Exploring Ectypal vs. Archetypal Theology

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MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Rich, I'll leave it to you to start a new thread if you think it will be beneficial. The following quotes may be of help.

Junius: “Ectypal theology considered either simply, as they say, or in relation to its various kinds, is the wisdom of divine things given conceptual form by God, on the basis of the archetypal image of himself through the communication of grace for his own glory. And so, indeed, theology simply so called, is the entire Wisdom concerning divine things capable of being communicated to created things by [any] manner of communication.” (De vera theologia, v.; quoted in PRRD, 1:235.) Muller provides an analysis of Junius and concludes: “Ectypal theology in se is, thus, the ideal case of communicated theology, the accommodated form or mode of the archetype readied in the mind of God for communication to a particular kind of subject, namely, Christ, the blessed, or the redeemed on earth.” (Ibid.) Consider also John Owen: “God has, in His mind, an eternal plan or concept which is truth, and which He wishes to be known by us. All of our theology, therefore, flows from that act of divine will by which He wishes to make known this truth to us.” (Biblical Theology, 15.)
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
{I asked Rev. Winzer to provide some more information so I can grasp and interact with the concept. I had misunderstood, perhaps, what ectypal and archetypal theology were.}

OK, thanks Rev. Winzer. I guess I keep jumping back and forth thinking I understand it and then you correct me and I think I don't have it.

It seems to me, in the above, that the distinction made between archetypal and ectypal theology is this:

Archetype = the mind of God or His Divine image.

Ectype = the ideal communication of that Truth in a form accomodated to make that truth known to His creatures.

In other words, ectypal theology is not necessarily how we understand His Revelation because we make errors due to our fallen condition. It is ideal in the sense the entire corpus of God's Revelation has been truly communicated to reflect the archetype.

If I'm OK so far, might I say that our goal in proper exegesis is to properly communicate the ectype as it touches on a particular subject?

I think I just went cross-eyed.
 

py3ak

Unshaven and anonymous
Staff member
These are some quotes that I found very helpful for understanding this.

PRRD, v.1 p.229
...the theology of the Reformation recognized not only that God is distinct from his revelation and that the one who reveals cannot be fully comprehended in the revelation, but also that the revelation, given in a finite and understandable form, must truly rest on the eternal truth of God: this is the fundamental message and intention of the distinction between archetypal and ectypal theology.

p.228
The Annotatiunculae of John Eck implies another answer to this problem. Eck argues a threefold meaning for theologia: knowledge of God in the divine mind (in mente divina), in itself (in se), and in us (in nobis). According to the first of these categories, comments Eck, the maxim of Augustine holds, that "God alone is a theologian, and we are truly his disciples." Much like Scotus' basic definition of theologia in se, Eck's definition identifies this category of the knowledge of God as a knowledge proportionate to its object—but now it is defined specifically as knowledge in intellectu humano. Theologia in se, the pattern to which our theology is subalternate is, according to Eck, the theology of the blessed who know by sight. The theology that human beings have in ther pilgrim condition (secundum statum viae), the theologia nostra, is not proportionate to its object. Rather, it is limited to the knowledge our intellect is capable of accepting through belief. Further redefinition of the term theologia in se or theology absolute considered (absolute dicta) occurs among the early Reformed orthodox who use the term in a fashion similar to Eck's usage as a proximate pattern for theologia nostra, but identify it not as the theology of the blessed but as the perfect truth of supernatural revelation.

Where I think I like the Reformed modification of Eck's formula, though I'm not sure Eck is wrong --do the holy dead know perfectly? If they do, then Eck's formulation seems fine. But it is a good statement that theologia nostra is "not proportionate to its object". Indeed, I think we could tie this in with Calvin's doctrine of accommodation (Muller addresses accommodation in v.2, I think) and state that theologia nostra is proportionate to its subject, while nonetheless conforming to the accurate pattern of theologia in se. In practice, I think it would work out like this: if at some point our capacity (as the subjects, the knowers) means that theologia nostra can't speak in conformity with theologia in se (because of our cognitive problems, at least primarily from sin), it shuts up instead of being inaccurate. And of course this distinction (in se vs. in intellectu humano) rather corresponds to what Luther said about the perspicuity of Scripture in The Bondage of the Will. Scripture is quite clear: we are rather dull.

