Good question! Folks in my Presby neck of the woods sometimes worry about Wesley's hymn for two reasons. Thread.
(1) Their first (legitimate) worry is that the hymn might imply the idea, popularized in 19th century Kenoticism, that the Son of God "emptied" himself of certain divine attributes when he became incarnate.
However, whatever Charles Wesley may have meant by that particular line, I don't think Kenoticism is necessarily implied by the hymn, which can be taken in a very straightforward Pauline sense (a la Phil 2).
(2) The second (illegitimate) worry arises from the hymn's claim, "that thou, my God, should die for me." The worry here is that God doesn't die. But this worry is an example of "telling on oneself."
It is true: God doesn't die. God is immortal, impassible, etc. Only creatures die. But here's where the "actiones sunt suppositorum" principle comes in.
Only persons, not natures, act and suffer. And, in the case of the incarnation, there's only one person who could be the candidate for any and all of the things Jesus did or suffered: the second person of the Trinity.
And so, while it is certainly true that the Son of God died a purely human death on the cross (because God cannot and does not die). It's also true that nobody else died on the cross for you and me than, "my God," the second person of the Trinity. Wonder of wonders. Hallelujah.

• • •

Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh

Keep Current with Scott R. Swain

Scott R. Swain Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!


Twitter may remove this content at anytime! Save it as PDF for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video
  1. Follow @ThreadReaderApp to mention us!

  2. From a Twitter thread mention us with a keyword "unroll"
@threadreaderapp unroll

Practice here first or read more on our help page!

More from @scottrswain

1 Jun
In addition to a good night’s rest, one benefit of going to bed early is that you miss late night Twitter.

But let me tell you a little story. I am a Florida man, born and bred, but I went to seminary in NC. In my last year in seminary, I married a girl from NC.
One day, while my wife was at work teaching second graders and I was at home working on my thesis, I decided to send her some flowers. I called the florist. She took my information. Then she asked me a question: “Is this fornication?”
Now, dear reader, I was raised on the KJV and I knew very well what fornication was.

And I was offended.

No. This was not fornication, I thought to myself. I have taken a wife by upright and honest means.
Read 15 tweets
31 May
Always attentive to the *ways* the Bible teaches the Trinity. Here's another:

1. Ask *who* knows/does divine thing x (Isa 40:13-14; Rev 5:2).

2. Rule out *all* creaturely candidates (Isa 40:15ff; 1 Cor 2:11; Rev 5:3-4).
3. Answer with a *person* of the Trinity, e.g.,: the Lamb of God, the Spirit of God (1 Cor 2:11; Rev 5:5).
What's great is that these are questions that Scripture does not presume we would be able to answer. Scripture asks and answers its own questions!
Read 5 tweets
23 Apr
Notes on the externally directed works of the Trinity (opera trinitatis ad extra):

1. Because the divine nature is one, there is one divine agency.

2. However, only persons, not natures, act. (This is missing in some post-2016 discussions.)
3. In order to appreciate how divine persons act, we must distinguish agency and mode of agency.

4. There is a mental but not a real distinction between agency and mode of agency, due to divine simplicity.

5. There is however a real distinction between various modes of agency.
6. Mode of agency corresponds to mode of subsistence; indeed, mode of agency *just is* mode of subsistence directed outwardly.


7. The Father always acts through the Son and the Spirit.
Read 5 tweets
23 Apr
We sometimes miss significant aspects of biblical teaching on the Trinity because we are unfamiliar with ancient philosophical terms and concepts.

Here's an attempt to show how attention to the meaning of ἴδιος illumines two NT texts:…
I didn't note it in the post, but patristic, medieval, and Protestant orthodox exegetes *rarely* missed the above-noted point. This is partly due, no doubt, to the fact (observed somewhere by Moises Silva) that some of them (e.g., Cyril of Alexandria) were native Greek speakers.
It's also due to the fact that they had a much better grasp of Greco-Roman philosophy, and its appropriation in Jewish and biblical sources.
Read 5 tweets
5 Feb
Seven "axioms" on the Trinity, the Bible, and theological interpretation. cc: @hains_todd

1. Certain material and social conditions are vital to, but not ultimately sufficient for, theological interpretation of Scripture.
2. The Trinity’s knowledge of the Trinity is the ontological foundation of our knowledge of the Trinity.

3. The Trinity reveals the Trinity by the Trinity; this is the epistemological foundation of our knowledge of the Trinity.
4. The Trinity reveals the Trinity by the Trinity in an economy that is first mediate, in the state of pilgrims, then immediate, in the state of the blessed.
Read 8 tweets
18 Jan
How did Christian theology revise classical pagan conceptions of causation? Let me count the ways.

1. Identified one intelligent cause of all things.

2. Identified that one cause not only as the final cause of all but also as the efficient and formal cause (in a sense) of all
3. Claimed that this single transcendent cause is the immediate cause of all things.

4. Claimed that this single transcendent cause knows, loves, and communicates with creatures (strong Augustine energy here).
(BTW 3 is not the denial of secondary causes. It’s the denial that God must be buffered from certain aspects of creation by intermediaries, an idea common in pagan philosophy.)
Read 4 tweets

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just two indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3/month or $30/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!

Follow Us on Twitter!