Preface

We have already published treatises on the One God, the Triune God, the Creator, and the Holy Eucharist. These have been presented in the form of a commentary on the teaching of St. Thomas in his Theological Summa. It is the purpose of the present treatise on Christ the Savior to explain, in accordance with the more common interpretation of the Thomists, the teaching of St. Thomas on the motive of the Incarnation, the hypostatic union, and its effects. We have discussed at length the more difficult problems, such as the reconciliation of freedom with absolute impeccability in Christ, the intrinsically infinite value of His merits and satisfaction, His predestination with reference to ours, inasmuch as He is the first of the predestined, and the reconciliation, during the Passion, of the presence of extreme sorrow with supreme happiness experienced by our Lord in the summit of His soul.

In all these problems our wish has been to manifest the unity of Christ inasmuch as He is one personal Being, although He has two really distinct and infinitely different natures. Hence the Person of Christ constitutes the one and only principle of all His theandric operations.

In all these questions St. Thomas, according to his custom, wonderfully preserved the principle of economy[1] by reducing all things to the same principles and in the ultimate analysis to the one and only fundamental principle. Similarly, with reference to the Passion everything is reduced to the principle of the plenitude of grace. This plenitude, on the one hand, was the cause in the summit of our Lord's soul of the beatific vision and, on the other hand, it was the cause of His most ardent love as priest and victim, so that He willed to be overwhelmed with grief, and die on the cross a most perfect holocaust.

At the end of this treatise we have given merely a compendium on Mariology, since a more complete commentary on this subject has recently been published by us in the French language.

May the reading of these pages be a source of knowledge as well as of spiritual benefit to all students of theology.


THE THIRD PART OF ST THOMAS' THEOLOGICAL SUMMA

Prologue

In this prologue St. Thomas shows the place assigned to this treatise in his Theological Summa, according to the division made by him at the beginning of this work, in which he had said: "Because the chief aim of sacred doctrine is to teach the knowledge of God, not only as He is in Himself, but also as He is in the beginning of things and their last end, and especially of rational creatures... we shall treat:

(1) "Of God (one in nature and triune in persons, and inasmuch as He is the principle of creatures); (2) of the rational advance of creatures toward God (or of God as He is the end of the rational creature); (3) of Christ, who as man is our way to God."[2]

In the present treatise he says: "Because our Savior the Lord Jesus Christ in order to save His people from their sins, as the angel announced, showed unto us in His own person the way of truth, whereby we may attain to the bliss of eternal life by rising again, it is necessary... that, after consideration of the last end of human life, and the virtues and vices, there should follow a consideration of the Savior of all and of the benefits bestowed by Him on the human race."[3]

Some theologians prefer another division to that made by St Thomas, in which the distinction between dogmatic theology and moral theology is more in evidence, so that moral theology is not placed between the treatises on the One God and the Word incarnate. Furthermore, they remark that the treatise on the Word incarnate because of its dignity justly comes immediately after the treatise on the one and triune God.

To this the Thomists reply that, according to St. Thomas, dogmatic theology and moral theology are not two distinct sciences, but two parts of the same science, similar to the science of God of which it is a participation.[4] The unity of this science results from the unity of its formal object both quod and quo.[5] Its formal object quod, or the subject of this science, is God Himself considered in Himself, or as He is the principle and end of creatures. The formal object quo is virtual revelation by the light of which are deduced both in dogmatic theology and moral theology the conclusions that are virtually contained in the revealed principles. Therefore dogmatic and moral theology are not two sciences, but two parts of the same science.

They also remark that, although this treatise on the Savior, because of its dignity, precedes the moral part of theology, nevertheless, in the orderly arrangement of knowledge, it is justly placed after the other parts of theology, and this especially for three reasons: (1) because the simpler things come before the composite. In the preceding parts of the Summa, however, what pertains to God and to man are discussed separately, whereas the present treatise is concerned with Him who is both God and man.[6] (2) The work of redemption presupposes also that man lived for a long period of time under the law of the Old Testament, as well as it presupposes acts of faith and other virtues necessary in the various states of life. Hence St. Thomas appropriately places this treatise on the Savior at the end of his Summa. (3) Moreover, it must be noticed that what is necessary precedes what is contingent. But in the two preceding parts of the Theological Summa, what forms the subject of special discussion is the nature of God, and the nature of both angels and man with reference to God; whereas the Third Part of the Summa considers the great contingent fact which did not have to be realized, namely, that the Word was made flesh. This fact, although it is the greatest of all historical facts in the universe, is a contingent fact; for it is not something absolutely necessary, such as the divine nature for God and also the human nature for man. For this reason, certain philosophers, even certain mystics, desired to reach union with God, not by way of Christ the universal mediator, although He had said: "I am the way and the truth and the life."[7] These persons did not grasp the practical import of the statement that Christ, or the Word of God incarnate, is the exemplar and source of all virtues, without whom nobody can acquire salvation and sanctity.

This deviation from the common method of approach to God is in itself manifestly in opposition to the great truth, namely, that these persons somehow overlooked the fact of the Incarnation, inasmuch as it is not an absolutely necessary fact, and they failed to see that precisely because it is contingent, it becomes, in some aspect, a fact of the greatest importance, inasmuch as it is a transcendent manifestation of God's most free and absolutely gratuitous love for the human race. St. John testifies that: "God so loved the world as to give His only-begotten Son."[8] He also says: "He hath first loved us, and sent His Son to be a propitiation for our sins."[9] In fact, these texts express the fundamental truth of Christianity, which is that God, by a most free act of His love, sent His divine Son to us. Hence the entire third part of the Theological Summa of St. Thomas is a detailed narrative of God's gratuitous love for us confirmed by the text: "God so loved the world, as to give His only-begotten Son."[10] It is truly a complete description of this gratuitous love as being the motive of God's mercy, and of the efficacy of this love. It is a canticle of God's gratuitous love for the human race. Thus the contingency of this most prominent fact in the history of the human race does not lessen its importance, but it manifests, on the contrary, the supreme gratuitousness of God's most free love for us.

Indeed, this manifestation of love is of such excellence that, in these days, even the more obnoxious enemies of the Church, such as several idealists, disciples of Hegel and Renan, who deny the existence of a true God really and essentially distinct from the world, say that Christ was the noblest of all men and that nobody was a better type of the evolution of the human race. So wrote Renan.[11] In fact, several communists in these days say the same, and they furthermore remark that this evolution of the human race predicted by Christ can be realized only by communism. Thus, presenting Christ in an entirely false light, whether they wish it or not, they confess that the greatest event in the history of the human race was the coming of Christ. But before this statement about Christ can be understood, one must have a correct notion of both God and man. Hence this treatise on the Incarnation is logically placed in the third part of the Theological Summa.

From the prologue we see that St. Thomas divides the third part of his Summa by considering: (1) the Savior Himself; (2) the sacraments by which we attain to our salvation; (3) the end of immortal life to which we attain by the resurrection.

Thus it is evident that the third part of the Summa is a treatise on the Savior, and the benefits He bestowed on us by instituting the sacraments and enabling us to get to heaven, which is our last end.

The treatise on the Savior is divided into two parts.

Part I discusses the mystery itself of the Incarnation (q. 1-26).

Part II discusses the actions and sufferings of our Savior or the mysteries of the life of Christ (q. 27-59).

The first part is often called, in our days, Christology, and the second part is known as soteriology. The mystery of the Incarnation is the principal topic of discussion in the first part, and in the second part St. Thomas considers the mystery of Redemption, in which he discusses especially the passion of Christ (q. 46-52).

The first part of the mystery of the Incarnation contains three sections:

1) The fitness of the Incarnation, in which it is discussed as a historical fact (q. 1).

2) The mode of union of the Word incarnate is considered (q. 2-15). The union itself (q. 2), the union in its relation to the person assuming (q. 3), and then on the part of the nature assumed and its perfections, the grace, knowledge, and powers of Christ are discussed (q. 4-15).

3) The consequences of the union with reference to what belongs to Christ are here discussed: (1) in themselves (q. 16-19); (2) in their relation to the Father, in which the predestination of Christ is considered; (3) with reference to us, in which our adoration of Christ and His office of Mediator are discussed (q. 25-26).

The second part is concerned with the mysteries of the life of Christ, and is divided into four sections: (1) the coming of Christ into the world, which includes Mariology; (2) His life on earth in its gradual development; (3) the end of His life, or His passion and death; (4) His exaltation, or His resurrection and ascension.

This second part which is entitled, The Mystery of Redemption, will be a brief treatise on the Passion, as it is the cause of our salvation, the vicarious satisfaction of Christ, its infinite value, Christ's victory, and also Christ as king, judge, and head of the blessed. Finally there will be a compendium on Mariology.

It must be noticed that among the commentators of the Summa John of St. Thomas discusses the satisfaction of Christ at the beginning of His commentary, by considering the fittingness of the Incarnation, inasmuch as the Son of God came down from heaven for our salvation, namely, to redeem the human race. This arrangement is, indeed, appropriate for a complete understanding of the thesis on the motive of the Incarnation. However, in the doctrinal order, so far as operation follows being, St. Thomas is justified in discussing the Incarnation before the Redemption, or before the theandric act of the love of Christ suffering for us. Probably the reason why John of St. Thomas discussed at length the satisfaction of Christ at the beginning of his commentary, is that it ends with the twenty-fourth question in the Summa of St. Thomas.

Billuart, however, developed his thesis on the satisfaction of Christ in connection with the merit of Christ, which is question nineteen in the Summa of St. Thomas, at the same time discussing the infinite value of the merits of Christ.

Following the arrangement of questions as given by St. Thomas, we shall consider: (1) the mystery of the Incarnation; (2) the mystery of Redemption. This is the method commonly adopted by theologians.


CHAPTER I: THE MYSTERY AND FACT OF THE INCARNATION

Preliminary Remarks

Before we come to explain the article of St. Thomas, we must set forth what positive theology teaches on the fundamentals of this treatise. Speculative theology, of course, begins with the articles of faith as defined by the Church, and concerning these its method of procedure is twofold. In the first place it gives a philosophical analysis of the terminology employed in these articles of faith. Thus it shows the fittingness of the mysteries, the possibility of which can neither be proved nor disproved. As the Vatican Council says: "Reason enlightened by faith, when it seeks earnestly, piously, and calmly, attains by a gift from God some, and that a very fruitful, understanding of mysteries; partly from the analogy of those things which it naturally knows, partly from the relations which the mysteries bear to one another and to the last end of man."[12]

In the second place, speculative theology deduces from the principles of faith conclusions that are virtually contained in the principles. In this way a body of theological doctrine is established in which there is due subordination of notions and truths, some of these being simply revealed, whereas others are simply deduced from revealed principles. These latter truths do not properly belong to the faith, but to theology as a science.

So does St. Thomas proceed, presupposing in the first article of this third part of his Summa the dogma of the divinity of Christ as solemnly defined by the Church. The positive theology of St. Thomas is found especially in his commentaries on the Gospels and on the Epistles of St. Paul.

It is necessary, however, to begin with a chapter on positive theology, in order to show that the definitions of the Church express what is already contained more or less explicitly in the deposit of revelation, namely, in Sacred Scripture and tradition.

On this point it must be carefully noted, as regards the method, that positive theology, being a part of sacred theology, differs from mere history, inasmuch as per se or essentially it presupposes infused faith concerning divine revelation, as contained in Sacred Scripture and tradition, and faithfully and infallibly preserved and explained by the Church.

Thus positive theology differs from the history of dogmas, for this latter views them solely according to the rational exigencies of the historical method. Positive theology, under the positive and intrinsic direction of the faith, makes use of history, just as speculative theology makes use of philosophy, but in each case as a subsidiary science.

This means that positive theology, in studying the documents of Scripture and tradition, presupposes not only rational criticism and exegesis, as Father Zapletal ably points out,[13] but also Christian criticism and exegesis, which acknowledges the dogma of inspiration. It presupposes, too, Catholic interpretation of Scripture and tradition, which admits not only the dogma of inspiration, but also the authority of the Church in determining the true sense of Sacred Scripture and tradition, as also the authority of the Fathers and the analogy of faith, as Leo XIII explains in his encyclical Providentissimus Deus. In this encyclical he writes: "In the other passages, the analogy of faith should be followed, and Catholic doctrine, as authoritatively proposed by the Church, should be held as the supreme law.... Hence it is apparent that all interpretation is foolish and false which either makes the sacred writers disagree with one another, or is opposed to the doctrine of the Church."[14] In accordance with the analogy of faith, an obscure text in Sacred Scripture is to be explained by other texts that are clearer or more explicit.

This method appears to be most reasonable, since even in human affairs, if we wish to put a correct interpretation on the historical documents of any nation or family, their traditions must be considered, for these are always a living quasi-commentary of these documents, so that an interpretation of these documents which results in their being contradictory to the living tradition of the people should be rejected as false.

Thus not only rational but also Christian and Catholic exegesis must admit the canon of the books of Sacred Scripture, together with the text, which have been approved by the Church, and also the documents of tradition preserved in her archives.

Thus Catholic exegesis considers the books of Scripture not only as historical works written by certain authors, such as the Gospel written by St. Matthew, or that by St. Mark, but it also considers them as divine books that have God as their author, the preservation of which pertains to the Church; and it reads these books not only by the light of natural reason but also by the supernatural light of infused faith. Catholic exegesis, of course, makes use of the natural branches of knowledge, languages, for instance, but it subordinates these to a higher light and to the principles of faith.

Hence the Vatican Council, in recalling the decree of the Council of Trent, says: "In matters of faith and morals... that is to be held as the true sense of Holy Scripture, which our holy Mother the Church has held and holds."[15]

Finally, as Father Zapletal remarks,[16] the sacred authors sometimes did not fully understand the meaning which the Holy Spirit intended to convey by the words, that is, they did not always completely grasp the literal and objective sense of the words, as can be concluded from what St. Peter says about the prophets.[17]

In fact, St. Thomas says: "Sometimes he who is prompted to write something does not understand the meaning the Holy Spirit intends to convey by what he writes, as is evident in the case of Caiphas, who said: 'It is expedient for you that one man should die for the people.’ Then it is a case more of prophetic instinct than of prophecy."[18]

This observation may prove useful in connection with the question of the divinity of Christ as literally expressed in the Synoptic Gospels. Having completed these preliminary remarks, let us pass on to consider the testimony of Christ Himself as contained in the Gospels.

First Article: Christ's Testimony Of Himself And Primarily Of His Messianic Dignity

State Of The Question.

In our days what claims first attention is the opinion that Modernists and a number of liberal Protestants have about Christ. What they think is known from the propositions condemned in the decree Lamentabili.[19] Some of these read: "The divinity of Jesus Christ is not proved from the Gospels, but it is a dogma deduced by the Christian conscience from the notion of the Messias" (prop. 27). "In all the Gospel texts the expression 'Son of God' is equivalent merely to the name 'Messias'; it does not at all, however, signify that Christ is the true and natural Son of God" (prop. 30). "The doctrine of the sacrificial death of Christ is not evangelical, but originated with St. Paul" (prop. 38).

A number of rationalists, such as Renan, B. Weiss, H. Wendt, Harnack, recognize some divine sonship in Christ that is superior to His Messiahship, but they deny that Jesus, in virtue of this sonship, was truly God.[20]

Among conservative Protestants, however, several, such as F. Godet in Switzerland, Stevens and Sanday in England, defended in recent times the divinity of Christ, not only from the Fourth Gospel and the Epistles of St. Paul, but even from the Synoptic Gospels.[21]

Let us first briefly review what the Gospels say about the Messiahship of Christ; a fuller account will be given afterward of His divinity as recorded in the New Testament.

It has already been shown in apologetics by the historical method, that is by considering the Gospels as historical narratives, though not in this connection, as being inspired, that Christ very plainly affirmed Himself to be the Messias announced by the prophets. A few rationalists, such as Wellhausen, deny that Christ said He was the Messias; but very many rationalists, such as Harnack and O. Holzmann, acknowledge that Jesus affirmed His Messiahship, and Loisy admits that Jesus, not at the beginning of His public life but toward its end, taught that He was the Messias.[22] The Gospel texts in which the Messiahship is affirmed are quoted in all works on apologetics.[23] The principal texts are given below.

From the beginning of His ministry, Jesus testified that He was the ambassador of God, and later on much more explicitly He asserted that He was the Messias and the Savior.

This He affirmed both publicly and privately.

Publicly (1) He declared His mission as teacher and Messias, when the Evangelist says of Him: "He began preaching the Gospel of the kingdom of God. And saying: The time is accomplished, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent, and believe the Gospel."[24] In choosing His apostles, He said: "Come ye after Me and I will make you to be fishers of men."[25] "And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the Gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and every infirmity among the people."[26]

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus perfects the Mosaic law in His own name, asserting many times: "It was said to them of old.... But I say to you."[27] At the end of this Sermon, we read: "For He was teaching them as one having power, and not as the scribes and Pharisees."[28]

2) Jesus replied to the scribes and Pharisees that He is the "Lord of the sabbath,"[29] "greater than Jonas and Solomon,"[30] greater than David.[31]

3) Likewise, in the synagogue at Nazareth, after Jesus had read the words of Isaias concerning the future Messias: "The spirit of the Lord is upon me. Wherefore He hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor, to heal the contrite of heart," we read farther on that "He began to say to them: This day is fulfilled this Scripture in your ears."[32] When the people did not believe, and said: "Is not this the Son of Joseph?" Jesus replied: "Amen I say to you that no prophet is accepted in his own country."[33]

4) Jesus declared His Messiahship even in plain words, after He cured the paralytic in a certain house at Capharnaum, on the Sabbath. The Jews accused Him of blasphemy, and He replied: "But that you may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, then He said to the man sick of the palsy: Arise, take up thy bed and go into thy house. And he arose and went into his house."[34] Christ claimed for Himself all rights pertaining to the Messiahship, such as the power of doing what His Father does, raising the dead to life, judging all men, and bringing those faithful to Him to eternal life.[35]

Privately. Jesus preferred to make known His Messiahship when speaking more intimately to His apostles.

1) In the beginning, after John the Baptist had given his testimony, and Jesus had spoken to others for the first time, Andrew says to his brother: "We have found the Messias."[36] Philip and Nathanael had similar experiences.[37]

2) Jesus said to His twelve apostles: "And going, preach, saying: The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, raise the dead.... He that receiveth you receiveth Me, and he that receiveth Me receiveth Him that sent Me."[38] "He that despiseth Me despiseth Him that sent Me."[39]

3) To the disciples of John the Baptist asking: "Art Thou He that art to come, or look we for another?" Jesus replied: "Go and relate to John what you have heard and seen. The blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead rise again, the poor have the gospel preached to them."[40] This text, however, is manifestly the fulfillment of the prophecy by Isaias, which the Jews understood as referring to the Messias.[41]

4) The first time that Jesus came to Jerusalem, He conversed with Nicodemus, one of the rulers of the Jews, and declared to him: "No man hath ascended into heaven, but He that descended from heaven, the Son of man who is in heaven.... For God so loved the world, as to give His only-begotten Son; that whosoever believeth in Him, may not perish, but may have life everlasting."[42] It is most evident from this answer that Jesus teaches His Messiahship, in fact, His divine sonship.

5) Jesus spoke similarly to the Samaritan woman, who says to Him: "I know that the Messias cometh (who is called Christ) "; Jesus says to her: "I am He who am speaking with thee."[43] After the Samaritans had heard Jesus, they said: "We ourselves have heard Him, and know that this is indeed the Savior of the world."[44]

All the preceding testimony, however, belongs to the beginning of Jesus' ministry; but toward the end of His life He speaks more explicitly not only to His apostles but also to the people.

The Last Year Of His Life

1) As Jesus was approaching the city of Caesarea Philippi, He asks a question, and receives from Peter this answer: "Thou art Christ the Son of the living God."[45] These words at least signify that Jesus is truly the Messias, and they are approved by Christ as being inspired by His heavenly Father.

2) On the festival day of the Jews, Jesus says to them: "My doctrine is not Mine, but His that sent Me."[46] The next day Jesus says to the Jews: "I am the light of the world.... I give testimony of Myself... and the Father that sent Me giveth testimony of Me."[47]

3) On the occasion of Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem, as the crowd was shouting: "Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord.... Hosannah in the highest,"[48] Jesus said to the Pharisees: "If these shall hold their peace, the stones will cry out."[49]

4) During the Passion, Jesus affirms before the Sanhedrim that He is the Christ, the Son of God. Thus at least He declared His Messiahship.[50]

5) After the Resurrection, Jesus said to the disciples on their way to Emmaus: "Ought not Christ to have suffered all these things, and so to enter into His glory?"[51] Similarly, Jesus said to the eleven apostles: "As the Father hath sent Me, I also send you."[52]

Conclusion. All this testimony, as Harnack[53] acknowledges against Wellhausen, is so interconnected with the entire Gospel narrative. that without it there would be almost nothing left that is historical in the life of Jesus, and His death could by no means be explained. There was also no time for a gradual idealization of Jesus' life, for the apostles already from the day of Pentecost taught that Jesus is the Messias and the Author of life.[54]

It must be noted that, theologically speaking, it is hard to determine in the Gospel texts when the expression of complete Messianic dignity ceases, and that of the divine sonship of Christ begins. The reason is that Jesus is called the Messias, or Christ, because He is the anointed of God. But the principal source of His anointing comes from the grace of union, by which His humanity is personally united to the Word, and by which He is therefore the Son of God. Hence, among the prophets and apostles, those who were more illuminated concerning the sublimity of the Messianic dignity already had a confused knowledge of the dignity of divine sonship.

Second Article: Testimony Of Christ And The Apostles Concerning The Divine Sonship

State of the question. Several rationalists, such as Renan, B. Weiss, H. Wendt, and Harnack, recognize some divine sonship in Christ that is superior to His Messiahship, but they deny that Jesus, in virtue of His sonship, is truly God.[55]

Several conservative Protestants, such as F. Godet, and in England, Stevens, Gore, Ottley, and Sanday, recently defended the divinity of Christ not only from the Fourth Gospel and the Epistles of St. Paul, but even from the Synoptic Gospels.[56]

Moreover, the Church declared against the Modernists, that the divinity of Christ is proved from the Gospels. Thus several of their propositions were condemned in the decree Lamentabili.[57]

Let us see what the Synoptic Gospels, the Gospel of St. John, and the Epistles of St. Paul say about the mystery of the Incarnation.[58]

For the state of the question it must be observed that Jesus is called the Son of God fifty times. The question is: In what sense is this expression to be understood?

In the Scripture, "son" is predicated in two ways. In the strict and literal sense it signifies a living being that proceeds from a living principle in conformity with the laws of nature. In the broad and metaphorical sense it denotes a disciple or an adopted heir. The term, with reference to God, also has two meanings. In the broad sense it is predicated of men who participate in the spirit and life of God, so that Christians are called "sons of God";[59] in the strict and proper sense, it is predicated of the Second Person of the Trinity, as in the text: "the only-begotten Son who is in the bosom of the Father."[60]

This expression "Son of God" sometimes perhaps in the Gospel means no more that Messias, when it is predicated of Jesus, for instance, by those who do not yet seem to know that He is by nature divine.[61] But from the Synoptic Gospels it is certain that Jesus said He was the Son of God in the proper, strict and most sublime sense of the term, inasmuch as He possesses the divine nature and is not merely a participator or partaker of this nature by grace.[62]

Christ Testifies To His Divinity In The Synoptic Gospels[63]

There are two ways by which Jesus in the Synoptic Gospels gradually declares His divine nature. (1) He claims rights or privileges that belong only to God. (2) He affirms that He is the Son of God. This gradual development is seen also as regards His Messiahship, which on several occasions is more affirmed as it is more denied or disbelieved by the Pharisees. The divine affirmation of these rights for the salvation of souls is intensified in proportion as the Pharisees increasingly resist these claims.

Moreover, we get a clearer insight into the sublime meaning of these words of Christ in proportion as the gift of infused faith increases within us, just as the validity of the first principles of reason and of being is more fully realized in proportion as the ability of metaphysical argumentation or the power of intellectual penetration increases within us. The scriptural texts that we shall now quote are considered by students of apologetics as it were from without, but in theology they are considered as it were from within, just as there are two ways of viewing the paintings on the windows of churches, either from the outside; or from within the church and thus in their true light, and then they are seen with better effect, and there is a realization of their value.

