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De Moor V:21: The Deity of Christ Demonstrated from Divine Titles, Part 1

Johann Cloppenburg

Since the Socinians also make use of the emphatic terms that are found in Scripture concerning the Son of God and His Deity, care is to be taken, lest by fallacious words we should allow ourselves to be deceived by them; but the State of the Controversy must be correctly stated. Smalcius[1] himself wrote a treatise de Divinitate Jesu Christi, in which he actually observes in chapter III that Christ is able rightfully to be called the natural Son of God: at the same time, by these and similar titles they do not rise above the human nature of Christ, and ascribe to Him only a dependent divinity, given as a favor: compare CLOPPENBURG’S Anti-Smalcium, which is found in tome 2 of his Opera. Nevertheless, in this manner they verily trifle: for no one is able to be true God, without being at the same time the Highest, Independent, and Eteranl: since these things are involved in the Essential concept of God, in such a way that it would be contradictory to propose to separate the same from the true God. Indeed, the Truth of God, when we speak of the true God over against false Gods, consists in this, that He actually contain in Himself all Perfections, which Perfections He in His own mind understands to be due to Him as the infinitely perfect Being; which Truth we are accustomed to call Metaphysical: but to this Truth pertain also the Highest State, Independence, etc., as I said. Therefore, our thesis is not simply that Christ is and is able to be called God; but that He is true God, that is, God with respect to Essence, the Highest, Independent, and Eternal, who possessed the Numerically Same Essence with the Father from eternity, and so has been ὁμοούσιος/homoousios, of the same substance, with the father. This we prove:

1. From the Divine Names: for to whom are attributed the Divine Names, not rarely, but everywhere and continually; not only predicatively, but also subjectively; with the Article and without it; not barely only, but with especially emphatic Epithets; not just some names, but all, even the altogether Incommunicable Jehovah: He is the true God: since the Names of God are Novimina of His Essence, and are reciprocal with God Himself. But the Divine Names are attributed to Christ in the way that was just mentioned.

In John 20:28, where, with the Article repeated, we have ὁ Κύριός μου καὶ ὁ Θεός μου, my Lord and my God, that is, σὺ εἶ, thou art. Of course, those words of Thomas are not thus to be taken, as if after the manner common to men, when anything unexpected and worthy of admiration happens to them, he exclaimed, being full of fear and confusion, and carried outside of himself, as it were, when he unexpectly saw Christ revived: since the speech would rather have been directed to God the Father: as Enjedinus urges this, comparing at length the similar custom of the Gentiles and the manner of the Papists, exclaiming with wonder and confusion, Jesus! Mary! in Explicationibus Locorum, ex quibus Trinitas stabiliri solet, pages 249, 250. But, 1. with these words Thomas is said to respond to those things that had preceded and to speak to Christ, ἀπεκρίθη—καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ, he answered and said to Him. 2. Speaking according to the construction of Enjedinus, Thomas would have taken the Name of the Lord God in vain and would have deserved rebuke: contrariwise, these words are considered as the confession of Thomas’ faith, which the Lord approves, comparing verses 27, 29. 3. Thus he acknowledges that Deity is applicable to Christ not just in an improper sense; but he confesses that Christ is true and eternal God, and so equal to the Father as the Most High: for he acknowledges Him to have been demonstrated to be God and Lord through His Resurrection in the same sense in which He claimed these titles for Himself, which was imputed to Christ as blasphemy, on account of which He had been condemned to death: now, they had not allowed Christ to be called the Son of God in this sense, that it would follow hence that God was His Πατέρα ἴδιον, very own Father, and He Himself was ἴσον τῷ Θεῷ, equal with God, John 5:18. But Thomas thus concludes rightly, in comparison with Romans 1:4; 14:9. 4. But if they maintain that the nominative here is posited Attically in the place of the vocative, ὁ in the place of ὦ, this confirms our argument: for thus Thomas not only by faith acknowledges Christ to be God, but also in faith invokes Him as True God.

Nicolaus Arnoldi

Moreover, no Exception is to be taken, that here Christ is not absolutely called God, but only relatively to Thomas. For, 1. He is elsewhere called God absolutely. 2. That Thomas by the repeated Pronoun draws this God and Lord into close connection with himself, is no hindrance at all to His true Deity: for Thomas does not cherish an excessive and vain opinion concerning Christ, but his confession is approved and commended, verse 29. And so, this Confession rather supposes the true Deity of Christ, than that Thomas was acknowledging it as demonstrated in His Resurrection from the dead; therefore, he was surrendering and entrusting himself to Him for safe-keeping, unto vassalage and obedience: which a great many also were able to do and would do, whose God He is not at all denied to be, because Thomas also proclaims Him as His God in particular: compare our AUTHOR’S Historiam Exaltationis Christi, book I, chapter XII, § 11-13; BECMANN’S Exercitationes Theologicas, II, page 9; ARNOLDI’S refutationem Catecheseos Racovianæ, on chapter I de Cognitione Personæ Christi, questions 66, 67, pages 100, 101, § II, page 295.

In Acts 20:28: Here mention is made of τὴν ἐκκλησίαν τοῦ Θεοῦ, the Church of God (with the article), ἣν, etc., which, etc.; and these words are not able to be understood of any other than the Son of God, since He alone assumed our flesh, and acquired eternal salvation by His own blood. Indeed, with great impudence do Socinus and the Socinians twist this text in the Catechesi Racoviana, chapter I de Cognitione Personæ Christi, questions 23, 30, pages 60, 69, 70, in that by τὸν Θεὸν, God, here they maintain that God the Father is understood, who διὰ τοῦ ἰδίου αἵματος, by His own blood, that is, by the blood of Jesus Christ, although altogether diverse from God the Father in Essence, but which blood nevertheless might be called the proper blood of the Father because of the consummate conjunction between God the Father and Christ, might be said to have redeemed the Church: see to the contrary BECMANN, Exercitationibus Theologicis, II, pages 17, 18; ARNOLDI, refutatione Catecheseos Racovianæ, on chapter I de Cognitione Personæ Christi, § CLXXXVI-CXCI, pages 240, 241. But HERMAN VENEMA, in Dissertation I de Vera Christi Divinitate, pages 1-35, maintains against Wetstenius, that in this place the word Θεοῦ/God is not to be deleted, with the word Κυρίου/Lord substituted:[2] but he himself thinks that it is to be read, τοῦ Κυρίου καὶ Θεοῦ, of the Lord and God:[3] which opinion of the Most Illustrious Venema deserves to be weighed.

[1] Valentinus Smalcius (1572-1622) was a German Socinian theologian. He translated the Racovian Catechism into German (probably having had a hand in the Catechism’s original composition), and the Racovian New Testament into Polish [2] Thus Codices Alexandrinus and Ephræmi Rescriptus. [3] This reading receives a fair amount of support in a divided Byzantine tradition.

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