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§ 38.

As the works of redemption, for whose accomplishment the λογος became man, could be brought about only through suffering and death, it is altogether natural that we should see Christ, through all His earthly life, even until the completion of His work of redemption, going about in the form of a servant, subject to all the weaknesses and infirmities of human nature. Not until after His resurrection did He lay aside the form of a servant and appear in divine glory. Accordingly, from the time of the incarnation of Christ, we have to predicate of Him a two-fold condition, that of the form of a servant and that of glory. Inasmuch, however, as in consequence of the communicatio idiomatum, resulting from the unio personalis, the human nature participated in all the attributes and glory of the divine nature; and, inasmuch as, in accordance with this, a condition of divine glory would naturally have been looked for from the moment of the incarnation; we cannot comprehend the antecedent condition in the form of a servant without assuming that Christ voluntarily refrained from a glory that belonged to Him. And this indeed is the teaching of the Scriptures in Phil. 2:5-9. Accordingly we designate the former condition the State of Humiliation, a condition of self-renunciation; the other, the State of Exaltation. This self-renunciation, however, that is followed by His being in the condition of a servant, does not lie in the act of incarnation; for, although it is a gracious condescension of the λογος, that He assumed human nature, yet that cannot be the fact here referred to, as the condition of self-renunciation is designated as temporary, while the incarnation is permanent. [1] Neither the self-renunciation nor the exaltation, indeed, can be predicated of the λογος, or of the divine nature; for this, remaining ever the same, is not susceptible of self-renunciation or of exaltation. It is only, therefore, of the human nature that the 377one or the other can be predicated, [2] and it is only to this that the self-renunciation and the exaltation here described refer. But, when self-renunciation is predicated of it, this is not to be so understood, as if in this condition of self-renunciation the human nature were entirely stripped of the divine glory and confined entirely to itself, and as if the divine glory, as such, were not associated with the human nature until in the condition of exaltation; for this is disproved already by the fact that Christ, even in the State of Humiliation, performed deeds that imply the possession of divine glory. [3] Finally, the self-renunciation is not to be so understood as if the human nature, in consequence of its inalienable possession of divine glory, really exercised the dominion thence accruing to it, but concealed this exercise from the eyes of men, which would have been no real self-renunciation at all: [4] but it must be assumed that the human nature, although, in itself considered, having full right to the divine glory, and being in possession of all the dominion resulting therefrom, here upon earth voluntarily renounced the use and exercise of the same out of regard for the work of redemption that was to be accomplished, [5] and instead thereof led a life of lowliness; that, therefore, the human nature of Christ, which in virtue of the Communicatio Idiomatum was entitled to all the majesty belonging to God, renounced the same, and instead thereof assumed poverty, lowliness, and all the natural (though sinless) weaknesses, infirmities, limitations, and wants of human nature. [6] The self-renunciation consists, therefore, in the real, though at times interrupted abnegation, by the human nature of Christ, of the glory due unto it, and the exaltation, in the assumption by this human nature, of the full use of this divine glory after the completion of the work of redemption. [7] The first state commences with the incarnation and continues until the last moment of His remaining in the tomb. The other begins with the re-animation and continues in eternity, but develops itself in several states. [8]

(BR. (482): “The State of Humiliation consists in this, that Christ for a time renounced (truly and really, yet freely) the plenary exercise of the divine majesty, which His human nature had acquired in the personal union, and, as a lowly 378man, endured what was far beneath the divine majesty (that He might suffer and die for the life of the world)”).

“The State of Exaltation is the state of Christ, the God-man, in which He, according to His human nature, having laid aside the infirmities of the flesh, received and assumed the plenary exercise of the divine majesty.”[9]

I. THE STATE OF HUMILIATION. — The following are the principal aspects in which the humiliation of Christ reveals itself: HOLL. (759, sq.) [10] “1. Conception, Luke 1:31. A supernatural act, by which the flesh of Christ, produced from the mass of the blood of the Virgin Mary, received in her womb its original being, consubstantial with our own, through the supervention of the Holy Spirit.” [11]

2. Nativity; which besides was accompanied with many humiliating circumstances. “Luke 2:7. The nativity of Christ is the going forth of God, as an infant, from the maternal womb into the light of day.” [12]

3. Circumcision; by which Christ, at the same time, made Himself subject to the Law. “Luke 2:21. The circumcision is the bloody cutting off of the foreskin of the infant Jesus on the eighth day.” [13]

4. Education; according to which Christ also subjected Himself to the laws of domestic life. “The education was His becoming accustomed, in boyhood, to the mode of life customary in Israel, and to a manual occupation.” [14]

5. The visible intercourse of Christ in the world; by which He exposed Himself to all kinds of ill treatment from those who surrounded Him, and to all the discomforts of a lowly life. “The intercourse of Christ was His most holy association, in the days of His flesh, with all kinds of men, even the most contemptible, an association full of troubles, inconveniences, and dangers.” [15]

6. The great suffering; the bodily and mental anguish which Christ endured in the last days of His earthly life. “The great suffering of Christ is the extreme anguish which our Redeemer suffered toward the end of His life, two days before His death, partly in His soul, partly in His body, by enduring to the end the most extreme and bitter sorrows.” [16]


7. The Death of Christ. “The death of Christ is His loss of life through the dissolution of the natural union of body and soul.” [17]

8. The Burial. “The burial of Christ was the placing of the body of our Redeemer, who had died upon the cross, in a new tomb, in demonstration of the truth of His death.”

II. THE STATE OF EXALTATION. — This begins with the return of Christ to life, [18] and exhibits itself to the lower world by the descent, to this world by the resurrection and ascension, attaining its completion in the session at the Right Hand of God the Father. [19]

1. The Descent to the Lower World. After Christ had been again restored to life, and before He had given to men in His resurrection from the dead the proof that He was alive, [20] He descended to hell (1 Pet. 3:18-20; Col. 2:15), and exhibited Himself there to Satan and the condemned spirits as the victor over death and Satan, and as Lord over death and life. [21] This descent of Christ into hell is, accordingly, not to be understood in a figurative sense, as if thereby only the greatness of the pains which Christ endured for the sake of men were indicated; or, as if thereby merely the benefits which were secured for men by the sufferings and death of Christ were set forth, namely, that men were freed from hell by them; but it is to be understood literally as a real descent into hell. [22] We are therefore to regard the whole Christ as being for awhile in hell; the act of descending is, however, to be predicated only of the human nature, since the divine nature, as filling all things, is, aside from this, to be understood as entirely present everywhere. [23] (1 Pet. 3:18-20; Eph. 4:9.)

HOLL. (777): “The Descent of Christ to the lower world is the true, real, and supernatural movement by which Christ, having been freed from the chains of death and restored to life, in His entire person betook Himself to the lower regions, that He might exhibit Himself to the evil spirits and to condemned men as the conqueror of death.” [24]

2. The Resurrection. After His descent to hell, three days after His death, Christ appears again upon earth to a small circle of intimate friends. Along with death, however, He 380had laid aside also the weaknesses and infirmities of human nature, and this is now in a glorified condition. Through the resurrection He has proven Himself conqueror of death and the devil, and, without it, our faith would be vain. (1 Cor. 15:14.)

HOLL. (779): “The resurrection is the act of glorious victory by which Christ, the God-man, through the same power as that of God the Father and the Holy Spirit, brought forth His body, reunited with the soul and glorified, from the tomb, and showed it alive to His disciples, by various proofs, for the confirmation of our peace, fellowship, joy, and hope in our own future resurrection.” [25]

3. The Ascension. After Christ had shown Himself to His disciples as one raised from the dead, He ascended to heaven, i.e., His human nature also betook itself into heaven, where it had not yet been. (Acts 1:9; Luke 24:51.)

HOLL. (784): “The ascension is the glorious act of Christ by which, after having been resuscitated, He betook Himself, according to His human nature, by a true, real, and local motion, according to His voluntary determination (per liberam oeconomiam),1818[QUEN. (III, 382): “Just as His eating, touching, etc., during the forty days occurred κατ οικονομιαν, so also this local and visible motion occurred by the same. For we ought not to doubt that, from the gift of agility belonging to glorified bodies, Christ could, in a moment, have withdrawn Himself from the eyes of the disciples.” — TR.] and in a visible manner unto the clouds, and thence in an invisible manner into the common heaven of the blessed, and to the very throne of God; so that, having triumphed over His enemies, He might occupy the kingdom of God (Acts 3:21), reopen the closed Paradise (Rev. 3:7), and prepare a permanent inheritance for us in heaven (John 14:2).” [26]

4. The Sitting at the Right Hand of God. This expression signifies the assumption, on the part of the human nature of Christ, of the full divine glory and dominion; for not until His ascension did the human nature of Christ assume, in all its extent, the real exercise of all the divine glory from which it had refrained in the state of humiliation. (Heb. 1:13; Eph. 1:20-22; Mark 16:19; Rom. 8:34; Rev. 3:21.)

