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Wendelin's "Christian Theology": Doctrine of the Creation of Men

THESIS XII: Man is an animal created in the image of God.

THESIS XIII: The Efficient of man is the Most Holy Trinity, God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

EXPLANATION: This is the prerogative of man above all other corporeal creatures, that the Most Holy Trinity set before man’s creation the communication of counsel and exhortation, Genesis 1:26, let us make man in our image, after our likeness. Therefore, God signified by this communication of counsel, that man is by far the most excellent creature. For counsels are won to be communicated and stirred up concerning matters of great moment.

THESIS XIV: The matter, of which the body of the first man, Adam, was made, was earth: of which the body of Eve was made, was the rib taken from the side of sleeping Adam.

EXPLANATION: Concerning the body of Adam, formed of earth, Moses thus writes, Genesis 2:7, God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life: that is, the soul.

Concerning the body of Eve, formed from the rib of Adam, he thus writes, Genesis 2:22, Jehovah God constructed from that rib, which He had taken from Adam, a woman, and He brought her to Adam.

THESIS XV: The form of man constituted by creation in the state of innocence is the image of God: which is the conformity of man with God, with respect to soul, with respect to body [because of the soul, and with respect to the whole person], because of the union of both.

EXPLANATION: I. That Man was made in the image of God, Moses says, Genesis 1:27, God crated man in His own Image, in the image of God created He him. Now, we speak here of the image of God, not in general: but as far as it is restricted to man. For, not man alone was created in the image of God: but also the Angels. And the Son of God is the true and altogether perfect, essential and eternal, image of God the Father, 2 Corinthians 4:4; Colossians 1:15, yet not created, but begotten.

II. The form of man we call the image of God, not considered absolutely, but as he was constituted by creation in the state of innocence: for the history of the creation expressly names no other distinctive, internal principle of man, except the image of God. Now, this form is not something simple and of itself one, but aggregated from diverse parts, as it were: of which some are principal, others less so: see Exercitation 23.

THESIS XVI: The soul of man is like unto GOD: (1.) with respect to nature: (2.) with respect to faculties: (3.) with respect to habits.

THESIS XVII: With respect to nature, the soul is like unto God in spirituality and immortality. For, as God is a spiritual and immortal substance: so also is the soul of man.

EXPLANATION: * I. That the soul of man is a substance, is evident:

(1.) Because it was particularly created by God, and indeed after the body, Genesis 2:7.

(2.) Because it subsists even after it has been separated from the body, Luke 16:23; 23:43.

(3.) Because it is an essential part of the bodily substance, namely, of man.

(4.) Because the properties of substance are attributed to it, when it is said to inhabit the body, as a house, and to depart from it elsewhere, 2 Corinthians 5:1-4, etc.

(5.) Because it is the subject of spiritual virtues and habits, righteousness, holiness,[1] knowledge,[2] etc.

II. That the soul of man is Spirit, testifies the Scripture, Matthew 27:50, Jesus yielded up the Ghost. In Acts 7:59, Stephen exclaims, Lord Jesus, receive my Spirit. Now, God created the soul out of nothing, by a breath of His power, Genesis 2:7. Whether that breath was proper, in the appearance of a human body assumed; as it seemed to some of the Fathers, Justin, Irenæus, and Tertullian: or improper and κατ᾽ ἀνθρωποπάθειαν, anthropopathically, so called; as it appears to others. Concerning the source of the rational soul, after the first creation, see Exercitation 36.

III. That the soul of man is Immortal; because by the will of God it never dies, nor is able to be destroyed by any second cause: Christ teaches, when He says, it is not able to be killed, Matthew 10:28.

The immortality of the human soul is also proven by arguments.

(1.) That it even, having been separated from the body, subsists of itself, and departs to God: if it belonged to a pious man, Ecclesiastes 12:7, the Spirit returns to GOD. Thus the soul of Lazarus was carried by Angels to the bosom of Abraham, Luke 16:22.

(2.) That it is a substance, simple and immaterial, or not depending upon matter.

(3.) That it is very similar to Angelic nature, and especially created in the image of God.

(4.) That it transcends all earthly and mortal things, and searches with amazing acumen heavenly, divine, and eternal things; which is alien to the natural of a moral and material spirit.

