De Deo Uno in Calvin

“At the same time, in spite of these laudable efforts, [Paul Jacobs and Richard Muller] it is difficult to avoid the impresison that at a crucial level Calvin has failed to integrate his doctrine of election thoroughly with the broader trinitarian theology of revelation, redemption, and human response that we are highlighting here.  For example, in Comm. John 17:9, Calvin asserts that Christ ‘commends to the Father only those whom the Father himself willingly loves.’  Here, as at many other points, the will of the Father is understood as something omniously arbitrary, rather than as being intrinsically and perichoretically related to the divine manifestation of grace in the Son.  Examples could be multiplied. It appears that in spite of the helpful trinitarian direction Calvin has taken in formulating his undersanding of the divine-human relationship, at the point of the doctrine of election his normal emphasis on the thorough perichoresis of Father, Son and Spirit in the divine operations has been effectively and inexplicably suspended.”

Philip Walker Butin, Revelation, Redemption and Response: Calvin’s Trinitarian Understanding of the Divine-Human Relationship, Oxford, 1995, 168, ednt. 6.

“It may be taken as further evidence of his committment to the perichoresis of the trinitarian hypostaseis in God’s economic work that Calvin consistently qualifies the statement that ‘God is the proper object of faith’ with the immediate affirmation that access to God is only through Christ (1159 Institutes II.6.2,4; cf. III.2.6), which appears to turn the relationship around, asserting that the Father offers Christ to us ‘as the goal of our faith’). However, as we have suggested earlier, Calvin is not entirely consistent in focusing faith on God’s benevolence as expressed in ChristHis commitment to the doctrine of the ‘double decree’ (cf. 1559 Institutes III.21.1ff.) leads to the a priori exclusion of the reprobate from this Christological access to God by faith.  This results at certain points in severe tension between his otherwise trinitarian paradigm of revelation, redemption, and human response and his doctrine of election. For example, in the1159 Institutes III.2.9-12, he appears to theologically justify the concept of the ‘double decree’  by making a deliberate exception to his normally characteristic insistence that the work of the Son and the Spirit be held together in the exonomy of redemption.  Thus-in the attempt to explain why some who appear to believe are not ultimately saved (vf. Hebrews 6:4-6)-he can speak of a ‘lower working of the Spirit…in the reprobate.’ This stirs in them a sense that God is merciful toward them and allows them to ‘recognize his grace,’ but apparently operates apart from the effectual grace that God offers in the Son, and hence does not lead to saving faith (1559 Institutes III.2.11).  It seems that Calvin never faced the omnious theological implicaitons of this move for a doctrine of the Trinity that otherwise wants to hold that God’s immanent trinitarian relations are consistently reflected in the ad extra activity of the hypostaseis.  In addition, at this point he seems inexplicably to suspend his otherwise rigorous insistence on the thoroughgoing perichoresis for the doctrine of the divine decrees. Rather, he applies that paradigm only to the issue of the elect believer’s assurance of election, while the operation of election itself is apparently excempted from the consistency with God’s otherwise trinitarian nature, and left to an inscrutable divine will.”

Ibid., 189., ednt. 81.

“By the knowledge of God, I understand that by which we not only conceive that there is some God, but also apprehend what it is for our interest, and conducive to his glory, what, in short, it is befitting to know concerning him. For, properly speaking, we cannot say that God is known where there is no religion or piety. I am not now referring to that species of knowledge by which men, in themselves lost and under curse, apprehend God as a Redeemer in Christ the Mediator. I speak only of that simple and primitive knowledge, to which the mere course of nature would have conducted us, had Adam stood upright. For although no man will now, in the present ruin of the human race, perceive God to be either a father, or the author of salvation, or propitious in any respect, until Christ interpose to make our peace; still it is one thing to perceive that God our Maker supports us by his power, rules us by his providence, fosters us by his goodness, and visits us with all kinds of blessings, and another thing to embrace the grace of reconciliation offered to us in Christ.”

John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, 1.2.1

“We formerly observed that the knowledge of God, which, in other respects, is not obscurely exhibited in the frame of the world, and in all the creatures, is more clearly and familiarly explained by the word. It may now be proper to show, that in Scripture the Lord represents himself in the same character in which we have already seen that he is delineated in his works. A full discussion of this subject would occupy a large space. But it will here be sufficient to furnish a kind of index, by attending to which the pious reader may be enabled to understand what knowledge of God he ought chiefly to search for in Scripture, and be directed as to the mode of conducting the search. I am not now adverting to the peculiar covenant by which God distinguished the race of Abraham from the rest of the nations. For when by gratuitous adoption he admitted those who were enemies to the rank of sons, he even then acted in the character of a Redeemer. At present, however, we are employed in considering that knowledge which stops short at the creation of the world, without ascending to Christ the Mediator. But though it will soon be necessary to quote certain passages from the New Testament (proofs being there given both of the power of God the Creator, and of his providence in the preservation of what he originally created), I wish the reader to remember what my present purpose is, that he may not wander from the proper subject. Briefly, then, it will be sufficient for him at present to understand how God, the Creator of heaven and earth, governs the world which was made by him. In every part of Scripture we meet with descriptions of his paternal kindness and readiness to do good, and we also meet with examples of severity which show that he is the just punisher of the wicked, especially when they continue obstinate notwithstanding of all his forbearance…Moreover, the knowledge of God, which is set before us in the Scriptures, is designed for the same purpose as that which shines in creation—viz. that we may thereby learn to worship him with perfect integrity of heart and unfeigned obedience, and also to depend entirely on his goodness.

Here it may be proper to give a summary of the general doctrine. First, then, let the reader observe that the Scripture, in order to direct us to the true God, distinctly excludes and rejects all the gods of the heathen, because religion was universally adulterated in almost every age. It is true, indeed, that the name of one God was everywhere known and celebrated. For those who worshipped a multitude of gods, whenever they spoke the genuine language of nature, simply used the name god, as if they had thought one god sufficient. And this is shrewdly noticed by Justin Martyr, who, to the same effect, wrote a treatise, entitled, On the Monarchy of God, in which he shows, by a great variety of evidence, that the unity of God is engraven on the hearts of all. Tertullian also proves the same thing from the common forms of speech.”

Ibid. 1.10.1-3.

“But there is another special mark by which he designates himself, for the purpose of giving a more intimate knowledge of his nature. While he proclaims his unity, he distinctly sets it before us as existing in three persons. These we must hold, unless the bare and empty name of Deity merely is to flutter in our brain without any genuine knowledge.”

Ibid. 1.13.2

“When we profess to believe in one God, by the name God is understood the one simple essence, comprehending three persons or hypostases; and, accordingly, whenever the name of God is used indefinitely, the Son and Spirit, not less than the Father, is meant. But when the Son is joined with the Father, relation comes into view, and so we distinguish between the Persons. But as the Personal subsistence carry an order with them, the principle and origin being in the Father, whenever mention is made of the Father and Son, or of the Father and Spirit together, the name of God is specially given to the Father. In this way the unity of essence is retained, and respect is had to the order, which, however derogates in no respect from the divinity of the Son and Spirit. And surely since we have already seen how the apostles declare the Son of God to have been He whom Moses and the prophets declared to be Jehovah, we must always arrive at a unity of essence. We, therefore, hold it detestable blasphemy to call the Son a different God from the Father, because the simple name God admits not of relation, nor can God, considered in himself, be said to be this or that.”

Ibid. 1.13.20

“The hallucination consists in dreaming of individuals, each of whom possesses a part of the essence. The Scriptures teach that there is essentially but one God, and, therefore, that the essence both of the Son and Spirit is unbegotten; but inasmuch as the Father is first in order, and of himself begat his own Wisdom, he, as we lately observed, is justly regarded as the principle and fountain of all the Godhead. Thus God, taken indefinitely, is unbegotten, and the Father, in respect of his person, is unbegotten. For it is absurd to imagine that our doctrine gives any ground for alleging that we establish a quaternion of gods. They falsely and calumniously ascribe to us the figment of their own brain, as if we virtually held that three persons emanate from one essence, whereas it is plain, from our writings, that we do not disjoin the persons from the essence, but interpose a distinction between the persons residing in it. If the persons were separated from the essence, there might be some plausibility in their argument; as in this way there would be a trinity of Gods, not of persons comprehended in one God. This affords an answer to their futile question—whether or not the essence concurs in forming the Trinity; as if we imagined that three Gods were derived from it. Their objection, that there would thus be a Trinity without a God, originates in the same absurdity. Although the essence does not contribute to the distinction, as if it were a part or member, the persons are not without it, or external to it; for the Father, if he were not God, could not be the Father; nor could the Son possibly be Son unless he were God. We say, then, that the Godhead is absolutely of itself. And hence also we hold that the Son, regarded as God, and without reference to person, is also of himself; though we also say that, regarded as Son, he is of the Father. Thus his essence is without beginning, while his person has its beginning in God. And, indeed, the orthodox writers who in former times spoke of the Trinity, used this term only with reference to the Persons. To have included the essence in the distinction, would not only have been an absurd error, but gross impiety. For those who class the three thus—Essence, Son, and Spirit—plainly do away with the essence of the Son and Spirit; otherwise the parts being intermingled would merge into each other—a circumstance which would vitiate any distinction. In short, if God and Father were synonymous terms, the Father would be deifier in a sense which would leave the Son nothing but a shadow; and the Trinity would be nothing more than the union of one God with two creatures.”

Ibid. 1.13.25


76 Responses to De Deo Uno in Calvin

  1. Jnorm888 says:

    In your other thread “Contra Mundum: Athanasius and the LDS on Deification”

    A poster by the name of David D said:
    “”DavidD Says:
    November 5, 2009 at 4:26 pm
    Just to posit one quick response to Jezz: Orthodoxy does not view the Father as the source of the Son’s or the Holy Spirit’s essence, but of their hypostases. I believe this is a profound distinction.””

    When I first read that some months ago, I said to myself…..hmm, that sounds Calvinistic. I wanted to respond to him back then but the comments were closed. When I read what you quoted here, sure enough Calvin was saying the samething.


  2. MG says:


    Could you unpack some of these points for the denser of us?

  3. Nathan says:

    I’ll second MG’s request.

    Calvin really thinks that including the essence in the distinction can only leave us with the classification of “Essence, Son, and Spirit?” I’m pretty dense, but it seems to me there has to be more than he’s either aware or letting on.

  4. When I make arguments, people seem to think I am nuts or making stuff up. So I find it better to just post the material from the sources and let the reader draw the conclusions.

    There are a number of things to notice, namely those in BOLD. A fairly consistent claim in the Reformation traditions is that God is known only in Christ so that the natural theology of “the one God” is rejected. Only the Trinitarian revelation in Christ counts. Yet as Butin shows briefly, there is an inconsistency here in Calvin for he lapses back into a revelation of God apart from Christ. This inconsistency has serious implications for treating the “person of the mediator” as practically essentially subordinated to God via the divine will. So it is not that God is truely and only known in the revelation in Christ. There’s a God behind God so to speak.

    This is also implied by Calvin’s treatment of Heb 6 where there is a work of God apart from the work of Christ with respect to the reprobate. Here comes Barth’s famous line that in the last analysis Calvin separates God from Jesus Christ and is therefore Arian. That’s Barth and Barth wasn’t alone among Reformed writers in seeing the problem. The problem is also apparent in election since election is seemingly done apart from Christ.

    Then there is the fact that Calvin thinks that there is knowledge of God, had by unfallen man, of God’s unity or simplicity that is inscribed on every human heart. If all knowledge of God is in Christ and Trinitarian in structure in Revelation, then whats this idea of some kind of simple God in general doing in the heart of every man?

    Then the name of God admits of no relation, but then the divine persons are relations. Therefore they must not be God qua relations or persons.

    God is to be taken indefinately, but if revelation is Trinitarian how is this possible? Here we have the same Arian (Eunomian) view of God lurking in the background. Hence the image at the end of the post.

    Also note that this is from Butin and not some Orthodox or Catholic writer. I am not making this stuff up.Perhaps all of the Reformed writers who point to this problem are wrong, but I don’t think so and I have yet to see exactly anyone show exactly how they are so.

  5. Nathan says:

    In Calvin’s own lifetime Pierre Caroli accused him of Arianism; it seems he never fully resolved the problem. But if Barth was right, and I have no reason to doubt that he wasn’t, where is the introspection on the part of his descendants?

  6. Nathan says:

    Stumbled across this Leithart gem in my notes:

    In a 1976 issue of the Scottish Journal of Theology, F. Stuart Clarke examines Athanasius’ doctrine of predestination, and ends with the comment that Athanasius would have rejected the predestination doctrines of Augustine, Aquinas, Luther and Calvin “as being, in principle, Arian, because they do not recognise the full Godhead of the Son in election, but ascribe election to what Calvin calls a ’secret counsel’ (arcanum consilium) of God, a will of which Christ is the agent but not the foundation; not present, as Professor J. K. S. Reid says, when ‘God frames his purpose to elect.’

  7. Nathan,

    Yes I recall that, but Leithart seems not to grasp what Muller and the Reformed tradition mean by election being “in Christ.” “Christ” doesn’t refer to the son qua deity or qua divine person, but qua produced composite hypostasis AFTER the union. That “Christ” is the product of predestination so to refer to election as “in CHrist” as somehow getting around the problem is just to fail to recognize that it capitulates to it.

  8. Nathan says:


    Of course I also think Leithart is mistaken: that’s why I quoted his introduction but not his conclusion. Waving your hand and saying “this isn’t the Arianism you’re looking for” really doesn’t suffice for an answer.

  9. ioannis says:

    Perry Robinson,

    “”Christ” doesn’t refer to the son qua deity or qua divine person, but qua produced copmosite hypostasis AFTER the union”.

    Could you please give me a couple of sources for that idea which I have run into before but I do not know where it comes from? Is it also possible that you expand a tad on the Orthodox position on that?
    Thank you!

  10. Drake says:

    “the will of the Father is understood as something omniously arbitrary”

    The author, like Jay Dyer, does not understand how God can determine things neccessarily and at the same time freely. The action is not arbitrary but free. No act of God is arbitrary. He is rational and therefore always acts with deliberate purpose. It is a free act in that nothing outside of God compelled him to choose a certain way but necessary in that nothing else could hypothetically ever have happened.