HOLL. (786): “The sitting at the right hand of God is the 381highest degree of glory, in which Christ, the God-man, having been exalted, as to His human nature, to the throne of divine majesty, most powerfully and by His immediate presence governs all things which are in the kingdom of power, grace, and glory, for the glory of His own name, and for the solace and safety of the afflicted Church.” [27]

[1] HOLL. (765): “Although in an ecclesiastical and figurative sense the incarnation is sometimes said to be a self-renunciation (‘where it is employed in reference to the kind inclination by which the λογος inclined Himself to pity and assist us, and, descending from heaven, deigned to assume human nature. This self-renunciation, figuratively and in an ecclesiastical sense so termed, is called the humiliation of incarnation, GRH., III, 562’), yet properly speaking, and in accordance with scriptural usage, the incarnation must not be called self-renunciation (exinanitio). For (1) self-renunciation is predicated of the incarnate (ενσαρκος) Son of God, or Christ, the God-man; incarnation, of the not yet incarnate (ασαρκος) Son of God; (2) when the self-renunciation is removed by exaltation, the state of incarnation remains.”

[2] HOLL. (767): “Christ was humbled (exinanitus est) according to His human nature considered in the personal union.” Id.: “The subject (of the humiliation) is the human nature alone, but considered in the union; for (1) since the divine nature is immutable and most perfect, it cannot be exalted and humbled; (2) the self-renunciation extended even to the death of the cross, Phil. 2:8, and the divine nature neither died nor was crucified.”

[3] CHMN. (de duab. nat., 216): “Neither was it only after His resurrection that the entire fulness of the divine nature began to dwell bodily in Christ; as though, after the occurrence of the hypostatic union in conception and before the ascension, and sitting at the right hand, either any empty vacancy or partialness of divine nature dwelt bodily in Christ; or as though the hypostatic union or personal indwelling of the entire fulness of the Godhead, in the assumed nature of Christ, became in the process of years constantly greater, more intimate, fuller, and more complete: for, from the first moment of the hypostatic union, the entire fulness of the Godhead dwelt bodily, or, in other words, in the flesh, or assumed nature, of Christ.”

HOLL. (765): “The self-renunciation of Christ consists formally . . . not in the entire abdication or abandonment of divine majesty,  . . . for (1) this could not have occurred without a dissolution of the personal union; for, since it is a perfect and inner 382union, it cannot exist without an impartation of natures and properties; (2) during the state of self-renunciation Christ sometimes produced remarkable proofs of the divine majesty dwelling in His flesh (John 2:1 sq.), although He exercised this majesty very rarely, and, as it were, extraordinarily.”

[4] HOLL. (765): “Self-renunciation does not consist in the mere concealment or hiding of divine majesty;” for, (1) self-renunciation does not pertain to Christ in His exaltation, although there pertains to Him in that state a hiding of majesty, 1 Cor. 1:7; (2) the hiding of gifts is not true self-renunciation, just as when the sun, when covered by clouds, has not been truly darkened; although we do not deny that Christ concealed the possession of communicated majesty and did not everywhere exert it.”

[GRH. III, 575; “1. If by κρυψις, or hiding, there be understood a simulation, we deny that the self-renunciation should be thus described: because there was a true and real self-renunciation, embracing both αρσις, i.e., abstaining from the use, not of just any, but of the plenary communicated, divine majesty and virtue, which the apostle calls κενωσις; and θεσις, i.e., the assumption of a servile form, and extreme humiliation, which the apostle joins to the κενωσις. Just as, on the other hand, exaltation embraces both αρσις, viz., the laying aside of the form of a servant and human infirmities, which Christ had spontaneously assumed, and θεσις, viz., the full use and administration of dominion in the entire universe, all of which are ascribed to Christ not feignedly or κατα φαντασμα, but truly. 2. κρυψις can be referred both to the communication of majesty, and to the employment of communicated majesty. In the former respect it is rightly so-called, because the divine majesty was hid in the assumed flesh, but not separated from it; and all treasures of wisdom and knowledge are said to be hid in Him, Col. 2:3. In the latter respect, it was not only κρυψις, but true and real κενωσις, as the assumption of the servile form, which Christ afterwards laid aside in exaltation, shows.”]

[5] CHMN. (de duab. nat., 216): “Self-renunciation, therefore, does not signify a deprivation, removal, despoiling, putting off, casting aside, laying down, removal, want, absence, defect, destitution, or vacancy of the fulness of the Godhead, which, from the very moment of conception, dwelt in Christ bodily. But it respects its use or employment, because, being covered by weakness during the time of self-renunciation, it did not always shine in and through the human nature of Christ, and through it fully and clearly exercise itself; for, for a short time withdrawing and withholding from activity and divine virtue present and dwelling bodily 383in the human nature, and through the human nature of Christ, as Ambrose says, He permitted His natural properties and other assumed infirmities to prevail, predominate, and exercise themselves, as if alone in His human nature. Yet, lest any one, because of the self-renunciation of this employment, should imagine the absence and defect of the very fulness of the divine nature in the humanity of Christ, He, in the very time of self-renunciation, whenever He wished, showed that this fulness dwelt in His flesh; and, in the very time of His self-renunciation, whenever and as far as He wished, He exercised, manifested, and employed its use by means of His assumed nature. Thus in miracles He manifested His glory.” . . .

HOLL. (765): Self-renunciation “consists in the abdication of the full and uninterrupted use of divine majesty, the assumption of the form of a servant, likeness to other men, and the most humble obedience.”

The detailed description of the state of humiliation is given by HOLL. (766): “Four requisites must be combined in order to describe fully the self-renunciation of Christ: (1) κενωις” (“intermission, withholding, restraining of the full activity, of the constant and universal divine majesty and excellence really imparted to Christ as a man,” QUEN. (III, 334)); “(2) λεψις μορφης δουλου, the taking upon Himself the condition of a servant, for Christ was treated and sold in the manner of a servant, and endured a servant’s punishment; (3) ομοιωσις ανθρωπων, likeness to the lower and meaner class of men, especially to the Israelites, in His birth, circumcision, ablactation, His trade as a carpenter, His intercourse, and mode of life; (4) ταρεινωσις υποτακτικη, most humble, active, and passive obedience.”

The Dogmaticians find the state of humiliation described in Phil. 2:5-8. The particular phrases occurring in this passage are thus explained by them: “Μορφη θεου formally and accurately denotes not the divine essence itself, but properly the glorious divine condition, or the glory and universal use of divine majesty, which cannot exist except with a true Godhead, but presuppose the same in the same person.” (QUEN., III, 333.) CHMN. (de duab. nat., 133): “A μορφη is when a nature or essence is considered as endowed, and clothes, and furnished as it were, with properties, attributes, and conditions, either divine or human.” QUEN. (III, 333): “Εν μορφη θεου υπαρχων. The particle υπαρχων is here very emphatic, showing (1) that Christ did not take upon Himself the μορφη θεου (as it is said that He took upon Himself the μορφη δουλου), but that He existed in it; (2) that with the μορφη θεου, Christ is said 384to have truly possessed at the same time a divine essence and nature; . . . (3) that Christ Jesus, when He had taken upon Himself the μορφη δουλου, neither laid aside the divine nature itself, nor in any way resigned the μορφη θεου, but that He did not entirely and fully exercise it, and did not make an ostentatious display of it, but rather that in the form of a servant He ministered to other men, yet in such a way as always to remain υπαρχων εν μορφη θεου.” HOLL. (766): “Ὀυχ ορπαγμου ηγησατο το ειναι ισα θεω.’ He did not judge that a public display of the majesty of the almighty and omnipresent God would have the form of robbery, but He held the same secretly, and only when it seemed good to Him sent forth some rays of His form as God. ‘Ισα θεω,’ to act as though equal in glory and majesty to God. ‘Εαυτον ενενωσε,’ by not shedding forth His imparted majesty, but restraining and withholding its full and universal use. ‘Μορφη δουλου’ is not human nature, which Christ, the God-man, not only assumed but possessed, and which by His exaltation He did not lay aside; but it is the state of a servant and a humble condition.” QUEN. (II, 335) explains the whole passage thus: “That Christ, from the very first moment of incarnation, could have exercised to its fullest extent the divine glory and majesty imparted to Him according to His human nature, and have acted as God, but that He withheld Himself from its full use, and showed Himself humble, and became obedient to His Heavenly Father, even to the death of the cross.”

