stands in the waters of Jordan. A third person is also seen, but, in the form of a dove, descending from heaven. It was a saying current in the days of the Arian controversy: "Go to the Jordan, O Arian, and thou wilt see the Trinity." The term "Spirit," in this instance, does not denote some property or influence of God, because to descend from heaven in a personal form, and to take a personal attitude, is never attributed in Scripture, or anywhere else, to an impersonal influence or attribute.
The formula which Christ gave his apostles for administering baptism to believers mentions the three persons of the Trinity, and thereby indirectly formulates the doctrine. Matt. 28:19, "Teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." The three are here represented as equal in dignity and authority. "Whatever be the significance of baptism, no discrimination is made between the relation which the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost sustain to it. But that baptism is the recognition of the divinity of the person in whose name it is administered, is self-evident. Paul asks in amazement, if the Corinthians were baptized in the name of Paul? 1 Cor. 1:13. When it is said that the Israelites "were all baptized unto Moses" (et? rov Mcovarjv), 1 Cor. 10 : 2, the meaning is not that they were baptized unto the name (ew To ovoij.a) of Moses, but with reference to (ft?) the Mosaic doctrines and ritual; as persons werq. said to be baptized "unto John's baptism " (Acts 19 : 3), in confirmation of their belief in John the Baptist's mission and preaching.
The Apostolic benediction mentions all three persons. 2 Cor. 13:14, "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost be with you all." Here, the apostle expresses the desire, that favor to the guilty through Christ as the mediator, from God the Father's love, may be made effectual by the Holy Ghost. Each person performs an office peculiar to himself. Three persons are mentioned in Eph. 4:4-6, "There is one Spirit, one Lord, one God and Father of all;" and in 1 Peter 1:2," Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ."
There are, also, passages in which three persons are spoken of, who are distinguished from each other by certain acts which each performs, and which could not be performed by a creature. John 15 : 26, "But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me." John 14:16, "And I will pray (ipiorrfaco) the Father, and he shall give yon another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever, even the Spirit of truth." In the first of these, mention is made of the Comforter who is sent, of the Son who sends him, and of the Father from whom he proceeds. In the second, the same persons are mentioned, but the Father sends the Comforter. This is explained by the identity of essence in each person, whereby, in scripture the same act is sometimes referred to more than one person. 1 Cor. 12 : 4-6, " There are diversities of [spiritual] gifts (^aptcr/xaro), but the same Spirit. And there are differences of [ecclesiastical] administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of [miraculous] operations (evepyqfiarcov), but it is the same God which worketh all in all." Here, the gifts, administrations, and operations are such as could not proceed from a creature; and the three persons mentioned stand in the same relation to one another, and to the gifts, administrations, and operations. Eph. 2 :18, "For through him, we both have access, by one Spirit, to the Father." Jude 20: 21, "Praying in the Holy Ghost, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ." liev. 1 : 4, 5, " Grace be unto you from him which is, aud was, and is to come, and from the seven spirits which are before his throne, and from Jesus Christ." The "seven spirits " are the Holy Spirit designated by the Jewish sacred number, denoting infinite perfection.
2. The passages of the second general class, in which only a single trinitarian person is spoken of, will be presented under the heads of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
That the doctrine of the Trinity was taught in the Old Testament was generally maintained by the fathers, schoolmen, and divines of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The language of Quenstedt expresses the common view of these authorities. "As the mystery of the Holy Trinity is proposed with sufficient clearness in the books of the Old Testament, so likewise from them alone the divinity of Christ, and of the Holy Spirit, and thus the whole mystery of the Trinity can be demonstrated against any opponents who concede the inspiration of the Old Testament." Hase: Ilutterus, p. 168. Calixtus questioned this position, in 1645, and was answered by Calovius. For the exegesis of the Fathers upon this point, see Irenaeus: IV. x. xi.; Augustine: City of God, XVI. vi.; Confessions, XIII. v. Speaker's Commentary: Gen. 1:26; Isa. 32:1, 2. Augustine contended that man was made in the image of the triune God, the God of revelation; not in that of the God of natural religion, or the untriune deity of the nations. Consequently it was to be expected that a trinitarian analogue can be found in his mental constitution, which he attempted to point out. All acknowledge that the Divine unity has its correspondent in that of the human mind. But Augustine and the fathers generally go further than this. This, in their view, is not the whole of the Divine image. When God says, " Let us make man in our image, after our likeness," they understood these words to have been spoken by the Trinity, and of the Trinity; by and of the true God of revelation: the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, one God. How far Moses comprehended the full meaning of the Divine teaching in these words, is one thing. Who it really was that taught, is another. The apostle Peter asserts that the Old Testament inspiration was a Trinitarian inspiration, when he says that "the prophets who prophesied of the grace that should come, searched what the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand of the sufferings of Christ." 1 Pet. 1 :10, 11.
The doctrine of the Trinity is revealed in the Old Testament, in the same degree that the other truths of Christianity are; not with the clearness and fulness of the New Testament, yet really and plainly. God is trinal in the Old Testament; but with more vagueness than in the New. In the Old economy, only the general doctrine of three persons in the essence is taught. In the New dispensation, the characteristic differences between the three are specified. The New Testament formula of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, together with the other data connected with this, yields the peculiarities of generation and spiration, of filiation and procession; constituting a further development of the truth found germinally in the earlier revelation.1 "The trinitarian conception of God," says Delitzsch (Old Testament History of Redemption, 178, Curtis's Ed.), "is not a product of philosophical speculation, but the reflex, not only of the New Testament, but also even of the Old Testament facts of revelation. God and the Spirit of
> Compare Witsius: Covenants, I. ii. 5-7. Leighton; Theological Lectures, VIL Lee: Inspiration, Lecture III. p. 123. Dorner: Christian Doctrine, § 28
God are already distinguished upon the first page of the Holy Scriptures, and between both, the Angel of God stands as the mediator of the covenant, according to Gen. 16; and as the leader of Israel, according to Ex. 14: 19. The angel of his presence, according to Isa. 63: 9, is the saviour of his people."
The passages in the Old Testament which imply the doctrine of the Trinity are: 1. Those in which God speaks in the plural number. Even if no weight be attached to the pluralis excellentiae in the name D^rftj*, yet when God himself employs the plural number in speaking of himself and his agency, it evidently supports the doctrine of personal distinctions in the essence. Gen. 1:26, "God said, Let us make man after our image." Gen. 3:22, " God said, Behold the man is become as one of us." Gen. 11: 7, "The Lord said, Let us go down, and there confound their language." Isa. 7:8," Whom shall I send, and who will go for us." The exegete would shrink from substituting " me " for " us," in these passages; as he would from substituting " I" for "we," and "my," for "our," in the sentence, "We will come unto him and made our abode with him," John 14: 23. And yet it would bo proper to do so, if there really is only a single person in the Supreme Being. "We might have supposed," says Augustine (City of God, XVI. vi.), "that the words uttered at the creation of man, 'Let us,' not Let me, 'make man,' were addressed to the angels, had he not added, 'in our image;' but as we cannot believe that man was made in the image of the angels, or that the image of God is the same as that of angels, it is better to refer this expression to the plurality of the trinity." This remark of Augustine contradicts the explanation of Philo and Maimonides, who say that God addressed the angels, associating them with himself. Justin Martyr (Trypho, LXII.) finds the trinity in this passage. Compare, Introduction to Augustine on the Trinity. Nicene Library, ILL 5.
2. Of less logical value in themselves, yet having a demonstrative force in connection with other proofs, are the trisagiou in Isa. 6:3," Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of hosts ;" and the threefold address in Numbers 6 : 24-26, "The Lord bless thee, and keep thee; the Lord make his face to shine upon thee; the Lord lift up his countenance upon thee." "This formula of benediction," says Kurtz (Sacred History, § 46), " already contains the whole mystery of the divine Trinity, and of the redemption which was to be accomplished by it, in an undeveloped form, or like a germ. It was designed to aid in connecting with the religious knowledge of the people a certain view, to be afterward rendered more distinct, of the personality of the one God unfolded in three persons, and operating in a threefold manner in the work of human salvation."
3. Still more important than either of the two preceding classes of texts, are those in which God is expressly distinguished from God, as subject and object. The theophanies of the Old Testament, like the incarnation of the Son, are trinitarian in their implication and bearing. The narrative relating to Jehovah and Hagar, in Gen. 16: 7-13, is an example. Here, the person who is styled in verses 7,9, 10, 11, the "angel (^Kbti) of the Lord," is addressed in verse 13 as almighty God (bK): "Thou God seest me." God is thus a person who sends (" of the Lord "), and a person who is sent (" angel"). The theophany of Jehovah to Abraham, described in Gen. 18 : 1-19, is another example. Here, one of the " three men" spoken of in verse 2 is denominated Lord ('^"s), in verse 3, and Jehovah in verse 13; and is described by Abraham as the "judge of all the earth " in verse 25, before whom he himself is but "dust and ashes" (verse 27). In verse 14, this Jehovah-angel distinguishes himself from " the Lord" (rnrn) by asking, "Is any thing too hard for the Lord?" This could not be exchanged for: "Is anything too hard for me?" The "men "in 18 : 22 are only two of the three. These two went toward Sodom, leaving Abraham standing before the third, who is called Jehovah. In 19 :1, these two angels come to Sodom. The theophany of Jehovah to Lot, in Gen. 19, is another example of the trinitarian distinctions. In verse 1, "two angels " (literally, " the two angels ": see 18 : 22) are sent by " Jehovah " (verse 13) to destroy Sodom. In verse 18, one of these angels is addressed as "Lord " C'n's). The Masorites have the note, ICadesh, i.e., "holy," to signify that "Lord " is employed in the divine sense, not the "profane" or human, as in 19:2 ("my lords "). The context favors the Masorite view; because Lot's words to the Lord, in 19 :18-12, and the Lord's words to Lot, imply the deity of the angel; e.g., "/ will overthrow the city." It is uncertain whether the "Jehovah" who "went his way as soon as he had left communing with Abraham " (Gen. 18 : 33) joins " the two angels " that "came to Sodom at even " (Gen. 19:1); or whether one of these "two angels" is Jehovah himself. One or the other supposition must be made. The interchange of the singular and plural in the narrative is striking. "It came to pass when tltey had brought them forth abroad that he said, Escape for thy life. And Lot said unto them, Oh not so my Lord: behold now thy servant hath found grace in thy sight. And he said unto him, See, / have accepted thee; 1 will not overthrow the city of which thou hast spoken," Gen. 18:1721. The theophany of Jehovah to Moses, in Exodus 3, is another instance of the subjective and the objective God. The person described in verse 2 as " the angel of the Lord," is denominated God (oirfb.it) in verse 4, and "the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob," in verse 6.
4. There are passages in the Old Testament that speak of three persons in the Supreme Being. Isa. 48:16, "The Lord God, and his Spirit have sent me" (the Messiah). In Haggai 2: 4, 5, 7, three persons are mentioned: "The Lord of hosts," his "Spirit," and the "Desire of all nations." If rnan (ver. 7) is rendered To, iKXe/crd (Sept.), still two divine persons are mentioned. This would prove distinctions in the Divine unity. There are three persons who bring Israel out of Egypt: God; the "angel" of God; (Ex. 3 : 2,4; 23 : 20; 32 : 34); and the "Spirit» of God, Isa. 63 :7-14.
5. All those passages in the Old Testament, which ascribe divine names and works to the Messiah, and divine operations to the Holy Spirit, establish the doctrine of the trinity, by implication. These will be mentioned under the topics of the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Edersheim (Life of Jesus, Appendix IX.), by quotations from the Targums, Talmuds, and older Midrashim, shows that there are 456 passages in the O. T. (75 from the Pentateuch, 243 from the Prophets, and 138 from the Hagiographa) that are applied by the Rabbins to the Messiah. Among them are 2 Sam. 7:14; "I will be his Father and he shall be my Son;" Ps. 2:7," Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee." Compare Heb. 1: 5, 6.
The Jews learned from the Old Testament that the Holy Spirit is a person. When John the Baptist tells the Pharisees and Sadducees, that one would soon appear among them who would baptize them with the Holy Ghost (Matt. 3: 7-11), he did not explain who the Holy Ghost is. He spoke of an agent known to them. So also in the instance of Christ's promise to his disciples, that he would send them the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, John 14 : 26; 15: 13, 14. But this knowledge which is presupposed, must have been a common and current knowledge, derived from the Old Testament representations of God.
Augustine (Confessions, XIII. 5) finds the trinity in Gen. 1:1, 2. The " beginning," he understands to be an agent, as in Rev. 3 :14. "In principio" means, "by the Beginning ;" that is,- by means of him who causes to begin, or originates. "Thou, O Father, didst create heaven and earth in him who is the Beginning of our wisdom, which is thy Wisdom, of thyself, equal unto thee and coeternal, that is, thy Son." Doraer (Christian Doctrine, I. 346) quotes Dent. 32 : 39, in comparison with Exod. 3 :14. The same Being who says " I am I," also says " I am He."
The technical term "trinity" is not found in Scripture; and neither is the term "unity." The earliest use of the word is in Theophilus of Antioch (f 181, or 188), who remarks that " the three days which were before the luminaries are types of the trinity." Ad Autolycum, II. 15. The term triad is employed by Plotinus (f 270), and Proclus (f 485). Tertnllian (f 220) employs the term trinitas. Origen (f 250) nses rpias twice. Rufinus, in translating Origen, employs trinitas. In the fourth century triunitas appears. The schoolmen discuss the triplicitas of the divine nature, in connection with the simplicitas. Baumgarten-Crusius: Dogmengeschichte, II. 120. Trinity is the abbreviation of tri-unity.
God is trinal (trinum), not triple (triplex). Compare Augustine: Trinity, VI. vii. That which is triple is complex; it is composed of three different substances. That which is trinal is incomplex; it denotes one simple substance, having a threefold modification. "We may speak of the trinal, but not of the triple deity." Hollaz, in Hase's Ilutterus, 172. The German Dreieinigkeit is more accurate than Dreifaltigkeit; and the English tri-unity than threefoldness, or triplicity. Dreieinheit comes still nearer to trinitas, than Dreieinigkeit. This latter leans toward tritheism, in denoting a unity of will and affection, rather than of nature. Dreiheit denotes trinality only.
The term "person" does not denote an attribute of the essence, but a mode of the essence; that is, a particular "form " of its existence, according to the term nsed by St. Paul, Phil. 2:6. It is proper to speak of a trinitarian mode, but not of a trinitarian attribute. A trinitarian person is sometimes defined as a "relation" of the essence. "Respondeo, dicendum quod relationes quaedam sunt in divinis realiter." Aquinas: Summa, I. xxviii. 1. By a "relation," here, is not meant an external relation of God to the finite universe; as when the essence is contemplated in relation to space and time, and the attributes of immensity and eternity are the result; but an internal relation of the divine essence towards itself. It is the essence in a certain mode, e.g., the Father, as related to this same essence in a certain other mode, e.g., the Son.
