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De Moor IV:46: Answering Objections to God's Remunerative Justice

Johannes a Marck

Objection α: God punishes the children because of the sins of their parents, and the just with the unjust, Exodus 20:5; Ezekiel 21:3; John 11:3. Responses: 1. Temporal evils are treated, particularly in Ezekiel 21:3 and John 11:3, which do not befall those Evangelically righteous, except as sinners also, upon whom the matter of Punishment falls, but not in the form of Punishment; and who, having been removed from the land of the living by the temporal Judgments of God, are stripped of their mortal body so that they might pass over unto a more blessed life. 2. And men involved in Common Sin are treated, when God is said to punish the Sins of the parents in the children. For, even if you propose that the children were free from the perpetration of the sins in their own person: yet, when they are punished on account of paternal sins, God does not punish them as innocent; but by a most equitable Administration of Justice He considers them as bound to obedience in their parents, and hence He imputes to the children the fault of the parents, and punishes the children as liable on account of the imputed crime, and so not without regard to sin: compare Chapter XII, § 5. Although, 3. they are able to be free from the more grievous offenses in comparison with others, which is indicated by the response of the Lord, John 9:3, to the question of the disciples in verse 2: compare Luke 13:1-5. For the illustration of the Objection proposed by the disciples in John 9:2, and of the Lord’s Response in verse 3, see what things our AUTHOR has in Exercitationibus Textualibus XIX, Part I, § 28, 32, pages 292, 298, and XXXIX, Part V, § 2, 6, 9, pages 398, 402, 408; and what things are taught below in Chapter XV, § 23, Part III, in comparison with VAN IRHOVEN’S[1] Palingenesia Veterum, book II, chapter XI, § 22, 23, pages 393-398.

Objection β: the Eternal Reprobation of men. I Respond, And this posits Sin in man before Punishment both inflicted and destined; compare Chapter VII, § 8, 17, 18, 31, 32, 34.

Objection γ: The Children are punished on account of Adam’s Sin Imputed to them; and Christ suffered for the Elect. I Respond, that neither Christ nor Adam’s Children, therefore, are punished without regard to Sin, neither are they so completely Innocent: since the posterity of Adam by virtue of Blood and Covenant are bound with that common guilt; and Christ was made liable by His voluntary Promise: see below, Chapter XV, § 31, 32, Chapter XVIII, § 17, Chapter XX, § 22.

Objection δ: The Right of God is Most Absolute, according to His own good pleasure to handle, to annihilate, and hence also to condemn, all Creatures, as depending upon Him. I Respond, that a Consummate Right over all things created by Him is applicable to God, is not able to be denied, Psalm 24:1. But concerning that Right it is never thus to be philosophized, without us attending at the same time to the harmony of all the divine Attributes, by which the actual exercise of that Right is determined. Namely, while that Right of God extends itself equally to all created things, with respect to those Creatures that are furnished with reason, like angels and men, it is able to be called Imperium; with respect to the rest destitute of reason, or even of sense, it is able to be called Dominium, by way of distinction. And so, concerning things destitute of reason and depending upon God in only a physical way, God acts and the most high and altogether free Lord. Wherefore, even if He should will to destroy or annihilate things of this sort, He does nothing on account of which He is able to be accused of injustice. Hence He is also able to yield the Dominion of those things to men for a certain use, just as He actually yielded it, Genesis 1:28, 29; 9:2, 3. Indeed, He was able to yield it in such a way that they might likewise destroy those things for their own preservation, and that without any blot of evil or iniquity; this is by no means incompatible with that end for which things of this sort were created. But, since the divine Imperium concerns Creatures enjoying reason, which consequently also depend upon God morally, and are capable of obedience or transgression of the Law, and hence are also fit for reward or punishment, God, for the sake of His own Perfections, is obliged to act with them in a manner that agrees with their nature and character: neither is He able to be conceived to be concerned with them as Creator, without at the same time being regarded as the Legislator and Judge in the exercise of His Imperium concerning them: but we saw above that it is not fitting that God as the just Judge should sentence a Creature conformed to Himself and to His Law to eternal punishments: much less, since in the beginning He soon revealed Himself as Legislator to man by way of Covenant, and by the promise of Life willed to entice man to the observance of His commandments.

Therefore, if you should say, God is able to annihilate the Creature, and therefore also to damn: I Respond, the rational Creature is not only to be regarded as a Creature in a general way, but also as rational: but such, if he should be impious, God is not able to annihilate, since he ought eternally to be punished, not only with the Punishment of loss, but also with the punishment of sense, for compensation to the injured divine Majesty: but, if he be perfectly righteous, as it is certain that he is not able to be condemned with God’s virtues kept intact, I do not think that it is too rash to affirm the same of his possible Annihilation, if you attend to those things that were pointed out in the κατασκευῇ/ argument. In which manner nothing is detracted from the Imperium of God over created things, since no other limitations are placed upon Him than those which His consummated and absolute Perfection require to place.

Moses Amyraut

AMYRAUT,[2] in his Thesi theological de Necessitate Satisfactionis, Thesibus Salmuriensibus, part I, § 35, page 238, even admits a certain Consummate and Absolute Right of God, but which is never able to be exercised: but what sort of divine Right is this, which by its very nature God is not able to exercise? “Now, at this point (says he) it is especially important that a distinction be made between God’s Consummate Right, and His Right tempered by His Virtues. His Consummate Right is that which depends upon the ὑπεροχῇ/superiority of His nature…. But there are two things belonging to that. First, that, if God should be pleased to make use of it, He may by infinite power, ἀνυπευθύνως, without having to give account. Therefore, to this extent He is able to sentence even a holy creature to eternal torments, and to exempt a creature persisting in vice from punishments. Neither could the creature by right summon Him to trial. For such and so immense a Majesty is able to be liable to no jurisdiction…. Second, that He never makes use of that right. For, even if it is possible should He will, yet He does not will, and it is not possible that He should will, with those Attributes that are in the category of moral Virtues, namely, Goodness, Righteousness, and Mercy, standing opposite.”

The πρῶτον ψεῦδος, fundamental error, of the contrary opinion just now refuted is the Scholastic hypothesis of the Absolute Omnipotence of God, the Scope/Goal of which is to assert Transubstantiation. Compare VOETIUS’ Disputationum theologicarum, part I, pages 384, 385, 392, 393.

[1] Willem van Irhoven (1698-1760) was a Dutch Reformed Minister and Theologian. He served as Professor of Theology (1737-1740), and then as Professor of Church History (1740-1760) at Utrecht.

[2] While studying at Saumur, Moïse Amyraut (1596-1664) was heavily influenced by hypothetical universalism of Scottish theologian John Cameron. He served as professor at Saumur (1633-1664), together with Louis Cappel and Josué de la Place.

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