A. Christ attributed to Himself divine rights. The seven principal ones are these.

1) Jesus testified of Himself that He is greater than any creature. He is greater than Jonas and Solomon,[64] greater than David who called Him Lord,[65] greater than Moses and Elias who were present with Him on the day of the Transfiguration.[66] He is greater than John the Baptist, greater than the angels, because "the angels ministered to Him"[67] after His temptation in the desert, and they are His angels, for we read: "The Son of man shall send His angels and they shall gather together His elect."[68]

2) He speaks as the supreme Legislator, absolutely equal in authority to the divine author of the Old Law, which He completes and perfects, purging it of the false rabbinical interpretations, repeatedly saying: "It was said to them of old... but I say to you."[69] He forbids divorce to the Jews, which Moses permitted because of the hardness of their heart.[70] He says that He is the Lord of the Sabbath.[71]

3) He claims the right of forgiving sins, which the Jews considered a divine privilege. This is evident from the answer Jesus gave to the Jews when He miraculously cured the paralytic, saying: "But that you may know that the Son of man hath on earth to forgive sins, then He said to the man sick of the palsy: 'Arise, take up thy bed, and go into thy house. "[72] He even claims the right of communicating to others this power of forgiving sins, saying: "Whatsoever you shall bind upon earth, shall be bound also in heaven."[73]

4) He performs miracles in His own name, commanding the paralytic and the dead, saving: "Arise."[74] On the occasion of the storm at sea, He said: "Peace, be still. And the wind ceased."[75] On the contrary, others perform miracles in the name of Jesus, saying: "We have done many miracles in Thy name."[76]

5) He demands that all believe in, obey, and love Him in preference to all other affections, even at the cost of their life. "He that loveth father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he that loveth son or daughter more than Me, is not worthy of Me."[77] These words would express odious and intolerable pride if Jesus were not God. The prophets never spoke in this manner. There are similar texts in the Gospels.[78]

6) He assigns to Himself the power of judging the living and the dead. "You shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of the power of God and coming with the clouds of heaven."[79] "And He shall send His angels with a trumpet, and a great voice, and they shall gather together His elect from the four winds, from the farthest parts of the heavens to the utmost bounds of them."[80]

7) He promises to send the Holy Ghost. "And I send the promise of My Father upon you."[81] Lastly, He accepts adoration from others; whereas, on the contrary, Peter, Paul, Barnabas, and the angels reject this adoration as being unworthy of it.[82]

B. In the Synoptic Gospels, Jesus affirms several times that He is the Son of God in the proper and strict sense of the term.[83] There are six principal texts, which shall be set forth in chronological order.

1) "All things are delivered to Me by My Father. And no one knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither cloth anyone know the Father, but the Son, and he to whom it shall please the Son to reveal Him."[84]

The authenticity of this text is admitted by the majority of Protestant critics, and it is most ably defended by Catholic authors.[85] This text declares the equality of the Father and the Son both in knowledge and knowability. But this equality implies consubstantiality, as St. Thomas remarks, saying: "The substance of the Father transcends all understanding, since the essence of the Father is said to be unknowable as the substance of the Son is."[86] The Son is known only by the Father; therefore, like the Father, He exceeds all created knowledge, and hence is God. The above-mentioned scriptural text is substantially the same in meaning as when it is said: "No man hath seen God at any time; the only-begotten Son who is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him."[87] These two texts are equally profound and identical in meaning, as several critics admit.

2) Christ's answer to Peter's confession. Peter said: "Thou art Christ, the Son of the living God." Jesus answering, said to him: "Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jona, because flesh and blood hath not revealed it to thee, but My Father who is in heaven."[88]

Some say that it cannot be historically proved from this confession that Peter affirmed anything more than Christ's Messiahship, since elsewhere he is quoted as saying merely: "Thou art the Christ,"[89] "Thou art the Christ of God."[90] Nevertheless, something more than this is clearly enough evident from Jesus' answer. For He says that Peter could not have known His sonship unless it had been revealed to him. The mere knowledge of Christ's Messiahship did not require so great a revelation, for the signs of Messiahship were already made manifest to the apostles from the beginning of Jesus' ministry, and several of them acknowledged it.[91]

3) Parable of the wicked husbandmen. The authenticity of this parable is admitted by most of the critics, even by very many rationalists. The parable says that the lord of the vineyard sent a servant to the husbandmen at the time of the harvest, then another, and many more, some of whom they beat, and others they killed. "Having yet one son, most dear to him, he also sent him unto them last of all, saying: They will reverence my son. But the husbandmen said to one another: This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and the inheritance shall be ours. And laying hold on him, they killed him and cast him out of the vineyard. What therefore will the lord of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy those husbandmen and will give the vineyard to others. And have you not read this scripture: The stone which the builders rejected, the same is made the head of the corner? By the Lord has this been done, and it is wonderful in our eyes. And they sought to lay hands on Him, but they feared the people. For they knew that He spoke this parable to them. And leaving Him they went their way."[92]

The application of this parable was manifest. The servants sent by the Lord of the vineyard were the prophets, and Jesus stated this more clearly to the Pharisees later on.[93] If, therefore, the servants of the Lord's vineyard are the prophets, His beloved Son is not only more than a prophet, but is truly His Son. Therefore this parable expresses absolutely the same truth as when St. Paul says: "God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spoke in times past to the fathers by the prophets, last of all in these days hath spoken to us by His Son... by whom also He made the world."[94]

4) Jesus questions the Jews about Christ the son of David. "And the Pharisees being gathered together, Jesus asked them, saying: 'What think you of Christ, whose Son is He.’ They say to Him, 'David's.’ He saith to them: 'How then doth David call Him Lord, how is He his Son?' And no man was able to answer Him a word."[95]

The authenticity of this text is admitted by the prominent liberal critics. But in the Messianic psalm just quoted, David, in calling the Messias "my Lord," acknowledges that this Lord is superior to him and equal to the first Lord, namely, to God the Father.

5) Jesus answers Caiphas. When Christ appeared before the Sanhedrim, "the high priest said to Him: 'I adjure Thee by the living God, that Thou tell us if Thou be the Christ the Son of God.’ Jesus saith to him: 'Thou hast said it. Nevertheless, I say to you, hereafter you shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of the power of God, and coming in the clouds of heaven.’ Then the high priest rent his garments, saying: 'He hath blasphemed; what further need have we of witnesses? Behold now you have heard the blasphemy.’"[96] From this answer we see that Jesus is more than the Messias, for divine sonship, sitting at the right hand of the Father, the exercise of supreme power, do not belong to the simple dignity of Messiahship. That is why Caiphas rent his garments, saying: "He hath blasphemed." These texts of the Synoptic Gospels receive further clarification in the Fourth Gospel, in which we read that, after Jesus had cured the paralytic at the Probatic pool, "the Jews sought the more to kill Him, because He did not only break the Sabbath, but also said God was His Father, making Himself equal to God."[97] Similarly, in the history of the Passion we read: "The Jews answered Him: 'We have a law and according to the law He ought to die, because He made Himself the Son of God.’"[98] Hence the question put by Caiphas to Jesus was to get an answer rendering Him guilty of death.[99]

6) The baptismal formula. After the Resurrection, we read in the Gospel: "Jesus coming, spoke to them[His apostles], saying: 'All power is given to Me in heaven and in earth. Going therefore teach ye all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you. And behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world.’"[100]

Even all liberal Protestants admit this formula,[101] and it was universally accepted in the various Churches at the beginning of the second century. In this baptismal formula the Son is declared equal to the Father and the Holy Spirit.

Conclusion. It must therefore be said, in refutation of the Modernists, that the declarations of Jesus concerning His eminent dignity as recorded by the Synoptics transcend simple Messiahship and express divine sonship that belongs most properly to Christ. Moreover, this divine sonship is not only superior to simple Messiahship, which is conceded, as has been said by several rationalists of our times, such as Harnack, but it establishes Christ above all creatures as equal to, and one in nature with God, the Second Person of the Trinity.

Testimony Of The Acts Of The Apostles Concerning The Divinity Of Christ

The more conservative Catholic and Protestant historians consider it more probable that the Acts of the Apostles was written about A. D. 64 or, at least, before the year 70.[102] The rationalists of the Tubingen school set the date at A. D. 150. But, in our days, historical evidence made the rationalist Harnack assign the date of this work to the years 78-83, or perhaps even to 60-70.[103] From this it is evident that the above mentioned declarations of the Synoptic Gospels were not the result of a certain process of idealization, gradually evolved after Christ's death and ascribed to Him. The time required for this idealization was too short, for it is certain that from the day of Pentecost the apostles taught not only that Jesus was the Messias but also God.

The discourses of St. Peter are recorded in the Acts of the Apostles, in which we read: "The God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified His Son Jesus, whom you indeed delivered up.... But the Author of life you killed, whom God hath raised from the dead, of which we are witnesses. And the faith which is by Him, hath given this perfect soundness [the lame man who sat at the gate of the Temple] in the sight of you all."[104]

The Author of life, however, is none other than God Himself. Likewise St. Peter says: "This is the stone which was rejected by you the builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other."[105] "God hath exalted Him [Jesus] with His right hand to be Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel, and remission of sins. "[106] But only God is the Savior of souls, forgiving persons their sins.

Similarly St. Peter says: "By the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, we believe to be saved."[107] Jesus is called by St. Peter "Lord,"[108] "Lord to all,"[109] "He who was appointed by God to be judge of the living and of the dead."[110] Finally, the apostles work miracles in the name of Jesus, confer baptism; and the deacon St. Stephen says, when dying: "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit."[111]

It is no matter of surprise, therefore, that when the Ebionites, who were the first heretics, denied the divinity of Christ, they were immediately condemned by the Church, as is evident from the writings of the Apostolic Fathers.

Testimony Of St. Paul On The Divinity Of Christ

The principal epistles of St. Paul[112] were written about A. D. 48-59 or 50-64, as several rationalists admit, among whom are Harnack and Julicher. In these epistles, however, St. Paul, in affirming the divinity of Christ, does not announce it to the Churches as an unheard-of innovation, but he speaks of it as an already accepted dogmatic truth.

It will suffice if we give the principal references of St. Paul to the divinity of Christ.

1) According to St. Paul, Jesus is the Son of God in the strict sense of the term. He says of Him: "Who was predestinated the Son of God in power, according to the spirit of sanctification."[113] And again he writes: "God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, ... spared not even His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all."[114] Elsewhere he says: "But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent His Son, made of a woman, made under the law, that He might redeem them who were under the law; that we might receive the adoption of sons."[115]

2) St. Paul affirms that the Son of God existed from all eternity before He became incarnate, and he also states plainly that the Son of God is the Creator. He speaks of "the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God."[116] He says of Christ: "Who is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of every creature. For in Him were all things created in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominations or principalities or powers; all things were created by Him, and in Him. And He is before all, and by Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the Church, who is the beginning, the first-born from the dead; that in all things He may hold the primacy. Because in Him it hath well pleased the Father that all fullness should dwell."[117] In this text the Son of God is clearly declared the Creator, just as elsewhere St. Paul says of God that: "of Him and by Him and in Him are all things."[118] Likewise it is the common belief among Catholics, and even very many non-Catholic critics admit that: "the fullness of the Godhead here signifies "all that is required to constitute Christ as God."[119]

3) St. Paul teaches that Jesus is God and equal to the Father. He says: "But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews indeed a stumbling block, and unto the Gentiles foolishness. But unto them that are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God."[120] And again of Christ he says: "For in Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead corporally. And you are filled in Him who is the head of all principality and power."[121] In another epistle he writes: "For let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who being in the form of God thought it not robbery to be equal with God; but emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men, and in habit found as a man."[122] There cannot be a clearer affirmation of the divinity of Christ than in this text.

Farther on in this epistle, he writes: "God hath given Him a name which is above all names, that in the name of Jesus every knee should bow"[123]

Likewise he says: "I wished myself to be an anathema from Christ, for my brethren, ... of whom is Christ, according to the flesh, who is over all things, God blessed forever. Amen."[124] But there is a difficulty concerning the punctuation of this text. Very many even of the liberal critics place merely a comma before the words, "who is over all things, God"; whereas, Tischendorf and Gebhardt put a period, thus making this expression to be only an invocation addressed to God. All the Fathers of the Church and Catholic exegetes saw in this text an affirmation of the divinity of Christ.

Finally, in another epistle, we read: "In these days [God] hath spoken to us by His Son, whom He hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also He made the world. Who being the brightness of His glory, and the figure of His substance, and upholding all things by the word of His power, making purgation of sins, sitteth on the right hand of the majesty on high."[125] According to this teaching, the Son is the Creator, for it is by the Son that God produced all things. With the Jews, however, creation is an act that applies solely to God. The Son is also the preserver of all things, upholding all things by the word of His power. Likewise in this same epistle the angels are called the ministers of Christ, and adore Him.[126] They are therefore inferior to Him.

The preceding texts clearly prove that St. Paul taught the divinity of Christ; and so speaking, he intended to affirm no new doctrine, but to state what was already the universal belief among the early Christians, even among the converted Jews, who adhered most firmly to monotheism.

St. John's Testimony To The Divinity Of Christ

1) In the prologue to the Fourth Gospel, we read:: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."[127] Three assertions are made: 1. The eternal pre-existence of the Word; 2. The Word is distinct from God the Father; 3. The Word is divine and therefore consubstantial with the Father. Then it is affirmed that all things were made by the Word.[128] Therefore the Word is the Creator, and He is consequently God. That Word or divine person assumed our human flesh, or nature, and lived among men. He is called "the only-begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father."[129] Therefore St. John most clearly teaches the divinity of Christ in this prologue, which is a quasi-synthesis of revelation.

2) In the Fourth Gospel we find Christ reported as using words by which He declares Himself to be the Son of God and Lord, although He frequently calls Himself the Son of man, thereby showing the humble subjection of Himself as man to His Father.

He says: "Father, the hour is come. Glorify Thy Son... that He may give eternal life to all whom Thou hast given Him.... And all things are Thine, and Thine are Mine."[130] Again, we read: "The Jews sought the more to kill Him, because He did not only break the Sabbath, but also said God was His Father, making Himself equal to God. Then Jesus answered, and said to them: 'What things soever the Father cloth, these the Son also cloth in like manner... and He giveth life to whom He will.... The Father hath given all judgment to the Son, that all men may honor the Son, as they honor the Father.... For as the Father hath life in Himself, so He hath given to the Son also to have life in Himself.’"[131] Christ also says: "From God I proceeded and came."[132] And again: "I came forth from the Father and am come into the world.... And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me."[133]

It is eternal sonship in the strict sense to which Jesus refers, for He says: "Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham was made, I am."[134] And again: "Glorify Thou Me, O Father, with Thyself, with the glory which I had before the world was, with Thee."[135]

Moreover, Jesus says: "As the Father knoweth Me and I know the Father."[136] "All things whatsoever the Father hath, are Mine. Therefore I said, that He, the Spirit of truth, shall receive of Mine, and show it to you."[137] Jesus even says: "I and the Father are One.[138] The Jews understood these words in the sense that Jesus was equal in dignity to the Father, for they at once took up stones to stone Him. Similarly He said: "I am the way and the truth and the life";[139] but only God, who is essential Being, is truth and life; a mere man may have even infallible truth, but is not truth itself, just as he is not self-subsisting being. In this respect there is an immeasurable difference between the two verbs, "to be" and "to have." Hence this last utterance of Jesus would of itself suffice to constitute an explicit expression of His divinity, which is so clearly affirmed in the prologue of St. John's Gospel.

3) In St. John's First Epistle we read: "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard... and our hands have handled of the Word of life... we declare unto you."[140] Farther on he says: "And we know that the Son of God is come, and He hath given us understanding that we may know the true God, and may be in His true Son."[141] These concluding words of St. John's First Epistle most clearly show that the author's intention was to affirm the divinity of Christ just as this was his intention in writing his prologue to the Fourth Gospel.

4) In the Apocalypse, that Christ is divine and the Son of God, is clearly evident from the titles assigned to Him; for He is the First and the Last,[142] the beginning of the Creation,[143] the Lord of lords and the King of kings.[144] The divinity of Jesus is also equally manifested from the prerogatives attributed to Him, for He is called the Lord of life and death for all men,[145] the searcher of hearts.[146] He has power to open the book, which no man is able to open,[147] ruling over all things celestial and terrestrial,[148] being omnipotent as God Himself is.[149] The divinity of Christ is also clearly set forth in this book; because of the honors that are rendered to Him from men, the faithful are called servants of Jesus,[150] the faithful both of Jesus and of God.[151] There is reference in these texts to the priests of God and of Christ.[152] The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world is adored as God,[153] and adoration is permitted to be given only to God.[154]

From what has been said, it is most clearly apparent that Jesus is God and a divine person distinct from God the Father. This will be more fully explained when we come to discuss the infinite value of the merits and satisfaction of Christ[155] and consider the texts of the New Testament concerning the mystery of Redemption.

Among the principal texts of the Old Testament about the divinity of the Messias, the following must be quoted: "A child is born to us and a son is given to us, and the government is upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, God the Mighty, the Father of the world to come, the Prince of Peace."[156] This text forms part of the Introit of the second Mass in honor of the birth of our Lord. The Church sees in this text an affirmation of the divinity of Jesus.

Concerning this text, the Rev. F. Ceuppens, O. P., remarks: "The true meaning of this expression 'God the Mighty,’ is very much disputed among Catholics. Following the opinion of such distinguished authors as A. Condamin, E. Tobac, F. Feldmann, and M. J. Lagrange, we think the expression must be accepted in the literal and proper sense, and the reason we give for this is that, in other texts of the Old Testament, the same expression occurs, and it is always predicated of Yahweh. This being the case, the future Messias is foretold as being truly God, and truly divine by nature. But it is another question whether the Jews, imbued with monotheistic concepts, perfectly understood all these things, and whether the prophet himself fully grasped this doctrine and saw it in all its applications."[157]

Third Article: Testimony Of Tradition And The Principal Definitions Of The Church

A more detailed account of tradition and the definition of the Church is given in the history of dogmas and in patrology. In this treatise we shall give a brief summary of what everyone is expected to know about these matters.[158] We notice that considerable progress has been made in the development of dogma in the course of combating the various heresies.

1) In the first three centuries, the Fathers affirm that Christ is both God and man, because He came to save and redeem us, which He could not have done unless He had been both God, the author of grace, and also man.[159] Hence they reject the errors of the Docetae, who said that Christ's body was imaginary and fantastic, and of the Dualists, who declared that the divine and human natures in Christ were united accidentally.[160] We find Tertullian, in his days, asserting that the union of the two natures in Christ was effected "in one person."[161]

2) In the fourth century, whereas the Apollinarists denied a rational soul to Christ, meaning to say that the Word took the place of the mind in Christ, the Fathers clearly affirm that Christ is both perfect God and perfect man; and they also assert that what was not assumed was not healed. If, therefore, the Word did not assume a rational soul, the soul was not healed; and besides, Christ could not have merited and been obedient.[162]

3) Finally, in the fifth century, the Nestorians declared that the union of the two natures in Christ was only accidental, and the Eutychians asserted that there was only one nature in Christ. Against these heresies the Catholic concept of one person in Christ and of the hypostatic union is explicitly affirmed, and these points must be fully explained farther on.[163]

Following are the principal definitions of the Church concerning the divinity of Christ.[164]

1) Christ is truly God, He is rightly called the Word, and Son of the Father, consubstantial with the Father, equal to Him, God of God, begotten not made, the only-begotten of the Father by natural and not by adoptive sonship.

2) "I believe in Jesus Christ, our Savior...," which is the most ancient formula.[165]

3) "I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son [of the Father] our Lord,"[166] which is the more ancient formula in the Western Church.

4) The Creed of St. Epiphanius proposed to the catechumens of the Eastern Church: "We believe in one God... and in one Lord Jesus Christ the Son of God, begotten of God the Father, the only-begotten, that is, of the substance of the Father, God of God, light of light, true God of true God, begotten not made, consubstantial with the Father by whom all things were made... who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven and was incarnate."[167]

5) The First Council of Nicaea (325) defines, against the Arians: "We believe in one God the Father almighty, Maker of all things visible and invisible. And in our one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the only-begotten of the Father, that is, of the substance of the Father, God of God, light of light, true God of true God, begotten not made, one in substance with the Father, by whom all things were made, both in heaven and on earth, who for our salvation came down, was incarnate, and was made man, suffered and rose again the third day, ascended into heaven, and will come to judge the living and the dead."[168] All these words of the Nicene Council must be seriously considered farther on, when we explain the articles of St. Thomas. The preceding testimony and definitions suffice for establishing the fact of the Incarnation.


CHAPTER II: PRELIMINARY QUESTION THE POSSIBILITY OF THE INCARNATION

Let us now turn to speculative theology, which, as stated, has two tasks to perform.

1) It must give a philosophical analysis of the terms used in revealed dogma, so that their meaning may be better known, for, as the Vatican Council says in the text already quoted: "Reason enlightened by faith, when it seeks earnestly, piously, and calmly, attains by a gift from God, some, and that a very fruitful, understanding of the mysteries; partly from the analogy of those things which it naturally knows, partly from the relation which the mysteries bear to one another and the last end of man."[169] Thus the mystery of man must be illustrated from analysis of the notions of divine nature, human nature, person, as well as from the connection of this mystery with the mysteries of Redemption and of eternal life. In this part of speculative theology the discussions are either explicative, or subjectively illative.[170]

2) Speculative theology must deduce from revealed truths by a discursive process that is properly and objectively illative, other truths, namely, conclusions that are only virtually contained in the revealed truths. An example would be the following: Christ already had, when on earth, infused knowledge, which was inferior to the beatific vision.

We must begin by discussing the possibility and fittingness of the Incarnation.

St. Thomas starts abruptly by considering the fittingness of the Incarnation, whereas many theologians of later times first speak of its possibility; and this is what St. Thomas had done in the work preceding his Summa.[171] The reason why the holy Doctor omitted this question of the possibility is probably because he wishes to examine this question afterward, when he discusses the mode of the union (q. 2-15), which is concerned with the principal difficulties against the possibility of this mystery. Moreover, it is not absolutely necessary to begin by treating about the possibility of this mystery, because for the faithful this possibility follows from the fact of the Incarnation, which is of faith. From actuality to possibility, this follows as a logical consequence.

For the general benefit of the doctrine, however, theologians begin by asking whether the possibility of the Incarnation can be proved or known by the natural light of reason. This question has its advantages as regards method.

Incarnation corresponds to the Latin term "inhumanatio," which signifies the act of becoming man, and it is the union or unition of the human nature with the divine in the one person of the Word. This is evident from the traditional explanation of the words of St. John: "The Word was made flesh,"[172] in which "flesh" as frequently in Sacred Scripture is concerned with living and human flesh, which is not living and human unless united with a human soul. And it also says that this Word was made flesh to commend the humility of our Savior, who also willed to become man for our salvation.

But can the Incarnation be proved? In the first question of this treatise it will be shown, indeed, that there is no apparent contradiction in the Incarnation, and that it cannot be proved impossible. But the question now is, as posited above, whether this possibility can be proved by reason alone. There does not seem to be any apparent contradiction in the affirmation of a divine quaternity, and yet there lurks a contradiction in this affirmation. There cannot be four persons in God, nor merely two, but three. Is it therefore possible to prove the Incarnation? This question is commonly answered in the negatives.[173]

Authoritative proof. St. Paul calls the Incarnation, "the mystery which hath been hidden in God."[174] The Eleventh Council of Toledo says: "If the Incarnation could be shown possible by reason, then it would not be an object of admiration; if it were an example, then would not be unique."[175]

Similarly, against the semi-rationalists, who wish to prove the revealed mysteries, especially against Froschammer, Pius IX wrote: "The author teaches that reason, also in the most secret matters pertaining to God's wisdom and goodness, even too in the mysteries that are dependent on His free will, although granted that they have been revealed, can by itself, not relying on the already established principle of divine authority, but on its own natural principles and powers, acquire a certainty of knowledge. Everyone who has a slight knowledge of the rudiments of Christian doctrine immediately sees and likewise fully realizes how altogether false and erroneous is the author's teaching."[176]

It is true, indeed, that Froschammer wished to prove not only the possibility but also the very fact of the Incarnation. If, however, the possibility of the Incarnation could be apodictically and positively proved, as the possibility of any miracle, for instance, of the Resurrection, then the Incarnation would be only a miracle that is supernatural as regards the mode of its production, but it would not be a mystery in the strict sense, that it is essentially supernatural.

In the condemnation of semi-rationalism, it is stated: "And assuredly, since these dogmas are above nature, therefore they are beyond the scope of reason and natural principles."[177]

The Vatican Council also says: "If anyone shall say that in divine revelation there are no mysteries, truly and properly so called, but that all the doctrines of faith can be understood and demonstrated from natural principles by properly cultivated reason, let him be anathema."[178]

Theological proof.[179] What is essentially supernatural is supernatural as regards its knowability, even for the angels.

But the intrinsic possibility of the Incarnation is the intrinsic possibility of something essentially supernatural, which has no necessary and evident connection with things of the natural order.

Therefore this possibility is supernatural as regards its knowability, even for the angel. Hence it cannot be demonstrated, but only persuasive arguments of fitness can be advanced, and it can be defended against those who deny it.

