Response to TE Rayburn, part 7

This post will take up the issue of the covenant of works. TE Rayburn’s argument is many-faceted, and will require careful thought.

The first point he makes is that even someone denying the covenant of works is not out of accord with the fundamentals of the system of doctrine. As an example, he adduces John Murray. However, John Murray’s position on the Covenant of Works is not usually well-understood in these debates. Murray argues that the term “Covenant of Works” is infelicitous, because it does not provide for the elements of grace (see volume 2 of his works, p. 49), and because it is not so called in Scripture. However, the structure of the covenant of works is still present in Murray’s theology. Consider the following quotation (I have added emphasis in bold):

Analogy is drawn between Adam and Christ. They stand in unique relations to mankind. there is none before Adam-he is the first man. There is none between-Christ is the second man. There is none after Christ-he is the last Adam (1 Cor. 15:44-49). Here we have an embracive construction of human relationships. We know also that in Christ there is representative relationship and that obedience successfully completed has its issue in righteousness, justification, life for all he represents (1 Cor. 15:22). So a period of obedience successfully completed by Adam would have secured eternal life for all represented by him.

The Adamic administration is, therefore, construed as an administration in which God, by a special act of providence, established for man the provision whereby he might pass from the status of contingency to one of confirmed and indefectible holiness and blessedness, that is, from posse peccare and posse non peccare to non posse peccare. The way instituted was that of ‘an intensified and concentrated probation’ (the quotation is from Vos, LK), the alternative issues being dependent upon the issues of obedience or disobedience.

From this statement, taken in context, Murray is intending to set forth the parallel federal headship of Adam and Christ. From this, he comes to the conclusion that Christ’s righteousness results in justification for all He represents, and so it would have been with Adam. Of course, Murray goes on to delineate the elements of grace present in the Adamic administration, but do not miss this point: the basis for obtaining life under the Adamic administration was works, not grace. This is crucial for understanding the SJC’s decision, actually.

TE Rayburn claims that the SJC’s decision is wrong in claiming that TE Leithart’s view of the covenant of works and covenant of grace has no discontinuity. TE Rayburn brings forth as evidence TE Leithart’s view of covenantal headship changes (from Adam to Christ). TE Rayburn also adduces TE Leithart’s advocation of grace in the covenant of works, and claims that this is a commonplace in Reformed theology. This latter claim is correct. However, it misses the point at issue, which is this: on what basis would Adam have obtained eternal life? Works or faith? Not even Murray supports the latter position, but rather the former, that Adam would have obtained eternal life on the basis of his works. Of course, this is not condign, or even congruent merit, but merit improperly so-called, or pactum merit (for a discussion of these different kinds of merit, see this post). TE Rayburn fails to address this point. The reason that this is important is that the claim of the SJC is that TE Leithart does not have discontinuity in his theology of CoW/CoG when it comes to the basis for obtaining eternal life. That TE Leithart posits no discontinuity in the matter of soteriology is crystal clear in his letter, quoted by the SJC’s decision. TE Leithart says:

The differences between Adamic and post-lapsarian covenants are not at a “soteriological” level (ie., not a contrast of a “legal” versus a “gracious” covenant), but at the level of covenant administration.

I don’t think TE Leithart could be any clearer. The basis for having eternal life both before and after the fall would be by grace through faith, according to TE Leithart. This is not only contrary to chapter 7 of the standards, which posits a different basis for obtaining eternal life as one goes from the CoW to the CoG, but it is also contrary to Murray, whom TE Rayburn cites in support of TE Leithart’s position.

TE Rayburn also adduces Palmer Robertson in support of the point that the term “Covenant of Works” has limitations. Quite apart from the issue of whether Robertson would feel that this is a fair use of his name in defense of TE Leithart, it is fairly clear that the structure of the Covenant of Works according to the Westminster Standards is upheld by Palmer Robertson (see Christ of the Covenants, pp. 85ff). The question is not whether there are any traces of grace in the Covenant of Works. In other words, this is not an issue of Klinean views on merit versus other confessional Reformed views. Rather, it is the view of the basis of obtaining eternal life by Adam that is the proper view here. To close, I would like to remind us of what Wilhelmus a’Brakel said when he opened his discussion of the Covenant of Works:

Acquaintance with this covenant is of the greatest importance, for whoever errs here or denies the existence of the covenant of works, will not understand the covenant of grace, and will readily err concerning the mediatorship of the Lord Jesus. Such a person will very readily deny that Christ by His active obedience has merited a right to eternal life for the elect. This is to be observed with several parties who, because they err concerning the covenant of grace, also deny the covenant of works. Conversely, whoever denies the covenant of works, must rightly be suspected to be in error concerning the covenant of grace as well.

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60 Comments

  1. February 8, 2010 at 10:33 am

    Thanks Lane, these posts are most helpful.

  2. February 8, 2010 at 11:23 am

    Well said, Lane. Again we find FVers trying to misdirect the core point of the discussion with sleights of hand (or typing). Thanks for taking the time to address the core issues directly.