    “the operation of election itself”

    What is meant here?

    I would like to know your specific view of soteriology before I make another criticism but in general those who see the Atonement as universal, and the Father’s election as limited create a split in the Trinity and as the author says, “failed to integrate his doctrine of election thoroughly with the broader trinitarian theology”. Calvin’s Limited Atonment is required for trinitarian theology. Though your Orthodoxy may say all three members of the Trinity are in union and have a universal will in salvation where even the devil goes to heaven (lol) as one Gregory of Nyssa so asserted. Some tend to back off of this but do you really believe that Perry, that the devil is going to heaven one day?

  11. Drake says:

    In refernce to the Natural theology thing: as Rom 1:19-21 make very clear nature is within man. It is not in some external material world of Aristotle and the gnostics. This is the a priori structures of Christian Platonism and in this sense knowledge of God is through Christ, in the a priori stuctures that are common to all men, for he lightens every man coming into the world, John 1; not effectualy salvific but common and a priori.

  12. Drake says:

    You want to know who showed them wrong: Dr Clark, that’s who. I read Reformed writers frequently who show they do not understand supralapsarianism and can’t figure one way from Tueasday what necessitates the atonement. Rutherford and Clark are devatstaing on the issue:

  13. Drake says:

    Your doctrine of the incarnation is Arian. You believe there is a metaphysical union between the Second person and the impersonal human nature. In order for their to be a metaphysical union the Second Person is modified, denying his immutability. It was for this exact reason Perry, this exact reason that Arius believed the Second Person to be a lower deity than the Father. You are Arian. Not that this proves anything because parallels have been drawn between the ancient heretics and every system of Christian Theology. Argument by parallel belongs in the sand box. You will notice me doing it sometimes only as an ad hominem.

  14. Drake says:

    Leithart needs to read a bit more on the Covenant of Redmeption as it was more fully developed by the Scottish Covenantors in the 17th Century. But I understand if you guys want to base your understanding of reformed doctrine on guys like Leithart and the wayward PCA. A watered down and confused system of theology only created in the 20th Century by Norman Shephard is much easier to refute.

  15. Drake says:

    Perry your comment about Christ after the incarnation seems to be based on a poor understand of Supralapsarianism and the eternal act of Calvinist determinism.

  16. Drake says:

    understanding; sorry

  17. Drake says:

    I suggest you read Clark’s books on theology proper before receiving a deviant recycled version from some infralapsarian.

  18. What do we have here… the greatest defender in the Twenty-first Century of the greatest theologian of the Twentieth? I’m all ears.

    Drake, why don’t you make your site publicly accessible so we can follow your link?

  19. Jnorm888 says:


    The quotes were about John Calvin, not Theodore Beza.


  20. Drake,

    As for divine freedom and necessity, there are a number of different candidates for what constitutes freedom, so saying that Butin doesn’t understand how God can determine things necessarily and at the same time act freely is ambiguous at best. Second, the issue isn’t if God can determine things and yet be free, but if God acts necessarily and acts freely. Those are not the same ideas. Third, I can grant that an agent who acts necessarily acts voluntarily but not freely, so pointing out that on such and so gloss God acts voluntarily doesn’t imply that God acts freely. The question with respect to freedom is not whether God can accomplish whatever he wills, but whether what he wills is up to him or not. Likewise, noting that God is rational doesn’t imply free action. It only implies that the action done is reasonable. The goal of an action (the reason) and the conditions under which it is performed are two different things. You write that God’s action is not arbitrary, but divorced from the Trinitarian framework Calvin employs elsewhere, Butin rightly notes that in this case the divine will floats free of a Trinitarian structure and so is apparently arbitrary. Also, an agent can be determined to act in such a so way without any external determination, but the agent is determined nonetheless. Between creating and not creating, was there a choice? The same goes for redemption. If not, then creation ex nihilo is seriously compromised if not gone out the window and salvation is necessary and natural and not gratuitous.

    As for the partial statement of “the operation of election itself” I take Butin to mean the act of electing rather than how it is received qua effect in the subject, a la assurance.

    I’ve made no secret of my view of soteriology both here and elsewhere for now the better part of the decade. I don’t see a need to draw it all out for you.

    As for your remarks on the atonement, you equivocate on, or at least significantly ambiguous in your use of the term “universal” since even Calvinists claim that the atonement is “universal” with respect to the types of humans that are elected. Second, not all who reject Limited Atonement embrace some stock Arminian view. My view is not Arminian, even though there is some overlap with it. I take Arminian hypothetical universalism to be in error since it doesn’t properly distinguish between person and nature and so makes the same mistake as the Reformed do. Either the atonement is actual with respect to all persons or instances of human nature or it is merely hypothetical. (This same mistake runs through actual universalism too as I have noted elsewhere- )The Reformed are right to query whether the atonement in fact saves anyone, but wrong to collapse person and nature so that the redemption of the latter necessarily entails the former. Hence the things that are the most unlike are also those things that are the most alike, indicating that Arminians and Calvinists (and Universalists) share the same underlying principles at this point.

    Simply stating that Butin is wrong and that Calvin’s doctrine of the atonement is entailed by Trinitarian theology doesn’t amount to much more than assertion. It leaves untouched the evidence that Butin puts forward, namely cases in Calvin’s thought where there is some relation of creatures to God that is not Trinitarian. So Calvin in fact does, contrary to his assertions endorse De Deo Uno, the one God apart from the Trinity, and then moves on to a Trinitarian structure afterwards, much in the same way that the tradition he objected to in Rome had done so. As to your claim that Trinitarian theology entails limited atonement, this is a flat out howler. First, I think you are confusing the atonement with a penal model. It may true given the penal model and the syllogism that say Owen puts forward that trinitarianism, or at least the Reformed version of it entails LA, but there is no reason to think that non-penal models do. Moreover, it would imply that practically everyone prior to the Reformation failed to see a fairly clear entailment relation.
    As for the Trinity’s universal will for salvation, this doesn’t entail the salvation of the devil in terms of a return by him to personal rectitude. It is true that this view of apocatastasis was proffered by Nyssa and the Origenists, but that view was condemned by the church at the Fifth Ecumenical Council. The main focus of this blog is on the theology of Maximus, who was instrumental in dismantling the entire Origenistic structure upon which the apocatastasis was built. Hence you impute to me views that I do not hold based on your unfamiliarity with the primary source material as well as this blog. I ‘d make the friendly suggestion that you become familiar with the literature on such questions before making accusations. It’s a great way to avoid foot in mouth disease. To turn things around for a moment, your view actually shares the same fundamental assumptions. The only difference on this point between the Reformed and Universalism is how many people are predestined to the fullness of salvation. In this way Puritanism laid the conceptual ground work for universalism which cropped up out of Calvinism. Once it is permissible to think that God determines persons to salvation, there are only a few options on the table.

    As for natural theology, I think you are confusing natural theology with natural revelation. Those two concepts are not the same. The former is the project of knowing about God by reason alone apart form revelation. The classical theistic proofs would be an example. As for your claim that natural revelation makes “very clear nature is within man.” It is unclear to me exactly what this means. The point of Butin’s remarks was that if all knowledge of God is through Christ in the economia then there can’t be knowledge of some general deity in man in his pre-fall existence. It would have to be Trinitarian.

    As for saying that such knowledge is a priori, do you mean analytic or do you mean knowledge that is simply unrevisable in the face of future experience? The two are not the same concepts.

    I’ve read plenty of Clark and Clark, as I have said before endorses Idealism, namely that the real is the ideal or mental. This is why his view implies a form of pantheism, just as Edward’s idealism did.

    As for my view of the incarnation being Arian, if this were true, it would imply that the Fathers of Nicea as well as Athanasius were Arian, which is absurd. Second, it is somewhat imprecise to say that the Son takes up an impersonal human nature. Personal and personality aren’t the same thing as personhood. Second, the Son assumes human nature into his divine person, which is to say that there is no human person or that the Son’s hypostasis isn’t intrinsically changed into a human and divine person as well as there not being any pre-existing human nature without a hypostasis that he takes hold of. Enhominization doesn’t fundamentally alter the Son’s hypostasis, at the very least, not with respect to any human defects. Given that human nature is a logos in the one Logos that is the Son, therefore enhominzation wouldn’t entail a fundamental change qua divine hypostasis.

    This brings us to what constitutes immutability and impassibility. There is more than one concept that goes by those terms and so just saying that the Son’s immutability and impassibility is compromised does no work. You need to show that it is in fact the case given the concepts that I hold. If I held to the sense of them in terms of God being actus purus, you might have a point, but I reject the idea that God is purely actual or pure activity. That is a doctrine adhered to by Rome and the Reformers. So I can see why on your theology, this might be a problem, but you haven’t demonstrated that it is for my theology. It is an especially keen problem given that your tradition claims to be loyal to Nicea-Chalcedon while it seems you reject their theology. There is something of a consistency problem there it seems.

    More directly, it might also be a problem if I took the experience of the Son in suffering qua divine person to entail a kind of passion in terms of Aristotle’s category of accident where passion is something that is received and undergone, rendering its recipient passive. Again, if God is purely actual, this is a problem, but as I wrote above, I don’t think God is so. It would also be a problem for you since it would imply an accidental change in God, and as a good Platonist, you endorse the unscriptural doctrine of divine simplicity so that God has no accidental qualities. I don’t think God has accidental qualities either, but for different reasons. In any case, the shoe is on the other foot. What is more, God’s experience, following Cyril and the work of Paul Gravilyuk ( ) God’s death and suffering isn’t a passion in this way. It is an active passion, which cuts against the Hellenistic dialectic of activity and passivity. The divine Son undergoes death, but not in the same way hypostatically speaking we do in that he lays hold of it, which is why his death undoes death by his divine power. This is why he alone gains the victory. It seems odd in part that I’d have to explain the divine as laying hold of experience rather than being a receiver of it to a Platonist given Plato’s epistemology of the soul, which he took to be divine, laying hold of objects rather than the object impinging itself on the soul. I’d suggest reading the Theatetus and the Sophist.

    With respect to a “metaphysical union” this is true in so far as it goes but what it doesn’t mean is a union or mixture of essences. I understand Arius’ reasoning, but his view only follows if you grant certain Hellenistic metaphysical assumptions, which I am not willing to grant. So it is far from clear that problems for Arius are problems for my view. So in no way have you demonstrated that I am Arian in the least, at least in so far as I am unaccustomed to taking bald unsupported assertions as arguments.

    The problem isn’t just limited to Calvin but as Muller shows runs all the way through. Recent work on Owen’s Christology shows that the problem is there as well. As for Clark, well Clark and Robbins clearly endorse a Nestorian Christology because they build it upon Apollinarian assumptions, namely that the soul is the person. Either the divine person (soul) replaces the human soul or there are two persons, hence Nestorianism. Clark and Robbins opt for the second, but the result is just as heretical and anti-biblical. In this way, Clark’s Platonism skews the Scriptures for he brings to it his Platonist metaphysics, which doesn’t really have a concept of person, at least not one distinct from the substance of soul.

    As far as my knowledge of Reformed theology, none of it comes from Leithart or from Shephard, the latter having absolutely no influence on me as Andrew Matthews can attest. My knowledge came through exposure to Horton and Riddlebaeger and then from there to the primary sources with a mix of secondary literature mixed in. I’ve read my fair share of persons like Rutherford, Knox and Owen (even as an Anglo-Catholic I used to order works from Still Waters, which was such a hoot.) along with Kuyper, Dooyeweerd, and Clouser with a good amount of Calvin, Bucer, Bullinger, and Vermigli. Perhaps I haven’t mastered that tradition, but none of it comes through the Federal Vision and nothing in Butin’s work (let alone Barth’s) does either.

    As for your assertion that my comment about the hypostasis of Christ after the incarnation isn’t based on a poor understanding of superlapsarianism. Assertions are easy to respond to since they only warrant a contradictory assertion. Moreover, an analysis of the concept of the “person of the mediator” or the “person of the union” as found in Calvin makes it clear that I am correct. Such titles refer to the economia and the “person of the mediator” which is the result of two natures coming together. The person of the mediator is the product of two natures and so as Calvin mistakenly wrote, Christ is “out of” two natures. This same view is fundamentally represented in Clark’s little book on the incarnation, which is why he says that Christ is a human and divine person. If my view is based on a poor understanding, then so is Clark and Robbins’.

  21. Ioannis,

    As far as Reformed theology, the modern survey and analysis is Richard Muller’s, Christ and the Decree. Calvin, as well as others, held a mistaken view most probably due to corrupted Latin translations of John of Damascus, but there is a fair chance that some of it comes through Peter Lombard as well. I don’t know what manuscripts Lombard had access to of the Damascene.

    As for the Orthodox position, it is directly contrary to this Nestorian view. This is why I posted the material on Nestorius just prior to this post, and then the material on Augustine’s Christic Grace before that so that people could see the line of thought or pattern that motivated such a view. The Orthodox view is that the divine hypostasis or person of the Son is not the product of the union and that the Son is never a human person or a human and divine person. This does not deny that the hypostasis of the Son in assuming human nature is composite afterwards, but such a composition doesn’t entail an alteration of the Son qua divine hypostasis. This is why there is no need in Orthodox theology for an intervening created relation of merit between Christ qua humanity and the Trinity. Christ doesn’t need to merit divine favor. (Did the prodigal need to?) Consequently his work of recapitulation doesn’t involving meriting favor, but healing as the great physician. The major difference between the Reformed and the Pelagians at this point is not if salvation is by merit or works, but who does the meriting or working. Jesus climbs the ladder of merit for Calvinists.

  22. Drake says:

    I don’t think i would say I am the greatest defender of Clark in this century. I still have not finished seminary. I’m a novice. I sense you are making fun of me but that’s fine. I can handle it.

  23. Drake says:

    I am in the process of making it public right now. I wanted to read more on the incarnation before I became totally settled in my position.

  24. Drake says:

    Perry, I can’t copy and paste your comments to post and reply. This will be a bit arduous but I’ll give it a try.

