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Featured Is the Doctrine of the Trinity wrong? (Eternal Generation/ eternally begotten)

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by JonC, May 29, 2024.

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  1. Yes. Parts are correct but the traditional understanding is unbiblical)

    1 vote(s)
    12.5%
  2. No. The Doctrine of the Trinity has defined our faith for over a mellinia and remains true today.

    7 vote(s)
    87.5%
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  1. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    As Baptists we are not creedal Christians. At the same time, we often define our doctrines by creeds as a historical representation of orthodoxy.

    The Doctrine of rhe Trinity is expressed primarily in three creeds. The most often used is the Chalcedonian to express orthodox Christianity in regard to the Persons of the Godhead.

    One important fact is that to deny one part is to deny the whole (it is to hold a different doctrine).

    Another fact is that we, as Baptists, are not bound to creeds. On this board one must be a trinitarian, but I know of no rule that demands we acceot the Doctrine of the Trinity.

    @37818 has suggested that a part of the Doctrine of the Trinity is wrong, and @SavedByGrace has called the Doctrine of the Trinity a heresy ftom Satan (for its section regarding eternal generation).

    ••• Neither deny the Triune God...both seem to be trinitarian..., but both reject the orthodox doctrine, the traditiinal view of Christians about the Persons of the Trinity.

    The issue here is Eternal Generation (the Word as eternally begotten of the Father).

    This issue arises at times. For example, John Owen wrote a defence for Eternal Generation against the Socinians.

    I am opening this up for discussion.


    For reference:

    Athanasian

    He is God from the essence of the Father, begotten before time;

    Nicean

    We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
    the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father,

    Chalcedonian

    Therefore, following the holy fathers, we all with one accord teach men to acknowledge one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, at once complete in Godhead and complete in manhood, truly God and truly man, consisting also of a reasonable soul and body; of one substance with the Father as regards his Godhead, and at the same time of one substance with us as regards his manhood; like us in all respects, apart from sin; as regards his Godhead, begotten of the Father before the ages, but yet as regards his manhood begotten, for us men and for our salvation, of Mary the Virgin, the God-bearer; one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, Only-begotten, recognized in two natures, without confusion, without change, without division, without separation; the distinction of natures being in no way annulled by the union, but rather the characteristics of each nature being preserved and coming together to form one person and subsistence, not as parted or separated into two persons, but one and the same Son and Only-begotten God the Word, Lord Jesus Christ; even as the prophets from earliest times spoke of him, and our Lord Jesus Christ himself taught us, and the creed of the fathers has handed down to us.
     
    #1 JonC, May 29, 2024
    Last edited: May 29, 2024
  2. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    John Owen on Eternal Generation:

    "He who is the Son of God, begotten of his Father by an eternal communication of his divine essence, he is the Son begotten of the essence of the Father; for these terms are the same, and of the same importance.

    … And this may suffice for the demonstration of the first assertion, That Christ’s filiation ariseth from his eternal generation, or he is the Son of God upon the account of his being begotten of the essence of his Father from eternity."
     
  3. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    Spurgeon on Eternal Generation:

    "The doctrine of the eternal affiliation of Christ is to be received as an undoubted truth of our holy religion. But as to any explanation of it, no man should venture thereon, for it remaineth among the deep things of God — one of those solemn mysteries indeed, into which the angels dare not look, nor do they desire to pry into it — a mystery which we must not attempt to fathom, for it is utterly beyond the grasp of any finite being"
     
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  4. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    G. Bromiley on Eternal Generation

    "'Generation' makes it plain that there is a divine sonship prior to the incarnation"
     
  5. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    Others who have fairly recently defended Eternal Generation include Wayne Grudem, Bruce Ware, J.I. Packer, R.C. Sproul, and John Piper.
     
  6. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    John Wesley on Eternal Generation:

    I have begotten thee from eternity, which, by its unalter able permanency of duration, is one continued, unsuccessive day. I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son - I will own
     
  7. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    John Gill on Eternal Generation:

    The eternal Sonship of Christ, or that he is the Son of God by eternal generation, or that he was the Son of God before he was the son of Mary, even from all eternity, which is denied by the Socinians, and others akin to them, was known by the saints...
     
  8. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    A.W. Towzer on Eternal Generation:

    Thou, O Lord, art the Eternal Word, the Eternal Son, begotten of the Father before all worlds, by the mystery of eternal generation.
     
  9. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    John MacArthur stating his change of understanding and acceptance of Eternal Generation:

    Careful study and reflection have brought me to understand that Scripture does indeed present the relationship between God the Father and Christ the Son as an eternal Father-Son relationship. I no longer regard Christ's sonship as a role He assumed in His incarnation.
     
  10. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    Charles Stanley on Eternal Generation:

    neither begotten, not proceeding; the Son is eternally begotten of the Father
     
  11. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    Martin Luther on Eternal Generation:

    I believe that Jesus Christ, true God, begotten of the Father from eternity,
     
  12. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    Eternal Generation is the doctrine that the Second Person of the Trinity (the Son, Jesus) is eternally the Word. God is immutable and the roles of the Persons of the Godhead in relationship to one another is immutable (the economy of the Trinity).

