Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Irreducibly complex

Like Paul’s, Justin’s language about God exhibits irreducibly complex patterns. God is the Father of all, the Logos who is Jesus Christ, and the prophetic Spirit all at once, and yet these three are not simply different words for saying the same thing, interchangeable without loss or remainder. The Unbegotten is not the Begotten; the Spirit is different still. But to speak of the God who creates and sustains the world (Dial. 29.3), watches over it in justice (2 Apol. 12.6), establishes a covenant with the Jewish people (Dial. 11.1), guides them through prophetic prediction (Dial. 7.1), acts dramatically in the first advent of Christ Jesus (Dial. 14.8), and will again in the second, is to speak of one and only one God. Again like St. Paul, the primary impetus for the complexity in Justin's theological grammar is Jesus Christ himself.—One True Life: The Stoics and Early Christians as Rival Traditions, 149

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