Jan 19, 2009

Beza on God's Decrees

Q190. Can God be thought to will anything which he does not approve, and thus that which is evil?

BEZA: "Truly, it must be confessed, that whatever God decreed, it is ordained altogether willingly, but here also shines forth His infinite wisdom, that with Him even the darkness has a bit of light, yet in such a way that it is and remains darkness, that is, it is good also that there should be evil; for God found the method whereby it might happen, that what is and remains evil by its own nature, might still have a bit of good before Him, and (as Augustine rightly and elegantly said) it may not happen except by His will, that is, apart from His decree, and yet be against his will, that is, what is by its own nature unrighteous, and therefore does not please God. For example, that God saved His own by the gracious redemption of His own Son Christ, is to His own exceedingly great glory, which otherwise [if men had not sinned] would not have shone forth. But man would not have required redemption from sin and death, unless sin and death existed. Therefore, in respect to the ordinance of God, it was good that sin and death enter into the world; and yet this sin is and remains sin so much by its own nature, that it could not be expiated for except by a very terrible penalty. Again, we receive far more in Christ than we lost in Adam. Therefore, it was best and most useful for us that Adam fell, in respect to God, who prepares a kingdom of eternal glory for us by this wonderful means. And nevertheless, this Fall is so evil by its own nature, that even those who are justified and believe, experience many miseries and calamities from it, even to death. Also, this is the great glory of God, that He shows Himself to be a most severe punisher of sin. But if sin had not existed, no opening would be made for this judgement. Therefore, it was good, in respect to the ordinance of God, that sin exist, and afterwards be spread abroad, which is damned in the demons and all those who are outside of Christ, with eternal punishment. Likewise, this also is the will of God (Peter said), that is, His decree, that all who do right, are affected by evils. But he who does well, is not able to be hurt apart from sin. It is good therefore, in respect to God's will (that is, His ordinance) that there be persecutors of the church, whom, notwithstanding, He most severely punishes, justly, as sinners against His will, that is, against that which He approves of them doing. Therefore, by the express words of the apostles, that which is against God's will or decree (that is, against that which He approves and commands), does not come to pass; on the other hand, it cannot be said that God is contrary to Himself, or that he wills iniquity, as Augustine rightly concluded from the Word of God against Julian." (Emphasis mine - SG)

(From Quæstionum Et Responsionum Christianarum Libellus, 1570, Questions 190-194)

See here

This is why I have often asked these questions of Bible students, relative to the order of the divine decrees, - "would there have been any second Adam had the first Adam not lapsed?" And, "did not Adam's fall bring about the greatest good?"

1 comment:

WolvinHogland said...

Is the second Adam truly second and not first? Is He before all things? Do all things exist by Him?
Might He be second only as to time, but not eternity?
Where we read that God created man in God's own image and likeness. Of whom does this speak?
God is Spirit. Are we Spirit? I don't think the scriptures teach we are.
Yours is a most interesting blog. I'm glad I found it while looking for something else. Thanks! John