  25. Drake says:

    First, I gave you the defintion of freedom in the context. It is not ambigous. It means there is no outside force compelling God to act a certain way. All actions are based on his sov. will. You’re blowing steam not arguing. Again I think you are equivocating arbitrary for free. They have different meanings.

    You say the issue is whether what God wills is up to him or not. That is what I just addressed Perry. By saying this you are asserting the possibility that an outside independent force may influence God’s will. I just said that the def. of freedom is that no outside force influences God’s will. You didn’t read Clark Perry so quit telling people you have.

    I was making the point that ratinality implies free action. I said that to prove he acts with purpose and not arbitrarily.

    How do you figure God’s actions are divorced from the perichoresis. i go into detail about this in my paper how the pere. is the basis for the refomred view of the covenants see:

    When you say an agent can act detrmined and without external influence you just agreed with me to the letter Perry. Welcome to Calvinism!

    The request is simple. Are you a universalist (yes/no) and if so do you believe that the devil is going to heaven as well (yes/no). A few words isn’t going to kill you.

    Your assertion that Calvinists say that all the types of men give a unuiversal sense is prepostorous. What Reformation theologian said that Perry? I would like to know.

    What is a person and a nature? If you begin with substance can you demonstrate how a potentiality becomes actual? If you describe nature as a priciple of motion can you define motion? If you say nature is a principle of action and then say that in the Incarnation Christ has one principle of action in his works you must admit Chalcedon is in error and become an Appollonarian which commits you to Arianism all the way.

  26. Jnorm888 says:


    1.)Perry use to be a Calvinist.

    2.) Perry already answered you when he told you that this blog mostly follows the thought of Saint Maximus.

    He also said that the Church condemned Origenism and that view in which you accused him of at the 5th council.

    Perry really did answer your questions. He also took the time to show some of the history and context as well. Try reading what he said again.


  27. Drake says:

    The Atonement is necessary because God willed it to be so. It is not as if an independent force of justice or holiness demanded that God do so in order to retain his righteousness. Justice and Holiness are facets of God’s sovereignty but are not God’s will. God’s will necessitates things not his holiness or justice. God’s justice or holiness could be hypothetically the explanation of why God could have punished Christ in an infinite number of ways. The legal basis that God’s punishes’ sin (ad extra) is his holiness (Lev 11:44, Hab 1:13, Psa 5:4-5, Rom 1:32, Rom 6:23) and justice, no question. To make it clear, justice did not necessitate the Atonement. The sovereign will of God did. I am also not saying that there could have been another way because then that would mean God could have been different than he is. This would deny his immutability. Folks, you either deny the immutability of God or become a Calvinist, there really is no other choice.

    Your belief that in Calvinism there is a One God seperate from the Trinity goes to show me as one of your emails admitted that you do ot understand the covenant of redemption. Folks, this guy actually replied in an email to me that the Covenant of Grace (In refomred theology) was made between the Father and the Son. What Presbyterian group you were apart of is an increasing mystery to me. Dude, you didn’t read Clark so quit tellling people you did.

    If you think my argument is nothing more than an assertion is becasue my response that you need to read the developments in the cov. of redemption in the 16th Century in Scotland which dominated the Westminster assembly, flies over your head because you never read that stuff Perry and you admitted to me that you were very ignorant of this period of the Reformation.

    I think you have a point that Limited Atonement in trinitarian theology assumes upon the penal atonment, and your system does not need limited atonement to preserve the Trinity. I stand corrected. However, i still need to know if you believe the devil is going to heaven before i prepare a subsequent argument in relation to this. To assume that the church had not thought about this before penal sub. view is no surprise. Just read a history of the ecumenical councils (I read Leo Donal Davis’, I suggest it, very good book). The Atonement was not a direct issue. Howvere, i will temper your criticism with a quote from Chrysostom: he says in his Homilies on Second Corinthians, Homily 11:

    “And that you may learn what a thing it is, consider this which I say. If one that was himself a king, beholding a robber and malefactor under punishment, gave his well-beloved son, his only-begotten and true, to be slain; and transferred the death and the guilt as well”

    Here a penal view is taken by Chrysostom. Gregory Nazianzen thought the ransom theory was blasphemy in his Oration 45:
    ”XXII. Now we are to examine another fact and dogma, neglected by most people, but in my judgment well worth enquiring into. To Whom was that Blood offered that was shed for us, and why was It shed? I mean the precious and famous Blood of our God and High priest and Sacrifice. We were detained in bondage by the Evil One, sold under sin, and receiving pleasure in exchange for wickedness. Now, since a ransom belongs only to him who holds in bondage, I ask to whom was this offered, and for what cause? If to the Evil One, fie upon the outrage! If the robber receives ransom, not only from God, but a ransom which consists of God Himself, and has such an illustrious payment for his tyranny, a payment for whose sake it would have been right for him to have left us alone altogether.”

  28. Drake says:

    I understand that Nat rev and Nat theo are different but Nat Theo is deduced for Nat Rev. I don’t believe in Nat Rev in your sense and so i don’t beleive God can be argues from the Aristotelian worldview. Why, 1 Cor 1: 21For since in the wisdom of God (AQ)the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, (AR)God was well-pleased through the (AS)foolishness of the message preached to (AT)save those who believe.

    I did not claim that Nat Rev makes clear that nature is within man. I said that Rom 1:19-21 makes that clear. Represent what i wrote please.

    Through the Second person, not in the economy, but generally lightens every man without exception with the apriori structures (John 1:1). That is not to say that I can demonstrate that I have apriori structures from the apriori structures. I can only demionstrate this from the scripture. Through Christ in the economy, in particular all knowledge comes through Christ in the economy of salvation in this dispensation by the scriptures. In all dispensations knowledge comes by Revelation alone, in this dispensation by Revelation in Christ. That not be the exat sense Calvin gives in Butins appraisel of him but other comments Calvin made showed he was on his way to Clarkianism. Give the guy a break he had a lot on his plate.

    It is unrevisable in the sense that it will continue to condemn and torment the conscience of those who sin against its light in variable degrees and times but revisable in the sense that its light can be dimmed through stubborn refusal and gross sin.

    You have stated before that Clark’s view leads to pantheism I will answer again as before, that your argument is based on the fallacy of composition. The attributes of the parts do not always apply to the whole. Let’s see if you will answer me this time. I am a proposition in God’s mind; God is what he thinks in his propositional attributes as a whole. But that does not mean that each part is God, that is a classical fallacy. period! I have heard this argument from numerous people Perry and everytime I cite the fallacy of composition I am never answered and the critic keeps on using the same refuted argument just like you have. Foot in mouth yet again.

    You did not show why it is absurd you simply assert it. And by the way leo donald davis admits that the orthodox view perfectly overlaps with Arianism at this point.

    Dude, I could quote numerous pages in the Seven Ecumenicla councils by Davis as well as scores of other authors demonstrating without doubt that, impersonal nature was the idea of the Orthodox in the Early councils. laughable man.

    Simply asserting that the human doesn’t change the divine doesn’t demonstrate how. You gave no arguments. If you say the Second Person took on something human, their is addition, which neccesitates a change. Saying that the human nature is a logos in the logos is laughable. if he is a logos wouldn’t that neccesitate a hypostasis? That there are indeed accidents in the Orthodox human nature requiring a hypostasis is proved:

    1. Christ’s human nature was without sin. Though Adam’s began like this he did in fact sin, therefore, an individual accident. The Patristic view admits that Jesus’ human flesh was that of Adam’s before the fall, and not of man in the present sinful state, therefore and individual accident.

    2. The Patristic Human Nature willed the salvation of men79; not in a general sense but knowing his purpose to take the burden upon himself he willed it. This can be said of no other man, therefore an accident.

    3. Christ’s human nature received direct and full deification while the human nature of other men receive it only mediatorially, therefore an individual accident.80

    4. The human nature of Christ does not effect the divine soul. However, in men their human bodies do effect their soul81 as they sin in the body and grieve their souls and the Holy Spirit if they are Christians. Human bodies also effect their soul for good. Any experienced Christian will tell you that proper bodily rest is requisite for a consistent spiritual Christian walk.

  29. Drake,

    Before I write a reply, I am going to ask you to tone down the personal attacks. If you can’t do that, I will just delete your remarks and ban you. My reply to you was fairly dispassionate and stuck to the issues and arguments. What matters here are the arguments. If you can’t make an argument without being insulting and attacking the person, then you are not welcome to comment here.

  30. Drake says:

    Clark did not hold to Chalcedon and neither did Robbins. They held a two infima species view of the incarnation which goes to show again that you didn’t read Clark. I am in the middle of attempting to convince my Prebytery and many others that the 7 ecu councils operate on a program of theology contradictory to Reformed theology and the penal view of the atonement. Yes i am atempting something quite large but I see no way around it. You have yet to give arguments that refute the Anselmian demonstration of a perfect being, actus purus. I would like to know why you differ.

    I don’t believe the Second person suffered in the atonement. He is denoted in Acts 20:28 but that does not mean that the Second person literally suffered. Denotation would not commit me to such being a loose principle indeed. God has no body and cannot bleed. I believe the union of the divine and human are refered to but it is no metaphysical union. So you can save your condescensions about me being a Platonist. I don’t believe the Second person suffered. You would know that if you had read Clark’s books like you tell people Perry. I don’t believe everything PLATO said. it is not neccessary for a Clarkian to do so. I suggest you read The Incarnation by Clark. So if its not a union of essence and I would assuem you reject the moral union of Nestorius, what is the natur eof the unZion Perry? Saying “so far as it goes”, is meaningless! The early councils reffered to his flesh as “life giving” to improve the sanctification of the believer…His body is the real flesh of the Word:
    Third letter of Cyril to Nestorius

    “This we receive not as ordinary flesh, heaven forbid, nor as that of a man who has been made holy and joined to the Word by union of honour, or who had a divine indwelling, but as truly the life-giving and real flesh of the Word [ut vere vivificatricem et ipsius Verbi propriam factam.].”

    Real Flesh. That’s metaphysical and deals with essence. Aristotle’s Metaphysics taught that essence is a real and physical aspect of the substance. Bald and unsupportee assertions huh? I have scores of such quotes in my paper.
    Clark has a different defintion of person than Nestorius. Not to mention that Thomas V Morris in his Logic of God Incarnate defends the two minds/souls view as a defense of the Orthodox One Person view. I don’t have the paper in front of me right now to respond with accuracy on the statements made in reference to the Covenant of Redemption so i will get back to you on that.

  31. Drake says:

    I would refer you to Rutherford’s Covenant of Life Opened. Perry merely asserts that the hypo union doesn’t change the Second person. Notice he gives no arguments to you or me, he simply asserts it. Perry says Christ does not need to merit divine favor, yet he must eneter into a metaphysical union with the material world inorder for the Orthodox system as a whole to work. Perry says that Christ does not need to merit divine facvor, then why does he need to act as a public person in Romans 5? Why become a legal representative for people that he already deified through the Incarnation? Acting as a public person is not requisite to give value to his ransom to the devil. Only his divine attributes would be required for that transaction.

  32. Drake says:


    1.) I know this

    2.) ?

  33. Jason Loh says:

    ‘Jesus climbs the ladder of merit for the Calvinists.’

    You hit the nail, Perry. Spot on.

  34. Jason Loh says:

    Used to be a fan of Clark in everything he said. But you are spot on in your analysis, Perry of Clark.

  35. Jason Loh says:

    Angus, it that you? As ‘Drake’??

  36. Jason Loh says:

    Can’t be. Drake says he hasn’t finished seminary. Just who are you, Drake?

  37. drake says:


    I see how i worded that was confusing, my fault. The paper I was refering to that I wrote was cited a few posts above the angus citation. I cited the Angus Stewart paper as a reference for the reformed view of the cov. and perechoresis.

  38. drake says:

    my 1:24 am post should have read 17th century not 16th

  39. Drake,

    As for your gloss on freedom, as I pointed out, it is deficient for a number of reasons. One of them being that what God wills would not be up to him, since his nature would determine his actions. There would be no external compulsion, yet volitional but non-free action. Hence jus because I correctly gloss your view doesn’t entail that I endorse it, especially in light of the fact that I specifically argued that it leaves us with the conditions on freedom fulfilled but with the agent as unfree. Hence the definition is inadequate.

    In the context of Butin, the argument he made was something like the following. In Christ, God’s will is only known such that the structure of divine volition is rooted in the trinity, particularly the economy of Trinitarian activity. But Calvin also posits that there is divine action apart from Christ where God’s will is made known. Since the structure and reason in the Trinitarian volitional activity was rooted in the economy, namely salvation, therefore the will of God in those latter contexts is without reason and principle and hence arbitrary.

    No, you addressed whether what God wills has its source in something other than God, so that the question there is if God is free in that he can accomplish what he wills without any impediment or obstacle. God could still be determined by his nature and still successfully will what he does without any external compulsion acting on God and yet not be free.
    I am in no way asserting that there is some possible explanation for divine action outside of God. I am just saying that the divine action is non-determined. If you insist that that is the definition you are working with, namely a compatibilist sense, then I simply reject that is what freedom means. Freedom is more than a lack of constraints or external determining forces. What is more, such a definition will preclude you from saying that man is free since on your view he is determined and so any meaningful sense of free agency goes out the window.

    As for reading Clark, I most certainly did, and a good many people in the OPC and the REC knew that I was a devotee of Clark. For the record, here is a list of the works I read by Clark.

    Three Types of Religious Philosophy
    Religion, Reason and Revelation
    Thales to Dewey
    A Christian View of Men and Things
    The Philosophy of Science and Belief in God
    In Defense of Theology
    The Biblical Doctrine of Man
    The Trinity
    The Incarnation
    The Atonement
    Logical Criticisms of Textual Criticism
    God’s Hammer
    Behaviorism and Christianity
    Faith and Saving Faith

    I still own some of these and am looking for a buyer if you wish to buy them off of me. I also own some of his taped lectures.

