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Trent Et Quarante, origin of the term Trent, is really a delightful treatise on biblical naturalism, in origination of the title. This book is a response both to the naturalism in the Reformation as well as the seventeenth-century church dads who denied the doctrine that salvation is immediate by grace alone. Et Quarante argues through this book that grace can be a work done by free will, while faith can be a work done by predestination. This means that we choose to believe what we want.
The most important part of the book consists of chapters divided into three parts, each dealing with one of the three main theologies, original sin, grace, and merit. Parts 1 through 3 focus primarily on the doctrine of original sin. This section of the book includes a number of insightful conversations between its contributors. Some of them are quite candid about how they reconcile religious belief with their daily practice. Some conversations are surprisingly poignant considering the subject matter.
Parts 2 through 3 focus primarily upon the doctrine of merit. Et Quarante offers an interesting argument against the notion of original sin. He argues that those who subscribe to this view do it because they have a misunderstood what it means. According to Et Quarante and his co-writers, John Locke, etc., the idea of merit comes from the doctrine of original sin. Locke believes that original sin binds a person to all the bad consequences of their behavior. Therefore, according to Et Quarante and his co-writers, if one were to follow Locke’s view on merit, one would inevitably become a sinner by the end of one’s life.
Et Quarante, however, points out that there’s more to merit than just this. It is important to remember that we are not saved because of our sins. We are saved because we were made in the image and likeness God. Our union with God is the only thing that matters. This is Et Quarante’s metaphysics on original sin and the heart of his message. In this way, he presents salvation as a mystery and thus it is something not easy to understand.
Et Quarante also tells the story of David, Bathsheba and the Absorption daughters. David had rejected the offer of Bathsheba (the daughter of Esdragel) for divorce due to her unfaithfulness. Bathsheba was so beautiful that David was ready to marry her but for reasons of purity, which was why he chose to marry her to undo the damage he had done. The metaphysics of original sin made it impossible for David to consummate their marriage as he was bound by the Law of Moses and the commandments of God.
Et Quarante draws heavily from the works of Robert Edward Grant, Hugh Walker, and Anthony Coady in explaining the philosophy of merit and demerit. However, he acknowledges the debt he owes to older works. Trent Et. Quarante’s interest in medieval naturaltheology is evident in his commentary on the works Basil, Origen and Augustine. All of these writers defend the doctrines of creation as well divine providence. There are several passages which echo the arguments of these authors. The book includes many references and details to biblical scripture.
This is one of the most helpful books on natural theology that I have ever read. Trent Et Quarante is a clear and concise explanation for this important subject. This guide is extremely useful for anyone who wishes to defend the faith.
From Joseph cornell-levine (eds.) A Manual for the Creation of Christian Knowledge. The first book in the new series. Copyright (c), 2005 Joseph T. Trent. All rights reserved.