De Moor on God's Essential Vindicatory Righteousness: Conclusion


Johannes Cocceius

It is agreeable to add in the place of an ending what things are found concering this Attribute of God in the illustrious COCCEIUS’ Doctrina de Fœdere, chapter II, § 43, Not only does the will of God inflict vengeance upon sin, but also Righteousness itself requires it. For, He is not able to grant union and communion with Himself to a sinner without denying His own Holiness, Exodus 23:7; 2 Timothy 2:13; Habakkuk 1:13. For, without the similitude of God union with God is not possible, 2 Corinthians 6:14; 1 John 1:6, 7. Hence Scripture says that it is δικαίωμα Θεοῦ, or it is righteous in God to judge, or it is a requirement of Divine Righteousness, because those that do such things are worthy of death and unworthy of life (as Johannes Crellius explains on Romans 1:32[1]), and that is known to man by nature; with, not only the Apostle as witness, but also Crellius. And a little afterwards: A man, guilty of this fault, is not able to approach God, neither is God able to communicate Himself to him, unless a propitiation be made to demonstrate His Righteousness and Mercy (Romans 3:25), 1 Timothy 2:13. And this is why God is called קנא/Jealous, Exodus 20:5 (not Exodus 2:5, as my addition erroneously has it); Joshua 24:19, and why He testifies that He is not going to leave unpunished the man that taketh His name in vain, Exodus 20:7, and why He publishes, not only His Decree, but also His Name and Virtue, Exodus 34:7; Numbers 14:18; Nahum 1:2, 3. And thus indeed the illustrious COCCEIUS pursues the steps of his Most Celebrated Predecessors, who in Synopsi purioris Theologiæ, Disputation XXIX, § 8, confess, Indeed, the internal cause that moves God (that is, to require Satisfaction) is, on the one hand, goodness, etc.; and, on the other hand, the Righteousness of God, which it was proper to satisfy, so that mercy might be able to be exercised and its effect might follow. For, there is here a middle way between both, Romans 3:25, 26. But especially at the end of Disputationis in Antithesibus they thus write: And so, first of all, we reject that impious opinion, that states that satisfaction is impossible, and so a nullity, or that it is not able nor ought to be made to God. Indeed, that the sufferings and death of Christ are only a martyrdom, etc. Finally, that that opinion also is nevertheless closest to the truth, which makes its necessity only hypothetical, or depending only on the Decree of God, but not absolute, depending similarly on the divine nature and the natural Righteousness of God. But, to what degree those that at this time teach Theology with the greatest applause in this same Academy continue in this opinion, is able manifestly to be gathered out of Judicio Ecclesiastico laudato, in which those disputing against Röellius, chapter V, § 3, with common consent (thus indeed in the Præfatione of this excellent Little Work the celebrated Men themselves profess that hence it is going to be granted to see how they stand with united hearts for the Faith delivered to the saint,[2] against Errors breaking in or creeping in, etc.), saying these things: In like manner, one may hardly doubt that not the perpetration of sin, which it is altogether worthy to be called and is called by us also, but all Punishment of what has been perpetrated, not now with respect to a special mode but to the thing itself, he himself attempted to deduce, not from any Natural Perfection or Divine Propriety, so that He might not be able not to punish that in one way or another, but from the Indifference of His Will, so that thus He might be able antecedently to the Decree of punishment as much not to punish as to punish the same. From which principium it ought to be believed to have flowed, what we previously adduced out of his Dissertations, that every mode and manner of Satisfaction, Justification, and finally Liberation, depends upon the altogether free will, and counsel and covenant, of the Judge and the Surety. So that thence flowed with perfect certainty, what we know that his students proclaimed; that there were before God perhaps a thousand other ways besides the Satisfaction of Christ of saving sinners; indeed, that the Divine Majesty, injured by sin, appears to have been able to have been sufficiently compensated and restored before God, by the Acknowledgement of Fault and Request for Pardon, with the promise and rendering of a better Obedience. Which things shall never be reconciled with the altogether pure Holiness of God, and His most exact Judicial Righteousness, each naturally well-known also, nor easily with the Satisfaction of His Well-Beloved Son for us, liberated by it. Upon which doctrine there is thus a sensible attack; to the extent that there is a concurrence with Socinians errors, not without all diminishment of the Divine glory, and of the calling away from the perpetration of sins. But, of course, Reason was also urging this! so that God’s Liberty of Indifference might stand firm in Him, as much in Punishment itself, as in every Ulterior Mode of this, concerning which there is no dispute. And these things indeed, Benevolent Reader, are what things I thought worthy to be said for the present concerning the Vinicatory Righteousness of God: and, although the things that you have read here be less satisfactory to you, since you with good reason desire acumen of genius, abundance of erudition, and elegance of style in them; nevertheless, our efforts, in which you are certainly able to commend the desire, I would have you to favor: for, in this manner I will think that an inducement has been laid upon me to attempt greater things; and in the meantime confer with me immortal honor, glory, and thanks upon God for the help granted. Amen!

[1] Romans 1:32: “Who knowing the judgment of God (τὸ δικαίωμα τοῦ Θεοῦ), that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.”


[2] Jude 3.

ABOUT US

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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