Clark Quick Quote

This installment of Clark Quick Quote is a twofer.  I’m in the middle of rereading  Clark’s Predestination for the first time in many years.  It’s way overdue as this is the book that ripped me from my Arminian stupor and opened my eyes to the truth of God’s sovereignty over everything and especially my salvation.  This was my second Clark book.  My first encounter with Clark was almost twenty years ago when I picked Thales to Dewey as an alternate selection while a member of the Conservative Book Club.  Needless to say I was impressed.  A number of years later when I heard a couple of obnoxious Calvinists arguing with an equally obnoxious Arminian Baptist over the question of free will, I recalled the back pages of Thales and the Trinity Foundation’s list of “Intellectual Ammunition.”  I figured if this Clark guy could write such an impressive single volume on the history of philosophy, his treatment of predestination would have to be at least as good.  Well, after weeks of sleepless nights going through the Scriptures to see if Clark was right,  I rejected Arminianism and my own belief in my own imagined free will lock, stock and barrel.  I am convinced that this is still the best book on the topic and a far better handling of the topic than Boettner’s — and light years beyond Sproul (and Boettner and Sproul are both pretty good).

The first of these quotes has to do with the biblical Creator/creature distinction as opposed to the subtle perversion we find in Van Til and his many followers.  Notice that for Clark the distinction between Creator and creature properly rests in the area of being  or ontology, whereas the Vantilian extends this distinction to the area of knowledge or epistemology and with crippling affect.  It’s also a nice introduction to the idea that God is ex lex or without or above the law.

The second quote has to do with the objection that biblical predestination reduces men to mere puppets.  I think Clark’s handling of this objection is spot on.

Enjoy.

Since God is the creator he cannot be unjust. He creates whatever objects, things, or persons he pleases. If he had wanted elephants with two legs and robins with four legs, he would have created them so. Created as they are, they have no ground for complaint. To understand the Bible one must realize that God is the sovereign creator. There is no law superior to him that commands, though shalt not create elephants with two legs, or thou shalt not hate Esau. There are many details in the doctrine of predestination, and each should be given its due weight; but the basic, the final, the ultimate answer to all objections is the relative positions of Creator and creature. All objections presuppose that man is in some way or other independent of God and has obtained from somewhere or achieved by his own efforts some rights over against him. Obviously such a view is totally destructive or Christianity.

Predestination, 81-82

But many modern men continue to object that this destroys free will, degrades man, abolishes morality, and makes man a puppet.

Well, it may destroy free will. Paul in Romans 9 had just said, “It is not of him that willeth.” People who rely on free will must reject mercy. This is precisely the antithesis that Paul had just made. But this view does not degrade man or elephant below their proper stations, unless one thinks it is degrading to be a creature instead of the Creator. Nor does predestination abolish morality, if we pay attention to Romans 6 and 12. Nor does foreordination or predeterminism make man a puppet.

A puppet is a jointed doll worked by strings. It operates mechanically. But Christianity neither teaches nor implies a mechanistic view of life. In Puritan times the Reformed writers constantly attached the mechanism of ‘Thomas Hobbes. John Gill, a great Baptist Puritan, defended Calvinism against such an objection and declared that man is “free not only from a necessity of coaction or force, but also from a physical necessity of nature.” In modern language, this means that life is not a physico-chemical product, nor are human actions explicable by the laws of physics. The actions of puppets are.

But this is not to say that men are more independent of God than puppets are of their puppeteers. Quite the reverse. The puppeteer who wants to give a Punch and Judy show is limited in the number of things he can make his puppets do. They are jointed and controlled by strings. Therefore they cannot bend where they have not joints, nor in directions opposite to the joints’ construction. Some of the charm of a puppet lies in the fact that the puppeteer can do so much even under his rigid limitations. No, man is not a puppet in God’s hands. He is a lump of clay. As such the clay has no joints. Out of the same lump God can fashion a man for honor and another man for dishonor. In fact the illustration of the lump of clay does not do justice to God’s sovereign control, for the human potter does not create the clay, but God does. One is not a mature or consistent Christian until with the understanding he can sing,

Have thine own way, Lord, have thine own way;
Hold o’er my being absolute sway.

Predestination, 82-83

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44 Comments on “Clark Quick Quote”

  1. Roberto G Says:

    Superb book. Also rocked my theological world. At Moody Bible Institute, no less. Masterful treatment of biblical texts and what they explicitly and implicitly teach. Clark had foresight to address some of the proponents of the Openness of god as he saw them making their claims in the beginning of their heretical movement in academia. Interestingly, they published more by way of books after Clark’s passing. And none of the major openness teachers interacted much with Clark.

  2. Hugh McCann Says:

    When the Arminian whines that Calvinism “makes man a robot (or a puppet)”, we reply that these are too animated to be biblical.

    The Bible’s testimony, as GHC reminds us, is that we are clay pots.

