Darkwing Duck and the Case of the COW

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tewilder

Puritan Board Freshman
Originally posted by armourbearer

Here is the problem with "merit," because the language of congruity and condignity is brought into it, as when you use the words "commensurate" and "proportionate." This is the very idea the older divines were avoiding by removing the word "merit" from their vocabulary.

The problem arises from an over-working of the two Adam structure of Paul's thought. One starts by saying Christ merited life for the elect, therefore Adam was to merit life for his posterity. But the parallel fails to account for the differences which Paul himself announces. The first Adam was of the earth, earthy, the second Adam was the Lord from heaven. To say that Adam was to merit life in a manner parallel to Christ meriting life is to deny one of the foundations of the Christian faith -- that life comes to us through Christ as God-man. See Larger Catechism, answer 38, on why it was requisite that the Mediator should be God.

This is the correct perception of the problem but the wrong solution.

If it is essential that the life of the sort that comes through Christ could only come through Christ in the incarnation, then the correction would not be that that life came through a covenant of Works with Adam in which grace and works are mixed. That would be a contradiction.

If it is true that what we receive could not have come through Adam (that is, had to come though Christ), then the correct solution is to say that the promise in the Covenant of Grace is greater than that which was in the Covenant of Works.

At this point, there is a fork in the road. One branch is felix culpa and the other is that the incanation and a greater covenant head would have come anyway without the Fall.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
All we have done then is arrived at the proposition with which Rutherford begins his great work on covenant theology -- that Adam was always going to fail to obtain what was promised as a figure of the one to come. And when you say that the covenant of works was mixed, this is an incorrect stating of the case, because it was clarified above that the dispensation was wholly of works.
 

ChristianTrader

Puritan Board Graduate
Originally posted by armourbearer
All we have done then is arrived at the proposition with which Rutherford begins his great work on covenant theology -- that Adam was always going to fail to obtain what was promised as a figure of the one to come. And when you say that the covenant of works was mixed, this is an incorrect stating of the case, because it was clarified above that the dispensation was wholly of works.

Which great work by Rutherford do you speak of?

CT
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
That's the Covenant of Life Opened. Consider this example of his thinking from chapter 2:

But if we speak of such a life, to wit, of a heavenly communion with God, as Adam was a comprehensor, or one who is supposed now to have run well, and won the gold, and the crown, such a life was due to Adam, not by nature, but by promise.
Adam in his first state was not predestinated to a law glory, and to influences of God to carry him on to persevere. Nor could he bless God, that he was chosen before the foundation of the world to be Law-holy, as Eph. 1:3. What? Was not then Adam predestinated to life eternal, through Jesus Christ? He was, But not as a public person representing all his sons, but as another single person, as Abraham, or Jacob; for Gospel predestination is not of the nature, but of this or that person. Therefore were we not predestinated to life eternal in him, but in Christ, Rom. 8:29, 30.
Therefore Adam fell from the state of Law-life both totally and finally, but not from the state of Gospel election to glory. For the Lord had in the Law-dispensation a love design, to set up a theatre and stage of free grace; and that the way of works should be a time-dispensation, like a summer-house to be demolished again. As if the Lord had an aim that works and nature should be a transient, but no standing court for righteousness. Hence it is now the relics of an old standing court, and the Law is a day of assize, for condemning of malefactors, who will acknowledge no tribunal of grace, but only of works. And it is a just court to terrify robbers, to awe borderers and loose men, but to believers it is now a court for a far other end.
 

py3ak

Unshaven and anonymous
Staff member
Mr. Winzer,

What would the disanalogy be between Adam's inheriting of life for his posterity (had he kept the terms of the Covenant of Works) and Christ's obtaining life for all who are in Him, apart from the obvious point that Christ had to overcome demerit?
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Ruben,

I raised it because it suggests we cannot conclude Adam merited the reward simply because Christ merited the reward. The infinite merit of Christ's righteousness results from the fact that He offered it upon the altar of His divine nature, and it is the altar which gives value to the gift. Adam had no such altar upon which to offer his obedience.

