De Moor IV:32: Defense of Divine Eternity without Succession, Part 1



Nevertheless, nature and Scripture equally teach with sufficient clarity that to the divine Eternity a removal, not only of Beginning and End, but equally also of Succession, pertains. This is proven from this,


Crellius

α. That before God a Thousand Years and One Day do not differ, Psalm 90:4; 2 Peter 3:8. And so before God there is no distinction of time. Now, before whom there is no distinction of time, before him there is no true succession of time, before and after.

Exception is taken by Crellius in his de Deo ejusque Attributis, chapter XVIII, opera, tome 4, pages 42b, 43a, 44b, and by Vorstius in his Notes on Disputation III de Deo, page 228; 1. That it does not follow from this that before God there is no distinction of time, nor succession of duration; but only that the times do not thus seem long or slow to God, as they do to us, by comparison with a similar thing expressed concerning Jacob, Genesis 29:20.


Response 1: Concerning this it was not asked in Peter, whether the delay of the promised Advent appears slow to God, and produces tedium in Him; but that this appears so to mockers, saith the Apostle.[1] 2. Concerning Jacob, as far as the lesser tedium is concerned, it is said that several years were to him as a few days; for which matter a reason is added, because he loved Rachel, and indeed because of the expectation of the fulfillment of his vow. But to God things do not appear different than they are: neither do the Affections of this sort of human Expectation, etc., fall to God. 3. They incorrectly consider only one of the things expressed, which thing, sought out of Psalm 90, is read in Peter, while they ought also to have attended to the Petrine reciprocation of this saying: which, when it likewise affirms that before God One day is as a thousand years, in the works of our Adversaries according to the explication of the opposite member ought to assert this, that to God the times appear as long and as slow as possible, and it is certainly to be explained of great tedium. Let our Adversaries reconcile opposites of this sort in the Simple God, and tedium of this sorth with His Blessedness.


Hoornbeeck

They take Exception, 2. That from this expression it no more follows that before the Lord nothing of itself lies between the spaces of time, and that there is no Succession in His Eternity; than if anyone should say, victory is granted to God, who wills one soldier to be as a thousand, and a thousand soldiers as one; from this it would follow, that one soldier and a thousand differ not at all before God, neither is there any distinction between these numbers before Him: while the intention of the one that speaks so is only this, that it is equally easy to God, whether to conquer by one, or by a thousand, and to conquer one, or a thousand.

Responses: 1. As certainly there is a distinction between one soldier and a thousand, of which God is not ignorant; so neither is God ignorant that there is distinction and succession in time, in its parts among themselves. But, 2. as nothing is added to or taken from the Power of God in itself, whether He obtains victory through one soldier or through a thousand, or conquers one or a thousand: so from the variety and succession, which obtains in time, considered in itself outside of God, and which God best knows; God experiences no variety or sucession in Himself; and that variety and succession of time in itself adds nothing to God of greater duration, nor does a longer or slower delay make for the augmenting of His age: compare HOORNBEECK’S Socinianismum confutatum, book II, chapter I, section II, tome I, pages 268-271.

[1] 2 Peter 3:3-10.

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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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