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Geerhardus Vos – Why Studying God is Different Than All Other Science

13 Jun
10143218

1862-1949. Dutch Reformed pastor who became professor of Biblical Theology at Princeton Seminary. Known as the father of Reformed Biblical Theology.

From the definition of Theology as the science concerning God follows the necessity of its being based on revelation. In scientifically dealing with impersonal objects we ourselves take the first step; they are passive, we are active; we handle them, examine them, experiment with them. But in regard to a spiritual, personal being this is different. Only in so far as such a being chooses to open up itself can we come to know it. All spiritual life is by its very nature a hidden life, a life shut up in itself. Such a life we can know only through revelation. If this be true as between man and man, how much more must if be so as between God and man. The principle involved has been strikingly formulated by Paul: ‘For who among men knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of the man which is in him? even so the things of God none knoweth, save the Spirit of God’ [1 Cor. 2.11]. The inward hidden content of God’s mind can become the possession of man only through a voluntary disclosure on God’s part. God must come to us before we can go to Him. But God is not a personal spiritual being in general. He is a Being infinitely exalted above our highest conception. Suppose it were possible for one human spirit to penetrate directly into another human spirit: it would still be impossible for the spirit of man to penetrate into the Spirit of God. This emphasizes the necessity of God’s opening up to us the mystery of His nature before we can acquire any knowledge concerning Him. Indeed, we can go one step farther still. In all scientific study we exist alongside of the objects which we investigate. But in Theology the relation is reversed. Originally God alone existed. He was known to Himself alone, and had first to call into being a creature before any extraneous knowledge with regard to Him became possible. Creation therefore was the first step in the production of extra-divine knowledge.

~Geerhardus Vos~


Biblical Theology: Old and New Testaments (Edinburgh, Scotland; Banner of Truth, 1975), p. 3-4.

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New From Banner of Truth: Geerhardus Vos’ Biblical Theology in Clothbound Hardcover

11 Jun

biblical-theology-upright

Let all lovers of Biblical Theology and fine books rejoice, Geerhardus Vos’ “Biblical Theology: Old & New Testaments” is being released by Banner of Truth Trust in a beautiful new clothbound edition.

For those who aren’t familiar with Vos, he is considered by many to be the father of Reformed Biblical Theology. Many recent theologians like Richard Gaffin and G.K. Beale stand in a similar stream.

Price: $26.10

Find out more at the Banner of Truth website.
Make sure to select “cloth-bound” instead of “paperback”.

Geerhardus Vos – What Is God’s Infinity?

11 Jun
10143218

(1862-1949) Professor of Biblical Theology at Princeton Theological Seminary.

19. What is God’s infinity?

That attribute whereby God possesses within Himself all perfection without any limitation or restriction.

It is further distinguished into:
a) Infinite perfection
b) Eternity
c) Immensity

20. Is the concept of infinity negating or affirming?

It has been claimed that it is purely negating and therefore has no content. This is not correct. Certainly it is true:

a) That we cannot form a graphic image of the infinite or of an infinite thing. Beholding is always limited, and what is limited does not comprehend the infinite.

b) That we cannot make a concept of the infinite with our thinking. Thinking also is always limited; thus it is inadequate for comprehending the infinite.

Nevertheless, it remains true that we must hold with conviction that:

a) Behind the finite we comprehend, the infinite exists. It is with the infinite God as it is with space. However far we proceed in our imagination, we know that we have not yet arrived at the end, that we could still take one more step.

b) This infinity for God Himself is not something indeterminate as it is for us, but He Himself perfectly encompasses and governs it. However inconceivable this may be for us, in God it is a reality.

~Geerhardus Vos~






Reformed Dogmatics ed. Richard B. Gaffin and Richard de Witt, trans. Annemie Godbehere et al., vol. 1 (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2013), 13.

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Geerhardus Vos – The Father of Christian Eschatology

15 May
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(1862-1949) Professor of Biblical Theology at Princeton Theological Seminary.

In the period of the Reformation the problem of the obtaining of righteousness before God filled hearts and minds. For the time this forced the eschatological hope into the background, although even then it would have been by no means paradoxical to say that the two strands of the justifying faith and the eschatological outlook remained closely intertwined. Paul knew the inevitableness of this and knew it better, perhaps, than the foremost heroes of the Reformation, not even Luther or Calvin excepted. While the Reformers were by no means unacquainted with the melodies of eschatological music, theirs was by preference martial music drawn from the storm and stress of the Psalter. But they received something better from Paul than either prophet or Psalmist had been able to give. Paul had been the first to grasp with his master-mind the single items of eschatological belief scattered through Scripture, and to weave them into a compact, well-rounded system, so coherent, that, speaking after the manner of man, it became next to impossible for any of the precious texture henceforth to be lost. He it was who made the single items of hope find themselves and group themselves into crystal formations with symmetrical shapes. Truly for this, not his smallest gift, he may justly be called the father of Christian eschatology.