    As for rationality implying free action, it most certainly doesn’t. An agent can be determined, and be determined to think such and so, and such and so be rational and the action not be free. Actions consistent with reason maybe necessary for free action, but they are not sufficient and this is for a simple reason-reasons aren’t causes. Reasons do not execute plans, but rather they are the things of which plans are constructed. Decisions execute plans or intentions which include reasons.

    The paper you reference on perichoresis doesn’t seem to be by you. Second, the claim you advance is probably wrong for all kinds of reasons. First, John endorses the e/e distinction and the Reformed don’t. The Reformed endorse the Filioque and John doesn’t. The Reformed think of God, along with Rome, as actus purus and John doesn’t. John denies that the econmia of the Son sending the Spirit implies a hypostatic origination while the Reformed following Rome affirm it, particularly because of the Reformed adherence to a platonic gloss on divine simplicity. Moreover, the notion of covenant that the Reformers were working with has a history, specifically a history in late medieval Latin scholasticism and not John of Damascus or Cappadocian Trinitarian theology. Now it may be that the Reformed gloss on emperichoresis entails their view of the Covenant, but to claim that the former in earlier theology entails the latter quasi-Scotistic notion of Covenant is a prime example of the word-concept fallacy.

    I don’t think I claimed that God’s actions were “divorced for the perichoresis.”

    No I am not a universalist. And by “universalist” I mean one who thinks that all created agents will enjoy the fullness of salvation at the level of person, that is, everyone gets saved. This I deny. I have always denied it and not only is there nothing in the dogmatic teaching of the Orthodox Church that enjoins me to teach it or believe it, there is plenty in the Fifth and Sixth Ecumenical councils and their representative theologians that entails that I deny it. As for the devil, he’s toast, but that follows from what I just wrote.

    Representative universalism is quite commonly endorsed among the Reformed. Take Calvin’s gloss on 1 Tim 2:4, “because it has nothing to do with this passage; for the Apostle simply means, that there is no people and no rank in the world that is excluded from salvation; because God wishes that the gospel should be proclaimed to all without exception. Now the preaching of the gospel gives life; and hence he justly concludes that God invites all equally to partake salvation. But the present discourse relates to classes of men, and not to individual persons; for his sole object is, to include in this number princes and foreign nations.” Calvin glosses it as God saving all types of men. So it is not preposterous. You can find the same gloss across a number of reformation figures as well as post-reformation reformed scholastics, on up through the Dutch and the English Puritans to Hodge, Warfield, et al. If you think this is preposterous, then I can’t see how you have any substantive familiarity with Reformed theology.
    A sufficient gloss on person and nature would take too much space. I’ve written quite a lot about that distinction. But if you don’t know at least to some reasonable degree what they mean, I fail to understand how you can profess the Trinity. As for motion, you conflate motion with activity. Motion in terms of physical motion is a type of activity, but activity isn’t necessarily a type of motion.
    The supposed dilemma you proffer is not a problem for my position. The will is natural and in that sense is the principle of motion or activity, but how it moves or acts is relative to the person. More to the point, no one takes the will to move in terms of physical motion, so any supposed problem with Aristotle’s notion of physical motion here just doesn’t apply. The Person uses the will or power of choice. Consequently there are two wills in Christ used by one divine person. This effectively steers between the Scylla of your Arianism and the Charybdis of Apollinarianism. They both assume that a person is an instance of a nature. I don’t conflate person and nature in this way which is why I don’t fall victim to your monothelite dilemma. If on the other hand, you wish to assert that the will is hypostatic, then you will have three wills in the Trinity and a very big problem since Jesus confirms that he doesn’t come down of his own will, showing that it is possible for the three wills not always act in concert.
    Everyone agrees with the consequences of divine actions being necessary, but that was not the issue. The issue is not whether if God wills something it is necessary but rather whether God necessarily wills what he does. On your view, God necessarily wills the creation of the world as well as redemption, robbing it of its gratuity.

    It doesn’t have to be the case that there is something external to God to render the atonement and creation determined and hence necessary. You write that God’s justice demanded the atonement so that God could retain his righteousness, but this makes God’s righteousness dependent on creatures and so we are back to the same old Platonic and Origenistic schema-how could he be Lord unless he is Lord over something? As if God wasn’t just without creatures. And here it is apparent how closely related Calvinism and Open Theism are.

    You also relate that you think that justice and holiness are “facets” of God’s sovereignty but not his will. But this is true only on our side of things in terms of how we must think of it, but not in terms of what God in fact is on your doctrine of God. On your view, given God’s simplicity, God’s will is his justice and his holiness. Substituting an epistemological distinction for a metaphysical one may render your writing coherent but it won’t do the argumentative work you wish it to. Much the same goes for talk of things true of God “ad extra.” But again on your view since God has no intrinsic accidents, and there are logically possible circumstances such that God doesn’t create anything at all, how is it that creation doesn’t posit an intrinsic accident in the divine essence on your view?

    As for the “legal” basis for the atonement, there are many different philosophies of law. I seriously doubt the Hebrews were using a 15th century quasi-Scotistic or Ockhamistic understanding of pact here or that such a notion can be legitimately exegeted without assuming it from the get-to.

    If you claim that the divine will necessitates the atonement and not divine justice, when in fact these are one and the same in God on your view, then you rob the atonement of any intrinsic value. It is valuable because God so willed it to be, jus as Calvin claimed. In which case, it doesn’t matter who suffers since God could have willed the suffering of any man to be valuable in the way that Christ’s death was. In this way, it is clear that adherence to the divinity of Christ evidences that Calvinism is a hobbled theology of mixed and matched pieces and why Unitarianism was built of its assumptions. Once Christ’s work is extrinsically related to the value of his person, it doesn’t matter who suffers.
    You reject that there could have been another way because that would imply that God would have been different than he is. I agree that this follows on your view of God but only because of a commitment to the view of simplicity you have combined with the doctrine of actus purus. It also incidentally proves what I said earlier, that God on your view is determined to act as he does, rendering creation determined as well as redemption. Grace becomes nature and we are right back at Pelagius.

    Secondly, since I don’t hold the same doctrine of God as you do and I certainly don’t hold the same view of immutability as you do, your assertions that there are only two choices, namely Calvinism or immutability goes out the window, is an implausible assertion looking for an argument. And it doesn’t follow anyhow, since one could just as easily endorse Scotism or Thomism. And there is another choice, namely to be found in the distinction between first potentiality and second potentiality. (See Barnes, The Power of God, and Bradshaw’s, Aristotle: East and West.) In other words a distinction between God’s possession of power and his use of it.

    It is true that I slipped and referred to the Covenant of Redemption in Reformed theology as the Covenant of Grace. Fair enough. I made a mistake and I freely admit the designating error. The concept I picked out though was one adhered to by the Reformed. I never claimed to have been a Pesbyterian. Not all Reformed are Presbyterians.

    If you think I need to read further to see the truth of your assertions, then you need to provide at least some reason to take your assertions as having some backing, otherwise they are assertions. I admitted to you that I was more familiar with Reformation figures and not as familiar with the figures from the later second reformation in Scotland or the Westminster divines. Fair enough, but I think you’ve over played your hand. You clearly put words in my mouth as if I was kissing your intellectual posterior. More to the point your remarks in no way show I am in fact in error. It doesn’t show you are correct. And it is not as if I know nothing of the Reformed tradition. And no Reformed scholar is familiar with every theologian in their own tradition equally well. I like everyone else have focused in some areas and not in others, just like you. And let’s be fair, I am far more familiar with Calvinism and the Reformation in general than any given Reformed theologian or apologist is with respect to Orthodoxy. And since we are on the pride train, I might as well add that I probably have a better grasp of Reformed theology than most living Orthodox theologians today. In any case, saying stuff “flies over my head” isn’t an argument.

    I used Davis’ book to study for the Deaconate when I was Anglican. I am quite familiar with it and still own it. It’s an ok overview, but its not a monograph and stands in need of some significant correction. In short, scholarship has passed significant sections of it by. As for the atonement not being a direct issue, this is true to some extant, but it in no way licenses the view that they lacked an over all model of the atonement, and guess what, it wasn’t the penal view or even Anselm’s satisfaction view. Second, much of the argument regarding Nestorius, Eutyches and such revolved around the atonement and divine suffering. So it is false that the church hadn’t thought about it in terms of having a schema for understanding the atonement.

    I’ve seen that spoof text from Chrysostom before and it doesn’t prove much since Chrysostom doesn’t give a nominalistic theory to explain the exchange, which is a necessary component of a penal model. Nor does he endorse a penal model. No scholar of Chrysostom thinks he was some advocate for a proto-penal substitution model. Third, using an example and metaphorical descriptions are just that. Its true to some degree but not in every.

    As for Gregory, I don’t endorse a ransom theory, I endorse the Christus Victor model. So I can’t see what Gregory’s comment here has to do with what I profess. In fact, I have used this exact quote to support my own view.

    You couldn’t be more wrong about Natural theology and Natural Revelation. Natural theology as I said before, is a project that excludes appeals to special revelation. This is why Jews, Muslims, Platonists and Christians could all do it together since it appealed to reason alone. And Natural theology wasn’t a project specifically wedded to ARistotelianism, because it included Platonists as well as Stoics.
    As for natural revelation apart from Christ making clear what is within human nature, I was referring to Calvin’s remarks, namely that the simplicity or unity of God was known as such because it was written on the heart of every man. How is it that that philosophical doctrine is written on the heart but the Trinity isn’t? So much for an empirichoretic structure to the covenants.

    Calvin may have had a lot on his plate, but that doesn’t change his inconsistency and implicit Arianism.

    When I asked about a priori judgments, I think you misunderstood. Are they empirical in content that are unrevisable in the face of future experience or are they analytic truths? Not all a priori judgments are necessarily analytic-they could be synthetic.
    You write that I commit the fallacy of composition because each of the divine attributes are “parts” and what is true of the parts is not necessarily true of the whole. Fine and good, except on your view God has no parts. If God is what he thinks in his propositional attributes as a whole and God has no parts, then they are all one and the same thing. Therefore, you qua idea are God and so is the world. Pantheism. Q.E.D. So no fallacy of composition on my part since I assumed your view of God which denies that God has parts of which he consists and I have demonstrated the pantheism. Every Clarkian I gives this too who gives me the composition fallacy never seems to have an answer and just stops talking about it.

    You seem not to grasp what an attribute is on your view. An attribute is a predication, a way of speaking about an object of which all the different things are true and true because all of those things are actually one and the same thing, we just lack the requisite term to cover all of them at once.
    If you wish to cite Davis on a specific point, say so, but simply saying that an author agrees with you is at best an appeal to authority. Second, reading one survey work and acting as if you can demolish an entire tradition seems like jumping the gun. Again, if you think Davis supports your view with evidence and argument then cite it and we can discuss it. But you have to know I’ve already read it along with book cases of other texts and articles on the issue. Good luck.

    Simply saying that God creates ex nihilo doesn’t demonstrate how, but I don’t need to demonstrate how. I only need to show that objections to it along the lines of incoherence or faulty implications are mistaken.

    As for assuming human nature necessitating a change, let’s assume that is so. Since change can be said in many ways, what kind of change would that be? You need to show that it is a substantial change. I await your argument.

    As for your claim that my remark that human nature is a logos is laughable, you need to note that mockery will get you nowhere. Second, its clear you didn’t grasp my view. A logos is a plan, a blueprint, a predetermination for something-or to put it in Augustinian terms, a divine idea. So human nature being a logos the Son, in whom are all the many logoi, wouldn’t constitute a substantial change in the Logos qua hypostasis. A logos of say a dog doesn’t imply that there be a dog.

    I quite agree that there are accidental qualities in Christ’s humanity, like hair color for example, but you need to show that this brings about a change at the hypostatic level. As for your list, let’s go through them.

    1. I deny this and the way you have framed it. Think more about 2 Cor 5:21.

    2. This is confused and needs to be cleared up, but what I think you are saying is that Christ wills somethings that other humans do not. But if you take the will to be hypostatic and that to will something others haven’t, then you will be forced to say that not only are there three wills in the Trinity, but one of them willed something that the other two didn’t (Jn 6:38) and so not only will you destroy the Trinity, but you will affirm for your own view accidents in God. More directly, I don’t think natures will anything.

    3. This is confused. Christ’s human nature qua font of the race, receives deifying power via the divine hypostasis and this doesn’t imply a hypostatic accident for the simple reason that Christ qua hypostasis never begins to do good. Second, the Orthodox view denies that divine deifying power is accidental to human nature. Third, not everything true of persons, but not of nature is an accident. There are things true of me qua person that are not accidental.

    4. I don’t think Jesus had a divine soul or at least that expression is confused. I do think that Christ’s humanity affected his divine person, in the way I sketched previously, which just so happens to excludes passion as an accidental quality. Just to top it off., Jesus himself says that “My soul is troubled within me.”

    It is true that qua individuals neither Clark nor Robbins held to Chalcedon, but it is also true that as a tradition, the Reformed have claimed to do so. Their dissent verifies the inconsistency.
    I don’t need to give arguments to refute the anselmian gloss, though I can and have here before. Second, it fails your own tradition’s test, namely demonstration form scripture alone, just like the filioque. Third, it entails, as you have implicitly admitted, a denial of creation ex nihilo and other Christian doctrines. If you want to know why I differ from Anselm, well pickup Bradshaw and start reading.
    If the second person didn’t suffer, then the Lord of Glory wasn’t crucified, but just a man. It is clear here that your philosophical theology is guiding you away from the text. The human soul and person doesn’t have any parts to bleed, but it can experience what the body does nonetheless. I don’t see a big problem for God qua hypostasis suffering in the flesh then.
    You refer to the union of the divine and human, but what constitutes that union if not the divine person?
    I agree that the union is not metaphysical, if by metaphysical, we mean a mixing of essences. And I wasn’t condescending in calling you what you have called yourself repeatedly. I don’t think you believe everything Plato said, but probably a fair amount of Platonists didn’t either-it didn’t make them any less Platonists, especially when they described themselves as such.

    The nature of the union is hypostatic, which I thought would be obvious. And it was not meaningless to say that the union is metaphysical so far as it goes. I meant by that it is metaphysical in so far as hypotasis falls under metaphysics, but not metaphysical in so far as the union would be a union of mixing essences.