[6] HOLL. (767): “Generally speaking, Christ in the state of self-renunciation abstained from the full, universal, and incessant use of eternal glory, imparted through the personal union to His assumed flesh. John 17:5.” (Concerning this passage it is observed: “Glorification does not denote (a) the granting of the possession of glory, for Christ as man already possessed infinite glory before, John 1:14; nor (b) its special employment, which He manifested in certain miracles; (c) but it denotes the enthronization and introduction of Christ as man into His kingdom, which He is to administer with Almighty power.”) “Specifically, He suspended and withheld the use of omnipotence (the exercise of which would have hindered Christ’s suffering and death of satisfaction for our sins), of omniscience (for He was truly ignorant of the day of final judgment, Matt. 24:36, the barrenness of the figtree, Matt. 21:19, the burial place of Lazarus, John 11:34), of the most abundant wealth (inasmuch as He became poor for us, 2 Cor. 8:9; Matt. 8:20), of omnipresent dominion (John 11:21), and religious worship (inasmuch as He became less than the angels, Heb. 2:7).”


GRH. (III, 575) develops the practical side of this doctrine, on the basis of 2 Cor. 8:9: “Christ was rich, because of the true and real communication of divine attributes to the flesh, Col. 2:9; He was rich, because given a name above every name, Heb. 1:4; He was rich, because of the power communicated to govern heaven and earth, Matt. 28:18; He was rich, because of His participation in infinite and divine knowledge, Col. 2:3, and because of the subjection of all things, Matt. 11:26; John 3:35. With these riches, Christ was endowed from the first moment of incarnation, as is shown by the personal union, the working of miracles, and every special demonstration of this majesty and power. But He became poor by His self-renunciation, humiliation, assumption of the form of a servant; hence, as a child of poverty, He is born in a stable, rest in the lap of a poor mother, lies in a poor hut, receives presents of gold from the magi, is presented to the Lord with the offering of doves — gifts of the poor, is brought up in poverty in the home of His parents, is regarded the son of a poor carpenter, experiences poverty in fasting, is without a home of His own, is stripped of His vesture on the cross, and at length is laid in the sepulchre of another — all of which pertain to the poverty and self-renunciation of Christ. But by this poverty, He has made us rich. Just as, by His death, He bought for us life, so by His poverty, He has restored to us heavenly riches; and hence, His poverty is described to us as a ground for our joy, Zech. 9:9. The poverty of Christ has earned for us our patrimony, our property in life, our passage money (viaticum) in death, heavenly riches.” Then, on Phil. 2:5: “1. The example: ‘Thou shouldst deign to be humble for God’s sake, since God deigned to be humble for they sake.’ (Augustine.) Christ, without whom nothing was made, humbled Himself, so as to seem almost nothing, while thou boastest immensely, and thinkest thyself something when thou art nothing. How absurd and preposterous it is for the highest sublimity to be humbled, and the lowest worthlessness to want to extol itself! 2. As Christ humbled Himself, God exalted Him; so thou wilt not attain to a lofty station, unless by the path of humility. αριστη οδος υψωσεως η ταπεινωσις. (Bernard.) As Christ, by His divine nature, was incapable of growth, but by His descent, He found that whereby He could grow; so it is only by humility that an entrance to what is high shall open to thee.”

[7] HOLL. (775): “Exaltation (υπερυψωσις, Phil. 2:9; δοξασις, John 17:5; στεφανωσις, Heb. 2:9; ενθρωνισμος, Heb. 8:1), actively taken, is defined as the solemn enthronization and inauguration of the revived Christ to the full and perfect employment of the heavenly 386government and the rule of heaven and earth, especially of the Church.”

QUEN. (III, 368): “The form of exaltation consists in the laying aside of the servile condition or the form of a servant, and in the full, universal, and uninterrupted employment of the divine majesty, received in the personal union and possessed during the period of self-renunciation. (For in exaltation there was not given to Christ new power, virtue, or majesty, which He did not have before, but there was only conferred upon Him the full power of administering His kingdom, which He had received through the union itself.”

The principal passage in which the State of Exaltation is described is (besides Ps. 8:6, 7; 110:4; Heb. 2:7; Acts 5:31) the same before referred to viz., Phil. 2:9-11. HOLL. (775): “(a) The particle διο does not denote a meritorious conferring, but a consequence in order. The διο being often cited to prove that by His humiliation, Christ procured merit for Himself, GRH., III, 584, argues that such doctrine would conflict with: 1. The dignity of Christ’s person, since, at the very first moment of the incarnation, the human nature was brought into the very person of the Logos, than which nothing higher in glory and dignity can be imagined, Heb. 1:5. 2. The truth of the communication of truly divine gifts. 3. The quality of His merit. For whatever Christ merited in His office, He merited for us, Is. 45:24; Zech. 9:9; John 17:19; 1 Tim. 1:15; 1 Cor. 1:30. 4. The worship due Him in the days of the flesh. For if it were only after the exaltation that worship was due Him, then in the days of His flesh such was not due; and yet often He did not refuse such worship when offered Him. As to the meaning of διο: 1. The humiliation is not described as the meritorious cause of the exaltation, but the exaltation is described as the consequent profit attending the humiliation. For the particles διο and δια τουτο do not always and everywhere denote the meritorious cause of a thing, but sometimes also the final cause, and more frequently the consequence, whereby one thing is concluded from another. Cf. Gen. 2:24; Matt. 19:5; Mark 7:29; Rom. 2:1; 2 Cor. 4:13; 6:17; Eph. 4:8, 25; Heb. 1:9. 2. Compare the parallel passage, Luke 24:29. The order, therefore, was divinely appointed, that Christ by His passion, and after His passion, should enter into glory. Heb. 2:9, 10, where δια το παθημα, δαα παθηματων, cannot refer to a meritorious cause. The διο, compounded of the pronoun ο and the proposition δια must be rendered wherefore, so that the order and consequence, but not the effect of the merit, are indicated. 4. Χαριζεσαι, “to give gratuitously,” 387excludes the idea of merit. 5. The scope of the argument is not to inculcate confidence in merit, but to commend the pursuit of humility, so that we may expect from God the gratuitously bestowed advantages consequent upon humility. (b) The bestower of glory is God the Father, John 17:7; Rom. 6:4.” (Yet only by way of pre-eminence, as the original source; otherwise, it is an act of the entire Trinity, and we can also say, “The Son raised Himself from the dead.” John 2:19.) “(c) υπερυψωσις, following self-renunciation and humiliation,  . . . implies, in place of the emptying of the form of God, the full employment of the form of God; in place of the hiding of those things which are equal with God, their public manifestation; in place of the assumption of the form of a servant, the laying aside of the same, and the administration of universal dominion. (d) The giving of a name above every name, marks the conferring of the highest glory, than which none that is more lofty can be named, and which, with respect to its fullest use, has been presented to Christ by means of exaltation. (e) The consequence of the glory bestowed is the subjection of all creatures, represented by the bowing of the knee. Ps. 97:7; Rev. 5:13; John 14:13; James 2:19; 10:17. What was said of the humiliation is equally true of the exaltation, viz.: “(1) That this term is not employed in an ecclesiastical sense, for the bringing up of humanity into the person of the λογος, and therefore, as a consequence, the impartation of divine grounds of glorying (αυχηματα);” but “in a biblical sense, as it denotes the universal glorification of Christ, who has been freed from death;” (2) That the exaltation has reference only to the human nature of Christ.

CHMN. (de duab. nat., 218) thus contrasts the terms, incarnation, humiliation, and exaltation: “Accordingly it is from this also manifest, that a confusion of articles of faith cannot occur, but that they are and remain distinct, and that each contains something peculiar to itself. For in incarnation there occurred a hypostatic union of the Godhead of the λογος, with assumed humanity, in which the whole fulness of the Godhead dwelt personally from the first moment of conception. But by reason of self-renunciation, its employment and manifestation were for a time postponed, and, as it were, suspended, so that it did not exercise itself through the assumed humanity immediately and always. Moreover, by the ascension, infirmities being laid aside and self-renunciation removed, He left the mode of life according to the conditions of this world, and departed from the world. Moreover, by sitting at the Right Hand of God, He entered upon the full and public employment and display of the power, virtue, and glory of 388the Godhead, which, from the beginning of the union, dwelt personally in all its fulness in the assumed nature; so that He no longer, as in self-renunciation, withholds, withdraws, and, as it were, hides Himself, but clearly, manifestly, and gloriously exercises it in, with, and through the assumed human nature.”

