Saturday, December 20, 2014

Was Jesus “designated” to be Son of God, implying a change of status?

Ever since I read Daniel Kirk on this (around page 40 of his Unlocking Romans) I have tended towards the translation “designated” – for the reasons Daniel gives (a fact I didn’t see as problematic for a divine Christology in the way I present it). But NTW may have changed my mind!

Tom Wright on ὁρίζω in Rom. 1:4

It is important to stress here, as I have done elsewhere, that though the resurrection thus unveils what was there before, it does not confer or create a new status or identity for Jesus. The key word horisthentos, with its root meaning to do with ‘marking a boundary’, and hence ‘defining’ or ‘determining’, has to do with the public clarification, validation or vindication of a previously made claim, not with a claim or status newly introduced. That is quite clear for three reasons. First, in the passages we studied earlier it is the death of God’s son that reveals God’s love in Romans 5 and 8, and for that to make any sense Jesus must obviously have been ‘God’s son’ when he was crucified. Second, in Romans 1:3–4 itself, the messianic status of ‘son of David’ already, according to Psalm 2 and 2 Samuel 7, implied that this person was ‘son of God’, so that the logical order of verses 3 and 4 has the force of a Davidic messianic claim to divine sonship being then validated in the resurrection. Third, and also in this passage, the whole double clause is introduced by the phrase ‘the gospel of God … concerning his son’: in other words, the ‘son’ is the subject of the whole sequence. If there is anything new about Jesus’ post-resurrection sonship in this verse, it is simply that his sonship, possessed all along, is now ‘in power’

--- Paul and the Faithfulness of God, p. 700


At 12/20/2014 2:52 PM, Blogger James F. McGrath said...

This assumes that what gives Jesus a status that can be called divine is the "son of God" part, and not the "in power" part.

At 12/20/2014 3:46 PM, Anonymous Geoff said...

How so?

At 12/20/2014 4:09 PM, Blogger James F. McGrath said...

It isn't clear to me that Paul would have had to been ignorant of the tradition about Jesus referring to God as abba (which he alludes to in his letters) in order for him to have said that Jesus was appointed as son of God with power through the resurrection. Just as Jesus could have been addressed as sir/lord and yet appointed as lord in a fuller sense when raised and exalted.


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