tisdag 10 juni 2014

Against Arians on John 14:28

I expressed myself with some apparent irreverence about the Son on the Cross, as being the "Little Boy" (eternally) of the eternal Father.

This does not mean I believe the Son is lesser than the Father, it means I believe the kind of Love they have is such as we see here on earth when a little boy "flies on the wings" of his "bird play" towards his father also opening arms to hug him.

And that this Sonship was in Him on the Cross too. I believe I have here earned acquittal of the charge of real irreverence.

Some may have been concerned I was being Arian, which is not the case, and so I found on CMI a rebuttal against the JW sect. It included a reference to their three prooftexts. Or supposed such. I will first give the Haydock comment on each and then add a personal note on John 14:28.

Colossians* 1:15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of every creature:

16 *For in him were all things created in heaven, and on earth, visible, and invisible, whether thrones, or dominations, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and in him:

17 And he is before all, and by him all things consist.

First of all, if he "is before all" he is as little part of Creation as He would be a person ultimately dependent on Abraham whom instead He preceded in His Divinity.

But since some Arians have not denied every kind of divinity to Christ, only such as is equal to the Father and have therefore said the Father created Him and then created the rest for and through Him, I will give the Church Fathers through the Haydock Comment:

Ver. 15. The first[2] born of every creature. St. Chrysostom takes notice against the Arians, that the apostle calls Christ the first-begotten, or first-born, not the first created, because he was not created at all. And the sense is, that he was before all creatures, proceeding from all eternity from the Father; though some expound the words of Christ as man, and that he was greater in dignity. See Romans viii. 29. (Witham)

Ver. 16. Thrones, &c. are commonly understood to refer to the celestial hierarchy of Angels, though as to their particular rank, &c. nothing certain is known. We may here observe, that the Holy Spirit proportions itself and speaks according to our ideas of a temporal kingdom, in which one authority is subject to another. In the same manner the Angels seem subordinate to one another. (St. Dionysius in Calmet)

All things were created by him, and in him, and[3] consist in him. If all things that are were made by him, he himself was not made. And his divine power is also signified, when it is said all things consist or are preserved by him. (Witham)

One can of course add that the angels carrying sun, moon, planets and stars would probably be in the orders here referred to: ... whether thrones, or dominations, or principalities, or powers ...

Isaias* 9:6 For a child is born to us, and a son is given to us, and the government is upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called, Wonderful, Counsellor, God the Mighty, the Father of the world to come, the Prince of Peace.

Ver. 6. Child. The Messias, whom the son of Isaias prefigured.

Shoulder. Where the badges of royalty were worn. (Calmet)

Christ bore his cross. (Tertullian, &c.)

Wonderful. In his birth, &c.

Counsellor. From whom all good advice proceeds. Grotius falsely translates, "the consulter of the strong God," meaning Ezechias. Though he deemed the Socinians unworthy of the Christian name, (Ep. ad Valleum.) he too often sides with them. Johets always means one who "gives counsel," chap. xl. 13. Ezechias was at this time ten years old, and he did not always take advice, nor was his reign peaceful, &c.

God. The three Greek versions maliciously render El "the strong," though it be uncertain that it ever has that meaning, as it certainly has not when joined with gibbor, "mighty." Why should two terms of the same import be used? The Septuagint copies vary much. Some read only, "he shall be called the angel of the great council, for I will bring peace upon the princes and his health." St. Jerome thinks they were afraid to style the child God. But this reason falls to the ground, as other copies have, (Calmet) after council, "Wonderful, Counsellor, God, the Mighty, the Potent, exousiaszes, the Prince of Peace, the Father of the world to come, for, &c., (7.) His." Grabe (de Vitiis lxx. p. 29.) asserts that the former is the genuine version, and that the inserted titles are a secondary one; so that there must have been two version before the days of Aquila, as the text is thus quoted at large by Clement and St. Iræneus, the year of the Lord 180; Kennicott adds also by St. Ignatius, the year of the Lord 110. (Haydock)

The omnipotent God became a little child, and without violence subdued the world, which he still governs. (Worthington)

St. John* 14:28 You have heard that I said to you: I go away, and I come again to you. If you loved me, you would indeed be glad, because I go to the Father: for the Father is greater than I.

