God's Essence is Absolutely Simple

Now, if God were of any causes, internal or external, any principles antecedent or superior to him, he could not be so absolutely first and independent. Were he composed of parts, accidents, manner of being, he could not be first; for all these are before that which is of them, and therefore his essence is absolutely simple.

 

John Owen, Vindiciae Evangelicae, "Mr Biddle’s Preface Briefly Examined", 72

God’s Essence is His Existence

...if the existence of a thing differs from its essence, this existence must be caused either by some exterior agent or by its essential principles. Now it is impossible for a thing’s existence to be caused by its essential constituent principles, for nothing can be the sufficient cause of its own existence, if its existence is caused. Therefore that thing, whose existence differs from its essence, must have its existence caused by another. But this cannot be true of God; because we call God the first efficient cause. Therefore it is impossible that in God His existence should differ from His essence.

Si igitur ipsum esse rei sit aliud ab ejus essentia, necesse est, quod esse illius rei vel sit causatum ab aliquo exteriori, vel a principiis essentialibus ejusdem rei. Impossibile est autem, quod esse sit causatum tantum ex principiis essentialibus rei, quia nulla res sufficit, quod sit sibi causa essendi, si habeat esse causatum. Oportet ergo, quod illud, cujus esse est aliud ab essentia sua, habeat esse causatum ab alio; hoc autem non potest dici de Deo, quia Deum dicimus esse primam causam efficientem; impossibile est ergo, quod in Deo sit aliud esse, et aliud ejus essentia.

 

Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologia, 1.3.4

What is the Doctrine of Divine Simplicity

Adherents to this doctrine reason that if God were composed of parts in any sense he would be dependent upon those parts for his very being and thus the parts would be ontologically prior to him.

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Simplicity is the ontologically sufficient condition for God’s absoluteness. The doctrine of divine simplicity teaches that (1) God is identical with his existence and his essence and (2) that each of his attributes is ontologically identical with his existence and with every other one of his attributes.

 


God’s Essence is His Existence

Thomas’s greatest contribution to the advancement of the DDS is found in his teaching that every created thing, even relatively simple things such as human souls and angelic spirits, are at the very least composed of existence and essence. No created essence is identical with its act of existence and is therefore relative and dependent in some sense. But God’s essence is identical with his existence and therefore God is absolutely necessary and self-sufficient.

 


The Glory of the Beatific Vision

The glory of the beatific vision is bestowed according to an image paradigm, and an image presupposes a relationship between that image and the original. This relationship between God and the recipients of saving grace should be understood covenantally, that is, as a bilateral and reciprocal bond of fellowship between God and his people. Rather than conceiving of this communion as an ontological gift of self, it should be seen as an eschatological perfection of human nature. It is eschatological, not essentially ethical.

 


The Meaning of Tupos

The word in the original Greek is tupos, from which our word “type” derives. The word tupos comes from a verb that means “strike.” Tupos, however, did not take on the meaning “blow,” but rather the meaning of what is left by a blow, that is, “impression,” “imprint,” “statuette” (small work of sculpture). The word also takes on the meaning of the “mold” with which an impression, imprint, or statuette is made. Thus it can have the derivative sense of “pattern.”

The word tupos is found in the New Testament in these different senses. It is used to refer to the marks left in Jesus’ hands by the nails used at the crucifixion (John 20:25); to images of false gods (Acts 7:43); to the all-determining norm of the instruction that Paul gave (Rom. 6:17); to the pattern the church must follow and by which it is to be determined (Phil. 3:17; 1 Thess. 1:7; 2 Thess. 3:9; 1 Peter 5:3). When tupos is used in Romans 5:14 it has kept something of its original meaning. That Adam is called a tupos of Christ means that Adam and Christ are related as the mold in which a statuette is cast and the statuette itself. As a tupos of Christ, Adam is the “prefiguration” of Christ.

