Kevin Giles has felt obligated to respond to the portion of my Trinity-Ekstasis that is devoted to critiquing his own work on the Trinity, and as I promised, I have allowed him to present his response on Tekton itself. 

Click here for Sunlyk's original article. Click here for Sunlyk's response to what Giles offers below.

 

Kevin Giles Replies to Phantaz Sunlyk

The Orthodox Doctrine of the Trinity: Who is Deceived?

Kevin Giles

 

Friends in Sydney have written to me and phoned to tell me that the work of an American university student, Phantazhew Sunlyk, has been put on the Anglican web site and is being advertised. It denigrates me as a person, my work on the Trinity and argues that the Son of God is eternally subordinated to the Father.  I had decided to ignore Sunlyk’s work after 14 email exchanges with him because I found much of what he said to me offensive, rude and his mind quite fixed. He wanted our debate to go on and on for ever. I cannot, however, ignore his accusations any longer because my protagonists in Sydney are using his material to justify their view that the eternal subordination of the Son is historical orthodoxy.  Phantaz taunted me, daring me to try and answer him in the public domain. I now give him that answer because his friends in Sydney are promoting his ideas among Sydney evangelicals. This response is thus more directed to that audience than to Phantazhew Sunlyk.

 

If my Sydney evangelical brothers are really interested in what the Bible and historic orthodoxy teach on the Trinity I would have thought they might have put B B Warfield’s wonderful essay, “The Biblical Doctrine of the Trinity” (Biblical Foundations, pp 79-116) on the Anglican web site and advertised this. It was this exposition of the Trinity that Dr Broughton Knox recommended more than any other when I studied under him in the 60’s. He made it compulsory reading. I warmly commend it to the members of the doctrine commission and to other Sydney evangelicals who would really like to know what in fact is orthodoxy amid all these counter assertions. Warfield argues that the Bible and historic orthodoxy do not allow in the eternal Trinity any subordination in “subsistence” (the personal existence or being of the Son) or in “operations” (works). He only allows for a voluntary and temporal functional subordination of the Son “in the work of redemption.”  He is a defender of a “co-equal” Trinity. Like Professor Van Till of Westminster Seminary he believed that “a consistent biblical doctrine the Trinity would imply the complete rejection of all subordinationism.” (A Christian theory of Knowledge, p 104)

.

In this paper I make a response specifically to Phantazhew Sunlyk’s longest and latest  broadside against me and his latest attempt to substantiate the eternal subordination of the Son. It is called Trinity Ekstasis; A Theology of God the Father and Responses to Kevin Giles. At Phantazhew’s request I include his website address so that people can look up what he says for themselves. http://www.tektonics.org/guest/psekstasis.html. I think very little of this is new work so if you have read other things by him on his website or on the Anglican website you will have already discovered what he thinks.

 

It is to be recognised that Sunlyk, Moody, Baddeley and Doyle have been reading one another for some time and so there is a cross fertilization of ideas. The first three of those just mentioned are emailing each other regularly and passing on to each other material.  Because they often make the same criticism of me it should not be thought that we have independent minds at work. We have here rather a group of convinced subordinationists all reading the tradition through their common set of spectacles, that I think are out of focus and fogged. What everyone in Sydney needs to do is to get someone outside of their closed theological world to read Sunlyk, Moody, Baddeley and Doyle on the Trinity. A good place to start would be to ask any informed Roman Catholic to read this subordinationist literature. Be assured I have submitted my work to every informed trinitarian scholar that has been willing to read it. One of my readers was the Roman Catholic theologian, Dr Anne Hunt, Rector of Aquinas College, who has written four books on the Trinity. It should also be noted that IVP did not publish my book lightly. They were very concerned that I was accusing a large body of evangelicals of falling into heresy. They were not going to publish something that was at best ill-informed or mistaken and at worst deceptive and misleading. They sent the manuscript to four of the foremost evangelical theologians in America who all endorsed it in principle and some even in detail. (See back cover of the book for brief comments taken from their reports). In addition IVP gave me Gary Deddo, who holds a doctorate in Barth’s doctrine of the Trinity, as my editor.

 

So seriously do I take Sunlyk’s extreme accusations against my integrity, and the less extreme but parallel accusations that Robert Doyle and Mark Baddeley of Moore College have made, that I here make an offer to the Sydney Anglican doctrine commission now in session discussing the doctrine of the Trinity to put before them the manuscript of my forthcoming book for them to check all references to their writings, other scholars and the original sources. To be honest to the facts is one of my highest priorities.

 

One of the sad things in this painful debate is that I have been blocked from making a rational reply to Baddeley and Doyle. The editors of the Reformed Theological Review (Harman and A/B Jensen) would not allow me to write in answer to Baddeley although I pointed out that he was factually wrong on most of his key points, nor would the editor of the Southern Cross. The Briefing editor gave me 800 words to make a reply to Doyle on the understanding that he would be given my reply to refute and I would not be allowed to respond. Are my “friends” in Sydney really interested in what is the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity, or only in winning so as to keep women subordinate? I have always thought that open debate is a sign of maturity and of a commitment to truth and honesty.

 

Who is Phantazhew Sunlyk?

I have never met him but this is what he has told me in writing. (I am sorry to have to record the following but when someone calls you a liar (“deliberately deceptive”) repeatedly and Australian subordinationists with a massive personal agenda promote this character denigrating material no holds are barred. Phantazhew was given this section to read and I have made the minor corrections he requested.)

¨       He is an undergraduate BA student at the University of Montana. He is a laymen with no theological qualifications and no degree.

¨       For “the past several years” he says he has “almost completely abandoned” himself in his study of the doctrine of the Trinity. He writes, “The Trinity is what I live for – it casts its light upon every aspect of my though; it possesses me.” (Trinity Ekstasis, p 122) This all sounds a bit imbalanced to me. Phantaz ought to get a life for himself.

¨       Debating with people who disagree with him about the Trinity he says makes him sick. (Trinity Ekstasis, p 116) From my many emails with him I can see this. He gets so agitated that I once emailed him saying, if you lived nearby I would fear that you would firebomb my car or something worse.

¨       For some years he published articles on a website on subordinationism under the name of Phantaz Sunlyk, purporting to be a Roman Catholic scholar that supported the eternal subordination of the Son of God. Now Phantaz Sunlyk has admitted that he is Phantaz Sunlyk. It is was a pseudonym.

¨       Phantazhew Sunlyk cannot unambiguously endorse the Athanasian Creed, a creed binding on all Catholics and Anglicans. (Trinity Ekstasis, pp 117-118). After 14 email exchanges in which I got nowhere and was insulted in every one I put two questions to him. 1.  If you are an orthodox Roman Catholic as you say will you please endorse without reservations the Athanasian Creed and 2. give me one quote from any contemporary Roman Catholic theologian that speaks of the eternal subordination of the Son in any manner whatsoever.  Her could do neither so I refused to correspond with him any more. It is simply not true that he refused to write to me. He has sent me several emails since threatening to “expose” me if I do not interact with him.