  3. Michael Stephens Says:

    Actually I have a new favorite:

    What’er My God Ordains Is Right
    text: Samuel Rodigast (1675)
    music: David Braud

    1. Whate’er my God ordains is right,
    Holy His will abideth
    I will be still whate’er He does,
    And follow where He guideth
    He is my God, Though dark my road
    He holds me that I shall not fall
    Wherefore to Him I leave it all

    2. Whate’er my God ordains is right,
    He never will deceive me
    He leads me by the proper path,
    I know He will not leave me
    I take, content, what He hath sent
    His hand can turn my griefs away
    And patiently I wait His day

    3. Whate’er my God ordains is right,
    Though now this cup in drinking
    May bitter seem to my faint heart,
    I take it all unshrinking
    My God is true, each morn anew
    Sweet comfort yet shall fill my heart
    And pain and sorrow shall depart

    4. Whate’er my God ordains is right,
    Here shall my stand be taken
    Though sorrow, need, or death be mine,
    Yet I am not forsaken
    My Father’s care is round me there
    He holds me that I shall not fall
    And so to Him I leave it all

  4. Drake Says:

    Sean,
    I have not read that book but Clark goes into these things in his dealing with the atonement and his lapsarian constructions. I agree with him in his supralapsarianism but I would like to clarify something either he doesn’t clarify or seems to be ambigious on and he seems to slip into the same error that Rutherford (Examen Arminianismi ) did in his debate with John Owen (Disertation on Divine Justice). I think Rutherford got owned which breaks my heart, by the way, because he is my hero. Rutherford’s Lapsarian construction posited quite a few ad extra decrees, now I am not opposes to ad extra decrees but he seems to make everything ad extra and it seems Clark speaks that way as well as if there is no simple essence directing the will. I think Owen got him on the point that the atonement is absolutely necessary because God has an essential nature that contains an attribute of vindicating justice. This is seen in his hatred of sin, and of his universal punishment of it. So God’s will is not “above the law” in the sense of being free of his INTERNAL attributes, but “above the law” in the sense of being free of any EXTERNAL influences that compel him to will this or that. It seems Clark made the atonement neccessary because of an ad extra decree of his will. God is not all will with no essence, that is the God of the Muslims. This is our strongest point of attack on the Muslim faith. They deny forgiveness is required based on blood atonement for the exact reason that their God has no essential attribute of vindicating justice, he is just a will.

  5. Drake Says:

    btw

    I would understand the positive law to Abraham to kill Isaac to be based on the will and not the essence. So Natural law (In the christian sense) is based on God’s simple essence while Positive law is based on God’s will. Just something I have been chewing on lately.

    Drake

  6. Michael Stephens Says:

    Just when I thought it was safe to get into the pool…When we talk about essence, are you talkng about (and I am reasoning here I have never studied this) how God can never lie or change therefore he must honor all promises because its impossible for God’s will to do otherwise? So part of God’s essence is requiring Justice?

    SO is natural law… prelapsarian, and positive law is God’s commands? What is the relationship between natural law and positive law. Are you simply saying that God’s commands must correspond to his essence, i.e. God can’t lie, God can’t break a promise, and so one of these essences is God requires justice… which would make sense when you look at the whole law.

    You all are over my head so maybe I have no idea what you are talking about…. =)

  7. Drake Says:

    Michael,

    I suppose those questions are for me.

    “how God can never lie or change”
    Yes. He can’t do these things because they would be contrary to his essential attributes.

    “therefore he must honor all promises because its impossible for God’s will to do otherwise?”
    You lost me here. Honor all promises? Many promises in the bible are conditional so it would depend on what you mean.

    “So part of God’s essence is requiring Justice?”
    Yes. And Owen makes clear that the justice is vindicating justice. That is God always punishes sin. He does not always command all men to kill their children but he did with Abraham. Carl Trueman wrote a great summary of Owen’s arguments against Rutherford here:
    http://www.johnowen.org/media/trueman_owen_on_divine_justice.pdf

    “SO is natural law… prelapsarian”
    Yeah that basic covenant theology

    “and positive law is God’s commands?”
    Well some of his commands. Most of the commands of the bibleare reflections of natural law, that is based on God’s essence. Some are based on God’s will, i.e. “Don’t eat from tree of the knowldge of Good and evil”. Their is nothing essentially wrong with eating fruit off of a tree, but it was wrong after God gave the positive law.

    “What is the relationship between natural law and positive law.”

    I think I spoke to this one already. Rutherford in Lex Rex goes into vast more detail than I can here but Natural law in the Christian sense is law that is binding in all places in all times because of the fact that it is a reflection of God’s essential nature or essence. Positive law is based on God’s will and can therefore be abrogated after having its purpose fulfilled, i.e. the sacrificial system of the OT was a bunch of positive law. Are you asking me what the overlapping point is between the two? If so, I would say that they both oblige all men while they are under them upon pain of sin. But I may be misunderstanding your question.

    “and so one of these essences is God requires justice”

    I would not use that wording. God does not have multiple essences. He is simple. On the Clarkian model I think it best said that God is one static set of the propositions that make up theology proper.i.,e. God is omnipotent, God is omniscient. etc. This static set is the defintion of God’s essence. One simple essence not multiple essences.

    Read Carl Trueman’s paper on Owen, it’s much clearer than Owen but its still hard core.

  8. Michael Says:

    Thanks, that is helpful, thats what I needed.

    “therefore he must honor all promises because its impossible for God’s will to do otherwise?”
    You lost me here. Honor all promises? Many promises in the bible are conditional so it would depend on what you mean.

    … I meant God must honor his promises, like his inability to lie, he can’t break a covenant etc. …. thankfully.

  9. pat Says:

    Clark’s book “Predestination” presents ideas almost no other writer presents. The idea that man is independent of God is the thought of natural man, part of his depravity, that once having been created he is independent, that God as it were must allow/accept that he has a right to life.

    Outside of God being the God of truth, I can’t think of any other command of God other than “you shall not lie” as being necessary (natural law?) to His nature.

    All that God has decreed was necessary for God to decree, otherwise He wouldn’t be the God we know Him to be. This is what Clark argued regarding the necessity of God’s will/decree.

    Clark’s “God and Evil” is a good companion to this book. Outside of Jay Adams (“The Grand Demonstration”), hardly no one says God determines evil (or the reprobate).