    I perfectly agree that the flesh of Christ is life giving, by the divine energies, not the divine essence. If you read Cyril, that much is plain. And the Latin is plainly irrelevant since Cyril wrote in Greek.

    Actually you’ve got Aristotle wrong, since Aristotle didn’t have the modern concept of physical. He had the concept of matter, which was devoid of form and activity. Secondly, it wouldn’t be an aspect, a conceptual difference, but a metaphysical feature or part. Third, essence or form wasn’t material for Aristotle, since it formed matter so here you have Aristotle backwards. Fourth, for Aristotle there are things which have no matter and are pure form.
    Clark and Nestorius’ view of person is still fundamentally Apollinarian-namely an instance of a nature. I’ve read some of Morris, and some of what he says is right and some not. I agree that Christ has two wills and two intellects. This is hardly new. What Morris tried to do was to give it an analytic cashing out.

  40. Drake,

    I missed this comment of yours because it was directed to someone else initially.

    Christ entering into a metaphysical union with the physical world is only a problem if a few things are true. First, if matter is opposed to God. Second, if the union is metaphysical in terms of essences or concrete substances in Aristotle’s sense. I deny the first as well as the second, specifically that persons are substances. They’re not. On your view, God’s own creation is some kind of contagion that God can’t directly help, lest he fall.

    I don’t think Christ acts as a “public person” in Romans 5. I think he acts as the actual font of the race. I don’t think Christ is a legal representative in the sense that the Reformers do. Consequently I reject federalism. Deification of all men is at the level of nature, specifically with respect to being, that is immortality or everlasting being-the vindication of life to all men. Consequently the wicked persist, not because God would fail to be God if he didn’t maintain a legal relationship with him, but because Christ loses nothing the Father gives him but raises it up on the last day. You keep bringing up the ransom theory. I don’t know where you got the idea that I or the Orthodox Church as a whole subscribes to it. As for Christ’s divine attributes being required for a transaction, your view is that the atonement is valuable apart from Christ’s divine worth, but only account of the divine will. The two may be contiguous, but one doesn’t depend on the other.

  41. ioannis says:

    Perry Robinson,

    Thank you for the response and the information!

  42. ioannis says:


    Thank you for your reading suggestions!
    However, I am not very well acquainted with Calvinism and I haven’t understood your points completely. Don’t you agree that Christ is no other person but the person of Logos? I agree with Perry Robinson that Christ bears human hypostatic characteristics and it is through them that we know that He assumed the human nature. Otherwise it wouldn’t be possible to depict Him in icons. What’s exactly your own view and why do you believe that it secures the immutability of God better than the Orthodox one?

  43. Drake says:

    You like most orthodox do not communicate clearly. I blame it on your eastern thinking. You say “since his nature would determine his actions”. Is this a gloss of my view or an argument from yours? You don’t make that clear. On my view his will as given in the ad extra decrees of Rutherford’s supralapsarianism determined how he would act (i.e. to punish sin or not and the way he determined what the word “good” would mean ) not his nature. No external compulsion on my view or yours? You don’t say. Non-free action? This is the kind of talk that keeps me from believing much Orthodox doctrine. By non-free you could mean an infinite numer of things. You just demonstrated agaion that you didn’t correctly gloss my view. You haven’t got it right yet. My definition of free agency is defined as: The will is not determined by physical or physiological factors. Free agency is not free will, there is a difference. Infallible certainty rests on necessity though voluntary. An example: Judas’ betrayal was necessary, that is, it was predestined, determined and inevitable though Judas was a free/voluntary agent. There is also no compulsion or coaction. My view fits with free agency perfectly.
    Is only known such? Structure of divine volition? I will from here on out refer to phrases like these as Eastern Babble, or EB. This stuff reminds me of my journeys though Christos Yannaras and Lossky. I thought it was only confined to the people who grew up in Eastern nations with a different language, but I think now that this irrational way Orthodox apologists talk, is part of the Eastern programming. One of my favorites is when Dyer in criticizing calvinist human nature refers to it as being “evil to the core”. As if his use of evil and core had one distinct meaning, give me a break. If you want me to understand you, you are going to have to speak without the squared-circle flibblewabbles. By divine action apart from Christ do you mean the Second Person of the trinity or the united two natures? And can you point to the passage that shows Calvin’s exact wording?
    Let me lay my cards down before I begin: The order of Decrees for Rutherford’s supralapsarianism looks like this: 1. The decree to elect some and reject the rest 2. The decree to create both elect and reprobate 3. The decree to permit the fall which is the intrinsic basis for punishing and pardoning sin 4. Ad Extra; The decree to be merciful to some. To punish sin. 5. The decree to provide salvation for the elect and no others.
    Those latter contexts? From your earlier staement I guess you are refering to the decree to create and redeem. Was there a choice? First, Calvin was infralapsarian and so the later developments will differ with Calvin. The decree to create, the decree of the fall, and the provision of redemption are free acts (If that is your defintion of choice) in that nothing outside of God compelled him to choose a certain way but necessary in that nothing else could hypothetically ever have happened. By latter context I refuse to mean that there is a sequence in God. Lapsarianism concerns the doctrine of the fall and the theoretical (That is primarily referring to application as it operates by the theory not as if there is some manifest sequence in God, for God is immutable) order of God’s decrees focusing on the fall of man and reprobation. If by latter contexts you simply mean the theoretical sequence 2-5 decress then fine. Are you saying that 2-5 are then arbitrary? If that’s what you mean I don’t get the point. They are commensurate with #1 therefore purposeful. But you may have another point I am missing. Feel free to flail me for missing it.
    Without impediment or obstacle? No that’s incomplete. If I was walking north and a redwood tree fell in front of me that forced me to walk east I would consider that an impedement or obstacle to my will due to its impeding properties. However, If I was walking north and I found out to the east there was a natural food store that gave away free protein shakes, water bottles and walking shoes that convinced me to travel east I would not consider that an impedement or obstacle though it changed my will due to its beneficial properties. What I am saying is that neither a hypothetical impedement or potential benefit influences God’s will.
    I gave my definition of free agency. You say freedom is more than what i said and yet give no defintion of your own.
    I may be interested in the Predestination and Defense of Theology books. You hocker of wares! J/k
    One that I suggest to all my Patristic friends is Language and Theology. I know you easterners don’t like this topic but his Philo of Language answers huge issues between Protestants and Patristics. True 2 Tim 3:15-17 does not use the English word only, but that doesn’t matter because words are arbitrary tags and do not represent things. There is a difference between tagging something and representing something. If words had only one meaning then they would represent things but that is not the case with language. Words have many meanings. So when 2 Tim 3:17 says, That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works, the same meaning that a Protestant has for only is there. Second, and this is a favorite from Jay Dyer, Jay used the argument that words and letters in the Bible are images and the word “God” is an image of God. I brought to his attention that words do not represent things they are tags for things as is clearly proved from the vast number meanings that American society has for the word “God.” He never answered me.
    I didn’t say rationality implies free action I said it implies purpose. I addressed that the paper isn’t by me. I did a shabby job wording what I meant there. I cleared that up with jason last night. The Greek evangelical Church leaves out filioque and they are reformed in their confession as I also reject filioque. I believe the Spirit must in some special way participate in the person of the Son in order to apply confomity to the Reformed believer but this in no way refers to the meaning of procession. I agree with the confession of Cyril Lucaris on the Filioque. And though I know it to be a debated issue even Dr. Jeffrey Macdonald, an Orthodox seminary Professor admitted Cyril Lucaris was a Calvinist. In reference to actus purus, I don’t think that God is neccesarily good as we define it post ad extra decrees.
    Well, I am glad to hear you think the devil is toast.
    You don’t think that I have familiarity with Reformed theology because you don’t understand the difference between the offering of the atonement in a universal sense and the intention and application of the atonement in a limited sense. And why don’t you understand this, I will say it again, you did not read the developments of the Covenant of Redemption as it was fully developed by the Scottish divines in the 17th Century. You admitted this to me. The Church of Scotland adhered to the free offer of the Gospel, I know Clark disagrees here but he didn’t do much work on the issue and I don’t think he read Rutherford’s stuff on this issue. I have read the bios on every Puritan from the 16th to the 18th century sir, and your argument is a flaming straw man.

  44. Drake says:

    Merely asserting that you don’t conflate person and nature to avoid the problem does not demonstrate how it’s possible. Gregory Nazianzus (Letters, Division I , To Cledonius the Priest Against Apollinaris) in commenting on the Apollinarian rejection of two natures, admits that on a physical level two natures in one thing is inconceivable yet on a mental level a man can contain a soul and reason and the Holy Ghost. First, this is the typical philosophical blundering that we Clarkians get so frustrated with when someone borrows from two contradictory philosophical systems to form Christian theology (Such as when Christian apologists use both the ontological and cosmological arguments). How he is going to deduce abstract concepts from substances and a principle of motion is a mystery. Even if they claim that one system is for the material world and another for the spiritual the whole package would still need a starting point. If they begin with sensation abstract principles cannot be deduced, much less doctrines of revelation. If they choose a rational axiom, substance, principles of action and hypostasis etc. must be discarded. Second, Aristotle’s philosophy is for the material world. It is a non sequitur to assert that metaphysical distinctions designed for interpreting a material world can only be demonstrated in the mind. His admission is gratifying though. Do you believe there is only one source of activity in the Incarnation? While studying Severus, a devastating point is brought out in reference to the source of operation in the Incarnation. If it is admitted that the metaphysical union must produce only one source of operation it must also be admitted that there is only one nature.
    I have no idea what you mean when you say the will is hypostatic. If you think that I define person as a will, you certainly didn’t read Clarks books and by the way now that you gave your list of Clark books you’ve read I know why you keep using the same arguments that he refutes in his books in reply to his critics. You didn’t read Clark speaks from the grave, or The Philosophy of Gordon Clark.

  45. Drake,

    I think the communication problem is on the receiving end, particularly with your ad hominems. My training in “thinking” particularly logic is quite “western.” Of course, truth preservation has nothing to do with geography and so neither does logic.

    When I wrote that the divine nature would determine God’s actions, that is a consequence of your view of God, not mine. It does no good to appeal to ad intra and ad extra works on your view since those are conceptual distinctions and not distinctions in God. That is, you may need such tools to talk about God coherently, but strictly speaking, they aren’t truly different things in God. Given the Reformed adherence to ADS, ad intra and extra are metaphysically the same thing or there are two deities. If God determines what the word “good” means, then this means that God is not good which I would think runs counter to Scriptures many explicit statements. It also seems to run counter to your professed “Christian Platonism.”

    When youspeak of “this kind of talk” these kinds of complaints realydon’t engage what I wrote. By non-free I mean to appeal to an intuition of freedom. Philosophy is done this way through thought experiments. This is employed by soft determinists, hard determinists and libertarians alike. And yes, I understand your view. I used to believe it. Read tons on it and wrote my MA thesis regarding it.

    Free agency is free will in the following sense-in that soft determinists think that it captures the concept of freedom. It is not free will in a libertarian or incompatibilistic sense. (Moreover, nothing I wrote about your view entails physical or psychological determinism per se.) That said, if free agency captured the notion of freedom it wouldn’t be compatible with cases of volitional but non-free actions, but it is. This argument you have left untouched.

    If you keep up insults like “EB” I will delete the comments and ban you. This is your LAST warning. If you cannot conduct a conversation without insult, then you will not conduct it here.

    As for Dyer, Dyer was never Orthodox and is not now Orthodox. He is not now nor ever has he been to my knowledge a member of the Orthodox Church. He used in a diluted fashion some of the arguments and theological material deployed here, but that doesn’t make him a representative of the Orthodox position. Hence your bringing him up here is a straw man and irrelevant.

    You ask what I mean by divine action. I was speaking of it in the context of Calvin’s theology with reference to Butin’s remarks above. I already gave a number of passages in the post. Please read them.

    As for your odering of the decrees, now you need to fit that into Christology and make sense out of Calvin’s remarks.
    You ask, “where was the choice?” Does this imply that God had no choice? If so, then even free agency on your own gloss goes out the window. To note that nothing compels God externally is not sufficient to render his actions free. One could hold as the Platonists (and some Calvinists like Edwards) that the world was a necessary and eternal emanation from the divinity. The action would be uncompelled, determined and necessary, but not free. There is really no principled difference between this position and yours. And sure, hypothetically, God could have chosen to create nothing at all. If God chose otherwise, he wouldn’t be any different essentially since God isn’t dependent on the world. The problem is that you like the Platonists think that choice implies essential change and a temporal sequence. Logically, it doesn’t, anymore than knowing truths entails discursive reasoning.

    Your remarks about impediments do not show I was mistaken about the way you were glossing freedom as volitional efficacy. It only shows that something internal can influence your will, which is perfectly consistent with what I wrote.

    You note that I gave no definition of my own. I shouldn’t need to for two simple reasons. I’ve already done it here. Just look up one of the first posts I did here on free will. Second, there is no shortage of material written by libertarians in contemporary analytic philosophy. If you aren’t familiar with it, I am not responsible.

    As for 2 Tim 3, I am not sure how you got to that topic, but the phrase “man of God” as the Bible uses it, generally doesn’t mean the priesthood of all believers.

    Since I officially think Dyer is unstable I really don’t give two craps what you think about him. I’ve made no secret of my opinion, either directly to him or to anyone else.

    Even if you were right about rationality implying purpose, that is insufficient for freedom, so either way, its quite irrelevant.

    The Greek Evangelical Church’s leaving out the Filioque would be relevant, if you were a member of it. Second, they are hardly representative of Protestantism or the Protestant theological tradition. Last I checked, they weren’t even founded until around the 1860’s or a bit earlier. Third, it doesn’t matter if they leave the Filioque out since Rome does this too for many of its eastern rite churches. The question is their theology. Fourth, this is not the issue of this post.

    It doesn’t matter what Dr. Jeffrey says. It only matters if his arguments were good or not. I am not moved by appeals to academic authorities. As questions of fact in a given field an expert is only as good as his arguments. Second, it doesn’t matter one way or another if Cyril Lucaris was a Calvinist or not any more than it matters that Soloviev was a Latinizer. They were wrong and that is all I need for my position. Besides, Nestorius was a heretic and he was patriarch of Constantinople. What’s next? Arguments for the Golden Calf because Aaron was chosen by God?

