De Moor V:9: Eternal Generation Defended against Roellius, Part 5


Leiden

You might indeed say that the first origin of the Error of Röellius was at this point, that he attributed too much to the natural Reason of corrupt man, as to an internal Oracle, at the scales of which he wished to weigh even the Mysteries of the Faith, admitting nothing but what he had clearly and distinctly perceived: compare Judicium Ecclesiasticum laudatum, chapter III, § 6, page 81; Röellius’ Dissertationem de Generatione Filii, etc., § 6, page 11, § 38, page 38, § 46, page 48; what we done worst we saw a number of times above, Chapter I, § 32, Chapter II, § 40, Chapter III, § 8. To which was able to be added the εὕρημα/invention concerning Personality among the divine consisting in mere negation of actual communication: which I have given as refuted above, this Chapter, § 3.


Finally, let us in a few words resolve the principal Objections of Röellius.



Röellius Objects, see Judicium Ecclesiasticum laudatum, chapter III, § 6, compared with § 11, pages 101-103, 1. If in the case of the third Person the Name of Spirit has regard to Economy, the same is able to be said concerning the Name of the Son. I Respond, The Name of Spirit, as also of Son, indicates the distinct Mode of subsistence of this Person in the Deity, having regard to His ineffable Procession from the Father and the Son through the mode of Spiration.


2. If the Name of Λόγου/Logos/Word, which Scripture uses interchangeably with the Name of Son, is attributed to the Son because of the Economy of the works of Redemption, it will also be permitted to refer the Name of Son to that. But it uses these Names interchangeably from a comparison of Matthew 28:19 with 1 John 5:7.


Response: α. These Names are evidently not equivalent, since the Name of Λόγου/Logos/Word is metaphorical, but Son proper; and Röellius himself argues that the Name of Λόγου/Logos/Word in John is attributed and applicable to Christ before the Incarnation more than that of Son, see Judicium Ecclesiasticum laudatum, chapter III, § 6, pages 78, 80, compared with § 11, pages 101, 102. β. If he should mean that those two are entirely synonymous, we deny that Λόγον/Logos/Word solely or primarily has regard to Mediatorial Sppech; but we thus refer it to the eternal Going Forth from the Father, from whom, 1. the Son is begotten, just as every Λόγος/Logos/Word is an offspring of the mind; and whom, 2. the Son does not otherwise express in His own Person, than does the speech of our mouth our internal thoughts: see above, Chapter I, § 3. γ. But even if we should concede the the Names of Spirit and of Λόγου/Logos/Word are used, not only relatively to φύσιν/ essence, but also to οἰκονομίαν/economy, from this it would not be elicited by legitimate inference that the same also obtain in the Name of the Son: because the Name of Spirit and of Λόγου/Logos/Word in the prior respect are referred unto the Father and the Son, from whom the Spirit proceeds, or to the generating Father; in the latter and secondary respect to Creatures, in which the Spirit spiritually works, and in the presence of which the Son is the interpreter of the divine Will: but in either respect the Son would be so called relatively to God the Father alone; but a twofold Filiation is not applicable to one Son relatively to the same Father.


3. The names of the Son of God and of the Christ or King of Israel are to a certain extent ἰσοδυναμοῦντα/equivalent; hence the Name of the Son of God does indeed assert a true communion of the divine Nature, but only to the extent that it was to be manifested and was manifested through that singular Economy, on account of which He is called the Messiah and King of Israel, comparing Matthew 16:16; John 1:49, 50; Matthew 26:63; John 20:31.



Response: Nothing is able to be asserted more falsely, since one is a Name of nature, the other of office. Neither on account of conjunction ought these Names to signify the same thing, but rather they distinctly lead us to antecedent foundation in His Person, hence to the consequent dignity of His office: just as in Matthew 26:63 in this twofold Name there lies a twofold crime, of rebellion, Luke 23:2, and of blasphemy, John 19:7; 20:31; in this twofold Name the principal, twofold thesis, asserted by John in his Gospel, is set forth: compare WESSELIUS’ Nestorianismum et Adoptianismum redivivum confutatum, chapter XVI, in which to this Objection, set forth at length, § 248, 249, he distinctly responds, that, even if the Names Christ and Son of God designate One and the same Person, α. they do not signify the Same Thing in that Person; β. but the former expresses the Office, the latter the Divine Nature necessary in the Mediator.