(5.) That the impious, feeling horrible pricks of conscience, as a common ἔννοιαν/notion, hold the doctrine concerning the immortality of the soul. For, if they believe the soul to perish with the body, they would not so fear the judge, and the opinion concerning future punishments. Let additional reasons be seen in Zanchi’s de operibus Dei, part 3, book 2, chapter 8.

THESIS XVIII: With respect to faculties, the soul is like unto God in intellect and will. For, as intellect and will are among the properties of God: so also He equipped man with the faculty of understanding and willing.

EXPLANATION: To the will pertains free choice, which is the disposition of the will, whereby it chooses or repudiates a thing indicated by the understanding, by its own proper motion, without coaction. This in general is sufficient for freedom of choice: for, what some add, that by free choice the will by its own nature remains fitted for choosing the opposite or something diverse, or for suspending action, does not in general pertain to free choice: Because freedom of choice also remains valid without indifference to either opposite, which they call liberty of contrariety. And so that is still liberty, which is determined to one of the opposites: which sort of liberty is in the blessed, who freely act rightly, in such a way that by their confirmation in the good they are not able to act wrongly. Indeed, liberty of contradiction is not simply necessary to freedom of choice: because the blessed freely praise God, who nevertheless are not able not to praise.

THESIS XIX: With respect to habits, the soul is like unto God in wisdom and righteousness. For, as God is most wise and altogether righteous: so also did He create man as wise and righteous.

EXPLANATION: I. That the image of God consists in righteousness and holiness, is proven, Ephesians 4:24, put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

II. Now, wisdom in the first man was the carefully considered and clear recognition of God and the divine works. His holiness, or righteousness, was his perfect conformity with the law of God, whereby he was worshipping God and loving his neighbor as he ought: which is called original righteousness. Concerning the natural theology of Adam, see the discourse of Junius in his tractatu de theologia, chapter 10.

THESIS XX: Hitherto the conformity of man with GOD, with respect to the soul. The conformity in body is less principal: since God is incorporeal. At the same time, the body is an image of the divine perfection in its own way also: to the extent that it supplies its various organs/instruments to the soul, more and more to exercise its capacities after the likeness of divinity through organic actions, and so it contains in itself Symbols, as it were, of the perfections of the soul and of its Creator.

EXPLANATION: Hence God Himself in His word is wont to express His perfections, wisdom, power, etc., by various members of the body, eyes, ears, mouth, and hands.

THESIS XXI: With respect to the whole person, conformity is in the dominion over all creatures, and in the highest felicity, and blessed immortality. For, as God is Lord of all creatures, and lives most blessedly: so also He created man as lord of the creatures, and placed him in a state of blessed immortality.

EXPLANATION: I. God speaks of this aspect of the divine image, Genesis 1:26, let us make man in our image, after our likeness, so that he might have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. God granted to man this most ample dominion, verse 28, have dominion over the fish of the sea, etc. Whence the animals immediately approached Adam as their lord, so that they might receive their names from him, Genesis 2:19. The imposition of names argues dominion.

Therefore, those that, as far as it is in them, abolish this remaining particle of the divine image, subject man to the dominion of beats, and protect beasts with a more severe defense than men; let them consider these things well, as those that must render to God an account of their deeds.

The wisdom and righteousness concreated in man argue blessedness, which is not able to be separated from these goods. It is added, that in the state of innocence there was nothing that was able either intrinsically or extrinsically to make an assault upon man, and to disturb his tranquility, or to drag him unwilling from divine fellowship, still less to subject him to death, or to weary him with any annoyance. Whence with the punishment of death, which includes all facets of misery, God threatened man only under the condition of sin, or of disobedience: in the day that thou eatest of the forbidden fruit, thou shalt surely die! Genesis 2:17. And Scripture elsewhere expressly says, the wages of sin is death, Romans 6:23.

II. Against the image of God, hitherto set forth in its parts, the Photinians dispute in general.

He that is similar to God in immortality and righteousness is able neither to die nor to sin.

But man is able both to die and to sin: as the event testifies.

Therefore, he is not similar to God in immortality and righteousness.

The Major is proven: Because God is immortal and righteous, in such a way that He is able neither to die nor to sin.

Response: The Major is denied. The proof is inconsequent; because similarity is not sameness. Therefore, man is able to be similar to God in immortality and righteousness; even if the manner of immortality and righteousness is not in every respect the same in both. God is immortal, in such a way that He is not able to die in any respect: man was immortal, in such a way that he was able not to die, and was not going to die, if he had continued in his integrity. God is righteous, in such a way that He is not able to sin: innocent man was righteous, in such a way that he was able not to sin.