  10. Drake Says:

    Pat

    have you read guy richard’s journal article on rutherford’s supralapsarianism? Rutherford made God’s decree to determine evil and the reprobate as a preterition. So it’s not an active decree but a passing by yet still a decree. Richard shows how the Westminster confession is supralapsarian. It’s a great piece. There are some problems with it though. I have to with Owen on that.

    Drake

  11. pat Says:

    Drake,

    No I have not read Guy Richard’s journal article. I’ve not heard of him.

    I’m not sure how one can be supralapsarian and view reprobation as preterition.

    The WCF seems more like Infralapsarian, or at least allowing for such; and it seems that some/many of the Westminster Divines were infralapsarian.

  12. pat Says:

    “Clark speaks that way as well as if there is no simple essence directing the will. I think Owen got him on the point that the atonement is absolutely necessary because God has an essential nature that contains an attribute of vindicating justice.”

    For Clark, essence is simply what defines God. Ultimately truth, i.e. his thoughts defined Him. Justice is a matter of law. God commanded with sanctions for disobedience. This is what makes the atonement necessary. That is, there is no satisfaction for sins without it. God must punish sin because He said He would. Thus, again, either we pay the penalty for our sins, or one pays it for us. There is simply no other way if God is to remain true to His Word.

  13. pat Says:

    Oh,BTW, what directed God to will election and reprobation is His mercy and wrath. These characteristics/attributes or whatever you want to call them, God wanted to make known to the world (Rom.9:22.23).

  14. Drake Says:

    Pat,
    I have not read the book so I can only speak of Clark here from what I have read in the Atonement, God and Evil and the Festschrift.

    “No I have not read Guy Richard’s journal article. I’ve not heard of him.”

    He is doing the english translation of Rutherford’s
    Examen Arminianismi from the Latin. He presents some good arguments that the Westminster Confession is designed under a supr scheme, but I don’t care to argue about that other than to suggest his article to you:
    “Samuel Rutherford’s supralapsarianism revealed: a key to the lapsarian position of the Westminster Confession of Faith?”

    “God must punish sin because He said He would”

    That does not explain why God wills what he wills. Also that does not explain what the decree to punish is. Rutherford said that God’s decree to punish sin was an ad extra decree of his will. Owen countered and said that God punishes sin not based on an ad extra decree of his will but because he has an essential attribute (Or eternal thought in the Clarkian lingo. Augustine used the phrase Rationes Aeternae or eternal ideas, same meaning as Clark I think). Talking about God as an essence is not contrary to Clarkian lingo, I don’t get your criticism if it was one.

    “Thus, again, either we pay the penalty for our sins, or one pays it for us.”

    A Muslim will steam roll you on this one. Why does God require a blood sacrifice? An ad extra decree of his will does not explain it or prove it. Clark got a bit confused methinks regarding this idea of justice. He would say things like, “an external idea of justice cannot compel God’s will”. Correct, but what Owen is saying is what about an internal attribute of justice?

    In Infralapsarianism there is only one decree of election and no decree of reprobation. Yet in Rutherford’s view he sees the two preteritions as the decree of reprobation. I would agree with him. The substantial difference between infra and supra lapsarians becomes manifest when discussing the order of the fall and reprobation. Infralapsarians place reprobation after the fall and so God first sees that they fall as a condition that determines if he will reprobate them. This would posit a conditional reprobation committing them to an Arminian theology. Moreover, as all systems that posit a condition or contingency in God, the infralapsarians must believe in a God that sees out of himself to as foreseen fall in order to determine his will. This means that there has to be independent forces operating in the world. The results are disastrous. Is God now an Empiricist?

  15. Hugh McCann Says:

    Drake,

    Thanks for the Trueman/ Owen tip & the Richard/ Rutherford recommendation.

    I have thought the WCF to be infra, but that was from an admittedly superficial reading years ago. I hope its “supra-ness” can be proven! (That it’s Supracalafragalisticexpialadotious?)

    Sorry,
    Hugh

  16. pat Says:

    “God must punish sin because He said He would”

    “That does not explain why God wills what he wills.”

    Huh? God wills what He wills because that is who He is. As to the reason why God so willed, it is because he wanted to show his mercy and wrath. Without His decree/will to place a sanction on disobedience, this is not possible.

    “Also that does not explain what the decree to punish is. Rutherford said that God’s decree to punish sin was an ad extra decree of his will. Owen countered and said that God punishes sin not based on an ad extra decree of his will but because he has an essential attribute (Or eternal thought in the Clarkian lingo.”

    There is nothing essential to God being God that required Him to punish sin, that is, to place a sanction on disobedience to His law. He dis so, again, so that He might show His wrath and mercy.

    “Talking about God as an essence is not contrary to Clarkian lingo, I don’t get your criticism if it was one.”

    Clark did not and would not speak of God as an essence. He would say that the essence of God means His definition. And God is defined as truth, i.e., His thoughts are true.

    “Thus, again, either we pay the penalty for our sins, or one pays it for us.”

    “A Muslim will steam roll you on this one. Why does God require a blood sacrifice? An ad extra decree of his will does not explain it or prove it. Clark got a bit confused methinks regarding this idea of justice. He would say things like, “an external idea of justice cannot compel God’s will”. Correct, but what Owen is saying is what about an internal attribute of justice?”

    There is no internal attribute of justice. Justice, again, is meting out what the law says, that is, what God said He would do.

    I don’t understand what point you think you are making. But the atonement is necessary if one is to be saved due to God’s requirement of perfect,perpetual obedience to His law. Again, either we do so or one does so on our behalf. This is not due to some attribute of God; nothing in God required Him to do so except His desire to show His mercy and wrath.