    If you don’t think that God is necessarily good qua ad extra decrees, then, not only is God not good on your view, but he is not simple.

    I understand the distinction you are attempting to draw between the universal offering and the intentional aspects. That is not the issue. The issue is its value and whether the value of acts are intrinsic or extrinsically related to the acts. So what I have read or not leaves my point untouched. Nothing you have offered touches the point I made. Second, I freely admit I have not read everything and there are a great many things of which I am ignorant. Anyone who knows me knows that I often remark that I have not read such and so or I am not familiar with this. Ignorance doesn’t prove I am wrong, it proves I am human. No scholar, even in a given field can master everything and I don’t pretend to do so. So noting my ignorance puts me in the happy company of Socrates and Jesus.

    If my argument is a straw man, it is very simple. Prove it.

    It may be true that my remarks about not conflating person and nature do not amount to a demonstration, but there are a number of things to consider. I have written on it before. Second, even if I didn’t, it in no way helps your position which obviously does so, as I pointed out. Third, there had better be a distinction, otherwise Trinitarianism goes into the crapper. So if you think it isn’t and wish to dump Trinitarianism, keep on truckin’. You’re just as committed to a distinction here as I am.

    Your remarks on Nazienzus are confused. First, Gregory doesn’t have the notion of abstraction that you do. This is evidenced by the fact that he uses soul, reason and the Spirit as examples. Reason is a power and the soul is an entity and the Spirit is a person, not abstracted objects. And second, he is quite right that in physical objects this is not true, but in immaterial objects it is possible. Calling it blundering isn’t a demonstration that it is. Moreover, Gregory isn’t using contradictory philosophical systems as such. He uses what he needs and adapts it to his purpose so it no longer has exactly the meaning and use it did in its native philosophical land.

    As for starting points and discarding other concepts, that’s just an assertion on your part. And besides, Clark’s axioms are no less arbitrary than anyone else’s. And its really quite funny to say that Aristotle’s philosophy is designed for the material world, since he thinks mind survives death of the body. Moreover, Aristotle isn’t working with a modern concept of matter as intrinsically extensional and so you’re equivocating on the term “physical.” Secondary substances for example aren’t “physical” for Aristotle. (As for the Cosmological and Ontological arguments, that would imply that I endorse the project of Natural Theology, which I don’t.

    You write that if one starts with sensation that abstract principles cannot be deduced, much less doctrines of revelation. Well, I don’t take doctrines of revelation to be deduced, but delivered. Second, it depends on the theory of sensation and abstraction.

    You ask if I think there is one source of activity in the Incarnation. That depends on how source and activity are defined. But on my view there are two activities but one subject that does the acting. That is, there are two wills and two energies in Christ, but only one divine person who acts.

    If you want to see Severus refuted, I’d suggest you start reading Maximus. Severus has got nothing on Sophronius and Maximus.

    You write that you have no idea what I mean when I attribute to you the idea that the will is hypostatic. You take the will to be personal or of the person, rather than of the nature. I think you do not define person as a will, but you take the will to be a feature or perhaps aspect of the hypostasis.

    Perhaps I didn’t read the two books you mention. Of course, that doesn’t show I am wrong and nothing you have written here engages my arguments showing that Clark’s view is Idealism or entails Pantheism. Besides, I am not moved by what one has read or hasn’t read per se, but if they have good arguments.

    Now I have taken the time to write nearly twenty pages of text, most of which has nothing to do with this thread. So two things. First, if you wish to comment here, you need to restrict your comments to the thread topic. I am not going to continue to engage this scatter shot. Second, you need to cut out the insults an ad homs. I will simply delete your remarks in the future.

  46. drake says:

    Your substance that existed before the application of accidents is another God behind the Trinity. On your view there is the hypostasis of the Father , Son, and Holy Ghost, but then there’s that other thing, that potential substance. Or was it three substances like like Hilary stated St. Hilary of Poitiers On the Councils:
    “Consequently they declared there were three substances, meaning three subsistent Persons, and not thereby introducing any dissimilarity of essence to separate the substance of Father and Son. For the words to teach us that they are three in substance, but in agreement one, are free from objection, because as the Spirit is also named, and He is the Paraclete, it is more fitting that a unity of agreement should be asserted than a unity of essence based on likeness of substance.”

    You can’ really blame Hilary though, in Aristotelianism only individuals exist, as they are the only things that are sensed, in this case those who wish to synchronize Aristotelian metaphysics with Christian theology end up with three individuals, not One God and three persons.

    You haven’t commented on the early objections to the Christus Victor and the historical absence of atonement debates in the first thousand years of the Church. You make an argument that no one saw limited atonement before the reformation, ok, that may be partly true, but not everyone was agreed that Christus Victor was correct and the atonement was not hammered out until later. If you know of official councils that debated this issue I would love to read them.

    You act like no one today takes the view that all souls will “eventually return to their original position of contemplating God “ yet Dyer took that view and I got the impression his supporters did too. I know you don’t like Dyer, but he’s Orthodox. So I don’t want to hear how your Orthodoxy is this One Church that purposes the Church alone to teach and interpret when the first two Orthodox apologists I come into contact with already disagree on huge issues.

    What have you read by Rutherford? Last time we talked about him you acted like you didn’t know much about him at all.

    Why did Christ operate as a public person in Romans 5?
    That Christ climbs the ladder of merit for Calvinists, I see no reason to object to that.

    Jason, if you believe that Perry is spot on in his critique of Clark, you should also know that Clark was well aware of every criticism Perry has said and much more. Perry did not read the books that dealt with this as he has admitted here in this forum with his skimp list that could be read in the first 6 months of becoming a Clarkian.

    Whether God necessarily wills what he does? What? You’re stating the obvious. The issue is: what determines what he does? His will. There is no higher principle on my system than God’s sovereign will and to demand such is simply a straw man. You keep changing; once you said that I said his nature determines his actions, which I didn’t say. Now you want me to tell you if God necessarily wills what he does. Yes he necessarily wills what he does, otherwise, God could be something else than he’s not and that’s nonsense and a denial of immutability. I mean are asking me what wills his will? That’s nonsense.
    God’s act of will does not occur in some specific act in time (Which is exactly what the principles of cause and effect, and the actualization of the potential assert.) but is from eternity just as the generation of the Son is from eternity (This is absolute necessity. This is the only possible world ); therefore, there is no energy and essence distinction as the Greek Orthodox claim. Therefore, both the creation and the generation of the Son are free and necessary parts of the eternal act. To see a distinction is to posit the alien god of Spinoza who taught that God has no will at all. In reference to the Atonement there is no distinction in God’s will concerning if he would save or not. He is God; and because he is God he saves some. There was no possibility that he could not save. Justice did not make it necessary for God to decree the Atonement as if it was an independent force imposing its requirements on God. God is God; and because God is God he creates, decrees sin and decrees the Atonement of that sin, there could not have been any other possible reality than the one we have. To deny it is to deny his immutability. There is no free will for if there were, free will would require an independent force causing things to happen. This would deny the omnipotence of God. Therefore, God is the cause of everything. This position is monergism. That is, there is one determining power in the universe and it is irresistible. The Atonement is necessary because God willed it to be so. It is not as if an independent force of justice or holiness demanded that God do so in order to retain his righteousness. Justice and Holiness are facets of God’s sovereignty but are not God’s will. God’s will necessitates things not his holiness or justice. God’s justice or holiness could be hypothetically the explanation of why God could have punished Christ in an infinite number of ways. The legal basis that God’s punishes’ sin (ad extra) is his holiness (Lev 11:44, Hab 1:13, Psa 5:4-5, Rom 1:32, Rom 6:23) and justice, no question. To make it clear, justice did not necessitate the Atonement. The sovereign will of God did. I am also not saying that there could have been another way because then that would mean God could have been different than he is. This would deny his immutability. Folks, you either deny the immutability of God or become a Calvinist, there really is no other choice.

    It is man’s obligation to meet the demands of God’s justice not God’s will. That is to say, God was not obligated to punish sin. It was not necessary for God to punish sin as if justice was some independent force compelling God to act a certain way. The obligation of man to satisfy divine justice is seen in the perfect human nature of Christ in which it was spoken that he must “go to Jerusalem and suffer many things” (Mat 16:21), “suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.” (Mark 8:31) Therefore, God’s will was the absolute necessity of the Atonement, and man‘s obligation to satisfy divine justice was the condition of salvation in which the Lord Jesus Christ took upon himself in his human nature. Oh the depth of the riches…
    1. To address any critics: When God says that men are cursed when they do not keep the Law perfectly (Gal 3:10), this is because God has made it that way. Men are cursed this way because God says that’s the way it will be! There is not some higher form of justice that bases the covenant of works. God made it that way because he wanted to make it that way, period! If God wanted to say that adultery was good then it would be good. There is no standard higher than God that governs his will; to disagree is to choose a different religion than Christianity. Therefore, God’s decisions are free in the sense that they are not the product of some external force that compels God to choose this or that. However, they are necessary in that God cannot change and nothing else could ever hypothetically have happened. God created out of his free will, but the decision was inevitable and necessary in that according to God’s nature, a God like him creates. God cannot be anything other than he is.
    I don’t know how many more times I have to say this. Perry says that “You write that God’s justice demanded the atonement”. I said no such thing. I said that justice was the legal basis, in the ad extra decrees. How many more times are you going to misrepresent what I say?
    I have no idea what you mean by world-concept fallacy. Sometimes with you I think I am debating with a freemason, who operates on some cryptic language that I don’t understand and I am not meant to.

    I don’t remember accusing you of claiming God actions are divorced from the perechoresis. ?

    The only way salvation would be robbed of its gratuity is if an outside force compelled God to be merciful. Am I missing your argument?

    No, his righteousness is not based on creatures, but is justly commensurate with the ad extra decrees to punish sin (justice) and be merciful etc.

    In Clark’s philosophy the attributes are one in the sense that they make up one set, but due to the logical nature of God they are distinct attributes as I think you mentioned with an epistemological and metaphysical distinction. In reference to your ad extra objection, let me quote Richard’s work in reference to the ad extra decrees, “[God] is under no compulsion to be just, merciful and good to his creatures, (ad extra). But once he decrees to act ad extra, in this way or in that way , he is bound by his decree to do so” Footnote on the same page “This means the atonement of Christ now becomes necessary, but only contingently necessary. It is only necessary because God has chosen to act in justice and mercy towards his creatures ”

    I do indeed need to study more on the issues of divine simplicity and the attributes in general. Your demand for a demonstration of the legal basis is briefly exaplained by the contingency of the ad extra decree. If that does not address what you are asking of me I fear I am too ignorant to explain any further.
    For one year in seminary with a business and culinary background I have had to work my butt off to reach this level of comprehension which admittedly is immature as I am completely unable to even comment on your demand of a Scotistic legal demonstration.. Maybe I am using legal when I should be using a different word. I will have to study more. I have much study to do but not one thing that you have said makes me doubt one bit of a Clarkian Covenantor construction.

  47. drake says:

    my view is on the link i gave up above concerning the nature of the incarnation and the atonement.

    I don’t have the epilogue up yet but if you give me your email I can email you the whole thing.

    I am waiting for the proof that it has been revealed what sort of union there is between the human and the divine. I believe my view shows more union than most Orthodox when I condemn images of Christ due to the icarnation and the record of people worshipping his body. I believe my position on images condemns most of my Protestant critics. Seeing the assumption of the One Person view, in relationship to your icons I understand completely how your view of the incarnation leads directly to relics and icons, etc. I think you guys are correct only if your view of the incarnation is correct and after reading months and months of Orthodox material 4-8 hours a day for 5 months and the work by Thomas V Morris, the Logic of God Incarnate that i just finished today, which is supposed to be the best defense against the attacks of the orthodox view, I am completely persuadeed that the traditional One Person view is incoherent and directly leads to the Patristic program requiring implicit faith and a burial of the conscience.

  48. Jason Loh says:

    I’m afraid the Reformed has never really *engaged* with the ‘Eastern Orthodox’ view.

  49. Jason Loh says:

    Dear Drake,

    I used to hold the Reformed view of God before. But not anymore that since that would mean that essence is knowable and hence ‘thicker,’ prior, than persons. This type of reasoning is inherently dialectic or to put it in another term, philosophical. I still hold to predestination and LA but not on the basis of essence, atributes and persons. Attributes between essence and persons is inherently Arian. The personal character of the Father determines what the essence is – causation. Will and essence are identified or confused. But the Father generates the Son directly and immediately. This is why the Son is equal in essence with the Father. This is why for the Arian, the Son is *less* than the Father in Deity because the Son was a product of the Father’s will – that is a created being.

  50. Jason Loh says:


    Believe me, despite the cocksureness of Reformed theology, its triadology and christology is simply ‘atrocious.’ There’s nothing *Reformed* as in *reformed* about Reformed theology! It’s medieval and Roman to the core. Anyway, I’m no longer Reformed. I subscribe to Orthodox triadology and christology, Lutheran soteriology and sacramentology and subscribe to all Orthodox, Lutheran and Anglican liturgical theology. Reformed theology has never been known for its profound insights.

