De Moor V:21: The Deity of Christ Demonstrated from Divine Attributes, Part 2

γ. And Essential, as is Eternity, Proverbs 8:22, 24, 25; Micah 5:2, concerning which passage see on § 8. On Proverbs 8:22, 24, 25, carefully consult BECMANN also, Exercitationibus Theologicis, Exercitation IV, pages 53-60.

In Isaiah 9:6, אֲבִי־עַד, the Everlasting Father. The former part of the name, denoting Father, is explained by some more broadly of an author or cause: while Eternity is taken for the joyous Eternity that the Son here described would procure for others. The Most Illustrious VITRINGA in his Commentario on this passage expresses the view that the Messiah is called אֲבִי־עַד, the Father of Eternity, as the Founder of the new and eternal age of the better economy of the New Testament. While now the same one that was previously called the Son more properly is believed to be called Father more commonly; whether on account of the Seed to be generated and propagated by Him in one manner or another; or on account of His truly Paternal Power and Benevolence over His subjects, with each of which He would be furnished. But עַד as a noun everywhere asserts Eternity, both from the time before, and especially from the time afterwards. And thus He will be the Father of Eternity, who is, and who is such, whether from the long or total duration backwards, in which manner the divine Eternity of Messiah will hence be clearly proven from the time previous; or unto the long or total duration coming thenceforth, which according to the mind of our AUTHOR in the exegesis of this passage, Exercitationibus Textualibus XVI, Part VI, § 5, perhaps appears more to be regarded here, as also Jonathan[1] has it, enduring for ages; in which case that passage does not so much make for the matter here. In a similar manner, Le Clerc renders אֲבִי־עַד as eternal Father. VRIEMOET, in his Adnotationibus ad Dicta classica Veteris Testamenti, tome 2, chapter IX, page 97, thinks that perhaps the Hebrew expression is most simply translated the possessor of absolute eternity, in a manner of speaking, examples of which are not at all rare among the Arabs: now, thus that passage will be rightly cited here: as ARNOLDI also vindicates the same for the divine Eternity of Christ, in his refutatione Catecheseos Racovianæ, pages 313, 314; while at the same time he shows that this title is not able to be expounded of Christ as the author and prince of eternal Life, as it is done by the Socinians in Catechesi Racoviana, chapter I de Cognitione Personæ Christi, questions 78, 79, page 108, without His True Deity coming to be acknowledged at the same time: see also GERHARD TEN CATE’S Epistolam de Rebus Jesu Christi ex Prophetis ad Leonardum Offerhaus, after Offerhaus’ Spicilegiorum historico-chronologicorum, pages 632-634, 638.

In John 1:1, Ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ λόγος, etc., in the beginning was the Word, etc. The Apostle does not say ἐγένετο, He was made, became, as in verse 14;[2] but ἦν/was, so that he might first describe the Son of God in this manner, by that which was before the Incarnation; then by that which He was made through the Incarnation. Neither is it doubtful that by that ἐν ἀρχῇ, in the beginning, posited absolutely, John has regard to that Mosaic בְּרֵאשִׁית, in the beginning, Genesis 1:1, in which all things were created, and before which there was nothing but absolute Eternity; which is evinced by the continuation of the speech of John concerning all things made through this Word, that is, through Creation, even the World that knew Him not, verses 3, 10. A more inept sense is not able to be found, than if you should say that John, speaking this of the beginning of the Gospel and the second Creation, means: In the beginning of the Gospel was the Word, that is, Christ was already the Spokesman of the Father, when, or from what time, He was beginning to preach the Gospel. Contrariwise, that from the ἦν/was the Eternity of Christ is asserted in this passage, BASIL the GREAT observes in his Homily on this passage, which is XVI Diversarum Homiliarum, opera, tome I, pages 432-437: compare our AUTHOR’S Exercitationes Textuales XXXVI, Part VI, § 3, 12; ARNOLDI’S refutationem Catecheseos Racovianæ, on chapter I, de Cognitione Personæ Christi, questions 9, 10, page 52, § XLVIII-LII, LV-LXXI, pages 187-195; BECMANN’S Exercitationes Theologicas, VII, pages 91-104, 113, 114.

In John 8:58, πρὶν Ἀβραὰμ γενέσθαι, ἐγώ εἰμι, before Abraham was, I am. 1. Not I was predestinated, but I existed in act: for it was asked concerning Him, whether Christ, who was not yet fifty years of age, was able to have seen Abraham; which the Lord answers in the affirmative, by saying that He was before Abraham. 2. Not before Abraham was or is made the Father of Nations, I am the Light of the world; but before he was, existed, was born, I am. For, it is not treated of the future, but of the past; not of the time when the Gentiles were to be called, but the time in which Abraham lived, whose era Christ did not appear to have been able to reach. And He certainly was not able, except according to the divine Nature; since it does not have a beginning of days,[3] Christ, existing according to it for so long a time before He assumed human nature, certainly existed from eternity. But if the absolute Eternity of the Son be not directly proven from this passage against the Arians; nevertheless, His Pre-existence before His birth from Mary is demonstrated expressly enough from the same against Photinianizing Socinians: thoroughly compare ARNOLDI, refutatione Catecheseos Racovianæ, on chapter I, de Cognitione Personæ Christi, questions 9, 12, 13, pages 52-55, who most effectivel enervates the Socinian παρερμηνείαν/misinterpretation of this passage set forth by the Catechist, and urges an argument from the same for the Eternity of the Person of Christ, § LIV, LXXIV-LXXXIX, pages 189, 190, 197-202; likewise BECMANN, Exercitationibus Theologicis, VI, pages 78-90; VAN LIMBORCH,[4]Theologia Christiana, book II, chapter XVII, § 16-19.

In John 17:5, δόξαν εἶχον παρὰ σοί, I had glory with thee, not by determination, but in actual possession, πρὸ τοῦ τὸν κόσμον εἶναι, before the world was: see BECMANN, Exercitationibus Theologicis, IV, pages 60, 61; ARNOLDI, refutatione Catecheseos Racovianæ, on chapter I, de Cognitione Personæ Christi, question 50, § II-V, pages 269, 270, and also pages 320-322, questions 82, 83, pages 111, 112.

In Revelation 1:8, 11; 22:13. From the expressions here occurring, Ἐγώ εἰμι τὸ Α καὶ τὸ Ω, I am the Alpha and the Omega, ἀρχὴ καὶ τέλος, the beginning and the end, ὁ πρῶτος καὶ ὁ ἔσχατος, the first and the last, read BECMANN, Exercitationibus Theologicis, V, pages 61-67, fiercely contending for the True Eternity, and consequently Deity, of Christ, the Son of God.

[1] Jonathan ben Uzziel (first century) was one of the great pupils of Hillel. It is a matter of some doubt whether Jonathan ben Uzziel is actually responsible for the translation of this portion of the Chaldean Version. For the most part, Targum Jonathan tends to be more paraphrastic and expansive than Targum Onkelos. [2] John 1:14a: “And the Word was made flesh (καὶ ὁ λόγος σὰρξ ἐγένετο), and dwelt among us…” [3] See Hebrews 7:3. [4] Philip van Limborch (1633-1712) was a Dutch Remonstrant pastor and theologian, and Professor of Theology at Amsterdam (1667-1712).

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