The clue to the right construction of the doctrine of the Trinity, lies in the accurate distinction and definition of Essence and Person. The doctrine is logically consistent, because it affirms that God is one in another sense than he is three; and three in another sense than he is one. If it affirmed unity in the same respect that it affirms trinality, the doctrine would be self-contradictory. "To assert," says Conybeare (On Miracles), "that the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are three distinct infinite Beings, and yet but one Being, is an express contradiction. To assert that they are three distinct Beings, of which two are inferior, and yet each is God, is either to use the term God equivocally in this case, or else is an express contradiction. But to assert, that there is but one divine nature or essence,' that this undivided essence is common to three persons; that by person when applied to God we do not mean the same as when applied to man, but only somewhat analogous to it; that we have no adequate idea of what is meant by the word person when applied to God, and use it only because distinct personal attributes and actions are ascribed to the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost in Scripture, is no contradiction. We do not assert [without qualification, and abstractly] that one is three, and three are one; but only that what are three in one respect may be one only in another. We do not assert that three beings are one being; that three persons are one person; or that three intelligent beings are one intelligent being (as the word person signifies when applied to men); but only, that in the same undivided nature, there are three differences analogous to personal differences amongst men; and though we cannot precisely determine what those differences are, we have no more reason to conclude them impossible, than a blind man hath to conclude the impossibility of colors because he cannot see them." Athanasius (Cont. Ar., IV. 10) states the matter thus: "We assert the unity of the Godhead as expressly and strenuously as the distinction and diversity of the persons. We believe the Father and the Son to be two, perfectly distinct from one another in their relative and personal characters; but withal we believe these two to be one God, one infinite essence or nature, the Son or Word begotten of the Father, united with him and inseparable from him in essence. And that illustration which we have so often made use of before, serves very well to explain our meaning, though by no means to explain the thing itself. Fire and light are truly distinct. The one is a body differently modified from the other, as is evident from their acting differently upon us. And yet they are one as to substance and general properties. For light is the issue of fire, and cannot subsist separate from it."
The first proposition in the formulated statement of the doctrine of the Trinity is, that God is one in respect to Essence. The Greek terms that denote the essence are, ovala, cf>vai<;, To ov. The Latin are, essentia, substantia, natura, ens, res. The English are, essence, substance, nature, being. The schoolmen and elder Protestant divines preferred the term essence to substance, because the latter logically implies accidents or unessential properties: a distinction inapplicable to the Divine nature. Augustine (Trinity, V. ii.) asserts that accidents are not predicable of it. Another objection to the term substance was, that in the Latin church substantia was used to translate vTroaraaiv, as well as oiiala, and thus became ambiguous. The phraseology of the Nicene creed contributed to this ambiguity. This creed condemns those who assert that the Son is e£ erepas vrroardo-eco<; ?j ovo-tW The question is, whether the two are synonymous. Petavius maintains the affirmative, and asserts that the two terms were not discriminated technically until the council of Alexandria, in 362. According to him, the Nicene creed condemns only one heresy, that of the Arians. Bull, on the other hand, maintains that the Nicene council employed ovaia to denote the essence, and inroaraaK, the person; and that the creed condemns two heresies: that of the Arians, who denied that the Son is from either the Father's essence or the Father's person; and that of the Semi-Arians, who denied that he is from the Father's essence, but conceded that he is from the Father's person. The Semi-Arians did not directly say, as the Arians did, that the Son was a creation ex nihilo, but affirmed that he was derived from the Father's person in a peculiar manner, so as to resemble him in essence, but not to be identical. He was 6fioiovau><;, but not 6fioovau><;. Athanasius employs both terms interchangeably. "Hypostasis (vttoo-tchtk) is substance (ovaia), and means nothing but simply being."
In the Latin church, substantia was employed to translate v7rdoTacrt?, and also, together with essentia, to translate ovaCa. "That which must be understood of persons, according to our usage, is to be understood of substances, according to the Greek usage: for they say three substances (inrocrracre<.s), one essence, in the same way as we say three persons, one essence, or substance, (essentiam vel substantiam)." Augustine: Trinity, VII. iv. "As from sapere comes sapientia, so from esse comes essentia; a new word indeed, which the old Latin writers did not use, but which is naturalized in onr day, that our language may not want an equivalent for the Greek ovo-£a." City of God, XII. ii. The same double use of substantia, to denote either the person or the essence, appears in the following statement of Anselm (Monologium, Prefatio): "Quod enim dixi summam trinitatem posse dici tres substantias, Graecos secutus sum, qui confiteutur tres substantias in una essentia, eadem fide qua nos tres personas in una substantia. Nam hoc significant in deo per substantiam quod nos per personam." Calvin (Inst., I. xiii. 5.) remarks upon this ambiguity a« follows: "When the Latins would translate the word 6(Loovaio<;, they called it consubstantial, signifying the substance of the Father and the Son to be one, thus using substance for essence. Whence also Jerome, writing to Damasus, pronounces it to be sacrilege to say that there are three substances in God; yet, that there are three substances in God, you will find asserted in Hilary more than a hundred times."
Essence is derived from esse, to be, and denotes energetic being. (Augustine: Trinity, V. ii). Substance is from substare, and denotes the latent potentiality of being. Reinhard defines thus: "Substantia divina est ea natura, in qua inest vis agendi infinita; essentia est. complexus omnium perfectorum infinitorum." Similarly, Anselm (Monologium, 16) defines the term essence: "Ela igitur est snmma justitia, summa sapientia, snmma Veritas, snmma bonitas, summa beatitudo, summa eternitas, potestas, unitas; quod non est aliud quam summe ens, summe vivens; et alia similiter." The term essence describes God as a sum-total of infinite perfections; the term substance describes him as the underlying ground of infinite activities. The first is, comparatively, an active word: the last, a passive. The first is comparatively a spiritual, the last, a material term. We speak of a material substance rather than of a material essence.
The term substance, in and of itself, is impersonal. It signifies bare and mere being. Whether it is self-conscious being, must be determined by other considerations. Hence the doctrine of an infinite substance without that of three distinctions in it, yields only the deity of pantheism. Infinite substance must be trinalized, and exist as personal subsistences, in order to personality. Trinitarianism is the surest support of the doctrine of the Divine self-consciousness. Says Nitzsch (Christian Doctrine, § 81), " s0 long as theism merely distinguishes God from the world, and does not distinguish God from God, it is constantly exposed to a relapse and transition into pantheism, or some other denial of the absolute Being. It is the doctrine of the trinity alone that affords a perfect protection against atheism, polytheism, pantheism, and dualism. For the absolute distinction between the Divine essence and the world, is more securely and firmly maintained by those who worship the trinity, than by those who do not. It is precisely those systems of monotheism which have in the highest degree excluded the doctrine of the trinity, and have prided themselves on this very account, the [pseudo] Jewish and Mohammedan, for example, that have led to the grossest pantheism, on account of their barrenness and vacuity."
Spiritual substance, both infinite and finite, requires to be personalized. In the instance of the infinite essence of God, this is done by the opera ad intra; the eternal generation and spiratiou. Without these eternal acts and processes, there would be only an impersonal monad; the substantia una of Spinoza. That immanent and necessary activity within the Divine essence, whereby the Father begets the Son, and the Father and the Son spirate the Spirit, makes it to be self-contemplating, self-knowing, and selfcommuning. Destitute of this activity and these distinctions, the essence would be destitute of personality. In the instance of the finite nature or substance of man, this is personalized by temporal generation. The original unity, the one common nature in Adam, is divided, and made to become millions of individual persons by this division and distribution. The original human nature, though having personal properties, such as immortality, rationality, and voluntariness, is nevertheless impersonal viewed as mere substance in Adam. Only as it is formed into distinct individuals by propagation, is it personalized. In saying that the human nature in Adam is impersonal, the term is used comparatively. It is rational, spiritual, and voluntary substance: human nature, not brute nature, or inorganic nature. It is capable of personality, and thus is potentially personal; but it is not strictly and actually personal, until by temporal generation it has become individual men.
It is an incommunicable cnaracteristic of the Divine essence, that it can subsist wholly and indivisibly in more persons than one. This distinguishes the Divine nature from the human. The latter can exist in more persons than one, but not as an indivisible whole. It is divided into thousands and millions of individual persons, no one of whom has the whole undivided substance. A trinitarian person is the entire Divine nature subsisting in a particular manner: viz., as Father, or as Son, or as Holy Spirit. A human person is a fractional part of the entire human nature subsisting in a particular manner: viz., as Peter, or as James, or as John.
The second proposition in the formulated statement of the doctrine of the Trinity is, that God is three, in respect to Persons. This side of the doctrine is the most difficult to apprehend, because analogies from the finite are difficult to find, and if found are exceedingly recondite and abstruse. The human mind quite readily grasps the notion of substance and attributes. But the doctrine of "subsistences" in the substance, of "distinctions" in the essence, brings to view a species of existence so anomalous and singular that little aid can be derived from analogy. The distinction between the subject and object ego, in human self-consciousness, is probably the closest analogue, but this itself is exceedingly difficult of comprehension, and is inadequate to fully explain the Divine self-consciousness.
The difficulty in apprehending the idea of a personal subsistence is evinced by the inadequacy, and ambiguity of the terms employed to denote it. The Greek trinitarians denominated a divine person, inroa-raaK, To vwoKeifiivov, irpoo-ayrrov. The first is found in lleb. 1:13, "the exact image of his person " (^apaKrrjp Tt)? iirocrraawi avrov). The last is found in Luke 12: 56, "face of the sky" (jrpbacoirov rod ovpavov). It was the term for the mask worn by an actor. The Sabellians employed it to denote a secondary and assumed phase of the Supreme One, in the economical trinity which they asserted. It was never a favorite term with the catholic trinitarians, but whenever used by them denoted a primary and eternal mode of the essence. The Latin trinitarians employed the word persona. Sometimes substantia was employed. The ambiguity caused by the use of this latter word for person might have been avoided, had they coined, as the schoolmen did, the term " subsistantia." The English terms are: hypostasis, subsistence, distinction, person, relation, and mode.
St. Paul (Phil. 2 : 6) defines a trinitarian person to be "a form of God." The rendering, "the form of God " (A. V. and R. V.), is inaccurate, as fiop(f>rj is anarthrous. There are three "forms" of God. The whole Divine essence (ovala) subsisting (v7rdp-^a>v, not <Z>v) in the Paternal form (jiop<prf), is the first person; in the Filial form, is the second person; in the spirated or Spirit form, is the third person. The one undivided essence subsists in these three "forms " simultaneously and eternally, and has no existence other than this trinal one. One of these original and eternal "forms" of God, namely, tho Son, took " a form of a servant," still retaining his original Divine form; and this form of a servant was " a likeness of men ;" and this likeness of men involved a "fashion" or bodily form (ayrffia) of a man. According to this representation of the apostle, a trinitarian person is an invisible form or mode of the Divine essence. It is not a material and bodily form, because it required to be incarnated in order to this. The Son of God while subsisting only as a particular eternal form of the Divine essence, was as incorporeal and invisible as the other "forms," the Father and the Spirit.
The simultaneous existence of one and the same Divine essence in three forms is possible, because it is spiritual substance. In the instance of matter, three simultaneous forms necessarily imply three different things or substances. One and the same piece of clay cannot have three forms simultaneously. It can have them only successively. In order that there may be three different forms of clay simultaneously, there must be three different pieces of clay. But in the instance of mind, or immaterial substance, three simultaneous forms or modes do not necessarily imply three different minds or substances. One and the same entire mind may remember, understand, and will simultaneously. Memory, understanding, and will are three simultaneous forms, or modes of one and the same mind or spirit. In self-consciousness, also, one and the same mind may be subject, object, and subject-percipient simultaneously.
As previously remarked (p. 253), the Divine essence has no existence out of and apart from the Divine persons, or forms. We are not to conceive of it as existing first, in the order either of nature or of time, without trinality, and of three personal distinctions or forms being added to it. Neither are we to conceive of it as being transformed from an nntrinalized, to a trinalized state. From eternity, the Divine essence subsists in a trinal manner. The instant that it is one essence, it is three persons. To conceive of it as a mere monad, marked by singleness, is erroneous.
Again, when it is said, that there are three persons in one essence, it is not meant that the essence is a fourth thing, within which the three persons exist. This is precluded by the antithetic statement, that the one essence is all in each of the three persons. Neither may we think of a trinitarian person as apart of the Divine essence existing in a peculiar mode. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are each, and simultaneously, the whole divine essence; so that while there are three persons, there is but one essence. The reason of this is, that eternal generation and spiration do not create new essences, but only modify an existing one. When the Father generates the Son, he causes the whole of his infinite and eternal essence to be the essence of the Son. He does not cause a new and different essence from his own, to be the Son's essence. And the same is true, mutatis mutandis, of the spiration of the Spirit by the Father and Son. This is imperfectly illustrated in the process of human self-consciousness. In self-contemplation, the subjectego posits as the object-ego, the one whole and undivided human spirit. In so doing, it does not create a second spirit, but only modifies the existing spirit. The substance of the object-ego is numerically and identically the same as that of the subject-ego. The first ego, in the act of selfbeholding, may in a certain sense be said to communicate to, or make common with, the second ego, the entire substance of the human spirit. One and the same human spirit now " subsists" in these two modes or distinctions. There are now two distinctions in one human mind.1
An eternal essence can be communicated, or made common to two divine persons, without being created; even as an eternal attribute can be communicated without being created. Our Lord affirms, that "as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself," John 5 : 26. The attribute of self-existence is here represented as "given," or communicated; not as created. The Father makes self-existing life a common quality between himself and his beloved Son, in order " that all men should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father," John 5: 23.
1 The defect in the ternary of subject, object, and subject-percipient, like that in the ternary of memory, understanding, and will, employed by Augustine and the patristic trinitarians, is, that neither of them are so objective to each other as the three persons of the Trinity are. The personal pronouns cannot be employed respecting them; neither can personal actions and affections be ascribed to them. They illustrate the trinality of the one Divine essence, but not the substantiality of the three persons. The subject-ego cannot send the object-ego on a mission. The memory cannot address the understanding as a distinct person.
Accordingly, all trinitarian creeds are careful to affirm that the Divine essence is communicated in its entirety, and that there is no division of it by the eternal generation and procession. A trinitarian person is not a fractional part of the essence. The Augsburg Confession (I. i) says, that "the churches use the name person in that signification in which the fathers have used it, to signify, not a part or quality in another, but that which properly subsists by itself." "A divine person," says Fisher (Westminster Catechism, 6), "is a complete, intelligent, and individual subsistence in the one undivided essence of God, which is neither a part of any other subsistence, nor sustained by any other subsistence, and is distinguished from other subsistences by an incommunicable property." A brief and convenient definition of a Divine person is that of Hooker: "The persons of the trinity are not three particular substances, to whom one general nature [property] is common, but three [persons] that subsist by one substance, which itself is particular: yet they all three have it, and their several ways of having it are that which maketh their personal distinction." Polity, V. lvi. Says Owen (Trinity Vindicated, X. 504), " a divine person is nothing but the divine essence, upon the account of an especial property, subsisting in an especial manner. In the person of the Father, there is the divine essence and being, with its property of begetting the Son, subsisting in an especial manner as the Father." The elder Protestant theologians and symbols defined a divine person to be, a mode of subsistence marked by a certain peculiar characteristic: modus subsistendi, rpoiro? virdp^cos. The divine essence with the characteristic which Scripture denominates generating, is the Father; the same numerical essence with the characteristic called filiation is the Son; the same numerical essence with the characteristic called procession, is the Spirit. This peculiarity, which is called technically the "hypostatical character," constitutes the personality of a trinitarian person; that which distinguishes him from the others. And this personality of a trinitarian person must not be confounded with that of the essence. The paternity of the Father, or the sonship of the Son, is not the same thing as the personality of the Godhead. The hypostatical character is incommunicable. The Father cannot have filiation. The Son cannot have generation. And neither of them can have procession. The divine persons cannot exchange their modes of subsistence. The first person cannot be or become the third, nor the second the first. The most enigmatical part of the doctrine of the Trinity is in the hypostatical character. What is this paternity of the Father? and this filiation of the Son? and this being spirated, or procession of the Spirit? Since revelation has given only the terms, Father, Son, and Spirit, with the involved ideas of paternity, filiation, and procession, the human intellect can go no further towards a metaphysical explanation than these terms and ideas will yield materials. And this is not far.