Ver. 28. The Father is greater than I.[3] According to the common exposition, Christ here speaks of himself, as made man, which interpretation is drawn from the circumstances of the text, Christ being at that time, going to suffer, and die, and shortly after to rise again, and ascend into heaven, all which agree with him, as man, and according to his human nature. But the Arians can take no advantage from these words, (though with divers of the ancient Fathers, we should allow them to be spoken of Christ, as the Son of God:) the Father may be said in some manner to be greater than the Son, if we consider the order of the divine processions, that is, that the Father is the first person, and proceeds from no other; whereas the Son proceeds from the Father. If any one, says St. Chrysostom, will contend, that the Father is greater, inasmuch as he is the cause, from which the Son proceedeth, we will bear with him, and this way of speaking: provided he grant that the Son is not of a different substance, or nature. St. Athanasius allows the same, and takes notice, that though the Father is said to be greater, yet he is not said to be better, nor more excellent, than the Son; because they are one and the same in substance, nature, and other perfections. (Witham)

The enemies of the divinity of Christ here triumph, and think they have the confession of Christ himself, that he is less than the Father. But if they would distinguish the two natures of Christ, their arguments would all fall to the ground. Jesus Christ, as man, and a creature, is inferior to his Father, the Creator; but, as God, he is, in every respect, equal to him. (St. Basil, St. Augustine, &c.)

Others, likewise, answer it thus: Following the confused opinion of the world, and even of the apostles themselves, who as yet only considered Christ as a prophet, and as a man, eminent in virtue and sanctity, he was less than the Father. (St. Chrysostom; Leont.; Theophylactus; Euthymius)

And likewise the title of Father, (as we generally use the word) is greater, and much more honourable, than that of Son; and in this respect, Christ is inferior to his Father. (St. Athanasius; St. Hilary; St. Epiphanius; St. Gregory of Nazianzus; and St. Cyril)

But this appellation, though really true, does not destroy the equality of the persons, because Christ has declared, in numerous other places, that he is equal to the Father; that he is in the Father; and that he and the Father are one. The apostles ought to have rejoiced that Christ was going to the Father, who was superior to him, considering him in his human nature; because, then, would the Son shew forth his honour and glory to be equal to the Father's, in heaven. This would have been a mark of a pure, solid, and disinterested love, which ought to have inspired the apostles, if they truly loved their divine Master. (Calmet)

Protestants assume to themselves the liberty of making the Bible only, the exclusive rule of faith, yet refuse this privilege to others. Thus Luther insisted, that his catechism should be taught, and followed. Calvin burnt Servetus for explaining his faith, by his own interpretation of the Bible, particularly of these words, the Father is greater than I. The Church of England compels every clergyman to swear to the Thirty-nine Articles, and has inflicted the severest penalties on such as interpreted the Bible according to the principles of Socinus; and on Catholics, who understand the words of Jesus Christ, This is my body: this is my blood, in the literal and obvious sense of the words. As long as each individual is at liberty to expound Scripture by the private spirit, it is a great injustice to compel any one, by penal laws, to yield his judgment to any authority, that is not less fallible than his own.

Now for my personal note. I totally agree that Christ is here speaking about His human nature. In His Divine Nature He neither goes away from them nor comes back to them. Nobody and nothing can exist a moment without it. But He is speaking specifically as the Son of David too. Chapter is 14, verse is 28 = 2*14. And David is Daleth - Vav - Daleth = 4+6+4 = 14.

So, Heaven is here also called a Davidic kingdom. And in the Davidic court, the Mother of the King is Queen. Not "malkit", I think, but (certainly) "gebirah". That means that the Blessed Virgin Mary is indeed Queen Mother in the full Davidic sense of Heaven.

I got notice of this from CMI** in an article which also clears Young Earth Creationists from the charge of being disciples of JW:

As I approached she commented on the lovely day and a pretty section of our garden. This was her opening from which to launch about the creator of these things. As JW’s do not believe in a biblical creation, but in a combination of ‘day age’ and Genesis 1:1 as an indeterminate amount of time within which to fit ‘true science’, this seemed a bit impertinent.

Might seem familiar to some who may have a preference for Catholics being into Georges Lemaître ...? And in case Mark Ambler be accused of having invented this, I took an Awake! from their stand and got a Watchtower inside it.*** The March 2014 issue of Awake! does contain their confession of Old-Earthism and therefore does clear Young Earth Creationists of a suspicion of being JW or unduly influenced by them.

Hans Georg Lundahl
Nanterre UL
Pentecost Tuesday
10 / VI / 2014

* All Bible quotes and commentary quotes from Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary, 1859 edition.

COLOSSIANS - Chapter 1

ISAIAS - Chapter 9

ST. JOHN - Chapter 14

** CMI : Creation and a cult
Challenging a Jehovah’s Witness with creation
by Marc Ambler
Published: 10 June 2014 (GMT+10)

*** I usually do not touch Watchtower at all, if I can avoid it. This sample was however of some interest. But their March number for 2014 for Awake! - to get back to it - on pages 4 to 7 in the French edition repeatedly state the days were not necessarily 24 hours long. Meaning they do not agree with me thereon, and thus I should not be blamed for "agreeing with them" when in fact I do not.

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