Jamieson’s The Paradox of Sonship is one of the best books I read this year. It was also surprisingly fitting as a Christmas read. Jamieson argues that the title Son in Hebrews should not read as a (“less-than-divine”) messianic title, nor should it be read simply as a divine name. Rather, he argues that Son is used to describe Jesus as the eternal (divine) Son and that the title is used to refer to the appointment of Jesus as the reigning messianic Son. In fact, it is the incarnation by which the eternal Son becomes man, suffers, dies, and rises, that the divine Son is able to be the messianic Son. Finally, Jamieson argues that it was necessary for the messianic Son to be divine in order to exercise the rule that God ordained for him.
The basic thesis is something that I had long accepted. I think I first encountered this line of thinking through reading Richard Gaffin, Geerhardus Vos and associated writers. (Interestingly, Vos and Gaffin are not mentioned in this work.) However, Jamieson’s work advanced my thinking in one respect. He demonstrated that the deity of the Messiah was necessary to his rule. God’s plan was for a divine-and-human messiah to reign over all things. The detailed exegetical work in the book is also valuable.
Jamieson’s interaction with patristic sources is also commendable. In his first chapter he lays out what he calls “A Classical Christological Toolkit.” That is, he explains classical Christological categories that can help make sense of Hebrews’s talk about the Son. He argues that even though the NT does not speak in these categories, there are specific pressures that the text of NT creates that resulted in these categories being conceptualized. Thus, they are not categories imposed on the text. They are categories that illumine the text.
Yet, while drawing on the fathers, Jamieson is not enslaved to them. Most of the Father’s understand language about the Jesus being “made” the Son to be language about revealing what the Son already is. Jamieson rightly points to a better interpretation.