The major is evident, for truth and being are convertible.

Minor. The Incarnation is not only a miracle that is supernatural as regards the mode of its production, such as the resurrection of the dead, but it is also an essentially supernatural mystery, for it is the intimate union of the human nature with the divine nature as it is in itself, in the person of the Word. But the divine nature as it is in itself, and the person of the Word are essentially supernatural; on the contrary, God as the author of nature has a necessary and evident connection with things of the natural order.

Reason, however, can solve the objections against the possibility of this mystery, by showing them to be either false or unnecessary.[180] Moreover, reason can urge the fitness of this mystery by arguments that are not apodictic but congruent. These arguments are truly profound; in fact, they can always be the result of keen penetration by either the human or angelic intellect, but this penetration can never reach the degree required for demonstration.

Objection. To prove that anything is not contradictory is to prove it possible.

But it is proved that the Incarnation is not contradictory.

Therefore the Incarnation is proved possible.

I distinguish the major. To prove that anything is not contradictory, positively and evidently, this I concede; that it is not so negatively and probably, this I deny. So writes Billuart.[181]

In this kind of argument we do not proceed from some a priori or a posterior) reasoning that is positively demonstrative of this possibility, but our reasoning rests on probable and apparent grounds. Thus it is shown that the possibility of the Incarnation is never disproved; the objections are not impossible of solution, for they can be shown to be either false or at least not cogent.

Another objection. But God is in Himself essentially supernatural, and yet reason alone apodictically proves His existence. Therefore, although the mystery of the Incarnation is essentially supernatural, reason alone apodictically proves at least the possibility, if not the fact of the Incarnation.

Reply. I distinguish the antecedent. That God is in Himself as regards His Deity or intimate life essentially supernatural, this I concede. Nevertheless, as the Author of nature, He has a necessary and evident connection with created effects of the natural order, and so in this inferior aspect the truth of this proposition, God exists, is demonstrated cum fundamento in re,[182] although we have not a positive and natural knowledge of God's essence or of His act of essence. On this point St. Thomas says: "To be can mean either of two things. It may mean the act of essence or it may mean the composition of a proposition effected by the mind in joining a predicate to a subject. Taking 'to be' in the first sense, we cannot understand God's existence or His essence; but only in the second sense. We know that this proposition which we form about God when we say 'God is,’ is true; and this we know from His effects."[183] But there is nothing similar to this in the Incarnation of the Word, because this mystery, just as the intimate life of the Trinity, has no necessary and evident connection with natural effects; hence neither the fact nor the possibility of this mystery can be demonstrated from natural principles, for this possibility transcends demonstration. These arguments of congruence may always be made more profound, but they will never reach the degree required for an apodictic argument, just as the sides of a polygon inscribed in a circle may be increased indefinitely, yet they will never be identified with the circumference of the circle, because the sides will never be diminished so as to become a point.

But I insist. It is apodictically proved that there is in God a supernatural order of truth and of life.

Reply. We are not positively but only negatively assured of this order by such a proof, which is the case with any order whose mysteries cannot be known in a natural way.

Still Gregory of Valentia insists that at least the angelic intellect can perhaps prove this possibility, because the angel intuitively sees the human nature as distinct from its subsistence or personality, and therefore as assumable by the divine subsistence.

Reply. The angelic intellect cannot know in a natural way whether the divine subsistence, which is essentially supernatural, can, without implying imperfection, take the place of human subsistence.

Corollary. A fortiori the angelic intellect cannot know by its natural powers the fact of the Incarnation.

Gregory of Valentia remarks that the angel, since He sees intuitively that the human nature of Christ is without its own personality, must immediately conclude that this human nature is personally united to some divine person.

Reply. This conclusion is not established, for the angel could conclude: the human personality of this man is hidden from me, because of motives known to God alone. Thus it is certain that the created intellect by its own natural powers cannot know that the Incarnation is possible, much less that it is a fact.

The objections that can be raised, however, against the possibility of the Incarnation are solved in the course of this treatise.[184] It will suffice here at the beginning to take note of the principal objection, by way of a statement of the question. It is one proposed by St. Thomas,[185] and may be stated as follows:

God cannot be subject to any intrinsic change, or be intrinsically otherwise than He is.

But by the Incarnation God would be intrinsically otherwise than He is. Therefore the Incarnation is impossible.

Reply. I distinguish the minor. That God would undergo a change, if by reason of passive potency He were to receive some distinct perfection, this I concede; that God only terminates the human nature, and undergoes a change, this I deny.

God in the Incarnation neither loses nor acquires anything, but merely makes creatures partakers in His perfection. Therefore, as St. Thomas says: "When it is said, 'God was made man,’ we understand no change on the part of God, but only on the part of the human nature."[186] Similarly, if we see the sun, it undergoes no change, but is only the object of our vision.

As St. Thomas says: "To be man belongs to God by reason of the union, which is a relation.... But whatever is predicated relatively can be newly predicated of anything without its change, as a man may be made to be on the right side without being changed, and merely by the change of him who was on his left side."[187] Likewise, anything at first not seen is seen afterward without any change in itself, but inasmuch as it is actually the termination of our vision. It is the visual faculty that is changed, inasmuch as it passes from potentiality to act.

Similarly, as we shall see in the case of the Incarnation, the change is entirely on the part of the nature that is assumed, which is deprived of its own subsistence and acquires the divine. The Word by no means acquires a new and real relation, but the relation is logical; for the real relation is only on the part of the human nature toward the Word, just as the visual faculty is in real relation to the object seen, and not the reverse of this. Hence St. Thomas says: "God is said to be united not by any change in Himself, but in that which is united to Him; similarly, when it is said that He is unitable, this statement does not mean that the union is effected by reason of any passive potency existing in God, but because there is such a potency existing in the creature so as to make this union possible."[188] So also God is said to be visible and in the next life He is seen by the blessed, not because of any change in Himself, but the change is in the blessed, since He terminates their vision as object seen. Thus a point that already terminates one line, can terminate a second and third line as in the case of the point of a pyramid, and yet the point undergoes no change in itself.

Objection. The Word is the subject of the human nature, and not merely the terminus; for the Word has this human nature, which is truly attributed to Him, as to the subject. Therefore the Word is the recipient of the human nature.

Reply. I distinguish the antecedent. That the Word possesses the human nature in a receptive sense, this I deny; in a terminative sense, this I concede. To possess a form in a receptive sense is to be the subject of this form, just as matter receives its form, or as a substance receives accidental forms; but such is not the case when a subject has some form in a personal or terminative sense. The Word, however, possesses the human nature not in a receptive sense, because He is not in passive potency to receive it; but He possesses it personally and terminatively, in so far as He is its intrinsic terminus, intrinsically completing it and terminating it, just as the point terminates the line, or the object seen terminates the visual faculty. The difficulty raised by this objection makes it apparent that the possibility of the Incarnation cannot be strictly proved.

Again I insist. What is extrinsic to another cannot become intrinsic to it unless it is received by the other. But the human nature in itself is extrinsic to the Word. Therefore the Word can become intrinsic to the human nature only by becoming the recipient of it.

Reply. I deny the major. For something can become intrinsic to another by the sole fact of being joined to that which receives it by way of intrinsic termination, as a point becomes intrinsic to a line, and so what is received is not received by way of informing act, as if the recipient were in some passive potentiality to be perfected by it. Thus it is shown that the objection is either false or at least unnecessary, and hence of no force.

This point will be made clearer in the course of this treatise, in which it will be shown that God cannot take the place of a created subsistence as informing, but as terminating what is received. The informing form is related to the whole to which it is ordered as the less perfect part, just as the soul is less perfect than the complete man. On the contrary, the terminating perfection is not ordered to the more complete whole, but rather draws the other to Himself. Hence, instead of involving any imperfection, God imparts His perfection to what is assumed. Thus, for example God's essence without involving any imperfection terminates the vision of the blessed, and the divine essence is not more perfect in being seen by the blessed than if it were not seen by them. Similarly, a beautiful statue is not made more perfect by the fact that it is the object of my admiration, nor is the doctrine of St. Thomas made more perfect by the fact that it is understood by the disciple, but it is the disciple who is made more perfect by the doctrine. Rome is not made more perfect by the fact that any pilgrim, however distinguished, visits it.

Final objection. One substantial being cannot result from the union of several complete beings. But the human and divine natures are complete beings. Therefore one substantial being, such as Christ would be, cannot result from the union of the two natures.

Reply. I distinguish the major. From several beings complete in their natures there cannot result one substantial unity of nature, this I concede; that there cannot result a substantial unity of suppositum or person, this I deny.

Explanation. From two acts there cannot result something essentially one in nature, and therefore prime matter must be pure potency, so that the human nature is essentially and not accidentally one. But the human nature as such is not complete in the sense that it is a suppositum or person, and thus it is drawn to unity of being with the Word, in the sense that there is one suppositum, which will be more fully explained farther on.[189] Thus in the resurrection the body is united with the soul and constitutes with it one supposital being.

More briefly, these various objections are solved by saying that the Word is not related to Christ's humanity as recipient subject, for in such case the Word would be in passive potency for His humanity; nor is He related to it as informing form that is received, for in this case He would be less perfect than the whole, which is the complete Christ; but He is related to it as terminating perfection, just as the pre-existing point that already terminates one line again terminates another; or just as the object that terminates the vision of one man, may again terminate the vision of another man. Thus the professor teaches his various students not in a receptive but in a terminative sense. Expressed more briefly, we may say that the Pure Act is unreceived and unreceivable. If He were received in any potency, He would be subjected to participation and limitation; if, however, He were to receive, then He would be in potency for a further act.

"To have terminatively" does not mean to be actuated or to be perfected; rather it means to perfect. Thus the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost do not have the Deity receptively, but terminatively. Thus the Son of God has His humanity terminatively, but not receptively. Thus God has His external glory, inasmuch as He is known and praised.

"To have receptively" is to be actuated and perfected. Thus matter receives the form. The created substance receives accidental forms.

"The form terminating" is not a part and involves no imperfection, but perfects and bestows its perfection upon what it terminates. Such is the case with the person of the Word, who unites with Himself and terminates Christ's humanity. So also the doctrine of St. Thomas unites with himself and terminates the intelligence of a number of students.

"The form informing" is less perfect than the whole, as the soul in man.

The difficulty raised by the foregoing objections against the intrinsic possibility of the Incarnation confirms the thesis, namely, that this possibility cannot be apodictically proved from reason alone, but solely that persuasive reasons can be adduced in defense of this possibility, by showing that the objections of those attacking it are either evidently false or at least unnecessary, and of no force.

We must now treat of the fitness of the Incarnation. Fitness means something more than mere possibility, and it will at once be seen that we are persuaded of this fitness by congruent arguments drawn from reason alone; but the revelation of original sin being presupposed, the Incarnation is proved necessary so that adequate reparation be made to God, if He demands such reparation.


CHAPTER III: QUESTION 1—THE FITNESS OF THE INCARNATION

This question contains six articles that gradually develop the doctrine of the fitness of the Incarnation. St. Thomas begins by discussing:

(1) the fitness of the incarnation;

(2) its necessity for the reparation of the human race;

(3) its proximate motive, whether, if there had been no sin, God would have become incarnate;

(4) whether God became incarnate for the removal of original sin more chiefly than for actual sin;

(5) why it was not more fitting that God should become incarnate in the beginning of the human race;

(6) why it is not more fitting that the Incarnation should take place at the end of the world.

First Article: Whether It Was Fitting That God Should Become Incarnate?[190]

State of the question. In this article we are concerned with the mere fitness, not as yet with the proximate motive of the Incarnation. In other words, was the Incarnation not only possible, but was it expedient and fitting, that is, was it in agreement with God's wisdom and goodness? Taken in this sense, the question is whether it was fitting that God should become man; on the other hand, it does not seem fitting that God should become a lion, although this may perhaps be possible. But was it more fitting that the Son of God, rather than the Father or the Holy Ghost, should become incarnate?[191] Likewise, was it more fitting that the Word should assume the human nature rather than the angelic nature?[192]

This state of the question will be made clearer from the solution of the difficulties posited at the beginning of this article. They constitute, as it were, the nucleus of the difficulties to be solved.

The difficulties are the following.

(1) From all eternity God was separated from human nature. Therefore it was not fitting that He should be united to it.

(2) It is not fitting for those things to be united that are infinitely distant from each other. This seems to be against the principle of continuity, which states that the highest of the lowest order should reach the lowest of the highest, but not that the very lowest should reach the very highest. Hence it seems to be more fitting that God should have taken the nature of the highest angel, which is perhaps what Lucifer thought.

(3) It was not fitting that the supreme uncreated Spirit should assume a body, as indeed He would be assuming what is evil. This objection was raised by the Manichaeans, who held that matter is evil.

(4) It is unfitting that the infinite God, the Ruler of the universe, should remain hidden in the tiny body of an infant. So say Volusianus and many philosophers of modern times, who do not see anything unbecoming, however, in pantheism so that the divine nature be confused with the nature even of a stone. Several rationalists of our times say that the Incarnation would be the lapse or descent of the metaphysical absolute into the phenomenal relative, or the lapse of immutable eternity into mutable time. In like manner some go further and say that the Incarnation might perhaps be admitted by those who thought that the earth is the center of the universe, but not by those who hold that the earth is but like an atom among the millions of stars. They also say that the Incarnation is not only derogatory to God's supreme majesty, but also to His mercy, which is more strikingly manifested by simply forgiving the sin without demanding reparation.

Finally, if it were said to be fitting for God to become incarnate, we should also have to conclude that it was unfitting for God not to become incarnate. But this conclusion is false, because God could have willed not to become incarnate, without this being derogatory to Him.[193] All other objections even of modern philosophers are easily reduced to the above-mentioned objections.[194]

Yet the answer is that it was fitting for God to become incarnate.

Authoritative proof. St. Paul and St. Damascene say that it appears to be most fitting that the invisible things of God be made known by the visible things He has created. Thus God created the world in manifestation of His goodness and perfections. But, as Damascene says, the Incarnation shows the goodness, wisdom, justice, and omnipotence of God.

The goodness which Damascene speaks of includes mercy, and already Plato had defined divine goodness as diffusive of itself, it being the love of supreme opulence or perfection for extreme poverty. In a loftier strain, the Evangelist says: "For God so loved the world as to give His only-begotten Son."[195] This thought is developed below.

Theological proof. It starts from a consideration of God's goodness, on which the fitness of the Incarnation has its special foundation, and is a commentary on the words of St. John: "For God so loved the world as to give His only-begotten Son."[196] God's goodness is seen conspicuously in this supreme and most liberal gift, although His wisdom, justice, or omnipotence is also evident.

The argument may be reduced to the following syllogism.

It belongs to the idea of good to communicate itself to others, for good is self-diffusive.[197] But God's nature is essential goodness, or plenitude of being. Therefore it is fitting for God to communicate Himself to others in the highest degree, which finds its complete realization in the Incarnation.

The major is quoted from Dionysius,[198] and is explained by St. Thomas in various places. It contains three principles: Good is self-diffusive, primarily as the end that attracts and perfects. Secondly, inasmuch as the end attracts the agent to act at least immanently. Thirdly, inasmuch as the perfect agent acts to communicate its goodness externally.

Nevertheless, good does not consist essentially in the actual communication of itself, for this would result in pantheistic emanation; but good essentially implies an aptitude or propensity to communicate itself. This means that good is aptitudinally self-diffusive, not of necessity diffusing itself, and, when it does so, this diffusion is sometimes most free and entirely gratuitous; but sometimes this diffusion is a necessary act, if the agent is determined to act in only one way, as the primary purpose of the sun is to give light.

These truths have been explained by St. Thomas in various parts of his works. Thus he says: "Goodness is described as self-diffusive, in the sense that an end is said to move,"[199] namely, by attracting to itself, as to that which is perfect and perfective. Thus good is more of the nature of a final cause than of an efficient cause. But as stated in the argumentative part of this article just quoted, the end moves the efficient cause to act. Hence St. Thomas says: "The very nature of good is that something flows from it but not that it flows from something else.... But, since the First Good diffuses itself according to the intellect, to which it is proper to flow forth into its effects according to a certain fixed form, it follows that there is a certain measure from which all other goods share the power of diffusion."[200]

Thus, this law is verified, namely, that good is self-diffusive throughout the universe, as St. Thomas shows in illustrating the mystery of the Trinity. He says: "The nobler a nature is, the more that which flows from it is more intimate to it."[201] In other words, good is self-diffusive, and the nobler it is, the more fully and more intimately it is self-diffusive. For instance, the sun illumines and heats, or fire generates fire, the plant produces a plant, the grown-up animal or perfect animal generates an animal like itself. Similarly, a celebrated artist or a famous musician conceives and produces wonderful works of art; a prominent scientist or celebrated astronomer discovers and formulates the laws of nature, for instance, the courses of the planets. Great teachers, such as St. Augustine, impart not only their knowledge but also their spirit to their disciples; a virtuous man incites others to lead a virtuous life; great apostles, such as St. Paul, communicate to others their love for God. Hence good is self-diffusive, and the nobler it is, the more fully and intimately it is self-diffusive. We now see how this principle illustrates the mystery of the Trinity, inasmuch as the Father, generating the Son, communicates to Him not only a participation in His nature, His intellect, and His love, but His complete and indivisible nature, so that the Son of God is Light of Light, God of God, true God of true God. Likewise the Holy Spirit is true God proceeding from the mutual love between the Father and the Son.

There is, however, a difficulty. It is that the principle, good is self-diffusive, proves either too much or not enough. It proves, indeed, too much if we infer from it the moral necessity and a fortiori the physical necessity of the Incarnation. But it does not prove enough if the Incarnation is a most free decree, because then, whether God became incarnate or not seems to be equally fitting.

As a matter of fact, there were extreme views both for and against this principle. Some pantheists, such as the Neoplatonists, in accordance with their emanatory theory, exaggerated this principle, saying that good is essentially and actually self-diffusive and also actually diffusing itself. But God is the highest good. Therefore He is essentially and actually diffusive externally by a process of necessary emanation. This teaching is contrary to the dogma of a free creation, which was explicitly defined by the Vatican Council in these words: "God created both the spiritual and corporeal creature with absolute freedom of counsel,"[202] and not from eternity.

Absolute optimists, such as Leibnitz and Malebranche, likewise erred.[203] Hence the principle that good is self-diffusive must be understood in the sense we already noted with the Thomists, as meaning that good does not consist essentially in the actual communication of itself, but that there is essentially in good an aptitude and tendency to be self-diffusive, first as the end proposed, and then as moving the agent to act. But actual diffusion of good is sometimes necessary if the agent is determined in one way, as the sun is to illumine; sometimes this diffusion is a most free and absolutely gratuitous act,[204] because God is not determined in one way in His eternal acts. He is already infinitely good and blessed in Himself, and created good does not increase His perfection; He is not more being after His action.

Thus creation and the Incarnation are absolutely free acts. The freedom of both is confirmed by the revelation of the mystery of the Trinity; for if there had been neither creation nor Incarnation, the principle that good is self-diffusive would be verified in the case of the internal divine processions.

This sufficiently explains the major of our syllogism, namely, that good is self-diffusive.

Minor. God's nature is essential goodness, for He is the self-subsisting Being and is therefore the very plenitude of being, which means that He is the essential, supreme, and infinite goodness.[205]

Therefore it is fitting for God to communicate Himself to others in the highest degree, and this is, indeed, most effectively accomplished by means of the Incarnation. For by this means God communicates to the creature not only a participation of being, as in the creation of stones, not only a participation in life, as in the creation of plants and animals, not only a participation in the intellectual and moral life of justice and holiness, as in the creation of Adam, the first man, but He communicates Himself in person. St. Thomas quotes St. Augustine in saying: "He so joined created nature to Himself that one person is made up of these three, the Word, a soul, and flesh."[206] Hence it is manifest that it was fitting for God to become incarnate.

This same principle (good is self-diffusive) illustrates the mystery of Redemption, the sacrifice of the Cross, and the institution of the Eucharist.

There is still another difficulty, namely, that this argument does not sufficiently prove. It is that if, in virtue of the principle that good is self-diffusive, the Incarnation is not even morally necessary but absolutely free and gratuitous, then it is equally fitting whether God become incarnate or not. This leaves the question either indifferent or undecided. Therefore, as the nominalist-q say, it is useless for theology to speak of the fitness of the mysteries that have been accomplished by God's liberality.

Reply. Billuart says: "The incarnation was fitting, not in the sense of its being necessary, but of its being a free act."[207] We say, for in stance, the motive for choosing this particular thing is fitting, not as necessitating the will, but it is fitting that this particular thing be a matter of free choice, and not because of any necessity. Thus it is fitting to preserve one's virginity, yet it is equally fitting to make use of matrimony, because each is a free decision. And so incarnation or no incarnation, each was equally fitting. As Cajetan says: "To communicate Himself to others does not denote a new perfection in God but in the creature to whom this perfection is communicated."[208]

Hence theology does not have recourse to useless speculations about the fittingness of the Incarnation, as several nominalists said, and certain philosophers and theologians who wrote that the Incarnation is said to be fitting because it was accomplished; but it would have been likewise and equally fitting for God not to have become incarnate if He had so willed. Therefore the arguments of fitness have no foundation.

This statement would be true if it were not more fitting for God to have chosen to become incarnate than for Him not to have chosen. In the opinion of St. Thomas, before the foreknowledge of merits it is not more fitting for God to choose Peter in preference to Judas; for this choice "depends on the will of God; as from the simple will of the artificer it depends that this stone is in this part of the wall, and that in another; although the plan requires that some stones should be in this place and some in that place."[209] The election of the predestined depends purely on the divine benevolence, which is the culmination of divine liberty.

In the matter we are discussing, it is a certain motive in the divine strategy or in divine providence that makes the Incarnation more fitting than no incarnation,[210] just as creation is preferable to no creation, and just as virginity consecrated to God is better than matrimony. But this reason of fitness does not even morally necessitate the divine will, which is independent of all created good, inasmuch as from all eternity God's goodness is infinite, and is not in need of any created good. Therefore the argument of fitness does not make it necessary for God to become incarnate, but it is advanced as showing the wisdom of such choice.

Difficulty. God would have communicated Himself still more if He had united all created natures with Himself.

Reply. The union is not an absolute impossibility, and it would not have been pantheism, because it would have been accomplished without confusion of the created nature with the uncreated; but then all men and angels would have been impeccable, as Christ is. It is also fitting that the Word be united with the human nature, which is the microcosm, the compendium of the universe, inasmuch as it includes corporeity, as also vegetative, sensitive and intellective lives.

It is even more perfect for the Word to be united only with the human nature of Christ, and not with others. The reason is that the whole world demands subordination of beings, and it is fitting that the created nature personally united with the Word be the highest in the order of created beings, as the efficient and final cause of those beings beneath it, as St. Paul says: "For all are yours. And you are Christ's, and Christ is God's."[211]

Concerning this article, Medina asks whether there can be anything more excellent than the humanity of Christ. He replies that there can, indeed, be something more excellent than the humanity of Christ, but not anything more excellent than Christ.

1) God could not make anything that is better than Christ our I Lord, because Christ is truly God.

2) God could not elevate human nature to anything better than the hypostatic union.

3) God could have made something more excellent than the humanity of Christ, such as more perfect angels. In fact, as we shall state farther on, God, by His absolute power, could have given to the soul of Christ a higher degree of the light of glory, or one of greater intensity, because the highest possible degree of the created light of glory is inconceivable; for God can produce something still more perfect than anything He has produced. Thus the swiftest possible motion is inconceivable, because such swiftest motion would reach its terminus before it had left its starting point, and would no longer be motion, but immobility.

St. Thomas says: "God can make always something better than each individual thing."[212] Hence in created beings, there is no highest possible, and in this sense there is no highest creatable angel; but nothing can be higher than the hypostatic union of some created nature with some divine person.

What has just been said is the answer to the absolute optimism of Leibnitz and Malebranche.

Reply to first objection. "God was not changed by the Incarnation... but He united Himself to the creature in a new way, or rather united Himself to it," St. Thomas says; "or rather He united it to Himself," because there is a real relation of union of Christ's humanity to the Word, but not of the Word to the assumed humanity. It was fitting for Christ's humanity thus to be assumed.

Reply to the second objection. "To be united to God was not fitting for human flesh according to its natural endowments, but it was fitting by reason of God's infinite goodness that He should unite it for man's salvation."

This distinction is of greatest validity in showing the fitness of the elevation of our nature to the supernatural order, so as to solve the following objection, which is similar to the one raised by Baius: What is eminently fitting must be unconditional, and is opposed to what is gratuitous. But the beatific vision is for us eminently fitting, so that its privation is abject misery. Therefore the beatific vision is unconditionally fitting to our nature, and is not gratuitous.