[8] HOLL. (768): “The state of self-renunciation lasted from the first moment of conception to the last moment of rest in the sepulchre.” QUEN. (III, 367): “The beginning of the exaltation (terminus a quo), and that through which it was attained, is the preceding passion and self-renunciation. The limit to which (terminus ad quem) is infinite glory and majesty (John 17:5; Eph. 1:20; Phil. 2:9, 10), here considered with reference to their employment and distinct degrees.”

[9] The doctrine, as here stated is not so clearly set forth in the FORM. CONC. This asserts, indeed, very decidedly, that Christ, already here upon earth, was in possession of the divine glory, even according to His human nature; but, along with passages in which it is said that Christ, during His life upon earth, renounced the exercise of this glory, there are also others in which a renunciation is not mentioned. To passages of the former kind belong the following: FORM. CONC. (Sol. Dec. VIII, 26): “From this union and communion of natures, the human nature possesses, since the resurrection from the dead, that exaltation over all creatures in heaven and on earth, which is really nothing else than that Christ entirely laid aside the form of a servant, and yet did not lay aside the human nature, but retains it to all eternity, and that, according to His assumed human nature, He was raised to the full possession and use of divine majesty. Moreover, He had this majesty immediately at His conception, even in the womb of His mother; but, as the Apostle (Phil. 2:8) says, ‘He humbled (exinanivit) Himself,’ and, as Luther teaches, in the state of His humiliation He possessed it secretly, and did not always make use of it, but only so often as seemed good to Him. But now, since He has ascended to heaven, not in a common manner, as any other saint, but as the Apostle (Eph. 4:10) testifies, ‘He ascended up far above all heavens,” and really ‘fills all things,’ and, everywhere present, not only as God, but also as man, He rules and reigns from sea to sea and to the ends of the earth.” FORM. CONC. (Ep. 16): “And this majesty, by reason of the personal union, Christ always possessed, but in the state of His humiliation He humbled (exinanivit) Himself, and, for this reason, truly grew in age, wisdom, and favor with God and men. Wherefore, He exercised this majesty not always, but as often as seemed good to Him, until, after His resurrection, 389He fully and entirely laid aside the form of a servant, but not human nature, and was invested with the full employment, manifestation, and declaration of divine majesty, and in this manner entered into His glory. (Phil. 2:6, sq.) Therefore, now, not only as God, but as man also, He knows all things, can do all things, is present to all creatures, and has under His feet and in His hand all things that are in heaven, on earth, and under the earth. (Matt. 28:18; John 13:3; Eph. 4:10.)” FORM. CONC. (Sol. Dec., VIII, 65): “But, in the state of humiliation, this majesty of human nature was for the greater part concealed, and, as it were, kept secret.”

To the second class (Sol. Dec., VIII, 73): “But this certainly does not occur in such a manner, that as man He knows and can accomplish only some things; just as other saints, by the power of the Holy Ghost, know and can accomplish certain things. For, since Christ, by reason of His Divinity, is the Second Person in the Holy Trinity, and from Him, no less than from the Father, the Holy Ghost proceeds,  . . . undoubtedly, through the hypostatic union, the entire fulness of the Spirit has been imparted to Christ, according to the flesh, which has been personally united to the Son of God. Moreover, this exerts its entire power most freely in and with the human nature of Christ, and through it; not in such a manner as that Christ, according to His human nature, knows only some things and is ignorant of others, and can accomplish certain things yet cannot accomplish others; but even now, according to His assumed human nature, He knows and can accomplish all things . . . 75. Moreover, it is manifest from history that there was a sect called Agnoetae, because they imagined that the Son, as the Word of the Father, indeed knew all things, but that His assumed nature was ignorant of many things. This heresy also Gregory the Great refuted.”

The FORM. CONC. was still undecided in regard to this topic, because the Dogmaticians of that day were not agreed upon it. Some, following BRENZ (De divina majestate Domini nostri Jesu Christi ad dextram Dei patris et de vera praesentia corporis et sanguinis ejus in coena, 1562) asserted that Christ, even in the state of humiliation, was not only in possession of the divine glory, but also exercised it here, only not openly. (“He lay dead in the sepulchre, in humiliation; living, He governed heaven and earth, in majesty; and this, indeed, during the time of His humiliation, before His resurrection.”) The others followed CHMN. (De duabus naturis in Christo, 1570), who, it is true, also ascribed the possession of divine glory to Christ, but taught a partial renunciation of 390the use of it during His life upon earth. (“The human nature, in the first moment of the union, received and possessed the majesty, the fulness of the Deity, but during the time of the humiliation did not always exercise and use it.”) The FORM. CONC. did not deem it necessary to express a decided judgment upon the question. Later (1619), the question was again started, and a controversy arose between the Theologians of Giessen and those of Tübingen. The starting point was the omnipresence of the flesh of Christ (comp. § 33, note 20, near the end). The Tübingen theologians (L. OSIANDER, NIKOLAI, and THUMMIUS) were of the opinion that the omnipresence of Christ was so strictly an immediate consequence of the personal union, that the flesh of Christ was to be regarded as omnipresent from the moment of His conception; and they defined the omnipresence as an absolute presence (nuda adessentia) or propinquity to creatures, by which He was closely present to all creatures. They assumed, therefore, an absolute omnipresence (in the sense in which BR. (com. § 33, note 20) had denied it). This opinion, then, had its influence upon the doctrine of the state of humiliation and exaltation. Omnipresence, considered as a mere nearness, was necessarily predicated also of the human nature of Christ, as it was an immediate consequence of the personal union, and there could be no question as to the use or renunciation of it; and then, too, dominion could not readily be denied to the same nature to which uninterrupted nearness was ascribed. Hence, they maintained that there was a difference only in the manner in which Christ exercised this dominion, in one way in the state of humiliation, and in another in the state of exaltation. The only difference between the state of humiliation and the state of exaltation they held to be, that in the former Christ exercised this dominion in the form of a servant, hidden from the eyes of the world, and in the latter, openly and in a form corresponding to His majesty. (“They taught, that Christ in His humiliation governed heaven and earth, in the same way that He exercises this government in the state of exaltation, sitting at the right hand of the Father; with only this difference, that in the state of humiliation He covered and concealed that government under the form of a servant, but now, having laid aside that servile condition, He declares and manifests the same gloriously and majestically.”

According to this theory of the Tübingen Theologians, there was, therefore, no κενωσις (renunciation) in the proper sense of the word, but merely a κρυψις (concealment); for the divine dominion, according to this view, was exercised also during the state of humiliation 391by the human nature, only in a secret manner, not perceptible to men (hence also from the statement: “That Christ, according to His human nature, already from the first moment of His conception sat at the Right Hand of the Father, not indeed in a gloriously majestic manner, but without that and in the form of a servant”); and the assumption of the form of a servant and of human infirmities on the part of Christ, could not be explained, though the Tübingen theologians wished to do so, as such a real κενωσις, or self-renunciation. According to this theory, also, the same exaltation, which, according to the other, did not take place until after the resurrection of Christ, was assumed as existing at once from the moment of the incarnation (“That, most strictly speaking, there is one exaltation, and only one, most perfectly accomplished in the moment of the assumption, which (by reason of His essence) could not be greater and more exalted; but that the later meaning of the exaltation (i.e., the exaltation of Christ following His resurrection) was not the new addition of dignity and excellence, but the majesty previously given and communicated in the moment of the assumption and union, covered over in the state of humiliation, and veiled under the form of a servant, but in the state of exaltation abundantly revealed, uncovered, manifested, and demonstrated before the inhabitants of heaven and all other creatures”). And the only difference between the state of humiliation and the state of exaltation was this, that in the two the manner of the exercise of the divine majesty was different. (“That the exaltation, following upon the resurrection of Christ from the dead and His ascension into heaven, did not confer anything upon Christ, in His humanity, but only the mode of something, i.e., that Christ, restored to life as man, and exalted at the Right Hand of God, did not indeed attain the full use of the divine majesty in the government of the world, but merely received a new mode of government, viz., one majestically glorious and manifest; for, in the state of humiliation, He had been as to His person ignominious and obscure.”)

