Dale Tuggy

Dale Tuggy is Professor of Philosophy at the State University of New York at Fredonia, where he teaches courses in analytic theology, philosophy of religion, religious studies, and the history of philosophy.


  1. trinitarian or unitarian? 3 – Irenaeus’s 2-stage Logos theory (Dale) » trinities
    March 2, 2013 @ 5:12 am

    […] So if by “Logos” you mean an intelligent agent, a powerful self that can be God’s helper in creation, then this has a finite history. (J.N.D. Kelly eloquently and accurately sums up their 2-stage view in his Early Christian Doctrines, pp. 95, 100.) The idea, though, that this agent used to be an attribute of the Father is evident nonsense. […]

  2. James Goetz
    March 28, 2010 @ 12:21 am

    Thanks, Scott.

    I wish to ask both you and Dale if the view that “the Son depends on (is generated by; ‘begotten, not made’) the Father” was the unanimous view in Imperial Church orthodoxy. Or was there any other ancient meaning of “begotten, not made”?

    As I said earlier, I see the biblical statements about the begottenness of the Son primarily refer to declarations in the context of creation. And I want to know if I’m completely rejecting one of the points of the ancient Trinitarian creeds.

    By the way, I voted “no” to “The Son exists because of the Father, who eternally generates him.” But was that the unanimous view of the Imperial Church fathers?

  3. Scott
    March 27, 2010 @ 2:18 pm

    The ‘homoousia’ clause of the creed would seem to tell against subordinationism. Even more, the 381 Creed that dropped the phrase “from the substance of the Father” (from the original Nicene Creed of 325) sometimes is interpreted to entail a stronger egalitarian affirmation. Nevertheless, a weak-monarchy of the Father could be affirmed in the sense that the Son depends on (is generated by; ‘begotten, not made’) the Father.

  4. James Goetz
    March 27, 2010 @ 12:21 am

    Thank you, Dale. Perhaps you can help me with something related. The Nicene-Constantinople creed says that the Son was begotten before all worlds. But I see the biblical begottenness of the Son is primarily a declaration within the context of creation. And the creed seems to have hints of hierarchy, suggesting everlasting past headship of the Father in the Trinity. Do you think that the creed fell slightly short of declaring an egalitarian Trinity?

  5. Dale
    March 24, 2010 @ 9:10 am

    Hey James,

    Under the influence of (the Jewish!) Philo of Alexandria, they held to what scholars call a “two-stage” theory of the Word. First, it exists eternally as the internal reason or thought of God. Then, later, God speaks this Word out, and it is then an agent/self alongside of God, cooperating with him in the creation of the world, etc. This later, expressed Word eventually becomes incarnate. So, how far back does *his* existence go? Pretty clearly, I would argue, back to the point of expression by the Father / God.


    So this is one reason why both of these “fathers” should be classed as subordinationists.

  6. James Goetz
    March 19, 2010 @ 7:13 pm


    I need to brush up my Early Church history. Did Irenaeus and Tertullian believe that the Word didn’t exist before the Father expressed the Word?

    If they believed that the Word didn’t exist before the Father’s expression, then they were precursors of the Arians. Or if they believed that the Word existed before the Father’s expression, then they were confused.

    Or I’m confused or something like that.:)

  7. trinities - Guest Post: Greg Spendlove on Logos Christology
    January 27, 2010 @ 3:22 pm

    […] this post, Greg responds here to my recent post: On Logos Christology Subordinationism, which followed up A Gnome’s Tale.  – […]

  8. Dale
    January 23, 2010 @ 9:17 pm

    Hi Ryan,

    Excellent question. I thought that it was Augustine who pioneered the view that God created time along with the physical world. Of course, most Greek philosophers thought both time and the world were beginingless. I suspect that they were none too clear about this, but off the top of my head, I’m not sure what the guys we’re talking about thought about time and creation.

    I’m out of the office and can’t look for the quotes now, but if I recall correctly, both of Tertullian and Irenaeus – surprisingly given later standards – do somewhere imply that there was a time before the Word was expressed. Wolfson calls this a “two-stage” theory. Orthodox theologians typically spin this by pointing out that the Word in their view was eternal – but this obscures the fact that it looks like the Word at stage 1 would not be another self alongside the Father.

  9. Ryan Herr
    January 22, 2010 @ 9:12 am

    Dale, are you sure that you’ve summarized the Logos theory accurately? Wouldn’t Tertullian, Irenaeus, and other late-2nd and early 3rd century catholic thinkers claim that there is no “some time just prior to creation”?

    And therefore, does the theory entail that the Word was “a power of a thing at an earlier time t1” and “a thing with powers at a later time t2”?

  10. rob
    January 22, 2010 @ 5:43 am

    Let us forsake philosophical ideas and deal with this mystery from a more simplistic point of view. Could it be that because God does “all things” by his word. Christ is called the Word (as a tiltle) because God does all things by him.
    In simplicity there abides many truths. Christ is called “bread” not because he is made of flour, but because he gives and sustains life. The title is defining his importance in God’s action in the creted world. ALL THINGS WERE MADE BY HIM. Without him there is no us.

  11. Scott
    January 20, 2010 @ 8:23 pm

    I think you’ll find that the Father wears a white bow-tie, otherwise called sub-fusc.:


    But really — I appreciate the humor.