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De Moor IV:9: Threefold Communication of the Divine Names

The Communication of the Divine Names is threefold. 1. Catachrestic;[1] which is applicable in the case of Idols, Jeremiah 10:11; 1 Corinthians 8:5. The Most Illustrious COCCEIUS ascribes this Pauline passage to Old Testament servitude, from which Christians were liberated. Therefore, he understands both Angels, and men put in charge of the Israelite people, both of which, on account of their authority over the people of Israel, as long as the Mosaic economy was enduring, were called Gods and Lords. He maintains that it is not the scope/goal of Paul in verse 5 to uphold the Unity of God against the multitude of Idols; but to show forth Christian liberty, which is founded in it, because for us there is only one God and one Lord. Others think that the name of those called Gods occurs here with such latitude that he might denote both the Angels in every age, and the Magistrates of whatever people, and Idols, with the DUTCH TRANSLATORS also leading the way; yet with the greatest opposition always remaining at that time between the true God, true by nature, and all these, called simply by the name of Gods.

Neither does our Most Illustrious AUTHOR acknowledge here any distinction of the time of the Old and New Testaments, or of the states of the Church, since, 1. the past time and the present are not opposed here; but in the same present time the Apostle speaks of those called Gods and the one true God, which, when the Apostle was writing, was the time of the New Testament. 2. That the Name of Gods has any restriction to the age of Moses, or to the prefecture over the ancient people of God, he thinks to be an altogether precarious hypothesis. 3. And, when the majesty and demonstration of majesty in fulfilling the commandments of God is the same, he thinks that neither Angels today nor our Magistrates are to be defrauded of the name hence sought. 4. That the scope/goal of Paul in these words is immediate, that he might assert and vindicate the Unity of the true God, he thinks not to allow contradiction. 5. He observes that the Apostle does not discourse here in a general way concerning Christian Liberty; but in a specific way concerning eatings things sacrificed to idols, verse 4, which he proves not to be unlawful in itself, and so to be lawful with the positive prohibition lifted, from the vanity of Idols, by which they are not Gods, but are only called Gods.

But then our Most Illustrious AUTHOR judges that Magistrates and Angels are not at all to be understood here, but that only false Gods, whom Idolaters were worshipping, are indicated. He concludes this, 1. From the participle, λεγόμενοι/called, which in its greatest force indicates a bare, mere, and empty name; and here, the nullity of the matter is joined with the appellation, and it ought to denote such a name. But thus an empty name does not agree with Magistrates and Angels, but with false Gods alone, which either do not exists, or at least are not worthy of divine worship, and which it is not the case that a man should fear. Of which sort of false Gods from of old were: in the heavens, the sun, moon, stars, etc.; in the earth, men, beasts, etc.; also those called Lords, בעלים. 2. From this, that these false Gods are thus contemplated in the world, verse 4, as what Christians do not have, and with whom they have nothing to do: that again this is not able to be said concerning Magistrates and Angels, but is altogether true concerning Idols. 3. Because it is the whole intention of Paul to treat of Idols; concerning which, when he had offered verse 4 by way of preface, we know that an Idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one, etc.; now by way of anticipation he subjoins, for though there be that are called Gods, etc.; which things ought to be referred to that former member concerning Idols, which, says our AUTHOR, are indeed called Gods, but are not, not truly participating either entirely, or in any Divinity. 4. The Apostle, soon subjoining in verse 7, but there is not knowledge in all, and at the same time making mention of a conscience of the idol, shows that to this point in those called Gods he has understood only Idols, false Gods with the images representing them: see our AUTHOR’S Exercitationes Miscellaneas, Disputation VII, text 15, pages 335-340.

2. Analogical; which is discerned in the case…chiefly of Magistrates and of Angels, etc. Consult, besides our AUTHOR’S Exercitationes on Psalm 8 and 82, here cited, WESSELIUS’ Dissertationes Academicas, XVIII, which is the third on Hebrews 1:6, § 2-7.

[Incorrectly…is it restricted.] Compare below, Chapter XX, § 37; VRIEMOET’S Adnotationes ad Dicta classica Veteris Testamenti, part III, chapter XVI, pages 277-281.

3. Univocal; …even the Son…Acts 5:3, 4; etc.: compare below, Chapter V, § 21, 26.

[1] Catachresis is an improper use of a word or term.

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