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Jhn. 5:26 and eternal generation

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"For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself"(Jhn. 5:26).

This text is sometimes put forth as evidence that the Father has either generated the Person of the Son, or communicated His divine essence to the Son, or both. John Gill, however, as one who actually believed in the doctrine of the eternal generation of the Son, rejects such a reading in his commentary on the text, writes:

so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; he hath not only made the purpose of it in him, and given the promise of it to him; but even eternal life itself, he has put into his hands, and secured it in him for them, 1 John 5:11, to give it to as many as he has given him: and he does give it to all his sheep, so that not one of them shall perish; which shows that he and his Father are one, though not in person, yet as in affection, will and power, so in nature and essence. The Son has life in himself, essentially, originally, and inderivatively as the Father has, being equally the living God, the fountain of life, and donor of it, as he; and therefore this is not a life which he gives, or communicates to him; but eternal life is what the one gives, and the other receives, according to the economy of salvation settled between them: and hence it is, that all that hear Christ's voice spiritually shall live eternally; for these words are a reason of the former, and confirm the truth of them, as well as show the equality of the Son with the Father, in that he is equal to such a trust, as to have eternal life committed to him(Gill).

The text, therefore, refers has reference to the economic divisions within the Trinity rather than to any metaphysical distinction between them. The specific economic division in mind is the granting of the authority of the Son to give life to the elect according to the good pleasure of both Persons of the Trinity, according to the election of the Father:

"When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, 2 since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him"(Jhn. 17:1-2).

"25 At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; 26 yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.[g] 27 All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him"(Matt. 11:25-27).

"21 In that same hour he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.[a] 22 All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him""(Lk. 10:21-22).

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