Specifically, against the immortality of man yet innocent they thus dispute with the Pelagians.

(1.) The first man was destined to beget children even before the fall, Genesis 1:28.

Therefore, before the fall he was not immortal.

The rationale of the consequence: that it is a condition of immortals, that they beget not children; and those that take wives are able to die, Luke 20:35, 36.

Response: With the antecedent conceded, which is nevertheless ambiguous, the consequence is denied. The proof is not true in a simple way, neither is it able to be evinced from the passage alleged: for the condition of immortals after this life is one thing, but it was another thing of old in the state of innocence: similarly, the condition of those married after sin is one thing, but another before sin.

(2.) The first man was making use of food even before the fall.

Therefore, he was not immortal.

The rationale of the consequence: that in immortality there is no place for food, 1 Corinthians 6:13.

Response: The consequence is denied. The proof is inconsequent: because the manner of immortality and the condition of immortals after this life is one thing, but it was another in the state of innocence.

(3.) Man had an animal body even before the fall.

Therefore, he was mortal.

The rational of the consequence: that an animal body is mortal, 1 Corinthians 15:42, 44, where animal body and corruptible body are used as Synonyms.

Responses: 1. The consequence is denied. The proof is inconsequent: for, not every animal body is simply mortal, but only that which is in a state of sin and grace. So also the manner of the earthly body in the state of innocence is one thing; but another in the state of sin and grace.

2. The consequence does not contradict us in a simple way: for, man was in a certain respect mortal, insofar as he was able to die, as he was also able to sin: he was also immortal in another respect, insofar as he was able not to die, and was never going to die, if he had continued in his integrity, in which he was able to persist.

(4.) Christ did not remove corporeal death in His elect.

Therefore, it is not a punishment for sin: and, by consequence, man was mortal even in the state of innocence.

The rationale of the consequence: that Christ removed every punishment for sin in His elect.

The antecedent is proven: because elect believers also die.

Response: The antecedent is not true in a simply way. The proof is inconsequent. Christ has removed death in the elect, as far as it is a satisfactory punishment. But this does not prevent them from dying: because by their death they do not satisfy divine justice, but pass to a better life, with all sin abolished.

III. Concerning original righteousness, which is a principal part of the divine image, it is additionally controverted between us and the Papists: Whether that was natural to man created in a state of innocence?

Evangelicals uphold the affirmative against the Papists, by the following arguments.

(1.) If original righteousness had been supernatural to man in the state of innocence, the concupiscence of the flesh would have been natural.

But the consequence is false: Therefore, the antecedent also.

The Minor is proven: Because lust is not of the Father, 1 John 2:16.

(2.) Man in his integrity by nature adhered to God.

Therefore, original righteousness, without which he adhered not, was natural to him.

The antecedent is proven: If he by nature had not adhered to God, certainly he by nature would have turned from Him. But this is foreign to the state of innocence.

(3.) Man, if he had persevered in his innocence, would have propagated righteousness to his posterity.

Therefore, it was natural to him.

The Papists concede the antecedent.

The rationale of the consequence: That whatever is propagated by nature is natural.

(4.) Eternal blessedness was the natural end of innocent man: Thomas’ Summa, part I, question 12, article 1.

Therefore, righteousness was also natural.

The rationale of the consequence: because righteousness was the means to the end.

But a natural end presupposes natural means.

IV. The Papists deny that that righteousness was natural to innocent man. And thence, moreover, they deny that the nature of man was corrupted by the fall: because they believe that only the supernatural gift was taken from him; with all the natural gifts remaining, which opinion is obviously false and Pelagian, wherein the nature of fallen man, before actual sins, is declared to be whole and unharmed. Therefore, they prove that original righteousness was supernatural, by the following arguments.

(1.) Man by nature is dust.

Therefore, original rectitude was not natural to him.

The rationale of the consequence: that original rectitude is above the nature of dust.

Response: The consequence is denied. The reason: because man is not only dust, with respect to his body, but he also has an immortal and intelligent spirit, that is, the rational soul. The proof of the consequence is not true in a simple way: for, even if original righteousness is above the nature of common dust, yet it is not above the nature of that dust, which is a creature created in the image of God.