This view was opposed by the theologians of GIESSEN (MENZER and FEUERBORN), who adopted that of CHEMNITZ. The question at issue was this: “Whether the man Christ, having been taken into union with God, during the state of His humiliation governed, as a present king, all things, though in secret?” This question the Giessen theologians denied, and those of Tübingen affirmed. In the case of the former, the doctrine naturally assumed a different aspect in consequence of a different conception of omnipresence. They rejected absolute omnipresence; therefore 392they did not assume that Christ, according to His human nature, in the state of humiliation, was present to all creatures; but defined omnipresence as a divine work. (“They held that the idea of a work belongs to the definition of omnipresence and to its constitutive character, as they call it, and that the essential part is, that Christ, in His humiliation, did not exhibit Himself as present in the same sense as that held by the Tübingen theologians.” COTTA, Diss. II, in GRH., Loc. IV, 62.) According to their view, there followed from the personal union only this, that the real possession of the divine attributes belonged to the human nature of Christ; but the use which the human nature made of them they inferred, not so much from the personal union as rather from the divine will. The personal union did not, therefore, seem to them as if dissolved, when the human nature made no use of these divine attributes; just as they also believed that, without detriment to the personal union, they could assume that the divine nature of Christ was intimately present to creatures at all times, but not so the human nature. QUEN. (III, 187): “Although, during the whole period of the humiliation, the divine nature of the Word was present to all creatures, so that meanwhile the human nature, taken into union with God was not present, but was very far removed, even in its substantial nearness, from those creatures to whom the λογος was present; nevertheless, the union is not broken, the person is not divided, the natures are not separated.”

They also believed themselves, therefore, not to be hindered by the previously prevalent assumption, that Christ, according to His human nature, had for a season renounced the use and exercise of the divine dominion; and they maintained that Christ, according to His divine nature, exercised dominion over the world until the completion of His work of redemption, without His human nature taking any part therein. According to their theory, moreover, the exaltation was real (as indeed the positive statements of the Holy Scriptures seemed to them to demand) in such a sense that, not until it occurred, therefore not until the resurrection, did the human nature obtain the full use and the full exercise of the divine dominion; whereby, however, it was not meant to deny that the human nature partially, and by way of exception, as in the performance of miracles, made use of this dominion (which feature was made especially prominent by the Saxon theologians). The difference between the state of humiliation and that of exaltation they held to be this, that the human nature did not assume the full use of the divine dominion until the introduction of the latter. 393By this means, they thought to avoid the absurdities that followed from the views of the Tübingen theologians, according to whose theory it must be held that, at the time when Christ was lying in the cradle and in the grave, or hanging upon the cross, He was also, according to His human nature, filling all things and present everywhere and to all creatures.

After the decision (1624) pronounced by the Saxon theologians, which in the main was favorable to the Giessen theologians, those of Tübingen modified their views in this direction, in this one point, that they also admitted a humiliation in a literal sense, with reference to the functions of the sacerdotal office, in accordance with which, therefore, Christ, in relation to these, renounced the use of the divine glory during His passion and death, and in connection with everything that He did in behalf of the work of redemption. But this difference still continued between the two parties, that the Tübingen theologians, adhering to their former opinion, so far as the prophetic and the regal offices are concerned, regarded the humiliation as a mere occultation, and characterized it as only exceptional, when Christ, during His life upon earth, in certain cases renounced the exercise of the dominion belonging to His human nature; while the Giessen divines, in direct opposition to this view, considered it exceptional, when Christ, during His life upon earth, made use, on the part of His human nature, of the right of divine majesty that belonged to Him. The controversy was interrupted by the Thirty Years’ War, but the succeeding theologians adopted the views of the Giessen and Saxon theologians, as above stated, with the exception of some of those of Tübingen, who afterwards, indeed, attached no great importance to the controversy, but still favored the doctrinal tendency of their University (comp. COTTA, Diss. II, GRH., in Loc. Th., IV). A full discussion of this doctrine and description of the controversies connected with it may be found in QUEN. III, 389, sq. and THOMASIUS: “The Person and Work of Christ,” Part II, second edition, 1857, p. 429.

[10] QUEN. (III, 338): “The self-renunciation of Christ in general consists of two acts, viz., the abdication of the full and universal use of imparted majesty, and the assumption of the form of a servant. This form or condition of a servant, in turn, includes under it certain acts in which it was most clearly manifest.”

Other distributions than those given in the text are as follows: GRH. (I, 361): “Conception, the being borne about in the womb, birth, growth in age and wisdom, obedience in the form of a servant even to the death of the cross, which was followed by burial.” 394KG. (161): “Conception, birth, suffering, abandonment, death, burial.” QUEN., as KG., only he adds thereto: “Subjection to the Law in circumcision.” BR., as HOLL., only he omits circumcision.

[11] HOLL. (769): “We now are considering this not absolutely, with respect to itself, but in so far as it pertains to the state of self-renunciation, or, in so far as the flesh of Christ, although not of male seed, was nevertheless formed in the womb of woman; in connection with which it is certain that some infirmities occur.”

GRH. (I, 361): “From the fact which I have mentioned, that conception, and the being borne about in the womb, and birth from the womb of His mother, belong to the state of self-renunciation, if we reflect, it can be understood that Adam was a true man, who, nevertheless, was neither conceived in the womb nor born from the womb of a mother; therefore, in the same manner, the Son of God, without such a conception and birth, could have assumed human nature, but He wished in all things to be made like to His brethren, Heb. 2:17.”

[12] BR. (483): “In this” (birth) “the fact is especially considered that the fruit of Mary’s womb, having passed through the accustomed months of gestation, was thus at length brought to light, in accordance with the common lot of men. But the opinion of some, that Mary brought forth her son while her womb was closed, is uncertain; more certain and manifest are the lowliness of His birth and the humble condition and poverty of His parents.”

[13] HOLL. (769): “Circumcision is an act of most humble obedience on the part of Christ, by which He not only lay in a very low state of self-renunciation beneath the knife of the circumciser, but also was made subject to the divine Law, although He was the Lord of the Law, Matt. 12:8; Mark 2:28.”

[14] HOLL. (770): “According to which, Christ voluntarily subjected Himself to the care of His father, Joseph, and the commands of His mother, Mary, Luke 2:51.”

[15] BR. (484): “He was made subject to the magistracy and regarded equal or inferior to others; for the purpose of satisfying hunger and thirst, He ate and drank ; being wearied, He slept, and endured the troubles of labors and journeys, dangers, temptations, sadness, poverty, reproaches, etc.”

[16] BR. (484): “Especially the aggregation of afflictions which Christ suffered during the period of two days before His death; in connection with which the forsaking, mentioned in Matt. 27:46, is especially to be regarded. Manifestly Christ was forsaken, not indeed as though either the bond of the personal union were broken, or He had been altogether rejected from the face of God, 395never to be taken back again into grace, nor that He, actually and properly speaking, despaired; but that, in that greatest accumulation of evils, because of the sins of men imputed to Him, He, while bearing the part of all sinners, so felt the wrath of God, or that God was estranged from Him, that He felt no comfort within Himself from the fulness of the indwelling “Godhead. In this manner, also, that must be understood which is elsewhere said, viz., that Christ bore the pains of hell.”

[17] QUEN. (III, 360): “Its formal nature consists in the true, voluntary and local separation of the soul from the body (Luke 23:43, 46), the bond of the personal union meanwhile remaining unimpaired. From the dissolution of the soul from the body the dissolution of the union of the two natures in Christ is not to be inferred. For, although the natural union between the soul and body was broken, yet the personal union existing between the λογος and the assumed nature was not separated, but the divine nature in Christ remained truly united to the soul, which then was in heaven, and truly united to the body in the sepulchre. Even in death, the λογος, I say, remained a suppositum1919[See Appendix.] of parts physically separated, namely of body and soul. The entire divine nature was in the separated soul, and the entire divine nature was in the body left upon earth, without any division or distention, as either of these would conflict with a divine nature.” HOLL. (772): “The passion and death of Christ were true, not imaginary; voluntary, not forced; undertaken not by accident, but according to a certain plan and purpose of God; bloody and ignominious; vicarious; meritorious, and satisfactory.”

[18] HOLL. (776): “Ζωοποιησις, or quickening, is Christ’s liberation from death and the reunion of soul and body, by which Christ, according to His flesh, began to come again to life. This is not a peculiar grade of exaltation, but a prerequisite condition for preparing the subject, namely, Christ, to receive the full and universal use of divine majesty.”

[19] HOLL. (776): “The revived Christ exercised His divine majesty through certain clearly marked grades: (1) by descending ad inferos, He exhibited Himself alive to the wicked spirits and condemned men as the conqueror of death; (2) by rising again, He declared to the apostles, and, through them, to the entire world, that through His death He had made satisfaction to divine justice; (3) by ascending to heaven, He showed angels and blessed men that He was the conqueror not only of death, but also of wicked spirits, and the Savior of men; (4) by sitting at the Right 396Hand of God, He exercises most full and universal dominion over all creatures that are in the kingdom of power, of grace, and of glory.” As the exaltation was completed with the sitting at the Right Hand of the Father, HFRFFR. (339), instead of assuming degrees of exaltation, as others do, distinguishes (1) “the State of Glorification into which Christ entered after His resurrection, when, laying aside the infirmities of human nature, He was transferred to the condition of glorified bodies,” and (2) “the State of Majesty of Christ as a man, into which, after His glorious ascension into heaven, He was transferred, being placed at the Right Hand of God the Father.”