Reply. I distinguish the major, in accordance with the distinction given in this article. What is eminently fitting according to our natural endowments must be unconditional, this I concede; what is according to God's infinite goodness, this I deny; and I contradistinguish the minor.

Reply to the third objection. It could be fitting for God to assume flesh but not evil, because flesh is from God the author of nature and is ordered to good, whereas evil is not.

Reply to fourth objection. St. Augustine replies to Volusianus that God by the Incarnation at Bethlehem did not lose the government of the world, just as He did not lose His divine nature, but united the human nature to it. "Hence (in the infant) Jesus the greatness of divine power feels no straits in narrow surroundings." God's immensity is not measured by space or by quantity, but it is greatness of power, supporting or preserving all things in being. If a word Uttered by a human being in some point of space can be heard by others also even far away, and its meaning has a moral influence upon the whole world, why could not the Word of God, present in the frail body of the child Jesus, still preserve in being and govern all things created?[213]

Finally, what must be said in reply to the objection of modern scientists, who say that the Incarnation perhaps could be admitted if the earth were the center of the universe, which it is not, for it is a planet among countless millions of heavenly bodies that are greater, namely, the stars and the nebulae?

Reply.

It may be said: 1. Just as the a priori reason why the Savior was sent was not so that the Jewish race be chosen in preference to some other nation, or, among the women of this race, that Mary be chosen as the Mother of our Lord in preference to some other woman, or among the just of this race, there was no a priori reason that Joseph be chosen as the foster father of our Lord; so there is no a priori reason that the earth be chosen in preference to some other heavenly body that may possibly be inhabited, such as Sirius.

We may also say: 2. We do not know whether there are any other heavenly bodies suitable for human habitation, which are inhabited.

On this point both the positive sciences and theology can offer only hypotheses. Therefore it is not on conjectural grounds that the testimony about the Incarnation must be rejected; namely, the testimony of Christ, of the apostles, of so many martyrs, of the Catholic Church must be rejected concerning the Incarnation. This testimony is confirmed, indeed, by miracles and the wonderful life of the Church, which is fruitful both morally and spiritually in all good works.

If some of the other heavenly bodies are inhabited by human beings, God has not deemed it opportune to reveal this fact to us. Some say, if perhaps there are others inhabited, then these human beings are either in the purely natural state, or there was no case of original sin among them, or if there was, then they were regenerated in some other way than by the Incarnation. There is nothing intrinsically repugnant in all these views. It is difficult to say, however, whether these opinions can be reconciled with the free decree of the Incarnation in its relation to the human race. For revelation speaks of the human race as it exists on this earth.

Whatever is the fact about these gratuitous hypotheses, Christ, as the incarnate Word of God, is the culmination of the whole of creation, and, just as He is the head of the angels, at least as regards accidental grace, so He could be such with reference to human beings who might be living on some of the other heavenly bodies. Concerning these things and many others, we have no knowledge, and there is no need for us to stop and discuss them. Some men seem to be of the opinion that on other heavenly bodies perhaps there are rational animals of another species than man. But this seems to be false, for the term "rational animal" seems to be not a genus but the ultimate species, according to the principle of continuity; for the highest in the lowest order, for instance, the sensitive life, touches the lowest in the highest order, namely, the intellective life. Hence there is no conjunction of the highest in the sensitive life with the lowest in the intellective life, except in one species, and this is not susceptible to either increase or decrease.

Finally, it must be noted that even if the world were the mathematical center of the universe, this would be no reason why God should choose it for the Incarnation. Thus Christ was not born in Jerusalem, but in Bethlehem. So also St. Augustine was the greatest theologian of his time, and yet he came into the world and taught not at Rome, which was the center of the world, but in Africa. He was only bishop of Hippo.

The mathematical position of a body is a matter of less importance with reference to a supernatural mystery, which infinitely transcends the spatial order.

What has been said suffices concerning the fitness of the Incarnation.

Second Article: Whether It Was Necessary For The Restoration Of The Human Race That The Word Of God Should Become Incarnate?

State of the question.

(1) We assume that the Incarnation was not absolutely necessary, as Wyclif contended, arguing from the false principle that "all things happen because of absolute necessity."[214] Presupposing the fact of creation, the Incarnation was not necessary, whatever absolute optimists, such as Leibnitz and Malebranche, said to the contrary; although the Incarnation may have increased the accidental glory of God, He is absolutely sufficient unto Himself, and is not at all in need of this accidental glory.

2) We assume that after original sin, it was in God's power not to will the reparation of the human race, and in this there would have been no injustice, as St. Augustine says.[215] Therefore we must thank God for having mercifully willed to free the human race from sin.

As a matter of fact, indeed, God did not reinstate the fallen angels; and why He permitted their fall was for a greater good, which must be the manifestation of infinite justice. St. Thomas considers the reparation of the human race to be most fitting, for the sin was not in itself irreparable, whereas he considers the devil's sin, which was committed with full knowledge, to be in itself irreparable, just as the sin of final impenitence is for man. He says: "So it is customary to say that man's free will is flexible to the opposite both before and after the choice; but the angel, s free will is flexible to either opposite before the choice but not after. So therefore the good angels who adhered to justice were confirmed therein; whereas the wicked ones, sinning, are obstinate in sin,"[216] because the angel immediately and intuitively sees whatever must be considered before the choice, with nothing to be considered after the choice.

The question of this article is posited on the understanding that God wills to restore the human race, so far as it is capable of restoration.

A thing is said to be necessary for the end in two ways:

a) simply, when the end cannot be attained in any other way. Thus food is necessary for the preservation of life;

b) in a qualified manner, when the end is attained more conveniently, as a horse is necessary for a journey.

Some thought that St. Anselm in his treatise on the Incarnation[217] taught its absolute necessity after the fall of the human race; but St. Bonaventure and Scotus interpret his statements in a benign sense; in fact, St. Anselm does so himself farther on.[218] Tournely holds that the Incarnation is absolutely necessary after the fall of the human race, if God wills to free the human race from sin.

On the contrary, it is the common teaching among theologians that the Incarnation is not absolutely necessary even after the fall of the human race, even if it is granted that God willed to free the human race from sin, because there were other means of liberation; but it was necessary secundum quid. Suarez thinks that it would be rash to deny this common opinion of the theologians; so does Lugo. In fact, Valentia says that the conclusion is most certain, which means that it is a theological conclusion commonly admitted by the theologians, one which is supported by many testimonies of the Fathers of the Church.[219]

St. Thomas, who firmly holds this conclusion, begins by positing difficulties that are against even the secundum quid necessity of the Incarnation. He argues that the Incarnation does not seem to be necessary even secundum quid because: (1) for the reparation of the human race, the non-incarnate Word can do whatever the incarnate Word can do; therefore the Incarnation is not absolutely necessary. (2) God must not demand from man greater satisfaction than man can give. (3) It is better if there had been no Incarnation, because the more men consider God as raised above all creatures and removed from sense perception, the more they reverence Him. But God's dignity seems to be lowered by assuming human flesh.

Yet the answer is:

1) The Incarnation is not indeed absolutely necessary for the reparation of the human race. (2) But it was necessary secundum quid, namely, as a better and more convenient means.

First Part:

Authoritative proof. A. Billuart holds[220] that this second opinion is the unanimous teaching of the Fathers; he mentions SS. Athanasius, Gregory Nazianzen, Theodoret, Cyril of Alexandria, Gregory the Great, and John Damascene. Likewise St. Augustine in one of his works says: "Foolish people say that the only way by which God in His wisdom could liberate mankind was by becoming man, and by suffering all He did from sinners. To these persons we say that such was absolutely possible for God, but if He had done otherwise, this likewise would have been displeasing to your stupidity."[221]

B. Proof from reason. Concerning this first part of the thesis, St. Thomas says: "God of His omnipotent power could have restored human nature in many other ways."[222] What ways were these?

In the first place, God could have pardoned the offense committed against Him by sin. Tournely denies the possibility of this way by God's ordinary power, because the preservation of justice requires punishment of the offense.

We reply to this objection, according to the mind of St. Thomas,[223] by saying that the supreme judge and legislator can do so, since He is above other judges, and therefore enjoys the prerogative of being able to pardon offenders even without demanding reparation, just as sometimes kings bestow a favor upon or are merciful to those condemned to death.

Or again, God could have accepted some sort of satisfaction from man, or as it pleased Him to accept it; for there is no contradiction implied in these ways of pardoning by Him, and God is absolutely free in His operations ad extra.

Or, as we said in the statement of the question, God could even have willed not to restore the human race, although it is extremely fitting for Him to do so.

Proof of thesis (second part). This part states that the Incarnation was secundum quid necessary for the reparation of the human race, as being the better way.

First of all, there is the authority of St. Augustine, who holds that the Incarnation was more fitting than any other way for the reparation of the human race.

St. Thomas offers a fine theological proof, in which he shows the fitness of the Incarnation on the part of man, just as in the first article of this question he showed its fitness on the part of God, who, being the supreme good, is in the highest degree self-diffusive. His argument may be reduced to the following syllogism.

That way is better for the reparation of the human race, by which man is better and more easily urged to good and withdrawn from evil. But each of these results is obtained by the Incarnation. Therefore the Incarnation is the better way for the reparation of the human race. The major is evident.

The minor is proved, as regards our furtherance in good, by a consideration of the theological virtues, which are higher than all the other virtues, for God is their immediate object and the ultimate end to whom the sinner must be converted.

Faith is made more certain by the Incarnation, for the very reason that by it we believe God Himself who is speaking.

For the formal motive of faith is the authority of God revealing; but God, who is most exalted, remains hidden from us, even though He speaks to us through the prophets, whose preaching is confirmed by miracles. How much more we are confirmed in the faith, if God Himself comes to us, and speaks to us as a human being, not as the scribes did, but as one having authority, saying: "Amen, amen, I say unto you: he that believeth in Me, hath everlasting life."[224]

This argument seems paradoxical to those who say, as the liberal Protestants do, that Christianity is the most exalted type of religion, provided that the dogma of Christ's divinity be eliminated from it. They say this, since they are imbued with the spirit of rationalism that seeks to judge all things by human reason, and not as God sees them.

On the contrary, if we consider this matter in the spirit of faith, this argument is seen to be most fitting and also most exalted, and not one made up by St. Augustine, who is quoted in this article, but as contained already in the very preaching of Christ and His apostles. Jesus Himself says: "I am one that give testimony of Myself, and the Father that sent Me giveth testimony of Me."[225] No prophet spoke words like these, for only Christ can say such words, because He alone, as He Himself said, "is the truth and the life."[226] He is the First Truth, who gives testimony of Himself, and so He is the formal motive of faith, namely, the authority of God actually revealing, and this authority is confirmed by miracles evident to the senses. Similarly Jesus says: "The words which Thou gayest Me I have given to them. And they have received them and have known in very deed that I came out from Thee; and they have believed that Thou didst send Me."[227] Hence the Evangelist writes: "The Samaritans said to the woman: We now believe not for thy saying, for we ourselves have heard Him, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world."[228]

Likewise St. John says in his prologue: "And of His fullness we have all received.... No man hath seen God at any time; the only-begotten Son who is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him."[229]

Similarly St. John says: "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled of the World of life. For the life was manifested, and we have seen and do bear witness and declare unto you the life eternal, which was with the Father, and hath appeared to us."[230] This means that you can believe because what we announce to you we have heard from the Word incarnate, whom we saw by our sense of sight, whom we looked upon, and whom we touched with our hands.

Likewise St. Paul writes: "God who at sundry times and in divers manners spoke in times past to the fathers by the prophets, last of all in these days hath spoken to us by His Son, whom He hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also He hath made the world."[231] And again he says: "For if the word, spoken by angels, became stead fast... how shall we escape... what has been declared by the Lord, ... God also bearing them witness by signs and wonders."[232] This means that Christ is a more exalted witness than the angels.

These texts serve to illustrate the argument of St. Thomas, who says that by the Incarnation our faith is reassured since we believe God Himself speaking to us, that is, speaking to us as man in His assumed nature. As St. Augustine says: "In order that man might journey more trustfully toward the truth, the Truth itself, the Son of God, having assumed human nature, established and founded faith."[233]

Certainly in this life we see Christ's divinity neither by the sense of sight nor mentally; but Jesus with so great authority speaks to us, saying: "I give testimony of Myself,"[234] making Himself equal to God, so that no man of good will can doubt that Jesus is truly the living God, who is speaking to us. I say: no man of good will in the salutary sense of the Gospel, that is, neither resisting revelation, nor internal inspiration given to one for the purpose of believing.

When Christ says, "Come to Me, all you that labor and are burdened, and I will refresh you... he that loveth father or mother more than Me, is not worthy of Me,"[235] He means men of good will who do not resist the grace of faith, do not doubt that He is more than a mere man, more than a prophet, because no prophet uttered such words; and they are certain that Christ is the First Truth, who is speaking to us. And it is precisely such great authority as this that proves unbearable to the Pharisees, who therefore turn away from Him.

In other words, what is the greatest light on this earth for men of good will, becomes obscurity for them. This means that what most of all confirms the faith of men of good will, becomes a source of scandal for them, as Simeon foretold, saying: "Behold this Child is set for the fall and for the resurrection of many in Israel and for a sign that shall be contradicted."[236] For this reason Christ Himself said: "Blessed is he that shall not be scandalized in Me."[237] Our argument was imputed formerly as an objection to our Lord's opponents, and is so too in our days for the rationalists, who, so they say, would be willing to admit the truth of Christianity if it did not include the dogma of Christ's divinity, which means that they would accept Christianity if it were no longer Christianity, but only a higher form of the evolution of natural religion. Thus the greatest light is turned for them into obscurity; but this light is essentially illuminating, and it is only accidentally that it has a blinding effect, that is, on account of the bad disposition of the hearer. As St. Augustine says: "Light is annoying to those of defective eyesight, but it is very welcome to those of good eyesight."[238]

Thus the argument remains most firm, namely, that our faith is made more certain by the Incarnation, since we believe God who speaks to us as man in His assumed human nature. The formal motive of faith is reduced to almost sensible proportions inasmuch it is the supreme authority of Christ speaking. Hence we read in the Gospel that the ministers sent by the Pharisees feared to arrest Jesus, and replied to the chief priests: "Never did man speak like this man."[239] They meant, never did any man utter words so sublime, or in such an exalted and divine manner; for there was a sensible manifestation of something divine in Christ's tone and manner of speech.

St. Thomas says that by the Incarnation we are greatly strengthened in hope. Why is this? It is because hope is a theological virtue that longs for the supreme future and possible good, indeed, but difficult of attainment. Its formal motive is God helping, who has promised us His help not only to keep His commandments that are always possible to observe, but also to save our souls.

Hence hope is trust in God, and this trust increases in us inasmuch as God not only promises His help, but actually bestows it, and manifests His benevolence even in a way that appeals to our senses. Thus we place our trust especially in friends, because we know their help comes from motives of true and deep love for us.

But by the Incarnation God not only gives us His help, which means not only His grace, but He gives us the Author of grace, who remains present in the Holy Eucharist, which very much increases the virtue of hope in us. It is what St. Augustine says in the passage quoted by St. Thomas in this article.

Thus the virtue of hope is very much strengthened in us since Christ says more reassuringly than any prophet: "Come to Me all you that labor and are burdened, and I will refresh you."[240] I am He who helps, I am the Author of salvation. Similarly, when Jesus says to the paralytic, before healing him: "Thy sins are forgiven thee,"[241] that is, your soul is healed, whereas you were demanding only the cure of a bodily ailment. Likewise St. Paul formulated this argument in equivalent words when he wrote: "The mystery which hath been hidden from ages and generations, but now is manifested to His saints, to whom God would make known the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you the hope of glory."[242] Again he writes: "Christ our hope,"[243] for Christ Himself, as God, is both the object and the motive of our hope, for God Himself is both helper and helping.

The following special text of St. Paul must here be quoted: "If God be for us, who is against us? He that spared not even His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not also, with Him, give us all things? Who shall accuse against the elect of God?... Who is He that shall condemn? Christ Jesus that died, yea that is risen also again, who is at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. Who then shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation or distress or famine... or persecution or the sword?... But in all these things we overcome because of Him that has loved us."[244] In other words, in all these things we overcome, because of the efficacy of the help of Him who loved us; and in the opinion of St. Augustine and St. Thomas this help is of itself efficacious, and not because our consent was foreseen by God.

The formal motive of hope is not man's effort cooperating with God's help, but it is God helping, who, by the Incarnation is with us and remains present in the Holy Eucharist. Thus we have the greatest reason for trusting in God.

Thirdly, by the Incarnation "charity is greatly enkindled," says St. Thomas, who quotes here St. Augustine as saying: "What greater cause is there of the Lord's coming than to show God's love for us?" And St. Augustine afterward adds: "If we have been slow to love, at least let us hasten to love in return."[245]

Charity obliges us to love God more than we love ourselves, loving Him as our friend, the formal motive of our love being His goodness, which infinitely surpasses all His favors bestowed upon us. This means that we must will efficaciously the fulfillment of His will, that He may reign truly and profoundly in souls and be glorified forever, since the Scripture says: "Not to us, O Lord, not to us; but to Thy name give glory."[246] What has been said constitutes the definition of charity that surpasses hope, just as the love of benevolence surpasses the love of concupiscence, no matter how much this latter be upright and ordered to its proper end. By the virtue of hope, I desire God for myself, but as my final end, indeed, because He is God. By the virtue of charity, however, I love God efficaciously as my friend, and I love Him more than I love myself, and I will Him all befitting good. This most sublime aspect of charity, more than anything hope can offer, will enable us to cease worrying, too, about the mystery of predestination, notwithstanding its great obscurity. By charity I love God more than myself, and in a general way whatever God has eternally decreed in manifestation of His goodness. Thus God, who is infinitely good, is the eminent source of all goodness being a quasi-ego to myself, and in a certain sense more an ego than I am, for whatever good I possess already is contained in Him in a far more eminent manner. This is that true mysticism which is certainly the normal way to holiness.

But this divine goodness, which is the formal object of charity, is especially made manifest by the supreme act of love in which God gave us His only-begotten Son.[247] It is the fundamental truth of Christianity, because this love is the fountain source of the very gift of the Incarnation. Hence Jesus says: "As the Father hath loved Me, I also have loved you. Abide in My love."[248] And again: "Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends."[249] St. John writes: "By this hath the charity of God appeared toward us, because God hath sent His only-begotten Son into the world, that we may live by Him. In this is charity, not as though we had loved God, but because He hath first loved us, and sent His Son to be a propitiation for our sins. My dearest, if God hath so loved us, we also ought to love one another."[250] Farther on he says: "Let us therefore love God, because God first hath loved us."[251]

Likewise St. Paul says: "But God commendeth His charity toward us, because when as yet we were sinners, according to the time, Christ died for us."[252] Writing to Titus, he says: "For the grace of God our Savior hath appeared to all men, instructing us, that denying ungodliness and worldly desires... we should live Godly in this world, looking for the blessed hope and coming of the glory of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ."[253]

Thus these three arguments of St. Thomas not only result in a theologically certain conclusion, but they pertain to the faith, and are the sublime object of contemplation. It is also evident that this contemplation, which proceeds from faith illumined by the gifts of the Holy Ghost, is the normal way to holiness of life.

Fourth, the incarnation of the Word sets us an example in the practice of all virtues, whereas Diogenes and several other philosophers said that the search for an exemplar in virtues is a vain quest. It is only Christ who could say to His adversaries: "Which of you shall convince Me of sin?',[254] Hence holiness of life consists in the imitation of Christ.

Fifth. The Incarnation is most appropriate for withdrawing us from evil.

1) Because man by the Incarnation is instructed to despise the devil conquered by Christ even as man, as stated in the legend of St. Christopher.

2) Because by the Incarnation we begin to realize the dignity of our human nature, so that we are urged not to stain our soul by sin.

3) Because the Incarnation takes away all presumption from us since God, s grace, regardless of any previous merits on our part, is approved in us or bestowed upon us through Jesus Christ, so that St. Paul is able to say: "By the grace of God I am what I am."[255] The sinner, too, who has committed all crimes, can repent by trusting in the infinite merits of Christ.

4) Pride is removed and cured by a consideration of the humiliating conditions of the passion of our Lord.

5) Man is freed from the slavery of the devil and of sin. As St. Thomas says in this article in equivalent words: God, by assuming our human nature, did not lessen His majesty and attracted us more by this means to know Him.[256]

Therefore the Incarnation is a more fitting way of freeing the human race from sin. Nevertheless, God could have chosen not to become man, and this would not have been derogatory to Him, for the Incarnation was a most free act, and an absolutely gratuitous gift.

Hence we must say that it was more fitting for God to become incarnate, but it would not have been inconsistent with God's goodness if He had not become incarnate. Similarly, it was more fitting for God to have created and raised man to the supernatural order, but it would not have been derogatory to His goodness if He had not done so. Thus in human actions, virginity is more perfect than matrimony, but there is nothing unbecoming in matrimony. There is freedom of choice in both cases.

The only remaining difficulty is the one proposed in the second objection of this article, namely, that it does not seem proper for God to demand greater satisfaction than man can give.

St. Thomas replies to this objection by giving a brief summary of the doctrine on satisfaction. He remarks that it would not, indeed, be fitting if God had not given His Son as Redeemer to make the greater satisfaction. But God gave His Son. This difficulty gives us the opportunity to present certain doubts that must be examined in amplification of the doctrine of this article.

First doubt. Was the Incarnation necessary so as to have condign satisfaction for sin?

St. Thomas examines this question in his reply to the second objection of this article.

State of the question. Satisfaction is the compensation or voluntary payment of any debt. It is of various kinds, as may be seen by the following schema.

[diagram page 65]

SATISFACTION

perfect

considered as a formal act of justice, it is called rigorous satisfaction;

considered on the part of the offense, it is called condign satisfaction.

imperfect

considered also on the part of the offense it is called congruent satisfaction.

St. Thomas distinguishes between two kinds of satisfaction.

1) Satisfaction is perfectly sufficient, he says, when it is condign, being in a certain sense adequate in reparation of the fault committed. Thus, if anyone has to pay another a debt of one hundred dollars, and returns the complete sum, then he is said to have made perfect satisfaction in a material sense. Moreover, that the satisfaction be perfect in the formal sense, or as an act of justice, the restitution must be made out of the debtor, s own belongings, and must not be owing to the creditor on some other account, nor in any way under his dominion. The last condition is that the creditor is bound to accept the payment as satisfaction.

Perfect satisfaction considered merely materially is called condign satisfaction. Perfect satisfaction in the formal sense is called rigorous or according to the strictest standard of justice.

2) Imperfect satisfaction also in the material sense, or what is not condign, is that which is deemed sufficient, and which a person is contented to accept as satisfactory. Thus, if anyone is bound to pay back one hundred dollars, and returns eighty, the creditor being satisfied with this sum, such satisfaction is often called congruent.

Three certain conclusions follow from these distinctions.

1) Mere man can in the material sense satisfy imperfectly for sin. This conclusion is expressed in equivalent words by St. Thomas toward the end of his reply to the second objection. The expression "mere man" does not mean the exclusion of grace, but only of the divine nature. Thus a just person can satisfy imperfectly for his own mortal sin, or for another's, by a satisfaction which God can accept, if He so wills, and which He could have accepted, if He had not willed to free man from sin by the Incarnation. So also in this life our satisfactions for our sins, or in reparation for the sins of others, are imperfect even in the material sense. Hence St. Thomas says: "The satisfaction of every mere man has its efficiency from the satisfaction of Christ,"[257] even the satisfaction of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Therefore she is not called co-redemptress except in a subordinate sense to Christ, as being quasi sub-redemptress.

Hence Pope Pius X ratified the common teaching of theologians, when he said: "That which Christ merited for us de condigno, the Blessed Virgin Mary merited for us de congruo."[258] And likewise she did not satisfy for us de condigno, but de congruo. Pope Benedict XV declared: "It can truly be said that along with Christ she redeemed the human race,"[259] that is, subordinate to Christ with Him, and through Him, the Blessed Virgin Mary's satisfaction was not condign but congruent, or an imperfect satisfaction, which was not of itself (apart from Christ's redemption) perfectly sufficient.

2) Mere man cannot offer complete satisfaction to God for his own sin or for another's. This means that he cannot satisfy according to the strictest standard of justice, because there is nothing either in the natural order or in the supernatural order that he can offer to God which has not been bestowed upon him by God who is His creditor and which God is bound to accept in satisfaction. Thus the Holy See approved the following statement of a provincial council: "No one but the God-man was able to satisfy in strict justice."[260]

3) Mere man could not satisfy de condigno for his own or another's mortal sin; and for such condign reparation the Incarnation was necessary.

This conclusion, which is commonly admitted by theologians, is considered certain by St. Thomas, and occurs in the beginning of his reply to the second objection. However, some theologians. following Scotus and Durandus, admitted that some creature, adorned with a very high degree of grace, such as the Blessed Virgin Mary, could satisfy adequately for mortal sin.