(2.) By original righteousness our first parents were free from any natural struggle between flesh and spirit.

Therefore, it was a supernatural gift.

Response: 1. The antecedent presupposes a false hypothesis: that in the state of innocence, or nature in its integrity, man had a natural struggle between flesh and spirit. But this is a consequence of vitiated nature.

2. The consequence is also denied. For, if the struggle between flesh and spirit, with respect to his inferior faculties, had indeed been natural to man; nevertheless, with respect to intellect and will original righteousness could also have been natural to him.

(3.) The good of supernatural grace is only lost through other actual sins.

Therefore, only the supernatural good was lost by the actual sin of Adam.

Response: The consequence is denied. For, the evaluation of man and his spiritual goods in the state of innocence and in the state of sin is unequal. For, what was natural to man in a state of innocence is supernatural to him in a state of sin and grace. Therefore, as in the state of innocence natural goods were lost through sin: so in a state of grace supernatural goods are acquired. Yet you would more rightly say, that they were diminished, rather than completely lost: if those are understood as special and proper to the elect.

(4.) Through what our first parents were the sons of God, that was supernatural to them.

But through original righteousness they were sons of God.

Therefore, this righteousness was supernatural to them.

The Major is proven: For, if through anything natural they were the sons of God, certainly they were natural sons of God: which is absurd: for there is only one natural Son of God, even Christ.

Response: The Major is denied. The proof is inconsequent. For, so that one might be called the son of God, this does not suffice, if he has something natural, because of which his is a son of God; but it is required, that with the progenitor he have a nature the same in species or number: which is not able to be said of our first parents.

V. Theologians also dispute concerning the immortality of our first parents; whether that was natural, or supernatural?

With this hypothesis posited, that the immortality of the first men in innocence was potency, or an ability not to die; with the judgment of others unimpaired, we think that it was natural, that is, that it flowed from their integrity of nature: and we prove this:

(1.) Because man, if he had persisted in his integrity, would have propagated that to his posterity through natural generation, no less than original righteousness. In a similar manner, our men prove against the Papists, that original righteousness was natural: because by nature the first men would have propagated it to their posterity.

(2.) Because to the first men in their innocence it was natural not to sin: Therefore, it was also natural not to die. The antecedent is beyond controversy. The consequent is evident: for, as death necessarily follows sin, so also the negation of death also follows the negation of sin.

(3.) Because a suitable reason is not able to be rendered, why original righteousness was natural, rather than immortality.

An exception is taken: (1.) Man was made out of corruptible elements. Therefore, he was also corruptible by his very nature.

Response: 1. The antecedent is denied. His elements were not corruptible. 2. Neither is the consequence firm: for, immortal nature could not prevent that corruptibility from breaking forth into act.

Another exception is taken: (2.) Adam’s parts were corruptible by nature: Therefore, he himself was also corruptible by nature. The antecedent is proven: because they were nourished with corruptible food and drink.

Response: The antecedent is denied. The proof is inconsequent: for, with the corruptibility of the nourishment not withstanding, nature would have been able to preserve the incorruptibility of the body, and to impede the actual dissolution of the whole, with intemperance excluded.

THESIS XXII: Hitherto the form of man. The End is the glory of God.

EXPLANATION: I. As man is the most excellent of the corporeal creatures; so he especially illustrates and declares the glory of GOD: for, to the extent that he is a more excellent work, greater is the glory of the workman. And the other works of the creation are said to describe the glory of the creator God, because they furnish to man occasion and material for describing it. To this pertain that saying in Proverbs 16:4, God hath made all things because of Himself. It is a memorable saying of Hermes Trismegistus, as it is commonly believed: πρῶτον ὁ θεὸς, δεύτερον ὁ κόσμος, τρίτον ὁ ἄνθρωπος. ὁ κόσμος διὰ τὸν ἄνθρωπον, ὁ ἄνθρωπος διὰ τὸν θεόν; that is, the first thing is God; the second, the world; the third, man: the world is because of man; man is because of God.

II. It is asked: Whether the created man’s end, as intended by God, was eternal life?

Response: If we speak of our first parents, we do not oppose it; for we believe that after the fall they were reconciled to God and made heirs of eternal life by faith in the Messiah. Although we think that eternal life, bestowed out of merciful grace, is a means to an end, namely, the glory of God, rather than the ultimate end.

