Originally posted by jaywill
John's gospel says that the ones who received Him (the Son) were given authority to become children of God:
[b]"But as many as received Him, to them He gave the authority to become children of God, to those who believe into His name." (John 1:12)
Immediately after this sentence He draws up distinctions qualifying just how this new birth has c ...[text shortened]... ated man.
It is of the Father alone upon those who received His Son.[/b]
I’m not sure that anything I say here is in contradiction to what you’ve written, but perhaps adds what (at least from the perspective of Orthodox—capital “O”—Christianity) might be seen as necessary nuance.
(1) From the Orthodox perspective, the fall (however one interprets that) did not affect humanity’s—and every person’s—being in the image of God. The image is unimpaired. What is impaired is the ability to realize that image in terms of the “likeness.”
(2) In John 1:3 (and following verses) the word often translated as “came into being” is egeneto
, from ginomai
. It is the same word translated elsewhere as “beget”, and is not the same as the words normally translated as “create” or “make” or “form.” It suggests a more intimate relationship between the logos tou theou
and all the things that have “come into being” by means of
) the Logos.
We likely have some other areas where we would disagree, but, again I’m not sure these points contradict what you are trying to say. The main area of disagreement might be what I tend to see (correctly or incorrectly) as the exclusivity of God’s saving/transforming activity for those who perform some “work of the head” (or work of the will) in terms of believing rightly in your articulation. I do not see the need to “think right” (or “will right” ) in order to receive saving/transforming grace as any less a work than “behaving right” in order to receive same.
In the whole soteriological schema (whether one hews to a juridical model or a healing model), there are only three options:
(a) God saves everyone (ultimately, whether or not our physical death is a bar to God’s salvific action);
(b) God is unable to save everyone; or
(c) God does not intend to save everyone.
Under (b), God’s ability is limited by either human response or the work of the Satan (or both). Under (c), generally there are simply those who (given God’s omniscience) are predestined to salvation and those who are predestined to condemnation (Calvinist double-predestination)—or else (c) as well depends on human response, whether such response is seen as work of the head, the emotions, the will, or behavior.
All three views have been justified, since the earliest days (except perhaps for (c) ), by appeal to scripture, and different hermeneutical approaches. I am not questioning your ability to exegete strongly and cogently for your position; but you at least have to recognize the implications of choosing one of those three (and I don’t mean to suggest that you don’t).
Note: With regard to your first sentence, I think that the theology of the early church would affirm that Jesus is the Son, but not that the Son is strictly Jesus; rather, it is a term used to designate the relationship of the Logos to the Father in trinitarian symbology.