Call To Die

Then [Jesus] said to them all, "If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will save it. (Luke 9:23-24, HCSB)

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Follower of Christ, husband of Abby, member of Kosmosdale Baptist Church, and tutor/staff member at Sayers Classical Academy.

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Stefan Lindblad on *Ad Intra/Ad Extra*

The following notes are from the Southern California Reformed Baptist Pastors Conference, Session 3, "The Knowledge and Will of God: One or Three?"

"I want to consider... what we might call an architectonic motif in Reformed Theology: namely, an ad intra/ad extra distinction. Richard Muller writes that the ad intra/ad extra pattern is arguably a fundamental, architectonic device in the older Reformed Theology that offers considerable insight into the nature and character of the older Reformed approach to the questions of divine absoluteness and divine relationality. Hence, the significance of the division of the subject of Theology into 'God' and 'the works of God' needs to be noted. Again, citing Muller: the implication of this division is that Theology must define God as He is (insofar as that has been revealed) and then go on to define God in relation to all else (namely, His works)....

"The Reformed theologians wanted to understand something of God considered absolutely (that is, in Himself) and God relatively (that is, God in His relation to the created order)....

"A consideration of ad intra/ad extra does not make God, in His ad intra nature, separate and utterly unknowable... but it actually places God in a relation to His creatures. Now, this pattern of ad intra/ad extra appears consistently throughout the Reformed doctrine of God, and it is intended to indicate an essential foundation in God that provides an absolute, and therefore constant, dependable ground for all that God brings about in the work of creation and salvation, according to Muller.

"Concerning the divine mind, God is then said to have a necessary knowledge ad intra, and a free or voluntary knowledge ad extra (that is, with respect to creatures). Concerning the divine will, God is said to have a 'will of good pleasure' or a 'secret will' ad intra, and a 'will of the sign' or a 'revealed will' or 'perceptive will' ad extra....

"Notice this: the pairs do not indicate a distinction in God Himself, as if God were a composite of multiple intellects or multiple wills. The distinction here is in our apprehension. This is not an ascription of different attributes to God, as Muller notes, but it is the same attribute considered first ad intra and then ad extra....

So what? "With respect to God [this ad intra/ad extra distinction] underlines His independence from creation, but it also underlines the freedom of God: indeed, the freedom of God to create or not to create or to create even a different world than the one which he did create. It underlines the fact, then, that God was under no absolute necessity to create or even to redeem. At the same time, the distinction underlines the way in which the divine absoluteness serves not to exclude but rather to define the nature of the way in which God relates to all things external to Him. It actually assures the constancy of God's relation; indeed, it under-girds God's relation to the world as one of radical freedom. God is not contained by the world, compelled by the world, or constrained by the created order to be or to act in any way. And so the ad intra/ad extra model of God and His works tells us that all of the works of God have a foundation in God and an 'ending point' or 'term' in the created order.

"And thus all of the essential works of the Godhead are acts of the three Persons operating just as the one God. But these works, if you will, 'terminate' on one Person or another (in the incarnation, for example). In other words: the eternal decree needs to be understood as absolute. It is determinate and certain. It is not suspended on the desires of Man nor determined by anything outside of God. There is no preceding condition upon which the decree is suspended, and it cannot be impeded; it cannot be altered.

"And yet the decree is relative also. Relative in two ways: first in relation to the divine willing, which is actually capable of actualizing alternative possibilities in the created order and in relation to its execution in time with respect to its objects and the means by which those objects are realized.

"Here, then, we are seeing that there needs to be in our conception a basic distinction between the decree and its execution, between eternal providence and actual providence. Here, this basic Reformed motif of ad intra and ad extra has significant implications, then, for the way we understand the [divine] decree: not the least of which is a consideration of the will of God in particular..."



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