α. That these Two Names do not signify the Same Thing in Christ, he proves, a. From Passages, which would yield an unsuitable sense, if these two Names denote the Same Thing in the Lord, for example, Matthew 16:16; John 20:31; Acts 8:37; 9:20, 22: § 250. b. From the titles of Christ and Son of Man, not conjoined to avoid tautology, the latter of which denotes, in addition to the excellence of His human nature, the eminence of His Office; as, on the other hand, the title of Christ and Son of God are wont to be conjoined. c. From the twofold crime of Rebellion and of Blasphemy, which the Jews attempted to urge against the Lord from this twofold title of Christ and Son of God, Matthew 26:63, 65, compared with Luke 23:2; John 19:7. With Luke 22:67 not hindering, in which mention is made of another confession, differing from that in Matthew 26:63, in which what things are set forth conjointly in Matthew are proposed separately to the Lord through a twofold interrogation, Luke 22:67, 70: § 251.


Redirection: a. That the titles of Christ and Son of God are conjoined without a Copula. Response: It does not follow from this that they are synonymous, any more than in Luke 2:15 οἱ ἄνθρωποι οἱ ποιμένες, the men the shepherds, concerning the same persons, in which the former expresses nature, the other office.


b. That in the relation of the Confession of Peter Mark and Luke only have, thou art the Christ, in the place of that which is in Matthew, thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God. Response: a. Identity of Signification in both titles does not follow from this, any more than the diverse relation, made either more briefly or more fully by the Evangelists, of the Words employed on the Placard of the Cross of the Lord, imply that all those are synonymous. b. The cause of the diversity of the Evangelists in the relation of the confession of Peter is that the Mediatorial Office has a necessary connection with the divine Person of the Son: on account of which necessary connection also between true Repentance and Faith, the same words of the Lord are recounted more concisely by Matthew, Matthew 4:17, and more fully by Mark, Mark 1:15: § 252.


β. That, as the Name of Christ expresses a divine Office, so the Name of Son of God the divine Nature, WESSELIUS proves from indications, which are found sufficiently evident in the very Passages that are objected, § 255, even out of Matthew 16:16, 17, with the difficulty perhaps to be objected out of verse 20 removed, § 256; also out of Matthew 26:63, 63; John 1:49, 50; 20:31. Compare also BUDDEUS’ Animadversiones in Petri Chauvini[1] librum de Religione Naturali, chapter VIII, § 4-6 in his Parergis historico-theologicis, pages 538-541. RÖELLIUS himself thereafter, Commentario in principium Epistolæ ad Ephesios, verses 1-3, § 216, pages 521, 522, taught the Socinians that the notions of the Son of God, King and Priest, are to be most painstakingly distinguished, and are distinguished by the sacred Writers. The Son of God, says he, is at the same time King and Priest; but it is not then the same things to be the Son of God, and to be King and Priest; neither is it the same thing to be the Priest and to be the King. For, when the Apostle says that we have a Great High Priest, Jesus, the Son of God:[2] who does not see the he thence draws his conclusion: our High Priest is Great, because He is the Son of God? But, if it is the same thing, to be the Son of God and to be Priest: he proves the same by the same, that Christ is a Great High Priest, because He is a Great High Priest. In the Apostle, the Son is the subject, concerning whom it is predicated that He is constituted High Priest. Therefore, it is not able to be one and the same thing, to be constituted High Priest, and to be generated as Son. To be the Son, and to be begotten, are correlated; but to be begotten and to be High Priest are not. For, even if the Son is also High Priest; nevertheless, because it is said of the Son that He is constituted High Priest by oath, it must be that there is one reason why He is called the Son, another why He is called High Priest, etc.


4. That Paul in Hebrews 1, compared with Psalm 2 and 2 Samuel 7, teaches that two things are denoted in the name of the Son, the Communion and Dignity of the divine Nature, and its demonstration through Economic works and honor.


Johannes a Marck

Response: α. It has been asserted for some time, that Generation and the Name of the Son of God nowhere in Scripture assert a temporary demonstration of Deity: while, β. against the Socianians our Theologians have taught to distinguish the Thing itself, or Filiation and Generation, which is everywhere posited and supposed to be truly eternal; from the Declaraion of the same, through the proclamation of that Name and act, which was done in time by various degrees, which above in § 8, 9, I advised is to be observed especially on Psalm 2:7. Thus the Son of a King among men is indeed constituted as such by Generation, but is also then able to be declared such with the public collation of the kingdom much later: compare our AUTHOR, Exercitation XV, Part II, Exercitationibus Textualibus; WESSELIUS, Nestorianismo et Adoptianismo redivivo confutato, chapter XXII, § 263-270.


5. That Generation through Communication of Essence is not able to consist with multiple Perfections of the divine Essence: see Judicium Ecclesiasticum laudatum, chapter III, § 3, 4.