  17. pat Says:

    “In Infralapsarianism there is only one decree of election and no decree of reprobation. Yet in Rutherford’s view he sees the two preteritions as the decree of reprobation. I would agree with him. The substantial difference between infra and supra lapsarians becomes manifest when discussing the order of the fall and reprobation. Infralapsarians place reprobation after the fall and so God first sees that they fall as a condition that determines if he will reprobate them. This would posit a conditional reprobation committing them to an Arminian theology. Moreover, as all systems that posit a condition or contingency in God, the infralapsarians must believe in a God that sees out of himself to as foreseen fall in order to determine his will. This means that there has to be independent forces operating in the world. The results are disastrous. Is God now an Empiricist?”

    This doesn’t seem like an accurate description of Infralapsarianism. Infralapsarianism views BOTH the elect and the reprobate as part of the fallen humanity. Whether God actively reprobates men or passively (as it were) passes over them (preterition) is not the point of Infralapsarianism. It is that God does not elect men from the human race per se but from a fallen human race. Supralapsarianism I believe correctly teaches, (according to Rom.9) that God’s view of the elect as clay, is not fallen clay, but simply human qua human.

  18. pat Says:

    “So Natural law (In the christian sense) is based on God’s simple essence while Positive law is based on God’s will.”

    There is no such distinction. All that God commanded is based on His will to do so. Nothing in the nature of God required Him to command anything. Again, He did so to show His mercy and wrath.

  19. Drake Says:

    Pat,

    “Huh? God wills what He wills because that is who He is.”

    By who he is, do you also mean what he is? I hope so. If that is what you mean we agree. But it doesn’t sound like it from other statements you make.

    “As to the reason why God so willed, it is because he wanted to show his mercy and wrath.”

    So God willed because he willed. This is Muslim.

    “Without His decree/will to place a sanction on disobedience, this is not possible.”

    Ok. I am fine with that but is the basis of the punishment will only? Isn’t their an essential essence that is offended by such sin and that is why it is punished?

    “There is nothing essential to God being God that required Him to punish sin, that is, to place a sanction on disobedience to His law. He dis so, again, so that He might show His wrath and mercy.”

    Then you have no answer to the Muslim when he demands you demonstrate to him why blood sacrifice is necessary for forgiveness. And why not? Because you have the same doctrine of God as he does! All will. This is a Muslim view of God. So everything is a complilation of a bunch of ad extra decrees.

    “Clark did not and would not speak of God as an essence. He would say that the essence of God means His definition. And God is defined as truth, i.e., His thoughts are true. ”

    Where did he deny the use of the word “essence”? I remember his Trinity book being very clear that God was one essence and three persons. I do not have it in front of me so I will have to get back to you on an exact quote. Saying that something’s essence is its defintion by no means rejects the use of the word “essence” but I will await your qoute and or an argument that proves this assertion.

    “There is no internal attribute of justice. Justice, again, is meting out what the law says, that is, what God said He would do.”

    Ok, this is getting close to heretical quick if we are not already there. Then there is no simplicity. If there is no simplicity, welcome to Eastern Orthodoxy or the Muslim religion.

    “This is not due to some attribute of God; nothing in God required Him to do so except His desire to show His mercy and wrath.”

    Then why does talk about hating evil? And why does God always punish evil? An occasion of God punishing evil could support your view but a universal practice of punishing evil proves an essential attribute.

    “It is that God does not elect men from the human race per se but from a fallen human race. Supralapsarianism I believe correctly teaches, (according to Rom.9) that God’s view of the elect as clay, is not fallen clay, but simply human qua human.”

    That is because Supra’s understand that God is simple and has no emotions, and has no contingences, which is the whole argument that you avoided to mention. The fallenness of the infra system is the contingency that God’s foresees outside of himself and empiricaly deduces to base his decree to reprobate. No offense Pat but you may need to invest in a Turban because Jihad is where it looks like your headed.

    Drake

  20. Sean Gerety Says:

    “have you read guy richard’s journal article on rutherford’s supralapsarianism? … Richard shows how the Westminster confession is supralapsarian.”

    I haven’t read the piece either, although it does sound interesting. I have never heard it even presumed that the WC was supra. I’ve always heard it argued that it is primarily infra with just enough ambiguity to permit the supra position. I don’t know anything about the following blog writer, but he is someone who has read the piece and raises some good questions:

    http://jamesdurham.wordpress.com/2009/03/30/is-the-westminster-confession-supralapsarian/

    Also, I did track down the Richard piece per the link above and back issues of the Confessional Pres are $25. I guess I don’t find the article that interesting after all 😉

  21. Drake Says:

    Sean

    I have two huge seminary libraries in my hometown so I rarely have to pay for my theology anymore.

    Drake

  22. pat Says:

    “By who he is, do you also mean what he is? I hope so. If that is what you mean we agree. But it doesn’t sound like it from other statements you make.”

    No, who God is known by what He does/has done. What God is is truth.

    “So God willed because he willed. This is Muslim.”

    Huh? No, it’s the Bible. God willed what He willed because that is who He is and what He desired for His glory.

    “Ok. I am fine with that but is the basis of the punishment will only? Isn’t their an essential essence that is offended by such sin and that is why it is punished?”

    No. Absolutely not. God is “offended” because one has dared to disobey. Wrath is the character that God desired to be shown to those who dare to violate His commandments. Again, it is only His wish to have His wrath shown that made it necessary for Him to give Commandments with sanctions.

