In Store Now – “The Eternal Generation of the Son” by Kevin Giles

I’m reading Kevin Giles’ new book The Eternal Generation of the Son. I’ve been eagerly waiting for this book because I’ve always held to this doctrine in spite of the encouragement of some of my favorite authors (including three of my former professors at Trinity) to abandon it. Giles sees the move to expunge the doctrine from the modern creedal formulations as a serious error. He could not be clearer when he states that removing the clause “eternally begotten of the Father” from the creeds “opens the door to the Arian error and excludes what the Nicene fathers inserted to safeguard the two absolutely essential elements in the Nicene trinitarian doctrine of God: the full divinity of the Son and his distinct personal identity as the Son of the Father.” (27) So who wants to get rid of this doctrine? I’ve assembled a chart showing who wants to eliminate the doctrine and those who advocate keeping it.

Let’s Get Rid of It

Let’s Keep It

J. Oliver Buswell


Lorraine Boettner

Walter Martin

Wayne Grudem

Bruce Ware

John S. Feinberg

Millard Erickson

Robert Reymond

Paul Helm

William Lane Craig

Mark Driscoll

Gerry Breshears

John Dahms

Samuel Miller

Roger Beckwith

Andreas Kӧstenberger

Scott Swain

Jung S. Rhee

Donald Macleod

Robert Letham

Fred Sanders

Keith E. Johnson

Kevin Giles

Giles gives credit to Korean theologian Jung S. Rhee who argues that Charles Hodge, his son A. A. Hodge and B. B. Warfield laid the ground work to abandon the doctrine as they expressed serious questions and doubts about the it. (30-31)

Why does such a distinguished list of Evangelical thinkers want to get rid of this doctrine? Giles offers a summary of objections:

1)      It has no ‘biblical warrant.’ This is their first and most important objection.

2)      It reflects Neo-Platonic thinking about God more than Christian thinking.

3)      It makes no sense.

4)      Nothing theologically important is lost if it is abandoned.

5)      There are better ways to eternally differentiate the Father and the Son.

6)      It implies or necessarily involves the eternal subordination of the Son, even the Arian heresy. (36-37)

Giles says that while the book is not structured around these objections he “will address them all.” (37) This looks to be a very promising read.


About Louis

I am a 1997 graduate of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.
This entry was posted in Biblical Studies, Church History, New Releases, Theology. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to In Store Now – “The Eternal Generation of the Son” by Kevin Giles

  1. Kevin Giles says:

    Thank you for your encouraging words. My first email on the book was a hot blast from a complementarian, and I do not think I mention women once! Kevin Giles


    • Louis says:

      Thank you, Dr. Giles, for the comment and you are certainly welcome. I am so glad you wrote this book. It is unfortunate that some will too quickly jump to the complementarian/egalitarian debate.


  2. I’m racing (read “clicking”) my way to Amazon NOW to buy. Have awaited this as well.
    Can you expand on objection a bit more and explain why this is critical?


  3. Pingback: Reviews, Interviews, Authors and Books to Note Across the Web « Theology for the Road

  4. Charles Twombly says:

    Eager to read this book. Thanks for your positive words about eternal generation. The list of mainly evangelical theologians who would dump the concept reflects how out of touch many scholars are with the underlying understanding of its meaning one finds in the depths of Christian orthodoxy. Hope Kevin’s book restores some of that “ecclesial” mind.


  5. Sorry, Louis. I meant to say “Can you expand on objection #6 a bit more and explain why this is critical?


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