There are proofs for this third conclusion.

Authoritative proof. St. Augustine says: "We would not have been liberated through the one mediator between God and man, the man Jesus Christ, unless He were also God."[261] Likewise, St. Leo says: "It He were not truly God, He could not apply the remedy; if He were not truly man, He could not give us the example."[262]

This traditional and common opinion among theologians was approved recently by Pope Pius XI, who wrote concerning Mary reparatrix: "If the Son of God had not assumed our human nature for the purpose of repairing it, no created power sufficed to expiate the crimes of men."[263]

Thus the traditional thesis is now a ratified pontifical document, and is theologically certain, being an approved theological conclusion.

Theological proof. St. Thomas gives two reasons why adequate satisfaction was impossible. This he does in his reply to the second objection of this article.

a) Condign satisfaction was impossible by mere man "because the whole of human nature has been corrupted by sin," and only a just person can merit de condigno and satisfy. But some may say that God could have preserved some man from original sin, or could have sanctified him after the sin was committed and bestowed a high degree of grace upon him so that he could satisfy for it.

The second reason replies to this suggestion.

b) This reason may be presented by the following syllogism. Mortal sin committed against God has a certain infinity considered as an offense. But condign satisfaction must be adequate reparation. Therefore condign satisfaction must have infinite efficacy, as being the satisfactory act of one who is both God and man.

St. Thomas proves the major by saying: "A sin committed against God has a kind of infinity from the infinity of the divine majesty, because the greater the person we offend, the more grievous the offense."[264]

Yet not all Thomists interpret this major in the same sense.[265]

Some theologians say that St. Thomas wrote that "mortal sin has a kind of infinity"[266]. as an offense. Therefore its gravity is not absolutely infinite, but only in a qualified sense and objectively; for sin as an act of the will is always finite. Likewise, its malice, since it is a turning to changeable good, is finite; so it does not merit absolutely infinite punishment, for the penalty of damnation consists in the deprivation of the beatific vision, which is something created, although it concerns God objectively. So say certain Thomists such as Soto, Conradus, along with Scotus, Suarez, and Vasquez.

Others say that the gravity of mortal sin is absolutely infinite, not indeed considered as a physical act, nor as a moral act because of its malice and demerit, but because it is an offense. Briefly, a grievous offense against God is absolutely infinite. Such is the view of Capreolus, Cajetan, Gonet, Salmanticenses, and John of St. Thomas.[267]

These theologians say that, more probably mortal sin, because it is an offense, is absolutely infinite in gravity, and this for the reason given by St. Thomas, namely, "because the greater the person we offend, the more grievous the offense."[268] But He who is the supreme good, who is the ultimate end, who is practically denied by mortal sin, is absolutely infinite in dignity; whereas man prefers the creature to God and loves himself more than God. If it were not so, then St. Thomas would be wrong in concluding the necessity of infinite satisfaction.

St. Thomas also says: "Since God infinitely transcends the creature, mortal sin committed against God is an infinite offense, by reason of the dignity of Him to whom somehow harm is done by sin, since God Himself and His precept are despised."[269]

Moreover, the offense is morally in the person offended, inasmuch as the person offended is truly the victim of injustice. Hence the greater is the dignity of the person offended, the greater is the offense. Thus it is a greater offense to insult a genera than a soldier, and a king than a general. Hence to insult God is absolutely infinite as a moral act, inasmuch as it practically denies God the infinite dignity owing to Him as the ultimate end or as the infinite good.

Nevertheless, one mortal sin can be more grievous than another in three ways, either because it is committed with greater deliberation and consent; or, objectively considered, because it is more directed against God; or by reason of the circumstances.

Most certainly the gravity of the offense is estimated according to the dignity of the person offended, whereas the value of the reparation is estimated according to the dignity of the person who makes reparation. The whole force of the argument rests on this statement.

Objection. Some say that although God, who is infinite, is the object of the act of charity, this act is not absolutely infinite in dignity as a moral act. Therefore, although mortal sin offends God who is infinite, considered as an offense in the moral order, it is not absolutely infinite in gravity.

Reply. The difference is that, as regards charity, God is only its object and not its subject; but He is the subject of the moral offense committed against Him. Thus, as stated, the greater the dignity of the person offended, the greater is the gravity of the offense. On the contrary, although God can be the object of venial sin, it does not deny Him the infinite dignity owing to Him as the ultimate end, and thus its offense is not absolutely infinite.

Briefly, a grievous offense against God is absolutely infinite, since it is practically a denial of His absolutely infinite dignity.

This comparison between a mere man's act of charity that is of finite value, and a grave and absolutely infinite offense against God, is founded on the principle that in our negations concerning God there is more of denial than there is of assertion in our affirmations.[270]

A practical denial of the dignity of the ultimate end denies more about it, than its practical affirmation can affirm about it. Hence the general saying that it is easier to destroy than to build. In a moment a man can destroy very precious objects, which only after a long time can be replaced; and it is generally admitted that an inferior can do more against a superior than for him. Matter, by escaping from the domination of its form, can do more against the form of a corporeal thing, such as a plant or an animal, than for it by remaining under it, because without matter this form, for instance, of a lion, totally disappears, but matter alone is not sufficient for the sensitive life of the lion. The mineral kingdom can do more harm to man, for instance, in an earthquake, than good to him; likewise the lack of air necessary for breathing causes death, whereas its presence is not sufficient; for life, food and other things are also required.

Similarly in the human order, a common man can do great harm to a king, but he cannot render him all the honors that are due to him. Likewise the common people can be the source of more affliction to men of great ability than joy to them. In like manner, if it is said of a good doctor that he is not so in the medical art, this judgment grieves him more than the opposite judgment could cause him to rejoice.

Generally speaking, the inferior can do more harm to the superior than good to him. Proud Satan is conscious of this; the devil wishes to have power not from grace, but in his own right; and so he wishes to have the power to destroy, which is tantamount to saying: I am preventing the development of the kingdom of God; it is for this reason that I exist and have power.

Hence the truth of the principle: the inferior can do more harm than good to the superior.

Thus it is that the subordination of the inferior helps to some extent the action of the superior, whereas his insubordination sometimes totally impedes it.

The reason is that frequently the inferior is an indispensable condition for the action of the superior, and the lack of this cooperation results in not only a partial but a total frustration of the action of the higher power, as in the case of insanity resulting from a cerebral lesion there follows a total impossibility of judgment. When the brain is in good condition it is of some help to the reasoning faculty, whereas, if seriously damaged, it completely prevents the act of reasoning. Thus many men who enjoy the best of health have not much intellectual ability; but a man of great intellect suddenly becomes insane because of a cerebral lesion.

Likewise, man of himself can do more against God, against the kingdom of God by blaspheming, than he can do for God by honoring Him. Man in the purely natural state suffices for the complete denial of God's ineffable greatness, but he is afterward incapable of completely affirming this greatness, even though restored by grace. Our negations are more absolute in their effect than our affirmations. When the impious person denies God, he denies God completely in his heart; when the just person affirms God, he does not affirm Him completely, but in a finite manner, and, as St. Thomas says, "we cannot know what God is, but rather what He is not."[271] To comprehend is to equate in knowledge the knowable object. God alone has comprehensive knowledge of Himself, which attains to the whole of Him and to all that is contained in Him.[272]

In like manner anyone who denies the principle of finality, completely denies it; on the contrary, anyone who affirms the principle of finality, does not completely understand it. This principle, that, "every agent acts for an end," is known better by an angel, and a fortiori by God. Therefore a grievous offense against God is absolutely infinite, since it denies to God absolutely infinite dignity of the ultimate end, or the supreme Good.

Our grave disobedience toward God is graver because of the offense, than our due subjection to Him contributes to His eternal glory. It remains true, therefore, that the gravity of the offense is estimated according to the dignity of the person offended, whereas the value of the reparation is estimated according to the dignity of the person making reparation.

But what is the validity of the minor, that is, that condign satisfaction must be adequate reparation, and hence it must be of infinite value?

Proof of minor. Condign compensation must offer to God what is no less or more pleasing to Him than the offense is displeasing to Him.

St. Thomas says: "He properly atones for an offense who offers something which the offended one loves equally or even more than he detested the offense. But by suffering out of love and obedience, Christ gave more to God than was required to compensate for the offense of the whole human race. First of all because of the exceeding charity from which He suffered; secondly on account of the dignity of His life which He laid down in atonement, for it was the life of one who was God and man; thirdly on account of the extent of the Passion, and the greatness of the grief endured."[273]

The reason why this satisfaction is of infinite value is that it was offered to God from the charity of the Word incarnate, namely, of the divine person whose theandric act is of infinite price, since the estimated value of the satisfaction is derived from a consideration of the person making satisfaction.

On the contrary, an absolutely infinite injury cannot be condignly repaired by a satisfaction of finite value. But the satisfaction of any creature whatever is of finite value; for the value of the satisfaction is derived, as has been said, from a consideration of the person satisfying, inasmuch as this person is the subject who satisfies. Hence the common saying that honor is in the person honoring.

Therefore the greater the dignity of the person satisfying, the greater the estimate of the satisfaction. Hence the satisfaction of Christ is absolutely infinite, because the person satisfying is divine and infinite. On the contrary, the dignity of the creature who satisfies is finite, no matter what may be the number of his supernatural gifts. Therefore a finite creature cannot give adequate satisfaction for an absolutely infinite offense.

This is the reason given by St. Thomas in his reply to the second objection of this article. But on this point, the knowledge acquired through the gifts of the Holy Ghost is of a much higher order and more striking than discursive knowledge.

Second doubt. Would the Incarnation be necessary if the gravity of the offense were only in a qualified manner infinite?

Would the reason given by St. Thomas still be valid if the grievous offense against God were not absolutely infinite, but only in a qualified manner, that is, objectively, as the act of charity is said to be objectively infinite?

Some Thomists, such as Billuart,[274] reply that the reason given by St. Thomas has still some value, in this sense, that the gravity of mortal sin does not consist only in this, that it denies God His dignity as the ultimate end, but that also the depreciation and contempt of the divine majesty comes from a vile creature, who presumes to offend Him. This injury is not compensated by an act of charity of a mere man, because it is more injurious to God to be subjected to a vile creature than the subjection of this creature to Him pays Him honor. Similarly it is more against the king's dignity to be insulted by one of his ministers, than it adds to his honor for him to accept the apology of his minister.

But the reason as proposed is no longer strictly the reason given by St. Thomas, which is derived not from a consideration of the vileness of the person offending, but from the supreme dignity of the person offended. Hence from what St. Thomas says,[275] it is clearly enough evident that he considers a grievous offense against God to be absolutely infinite, inasmuch as it is practically a denial of His absolutely infinite dignity. We have said that such is the conclusion of very many Thomists, namely, of Capreolus, Cajetan, Salmanticenses, Godoy, Gonet, John of St. Thomas, Billuart.

Third doubt. Can a just man offer condign satisfaction for venial sin?

Reply. The answer is that he can; for a just man can make reparation for venial sin and therefore satisfy for it, because venial sin does not take away from the soul habitual grace, which is the root of the supernatural life, nor does it turn us away from the ultimate end. Moreover, the injury included in venial sin does not deny God His absolutely infinite dignity as the ultimate end. Therefore this injury is not absolutely infinite but finite. Therefore it can be repaired by what remains of the virtue of charity.

Cajetan in his commentary on this article examines other objections raised by Scotus; but these belong more properly to the article on the passion of our Lord, in which St. Thomas asks whether it brought about our salvation by way of atonement.[276]

It must be noted that the thesis of St. Thomas on the necessity of the Incarnation so as to satisfy de condigno for mortal sin is absolutely in conformity with tradition. The Fathers frequently have proved, from the dogma of the redemption admitted by heretics, that Christ was truly God.[277]

Solution Of Objections Against The Reply To The First Doubt

The Incarnation was not necessary to satisfy de condigno for sin.

First objection. Condign satisfaction returns to the one offended all that was taken away by mortal sin. But mere man justified by an act of charity returns to God all that was taken away by mortal sin, namely, it returns lovingly what is His due as being the ultimate end. Therefore mere man justified can offer condign satisfaction to God for mortal sin, and so the Incarnation is not necessary.

Reply. I distinguish the major. Condign satisfaction that returns all, and all that is implied by an act that is equal to the gravity of the offense, then I concede the major.

That returns all, but not all that is implied by an act that is not equal to the gravity of the offense, then I deny it.

I contradistinguish the minor in the same way.

Satisfaction for wrong done requires more than the mere restitution of the object stolen; it also requires that the object taken be returned with due compensation for slighted honor. Thus, if a commoner snatched a king's daughter, it would not suffice for condign satisfaction that the daughter be returned, for in this way reparation for the wrong done to the king would not be made. Similarly, God's dignity is far more offended when the creature despises Him, than honor is paid to Him by the creature's subjection to Him even by an act of charity. Insubordination is not sufficiently repaired by the restitution of subordination that is already due Him.

Mortal sin of any kind offends God's right, His right of being the ultimate end, and therefore every mortal sin is an insult to God, not always explicitly intended as in blasphemy, but resulting as a consequence of the sin. Although man cannot render to God whatever is due Him according to strictest justice, yet he can be strictly unjust to Him by practically denying Him His absolutely infinite dignity to which He is entitled as the ultimate end.

Second objection. He who can merit de condigno for others the grace of forgiveness of mortal sin, can likewise satisfy de condigno for the mortal sin of others. But a mere man mercifully justified and constituted the head of the human race could merit de condigno for others the grace of forgiveness of sin, which is admitted by several Thomists, such as John of St. Thomas. Therefore this mere man could satisfy de condigno for the mortal sin of others.

Reply. I deny the major, because there is no parity between merit and satisfaction. Merit is the right to a proportionate reward in accordance with distributive justice, whereas satisfaction concerns the equal compensation of another, in accordance with the standard of commutative justice, by making equivalent reparation for the wrong done. Hence this mere man would give only a modified satisfaction that would fall short of condign satisfaction, and thus God would condone the offense without receiving condign satisfaction, just as the father in family life condones the offense of a younger son on account of the merits of an elder son. Mere man cannot "offer to God offended something He loves equally or even more than He detests the offense."[278]

Another objection. The incarnate Word did not have a higher degree of virtue than the non-incarnate Word. But the incarnate Word could satisfy de condigno. Therefore the non-incarnate Word could satisfy de condigno.

Reply. I distinguish the major. That the Word incarnate had also certain virtues properly His own as man, this I concede. Otherwise I deny the major.

I contradistinguish the minor. That the Word incarnate could satisfy as the Word in the divine nature, this I deny. As the incarnate Word, that is, as man, this I concede.

God could have restored the human race by condoning the offense without demanding satisfaction; but as God, He could not have obeyed, suffered, prayed, offered sacrifice of reparation to God, and merited.

But I insist. The non-incarnate Word also had strictly the power to satisfy. The power to satisfy implies any good without admixture of evil. But the non-incarnate Word has whatever is good without any admixture of evil. Therefore the non-incarnate Word has strictly the power to satisfy.

Reply. I distinguish the major; that it implies any good without admixture of moral evil, this I concede; no admixture of physical perfection on the part of created nature, this I deny.

I contradistinguish the minor. That the non-incarnate Word has all good without admixture of any imperfection whatever, this I concede; otherwise, I deny the minor.

In other words, mixed perfections are not contained formally, but only virtually in the non-incarnate Word.

Still I insist. The non-incarnate Word can have formally, without becoming incarnate, strictly the power to satisfy. The Word can assume the angelic nature. But by assuming this nature the Word can satisfy formally. Therefore the Word can satisfy formally without becoming incarnate.

Reply. I concede the major.

I distinguish the minor. That the Word can satisfy by satisfaction improperly so called that is freely accepted by God, let it pass without comment; by satisfaction in the strict sense, as offered by the Word in the human nature for our redemption, this I deny.

In like manner I distinguish the conclusion.

Final objection. Mere man can satisfy for venial sin. But a slight offense is infinite, if the distance between the offender and the offended is infinite.

Reply. The gravity of the offense is not estimated formally from the distance, but it is estimated from the dignity of the person offended; and the dignity of God as the ultimate end is practically denied only by mortal sin.

Third Article: Whether, If Man Had Not Sinned, God Would Have Become Incarnate?

State of the question. We are concerned here not only with the fitness of the Incarnation, which was discussed in the first article, but also with the proximate motive of the efficacious decree of the Incarnation: the motive, namely, not on the part of God willing, but on the part of the thing willed; for God does not will one thing on account of another, but He wills one thing to be as a means for the other.[279] The question precisely is this, whether, in virtue of the present decree, God so willed the Incarnation for the redemption of the human race, that if man had not sinned, the Word would not have become incarnate.

At the time of St. Thomas there was difference of opinion among the doctors on this question. Alexander of Hales and St. Albert held it to be more probable in virtue of the present decree, even if man had not sinned, that God would have become incarnate. This thesis was afterward more tenaciously defended by Scotus and the Scotists.

On the contrary, St. Bonaventure and St. Thomas declare it to be more probable that, if man had not sinned, the Word of God would not have become incarnate. St. Thomas claims only greater probability for his answer.[280] In the present article, he says: "It is more fitting to say."

For a methodical method of procedure in this complex enough question, let us consider:

1) The difficulties of the question as set forth by St. Thomas at the beginning of this article, are arguments in favor of the opposite opinion.

2) The solution of St. Thomas.

3) The stand taken by Scotus.

4) How Cajetan, John of St. Thomas, and Billuart interpret the teaching of St. Thomas.

5) Godoy, Gonet, and Salmanticenses give another interpretation, Capreolus being quoted for this view.

6) The solution of the objections advanced by Scotus against this second interpretation, which seems to be more probable.[281]

Since the question is complex, we must say right at the beginning, that we wish especially to defend this truth, which seems to us to be admitted by all, namely, God willed the Incarnation for the manifestation of His goodness, to show His mercy toward men to be redeemed, as the Creed says, "for our salvation." We intend and understand nothing else but that: God, by one sole efficacious decree thus willed the Incarnation.

1) The difficulties of the question are evident from the objections posited at the beginning of this article. They are almost the same as those proposed by St. Thomas in one of his earlier works.[282] They reproduce the opinion on this question that was held by Alexander of Hales and St. Albert, an opinion that was afterward developed by Scotus. From these objections it is apparent that St. Thomas had a very good knowledge of the state of the question.

First difficulty. St. Augustine says: "Many other things are to be considered in the incarnation of Christ besides absolution from sin."[283] Hence, even if man had not sinned, God would have become incarnate. In that event, He would not have been the savior and the victim, but the teacher, the mediator, the King of kings for all mankind.

Second difficulty. The purpose of God in creating is to manifest His goodness and omnipotence; but it belongs to God, s omnipotence to perfect His works by some infinite effect, namely, by the Incarnation.

Third difficulty. Human nature has not been made more capable of grace by sin. But after sin it is capable of the grace of the hypostatic union. Therefore, if man had not sinned, human nature would have been capable of this greatest grace, nor would God have withheld from it any good of which it was capable.

Fourth difficulty. God's predestination is eternal. But Christ, as man, was predestined to be truly the Son of God. Therefore, in virtue of this predestination, even before sin, the Incarnation was a necessity.

Fifth difficulty. The mystery of the Incarnation was revealed to the first man in his state of innocence without any reference to his future sin for which reparation must be made.

For these reasons, Alexander of Hales, St. Albert, and later on Scotus deemed it more probable that the Word would have become incarnate even if man had not sinned.

This question assumes no less importance if it be proposed as follows: What is the fundamental trait of Christ? Is it to be the Savior and victim, or preferably to be the teacher, King of kings, Lord of all? Is it only of secondary importance that He is the Savior and victim?

St. Thomas' conclusion in the body of this article is the following. "It is more fitting to say that the work of the Incarnation was ordained by God as a remedy for sin, so that, had sin not existed, the Incarnation would not have been. And yet the power of God is not limited to this; even had sin not existed, God could have become incarnate."

St. Thomas in one of his earlier works[284] gives this opinion as probable, in fact, as more probable. Similarly, in another of his commentaries, he says: "We do not know what God would have ordained (by another decree) if He had not foreknown the sin of man. Nevertheless, authoritative writers seem to state expressly that God would not have become incarnate if man had not sinned. I incline more to this view."[285]

Proof. St. Thomas proves his conclusion by one argument, for, as we shall immediately see, there is no distinction between the argument "sed contra" and the argument in the body of this article, but he combines them into one argument, which may be presented by the following syllogism.

What depends solely on the will of God, and beyond all to which the creature is entitled, can be made known to us only inasmuch as it is contained in Sacred Scripture.

But everywhere in Sacred Scripture the sin of the first man is assigned as the reason for the Incarnation.

Therefore it is more fitting to say, since it seems to be more in accordance with the meaning of Sacred Scripture, that the sin of the first man is the reason of the Incarnation. This conclusion is both more and less than a theological conclusion. It is more because it appears to be the meaning of Sacred Scripture; it is less because it is not absolutely certain.

The major is evident, because what depends on the most free will of God is known only to Himself, nor is there any other way by which supernatural gifts[286] can be made known except through revelation, which is contained in Sacred Scripture and also in tradition. Hence the Scripture says: "For who among men is he that can know the counsel of God? Or who can think what the will of God is."[287]

Proof of minor. Christ Himself testifies, saying: "They that are whole, need not the physician, but they that are sick. I came not to call the just, but sinners to penance."[288] And again: "For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost."[289] St. Paul says: "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners."[290] Elsewhere he writes: "God sent His Son made of a woman, made under the law, that He might redeem those who were under the law."[291] The beloved Apostle testifies: "God so loved the world, as to send His only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him may not perish, but may have life everlasting."[292] St. John the Baptist on seeing Jesus, says: "Behold the Lamb of God... who taketh away the sin of the world."[293] Likewise the Old Testament assigns the healing of the contrite of heart and the abolition of iniquity from the land, as the only reasons for the promise and expectation of the[294] Moreover, the name Jesus signifies Savior.[295]

But Sacred Scripture does not say explicitly that this reason for the Incarnation is the only possible one, and it speaks with reference to us men and our salvation. Hence the argument from this point of view is not apodictic.

But this argument drawn from Sacred Scripture is fully confirmed by tradition. The Council of Nicaea, in the symbol which, too, the Church sings, says: "Who for us men, and for our salvation, came down from heaven. And was made flesh by the Holy Ghost, and was made man."[296] Likewise, in the Council of Sens and by Innocent II, Abelard's proposition was condemned, which said: "Christ did not assume our human nature in order to deliver us from the devil's yoke."[297]

The Fathers insist upon the above-quoted passages when speaking about the motive of the Incarnation.

St. Irenaeus says: "If no flesh had to be saved, the Word of God would not at all have become flesh."[298]

St. Cyril of Alexandria remarks: "If we had not sinned, the Son of God would not have become like unto us."[299]

Other Fathers may be quoted. Thus, St. Athanasius writes: "The Word by no means would have become man unless the necessity of mankind had been the cause."[300]

St. Gregory Nazianzen declares: "But what was the reason for God to assume our human nature for our sake? Assuredly that He might prepare the way to heaven for us; for what other reason can there be?"[301]

St. Chrysostom, the head of the Greek Church, likewise says: "He assumed this human nature of ours solely on account of His mercy, that He might have mercy on us; there is no other reason whatever than this alone for dispensing us from our obligation."[302] This means to say that the proximate motive of the efficacious decree of the Incarnation was formally the motive of mercy.

Finally also St. Augustine, the head of the Latin Church, is quoted in the counterargument of this article, who says: "If man had not sinned, the Son of man would not have come." And elsewhere he says: "Since Adam was made, namely, a righteous man, there was no need of a mediator. But when sins had separated the human race far from God, it was necessary for us to be reconciled to God through a mediator."[303] The testimony of the gloss, quoted in the counterargument, must be added to the above quotations, namely: "Take away diseases, take away wounds, and there is no need of medicine."[304]

The Scotists say that these texts from Sacred Scripture and the Fathers prove only that, if Adam had not sinned, Christ would not have come in passible flesh, or as the physician and Savior.

The Thomists reply that in such a case the statements of the Fathers, asserting absolutely, simply, and without restrictions, that Christ would not have come if Adam had not sinned, would be false; or there would certainly be much equivocation concealed in their words. Thus the following affirmation would be false. Christ is not in the Eucharist meaning: He is not in the Eucharist in passible flesh.

But St. Augustine says, as quoted above: "If man had not sinned, the Son of man would not have come," whereas he ought to have said: He would have come indeed but not in passible flesh, as the Redeemer.

