Craig’s claim that eternal generation should be rejected on exegetical, historical/philosophical, and theological grounds is itself open to challenge and debate. Furthermore, the alternative of social trinitarianism creates more problems than it solves. In the end, the Nicene doctrine of eternal generation should not be quickly abandoned by Christians. Properly understood, it most faithfully reflects the teaching of Scripture, guards against theological error, and gives confidence and shape to the Church’s theology and worship.
Having responded to Craig’s critique, it remains to respond to his two-fold proposal, which involves 1) rejecting eternal generation, and 2) embracing social trinitarianism. Each of these will be considered in turn.
Responding to Craig’s First Proposal: Rejecting Eternal Generation
Craig is clear that he finds the doctrine of eternal generation exegetically unsupported, historically and philosophically suspect, and theologically problematic. However, the previous discussion should at least show that the situation is not as one-sided as his presentation might suggest. However, even more can be said on this point. Specifically, it is worth asking the question: if Christians accept Craig’s first proposal, what might be lost? Briefly, three things come immediately to mind.
First, a rejection of eternal generation would cause the church to lose the categories and vocabulary necessary to make sense of the Bible. As the exegetical discussion above suggests, the language of Father and Son (together with the frequent use of words like μονογενής and divine titles such as “the Son of God”) indicate that the fundamental distinction which exists between the first and second persons of the Trinity is to be understood in terms of their eternal relation as Father and Son. While the generation of the Son must be carefully distinguished from its human analogy (which is why the adjective “eternal” is so important to include at this point), it is scarcely possible to make sense of the way Jesus describes His relationship to the Father without it.
Second, a rejection of eternal generation would cause the church to lose important safeguards against error. In reflecting the language of the Bible, the doctrine of eternal generation acts as a bulwark against Unitarianism and Modalism (which stress the one at the expense of the three) and of Subordinationism and Tritheism (which stress the three at the expense of the one). Despite claims to the contrary, the doctrine of eternal generation is the most biblically faithful and theologically sound way of distinguishing between the members of the Trinity without dividing them.
Third, a rejection of eternal generation would cause the church to lose important grounds of communion with God. If the biblical language of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is only referring to the titles and roles which the members of the economic trinity take on for our redemption, then they tell us nothing about the ontological trinity. We cannot know God as He is, we can only know Him by what He does. This is one of the most troubling implications of Craig’s proposal. It draws a veil between God as He is in Himself and God as He is for us. While the economic and ontological trinity must of course be distinguished, Craig runs the risk of dividing them so sharply that the revelation of God which is given in Christ is reduced to revealing what God does and not who God is (1 John 5:20). The cost of rejecting eternal generation, then, is high. It robs the church of the theological vocabulary necessary to make sense of the bible, opens the door for various heresies and errors, and impedes the communion of believers with the Triune God.
 Beeke and Smalley echo this concern: “If we sever the knowledge of God’s nature from the knowledge of his works, then in the end we may be able to describe our experiences of God’s effects in our lives, but God himself will remain hidden in a cloud of impenetrable mystery. […] Therefore, the relations of the father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit to each other in their external works reveal their inter-Trinitarian relations.” Joel R. Beeke and Paul M. Smalley, Reformed Systematic Theology – Vol. 1: Revelation and God, (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2019), 938-939.
 Had the church adopted Craig’s proposals, one wonders if a rich work of trinitarian devotion such as Owen’s book on communion with God could have ever been written. See John Owen, Communion with the Triune God, (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2007).