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Archive for February 16th, 2019

Answer: (1) Christ did indeed suffer eternal damnation, for eternal damnation, death, and pain consist in total separation from God, in the total manifestation of divine wrath, and all of this for such a duration until the punishment upon sin was perfectly and satisfactorily born. However, Christ has suffered all this to the fullest extent, as has been demonstrated earlier. He suffered as long and in such a measure until He could say, “It is finished” (John 19:30), and “I have finished the work which Thou gavest Me to do” (John 17:4). (2) Christ did not need to be locally in hell, for this does not belong to the essence of eternal damnation. His suffering did not have to be endless or eternal in duration. Man is subject to this due to his inability to endure punishment exhaustively and at the same time restore himself into a state of perfection. Consequently man would have to remain subject to it until he would make full satisfaction, which could not occur to all eternity. Since, however, the Surety has suffered everything to the most perfect degree and with utmost exertion, that is, as much as was necessary to satisfy divine justice, and since He fulfilled the demands of the law by His perfect obedience, it was neither possible to extend His suffering any further, nor “that He should be holden of” death (Acts 2:24). Additional Objection: Christ’s human nature, in which He suffered, was finite and thus was not capable of bearing infinite wrath. Consequently His suffering was not sufficient to atone for sin which merits eternal punishment. Answer: We cannot determine to what degree Christ’s human nature was fortified, but it always remained finite. In this nature Christ endured a total being forsaken by, and the full wrath of, the infinite God against whom the elect had sinned. One should note, however, that it was not the human nature which suffered, but the Person according to this nature, and since the Person is infinite, all that He suffered was of infinite efficacy and value.

Wilhelmus à Brakel (1700 A.D.)

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