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Testimonies concerning the Divinity of the Son of God

In the next set of questions, Chytraeus lists some Scriptural testmonia regarding the divinity of the Second and Third Persons of the Trinity (the testmonia concerning the Holy Spirit are not included in this post). The witness of Scripture undergirds Nicene trinitarianism.

In the case of the Son, he also includes a question in which he explains why the Son of God is called the Word (Verbum). First, because he is a perfect reflection (imago) of the Father, just as our speech (sermo) is an image (effigies) of our thoughts. Note that he uses different words here when applied to God and to us, perhaps to indicate that the analogy is only that–an analogy, and that, like any analogy, it presupposes both similarity and difference, and can only go so far in elucidating the subject under discussion. Second, because it has always been the Second Person as the Word speaking in Scripture, all the way back to Genesis 3: thus there is a close connection between the Word (=the Son of the God) and the Word (=Scripture). The Word, by means of his Word, kindles within us knowledge, comfort, and life.

Text

Testimonia de Divinitate Filii Dei Domini nostri Iesu Christi.

Rom: 9. Christus est super omnia Deus benedictus in secula

I Iohannis 5. Sumus in vero (Deo) in filio eius Iesu Christo, Hic est verus Deus.

Ierem: 23. Invocabunt eum, IEHOVA iustitia nostra.

Iohan: 20. Dominus meus, & Deus meus.

Iohan: 1. καὶ θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος, Et Deus erat illud verbum.

Quare Filius Dei nominatur λόγος seu Verbum?

Primum respectu aeterni patris, quia est imago Patris, in qua integre lucet sapientia & bonitas ac essentia Patris: sicut noster sermo cogitationum mentis effigies est.

Deinde respectu nostri, Quia primus dixit humano generi promissionem Evangelii, ex arcano sinu Patris prolatam, & subinde in colloquiis cum patribus eam repetivit, (Iohann: 1. Filius, qui est in sinu Patris, ipse enarravit) Et per ministerium huius sui verbi seu Evangelii efficax est, & dicendo, seu verbo suo, veram agnitionem aeterni Patris, veram consolationem & vitam accendit. Matth: 11. Nemo novit Patrem nisi Filius, & cui voluerit Filius revelare. Ebre: 4. Vivum verbum Dei & efficax. Psal: 119. Verbum tuum vivificat me.

Translation

Testimonies concerning the divinity of the Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ.

“Christ is over all things, God blessed forever” (Rom. 9:5). 1

“We are in the true (God), in his son Jesus Christ; this one is the true God” (1 John 5:20).

“They will call him ‘Jehovah our righteousness’” (Jeremiah 23:6).

“My Lord and my God” (John 20:28).

καὶ θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος, “And the Word was God” (John 1:1).

Why is the Son of God called the Logos or the Word?

First, in respect to the eternal Father, because he is the image of the Father, in which the wisdom and goodness and being of the Father shine perfectly, just as our speech (sermo) is the image (effigies) of the thoughts of our mind.

Next, in respect to us, because he was the first to speak the promise of the Gospel to the human race, brought forth from the secret bosom of the Father, and thereafter repeated it in conversations with the fathers (“The Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he himself has explained”2  (John 1:18)). And through the ministry of this Word of his or Gospel he is efficacious, and by speaking, or by his own Word, he kindles true knowledge of the eternal Father, true comfort, and life. “No one knows the Father except the Son, and [he] to whom the Son wishes to reveal him” (Matt. 11:27). “The Word of God is living and efficacious” (Heb. 4:12). “Your Word makes me alive” (Ps. 119:25, 107).3

 

  1. Or, “Christ is God over all things, blessed forever.” One can find either translation in English Bibles, depending on what version one consults.
  2. In English translations, a direct object, absent in the Greek text, is customarily supplied, though this is not done in the Vulgate. Thus, the ESV: “No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side he has made him known.”
  3. The Vulg. for these two verses reads: vivifica me secundum verbum tuum.

By E.J. Hutchinson

E.J. Hutchinson is Assistant Professor of Classics at Hillsdale College.