¨       As Phantazhew cannot supply one quote from a respected Roman Catholic scholar that speaks of the eternal subordination of the Son this suggests he has a closed mind. He is so sure that the Son of God is eternally subordinated to the Father that support from learned Catholic theologians is not needed

¨       Phantazhew admitted he had never  read T F Torrance, probably the most significant protestant and ecumenical trinitarian theologian of the last 15 years. In his latest attack on me in Trinity Ekstasis he says he has just started reading Torrance’s, The Christian Doctrine of God.

 

The Sydney theologians who teach the eternal subordination of the Son also have not been able to find one quote from any contemporary mainline theologian supporting their position, definitely not one Roman Catholic. Comments about differentiation do not count. Orthodoxy is united in holding that differentiation does not entail subordinationism. Sorry. (To appeal to Karl Rahner borders on the absurd and no quote from Rahner to support the claim that he teaches the eternal subordination of the Son can be produced). So what my Sydney “friends” have done is brought forth Phantaz Sunlyk as “the international expert” to prove that Kevin Giles is wrong, his motives evil and his repudiation of the eternal subordination of the Son one big mistake. This suggests an element of desperation among a few diehards in Sydney.

 

It is my view that Phantazhew Sunlyk’s views are entirely his own. They do not represent informed Roman Catholic opinion. Indeed I think he is in seriously mistaken in all his key ideas. To check on this one would only need to give his Trinity-Ekstasis to any theologically informed Roman Catholic. 

 

(I accept that there a few comments in Barth that speak of a “subordination in God” but here we need to remember firstly that Barth is a dialectical theologian. On every issue he asserts opposing positions – the Bible is the word of God/the Bible is the word of man; Christ reveals the Father/ Christ conceals the Father; only those who believe in Christ will be saved/all will be saved. Secondly, that Barth speaks not of the eternal subordination of the Son but of a subordination “in God,” that is in the Godhead. The triune God is a God who stoops to save. And thirdly, Barth has a section in his Dogmatics (C/D 1.1, pp 381-382) repudiating “every from of subordinationism.” In my book I give an interpretation of Barth’s comments on subordination and I stand by these. See my, The Trinity and Subordinationism, pp 88-89. Nevertheless it is to be emphasised that my case does not rest on what Rahner or Barth say (Contra Baddeley). My primary historical authorities are Athanasius, the Cappadocians, Augustine, Calvin and particularly the Nicene and Athanasian Creeds and the Second Helvetic Confession.  It is these weighty secondary authorities that categorically oppose the idea that the Son is eternally subordinated to the Father that I draw readers attention to first of all.)

 

Phantazhew Sunlyk’s views.

In what follows I want to make a selective reply to Phantazhew Sunlyk’s over the top accusations and then cut and paste in a two sections from my forthcoming new book on the Trinity I am working on which deals with the key issues he raises in some detail for those interested in the facts in contention.

 

I have had some 14 email exchanges with Phantaz but in what follows I am responding to his 150 page essay, Trinity-Ekstasis, especially the introductory section where he begins his attack on me, section 2 on Athanasius and section four (pp 64ff) where he again gets stuck into me accusing me of being deceptive and incompetent. It is not often that an author has someone write 150 pages in refutation of what he says. Phantaz himself admits he can be a bit “obsessive”. I find his long section 3 almost useless. How a brief comment on 27 theologians, most of whom wrote voluminously, spanning almost 2000 years, could prove anything escapes me. I plan to say nothing at all on this section. I also plan to say nothing on his six different kinds of subordinationism. I simply find it confused and confusing. He tells us in the past he was committed to “eternal functional subordination” but now he wants to call this “onto-economic expressivism” – whatever that may be. A definition should add to clarity. This definition of his position is obfuscating and for this reason alone it is useless as a means of furthering rational theological discourse. I concede that if I wrote my chapter on subordinationism again I could do better. I was breaking new ground. Most modern discussions of the Trinity say little on subordinationism as they consider it a heresy condemned long ago.

 

Now to some specific matters.  I naturally take offence at the repeated accusations that I have deliberately set out to “deceive” people, that I am “purposively deceptive,” and other similar comments, and all I have written is “worthless.” I may be dead wrong, and I may have misread the evidence extensively or in places but these statements are hurtful, untrue and mischievous. I am sorry to hear that what Sunlyk says about me is being put around in Sydney by those who should know better. Sunlyk also claims that I evade the questions he put to me in his many emails. I did write back 14 times in reply to someone who then wrote back immediately with other questions or other accusations always in a rude and offensive manner. It is challenging to debate with someone when you are very busy and have a full life who has nothing else to do but push his idiosyncratic views on the Trinity

 

Many things he says on Athanasius I thoroughly agree with. He has read Athanasius and in all but one key area understood him, which is more than I can say for Baddeley and Doyle, I am sorry to say. Indeed at times he shows flashes of real theological insight. He is definitely no fool, even if he cannot see the wood from the trees. My one major difference with Phantaz Sunlyk on Athanasius is that I do not believe that Athanasius teaches the “sole rule” Monarchy of the Father, or that the Father is the “sole source” of the being or divinity of the Son and the Spirit. Tertullian definitely taught the “sole rule (monarchy) of the Father as did the Apologists. For them God the Father, a monad, is the one ruler, who shares his rule with the Son and the Spirit. This conceptualisation of God most scholars agree led them into incipient subordinationism. For Athansisus as he says many times God is not a monad but a Triad for all eternity. In particular he argues, and this is his most fundamental insight, there can be no Father without the Son and vice versa. Father and Son are correlatives. On this premise it is impossible for him to speak of the Father apart from the Son doing anything. On the rare occasions when Athanasius uses the Greek word monarche to mean “sole rule” he always uses it of the Father and the Son.  It is inconceivable for him to think that the Father and the Son are differentiated on the basis that the Father has some or greater authority than the Son.

 

In regard to the Father as the one source (monarche) of the being or divinity of the Son Athanasius at the very best is ambiguous. Professor’s Meijering and Torrance, two of the most learned Athanasian scholars, argue that he did not endorse this idea at all. They note that when Athanasius uses the word arche to mean “source,” he either denies that any person is the source of the Son, or he makes the Triad the source (arche) of all divinity. I give extended quotes from Athanasius (and footnote them and the secondary authorities that support my readings) in the third section of this essay where I include some of my research on Athansisus.

 

I stand by my claim that unlike the Cappadocians Athanasius does not make the Father the monarche of the being of the Son, and in this I follow Torrance among others. If I am wrong on this, and that is doubtful, my position is a respected scholarly opinion. It is not a deliberately concocted idea intended to deceive my readers.

 

Sunlyk finds what I call Athanasius’ rule very difficult (see Sunlyk, pp 70-71).

Several times Athanasius says, “All that can be said of the Father can be said of the Son except for calling him Father.” This comment or rule is impossible for Sunlyk and all subordinationists to endorse or accept because it excludes on principle all that they hold dear. I encourage my subordinationist friends to think hard and long on these words of the great Alexandrine bishop. I ask them to accept this rule and end the division between us. These words sum up Athanasius position. The Father and the Son are fully equal in being, work and authority, and yet they are eternally Father and Son.