The Scotists also appeal to the words of St. Paul, who says of Christ: "Who is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of every creature, for in Him were all things created in heaven and on earth.... Al] things were created by Him and in Him. And He is before all, and by Him all things consist."[305]

Concerning this text the Thomists remark that, even if these words refer not only to the Word before the Incarnation, but also to Christ, yet they do not express the proximate motive of the Incarnation, but that Christ is above every creature, by reason of His personality.

Hence many authors say that the opinion of St. Thomas and of St. Bonaventure has its foundation more in the testimony of the Scripture and the Fathers.[306]

Therefore, because of this fundamental argument, St. Thomas rightly says in his conclusion: "Hence, since everywhere in the Sacred Scripture the sin of the first man is assigned as the reason of the Incarnation, it is more in accordance with this to say that the work of the Incarnation was ordained by God as a remedy for sin; so that, had sin not existed, the Incarnation would not have been,"[307] at least in virtue of the present decree; but it could have been regardless of sin in virtue of another decree. This means that the proximate motive of the Incarnation was formally the motive of mercy, namely, to alleviate the misery of the human race.

Confirmation. The Thomists present a second argument which serves as a complete corroboration of the preceding.

Since God's efficacious decrees are not modified by Him, but from eternity include also all the circumstances of the thing to be produced, the present efficacious decree of the Incarnation from eternity includes the passibility of the flesh. But, as the Scotists concede, the incarnation in passible flesh, supposes the fall. Therefore, in virtue of the present decree, the Word incarnate would not have existed if man had not sinned.

Explanation of the major. God's efficacious decree includes all the circumstances of the things to be produced, because it is an act of most perfect prudence, which attends to all the circumstances of the object, inasmuch as it is concerned with all the particulars that can and must be done right at the moment. The difference between God and us consists in this, that we intend many things even as much as these efficaciously be in our power, although we do not attend to all the detailed circumstances, because these do not come under our observation simultaneously but successively, nor can we foresee with certainty the absolutely fortuitous circumstances even of the morrow. On the contrary, God knows all future things from eternity, and nothing happens without either a positive or permissive decree of His will, positive as regards that which is real and good, permissive as regards evil. Hence God's positive efficacious decree, since it is most prudent, includes all the circumstances of the thing to be produced. Hence God, different from us, does not modify His efficacious decrees, and consequently the efficacious decree of the Incarnation in passible flesh, so that de facto the Incarnation takes place, is the only one issued by God, and this decree, as the Scotists concede, supposes the fall of the human race. Therefore, in virtue of the present efficacious decree, if man had not sinned, the Word would not have become incarnate.

Therefore the Scotists ought to say that the decree of the Incarnation considered in itself and not in passible flesh is a conditional and inefficacious decree, like God's antecedent will of saving the human race, because it is directed to something considered in itself, abstracting, as it were, from particular circumstances of time and place. But it must be added in virtue of the present inefficacious decree, nothing comes into being, for no being or anything good is produced, because these can be produced only according to conditions right at the moment, and at the moment nothing is realized,[308] for the conditional and inefficacious decree does not refer to the existence of things. Hence, in virtue of this particular, inefficacious decree, the Word de facto would not, right in the present circumstances, have become incarnate either in passible or in impassible flesh.

Instance. But perhaps this argument proves only that the reparation of sin was an indispensable condition for the coming of Christ. It does not follow as an immediate consequence that this indispensable condition was the proximate motive of the Incarnation, because not every indispensable condition is the motive of one's action.

Reply. We say that the Scripture assigns this condition as the motive, and no other proximate motive is assigned to this condition, except the common and ultimate motive in all God's works, which is the manifestation of His goodness or His glory.

This argument is most forceful. In fact, it appears to be apodictic, inasmuch as it is equivalent to saying that God, unlike us, does not afterward make a change in what He has efficaciously decreed to bring into being. These decrees are, from the moment of their utterance, most perfect and include future circumstances even to the least detail. Thus, in like manner it was decreed by God that Peter was to attain eternal glory only by way of penance after his threefold denial, which was permitted by God. This argument holds good against the opinion of Suarez.[309]

Objection. The election of Peter to heaven is an efficacious decree. But this decree does not include in its object all the circumstances, for instance, whether Peter will reach heaven by means of martyrdom, for this pertains to a subsequent decree. Therefore not every efficacious decree includes all the circumstances.

Reply. I distinguish the major. The election of Peter to heaven is an efficacious decree of the end, this I concede; of the means, this I deny.

I contradistinguish the minor. That the decree does not include all the circumstances of the means, this I concede; of the end, this I deny. Although the decree concerning the end virtually contains the decree concerning the means.

Thus Peter's election to heaven includes a certain degree of glory for this individual person, together with all the associated circumstances. Similarly, therefore, the decree of the Incarnation ought to terminate in the individual Christ, right now to be born of the Virgin Mary, in passible flesh, just as it actually happened.

The Scotists insist saying: I can decree efficaciously that someone must be paid a debt of one hundred dollars, not considering whether this debt is to be paid in gold or silver.

Reply.

1. We mortals can certainly do so, for our decrees are from the beginning imperfect, often vaguely expressed, especially if they concern something to be fulfilled in the future.

2. Moreover, the aforesaid decree concerns the end, namely, the price to be paid, not the means by which it is to be paid.

3. This decree does not concern the production of the thing, but the use of a thing already produced, namely, of a sum of gold or silver. On the contrary, the efficacious decree of the Incarnation concerns a thing to be produced right now, hence in passible flesh, as it actually happened. Therefore this argument rests on very solid grounds, that is, after the Incarnation has become an accomplished fact.

Confirmation of proof. St. Thomas confirms his proof by the solution of the objections which he placed at the beginning of this, his third article.

The first objection was proposed by St. Augustine,[310] who says: "Many other things are to be considered in the Incarnation of Christ besides absolution from sin."

Reply to first objection. "All the other causes which are assigned in the preceding article have to do with a remedy for sin," since, by the Incarnation man is withdrawn from evil and given the greatest of incentives to practice the virtues of faith, hope, and charity.

We must also concede that God, in the decree of the Incarnation, besides the redemption of the human race, had in mind as the ultimate and common end of all His works, the manifestation of His goodness or of His glory; but now it is a question of the proximate motive of the Incarnation, namely, whether it is connected with sin.

The second objection was: It belongs to God's omnipotence to manifest Himself by some infinite effect.

Reply to second objection. "The infinity of divine power is shown in the mode of production of things from nothing. Again, it suffices for the perfection of the universe that the creature be ordained in a natural manner to God as to an end (that is, in the purely natural state). But that a creature should be united to God in person exceeds the limits of the perfection of nature." Therefore, this constitutes the object of a most free decree, the motive of which is made manifest only by revelation.

The third objection was: Human nature has not been made more capable of the grace of the hypostatic union by sin. Therefore, if man had not sinned, God would have willed the Incarnation.

Reply to third objection. St. Thomas concedes the antecedent. He distinguishes the consequent, and concedes that, if man had not sinned, human nature was capable obedientially of the Incarnation; that it would de facto have been raised to the dignity of the hypostatic union in virtue of the present decree, this he denies.

The whole of this beautiful reply to the third objection must be read, because it is of great importance.

There are two things to be noted in this reply.

1) The obediential power concerns a supernatural agent, namely, God whom it obeys; but God, who is absolutely free, does not always complete this obediential power, though He sometimes does so, and gratuitously.

2) "But there is no reason," says St. Thomas, "why human nature should not have been raised to something greater (de facto) after sin. God allows evils to happen in order to bring a greater good therefrom. Hence it is written (Rom. 5:20): 'Where sin abounded grace did more abound.’ Hence too, in the blessing of the paschal candle, we say: 'O happy fault, that merited such and so great a Redeemer. "

Thus it is confirmed that the motive of the Incarnation was formally the motive of mercy, and, moreover, it is evident that God permitted original sin for a greater good, which is the redemptive Incarnation. Thus causes are to each other causes, though in a different order. In the order of material cause to be perfected, the merciful uplifting of the fallen human race precedes the redemptive Incarnation; but this latter precedes the fall in the order of final cause or of greater good for which reason sin of the first man is permitted. Thus the body of this particular embryo in the order of material cause to be perfected precedes the creation and infusion of this particular soul, and yet this latter precedes the embryo in the order of final cause, for this soul would not be created unless the embryo were disposed to receive it.

Several Thomists insist on this point, as we shall see, such as Godoi, Gonet, Salmanticenses, whose interpretation is already contained in this reply to the third objection, which was not sufficiently considered by John of St. Thomas and Billuart.

The fourth objection was: Christ as man was eternally predestined to be the natural Son of God.[311] But predestination is always fulfilled. Therefore even before sin, it was necessary for the Son of God to become incarnate.

St. Thomas replies: "Predestination presupposes the foreknowledge of future things; and hence, as God predestines the salvation of anyone (for example, of Augustine, to be brought about by the prayers of others, for example, of St. Monica), so also He predestined the work of the Incarnation to be the remedy of human sin."

This reply of St. Thomas to the fourth objection requires a brief explanation. "Predestination," says St. Thomas, "presupposes the foreknowledge of future things," not indeed of all future things. Certainly St. Thomas does not mean that it presupposes the foreknowledge of merits, for then he would contradict himself;[312] but predestination presupposes the foreknowledge of certain future things. Thus, when God predestines Peter, He first wills him eternal life in the order of final cause, but previously in the order of material cause He wills him individuation by means of matter by which he is constituted as Peter. Similarly, when it is a question of the whole human race and of Christ's predestination as the Redeemer of the human race, this predestination presupposes the foreseeing of Adam's sin in the order of material cause only. Likewise a foreseen persecution is the occasion for someone being predestined to the grace of martyrdom. The Thomists consider the person of the predestined, native talents, and other natural gifts, temperament, to be effects postulated by predestination, which follow it in the order of final cause. And as Augustine would not have attained eternal life if St. Monica had not prayed for him, so if man had not sinned, the Word would not have become incarnate.

This reply must be correctly understood, so that it be not interpreted as contrary to a previous conclusion,[313]. which stated that the foreknowledge of merits is not the cause of predestination, because the merits of the elect are, on the contrary, the effects of their predestination.

Cajetan explains this point well. He remarks that, when St. Thomas says in his reply to the fourth objection that "predestination presupposes the foreknowledge of future things," he does not mean "of all future things," for Peter's predestination does not presuppose the foreknowledge of Peter's future eternal happiness, but, on the contrary, the foreknowledge of Peter's future eternal happiness presupposes Peter's predestination to eternal happiness, inasmuch as God foresees future things in the decrees of His will. But St. Thomas means in this case that "predestination presupposes the foreknowledge of some future things which are presupposed by predestination."[314]

Thus St. Thomas considers that Christ's predestination to natural divine sonship presupposes the foreknowledge of sin, since it was to repair this offense that Christ was predestined; for, as Cajetan observes, the ordering of medicine presupposes knowledge of the disease.[315]

But the difficulty is not solved, for Scotus will argue that this dependence of the Incarnation on sin holds good in the order of execution but not in the order of intention of Christ's predestination.[316] For the orderly way of willing for anyone is to will the end and those things nearer to the end, than other inferior things. Thus God wills for anyone, such as Adam, before He saw either His merits or a fortiori His demerits. Therefore a fortiori God wills divine natural sonship to Christ before having foreseen Adam's demerit.

In answer to this objection it can be said, in accordance with the reply to the third objection, what St. Thomas means is that, even in the order of intention, Christ's predestination is dependent on the foreseeing of Adam's sin, not indeed that it is dependent on this latter as being the final cause, but as being the material cause that is to be perfected.[317]

Thus, when God predestines Peter, He first wills him eternal happiness in the order of final cause, and He first wills him individuation from matter already qualified in the embryo, in the order of material cause; and "to them that love God all things work together unto good."[318] He also wills them their physical temperament.

Likewise, when it is a question of the whole human race, and of Christ's predestination as the Redeemer of the human race, this predestination presupposes the foreseeing of Adam's sin in the order of material cause only.

This distinction is made by Cajetan on this point,[319] and, although not everything that he says here on the ordering of the divine decrees concerning the three orders of nature, grace, and the hypostatic union are true perhaps, nevertheless this distinction must be and is upheld by subsequent Thomists.[320]

For Cajetan replies by distinguishing the antecedent as follows: in the order of final cause, one who wills methodically, wills the end before other things, this I concede; that one does so in the order of disposing cause, which reduces itself to material cause, this I deny

Thus we will first and preferably health to purification in the order of final cause; contrary to this, however, in the order of material or disposing cause we will purification as a means to health.

This distinction has its foundation in the principle that causes mutually interact, and the application of this principle is afterward developed by the Salmanticenses and Gonet, whose interpretation differs somewhat from Cajetan's, as will be stated farther on.

Cajetan concludes: "It is evident that the Incarnation can be willed by God, without such an occasion (i. e., Adam's sin), but it is not evident that it is de facto willed by God independent of such occasion.... We must turn to the Scripture if we wish to know that de facto God ordained that the Incarnation will come to pass, whether Adam did or did not sin. Rut because from the Scripture we have knowledge only of a redemptive Incarnation, we say, although God could have willed the Incarnation even without a future redemption, de facto He willed it only in the redemption; because by revelation, He did not reveal things otherwise to us, and it is only by revelation that we can know His will.... The conclusion is that God willed the greatest good only in conjunction with such less good."[321] Thus, although God could have willed efficaciously the salvation of the whole human race (which to us appears better), it is certain that He willed efficaciously that many be saved, but not all.[322]

Likewise, as Cajetan says: "It is not derogatory to God's wisdom to have disposed things so that He will effect so sublime a good as that (of the Incarnation), sin being only the occasion that urged Him to have mercy.... Therefore we must not on this account rejoice at another's fall (that is, Adam's), but at the mercy of God, who causes the foreseen fall of one to redound to another's good."[323] Hence we conclude that the motive of the Incarnation was formally the motive of mercy, since our salvation was the motive, as stated in the Nicene Creed.

Fifth objection. St. Thomas states that the mystery of the Incarnation was revealed to man in a state of innocence without any reference to future sin. Therefore it has no connection with this sin.

Reply to fifth objection. St. Thomas says: "Nothing prevents an effect from being revealed to one to whom the cause is not revealed."

What Is Precisely The View Of Scotus?[324]

The question whether Christ was predestined to be the Son of God, affords Scotus the occasion to discuss the problem of the motive of the Incarnation. After replying to the first question in the affirmative, he goes on to show that Christ was predestined as man to the grace of the hypostatic union and to glory independently of the foreseeing of Adam's sin. Scotus proves his point by seven arguments that have been splendidly reproduced by Cajetan.[325] We shall give here the principal arguments with Cajetan's replies.

First argument. The predestination of any person whatever to glory precedes naturally, on the part of the object, the foreknowledge of sin or of the damnation of any man whatever. Therefore with far greater reason this is true concerning the predestination of Christ's soul to supreme glory.

Cajetan replies.[326] He denies the antecedent, because he holds that the foreseeing of sin pertains to the order of general providence, presupposed by the ordering of predestination. But this reply gives rise to many difficulties, since the permission of sin in the life of the predestined, for example, and therefore in the life of Adam himself, is the effect not only of general providence, but also of the predestination of these elect, which itself presupposes the predestination of Christ.[327] Hence theologians in general, and even subsequent Thomists, do not uphold Cajetan in this reply.

But very many Thomists reply as follows. They concede that Christ's predestination precedes by nature the foreseeing of Adam's sin in the order of final cause; they deny that it precedes in the order of material or disposing cause.

Thus they concede that Peter's predestination to glory precedes by nature the foreseeing of his individuation, in the order of final cause; they deny this precedence in the order of material cause. Likewise, one is predestined to the grace of martyrdom, on the occasion of a foreseen persecution.

Second argument. The orderly way of willing is for one to will first the end, and then those things more immediate to the end. Thus God first wills to give heavenly glory to one before grace, and He first wills this to Christ, and then to the predestined as subordinated to Christ. Moreover, God first wills anyone heavenly glory and grace which He may foresee are in opposition because of sin and its consequences. Therefore God first wills heavenly glory to Christ previous to foreseeing Adam's fall.

Cajetan replies,[328] and this reply is upheld by subsequent Thomists. He distinguishes the major: that the orderly way of willing is for one first to will the end in the order of final cause, this he concedes; in the order of material and disposing cause, this he denies.

By way of example: someone might wish to build the Collegio Angelico in Rome, but has not yet found a suitable place and, having found such a place, his wish of having this college built is realized, or the opportunity offers itself, because he has received the necessary money. Similarly God wills first the soul in the order of final cause, and first the body in the order of material cause, and this particular soul would not be created right at this moment, if this embryonic body were not disposed to receive it. Likewise the Word would not have become incarnate, in virtue of the present decree, unless man had sinned or the human race had to be redeemed.

But you insist. Causes do not mutually interact in the same order. However, this would be the case here in the same order of final cause, if sin is permitted because of this greater good of the Incarnation, and if the Incarnation is willed for our redemption.

Reply. The causes are not in the same order, for sin is permitted because of this greater good of the Incarnation considered as the end for which it is decreed; whereas, on the contrary, the human race to be redeemed stands in relation to the Incarnation in the order of material cause to be perfected, or is the subject to whom the redemptive Incarnation is beneficial. Hence the human race is not called the end for whose sake the Incarnation is decreed, but the end to whom it is beneficial. Therefore the causes are not mutually interactive in the same order. And this very redemption of ours as willed by God, presupposes as a prior requisite in the order of material cause the human race to be redeemed.

So also let us take as example one who saves the life of a boy who, because of his imprudence, falls into the river. The rescuer first wills to save the boy's life in the order of final cause, but he would not save the boy's life unless the boy had fallen into the river, and thus had afforded the other the opportunity to come to his rescue. In like manner, the more solemn dogmatic definitions of the Church are always given on the occasion of some error that must be rejected, because it is endangering the freedom of souls.

Third argument. Redemption or the heavenly glory of a soul to be redeemed is not so great a good as the glory of Christ's soul. Therefore the Redemption does not seem to be the sole reason why God predestined Christ's soul to so great glory.

Cajetan replies:[329] God could have willed indeed this great good (of Christ's glory) without its being connected with a less good; but from Sacred Scripture it is evident that He willed this greatest good only as connected with such less good. It is not therefore a question of a possibility, but of a fact. God could have willed efficaciously to save the whole human race, for instance, but from Sacred Scripture it is evident that not all are saved,[330] although, by God's help, the fulfillment of His commands is always possible. Herein lies a mystery that must be believed according to the testimony of Sacred Scripture and not to be determined in human fashion by a priori reasoning.

Fourth argument. It is not very likely that a less good is the only reason for the existence of so supreme a good.

Reply. The Thomists say that the Incarnation is not an incidental good in the strict sense, but it is only improperly so called. For that which the agent does not intend and which happens by chance, is called strictly incidental; such is the case when one digs a grave, and finds a treasure, or when one rescues a boy accidentally who happens to fall into the river. That is improperly said to be occasioned which depends on some incident, although it be intended by the agent, as the rescuing of a boy who fell into the river. Thus the Incarnation is an incidental good, and it is fitting that evil be the occasion of eliciting from God so great a good, namely, a good that results from His liberality and mercy, because misery is the reason for commiserating.

Scotus overlooks the fact that many of the finer things in life are improperly incidental, especially many heroic acts, such as saving another's life with danger to one's own, as in the case of shipwreck or of fire. Such are heroic acts performed in defense of one's country, on the occasion of an unjust aggressor; hence the glory acquired by many soldiers is thus incidental. Also incidental are heroic acts in defense of one's faith, such as martyrdom on the occasion of a persecution. The most beautiful dogmatic definitions uttered by the Church on the occasion of the refutation of an error that is threatening to enslave souls, belong to this class. So it was on the occasion of the rise of Pelagianism and Semi-Pelagianism, that St. Augustine wrote his books On Grace.

But the difference between God and man is that man could not infallibly foresee the occasion that prompted these heroic acts, and so he does them unforeseen. Other arguments of Scotus presented in different aspects repeat the same objection.

The Scotists insist. They say, with Father Chrysostom,[331] that the material cause is not the end (of the Incarnation), nor is the material element in the Incarnation its motive. Therefore the difficulty remains.

Reply. The material element that enters into the redemptive Incarnation is the reason for the Incarnation, since "the alleviation of misery is the reason for commiseration."[332] Thus in this third article, St. Thomas is able to say: "Redemption is the reason for the Incarnation,"[333] although the Incarnation is not subordinated to the redemption.

All these objections can be reduced to the following syllogistic argument: God cannot will that the higher order should be subjected to the lower, for this would be the inversion of order, or perversion.

But our redemption is inferior to the Incarnation.

Therefore God cannot will the Incarnation to be for our redemption.

Reply. I distinguish the major. That God cannot will the higher order to be subjected to the lower, as being the perfective and ultimate end, this I concede; that God cannot will the higher for the lower, as being the end that must be perfected or repaired from a motive of mercy, this I deny. For the alleviating of misery, is the reason for commiseration. I concede the minor.

I distinguish the conclusion. That God cannot will the higher order to be subjected to the lower on account of this latter being the perfective and especially the ultimate end, this I concede; as being the end that must be perfected or repaired from a motive of mercy, this I deny.

Thus the Thomists say that the redemption of the human race is not the end for the sake of which the Incarnation is decreed, but it is the material element that enters into the motive of the redemptive Incarnation, or the end for which the Incarnation is beneficial. Thus a doctor visits a sick person, or a priest says Mass for the restoration of somebody's health, for the common good and the glory of God.

Therefore the whole teaching of St. Thomas, of St. Bonaventure, and others is summed up in these words: the motive of the Incarnation was formally the motive of mercy. As the Psalmist says: "Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I am weak."[334] "Have mercy on me, for I am poor."[335] "Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I am afflicted."[336]

Cajetan replies most appropriately: "It is not unbefitting God's wisdom that He was disposed to perform so great a good, only because sin was the occasion that urged Him to be merciful."[337] "It is because the alleviation of misery is the reason for commiseration,"[338] and divine mercy, alleviating the misery of the human race, is the greatest manifestation of divine goodness and omnipotence. If God's omnipotence is already made manifest in the creation of a grain of sand from nothing, a fortiori it is shown when He brings good out of evil, and so great a good as eternal life of those justified. St. Thomas says: "In itself mercy is the greatest of virtues (and so it is in God, but not in us, because we have someone above us, who must be honored by the practice of virtues); for it belongs to mercy to be bountiful to others, and, what is more, to succor others in their wants. And this pertains especially to the one who is above others; hence mercy is accounted as being proper to God, and therein His omnipotence is declared to be chiefly manifested."[339] St. Augustine likewise says: "The justification of the sinner is greater than the creation of heaven and earth; for heaven and earth shall pass away, but the justification of the ungodly shall endure."[340] But since misery is the reason for having mercy, the alleviation of misery is more the matter about which mercy is concerned; it is the motive of mercy, not indeed as constituting the perfective end, but as being the end in the order of redemption.

In this there is no inversion of orders. There would indeed be a perversion of orders if the higher were ordained for the lower, as if this latter were the ultimate and perfective end; but not, if by way of mercy, the higher is ordered to the lower end for its perfection or reparation.

Thus it is that the Son of God through His incarnation certainly stoops down to us with sublime mercy, so that the saints are moved to tears at the thought of it. But by thus lowering Himself, He in no way subordinates Himself to us; on the contrary, in alleviating our misery, He restores the original subordination, by making us again subordinate to Himself and God the Father. Thus God, by mercifully lowering Himself, has most splendidly made manifest His goodness and omnipotence, since "to have mercy belongs especially to one who is above others."[341]

In God, inasmuch as He has nobody above Him to whom He would owe allegiance, the greatest of all virtues is mercy, and misery is the reason for being merciful.[342] Thus the beginning of a certain collect reads: "O God, who, more than in all things else, showest forth Thine almighty power by sparing and by having mercy."[343] Therefore Scotus did not destroy the demonstrative middle term of this article.[344]

The preceding doctrine is certainly what St. Thomas taught. On this point, he wrote: "God therefore did not assume human nature because He loved man, absolutely speaking, more than angels; but because the needs of man were greater; just as the master of a house may give to a sick servant some costly delicacy that he does not give to his own son in sound health."[345] He also says: "Nor did anything of Christ's excellence diminish when God delivered Him up to death for the salvation of the human race; rather did He become thereby a glorious conqueror"[346] Of sin, the devil, and death.

The thesis of St. Thomas, as proposed by him, is most convincing inasmuch as he declares mercy to be the motive of the Incarnation; wherefore Christ was the first of the predestined, but He was predestined as Savior and victim, as the victor of sin, the devil, and death. This title of Savior belongs primarily to Christ, as expressed in the name Jesus, which signifies Savior. This title belongs more fundamentally to Him than do such titles as Doctor, or King of kings, Lord of lords.

Christian faith itself seems to teach this doctrine, although the Scripture does not say that mercy was the indispensable motive of the Incarnation. This doctrine is also most beneficial in the spiritual order. urging us to imitate Christ and show zeal for souls.