~Geerhardus Vos~






The Pauline Eschatology (Princeton, NJ: Geerhardus Vos, 1930), vi.

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Geerhardus Vos – What Is God’s Self-Existence?

15 Apr

 

1014321817. What is God’s self-existence?

That attribute of God by which He is the self-sufficient ground of His own existence and being. Negatively expressed, independence says only what God is not. Self-existence is precisely the adequate affirmation here. Proof texts: Acts 17:25; John 5:26.

~Geerhardus Vos~






Reformed Dogmatics ed. Richard B. Gaffin and Richard de Witt, trans. Annemie Godbehere et al., vol. 1 (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2013), 13.

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Geerhardus Vos – God Alone Possesses Ideal Knowledge

17 Mar

It is also true that we do not have an in-depth and comprehensive knowledge of God. All our knowledge, even with regard to created things, is in part. This is even truer of God. We only know Him insofar as He reveals Himself, that is, has turned His being outwardly for us. God alone possesses ideal knowledge of Himself and of the whole world, since He pervades everything with His omniscience.

~Geerhardus Vos~




Reformed Dogmatics ed. Richard B. Gaffin and Richard de Witt, trans. Annemie Godbehere et al., vol. 1 (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2013), 8.

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Geerhardus Vos – Truly “Knowing” God

29 Jan

God’s self-revelation to us was not made for a primarily intellectual purpose. It is not to be overlooked, of course, that the truly pious mind may through an intellectual contemplation of the divine perfections glorify God. This would be just as truly religious as the intensest occupation of the will in the service of God. But it would not be the full-orbed religion at which, as a whole, revelation aims. It is true, the Gospel teaches that to know God is life eternal. But the concept of ‘knowledge’ here is not to be understood in its Hellenic sense, but in the Shemitic sense. According to the former, ‘to know’ means to mirror the reality of a thing in one’s consciousness. The Shemitic and Biblical idea is to have the reality of something practically interwoven with the inner experience of life. Hence ‘to know’ can stand in the Biblical idiom for ‘to love’, ‘to single out in love.’ Because God desires to be known after this fashion, He has caused His revelation to take place in the milieu of the historical life of a people. The circle of revelation is not a school, but a ‘covenant’.

~Geerhardus Vos~

 

 

Biblical Theology: Old and New Testaments (Edinburgh, Scotland; The Banner of Truth Trust; 1975), p. 8.

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Geerhardus Vos – The Greatest Mystery of All

22 Jan

1862-1949. Dutch Reformed pastor who became professor of Biblical Theology at Princeton Seminary. Known as the father of Reformed Biblical Theology.

This is the great mystery that no one can solve–how God could love sinners, without there being anything in them worthy of his love. Mysterious, eternal love of God, you are beyond comprehension!

~Geerhardus Vos~






Grace and Glory: Sermons Preached in the Chapel of Princeton Theological Seminary (Edinburgh, London; Banner of Truth, 1994), p. 213. Sermon XIII: The Spiritual Resurrection of Believers

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Geerhardus Vos – What Is Biblical Theology?

14 Jan

1862-1949. Dutch Reformed pastor who became professor of Biblical Theology at Princeton Seminary. Known as the father of Reformed Biblical Theology.

Biblical Theology occupies a position between Exegesis and Systematic Theology in the encyclopedia of theological disciplines. It differs from Systematic Theology, not in being more Biblical, or adhering more closely to the truths of the Scriptures, but in that its principle of organizing the Biblical material is historical rather than logical. Whereas Systematic Theology takes the Bible as a completed whole and endeavors to exhibit its total teaching in an orderly, systematic form, Biblical Theology deals with the material from the historical standpoint, seeking to exhibit the organic growth or development of the truths of Special Revelation from the primitive pre-redemptive Special Revelation given in Eden to the close of the New Testament canon.

~Geerhardus Vos~


Biblical Theology: Old and New Testaments (Edinburgh, Scotland; Banner of Truth, 1975), p. v-vi.

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Geerhardus Vos – The Spirit Produces and Sustains Our New Life in Christ

9 Apr

Coming back to Paul we may adopt for guidance the two-fold aspect in which the eschatological function of the Spirit appears in his teaching. On the one hand the Spirit is the resurrection-source, on the other He appears as the substratum of the resurrection-life, the element, as it were, in which, as in its circumambient atmosphere the life of the coming aeon shall be lived. He produces the event and in continuance underlies the state which is the result of it. He is Creator and Sustainer at once, the Creator Spiritus and the Sustainer of the supernatural state of the future life in one.

~Geerhardus Vos~


The Pauline Eschatology (Phillipsburg, NJ; P&R Publishing, 1994), 163.

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