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Martyred for the Gospel

Martyred for the Gospel
The burning of Tharchbishop of Cant. D. Tho. Cranmer in the town dich at Oxford, with his hand first thrust into the fyre, wherwith he subscribed before. [Click on the picture to see Cranmer's last words.]

Collect of the Day

The Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany.
The Collect.

O LORD, we beseech thee to keep thy Church and household continually in thy true religion; that they who do lean only upon the hope of thy heavenly grace may evermore be defended by thy mighty power; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Daily Bible Verse

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Quote of the Day: Gordon H. Clark on Incomprehensibility and Analogy

Nearly all Christians – mystics may be the exception – allow for some knowledge of God. The Romanists limit this knowledge to negative knowledge and analogical knowledge. They deny the possibility of positive or univocal knowledge. The Lutheran and Calvinistic theologians have generally been less restrictive. They all reject agnosticism and skepticism. This bears repetition. Christians must by logic allow some knowledge of God, for otherwise the Bible contains no divine revelation. Surely Abraham, Moses, and Paul had some correct ideas about God. -- Gordon H. Clark



The final reference to the Athanasian Creed introduces one of the most complex aspects of Deity. Its discussion waxes warm down into the twentieth century. And though the difficulties seem enormous, its echoes cannot be eliminated from pastoral preaching if the latter is to remain Biblical. The subject is the incomprehensibility of God. 

The Athanasian Creed in verses 9 and 12 says, “The Father is incomprehensible, the Son is incomprehensible...and yet there are not...three incomprehensibles, but one....” Note, first, however, that the Latin original does not say “incomprehensible” but “immensus.” The Dogmatic Decrees of the Vatican Council in 1870, Caput I, also has immensum; though Archbishop Manning’s English translation has incomprehensible. The English Athanasian translation has “unlimited or infinite” in brackets. Immensus means unmeasurable; incomprehensible, when used loosely, simply means “hard to understand.” When used more technically it means “impossible to understand,” unintelligible, or at the very least unknowable. Nearly all Christians – mystics may be the exception – allow for some knowledge of God. The Romanists limit this knowledge to negative knowledge and analogical knowledge. They deny the possibility of positive or univocal knowledge. The Lutheran and Calvinistic theologians have generally been less restrictive. They all reject agnosticism and skepticism. This bears repetition. Christians must by logic allow some knowledge of God, for otherwise the Bible contains no divine revelation. Surely Abraham, Moses, and Paul had some correct ideas about God. 

It is of some historical interest to note what the Reformation creeds did with the term. The French Confession of 1559, the Scotch Confession of 1560, and the Belgic Confession of 1561 have incomprehensible. The Anglican Thirty-Nine Articles of 1562 do not have this word. [See:  Article I].  The Second Helvetic Confession of 1566 has immensus, but not incomprehensible. Nor do the Irish Articles of 1615 have incomprehensible. The French Confession cites Jeremiah 10:7, 10, which say nothing of the sort; and Luke 1:37 which mentions omnipotence only. The Belgic Confession cites Romans 11:33, “his ways are past finding out.” It may be pertinent, even if out of place, to note that Berkhof (Systematic Theology, 60) does not connect immensity with incomprehensibility, but with omniscience. This is commendable, even though he does not fully work it out. He also mars the paragraph by failing to grasp the notion of spirit as non-spatial. He will have human spirits “in a certain definite space,” as if our souls were 2’ x 3’ x 4’ (64).

Gordon H. Clark. The Trinity (Kindle Locations 1212-1243). The Trinity Foundation.

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