A divine person differs from a human person in the following respects. 1. The substance of a human person is not the identical and numerical substance of another human person. Two human persons have the same kind of substance, because they are constituted of fractional parts of one specific human substance or nature; but they do not have the same substance identically and numerically. That part of human nature which, by temporal generation, has been separated from the common nature and formed into the individual James, is not the same identical and numerical thing as that other part of human nature which, by temporal generation, has been formed into the individual John. But the substance of one Divine person is the substance of the others, both numerically and identically. In this instance, there is no division of substance. The whole undivided Divine nature is in each Divine person simultaneously and eternally. The modifying of the Divine nature by eternal generation and spiration does not divide the nature, as ternporal generation does, but leaves it whole and entire, so that the substance of the begotten Son and the spirated Spirit is numerically and identically that of the unbegotten and unspirated Father. 2. One human person exists externally to another, and separate from him; but one Divine person exists in another, and inseparably from him. "The Son can do nothing of himself [separate and in isolation], but what he seeth the Father do : for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise," John 5 :19. 3. One human person can exist without another; but one Divine person cannot.
Revelation clearly teaches that these personal characteristics are so marked and peculiar, that the three Divine persons are objective to each other. God the Father and God the Son are so distinct from each other, that some actions which can be ascribed to the one cannot be ascribed to the other. The Father " sends" the Son; this act of sending the Son cannot be attributed to the Son. The Father "loves" the Son; this act of loving the Son cannot bo ascribed to the Son. An examination of the Scriptures gives the following series of twelve actions and relations of the three trinitarian persons, which prove that they are objective to one another; that one may do or experience something that is personal to himself, and is not personal to the others. One divine person loves another, John 3 : 35; dwells in another, John 14:10, 11; suffers from another, Zach. 13 : 7; knows another, Matt. 11: 27; addresses another, Heb. 1:8; is the way to another, John 14: 6; speaks of another, Luke 3: 22; glorifies another, John 17:5; confers with another, Gen. 1: 26, 11 : 7; plans with another, Isa. 9:6; sends another, Gen. 16 : 7, John 14 : 26; rewards another, Phil. 2 : 5-11; Heb. 2 : 9. Here are twelve different actions and relations which demonstrate that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are not one and the same person.
Such inspired representations involve more than official distinctions; as when one and the same person is a father, a citizen, and a magistrate. They imply that there are three in the Godhead, who are so objective to each other that each can say "I," and may be addressed as " Thou." The words of Christ, in John 17 :5, teach this: "Now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self, with the glory which I had with thee before the world was." "The difference," says Turrettin, III. xxvii. 8, "between one divine person and another, is greater than the difference between the person and the essence. For the essence may be predicated of each and all the persons, but the personal characteristic cannot be predicated of any person except the one to whom it belongs. The Father is God, the Son is God, and the Spirit is God; but the Father is not the Son, or the Son the Father." A trinitarian person is not so comprehensive as the Godhead, because he does not possess the personal characteristics belonging to the other two persons. He is the essence with one personal peculiarity; while the Godhead is the essence with three personal peculiarities. A trinitarian person includes all that is in the unity, but not all that is in the trinality of God; all that is in the essence, but not all that is in the three modes of the essence.
The trinitarian persons are not so real as to constitute three essences, or beings. This is the error of tritheism. If " real," which is derived from res, be taken in its etymological signification, then the distinction is to be called modal, not real. A trinitarian person is a mode of a thing (res), and not another separate thing. To guard against the tritheistic inference from the etymological meaning of "real," the catholic trinitarian affirms that there are not three different entities or things, but only one entity or thing in three modes of subsistence. "Persona differre dicitur ab essentia, non realiter, id est essentialiter, ut res et res; sed modaliter, ut modus a re." Turrettin III. xxvii. 3.
But here, again, it is necessary to guard against the error of Sabellianism, which may result from a false inference from the term "mode." A mode, in the strict use of tho term, is only a form of some part of a substance or "thing." Diamond, for illustration, is one mode of carbon; charcoal is another mode. Here is a substance in two modes. But the particles that constitute the bit of charcoal are not the particles that constitute the bit of diamond. Using the term in this sense, it would be an error to say that a Divine person is a mode of the essence. For a mode, in this case, contains only a fraction of the common substance. The whole substance of all the carbon in the universe is not in any one piece of charcoal, or of diamond, but only a portion of it. But the whole Divine essence is in each trinitarian person or " mode " of the essence.
Whether, consequently, the distinctions in the Godhead shall be called "real" or "modal," depends upon the error that is to be excluded by the term. As against Sabellianism, the distinctions are real and essential; that is, in and of the essence, and not merely economical and official. For Sabellianism regards essence and person as identical, and concedes no difference between them. "Sabellius," says Athanasius (Oration TV. 9, 25), "maintained that the Father and Son are one person; are personally one, appellatively two; are one essence with two names to it (to ev Suovvfiov). This made it impossible that either of them should be a person at all, unless the Father could be his own Son, and the Son, his own Father. Had the Father and Son not been two persons, the Son would not have said,' I and the Father are one,' but' am one.1" "The declaration of the Son's unity with the Father, the Jews mistook, as Sabellius did afterwards, for a declaration of his being the Father, the person of the Father himself." Oration IV. 17. Similarly Augustine (Trinity, V. ix) remarks that the Sabellians must read the text thus: "I and my Father is one," instead of " are one." According to the Sabellian scheme, the Divine essence is unipersonal; single, not trinal. There is only one Divine essence, and only one Divine person. This essence-person viewed in a certain reference, and acting in a certain economical manner, is the Father; in another, is the Son; in another, is the Spirit. The quasi-persons of Father, Son, and Spirit, are only the single untrinal monad discharging three functions. The Sabellian trinity is economical, that is, one of offices; as one and the same human person may be & citizen, a magistrate, and a parent. It is not an intrinsic, and immanent trinity, but one of manifestation only. It is not grounded in the Divine constitution, but is assumed for the purposes of creation, redemption, and sanctification. God is not trinal per se, but only with reference to the creation. . Originally, the Divine essence is untrinal, and becomes trinal through its offices and functions. "Sabellius's trinity," says Neander (I. 598), "is transitory. When the purposes of its formation are accomplished, the triad is resolved again into the monad."
In opposition to this, the Scriptures teach that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are three persons independently and irrespective of creation, redemption, and sanctification. If God had never created the universe, but had existed alone from all eternity, he would be triune. And the three persons are so real and distinct from each other, that each possesses a hypostatical or trinitarian consciousness different from that of the others. The second person is conscious that he is the Son, and not the Father, when he says, "O Father, glorify thou me," John 17: 5. The first person is conscious that he is the Father and not the Son, when he says, "Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee," Heb. 1: 5. The third person is conscious that he is the Spirit, and neither the Father nor the Son, when he says, "Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them," Acts 13: 2. These three hypostatical consciousnesses constitute the one «eZ/"-consciousness of the Divine essence. By reason of, and as the result of these three forms of consciousness, the Divine essence is self-contemplative, self-cognitive, and self-communing. Though there are three forms of consciousness, there are not three essences, or three understandings, or three wills, in the Godhead; because, a consciousness is not an essence, or an understanding, or a will. There is only one essence, having one understanding, and one will. But this unity of essence, understanding, and will, has three different forms of consciousness: namely, the Paternal, the Filial, and the Spiritual; because it has three different forms of subsistence: namely, the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. If it had only one form of subsistence, as in the Sabellian scheme, it would have only one form of consciousness. It would exist only as a single subject, and would have only a corresponding consciousness. But this would not be a full and true seJ/'-consciousness, because this requires the three distinctions of subject, object, and percipient-subject, which are not given in the Sabellian triad.
It must be noticed that the Divine self-consciousness is not a fourth consciousness additional to the three hypostatical consciousnesses, but is the resultant of these three. The three hypostatical consciousnesses are the one Divine selfconsciousness, and the one Divine self-consciousness is the three hypostatical consciousnesses. The three hypostatical consciousnesses in their combination and unity constitute the one self-consciousness. The essence in being trinally conscious as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, is self-conscious. As the one Divine essence is the same thing with the three persons, and not a fourth different thing by itself, so the one Divine self-consciousness is the same thing with the three hypostatical consciousnesses, and not a fourth different thing by itself. In this way, it is evident that the three hypostatical consciousnesses are consistent with a single self-consciousness, as the three hypostases themselves are consistent with a single essence. There are three persons, but only one essence; and three hypostatical consciousnesses, but only one self-consciousness.
Accordingly, having respect to the Sabellian heresy, the catholic trinitarian affirms that the distinctions in the Trinity are essential, not modal. They are in and of the essence, in such a manner as to trinalize it. When, however, the heresy is at the other extreme, and tritheism maintains that the distinctions are " real" in the sense of constituting three separate things (res) or entities, the catholic trinitarian denies this, and affirms that a trinitarian person is not a second separate thing, but a " mode " of one and the same thing. But as a mode, it is the whole thing, not a fraction of it.
The word "God" sometimes denotes the trinity, the entire godhead; as in John 4: 24, mevfia 6 Seos; and in 1 Cor. 15: 28, ha fj 6 Seo? ra irdvra ev iraaiv. The reference in these passages is not to one person in particular, but to the Supreme Being as conceived of in revelation; that is, as the triune God. In such texts, the term, God, "is not to be considered v-7roarart,Kco<;, as peculiarly expressive of any one person, but as ovauoSm, comprehending the whole deity." Owen: Communion with the Trinity, L ii. There is the same use of the word " God" for the Trinity in the line, " Praise God from whom all blessings flow." The line following, " Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost," explains who " God " is. The article is employed with Sefc, in John 4: 24, to denote the true God, in distinction from a falsely conceived God, who is supposed to be local and to be worshipped at a particular point. Sometimes the term " God" denotes "deity," the abstract Divine nature or essence, without reference either to the trinity or to any particular person, as in John 1: 1, $eo? fjv 6 X0y0?: "the Word was deity." St. John does not, here, say that the Logos was the godhead or the trinity, but that he was divine. Hence, #eo? is anarthrous; first, to denote the Divine nature in the abstract (compare irvevfia anarthrous in John 4: 24); secondly, in order not to confound the person of the Logos with that of the Father, who in the preceding clause is designated by Sew with the article. When the Father, or Son, or Spirit, is denominated 3eo?, the word is used in the sense of deity, not of trinity. For a careful examination as to whether " God" denotes, in Scripture, the Trinity, or the Father, or the Son, or the Holy Spirit, see Augustine: Trinity, Books II. III.
There are two classes of characteristics by which the trinitarian Persons are discriminated. 1. Internal, or notae internae; 2. External, or notae externae.
The internal characteristics are those acts, or activities of the Supreme Being which are within the essence, and are confined to it. They are denominated opera ad intra, because they are not emanent or transitive acts, that go out of and beyond the Divine essence, and produce external results—such as the creation of a new substance from nothing, like that of the finite universe. "The internal works or actions of God are those which the persons perform and exercise one towards another." Ursinus: Christian Religion, Quest. 25. The Nicene use of the term "act," applied to the generation of the Son, denotes a constitutional and necessary agency, and a consequent emanation of the essence, similarly, "as the sun is supposed to act in generating rays, fountains to act in generating streams, mind to act in generating thoughts, trees to act in generating branches, bodies to act in generating effluvia." "Waterland: Second Defence. The term "activity" is preferable to "act," to designate the eternal generation and spiration, because the latter more naturally denotes something that comes to an end, while the former denotes something continuous and unceasing.
This immanent and constitutional activity belongs to the Divine essence, because it is spirit. Spirit, by its very nature, and especially the infinite and eternal Spirit, is active. Matter is dead; but mind is living. Spirit is energetic and self-moving; but matter is inert and moved. Hence God is frequently called in Scripture, the living God. Jer. 4:2; Job 19:25; John 6:57. God swears by himself as the living One, Num. 14: 21; Isa. 49 :18; Jer. 22:24; Ezek. 5 :11. Previous to creation, and entirely irrespective of it, the deity is active in himself. God must not be conceived of, as in the pantheistic systems of India and Germany, as iuert and slumbering prior to the work of creation; but from everlasting to everlasting he is inherently and intrinsically energic. There is nothing dead and immobile in the Godhead. Neither is there anything latent and requiring to be developed, as there is in the imperfect spirit of man. In the scholastic phrase, "deus est actus purissimus, sine ulla potentialitate." God is the same yesterday, to-day, and forever, Heb. 13:8. He is without variableness, or parallax, James 1:17. And this is true of the immanent and constitutional activity of the Divine essence, in generation and spiration. These opera ad intra are an eternal and unceasing energizing and trinalizing of the essence, in and by those two acts whereby the Father communicates the essence with the Son, and the Father and Son communicate it with the Spirit.
This constitutional and inherent activity of the Divine essence has for its resultant, the trinitarian distinctions. The Divine nature energizes internally from eternity to eternity in two distinct manners, and thereby is simultaneously and eternally three distinct persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; God Unbegotten, Begotten, and Proceeding. The Westminster Confession (II. iii.) defines this internal activity in the terms of the Athanasian creed. "In the unity of the Godhead, there are three persons of one substance, power, and eternity; God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost. The Father is of none, neither begotten nor proceeding; the Son is eternally begotten of the Father; the Holy Ghost eternally proceeding from the Father and the Son." This marks off the persons. He who begets is a different person from him who is begotten. He who proceeds is different from those from whom the procession issues.
According to this statement, there are two internal marks or characteristics, by which the Divine persons are distinguished from one another: viz. generation and spiration; or filiation and procession; according to the point of view that is adopted. Generation and spiration are subjective and active in signification. They denote the acts of a Divine person or persons, as related to another Divine person. Filiation and procession are objective and passive in signification. They denote the results of the acts, that is, the eternal processes consequent upon them. The first person subjectively and actively generates the second person, and eternal filiation is objectively and passively the result, or process, ensuing from it. The first and second persons subjectively and actively spirate the third person, and eternal procession is objectively and passively the result. That internal energizing, or opus ad intra, which Scripture denominates "begetting," modifies the Divine essence in a particular manner, and this resulting mode of the essence is denominated the Son of God. That other internal energizing, or opus ad intra, which is called " spiration," modifies the Divine essence in still another manner, and this resulting mode of the essence is denominated the Holy Spirit. The theological term "spiration " comes from the Biblical term "Spirit," appropriated to the third person. It is applied to him technically, with reference to the manner in which he has the essence: spiritus, quia spiratus. He is no more spiritual in substance than the Father or Son. But the essence is communicated to him by spiration, or outbreathing (irvevfia = spiritus = breath).
The following particulars are to be carefully noticed. 1. These internal acts or activities of generation and spiration, in the Divine essence, are not creative acts. They originate nothing external to God, and other than God. They do not make a new essence, but only modify an existing one. "When the Father generates the Son, he does not call another substance into existence from nonentity, as he does when he makes the universe. This is marked in the Nicene creed, by the clause, "begotten, not made."
