Comprehending The Eternal Union Of God -- By: Richard C. Gamble

Journal: Reformed Presbyterian Theological Journal
Volume: RPTJ 02:1 (Fall 2015)
Article: Comprehending The Eternal Union Of God
Author: Richard C. Gamble


Comprehending The Eternal Union Of God

Richard Gamble

Professor of Systematic Theology at Reformed
Presbyterian Theological Seminary

Introduction: Difficulties Comprehending The Doctrine Of God.

The unity and diversity of the Trinity is a true mystery. There are different possible approaches, whether conducting an historical analysis of Augustine’s On the Trinity or an exegetical analysis of John 17. Perhaps the topic is best expressed through the well-delineated Athanasian Creed. While this article will not be an exposition of the content of the creed, it will provide an analysis of the theological and philosophical assumptions and presuppositions necessary for us to understand the content of the creed. Understanding the presuppositions of God’s eternal union will aid in comprehending union with Christ which is the theme of the other articles in this journal.

There are problems with the word “comprehending” in the title. We have to deal with what factors are necessary for people to “comprehend” complex Biblical truth. The first task is to analyze the nature of the language that we use to speak of this Divine phenomenon.

Language

The place to begin discussion is the medium of discussion itself: language. There are at least three types of language used in the Bible as well as in common life. While there are a number of possible words to describe those types, we speak of ordinary language, scientific language, and poetic language.

To make the different types clear, here are some biblical examples, all of which concern wheat. An example of ordinary language comes from Genesis 30:14, “In the days of wheat harvest Reuben went and found mandrakes in the field….” A scientific use is from Ezra 7:21-22, “And I, Artaxerxes the king, make a decree to all the treasurers in the province beyond the river: Whatever Ezra the priest, the scribe of the Law of the God of heaven, requires of you, let it be done with all diligence, up to 100 talents of silver, 100 cors of wheat....” Here the King made an order for a specific amount of wheat that was able to be weighed and measured. The unit of measure was called a cor which was about 6 bushels. This description of wheat has scientific precision.

The final example is poetic. Song of Solomon 7:2, “Your navel is a rounded bowl that never lacks mixed wine. Your belly is a heap of wheat, encircled with lilies.” In this verse the author was describing a woman’s body part. If we read this description with either scientific or even ordinary lang...

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