De Moor VII:12: God's Independence in Predestination Defended, Part 4

They Object, 1. Passages, in which Prescience is attributed to God before Predestination, even indeed Prescience of Conformity with Christ, Romans 8:29; 1 Peter 1:2: compare Eckhardus’ Fasciculum Controversiarum cum Calvino, chapter XV, question XI, pages 357-359. Response: α. Not all Knowledge in Scripture is Theoretical, but also Practical, and Active; not only simply willing, Acts 2:23, but also approving, Psalm 1:6, and well wishing, in passages cited by our AUTHOR, Matthew 7:23; John 10:14, 27; 2 Timothy 2:19; etc. β. Theoretical knowledge is not able to be understood here, because, 1. it is not referred to Works, Faith, Perseverance, etc., as it ought to have been done, if the passages objected here are to support their case at all; but it is referred to Persons; 2. It is denied to the impious; 3. It is called a Decree. γ. And so it ought to be understood of Practical knowledge, either simply of Love, as the effects show, in comparison with 1 Peter 1:2; or of Love and His Election flowing from Love together, Romans 8:29; from which Predestination, as the determination to the Means serving the execution of the decree of Election, is distinguished, both by the added terminum ad quem,[1] of Conformity with Christ, which Paul nowhere called foreknown, for he does not write, οὓς προέγνω συμμόρφους, etc., whom He did foreknow as conformed, etc.; but rather predestined by God, προώρισεν συμμόρφους, He predestinated conformed, etc., so that εἰς τὸ εἶναι, to be, should be understood in sense before συμμόρφους/conformed, just as in 2 Corinthians 3:6, ὃς καὶ ἱκάνωσεν ἡμᾶς διακόνους καινῆς διαθήκης, who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament. By a similar expression in Latin we also say, Consul electus est, Doctor promotus est, the Consul was chosen, the Doctor was promoted; which does not signify that he that was a Consul or Doctor was elected or promoted, to an uncertain termino ad quem: but rather he is elected or promoted, so that he might become a Consul or Doctor, or so that he might be such. δ. But if Theoretical Foreknowledge were to be understood, that would flow from the Purpose of God, verse 28, already mentioned. ε. The Jesuit À LAPIDE[2] himself, on Romans 8:29, acknowledges that this Foreknowledge of God is Practical: “The Knowledge of God,” says he, “in the expression of the Apostle and Scripture is practical, and connotes the favor and affection of God, as it is evident from Romans 11:2; Galatians 4:9; 1 Peter 1:2; and 2 Timothy 2:19, whence He foreknew is He foreloved, say Origen and Saint Augustine; and to be foreknown is the same thing as to be foreloved:” compare TRIGLAND’S Kerckelycke Geschiedenissen, volume 1, pages 12b-15; SPANHEIM’S Decadum Theologicarum VII, § 6, opera, tome 3, columns 1236, 1237.