But if the question be concerning all men indifferently, who are regarded as comprehended in Adam and Eve, we do not give our assent. For, since the greatest part of men does not attain to eternal life, it would follow, that God is frustrated in His end in the case of most men: which is completely foreign to God’s power and wisdom.

But, say some, God intends this end, not absolutely, but conditionally, if they persevere in obedience.

Response: 1. No wise man suspends the end of his work on the fulfillment of a condition that he foreknows is not going to be fulfilled.

2. The negation of the condition denies the very end suspended upon the condition. Therefore, God does not intend that end in all men and each: for He foreknew that most, after obedience had once been violated, were never going to return to submission.

What then is the end, you ask, for which those that perish were created?

Response: It is not damnation or eternal death: as some calumniously ascribe to our Churches (although Luther expressly writes, that man was created for eternal life, or for eternal death: see Exercitation 24, § 1): but rather the glory of divine justice; man affords the means, namely, sin, for exercising this.

We thus prove this our opinion:

What end God pursues last in execution, He also intends that first:

But God pursues the glory of His justice in man, condemned or to be condemned because of sin, as the last end in execution.

Therefore, He also intends this first.

An exception is taken: God created men in His own image.

Therefore, to a blessed immortality also, as the end: for, part of the divine image is blessed immortality.

Response: The consequence is denied. For the image of God, with respect to those that are perishing, is not the end of man, concerning which it is not disputed, but his form; and to be created in an image is not the same thing as to be created to an end, but according to an exemplar, as far as it is imitable.

But the Heidelburg Catechism, you say, teaches that men in general were created in the image of God, that they might rightly know their Creator, heartily love Him, and live with Him in eternal happiness, and glorify and praise Him: question 6.[3] Therefore, the end that GOD intended in creation with respect to men was eternal life.

Response: 1. The consequence, taken according to the mind of our adversaries, dashes against the wisdom and power of GOD; for he that is frustrated in his end, and fails of his intention, labors under a want of wisdom, or of power, or of both.

2. I deny the consequence. The Heidelburg Catechism expresses the end determined for man that he was obliged to have pursued: not the end that God proposed to Himself and intends concerning all men and each. Therefore, fallible man fails of his end, not God: who, through His immense wisdom and power, and most absolute perfection, is not able to be frustrated with respect ot His end.

A distinction is to be made between the end τοῦ, of which, and the end τῷ, to which: between the end of the one working and the end of the work. See Exercitation 24.

[1] Ephesians 4:24. [2] Colossians 3:10. [3] Heidelburg Catechism 6: Did God then create man so wicked and perverse? By no means; but God created man good, and after His own image, in true righteousness and holiness, that he might rightly know God his Creator, heartily love Him and live with Him in eternal happiness to glorify and praise Him.

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Dr. Dilday
Dr. Dilday
May 26, 2023

Westminster Larger Catechism 17: How did God create man?

Answer: After God had made all other creatures, he created man male and female;1 formed the body of the man of the dust of the ground,2 and the woman of the rib of the man,3 endued them with living, reasonable and immortal souls;4 made them after his own image,5 in knowledge,6 righteousness, and holiness;7 having the law of God written in their hearts,8 and power to fulfil it,9 and dominion over the creatures;10 yet subject to fall.11

1 Gen. 1:27.

2 Gen. 2:7.

3 Gen. 2:22.

4 Gen. 2:7 with Job 35:11 and Eccl. 12:7 and Matt. 10:28 and Luke 23:43.

5 Gen. 1:27.

6 Col. 3:10.

7 Eph. 4:24



Dr. Dilday
Dr. Dilday
May 26, 2023

Westminster Confession of Faith 4:2: After God had made all other creatures, He created man, male and female,1 with reasonable and immortal souls,2 endued with knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness, after His own image,3 having the law of God written in their hearts,4 and power to fulfill it;5 and yet under a possibility of transgressing, being left to the liberty of their own will, which was subject unto change.6 Beside this law written in their hearts, they received a command not to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil;7 which while they kept, they were happy in their communion with God, and had dominion over the creatures.8

1 Gen. 1:27.

2 Gen. 2:7; Eccl. 12:7; Luke 23:43;…


Dr. Dilday
Dr. Dilday
May 26, 2023
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