  3. Stephen Welch said,

    February 8, 2010 at 11:48 am

    Thanks, Lane for this post. I sat under Dr. Robertson in seminary and he did most definetly affirm a covenant of works. He did interact with both Kline and Murray on some particulars of the covenant. Robertson used the term covenant of creation and the covenant on redemption. He clearly held to a covenant under Adam that required perfect obedience. He would often say, “under the first covenant (works) there was no blessing in spite of disobedience.” This was the whole reason why the Lord God brought in a covenant of grace. You would have to ignore a large portion of the Westminster Standards to deny a covenant of works and a covenant of grace. If Rob Rayburn is going to use Robertson and Murray to defend his position or Peter’s position, he has to do better then simply saying, this is Robertson and Murray’s position. To cite someone as holding to your position is a weak point.

  4. Stephen Welch said,

    February 8, 2010 at 12:10 pm

    The last quote from Brakel is very helpful. If Rob Rayburn’s argument that Murry denied a covenant of works, which I argue he did not, is correct, how was Murray able to affirm the active obedience of Christ as the ground of his justification? This Westminster Confession of Faith clearly teaches us that the satisfaction and obedience of Christ is the ground of our justification. There would be no need for a mediator to merit what was forfeited if there was no covenant of works.

  5. David Gray said,

    February 8, 2010 at 1:15 pm

    >Again we find FVers trying to misdirect the core point of the discussion with sleights of hand (or typing).

    This sort of repeated material worthy of scatalogical comment says a lot.

  6. February 8, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    Stephen,

    If Rob Rayburn’s argument that Murry denied a covenant of works… is correct, how was Murray able to affirm the active obedience of Christ as the ground of his justification?

    This is an important question. It is no surprise whatsoever to me that Leithart denies the imputation of Christ’s active obedience (and even is suspicious about the very concept of imputation in general). Once you deny the legal nature of the covenant of works, it takes about nine minutes to muck up the doctrine of imputation as well.

    This is why many of us are uncomfortable with the emphasis on “grace before the fall.” It’s not that there is NO sense in which we may affirm this, and it’s not that there is NO precedence for this idea in the history of Refomed theology. There surely is. Here’s the thing, though: Those who spoke about grace before the fall in, say, the seventeenth century, didn’t do so in order to deny core tenets of our theology the way many do today.

    So for my part, emphasizing grace before the fall these days must be done with a good measure or care and qualification.

  7. February 8, 2010 at 1:52 pm

    DG,

    This sort of repeated material worthy of scatalogical comment says a lot.

    Really? Since when is pointing out the opposition’s strategy for dealing with difficult questions a foul? As Lane ably has analyzed, Rayburn dodged the SJC’s point to pontificate for pages on something else that sounds similar. We see the same thing on my last post about “temporary forgiveness”. Well over 300 comments, and not one FVer addressed the primary questions asked. One specifically waved off claiming lack of time when he dominated the 300+ posts! That’s pretty fancy and protracted tap dancing.

  8. February 8, 2010 at 1:54 pm

    Jason,

    Those who spoke about grace before the fall in, say, the seventeenth century, didn’t do so in order to deny core tenets of our theology the way many do today.

    Well said!

  9. February 8, 2010 at 2:52 pm

    [...] via Response to TE Rayburn, part 7 « Green Baggins. [...]

  10. pduggie said,

    February 8, 2010 at 3:15 pm

    When you say

    ” that Adam would have obtained eternal life on the basis of his works. Of course, this is not condign, or even congruent merit, but merit improperly so-called, or pactum merit ”

    It seems to me that “on the basis of” is ALSO improperly so called. If the reward is so disproportionate, than to say that the BASIS (ground, most fundamental concern, etc) is the works of Adam is really “improper” as well. There is no “independent” Adam properly. There is no ungifted Adam properly. There is no Adam with merely natural faculties, properly.

  11. pduggie said,

    February 8, 2010 at 3:19 pm

    Lets say Murray is right.

    Is it therefore wrong to say with Bavink

    “In the probation-command the entire moral law was staked on a single throw, as it were, for Adam; for him the former incorporated the dilemma: God or man, God’s authority or his own insight, unconditional obedience or independent investigation, faith or doubt”

    Or are they both different perspectives on the covenant?

  12. Reed Here said,

    February 8, 2010 at 3:37 pm

    Paul: seems to me that you hear something in Bavinck’s language that necessarily contradicts Murray. I admit to not being the fastest. As I don’t get it, might you explain what you see?

  13. February 8, 2010 at 3:39 pm

    Paul,

    I’m with Reed. I don’t see a conflict there.

  14. todd said,

    February 8, 2010 at 3:42 pm

    “If the reward is so disproportionate, than to say that the BASIS (ground, most fundamental concern, etc) is the works of Adam is really “improper” as well. There is no “independent” Adam properly. ”

    If heaven was a disproportionate reward for Adam’s obedience, then isn’t hell a disproportionate punishment for Adam’s disobedience?