They Object, 2. Passages that describe the Elect, as Conformed to Christ, Believing, and being in Christ, and Holy, Romans 8:29; Ephesians 1:4; Colossians 3:12; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; James 2:5; 1 Peter 1:2; Revelation 17:14; etc.: compare Eckhardus, Fasciculo Controversiarum cum Calvino, chapter XV, question XII, pages 360-361, question IX, page 351. Response: α. We willingly concede that those Believing and Holy in time, all and only, are Elect from eternity; and that hence the same persons are able to be described as ἐκλεκτοὺς τοῦ Θεοῦ, ἁγίους καὶ ἠγαπημένους, elect of God, holy and beloved, Colossians 3:12, κλητοὺς καὶ ἐκλεκτοὺς καὶ πιστοὺς, called, and chosen, and faithful, Revelation 17:14. But it is asked, whether foreseen Faith and Holiness were the procatarctic[3] Causes of Election; or the Means of Election to be committed for execution? Our Adversaries contend for the former; we have delivered the latter as proven in § 10. β. As I have just now spoken concerning the passage in Romans 8:29, that an antecedent quality of the Foreordained is not described there, in such a way that the end of the Foreordination clearly is not mentioned; but that before συμμόρφους, etc., conformed, etc., is to be understood εἶναι, to be, or εἰς τὸ εἶναι, in order to be, so that Conformity to the Image of Christ is the terminus ad quem[4] of Predestination: so likewise in James 2:5, πλούσιοι ἐν πίστει, those rich in faith, 1. is not able to assert a foreknown quality in Election, so that God might elect those whom He was foreseeing from eternity to be such; but similarly εἰς τὸ εἶναι, in order to be, ought to be understood here, so that to be Rich in Faith does not have regard to the impulsive Cause of election, but under the End of Election, and is a subordinate End, or the Means tending toward the ultimate End of Salvation. Indeed, the two descriptions, πλουσίους ἐν πίστει, καὶ κληρονόμους τῆς βασιλείας, etc., rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom, advance here in lockstep: but they, the poor, were certainly not Heirs of the Kingdom before Election, neither is the Inheritance of the Kingdom in any way able to be considered as the impulsive Cause of Election; but it is most certainly the terminus and end of that Election. 2. But if we should now concede that πλουσίους ἐν πίστει, those rich in faith, in James pertains rather to a description of the Quality of the Poor that have been chosen, than to a description of the End to which they were Elected, which will then be indicated in the following words, yet will not be recorded a Quality preceding Election, and impelling and determining the will of God, but one flowing from Election: for thus James might be merely indicating what sort of Poor God has chosen to the inheritance of His Kingdom, that is, those Rich in Faith, namely, who are such in time as a result of the divine Predestination. For we know from elsewhere that the same, and just so many, have been predestined and chosen by God unto Faith and unto Salvation: compare TRIGLAND’S Antapologiam, chapter XXXVI, pages 487b, 488. γ. God is not to be thought to have chosen us as already being in Christ, as if the participle ὄντας/being were to be supplied in Ephesians 1:4, when Paul says ἐξελέξατο ἡμᾶς ἐν Χριστῷ, He hath chosen us in Christ, 1. With respect to destination, except by the grant of the Father made to Christ by Election, and so not before Election: and, 2. With respect to actual communion with Him, one is not in Christ, before he is grafted into Him by Faith, and united with Him in Love, but he is destined to this through Election, John 6:37; Acts 13:48; Ephesians 1:4, ἐξελέξατο ἡμᾶς—εἶναι ἡμᾶς ἁγίους καὶ ἀμώμους κατενώπιον αὐτοῦ ἐν ἀγάπῃ, He hath chosen us…that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love. Such only are said to be in Christ, Ephesians 2:13 compared with verse 12. Therefore, God rather chose that we are going to be in Christ; He chose us in Christ, as the primary Means of the execution of the Election, so that through Him and His merits, and in communion with Him, we might gain all goods pertaining to salvation, which were determined for us through Election: compare § 8; and TRIGLAND’S Antapologiam, chapter XXXIV, pages 461b-464a, chapter XXXV, pages 481-483, in comparison with Apologia Remonstrantium, chapter XVIII, pages 192b, 199a, b. δ. Hence the expressions, ἐν ἁγιασμῷ Πνεύματος, καὶ πίστει ἀληθείας, through the sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth, 2 Thessalonians 2:13; 1 Peter 1:2, ought also to be explained of the Means of Salvation and of communion with God in Glory to be obtained according to the pattern of Election; but not at all of the Foresight of Faith and Holiness in man as the procatarctic[5] Causes of Election. On the text of 1 Peter 1:2, see TRIGLAND’S Antapologiam, chapter XXXV, pages 478-480, compared with Censura Confessionis Remonstrantium, chapter XVIII, page 247, and with Apologia Remonstrantium, chapter XVIII, pages 198, 199. SPANHEIM, Decadum Theologicarum VII, § 5, opera, tome 3, column 1236: “It is evident that they are chosen unto life, not as already believing but as going to believe, or not as believers antecedently and objectively but consequently and terminatively, being in Christ not actually but virtually, that is, in a manner dependent upon the intention of God, so that faith is a quality of those to be saved by Christ, not of those to be chosen in Christ, and is not elections terminus à quo[6] but ad quem.[7]

They Object, 3. the Love of God made known in Election, and the Hatred exerting itself in Reprobation, which things suppose Faith and Unbelief, Romans 9:13 compared with Hebrews 11:6; see Eckhardus, Fasciculo Controversiarum cum Calvino, chapter XV, question XII, page 360. Response: α. Distinguish between the Love of Benevolence and the Love of Complacency: the former precedes Faith, because it gives it; the latter presupposes Faith: the former rests upon the worthiness of the one love and His εὐδοκίᾳ, good pleasure, alone; the latter follows upon a fitting disposition of the beloved. Concern the latter Paul speaks in Hebrews 11:6, who supposes Faith existing in the subject in time; the former, on the other hand, is to be considered as the source of Election, eternal and gracious. β. God chose those, not who antecedently to Election were already pleasing to Him or would please Him by Faith; but He chose some before others, so that they, having been furnished with Faith, might please Him in Christ: it is one thing for God to chose those that it was pleasing to Him to choose, because He chose them of His mere Good Pleasure; which is true: it is another thing for God to choose those that were already pleasing to Him or would please Him by faith, and because of that, which is false. γ. Reprobates are no more displeasing to God in Predestination than the Elect; at the same time, God is able rightly to be said to Hate Reprobates in Predestination, Romans 9:13, since this His Hatred is just because of the Common Sin, which He decreed to permit: otherwise it is as much God’s εὐδοκία and Good Pleasure to hate Esau, as to love Jacob.