Those are my thoughts, but I am only beginning to learn about the issue and would be happy to be corrected by those who are more knowledgeable.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Rich, spot on. Ruben's first quotation of Muller grasps the context well, showing that the distinction is to be understood as a justification of "true theology" (theologia vera) -- "must truly rest on the eternal truth of God." Blessings!
 

dannyhyde

Puritan Board Sophomore
Where I think I like the Reformed modification of Eck's formula, though I'm not sure Eck is wrong --do the holy dead know perfectly?

Ruben,

Dr. Clark can correct me if I am wrong, but theologia ectypa is known by the elect in their two states—the theology of pilgrims (theologia viatorum) and the theology of the blessed (theologia beatorum), yet they remain ectypal theology, as even in heaven, the blessed are creatures, not the Creator, therefore cannot know the mind of God (theologia archetypa).
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Ectypal theology is accommodated to creaturely capacity in terms either of union, vision, or revelation. Christ's knowledge is one of union, and therefore a perfect realisation of the ideal. Angels and glorified saints are recipients of vision whilst the redeemed on earth partake of revelation. In each case the knowledge of God is ectypal, but as has been shown elsewhere, it is the knowledge of God as formulated by His own will, and therefore divine and true -- it is the mind of God (exemplum, though not exemplar, 1 Cor. 2:9, 10, 16).

The word "perfect" is liable to equivocation. Is fulness meant or freedom from error? Glorified knowledge is definitely free from error; but is it complete? The Puritans would say that the beatific vision completely fills glorified saints like the ocean completely fills the vessels which each one brings to it, though the vessels might be of differing capacities. Every saint will have cause to say he is filled with the fulness of God, like one drawing water may say his vessel is filled with the ocean.
 

R. Scott Clark

Puritan Board Senior
Muller is very good on this.

See also my essay on the free offer in the Strimple Festrschift.

The distinction between TA/TE is really nothing other than the Creator/creature distinction or, as Luther put it, the theology of glory distinguished from the theology of the cross.

By definition. Only God has archtypal theology.

Anything that any human knows, even Christ in his human nature (contra the Lutherans who predicate archetypal theology of Christ's humanity) is ectypal. If may be exalted (theology of union; theology of the blessed (i.e., what glorified Christians know) but it always remains ectypal.

Glorification is not deification.

This distinction is fundamental to Reformed theology. It's very encouraging to see it discussed here.

rsc
 

polemic_turtle

Puritan Board Freshman
I had heard of this from Dr. Truman's lectures on John Owen and it struck me that this is exactly what Van Tillians seem to be saying about analogical knowledge of God. I'm reading Bavinck's Dogmatics and those are the words he uses: "analogical", "anthropomorphic", "archetypal / ectypal". It makes perfect sense to me that the infinite must condescend to make Himself known to the finite.

I suppose it's like converting a CD to MP3; both are certainly the same song / lecture, but the CD posesses many things which cannot be fit into the filesize of an MP3 and is therefore useless until converted down to a level an MP3 player can play. I had to phrase it that way to make it fit, but I suppose the comparison should bear some merit. I like the distinction! I wonder why this hasn't come up before in the whole "denial of the possibility of systematic theology" accusations I've heard from Clarkian-minded folk. I daresay the same could be said of the Reformers, then, couldn't it?
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
Muller is very good on this.

See also my essay on the free offer in the Strimple Festrschift.

The distinction between TA/TE is really nothing other than the Creator/creature distinction or, as Luther put it, the theology of glory distinguished from the theology of the cross.

By definition. Only God has archtypal theology.

