Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Johann Gerhard on Romans 5:18



Yesterday I posted a translation of Johann Gerhard on Romans 3 and on Romans 4.  Here's a translation of his interpretation of Romans 5:18.


(Translation copyright 2012 by Paul A. Rydecki.  All emphasis is in the original.)


Adnotationes ad priora capita Epistolae D. Pauli ad Romanos (1644)
Romans 5:18 (page 177)
Ἄρα οὖν ὡς διʼ ἑνὸς παραπτώματος εἰς πάντας ἀνθρώπους εἰς κατάκριμα, οὕτω καὶ διʼ ἑνὸς δικαιώματος εἰς πάντας ἀνθρώπους εἰς δικαίωσιν ζωῆς·

This verse is a summary of everything that came before.  That I may briefly summarize, he says, what I have said thus far concerning the comparison between Adam and Christ, the matter boils down to this: Just as the guilt that was contracted from one transgression of Adam sentences all men to death, so the righteousness of Christ that is imputed to believers by faith justifies them, so that they are restored again to participate in the eternal life that had been lost in Adam and through Adam.

ὡς διʼ ἑνὸς παραπτώματος εἰς πάντας ἀνθρώπους εἰς κατάκριμα. Just as through one offense (scil. guilt came) upon all men for condemnation. The Syrian version translated it: Just as through sin condemnation was to all the children of men.  The Apostle contrasts the transgression (τ παράπτωμα) of Adam and the righteousness (τ δικαίωμα) of Christ.  Likewise, [he contrasts] the condemnation (κατάκριμα) that spread to all from Adam’s transgression and the justification of life (δικαίωσιν ζωῆς) that deduces its origin from the righteousness of Christ (ex Christi δικαιώματι)  and flows down to all.

οὕτω καὶ διʼ ἑνὸς δικαιώματος εἰς πάντας ἀνθρώπους εἰς δικαίωσιν ζωῆς. So through one Man’s righteousness (scil. the benefit overflowed) to all men for justification of life, that is, salvific justification.  For it is called “justification of life” because the end and consequence of it is life and eternal salvation.

[You ask,] But how did the righteousness of Christ overflow to all men for justification, since not all men are justified?  We reply: The Apostle is not speaking about the application of the benefit, but of the acquisition of the benefit.  If we wish to descend to the application, that universality must be restricted to those who are grafted into Christ by faith. For as the unrighteousness of Adam is communicated to all those who are descended from him by carnal generation, so the righteousness of Christ is communicated to all those who are grafted into Him through faith and spiritual regeneration.

18 comments:

Mr. Douglas Lindee said...

Thank you, Rev. Rydecki, for translating these. I hope you have more in the hopper! It is a pleasure to read from the towering figures of the past, who have very evidently mastered the art of language and the history of the Church, and can thus express the meaning of Scripture so succinctly. I think of the thousands of gallons of ink that have been recently spilled trying to explain this verse in terms of justification's universal application, and shake my head. In fact, so much must be written because of the long route necessary to explain it in a way that it clearly doesn't speak. All of that ink. Wasted. Instead, Gerhard writes very simply, dismissing the connection of this verse to it application and explains regarding it:

"The Apostle is not speaking about the application of the benefit, but of the acquisition of the benefit. If we wish to descend to the application, that universality must be restricted to those who are grafted into Christ by faith. For as the unrighteousness of Adam is communicated to all those who are descended from him by carnal generation, so the righteousness of Christ is communicated to all those who are grafted into Him through faith and spiritual regeneration."

Frankly, this is what I have always thought regarding the meaning of this verse -- it's only talking about the acquisition of justification (though I admit to having studied it only in the NASB and KJV, along with the help of various concordances and lexicons). Sure, it's going to say all men with regard to the acquisition of justification -- are some men going to acquire it in some other fashion?