They Object, 4. the Event, which shows that those Believing and Holy are saved, John 3:16; Hebrews 12:14; etc., but the Unbelieving are condemned, John 3:36, which would be overthrown by an Absolute Predestination. Response: α. We concede, that Faith and Unbelief are the Means of the execution of the divine Decree; and at the same time we acknowledge, that the same in the Decree of Predestination have been contemplated and settled as the Means of its execution: but we do not admit, that these are held as Conditions preceding the Decree of Predestination, and as impulsive Causes determining the Will of God in Predestination. β. But it is mere calumny, that they fasten to us the opinion concerning the Decree of Predestination, as altogether Absolute, free from Means, subsequent and decreed together with the End: as it was warned already above in § 1, that formerly such a Predestinarian heresy was likely contrived only for ill will: see ARNOLDI’S Refutationem Catecheseos Racovianæ, on chapter X de Prophetico Christi munere, question 13, § VII, page 611. TRIGLAND most aptly observes, Antapologia, chapter XIV, page 288, note 5: “Those accusations and murmurings from this false hypothesis, which the Arminian has devised, that the decree of Reprobation is altogether free, not only from conditions upon which it might rest, but also from means to which it might be committed for execution: which means accordingly are not able, in the conditioned word of promise, to be prescribed conditions, by the furnishing of which the promised matter is to be obtained. For this is rightly to be observed, that those things that are means in the absolute Decree of God, through which God in His own divine manner of working executes the Decree; are conditions prescribed in the promises, through which, in a human manner of working, and accommodated to our human, rational nature, He moves His own to furnish those things that He Himself has prescribed to them, so that in this manner they might turn for themselves those things into means of advancing their salvation.” In this manner a sufficient answer is provided for the difficulty moved by Episcopius, “as if it were impossible to place these two things together; by His absolute will infallibly to determine certain ones for salvation after the manner of an end: and not to promise salvation to the same, except conditionally and after the manner of a reward; indeed, to threaten the same with the contrary death under the condition of disobedience as a punishment.” How the denomination of Absolute Decree is applicable to Predestination, see STAPFER discoursing against the Lutherans, Theologicæ polemicæ, tome 5, chapter XX, § 68-71, pages 172-178, § 91, pages 200-205. The Objections agitated among the Lutherans against our doctrine of Absolute Predestination by Ernst Salomon Cyprian,[8] in his book entitled, Abgetrungener Unterricht von Kirchlicher Vereinigung der Protestanten, STAPFER reviews and resolves, Theologicæ polemicæ, tome 5, chapter XX, § 183-235, pages 264-303; compare also SPANHEIM’S Decadum Theologicarum VII, § 10, opera, tome 3, column 1241.

Concerning the opinion of AUGUSTINE and of the Supporters of GOTTSCHALK in the cause of Predestination, see also above on § 1, 2, 11; and what things our AUTHOR has concerning BELLARMINE, conceding that from AUGUSTINE we are certainly able to learn the opinion of Christian Antiquity, which altogether favors us; one may see that in Bellarmine’s book II de Gratia et Libero Arbitrio, chapter XI, Controversiis, tome 4, columns 610, 611. On the things that Grotius[9]sets forth on behalf of the opinion of Remonstrants concerning this matter out of the Fathers, see what BOGERMAN says in response, Annotationibus ad Grotii Pietatem Ordinum Hollandiæ, chapter II, pages 116-139.

[1] That is, end to which. [2] Cornelius à Lapide (1567-1637) was a Flemish Jesuit scholar. His talents were employed in the professorship of Hebrew at Louvain, then at Rome. Although his commentaries (covering the entire Roman Catholic canon, excepting only Job and the Psalms) develop the four-fold sense of Scripture, he emphasizes the literal. His knowledge of Hebrew, Greek, and the commentators that preceded him is noteworthy. [3] That is, external, contextual, predisposing. [4] That is, end to which. [5] That is, external, contextual, predisposing. [6] That is, boundary from which. [7] That is, boundary to which. [8] Ernst Salomon Cyprian (1673-1745) was a German Lutheran theologian and librarian. He held a number of academic posts, and is considered one of the last important representatives of Lutheran Orthodoxy. [9] 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.

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