De Moor V:10: The Son as Autotheos, Part 1

It is to be observed in addition, that this Generation of the Son does not prevent Him, with the Spirit, from being called Αὐτοθεὸς/Autotheos, God of Himself, indeed rather, it implies it; in the sense that our AUTHOR here explained, α. of Truth, namely, β. of Eminence, and, γ. of Essential and External Independence.



α. The Truth of the Deity of the Son, by which, not only qualitatively and analogically, but φύσει, by nature, He is and is called Θεὸς/God, such that for Him to be is to be God, is taught by the Spirit in 1 John 5:20, οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ ἀληθινὸς Θεός, καὶ ἡ ζωὴ αἰώνιος, this is the true God, and eternal life. These words are to be referred, not to God the Father, but to the Son: for, 1. the pronoun οὗτος, this one, has regard to Christ, of whom it was spoken just beforehand. 2. The scope of the Apostle evinces this, which is to teach that Christ came to conduct us to the knowledge and communion of the True God, and that we are therefore in that True One, in this manner, that we are in His Son Jesus Christ; seeing that the Son of God Himself, Jesus Christ, is also the True God and eternal Life. 3. Life and eternal Life in the writings of John is a title wont to be given, not to the Father, but to the Son, John 1:4; 11:25; 1 John 1:2; 5:11, 12: compare the vindication of this text from Socinian παρερμηνείᾳ/misinterpretation, Catecheseos Racovianæ, chapter I, de Cognitione Personæ Christi, questions 23, 26, pages 60, 63-65, by ARNOLDI in his refutatione Catecheseos Racovianæ, on the places cited, § CLII-CLX, pages 227-230; and the defense of the same text against Goslawski[1] and Socinus by BECMANN,[2] Exercitationibus Theologicis, X, pages 140-146; certainly add HERMAN VENEMA, Exercise III de Vera Christi Divinitate, pages 117-145.


Campegius Vitringa the Younger

β. His Eminence, Romans 9:5, ὁ ὢν ἐπὶ πάντων, Θεὸς εὐλογητὸς εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας. ἀμήν, who is over all, God blessed for ever: Amen. These words, 1. are not able to be considered a δοξολογικῇ/ doxological apostrophe to the Father, because the subject matter does not demand this, nor does the order of words admit this; while the article with the participle, ὁ ὢν, who being, is relative, not beginning a new sentence, but continuing the same. 2. And so these words ought altogether to be referred, not to the Father, but to the Son, who was treated in the preceding words, ἐξ ὧν ὁ Χριστὸς τὸ κατὰ σάρκα, of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came: see ARNOLDI’S refutationem Catecheseos Racovianæ, page 295, § III, ad Catechesem Racovianam de Cognitione Personæ Christi, chapter I, questions 66, 67, pages 100, 101; CHRISTIAN BECMANN’S Exercitationes Theologicas, IX, pages 132-138; HERMAN VENEMA’S Exercise III, just now commened, de Vera Christi Divinitate, page 141 in the notes; and especially his Disputationem Criticam primam contra Artemonium[3] ad Romans 9:5, found after VITRINGA the Younger’s[4] Opuscula in octavo, pages 285-314, in which he admirably vindicates the true reading of this passage; and among other things he observes in § 24, pages 312, 313, “The words, τὸ κατὰ σάρκα, as concerning the flesh, which, endowed with restrictive force, intimate something more sublime in Christ, demand the following words for their complement and explanation; and so they indicate that the speech continues concerning the same person. For, since he says that Christ is of the Jews according to the flesh, was he able to add anything more aptly than a reason for the restriction, and so to subjoin a description of His more sublime nature? Especially since the mentioning of the excellency of Christ is able exceedingly to magnify those prerogatives, and the Sacred Writers are wont everywhere thus to teach, mentioning flesh and Spirit with respect to Christ, as in Romans 1:3, 4; 1 Peter 3:18; 1 Timothy 3:16.”

In Titus 2:13,[5] where, not the Father, but the Son, goes by the title of the μεγάλου Θεοῦ, great God; for, 1. μέγας Θεὸς, great God, and σωτὴρ ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦς Χριστὸς, our Savior Jesus Christ, are subjoined to one article, τοῦ, before μεγάλου, which much rather leads us to one Person than to two distinct Persons in these words; and so the καὶ/and between Θεὸν/God and σωτῆρα/Savior does not disjoin here, but rather connects. 2. Ἐπιφάνεια/appearing is wont to be attributed, not to the Father, but to the Son; and, 3. He, whose ἐπιφάνεια/appearing is expected, is said to have given Himself for us, verse 14: compare against the Socinian στρέβλωσιν/torturing of this text, presented in the Catechesi Racoviana, chapter I de Cognitione Personæ Christi, questions 23, 29, pages 60, 66, 67, ARNOLDI’S Refutationem Catecheseos Racovianæ, on the places cited, § CLXV-CCLXX, pages 232-234. The vindications of the three passages just now adduced ro the True and Supreme Deity of Christ, namely, 1 John 5:20; Romans 9:5; Titus 2:13, against Harwood,[6] read also in CAROLUS BOERS’[7] Specimine Animadversionum in Harwood nuperam Novi Testamenti Versionem Britannicam, chapter II, sections 1-3, pages 37-72.


And the substance itself also declares that, if the Son is True God, He ought also to be the Most High God: for the True God acknowledges acknowledges no one as superior to Himself.


γ. In like manner it is certain that, if the Son is True God, He is the Independent God: for among the Attributes of God Independence is easily the first, and inseparable from God’s Essence: hence also He is said ἔχειν, to have, Essence or ζωὴν ἐν ἑαυτῷ, life in Himself, ὥσπερ καὶ ὁ πατὴρ, as also the Father does, John 5:26, concerning which passage see at greater length § 8.


Since these things are so, the title Αὐτοθεὸς or αὐτόθεος (for Theologians place the accent diversely) is not able to be denied to the Son, nor to the Holy Spirit, as if that title were applicable to the Father alone.

[1] Adam Goslawski (1577-1642) was a Polish Socinian. He wrote Disputationem de persona. [2] Christian Becmann (1580-1648) was a German Reformed theologian; he served as Professor of Theology at Zerbst (1627-1648). [3] Johannes Crellius (1590-1633) was a one of the Polish Brethren and an influential Socinian theologian. His son and grandson were also proponents of Socinian views. [4] Campegius Vitringa the Younger (1693-1723) was a Dutch Reformed theologian; he served as Professor of Theology at Franeker (1715-1723). [5] Titus 2:13: “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ (προσδεχόμενοι τὴν μακαρίαν ἐλπίδα καὶ ἐπιφάνειαν τῆς δόξης τοῦ μεγάλου Θεοῦ καὶ σωτῆρος ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ)…” [6] Edward Harwood (1729-1794) was an English classical scholar and Biblical critic. His views tended toward Socinianism. [7] Carolus Boer (1746-1814) was a Dutch Reformed theologian, serving as Professor of Theology at Leiden (1779-1795, 1802-1814).

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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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