Berkhof and the necessity of Jesus' divinity

Discussion in 'Theological Forum' started by jpfrench81, Dec 15, 2009.

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  1. jpfrench81

    jpfrench81 Puritan Board Sophomore

    On pg 319 (Banner of Truth Edition) of his Systematic Theology, in the chapter on the names and natures of Christ, Berkhof statest that it is absolutely essential for the Mediator to be very God in order that:

    1. He might bring a sacrifice of infinite value and render perfect obedience to the Law of God.
    2. He might bear the wrath of God redemptively, that is so as to free others from the curse of the law.
    3. He might be able to apply the fruits of His accomplished work to those who accepted Him by faith.

    I don't understand why the Mediator would need to be divine to fulfill number 2 and it's not clear to me that 3 is accurate. Doesn't the Father apply the Jesus' accomplished work to all who accept Him by faith? I'd appreciate your comments helping me understand these last two points.
     
  2. Christusregnat

    Christusregnat Puritan Board Professor

    Joshua,

    From my understanding, if Christ were merely a man and nothing else, then his wrathbearing could only be for himself, or for one other man. To do beyond that would be superhuman, so to speak. In fact, it could be argued that to die for any other person's sins than one's own would require superhumanity, or divinity.

    Cheers,
     
  3. KMK

    KMK Administrator Staff Member

    A mere man is unable to bear the wrath of God on His own behalf let alone the sins of the whole world.
     
  4. Christusregnat

    Christusregnat Puritan Board Professor

    This is an interesting thought. By "bear" you mean to hold up under?
     
  5. CIT

    CIT Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Christ also had to be divine in order to be outside of time. Let me explain. Hell is God pouring out his wrath for eternity. This eternal punishment is waiting for all non-elect. Christ was in Hell for only three days, but somehow absorbed all the wrath that was to be poured out for all eternity. The only way for Christ to accomplish what would normally take eternity to do, in a mere three days, is for Christ to exist outside of time. Seeing that man is bound to time, Christ had to be fully divine.

    Just some thoughts.
     
  6. jpfrench81

    jpfrench81 Puritan Board Sophomore

    Just to make sure I understand you correctly Ken:

    Are you saying that a man couldn't actually pay in finite time for his own sins, let alone the sins of another?

    It seems to me that the reprobate will bear the wrath of God for their sins, but they can never fully "pay" the penalty, and thus, must suffer eternally. Consequently, they wouldn't be able to pay for someone else's sins since they will never finish paying for their own. Thanks.
     
  7. earl40

    earl40 Puritan Board Professor

    Slight derail here...Curious why you think Jesus paid the price for our sin in the 3 days between His death and Resurrection?
     
  8. AThornquist

    AThornquist Puritan Board Doctor


    He was in Hell?
     
  9. earl40

    earl40 Puritan Board Professor

    From what I understand is that His body was in the grave and His spirit was commended into His Fathers hands. Also Jesus said the debt was paid when He gave up His spirit.

    just saying
     
  10. CIT

    CIT Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Apostle's Creed says as much. Doesn't Ephesians 4:9-10 imply it as well? I was under the impression that Christ descending into Hell was a common and orthodox view.

    If not, I stand by to learn.

    -----Added 12/15/2009 at 03:52:03 EST-----

    Acts 2:31 as well,

    he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption
     
  11. KMK

    KMK Administrator Staff Member

    Exactly. However, mere men do not 'bear' the wrath of God as much as succumb to it. Christ, being fully God, carried the sins of the world and lived, thus conquering the curse and redeeming His people.
     
  12. earl40

    earl40 Puritan Board Professor

    You should start a thread so as not to derail this one. :up:
     
  13. CIT

    CIT Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Done
     
  14. Peairtach

    Peairtach Puritan Board Doctor

    Jesus had to be God as well as Man, so that His sacrifice was of infinite merit to pay for the infinite guilt of our sins against an infinite God, so that He could pay for the infinite guilt of our sins in a finite amount of time, so that He could continue to be the God-Man Mediator between the Father and His people, until the presence of sin was removed from their hearts, and so that His people could enjoy fellowship with God through him for all eternity.
     
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