    “Then you have no answer to the Muslim when he demands you demonstrate to him why blood sacrifice is necessary for forgiveness. And why not? Because you have the same doctrine of God as he does! All will. This is a Muslim view of God. So everything is a complilation of a bunch of ad extra decrees. ”

    Again, I don’t get your point here. What is necessary for forgiveness is not blood sacrifice per se, but the death of a man. But God did use blood sacrifices to picture life representation (“the life is in the blood”) and did will that the Second Adam would die a bloody death.

    “Where did he deny the use of the word “essence”? I remember his Trinity book being very clear that God was one essence and three persons. I do not have it in front of me so I will have to get back to you on an exact quote. Saying that something’s essence is its defintion by no means rejects the use of the word “essence” but I will await your qoute and or an argument that proves this assertion. ”

    I did not say that Clark denied the use of the word essence. You’re not reading carefully. Thus you’re making me debate with you on what you are not understanding. God does not have an essence, a thing or substance; the essence of anything is simply its definition. Thus, does justice define God? No. Justice is God acting according to His word.

    “Then why does talk about hating evil? And why does God always punish evil? An occasion of God punishing evil could support your view but a universal practice of punishing evil proves an essential attribute.”

    God hates and always punishes evil (that which is contrary to His commands) because such things are an attack against God and His word. God is a God of wrath; that is an essential attribute of God (God wouldn’t be God without it). Wrath (and mercy) not justice is essential to God being God.

    “That is because Supra’s understand that God is simple and has no emotions, and has no contingences, which is the whole argument that you avoided to mention. The fallenness of the infra system is the contingency that God’s foresees outside of himself and empiricaly deduces to base his decree to reprobate. No offense Pat but you may need to invest in a Turban because Jihad is where it looks like your headed.”

    Infralapsarianism is not based on contingencies either. Infralapsarianism also asserts that the fall was absolutely determined by God. You are misunderstanding/mischaracterizing infralapsarianism. And I have no idea why you would think I’m on the road to Jihad when supralapsarianism is what I hold to.

  23. pat Says:

    “God is not all will with no essence, that is the God of the Muslims.”

    Again, everything has an essence, that is a definition to it. Again, could God have willed other than He did? No, for then He would not be the God we know Him to be, the Almighty, wise God who does all things for His glory’s sake. WasThat He willed “A” to show “B” does not tell us why He wished/willed to show “B.” That would seek to know the cause of His will, other than it being for His own glory’s sake. As Calvin said,

  24. pat Says:

    … how exceeding presumptuous it is only to inquire into the causes of the divine will, which is in fact and is justly entitled to be, the cause of everything that exists. … If you go further and ask why he so determined, you are in search of something higher than the will of God, which can never be found. Calvin’s Institutes III. xxxiii.2

    For Calvin, the atonement was necessary based on the decree of God:

    If an inquiry be made concerning the necessity of this, it was not indeed a simple, or absolute necessity,but such as arose from the heavenly decree.
    II, xii,1.

  25. drake Says:

    “No, who God is known by what He does/has done.”

    The is the Estern view. You know the nergies but not the essence. This is Eastern orthodox.

    “What God is is truth””
    Ambigious. How does this differ from Augustine’s rationes aeternae?

    ““Then you have no answer to the Muslim when he demands you demonstrate to him why blood sacrifice is necessary for forgiveness. And why not? Because you have the same doctrine of God as he does! All will. This is a Muslim view of God. So everything is a complilation of a bunch of ad extra decrees. ”

    Again, I don’t get your point here. What is necessary for forgiveness is not blood sacrifice per se, but the death of a man. But God did use blood sacrifices to picture life representation (“the life is in the blood”) and did will that the Second Adam would die a bloody death. ”

    I know you don’t get the point. Heb 9:22 without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.”The death of a man”. This is John Macarthur’s heresy that he repented of a number of years ago.

    “But God did use blood sacrifices to picture life representation ”

    Hereticla again Pat. Those sacrifices propitiated God’s wrath. They were not economic excercises.

    “I did not say that Clark denied the use of the word essence. You’re not reading carefully. Thus you’re making me debate with you on what you are not understanding. God does not have an essence, a thing or substance; the essence of anything is simply its definition. Thus, does justice define God? No. Justice is God acting according to His word. ”

    You don’t understand the issue Pat. Whatever word you pick is arbitrary. The issue is does God have attributes that are neccessary to him? Or does he act a certain way accidentaly based on a choice he made from his will? On your view justice is accidental and it was chosen by God ad extra according to his plan. On my view justice is essential to God and he commanded moral laws based on this and then added positive laws according to his will and his will was always commensurate with his nature.

    “God is a God of wrath; that is an essential attribute of God (God wouldn’t be God without it). Wrath (and mercy) not justice is essential to God being God. ”

    Pat. Wow. an essential attribute is what I mean by essence Pat. This is why I dropped this stuff. It’s completely incoherent.

    ” Infralapsarianism also asserts that the fall was absolutely determined by God. You are misunderstanding/mischaracterizing infralapsarianism”

    You completely avoided the argument. The fall is contingent and a contingency is contradictory to a absolute determinism.

    You have only barked at my position. As Calvin said you are like a dog on a leash barking at me, but you have yet to even touch my/Owen’s construction.

  26. drake Says:

    Pat,
    I will use my defintion of essence as the word to clarify.

    I believe that God’s essential attributes direct his will. Do you believe that?

    Drake

  27. pat Says:

    “The is the Estern view. You know the nergies but not the essence. This is Eastern orthodox.”

    What are nergies?

    “What God is is truth””
    Ambigious. How does this differ from Augustine’s rationes aeternae?”

    As I’ve said, what God thinks is truth because He thinks it. That is not ambiguous.