2. These internal activities are not temporal and transient, but eternal and unceasing. They have neither beginning, nor ending, nor cessation. Neither of them is before the other, in time. All are eternal, and therefore simultaneous. The first person is not the eternal Father, before the second person is the eternal Son. An eternal Father cannot exist before an eternal Son; if so, there would be a time when he is not the eternal Father. A Divine person who has no son is not a father; apa irarrjp, afia vlds (Athanasius). "In hac trinitate nihil prius aut posterius, nihil majus aut minus, sed tota tres personae coaeternae sibi sunt, et coaequales." Symb. Ath. 24. On account of the eternity and immutability of the Divine paternity and sonship, Athanasius (Oration, I. 21) argues that these are the truest and most proper paternity and sonship; of which human paternity and sonship are only finite and imperfect copies. For these relations, in the case of God, are necessarily and immutably distinct from each other; while in the case of man, they are not. A human person may be both a father and a son at the same time; but a Divine person cannot be. A human person may be a son and not a father, and subsequently may become a father. But in the case of a Divine person, no such change as this is possible. If a trinitarian person is a father, he is so eternally and immutably. If he is a son, he is so eternally and immutably. God the Father is never other than a father, and God the Son is never other than a son.
Again, the three trinitarian persons, unlike three human persons, suppose each other, and cannot be conceived of as subsisting independently and separately from each other. Three human persons exist side by side, separately and independently, so that if one or two of them are subtracted, the remaining person or persons are the same as before the subtraction. The personality of each is unaffected by that of the others. But in the instance of the three trinitarian persons, each is what he is, in reference to the others, and if one be subtracted, the others disappear also. Abstract God the Father, and there is no God the Son left; abstract God the Son, and there is no God the Father left. And the same is true of God the Spirit.
3. They are necessary activities. It is as necessary, that is, it is as fixed in the nature and constitution of the Godhead, that from all eternity the Father should generate the Son, as that he should be omnipresent, or omnipotent. "What madness," says Athanasius (Oration III. 63), "is it to represent the Supreme Being as considering and consulting with himself, whether he shall provide and furnish himself with his own Reason and Intelligence. The Son of God is no mere voluntary or arbitrary effect of God's power, but the necessary issue of his nature, and the Son of his substance." Says Hooker, V. liv., "Whatsoever Christ hath common unto him with his heavenly Father, the same of necessity must be given him, but naturally and eternally given; not bestowed by way of benevolence and favor." The same is true of the spiration of the Spirit by the Father and Son. This, also, is a necessary and constitutional activity of the Divine essence. It is optional with God to energize externally, but not internally. The opera ad extra, in creation and providence, depend upon sovereign will. God might or might not create the universe; may or may not uphold it. But we cannot say that he may or may not be triune. That immanent and eternal activity which trinalizes the essence, and results in the three trinitarian persons, being grounded in the very nature and constitution of the Supreme Being, must be. And yet this necessity is not that of external compulsion. It is like that of the Divine existence. It is not optional with God to exist. He must be. Yet he is not compelled to exist by external necessity. He exists willingly. And such is the necessity of the eternal generation of the Son, and spiration of the Spirit. The Father, says Turrettin (III. xxix. 22), generates the Son, "non libertate indifferentiae, sed spontaneitatis." 1
The difference between the relation of generation and spiration to the essence, and to the persons, respectively, is important. The generation and spiration are out of or from (e'/e) the essence, by (&la) the persons. The Son, though generated by the Father, issues from the essence. He is a form or mode of the essence, not a form or mode of the Father. The first person generates the second person not out of his own personal characteristic of paternity, but out of the essence itself. In generation, the first person does not communicate his hypostatical character, namely, his fatherhood, to the Son, but the whole undivided essence. The Son is Seb< ; «c Seov; the essence in the Filial form or mode emanating from the essence in the Paternal form or mode.
Again, the Spirit, though spirated by the Father and Son, yet proceeds not from the Father and Son as persons but from the Divine essence. His procession is from one, namely, the essence; while his spiration is by two, namely, two persons. The Father and Son are not two essences, and therefore do not spirate the Spirit from two essences. Yet they are two persons, and as two persons having one numerical essence spirate from it the third form or mode of the essence—the Holy Spirit: their two personal acts of spiration concurring in one single procession of the Spirit. There are two spi rations, because the Father and Son are two persons; but there is only one resulting procession. See Turrettin, III. xxxi. 6. According to the Greek view
1 The objections made by the English Arians and Semiarians (Clarke, Whiston, etc.,) to the Athanasian doctrine were: "That generation implies division of essence, and necessary generation implies outward ooaction; that generation is on act, and every act implies choice; that necessary agents are no agents, and necessary causes are no causes; that three persons must be three intelligent agents, and three agents cannot be one being, one substance, one God." Waterland: Second Defence, p. 4.
of the procession of the Spirit, there is only one act of spiration, that of the Father; so that there is one spiration and one procession.
The Biblical proof of these internal activities of the Divine essence is found:
1. In those passages which denominate the first person the Father, the second person the Son, and the third person the Spirit. Ps. 2:7; Matt. 3 : 17; 28 : 19; John 1:14; Acts 13 : 33; Rom. 1:4; Heb. 1: 8; 1 John 5 : 20. The terms father and son suppose generation. The terms are correlative, and must be taken in the same sense. If "father" and "son" are literal, so is "generation." If "generation " is metaphorical, so are "father" and " son." Whoever affirms that the second person of the trinity is literally and really the son of the first person, must, if he would not contradict himself, also affirm that the second person is literally and really begotten by the first. There is literally a communication of the Divine essence in the generation and filiation. ,
2. In those passages which denominate the Son " only" begotten, "own " son, and "dear" son. John 1:14, 18; 3 :16, 18; 1 John 4:9; Coloss. 1:15; Heb. 1:6; Rom. 8 : 3, 32; Col. 1:13; Matt. 3 :17; Eph. 1: 6; 2 Peter 1: 17. The second person in his original trinitarian status is denominated vio<;; in his estate of humiliation as mediator, he is sometimes called iraii. This latter term means " servant," and is never used of the unincarnate Word. In Acts 3 :13; Matt. 12 :18; the phrase irai<; fiov denotes the same as "my servant," in Isa. 42 :1. The Sept. renders nas by vals. See Nitzsch: Christian Doctrine, § 13; Bengel, on Matt. 12:18.
3. In those passages which technically denominate the third person the Spirit; and those which speak of his procession. "Spirit," in the technical trinitarian use, signifies that the third person is spirated or outbreathed by the Father and Son. The Hebrew D1"1 and the Greek irvevfia denote a breath, or breathing. Gen. 1:2; Xum. 27 :18; Ps. 51: 11; lsa. 63 : 11; Hos. 9 : 7 (Gesenins in voce); Matt. 3 :16; Luke 1:35; John 1: 32, 33; 3:5, 6; Acts 2 : 4, et alia. Christ " breathed on his disciples, and said unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost," John 20: 22. This spiration of the Spirit in time, was symbolical of the eternal spiration in the Godhead. The third person is also described as " proceeding" from the Father, John 15 : 26. Though in this text it is not said that he proceeds from the Son also, yet there are texts that imply this. He is called the " Spirit of the Son," Gal. 4:6; the " Spirit of Christ," Rom. 8:9; the "Spirit of Jesus Christ," Phil. 1:19. The genitive in these passages denotes the source. It is noteworthy, that in the Xew Testament the third person is nowhere denominated the " Spirit of the Father." Furthermore, the Holy Spirit is "received from " Christ, John 16:14, 15; is " sent by " Christ, John 15 : 20; is " sent in the name of" Christ, John 16 : 26. The "mission" and "reception" of the third person from the second person, and in his name, favors the Latin doctrine of his spiration by and procession from him.
Some trinitarians have attempted to hold the doctrine of the Trinity, while denying eternal generation, spiration, and procession. They concede that there are three eternal persons in the Godhead, denominated in Scripture, Father, Son, and Spirit, but contend that to go beyond this, and affirm such acts in the Godhead as generation and spiration, is to go beyond the record. They reject, or at least doubt, this feature in the Nicene Trinitarianism.
But this is inconsistent. These trinal names, Father, Son, and Spirit, given to God in Scripture, force upon the theologian the ideas of paternity, filiation, spiration, and procession. He cannot reflect upon the implication of these names without forming these ideas, and finding himself necessitated to concede their literal validity and objective reality. He cannot say with Scripture that the first person is the Father, and then deny or doubt that he "begets." lie cannot say that the second person is the Son, and then deny or doubt that he is " begotten." He cannot say that the third person is the Spirit, and then deny or doubt that he "proceeds" by "spiration" (Spiritus quia spiratus) from the Father and Son. Whoever accepts the nouns, Father, Son, and Spirit, as conveying absolute truth, must accept also the corresponding adjectives and predicates, beget and begotten, spirate and proceed, as conveying absolute truth.
Recapitulating, then, we have the following internal marks (notae internae) or personal peculiarities, by which to distinguish the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit from each other. 1. The Father generates the Son, and spirates the Spirit. Generation and spiration are the eternal acts, the opera ad intra, that characterize the first Person. The first Person is distinguished by two acts, and no process. 2. The Son is generated by the Father, and together with him spirates the Spirit. Filiation is an internal process and spiration an internal act that characterize the second Person. The second Person is distinguished by one act, and one process. 3. The Spirit proceeds from the Father and Son. Procession is the internal process that marks the third Person. There is no internal act of the Holy Spirit; but his external activity, especially in redemption, is more marked than that of the first and second Persons. The third Person is distinguished by a process, and no act.
Respecting the meaning of the terms generation and spiration, filiation and procession, little can be said, because inspiration has given but few data. The catholic trinitarianism defines generation and spiration, as those eternal acts in the Godhead by which one person communicates the essence to, or rather with, another. The term " communicate" must be taken etymologically. By generation, the Father makes the eternal essence common (koiviovsiv) to himself and the Son. The Son does not first exist, and the essence is then communicated to him. "The Father," says Turrettin (III. xxix. 21), "does not generate the Son either as previously existing, for in this case there would be no need of generation; nor as not yet existing, for in this case the Son would not be eternal; but as coexisting, because he is from eternity in the Godhead." "When the Son says, 'As the Father hath life in himself, so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself,' the meaning is not that the Father gave life to the Son already existing without life, but that he so begat him, apart from time, that the life which the Father gave to the Son by begetting him is co-eternal with the life of the Father who gave it." Augustine: Trinity, XV. xxvi. 47. The same statement and reasoning apply to the act of spiration. By spiration, the Father and Son make the eternal essence common to themselves and the Spirit. They are not two persons that exist prior to the third, but eternally co-exist with him. The co-existence, in both generation and spiration, follows from the fact that it is one and the same numerical essence which is communicated and constitutes the substance of each person; and this essence cannot be any older in one person than in another.
The results of these two eternal, constitutional, and necessary activities of generation and spiration in the Divine essence, are two distinct and personal emanations of the essence. There is no creation of a new essence, but a modification of an existing one; and this modification is a kind of issue, or efflux. God the Son is the offspring of God the Father; " very God of very God," (e« Ttl<; ovaia<i). God the Spirit " proceeds " from the Father and the Son. The common statements in the patristic trinitarianism respecting this emanation of the essence are the following: The Son is from the Father, not as an effect from a cause; not as an inferior from a superior; not as created finite substance from uncreated infinite substance; but as intelligence is from intellect, the river from the spring, the ray from the sun. These illustrations were employed by the early trinitarians, to denote the sameness of essence between the first and second persons, and the emanation of the latter from the former. This internal emanation was taught as early as Theophilus. "The word being God, and being naturally produced from God" (e* Seov m^m). Ad Autolycum, 22. Pareus (Corpus doctrinae Christianae, XXV.) says: "Filius est genitus, spiritus sanctus procedit, sive emanat, a patre." The term " emanat" is explanatory of both " genitus" and "procedit," in this proposition; because Pareus held to the procession of the Spirit from both Father and Son. Pareus, in his notes on the Athanasian creed (Art. VII.), says " that procession or emanation is the ineffable communication of the Divine essence, by which the third person of the trinity receives from the Father and the Son the same entire essence which the Father and the Son have." Quenstedt enunciates the catholic view in the following manner: "Eternal generation is not by derivation, as in the instance of human generation; nor by transfusion; nor by any action that begins and ends. It is by an unceasing emanation, to which there is nothing similar in rerum natura." Ilase: Hutterus, 174. Similarly, Turrettin (III. xxxi. 1) describes the procession of the Spirit, as an "emanatio a patre et filio, distinctam a filii generatione." Bull defines as follows: "Patrem esse principium Filii et Spiritus Sancti, et utrumque ab ipso propagari interiore jprodwtione, non externa: unde fit, ut non modo ex Patre, sed in ipso sint, et Pater in ipsis; neque in sacra Triade altera persona ab altera separari possit, sicut tres humanae personae ab invicem disterminantur." Defensio IV. iv. 9.
The term "emanation" is inapplicable to an opus ad extra, like creation, but not to the opera ad intra. When God creates the universe of matter and mind, he makes a new substance from nothing. The universe is not an efflux or emanation of the Divine essence. But when the Father generates the Son, this is an eternal emanation and outflow of the Divine essence. An emanation is of the same substance with that from which the emanation issues; a creation is a new and different substance from that of the creator.
The phrase "communication of essence," is preferable to "derivation of essence;" though the latter is sometimes employed by orthodox trinitarians. The term derivation is better suited to human than to Divine generation, because it denotes division and distribution of a substance. When the Divine nature is communicated, it is communicated or "made common," as a whole undivided essence. In eternal generation, the entire Divine nature is caused to be the nature of the second person. But when finite human nature is derived, it is only a portion of human nature that is derived. In human generation, an abscided part of human substance is separated from the common mass, and is made to become a distinct and separate human individual. Hence, it cannot be said, that the whole human nature is in each human person, as it can be that the whole Divine nature is in each Divine person. Human derivation is the transmission of a separate fraction ; eternal generation is the communication of an undivided whole. "The generation of the Son of God is not like that of a man, which requires a separation and division of substance." Athanasius: Oration, I. 14.
It has already been noticed that it is the characteristic of the Divine essence, that it can subsist indivisibly and totally in more persons than one. These adjectives are important. For the human nature can also subsist in more persons than one; but not indivisibly and totally. An individual man, a human person, is only a part, and a very small part of the whole human nature or species. But the first, second, or third person of the Godhead is the entire Divine nature, in a particular mode of subsistence. All of the Divine substance is in each Divine person; but not all of the human substance is in each human person.
The whole of the Divine essence subsisting in a certain mode constitutes God the Father, or God the Son, or God the Holy Spirit; a part of the human substance, or specific nature, separated from the remainder of it by human generation, constitutes the individual Peter, James, or John. A Divine person is denominated a subsistence in the essence; a human person is denominated an individual (>f(not in) the species. The preposition "of" denotes division and separation of substance; tho preposition "in" excludes this. Says Ursinus (Christian Religion, Q. 25), "in persons created, he that begetteth and generateth doth not communicate his whole substance to him that is begotten, for then he would cease himself to be a man; but only a part, which being allotted and severed out of the substance of him that begetteth is conveyed or derived unto him that is begotten, and so is made to be the substance of another individual or person, distinct from tho substance of the individual who begetteth. But in uncreated trinitarian persons, he that begetteth, or spirateth, communicates his whole essence to him that is begotten or proceeds; yet so, that he who communicates doth retain the same essence, and that entire. The reason of this difference between a divine and a human person is, that the substance of man is finite and divisible; but that of God is infinite and indivisible. And, therefore, the Divine essence, being the same numercially, and whole or entire, may be both communicated and retained simultaneously."
