Torrance on the importance of Christ’s full divinity

More quotes from Alister McGrath’s ‘intellectual biography’ of the Scottish theologian T. F. Torrance. Both are about the importance of Christ’s full divinity, that Christ is (as the Nicene Creed puts it) ‘homoousios’, of one and the same being with God. The first shows why this matters for revelation and the second shows why this matters for redemption.

We must, therefore, hold these two points together in a single thought: namely, that we just know God through His acts, and yet we must know the Personal Being of God, for nothing else will convey Him. No! not even an act of creation, for creation is as such an act in which something distinct from God is brought into existence. That means therefore that we can only know God in an ACT in which HIS ACT AND PERSON are IDENTICAL, in which God’s presence, personal presence, is present in His act, in which the act is the Person and the Person is the Act. (Cited in Alister E. McGrath, T. F. Torrance: An Intellectual Biography, T&T Clark, 1999, 148-149.)

The fathers of the early church were concerned in the homoousion to assert the belief that when God communicates himself to us in Christ it is none other than God himself in his own divine Being that is revealed. The fathers of the Reformation were concerned to apply the homoousion to salvation in Christ, insisting that when God gives himself to us it is none other than God himself who is at work. God himself is active in his saving gifts and benefits – that is to say, they applied the homoousion to the doctrine of grace … Grace is none other than Christ, God communicating himself to us, the unconditional and sovereignly free self-giving of God the Lord and Saviour of men. (Cited in Alister E. McGrath, T. F. Torrance: An Intellectual Biography, T&T Clark, 1999, 153.)

McGrath’s biography is available here from and

Torrance’s lectures on the incarnation have recently been published and are also available here from and His lectures on the atonement have also been published recently and are available here from and

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