 

Versteeg, J. P. (2012-11-01). Adam in the New Testament: Mere Teaching Model or First Historical Man? (Kindle Locations 381-393). P&R Publishing. Kindle Edition.

Typology and Higher Form of Somatic Existence

Why does Paul, when asked about the nature of the resurrection body and after beginning to contrast the believer's dead body with his resurrection body, suddenly expand the comparison to include the creation body? Apparently his interest is to show that from the beginning, prior to the fall, a higher or different kind of body than the body of Adam, the psychical body, is in view. Adam, by virtue of creation (not because of sin), anticipates and points to another, higher form of somatic existence. The principle of typology enunciated in Romans 5:14 is present here, albeit somewhat differently: the creation body of Adam is "a type of the one to come." This suggestion of typology helps to illumine the use of Genesis 2:7 in 1 Cor 15:45, especially the addition in 1 Cor 15:45c

 


Life-Giving Spirit

...being thus closely and subjectively identified with the Risen Christ, the Spirit imparts to Christ the life-giving power which is peculiarly the Spirit’s own: the Second Adam became not only Πνεῦμα but πνεῦμα ζωοποιοῦν. This is of great importance for determining the relation to eschatology of the Christ-worked life in believers.19


19
The question why Paul, after having up to 1 Cor 15:43 (incl.) conducted his whole argument on the basis of a comparison between the body of sin and the body of the resurrection, substitutes from 1 Cor 15:44 on for the body of sin the normal body of creation is an interesting one, though very difficult to answer. The answer should not be sought in the direction of ascribing to him the view that the creation-body and the body of sin are qualitatively identical, in other words that the evil predicates of φθορά, ἀτιμία, ἀσθενεία, enumerated in 1 Cor 15:22 belong to the body in virtue of creation. Paul teaches too plainly elsewhere that these things came into the world through sin. The proper solution seems to be as follows: the Apostle was intent upon showing that in the plan of God from the outset provision was made for a higher kind of body (as pertaining to a higher state of existence generally). From the abnormal body of sin no inference could be drawn as to that effect. The abnormal and the eschatological are not so logically correlated that the one can be postulated from the other. But the world of creation and the world to come are thus correlated, the one pointing forward to the other; on the principle of typology the first Adam prefigures the last Adam, the psychical body the pneumatic body (cp. Rom. 5:14). The statement of 1 Cor 15:44b is not meant as an apodictic assertion, but as an argument: if there exists one kind of body, there exists the other kind also. This explains why the quotation (Gen. 2:7), which relates proximately to the psychical state only, is yet treated by Paul as proving both, and as therefore warranting the subjoined proposition: “the last Adam became a life-giving Spirit.” The quotation proves this, because the “psychical” as such is typical of the pneumatic, the first creation of the second, the world that now is (if conceived without sin) of the aeon to come. This exegesis also disposes of the view that Paul meant to include vs. 1 Cor 15:45c in the quotation, the latter being taken from Gen. 1:27 (man’s creation in the image of God). On such a supposition Paul’s manner of handling the record would have to rest on the Philonic (and older) speculation of a two-fold creation, first of the ideal, then of the empirical man. According to this speculation the ideal man is created first, the empirical man afterwards, since Gen. 1 comes before Gen. 2. But Paul affirms the very opposite: not the pneumatic is first, the psychical is first. If there is reference at all in 1 Cor 15:46 to this Philonic philosophoumenon, it must be by way of pointed correction. Paul would mean to substitute for the sequence of the idealistic philosophy the sequence of historic unfolding; the categories of his thought are Jewish, not Hellenic: he reasons in forms of time, not of space.
 


Doubly Derivative Glory

God’s plan for the elect, then, is to move them from a position of protological and anticipatory glory to a position of eschatological and consummative glory by which they imitate and reflect climatically the divine glory. In this model, the glory that believers exhibit in their resurrection is doubly derivative. It originates with the Godhead, is mediated through Christ’s human nature, and then reflects off glorified images of Christ.