The great mystery of the Trinity is, that one and the very same substance, can subsist as an undivided whole in three persons sirnvltaneovsly. That a substance can be divided up, and distributed, s0 as to constitute a million or a billion of individuals, as in the instance of the human nature or species, is comparatively easy to comprehend. But that a substance without any division, or distribution, can at the same instant constitute three distinct persons, baffles the human understanding. In the sphere of matter, this would not only be incomprehensible, but absurd. A pint of water could not possibly be contained in three different pint cups at one and the same instant. But spirit is not subject to the conditions of matter; and as the whole human soul may all of it be in every part, and every point of the body, at one and the same instant, so the Divine essence may all of it be in each of the three Divine persons simultaneously. It is no contradiction, taking the nature of unextended spiritual substance into view, to say that the one numerical Divine essence is indivisibly and wholly present at a million points of space at the same time, without making it a million of essences. If so, it is no contradiction to say that the one numerical Divine essence subsists indivisibly and wholly in three modes or persons at the same instant, without making it three essences. If the plurality of points at which the Divine omnipresence is found does not multiply the essence in the first case, the trinality of the persons in which the Divine existence is found does not multiply the essence in the second case.
It is here that the error of a specific, instead of a numerical unity of the Divine essence, is apparent. In the case of specific unity, or the unity of a race, the one substance or nature is divided and distributed. The individuals are fractional parts of it. If the three persons of the Godhead constitute a Divine species, or a specific unity, as the millions of human persons constitute a human species, then no single trinitarian person possesses the whole divine nature, any more than any single human person possesses the whole human nature. For to possess a property of the human nature, like rationality, or immortality (the whole of which property may be in each human person), is not to possess the whole substance of the human nature. If, then, the trinal unity is a specific or race-unity, no one of the three Divine persons is whole deity, any more than a single human person is whole humanity.
The clause e/c Ttji ovala?, and the epithet ofjwovalo<;, might, of themselves, suggest a specific unity. The preposition e'« may be partitive in its signification, and so may the adjective 6fio<;, and the Latin con in " cousubstantial." But if God the Son is "out of" or "from" the Divine nature in the same partitive manner that the individual Socrates is "out of" or "from" the human nature, and is "cousubstantial" with the Divine Father in the same way that a human son is consubstantial with a human father, by having a portion only of the same nature with him, then the whole Divine essence is not in God the Son. And if so, no one of the Divine attributes, and still less all of them, can be in God the Son. For a Divine attribute cannot belong to a fraction of the essence. Consequently the Is icene Trinitarians uniformly explain and guard the statement that the Son of God is "of" the essence, and is "consubstantial " with the Father, by saying that the eternal generation differs from the human, by communicating the entire essence, and that each Divine person possesses the one Divine nature numerically and totally, not specifically and fractionally.1
The simultaneous existence of the undivided and total nature in each of the three persons, the Nicene trinitarians endeavored to illustrate by the figure of circum-incession (-n-ep^coprjai<;, circulatio). There is a continual inbeing and indwelling of one person in another. This is taught in John 14: 10, 11; 17: 21, 23: "Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? Believe me, that I am in the Father, and the Father in me. I pray that they all may be one, as thou Father art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us."" This, the Nicene
1 The English Arians: Clarke, Whiston, Whitby, and others, denied that consubstantiality means one numerical substance possessed by each of the three persons. Hunt: Religious Thought in England, IIL 28.
> Athanasius (Oration III. 21) remarks that Christ prays here that the disciples " may imitate the trinitarian unity of nature, in their unity of affection. Had it been possible for the disciples to be in the nature of the Father as the Son is, he would have prayed 'that they may be one in thee,' instead of 'one in us.'"
writers described metaphorically as an unceasing circulation of the essence, whereby there is an eternal intercommunion and interaction of being in the Godhead, so that each person coinheres in the others, and the others in each. "Each [person] is in each [person], and all [three persons] are in each [person],and each [person] is in all [three persons], and all [three persons] are one [being]." Augustine: Trinity, VI. 10. "The community of nature between the Son and the Father is like that between brightness and light, between the stream and the fountain. The Son is in the substance of the Father, as having his subsistence communicated to him out of that substance; and again, the Father is in the Son, as communicating his substance to the Son, as the nature of the solar substance is in the rays, as intelligence is in the rational soul, and as the very substance of the fountain is in the waters of the river. The brightness of the sun is coeval with its substance or body. It is not a flame kindled or borrowed from it, but the offspring and issue of its substance or body. The sunbeams cannot be separated from that great fund of light. They cannot be supposed to subsist, after their communication with the planet itself is cut off. And yet the sun and the brightness that flows from it are not one and the same thing." Athanasius, Oration III. 3, 4. "In trinitate maxime propria est et perfectissima irepix/Aprjai<;, siquidem personae sese mutno continent; ita ut ubicunque una persona est, ibi reliquae duae existant, hoc est ubique omnes sint." Bull: Defensio, IV. iv. 14.1
The terms first, second, and third, applied to the persons, are terms of order and relationship only. They imply no priority of nature, substance, existence, or excellence.
1 The Platonists employed this figure of circulatory movement, to explain the self-reflecting and self-communing nature of the human mind. "It is not possible for us to know what our souls are, but only by their mriivtu Kimcxikoi, their circular and reflex motions, and converse with themselves. whioh only can steal from them their own secrets." Smith: Discourses (Immortality, II).
Hence, the Son is sometimes named before the Father, 2 Cor. 13 :14; Gal. 1:1. Sometimes, the Spirit before the Son, Rev. 1: 4, 5. The term " father " does not denote a higher grade of being, but exactly the same grade that the term "son " does. A human son is as truly man, as a human father. He is constituted of human nature as fully and entirely as his father is. Augustine (Sermo 140, § 5) remarks that " if the Son were not equal to the Father, he would not bo the son of God." The substance or constitutional nature determines the grade of being. A person having a human nature is ipso facto human; whether he comes by it by the act of creation, as Adam and Eve did, or by propagation, as Cain and Abel did. So a person who possesses the Divine nature is ipso facto divine, whether possessing it by paternity, or filiation, or procession. Christ asserts that " as the Father hath life in himself, so he hath given to the Son to have life in himself," John 5 : 26. But "life in himself" is self-existence. As the Father has self-existence, so he has given to the Son to have self-existence. The difference in the manner in which self-existence is possessed by the Father and Son, makes no difference with the fact. The Son has self-existence by communication of that essence of which self-existence is an attribute. The Father has self-existence without communication of it, because he has the essence without communication of it.
While there is this absolute equality among the Divine persons in respect to the grade of being to which they belong, and all are alike infinite and uncreated in nature and essence, there is at the same time a kind of subordination among them. It is trinitarian, or filial subordination; that is, subordination in respect to order and relationship. As a relation, sonship is subordinate to fatherhood. In the order, a father, whether divine or human, is the first, and a son is the second. Hence the phrases "filial subordination" and " trinitarian subordination" are common in trinitarian writers. The fourth section of Bull's Defence of the Kicene Faith is devoted to the proof of the subordination of the Son to the Father, in respect to his personal peculiarity of sonship; the second and third sections having been devoted to the proof of his consubstantiality and coeternity with the Father, in respect to his essence.
The trinitarian subordination of person, not of essence, must not be confounded with the Arian and Semi-Arian subordination, which is a subordination of essence as well as of person. Neither must it be confounded with the theanthropic or mediatorial subordination. This latter involves condescension and humiliation; but the trinitarian subordination does not. It is no humiliation or condescension for a son to be the son of his father. That the second trinitarian person is God the Son, and not God the Father, does not imply that his essence is inferior to that of the Father, and that he is of a lower grade of being, but only that his sonship is subordinate to the Father's paternity. The Son of God is an eternal, not a temporal son; and an eternal son must have an eternal nature in order to be eternal. In the theanthropic or mediatorial sonship, there is an humbling, though no degrading of the eternal Son, because of the assumption into union with the Divine nature of an inferior human nature. But in the Arian or SemiArian subordination, there is not only humiliation, but degradation. The Son of God, upon this theory, is of a lower grade of being than the Father, because he is of a different essence or nature.
The following resume', condensed from the Dogmatics of Twesten (Theil II. § 42), presents the subject of the notae internae in a clear light.
"The internal characteristics include the order according to which the Father is immutably the first, the Son immutably the second, the Spirit immutably the third person of the Trinity, and the ground or foundation of this order in certain constitutional and necessary acts in the Divine eseence. Since God is pure life and act (actus purissimus); and since by virtue of his absolute independence and spontaneity there is nothing in him inert or lifeless, nothing given independent of his act and nothing outwardly necessary; those characteristics whereby the Divine persons are distinguished from each other must rest upon the Divine energizing; namely, upon two eternally immanent acts, generation and spiration. These acts are internal, because they have nothing but the Divine essence itself for an object. They terminate upon the Divine essence as modifying it, not upon the universe as creating it. And they are personal acts, because it is not the Divine essence as common to the three persons, but as it subsists modified in particular persons, that is the subject or agent in the case. Hence it follows, that these acts of generation and spiration are not to be regarded as the common action of all three persons, but as the particular action of one or more distinct persons—that of generation being the act of the first person, and that of spiration the act of the first and second.
"But if the Father is unbegotten, does it not follow that he alone is the absolute Being? and is not this Arianism? Not so. For one and the same numerical essence subsists whole and undivided in him who is generated, as well as in him who generates; in him who is spirated, as well as in those two who spirate. There can therefore be no inequality of essence caused by these acts of generation and spiration. There may be, and there is an inequality in the several modes in which one and the same eternal essence subsists by virtue of these acts. The essence in the begotten mode or 'form' of the Son, is second and subordinate to the essence in the unbegotten mode or 'form' of the Father. But this inequality of mode or 'form' does not relate to time, for the essence in the Son is as old as the essence in the Father; nor to nature or constitutional being, for this is the same thing in both. It relates only to the personal characteristics of paternity, filiation, and procession. Hence the Athanasian symbol can assert that£ in trinitate, nihil prius aut posterins [tempore], nihil majus ant minus [natura], sed tota tres personas coeternas sibi esse et coequales,' and yet an inequality of relationship may be granted, if by this is meant merely that the Father is the generative source of the Son, and the Father and Son the spirative source of the Spirit; or, in other terms, that the Son's person is grounded in that of the Father, and the Spirit's person is grounded in those of the Father and Son, while yet the one eternal essence itself, which is identical in each, has no source and no ground."
The external characteristics, notae externae, of the three persons, are transitive acts, opera ad extra. They are activities and effects by which the Trinity is manifested outwardly. They are the following: 1. Creation, preservation, and government of the universe. 2. Redemption. 3. Inspiration, regeneration, and sanctification. The first belongs officially and eminently to the Father; the second to the Son; the third to the Holy Spirit. The Father creates, yet by and through the Son: Ps. 33 : 6; Prov. 3 :19; 30 : 4; John 5 : 17; Acts 4 : 24, 27. The Son redeems, yet commissioned by the Father: Rom. 3 : 24; 5 :11; Gal. 3 :13; Rev. 5 : 9. The Spirit inspires and sanctifies, yet as sent by the Father and Son. He inspires the prophets: 2 Sam. 23: 2, 19; 2 Peter 1 : 21; and sanctifies the elect: 1 Pet. 1: 2.
These works are occasionally attributed to another person. The Son creates: Col. 1:16; Heb. 1:3; Is. 44: 24. The name Saviour is given to the Father: 1 Tim. 1:1; Jude 25. The Father sanctifies: John 17 : 17. Commonly, the Father raises Christ from the dead: Acts 13 : 30. But Christ " has power to take his life again :" John 10:18; and rises from the dead: Rom. 14: 9; Acts 10 : 41; 1 Cor. 15 :4. The Father "judgeth without respect of persons," 1 Pet. 1:17; and yet " all judgment is given to the Son," John 5 : 22; Mat. 25 : 31. This is explained by the unity of the essence. In every external operation of a person, the whole essence operates, because the whole essence is in each person. The operation, consequently, while peculiar to a person, is at the same time, essential; that is, is wrought by that one Divine essence which is also and alike in the other persons. An official personal act cannot, therefore, be the exclusive act of a person, in the sense that the others have no participation in it. "There is no such division in the external operations of God, that any one of them should be the act of one person without the concurrence of the others." Owen: Holy Spirit, II. iii. At the same time, an act like creation for example, which is common to all the persons of the trinity by virtue of a common participation in the essence, yet stands in a nearer relation .to the essence as subsisting in the Father than it does to the essence as subsisting in the Son, or the Spirit. The same reasoning applies to redemption and the second person; to sanctification and the third person. Power, wisdom, and love are attributes common to the Divine essence, and to each of the persons; but both Scripture and theology appropriate power in a special way to the Father, wisdom to the Son or Logos, and love to the Holy Spirit, because each of these attributes stands in a closer relation to the particular person to whom it is ascribed, than to the others.
The internal activities, on the other hand, unlike the external, are attributed to one person exclusively of the other two, or else to two persons exclusively of the other one. Generation is the act of the Father only, the Son and Spirit having no share in it. Spiration is the act of the Father and Son, the Spirit having no participation in it. Filiation belongs to the Son alone. Procession belongs to the Spirit alone. According to the Greek, in distinction from the Latin doctrine of the third person, spiration is exclusively the Father's opus ad intra. The same remark respecting exclusiveness is true of the incarnation. It is the second person exclusively, not the first or the third, who unites with human nature.
The Deity of Ood the Father is undisputed, and hence there is less need of presenting the proof of it. The Divine names, attributes, works and adorableness, are ascribed to him.
The term "Father" denotes an immanent and eternal relation of the first trinitarian person. God, in himself, and irrespective of any reference to the created universe, is a father: the Father of the Son. Were God primarily the Father because of his relation to men and angels, and not because of his relation to the second person in the Godhead, his fatherhood would begin in time, and might consequently end in time. If there was once a time when God was not the Father of the Son, there may be a time when he will cease to be so. "It is the greatest impiety," says Cyril of Jerusalem (Catacheses, XI. 8), "to say that after deliberation held in time God became a Father. For God was not at first without a Son, and afterwards in time became a Father."
The hjpostatical or trinitarian paternity of God the Father as related to the Son, must not be confounded with the providential paternity of God the Trinity as related to the creation. Only one of the Divine persons is the trinitarian Father; but the three persons in one essence constitute the providential and universal Father. The Triune God is generally the Father of men and angels by creation, and specially of the elect by redemption. Ilence, the term Father applied to God has two significations. It may denote the Divine essence in all three modes, or in only one mode. The first clause in the Lord's prayer is an example of the former. When men say, "Our Father who art in heaven," they do not address the first person of the Godhead to the exclusion of the second and third. They address, not the untriune God of deism and natural religion, but the God of revelation, who is triune, and as such the providential Father of all men, and the redemptive Father of believers. If a man deliberately and consciously intends in his supplication to exclude from his worship the Son and the Holy Spirit, his petition is not acceptable. "He that honoreth not the Sou, honoreth not the Father," John 5 : 23. A man may not have the three persons distinctly and formally in his mind, when he utters this petition, and in this case he does not intentionally exclude any trinitariau person or persons; but the petition, nevertheless, ascends to the Divine Three, not to a single person exclusively; and the answer returns to him from the Triune God, not from any solitary person exclusively. "It is a doctrine," says Witsius (Lord's Prayer, Diss. VH.), "firmly maintained by all orthodox divines, that the Father cannot be invoked in a proper manner, without at the same time invoking the Son and Holy Spirit, because they are one in nature and in honor. Nor can it, I think, be denied that, laying out of view the distinction of persons and looking only at what is common to all three persons in the Godhead, God may be denominated our Father. Yet I cheerfully concur with those interpreters who maintain that the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is particularly addressed in the first petition." Says Augustine (Trinity, V. ii.), " That which is written, 'Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God is one Lord,' ought not to be understood as if the Son were excepted, or the Holy Spirit were excepted. This one Lord our God, we rightly call, also, our Father."