Responses: α. All the reasonings that Röellius binds upon this matter are mere circular arguments; as if in divine things ought to adhere to Generation all those imperfections that follow the same in human things, concerning which it has already been spoken in § 8 on occasion of John 5:26. Objections of this sort against the true, divine Generation of the Son are more fitting for Jews, such as Kimchi in his Tosephot on Psalm 2,[3] than a Christian and Reformed Professor: see the words of Kimchi in CELLARIUS’[4] Institutione Rabbinismi, pages 90, 91, and in Reland’s[5] Analectis Rabbinicis. Or for Muslims, who say that they are offended that we give a Son to God, since He does not make use of a wife: see GROTIUS,[6] de Veritate Religionis Christianæ, book VI, § 9. β. In the same manner, the Socinians also bind difficulties to the subsistence of Three Persons in one Essence; which is not easier to grasp than a Communication made of the same Essence from one Person to another. And so, if we are going to judge of the matter according to our perception, with a comparison made with finite, created beings, the Coexistence of which Röellius speaks is no more going to be acknowledged that Communication of Essence: compare Judicium Ecclesiasticum laudatum, chapter III, § 9.


6. But we taught above that the Eternity of this Generation is so amply communicated in Sacred Scripture that it shames Röellius to write that he himself explained Eternal Generation by Coexistence in the Communion of the same divine Nature, not because Scripture teaches the Eternal Generation of the second Person from the first, but because the Theologians do: see Judicium Ecclesiasticum laudatum, chapter III, § 6, pages 80, 81, compared with § 11, pages 99, 100.


7. Finally, let not Röellius say that Generation is equally able to be explained of a temporary Manifestation in the Economy of salvation, when it is attributed to the Son of God, as a brother is born with Solomon, that is, is manifested in adversity, Proverbs 17:17: see Judicium Ecclesiasticum laudatum, chapter III, § 5, page 76.


Response: α. The improper expression in the passage cited is not able to be compared with the present matter; seeing that Scripture teaches that Christ by and because of this Generation is the Son of God; which leads us to the proper and essential concept of Generation in that word: but it is evident of itself from the subject matter that Solomon metaphorically affirms of a brother that he is born in adversity; while in this business one may not at all say that a brother in adversity becomes a son, as it ought to be able to be done, if the example as a parallel squares with the present matter: see Judicium Ecclesiasticum laudatum, chapter III, § 10, pages 94, 95. β. But it is altogether certain that the Manifestation of the Person is not at all able to be convertible with the Generation of the Son; since the Son of God also manifested the Father, John 1:18; 17:6; Matthew 11:27, and He certainly did not beget Him as Son, see WESSELIUS’ Dissertationes Academicas XIX, § 7, pages 576, 577.


Against this error of Röellius also consult JACOBUS FRUYTIER’S[7] Zions Worstelingen, book 3, pages 688-719; Byvoegfel tot het Formulier van Ondertekeninge gestalt by de Classis van Walcheren anno 1693, article II;[8] BRAHÉ’S[9] Aanmerkingen over de vyf Walcherse Artikelen, § XIV-XVI, XIX-XXIII, XXV-XXXIII, XXXVI-XXXVIII, pages 25-32, 36-41, 43-54, 55-59.

[1] Pierre Chauvin (flourished 1685) was a Reformed Theologian. [2] Hebrews 4:14. [3] David Kimchi (c. 1160-1235) was a famous Spanish Rabbi. He wrote a commentary on the entire Old Testament and a Hebrew grammar, as a result of which he has long been respected for his profound scholarship. [4] Christoph Cellarius (1638-1707) was a German classical scholar. [5] Adriaan Reland (1676-1718) was a Dutch scholar. He was appointed to the University of Utrecht, first as Professor of Oriental languages (1701-1713), then as Professor of Sacred Antiquities (1713-1718). [6] Hugo Grotius (1583-1645) distinguished himself in the field of international law, but he was interested in many fields of learning, including Christian apologetics, theology, and Biblical criticism and exegesis. His dual interest in international law and theology caused him to run afoul of civil authorities: Embracing Arminian doctrine, he was imprisoned from 1618-1621 after the Synod of Dort declared against the position. [7] Jacobus Fruytier (1659-1731) was a Dutch Reformed pastor and theologian. [8] The Five Walcheren Articles (1693) were adopted by the Dutch Classes of Walcheren to resist the encroachment of the Rationalistic view of Röell and Bekker. [9] Jan Jacob Brahé (1726-1776) was a Dutch Reformed minister.

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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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