  15. February 8, 2010 at 3:48 pm

    Paul, RE #9,

    You must be reading a different Rom 5. According to Rom 5:15-21 especially, there’s a sharp contrast laid out that’s dependent on the trespass (lack of obedience) of Adam and the obedience (lack of trespass) of Christ. Without a clear and preceding Covenant of Works (whatever one calls it), that entire section makes no sense. That section and others plainly say that Christ obeyed and fulfilled the CoW. The Holy Spirit through the apostle Paul clearly through that there was an Adam “proper” whose personal obedience was required.

  16. pduggie said,

    February 8, 2010 at 4:01 pm

    Reed:

    I don’t think it *contradicts* murray. I think acknowledging that Adam’s faith (as Bavinck and Leithart do) plays a role (with differing relative strengths) is valid.

  17. pduggie said,

    February 8, 2010 at 4:11 pm

    RM: “That section and others plainly say that Christ obeyed and fulfilled the CoW.”

    Jesus didn’t obey anything with respect to eating from a tree, now did he?

    His covenant obedience wasn’t to the stipulations of Adam’s covenant of works. Romans 5 doesn’t teach that. Why do you?

    Also, Christ’s properly based full obedience was, in context, after many trespasses. Jesus doesn’t only undo the sin of Adam under the CoW, he undoes all the sin of Israel under the torah too. So his obedience (and faith) are the proper basis.

    You agree that Adam’s reward was disproportionate, right? But Jesus Christ’s reward was not in any way disproportionate.

  18. David Gray said,

    February 8, 2010 at 4:13 pm

    >Since when is pointing out the opposition’s strategy for dealing with difficult questions a foul? As Lane ably has analyzed, Rayburn dodged the SJC’s point to pontificate for pages on something else that sounds similar.

    Given the way you have stated it here let me ensure I hear you clearly: you, as a PCA elder are accusing Dr. Rayburn of intentionally pursuing a strategy of deceipt, misrepresentation and intentional equivocation? Is that right?

  19. February 8, 2010 at 4:19 pm

    DG, RE #17,

    Thanks for putting words in my mouth. Did you see those words in #7? I don’t. Here’s specifically what I said:

    Rayburn dodged the SJC’s point to pontificate for pages on something else that sounds similar.

    That’s all. Please don’t waste my time with hype you made up from whole cloth.

  20. Reed Here said,

    February 8, 2010 at 4:24 pm

    Paul: I’m sorry, call me dense, but what????

  21. February 8, 2010 at 4:34 pm

    Paul, RE #16,

    What I said has been what Reformed expositors have taught for a few centuries now. I guess that period is now considered “pre-Wright”.

    Here’s a quick one from Shedd:

    The theologian contents himself with affirming that Scripture teaches that all men were created holy in Adam, had an advantageous probation in Adam, sinned freely in Adam, and are justly exposed to physical and spiritual death upon these three grounds and declines to construct any explanatory theory. In this case, he treats the doctrine of original sin as he does that of the creation of the universe: “Through faith he understands that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which do appear” (Heb. 11:3). Similarly, through faith he understands that “death passed upon all men because all sinned” (Rom. 5:12); that “by one offense, judgment came upon all men to condemnation” (Rom. 5:18); and that “in Adam all die” (1 Cor. 15:22); and formulates this in the statement that “all mankind descending from Adam by ordinary generation sinned in him, and fell with him, in the first transgression” (Westminster Larger Catechism 22). But as he does not undertake to explain creation ex nihilo, neither does he undertake to explain the fall in Adam. He accepts the fact of revelation in each case. He has reason to believe that the doctrine of the fall in Adam is truth not error: first, because God would not reveal error; second, because God has made an infinite self-sacrifice in order to deliver man from the guilt and pollution of original sin: a thing he would not have done if he knows that it is not really and truly sin.
    [Shedd, W. G. T., & Gomes, A. W. (2003). Dogmatic theology (3rd ed.) (434–435). Phillipsburg, N.J.: P & R Pub.]

    FV’s speculation goes well beyond what’s warranted by the text. Can you point to a single verse of Scripture that speaks of Adam’s faith?

    As for proportionality of reward, the Holy Spirit doesn’t seem to think that’s an issue in Rom 5 or 1 Cor 15. Why is that a problem for FV? The reward is God’s to give as He sees fit in His infinite wisdom. I can think of a few parables that make that point.

  22. David Gray said,

    February 8, 2010 at 4:37 pm

    >That’s all. Please don’t waste my time with hype you made up from whole cloth.

    Nice dodge but you said this was a “strategy”. A strategy is a choice. So you want to stick with the word “strategy” or do you want to step back from that folly?

  23. February 8, 2010 at 6:23 pm

    Thanks, Pastor K. Lot’s of work on your part, but it helps those of us dealing with FVers reviling authority.

  24. David Gray said,

    February 8, 2010 at 6:37 pm

    >Lot’s of work on your part, but it helps those of us dealing with FVers reviling authority.

    Good thing nobody else does any reviling, eh?

  25. Jeff Cagle said,

    February 8, 2010 at 7:15 pm

    Jason (#6):

    So for my part, emphasizing grace before the fall these days must be done with a good measure or care and qualification.

