i. That the words 'Father' and 'Son' are Unworthy of Godhead

This objection may be divided into two heads:

(1) That these words involve the physical idea of generation; (2) that they involve the temporal idea of sequence: both of which are obviously repugnant to monotheism.

But we say that more careful thought shows, the emptiness of these objections.

(1) Your have to distinguish very carefully between the idea of procreation and that of fatherhood. A parent and a father are by no means the same thing. Every earthly father is a parent; but not every parent is a father! Parenthood, or procreation, is a physical act which man shares with the lower animals, nay, with the lowest, nay, with the vegetable kingdom also, with all that reproduces its kind. You see at once now the absurdity of saying that such and such a jelly-fish was the father of such and such another jelly-fish, or that this plant was the father of that! When you sow a seed in a garden, who even thinks of the precise individual plant which produced that particular seed and, in consequence, the particular plant that springs from it?

This shows, with a sudden clearness, that when we talk even of earthly father and son, the idea of physical procreation is secondary in our minds. What we are really thinking of is a set of purely moral considerations—the spiritual relationship


between two moral and spiritual beings. We may mention a few of these: love, first of all and most important of all; tenderness; intimate and mutual communion; perfect and blissful reciprocity; oneness of nature; oneness of image and character and will; oneness in work together with correlation of function. I speak, of course; of ideal fatherhood and sonship; and yet have actually seen not seldom such a relationship fulfilled on earth.

Is there anything in such qualities, we ask then, that is unworthy of Godhead as such? Certainly not from the moral view-point: As to the metaphysical difficulty of plurality, that is another matter which maybe discussed thoroughly later on. But, morally speaking, these things eminently befit a holy God, and this is precisely why He deigned to use these terms, and no other, to bring home to our minds the sort of relationship between Him and His Eternal Word. Apart from some such terms, that relationship would have inevitably been construed in a purely metaphysical way (as it was indeed by the Jewish philosopher Philo), and it would have been completely destitute of spiritual value to the soul of man. But as it is, this doctrine of Father and Son, united by the mutual Spirit of Father and of Son, has given a new impetus to holiness in family life, a new meaning to love and communion wherever it has been received into the heart and not the intellect alone.

(2) We already have gone more than half way in resolving the second objection, that these terms