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Robin Parry is the husband of but one wife (Carol) and the father of the two most beautiful girls in the universe (Hannah and Jessica). He also has a lovely cat called Monty (who has only three legs). Living in the city of Worcester, UK, he works as an Editor for Wipf and Stock — a US-based theological publisher. Robin was a Sixth Form College teacher for 11 years and has worked in publishing since 2001 (2001–2010 for Paternoster and 2010– for W&S).

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Richard of St Victor on male Trinity-talk

What do you think of this comment from Richard of St Victor (d. 1173)
We must observe that there are two [different] sexes in the human nature, and for this reason, the terms defining relationship are different according to the difference of sexes. We call whomever is a parent either “father” or “mother” [according to their] sex. In case of progeny, [we say] in one case “sons” and in another “daughters.” In the divine nature, instead, as we all know, there is absolutely no sex. It was convenient, then, to associate the terms referring to the more worthy sex—as it is recognized—to the most worthy being in the universe. This is the reason why the custom of indicating one as Father and one as Son in the Trinity has suitably come into habit.
De Trinitate, Book 6.IV (translated by Ruben Angelici)

Given that westerners no longer think of men as "the more worthy sex" does this have implications for God-talk? Perhaps it does if this is the only reason for "Father" and "Son" language. But, if it is not, then . . .

3 comments:

undercovertheologian said...

Hi Robin,
Fascinating quote!
The reason I use Father & Son language (and would also refer to God as Mother-like) is perhaps simplistic but is that I want to follow Jesus in how he taught his followers to pray. Plus you have all the language about Jesus having come to reveal his Father. Even if this is accommodating language it seems to me that one would need to have an anti-revelatory view of things to assert that we had the freedom to decide what we should call God instead.
Matt

James Goetz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
James Goetz said...

(I needed to tweak my last post in this thread.) I see a paradox. God ultimately transcends gender except the incarnate Son. Also, I reject views of a literal eternal generation of the Son while I believe in the eternal declaration of the Son.