[Edited on 10-13-2006 by armourbearer]
 

py3ak

Unshaven and anonymous
Staff member
OK, Mr. Winzer, I think I understand that. But when you state it like that, it does make me wonder if you take a felix culpa view or an incarnation without sin view.
It doesn't sound like you deny that Adam would have obtained life for his posterity if he had kept the terms of the covenant of works, but I am not sure how if he had, this statement you made earlier could be true:
To say that Adam was to merit life in a manner parallel to Christ meriting life is to deny one of the foundations of the Christian faith -- that life comes to us through Christ as God-man.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Sorry Ruben, I thought my Christological supralapsarianism was understood from other threads. Yes, Adam was always a figure of the one to come. His sin has the happiness of antithetically typifying Christ's righteousness.

[Edited on 10-13-2006 by armourbearer]
 

py3ak

Unshaven and anonymous
Staff member
It may well be; I have not read all the other threads, I am afraid. Thank you for clarifying, Mr. Winzer.
 

tewilder

Puritan Board Freshman
Originally posted by armourbearer
Sorry Ruben, I thought my Christological supralapsarianism was understood from other threads. Yes, Adam was always a figure of the one to come. His sin has the happiness of antithetically typifying Christ's righteousness.

[Edited on 10-13-2006 by armourbearer]

Would you say that Adam's works are also typological, and that the reason you think they are without merit, is that they are only the shadows and types of the real works to come?
 

Arch2k

Puritan Board Graduate
I guess I am looking at merit from an economical (capitalistic) point of view.

Who is to decide how much something is worth? Do things have an instrinsic value to them, or is it merely what a person is willing to pay for it?

A real life example:
Person A is hired to dig ditches at $10/hr. Person B is hire to dig the same ditch at $20/hr. What is it worth for the ditches to be dug? It is obviously different. Both could be said to merit their wage. But it is the agreed upon amount that determines the worth of the job.

If "eternal life" (as seen under the CoW) has an instrinsic value, then I can see that to some degree, the reward must have been partly of grace. If however, God in his covenant determined that eternal life was worth the act of refraining from the forbidden fruit, then an equal barder was agreed upon (or imposed upon Adam by a sovereign God).

I am not trying to demean the value of eternal life, but trying to think of this in terms of economics. If things have an intrinsic value, how does one determine what that value is? The capitalistic system says "whatever one is willing to pay for it."

I realize that the issue become vastly more complicated when one is dealing with contracts between man and God vs. man and man, but it seems to me that the use of the term covenant retains its definition for both cases.

Any thoughts or resources to point me to?
 

tewilder

Puritan Board Freshman
Originally posted by Jeff_Bartel
I guess I am looking at merit from an economical (capitalistic) point of view.

Who is to decide how much something is worth? Do things have an instrinsic value to them, or is it merely what a person is willing to pay for it?

A real life example:
Person A is hired to dig ditches at $10/hr. Person B is hire to dig the same ditch at $20/hr. What is it worth for the ditches to be dug? It is obviously different. Both could be said to merit their wage. But it is the agreed upon amount that determines the worth of the job.

If "eternal life" (as seen under the CoW) has an instrinsic value, then I can see that to some degree, the reward must have been partly of grace. If however, God in his covenant determined that eternal life was worth the act of refraining from the forbidden fruit, then an equal barder was agreed upon (or imposed upon Adam by a sovereign God).

I am not trying to demean the value of eternal life, but trying to think of this in terms of economics. If things have an intrinsic value, how does one determine what that value is? The capitalistic system says "whatever one is willing to pay for it."

I realize that the issue become vastly more complicated when one is dealing with contracts between man and God vs. man and man, but it seems to me that the use of the term covenant retains its definition for both cases.

Any thoughts or resources to point me to?

Sic et non.

God created the world with a proportionality to it between things and values, but it is not the case that the proportionality is the cause of the value.

Now, does the intrusion of grace restore the proportionality or blow it sky high? There is a point where you end up with speculative arguments drawn from hidden, unexamined assumptions.
 

Arch2k

Puritan Board Graduate
Originally posted by tewilder
God created the world with a proportionality to it between things and values, but it is not the case that the proportionality is the cause of the value.