Anything that any human knows, even Christ in his human nature (contra the Lutherans who predicate archetypal theology of Christ's humanity) is ectypal. If may be exalted (theology of union; theology of the blessed (i.e., what glorified Christians know) but it always remains ectypal.

Glorification is not deification.

This distinction is fundamental to Reformed theology. It's very encouraging to see it discussed here.

rsc

I'm glad you're encouraged because I had brought it up here:

http://www.puritanboard.com/showthread.php?p=255004

See posts #29, and then posts #40 until the end.

You said this above:
The distinction between TA/TE is really nothing other than the Creator/creature distinction or, as Luther put it, the theology of glory distinguished from the theology of the cross.

I thought I had understood that correctly from your Strimple Festscrhift (by the way, I highly recommend the book to all).

I think I might have been sloppy in my use of terms. I think I only understood ectypal theology to be the type which is accommodated to creaturely capacity in terms of revelation. I didn't know there were other forms of it and Rev. Winzer was squaring me away.

It does seem to me, though, that my original guess was correct that Van Til is historically Reformed by insisting on the Creator/creature distinction as it relates to this particular distinction.

If there are those that disagree with this then maybe it would be helpful to discuss how his theology intersected properly with this formulation and how it might have been incomplete or in error at some point.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
It seems we have gone full circle. Ectypal theology is given conceptual form by God, as is clear from Junius and Owen. It therefore cannot be identified with what the creature knows in distinction from the Creator. Its purpose is to bridge the Creator-creature gap in order to justify true theology.
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
I'm not looking for a circle. I want to have a discussion on this.

The problem with a short snippet like you provide is that it doesn't really interact with it so that others who haven't come to the firm conclusion in your mind can see the steps you took to come to that point.

You wrote:
Ectypal theology is accommodated to creaturely capacity in terms either of union, vision, or revelation. Christ's knowledge is one of union, and therefore a perfect realisation of the ideal. Angels and glorified saints are recipients of vision whilst the redeemed on earth partake of revelation.
The idea of "accomodation to creaturely capacity" in the form of revelation seems to me to be the same notion as distinguishing how the Creator knows a thing from the way we know it. Our knowledge is true as it accurately reflects the ectype but it can never (even in glory) be as the Creature is in Himself.

Now, perhaps there is some other baggage associated with the terminology that you're aware of that makes you want to cry foul over its use. I think you alluded to it before in the sense that a dialectic is attached to how Van Til uses the terms. I think the terminology right now, for a lot of us who are not proper theologians, is a bit fuzzy and we don't feel the weight of your objection yet.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Rich, I'm not trying to bring a Van Tillian or anti-VanTillian agenda into the use of these terms. I am only concerned to see that the terms are used in accord with their original intention when the authority of the orthodox reformed is invoked. I have already stated that they did not use terms like qualitative and quantitative, but independent and dependent. Ectypal theology, for reformed dogmaticians, is God's own conceptualisation of the truth. It is accommodated for the creature, but it comes from the Creator. In knowing this truth, we know Him, Jn. 17:3, Matt. 11:27; 1 Cor. 2:9-12. It is everywhere assumed that ectypal truth corresponds with what God knows since it is what God willed. Blessings!
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
Rich, I'm not trying to bring a Van Tillian or anti-VanTillian agenda into the use of these terms. I am only concerned to see that the terms are used in accord with their original intention when the authority of the orthodox reformed is invoked. I have already stated that they did not use terms like qualitative and quantitative, but independent and dependent. Ectypal theology, for reformed dogmaticians, is God's own conceptualisation of the truth. It is accommodated for the creature, but it comes from the Creator. In knowing this truth, we know Him, Jn. 17:3, Matt. 11:27; 1 Cor. 2:9-12. It is everywhere assumed that ectypal truth corresponds with what God knows since it is what God willed. Blessings!

Understood but if a person is trying to communicate the idea to somebody new to the concept they need to try to come up with terms that all of us can relate to. I cannot simply walk into a classroom of new students of theology and use Archetype and Ectype and have everyone nod in understanding. Even your quotes you have thus far provided are putting this idea into many different manners of expression that preserve the concept.

