Thursday, March 16, 2017

The Apologetical Significance of Typology [Pt. I]

by Hiram R. Diaz III


I. Typology and the Defense
of Christ’s Deity

In Scripture, a type is an Old Testament reality that foreshadows a greater New Testament reality centering around the person and work of Christ. Type and antitype are analogically related, the former being compared to a shadow of the actual reality, thus forming a movement from the lesser to the greater. Apologetically, this is very significant, seeing as human types of Christ in many cases push orthodox superlative descriptions of mere men to their limit, thereby revealing the divinity of the Greater One to whom these superlatives apply in a distinctly superior and literal manner.

The most striking example of this can be found in Psalm 45, where the human king Solomon is identified as “God.” The psalmist writes:
Your throne, O God, is forever and ever.The scepter of your kingdom is a scepter of uprightness;you have loved righteousness and hated wickedness.[1]

Respecting his agentive function, Solomon is identified as “God,” i.e. as God’s representative. However, these verses also identify Solomon’s righteousness as nearly perfectly reflecting the righteousness of God when, in fact, Solomon did not hate wickedness as he should have, choosing instead to engage in idolatry as a result of his marriages to many pagan women.[2]

It is evident, then, that Solomon’s role as the king of Israel, and not his ontological and ethical nature, legitimizes this agentive identification of him as “God.” This appears to be the case as well in Ps 82:6-7, where the Holy Spirit declares:

I said, “You are gods,sons of the Most High,
all of you; nevertheless,
like men you shall die,
like men you shall die,and fall like any prince.”

As judicial representatives of God, these men are called “gods” and “sons of the Most High.” Their ontological and ethical nature, however, is clearly not divine. These men “shall die” for judging men unjustly,[3] which demonstrates that (i.)they are mortal and (ii.)sinful.

Given the trajectory of progressive revelation, the movement from the lesser to the greater, it follows that if Solomon and the unjust judges of Ps 82 are called “God” in an agentive sense, then it follows that the one who is greater than Solomon, and who judges with perfect justice, cannot be called “God” in the same sense that these OT figures are called “God” (i.e. the agentive sense).

Christ, in fact, makes this argument in John 10:34-38