Do you know of anything that proves this assumption? It seems to me that if this is the case, God would have revealed these proportions, or at least a method of deriving them.
 

tewilder

Puritan Board Freshman
Originally posted by Jeff_Bartel
Originally posted by tewilder
God created the world with a proportionality to it between things and values, but it is not the case that the proportionality is the cause of the value.

Do you know of anything that proves this assumption? It seems to me that if this is the case, God would have revealed these proportions, or at least a method of deriving them.

The best way to demonstrate this, though not prove it, is to punish you severely for a minor infraction. Then you would join the forefront of those claiming proportionality had been violated.


[Edited on 10-13-2006 by tewilder]
 

py3ak

Unshaven and anonymous
Staff member
The best way to demonstrate this, though not prove it, is to punish you severely for a minor infraction. They you would join the forefront of those claiming proportionality had be violated.

Oh, that sounds good. Jeff, any minor infractions you'd care to put up for severe punishment? And if I may propose the punishment, with something a former co-worker always threated me with: "I'm going to scrape all your skin off with an apple peeler and dip you in bleach".
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Originally posted by tewilder
Would you say that Adam's works are also typological, and that the reason you think they are without merit, is that they are only the shadows and types of the real works to come?

Speaking about the hypothetical value of Adam's works is really only useful insofar as it gives us a better understanding of the apostle's dichotomy between faith and works as a distinct method of obtaining life (which itself suggests the works were an instrumental means, not a meritorious cause). As Rutherford notes, his law-condition was transient, so that there was no intention in God that Adam should ever actually keep the covenant of works; his eternal life depended solely upon the good pleasure of God which would be accomplished in Christ (as all consistent predestinarians, or supralapsarians, acknowledge).

So avoiding unwarranted speculation, I would have to say that because the earthly man was only a "type" of the Heavenly Man, he ipso facto did not come up to the measure of the Antitype. While there is a divinely appointed analogy between the two, the type always labours under creaturely imperfection -- that is, natural imperfection, when compared with the perfections of the One who is pre-figured. Hence, negatively, I think it is improper to conclude that Adam was required to merit life on the assumption that the second Adam had the capacity to merit by His obedience.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Originally posted by Jeff_Bartel
Who is to decide how much something is worth? Do things have an instrinsic value to them, or is it merely what a person is willing to pay for it?

Matt. 20:14-16, "Take that thine is, and go thy way: I will give unto this last, even as unto thee. Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good? So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen."

It would be great to see a day when reformed theology reaffirms the Sovereign Freedom of God, and stops binding Him to some secondary nature, which intellectually is nothing more than a second God. God's nature is what He wills Himself to be. He is not bound by proportion; He created proportion.
 

Arch2k

Puritan Board Graduate
Originally posted by armourbearer
Originally posted by Jeff_Bartel
Who is to decide how much something is worth? Do things have an instrinsic value to them, or is it merely what a person is willing to pay for it?

Matt. 20:14-16, "Take that thine is, and go thy way: I will give unto this last, even as unto thee. Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good? So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen."

It would be great to see a day when reformed theology reaffirms the Sovereign Freedom of God, and stops binding Him to some secondary nature, which intellectually is nothing more than a second God. God's nature is what He wills Himself to be. He is not bound by proportion; He created proportion.

This was surely not my intention. Perhaps my wording was not good. I assure you that I believe whatever God does is right.
 

Arch2k

Puritan Board Graduate
[
Originally posted by py3ak
The best way to demonstrate this, though not prove it, is to punish you severely for a minor infraction. They you would join the forefront of those claiming proportionality had be violated.

Oh, that sounds good. Jeff, any minor infractions you'd care to put up for severe punishment? And if I may propose the punishment, with something a former co-worker always threated me with: "I'm going to scrape all your skin off with an apple peeler and dip you in bleach".

I am still thinking through this. I agree with you that someone should not be punished severely for a minor infraction. The punishment must fit the crime. The reward must fit the work.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Jeff, I was only answering the question you posed, not insinuating that you held the opposite. Sorry if there was any misunderstanding.
 
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