Friday, December 30, 2005

Homoousion

Just for fun I thought I would throw out a theological word and definition every once in a while.

The Theological word for today is...

Homoousion-

A Greek term, literally meaning "of the same substance," which came to be used extensively during the fourth century to designate the main-stream Christological belief that Jesus Christ was "of the same substance as God." The term was polemical, being directed against the Arian view that Christ was "of similar substance" (homoiousious) to God.

6 Comments:

At Saturday, December 31, 2005 2:46:00 PM, Blogger Joshua Ritchie said...

Thanks for the word, Doug. I'm not sure I can pronounce it. Nevertheless, have a Happy New Year. God bless and thanks for your faithfulness. -- Josh

 
At Monday, January 02, 2006 5:56:00 PM, Blogger Herobill said...

You say "potatoe"
I say "potat-o"
Let's call the council of Nicea!
:)

 
At Wednesday, January 04, 2006 2:18:00 PM, Blogger T.B. Vick said...

Hey Doug,

you stated:
". . . belief that Jesus Christ was "of the same substance as God."

Actually a better way of formulating the doctrine is that the Son is of the same substance as the Father and Holy Spirit.

Not trying to be picky - although they were at Nicaea, but the way you have it stated actually draws a distinction between God and Jesus. Jesus the Son is God, he is not as the same substance as God since he already is God.

The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are all of the same substance/essence.

So a better way of putting it would be, Jesus Christ, the Son, is of the same substance as God the Father.

Hope this response does not come across as too pedantic (sorry if it does). Great theological/Greek word by the way.

 
At Wednesday, January 04, 2006 3:07:00 PM, Blogger Doug E. said...

Hey T.B.

I like to hear your thoughts. I actually pulled this from Alistair Magrath's book "Historical Theology."

You are most likely right that it could be worded better. The point they were trying to make was that Jesus is the same substance as God.

Regarding the distinction of Jesus and God, this is where the Trinity gets complicated because even though they are the same substance (and essence) they are distinct. On top of that, the term substance (in my understanding) carries with it the idea of sameness. If something is of the same substance it is it, not distinct from it.

Wow! now I'm confused and over my head! :-) Thanks for your thoughts. I would love to hear more.

Doug

 
At Wednesday, January 04, 2006 9:44:00 PM, Blogger T.B. Vick said...

Does McGrath actually word it like this: "Jesus is the same substance as God" because what that does, in that wording, is confuse the Trinity.

For instance:
The Father (Person) = God (essence)
The Son (Person) = God (essence)
The Holy Spirit (Person) = God (essence)

The above three are three in persons and one in essence (or substance). So for someone to declare that Jesus is the same substance as God is like saying Jesus is the same substance as the Father/Son/Holy Spirit - and Jesus is already God.

I hope that makes sense. The best book to read about this whole issue is Athansius' work titled On the Incarnation. I actually have a link to Amazon for this book."

So the Trinity is best understood as three in persons one in essence.

 
At Wednesday, January 04, 2006 9:48:00 PM, Blogger Doug E. said...

Todd,

That is how McGrath words it. I copied it out of the Glossary of that book.

But now I'm starting to see what you mean. Trying to get it through my thick skull can take some time. I wonder if he was using the term God in the sense of God the father. That's how I had read it, but your way is definitely more precise. Thanks for pointing that out. I always want to try and use the most precise language I can when talking about these things.

I've been wanting to read Athansius, because I know he was the one to nail this down for the Church, so thanks for the heads up.


God Bless,

Doug

 

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