I.                    The Three Genera of the Communication of Attributes (p. 132, et.seq.)

A.                 Division into three classes.

1.                  Followed by Formula of Concord and most Lutheran dogmaticians.

2.                  Some deplore this as confusing.

3.                  But is not arbitrary.

4.                  Some speak of four classes, others only two.

5.                  Some use the “doctrinal” order.

a.                   e.g. M. Chemnitz, Formula of Concord, and Acgidius Hunnius.

b.                  Places the communication of the official acts (the 3 rd genus) ahead of communication of the majesty (the 2d genus).

6.                  Others use the “natural” order.

a.                   e.g. John Gerhard and most others.

b.                  We will follow this order.

B.                 The “natural” order

1.                  First: genus idiomaticum (appropriation: idiopoiēses)

2.                  Second: genus maiestaticum (cm. of majesty: metapoiēsis)

3.                  Third: genus apotelesmaticum (cm. of official acts: koinopoiēsis, or koinōnia apotelesmatōn)

C.                 Importance

1.                  Not in how many classes, in which Scriptural statements are arranged.

2.                  But must allow Scriptural statements to stand.

3.                  To believe 1Jn 1:7 (“the blood…all sin”), must believe:

a.                   The blood of His human nature is the blood of the Son of God.

b.                  The blood of Christ according to His human nature possesses the divine power to cleanse from sin.

c.                   Consequently both natures work together in one theanthropic act.

4.                  These are exactly the 3 genera.

5.                  Doctrine is very simple.

6.                  But the devices of men cause the burdening of dogmatics with the three divisions.


II.                 The First Genus of Communication of Attributes (Genus Idiomaticum) (p. 135 et.seq.)

A.                 Those who have objected to this include:

1.                  Nestorius: emphatically separated the Son of God from His birth, suffering and death.

2.                  Zwingli: separated the Son of God from His suffering and death and demanded they be referred only to the human nature.

3.                  Calvin: completely separates the Son of God from the suffering and death of the human nature, declaring that Christ’s merit, as that of a man, has no intrinsic value.

B.                 Zwingli’s “alloeosis”.

1.                  He admitted Scriptural passages do ascribe to His whole Person both suffering and death.

2.                  But he said these statements must be interpreted by assuming a figure of speech (the alloeosis) which demands a substitution of the subject to suit its predicate.

3.                  Accepted by later Reformed theologians.

C.                 Truth according to Scripture

1.                  Scripture predicates of the Son of God human birth and suffering and death.

a.                   Gal 4:4 “born of a woman”.

b.                  Ro 1:3 “a descendant of David”.

c.                   1Co 2:8 “crucified the Lord of glory”

d.                  Ro 5:10.

e.                   Gal 2:20.

f.                    Ro 8:32.

2.                  Men must adapt their opinions to what Scripture says! (Jn 10:35)

3.                  But does not Scripture actually teach that God cannot suffer and die?

a.                   Most assuredly!

b.                  Teaches the impassability of God most emphatically.

c.                   1Ti 6:15,16.

4.                  Bible teaches.

a.                   Not only that God is unapproachable, invisible and untouchable, so far as men are concerned.

b.                  But also, and this as its central theme, that the Son of God was made man.

c.                   Ascribes to the Son of God the birth, suffering and death according to this human nature assumed into the divine Person, and not according to the divine nature.

d.                  Therefore, the Son of God has suffered, not only in name, but actually and really, though according to His human nature.

e.                   This suffering in the assumed human nature, however, is the suffering of the Son of God.

f.                    Scripture, due to personal union, ascribes also to the divinity everything that happens to the humanity, and vice versa.

g.                   It is true that human reason cannot understand how this occurs.

h.                   Scripture bases the redemptive value of the suffering of Christ on the fact that not a mere man, but the Son of God suffered.

D.                 First Genus

1.                  Defined: “ Because the divine and human natures of Christ constitute one Person, the attributes, belonging essentially to only one nature, are always ascribed to the whole person, but the divine attributes according to the divine nature, and the human attributes according to the human nature.” (p. 143)

2.                  cf F.C., Sol. Decl., VIII, 36f (Tappert, p. 598 ff)

3.                  In the First Genus, it is immaterial whether the Person is designated:

a.                   According to the divine nature (Son of God, Lord of Glory).

b.                  Or, according to the human nature (Son of Man, David’s Son)

c.                   Or, according to both natures (Christ, Immanuel)

d.                  Since, each term designates the one Person with its two natures and all their attributes.

e.                   i.e. in Christ, God and man have become one Person, so that the Person bears the idiomata of both natures.


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