Saturday, March 12, 2011

Psalm 102 as an Address to the Son


Gurney, Joseph John. “On the Testimony of the Apostle Paul, That the Psalmist Addresses the Son of God, as the Creator of the Universe.” Pages 169-182 in Biblical Notes and Dissertations, Chiefly Intended to Confirm and Illustrate the Doctrine of the Deity of Christ; with Some Remarks on the Practical Importance of That Doctrine. London: Rivington, 1833.

In this chapter Gurney argues that the words of Psalm 102 were addressed to the Son of God (1:10-12) and therefore prove that he was the creator of the heavens and the earth.  His argument is twofold:

1) The construction of verses 1:7-12 demonstrates that the Son is contrasted with the angels.  This is demonstrated by the μεν . . . δε construction.  The copula και links the two quotations from Ps 45 and Ps 102 as referring to the Son.  Therefore, the quotation of Ps 102 does not refer to the angels as some commentators are wont to do (Peirce; Michaelis).  It is clear that the quotation of Ps 102 is addressed to the Son as verse 1:8 indicates: προς δε τον υιον.  The preposition προς does not mean “concerning.”

2) The tenor of the argument also supports the contention that the psalm is addressed to the Son.  The whole book of Hebrews argues for the superiority of the Christian religion to that of Jewish law.  The audience was tempted to return to their Jewish faith and the observance of the law.  One of the things that may have contributed to this is the belief that the law was mediated by angels.  Here the author demonstrates the superiority of the gospel to the law by showing how Jesus is superior to the angels.  The whole of chapter 1 argues for the superiority of the Son to the angels: he receives a superior name to the angels.  The name encompasses both the offices and attributes of Christ.  His office is superior: the angels are ministers; he is the royal Son of God.  His attributes are superior: he receives worship from the angels.  He is also the one who created the heavens and the earth.

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