De Moor IV:47: Controversy among the Reformed over God's Vindicatory Righteousness, Part 3

They Object, 5. α. If Vindictive Righteousness is Natural to God, no sin is dismissed unpunished. But the consequent is false; for many Sins are remitted: Therefore the antecedent is false also.

Response: I deny the Minor in the controverted sense; for Sins are punished either in the sinner himself, or in the substituted Surety: hence the Satisfaction of the Surety and the demonstration of divine Justice are closely conjoined with divine Grace and the Remission of sins, Ephesians 1:7; Romans 3:24, 25.

β. If Punishment of itself does not please God, but only to the extent that it makes for the correction and salvation, or even the terror, of the one punished; it follows that Vindictive Righteousness is not Natural to God. But the former is true, Ezekiel 18:23; 1 Corinthians 11:23. Therefore the latter is also true.

Response: a. I deny the Minor: because, although Punishment does not please God with respect to the evil regarded in itself and the perdition of the creature by it, it does please God, not only on account of the ends here mentioned; but especially on account of the relation that the Punishment indicates to the Righteousness of God, which it thus satisfies, through compensation to the injured divine Majesty; and the Essential Perfection of God requires this: compare Proverbs 16:4; Isaiah 1:24. b. God does not delight in the Punishment of the sinner comparatively, nor in the Punishment of a penitent Sinner; but certainly in the Punishment of an impentitent Sinner, Proverbs 1:26, in which the laughter of God over the Calamities of the impious indicates the pleasure which He takes in their just punishment.

They Object, 6. that divine Majesty, injured by sin, is able to appear sufficiently compensated by the acknowledgement and deprecation of Fault, with the promise and rendering of better Obedience.

Response: α. That this is a sufficient reparation to Injured divine Majesty, is an altogether inane circular argument, not to be reconciled with those things that we alleged above for the Vindictive Righteousness of God, especially those things that were sought from the vicarious Satisfaction of Christ. Neither will any King believe that his Injured Majesty has been sufficiently restored, if the one that plotted against his life should say that he is penitent.

β. It is not in the power of a sinful creature to promise better Obedience, nor to furnish it: for that he also needs the Grace merited by the Surety.

Nicolaus Arnoldi

Compare on this Paragraph ARNOLDI’S refutationem Catecheseos Racovianæ, on chapter I, de Cognitione Dei, question 11, § XXXIV-XLVIII, pages 93-99, where, among other things, in § XXXVI, you will see this assertion of Socinus, in Prælectionibus, chapter XVI, that that Righteousness, which is conspicuous only in the punishment of sins, the divine books nowhere credit with that name, is abundantly convicted of falsehood from a great many passages of Sacred Scripture: and also on chapter VIII, de Prophetico Christi munere, which is de Morte Christi, questions 18-21, pages 230-233, in ARNOLDI’S refutationem, pages 508-516, in which on the similar words of question 20 of the Catechism, “Moreover, that Righteousness, which our adversaries set over against Mercy, whereby God punishes sins, the sacred books nowhere mark with the name of Righteousness; but they call it the anger and fury of God:” he treats the same thing in § XX-XXVII, compared with § IV-VI: add the Dutch treatise, which is called Examen van het Ontwerp van Tolerantie, om de Dordrechtse Leer met die der Remonstranten te vereenigen, byfde Samenspraak, over Godts Gerechtigheid. My Disputation de Justitia Vindicativa Deo Essentiali is also able to be inspected, which, while I was laying the foundations of my studies at this Academy, I submitted, divided into four parts, for public examination, under the oversight of the Most Illustrious MARCKIUS, FABRICIUS,[1] WESSELIUS, TACO HAJO VAN DEN HONERT, on 11 and 22 of March, and 19 and 22 of April, 1730, and which I will exhibit anew for reading at the end of this volume.

But the exercise of Vindictive Righteousness…is Economic; it is elsewhere taught thus to indicate a distinction between the Punishment of Sins in the Elect and in Reprobates: compare below, Chapter XVI, § 1, 2, 5-8.

[1] Franciscus Fabricius (1663-1738) was a Dutch Reformed Theologian; he served as Professor of Theology at Leiden (1705-1738).

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Dr. Steven Dilday holds a BA in Religion and Philosophy from Campbell University, a Master of Arts in Religion from Westminster Theological Seminary (Philadelphia), and both a Master of Divinity and a  Ph.D. in Puritan History and Literature from Whitefield Theological Seminary.  He is also the translator of Matthew Poole's Synopsis of Biblical Interpreters and Bernardinus De Moor’s Didactico-Elenctic Theology.




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