But it's application is much different: All men are sinful insofar as they are connected to Adam ("the First Adam") in their nature; likewise, all men are righteous before God only insofar as they are connected to Christ ("the Second Adam") in their nature. I am only connected to Christ in this way through Faith and Regeneration. I think I tried to express this in my now infamous post, Fraternal Dialogue on the Topic of "Objective Justification", but did a comparatively poor job of it, next to Gerhard. In fact, there is no comparison. This was very helpful. Thanks again!

My Opinion,

Mr. Douglas Lindee

Daryl Meyer said...

Pastor Rydecki,

I'd like to echo Mr. Lindee's sentiments and thank you for your Gerhard translations. Ironically enough, JP Meyer quotes from Gerhard (Disputationes theologicae) and Calov (Biblia Illustrata Ro 4:25) in defense of objective justification (Ministers of Christ). What JPM unfortunately glosses over in both of these references is the repeated use of 'nostris', 'nos', 'nostra', 'nostro', etc., indicating justification of we believers in Christ, not all people apart from faith.

Daryl Meyer

Joe Krohn said...

I find it curious that you wouldn't translate from Greek in your words instead of saying what Gerhard was saying in German about what he was interpreting (as you said) from Latin.

Rev. Paul A. Rydecki said...

Joe, I don't understand your comment. Please explain.

Joe Krohn said...

"Earlier today I posted a translation of Johann Gerhard on Romans 3. Here's a translation of a portion of his interpretation of Romans 4:25."

Didn't Gerhard speak German? Was he speaking German about a Latin translation? My perception of your articles are: Greek>Latin>German>English. Why not just go Greek>English?

Rev. Paul A. Rydecki said...

Joe, Gerhard spoke German and Latin. Most of his theological writings are in Latin, including the one I translated. He included the Greek from the Romans passages, and then he offered his own translation of the Greek to Latin. So I kept the Greek where he had the Greek, but translated all of his Latin into English.

Jeff Lahman said...

Gerhard agrees with Luther and Augustine on Romans 5:18. Luther quotes Augustine in his early commentary (LW, CPH, Vol. 25, pg. 48):
"all" and "all" are the words used, not because all those who are born of
Adam are born again of Christ, but because just as there is no physical generation except through Adam, so there is no spiritual generation except through Christ. Later on he calls the same "all" "many", etc..

Steven Goodrich said...

If Christ acquired justification (an acquittal according to BDAG) through his "one act of obedience, justification exists prior to me having faith. Hence objective justification

LPC said...

Steven,

I think here you are using the word "objective" elastically. R. Preus spent time discussing objective in the sense it is real because the Romanists think that the Lutheran justification is legal fiction.

The righteousness from God exists prior to you being born, this is Christ, but UOJ teaches that the said righteousness has already been imputed to you prior to you being born! That is a mistake and that is different from what J. Gerhard is saying, for UOJ jumps from acquisition to application (with the latter being a finished event already).

In fact in my discussion with Pr. Jay Webber, with out hesitation he said the object of faith is THAT justification already pronounced to you before you were born before you could have faith.

Remember the thesis of UOJ, something has to exists before you can believe it and you are being asked to believe that you have already been justified (declared righteous) - a finished fact.


LPC


Jeff Lahman said...

The only way we'll come to agreement on such a foundational and currently divisive issue is if we agree on a method of biblical interpretation. The Reformers used the 'analogy of faith' method of biblical interpretation, which requires the interpreter not to emphasize a verse of Scripture in contradiction to another clear verse of Scripture. When I hear the UOJ emphasis and their prooftext verses, I am left dumbfounded by their total disregard for other clear verses of Scripture that contradict their sketchy eisegesis. For example......does Peter need to go to a WELS seminary for remedial systematic theology courses when he tells Simon the Magician,"You have neither part nor lot in this matter, for your heart is not right before God. Repent, therefore, of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, the intent of your heart may be forgiven you."

LPC said...

The Reformers used the 'analogy of faith' method of biblical interpretation, which requires the interpreter not to emphasize a verse of Scripture in contradiction to another clear verse of Scripture

This is correct, absolutely, that is why it is the over all Biblical data that must be examined and this is sound procedure.

