Why was Christ necessary? The question might seem simple enough. Most Protestants might answer that we couldn’t save ourselves from our sins so he had to come to save us. The Romanist view differs in that Christ had to come to pay part and we had to pay part. Less-thoughtful Protestants and Catholics don’t have a clue why he was necessary. Really, it’s the truth. Thoughtful Protestants might give a more refined view along the lines of Systematic Theology and penal substitution.

Van Til’s section on Christology starting on page 46 would seem to place him squarely in the Systematic Theology camp. This isn’t bad. He even integrates it with theological anthropology seamlessly within the context of presuppositional apologetics. That is to say that he points to Christ as Prophet, Priest and King where willful man assumes the role of prophet, priest and king for himself.

But one wonders presuppositionally whether the necessity of Christ is primarily due to man’s sin. In other words, was Van Til an infralapsarian? For the supralapsarian, God’s elect was part of the design of his creation. The infralapsarian holds that God’s election was made after the fall and therefore was not part of the original design of history.

So then if God’s election was infralapsarian, then Christ was necessary primarily for salvation. If God’s election was supralapsarian, then Christ’s work of salvation for the elect is necessary primarily as a revelation of God. That’s not to say that it wasn’t important for the salvation of the elect, for the necessity of Christ as a full revelation of the Father must entail the central point of his visible work – and indeed be the central revelation. Christ came to save the elect by design of all creation as the pinnacle of the revelation of the Creator.

For the record, I’m supralapsarian. Perhaps I’ll get into what the gospel of Christ reveals to us about God in some later article. The fact that Van Til doesn’t go into this here doesn’t really say anything about his -lapsarian views, but this is all about what I get out of reading Van Til rather than being a full exposé of what Van Til wrote here.

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