Vos: Christology

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Vos, Geerhardus. Reformed Dogmatics. Lexham Press. Kindle.

This isn’t really the Vos of Biblical Theology fame.  Elements are there, but key arguments are not. As Gaffin notes in the introduction, here Vos doesn’t interpret Romans 1:3-4 according to the Davidic kingship, but (incorrectly) sees it as a proof text for Christ’s divinity. Vos corrects this view in Redemptive History and Biblical Interpretation where he notes The two prepositional phrases have adverbial force: they describe the mode of the process. The resurrection is a new status of Sonship. Problem with the older view: it has to restrict σαρξ to the body, because Spirit is already psychologically conceived and thus takes the place of the immaterial element.  Yet, this is the Apollinarian heresy. Secondly, it is compelled to take the κατα clauses in two different senses.

With that noted, the present volume is quite good. It is written in an extended catechetical format.  This allows for easy study and teaching. There are a few areas where Vos overloads the subject (and accordingly, doesn’t develop some points).  Nonetheless, this is a valuable addition to Reformed Dogmatics.  

Some notes:

Surety: One who assumes obligations and guarantees fulfilment, thus bringing separate parties together (loc. 46).

The benefits of the covenant which were acquired in the state of humiliation must be exhibited in the exaltation.  The doctrine of Christ’s states follows from the covenants (loc. 75).

* The revelation of God’s name is never a meaningless sound but [an] expression of a reality.

 Christ’s human nature received gifts from the Holy Spirit because it was weak and frail (251).

Person and Nature

* The nature without the person is not subject to duties, but the person without the nature cannot be subject to them (498).

Definition of a person:  The Boethian model is inadequate and cannot really be applied to the divine Persons, since the Son and Spirit are sustained in some sense by the Father (and maybe the Spirit by the Son).  Rather, Vos suggests “A person is through the divine substance in a specific hypostasis and through this specific mode of being distinguished from that substance and from the remaining persons” (766).

Personality isn’t the same thing as self-consciousness: the latter is the mode of disclosing the former (866).  I can lose consciousness without losing my personality (or personhood). This is a key point in the abortion debate.  I can be a person without my being aware of being a person. 

Vos has a fine summary of the two energies of Christ: in every act of salvation there are two energeiai, yet only one work or energoumenon (thing worked).

States of Christ: a state is the relationship to the judicial power with which one stands (3394).  This is an outstanding statement, yet Vos really doesn’t develop the kingly aspects of it under which we reign under Christ.

Areas of Disagreement

Vos says that Christ did his miracles by virtue of the divine Logos (1122).  That may be true, but the text says he did them in the power of the Spirit. 



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