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

Simon Episcopius

3. The Remonstrants maintain that Christ is, and is called, the Son of God, not on account of His Generation alone, but also on account of the four Socinian Reason just now given by our AUTHOR; who thus imitate the ancient Adoptionists, heretics of the Eighth Century, so called from their erroneous dogma, because they were teaching that Christ is indeed the true and proper Son of God according to the divine Nature, by nature begotten of the Father, hence true God with the Father and the Holy Spirit in the unity of the Deity: but that according to His Humanity He is God’s Son Adoptive, or by the grace of Adoption, born of the Virgin by the Will of the Father. The authors of this error were, Felix, Bishop of Urgell, in a city of Septimania or Narbonensis, in the Pyrenees mountains:[1] and Elipando, Bishop and Primate of Toledo, who had consulted Felix by letters, as eminent in reputation of holiness and learning; Elipando’s jurisdiction was also extended into Narbonensis. Though their authority and reputation the error was soon diffused throughout Gaul especially and Hispania: but it was also soon condemned in various Synods, among which were the Council of Ratisbon, with the Emperor Charlemagne present, in the year 792, at which Felix disowned this error, and the Council of Frankfurt in the year 794: see JOHANNES WESSELIUS’ Nestorianismum et Adoptianismum redivivum confutatum, chapter III; SPANHEIM’S Historiam Ecclesiasticam, Century VIII, chapter VIII, § 3, columns 1309, 1310, chapter IX, § 5, 7, columns 1316, 1318 near the end, 1319. And so, with the opinion of these that of the Remonstrants largely agrees, although these reject the language of Adoption in their Confessione: see HOORNBEECK’S Socinianismum confutatum, tome 2, book I, chapter I, section I, pages 7, 8; Confessionem Remonstrantium, chapter III, § 2, page 48; Censuram Confessionis Remonstrantium, chapter III, § 2, pages 51-53; Apologiam Remonstrantium, chapter III, § 2, page 48a-50a; TRIGLAND’S Antapologiam, chapter V, pages 78-83; Episcopius’ Institutiones Theologicas, book IV, section II, chapter XXXIII; WESSELIUS’ Nestorianismum et Adoptianismum redivivum confutatum, chapter III, § 73.

Mention is also to be made here of BERNARD SEBASTIAN CREMER, Professor at Harderwijk, who in his Decade Exercitationum Theologicarum, de Summa Sapientia on Proverbs 8:22-36, page 85, incorrectly teaches that in Scripture is inculcated three reasons why Christ is called the Son of God; first, he acknowledges that He is the Son of God as God because of natural Generation, which he demonstrates from Proverbs 8:22. Then, he asserts that He is the Son of God as man, because He was begotten miraculously, and in the image of God, as the second Adam,[2] clothed in the greatest excellency, and united with the person τοῦ Λόγου, of the Logos/Word, and hence worthy to be called the Holy One and Son of God, Luke 1:35. Finally, he defends that Christ is alos called the Son of God as Mediator, because by His Filial obedience and love toward God the Father, and by His fraternal love toward the Elect, He was going to obtain that He would be heir of all things, and the Elect heirs of God, and joint heirs with Him;[3] which Generation of the Son of God as Mediator he demonstrates out of Proverbs 8:24: see WESSELIUS’ Nestorianismum et Adoptianismum redivivum confutatum, preface, **3-****4, chapter I, pages 1-34, chapter III, § 74, 75, pages 136-140; add CREMER’S Summam Theologiæ supranaturalis, book II, part I, chapter I, pages 103-106.

But, α. we have already overturned the foundations of the Socinian opinion: compare WESSELIUS, Nestorianismo et Adoptianismo redivivo confutato, chapter XXIV, § 290; likewise, GEORGE BULL, Judicio Ecclesiæ Catholicæ Trium Primorum Seculorum de Necessitate Credendi, quod Dominus noster Jesus Christus sit verus Deus, assertum contra Episcopium aliosque, chapter V, pages 35-46, compared with the Introductione, page 5.

β. This does not agree with the title of His own Son given to Christ in Romans 8:32, because He who is such, is not able to become an Adoptive and improper Son. But Cremer incorrectly extenuates that title of His own Son in the case of Christ, as if it would only designate Him, who is a Son by His own and proper privilege, which is also suitable to a Metaphorical Son: see WESSELIUS, Nestorianismo et Adoptianismo redivivo confutato, chapter I, § 3, page 5, § 13, page 30, chapter XXIV, § 289; likewise WESSELIUS’ Dissertationes Academicas XIX, § 19, page 599, § 20, page 601; with which compare HOORNBEECK’S Socinianismum confutatum, tome 1, book II, chapter V, section 2, pages 441, 442.

γ.With sufficient clarity Paul denies that Christ is the Son of God in any other manner than according to His divine Nature, Romans 1:3, 4, on which text compare WESSELIUS’ Dissertationes Leidenenses XII; likewise Nestorianismum et Adoptianismum redivivum confutatum, chapter XXV, § 293-298.

[1] Felix (died 818) was Bishop of Urgell from 783 to 799. [2] See 1 Corinthians 15:47. [3] See Romans 8:17.

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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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