    It’s a good point, and it gets to the heart of the Kline/Murray conflict.

    Murray, as far as I can tell, is emphasizing grace and faith as means: what Adam had, he had by grace and would have exercised faith in his obedience to the command, trusting that “in the day you eat of it, you will die.” Additionally, M. simply disliked called a relationship without security by the term “covenant.” (which is ironic, given where others went with Murray’s ideas…)

    Kline, as far as I can tell, is emphasizing principle or grounds: had Adam obeyed, life would have been given on the grounds of his obedience (disproportionate or otherwise is beside the point); since he disobeyed, death was given on the grounds of disobedience.

    It’s clear that these two ideas need not be in opposition to one another. One may affirm both that Adam needed faith to obey, and that the works-principle was the principle at work in the Garden.

    So I think there needs to be some synthetic work done on this issue so that we do not continually pit Kline and Murray against one another.

    In other words, if we can get Jason’s “care and qualification” baked into the standard way of explaining the pre-Fall arrangment, then people won’t spend time saying, “But there was grace!” or “But it was a covenant of Works!”

    Yes, both.

  26. pduggie said,

    February 8, 2010 at 10:40 pm

    Lane:

    It is important to note that Rayburn had the following qualification in front of him from Leithart when evaluating whether Leithart believed that eternal life would have come to Adam “by grace through faith”

    “I would have made my point more clearly if I had written that the contrast is not a contrast between “an exclusively legal covenant and an exclusively gracious one.” I do believe that God gave Adam a law in the garden, as is clear from the quotation that follows in the Minority Report from my post “More from Ward.” The covenant with Adam was thus “legal” in the sense that Adam was obligated to keep God’s commandments.”

    Leithart goes on in his clarifications to make various points of analogy between the faith and obedience required in biblical covenants in general. But it becomes clear that Leithart is restricting his discussion of similarity to the non-eschatological “manner of communion” that Adam enjoyed with God.

    He writes “Further, because he was “born” in the garden and sinners are not, the means of access to God has changed, and radically. As he was originally created, Adam had communion with God as “naturally” as he had communion with Eve. Once Adam was expelled from the garden, and the way of return was blocked with angels with flaming swords (Genesis 3:24), his access to God was barred. The only way to return to the intimate fellowship of the garden was through sword and flame….Adam trusted his Father, but did not have to trust in a mediating Son to bring him into communion with God. Once brought into communion with God, we, like Adam, must trust and obey; but we must be brought into communion from a state of alienation. Adam was in fellowship with God without needing forgiveness through the shedding of blood; we do need forgiveness.”

    Because of this, and the context of the original (*withdrawn*) statement about the difference not being “soteriological” dealing with the *present* communion Adam had with God not differing significantly (other than in the specified ways) from the manner of communion that we have with God, it is wrong for you to use it as evidence that Leithart thinks that Adam’s way of obtaining eschatological life was the way in which belivers enjoy communion with God as a present reality.

    Leithart is clear along with the majority of the reformed tradition that there was grace in the garden and covenant condition of Adam. This is to deny that obtainment of eschatological life that Adam would have had by his obedience was through any kind of of independent life for Adam (since Adam, as a creature gifted with the creational favor of God, cannot be in-dependent)

    So my challenge to you, Lane, or anyone, is to find Leithart stating that the eschatological life that Adam may have received as a reward for obedience would NOT have been on the basis or ground of his obedience. I don’t think he touches on that question in his letter to the PNW that started the ball rolling, and I don’t think he touches on it in his clarification to presbytery.

    Can you find it? It might be out there, but the “clear” statement is more limited. Its not discussing eschatological life.

  27. Stephen Welch said,

    February 9, 2010 at 7:51 am

    Jeff, in your response in number 24, I would like to add to your comments. Murray and Kline both were in agreement that the covenant is the structure for interpreting Scripture and that the Lord is the one who administered it. Murray and Kline are not the same in what constitutes the covenant. This is where the confusion comes within this debate. Murray took a restrictive view of the covenants and did not believe it was a mutal pact or agreement between God and man. Murray defines an oath as a bond that the Lord sovereignly administers with blood. Kline sees two types of covenants; one of law and another of promise. He sees the covenant of law as man swearing an oath to God and a covenant of promise as God making an oath with man. This is why Kline believed that the covenant in Deuteronomy was one of law and promise. Murray sees only one type of covenant, a covenant of grace. Murray has been accused of denying a covenant of works, but he did not deny a pre-lapsarian arrangement with Adam. Adam as all reformed people would agree had the ability to not sin, but in the event of disobedience there was no provision for blessing. Palmer Robetson followed much of Murray (Murray was his teacher at WTS) on the covenant. Murry in his understanding of what constituted a covenant saw only a covenant of grace after the fall. Murray’s mono-covenantal view is world’s appart from from the heresy of the Federal Vision. Murray believed that the covenant of grace did contain both warnings and promises. He clearly affirmed the two-Adam motif in Romans 5 and saw that there was no merit before the fall. After the fall there was merit inspite of man’s disobedence. Some like Mark Karlberg, a WTS/Phil. grad and some at WTS/CA would see Murray as problematic and Kline as an improvement. I am not totally convinced of this position. I personally find Kline confusing. He had a different approach to law and grace then the reformers. There is more I could say but this is enough for now.