 

Sunlyk makes a lot of the book by Peter Widdicombe, The Fatherhood of God from Origen to Athanasius, Clarendon, Oxford, 1994, which I am very pleased he put me onto. Because I told him I read the book in one sitting he thinks this proves I am a born liar! I do not withdraw what I said as it happens to be true. Widdicombe’s main point is that at Alexandria under the initial leadership of Origen the idea developed and took root that the distinction between the first two persons of the Godhead was not between Theos and the Logos as with the Apologists, Irenaeus and Tertullian but between the divine Father and Son, correlative titles. There is no Father without the Son and vice versa. Widdicombe speaks repeatedly of the “priority of the term Father,” not of the priority of the Father. I only see two brief sections in the book on the monarche of the Father, in the sense that the Father is the source of the being of the Son, despite the fact that Sunlyk thinks I am misrepresenting Widdicombe and lying.  In these two sections I think Widdicombe is mistaken and hasn’t researched the issue and shows no evidence of doing so. He has simply read Athanasius in terms of the Cappadocians. Meijering and Torrance both reject that Athanasius parallels the Cappadocians at this point, as I do. Strangely on page 175 note 57 Widdicombe footnotes the erudite Meijering on this very issue and Meijering denies what Widdicombe asserts. Widdicombe writes before Torrance had published his definitive studies on the early Eastern development of trinitarian doctrine.

 

The one thing that upsets Sunlyk more than anything else is that I do not endorse the monarchy (sole rule) of the Father, or that the Father is the monarche (sole source) of the being of the Son and the Spirit. He comes back to this matter time and time again. (He really lets his hair down on this on pp 91-94). All subordinationists want to give some priority to the Father so that the Son then stands under him. This involves separating and dividing the Father and the Son and invariably when this is done their relationship is described as “asymmetrical.” Doyle and Baddeley also attack me for questioning the monarchy of the Father.  The Cappadocians make the Father the monarche (sole source) of the being of the Son and the Spirit but they do everything they can to eliminate subordinationism. The divine three are one in being, one in operations/works/functions, one in authority and they interpenetrate one another. They insist that there is no hierarchical ordering in the Trinity although they teach that the divine three work in an orderly manner.  However many of the most scholarly studies by Western theologians point out that conceptually this view of the Father can lead to subordinationism. So Prestige, Torrance, Pannenberg, J Thompson etc. Sunlyk claims that if any Western theologian questions the monarchy of the Father he must be a contemporary Protestant (Trinity Ekstasis, p 94) This is simply not true. Edmund Fortman, a learned orthodox Roman Catholic commenting on just this issue says, “This approach is entirely orthodox and has many advantages, but if ineptly handled it can easily involve subordinationism” (The Triune God, 282). He expresses my views entirely. The Catholic theologian L Boff (Trinity and Society, p 83) makes exactly the same point and with a little work I could find other Catholics questioning the theological merit of the idea that the Father is the  monarche of the being of the Son and Spirit. Without reading Torrance Sunlyk says, “I can see no reason why Torrance would take issue with the doctrine of the monarchy of the Father as it has been and will be presented in this study”! (p 114). For Torrance’s own views see his Christian Doctrine, p 137, 181, Trinitarian Faith, p 241 etc. I have always been of the opinion that it is best to read someone before saying what they must teach!

 

Neither the Nicene Creed nor the Athanasian Creed teach the monarchy (sole rule) of the Father, or that the Father is the monarche of the Son and the Spirit. The Nicene Creed Catholics and Anglicans confess and the Athanasian Creed speak of the Spirit proceeding from the Father and the Son. The Athanasian Creed gives no priority to the Father, (“such is the Father such is the Son .. “ and, all are “co-eqaul.”) Sunlyk’s claim that the Catholic Church is about to endorse the monarchy or monarche of the Father is a bit far fetched – the Pope change the Creeds!

 

If any one wants to read a truly wonderful introduction to the doctrine of the Trinity where the monarchy/monarche of the Father is not endorsed they should read Leonard Boff, Trinity and Society (Orbis 1986). Boff is a Roman Catholic theologian. Boff in the steps of Athanasius begins thinking of the Christian doctrine of God not with the Father but with God as triune for all eternity. This would be my approach that I learnt first from Torrance.

 

Evangelicals committed to Biblical authority should not readily endorse the idea that the Father is the sole source of the being of the Son and the Spirit if for no other reason than scripture can speak of Christ sending the Spirit (Jn 16:7) and of the Spirit as “the Spirit of God” and the “Spirit of Christ.”

 

Evangelicals of Reformed persuasion such as me are also wary of this idea because Calvin condemned it. He insisted that Christ was God in his own right (autotheos). Calvin argues that to suggest that God the Father is “the essence giver” is an awful heresy. See Institutes, 1.13.19,21,23,25,26. He gives more time to rejecting this idea than any other aspect of the doctrine of the Trinity

 

 

Sunlyk’s arrogance knows no bounds. He not only is certain that I am deceptive and a liar but he also thinks R P C Hanson is dead wrong on key issues (see Sunlyk pages 32 and 34). Hanson is a scholar’s scholar. On the points he disagrees with Hanson I think Hanson is completely right. What particularly upsets him is Hanson’s claim that the Son does not become incarnate “because of his position in the Godhead.” Like Doyle and all subordinationists Sunlyk believes that it was only the Son who could become man because he is the subordinated Son for all eternity. Sons do the will of their fathers: all sons are subordinated to their fathers. Hanson and I think that Athanasius is totally opposed to that idea. He will not allow that God can be defined in human categories. Sunlyk accuses me not only of dishonestly quoting the primary texts but also the secondary literature. With Hanson he says I fail to note that he says the term homoousios must have had some “derivative force” . (Sunlyk, p 89). First, it is no sin not to quote from a book something you do not agree with and here we are to remember Hanson’s book is a doorstopper (931 pages). I immediately went to Hanson to check on Sunlyk’s accusation and found no problem at all with the words set in context (See Hanson, The Search, p 441). Athanasius argues that all sons are one in being (homoousios) with their father. In a passing comment that Hanson does not develop he simply notes what Athanasius’ argument assumes that sons derive their identical being from their fathers. I do not find in Hanson any suggestion that Athanasius thought the Father was the sole source (monarche) of the being of the Son.

 

Sunlyk also accuses me of dishonestly using Torrance and LaCugna (pp 73) in support of my point that in the Cappadocians the title “Father” can be used of both the Godhead and of the person of the Father. He admits earlier he has not read Torrance and when I looked up what LaCugna says it seems to me she is saying unambiguously just what I claim (God for Us, p 71 and 73). Who can’t read a text objectively Sunlyk or me?

 

Another charge Sunlyk makes is that I read the doctrine of the Trinity from my feminist perspective. In doing this he cleverly tries to turn the table on me. In reply I simply point out that my primary sources for my presentation of the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity are all pre-modern. It is my argument that in a patriarchal context orthodoxy developed a doctrine of a “co-equal Trinity,” excluding hierarchical ordering. For Phantazhew’s benefit I quote Aquinas, “ in the divine persons there exists indeed a natural order but no hierarchical order.” (Summa Theologica, 1, 108). It is not I who introduce novel terminology and ideas taken from the post 70’s case for the permanent subordination into discourse about the Trinity. No orthodox text on the Trinity knows anything about equality and permanent role or functional subordination, or of divine differences being based on differing functions. If I had my way I would rather that debate about the doctrine of the Trinity and the status and ministry of women were kept completely apart. It is the evangelical subordinationists who first connected these matters in an attempt to bolster their case for the permanent subordination of women. 