  51. Drake,
    I don’t believe I described the divine essence as a “potential substance.” So here you are truly putting words in my mouth. If you become more familiar with a Cappadocian model, I think you’ll see why this idea of a prior substance isn’t true.
    As for Hilary, I think you see words that you assume imply full blown Aristotelianism and then run in full bore. Plenty of Plaotnists used that terminology. As I’ve noted countless times, substance has more than one meaning and in Hilary it doesn’t mean some pre-existing “stuff.” To speak of three substances is fine so long as we know what one means, specifically in terms of three hypostases, three distinct things, as opposed to say the Eunomian view of three discrete instantiated essences or forms.
    To say that in Aristotelianism, only individuals exist is simply false. You’re reading Aristotle like a Nominalist. The same goes for thinking that they are the only things that are sensed.
    I shouldn’t think I’d need to comment on what you take to be early objections to the CV model. This post isn’t a theological free for all. There is an absence of historical debates on whether Adam was the first man or infant baptism too but that in no way implies that these beliefs were controversial or that no overall schema or concept was held by the bishops.
    Not everyone agreed on the divinity of Christ in so far as that divinity was to be terminologically cashed out too. I am not sure how we get from that fact to the idea that there was no view held. As for “hammering out” this I think illustrates how dependent Protestants, like Rome, are on the notion of doctrinal development in terms of conceptual development. I don’t think there ever was such a thing. I think there was a terminological development and what happened was that certain persons became wedded to certain technical terms to ward off one error on one end of the conceptual spectrum, but these terms unmodified from Hellenism committed them to cashing out the rest of their theology in a certain way. This only became apparent to them as time went by. This explains well I think why they in many cases moved from a theological theme to a party within the church to a separate sect, modifying the formula for baptism and other things to fit their newly constructed system. This is most apparent in the case of Arianism.
    In any case, there isn’t a council that “debated” the Atonement for the Orthodox and yet the Orthodox to this day still hold to the CV model. This supports my previous contention.
    I am quite aware of Origenistic tendencies among various Catholic authors as well as Protestant ones too. I haven’t refrained from calling them out. This though doesn’t lessen the Orthodox Church’s official condemnation of such views in the fifth and sixth councils along with its representative theologians on this point.
    I am not sure why you are hung up on Dyer. Dyer was never Orthodox. Dyer was a catechumen for a period, but he was never a communicate member of any canonical or non-canonical body that I know of. He then renounced Orthodoxy publically and then went back to Rome. I was satisfied when he did so. He’s, as I have told him and others in technical jargon a “kook.” But the Catholics were all too happy to have him as some kind of manifestation of the truth of Catholicism over Orthodoxy since he manifested in his view a number of their own objections to Orthodoxy. I ignored him for months because I figured Rome could have him. We’ve got enough problems. It wasn’t until he kept plastering his objections to Orthodoxy everywhere and people kept bothering me about them that I cornered him in a Facebook discussion.
    So I really don’t care what Dyer said or his “supporters” said. I don’t know any Orthodox bloggers, clergy or laity who favor an apocatastasis. In any case, it isn’t a matter of liking Dyer or not. I don’t know him personally. Why he is dangerous is that he accesses complicated material, gets some of it and then regurgitates it in a deformed fashion more or less or he hasn’t got the whole package to tease it all out. He brings people along and then in a relatively short period of time, jumps ship, leaving people in an unstable position. He transfers his instability. If you are going to teach people something upon which their eternal salvation rests, you had better be damned sure and by that I don’t mean 9 months of reading blogs. I try to make a point to focus on those things that are deal breakers and I know best. When I don’t know, I say so because I am not doing any favors to anyone by imperiling their souls and bodies by transmitting my instability to them. So I think that its better for people often to just shut up.
    As for Dyer being an Orthodox apologist, I ran into his exchange with a Protestant off of Barnes’ website. I didn’t find out till later that he was a catechumen. I thought, alright, I’ll help him out, and I did so in that debate on Sola Scriptura. It wasn’t till after that that I saw how unstable he was and I thought he needed to slow down and put this conspiracy nonsense aside. I communicated this to Daniel Jones as well as Owen White, among others. I saw him as dangerous to people’s well being. I’ve seen this kind of weakness before, a pure lack of prudence. When I was at TAMU, I met a convert to Islam who was picking off Baptists with a booth, tracts, the whole nine yards. I couldn’t just let him do so, even though they were…well Baptists. He tossed out all of the usual objections to Christianity with respect to Christology and Triadology. He bragged that he wrestled with these issues for a long time before becoming a Muslim. I asked him how long and he said he studied intensely for nine months. I stated that I had navel lint older than that and that I had had intellectual problems that didn’t get resolved for ten years. Nine months was nothing. Non-academics often think that they’ve “studied intensely” some issue for a long time because they lack the perspective to understand what those words mean and more importantly, they lack the intellectual virtue of prudence. It is quite common because it is a common human weakness that I have seen in converts to Calvinism, Atheism, Orthodoxy as well as from Capitalism to Socialism. It’s a human defect.
    In any case, when you say that Dyer was an Orthodox apologist, I have no reason to think that this is so, since he is not now, nor ever has been a member of the Orthodox Church. I seriously doubt he will be a professing Christian much longer than 2 years. So there is nothing for the Church to arbitrate. Added to this is the fact that the Origenistic view was clearly condemned by the Church as I’ve noted previously.
    I believe I wrote that I was more familiar with other figures than with Rutherford. I’ve read all or large sections out of Lex Rex, Exercitationes Apologeticae Pro Divina Gratia, & The Due Right of Presbyteries. I read this though nearly fifteen to twenty years ago, particularly when I was moving through Anglo-Catholic literature on the other side (which Calvinists never seem to read).
    I already answered your question on Christ acting as a public person in Romans 5. I know you see no reason to object to Christ climbing to the ladder of merit. That’s why you adhere to it. Your adherence doesn’t make it any less Pelagian.
    If you think Clark refutes the objections that I’ve made, then perhaps you can show for example how I am wrong with the claim of Pantheism. You tried to convict my argument of the fallacy of composition, but so far, you left my answer to that untouched. Do you think that Clark goes further? If so, why didn’t you present that argument in the first place? There’s a good reason-he doesn’t and can’t.
    I wouldn’t call the list “skimp. That’s practically 2/3 of what Clark wrote. If I can’t get the man’s philosophy form reading 2/3 of his works, well then something is wrong.
    As for the divine will, I am not stating the obvious since not all positions think that necessity is applicable to God. The issue for you is what determines God. That is not an issue for me. I haven’t demanded that there is something external to God that determines him. I’ve only noted that internal determinism still is still determinism nonetheless. I stated that the divine nature determines divine actions on your view. Granted, you did not state this explicitly, but you stated it implicitly in a number of ways, not the least of which was stating that God could not will otherwise lest God be different than he is. A denial of immutability only follows on your doctrine of God. You have to deny some Christian doctrines to maintain others. I prefer to have my cake and eat it too.
    I never claimed that God’s act of will is temporal. And you are wrong that principles of causation and actualization of a potential entail as much. The Son is eternally begotten, but he is not temporally so. God creates the world, but this power is not eternally actualized (as opposed to actualized in eternity), otherwise creation ex nihilo is false. Nor is the divine act to create a temporal act.
    I agree that your view of divine simplicity and necessity excludes the e/e distinction. (Of course plenty of Orthodox outside of the Greek jurisdiction maintain the e/e distinction as well.) It is quite telling that you take and pair up the creation of the world and generation of the Son as eternal in exactly the same way that the Origenists and Arians did. Consequently, you are stuck with the implication of an eternal world. The world is an extension of the divine being, just as the Son is. This is just the flip side of Arianism.
    To make the e/e distinction doesn’t entail Spinoza’s view-jut the opposite. Your view on the other hand is much closer to his.
    As for the atonement and necessity, I think you need to think this through a bit more. If God is pure act, and God’s act to save some is the same as his act to save these particular individuals and that his pure actuality is necessary, then his act to save these particular individuals is necessary. So it is not as if creation is necessary but God can choose between which worlds to create. Its turtles all the way down.
    Free will wouldn’t imply an independent force causing things to happen as if there were some powers that existed without the support of divine power. It would imply though that there were ends to causal chains that ended with persons other than the Trinity.
    If there is no free will and there is only one determining power, then as Nietzsche wrote, the person is just a fiction added to the deed. Yours is a world of objects and forces, not persons.
    As for justice and holiness not being God’s will, on your view they most certainly must be, as I pointed out already, lest God is composed of parts.
    Your remarks about adultery being good if God would have willed it to be so betrays the kind of ethical voluntarism as well as the extrinsic relation of value to acts that I pointed out earlier. Consequently, the death of Christ isn’t valuable because Christ is a divine person, but because God so willed it to be. In which case, Christ doesn’t need to be God to atone for sins since God could will the death of any man to be infinitely valuable, just as he willed the sin of Adam to be imputed to all. If the membership in the set is determined by will whether it is the atonement or justification, then the nature of the object classed is irrelevant. The divinity of Jesus isn’t necessary or sufficient for the atonement, since what matters is how the divine will classes the person atoning. This is in part why Unitarianism cropped up out of Calvinistic principles since none of the passages in the NT now required a more realist connection between instances of qualities. Those qualities could be predicated apart from the nature of the object they were predicated of. And so the exegetical method ended up producing a much more minimal picture of Jesus’ identity.
    To state that God creates by necessity is just to make creation an extension of God and then we are right back to paganism with the world as an eternal consort to the deity. God would not be God without the world on your view. This is a different religion than Christianity.
    You claim that I am wrong in attributing the view that God’s justice demanded the atonement. You think this because the legal basis is rooted in the ad extra decrees. But what you fail to interact with, again, is what your theology of God entails about the ad intra and ad extra distinction. This is a distinction of our minds and not in God. So in God, there is no distinction, from hence it follows that divine justice demanded the atonement, that is, it is just as necessary for God to be God as, as a speck of dust is for God t be God. Pantheism. So I haven’t misrepresented your view, you have just failed to interact with the argument I gave for a conclusion.
    I believe I wrote, word-concept fallacy.

    No, that is not the only way gratuity would be robbed of the atonement. It would be robbed if it was necessary for God to save anyone. On your view it is necessary, and therefore it is not gratuitous.
    Richard’s citation only restates the distinction, it doesn’t show that there is any distinction in God so it leaves my argument standing. If God’s attributes make up one set in terms of unity, then this implies that God has parts and depends on his parts. Again, you are mistakenly treating attributes like properties and they aren’t on your tradition’s view.

    In any case, unless you have something directly to comment about on the topic of this thread, please do not continue the scatter shot.

  52. ioannis says:


    I read almost the whole of your text but I disagree with your positions. It seems to me that in order to secure what you think that the immutability of God means you deny the Incarnation and you do away with the mystery of the divine economy for man’s salvation. I would like to know what do you think that took place during the Annunciation. I mean that if you can see that the very moment Mary conceived Christ and the very moment Logos assumed human nature from Mary are one and the same moment then you can understand why Christ and Logos are one and the same person. Otherwise you divide those two instances and I wonder what do you make out of that scriptural event. Furthermore, what’s the difference for you between your Jesus and a man full of the Holy Spirit like Stephen the First Martyr?

  53. Drake,

    There appears to be a contradiction in your arguments. You refuse to allow justice to determine God’s will yet you say that creation determines God’s will by saying that “a God like him creates.” Are you making a distinction between God is just and God is creator where the latter is a determinate feature of God’s will and the former is not so. Is being just not something that God is but being creator is? Please explain the difference. Also, is it that God is immutable is something that determines God’s will because he cannot change to be God yet God is love is not something that determines God’s will because he does not need to love to be God? “He that does not love does not know God, because God is love” (1 John 4:8 & 16), so how then can he, himself, not love and yet know himself? Also, is in not because of love that God sent his Son that we may not perish: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son” (John 3:16 and cf. 1 John 4:8-16). Surely, one cannot say that only God’s will determines what he does rather we must say that all the other attributes of God such as love, mercy, justice, righteousness, and faithfulness also determine what he does.

    Correctly, as you note, God cannot deny himself (2 Tim 2:13) but this himself is love, good, holy, etc not only will or immutable. One cannot limit the factors that determine God’s will to his immutability or arbitrary will. Also, factors that determine his will may not necessarily necessitate his will. Thus, his mercy does not necessitate his will but he does not will contrary to his mercy so his will is determined in regard of his mercy. This can also be said of justice and other operations.

    The end goal of creation is that God becomes all in all (1 Cor 15:24-28) that we become partakers of the divine nature (2 Pet 1:4). If you deny the distinction between essence and energies then how can God be all in all or how can we be partakers of divine nature without also the impossibility of us becoming God in essence? (Note that it would also mean Christ’s human nature becomes divine nature and so Christ would only have one divine nature from the moment of incarnation which would be contrary to being incarnated.) It seems to me that your whole theological system denies the possibility of this goal. From my perspective, man for you is permanently separate from God and so from life. Unless, man participates in the life of God with God and in God and God in him by his operations or energies then man could not even have been created because God could not be all in all with man remaining man.

  54. Jason Loh says:


    You don’t need to convert to Eastern Orthodoxy. I’m not although I totally and absolutely repudiate Reformed triadology and christology. However, the ‘ordo theologiae’ – the order of theology of persons (particularising characteristics of the unique mode of existence/being)–>attributes(energies)–>essence is important and indispensable. This is because there doctrinal implications involved. It affects the entire ‘system’, to use the Reformed terminology. Luther always said that theology is the art of making vital distinctions. This applies to the distinction between person and nature as essence and nature.

  55. Jason Loh says:


    I suppose the problem is in integrating predestination, justification with Orthodox triadology and christology. In my opinion, Protestant Scholasticism is out of the question. Westminster tradition is also definitely out. The standard systematic textbooks violate sola Scriptura in the first pages in their discussion about God — summum bonnum, purus actus, etc. Best to look to Luther, Drake at least the Luther unfiltered by Lutheran scholasticism and the Book of Concord. Try Gerhard Forde. His writings have been published by Lutheran Quarterly. This is not going to the answer but at least it will perhaps point in a better direction. having said this, Reformed theology is not infallible. There are many defects. This is why I take the best out of each tradition.

  56. ioannis says:


    How would you interpret Hebrews 13:8 ? I think that only the Orthodox view offers a consistent interpretation on this verse.

  57. drake says:

    This is why I keep insisting that you guys have to believe there is no distinction in the human and divine nature but that it is one divine nature of the incarnate word. Are you suggesting then that the human nature is exemplifying divine attributes? You say heb 13:8 appeals to your view I say it is arguments like these that demand I do not believe in Orthodoxy/the One Person theory. Would you guys just admit you believe in only one nature? You do not believe Chalcedon as your Oriental brethren have been arguing for many centuries. You don’t have one faith that you have been practicig for 2000 years but you are subject to just as much confusion as the rest of us are, as this argument demonstrates.