[20] QUEN. (III, 373): “The moment of time of the descent is, according to 1 Peter 3:19, the time that intervened between the quickening and the resurrection of Christ, properly so called.” To the assertion, that the descent preceded the resurrection, and therefore did not succeed the vivifying, HOLL. (668) replies: “A distinction must be made between an outward and an inner resurrection. The former is the going forth from the sepulchre, and the outward appearance to men, and is described in the Apostles’ Creed; the latter is the quickening itself.”

[21] HOLL. (778): “Christ descended into hell, not for the purpose of suffering any evil from the demons (John 19:30; Luke 24:26), but to triumph over the demons (Rev. 1:18; Col. 2:15), and to convince condemned men that they were justly shut up in the infernal prison, 1 Peter 3:19. The preaching of Christ in hell was not evangelical, which is proclaimed to men only in the kingdom of grace; but legal, accusatory, terrible, and that too, both verbal, by which He convinced them that they had merited eternal punishments, and real, by which He struck frightful terror into them.” To the question, “Why did Christ preach in hell to those alone who were unbelieving in the time of Noah?” HOLL. replies (ib.): “(1) Others are not excluded, but these are presented as monstrous examples of impenitence and unparalleled examples of divine judgment; (2) The Apostle especially named these to teach that even the antediluvians ought to have believed in Christ; . . . (3) That the Apostle might pass conveniently from the flood, as a type, to its antitype, baptism.”

[22] QUEN. (III, 371): “The descent of Christ ad inferos, figuratively taken, is understood either metaphorically, as denoting that most exquisite and truly infernal pain and anguish which, in the time of His passion, Christ felt and bore in His most holy soul, Ps. 16:10; or, by metonymy, as denoting the virtue and efficacy of Christ’s passion and death, Zech. 9:11 (as though the sense were, 397‘Christ, by His passion and death, effected and purchased by His merit our deliverance and redemption from hell’). But neither signification pertains to this article.” HOLL. (777): “But, taken literally, the descensus ad inferos denotes a true and real departure into the place of the damned, inasmuch as Peter (1 Pet. 3:19) calls it a πορεια, or going, cf. Matt. 5:25; Rev. 18:2; 20:6; 2 Pet. 2:4.” The observation is added: “Although the descent of Christ ad inferos was true and real, yet the motion was not physical or local, but supernatural. For physical and local motion is peculiar to natural bodies; but the revived body of Christ was a glorified body. Nor was the movement successive; it was made, εν πνευματι, i.e., by divine power, which knows nothing of tedious efforts.”

[23] QUEN. (III, 372): “Christ, the God-man, and therefore His entire person (and hence not only according to His soul, or only according to His body), after the reunion of soul and body, descended to the very place of the damned, and to the devils and the damned manifested Himself as conqueror. For the descent, since it is a personal action, cannot be ascribed otherwise than to the entire person of the God-man. And, as in the Apostles’ Creed it is said of the entire God-man that He suffered, was crucified, dead, and buried, so also it is said of the same that He descended into hell.” The descent is very naturally, predicated of Christ, the God-man, i.e., it is taught that Christ, the God-man, was for a time in hell; but the descent itself is predicated only of the human nature of Christ. “Christ descended into hell, not according to His divine nature; for, according to this, He was in hell before, filling all things through His dominion . . . . Therefore, Christ descended, according to His human nature. For the predications θανατωθεις σαρκ and ζωοποιηθεις, belong to the human nature alone.” (QUEN., III, 373.)

[24] The doctrine as here set forth belongs to the period of the later Dogmaticians. Until the time of the FORM. CONC., no explanation whatever was attempted of the phrase, “Descendit ad inferos,” which was found already in the Apostles’ Creed. The FORM. CONC., however, was led to make a statement concerning it, mainly in consequence of controversies originating with the Hamburg Superintendent, JOHN AEPIN (1549). According to him, the descent of Christ was “a part of that entire obedience which He rendered for our redemption.” (“The simple and plain confession of AEPIN: I believe that the descent of the soul of Christ to hell was a part of Christ’s passion, i.e., of the contests, dangers, difficulties, pains, and punishments, which, for our sake, He took 398upon Himself and bore; for the reason that, in the Scriptures, to descend into hell means to be involved in extreme and the deepest griefs, pains, and difficulties. I believe that the descent of Christ to hell was a part of His obedience, predicted in the prophets, and imposed upon Him because of our sin.”) The descent of Christ is, therefore, “one act of His humiliation, and, indeed, its final stage.” (“I believe that the descent of Christ belongs to His humiliation, not to His glorification and triumph . . . . The final grade of this humility and self-renunciation, and the extreme part of the obedience and satisfaction imposed upon Christ by the judgment of God, was His descent to hell.”) While the body of Christ lay in the grave, His soul descended into hell; He did not descend with body and soul after their reunion, before the resurrection, but with the soul alone (“Peter clearly teaches, Acts 2, that the soul of Christ, while His body rested in the sepulchre, experienced the pains of death and hell”), and “the descent was not a public act of victory and triumph, but an act of suffering, to which Christ submitted in the same sense in which He subjected Himself to the condemnation of death.” (“The testimonies of Scripture nowhere show, by even the least indication, that to descend to hell is to triumph, and that the descent itself is a joyful, glad, splendid, and manifest triumph. There is, therefore, nothing certain and well-established in the caviling of those who contend that the descent of Christ was nothing else than the fierceness, manifest force, and triumph of Christ, by which He utterly crushed, and, with violence, oppressed those in hell.”) “Christ has, indeed, destroyed hell for us, and robbed the devil of his power, not, however, by violent destruction or suppression, but by righteousness and obedience; as He conquered and destroyed death by His dying, so also did He the same to hell by His descent into it.” (“As Christ did not vanquish death by force and manifest violence, but in death by truly dying, so He overthrows those in hell, not by warlike or glorious violence, and the manifest oppression of the devil, but by righteousness, by truly dying, by descending for us to those in hell, and rising again from death.”) AEPIN constantly protests against the use of the Petrine passages in the discussion of the doctrine of the descent of Christ to the lower world . . . . As proof passages for this article of faith, in addition to the Apostles’ Creed, the following are applicable: Ps. 16:10; 68:19; 30:4; Hos. 13:14; Acts 2:27; Matt. 12:40; Eph. 4:8, 9; Rom. 10:6, 7.

A question of entirely different character was agitated, in 1565, by the court chaplain, John Parsimonius, in Stuttgard. “He 399called in question the locality of the lower regions. Hell was, in his opinion, no locality, no corporeal fire, no corporeal darkness.” (“Scripture, indeed, calls hell a place, and says that it is situated beneath and below us; but these expressions are to be understood not according to Aristotle and mathematically, but theologically and according to the usage of Scripture . . . . The terms, ‘place,’ ‘upward,’ ‘downward,’ ‘above,’ ‘beneath,’ ‘within,’ ‘high,’ ‘deep,’ and the like, are not terms of the spiritual but of the bodily world; and when Scripture speaks of spiritual things and those of the other world, it borrows terms from bodily and earthly things, and uses them not literally but metaphorically.”) “Hell is where God’s wrath is, and the perception of this wrath. Accordingly, the descent to hell cannot be a corporeal, local movement, but only a change of condition, according to the measure of the conception above given of the lower regions . . . . Christ did not, therefore, after being made alive in the grave, before the resurrection, descend in a corporeal and local manner to hell. How Christ descended, and when, this the Scriptures have not specially revealed to us.” (Holy Scripture wishes us to believe that Christ descended to those in hell, and freed us from the kingdom of Satan, and the perpetual torments of hell; it does not wish us to know when and at what point of time He descended to those in hell, otherwise it would have revealed it to us.”) “Christ, after His death, suffered nothing at all; but, during His lifetime, He endured the pains of hell and in this sense He descended, illocally, into hell. In either case, however, Christ exhibited Himself as victorious and triumphant.”