 

One of the silliest things I find in Sunlyk, and in Doyle and Baddeley, is the repeated charge that I am, or I border on being, a modalist. I am weak on divine distinctions. Behind this charge is the fact that all subordinationists border on tritheism, the opposite error to modalism. Subordinationists all stress the differences so as to set the Father above the Son in some way. So when they see me stressing the equality of the persons they see a threat to their own position. I have a whole chapter on this in my forthcoming book. Orthodoxy from the time of Nicea has always given more stress to equality and unity than difference. It has consistently recognised the perennial heresy is subordinationism. Orthodoxy affirms divine differentiation without separation or division in the Godhead: subordinationism stresses differentiation and  divides and separates the Godhead. A read of the Athanasian Creed proves my point. All but one clause on the Trinity stresses the unity and equality of the divine persons, only one clause mentions their differentiation on the basis of differing origins. For Catholic opinion on all this no better authority than Thomas Aquinas can be quoted. He said,

“To escape the error of Arius we must not, in speaking of God, use the words ‘diversity’ and ‘difference’ lest we should compromise the unity of nature; we can, however, use the word ‘distinction’ on account of relative opposition. Thus if we come across a reference to diversity or difference of persons in any authoritative text, we take it to mean ‘distinction’.” (Summa Theologiae, 6,  p 89).

 

I can only say it once more, I unequivocally believe in the real and eternal distinctions between Father, Son and Spirit. I believe that the Son is the divine person who became incarnate but I see nothing in scripture that demands that he alone is the only one who could have become incarnate.  To think that it is necessary that the Son as a son takes the servant’s job offends me. In the one text that may bear on this issue, Phil 2:4ff, the Son has equality with God and voluntarily chooses to become man and die for our salvation. I notice that Warfield (“The Biblical Doctrine”, p 111) suggests that any subordination seen in the Son or the Spirit is due to “an agreement between the persons of the Trinity .. by virtue of which a distinction function in the work of redemption is voluntary assumed by each.”

 

I am sorry, I think there is one sillier comment in Sunlyk than the one just mentioned. More than once he accuses me of being a “monarchial modalistic tritheist.” This sounds a very nasty heresy. The trouble with this is that modalism (there is only one God who appears in three forms or modes) is the exact opposite error to tritheism (there are three eternally distinct Gods). One can be a modalist or a tritheist but one cannot be both. If one could then there could be round squares!

 

Phantazhew Sunlyk makes numerous other charges against me and I am happy to respond to any of them but I think I have said enough to show that most of what he says is driven by his passion to subordinate the Son to the Father, and sadly, ill will to someone who differs from him. He does not seem to be able to differ from another Christian on a theological matter without attributing the lowest of base motives, deception, to the other person. Until Phantazhew can get beyond this he will never be a scholar and I suspect never publish anything in print. He is doomed forever to the Internet where he can say what he likes.

 

Part 2. The Athanasian Creed.

My most basic thesis is that what the 1999 Sydney Doctrine Commission asserted and what Sunlyk, Baddeley, Moody and Doyle teach is directly contrary to the Athanasian Creed that all Anglicans and all Roman Catholics are bound to endorse. The 1999 doctrine commission members called this creed “a standard authority for Anglicans” (para 9), and I would agree but add that I think it gives authoritative guidance to all Christians who claim to be orthodox, and members of the one catholic/universal church. I think this creed settles every issue in contention. This creed clearly rules on the key issues in debate.

¨       Modalism and tritheism are excluded absolutely. There is one God and three persons. “We worship one God … neither confounding the persons: nor dividing the substance.” “So the Father is God, the Son is God and the Holy Spirit is God. And yet there are not three Gods but one”

¨       The Father is given no priority. “Such as the Father is, such is the Son and such is the Holy Spirit.” This is the first of many statements seeking to exclude subordinationism in any form – the perennial heresy.

¨       No derivative subordination is allowed. The Father is not the source of the being of the Son or the Spirit. This creed does not make the Father the monarche of the Son and the Spirit.  

¨       No subordination in the being of the Son or the Spirit is allowed. The substance/being of God is one.

¨       No subordination in authority whatsoever is allowed. All three persons are said to be equally “almighty” and “Lord”

¨       The persons are differentiated by only one thing besides their personal identities: the Father is “unbegotten,” the Son is “begotten,” and the Spirit is “proceeding.” Neither in this creed or anywhere in the tradition does differentiation imply subordination.

¨       And to sum it all up this creed says, “In this Trinity none is before or after, none is greater or lesser than another … [all three are] “are co-eternal together and co-equal.” If we can agree to affirm this clause without caveats we have nothing to argue about

¨       The Son is “only inferior to the Father as touching his manhood.” (that is while he was in the “form of man,” as Augustine teaches.) “As touching his “Godhead” (which is eternal) he is “equal to the Father.”

 

The one time Oxford professor, Leonard Hodgson, says the Athanasian Creed is the only one of the ancient creeds "that explicitly and unequivocally states the full Christian doctrine of God,” and this creed he adds, “express [es] rejection … of all subordinationism."[1] Similarly, J. N. D. Kelly, another Oxford professor says, in the Athanasian Creed “the dominant idea (is) the perfect equality of the three persons.”[2] Thus to confess this creed is to reject the idea that the Son is eternally subordinated to the Father in being, function or authority and to agree that this is what the Bible teaches when read correctly. I ask, How can this creed be read to teach the eternal subordination of the Son in any way?

 

As I have mentioned Sunlyk like all subordinationists has huge problems with the Athanasian Creed. He cannot endorse what it teaches although he claims to be an orthodox Catholic. On p 118 of his Trinity Ekstasis, he tells us for Catholics “the Athanasian Creed itself (theologically) [is] subordinate to the Nicene Creed.” In contrast Edmund Fortman, a Roman Catholic scholar of impressive learning says the Athanasian Creed’s “dogmatic value in the Western church [is] equal to that of the Apostle’s and Nicene Creeds.” (The Triune God, 161). He speaks of its formulas as “balanced” and “elaborate.” Sunlyk speaks of the creed as “ambiguous.” (p 118)

 

Part 3. What Athanasius says.

I now enclose the section from my forthcoming book in draft form on Athanasius and subordinationism. Informed comment and criticism citing any thing in Athanasius that I might have misunderstood or read incorrectly will be gladly received. Be assured I do not want to misread my sources, let alone be deceptive. I want informed and objective scrutiny of my work. Please help me if you can as you will be the first readers of what I have written here.

