De Moor V:9: Eternal Generation Defended against Roellius, Part 1

4. A Theologian in the Netherlands, recently Philosophizing, proceeds our AUTHOR, is not able and ought not to be passed over here without a most weighty censure; who, etc. Our AUTHOR here sets forth and refutes, briefly and nervously, the opinion of HERMANN ALEXANDER RÖELLIUS concerning the divine Generation and Filiation of Christ: whoever desires additional material, let him consult Judicium Ecclesiasticum, quo opiniones quædam Clarissimi Hermanni Alexandri Röellii Synodice damnatæ sunt, laudatum a Professoribus Theologiæ in Academia Lugduno-Batava, 1723, chapters I, III, which was published in the common name of the Theologians of Leiden, written most solidly by the Most Illustrious MARCKIUS, to be attentively read by everyone taking pains in Theology: compare also VRIEMOET, in his Elogiis Professorum Franequeræ, pages 661-665, who here succinctly, yet not with sufficient fullness, sets forth the state of the controversy between us and Röellius in this way: “This was the position concerning the eternal Generation of the Son of God from the Father. Which, with the common conception concerning this opposed by many from the beginning among Christians, as discordant and altogether adverse to the divine perfections, he interprets as only a certain ineffable mode of the eternal and natural coexistence of the Son with the Father, and that, which he thereafter enlarged more than at the beginning, made manifest through the economy of grace, in the execution of the Mediatorial office:” add also page 670.

Who first attacked this Generation, as improperly so called; contrary to those things that have already been asserted by us in § 8: see Judicium Ecclesiasticum laudatum, chapter III, § 3, 4, compared with § 7.

Then he placed that Generation in Eternal Coexistence with the Father: see Judicium Ecclesiasticum laudatum, chapter III, § 5. Which erroneous interpretation of the Generation of the Son our AUTHOR refutes with these three arguments:

α. Which Generation, nevertheless, is not commong to the Spirit; for He also coexists with the Father, yet nowhere is He called begotten, or born, or Son of the Father.

β. It is attributed no less rightly to the Father Himself than to the Son. For the Father coexists mutually with the Son, in the same way that the Son coexists with the Father. Yet the Father is not able to be called the Son, nor the Son the Father, with the relation of these Persons being interchangeable; the Father is not able to be said to be begotten or born from the Son: unless you wish to confound completely the divine Persons, and to remove their true distinction.

γ.Indeed, there is nothing in this Coexistence, that corresponds to Generation.Never is anyone said to generate another, or to be born from another, on account of mutual Coexistence.Thus the Scripture, speaking of the divine Generation and Nativity of the Son, would speak things unintelligible; and thus, by willfully contriving a signification never applied to these words, we take an unheard of and criminal license of twisting the Scripture according to our corrupt nature.Men are never able to be said the one to beget the other, or the one to be born of the other, simply because they live together at the same time:compare Judicium Ecclesiasticum laudatum, chapter III, § 10.


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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