Bavinck on Prototype

Stephen L Smith

Moderator
Staff member
I have posted one of my favourite Bavinck quotes a number of times on the Puritanboard:

"Because God is the creator, man a creature; ... an infinite distance between the two is a given. No fellowship, no religion between the two seems possible; there is only difference, distance, endless distinctiveness. If God remains evated above humanity in His sovereign exaltedness and majesty, then no religion is possible, at least no religion in the sense of fellowship. Then the relation between the two is exhaustively described in the terms of "master" and "servant". ... Accordingly, if there is truly to be religion, if there is to be fellowship between God and man ... then religion must be the character of a covenant. For then God has to come down from His lofty position, condescend to is creatures, impart, reveal, and give Himself away to human beings; then He who inhabits eternity and dwells in a high and holy place must also dwell with those who are of a humble spirit (Isa 57:15). But this set of conditions is nothing other than the description of a covenant. If religion is called a covenant, it is thereby described as the true and genuine religion.This is what no other religion has ever understood; all peoples either pantheistically pull God down into what is creaturely, or deistically elevate Him endlessly above it. In neither case does one arrive at true fellowship, at covenant, at genuine religion. But scripture insists on both: God is infinitely great and condescendingly good; He is sovereign but also Father; He is creator but also Prototype. In a word, He is the God of the covenant."
Reformed Dogmatics 2:568 ff.

Quick question: what does he mean by Prototype?
 

Goodcheer68

Puritan Board Sophomore
How I read it is the one which we are to be like. The one whom we are made in the image of and are able to reflect.
 

Stephen L Smith

Moderator
Staff member
We move from glory to glory into the image of his Son.
Jacob, the reason I asked for clarification is because as I read through Bavinck's quote it seems to suggest it is something God does. God acts. God is the God of the covenant. God is Prototype. This suggests something God does objectively. Your answer suggests a subjective Christian experience rather than something God does objectively.

The only way I can reconcile your answer is to say because of God's object act in the covenant ( the pactum salutis ), we move (historia salutis) from glory into the image of His Son (via the ordo salutis). Maybe I'm been a little technical but it seems to me, in light of Baninck's fuller statement) we need to ground this objectively in God's sovereign work in the covenant. Bavinck does conclude his powerful statement by saying:
In a word, He is the God of the covenant.
Your thoughts?
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Jacob, the reason I asked for clarification is because as I read through Bavinck's quote it seems to suggest it is something God does. God acts. God is the God of the covenant. God is Prototype. This suggests something God does objectively. Your answer suggests a subjective Christian experience rather than something God does objectively.

The only way I can reconcile your answer is to say because of God's object act in the covenant ( the pactum salutis ), we move (historia salutis) from glory into the image of His Son (via the ordo salutis). Maybe I'm been a little technical but it seems to me, in light of Baninck's fuller statement) we need to ground this objectively in God's sovereign work in the covenant. Bavinck does conclude his powerful statement by saying:

Your thoughts?
It's no different than what WCF 7 says. God comes down to us, not we to him. I still stand by my answer but I admit Bavinck could have been clearer.
 
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