 

Athanasius’ reply to the Arians

Athanasius was one of the greatest theologians of all times.[1] His theological acumen is breathtaking. In opposition first to Arius and then to the later “Arians” he pioneered a way of understanding the Trinity that modern day scholars now recognise for its brilliance. He was the first to give the “model” of an eternal “co-equal” Trinity where the three divine persons are differentiated yet profoundly one, and the Son and the Spirit are not subordinated to the Father in being or function. This was largely due to his profound grasp of scripture and his revolutionary insight that to understand the Bible rightly a well thought out theologically-based hermeneutic was demanded.[2]  Much of his "Four Discourses Against the Arians" is taken up with the exposition of the many biblical passages the Arians quoted in support of their case. [3]  He judges their hermeneutic to be selective, "devious" and "irreligious." [4] Two passages he came to see offered the key to grasping what he called the “scope” of scripture, the overall story line we might say: the prologue to John’s Gospel, especially verses 1 and 14, and Philippians 2:5-11. The first passage teaches that “the Word was with God” and “the Word became flesh,” and the second that the Son “was equal with God but emptied himself.” These two texts give what he calls “a double account of the saviour” – one temporal and one eternal.[5] He gladly accepts that there are many passages in scripture that speak of the Son’s obedience and subordination to the Father. These he holds emphasise the reality of the incarnation. They highlight the Son’s voluntary and temporary subordination for our salvation. In his eternal being, however, there could be no subordination at all.

The human frailties seen in the incarnate Son Athanasius attributes solely to his human nature. He writes

“When he is said to hunger, and to thirst, and to toil, and not to know, and to sleep, and to weep, and to ask, and to flee and to be born, and to deprecate the cup, and to undergo all that belongs to the flesh … these affections may be acknowledges as not proper to the very Word by nature, but proper by nature to the very flesh. …

The Word himself is impassible, and yet because of the flesh, which he put on these things are ascribed to him.”[6]

This explanation of the incarnation enabled Athanasius to reject the Arian argument that the limitations and weaknesses of the incarnate Son were proof of his eternal subordination to the Father and to avoid the idea that God himself could suffer. Later orthodox theologians would follow his lead by insisting that the human characteristics of the incarnate Son should not be read back into the eternal Trinity but they would embrace more strongly than Athanasius the full humanity and the full divinity of the one Christ. It was, however, only in the mid twentieth century, mainly thanks to Karl Barth, that orthodox theologians came to accept that the God of the Bible can suffer.

In direct opposition to the Arians who held that God could not make direct contact with matter, let alone with human flesh, Athanasius proposed what T F Torrance calls a “breathtaking understanding of God.”[7] He argued that the God of Christian revelation while distinct from the world unceasingly and creatively is present in the world he made and loves. In the incarnation God actually assumed humanity while not giving up his divinity in any measure. What this implied was a God who could have communion and contact with creation. Epistemologically it meant that physical human beings could actually know God who is immaterial through Jesus Christ. This knowledge was a knowing of the very being of God because to know Jesus constituted knowing the Father. He says, "For this is why he who has seen the Son has seen the Father, and why the knowledge of the Son is knowledge of the Father."[8]

 

Also in direct opposition to the Arians Athanasius conceived of the Christian God as triune from all eternity, developing and correcting Origen’s teaching, and restating that of his mentor Bishop Alexander (d 328) who had first opposed Arius. He says God is  “not a monad first who afterwards becomes a Triad,”[9] and we “Christians acknowledge the blessed Triad as unalterable and perfect and ever what it was.”[10] However, it was the Father-Son relationship that Athanasius concentrated on because this was what was at issue with the Arians. First of all Athanasius insisted on calling the first person of the Trinity “Father.” He particularly disliked the Arian designation of God as “the Unoriginate” (Gk agenetos), a title they equated with “the Unbegotten” (Gk agennetos). Athanasius could accept that from his “works” (i.e. creation) God may be called “the Unoriginate,” but not in relation to the Son. He says this designation of God is “unscriptural.” It is more “pious” to use the language of the Bible and speak of “Father” because this word envisages a Son.[11] If God is Father from all eternity, and he is, then it follows that the Son is also eternal. The Father cannot be the Father without the Son and the Son cannot be the Son without the Father. On this basis he thinks it is absurd to argue that “once the Son was not,” as the Arians did. If there was a time when the Son was not there must have been a time when the Father was not and this is an impossible. To put it succinctly for Athanasius the Father and the Son are eternally correlated. The Father never stands alone or works alone. Pannenberg states that “Athanasius’ most important argument [was] that the Father would not be the Father without the Son (Contra Arian 1.29).”[12]

 

The word “begotten” and “offspring” are for Athanasius helpful terms to use of the Father-Son relationship because they  “signify a Son … And beholding the Son we see the Father.” [13] He, however, rejects that these human words when applied to the Son suggest he is created by the Father. This does not convince the Arians. They want to understand the terms “Father” and “Son” in the way these words are understood when used of human fathers and sons. For them the word “son” indicated that Jesus must be different from the Father and less than the Father because all human sons are less than their father. Athanasius quickly dismisses this argument by pointing out that human sons are in fact one in being with their father.[14] Athanasius will not allow that it is possible to define divine relations in terms of human relations. Although he does not use the words  “analogical” or “metaphorical” he is arguing that human language used of God should not be taken literally, although it conveys truth. [15] More than once in answer to the Arians literal understanding of the terms Father and Son used of God he says, “God is not man.”[16] Contemporary evangelicals follow the Arians when they want us to believe that because human fathers have authority over their sons so the divine Father has authority over his Son.[17] When evangelicals argue this way biblical revelation is made secondary to human reasoning. 

 

How Athanasius relates to the much debated idea that the Father is the monarche is significant. The first part of this word “mon” (a contracted form of the Greek word monos) means “only,” or, “sole,” or even, “isolated by itself.” The Greek word arche means “source, “origin,” or “authority.” [18]  Robert Doyle thinks Athanasius uses the word to indicate that God the Father is “the eternal monarch” - the sole ruler.[19] This term he says defines what Athanasius meant by calling the first person of the Godhead “Father.” The Son stands “in subordination to that monarchy.”[20] This claim seems highly unlikely because for Athanasius the Father and the Son can never be divided. There is no Father without the Son. The two are correlatives, always conjoined. In every case where I found Athanasius speaking of God ruling the Son rules with him. The Father and his Logos or Wisdom conjointly rule[21]  When we consider the Athanasius’ use of the particular Greek word monarchia Doyle’s  thesis completely collapses. According to Muller’s concordance[22] Athanasius only uses the Greek word monarchia four times, and none of them indicate that he ever thought of the Father ruling alone, let alone ruling over the Son. In the first usage he is quoting Bishop Dionysius with approval for repudiating those who “divide” “the divine monarchy” which is “a Triad” for all eternity.[23] In the second instance he says,

“So the Father and the Son are two, yet the Monad of the Godhead is indivisible and inseparable. And thus too we preserve one beginning (arche) of Godhead and not two beginnings, whence there is strictly a monarchy (monarchia).[24]

The only other two uses of this word by Athanasius appear in his diatribe against later Arian teaching written in about 360. In both cases the word appears in quotes from those with whom he differs sharply. The first is uncontroversial. The Arians opposing Marcellus’ modalist teaching speak themselves of the Father and the Son conjointly sharing the divine monarchy. [25] However, they then go on to speak of “the Father alone” as “head over the whole universe wholly and over the Son himself, and the Son subordinated to the Father … such is the divine monarchy towards Christ.” [26] Athanasius sees this teaching as directly contradicting the rulings of the Council of Nicea dividing the one Godhead and setting the Son below the Father in authority. Repeatedly he calls such teaching “blasphemy.” He such phrases “match the Arian heresy”[27] What is to be noted is that what Athanasius cites as heretical teaching word for word matches what Doyle claims Athanasius teaches and he endorses!