    “You don’t understand the issue Pat. Whatever word you pick is arbitrary. The issue is does God have attributes that are neccessary to him? Or does he act a certain way accidentaly based on a choice he made from his will? On your view justice is accidental and it was chosen by God ad extra according to his plan. On my view justice is essential to God and he commanded moral laws based on this and then added positive laws according to his will and his will was always commensurate with his nature.”

    I do understand the issue Drake; you continue and misframe the issue. It is not ” does God have attributes that are neccessary to him?” I agree that we can speak of essential attributes of God, that apart from which He would not be God, or at least the God we know Him to be. Nor does your question “Or does he act a certain way accidentaly based on a choice he made from his will?” make much sense. God’s choices and His will are one and the same. Possibly you meant to distinguish His choices/acts from His decree. Anyways, again, justice is not essential to God. God must act justly, of course, but some idea of justice, some idea of morality preceding in God is not what made God give the Commandments. There is no intrinisic morality to the Commandments. God can supersede them at any time (commanding one to lie, steal, murder if He wishes) and none apply to Him.

    “I know you don’t get the point. Heb 9:22 without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.”The death of a man”. This is John Macarthur’s heresy that he repented of a number of years ago.

    “But God did use blood sacrifices to picture life representation ”

    “Hereticla again Pat. Those sacrifices propitiated God’s wrath. They were not economic excercises.”

    Not so Drake. The claim that animal sacrifices actually propitiated God’s wrath is the heresy. Again, forgiveness of sin is not based on blood shedding per se. It is what blood shedding symbolized. “It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.” Heb.10:4. Again, we are not justified by the physical substance of Christ’s blood, but by his life given for us; his physical death not blood per se atoned for our sins.

    “You completely avoided the argument. The fall is contingent and a contingency is contradictory to a absolute determinism.”

    What argument? The fall is contingent? Was it not absolutely determined? Both Infra and Supra affirm that the fall is absolutely determined.

  28. pat Says:

    “I believe that God’s essential attributes direct his will. Do you believe that?”

    No. His desire that certain essential attributes be known/displayed to the world is what directed/caused Him to will what He did. For the most part, what caused God to will as He did is, as Calvin said beyond what can be found, other than it was God thought to be wise and for His glory. Again, what essential attribute of God directs/causes God to will that it be cloudy today in Salem,NH?

  29. pat Says:

    “Pat. Wow. an essential attribute is what I mean by essence Pat. This is why I dropped this stuff. It’s completely incoherent.”

    Well, further clarification may be in order. First of all, to define something does not mean to describe or say everything essential to its definition. That is to say, the definition of God is Spirit or mind being whose thoughts are the truth. That this Spirit/mind being is also merciful and full of wrath is not necessary to His defintion/essence but to His being WHO He is. So also God is three persons. That is WHO He is. But WHAT God is Spirit/Mind. Second, as to “essential” attributes, all of God’s attributes are essential to Him being who He is.

  30. drake Says:

    “What are nergies?”
    Energies. Sorry, negligent typing. David Bradshaw wrote a book on this called Aristotle East and West. It refers to the uncreated principle of the action of God that makes up what God is in the Eastern Theology. There is an essence which they deny knowldge of and there are energies. Therefore, we know God by his actions only.

    “As I’ve said, what God thinks is truth because He thinks it. That is not ambiguous.”

    I’ll ask again, How does this differ from Augustine’s rationes aeternae?

    “Not so Drake. The claim that animal sacrifices actually propitiated God’s wrath is the heresy.”

    You’re a dispensationalist. Owen shows your dispensationalism in Vol 6 of his Hebrews commentary. He points out on page 443 the absurdity of saying that the animal sacrifices were not effecacious at all. “Especially, the great anniversary sacrifice on the day of expiation was appointed so expressly to make atonement for sin, to procure its pardon, TO TAKE AWAY ITS GUILT IN THE SIGHT OF GOD, AND FROM THE CONSCIENCE OF THE SINNER, THAT HE SHOULD NOT BE PUNISHED ACCORDING unto the sentence of the law, as that it cannot be denied. This is that which the apostle declares that of themselves they could not effect or perform, BUT ONLY TYPICALLY AND BY WAY OF REPRESENTATION.”

    HEB 10 IS SPEAKING OF THE SACRIFICES IN THEMSELVES. But typically they were effecacious and propitious as they figured Christ’s atonement.

    “Again, forgiveness of sin is not based on blood shedding per se.”

    Demonstrate this from scripture. I gave my verse which clearly rejects yours. Show it, prove it!

    “You completely avoided the argument. The fall is contingent and a contingency is contradictory to a absolute determinism.”

    What argument? The fall is contingent? Was it not absolutely determined? Both Infra and Supra affirm that the fall is absolutely determined.”

    You do not uderstand the argument and so I am not arguing with you on this anymore.

    You still have yet to explain why a God who has no essential attribute of vinidicating justice hates evil.

  31. drake Says:

    “Well, further clarification may be in order. First of all, to define something does not mean to describe or say everything essential to its definition. That is to say, the definition of God is Spirit or mind being whose thoughts are the truth. That this Spirit/mind being is also merciful and full of wrath is not necessary to His defintion/essence but to His being WHO He is. So also God is three persons. That is WHO He is. But WHAT God is Spirit/Mind. Second, as to “essential” attributes, all of God’s attributes are essential to Him being who He is.”

    Here is your problem Pat. You are a proposition in God’s mind and so if you see no distinction between essential and accidental thoughts you become a part of the defintion of God yourself. If you deny you are God you must then divide God up into parts and destroy his simplicity.