The term Father denotes the Trinity in John 4 : 21, 23, 24. "The hour cometh when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. The true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth." Here the term Father is synonymous with " God " who "is a Spirit;" the true object of worship. But Christ, in mentioning the object of worship, had in his mind the God of revelation, not of deism; trinal as he is in Scripture, not single as he is in natural religion; the very same God in whose trinal name and being he commanded all men to believe and be baptized. Christ's idea of God as the universal Father was trinitarian, not deistic. In his intuition, and theology, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are one God, and the Heavenly Father of angels and men. "The appellation Father, descriptive of the connection between God and his creatures, is true of every one of the Divine persons, and of the three Divine persons, one God. The [paternal] relation to the creatures is as true of the Son and Holy Ghost as of the Father, iu respect to the Divine nature; for all these persons are respectively, and in union, the Father of the universe; the Father in creation, in government, and in protection. The Son as Messiah is foretold in his protecting kindness and mercy as ' a Father to the fatherless.1" Ps. 68: 5, 6; Isa. 9 : 6. Kidd: Eternal Sonship, Ch. XIII.
A believer in the Trinity, in using the first petition of the Lord's prayer, may have the first person particularly in his mind, and may address him; but this does not make his prayer antitrinitarian. He addresses that person as the representative of the Trinity. And the same is true whenever he particularly addresses the Son, or the Spirit. If he addresses God the Son, God the Son implies God the Father. Each Divine person supposes and suggests the others. Each represents the others. Consequently, to pray to any one of the Divine Three is by implication and virtually to pray to all Three. No man can honor the Son without honoring the Father also. Says Christ, "He that hath seen me hath seen the Father also," John 14:9. In like manner, he that prays to the Son prays to the Father also. Says Turrettin (III. xxv. 27), "The mind of the worshipper will not be distracted by the consideration that there are three Divine persons, if he remembers that the whole Divine essence is in each of the persons, so that if he worships one he worships all. With Gregory of Nazianzum, he may say: 'Icannot think of the one Supreme Being without being encompassed with the glory of the three persons; and I cannot discern the three persons without recurring to the unity of the essence.'"
The hypostatical or trinitarian paternity of God, in distinction from the providential, is mentioned in John 17 : 5. "Now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self." Here, Christ addresses the Father alone; the first person of the Godhead exclusively. He did not address the Trinity, for he did not address himself, or the Holy Spirit. Respecting this trinitarian fatherhood, the Son says, "my Father," not "our Father." John 14 : 27; 15 : 1, 8, et alia.
The baptismal formula, and the doxologies indisputably prove that paternity is an immanent and eternal relation of God. The rite that initiates into the kingdom of God would not bo administered in three names denoting only certain temporal and assumed attitudes of the Supreme Being. Neither would a Divine blessing be invoked through three titles signifying only these. Baptism and invocation are acts of worship, and worship relates to the essential and eternal being of God.
The hypostatical or trinitarian character of the first person is, that he possesses the essence "originally," in the sense that it is not communicated to him by one of the other persons. Augustine (Trinity, II. i.) thus speaks of the "original" or unbegotten possession of the essence by the Father. "We call the Son, God of God; but the Father, God only, not of God. Whence it is plain that the Son has another of whom he is, and to whom he is Son; but the Father has not a Son of whom he is, but only to whom he is Father. For every son is what he is, of his father, and is son to his father; but no father is what he is, of his son, but is father to his son." A common term applied to God, in the patristic age, to denote this peculiarity was, " unbegotten." "Next to God, we worship and love the Word, who is from the unbegotten and ineffable God." "We have the unbegotten and ineffable God." "We have dedicated ourselves to the unbegotten and impassible God." "He is the first-born of the unbegotten God." Justin Martyr: Apology I. xxv., liii.; II. xii., xiii. "There are also some dissertations concerning the unbegotten God." Rufinus: Preface to the Clementine Recognitions. In the writings of Athanasius, the Father is denominated ar/evW7T0?, ingenerate or unbegotten, and the Son yewyroi, generate or begotten.
The phrase "Unbegotten God" implies and suggests the phrase " Begotten God." This denotes no more than the phrase " God the Son;" the latter containing the substantive, the former the adjective. Clement of Alexandria (Stromata, V. xii.) remarks that "John the apostle says, no man hath seen God at any time. The only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him." Irenaeus (Adv. Haereses, IV. xx. 11) quotes this text in the same form: "The only begotten God which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him." This patristic employment of the phrase " Begotten God" strongly supports the reading fiovoyevrj? Seos in John 1: 18, which has the support of S<BCL, Peshito, Coptic, Aethiopic; and respecting which Tischendorf (Ed. 8) says, "dubitari nequit quin testimoniorum pondere valeat." Westcott and Hort adopt this reading.
In the controversy between the English Trinitarians and Arians, conducted by Waterland and Samuel Clarke, in the beginning of the eighteenth century, a distinction was made by the former between "necessary existence" and "selfexistence " that is liable to misconception and requires notice. The Father, says Waterland, is both necessarily existent and self-existent. The Son is necessarily existent, but not self-existent. In this use of terms, which is uncommon, the term self-existent was employed not with reference to the essence, as is usually the case, but to the person only. In this sense, "self-existent" denotes what the Nicene trinitarians meant by "unbegotten " or "ingenerate." The Father is self-existent, in Waterland's sense, because the Divine essence is not communicated to or with him. He has it of himself. The Son is not self-existent in Waterland's sense, because the Divine essence is communicated. He has it not from himself, but from the Father. But the Son is necessarily existent, says Waterland, because he possesses an essence that is necessarily existent. The fact that the essence is communicated by eternal generation does not make it any the less an infinite, eternal, and unchangeable essence. In brief, according to Waterland, the Son is necessarily existent because the Divine essence is his essence; but he is not self-existent, because his personal characteristic of filiation, his peculiar " self," is not from himself but from another person.
If no distinction be made between necessary existence and self-existence, as is the case in the Nicene statements, Waterland would attribute both necessary existence and self-existence to the Son. He would concede self-existeDce in the sense in which it is attributed to the Son in John 5: 26: "As the Father hath life in himself, so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself." Here, "life in himself " denotes the self-existence of the Divine essence, which is also necessary existence. The Father has this uncommunicated. The Son has it communicated or "given" from the Father, by eternal generation.
The Father was sometimes denominated -injyij T»/? SeorrjTo?; ftl^a iracy< ; Qe6rtjro<;. This phraseology is used with qualification, by accurate trinitarians. Some orthodox writers employ the phrase, "fons trinitatis," to denote the hypostatical character of the Father, which is better than "fons deitatis." "If," says Howe (Trinity, Lecture XIV.), "we do suppose the Son and the Holy Ghost to be from the Father by a necessity of nature, an eternal necessity of nature, and not by a dependence upon his will, they will not be creatures, because nothing is creature but what depends upon the will and pleasure of the Creator. And if they be not creatures, what are they then? Then, they must be God, and yet both of them from the Father, too; for all that do assert the trinity do acknowledge the Father to be fons trinitatis, the fountain of the Trinity: and if from this fountain the Son be in one way, and the Holy Ghost be in another way, both from the Father; that is, the Son from the Father immediately, and the Holy Ghost from the Father and the Son, and this not by choice, but by an eternal necessity of nature, here is this doctrine as easily conceivable as any that I know of whatsoever, that lies not within the compass of our manifest demonstration." Turrettin (Inst. III. xxx. 1) says that the Father is fons deitatis, "si modus subsistendi spectatur." Owen (Saints' Communion, HI.) remarks that " the Father is the fountain of the deity." Hooker (Polity, V. liv.) quotes Augustine as saying that "pater est mjycua fkorrjrO<;." In these cases, deitas is loosely put for trinitas. Strictly speaking, however, deity denotes the Divine essence; and the first person is not the Father of the essence. But trinity denotes the essence personalized by trinalizing. In this reference, the first person is the father and fountain. "We teach," says Calvin (Inst., I. xiii. 23, 25), "according to the Scriptures, that there is essentially but one God; and therefore that the essence of both the Son and the Spirit is unbegotten. But since the Father is first in order, and hath himself begotten his Wisdom, therefore as has before been observed, he is justly esteemed the original and fountain of the whole Divinity" [Trinity].
The Deity of God the Son was the subject of one of the greatest controversies in the Patristic church. But the work that was done then in investigating the Scriptures did not require to be repeated. Christendom since the Nicene age, as well as before, has believed in the Divine nature of the Son of God.
The denomination " Son," given to the second trinitarian person, denotes an immanent and eternal relation of the essence, not a temporally assumed one. This is proved: (a) By the antithetic term "Father" applied to the first person. Both terms must be taken in the same signification. If one person is eternal, so is the other; if one denotes a temporal relation, so does the other. Arius contended that God was not always a Father, and that the Son was not always a Son. The Nicene trinitarians maintained the contrary. Compare Socrates: Ilistory I. vi.; Athanasins: Contra Arianos, I. §§ 5, 9. Gangauf: Augustin's Trinitatslehre, p. 311 sq. (b) By the epithets "eternal," "own" (i'Sto?), and "only begotten," which qualify the sonship of the second person, and discriminate it from that of angels and men. (c) By the use of the term in the baptismal formula and the benedictions.
The deity of the Son of God is abundantly proved in Scripture. The general impression made by the New Testament favors the deity of Christ. If the evangelists and apostles intended to teach to the world the doctrine that Christ is only a man, or an exalted angel, they have certainly employed phraseology that is ill-suited to convey such a truth. Says John Quincy Adams (Diary, VII. 229), " No argument that I have ever heard can satisfy my judgment, that the doctrine of the divinity of Christ is not countenanced by the New Testament. As little can I say, that it is clearly revealed. It is often obscurely intimated; sometimes directly, and sometimes indirectly asserted; but left on the whole in a debatable state, never to be either demonstrated or refuted until another revelation shall clear it up." This is the testimony of a Unitarian of learning and judgment. The criticism, however, occurs to a reader, that if a doctrine is "sometimes directly, and sometimes indirectly asserted " in the New Testament, it should be accepted by a believer in revelation, however great the difficulties connected with it.
By "deity" more is meant than "divinity," as this latter term is employed by different classes of Anti-Trinitarians. The Arians and Semi-Arians taught the " divinity" of the Son, in the sense of a similarity of nature between him and the Father. This resemblance is greater and closer than that of any other being, man or angel, but is not identity of essence. Socinus and the Polish Unitarians also taught the "divinity" of Christ, in the sense of similarity of essence, but in a lower degree than the Arians and Semi-Arians held the tenet. Socinus says: "Dicimus concedere nos Christum esse naturalem Dei Filium." Smalcius affirms: Filium personam esse non diffitemur, eamque diviuam." Turrettin: Institutio, III. xxviii. 1. By the phrase "natural Son of God," Socinus meant a miraculous generation of Jesus Christ in time by the Holy Spirit, but not an eternal and necessary generation out of the Divine essence.
The crucial term is " coossential," or "consubstantial" (ofioovaios). Neither the Semi-Arian, nor the Arian, nor the Socinian, would concede-that the essence of the Sou is the very identical essence of the Father. It is like it, but it is not it. The Son has " divinity" but not "deity ;" the term divinity being used in the loose sense, as when writers speak of the " divinity in man," meaning his resemblance to God. No one would speak of the " deity in man," unless he were a pantheist.
1. The deity of the Son is proved by the application of the name God to him. Ps. 45 : 6, 8, "Thy throne, O God (o^n'^st) is forever and ever." This is quoted and thus reaffirmed in Heb. 1: 8, 9, " Unto the Son, he saith, thy throne, O God, is forever and ever." Isa. 9 : 6, "A child is born unto us, and his name shall be called the mighty God " (liaa >»). In Jer. 23 : 5, 6, the « Branch " of David is called "The Lord (rrirrj) our Righteousness." The same is said of Messiah in Jer. 33 :15-17. Here, Jerusalem = the Church = Christ (1 Cor. 12 :12; Gal. 3:16.) Speaker's Com. on Jer. 33:16. In Isa. 1:14, Messiah is called "God with us," and the prophecy here recorded is said, in Matt. 1:23, to be fulfilled in the birth of Jesus Christ. In Malachi 3 : 1, the Messenger (ur/yiXXov, Sept.) about to come to his own temple (vaov eavrov, Sept.) is called Lord ( yi"»); and Mark (1: 2) and Luke (1: 76) teach that this is Jesus Christ. The day of the coming of this Messenger is called the " great and dreadful day of the Lord" (nyp), Mal. 4:5."
In the New Testament, there are passages in which what is said in the Old Testament concerning Jehovah is applied to Jesus Christ. Compare Numbers 14: 2; 21:5,6; Ps. 95: 9, with 1 Cor. 10: 9. Here the tempting of Jehovah is the tempting of Christ. The Receptus, Itala, Peshito, Vulgate with DEF, read Xpiarov in 1 Cor. 10: 9. Lachmann, Tischendorf, Hoit, with ISBC, read Kvpiov. The Alexandrine codex reads Seov. In Heb. 1: 10, 11, what is attributed to Jehovah in Ps. 102: 26, is attributed to Christ. In John 12: 40,41, it is asserted that the language of Isaiah (6: 9, 10,) concerning Jehovah refers to Jesus Christ. Isa. 45: 23, compared with Hom. 14: 10, 11 (Receptus), shows that the judgment-seat of God is the judgment-seat of Christ: Lachmann, Tischendorf, Hort, Peshito, Vulgate, with KABCD, read &eov in Rom. 14: 10. Joel 2: 32 cornpared with Rom. 10:13, proves that the name of Jehovah is the name of Christ. In Eph. 4": 8,9, Christ gives the gifts that in Ps. 68: 18 are given by Jehovah.