  28. Stephen Welch said,

    February 9, 2010 at 8:03 am

    Paul, in response to your comments in # 25 the problem for many of us with the FV is these men are always having to qualify some point that supposedly is misunderstood. If they mean the same thing as the Westminster Standards teach, why keep qualifying and clarifying as if we don’t understand them. I was not aware that the majority of Reformed people believe there was grace before the fall. If there was grace why the need for Genesis 3:15 and the administration of a covenant of grace? There was no provision for blessing in the event of Adam’s disobedience, thus the curse. Certainly Kline would not have seen grace prior to the fall.

  29. pduggie said,

    February 9, 2010 at 8:41 am

    #28. No Kline wouldn’t. See Letham’s new book for why Kline is wrong. See John Ball. See Stellman in #6. ‘Condescension” itself is a form of grace, and is common to ALL the covenants.

    Also, though Lane is correct to note that Murray says obedience was a key issue. But Murray also says “the elements of grace entering in to the administration are not properly provided for by the term ‘works'”. That’s a pretty big statement about how we should construe the requirement of obedience in the Covenant of Life. Murray well knows Romans 11:6, but wants to focus on the grace.

  30. pduggie said,

    February 9, 2010 at 8:46 am

    Also, I thinking I might agree with the Majority Report on Leithart. He perhaps should “take an exception” on the CoW. Its my understanding that many in the OPC trained by Murray did so, though surely for probably less significant reasons than Leithart might.

  31. greenbaggins said,

    February 9, 2010 at 8:46 am

    Paul, in the very qualifying quotation you provide, Leithart says that we, like Adam must trust and obey. There is no qualitative difference between how Adam must get eternal life, and how we must get eternal life. They are both obtained by trust and obey.

    That there is a disproportion between how Adam would have obtained eternal life and how Christ obtains it is not a problem at all. In fact, in that very difference lies the surety of success in Christ’s venture. He can merit heaven for us condignly. In the difference lies the difference between creature and Creator.

    That TE Leithart posits a law before the Fall is not relevant. There is always law. The question is: how does one get eternal life? The agreement between Adam and God was that if Adam obeyed, Adam would obtain eternal life. This is evident from the opposite, which is what occurred: Adam disobeyed and got death. Todd in #14 has a point here that should be carefully considered.

  32. Stephen Welch said,

    February 9, 2010 at 8:55 am

    Paul, perhaps you could make reference to what you are referring to in Ball. I happen to agree with Stellman. The point I am making is what Lane just stated in # 31 that it was required of Adam perfect obedience. He failed and the Lord brought in a covenant of grace and provided for him what he could not merit before the fall. It was already stated in the quote from Brakel that if you deny a cov. of works and cov. of grace you leave yourself open for error.

  33. pduggie said,

    February 9, 2010 at 9:23 am

    Lane, my assertion is that in NONE of the Leithart quotes being discussed is he saying that what we hold in common has to do with obtaining eschatological life. He’s discussing the way Adam had communion with God *within* the creational covenant.

    Leithart doesn’t say (or you haven’t shown me were he does say) that “we, like Adam, must trust and obey to obtain eschatological life.”

    Maybe he does. But the quotes you focus on don’t. I suspect that he doesn’t say that anywhere, since I think his stated qualification that we trust (and obey) a surety in the context of demerit, whereas Adam does not, is a significant difference.

  34. greenbaggins said,

    February 9, 2010 at 9:30 am

    Surely, Paul, you are driving way too large a wedge between “communion with God” and eternal life.

  35. pduggie said,

    February 9, 2010 at 10:29 am

    I don’t think so. Adam could and did have a happy life with God in his state as a creature “of the earth, earthy” and even be confirmed in this for eternity (as Ball indicates) without gaining the kind of eschatological life of the Spirit that Jesus receives. Adam’s work, had he succeeded, would have been a TYPE of that which Christ accomplishes.

  36. rfwhite said,

    February 9, 2010 at 11:15 am

    Lane: reflecting with you on this, is it fair to say a key subtext in this discussion is whether there was a probation and whether it was necessary for God’s purposes?

  37. greenbaggins said,

    February 9, 2010 at 11:24 am

    Paul, I think that Vos’s insight into the nature of the Sabbath as the form of the covenant of works is necessary here. See Vos, BT, pp. 140ff. What Adam would have gained was in no way the type, but rather the anti-type, which, Adam having failed to obtain, Christ now obtains for us. 1 Corinthians 15:44b, and the shift that the second part of that verse indicates (referring to the Adamic body in relation to the eschatological body) that Adam’s expectation was always that he would get the eschatological state upon the successful completion of his probation. Adam’s body directed him towards the spiritual body. Verse 44a refers, of course to the Christian’s body post-Fall. But verse 44b refers to the pre-Fall body of Adam (because of the quotation in verse 45 from Genesis 2:7). The expectation of the final state was built into Adam’s pre-Fall body.