Peter Widdicombe also thinks that Athanasius taught the monarche of the Father, but this time in the sense that he is the “sole source” or “sole beginning” of the being of the Son and the Spirit. For Athanasius, he says, the Father is “the font of divinity.”[28] Again I dare to dissent. Athanasius does not use the word monarche to mean the one source or sole beginning and it would seem that he does not have a developed and consistent understanding of the Father as the arche (source, or beginning) of the Son and the Spirit.. He frequently uses the word arche in reference to the Father and the Son but in every case the debate he is engaged in, or the point he wants to make, determines how he uses the word.

When he is opposing the Arian argument that if the Father and the Son are both eternal they must be brothers, as if they were “generated from some pre-existing origin or source (arche)” he replies, “the Father is the origin (arche) of the Son who begat him.”[29] Later opposing much the same idea he says, “the Father’s essence (ousia) is the origin (arche) and root and fountain of the Son.” [30]  In this debate he speaks of the eternal Father as the origin of the eternal Son to avoid allowing that there is anything prior to God, but to make one of two eternal divine persons the source of the other is very difficult, if not logically impossible.[31]

In the context of his wider debate with the Arians what Athanasius wants to exclude absolutely is Origen’s middle Platonist premise that a cause is always superior to what is caused. On this premise the Son does not fully participate in the divinity of the Father. Athanasius entirely breaks with this idea. Time and time again he insists that the Son fully participates (the Greek words are methexis, metousia, metoche) in the divine life.[32]  The Father and the Son are one in being (homoousios). Meijering says, “Athanasius is completely opposed to any hierarchy in God”[33] … which he regards as “idolatry.”[34]

It is thus of no surprise to find that at times Athansisus denies that the Son has an arche. After agreeing that all creatures have a beginning in time he says the Son has no such beginning. He writes, “The Word has his beginning (arche) in no other beginning (arche) than the Father whom they allow to have no beginning (anarche), so he too exists without beginning (anarche).”[35]

And then to complicate things yet again he introduces the revolutionary and visionary idea that the whole Godhead is in fact the arche of the three persons. He says,

"We know of but one origin (arche), and the all-framing Word we profess to have no other manner of Godhead, than that of the only God, because he is born from him. … For there is but one form of Godhead, which is also in the Word. For thus we confess God to be through the Triad."[36]

 Later in his "Synodal Letter to the People of Antioch" he reiterates this point. He says, there is

 “A Holy Trinity but one Godhead and one beginning (arche), and that the Son is co-essential with the Father … while the Holy Spirit [is] proper to and inseparable from the essence of the Father and the Son.”[37]

Then in the Fourth Discourse Against the Arians,” probably not written by Athanasius,[38] yet reflecting his teaching, we read

“For the Word, being Son of the One God is referred to him of whom also he is; so that the Father and the Son are two, yet the Monad of the Godhead is indivisible and inseparable. And thus too we preserve one beginning (arche) of the Godhead and not two beginnings (archai), whence there is strictly a monarchy (monarchia). And of this very beginning (arche) the Word is by nature Son, not as if another beginning (arche), subsisting by himself.[39]

 In these passages Athanasius speaks of the Godhead as the arche, rather than the Father alone as the arche. [40] Torrance says that for Athansisus the monarche “is identical with the Trinity.”[41] We have already noted that Athanasius breaks with Tertullian and refusing to speak of the Father alone as the ruler of all (Lat. monarchia), and that he breaks with Origen refusing to allow that causation involves subordination and now we see he differs from the Cappadocians in making the triadic Godhead, not the Father alone, the arche of the Son and the Spirit

In trying to get our minds around all this Athanasius most fundamental insight offers the key. For him the Father is never alone. The Father cannot exist without the Son, nor the Son without the Father. Father and Son are correlatives. He says, “When we call God Father at once with the Father we signify the Son’s existence.”[42] R P C Hanson says, “in the Father we have the Son: this is a summary of Athanasius’ theology.”[43] Frequently he draws on biblical images to illustrate this unbreachable correlation between the Father and the Son. The Son “is the Father’s image and Word eternal, never having not been, but being ever, as the eternal Radiance of a light which is eternal.”[44] To the Arians who say, “there was a once when he was not,” Athanasius replies, they rob the Father “of his Word like plunders” suggesting that  “he was once without Radiance, and the Fountain was once barren and dry.”[45] The imagery of God as a fountain is common in Athanasius. It is his argument that if the fountain is destitute of Life and Wisdom (identified as the Son)  “it is not a fountain.”[46]

In his earlier writings Athanasius uses a number of terms[47] to denote the ontological unity of the Father and the Son, not needing to rely on the word homoousios (of one being or substance) that was so important at the council of Nicea (325). In his “Discourses Against the Arians” written probably between 339 and 345, he only uses the word once. It was only when this word was repudiated in the 350’s by Athanasius’ opponents that he came to see it must be defended at all cost to guarantee the apostolic faith. In reply to those who objected to the term, homoousios, seeing in it the danger of modalism which collapsed the distinctions within the Godhead, Athanasius argued that the term spoke both of the unity of being of the one God who is eternally a Triad, and of the eternal distinctions of the three persons – only differing things or persons can be said to be homoousios. His insistence on this term to sum up the "scope" of scripture discloses not only his theological concerns, but also his epistemological concerns. This word emphatically signifies that in and through the Son (and in the Spirit) God communicates himself. How we know and what we know of God the Father is through the Son. In Athanasius “the whole Godhead” is complete in the Son as much as it is in the Father. God is God the Son as much as he is God the Father. From this follows what we might call, “Athanasius’ rule” because he repeats it many times, “the same things are said of the Son which are said of the Father except for calling him Father.”[48]

Athanasius opposed Arianism principally because it presupposed a difference in being between the Father and the Son. Right at the heart of Arius’ theology was ontological subordinationism. For Arius and his followers the Son could only be called God in a secondary sense. In reply Athanasius argued that to deny that the Father and the Son are eternally one in being is to deny what is essential to Christian faith and salvation.

"For must not he be perfect who is equal to God? And must not he be unalterable who is one with the Father, and his Son proper to his essence? …

For this is why he who has seen the Son has seen the Father, and why knowledge of the Father is knowledge of the Son."[49]

Athanasius will not allow any disjunction between the Father and the Son. The two texts he quotes the most are Jn 10:30, “I and the Father are one,” and Jn 14:9, “He who has seen me has seen the Father.” For him the unity of the three divine persons was so profound that it implied their coinherence, or mutual indwelling.[50] Building on the words of Jn 14:11, “I am in the Father and the Father in me,” he reasoned that at all times there is a complete mutual indwelling in which each divine person, while each remains what he is by himself as Father, Son or Holy Spirit, each is wholly in the others as the others are wholly in him. He did not use the word perichoresis, it had not yet been coined, but it was he who developed the conception of the coinherence, of the persons of the Trinity. This insight was later recognised to be yet another of his many important pioneering contributions to trinitarian theology. Once this complete coinherence of the persons of the Trinity is recognised it follows that the works of the divine three cannot be divided. Because the Father is always in the Son and the Son is always in the Father their works are one.