John 1: 1 contains absolute proof of the deity of the Son of God: &o? fjv 6 Xoyo?. The omission of the article with Se6? converts the word into the abstract, denoting the species, " deity." Compare irvevfia, anarthrous, in John 4: 24: irvevfia 6 5eo?. The use of rjv implies uncreated being, in distinction from created; which, in verse 3, is denoted by eyevero. The distinct personal existence of the Logos is also denoted by irp6s rov Seov, which is quite different from avv rcp 3ea». The former preposition with the accusative implies coexistence, along with another. The latter preposition with the dative blends in one substance, so as to exclude distinct individuality. 1 John 5: 20, Ovto? eariv 6 a\VSivo<; 5eo?. Here, O5t6? most naturally refers to 'Irjaov Xptarco. "Eternal life " is never appropriated to the Father by St. John, but is very often to the Son. Compare John 1: 4; 11: 25; 14: 6; 1 John 1: 2; 5: 11, 12. Christ is called ^co? in Rom. 9: 5. The conversion of the passage into a doxology, by punctuation, by some modern editors of the text, in opposition to the almost universal understanding of the ancient, niediaeval, and modern church, is a striking instance of an attempt to bring Scripture into harmony with the Arian view of Christ's person. Christ is clearly the antecedent—no other person having been spoken of in several verses preceding; 6 &v is a relative clause, not beginning a new proposition but continuing one that has been commenced; and the words To Kclto. adpKa, referring to the human nature of Christ, require an antithesis referring to the divine nature, as in Rom. 1: 3. See Shedd: on Rom. 9: 5. Christ is called .Jfeo?, in Titus 2: 13: "Looking for the blessed hope and appearing of the glory of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ" (R. V.). That Seov and aa>rrjpo<; denote one and the same person, is proved by these facts: (a) That i-n-Kpilveiav is never applied to the Father, and that Christ's "appearing" is the thing hoped for. (b) The next clause speaks of the great God and Saviour as "giving himself." (c) That p.eyd\ov would seem uncalled for, if applied to the Father, since no one disputed the propriety of this epithet in reference to the first person. Usteri: Lehre, p. 325. The exclamation of Thomas, John 20: 28, 6 Kvpio? fiov Kox 6 $eo? fiov, proves the deity of Christ. It was addressed to Christ: el-rev avrco. The Use of the article o, instead of the interjection 2>, shows that it is not an exclamation of surprise. Acts 20: 28, "The church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood." The reading Seov is found in B Peshito, Vulgate, and adopted by Receptus, Mill, Knapp, Scholz, Alford, Hort. The reading Kvpiov is found in ACD, and adopted by Griesbach, Wetstein, Lachmann, Tischendorf. 1 Tim. 3: 16, "God was manifest in the flesh." The reading 3e6<: is supported by D1KL, most minuscules, Receptus, Mill, Scholz; ov is supported by iSAC, Coptic, Sahidic, Gothic, Lachmaun, Tischendorf, Tregelles, Alford, Hort. The reading o? refers to Christ indisputably, and there are such predicates attributed to him as belong to no creature. Philippians 2: 6 proves Christ's divinity. Christ could not be in a "form" of God without the nature of God; the "form " of a servant implies the nature of a servant. And he was in a form of God previous to being in the form of a servant. It was no robbery of honor (afnrar/fiov) for Christ to claim equality with God. The proposed rendering: "To be held on upon," would require dpirar/iul. The plural, "gods," is sometimes applied to creatures: to angels, and magistrates; but the singular, "God," never is. The application of the singular to Christ proves his deity.
2. Divine attributes are ascribed to the Son of God. (a) Eternity, Prov. 8: 22,23. The personal Wisdom (nasn^ "was set up from everlasting." That this is not a personified attribute is proved, 1. By the length of the description, and the large number of details. Personification is brief, and does not go into particulars. 2. By the ascription of personal actions, and a personal utterance of them: "I was by him; I was daily his delight; when he prepared the heavens, I was there; my delights were with the sons of men; now therefore hearken unto me, O ye children; blessed is the man that heareth me." A personification occurs, generally, in the midst of a narrative. But this occurs in the midst of maxims and didactic utterances. "In this passage," says Nitzsch, "we have an unmistakable germ of the ontological self-distinction of the Godhead." 1 Micah 5:2," From Bethlehem Ephratah, shall come forth
1 Upon the connection of the Wisdom of the Old Testament with the Logos of John, see Bleek: Introduction to the New Testament, § SI ; Luthardt: Authenticity of the Fourth Gospel; Godet: Commentary on John; Dorner: Person of Christ, I.
he whose goings forth [emanation] have been from old;" literally, "from the days of eternity.1' Compare Matt. 2: 6. In Isa. 9: 6, the Messiah is called the "everlasting Father;" literally, "the Father of eternity." Heb. 7: 3, "The Son of God" has "neither beginning of days nor end of life." In Rev. 1:8; 22 :13, the "Son of man" says of himself, "I am Alpha and Omega." In John 8; 28, Christ says of himself, "Before Abraham was I am ;" where the use of itfil is in contrast with that of yeviaSai. Compare with this the contrast between and eyevero in John 1:1, 3. In John 17 : 7, Christ affirms his existence with the Father, "before the world was." (b) Immensity and Omnipresence. Matt. 18:20, "Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." Mat. 28 : 20, "I am with you always." John 3 :13, "The Son of man who is in heaven," and on earth, simultaneously. Socinus explains 6 &v, here, by f uisse. (c) Omnipotence. Rev. 1:8; "I am the Almighty." John 5 :19, " Whatsoever things the Father doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise." Heb. 1: 3, The Son "npholdeth all things by the word of his power." Mat. 18: 18, "All power is given unto me in heaven and on earth." This latter text refers to the mediatorial commission, it is true; but it must be remembered that a mere creature could not take such a commission, if it were offered to him. In interpreting those passages in which omnipotence and divine exaltation (Phil. 2 : 9) are said to be "given " to the incarnate Son, it must be recollected that it requires an infinite nature to receive and wield such infinite gifts. A created nature would be crushed by them, as Tarpeia was by the shields of the Sabine soldiers. They are communicable only to an infinite person. (d) Omniscience is ascribed to the Son. John 21: 17, "Lord thou knowest all things." John 16 : 30, " We are sure that thou knowest all things." John 2 : 24, 25, "Jesus knew what was in man." John 1:49, "When thou wast under the fig-tree, I saw thee." Rev. 2: 23, " I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts." Compare with 1 Kings 8 : 29, "Thou only knowest the hearts of all the children of men." In Mark 13:32, Christ is said to be ignorant of the day of judgment. This is explained, by many, by a reference to his human nature. He was ignorant in respect to his humanity. But there is another explanation which refers it to the total theanthropic person. An official ignorance is meant. Augustine so explains. "Christ as the Mediator was not authorized, at that time, to give information respecting the time of the final judgment, and this is called 'ignorance' upon his part; as a ditch is sometimes called 1 blind ' because it is hidden from the eyes of men, and not because it is really so." Macknight interprets in the same way. This use of "know" for " making known," is frequent in Scripture. Gen. 22 :12, " Now I know that thou fearest God, seeing that thou has not withheld thine only son from me." In 1 Cor. 2:2, St. Paul says, "I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ." To "know" means to "make known," in Mat. 11:27. "No one knoweth the Son but the Father, neither knoweth any one the Father but the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him." Compare John 1:18, "The only begotten Son which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him." A particidar trinitarian person is officially the one to reveal another, and in this reference the others do not officially reveal, and so are officially " ignorant." Paul (Gal. 1: 16) says that "it pleased God the Father to reveal his Son in him." This explanation of the "ignorance," spoken of in Mark 13: 32, as official, agrees better than the other with other statements of Scripture. When it is said that " the Father only " knows the time of the day of judgment, this must be harmonized with the truth that the Holy Spirit is omniscient, and "searcheth the deep things of God," 1 Cor. 2:10. The Holy Spirit is not ignorant of the time of the day of judgment, but like the incarnate Son he is not commissioned to reveal the time. Again, it is not supposable that Christ now seated on the mediatorial throne is ignorant, even in respect to his human nature, of the time of the day of judgment, though he is not authorized to officially make it known to his church. (e) Immutability. Heb. 1:11, 12, " The heavens shall perish, but thou remainest." The immutability of Jehovah, in Ps. 102 : 26, is here ascribed to the Son. Heb. 13 : 8, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, to-day, and forever." (/) The Divine "plenitude," that is, the Divine essence and attributes, is attributed to Christ in Coloss. 2: 9, "In him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily." (g) Self-existence, or "life in himself," is attributed to the incarnate Son. John 5 : 26. That this is "given," or "communicated," to the Son by the Father, does not imply inequality of being. Self-existing life is ipso facto Divine. The mode in which it is possessed does not change the nature of the possession. In communicating the Divine essence to the Son, the Father communicates all its properties.
3. Divine works are attributed to the Son of God. (a) Creation. Prov. 8 : 27, " When he prepared the heavens, I was there." John 1:3," All things were made by him." Coloss. 1:16, 17, " By him were all things created, visible and invisible." Heb. 1:2, "By whom he made the worlds." Heb. 1:10, " Thou Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth." (b) Preservation. Heb. 1:3," Upholding all things by the word of his power." Coloss. 1:17, "By him all things consist." John 5 :17, "My Father worketh hitherto, and I work." (c) Miracles performed by Christ in person, or through his apostles; especially the resurrection of the dead. John 5 :21, "As the Father raiseth up the dead, so the Son quickeneth whom he will." John 6 : 40, " I will raise him up at the last day." Christ appeals to these miracles in proof of his divinity. John 5 :36, "The works that I do, bear witness of me."
Socinns asserted that the creation ascribed to Christ is the secondary spiritual creation. This is not so, because: (a) St. John (1:3) speaks absolutely, without any qualification; which would have been necessary, if a particular kind of creation were intended. (5) The universal creation without exception (ovSe ev) is expressly mentioned, (c) It is not exclusively the spiritual creation, namely, the church, because (ver. 10) that part of the world who "knew him not" was created by him. (d) St. Paul (Coloss. 1:16) extends the creation by Christ to all creatures, visible and invisible; to angels, as well as men; and speaks of the second spiritual creation afterwards (ver. 18). Socinus also asserted that Christ's agency in creation is instrumental (Si avrov, John 1: 3). The reply is: (a) That there cannot be instrumental agency in such a work as creation ex nihilo. An instrument must have materials to work upon, but there are none in creation. (5) The same preposition (St' avrov) is applied to God. Rom. 11: 36, " And through him, are all things;" Gal. 1:1, "An apostle not of men, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father." (c) The creation is not only Si avrov (Coloss. 1 : 16), but els avrov (Coloss. 1 : 16). Christ is the final end, as well as first cause. (d) The creation is not only 8i avrov, but eV airm, Coloss. 1 : 17. The universe has its supporting ground in Christ (iv avra avvkarrjKe), as man is said to live in God, Acts 17 : 38. When creation is peculiarly ascribed to the Father, the Son is not excluded, any more than when redemption is peculiarly ascribed to the Son, the Father is excluded.
It is asserted that Christ's power to work miracles was official, like that of the apostles and prophets. This is an error, because (a) Miraculous power emanated from him as from the original source. Luke 6:19; 8 :46; Matt. 9: 28, "Believe ye that / am able to do this?" (b) The apostles affirm that they do not work miracles in their own name, but in the name of Christ. Acts 9 : 34, " Jesus Christ maketh thee whole ;" Acts 3 : 16, "His name, through faith in his name hath made this man strong ;" Acts 4:10, " By the name of Jesus Christ doth this man stand here before you, whole." Compare Matt. 14 : 33, "They worshipped him," with Acts 14:15, " Why do ye these things?" When Christ (John 11:41) thanks the Father for hearing his prayer, it is to be noticed that it is a prayer in his office of mediator; and that he offers it in order that the people may have a proof of his Divine mission (ver. 42). It was not that he felt himself unable to work the miracle, and needed to be empowered for the act; but he wished that the spectators, "the people which stood by," should know that he and the Father were one and the same Being in all acts and words. If the spectators had seen Lazarus raised from the dead with no allusion to the eternal Father, and no uplifting of the Filial eye, they would have been apt to separate Christ from the Father, as a kind of separate and independent God. Respecting this prayer, Christ says, "I know that thou hearest me always," implying that his prayer is not like that of a mere man, which may or may not be heard, according as God shall see best. (d) The work of salvation in its several parts is ascribed to Christ: Redemption, Acts 20 : 28. Election, John 13 :18. Effectual calling, John 10 :16; Matt. 9 :13. Sanctification, Eph. 5 : 26. Mission of the Spirit, John 16 : 7, 14; 15 : 26. Defence against enemies, John 10 :10. Gift of eternal life, John 10 : 28. Resurrection of the body, John 5 : 21. Final Judgment, John 5: 22; Acts 17: 31. Christ is called the Lord of the Church, Eph. 4:5; and the Husband of the Church, Eph. 5 : 25, which latter is the title given to Jehovah in reference to Israel (Isa. 54: 5).
4. Religious worship in its various acts is rendered to the Son of God, namely: Faith. John 14:1, "Believe also in me." Hope. Ps. 2:12, "Blessed are all they that put their trust in him (the Son);" but "cursed is the man that trusteth in man," Jer. 17 : 5. Adoration. Heb. 1:6," Let all the angels of God worship him;" Ps. 2 :12, "Kiss (a mark of homage and adoration, 1 Sam. 10 :1) the Son;" John 5: 23, "The Father hath given all judgment to the Son, that all men should honor the Son even as they honor the Father;" Phil. 2:9, 10, "At the name of Jesus, every knee should bow." Invocation of blessing. Grace, mercy, and peace are implored from Christ, not less than from the Father. Believers are described as those "who call on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ," 1 Cor. 1:2; Acts 9 :14. Stephen calls upon Christ to receive his spirit at death, Acts 7: 59. Glory and honor are invoked for Christ, in connection with the Father " who sitteth upon the throne," Rev. 5:13. Examples of doxology to Christ are, 1 Pet. 4:11; 2 Tim. 4:18; Rev. 1: 6; 2 Pet. 3 :18. Says Athanasius (Orat . ILT. 12), "' May God and his angel Gabriel, or Michael, grant you,' would be a new and extraordinary sort of prayer. But 'God the Father, and his Son Jesus Christ grant you,' is perfectly agreeable to Scripture."
5. The deity of the Son is proved by his trmitarian position and relations. (a) By the equality of the Son with the Father. John 5 :17,18, "Saying that God was his Father, he made himself equal with God." This equality, Christ proved to the Jews by asserting his self-existence, or " life in himself," John 5 :20; and equality iu honor, "All men should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father," John 5 : 23. When Christ says (John 5 :19) that " the Son can do nothing of himself" (acf eavrov), he means that he cannot work in isolation or separation from the Father, as if he were another Being. Hence, he adds, " What things soever the Father doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise." The same truth is taught in John 8: 28, "I do nothing of myself, but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things." When Christ said (John 14:28), "My Father is greater than I," he was comparing his then existing state of humiliation with the glorious state of the Father. If the disciples understood this, they would rejoice "because I said I go tinto the Father," since it would be a return to " the glory which Christ had with the Father, before the world was," John 17 : 5. See Luthardt on John 14: 28. (b) By the unity of the Son with the Father. John 10: 30, " I and my Father are one being " («/).1 The Jews understood this to be a claim to unity of essence; and to be " blasphemy, because that thou being a man maketh thyself God," (ver. 33). Christ reiterates and proves his claim, by reference to the use of the word "gods " (not God) applied to the prophets and magistrates of the Old economy. Ps. 82 : 6; Ex. 21: 6; 22 : 8, 9, 28 (bm^ = "judges"). It is an argument from the less to the greater. If magistrates may be called gods, then the commissioned Messiah may be called the Son of God; and the Son of God he had previously asserted to be one with the Father (John 10 : 30). This, the Jews regarded as "making himself God " (ver. 33). The Jews understood the "Son of God " to be God, as is proved by Matt, 26: 63-65.
6. The deity of the Son is proved. by the office of mediator which he discharges. (a) A mediator must be the equal of either of the two parties between whom he mediates; "a daysman who can lay his hand upon both," Job 9:3. "A mediator is not of one [party]," Gal. 3:20. (5) He must be a prophet who can inwardly enlighten, and not merely teach by words externally; a king who can protect his kingdom; and a priest who can make atonement to justice for his people. These functions cannot be discharged by a finite Being.