  38. greenbaggins said,

    February 9, 2010 at 11:25 am

    Dr. White, certainly the probation is a very important sub-text.

  39. pduggie said,

    February 9, 2010 at 11:48 am

    Interestingly John Ball sees what Adam was to gain as a Type.

    “In [CoW], life eternal and most blessed is promised, but only animal, to be enjoyed in Paradise, or continuance in that good estate when he was set at first of the rich bounty of God: but in the [CoG], translation out of ignominy and death into eternal happiness and glory in Heaven.”

    I have to say, Romans 5 seems to indicate that what Adam was to gain was a “type” of what Messiah brings us.

    Maybe Vos is right though.

    The questions remain

    1) Is Ball’s view acceptably confessional, even if wrong?
    2) Is Vos’ view, coming long after the confession was written, the only confessional view?
    3) if I want to agree with Ball that all Adam could be sure of was that if he obeyed, he’d continue in fellowship with God in paradise, and I want to agree with Vos that there was an eschatological body yet to come, do I have to see the coming of the eschatological body as immediate upon the completion of the probation.

    Couldn’t Adam have been confirmed in his original righteousness without having immediate Spiritual glory? The pledge of the tree of life (which would still grant eternal ‘animal’ life to Adam, even after the fall (!)) seems to indicate that having realized that he should eat the one and not the other, and eating the one confirms him in righteousness, Adam could yet wait, in “faithful obedience” (sorry, it would be both) for God to also grant the Spiritual glorification that he was not yet the owner of.

    In thinking this through, we have to realize this is pretty speculative. Maybe Vos shouldn’t be made a test of orthodoxy.

    There are lots of considerations to lead us to believe that Adam might not have gained a transfigured body immediately. Adam was to be married and have kids, and fill the earth and subdue it. God sought “holy seed”. Does holy seed come from a celestial body, or a terrestrial? Can flesh and blood (even sinless) inherit the Kingdom of God? Or does it wait for it as a great free gift.

    Anyway, we’re getting far afield from my challenge, to you Lane, which was to show me where Leithart says that eschatological life was to comes to Adam the same way it comes to us.

  40. February 9, 2010 at 11:59 am

    “Paul,”

    Leithart doesn’t say (or you haven’t shown me were he does say) that “we, like Adam, must trust and obey to obtain eschatological life.” … I suspect that he doesn’t say that anywhere….

    Here you go:

    “Yes, we do have the same obligation that Adam (and Abraham, and Moses, and David, and Jesus) had, namely, the obedience of faith. And, yes, covenant faithfulness is the way to salvation, for the ‘doers of the law will be justified’ at the final judgment. But this is all done in union with Christ, so that ‘our’ covenant faithfulness is dependent on the work of the Spirit of Christ in us, and our covenant faithfulness is about faith, trusting the Spirit to will and to do according to His good pleasure.”

    Note that (1) the situation with Adam, the OT saints, Jesus (!), and us is completely collapsed; (2) the context is salvation; (3) walking in covenant faithfulness is called by Leithart “doing the law to be justified”; and (4) the charge of legalism is allegedly avoided by the insistence that it is through the Spirit that we obey the law and are justified.

  41. pduggie said,

    February 9, 2010 at 12:17 pm

    #40: That sounds closer. But

    1) we do have the same “obligation” to obey God. The obligations aren’t different, even though what is gained is different

    2) Its not clear here that Leithart says the context for Adam is ‘salvation’. He’s already said elsewhere that ‘soteriological” is a bad way to talk about Adam. As well he should, for what would “salvation” mean for Adam anyway? certainly nothing like what we have in Christ.

    3) I think Leithart has denied that Adam’s covenant faithfulness is dependent on the work of the Spirit of Christ in him. Adam didn’t have that Spirit after all.

    3b) are you seriously claiming that Leithart believes that Adam would have obeyed “in union with Christ”? That seems like a very questionable way of reading this.

    4) a sanctified walk as the “way of salvation” (not the grounds) is a commonplace in reformed theology. Why are you questioning it?

    5) there might still be some analogies expressed here between Adam and Jesus and Us. But they’re analogies, and Leithart it seems to me admits all the important dis-analogies.

  42. February 9, 2010 at 12:53 pm

    Read the quote again, Paul. Leithart is talking about our having “the same obligation” as Adam (and Jesus) in the immediate context of the final judgment, calling it “doing the law to be justified.”

    If this is not problematic for you, then I suggest you re-read the Westminster Confession of Faith.

  43. February 9, 2010 at 2:17 pm

    So we are saved by being faithful to the covenant. And we are able to be faithful to the covenant because our personal trust in the Spirit, given by the Spirit, is such that we are enabled to perform this act of faithfulness.

    Do I have that right?

  44. pduggie said,

    February 9, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    I don’t know how you can talk about the obligation of Adam “in the context of final judgement”, when Adam is not in that context. That seems to twist the point of Leithart’s distinction, as he clarified later, that the ‘communion’ for us is even more intimate, as it is accomplished in Jesus, the ‘mediating Son’.

