De Moor IV:45: God's Dominical Righteousness

Now, Dominical Righteousness denotes the demonstration of this Natural Holiness in all the divine Words and Deeds. To this ought to be referred the Truth of God.

Now, Truth, as far as it is comprehended under the Righteousness of God, is understood, not so much as Metaphysical, as Ethical. By the former God is far separated from all Idols, by the latter from all Error and Falsehood.

Metaphysical Truth is the Truth of the Divine Essence and Perfections: for, as whatever created thing is metaphysically true, because it agrees with its Essential concept in the divine Intellect; so Truth also agrees with God Himself in a manner independent and worthy of God, that is, inasmuch as He actually contains all Perfections in Himself, which, as due to Him as the Consummately Perfect Being, He Himself comprehends in His own mind. Hence it is said, וַֽיהוָ֤ה אֱלֹהִים֙ אֱמֶ֔ת, and Jehovah is the God of truth, or true God, Jeremiah 10:10, in opposition to those things that are related concerning Idols in verses 8, 9, 11. God is called אֱלֹהֵ֣י אֱמֶ֗ת, the God of truth, or the true God, in 2 Chronicles 15:3; ὁ μόνος ἀληθινὸς Θεός, the only true God, in John 17:3; Θεὸς ζῶν καὶ ἀληθινὸς, the living and true God, who is set over against τοῖς εἰδώλοις, idols, 1 Thessalonians 1:9: thus the Son of God is also called ὁ ἀληθινὸς Θεός, the true God, 1 John 5:20, and it is absurd to say that this is indeed the True God, but not the Highest God; since Summity or Independence occupies a primary place among the Attributes of the True God, which which He could not be called the True God. On the other hand, Idols are called אֱלִילִים,[1] things of naught, non-Entities, because they actually are not what they are esteemed to be, from אֱלִיל, nothing, thing of naught; which is derived from אַל/not, with the ל doubled to indicate extreme nullity.

But He would not be the Metaphysically True God, unless He also possessed Ethical Truth, and Logical Truth, of which the one is not able to be separated from the other here; which is more properly the Truth belonging to this locus, and which elsewhere is called Veracity/ Faithfulness.

Now, this Truth or Veracity of God is that Perfection whereby it comes to pass that He never manifests or is able to manifest to men, whether He make use of immediate inspiration, or of the intervention of signs, what is not precisely conformed to His own mind and to the things themselves. This is proven, α. by Holy Scripture, Titus 1:2; Romans 3:4, γινέσθω δὲ ὁ Θεὸς ἀληθής, but let God be true, that is, let God be acknowledged and believed by us as such, in opposition to πάντα ἄνθρωπον ψεύστην, every man a liar. What things that KECKERMANN[2] has in his Systemate Theologiæ, book I, chapter V, opera, tome 2, contribute greatly to the illustration of this locus, “Truth is essential to God. What is Essential, that is immutable, neither is it able to be taken away by anything, without implication of contradiction. Therefore, since Truth is the very Essence of God, it is not able to happen that God might deceive either in word or in work, without Him ceasing to be God: but veracity is contingent to man, that is, man is mutably true, in such a way that he is able to lie without destruction of his essence; wherefore Scripture says that God alone is true, that is, Truth is in God alone necessarily and immutably, etc.” β. Reason lends its support to the Scripture, teaching that the Logical Truth of Intellect is not able to be denied to God, or the Conformity of His perception with the actual things and objects, with which that act of the divine Intellect is concerned, since in § 35, 36 it was proven that all things are infallibly, adequately, and most immediately known to God, with absolutely nothing excepted. Hence the Infallibility of whatever divine Revelation, or the Conformity of the same with the divine Mind and, by consequence with the things themselves, is now easily inferred. Since, 1. God, Perfectly Simple, and Truth itself, speaking, is not able by any appearance of falsehood to be opposed to Himself thinking, or to contradict Himself by an Ethical Falsehood. 2. Because thus consummate Reason would appoint the abnegation of Reason founded by Himself, by obliging men by Revelation to believe what is false. 3. So much the less is the True God able to be suspected of any falsehood in Revelation, since all causes of Falsehood are far removed from Him. As we, by Folly and Imprudence readily embracing the false for the true, not rarely err, so we, being incautious, often draw others with us into errors: but the Omniscient God suffers no such thing. Also, ill will toward and hatred of the Truth sometimes drives man to say what is false; and also envy, ostentation, and similar depraved Affections; which all are to be altogether removed from the first Truth, Holiness, and Goodness. By our Impotence it also often comes to pass that we are not able to obtain our goal, unless he with whom we have to do is circumvented by deceit; which appears to commend to us the use of a Lie, at least Officious, if not as lawful, at least as necessary, as it were: but necessity of this sort does not compel the Omnipotent Governor of things, who by His command turns the will of whatever creatures to the ends and goals predetermined by Himself. Therefore, with all the causes of false speech we far remove from God all Lying. What things have already been observed above on § 22, number 2, concerning the Power of God not extending itself to those things that are contrary to His Essential Perfections, are able to be compared; and JOHANNES LULOFS’ Theologia naturalis theoretica, § CXXVIII-CXXX.

[1] For example, Isaiah 2:8: “Their land also is full of idols (אֱלִילִים); they worship the work of their own hands, that which their own fingers have made…”

[2] Bartholomäus Keckermann (c. 1572-1608) was a German Reformed Theologian and educator. He served as Professor of Hebrew at Heidelberg (1600-1602), and as Rector of the Gymnasium of Danzig (1602-1608).

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