Essay / Theology

Retrieving Eternal Generation

Eternal Gen retrieval book coverScott Swain and I recently turned in the manuscript for a book called Retrieving Eternal Generation. It’s a collection of fifteen essays that we hope will go a long way toward securing Trinitarian theology’s classic form for contemporary theological work.

The last few decades have seen a lot of loose talk about the doctrine of the Son’s eternal begetting, and I think a lot of people have somehow got the impression that the doctrine is weird, marginal, not quite necessary for Christian thought or life, unintelligible, not clear from Scripture, impractical, and a lot of hard work to even understand. Retrieving Eternal Generation will be most helpful for readers who have picked up on some of those disparaging attitudes but still suspect that the venerable old doctrine is the right way to go, and are looking for some good arguments to back up that hunch. We also hope it will be helpful for readers who have actually accepted one or two of those objections. By “helpful” I mean we hope it will give them compelling reasons to change their views.

As a generous and elaborate exploration of the source, history, and significance of the doctrine, the book will also be valuable for readers who have consistently affirmed eternal generation, and like to dwell deeper in the things they believe. It really is an astonishingly beautiful truth, and these essays give it some extended attention.

Speaking of astonishingly beautiful, how about that sparkly cover design featuring starlight from the mosaics of Ravenna? (We couldn’t find a picture of the eternal generation of the Son, thank goodness.)

And speaking of stars, here is the star-studded table of contents:

Part I. Biblical Reasoning
1. “The Radiance of the Father’s Glory:” Eternal Generation, the Divine Names, and Biblical Interpretation — Scott R. Swain
2. The Role of Proverbs 8: Eternal Generation and Hermeneutics Ancient and Modern — Matthew Y. Emerson
3. Eternal Generation and the Old Testament: Micah 5:2 as a Test Case — Mark S. Gignilliat
4. John 5:26: Crux Interpretum for Eternal Generation— D.A. Carson
5. A Lexical Defense of the Johannine “Only-Begotten” — Charles Lee Irons
6. Hebrews 1 and the Son Begotten “Today” — Madison N. Pierce
7. Generatio, Processio Verbi, Donum Nominis: Mapping the Vocabulary of Eternal Generation — R. Kendall Soulen

Part II: Historical Witnesses
8. At the Origins of Eternal Generation: Scriptural Foundations and Theological Purpose in Origen of Alexandria — Lewis Ayres
9. Eternal Generation in the Trinitarian Theology of Augustine — Keith E. Johnson
10. Westminster Assembly — Chad Van Dixhoorn
11. Jonathan Edwards and Eternal Generation — Christina N. Larsen
12. Eternal Generation after Barth—Michael Allen

Part III: Contemporary Statements
13. Philosophical Models of Eternal Generation — Mark Makin
14. Eternal Generation and Soteriology — Fred Sanders
15. Eternal Generation: Pro-Nicene Pattern, Dogmatic Function, and Created Effects — Josh Malone



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