(Repost) on Calvin’s anarchic, autotheotic God

My favorite passage from the Fathers is St Gregory Nazianzus’s Third Theological Oration.    In the second section he notes,

II. The three most ancient opinions concerning God are Anarchia, Polyarchia, and Monarchia. The first two are the sport of the children of Hellas, and may they continue to be so. For Anarchy is a thing without order; and the Rule of Many is factious, and thus anarchical, and thus disorderly. For both these tend to the same thing, namely disorder; and this to dissolution, for disorder is the first step to dissolution.

In other words, polyarchia (multiple sources of unity in deity) and anarchia (no personal source of unity) deconstruct into one another.   Polyarchy (or polytheism) is chaotic and degenerates into anarchy, for there is no overriding principle of unity.   Anarchy (no source of unity) means that if there are multiple deities, and no one principle of unity, then each deity is seen ultimately as “other” than this deity (the next postmodern step equating the “other” with violence is obvious).

How does this relate to Calvin’s view of autotheos?  If the Son is God of himself, then Calvin cannot consistently claim to uphold the monarchia of the Father.  Yet, the monarchia of the Father is explicit in the Nicene Creed’s claim “God of God.”   If there is no monarchia of the Father, then there is no personal source of unity for Calvin’s trinitarianism.  And if there is no personal source of unity for Calvin’s Trinitarianism, then it is ultimately anarchia and polyarchic.

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One comment on “(Repost) on Calvin’s anarchic, autotheotic God

  1. Canadian says:

    Monarchy also seems explicit it the creed’s opening:
    I believe in one God–the Father almighty. Don’t many of us western (I am heading East) Christians also tend to keep the unity of God in the essence? But the essence not being personal or having agency, cannot DO anything.
    I appreciate you highlighting (lowlighting?) Calvin in these posts as I am just coming out of a Reformed Baptist view.

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