Sunday, February 14, 2010

Essence and Function, Part II-B: The Contingency of the Crucifixion

Following up my last post on “Essence and Function: Definition and Distinction,” I decided to create a second portion of Part II, where I would set up a simple argument for the temporary subordination of Christ. The temporary subordination of Christ can be proven by arguing that the coming of Christ to earth to die was not a necessary action, but a contingent one: that is, it was based upon the granting of free will to human beings and God’s foreknowledge of their later sin. I have set up a syllogism as a way to present a succinct argument.


a. God freely decided to create the world.

b. God freely decided to grant human creation free will.

c. God freely knew that man, with his free will, would sin.

d. God freely knew man’s sin, and freely decided to come in the person of Christ to atone for man’s sin.

e. That which is freely done or that which is a free decision is not necessary.

f. Therefore, it was not necessary for God to create the world.

g. It was not necessary for God to grant free will to His human creation.

h. It was not necessary that man should sin.

i. It was not necessary that Christ come and atone for sin (if sin was not

j. If none of God’s free decisions were necessary, then neither was His coming
to earth and crucifixion necessary. As a result, Christ’s subordination on earth was not necessary.

k. That which is necessary is eternal (as is God’s essence); that which is not necessary, then, cannot be eternal.

l. Christ’s subordination, then, was not necessary, and therefore, cannot be eternal. It can only be temporary.

In order to understand the above syllogism, one must know the terms involved. To begin with, let’s define the word “necessary”:

“Of an inevitable nature; inescapable.”

Christ’s essence, Godness (or divinity), was NECESSARY in order that Christ come to earth and atone for man’s sin. But what about his function? Let’s find the definition of the word “contingent”:

“Conditional; dependent; that may or may not occur” (from “The Oxford American Desk Dictionary and Thesaurus,” Second Edition. New York: Berkeley Books, 2001).

If God had never created the world, then Jesus would never have had to come and die; how then, can His subordination have been “necessary” or “eternal”? those who argue this belief fail to consider the unorthodox theology behind such an argument.
I will refer to this twelve-point syllogism quite often as we continue to discuss the issue of essence and function. Stay tuned...


  1. I am not a seminary student but I have studied the Bible with the concordances, lexicons and interlinears on my own for a long time now. I just finished studying 1 Timothy. Taking everything into context I think it could be possible that the entire book is Paul directly talking to Timothy about the character of leaders he is supposed to be choosing and the regular congregation is not in view at all. I think even the widows are leaders. I think the women's dress code is saying they shouldn't use outward looks to persuade people to godliness and men shouldn't use force to persuade them. I think Paul could be saying Timothy shouldn't allow the teaching that woman is the author of man and so he reminds Timothy of the proper order of creation. Adam knew full well he was sinning but Eve was tricked. However,salvation would come to them (Adam and Eve) through Eve's offspring if they believed that Word. (the first verse of chapter 3 just doesn't make sense as it is, so, I think the first part of the verse belongs with the last verse of chapter 2). Also he could be telling Timothy to make sure the leaders let a woman learn everything everywhere just like the men have since it was the very unlearned of Eve in the first place that allowed her to be deceived.
    Anyway, all I am really trying to say here is that after digging into the materials that the paraphrasers and translators of my Bibles say they used to interpret Paul's writings I just can't see the logic for a non- egalitarian Paul.

  2. Dear commenter,

    I agree with you. There is no logic for a non-egalitarian Paul. An argument that I have made here (and u should read) is, that, if Paul dispels of genealogy and the order of creation in 1 Corinthians 11 as an argument against women (in other words, genealogy doesn't prohibit women from praying and prophesying in the congregation), then why would Paul go to 1 Timothy 2 and use it as an argument to prohibit women from teaching in the congregation? To do away with the argument in 1 Corinthians 11 and to resurrect it later in 1 Timothy 2 is extremely illogical.

    This is why I am so serious about the gender debate. I think that, when complementarians make the assertions they do, they do not understand that they are making the Bible, God's Holy Word, to be a complete contradiction. With the case of Paul and 1 Corinthians 11 and 1 Timothy 2, complementarians make Paul out to contradict himself. However, God's Word does not contain contradictions. So if Paul isn't using genealogy to prohibit women from teaching, then he must be using it to prohibit the content of the teaching women, namely, that the woman was created first.

    I'm gonna get into a series here at Men and Women this summer on the Gnostics and Gnostic thought. While the Gnostics did not formalize as a group until the second century, their ideas were floating around the early church in the first century (which is when the Pauline epistles were written). What I hope the Gnostic series will show is that the ideas of what later became Gnosticism existed in the views of some members of the early church. The similarities are so striking that it will dispel of this idea that 1 Timothy 2 was to clarify "which gender" would rule the church. One of the things that you will notice about complementarians (if you haven't already) is that they never provide a context for this chapter of Paul's letter. This chapter, like every chapter of Scripture, has a context. They never seem to discuss context.

    Thanks for commenting. Please, do read from the other stuff that I've worked on.


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