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Arthur McGill: We Worship the Fecundity of God

“The Christian worships not the absoluteness of God but the fecundity of God, the fact that the Father engenders the Son who carries the fullness of divinity.  God is not God as superior, as superior to us in holding onto the divine reality.  We do not worship God as self-contained divinity.  We worship God for the glory of the Father, a glory which consists in bearing fruit.  That is the meaning of the cross.  We worship God as Father, that is, as the one who engenders the Son.  We worship God further as one, who not only engenders the Son, but engenders in all of us the same life.  Where do we see the glory of God?  In the Son.  Here the Father is glorified, and fruitful power is the Father’s and not the Son’s own.  Worship then is a response to glory.  Where is glory?  In Jesus’ act of dying.  In the act he shares his glory and bestows life, but we worship here the glory of the Father.”

–Arthur McGill, Death and Life: An American Theology (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 2003), 74-75.


  1. Bobby Grow wrote:

    Awesome, this is a well balanced way of thinking about the Father . . . with all of our talk about Christocentrism, it seems we leave the Father out. But I think this is a nice way to hold both in balance . . . and glory in death (very Luther and John the “Evangelist/Theologian”). Anyway, thanks for sharing this Halden, I think I will have to read Death and Life.

    Monday, January 21, 2008 at 3:01 pm | Permalink
  2. Halden wrote:

    We’ve generally got copies at the bookstore. It’s a truly earth-shattering book in my opinion. I come back to it constantly.

    Monday, January 21, 2008 at 3:18 pm | Permalink
  3. adamsteward wrote:

    I completely agree. One of the most potent books I’ve ever read.

    Monday, January 21, 2008 at 5:51 pm | Permalink
  4. Ed wrote:

    I was surprised not to see a comment an the role of the Spirit.

    Tuesday, January 22, 2008 at 6:56 am | Permalink
  5. Dave Belcher wrote:

    Halden, I’ve not read the book, so forgive me if this is just myopic…

    Like Ed, though, the absence of the Spirit here strikes me. If the Father has this potestas for bearing fruit (i.e., the Son), does the Father also have this same potestas for the Spirit? I’m obviously asking a question that would necessitate McGill to come down on the per filium or monarchia divide, in one sense, but I don’t think this is unimportant. Does he perhaps address this elsewhere? Thanks.

    Tuesday, January 22, 2008 at 9:05 am | Permalink
  6. Halden wrote:

    Yes, McGill often lacks and explicit account of the Spirit in his trinitarian reflections. He talks often of Jesus’ “pneumatic identity” and seems to think that the relations between the Father and Son take place “in the Spirit”, but he says little about the distinct person of the Spirit.

    Some of this is certainly due to the supremely limited nature and scope of his published works. He really only published three books in his lifetime, two of which were dealing directly with theological themes.

    Tuesday, January 22, 2008 at 9:34 am | Permalink

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