Tag Archives: Geerhardus Vos

Geerhardus Vos – How Important is the Resurrection of Jesus?

30 Mar

As a fact, and that not lacking doctrinal explanation, it is, next to the cross, the outstanding event of redemptive history. But Paul has first made it a focus of fundamental Christian teaching and built around it the entire conception of the faith advocated and propagated by him.

~Geerhardus Vos~






The Pauline Eschatology (Phillipsburg, NJ; P&R Publishing, 1994), 148.

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Geerhardus Vos – Jesus as the Center of God’s Work in the World

28 Mar

Most clearly of all the theological genius of Paul can be seen at work in the manner in which he subsumes the entire saving work of God under his conception of the person of Christ. It would be inaccurate to say that Paul’s theology is Christocentric, in as much as the work of Christ remains subordinate to the glory of the Father (1 Cor. 15:28). But it would be quite proper to say that Paul’s soteriological teaching amounts to a Christologizing of the gospel on the grandest of scales. From the beginning to the end man’s salvation appears to Paul not merely associated with Christ, but capable of description in terms of Christ. We are chosen in Him in the premundane eternity and shall share His glory in the eternity of the world to come. And in all that lies between the figure of Christ accompanies that of the believer through every stage of its progress in the grace of God. The determination with which the apostle has carried through this principle appears from the fact that even such subjective experiences as conversion and regeneration are described by him in Christological terms, viz., as a dying and rising with Christ, as steps in the reproduction of the life of Christ in us. And within the limits of the life of Christ in which all grace is thus concentrated, a still greater concentration is effected by Paul’s viewing everything from the standpoint of the living, glorified Christ, who sums up and carries in Himself all the saving energies and gifts acquired during His life in the flesh, so that the whole work of salvation has an eternally fixed personal center of unity in the exalted Lord. In this soteriological reduction of everything to terms of Christ, as well as in the reduction of everything to terms of God in the broader theological sense, we feel how perfectly the head and heart of Paul interacted and responded to each other. The recognition of the supremacy of both in his thought was but the highest form of homage and devotion which his love prompted him to lay at the feet of his Savior and his God.

~Geerhardus Vos~


Redemptive History and Biblical Interpretation – The Theology of Paul (Phillipsburg, NJ; P&R Publishing, 1980), 360.

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Geerhardus Vos – Election and God’s Affectionate Foreknowledge

23 Mar

Hosea, on the supposition that marriage and berith with Jehovah are to him identical, is the chief source of our information in regard to the nature of the union. We learn from him:

[1] The union originated on the part of Jehovah

Not Israel offered herself to Him, He sought out Israel. Theologically speaking, we would say that the berith had its source in the divine election. Election is spoken of by Isaiah [14.1; 43.20; 49.7]. With Amos and Hosea, however, a more characteristic and intimate term is chose to convey somewhat of the religious depths and value of this idea. This term yada’, ‘to know’, not in the intellectual sense of ‘to be informed about’, but in the pregnant, affectional sense of ‘to take loving knowledge of’ [Hos. 13.5; Amos 3.2]. This act is not yet represented as an eternal act on the part of Jehovah; in keeping with their standpoint in the midst of history, the prophets think of it as something emerging in time. The New Testament makes out of this ‘knowing’ a ‘fore-knowing’. But this is simply putting the act back into eternity. To cut it loose from its Old Testament antecedents and to intellectualize it in the interest of a Pelgianizing theology is an utterly unhistorical proceeding. The ‘pro’ in the Greek rendering does not serve to give God His standpoint in time, from which He then is able to look forward and base His decision on what the creature is foreseen to be about to do at a certain point in time; it serves the precisely opposite purpose of giving God His standpoint before, that is to say, in Old Testament language, above time.

~Geerhardus Vos~


Biblical Theology (Edinburgh, Scotland; Banner of Truth, 1975), 260.

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Geerhardus Vos – God’s Love and Other Biblical Doctrines

6 Jun

No one will deny that in the Scriptural disclosure of truth the divine love is set forth as a most fundamental principle, nor that the embodiment of this principle in our human will and action forms a prime ingredient of that subjective religion which the Word of God requires of us.

But it is quite possible to overemphasize this one side of truth and duty as to bring into neglect other exceedingly important principles and demands of Christianity. The result will be that, while no positive error is taught, yet the equilibrium both in consciousness and life is disturbed and a condition created in which the power of resistance to the inroads of spiritual disease is greatly reduced. There can be little doubt that in this manner the one-sidedness and exclusiveness with which the love of God has been preached to the present generation is largely responsible for that universal weakening of the sense of sin, and the consequent decline of interest in the doctrines of atonement and justification, which even in orthodox and evangelical circles we all see and deplore.

~Geerhardus Vos~


The Scriptural Doctrine of the Love of God in Redemptive History and Biblical Interpretation: The Shorter Writings of Geerhardus Vos (ed. Richard Gaffin; Grand Rapids, MI; P&R Publishing, 1980), 426.
HT: Dane Ortlund

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Geerhardus Vos – How Can the Bible be Infallible?

27 Mar

It is urged that the discovery of so considerable an amount of variableness and differentiation in the Bible must be fatal to the belief in its absoluteness and infallibility. If Paul has one point of view and Peter another, then each can be at best only approximately correct. This would actually follow, if the truth did not carry in itself a multiformity of aspects. But infallibility is not inseparable from dull uniformity. The truth is inherently rich and complex, because God is so Himself. The whole contention ultimately rests on a wrong view of God’s nature and His relation to the world, a view at bottom Deistical. It conceives of God as standing outside of His own creation and therefore having to put up for the instrumentation of His revealing speech with such imperfect forms and organs as it offers Him. The didactic, dialectic mentality of Paul would thus become a hindrance for the ideal communication of the message, no less than the simple, practical, untutored mind of Peter. From the standpoint of Theism the matter shapes itself quite differently. The truth having inherently many sides, and God having access to and control of all intended organs of revelation, shaped each one of these for the precise purpose to be served. The Gospel having a precise, doctrinal structure, the doctrinally-gifted Paul was the fit organ for expressing this, because his gifts had been conferred and cultivated in advance with a view to it.

~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 Aim of Revelation

20 Sep

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: On Idolatry

28 Apr

Beauty, irreligiously esteemed, infringes upon the glory of Jehovah.

~Geerhardus Vos~








Biblical Theology: Old and New Testaments (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1948), p. 281.

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