Cajetan remarks[347] that, as in the act of hope I desire God for myself, because God is my final end (since God is the ultimate end of this act of hope), so Christ is given to us (for our sake or as our end), for the glorification of God (who is the ultimate end for which God performs all His works). Thus the Incarnation is not subordinated to our redemption,[348] but is its eminent cause. Thus contemplation is not subordinated to apostolic action, which must result from the fullness of contemplation, this being its higher source, as St. Thomas points out.[349] Therefore, no matter what the Scotists may say, the words of St. Paul still apply, who says: "For all are yours. And you are Christ's. And Christ is God's"[350] In this Thomistic thesis, Christ is not subordinated to us, but we are subordinated to Him.

Agreement and disagreement between Thomists. They all agree upon the principal conclusion as explicitly formulated by St. Thomas, which is: If Adam had not sinned, the Word would not have become incarnate.

But they are not altogether in agreement concerning a secondary issue.

Several Thomists, adopting the views of Cajetan, such as John of St. Thomas and Billuart, refuse to answer the question, why God permitted Adam's sin and original sin. Moreover, they multiply divine conditional decrees. According to their views: (1) God willed the natural order; (2) the elevation of the human race to the supernatural order; (3) He permitted the sin of the first man; (4) He decreed the redemptive Incarnation in passible flesh.

Other Thomists, such as the Salmanticenses, Godoy, Gonet, and very many of more recent times, insisting on what St. Thomas remarks in this article, and elsewhere, say:[351] Certainly God permits evil only because of a greater good. This doctrine is certain and de fide, otherwise God's permission of sin would not be a holy act. It cannot indeed be said a priori that God permitted original sin because of some greater good, but, after the fact of the Incarnation, it appears that God permitted original sin because of the redemptive Incarnation, so that the redemption of the fallen human race is prior in the order of material cause to be perfected, and the redemptive Incarnation is prior in the order of final cause. This distinction is made by Cajetan in his commentary on this article, but much of its force is lost inasmuch as he multiplies exceedingly the divine decrees, so different from what he wrote earlier in his commentary.[352]

Moreover, these Thomists say that divine conditional decrees must not be multiplied, for this multiplication results from the weakness of our intellect, and we must do our best to overcome this defect. Hence God, previous to any decree, saw by His knowledge of simple intelligence all possible worlds with all their contents, just as the architect has in mind various possible houses and all their component parts. Thus God had in mind a sinless world not in need of redemption, but brought to perfection by the example of the Word incarnate; also another possible world, in which man sinned, and which was perfected by the redemptive Incarnation. God chose de facto, by a single decree, this latter, in which, therefore, the redemptive Incarnation is prior in the order of final causality (as the soul is prior to the body), and the reparation of the fallen human race is prior in the order of material causality to be perfected, as the body is prior to the soul.[353]

This second interpretation is entirely in conformity with the reply given by St. Thomas to the third objection of this article, and also with a previous statement in his Summa, in which he says: "God loves Christ not only more than He loves the whole human race, but more than He loves the entire created universe, because He willed for Him the greater good in giving Him a name that is above all names, so far as He was true God. Nor did anything of His excellence diminish when God delivered Him up to death for the salvation of the human race; rather did He become thereby a glorious conqueror,"[354] namely, of sin, the devil, and death.

This reply of these Thomists is also precisely what St. Thomas says in his reply to the third objection of this article, in which he quotes the words of St. Paul: "Where sin abounded, grace did more abound,"[355] and of the liturgy: "O happy fault, that merited such and so great a Redeemer!"[356]

And St. Augustine says in his commentary on the forty-seventh psalm: "Therefore Adam fell for our resurrection,"[357] which means that God permitted Adam's sin for this greater good of the redemptive Incarnation.

Moreover, the divine decrees must not be multiplied without necessity; for this frequency of recourse to divine decrees has its foundation in the imperfection of our manner of understanding the divine decrees. In fact, it is evident that various events of the natural order, such as the death of a good person from some disease, which at first sight seems to depend solely on natural causes and the general provisions of Providence, are to be attributed to the supernatural operation of predestination.[358] Therefore it is apparent that God, by a single decree, willed this present world with its three orders of nature, grace, and the hypostatic union.

The Liberty Of The Decree Concerning The Incarnation: A Comparison Between The Doctrine Of St. Thomas And That Of Scotus

On first consideration, it is surprising that St. Thomas, who is an intellectualist, should say: Since the Incarnation is a most free and absolutely gratuitous gift of God, its motive can be known only by revelation; whereas Scotus, who is a voluntarist inclined to liberalism, wishes to establish this motive of the Incarnation by arguments or quasi a priori reasonings, as the extreme intellectualists do, such as Leibnitz and Malebranche, who say that the Incarnation is morally necessary so that the world may be the best of all possible worlds.

The reason for this difference of opinion between St. Thomas and Scotus seems to consist in this, that St. Thomas, because of his moderate intellectualism, distinguished exactly between the order of nature and the order of grace, by establishing the proper object of the created intellect, whether human or angelic.[359] Hence St. Thomas fully acknowledges God's perfect liberty in elevating the human nature (or the angelic) to the order of grace, and a fortiori to the hypostatic union. Thus his moderate intellectualism most correctly acknowledges the rights of divine liberty.

On the contrary, Scotus, in virtue of his voluntarism does not succeed in distinguishing so exactly between the orders of nature and of grace; he says that there is in our nature an innate appetite and not merely one that is elicited for the beatific vision, and he adds that, if God had so willed, the beatific vision would be natural for us.

Hence he is inclined to regard the supernatural order as the complement of the natural order, and the hypostatic order as the complement and quasi-normal consummation of the supernatural order. Thus he does not acknowledge sufficiently the rights of divine liberty as regards this twofold elevation; and he speaks finally, almost like the absolute intellectualists of the Leibnitz type, who think that the Incarnation is morally necessary for the world to be the best of all possible worlds. Thus extremes meet.

Absolute intellectualism reduces to an ideal right the accomplished fact. Absolute libertism reduces the right itself to an accomplished fact.

These two systems are in the inverse order, but practically they meet, because both admit that the accomplished fact is the same as the ideal right, and success is identical with morality; yet the followers of the former system insist on the right, whereas the followers of the latter system insist on the accomplished fact. But moderate intellectualism lies between these two extremes, because it safeguards both the validity of the first principles of reason and true liberty, which latter is denied by absolute intellectualism.

Thus in Thomism the Incarnation is seen to be the supreme fact of the entire universe, but it is a contingent fact in which God's most free and gratuitous love for us is made manifest by way of mercy. "For God so loved the world as to give His only-begotten Son."[360]

Thus this thesis of St. Thomas, if we compare it with his other theses on moderate intellectualism and liberty, has a deep significance, for it means that, in the supernatural order, inasmuch as this order is gratuitous, divine liberty reigns supreme and its predilection is most free, the motive of which can be known only by revelation. But the discarding of this principle results in the incomplete understanding of several fundamental utterances in the supernatural order, suck as the following words of St. Paul: "But the foolish things of the world hath God chosen that He may confound the wise;... and things that are not, that He might bring to nought things that are."[361]

But these questions are most profound, and their solution has caused great intellects to take opposite views.

Spiritual corollaries. These corollaries are developed in another book,[362] in which the doctrine of St. Thomas on the motive of the Incarnation is explained not so much scholastically as spiritually. These corollaries are as follows:

1) It follows from this doctrine that it is not something accidental that Christ is the Savior, both priest and victim. This is the dominant trait of Jesus, as the name indicates. Jesus is not especially King of kings and sublime Doctor who happened to become the Savior of humanity and victim on account of the fall of the human race. No, but in virtue of the present decree He came principally and primarily as the Savior of men. His entire life was directed to this final end, namely, the sacrifice on the cross.

2) Christ thus appears nobler, and the unity of His life is better made manifest, since it is the unity of the Savior's life, who is merciful and also victorious over sin, the devil, and death.[363]

3) Wherefore Christ calls the hour of the Passion "My hour" as if it were pre-eminently this.

4) Therefore in the present economy of salvation, it is not something accidental in the sanctification of souls, that they must carry their cross daily in union with our Savior, as He Himself says.[364]

5) Hence for sanctity, even great sanctity, learning is not necessary, nor the performance of many external works; it suffices for a person to be conformed to the image of Christ crucified, as in the case of St. Benedict Joseph Labre of the seventeenth century, who showed himself a living image of Christ in his poverty and love of the cross.[365]

6) Finally it follows, as St. Thomas explains in his treatise on the effects of baptism,[366] that sanctifying grace in the redeemed is strictly the grace of Christ, for it is not only a participation of the divine nature as in Adam and the angels before the Fall, but it makes us conformable to Christ the Redeemer, and by it we are made living members of His mystical body. Wherefore this grace, inasmuch as it is the grace of Christ, disposes us to live in Christ the Redeemer by a love of the cross, for it disposes us to make reparation for our own sins and the sins of others, inasmuch as the living members of Christ must help one another in the attainment of salvation.

Therefore, it is only after a period of painful probation that any Christian ideal and any Christian society produces true fruits of salvation, for our Lord says: "Unless the grain of wheat falling into the ground die, itself remaineth alone. But if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit."[367]

Thus Christians are made conformable to Christ, who said of Himself to the disciples on the way to Emmaus: "Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and so to enter into His glory?"[368] Hence St. Paul says: "We are heirs indeed of God and joint heirs with Christ; yet so, if we suffer with Him that we may be also glorified with Him."[369]

These spiritual corollaries are deduced from this teaching.

A certain special opinion. It has been held by some in recent times[370] that so far the question is always presented unfavorably since it always appears in a hypothetical form, namely, "Whether, if man had not sinned, God would have become incarnate." "For," as they say, "if man had not sinned (or in this supposition), there would be another order absolutely different from the present order, and what would have happened in such an order God alone can know." The proper way of positing the question, according to these theologians, must be by presenting it in the form of a positive and universal proposition, that is, "What is the adequate universal reason for the Incarnation in the present order?" Father Roschini[371] replies to this question as follows: "The primary reason of the Incarnation is God's free election from all eternity of the present order with all that is included in it; inasmuch as only the present order exactly corresponds to the measure and mode likewise freely prearranged by God, by which He willed to bestow His goodness ad extra and hence procure extrinsic glory."

An answer to Father Roschini's view appeared in the Angelicum;[372] its gist is as follows: The question posited by the Scholastics concerns the present order, and a new way of presenting the question is outside the scope of the present problem, and brings us only to the common truth that is admitted by all schools of thought. It is most certain to all theologians that the Incarnation depends on God's free choice of the present order, and what He has ordained for the manifestation of His goodness. This is God's supreme reason, but, now the question is, what is His proximate reason?

Evidently the hypothetical question put by the great Scholastics concerns the present order; namely, in virtue of the present decree, if we make abstraction of the sin of the first man, would the Word have become incarnate? This abstraction is not a lie, nor does it change the order of the thing considered. It is the same as asking: Would the soul of this particular man have been created if his body in his mother's womb was not sufficiently developed to be informed by it? Or we might ask: Will this temple remain intact if this particular column is removed? The truth of a conditional proposition, as logic teaches, depends solely on the connection between the condition and the conditioned.

Hence in replying to the objection, we say: If man had not sinned, the present order of things would be changed, I distinguish: if it meant there would be a change in virtue of another decree, this I concede; in virtue of the present decree, this I deny.

As stated in the above-mentioned reply to Father Roschini: "The reasoning of the Scholastics is not, and cannot be, other than this, otherwise how are we to explain the fact that those doctors are so eager in their futile search, concerning which nothing for certain can ever be known?... Without saying, then, what to attribute to those ponderous and so circumspect theologians, with St. Thomas as their leader, a general view of the case would justify us in considering them at least as scholars."

St. Thomas would have improperly stated the question, or would not have corrected the question improperly stated, a question that is even useless, and of course quite irrelevant.

But it is true to say, with the holy Doctor, that in speaking of another order of things, "We do not know what (God) would have ordained, if He had not had previous knowledge of sin."[373] St. Thomas says the same in the present article, for he writes: "And yet the power of God is not limited to this; even had sin not existed, God could have become incarnate, namely, in another order of things."

Final Conclusion: The Motive Of The Incarnation

Therefore it must simply be said that God willed the Incarnation for the manifestation of His goodness by way of mercy for the redemption of the human race, or "for our salvation," as stated in the Creed.

Those who admit, as the Thomists do, one efficacious decree concerning the redemptive Incarnation in passible flesh, by this very fact must say with St. Thomas that, in virtue of the present decree, "if Adam had not sinned, the Word would not have become incarnate," or, expressed affirmatively, it must be said that, in the present decree, the redemptive Incarnation supposes the fall of the human race to be redeemed, although this fall was permitted for a greater good, which is the redemptive Incarnation. Thus the creation of the soul presupposes that the embryonic body is sufficiently disposed, and this sufficient predisposition was willed and produced by God for the soul. Causes mutually interact though in a different order, without implying a vicious circle. It would be a vicious circle if we were to say that the permission of Adam's sin was on account of the Incarnation, and that the Incarnation took place because of the permission of Adam's sin. The truth is that the Incarnation took place, not on account of the permission of sin, but for its reparation.

It would likewise be a vicious circle to say that men are for the sake of Christ, and in the same way Christ is for the sake of men. But it is true to say that Christ is the destined end of men, and men are the end to whom the redemptive Incarnation is beneficial.

Hence the truth of the assertion is established, that God willed the Incarnation as a manifestation of His goodness by showing His mercy toward men for their redemption, or "for our salvation," as stated in the Creed.[374]

Fourth Article: Whether God Became Incarnate In Order To Take Away Actual Sin, Rather Than To Take Away Original Sin?

The reply is in the affirmative.

Scriptural proof. We read in the Gospel: "Behold the Lamb of God who taketh away the sin of the world,"[375] that is, as St. Bede says, the sin that is common to the whole human race. St. John wrote "the sin of the world."[376]

But the principal text is quoted in the body of the article, in which we read: "For judgment indeed was by one[i. e., by Adam] unto condemnation... as by the offense of one, unto all men to condemnation: so also by the justice of one [i. e., of Christ], unto all men to justification of life."[377]

This purpose of the Incarnation of the Son of God is likewise expressly affirmed in a provincial council and also to some extent in the Council of Trent.[378]

Theological proof. It includes two conclusions.

1) Christ came to take away all sins, because He came to save men, and all sins are an obstacle to salvation.

2) St. Thomas proves that Christ came first of all to take away original sin, since this sin is absolutely greater extensively, inasmuch as it extends to the whole human race, by which the race is infected; although actual sin is greater intensively, because it has more of the nature of voluntary.

Hence in virtue of the present decree, it is probable that Christ came also only to take away original sin, but not solely for the taking away of actual sins; because, if there had been no original sin, this would eliminate the more important reason for the Incarnation. Moreover, in virtue of the present decree, Christ came in passible and mortal flesh; but, if there had been no original sin, His flesh would have been neither passible nor mortal.[379]

Fifth Article: Whether It Was Fitting That God Should Become Incarnate In The Beginning Of The Human Race?

The answer is in the negative. But He came "in the fullness of time" as St. Paul says.[380]

For it was not fitting that God become incarnate before sin, since the Incarnation is for the redemption of the human race; nor was the Incarnation fitting immediately after sin, and this for three reasons.

1) That man, being humbled, would more readily acknowledge the seriousness of the disease and the necessity of Redemption, and so would cry out for it.

2) That the human race might gradually be led from imperfection to perfection by means of the natural law, the Mosaic law, and the Gospel.

3) Because it befitted the dignity of the Word incarnate that His coming be announced by the prophets.

Sixth Article: Whether The Incarnation Ought To Have Been Put Off Till The End Of The World?

St. Thomas denies this, but says it was fitting for the Incarnation to take place "in the fullness of time," as stated by St. Paul,[381] or morally speaking "in the midst of the years."[382]

Three reasons are given.

1) Because it is not fitting that the efficient cause of perfection be put off so long a time.

2) Because at the end of the world there would have been almost no knowledge of God among men.

3) Because it was fitting that the salvation of the human race be effected by faith in the Savior, not only by faith in some future thing but also by faith in something present and past.

Thus the question of the fitness of the Incarnation has been sufficiently examined both as to its relative necessity for the reparation of the human race, and its absolute necessity as regards condign reparation. The proximate motive of the Incarnation has also been considered, which was formally the motive of mercy, namely, the alleviation of the human race from its misery, or "for our salvation," as the Nicene Creed says.

Having discussed the fact of the Incarnation, we now come to consider its nature.


CHAPTER IV: QUESTION 2

Prologue: The Mode Of The Union Of The Word Incarnate

St. Thomas has the following considerations about this mode of union.

1) The union itself (q. 2).

2) The person assuming the human nature (q. 3).

3) The nature assumed and the perfections or defects of this assumed nature (q. 4-15).

Then the consequences of this union will be discussed, namely, as regards being, volition, and operation.

Hence this second question is about the essence of the Incarnation, or about the hypostatic union.

This second question contains twelve articles, and is divided into three parts.

The first part (a. 1-6) discusses what is and what is not the nature of this union. It inquires 1. whether the union took place in the nature; 2. or in the person; 3. or in the suppositum; 4. whether the person of Christ is composite; 5. what is the union of body and soul in Christ?

Thus the question is gradually solved, and the sixth article, which is of great importance, unites the preceding articles, by asking whether the human nature was united to the Word accidentally.

The second part considers the union with reference to the divine actions, which are creation and assumption (a. 7, 8).

The third part considers the union with reference to grace: Is it the greatest of unions (a. g)? Did it come about by grace (a. 10)? Was it the result of merit? Was the grace of union natural to the man Christ (a. 12)?

This second question virtually contains the whole treatise on the Incarnation, just as the third question of the first part of the Summa in which God is defined as the self-subsisting Being, virtually contains the whole treatise on the One God.

As regards the order of the questions, it must be noted that in the Summa Theologica St. Thomas follows the logical order rather than the historical, whereas in the Contra Gentes (Book IV, q. 27 f.) he follows primarily the historical order by refuting the various heresies that arose concerning the Incarnation.

Heresies concerning the Incarnation. For an understanding of the articles of this question, a brief explanation must be given of the principal heresies condemned by the Church: Arianism, Apollinarianism, Nestorianism, Monophysitism, and Eutychianism.[383]

A threefold division is made in these heresies, inasmuch as some erred concerning the divinity of Christ, others denied His humanity, and finally some erred about the union of the two natures.

God permits errors so that by opposing them the truth may be presented in clearer light.

[diagram 109]

ERRORS

divinity of Christ:

This was denied by the Ebionites, Cerinthians, Arians, and others. The Arians and Apollinarians denied that Christ had a soul.

humanity of Christ:

The Docetae and Valentinus denied that Christ had a real body

the union of the natures:

The Nestorians denied that the union was personal

The Eutychians and Monophysites denied that there were two natures in Christ

Thus it was that already in the first four or five centuries of Christianity almost all the errors possible against the Incarnation were proposed.

1) The divinity of Christ was denied.

In the first century, by the Ebionites and Cerinthians. In the second and third centuries by the Adoptionists and Gnostics.

In the fourth century, by the Arians. They declared that Christ is not the Son of God consubstantial with the Father but is a creature; that the Word (Logos) pre-existed, but was created, and is a mediator, who assumed in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary only a body and not a soul. Thus the Arians concluded that Christ is neither truly God nor truly man. Hence St. Athanasius replied[384] that such a conception of Christ made it impossible for Him to satisfy for the human race or free it from sin. This means that the denial of the mystery of the Incarnation includes the denial of the mystery of Redemption, and thus there is left but the semblance of Christianity.[385]

Later on, in the sixteenth century, the Socinians denied the divinity of Christ, and the same must be said in our times of the Unitarians, who deny the Trinity, and also liberal Protestants and Modernists of the present day.

2) The humanity of Christ. Some denied that Christ's body was real, others that He had a soul. The Docetae, such as Marcion and the Manichaeans, said that Christ merely appeared to have a body.

Appelles and Valentinus in the third century said that Christ's body was real but celestial, sidereal or aerial, and therefore He did not derive His human nature from the Virgin Mary.

The Arians and Anomoeans taught that the Word did not assume a soul. In the fourth century the Apollinarians held that Christ had only a sensitive soul, and that the Word performed the functions of the rational soul, though they admitted, contrary to the Arians, that the Word was not created.[386]

3) Some denied the unity of person in Christ, others the twofold nature. In the third century, the unity of person was denied by Paul of Samosata. In the fourth century, Diodorus of Tarsus said that the Word was only accidentally united to Christ. So also Theodore of Mopsuestia and the Nestorians, teaching a sort of personal union, rejected it really, however, inasmuch as they posited merely a moral union between the two natures. In this way they sought to refute Apollinarianism. The consequence of these errors was the view that Mary is not the Mother of God.

The prominent opponent of the Nestorians was St. Cyril of Alexandria who, in refuting them, availed himself of the principal argument used by St. Athanasius against the Arians, namely, that, if Christ is not God, but only morally united to Him, as a saint is, then how could He satisfy for us or free the human race from sin?[387]

In our times, too, the disciples of Gunther denied the unity of person in Christ, since they defined a person as a self-conscious nature, for in Christ there are two self-conscious natures.

So also, Rosmini acknowledges between the Word and the human will in Christ merely an accidental union, inasmuch as the human will, since it was completely dominated by the Word, ceased to be personal. Rosmini says: "Hence the human will ceased to be personal in Christ as man, and, since it is personal in other men, in Christ there remained but the human nature."[388] Thus the union in Christ between the Word and the human will would be merely accidental and moral. The error of Rosmini and Gunther is that both do not seek to define person ontologically by reason of subsistence, but only psychologically through self-consciousness, or by reason of liberty. This error is the result of the nineteenth-century psychologism.

The Modernists say about the same, since they reduce the hypostatic union, if they give it any thought, to God's influence upon the human conscience of the historic Christ, or to the subconscious self in Christ by which He perceived that He was loved by God above all others.

Finally, the Eutychians or Monophysites denied that there were two natures in Christ. Eutyches posed as the adversary of Nestorius and the defender of the theology of St. Cyril of Alexandria, which he did not understand. He was a man of little learning, and obstinate, and so he went to the other extreme of Nestorianism. He was so insistent in affirming the unity of person in Christ against the Nestorians that he ended in denying His twofold nature. He said: "I confess that our Lord was of two natures before the union; but after the union I acknowledge one nature,"[389] either because the human nature was absorbed by the divine nature, or because each nature commingled to form a third nature, distinct from each before the union, or because the human nature and the Word were absolutely united as the soul and the body are. Hence Eutyches by this method succeeded in proclaiming something that the Nestorians denied, since they denied that the Blessed Virgin Mary is the Mother of God.

In the fourth century, however, the Monothelites, professing that Christ had but one will, by this very fact rejected the doctrine that there were two natures in Him. The followers of the modern heresy that declares the Word really emptied Himself, also deny a twofold nature in Christ, since they hold that the Word, at least partly and for a time, set aside His divine attributes.[390]

Thus several heresies made their appearance as excessive reactions against the preceding ones; so also not infrequently it happens that the human mind in its aberrations passes from one extreme to the other.

1) Arius says that Christ is the created Word united to a human body, without a soul. St. Athanasius says correctly: then Christ could not have satisfied for us.

2) But Apollinaris says that Christ is the uncreated Word united to a human body, without a rational soul, since this latter was capable of sinning, and consequently could not satisfy for us.

3) Then Nestorius, in a reactionary spirit, says that Christ has a rational soul which is morally united to the Word. Thus the union of the natures is no longer personal.

4) Finally, Eutyches goes to the other extreme and asserts that the union of the natures is not only moral but also physical, meaning that after the union there is only one nature. This doctrine is Monophysitism.

These last three mentioned heresies deny that the Blessed Virgin Mary is the Mother of God, and they do so for various reasons. Apollinaris says that Jesus is not a man, Eutyches says that His body is not of the same nature as ours, whereas the Nestorians assert that Jesus is not God, but morally united to Him.

The dogma strikes a medium between Nestorianism and Monophysitism, transcending both of them, inasmuch as it states that both natures in Christ are united in one person.

Teaching of the Church. It is evident from the Gospels, the Apostles' Creed, and the condemnation of the above-mentioned heresies.