I understand your guard against quantitative knowledge but this is a way of underlining what our knowledge isn't. Doesn't Thomistic theology break the Archetype/Ectype correspondence by assuming that our being and knowledge is only different from God's Being and knowledge in a matter of degrees? In that sense we could see a bunch of different ways in which it departs from Scripture and how ectypal truth corresponds to what God knows.

In like manner, it would be helpful if someone evaluated how Van Til's theology or his use of terms departed from what you've been stating about the Reformed formulation. You simply re-stated the Reformed formulation above, which I think I understand pretty well now. What I'm not too sure about is where Van Til departed from this.

For instance, in my ignorance I might ask: Isn't Van Til's insistence on the Creator/creature distinction primarily his way of underlining our dependent knowledge (the ectype of Revelation) as opposed to our independent knowledge?

To which someone might reply...
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Rich, today is not the best day for me to engage in in-depth discussion on such points, with much preparation needed for tomorrow's services.

Yes, Van Til emphasises dependence; and as noted before, he was right to do so. Our apologetic must be a defence of the Independence of God and the dependence of man upon Him for all things, so that there is no thinking outside the theistic box. The only ultimate interpretation of reality is found in God Himself. But it is evident, surely, from the statements provided, that the traditional use of AT and ET did not equate ectypal theology with creaturely knowledge. It is conceptualised by God Himself (sorry to keep saying the same thing, but it seems to be a fundamental point that is not being reckoned with). This *is* God's knowledge, not in its absolute fulness, but accommodated to the limitation of the creature for the purpose of blessing the creature with this knowledge. The issue with VanTil does not revolve around his insistence that human knowledge is *dependent* upon God's knowledge, but that human knowledge is *different* from God's knowledge. But if it can be grasped that God Himself has condescended so as to conceptualise Himself in accord with human limitation, the ontological distinction between the Creator and creature is bridged. We know God ectypically, not archetypically, just as God knows us ectypically, not archetypically. Blessings!
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
It is conceptualised by God Himself (sorry to keep saying the same thing, but it seems to be a fundamental point that is not being reckoned with).
Actually, I think I understand that pretty well at this point. I think you're reading into my questions. I understand that ectypal theology is God's theology and not what we understand it to be. The fact that it is accomodated to creatures in Revelation (one form) is what I'm trying to reckon or contrast with Van Til as an example.

I don't mean to imply you have to be the only one that answers this. Please do prepare for your sermon.

Thanks for reminding me that I still need to prepare my handout for my class on Ecclesiastes and the Song of Solomon tomorrow AM.

Blessings!

p.s. Really looking forward to Australia visit in June (looks like mid-June now.) My Deputy has been in the throes of preparing for that exercise. It's going to be a big exercise that culminates many of the technologies that I've integrated into our unit. It will be great to go down and see it all working AND I'll get to meet you and your "quiver full"!
 

py3ak

Unshaven and anonymous
Staff member
Ruben,

Dr. Clark can correct me if I am wrong, but theologia ectypa is known by the elect in their two states—the theology of pilgrims (theologia viatorum) and the theology of the blessed (theologia beatorum), yet they remain ectypal theology, as even in heaven, the blessed are creatures, not the Creator, therefore cannot know the mind of God (theologia archetypa).

Rev. Hyde,

I didn't mean to imply that I thought the theologia beatorum was anything other than ectypal. I believe (and I think Rev. Winzer has been pointing this out) that ectypal theology is perfect. But our knowledge of it as pilgrims is certainly imperfect. We do not attain to the full measure of the creaturely capacity to know God. But the blessed do. So I could restate my question: is the theologia beatorum identical to theologia in se? As I understood the quotation of Eck provided by Dr. Muller, theologia in mente divina is archetypal theology (although Rev. Winzer's statements are causing me to wonder if this was accurate). Then ectypal theology can be considered in se or in nobis. In se, of course, it is perfect: in nobis as pilgrims is certainly another matter. I hope that didn't involve my thoughts in ever more dense obscurity!

