Note To Evangelicals Revising The Doctrine Of God: The Socinian Vortius Denied Simplicity

Conrad Vorstius also occupies a significant, but nearly entirely negative, place in the development of Reformed orthodox doctrine of the divine attributes. After his successful defense of two of his works, De sancta trinitate (1597), and De personis et officio Christi (1597), before the Heidelberg faculty, he was called in 1610 to Leiden as the successor of Arminius. There, the revised edition of his 1602 Disputationes decem de natura et attributis Dei brought rapid condemnation from the Dutch Reformed, notably Sibrandus Lubbertus, and from the faculty at Heidelberg. Vorstius was dismissed from his professorship but paid his salary until his condemnation as a heretic by the Synod of Dort. Vorstius’ treatise on the divine nature and attributes attempted to modify the concepts of divine simplicity, infinity, and immensity in such as way as to allow distinctions in the divine nature.

—Richard A. Muller, Post-Reformation Reformed Dogmatics: The Rise and Development of Reformed Orthodoxy; Volume 3: The Divine Essence and Attributes (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2003), 114.

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  1. Why should a Socinian want to muck about with the divine nature, once he believes he has divested God’s Christ of it?

    • When there is a motive – but isn’t even deism perfectly happy with simplicity, infinity and immensity?

    • I must admit I haven’t read the ones that do. The only non-trinitarian monotheists I’ve come across that seem to want to muck around with the nature of the Father in this context are the mormons, and that’s because they want to make out that God is just like ourselves and we can become as He is . As far as I know, even “Allah” is reckoned to be simple, infinite, and immense (but, of course, other important attributes, like love and justice go by the board).

  2. This is excellent! Although, sadly, I do not think many evangelicals will know what Socinianism is, let alone what simplicity is.

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