For example, you can not conclude that one must also embrace limited atonement because St. Paul limits certain pronouns in Romans 3-5 to Christians. This is a non-sequitur fallacy.

LPC

Warren Malach said...

The last time that I checked, Gerhard's writings were not part of the Lutheran Confessions to which Lutheran pastors give a "quia" subscription and which synods and congregations confess to follow in the confessional articles of their constitutions. Therefore I ask: What does it matter what Gerhard taught or might have taught for those who uphold the Formal Principle of the Lutheran Church: SOLA SCRIPTURA? Is Confessional Lutheranism merely a variant on Jewish Talmudic scholarship and medieval Catholic scholastic theology in seeking to make the private writings of human authorities a norm for interpreting Scripture? I do not question the value of the study of the history of doctrinal development, but of what binding, authoritative value are the writings of Gerhard for a confessional Lutheran? Is it believed that the Lutheran theologians of the 16th and 17th centuries were given a special "dispensation" by God which makes their writings outside of the Lutheran Confessions MORE authoritative than the writings of any OTHER period in history, as the Romanists and Eastern Orthodox believe about the earlier "church fathers"? What has happened to the exhortation "ad fontes!" regarding theological study by "confessional Lutherans"?

Jeff Lahman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
LPC said...

Jeff,

I fully affirm the analogy of faith. The analogy of faith is very sound because God gave us 66 books so we can not just isolate one verse and exclude the rest of the Scripture that speaks on the same issue.

Non-sequitur simply means it does not follow, or a wrong deduction. I am a logician and we have used latin words to name fallacies in reasoning so sometimes it comes out. I am sorry about that, I tend to forget.

I was a Calvinist before I became Lutheran. Calvinists do not prove limited atonement from Romans 9 alone, they do it by denying for example the meaning of the word - world in John 3:16. Limited atonement stems from equating the Atonement with Justification similar to how UOJers do it only the Calvinist arrive on the left side, The Calvinist seing that Justification is not for all and reasoning that since the Atonement and Justification are the same event, concludes that Atonement is limited because Justification is limited.

This is a category mistake.

does not begin with a presupposition as I approach Scripture.....Scripture informs me of what it must include

I agree with you. Scripture should be allowed to speak on its own, one's presupposition must be subdued for that is part of reason, and reason is not the master, Scripture is. The Biblical data should predominate and must be respecte first and foremost.


LPC

Jeff Lahman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

This is all very unsettling to those who fill a pew. So, where does 1John 1:8-22 through 1John 2:1-15, fit in with this?
We are called to repent of our sins. To our Holy & Just God, and when we offend another, to them also.
Pewsitters, do not understand the works of the founders, & many don't know & can't understand Concord. They understand what is said from that Pulpit. So where do these Scriptures fit in?
Dutch Stoeberl

LPC said...

Hi Jeff,

It was also the Sacraments that led me to abandon my Calvinism.

Indeed, there are many Calvinists who struggle with assurance. I believe this is also true for UOJers that is why they are very allergic to talk about faith. The solution is not by believing in a quasi-universalistic view of justification but understanding the fundamentals first of what the Law demands and what the Gospel supplies.


You hear false dilemma that if you do NOT believe in UOJ then you MUST believe in Limited Atonement. Another one is that if you do NOT believe in UOJ then you MUST have faith in your faith. These assertions are based on rationalisations and are not based on Scripture, what predominates in that thinking are the presuppositions which you mentioned.

LPC


A. Berean said...

I would just like to thank Rev. Rydecki for all of his hard work in translating these works. It is a big job for any theologian. I admire his motivation for investigating the consistent teaching of the Confessors and how they taught compared to how things are taught today.

In addition, I was wondering whether these works are going to be finished and published for public consumption. If so, I would be the first to buy them and add them to my library next to Luther, Chemnitz, and Chytraeus.

Thanks again Intrepid for posting these and promoting open discussion.

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