One Great Tri-Personal Book - Part VI

On page 32 Dixon challenged Irons regarding the son’s aseity, and in passing, references John 5:26, questioning how the son could have aseity if that life was granted. Responding to Dixon on page 57, Irons got a bit linguistically creative and asserted that “grant” has another definition from its 

“ordinary meaning, that is when it is predicated of creatures, normally implies a temporal sequence in which a creature comes into possession of something it did not previously possess. But that ordinary meaning does not fit here, otherwise the verse would be self-contradictory. Therefore, it is best to see the Father’s ‘grant’ of life to the Son as an eternal or timeless grant – admittedly not an ordinary use of the verb ‘grant,’ but then again, this is no ordinary context.” 

I would be intrigued to see this dictionary of word definitions with extraordinary meanings. This is another example where Irons seems to use a circular argument. It is seen by Irons as a place where an “ordinary meaning” does not fit, but in this case he believes it communicates the ontological qualities of the Son of God’s aseity. How is one to draw-out “eternal or timeless granting” from didōmi? I submit this is not what the text nor the word “granted” allows.

Although it is an age-old way of speaking of the son’s relationship to the Father, an ontological Son of God who has two natures has nonetheless still failed to meet the basic tenets of human speech and comprehension. When the ancient writers put their quill to parchment or orally disseminated the stories pertaining to Jesus of Nazareth, did they use intelligible language meant to communicate an idea for the express purpose of being understood by their audience, or did they use secret gnosis language not intended to be fully appreciated until the later fathers explained?

What is the point of "sonship" if one does not truly come from the other but eternally existed alongside? Why say “son” at all if it is not what is being communicated? Why use “beget” if not within the scope of human terminology and cognition?

The argument containing later “divine Son” nomenclature that Irons recapitulates fails to persuade:
“The Son always was included within the divine identity or essence, eternally, by the Father’s eternal generation of the Son. The exaltation of Christ does not change, create, or add to it. It merely makes it evident to us so that we can now see what was true of him all along. The reason the exaltation of Christ is needed is because the Son emptied himself by becoming man, thus temporarily and partially hiding aspects of his divine identity” 50.

Within this rational, I am therefore obligated to abandon all rules of grammar and logic and accept on faith that the true definition of “son” is actually an ontological category, denoting identity with Yahweh? I am to accept that what the human Jesus did, resulting in his exaltation didn’t matter, because it only revealed what was already there? This fails to meet any qualification for true humanity. Hick precisely points out, 

“Merely to assert that two different natures coexisted in Jesus ‘without confusion, without change, without division, without separation’ is to utter a form of words which as yet has no specified meaning. The formula sets before us a ‘mystery’ rather than a ‘clear and distinct idea’. Further, this is not a divine mystery but one that was created by a group of human beings meeting at Chalcedon in present-day Turkey in the mid-fifth century. Many attempts were made in the great period of Christological debates, both before and after Chalcedon, to give intelligible meaning to the idea of a God-man. However, they all failed to meet the basic Chalcedonian desiderata, namely to affirm both Jesus’ deity and his humanity, and accordingly they had to be rejected as heresies…This fallacy, however, within such appeals to mystery as a substitute for conceptual clarity is that the kenotic Christology is not a revealed truth but…a theory. It is a humanly devised hypothesis; and we cannot save a defective hypothesis by dubbing it a divine mystery.”  Hick, Metaphor, 48, 71.

On page 53, in response to Dixon and Smith’s challenges, Irons offered the following lines again, 

"Jesus’ claim to be son of God," 
“making himself equal with God” and 
“the divine son of God as he claims”

 as though he had successfully proven Son of God is ontological and denotes the later “God the Son.” It's not ontology that is being called into question by Jesus’ detractors, but authority.

On page 54, when appealing again to the three-stage Christology and the “self-emptying” of the “Son, subsequently taking the form of a bondservant, Irons wrote, 

“he voluntary chose not to exercise all of his divine attributes and prerogatives, making himself appear as a mere human, although his divine glory did shine through at times even during his humiliation and prior to his exaltation.” 54

Perhaps I am misunderstanding his intentions with these lines, but they have a tone of Docetism and make me wonder whether he ascribes to the Chalcedonian creed at all. Jesus did not merely “appear” human, he was an actual, full flesh and blood human with the same characteristics as us.
Regarding the two natures, am I to conclude that the divine nature (or center of consciousness) of the Son is the God aspect, but the human nature is not mere human but is also in some sense God? His human nature only looked human, but was somehow not? I understand the orthodox position on the matter to be that the second member of the Triune God was in two natures, divine and human, God and man (vague and confusing though it is). The hypostatic union was the full divine Son in union with full flesh and blood human, Jesus of Nazareth: 

“Perfect in Godhead and perfect in manhood, truly God and truly man…made in all things like us, sin only excepted…must be confessed in two natures, unconfusedly, immutably, indivisibly, distinctly, inseparably [united]…the special property of each nature being preserved and being united in One Person and subsistence…” Definition of Faith of the Council of Chalcedon, NPNF second series, vol. 14, 264-265.


On page 56, responding to Dixon’s claim of the Logos being an agent of creation but not God himself, Irons used again his creature/creator argument, and attempted to clarify his meaning in Paul’s words, “all things” (1 Cor 15:27), how it cannot include God, but rather those things of the created order. I found it humorous when Irons made the following statement,

“it must include all created things. If it included all things that exist, then it would include God the Father himself, which would mean that God created himself – an obvious absurdity.”

When I read this, I had to think that “creating himself” seems no less absurd than what I must conclude when reading of Jesus’ calling the Father “his God.” Perhaps this issue can be resolved by appealing to the “human nature” argument, the catch-all paradox. God being his own God, God creating himself; it sure is a toss-up. 

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