What this last point makes plain is that Athanasius not only rejects any suggestion whatsoever that the Son is subordinate in being to the Father, but also any suggestion whatsoever that the Son is eternally subordinate to the Father in function, role, or work. He is as opposed to ontological subordinationism as he is to functional subordinationism because he clearly saw the latter implied the former as the Arians never tired of pointing out. In contrast to his opponents Athanasius never speaks of the Father commanding and the Son obeying. For him the Father and the Son share a perfect unity of will.[51] The idea that there is "chain of command" within the Trinity would have been an abhorrent thought to him. Grudem may claim that Athanasius teaches the subordination of the Son to the Father in role and function, [52] and Robert Doyle that the Father is “the one ruler” set over the Son[53] but nothing could be further from the truth. Athanasius simply cannot conceive of such a division between the Father and the Son. They are one and they work as one. R. P. C. Hanson says that for Athanasius, “As the Son acts so the Father acts inseparably.”[54] Time and time again the Alexandrine bishop insists that what the Father does the Son does and vice versa. He writes:

 “Wherefore through the Son does the Father create and in him reveal himself to whom he will, and illuminate them … For where the Father is, there is the Son and where the light, there is the radiance, and what the Father works, he works through the Son, and as the Lord himself says, ‘What I see the Father do, that I do also’; so also when baptism is given, whom the Father baptises, him the Son baptises.”[55]

“When the Son works, the Father is the worker, and the Son coming to the saints, the Father is he who comes… Therefore also … when the Father gives grace and peace, the Son also gives it.”[56]

 “What God speaks, it is very plain. He speaks through the Word and not another, and the Word is not separate from the Father, nor unlike and foreign to the Father’s essence, what he works, those are the Father’s works.”[57]

In these quotes we should note that Athanasius, following the New Testament, thinks of the divine persons working together cooperatively, symmetrically and in an orderly way. “Through the Son does the Father create;” “he works through the Son,” and he “speaks through the Son.” It was, however, in The Letters of St Athanasius Concerning the Holy Spirit that I found the only fully trinitarian expression of this motif. “The Father does all things through the Word in the Holy Spirit. Thus the unity of the Holy Triad is preserved.” [58] This patterned working or functioning in no way implies a division or disjunction between the Father, Son and Spirit, let alone the subordination of the Son and the Spirit as this last quote indicates, as does the following.

“For the Father having given all things to the Son, in the Son still has all things; and the Son having still the Father has them; for the Son’s Godhead is the Father’s Godhead, and thus the Father and the Son exercise his providence over all things.”[59]

 

In recognising that the works of the Son reveal who he is Athanasius once more demonstrates his profound grasp of biblical thought. He clearly saw that in the Bible what God does reveals who God is, and in particular that the works of the Son reveal that he is equal God (Jn 5:36, 9:3-4, 10:25, 10:37, 14:10). In enunciating this principle Athanasius perfectly captured Biblical thinking. This unity of being and action between the Father, Son and Spirit, first spelt out by Athanasius, is a constant theme from this point on in the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity. On this basis it is held that to eternally subordinate the Son or the Spirit in work/operation/function by necessity implies their ontological subordination. If the Son (and the Spirit) on the basis of his personal identity alone must always take the subordinate role and always be obedient to the Father, then he must be a subordinated person, less than his superior in some way. Athanasius’ denial of the eternal functional subordination of the Son does not entail a denial of or confusing of the eternal distinctions between the Father and the Son (or the Holy Spirit). For him,  "They are two, because the Father is Father and is not also Son, and the Son is Son and not also Father.”[60]

 

For Athansisus it naturally follows that if the Father and the Son are inseparably one in being and work then they must be one in all the divine attributes, including omnipotence.[61] So he writes. “For he ever was and is Lord and sovereign of all, being like in all things to the Father.”[62] “He is Lord of all because he is one with the Father’s Lordship.”[63]  “For though the Word existing in the form of God took a servants form, yet the assumption of the flesh did not make a servant of the Word, who was by nature Lord.”[64] Widdicombe concludes,

“The Son possess the divine attributes (things) in the same way as the Father possesses them, because he is the proper offspring of the Father’s being. He possesses them not in a transferred sense, but fully and properly.”[65]

To bring this discussion of Athanasius own writings to a close I quote one last passage that sums up eloquently his complete rejection of any subordination whatsoever within the eternal Trinity or any hierarchical ordering. He holds that none stand nearer to God than the Cherubim and Seraphim yet no one has ever suggested that in,

"The first utterance of the word, Holy, their voice is raised aloud, while in the second it is lower, but in the third, quite low, - and that consequently the first utterance denotes lordship, the second subordination, and the third marks a yet a lower degree. But away with the folly of these haters of God and senseless men. For the Triad, praised reverenced and adored, is one and indivisible and without degrees (aschematistos). It is united without confusion, just as the Monad also is distinguished without separation. For the fact of those venerable living creatures (Isa.vi; Rev. iv.8) offering their praise three times, saying 'Holy, Holy, Holy,' proves that the three Subsistences are perfect, just as in saying 'Lord', they declare the One Essence. They then that depreciate the Only-Begotten Son of God, blaspheme God, defaming his perfection and accusing him of imperfection, and render themselves liable to the severest chastisement.  For he who blasphemes any one of the Subsistences shall have no remission …"[66]

There is no uncertainty or ambiguity. In Athanasius we find the most thorough repudiation of the idea that the Son is in any way eternally subordinated to the Father. For him, without any caveats, the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit are one in being, action and authority. In answer to the Arians Athanasius completely rejects the idea that the Trinity is to be understood as a hierarchy in any form. He could not allow any diminution in the Son's divinity, majesty or authority, neither in who he is or in what he does. Many times he repeats the principle, “The same things are said of the Son that are said of the Father, except for calling him Father.”[67] He does not think of the Father as "first," the Son "second” and the Holy Spirit "third." Indeed it may even be argued that for Athanasius the Son is "first." It is the Son who reveals the Father and it is the Son who is the savior of men and women. He is the "fullness of the Godhead."[68] As far as Athanasius was concerned the Arians did not merely “overemphasise the subordinationist elements in the NT,” as the 1999 Sydney Doctrine Commission Report states,[69] they undermined the very foundations of Christianity. By arguing that the Son is different in being from the Father they impugned the full divinity of Christ, the veracity of the revelation of God in Christ and the possibility of salvation through Christ.[70]

In Pannenberg's estimation, “Athanasius vanquished subordinationism, insisting that we cannot think of the Father as Father without the Son and the Spirit. He left no place for causally related graduations in the fullness of the divine being.” [71]

 

Phantaz Sunlyk's response here.



[1] Helpful introductions to Athanasius’ theology include Hanson, The Search, 421-458, Widdicombe, The Fatherhood of God, 145-171, A Petterson, Athanasius, London Chapman, 1995. 