Rev. Winzer,

Please don't feel any pressure to answer this until after the Lord's Day. I do have two questions:
1. You say that God knows us ectypically. Could you explain that a little more? I am not sure how to understand the statement that God's knowledge of us is not archetypal.
2. Am I understanding correctly in this summary of ectypal knowledge? Here goes: Ectypal knowledge is God's own knowledge communicated/accommodated according to creaturely capacity: it is thus correspondent to archetypal knowledge and entirely trustworthy (considered in itself).

This is one of the most interesting threads I've ever read on this board. Incidentally, I also have The Pattern of Sound Doctrine and Dr. Clark's article is a very good thing to read and think about.
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
Rev. Winzer,

Please don't feel any pressure to answer this until after the Lord's Day. I do have two questions:
1. You say that God knows us ectypically. Could you explain that a little more? I am not sure how to understand the statement that God's knowledge of us is not archetypal.
I'm not Rev. Winzer but I can fake an Australian accent.

Oy!

I don't think he's saying that. I think he's saying that ectypal knowledge is still God's knowledge but it is accomodated to creatures.

What I find fascinating is the aspect of the ectypal union with the archetype in the Incarnation. Talk about a mind bender!

2. Am I understanding correctly in this summary of ectypal knowledge? Here goes: Ectypal knowledge is God's own knowledge communicated/accommodated according to creaturely capacity: it is thus correspondent to archetypal knowledge and entirely trustworthy (considered in itself).
I believe that is exactly right and is what I stated earlier:
Ectype = the ideal communication of that Truth in a form accomodated to make that truth known to His creatures.

In other words, ectypal theology is not necessarily how we understand His Revelation because we make errors due to our fallen condition. It is ideal in the sense the entire corpus of God's Revelation has been truly communicated to reflect the archetype.

If I'm OK so far, might I say that our goal in proper exegesis is to properly communicate the ectype as it touches on a particular subject?
To which Rev. Winzer replied: "Spot on."

I think your statement is equivalent.

This is one of the most interesting threads I've ever read on this board. Incidentally, I also have The Pattern of Sound Doctrine and Dr. Clark's article is a very good thing to read and think about.
I'm glad everyone finds it interesting. When I read Clark's Festschrift, I was surprised it wasn't a subject of more discussion. I e-mailed him after reading it and thanked him for it. It seems to me that the fact that this isn't discussed much has caused some problems in the maintenance of Reformed orthodoxy on some points.
 

py3ak

Unshaven and anonymous
Staff member
I'm not Rev. Winzer but I can fake an Australian accent.

Oy!

[...]

I'm glad everyone finds it interesting. When I read Clark's Festschrift, I was surprised it wasn't a subject of more discussion. I e-mailed him after reading it and thanked him for it. It seems to me that the fact that this isn't discussed much has caused some problems in the maintenance of Reformed orthodoxy on some points.

Well, pretend I'm faking a Belgian accent.

Thanks for your points: this is so far out of the realm of what we normally talk about that it seems like I need to reiterate things again and again to make sure they become a functioning part of my intellectual paradigm.

I entirely agree that it ought to be talked about more. These questions of method do not seem to me to be hairsplitting, but rather fundamental. I really liked this section from Berkhof's Introduction to Systematic Theology
Kuyper proceeds on the assumption that God cannot be the direct object of scientific study. In such a study the subject rises superior to the object, and has the power to examine and to comprehend it. But the thinking man is not so related to God, I Cor. 2:11. According to Kuyper it is quite essential to distinguish between two kinds of theology, namely: (a) theology as the knowledge of God, of which God is the object, and (b) theology as a science which finds its object in the divine Self-revelation. The former is the ectypal knowledge of God, contained in Scripture, and adapted to the cognitive faculties of man; while the latter is defined as “that science which has the revealed knowledge of God as the object of its investigation and raises it to sunesis (insight).” By means of this distinction he seeks to establish an organic connection between theology and science in general. Now the question arises, whether this position is equivalent to a denial of the fact that God is the object of theology. On the one hand it certainly seems so, and as a matter of fact Kuyper clearly says that the revealed knowledge of God, and it only, is the object of theology as a science. This point even became the subject of a theological debate in the Netherlands. At the same time he also says that this science would not yet be entitled to the name theology, if it did not deepen our insight into the ectypal knowledge of God. The question arises, whether Kuyper's way of putting things is not merely another way of saying that God is the object of theology as a science only in so far as He has revealed Himself in His word. Or, to put it in other words, that God is not the direct, though He is the ultimate object of theology; that He is not the immediate object, but the object as mediated through His divine Self-revelation.

