Berkhof and the necessity of Jesus' divinity

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ClayPot

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.
 

Christusregnat

Puritan Board Professor
2. He might bear the wrath of God redemptively, that is so as to free others from the curse of the law...
I don't understand why the Mediator would need to be divine to fulfill number 2

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,
 

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.
 

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.
 

ClayPot

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

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.
 

earl40

Puritan Board Professor
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.

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

CIT

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Christ was in Hell for only three days


He was in Hell?

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
 

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.

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

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

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.

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.
 

earl40

Puritan Board Professor
Christ was in Hell for only three days


He was in Hell?

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

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

CIT

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
He was in Hell?

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

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

Done
 

Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
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.

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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