7. The deity of the Son is proved by the fact that he is revealed and manifested. This implies that primarily he is the unrevealed deity. Compare Gal. 1:15, 16, "To reveal
1 Athanasius (Cont. Arianos, IV. 9) remarks that there are three ways in which these words can be understood. 1. That which is one thing in one respect, is two in another. 2. That which is one thing, is two by having two names. 3. That which is one thing, is two by being divided into two parte. The first is Nicene trinitarianism. The second is Sabellianism.
his Son in me;" 1 John 3:8,"The Son of God was manifested." A created being is never said to be revealed or manifested. When it is said (Acts 2 :36) "that God hath made that same Jesus whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ," the reference is not to his essential but his economical or official dominion as the God-man and Messiah. When Christ is called (Rev. 3 :14) " the beginning (dpxv) of the creation of God," it is in the active sense of the word apyfi; as in Rev. 1:1, 8, where Receptus, Vulgate, Coptic, S, have apyv Ka^ rc> rekos. He causes the creature to begin. He is the "beginning," in the sense of origin, or source. It corresponds to the Alpha, in Rev. 1: 8. Origen employs the term in an active signification, in his treatise Hepl apycov, De Principiis: concerning first originating principles. The apyfi of Plato and Aristotle is the term for the cause of the origin or genesis of anything. Plato (Phaedo) quotes Anaxagoras as teaching that vom is Jj apxn Kivrjaew. Aristotle (Eth., III. i.) says that a man is blamed or praised for that ov y apxv & avrtp earl. In Ethics, III. i., the same idea is conveyed by the two phrases: 6v fj apyri i^ioSev, and 6-kot av rj curia h> rot? eVro?.
8. The deity of the Son is proved by the fact that he is eternally generated, not created in time. This is established by those texts which teach the unique and solitary nature of his sonship. The Son is fiovoyevrf<;: "The only begotten of the Father," John 1:14; "the only begotten Son" (uncials, "only begotten God "), John 1 : 18; 3 :16, 18; 1 John 4 : 9. The Son is irpanoroKo*:: "When he bringeth the first begotten into the world," Heb. 1: 6. The Son is -n-piorOrOKo? 7ra<7?;? Kriaeax:: "Begotten before all creation," Col. 1:15. The context show that the genitive, here, is not partitive, but is governed by irp&ros in composition; "for by him were all things created," Col. 1:16. Compare wyjcoTo? fiov ty, John 1: 30. This is the exegesis of Tertullian (De Trinitate); of Ambrose (De Fide, L iv.); of Athanasins (Cont. Arianos, II. 63); of Eusebins (Dem. Evang., V.) ; and of Chrysostom. Had St. Paul wished to say that the Son is &part of creation, he would have written, Tt/xuTotoko< ; £K 7rao-r7? Kriaeon. Compare e/c rcov veKpcov, Col. 1:18. The Son is h^airVro^: "This is my beloved Son," Matt. 3:17; 17: 5. The Son is ?Sw?: "He said that God is his own Father" (iraripa iSiov), John 5 :18; God " sent his own Son" (rbv eavrov viov), Rom. 8 : 3,32.
That the generation of the Son of God is in eternity, and not a temporal emanation, is proved by Micah 5 : 2. The "goings forth" (issuing, asitt) of the Ruler of Israel who is to be born in Bethlehem are "from everlasting." The Hebrew denotes an emanation, as in Ps. 65 : 8. "The outgoings of the morning," are the beams of sunrise. Compare Hosea 6 : 3. That he is Son in the sense of a Divine person, is proved by the fact that the angels are not called Son in this sense. "Unto which of the angels said He at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son," Heb. 1:5. It is also proved by the fact, that he is to have the uttermost parts of the earth for his possession, Ps. 2:8; that he is to overthrow the sinful kings of earth, Ps. 2:9; and that the kings of the earth are commanded to worship him, Ps. 2 :12.
The passage, " Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee " (Ps. 2: 7), teaches the eternal generation of the second trinitarian person. That it relates to the Messiah, is proved by Acts 4: 25, 26; 13: 33; Heb. 1: 5. The earlier Rabbins referred this text to the Messiah; the later Rabbins, in order to invalidate the doctrine of the deity of Christ, have many of them referred it to David. Mohammed, in the Koran, alters it to, "Thou art my prophet, I have educated thee." Respecting the meaning of "begotten," in this passage, there are three explanations: (a) The begetting is the eternal generation. The words, "this day," denote the universal present, the everlasting Now, which is put for eternity. This view is taken by Origen, Athanasius, Basil, Augustine, elder Lutherans, Turrettin. (b) The begetting is the miraculous conception, or the incarnation of the eternal Son. The words, " this day," are equivalent to, " when he bringeth in the first begotten into the world," Ileb. 1: 6. This view is held by Chrysostom, Theodoret, Kuinoel, Hoffmann. (c) The begetting is the resurrection and exaltation of Christ. This view is taken by Hilary, Ambrose, Calvin, Grotius. But this explanation rests upon a misapprehension of St. Paul in Acts 13: 32-35. The apostle does not quote (verse 33) the passage in the second psalm, "Thou art my Son," etc., in order to prove the resurrection of Christ, but his incarnation; or the fulfilment of the Messianic promise, made to the fathers (verse 32). The "raising up" (R. V.; not "again," as in A. V.) of Jesus, spoken of in verse 33, is the bringing of the Messiah into the world for his mediatorial work. Compare Rom. 9: 17, "For this same purpose have I raised thee up " (e^rf/eipd ae). This incarnation of the Son, St. Paul says was promised in "the second psalm." He then proceeds (Acts 13: 34) to prove the fulfilment of the promise that the Messiah should be raised from the dead, by quoting from Isa. 55: 3, and from the sixteenth psalm (ver. 10): "And as concerning that he raised him up from the dead, he said on this wise, I will give you the sure mercies of David; and in another psalm, Thou wilt not suffer thine Holy One to see corruption." The choice, therefore, lies between the first and second explanations; and the deity of the son is proved by Ps. 2: 7, in either case. It is directly taught by the first explanation; and impliedly by the second. Because, the incarnation of the Son supposes his prior unincarnate existence and position.
Augustine (Trinity, II. i.) classifies the texts referring to the Son in the following manner: 1. Texts teaching the unity and equality of substance between the Father and Son: such as, "I and my Father are one," John 10: 30; "Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God," Phil. 2:6. 2. Texts teaching the inferiority of the Son on account of his having taken the form of a servant: such as, "My Father is greater than I," John 14: 28; "The Father hath given Him authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of man," John 5: 27. 3. Texts teaching neither equality nor inferiority, but only that the Son is of the Father: such as, "For aa the Father hath life in himself, so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself," and, "The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do," John 5: 20, 19.
Before proceeding to prove the Deity of God the Holy Spirit, it is necessary to notice the technical use of " Spirit," and of " Holy " in this connection. The third person in the Godhead is denominated the Spirit with reference to hiB person, not his essence. He is no more spiritual as to his substance than is the Father or the Son. He is denominated the Spirit, because of the mode in which the essence is communicated to him; namely, by spiration: Spiritus, quia spiratus. "The Father is spirit and the Son is spirit, but the Holy Ghost is emphatically the Spirit. Not that he is spirit in any higher, or any different sense of the word spirit, but upon other accounts, the name of Spirit is emphatically and more peculiarly attributed to him." Waterland : Second Defence, Qu. II. Neither is he denominated the " Holy" Spirit because holiness is any more peculiar to him than to the first and second persons; but because he is the author of holiness in creatures. The epithet " Holy," also, relates to the person, not the essence.
Socinians deny the distinct personality of the Holy Spirit; they concede eternity, because they regard the Spirit as the influence or effluence of the eternal God. That the Holy Spirit is a Person, is certain: 1. Because he speaks of himself in the first person. Acts 10:19, "I have sent them." Acts 13: 2, " Separate for me Barnabas and Saul, for the work whereunto I have called them." 2. Because personal acts are attributed to him. (a) Teaching, John 14:26. (b) Witnessing, John 15:26; Rom. 8:16. (c) Revealing future events, 1 Tim. 4:1. (d) Searching the depths of God, 1 Cor. 2: 10. (e) Setting apart and sending persons for the ministry, Is. 61:1; Acts 13:2; 20: 28. (/) Creating, Gen. 1:2. (g) The miraculous conception, Luke 1: 35. (A) Ordinary and extraordinary gifts are bestowed, 1 Cor. 12:11. 3. Because he is described as personally distinct from the Father and Son, being sent by them. John 14:16; 15: 26; 16: 7. This separate and personal distinctness is marked by the use of the masculine pronoun with the neuter article and noun. John 16:13: orav e\&rj iKeivc? To irvevfia rr)<t aKrjSela?; Eph. 1:13: Believers are sealed T$ irvevfiari, o? eariv appaficov, etc. 4. Because he co-operates with equal power and authority with the Father and the Son, in conferring and sealing blessings to the church. This is proved by the baptismal formula, Matt. 28 : 19; the apostolic benediction, 2 Cor. 13:14; the witnessing respecting redemption in Christ, 1 John 5:7: "There are three that bear record, the Spirit, the water, and the blood, and these three agree in one." 5. Because he appears in theophanies. In the form of a dove, Matt. 3:16; in the form of a tongue of flame, Acts 2: 3, 4. 6. Because sin is committed against the Holy Spirit. Is. 63 : 10, "They rebelled and vexed his Holy Spirit." Matt. 12: 31, 32, The unpardonable sin. Acts 5:3, Ananias and Sapphira lied against the Holy Ghost. 7. Because the Spirit is distinguished from the gifts of the Spirit, 1 Cor. 12: 4, 8, 11; and from the energy (Bvvafii<;i) of the Spirit, Luke 4 :14; Luke 1: 35.
That the Holy Spirit is a Divine Person is clear: 1. Because the Divine name is given to him. In Isaiah 6 : 9, Jehovah speaks, and in Acts 28 : 25 the Holy Ghost is said to speak the same words. In 2 Sam. 23 : 2, 3, " The Spirit of the Lord spake; and he is called the God of Israel." The lie of Ananias against the Holy Spirit was a lie against God, Acts 5 : 3. The believer's body is the temple of God, because the Holy Spirit dwells in it, 1 Cor. 3 :16; 6 :19. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit, is the indwelling of God. "We know that we dwell in God, and God dwelleth in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit," 1 John 4:13.
2. Because the Divine attributes are ascribed to him. (a) Eternity. Gen. 1 : 2. (b) Omnipresence. Ps. 139 : 7, 8, "Whither shall I flee from thy Spirit?" 1 Cor. 3 :16, "The Holy Spirit dwelleth in you." (c) Omniscience. 1 Cor. 2:10, "The Spirit searcheth the deep things of God." John 16 :13, " He shall guide you unto all truth, and show you things to come." 2 Peter 1:21, "Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." (d) Omnipotence. Luke 1: 35, " The power of the Highest" is the power of the Holy Ghost. Romans 8:11, " He shall quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit which dwelleth in you."
3. Because Divine works are attributed to him. (a) Creation, Gen. 1:2; Ps. 33 : 6. (J) Preservation and government, Ps. 104 : 30. (c) Miracles, Matt. 12 : 28; 1 Cor. 12:4; Luke 1: 35. (d) The unction and mission of the Messiah, Isa. 61 : 1. (e) Remission of sin and regeneration, 1 Cor. 6:11; John 3: 5. (f) Government of the Church, Acts 13:2; 15 : 28; 20 : 28. (g) Prediction of future events, John 16 : 13; Acts 11 : 28. (h) Charismata, 1 Cor. 12 : 7-11. (i) Illumination, Eph. 1 : 17, 18. (J) Sanctification, 2 Thess. 2 : 13; 1 Pet. 1 : 2. (£) Resurrection of the dead, Rom. 8:11.
4. Because Divine worship is rendered to him: In the baptismal formula, Matt. 28 :19. In the apostolic benediction, 2 Cor. 13:14; Rev. 1:4. In this last passage, the "seven spirits," are the Holy Spirit; who is so called, because of the variety of his gifts; because it is the perfect number in the Jewish idea; and because of an allusion to the seven churches addressed." 1 Cor. 6 : 20, "Glorify God in your body, which is God's;" but it is the Holy Spirit who dwells in the body as his temple, (verse 19). Acts 4 : 24, 25, "Lord thou art God, who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why do the heathen rage?" But David spake by the Holy Spirit, so that this act of worship on the part of the disciples terminated on the Holy Spirit.
The reason why less is said in Scripture respecting the adoration and worship of the third person than of the others is, that in the economy of redemption it is the office of the Spirit to awaken feelings of worship, and naturally, therefore, he appears more as the author than the object of worship. But a person who by an internal operation can awaken feelings of worship is ipso facto God.
The deity of the Holy Spirit is proved by the nature of his spiration and procession. It is marked by the same characteristics with those of the generation of the Son. It is eternal; never beginning and never ending. It is necessary; not dependent upon the optional will of either the first or second persons. And it is an emanation out of the one eternal essence; not the creation of a new substance from nothing. The procession of the Holy Spirit is not that temporal and external afflatus which terminates upon creatures, in inspiration, regeneration, and sanctification; but that eternal and internal spiration whereby a subsistence in the Divine essence results.
How procession differs from generation, it is impossible to explain. "That there is a difference between generation and procession, we have taught, but what is the manner of the difference, we do not at all pretend to teach." John of Damascus: De Orthodoxa Fide, IV. x. "There is a differ
1 In Rev. 5:6, "The seven spirits of God sent forth into all the earth," are the "seven eyes of the Lamb." In the Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs, "seven spirits" of error are described who stand for Satan the archspirit of eviL Grabe : Spicilegium, L 146.
ence between generation and procession, but I do not know how to distinguish them, because both are ineffable." Augustine: Contra Maximinum, XIX. Some of the schoolmen attempted to explain the difference, by saying that the generation of the Son is by the mode of the understanding and intellect, and hence the Son is called Wisdom and Word; but the procession of the Spirit is by the mode of the will and affections, and hence the Spirit is called Love. Turrettin (III. xxi. 3) distinguishes the difference by the following particulars: 1. In respect to the source. Generation is from the Father alone; procession is from the Father and Son. 2. In respect to the effects. Generation not only results in a hypostatical personality, but in resemblance. The Son is the " image" of the Father; but the Spirit is not the image of the Father and Son. An image is a representation of one, not of two persons. Generation, again, is accompanied with the power to communicate the essence; procession is not. 3. In respect to the order of relationship. Filiation is second, and procession is third. In the order of nature, not of time, spiration is after generation. The Father and Son spirate the Spirit, not as two different essences, in each of whom resides a spirative energy—which would result in two processions— but as two personal subsistences of one essence, who concur in one resulting procession. There are two spirations, but only one procession. Turrettin, III. xxxi. 6.
The Latin church objected to the Greek insertion of fj.ovov in article 7 of the Athanasian Symbol: airo rov (fiovov) irarpos; and the Greek church blamed the Latin for adding Filioque to the Nicene Symbol, at the Council of Toledo, in 589. At the Council of Florence, in 1439, a compromise was made, whereby it was decided that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father by (per) the Son. But the Greeks receded from this, and stood upon their first position. The use of per implies instrumental agency, which is inaccurate.
Says Turrettin (III. xxxi. 5), "Although the Greeks ought not to be regarded as heretics for their opinion, neither ought the schism between the West and East to have arisen upon this ground, yet the opinion of the Latins is more in accordance with Scriptures, and there is more reason for retaining it than for rejecting it: Because: 1. The Spirit is sent not less by the Son than by the Father, John 16:7; but he could not be sent by the Son, unless he proceeded from him. 2. The Spirit is called the Spirit of the Son, not less than of the Father, Gal. 4:6; Rom. 8: 9 ; Phil. 1:19. 3. Whatever the Spirit has, he has not less from the Son than from the Father, John 16 :13-15; and as the Son is said to be from the Father because he does not speak of himself, but from the Father, from whom he has all things, so the Spirit ought to be said to proceed from the Son, because he hears and speaks from him. 4. Christ breathed the Spirit upon his disciples (John 20 :22), and this temporal spiratiou implies an eternal."