[D]    CHRIST: supplementary materials

D1.    Only begotten Son (Question 39)

a. monogenes appears 9 times in NT b. In John’s writings, huios (son) is reserved for Jesus alone; He is often referred to as huios theou (Son of God). Christians are referred to as tekna theou (children of God) although they are referred to as huios theou (sons of God) in other NT books.

c. The word monogenes, with its variants, occurred in Greek literature of 8th century BC poet Hesiod. Thereafter it appears in works of many authors. Literally monogenes means "sole descent" or "the only child of one’s parents".

d. The word was also used in the sense of "peerless", "matchless", "unique", "incomparable", "of singular importance", or "the only one of its kind". The ideas have more to do with quality than derivation or descent. Later usage showed that both meanings were common.

e. The Septuagint usage of the word was also varied. In the case of Isaac, he was described as Abraham’s "favoured" , "chosen", or "unique" but not the only son. Some other usage may also carry the idea of "beloved" or "best-loved".

f. In the 1st century, Clement of Rome used the word to mean "the only one of its kind".

g. The term "only begotten" came from the traditional translation of the Greek word monogenes. However, the translation is inaccurate.

  h. The term monogenes huios in John is best translated as "one and only Son", not the traditional "only begotten Son".

i. When the Arians challenged that the word indicated that Christ was created. The Church Fathers did not have a satisfactory reply so they only added the words "not created" in the creeds, with the explanation that "only begotten" means "the Son was the only begotten by the Father from eternity past".

j. Church Fathers took the word as connected with the root of the Greek verb gennao meaning generate or beget, hence the English translation "only begotten". Study of Greek writings before the 1st century proved that monogenes is not derived from the root gennao, but is derived from genos, kind or class.

k. The word therefore means "in a class by Himself" or "the only one of His kind" or in other words "unique", "peerless", "matchless", "incomparable". Thus the NIV correctly translated the term "the One and Only". The doctrine of eternal generation was thus a mistake.

D2.    Person of Christ (Question 42) a. Preincarnate:
  (1) Existed eternally before creation
(2) Participated in creation (3) Manifested Himself in the OT b. Divine nature:
  (1) Possesses divine attributes
(2) Possesses divine offices (3) Possesses divine prerogatives (4) Identified with the OT Yahweh (5) Possesses divine names (6) Possesses divine relations (7) Accepts divine worship (8) Claims Himself to be God c. Human nature
  (1) Had a human birth
(2) Had a human development (3) Had the essential elements of human nature (4) Had human names (5) Had the sinless infirmities of human nature (6) Was repeatedly called a man d. Union of natures e. Character
  • Absolutely holy
  • Possesses genuine love
  • Truly humble
  • Thoroughly meek
  • Perfectly balanced
  • Lived a life of prayer

  • D3.    Kenosis: Christ emptied Himself (Question 43)

    a. Kenotic (Gr. kenosis ) theories: (Php 2:7 "made Himself nothing", NIV; "emptied Himself", NRSV, NASB; supporting verses: 2Co 8:9; Jn 17:5)
      (1) Christ emptied Himself of divine consciousness: The Son of God laid aside His participation in the Godhead when he became a man. All the attributes of His deity literally ceased when the incarnation occurred. The Logos became a soul residing in the human Jesus.

    (2) Christ emptied Himself of eternity form of being: The Logos exchanged His eternity-form for a time-form bound down by human nature. In this time-form Christ no longer had all the attributes commensurate with Deity, though He could use supernatural powers.

    (3) Christ emptied Himself of relative attributes of Deity: This view differentiates between essential attributes, such as truth and love, and those that relate to the created universe, such as omnipotence and omnipresence. (Fairbairn)

    (4) Christ emptied Himself of integrity of infinite divine existence: At Christ’s incarnation the Logos took up a double life. One "life centre" continued to function consciously in the Trinity while the other became incarnated with human nature, unaware of the cosmic functions of Deity. (Martensen)

    (5) Christ emptied Himself of divine activity: The Logos turned over all of His divine roles and duties to the Father. The incarnate Logos was unaware of the happenings within the Godhead.

    (6) Christ emptied Himself of actual exercise of divine prerogatives: The Logos retracted the mode of the divine attributes from the realm of the actual to the potential. He retained His divine consciousness but renounced the conditions of infinity and its form.

    (7) Christ emptied Himself of the use of the divine attributes: The Logos possessed the divine attributes but chose not to use them. (Walvoord, Carson)

    (8) Christ emptied Himself of the independent exercise of the divine attributes: The Logos always possessed and could utilize the prerogatives of Deity but always in submission to and by the power of the Father and the Holy Spirit. The incarnate Christ never did anything independently by virtue of His own Deity. (Strong, Oden) Jn 3:34 "God gives the Spirit without limit" to the One sent by the Father.

    (9) Christ emptied Himself of the insignia of majesty, the prerogatives of Deity: The Logos emptied Himself of the outward form of Deity. (This view is vague as to what is precisely meant.)

    b. Erickson's Explanation:
    c. Danger of believing any limitation in Christ’s kenosis (Musick, Wheaton College): d. Berkhof’s Explanation: e. Buswell’s Explanation: f. Difficulty in Mk 13:32 and Mt 24:36 that the Son does not know the day of His second coming: D4.    Theories of Atonement (Question 45) [Italics indicate theories not given in the notes.]
    a. Ransom or Payment to Satan (Origen): Christ’s death was a ransom paid to Satan to purchase captive man from Satan’s claims (Mt 20:28; Mk 10:45; 1Co 6:20).

    b. Recapitulation (Irenaeus): Christ in His life recapitulated all the stages of human life, in so doing reversed the course initiated by Adam (Ro 5:15-21; Heb 2:10).

    c. Dramatic (Aulen): Christ is Victor in a divine conflict of good and evil and wins man’s release from bondage (Mt 20:28; Mk 10:45; 1Co 15:51-57).

    d. Mystical (Schleiermacher): Christ took on a human, sinful nature but through the power of the Holy Spirit triumphed over it. A knowledge of this will mystically influence man (Heb 2:10,14-18; 4:14-16).

    e. Example (Pelagius, Socinus, Abelard): Christ’s death provided an example of faith and obedience to inspire man to be obedient (1Pe 2:21; 1Jn 2:6).

    f. Moral influence (Abelard, Bushnell, Rashdall): Christ’s death demonstrated God’s love, which causes man’s heart to soften and repent (Ro 5:8; 2Co 5:17-19; Php 2:5-11; Col 3:24).

    g. Commercial or Satisfaction (Anselm): Christ’s death brought infinite honour to God. So God gave Christ a reward which He did not need, and Christ passed it on to man (Jn 10:18).

    h. Governmental (Grotius): Christ’s death demonstrates God’s high regard for His law. It shows God’s attitude toward sin. Through Christ’s death God has a rationale to forgive the sins of those who repent and accept Christ’s substitutionary death (Ps 2; 5; Isa 42:21).

    i. Penal substitution (Calvin): Christ’s death was a vicarious (substitutionary) sacrifice that satisfied the demands of God’s justice upon sin, bringing forgiveness, imputing righteousness, and reconciling man to God (Jn 11:50-52; Ro 5:8-9; Titus 2:14; 1Pe 3:18).