These two theologians were the occasion of having an article concerning the descensus ad inferos inserted in the FORM. CONC. This contains, however, no decisions concerning the questions agitated by them, but rather keeps aloof from useless inquiries, and limits itself to the firm adherence to the confession that Christ, by His descent, “has destroyed hell for all believers, and delivered them from the power of death, of the devil, of eternal damnation, and of the jaws of hell.” FORM. CONC. (Epit., IX): “There was a controversy concerning this article among some theologians who profess the Augsburg Confession, as to when and how our Lord Jesus Christ, as our Catholic faith testifies, descended to those in hell, whether this were done before or after His death. In addition it was asked whether He descended only by His soul alone, or His divinity alone, or indeed by soul and body, and whether this were done after a spiritual or after a bodily manner. It was also disputed whether this article was to be referred to the Passion, or indeed to 400the glorious victory and triumph of Christ. But since this article of our faith . . . can be comprehended neither by our senses nor reason, but is to be received by faith alone, we unanimously advise that there be no controversy concerning this matter, but that we believe and teach this article with the greatest simplicity . . . . For we ought to be satisfied to know that Christ has descended to those in hell, that He has destroyed hell for all believers, that, by Himself, He has delivered us from the power of death and of Satan, from eternal damnation, and, therefore, from the jaws of hell. But let us not curiously search into the manner in which these things have been effected, but reserve the full knowledge of this matter for another world.” . . .

For the history of this article, see FRANK: “The Theology of the FORM. CONC. (III, 1863) de descensu ad inferos,” in whose words we have cited the doctrines of AEPIN (which he obtained, in part, from a manuscript in the library at Wolfenbuettel) and Parsimonius.

Concerning the different explanations of the descensus ad inferos, GRH. (I, 362): “Concerning the descensus ad inferos, the opinions of the old and more recent theologians greatly vary: (1) Some have altogether omitted this article. Thus, the several Councils of Nice, Constantinople, and Toledo have not mentioned it. (2) Clement, of Alexandria, says that Christ and the apostles descended to those in hell to preach the Gospel to the minds of the damned, and to carry to believers the hope of salvation. (3) Chrysostom refers the descensus ad inferos to the power of working miracles, by which Christ raised many from the dead. (4) Some in a general manner receive the descensus ad inferos as referring to the entire state of humiliation (Sohnius). (5) Some hold that descending ad inferos is the same as being buried (Bucer, Beza). (6) Some understand this descent with reference to the pains which Christ suffered in His soul (Calvin). (7) Some understand it with reference to the power and virtue of Christ’s death extending even to the dead. We say with Luther that this article is not to be treated with acuteness and anxious care, as to how it occurred, and what the descensus ad inferos means, but the most simple opinion must be retained, just as the words read. We believe, therefore, that Christ undoubtedly descended ad inferos, . . . and that by Himself He has delivered us from the power of death and of Satan, from eternal damnation, and therefore, from the jaws of hell.”

[25] QUEN. (III, 377): “The term ‘resurrection’ is received either comprehensively, according as it is an official meritorious act, and belongs to both natures, or restrictedly, according as it is 401a change of state of the human nature, resulting form exaltation; not the former but the latter signification has a place here. Just as Christ was nailed to the cross and delivered over to death, not according to His divine nature, which considered in itself is entirely free from suffering but according to His human nature; so He was raised up by God not according to His divine, but only according to His human nature. Yet the divine nature is not, therefore, altogether excluded from this act; for it has imparted to the human nature the power to rise again, and has made its resurrection of advantage to us, i.e., that the resurrection might be victor over death, sin, and hell, and our justifier.”

(Id., 387): “The material is the same body in substance and number that endured the death of the cross, reunited with the soul, the same in number which before had departed from it, but clothed with new qualities, Phil. 3:21 . . . . When the question is asked, ‘What is the nature of the body with which Christ rose again,’ we reply: (1) Not with a psychical (ψυχικω) body, or one subject to natural infirmities, but with a spiritual (πνευματικω) body, or one adorned with spiritual endowments, namely, invisibility, impalpability, illocality, etc. By virtue of this endowment, Christ penetrated the closed stone of the sepulchre, the closed door, and did not stand in need of raiment and food. “The fact mentioned in Luke 24:43, that He truly ate, occurred not from necessity but from free will; not for the nourishment of His own body, as the body neither stood in need of this nor admitted the same, but for the strengthening of the faith of the disciples. (2) Not with a weak body, but one strong and powerful. (3) Not with a corruptible body (such Christ’s body never was), but with an incorruptible and immortal body, both as to act and as to power. (4) Not with a body having ignominy, but with a glorious body, and hence the body of Christ is called σωμα τησ δοξης αυτου, Phil. 3:21.”

THE DESIGN OF THE RESURRECTION, according to HOLL. (783): “Christ rose again in order to manifest the victory which He had obtained over death and the devil, Acts 2:24; and to offer and apply to all men the fruits of His passion and death.” These fruits are: “The confirmation of our faith concerning Christ’s full satisfaction, 1 Cor. 15:17; the application of the benefits obtained by the death of Christ; our justification, Rom. 4:25; the sealing of our hope concerning our preservation for salvation, 1 Pet. 1:3; our being raised again to life eternal, John 11:25; 14:19; 2 Cor. 4:14; 1 Thess. 4:14; and our renewal, Rom. 6:4; 2 Cor. 5:15.”

[26] QUEN. (III, 380): “The ascension is regarded either in a 402wide sense, in so far as it includes the sitting at the right hand of God, as in Acts 2:33, 34; Eph. 4:10; or in a narrow sense, in so far as it denotes the visible elevation of Christ on high, as Mark 16:19; Acts 1:9, 11. The latter is the signification in this article.”

QUEN. (III, 382): “Of the general goal of the ascension, the passages Mark 16:19 and Acts 1:11 speak. But the heaven into which Christ ascended is not the aerial or sidereal heaven of nature, for to think of this here is irreverent; nor the heaven of grace (HOLL. (785), which is the Church Militant upon this earth, from which Christ has withdrawn His visible presence until the day of judgment); not a glorious state, whether of infinite glory, which pertains to the succeeding article, the sitting at the Right Hand of God, or of finite glory, because He was in this state immediately after the resurrection; but the residence, and home of the blessed, where He presents Himself to the blessed for them to look upon Him face to face, and fills the souls of the saints by His most joyful visible presence with divine and heavenly comfort, John 14:2; Luke 23:43. The goal, properly speaking, is υπερανω παντων ουρανων (above all heavens), Eph. 4:10, viz., at the very right hand of God, at which He sat down, where υψηλοτερος των ουρανων γενομενος (He is made higher than the heavens), Heb. 7:26. We have a great High Priest, says Paul, Heb. 4:14, διεληλυθοτα τουσ ουρανους (that is passed into the heavens).” Concerning the passage just cited, GRH. remarks, “To penetrate the heavens is not to pass through a visible mechanism of the heavens diversified by distinct circuits of spheres, so as to be contained in the last heaven, as though, according to a physical sense, to be circumscribed in a certain place; but, in accordance with scriptural language, to become higher than all heavens, and to enter and take upon Himself divine glory.” We have above proved that Christ ascended to the where of the blessed. But since this is not a circumscribed and physical locality, the ascension itself is not a local and physical passing over to it. Christ is also in heaven, yet not according to local circumscription, but definitively and according to the manner of a glorified body.

GRH. (XIX, 152): “We in no wise affirm that the ascension of Christ was an αφανισμος, disappearance or evanescence; nor any more αορασια [invisibility], just as before by divine virtue He had at different times rendered Himself invisible: but we sincerely believe and confess that Christ’s αναληψις [being taken up] was a τοπικη μεταστασις, a local transfer, a visible elevation, a true and real ascension, by which Christ, on Mount Olivet, was visibly lifted up on high from the earth, and, the infirmities of this life being laid aside, was transferred to heaven, and placed at the Right Hand of 403God, the ultimate goal of His ascension. But what we deny is this, viz., that Christ, when the cloud had withdrawn Him from the eyes of the disciples, by a successive departure passed first through a sphere of fire, and then through circles of planets and the firmament, or the first movable and crystalline heaven, until in the progress of time He came to His Father in the empyreal heaven, in which, residing in a local and bodily manner, He is held restrained from being present upon earth in an invisible and illocal manner before the day of judgment.”

[27] Cf. FORM. CONC., Sol. Dec., VIII, 28. Br. (487): “God’s Right Hand is not any definite place, but the omnipotent power of God itself, which fills heaven and earth, Matt. 26:64; Ex. 15:6; Heb. 1:3; 8:1; 12:2; Eph. 1:20-23; Ps. 139:10.” HOLL. (787): “To sit at God’s Right Hand means to use fully and incessantly the royal omnipotence and majesty imparted from the Father through the exaltation, for universal and most glorious governing in the kingdom of power, grace, and glory; or, what is the same, to sit at God’s Right Hand is, by virtue of the personal union and the exaltation following this, to govern all the works of God’s hands most powerfully, most efficaciously, and most gloriously, 1 Cor. 15:25, 27; Ps. 110:1, 2; Heb. 2:7, 8.”