    The Father is eternally the Father, the Word is eternally the Word, the Spirit is eternally the Spirit.

    Eternal Generation is expressed in Scripture as "in the beginning was the Word".

    Note....Scripture does NOT say "in the beginning the Second Person of the Trinity became the Word".


    The question @37818 has to answer, since he rejects the idea the Word (the Son) existed eternally with and as God is exactly when the Second Person of the Trinity came into existence or became the Word.
     
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  13. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    The question may be asked – Why is Eternal Generation so central to Christianity?

    One of the most essential doctrines to Christianity in terms of the Doctrine of the Trinity is Eternal Generation. The reason for this is to distinguish not only the Son from the Father but also to ensure that the Son is understood to be equal to the Father. The Father, Son, and Spirit are equally God.

    This is the reason Eternal Generation became the cornerstone of the Nicene Creed. There was a need to put the belief that the Son is God, equal to the Father, different in Person from the Father and eternal with no beginning and no end. The reason for the need was the rise of sects and heresy regarding the Doctrine of the Trinity. Some denied that Jesus was in fact God. Some viewed the Son as a manifestation of the Father.

    Eternal Generation addressed the heresy that the Son had a beginning as God (that the Father brought the Son into creation).

    In terms of Eternal Generation, the word “generation” means “coming forth” and refers to the Son as coming forth from the Father (the Word). Applied to the Son of God, this means that Jesus, as the eternal Son, is from His Father.

    Eternal Generation also means that God (the Trinity) is immutable in nature. The relationship between the Father, Son, and Spirit is an eternal relationship within the Godhead (One God, immutable).
     
  14. canadyjd

    canadyjd Well-Known Member

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    Very interesting information. The greatest preacher this side is Paul has the best take, imo.

    Sourgeon’s advice is to simply consider it a mystery too deep for human understanding (paraphrase)

    That’s seems reasonable, that God is so unique, so different from anyone or anything else that exists, that it is really impossible to “explain” Him.

    He must condescend to us. He uses terms we would understand (One God, three Persons; Father, Son, Holy Spirit) which are true in what they mean, but are not exhaustive in defining the essence and nature of God’s existence.

    peace to you
     
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  15. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    I'll give a strange comparison I thought about on the drive to work this morning as I'm taking my dog camping (on a beach, surf fishing) in a few days.

    A dog can understand his master only insofar as his master communicates to the dog in a way a dog can understand.

    There is too great a difference between a dog and a man for a dog to fully understand the nature of man. The difference between man and God is infinitely greater than the difference between dog and man.


    Eternal Generation is not a doctrine designed to fully understand the nature of the Son in the Trinity. It is a doctrine developed to prevent Christians from abandoning truths God has revealed to us in His Word in accepting what we cannot fully understand. It is to guard against heresy.
     
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  16. Van

    Van Well-Known Member
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    The use of the word "begotten" as in "eternally begotten" is nonsense, as the meaning of the phrase is "not begotten."

    I am not sure if my understanding of the doctrine of "eternal generation" mirrors the view of JonC, but I think it is a bogus doctrine, assuming my understanding is valid.

    I believe in the doctrine of "eternal existence" whereby at no time did the three Persons of the Trinity not exist as separate and equal Persons. So the effort to have the "essence of God divide into separate entities, thus the essence always (eternally) existing but the Second Person coming forth from the First is wrong.

    Basically, I believe the errant view of the Trinity arises from an effort by people to require that the "Father" act to produce the "Son" in accord with human biology.

    Lets consider the Nicene Creed:
    And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds; God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God; begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made. (Nicene Creed) ​

    And here is a proposed rewrite:
    And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the uniquely divine Son of God, eternally existing with the Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, eternally existing, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made.

     
  17. 37818

    37818 Well-Known Member

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    The LORD God didn't become, He always was. The Word was always the Word both with God and was God. So was always the Son of God with God. As the Word never ceased to be God. Only in His incarnation as the Son changed how He was with God in becoming the Man, the Lord Jesus Christ. But never ceased to be the LORD God.
     
  18. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    Eternal Generation IS the doctrine that the Son is eternally the Word.

    It was in response to the heresy that He became the Son of God.

    I do not think you are getting the meaning of Eternal Generation because you are not actually arguing against it.
     
  19. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    @37818

    I have been trying to find where you object to Eternal Generation, but am having trouble as you are constantly affirming the doctrine against the heresies it argues against.

    You keep indicating that you do not believe Jesus is the eternal Son of God (Eternal Generation).

    The only other option is that Jesus became the Son of God. This is the heresy that the Doctrine of the Trinity was arguing against with Eternal Generation.


    Please respond by letting us know when Jesus became the Son of God.
     
  20. 37818

    37818 Well-Known Member

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    The fundamental identity of God, Him being the uncaused reality, Acts of the Apostles 17:28, . . . For in Him we live, and move, and have our being; . . .
     
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