    “God’s attributes are essential to Him being who He is”
    Amen! But are you! Are you essential? You are one of his thoughts, propositions. If you see no distinction you become an idealist and leave the Christian faith.

  32. pat Says:

    Drake,

    You’re not making sense.

    I am not a dispensationalist. You have some strange way of reasoning to infer such a thing.

    Also, if blood sacrifices “typically and by way of representation” provide for forgiveness, then they do not do so “per se.” Again, you are not understanding me and possibly not Owen either. BTW, dispensationalists believe that the blood sacrifices actually (not “typically and by way of representation”) provided the basis of atonement for sins.

  33. drake Says:

    Pat,
    Your statements regarding blood sacrifice:

    1. “What is necessary for forgiveness is not blood sacrifice per se, but the death of a man. But God did use blood sacrifices to picture life representation (“the life is in the blood”) and did will that the Second Adam would die a bloody death. ”

    2. “The claim that animal sacrifices actually propitiated God’s wrath is the heresy. Again, forgiveness of sin is not based on blood shedding per se. It is what blood shedding symbolized. “It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.” Heb.10:4. Again, we are not justified by the physical substance of Christ’s blood, but by his life given for us; his physical death not blood per se atoned for our sins.”

    3. “Again, forgiveness of sin is not based on blood shedding per se.”

    “Also, if blood sacrifices “typically and by way of representation” provide for forgiveness, then they do not do so “per se.”

    Your statements were general not animal sacrifices in specific. The blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ propitiates “per se” and that is a blood sacrifice. You never said, that the “per se” clause only referred to the animal sacrifices.

    You don’t know what you believe. Where are you getting your view Pat? Who has taught this?

  34. pat Says:

    Drake,

    The blood of Jesus does not propitiate per se. It propitiates by representation. His blood represents his life.

    The Scriptures teach that “the wages of sin is death.” Thus what atones for sin is a death, not blood. Jesus laid down His life for us. His obedience unto death is the basis of our righteousness. Literal blood does not justify us. Jesus could have shed all his blood, but apart from his dying, there would have been no atonement or propitation of God’s wrath. Again, death, not blood per se, is what God required.

    “Christ, by his obedience and DEATH, did fully discharge the debt of all those that are justified;” WCF 11,3.

    All Reformers teach this.

    Sean, I’m sorry for this tangent. Should we take this off line?

  35. pat Says:

    Drake: You still have yet to explain why a God who has no essential attribute of vinidicating justice hates evil.

    I did explain why God hates evil. I said he hates it because it is contrary to His commands. Sorry if you don’t like or accept such an explanation. Another thing is that it is His wrath that makes Him hate evil.

    Drake: Here is your problem Pat. You are a proposition in God’s mind and so if you see no distinction between essential and accidental thoughts you become a part of the defintion of God yourself. If you deny you are God you must then divide God up into parts and destroy his simplicity.

    “God’s attributes are essential to Him being who He is”
    Amen! But are you! Are you essential? You are one of his thoughts, propositions. If you see no distinction you become an idealist and leave the Christian faith.

    A particular proposition in God’s mind does not define Him. That that proposition is true, because He thinks it, is what defines God. Thus, God’s thought of me does not make part of the definition of God. BTW, God’s attributes are not the same as His thoughts. But all of His attributes are essential to His being. Also, idealism per se is not contrary to Christianity. God’s thoughts ARE what make all things exist. “In Him we live and move and have our being.” “In Him all things hold together.”

    Anyways Drake, I wonder what your concept of vindicating justice is. Did God have to impose sanctions on disobedience to His commands? Did God have to command any of his commands? If He gave no commands, would there be any justice to vindicate?

  36. Drake Says:

    “The blood of Jesus does not propitiate per se. It propitiates by representation. His blood represents his life. ”
    Again, this is the exact same heresy that Macarthur repented of 6 or 7 years ago. If you are right Pat then Jesus could have been strangled for the remission of our sins, and then you are in the same place Macarthur found himself in.

    “I did explain why God hates evil. I said he hates it because it is contrary to His commands. Sorry if you don’t like or accept such an explanation. Another thing is that it is His wrath that makes Him hate evil….Did God have to impose sanctions on disobedience to His commands? Did God have to command any of his commands? If He gave no commands, would there be any justice to vindicate? ”

    This is the exact same ad extra construction that Owen refutes. Owen says,

    Habakkuk 1:13, “Thou art of purer eyes than to
    behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity,”…

    The prophet here ascribes to God the greatest detestation, and such an immortal
    hatred of sin that he cannot look upon it, but, with a wrathful aversion of his
    countenance, abominates and dooms it to punishment. But PERHAPS GOD THUS HATES SIN BECAUSE HE WILLS TO DO SO, and by an act of his will entirely free, though the state of things might be changed without any injury to him or diminution of his
    essential glory. But the Holy Spirit gives us a reason very different from this,
    namely, the purity of God’s eyes: “Thou are of purer eyes than to behold evil.”
    But there is no one who can doubt that the prophet here intended the holiness of
    God. The incomprehensible, infinite, and most perfect holiness or purity of God is
    the cause why he hates and detests all sin; and that justice and holiness are the
    same, as to the common and general notion of them, we have shown before.23″

  37. Drake Says:

    That is from Works, 10:513. Carl Trueman’s essay, page 11 which is actually page 97 from the book it is extracted from.