  58. Drake,

    It seems to me that you have not properly understood the essence/energies distinction that solves the problem of the human nature exemplifying divine attributes while remaining distinct human nature. What I have seen of your argument for the rejection of the e/e distinction is not sufficient. Perhaps you are concerned by the loss of divine simplicity. This was an issue that the Fathers faced and they rejected absolute divine simplicity because you cannot have a coherent Christian theology if you maintain it. One requires the essence and energies distinction and it doesn’t compromise simplicity if one is not too exclusive in understanding diversity. I suggest reading Dionysius the Areopagite and then Gregory Palamas carefully a number of times to get a grasp of diversity in simplicity. You will need to write a better critique of their position than Gregory’s opponents of the 14th Century. So far I find your theology inconsistent with Scripture and with logic. Creation cannot be necessary nor on the same level as the generation of the Son; to suggest such means that you may not have properly understood what Creation is and/or who the Son is both in difference and in similarity. It seems to me that you are equating where you should maintain distinction and dividing where you should see similarity. Finally, if God has free will then man must have free will. Without free will man cannot be saved because man cannot then be in the image of likeness of God. If God forces man’s salvation then he denies man’s salvation. I suggest that you think through this much more carefully.

  59. Drake,

    Try forming an argument.

    2nd. is there a distinction between person and nature in the Trinity or not?

  60. drake says:

    Perry, seeing that you have deleted my posts, and if you were concerned about the insults it seems you would have just deleted the insults instead of my entire post, the fact that you demand me to make an argument confuses me greatly.

  61. drake says:

    A reductio is an argument. The logical consequence of ionnas’ argument is that the human nature exemplifies divine attributes. That is a reductio argument.

    how would you know the arguments that I make if Perry deleted them?
    I have read Palamas, Farrell, Lossky, Florovsky, Yannaras, I’m trying to think, I have read so many Orthodox apologists in the last 7 months or so, sometimes I forget how many I have read. So now it’s my turn. Have you read Rutherford, Gellespie, Halyburton, Clark, Bannerman, Buchanan? I would venture to say I have read at least ten times as much on your tradition as you have on mine.

    Not too exclusive? Your critique is ful of assertions and lacking arguments, a reductio argument that commits me to not understanding what Creation is on your asserted model is not an argument.

    If God must have free will then man must, well, there it is, that solves it, I’m stumped Fr you got me.
    Your free will critique s the same mistkae in logic that Perry uses against my metaphysic in God’s mind. In my human nature paper I define what image of God means:

    The image of God : The image of God defined as the set of qualities: knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness (Col 3:10, Eph 4:24). Again, when Paul in 1 Cor 11:7 says “For a man ought not to have his head covered, since he is the image and glory of God” this does not mean that his head or body in general is part of the image of God for God has no body. His point is to say, that man who was created first is not to subject himself to any symbol of subordination in contrast with the woman for man was directly made in the image of God while woman was made subsequently and indirectly through the mediate agency of man and has man as her federal head in a natural sense. Therefore soul, image of God, mind, and spirit may be considered synonymous based on their contextual use. How we are individuated from Angels in this respect is unrevealed and I wish to keep it there.

    To assert that God’s image is in some cosmic parallel with ours, i.e. free will must be the same in every sense as man’s is ludicrous, what are the consequences, God’s jealousy is the same as ours, wrong, God’s anger is the same as ours, wrong, God is subject to the same morals as we are, wrong, God cannot commit adltery he has no body, God cannot steal he owns everything. It would follow from your logic, if God has no higher moral standard then men have no higher moral standard, because men are mad ein the imgae of God. Your pagan natural law manifests itself.

    Creation neccesaary as generation “on the same level”. This is ambigious, Florovsky on Palamas; Essence and Energy is just as confused as you. The issue that I am getting at is that there is one eternal act that has accomplished all things pon my system of theology and to see a distinction in God as if at one point in time he wills the generation of the Son and then later he wills the cretion of the world is a direct denial of immutability. But then we go back to the attributes debate that I need to study more on before I go into that.

  62. Drake,

    A good portion of what you wrote was either copy/psted from your blog or already addressed.

    You seem to think that there is no way to make a coherent distinction between person and nature. So I will ask again, is there a distinction between person and nature in the Trinity or no?

  63. Bratislav says:


    Perry deleted, as far as I can tell, one of your posts. If you are so cocerned with having your arguments heard and having civil discourse perhaps could apologise and repost your arguments minus the crap. Truth be told, I wish you would.

  64. “A reductio is an argument. The logical consequence of ionnas’ argument is that the human nature exemplifies divine attributes. That is a reductio argument. “

    That assumes that the Orthodox equate energies with attributes.

    An attribute isn’t a property.

    The view entails that the humanity of Christ exemplifies divine energies. And?

    Of course Athanasius says as much in On the Decree of the Nicene Council, “The Logos is not diminished by the assumption of the body, but rather it makes the body divine…” PG, 25. 440. Now I suppose I get to watch you blast Athanasius as a heretic and a fool.

    Col 2:12, Eph 4:12,13 indicate the same is true of us with respect to exemplication of the divine energies.

    “I have read Palamas, Farrell, Lossky, Florovsky, Yannaras, I’m trying to think, I have read so many Orthodox apologists in the last 7 months or so, sometimes I forget how many I have read. So now it’s my turn. Have you read Rutherford, Gellespie, Halyburton, Clark, Bannerman, Buchanan? I would venture to say I have read at least ten times as much on your tradition as you have on mine.”
    This at best puts you in a position to know. It does not demonstrate that you do know.

    I doubt you’ve read all their works. But fair enough. Ten times the reading doesn’t obviously entail ten times the understanding. So noting what you’ve read doesn’t help your claims.

    “Not too exclusive? Your critique is ful of assertions and lacking arguments, a reductio argument that commits me to not understanding what Creation is on your asserted model is not an argument.”
    Asserting that his remarks are full of assertions and is lacking in terms of argument is itself an assertion. Thanks for being self refuting.

    “If God must have free will then man must, well, there it is, that solves it, I’m stumped Fr you got me. Your free will critique s the same mistkae in logic that Perry uses against my metaphysic in God’s mind.”

    Uhm, nothing you wrote touched my demonstration that your twin doctrines of simplicity and idealism commit you to pantheism. If with your paper and a hard drive example having the same information, this didn’t help for a very obvious reason. If you’d read Farrell, you’d know it. The analogy works only if these are two different things in God, but given that you are an idea in God’s mind and given simplicity, God is what he has, and he has you as an idea, God is you. This is why your analogy doesn’t work. Trying to retreat to epistemology won’t help either since it is something that God knows, namely himself qua idea.

    “In my human nature paper I define what image of God means:The image of God : The image of God defined as the set of qualities: knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness (Col 3:10, Eph 4:24). Again, when Paul in 1 Cor 11:7 says “For a man ought not to have his head covered, since he is the image and glory of God” this does not mean that his head or body in general is part of the image of God for God has no body. His point is to say, that man who was created first is not to subject himself to any symbol of subordination in contrast with the woman for man was directly made in the image of God while woman was made subsequently and indirectly through the mediate agency of man and has man as her federal head in a natural sense. Therefore soul, image of God, mind, and spirit may be considered synonymous based on their contextual use. How we are individuated from Angels in this respect is unrevealed and I wish to keep it there.”

    Your gloss on Paul is Pelagian. Righteousness isn’t a natural property but a personal one. It also entails that human choices overthrew the divine will as to what would constitute human nature.

    “To assert that God’s image is in some cosmic parallel with ours, i.e. free will must be the same in every sense as man’s is ludicrous, what are the consequences, God’s jealousy is the same as ours, wrong, God’s anger is the same as ours, wrong, God is subject to the same morals as we are, wrong, God cannot commit adltery he has no body, God cannot steal he owns everything. It would follow from your logic, if God has no higher moral standard then men have no higher moral standard, because men are mad ein the imgae of God. Your pagan natural law manifests itself.”

    The fact that humans can fulfill the same conditions on knowledge or freedom doesn’t entail that their emotional states are the “same” as God’s. You are equivocating on “same.” Free action doesn’t entail embodiement since angels have it too, so comparisons with bodily acts is also a mistake.

    “Creation neccesaary as generation “on the same level”. This is ambigious, Florovsky on Palamas; Essence and Energy is just as confused as you. The issue that I am getting at is that there is one eternal act that has accomplished all things pon my system of theology and to see a distinction in God as if at one point in time he wills the generation of the Son and then later he wills the cretion of the world is a direct denial of immutability. But then we go back to the attributes debate that I need to study more on before I go into that.”

    Again, more insults and assertions-no argument. You also keep assuming that to act differently entails temporal existence. This needs to be demonstrated, not assumed. If The Father eternally wills the generation of the Son it doesn’t follow that the Trinity in willing in eternity the creation of the world wills it necessarily. If your doctrine of immutability entails that creation is an extension of the divine being (which I demonstrated that it does) then your view of immutability must be mistaken on pain of denying creation ex nihilo. Either way you deny a cardinal doctrine of Christianity. That should be a big clue that you’ve made a major screw up somewhere up the line.

    This has already been addressed repeatedly and all we get served up are more assertions and insulting remarks. You need to focus and present a premised argument. Otherwise there is nothing worthwhile to discuss with you.

  65. drake says:

    So perry if I continue to go down the line of your posts and answer them are you going to delete what I say. I am not going to continuwe posting here if you are just going to delete what I say. Please no lectures, your self exalted resume has proven yourself an unfit moral lecturer so a yes or no answer will suffice.

  66. drake says:

    the first statement is a question, I can’t punctuate today.

  67. Drake,

    Again, you can’t seem discuss without casting insults. I was going to permit you to post again, but you seem not to have learned how to keep to the argument and stay away from making personal remarks.

  68. Drake,

    Thanks for your response. I have taken some time to read sections of your paper to which you provided a link.

    Drake indeed you have read much more of Orthodox theology than I have of the authors whom you mention. If there is a particular point that you think are better explained by those authors then please direct me to them with that issue in mind. Dionysius on the Divine Names, Chapter 1 is quite relevant to the issues here.

    Yes, I did rather assert some things than argue them (although this has been done already by the Fathers) with the aim to see your response and counter arguments to allow further development of these issues where I was not satisfied with the arguments from your paper and other comments. I will provide more arguments now to address your responses.

    The reason I mentioned understanding creation and who the Son is is because creation has a beginning, otherwise it would be God, and the Son is without beginning, otherwise he would not be God. So, how can there be one eternal act that accomplishes both the generation before time and the creation with time? Are you permitting diversity in simplicity and have distinctions with the act so that the generation is a distinct aspect of the act and the creation is another aspect? One aspect happens eternally and the other with time? A too exclusive interpretation would deny that the one act could have such distinctions and so the result would be that it is either the same to say that the Son is created and creation generated as it is to say that the Son is generated and creation created, (or, for that matter, that the Spirit is generated and the Son proceeds) or that there must be different acts. Is your understanding of creation such that it doesn’t need a beginning or of the Son that he has a beginning? Your response seems to suggest that you think the Son’s generation happened at a point in time because you contrast this with my suggesting that creation happens at another point in time. Rather I would say that time is part of creation; it starts when creation starts but the Son already is, he doesn’t start.

    Your critique of my assertion regarding man being in God’s image is a rather a critique of me asserting that God is made in man’s image. It confuses the actions of free will with free will itself. The fact that man can sin proves that he has free will because God would deny himself if he was the cause of sin. Can you come up with another cause of sin that is not controlled by God? If there is no free will, as you assert, then all actions must be the result of cause and effect and return to the only one to have free will, which is God. Thus, God is the cause of sin. Either that or it is random, which would deny God’s sovereign control over everything. Free will does not deny God’s sovereign control because God permits this so that man can share in his life because he wants man to be as he is. (cf. 1 Peter 1:16) For God to deny man free will would be for God to deny his own purpose in creating man; he would contradict himself. Also, why give commandments if man was not free? Commandments only make sense if one is free to follow them or not.

    According to St John Chrysostom, the primary aspect of the being in the image of God is that of ruling. We reign with Christ, we are not merely the slaves of God but fellow rulers with him. Please explain how we can rule without a free will. Surely, one must have a free will to rule otherwise one is merely ruled and incapable of ruling.

  69. ioannis says:


    “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever”

    What’s the immutability that that verse speaks of if not the immutability of the person of Word despite the hypostatic union of the two natures?
    Is it possible that the verse refers to the immutability of the divine nature? No, because Jesus Christ is not a name of the divine nature, otherwise the Father and the Holy Spirit are called Jesus Christ as well. That would be Sabellianism I guess.
    Is it possible that the verse refers to the human nature or to a supposed human hypostasis of Jesus Christ? No, because everything human is created, coming out of non being into being and therefore not immutable.
    Consequently, I believe that we can understand that verse only under the light of the hypostatic immutability of Logos which proves that the One Person doctrine is correct.

    Don’t you agree?

  70. We’re sorry, Drake can’t come to the blog right now. His comment priviliges have been suspended.

  71. ioannis says:


    I can not see why you got the impression that, in mentioning Hebrews 13:8, I deny the distintion and the difference of the two natures. If I believed that it would mean that I believe that the union created a new kind of nature both human and divine and that the divine nature is changeable. In such a case I wouldn’t cite a verse which speaks about immutability.
    Jesus Christ is a name of the person and not of nature.

  72. Jason Loh says:

    Drake, I’m afraid you too have not really understood and therefore incapable engaging Eastern Orthodoxy. The Reformed is more sectarian and just as fundamentalist than I have thought.

  73. Jnorm888 says:

    Drakeshelton is on youtube now. He just made 4 videos against Orthodoxy. As seen here:

    My friend David already responded to one of them:


  74. Jnorm,

    Thanks, but I am not worried.

  75. Jnorm888 says:

    He said in the comments of one of his videos that something was wrong with a disc in the spine of his lower back, and that’s why he was laying down in some of the vids for it was too painful to sit up at times. I also saw a half empty bottle of wisky in one of the vids and so, I think he is in alot of pain.

    I could be wrong, but this could explain his rude and mean comments. Pray for him.


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