Goodwin and the Already/Not Yet

Some people might possibly think that the Puritans were ignorant of the already/not yet structure of Paul’s theology. This would be a bit premature. While no Puritan is equal to Vos and Ridderbos, yet there certainly are glimmerings of these truths. I was reading in Goodwin’s works, for instance, and came upon this quotation, which would seem to demonstrate an awareness of such issues. He is commenting on Ephesians 2:6

“Jesus Christ is appointed to be our life. Now of this life there are several degrees, several parts of it more eminent. The one is that of quickening; the other the resurrection and union of soul and body at the latter day. And the last is the sitting in heavenly places. So that indeed that life which God intends to bestow upon us, you see it is perfected by degrees. He begins with dealing with the soul here in a way of quickening; and then he doth raise the body. And this of the soul, it is the pawn of the other: as Tertullian saith, by the quickening of our souls, our bodies are also inaugurated into that resurrection which is in the world to come.”

It would seem, in fact, that the already/not yet goes all the way back to Tertullian, if the quotation is accurate. In any case, inaugurated eschatology (at least in terms of our body’s resurrection) is strongly implied here. N.B. “pawn” is used in the quotation much the same as “first-fruits” or “type.” He means that the resurrection of the soul is the “pawn” of the resurrection of the body.

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2 Comments

  1. Lee said,

    December 23, 2006 at 7:44 pm

    I suppose the next logical question is whether or not Goodwin’s inaugurated eschatology would be the same as the pervasive theme of ‘already/not yet’ found in Biblical Theologians such as Vos and Ridderbos. I do not yet think you have prove the ideas of Vos and Ridderbos have foundation in ancient theologians like Tertullian.

  2. greenbaggins said,

    December 26, 2006 at 7:13 pm

    I don’t know whether one could say for certain. However, this quotation is certainly an inaugurated eschatology, which is the central point of Vos and Ridderbos. Inaugurated eschatology is simply another way of saying “already/not yet.”


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