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Herman Ridderbos, Paul:

An Outline of His Theology


Chapter 2,
Fundamental Structures
Study Notes
by Dr. Reggie M. Kidd
Professor of NT
Reformed Theological Seminary/Orlando

Ch. 2, Sect. 7. Redemptive History and Eschatology


What structures Pauls theology: the transition between the present (evil) age and the age to come.
Gal 4:4
to. plh,rwma tou/ cro,nou time in its extensiveness, as world time
Eph 1:10
to. plh,rwma tou/ kairw/n the fulfillment of all antecedent redemptivehistorical interventions and turning points
2Co 6:2 Now is the acceptable time (kairo,j)
2Co 5:17
Mystery passages
Tt 1:2,3; 1Tm 2:6; 6:15 kairoi/j ivdi,oij
the proper, fitting, appropriate time
Continuity with Jesus:
Mk 1:15
Mt 13:11,16,17
Continuity with the early church:
Acts 2:17
But Paul unfolds it in a wealth of aspects and with a depth of ideas unequalled in the NT.
Ch. 2, Sect. 8. Eschatology and Christology. The Person and Work of Christ: The Mystery of Christ. The coming of
Christ marks and shapes the transition between the ages.
Pauls eschatology is Christ-eschatology
Pauls Christology is a Christology of redemptive facts
Termination and fulfillment of the great series of divine redemptive acts in the history of Israel, and
Presupposition of the progress and consummation of the history of the world
Man- and world- and history-encompassing redemptive work. All-embracing character of Pauls eschatology and
Christology comes to the fore especially in Eph and Col. But it is the presupposition of all his preaching:
Israels Messiah (Rom 1:2-4; 9:5)
The One in whom God gathers and saves his people (2Co 6:16ff)
The One whom he has exalted and appointed Savior and Kurios of all things (Php 2)
Point of mystery language: not that past just a time of darkness, but also one of preparation (2Tm 1:9; Rom 16:26)
Nicely illustrates with passages that show the overlap of the ages (see. p. 52). Ambivalence of the now:
Already now of the time of salvation that has been entered upon
Even nos of the world time that still continues
Pauls eschatology not determined by any traditional eschatological schema, but by the actual acting of God and
Christ. The revelation of Jesus Christ as the Messiah promised by God to Israel determines and creates Pauls
historical consciousness and eschatological thought, and not the reverse. This is why Paul never systematizes it.

Notes on Ridderbos, Paul, ch 2

2003 R. M. Kidd. All rights reserved. For classroom distribution only.

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This [starting point] is situated in the all-controlling fact of Christs death and resurrection (Sect. 9
Red Circle).

It is there that the new creation comes to light, Christ appears as as the Firstborn from the dead and
the Inaugurator of the new humanity (Sect. 10 Blue Circle).

It is from thence that the redemptive significance of Christs advent and work is made transparent,
first in his human existence before and after the resurrection (flesh and Spirit);... (Sect. 11 Green
Circle).

... then even in his pre-existence as the Son of God sent for this task of second man; ... (Sect. 12
Gold Circle).

... and finally in his significance as encompassing the whole of creation and history (Sect. 13 Teal
Circle). The ultimate objective of Gods redemptive work brings us back to the Beginning. What was
lost in the first Adam is regained in the second in a much more glorious way. ... So the fundamental
structures and implications of Pauls eschatological preaching of Christ are exposed to view.

Ridderbos ends the circle image in Sect. 13, but it seems to me that his concluding discussion on the
exalted and coming Kurios provides a necessary rounding out of the architecture of Pauls theology;
so I have presumed to help our brother out by adding another circle (Sect. 14 Purple Circle).

Notes on Ridderbos, Paul, ch 2

2003 R. M. Kidd. All rights reserved. For classroom distribution only.

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This [starting point] is situated in the all-controlling fact of Christs death and resurrection (Sect. 9
Red Circle).

Retrospectively, Christ's death and resurrection are the means by which Paul understands the Lords:
Incarnation (Sect. 11), &
Pre-Existence (Sect. 12).

Prospectively, Christ's death and resurrection are the means by which Paul understands the Lords:
Present Lordship over All Creation (Sect. 13), &
Anticipated Parousia (Sect. 14).

Notes on Ridderbos, Paul, ch 2

2003 R. M. Kidd. All rights reserved. For classroom distribution only.

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It is there that the new creation comes to light, Christ appears as as the Firstborn from the dead and the
Inaugurator of the new humanity (Sect. 10 Blue Circle).
Dying and Rising with Christ:
not an individual, mystical experience (subjectivist dead end)
not an automatic status conferred through an initiation rite like those of the mystery religions
(objectivist dead end)
rather, something that has (2Co 5:17; Col 2:13; Eph 2:5,14ff) and will (1Co 15:22) happen to us by
virtue of Christ's replacing Adam as our representative before God

A Kiddian Aside on the Relationship between Historia Salutis and Ordo Salutis in Paul.
Redemption Accomplished: Historia Salutis (Representative/Forensic/Juridical)
2 Cor 5:14-15
Rom 5:12-21
and Redemption Applied: Ordo Salutis (Vital/Experiential/Ethical)
Rom 8:9-11

Back to Ridderbos: Individual transformation takes place but it does so in a supra-individual context (p.
63f):
1.
It takes place in the Body of Christ (Gal 3:26-28; 1Co 12:13; Eph 4:13).
2.
It is a matter of the redemptive historical transition working itself out in an individual's
experience (e.g., Gal 2:20; and the old man, new man passages Col 2:11; 3:9; Eph 4:22-24; 2:10).

