Concerning The “Logos Asarkos”: Interacting With Robert W. Jenson -- By: Oliver D. Crisp

Journal: Southern Baptist Journal of Theology
Volume: SBJT 19:1 (Spring 2015)
Article: Concerning The “Logos Asarkos”: Interacting With Robert W. Jenson
Author: Oliver D. Crisp


Concerning The “Logos Asarkos”: Interacting With Robert W. Jenson

Oliver D. Crisp

Oliver D. Crisp is Professor of Systematic Theology at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, CA. Previously he taught at the Universities of St. Andrews and Bristol in the United Kingdom. He has also had postdoctoral fellowships at The University of Notre Dame and at The Center of Theological Inquiry, Princeton. He is the author and editor of numerous books including for example, Deviant Calvinism: Broadening Reformed Theology (Fortress, 2014); Advancing Trinitarian Theology: Explorations in Constructive Dogmatics (Zondervan, 2014), co-edited with Fred Sanders; God Incarnate: Explorations in Christology (T & T Clark, 2009); and Divinity and Humanity: The Incarnation Reconsidered (Cambridge, 2007).

Abstract

Robert W. Jenson has recently written a short article clarifying his argument against the doctrine of the Logos asarkos (Word without flesh). In this article I offer a critique of his remarks, showing that his reasoning has two consequences that are problematic. First, it implies that the Second Person of the Trinity incarnate has parts. Second, it raises significant concerns for divine impassibility.

Introduction

In a recent article, Robert W. Jenson has offered a clarification of his views on the Logos asarkos.1 It provides readers of Jenson’s work with a helpful addendum (though not retraction) to his previously published works on the matter of the Logos asarkos. This, very roughly, is the idea that the Word of God, the Second Person of the Trinity, in some sense pre-exists his incarnate,

or creaturely state; that he exists in some sense “without flesh” or asarkos as well as “enfleshed” or ensarkos.2

Jenson is implacably opposed to the idea that there is some state prior to his being incarnate in which the Word of God exists without flesh. In his paper he explains that his previous work does not constitute crypto-Arianism, as some critics have claimed, because he does not hold to the idea that the Word begins to exist at the first moment of the Incarnation, nor that Christ begins to exist at the first moment of the Incarnation—provided we are careful about what we mean by such phrases. What Jenson means, it seems, is that Christ eternally exists as the Second Person of the Trinity. Christ is identical to the Second Person of the Trinity so that there is nothing above and beyond the Word Incarnate’s relation to the Fathe...

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