GRH. (III, 509): “(a) The Right Hand of God. The sitting at the Right Hand of God must be understood to be of like nature with the right hand of God. Now the Right Hand of God is not a bodily, circumscribed, limited, definite place, but it is the infinite power of God and His most efficacious majesty in heaven and earth; it is that most efficacious dominion by which God preserves and governs all things. For thus the Right Hand of God is described in Holy Scripture, that it has been magnified in power, and breaks to pieces its enemies, Ex. 15:6; Ps. 18:35; 44:3; 108:6; 63:8, etc. From these and similar passages of Scripture such a representation of God’s Right Hand is inferred, as that it is the infinite power of God, everywhere, in heaven and earth, most efficaciously and most powerfully governing, controlling, and administering all things. Hence it is also called the right hand, δυναμεως, of power, Matt. 26:64; Luke 22:69; and the right hand of majesty, Heb. 1:3; the throne μεγαλωσυνης, 8:1; the right hand of the throne of God, 12:2; the throne of His glory, Matt. 25:31. Therefore the sitting at God’s Right Hand is to be explained and understood in such a manner as that through it, participation in divine power, majesty, and dominion in heaven and earth are understood.”

“(b) Sitting at God’s Right Hand. This is most correctly and 404simply explained according to the manner and sense in which Scripture itself explains the sitting at God’s Right Hand. Now Scripture itself explains the sitting at God’s Right Hand as the most efficacious and powerful dominion of heaven and earth. Therefore, etc. The minor premise is proved by a comparison of passages. The apostle, in 1 Cor. 15:25, citing Ps. 110:1, infers: ‘He must reign till He hath put all enemies under His feet.’ What sitting at the Right Hand of God is to David, that the reigning and having all things under Him is to the apostle. Thus Mark 16:19: ‘The Lord Jesus was received up into heaven, and sat on the Right Hand of God.’ With this passage we compare the expression of the apostle in Eph. 4:10. Therefore to sit at the Right Hand of God and to fill all things, i.e., with the presence of majesty, are convertible terms. And because the power and presence of majesty exercise themselves in a special way through works of grace, in the collection, preservation, and protection of the Church, therefore, according to Mark 16:20, the consequence is, the ‘apostles preached everywhere, the Lord working with them,’ and, according to Paul, Eph. 4:11, ‘He gave some apostles,’ etc., and 4:8 precedes, ‘He gave gifts to men.’ Peter, likewise, Acts 2:33, states that the miraculous outpouring of the Holy Ghost was a fruit and consequence of this sitting at the Right Hand of God: ‘Being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, He hath shed forth this which ye now see.’ The emphatic description of the sitting at the Right Hand of God given by Paul, Eph. 1:20 sq., and by Peter, 1 Pet. 3:22, are especially to be noted. Take notice that in the latter words, ‘He gave Him to be head over all things to the Church,’ this presence and power to the Church is not limited or restricted, but by these are described the effect and fruit of the dominion over all things conferred upon Christ. For, as God preserves the whole world because of the Church, so also the divine power and majesty are imparted to Christ, according to His human nature in order that He may be king and protector of the Church. Finally, this also must be noticed, that when Christ shall come in the clouds of heaven to judgment, He will nevertheless sit upon the seat of His majesty, and the Right Hand of God’s power, Matt. 24; 30; 25:31; 26:64. Therefore, the Right Hand of God is not any finite and circumscribed place in heaven; otherwise Christ coming in the clouds to judgment would no longer sit at the Right Hand of God. Likewise, all men are to be brought before His judgment-seat, and to see Christ as their judge, Zech. 12:10; Matt. 24:30; Rev. 1:7. But if Christ, with His glorified body, personally united to the λογος, 405and taken up to the right hand of God, were so confined to a determinate place in heaven that He could not be present and be seen except in that one place, how could all men, innumerable in multitude, see Him in that one place at one and the same time? If the seat of majesty on which Christ will sit when He comes to judgment has been removed so many miles from earth, how will all men, at one and the same view, be able to see Him?”

It is here to be observed that this sitting at the Right Hand of God is described as the last and highest act of the exaltation; hence CHMN. (Loc. Th.) remarks: “Scripture, therefore, explains Christ’s sitting at the Right Hand of God the Father Almighty, as referring to the exaltation of the human nature in Christ to the highest majesty and power over all things.” Rightly, therefore, QUEN. also, in harmony with all the Dogmaticians, remarks (III, 385): “The subject sitting at the Right Hand of God is the incarnate λογος, Matt. 26:64; Mark 14:62; Luke 22:69. The subject by which He sits, is human nature, Rom. 8:34; Phil. 2:8, 9; Rev. 5:9, 12, 13. This is proved . . . from the preceding self-renunciation and subsequent exaltation of Christ. According to the same nature, in which Christ was first humbled and afterwards exalted, He sits at the Right Hand of God; but Christ was first humbled and afterwards exalted, not according to His divinity, but only according to His humanity; for only the latter is capable of self-renunciation and exaltation.” It is to this sitting, that the remark of HOLL. refers (788): “Holy Scripture ascribes the sitting at God’s Right Hand, it is true, to Christ’s entire person, but according to His human nature;” i.e., the thing itself, the sitting at the Right Hand of God, is ascribed, indeed, to the entire person; but an exaltation, such as is implied in the conception of “sitting at the Right Hand of God,” can be predicated only of the human nature of Christ, for only this is capable of it. The Dogmaticians are so in the habit of associating the conception of exaltation with that of the “sitting,” that, in this connection, they make a further distinction between “sitting at God’s Right Hand, and reigning.” QUEN. (III, 384): “To sit at the Right Hand of God the Father, is not altogether the same as to reign with God the Father. For (1) Christ while yet ασαρκος [unincarnate] reigned with the Father and Holy Ghost from eternity, yet He did not then sit at God’s Right Hand; for this sitting first began from the time of exaltation. (Christ as God, together with the Father and Holy Ghost, reigns from eternity by means of His essential omnipotence; Christ as man, or according to His assumed human nature, reigns not from eternity, but from the time of His exaltation, through His sitting 406at the Right Hand of God. Mentzer shows this accurately in Anti-Matin, where he admonishes that the major premise2020[This cannot be understood without a reference to the context of QUEN., a portion of which Schmid here omits. It is this: “Martinius, the Calvinist, argues in this wise: ‘To sit at the Right Hand of God is to reign. But Christ reigns according to both natures. Therefore — ’”] [i.e., ‘to sit at the Right Hand of God is to reign,’ vide note], which receives the word, to rule, in too general a sense, is to be thus restricted: to sit at the Right Hand of God is to reign, namely, in such a manner that the sitting at the Right Hand of God is the cause, manner, and mode of the reign itself, (2) To reign with the Father is an αποτελεσμα [official act] of the royal office, issuing from the power of Christ’s two natures; but to sit at the Right Hand of God the Father is not such a result.”

[Reformed theologians, when not treating the doctrine of the Lord’s Supper, often reach the same conclusions, or closely approach them (as may be seen from the following citations in Heppe’s Dogmatik (1861, pp. 364, sq.): LEIDENER: “The Right Hand of God here cannot be received literally, since God is a spirit, and, accordingly, has not flesh and bones; but is taken metaphorically for the highest degree of glory, to which, after His passion and ascension, Christ was raised by the Father.” RIIS.: “The session at the Right Hand of God can be understood not properly and literally, but figuratively and metaphorically, in order to designate the supreme dignity and power of Christ; the metaphor being derived from the custom of kings, who are wont to put at their right hands those to whom they concede a degree both of honor and power in governing next themselves. This phrase is understood of the nearest degree of honor in 1 Kings 2:19, where Solomon, to show his mother especial honor, puts her at his right hand; and in Ps. 45:10, the wife of the king, i.e., the Church, is said to stand on the right hand of the Messiah. It is also used of power, or the administration of government, Matt. 10:21, where the mother of Zebedee’s sons asks that they may sit on His right and left in His kingdom, i.e., hold the highest offices. Hence, by the session at the Right Hand of God, two things especially are designated: 1. Supreme majesty and glory, whereby God supremely exalted Him, and through which He received a name above every name, Phil. 2:9, 10. 2. Supreme power, which He powerfully exercises towards all creatures, and especially displays in the government and defence of the Church.” HEIDEGGER: “To sit is here a sign of honor and power.” BUCAN: “But did He not always reign with the Father, and thus does He not perpetually sit at the Right 407Hand of the Father? He reigned indeed, but purely as God, without flesh. But afterwards in time, as God clothed in flesh, after the completion of the period of His humiliation, He began to sit at the Right Hand of the Father, i.e., to reign in heaven and earth. When did He begin to sit at the Right Hand of the Father? By right, from the very first moment of the hypostatic union; but actually or in fact, since His passion, resurrection and ascension.”]

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