[2] My primary source is P. Schaff and H. Wace (eds), The Nicene and Post Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church, (henceforth NPNF) 4, St Athanasius: Select works and Letters, Grand Rapids, Eerdmans, 1971.

 20  On the Arian use of the Bible and the orthodox reply see R. P. C. Hanson, The Search for the Christian Doctrine of God, Edinburgh, T. & T. Clark, 1988, 824-849. In relation to the key texts from John’s Gospel see particularly, T. E. Pollard, Johannine Christology in the Early Church, Cambridge, CUP, 1970.

[4] “Four Discourses”, 1.1-5 (pp 306-308)

[5]  Ibid,  3.26.29 (p 409).

[6] Ibid, 3.26.34 (p 412).

[7] “Athanasius: A Study in the Foundations of Classical Theology,” in Theology in Reconciliation, Grand Rapids, Eerdmans, 1975, 222.

[8] “Discourses”,  1.10. 26  (p 327).  His basis for this claim is Jn 14:9, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father,” which he quotes incessantly.

[9] Ibid, 1.6.17 (p 316).

[10] Ibid, 1.6.18 (p 317).

[11] Ibid, 1.34-35 (p 326).

[12] Systematic Theology, I, translated by G W Bromiley, Grand Rapids, Eerdamns.,1991, 273.

[13] “Discourses”, 1.5.16 (p 316).

[14] Ibid, 1.8.27-28 (p 323)

[15] Ibid, 2.18.34-35 (p 366-367: “On the Councils”, 42 (p 472).

[16] Ibid, 2.28. 33 (p 367)

[17] Robert Doyle, “Are we Heretics? 14, asks, “If the Father is not the final locus of authority, how indeed can he really be a ‘father.’” Then he says, the “Father is a real father and the triune Son a real son. Neither names are metaphorical.”

[18] It is true that Tertullian used the Latin transliteration of this term (monarchia) and that he  subordinated Son and the Spirit to the Father but when he spoke of the monarchy of the Father he always spoke of the Son and the Spirit sharing in the one divine rule See “Against Praxeas”, in The Ante-Nicene Fathers, 3, eds A Roberts and J Donaldson, Grand Rapids, Eerdmans, 1973, 4. (p 599) and my discussion of this matter in chapter XX

[19] Ibid, 13.

[20] Ibid.

[21] “Against the Heathen,” 40.2, 4, 5 (p 24), “On Luke 10:22” (p 87-90), and “Defence of the Nicene Council”, 30 (p 171).

[22] G Muller, Lexicon Athanasianum, Berlin, de Gruyter, 1953,  col. 921.

[23] “Defence of the Nicene Definition”, 5.26 (p 167)

[24] Discourses, 4.1 (p 433). It is generally thought that the fourth discourse reflects Athanasius’ ideas but it was not written by him.

[25] “Councils of Ariminum and Seleucia, 26 (p 463)

[26] Ibid, (P464)

[27] Ibid, 4 (p 452)

[28] The Fatherhood of God, 175, 255.

[29] “Discourses”, 1:5.14 (p 314).

[30] “Councils”, 45 (p 474), cf. 51 (p 477).

[31] Hanson, The Search, 435 n 65, says, “It is doubtful whether the word ‘cause’ can have any meaning when applied to two eternally existing divine persons.”

[32] On this concept see R Williams, Arius: Heresy and Tradition, 215-229 and Widdicombe, The Fatherhood of God, 189-192. For a good discussion of this see “Councils, 51-52 (pp 476-478)

[33] Orthodoxy and Platonism in Athanasius: Synthesis or Antithesis, Leiden, Brill, 1974, 129.

[34] Ibid, 131.

[35] “Discourses”, 2.57 (p 379).

[36] Discourses”, 3.15 (p 402) cf. “Discourses”, 3.1, “Synodal Letter”, 11 (p 494),”On Luke 10:22, 6 (p 90),  “Statement of Faith,” 1-4 (pp 84-85).

[37]  5. (p 484).

[38] Hanson, The Search, 418.

[39] “Discourses”, 4.1 (p 433)

[40] See further on all this, Meijering, “Athanasius”, 8, and in more detail Torrance, The Christian Doctrine of  God: One being Three Persons, T & T Clarke, Edinburgh, 1996, 183, and The Trinitarian Faith, T & T Clarke, Edinburgh, 1988, 78-79, 241-242. Hanson, The Search, 434-435,  comes to the same conclusion

[41] The Christian Doctrine, 183.

[42] “Discourses, 3.6 (p 397).

[43] The Search, 426.

[44]Discourses”, 1.13 (p 314).

[45] Discourses”, 1.14 (p 315). See also most of 1.20 (p 318).

[46] “Discourses”, 1.19 (p 317).

[47] For a list of these expressions see Hanson, The Search, 437.

[48] “Discourses” 3.4 (p 395), 3.5 (395) see also 3.6 (p 396);  “The Councils”, 3.49 (twice) p 476.

[49] Ibid, 1.35 (p 327).

[50]  This is a much repeated motif see especially 3. 2-6.

[51] “Discourses”, 2.2 (p 349). He here describes the Son as “the living will of the Father.” Athanasius does not say that the Father and the Son have one will but he does insist that they are one in being and work which implies just this. See ibid, 3.10 (p 399)

[52] Systematic, 245.

[53] “Are we heretics? A Review of the Trinity and Subordinationism by Kevin Giles,” The Briefing, April, 2004, 13-14. Doyle adds that the Son defines “himself in subordination to that monarchy” (sole rule of the Father). In other words, he is by definition the subordinated Son.

[54] The Search, 427.

[55] “Discourses” 2.4  (p 370).

[56] Ibid, 3.11 (p 400).

[57] Ibid, 3.14 (p 402).

[58] Translated by C R B Shapland, London, Epworth, 1951, Epistle 1. 135

[59] “Against the Arians,” 3.36 (p 414)

[60] Ibid, 3.4 (p 395)

[61] Ibid, 1.21 (p 318), 1. 33 (p 325), 3.4 (p 395), 3. 6 (p 396), “The Councils”, 49 (p 476).

[62] Ibid, 2.18 (p 357).

[63] Ibid, 3.64 (p 429).

[64] Ibid, 2.14 (p 355), 2.50 (p 375). For Athanasius the designation “servant’ can only be applied to the human form of the Son.

[65] The Fatherhood, 204. Several times in quotes from Athanasius the word “properly” (Gk idios) has appeared. This is an important and much used term in his writings. He uses it to underline the co-essential unity of the Father and the Son. On this term see Widdicombe, ibid, 193-203, and Petterson, Athanasius, 145-146.

[66] “On Luke 10:22”, 6 (p 90).

[67] “Discourses” 3.4 (p 395), 3.1 (p 395), 3.6 (p 396), 4.3 (p 434), “Councils of Ariminum” 49 (p 476 twice), “On Luke 10:22” 3 and 4 (pp 88-89).

[68] Ibid, 3.1 (p 394).

[69] Para 22.

[70] So Athanasius argues. See “Discourses”, 1-10 (pp 306-312).

[71] Systematic Theology, 1, translated by G W Bromiley, Grand Rapids, Eerdmans, 1991, 275. So also Meijering, “Athanasius”, 11.