Notes on Ridderbos, Paul, ch 2

2003 R. M. Kidd. All rights reserved. For classroom distribution only.

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It is from thence that the redemptive significance of Christs advent and work is made transparent, first
in his human existence before and after the resurrection (flesh and Spirit);... (Sect. 11 Green Circle).

Notes on Ridderbos, Paul, ch 2

2003 R. M. Kidd. All rights reserved. For classroom distribution only.

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... then even in his pre-existence as the Son of God sent for this task of second man; ... (Sect. 12 Gold Circle).
As unique Image-Bearer of God, Christ is distinguished from God and identified with God. He is Son of God in a supraand prehistorical way. His divine attributes are not simply a function of his exaltation at the resurrection. The sending
does not create the Sonship, but presupposes it (Eph 1:4; 2Tm 1:9; Eph 1:9; 2:10; Rom 8:29). Christ is and always was
God (Rom 9:5; 2Th 1:12; Tt 2:13)
2 Cor 4:4
Col 1:15
Re: Php 2:6-7. Here Paul frames his discussion about the pre-existent Christ against the backdrop of of redemptive
history, i.e., Christ as Second Man and Last Adam. Considerations:
1.
Interchangeableness of morfh. qeou/ (Php 2:6, morphe theou, form of God) and eivkw.n qeou/ (2Co 4:4;
Col 1:15, eikon theou, image of God. See 2Co 3:18; Rom 8:29. And compare 1Co 15:49 with Phil
3:21; Gal 4:19.
2.

Equality with God (2:6) an allusion to you shall be as God (Gen 3:5).

3.

Christ's obedience (2:8) contrasts with Adam's disobedience. The only other place Paul speaks of
Christ's obedience is Rom 5:19, where he also has in view the difference between the First and Last
Adam.

Despite his objections to Cullmann's denial of Christ's ontological deity, Ridderbos notes that Christ is always thought of
as God-for-us, even in the pre-existent state. Paul presupposes Christ is God apart from us, but is worked up about him
because Christ is our Redeemer and Elder Brother (Rom 8:29).

Notes on Ridderbos, Paul, ch 2

2003 R. M. Kidd. All rights reserved. For classroom distribution only.

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... and finally in his significance as encompassing the whole of creation and history (Sect. 13 Teal
Circle). The ultimate objective of Gods redemptive work brings us back to the Beginning. What was lost in
the first Adam is regained in the second in a much more glorious way. ... So the fundamental structures and
implications of Pauls eschatological preaching of Christ are exposed to view.
In the description of this superiority of the second man in the categories that have been derived from the
significance of the first man Paul comes to the full explication of the salvation that has appeared in Christ. In
that sense one could call Colossians 1:15-20 the keystone of Pauls Christology; with the explicit addition,
however, that it was not theological speculation, but pastoral care for the church and the warding off of what
was alleged against the all-embracing significance of the salvation that has been manifested in Christ, that
brought the apostle to this confession (p. 86).

Notes on Ridderbos, Paul, ch 2

2003 R. M. Kidd. All rights reserved. For classroom distribution only.

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Ridderbos ends the circle image in Sect. 13, but it seems to me that his concluding discussion on the exalted
and coming Kurios provides a necessary rounding out of the architecture of Pauls theology; so I have
presumed to help by adding another circle (Sect. 14 Purple Circle).

The presence of the Spirit within the church is:


a) the eschatological gift
Rom 8:23 Firstfruits of the harvest (NB: the resurrection connection: Christ's resurrection
is the firstfruits [1Co 15:23]; and the same Spirit who raised him from the dead is the
source of his present resurrection life in us [Eph 1:19-20; Rom 8:10] and will be the agency
by which we will experience resurrection in the future [Rom 8:11])
b) and merely a foretaste of the glory to come
2Co 1:22; 5:5
seal and downpayment
Eph 1:13; 4:30
Rom 8:16
Witness to our sonship
Rom 8:23
(As Firstfruits of the harvest, thus) the Prompter of our groanings
Rom 8:26
Interceder and Interpreter of our groanings
The poignancy of the Christian experience lies in the fact that we live under an interim, provisional
administration.

Notes on Ridderbos, Paul, ch 2

2003 R. M. Kidd. All rights reserved. For classroom distribution only.

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