  38. pat Says:

    “The blood of Jesus does not propitiate per se. It propitiates by representation. His blood represents his life. ”
    Again, this is the exact same heresy that Macarthur repented of 6 or 7 years ago. If you are right Pat then Jesus could have been strangled for the remission of our sins, and then you are in the same place Macarthur found himself in. ”

    Again, this is not heresy. This is what pretty much every Reformed Christian believes. Again, Jesus had to die the type of death he did because such was ordained of God and prophesied in the OT. Now if you acknowledge that Jesus had to die, that his death itself was the basis of atonement, why do you rant on about the blood? Again, Owen claims that blood atones in the sense of type and “representation.” Representation refers to the blood representing life. Again, there is nothing in the substance of blood that renders it efficacious toward atonement. Only a death can truly satisfy God’s wrath and atone for sin. For again, “the wages of sin is death.” This was the case from the beginning. When Adam sinned, he died and we in him. Jesus paid that penalty for us, as the WCF says, his death fully discharged our debt.

    “But PERHAPS GOD THUS HATES SIN BECAUSE HE WILLS TO DO SO,”

    I don’t know who would make such a claim. It certainly is not what I have been claiming, nor Gordon Clark. God willed to give commandments with sanctions. God willed that those commandments be broken. God necessarily hates his commandments to be broken. God necessarily punishes those who violate his commandments (apart from being atoned for) according to justice, viz. His word. God willed all this in order to demonstrate His wrath and mercy. Justice did not require Him to give any commandments.

    “The incomprehensible, infinite, and most perfect holiness or purity of God is
    the cause why he hates and detests all sin; and that justice and holiness are the
    same, as to the common and general notion of them, we have shown before.23″

    How does Owen define holiness and justice? Justice does not exist apart from law. And there is no such thing as intrinsic evil. Evil is violation of God’s commands. God did not command “thou shalt not kill” etc. because such are intrinsically (or platonically) evil. Murder is evil (and stealing, cheating, lying etc.) because God said don’t do it.

  39. Sean Gerety Says:

    I confess I haven’t been following this very closely, but it appears to me that both of you have repeated yourselves a few times now.

    Let’s move on.

  40. pat Says:

    I’d like to add one more thing: A quote from Trueman and a response to it:

    This relationship of God to his creatures is defined by his omnipotent perfection. Having
    created rational beings that depend on him, God’s perfection first manifests itself absolutely in
    terms of a penal law. This is because such a penal law makes explicit the nature of the Creator/creature
    relationship and thus simply reflects the unalterable ontological truth of humanity’s
    subordination to God. Furthermore, this penal law also points to the second aspect of God’s
    justice: the necessity of the punishment of sin. For God to forego his right to punish the sinner
    would therefore amount to a denial of the relationship that exists between Creator and creature, a
    rejection of the immutable fact that humans are rational beings dependant upon God for their
    existence and answerable to him for their deeds. This relationship is ontological, rooted not
    merely in God’s decretive will but in the fact that he is the uncreated source of all being.
    Therefore, the implication of Owen’s analysis is that the position of theologians such as Twisse
    and Rutherford amounts to saying that God is capable of rejecting the real relation between
    himself and his creatures and thus, by implication, of contradicting his own essence.”

    That we are subordinate to God does/did not necessitate that God give a penal law. Nor is the right to punish based merely on our being subordinate creatures. Yes we are “answerable for our deeds” but only in so far as God has put restraints on our actions by law. “Sin is not imputed where there is no law.” God would be unjust to punish for an act that He did not forbid. Further, God’s right to punish is based on His acting according to His word, and being sovereign over His creation to give commands in the first place. Finally, regarding the ontological relationship between God and man as one of creator/creature. All this implies for us is subordination and dependence. Nothing in the nature of God being Creator and us being His creation necessitated that He give commands to us.

  41. Drake Says:

    I will respect Sean wishes save to say that Pat never was able to answer the Muslim and he kept confusing the animal blodd sacrifice with Jesus’ blood sacrifice. Pay says,
    “Again, Owen claims that blood atones in the sense of type and “representation.”

    He is confusing blood atonement in general and the animal sacrifices in specific. Owen did not say that all blood atonements are effecacious by type and representation. He said THAT THE ANIMAL SACRIFICES OF THE OLD TESTAMENT propotiated by type and representation. Not Jesus’ oblation, for in the conext of Owen, he is maintaining the point that the types were types of Christ’ blood atonement. He was not saying that both animal sacrifice and Jesus’ sacrifice were typical but only the animal. Pat’ construction couldn’t even get off the ground.

  42. pat Says:

    Drake: Not Jesus’ oblation, for in the conext of Owen, he is maintaining the point that the types were types of Christ’ blood atonement.

    No Drake, the OT animal sacrifice were types of Christ’s ACTUAL atonement. You leave out the part regarding representation. The animal’s blood represents its life. Jesus blood represents His life.

    I think I’m done with this. Drake just doesn’t seem to get it or just wants to insist that blood actually is the basis of atonement. Again, other than some extreme dispensationalists, hardly any true Christian maintains such an idea. Again, the Bible says “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners,Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified (A)by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.”
    Rom.5:8.9. How can it be any clearer that Christ’s blood represents his life which is the actual basis of our atonement?

  43. Drake Says:

    Pat said, “No Drake, the OT animal sacrifice were types of Christ’s ACTUAL atonement.”

    I don’t remember contradicting this.

  44. Drake Says:

    I have finished my Christology studies. A year of mental agony. I am convinced of Clark’s view with some filler from the Calvinistic view of sacramental union based on Wallace’s book on Calvin’s Doctrine of the Word and Sacrament. I am putting together a video series on youtube on this issue so each argument can be given specific attention and full attention can be given to each point if someone wants to dialgue on the issue. I will have 76 arguments why I cannot believe in the hypostatic union and then an exposition.

    Drake


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