    Leithart doesn’t claim Adam had a “mediating Son’ to trust in (how could he?) and thus that is a qualification of the way the obligations (which are the same in content!) for Adam and us differ. The “matter” of the obligations of Adam and ourselves are certainly the same.

  45. pduggie said,

    February 9, 2010 at 2:26 pm

    #43: No, we are saved into the covenant, and then called to faithfulness in the covenant as a ‘way’ of salvation. As those saved, we have a call to walk in sanctity, and this *is* provided by the Spirit.

  46. February 9, 2010 at 2:37 pm

    45 I see your point, but if in the second sentence if you substitute sanctification for salvation then we’re justified by sanctification.

    ““Yes, we do have the same obligation that Adam (and Abraham, and Moses, and David, and Jesus) had, namely, the obedience of faith. And, yes, covenant faithfulness is the way to salvation, for the ‘doers of the law will be justified’ at the final judgment.”

    Again, thanks for everyone’s patience, but how does that jive with the WCF?

  47. pduggie said,

    February 9, 2010 at 2:53 pm

    #46 I’m trying here to bracket off as much as I can the questions about final vindication/justification/the assize, and the role of works, and ask how does Leithart compare Adam’s state to ours.

    I think that at the last judgement, our works will play a role. We are judged “in accordance” with our good works, and they are brought forward. Maybe this is just limited to some kind of “public review”, but its still a public review before God and its in terms of his justice (fatherly perhaps, not strict: but wow, what a lot of Ramist bifurcation we deploy!)

    If the evidence of our actual sanctity is deployed at the last judgement (is that really in dispute?), then those who stand there and receive a “well done” are those that then can be said to have “done the law”

    Maybe later I’ll look into the specifics of Leithart more on the last judgement.

  48. February 10, 2010 at 9:58 am

    Then would you have a problem with this?:

    “Yes, we do have the same obligation that Adam (and Abraham, and Moses, and David, and Jesus) had, namely, obedience to the law by faith. And, yes, obedience to the law by faith is the way to salvation, for the ‘doers of the law will be justified’ at the final judgment.”

  49. Jeff Cagle said,

    February 10, 2010 at 11:58 am

    Paul (#41, 45, 47):

    One of the important questions here is when we are justified. Are we justified in toto at faith? OR, does some of our justification remain to be accomplished by the “way of salvation”?

    By speaking of different kinds of justification, especially “final justification”, one gives the appearance of saying that our salvation is not accomplished, fait accompli in the sense of Rom 8, at the moment of (genuine) faith.

  50. pduggie said,

    February 10, 2010 at 12:10 pm

    “does some of our justification remain to be accomplished by the “way of salvation”?”

    Well, it isn’t public yet, right?

    If we don’t take “the doers of the law will be justified” as hypothetical, we have to take it in some other sense than the catechetical sense. As Lane will tell you, not every use of the term “justified” is referring to the explicit doctrine of the forensic acceptance of a sinner.

    Turretin and Pictet talk about that sense, and are willing to use jutsification to name it, through distinguinsging it.

  51. February 14, 2010 at 10:09 pm

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  52. Jeff Cagle said,

    February 15, 2010 at 1:50 am

    PDuggie (#50): If we don’t take “the doers of the law will be justified” as hypothetical, we have to take it in some other sense than the catechetical sense.

    Thought-provoking comment, that. What do you have in mind?

    And, what do you make of WLC 97?

  53. pduggie said,

    February 15, 2010 at 8:41 am

    Turretin and Pictet, at least. Not as a matter of initial acceptance, but in terms of God publicly judging us and finding in our favor. The kind of thing we read all over the Old Testament, that God is going to judge and intervene on behalf of the poor and oppressed.

    I don’t think Romans 2:26-27 is peaking hypothetically. Its talking about something Jews could see: gentile believers who were walking in a sanctified way, following the real law as “rule of life”

    Wright’s stuff seems to be true on this point too. As I understand it, Wright’s view is that Paul radically recenters “doing the law” in Romans into “having faith in Jesus”.

    I would always stipulate that these other senses are different from that of the sense we find in the catechism definition, which is true. But we do see those senses, even in Romans. Just like saying that “declared to be the Son of God” isn’t a reference to the deity of Christ doesn’t mean that one is denying his deity in systematic sense (Gaffin).

    Maybe its all just a “fatherly” justification. I’ve heard that Jeremiah 10:24
    “Correct me, O Lord, but in justice” isn’t asking for some kind of demand for full judicial wrath (though the term ‘justice’ is used) but is asking for ‘fatherly” correction.

    On #97: none of these ‘justifications” are by the law as a covenant of works. And any of these “doings of law” are only, as the catechism says, because of our being bound to Christ.

  54. Jeff Cagle said,

    February 15, 2010 at 9:57 am

    OK, so let’s move this one step forward. Do I become a “doer of the Law” in God’s sight by means of imputation, or by means of infusion?

    That is: supposing that Rom 2.26-27 is not hypothetical (I have sympathy for the argument), then are we justified because we are reckoned as doers of the Law, forensically in Christ? Or because we are in action (“actually”) doers of the Law through the agency of the Spirit?