By the way, could we get the spell checker to stop underlining "ectypal"?
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
1. You say that God knows us ectypically. Could you explain that a little more? I am not sure how to understand the statement that God's knowledge of us is not archetypal.
2. Am I understanding correctly in this summary of ectypal knowledge? Here goes: Ectypal knowledge is God's own knowledge communicated/accommodated according to creaturely capacity: it is thus correspondent to archetypal knowledge and entirely trustworthy (considered in itself).

Point 2 is spot on. On point 1, God knows us decretively, Rom. 8:29, which is ectypical. "I will be thy God" is covenantal, which is ectypical. See WCF 7:1. More confirmation of the point that ectypal theology bridges the Creator-creature distinction.
 

py3ak

Unshaven and anonymous
Staff member
Point 2 is spot on. On point 1, God knows us decretively, Rom. 8:29, which is ectypical. "I will be thy God" is covenantal, which is ectypical. See WCF 7:1. More confirmation of the point that ectypal theology bridges the Creator-creature distinction.

Thanks for amplifying. I will have to chew on this for a while, since though I see your point about the decree and the covenant, I am having trouble grasping the idea that at any point God does not ALSO have archetypal knowledge. But perhaps I am misunderstanding?
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
Originally Posted by armourbearer
Point 2 is spot on. On point 1, God knows us decretively, Rom. 8:29, which is ectypical. "I will be thy God" is covenantal, which is ectypical. See WCF 7:1. More confirmation of the point that ectypal theology bridges the Creator-creature distinction.
Thanks for amplifying. I will have to chew on this for a while, since though I see your point about the decree and the covenant, I am having trouble grasping the idea that at any point God does not ALSO have archetypal knowledge. But perhaps I am misunderstanding?

I'm waiting for clarification here. Here is the interesting thing I'm wondering about what Rev. Winzer said. Did he say:

1. God's decretive knowledge of us is ectypical

OR

2. Romans 8:29 is ectypical

If you look at the sentence I initially thought what you did but then I thought he was applying eptypical theology to the passage because it is revelation.
 

py3ak

Unshaven and anonymous
Staff member
Well, let us try our exegetical skills on Rev. Winzer's statement and then he can confirm or deny.

I take it that God's decretive knowledge is ectypical for these reasons:
1. Rom. 8:29 comes between commas, as an aside. It is thus simply referencing a Scriptural proof for a concept. We would get the same point made a little more forcefully if Rev. Winzer had used () but I am sure the sense is the same.
2. The decree is in the same position in its phrase as the covenant is in its phrase. Clearly he means that the covenant is ectypal, and he does provide Scripture proof there as well, though in the form of a quotation rather than a reference. Since in each case we have substantially the same elements, and in the second case it is clearly the covenant which is ectypal, by analogy the same thing should hold.
3. Theologically, does not Romans 8:29 establish that the decree is ectypal? If that is so, there is no compelling reason overthrowing the parallelism mentioned in argument 2.

After this it will be very embarrassing if Rev. Winzer should say that in each case it was Romans 8:29 and "I will be thy God" which he meant to be taken as the ectypical elements....
 

R. Scott Clark

Puritan Board Senior
I do think and have argued that Van Til's account of incomprehensibility is effectively the same doctrine as taught by Junius et al.