  55. Paige Britton said,

    February 15, 2010 at 10:26 am

    Paul #53 —
    clarify for me a sec: You wrote:
    “I don’t think Romans 2:26-27 is speaking hypothetically. Its talking about something Jews could see: gentile believers who were walking in a sanctified way, following the real law as “rule of life.”

    I’ve heard this take on the passage, but have wondered: on this view, are the “non-hypothetical” gentile believers here New Covenant believers, whom Jews at the time of Paul’s writing could have observed? (As opposed to Old Covenant gentile believers, like Rahab or Ruth.) That is, is Paul ONLY referring to NT Christians? So that Romans 8:3-4 describes what is going on in these people spiritually — which seems to be about BOTH of the things Jeff is asking about, since it’s an alien righteousness obtained by Christ, but we walk around in it.

    (I suppose that, strictly speaking, the same ordo salutis would have applied to Rahab and Ruth, and Rom. 8:3-4 are about them, too, retrospectively, but that kind of thinking makes my head spin.)

  56. pduggie said,

    February 15, 2010 at 10:57 am

    Jeff: What is confusing is to ask the question about Romans 2, with the WCF definitions of ‘justification’ in mind. So the question of ‘how do we *become* doers of the law” is more of a WCF kind of question. Paul isn’t addressing, I think, initial acceptance at that time.

    The doers of the law in Romans 2 are still those who are pursuing the law as by faith, as those who are (imputatively) in Christ, who are (infusedly) walking by the Spirit, but also (galatians) having ‘begun by the Spirit”

    God doesn’t declare us “not guilty” with no intention of also freeing us from slavery to sin so that we can serve him and please him, so that the verdict at the last will be in truth.

    “are we in action (“actually”) doers of the Law through the agency of the Spirit?”

    Romans 8:4 is the answer

    “the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. ”

    Al Mohler thinks this is about justification_WCF. He thinks that (IMHO) because he can’t conceive of the law as other than a covenant of works for hypothetical fulfillment of its ‘righteous requirement”.

    Phil Ryken says though “by God’s gracious work even sinful people like us can do the things that God requires. ” He emphasizes the ‘passiveness’ of Paul’s terms there, that God does it in us, but I don’t think that makes it opposed to Paul’s terms in Romans 2, where what God is doing in us is expressed in our doing. What is expressed in terms of sanctification in our lives will be brought into public view at the assize. And I think that’s what happens in Romans 2.

    Paige: i think probably NC believers.

  57. pduggie said,

    February 15, 2010 at 11:13 am

    Jeff: I want to add that I’m with Paige on the ‘head spinning”ness going on here. The Romans 2 stuff probably has a variety of senses

    1. These gentile idoalters have turned to Jesus. They condemn and create envy in sinful jews who pursue the law as if it were by works. Because they’re clearly ‘doing the law” in the fundamental sense of becomeing servants of the true God.

    2. Doing the law is imputatively by faith too, in that these guys haven’t ‘done’ anything except turned to the true God in Christ, and been accounted as righteous in his sight.

    3. But at the end, that beginning will be brought forward and we’ll see that they (and we) are found to have really sought after God’s law by faith and, even though we’re imperfect, our sincere obedience, in Christ, will be accepted and held forth by God as exemplary to the silenced enemies of God.

    I read Wright’s commentary on Romans 2, taking it through what he says about Romans 8 and especially Romans 10, and he really does a gem of a job explaining how ‘doing the law” is what happens when a gentile puts his faith in Jesus. Even if he’s only 50% right, there’s a good thread there. I commend you to look it over, and I’m sure I can’t answer all your questions or requests to ‘move it one step forward” because I probably have the same questions

  58. Jeff Cagle said,

    February 15, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    Understood. I agree also that there is something complex and not easily reducible going on in Rom 2.

    Nevertheless, I am struck that the capstone of the argument in Rom 2 is in Rom 3.19 ff. And that makes me very sympathetic to a “covenant of works” view: That the righteousness of God that comes through faith is not on the basis of a new performance of the Law through a different agency, Spirit instead of flesh, but also by a different mechanism entirely: righteousness imputed (Rom 4 – 5).

    That is, it appears to me that the flow of Romans is that we become “doers of the Law” in Christ, first. Then, subsequently, we become “doers of the Law” through the Spirit, having been justified (Rom 5.1, 6.2ff).

    That is: there are two senses in which we become “doers of the Law” (forensically, experientially, to use the systematic terms), but it is the first sense that directly bears on our justification.

    Does that make sense in terms of the flow of Romans? (Or Galatians, for that matter?)

  59. Paige Britton said,

    February 15, 2010 at 1:34 pm

    Jeff–
    FWIW, I see the same in the “flow” of Romans. You can see the same in summary at the start of Ch. 8, I think, with God’s objective action preceding our subjective walk.
    pb

  60. pduggie said,

    February 15, 2010 at 5:28 pm

    I don’t think I really disagree. I don’t think Paul is done arguing about those “doers of the law” until 8 and 10.


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