Accommodated knowledge is just that. By definition, humans cannot have archetypal knowledge/theology.

Ectyptal theology is true, but parallel to divine knowledge. It is divinely given, but theology is not given and we cannot comprehend it as God knows it.

The point of the Creator/creature distinction as articulated in this discussion is that we are not the Creator and our intellect never intersects his intellect, it intersects with his revelation of himself and his mind, but that revelation is always accommodated and it would be equivocating to call that the divine intellect.

We don't know God in se (in himself). No revelation is gives us access to God in se. We know God truly, but only as he stooped to accommodate himself to us.

Archetypal knowledge is described by the Reformed orthodox as analogous. Thus I agree with Rev Winzer's use of the word "corresponding." That's just right. Please remember too that the medieval realists had it that we can know the divine substance/essence by abstracting universals from particulars and those come into contact with the divine intellect; we could know what God knows the way he does, at least for a moment.

The assumption was (and remains for those who deny the TA/TE distinction, such as Hoeksema, Clark, and Gerstner) that unless we know something the way God knows it, at some point, we can't know anything.

Obviously, all revelation comes from God. It is something that God knows and it is something that we know, but even revelation cannot be said to be something we know the way God knows it.

Thus, to describe ectypal theology as a "bridge" is ambiguous. If by bridge one means to communicate some sort of continuum between divine and human knowledge, then we're back to medieval realism and the associated rationalism (in this case rationalism = knowing what God knows, the way he knows it). If "bridge" means, accommodated revelation that gives and uses divinely authorized analogies to reveal to us the truth that God want us to have, fine.

We need to avoid the sketpticism that says that we can't know anything truly and the rationalism that says that we can know what God knows the way he knows it.

A little bit of divinization is a lot of divinization.

rsc
 

R. Scott Clark

Puritan Board Senior
We can and must know that God has decreed everything that comes to pass and that there are elect and reprobate, and that God loved Jacob and reprobated Esau from all eternity, but having been revealed to us, these truths are not archetypal, by definition.

Archteypal theology is not identical with all things eternal. It's not the case that if we know things eternal or about eternity (e.g., the intra-Trinitarian covenant between the persons of the deity) that know archetypal theology.

We know about election, Jacob and Esau, because these things are revealed. Otherwise (unless there are others revealed to be reprobate, e.g., Judas and the folks named in Jude and the like) the content of the decree is hidden from us.

So, no, God's decretive knowledge is not ectypal. His revelation about his decree and of a limited number of particulars (no more of which are forthcoming until the judgment) is, of course, ectypal, but God knows everything there is to know simply, naturally and freely, effortlessly, perfectly, eternally, exhaustively, and effortlessly.

We don't even know ectypal theology the way God knows it.

The TA/TE distinction is very important, even essential and I argue that its loss in the modern period has damaged Reformed theology, piety, and practice severely. Reformed folk speak routinely know as if they know what God knows, the way he knows it. This leads to hubris and other vices.

Nevertheless, the TA/TE distinction cannot be used to solve all problems.

rsc

Well, let us try our exegetical skills on Rev. Winzer's statement and then he can confirm or deny.

I take it that God's decretive knowledge is ectypical for these reasons:
1. Rom. 8:29 comes between commas, as an aside. It is thus simply referencing a Scriptural proof for a concept. We would get the same point made a little more forcefully if Rev. Winzer had used () but I am sure the sense is the same.
2. The decree is in the same position in its phrase as the covenant is in its phrase. Clearly he means that the covenant is ectypal, and he does provide Scripture proof there as well, though in the form of a quotation rather than a reference. Since in each case we have substantially the same elements, and in the second case it is clearly the covenant which is ectypal, by analogy the same thing should hold.
3. Theologically, does not Romans 8:29 establish that the decree is ectypal? If that is so, there is no compelling reason overthrowing the parallelism mentioned in argument 2.

After this it will be very embarrassing if Rev. Winzer should say that in each case it was Romans 8:29 and "I will be thy God" which he meant to be taken as the ectypical elements....
 
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