1) Already even in the Apostles' Creed it is stated that Jesus Christ is truly God and truly man, inasmuch as it says: "I believe... in Jesus Christ His only Son, who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary."[391]

2) In the First Council of Nicaea (325) and the First of Constantinople (381), the consubstantiality of the Word with the Father is explicitly declared. The First Council of Nicaea says: "God of God, light of light, true God of true God, born not made, of one substance with the Father, which the Greeks call homoousion."[392] It is likewise declared against the Docetae, Gnostics, and Apollinarians that "Christ had a complete human nature."[393]

3) In the fifth century, the Athanasian Creed declares all that is of faith on this point, in these few words: "Jesus Christ the Son of God is God and man. God, of the substance of the Father, begotten of the Father from all eternity; and man, of the substance of His Mother, born in time.... Who, although He be God and man, yet He is not two, but one Christ; one, not by conversion of the Godhead into the flesh, but by the assumption of the manhood into God; one altogether, not by confusion of substance, but by unity of person."[394]

The Council of Ephesus (431) proclaims against Nestorius that there is one person in Christ, and two natures hypostatically united,[395] and also proclaims "that this same Christ is both God and man."[396]

Likewise, not long afterward (451), the Council of Chalcedon defines against Eutyches and the Monophysites that "One and the same Christ, Son, Lord, Only-begotten, must be acknowledged to be in two natures, without confusion, change, division, separation; the distinction of natures being by no means destroyed by their union; but rather the distinction of each nature being preserved and concurring in one person and one hypostasis;[397] not in something that is parted or divided into two persons, but in one and the same and only-begotten Son of God the Word, the Lord Jesus Christ."[398] This text is quoted almost verbatim in various subsequent councils, the Council of Florence being the last to refer to it (1441).

Finally Pope Pius X condemned the following proposition of the Modernists: "The Christological teaching of SS. Paul and John, and of the Councils of Nicaea, Ephesus, and Chalcedon is not Christ's own teaching, but that which the Christian conscience conceived concerning Jesus."[399]

Let us now undertake the philosophical analysis of these definitions of the Church.

First Article: Whether The Union Of The Incarnate Word Took Place In The Nature

State of the question. The meaning is: Does this union, referred to in the heading of this article, result in only one nature, as Eutyches and Dioscorus taught? In this article we have the refutation of Monophysitism.

The reason why St. Thomas refutes Eutyches before Nestorius is that he is following the logical order and not the historical order. It is in accordance with logical procedure to state first in what this union does not consist, and afterward what constitutes it.

The difficulties presented at the beginning of this article are arguments of Eutyches, who sought to defend the teaching of St. Cyril of Alexandria against the Nestorians, but Eutyches had a wrong conception of St. Cyril's teaching.

First difficulty. The text quoted by St. Thomas in this first objection is not St. Cyril's, as found in the acts of the Council of Chalcedon, but is to be attributed to the heretic Dioscorus. However, since the words can be interpreted in a good sense and are attributed to St. Cyril, they are examined by St. Thomas here. The text reads: "We must understand not two natures, but one incarnate nature of the Word of God." It does not say simply "one nature," but "one incarnate nature"; and this is true, since only the divine nature became incarnate, as explained afterward in the Second Council of Constantinople,[400] and the words of the council on this point are quoted by St. Thomas in his reply to the first objection.

St. Cyril had said that this union was not moral but physical.[401] By calling the union physical, St. Cyril by no means meant that it signified a commingling of the two natures, but that the union was more than moral and accidental, and as used by St. Cyril the expression came to be commonly accepted as equivalent to hypostatic union.[402]

In the Latin Church, the terms "person" and "nature" have a distinct meaning already from the time of Tertullian, who admits in Christ one person but two natures, almost as clearly as St. Hilary and St. Augustine declared after him.[403]

Second difficulty. It is taken from the Athanasian Creed, in which it is said of Christ: "As the rational soul and the flesh together are one man, so God and man together are one Christ." But the soul and the body unite in constituting one nature. Eutyches applied this remote analogy in the literal sense.

Third difficulty. St. Gregory Nazianzen says: "The human nature[in Christ] is deified," just as St. Cyril had said, "the divine nature is incarnate." But some could understand the expression to mean a certain transmutation and blending of the natures.

Eutyches understood the expression in the following sense: "That our Lord was of two natures before the union; but after the union there was one nature." Eutyches said: "Christ is of two natures, not in two natures, nor is He consubstantial with us according to the flesh; the deity suffered and was buried."

The reply of St. Thomas, notwithstanding these difficulties, is as follows: The union of the Word incarnate did not take place in the nature or essence, such that in Christ there is only one nature. In fact, this is absolutely impossible; but there are in Christ two distinct natures.

This conclusion is a dogma of our faith defined as such against Eutyches in the Council of Chalcedon in these words: "We teach that Christ... is perfect as God and that He is perfect as man, true God and true man... and that He is in two natures,[404] without confusion, ... the properties of each nature being preserved, and that He is in one person and one subsistence."[405] The Second Council of Constantinople defines similarly.[406] Likewise the Athanasian Creed declares: "One altogether, not by confusion of substance, but by unity of person."[407] Subsequent councils and professions of faith give similar definitions.

Scriptural proof. From the many passages already quoted, it is evident that Christ is truly God and truly man. It suffices here to give the following text from the Old Testament: "A child is born to us... and His name shall be called... God the Mighty."[408] Thus also in the New Testament, the greater and especially more sublime prophets were already illumined to perceive the divine nature of the promised Messias.

From the New Testament we have the following texts: "I am the way and the truth and the life."[409] "Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant."[410] Here we have the twofold form or nature, namely, of God and the servant, each distinct, without confusion (of natures). Again we read: "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life."[411] Here again we have the two natures distinctly mentioned, namely, the one divine in the words "of the Word of life," the other the human nature, in the words "which we have looked upon and our hands have handled."

Proof from reason. It is given in the body of the article, in which, from an analysis of the notion of nature, the absurdity of Monophysitism is shown, which is just as absurd as pantheism. There are two parts to this article. The first part considers what is meant by the word "nature." The second part shows the impossibility of the union taking place in the nature.

First part. It determines, by the way of invention, following Aristotle[412] and Boethius, the various acceptations of the term "nature."

This noun signifies: 1. birth or begetting of living beings; 2. the principle of this begetting; 3. whatever intrinsic principle of motion essentially belongs to the subject in which it is, such as the principle of the vegetative life, or of the sensitive life, in each and every subject; 4. The substantial form, which is this radical principle of natural operations, for instance, in the plant; 5. matter, which is the principle of natural passivity; thus it is said that the animal is naturally mortal; 6. the essence also of spiritual things and of God Himself, inasmuch as this essence is the radical principle of their operations. So says Boethius, who is quoted in this article, and St. Thomas concludes: "But we are now speaking of nature as it signifies the essence."

Second part. It is shown to be impossible for the union to take place in the nature. The argument of St. Thomas may be reduced to the following syllogism. There are only three possible ways for the union to take place in the nature, namely: 1. by the composition of things that are perfect in themselves and that remain perfect; 2. by the mixture of things perfect in themselves that have undergone a change; 3. by the union of things imperfect in themselves that have been neither mixed nor changed.

But these ways are incompatible. Therefore it is impossible for the union to take place in the nature.

[diagram page 117]

UNION

of two perfect things

that remains such, as a heap of stones or a house: called composition. One nature does not result from this union

that have changed, as a combination of elements resulting in a mixture; but the divine nature is absolutely unchangeable; for Christ would be neither truly man nor truly God.

of imperfect things

that have been neither changed nor mixed, as man is composed of soul and body. But both the divine and the human natures are in themselves perfect. But the divine nature cannot be even a part of the compound as form, for then it would be less than the whole

The whole article must be read.

More briefly: This union does not take place in the nature, so that there results from it but one nature:

1) Because Christ would not be truly man and truly God, but a sort of chimera.

2) Because the divine nature is unchangeable and cannot constitute a part of any whole, not even as form, for thus it would be less perfect than the whole.[413]

Objection. Some have said that there can be a transubstantiation of the human nature into the divine, just as there is a transubstantiation of the bread into the body of Christ, without any corruption in the process.

Reply. Even if this transubstantiation were not incompatible, the result of this would be that after the Incarnation the human nature would cease to exist. and thus Christ would not be truly man, which is against the faith. Christ is truly man, for He was born, suffered, and died.

The reply of St. Thomas is confirmed from the solution of the difficulties presented at the beginning of the article.

Reply to first objection. This difficulty is taken from the text attributed to St. Cyril and explained by the Second Council of Constantinople,[414] in the sense that the physical union,[415] which St. Cyril spoke of when arguing against the Nestorians, who admitted only a moral union, was meant by St. Cyril as referring not to a union in the nature, but in the person, or to a subsistential union, as the words themselves denote.[416]

Reply to second objection. When the Athanasian Creed says, "As the rational soul and flesh together are one man, so God and man together are one Christ," the analogy has its foundation in the similarity between the parts, namely, inasmuch as soul and body constitute one person, but not in the dissimilarity, namely, inasmuch as the soul and the body constitute one nature.

Reply to third objection. Damascene explains correctly the words attributed to St. Cyril, who says: "The divine nature is incarnate," inasmuch as it is united personally to flesh. He gives a similar interpretation to the words of St. Gregory Nazianzen, who says that "the human nature is deified"; namely, not by change, but by being united with the Word, the properties of each nature remaining intact.

Second Article: Whether The Union Of The Incarnate Word Took Place In The Person

State of the question. The meaning is: whether this union took place in such manner that there is only one person.

In this article we have the refutation of Nestorianism, a heresy that denied there was only one person in Christ, and that admitted only a moral union such as found in saints united by love with God.

The first two difficulties posited at the beginning of this article, are arguments raised by the Nestorians.

First difficulty. In God there is no real distinction between person and nature. If, therefore, this union did not take place in the nature, as the Nestorians say, then it did not take place in the person.

Second difficulty. Personality is a dignity that belongs to us as human beings. Hence it is not attributed to irrational animals or to other beings of a lower order, for these have individuality, but not personality. But Christ's human nature has no less dignity than ours. Therefore it was much more reasonable that Christ's human nature should have its own personality.

This difficulty is still proposed in our days by many theologians who disagree with Cajetan's interpretation of St. Thomas' teaching. These theologians, as we shall see, in advancing this difficulty against Cajetan, seem to be unaware of the reply to the second objection of this present article.

Third difficulty. It is taken from the definition of person as given by Boethius, who says: "a person is an individual substance of a rational nature." But the Word of God assumed an individual human nature, namely, this humanity belonging to Christ. Therefore this humanity belonging to Christ has its own personality.

This difficulty of necessity calls for the making of a profound distinction between individuality, or individuation, and personality. St. Thomas most fittingly makes this kind of distinction in his reply to the third objection, which is thoroughly explained by Cajetan. Nevertheless, even many Scholastics seem to have only a superficial knowledge of this reply to the third objection, perhaps because they did not begin by examining with sufficient care the state and difficulty of the question, as St. Thomas did in his presentation of these difficulties, which constitute, so to speak, the very problem to be solved in this article.

The reply, in spite of these difficulties, is: The union of the Word incarnate took place in the person of the Word, such that there is only one person in Christ. This declaration is a dogma of our faith.

This reply was defined against the Nestorians in the Council of Ephesus, in which the union was declared to be hypostatic, or personal,[417] and it condemned the assertion of two persons morally united in Christ. It likewise condemned the Nestorian expression, Christ the man is theophoron, that is, God bearer.[418] Likewise it declared that, "if anyone does not confess that the Word of God suffered and died in the flesh, let him be anathema."[419] It also defined that the Blessed Virgin Mary is the Mother of God,[420] since she is the mother of this man Jesus who is God, constituting one person.[421]

These definitions are confirmed in the Council of Chalcedon, which says: "One and the same Christ... acknowledged to be in two natures, without confusion... and concurring in one person and one hypostasis, not in something that is parted or divided."[422]

Similarly the Apostles' Creed confesses that one and the same person is the Son of God and of man; particularly the Creed of St. Athanasius, which says of the union, "absolutely one, not in confusion of substance, but in unity of person."[423]

Sacred Scripture. This doctrine of the faith is already clearly expressed in the New Testament; for it attributes the properties of both the divine and the human natures to one and the same Christ, since it is the same Christ who is conceived, born, baptized in the Jordan, who fears, is sad, hungry and tired on His journey, who suffers and dies on the cross. This same person is called the Son of God, God above all, the Author of life, for He Himself says: "I am the truth and the life."[424] Hence we see that the properties of each nature are attributed in Sacred Scripture to the same intelligent and incommunicable subject, that is, to the same person. But this person is the eternal person of the Word, as expressed by the Evangelist in these words: "The Word was made flesh,"[425] that is, the Son of God became man. Therefore the Son of God and man are not two persons, but one person.

The common notion of person suffices for an understanding of the preceding statements, namely, that a person is an intelligent and sui juris[426] or free agent. This subject can be merely a man, an angel, God, or any divine person.

Nestorius objected that a moral union was sufficient.

Reply. A moral union is established by means of affection. But, however intimate is the friendship between two persons, one friend is not said to have become the other friend, neither is a saint who is united with God by a bond of most fervent love said to have become God, nor is God said to have become either Peter or Paul, although there is a moral union between them and God.

In fact, Christ could not have said truthfully: "I am the way, the truth, and the life."[427] In other words, speaking of Himself, He could not have attributed truly to Himself divine attributes and also those that belong to the human nature. The pronoun "I" denotes the person speaking, and there is only one person; for if there are two persons? it cannot be said that one is the other. In affirmative judgments, the verb "is" expresses real identity between subject and predicate. Thus: I am the truth, signifies: I, who by my mouth, am speaking, am the same person who am the truth. Otherwise the judgment is absolutely false, and it is as if Paul were to say: I, who am Paul, am Peter.

Testimony of the Fathers.[428] Tertullian, Origen, St. Ephrem, St. Athanasius, St. Gregory Nazianzen, St. Jerome, St. Cyril of Alexandria, St. Leo I, and St. John Damascene quoted by St. Thomas in the counter-argument of this third article have all affirmed clearly and most explicitly that there is one person in Christ.

It must be noted that in the liturgy of the Church the termination of the orations frequently is, "Through our Lord Jesus Christ who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, forever and ever."

Body of the article. It contains two parts. In the first part a distinction is made between person and nature. The second part proves that the union of the Word incarnate took place in the person.

First of all the article must be explained, and then we shall consider the erroneous system of several modern philosophers concerning personality, and also the systems freely discussed among Catholic theologians.

In the first part of this article, as regards the distinction that is made between person and nature, by a gradual process the argument proceeds from common sense or natural reasoning, to the establishment of a philosophical proof that acknowledges and defends the real validity of natural reasoning against either empiric or idealistic phenomenalism.

The first part of this article must be read. It is divided into three parts: 1. the conclusion; 2. definition of suppositum; 3. definition of person, which is completed in the reply to the third objection.

First conclusion. It may be expressed briefly as follows: There is a real difference between suppositum and nature in every creature, just as there is a real difference between the whole and its parts.

The reason is that the nominal definition of suppositum or the subject of predication signifies the whole, and in every creature existence and accidents are not included in its essence. Such is the case in the angels, for Michael is not his existence nor his action.[429] Moreover, in corporeal things, in addition to the essence of the species, each has individuating principles that are derived from quantified matter, such as these bones, this flesh.

Hence this real distinction between the created nature and the suppositum that contains it, is not a distinction between two separate things, but it is a distinction that prevails between a real and actual whole, and its real, formal, and perfective part.

Contrary to what has been said, there is, a real distinction in God between suppositum and nature.

The real definition of suppositum is given in the following words. The suppositum is taken to be a whole which has the nature as its formal part to perfect it; and as stated in the reply to the third objection, the suppositum is the whole that exists and acts separately by itself. This point must be carefully considered, because it constitutes the philosophical foundation of the whole treatise.

Thus the suppositum is that which is, namely, the real subject of attribution, so that the suppositum is not attributed to any other subject; whereas nature is that by which a thing is such as it is, in such a species. Similarly, existence is that by which a thing is placed outside of nothing and its causes; a faculty is that by which the subject can operate, and operation is that by which it actually operates.

All the above-mentioned are attributed to the suppositum, and this latter is not attributed to any other subject. Moreover, it must be noted that the following divers affirmative judgments: Peter is a man, Peter exists, Peter can act, Peter does act, all these affirmative judgments assert real identity between subject and predicate by the word "is." They are equivalent in meaning to: Peter is the same real subject that is the man that exists, that can act, that does act. For these judgments to be true, this real identity between subject and predicate must be verified outside the soul, although Peter's essence is not his existence, nor the faculty by which he acts, nor his action. Hence there must be something by which the subject is the same real subject, or that by which something is "that which by itself (separately) exists and acts,"[430] as stated in the reply to the third objection.

Farther on we shall see how that by which a thing is a quod (or subject of attribution)[431] is subsistence, for which reason the suppositum is that which is competent to exist by itself separately. This truth constitutes the philosophical foundation of this entire treatise.[432]

Person is defined as an intelligent and sui juris or free subject, namely, a suppositum having a rational, or intellectual, nature.

This definition is given at the end of the first part of this article in the following equivalent words: "And what is said of a suppositum is to be applied to a person in rational, or intelligent, creatures; for a person is nothing else than an individual substance of a rational nature, according to Boethius."

In addition to this it must be said that a person is an intelligent sui juris subject by itself separately existing and by itself operating, such as Peter, Paul. St. Thomas says similarly: "Person is a subsistent individual of a rational nature."[433]

This definition is explained at the end of the third objection. The objection states that according to Boethius, person is an individual substance of a rational nature; but Christ assumed an individual human nature; therefore He assumed a human person, and so there are two persons in Christ, namely, the person assuming and the person assumed.

In the solution of this objection, St. Thomas in his reply most splendidly illustrates the definition of Boethius, by distinguishing accurately between individuality, or individuation, and personality.

This reply to the third objection must be read.

Not every individual in the genus of substance, even in rational nature, is a person, but that alone which exists by itself, and not that which exists in some more perfect thing. Hence the hand of Socrates, although it is a kind of individual, is not a person, but the part of a person, the part of a person and the part of a substance.

On the other hand, we know that according to St. Thomas[434] quantified matter is the principle of individuation, that is, as Cajetan explains: "Matter capable of this particular quantity so that it is not susceptible of that other quantity; for it is in this way that we distinguish between two drops of water that are most alike: not having the same quantified matter, they are thus in different parts of space. Hence individuation, which is derived from matter, is of the lowest order in man, whereas personality, as stated in the reply to the second objection, pertains to the dignity of a thing and to its perfection, so far as it pertains to the dignity and perfection of that thing to exist by itself."[435]

In Christ, as we shall see, individuation, as in our case, is effected by matter, whereas His personality is uncreated and thus there is an infinite difference between the two. St. Thomas discusses this point in his reply to the third objection, and elsewhere he says: "Person signifies what is most perfect in all nature, that is, a subsistent individual of a rational nature."[436]

Therefore we must not confuse the individual nature, individuated or singular, with suppositum and person. For even the individuated nature is not that which is, but that by which anything is constituted in a certain species that is limited or contracted to an individual grade of being, for example, an individuated nature is this humanity. Similarly matter is that by which anything is material.[437] On the contrary, by suppositum or person is meant this person separately existing by himself and acting, to whom this humanity is attributed, as constituting a part of him; hence we do not say that this man is his humanity, for the verb "is" expresses by a logical distinction real identity between the whole and its parts. We truly say that this man is not his humanity, but has humanity, or has his nature. Thus the common sense or natural reason of all men, by so speaking, distinguishes in a confused manner between person and nature, or between that which is, and that by which something is constituted in a certain species.

Hence St. Thomas[438] and the Thomists, in explaining the definition of person as given by Boethius, make some addition and say that a person is an entirely incommunicable individual substance of a rational nature, inasmuch as a person is the first subject of attribution, which is predicated of no other subject, and to whom is attributed whatever pertains to person, such as nature, existence, properties and actions. But communicability is threefold.[439]

[diagram page 126]

COMMUNICABILITY

of the part to the whole

to this whole that is the suppositum: e.g., of the humanity to the Word

to this essential or quantitative whole: e.g., of the soul to man; e.g. of the arm to the body

of the universal to the inferior

e.g., of the humanity to all individuals of the species

Hence, when it is said that a person is incommunicable, what is especially meant is that such person is incommunicable to another suppositum, although even both to inferiors and to the quantitative whole.

St. Thomas discusses this incommunicability of person in various parts of his works.[440]

Thus the transition is made gradually from the common or popular notion of person to the philosophical notion of the term. It is not necessary here by way of conclusion to this article to explain the various systems freely disputed among Catholic theologians concerning personality, or what formally constitutes a person.[441]

Second conclusion. Toward the end of the argumentative part of this article, what St. Thomas intends to prove concerning the formal constituent of person may be expressed by the following syllogism.

Everything that adheres to a person, whether it does or does not pertain to the nature, is united to it in the person, which is the whole by itself separately existing.

But our Catholic faith teaches us that the humanity of Christ adheres to the person of the Son of God.

Therefore it is united to the person of Christ, but not to His nature.

The major follows from the definition of person, since it is the whole or the subject by itself separately existing and acting to whom are attributed as to the ultimate subject of attribution all those things that pertain to a person, such as nature, existence, accidents, and other notes.

The minor is evident from revelation, inasmuch as the human nature as also its parts and properties, such as the soul, the body, passibility, and other qualities are attributed to the Son of God.[442]

First confirmation. There are only two possible unions; either the union of the Word was with the nature, or with the person. For union by affection or by reason of the extraordinary grace bestowed upon the person loved, such as Nestorius imagined in the case of Christ, does not belong solely to the Word, but is common to the three persons of the Trinity operating together ad extra, and this union is already found in varying degrees in all the just.

Second confirmation. If there are two persons in Christ, then we are not redeemed; for neither of these two persons could have redeemed us from sin: not the divine person, because He could neither suffer nor satisfy for sin nor merit for us; not the human person, because he could not confer infinite value upon his satisfactory and meritorious works, such as was required for our redemption, so that the redemption be adequate.

It remains for us to reply to the first two difficulties proposed at the beginning of this article.

The first objection was: The person of God is not distinct from His nature. But the union of the Word incarnate did not take place in the nature. Therefore it did not take place in the person.

Reply to first objection. I distinguish the major: that there is no real distinction between nature and person in God, this I concede; that they do not differ in meaning, this I deny. I concede the minor.

I distinguish the conclusion. Therefore the union did not take place in the person, if by this is meant that the divine person is not even distinct in meaning from nature, then I concede the conclusion; otherwise I deny it. The reply to the first objection must be read.

Therefore this union of the humanity with God took place, not in the divine nature, but in the person of the Son.

Thus the mental distinction between God's mercy and justice is the foundation for the truth of these propositions: God punishes not by His mercy, but by His justice, although these two attributes are not distinct. Thus God understands by His intellect and not by His will. Likewise the Word is united to the humanity not in the nature but in the person.

As Cajetan says: "The reply is confirmed by reason of the fact... that the union of the human nature in the mystery of the Incarnation does not add anything to the meaning of nature, but it does indeed add something to the notion of person, because it adds the notion of subsisting in the human nature."[443]

Moreover, it must be noted that St. Thomas in this reply to the first objection and often afterward, says: "The Word subsists in the human nature." So does Cajetan,[444] whereas many modern theologians say less correctly: The humanity subsists in the Word. In truth, that which subsists is not the humanity, which is that by which the Word is man; that which subsists is the very Word incarnate.

Second objection. It is still proposed in these days by many theologians who object to Cajetan's interpretation of St. Thomas' teaching. It reads as follows: Christ's human nature has no less dignity than ours. But personality belongs to dignity. Hence, since our human nature has its proper personality, there is much more reason for Christ's to have its proper personality.

Several theologians in our times revive this argument against Cajetan, saying: Personality cannot be a substantial mode that terminates the nature, rendering it immediately capable of existence, as constituting it that which by itself separately exists.

The reply of St. Thomas is quoted by Pius XI in his encyclical commemorating the decrees of the Council of Ephesus against Nestorius. The following statement summarizes the reply of St. Thomas: Personality pertains to dignity inasmuch as it is that by reason of which a person exists separately by oneself. But it is a greater dignity to exist in something nobler than oneself than to exist by oneself. The complete reply to the second objection should be read.

Thus it is more perfect for the sensitive life to be united to the intellective, and for every inferior to be united to the superior. Just as it is more perfect for the deacon to be made a priest, so it is more perfect for the human nature to exist in the person of the Word, than to have its own personality; because whatever perfection there is in its own personality, is found infinitely and more eminently in the Word, so that there is intrinsic independence not only from inferior material things, as in the case of every rational soul, but from every creature, for Christ, indeed, is not a creature, but above every creature.

And what St. Thomas says in this reply concerning one's own personality can be said of the substantial mode by which, as Cajetan remarks, it is that by which it exists separately.

Cajetan gives a good explanation of St. Thomas' reply to the second objection, saying: "Just as it is nobler for the sensitive life to have its complete specific nature by a form of a nobler order, namely, by the rational soul, so a greater dignity was bestowed upon the human nature of Christ from the fact that it was assumed by the divine personality."[445]

Later Thomists, such as Billuart, make this additional comment: Subsistence or personality is the perfection and completion of the nature, perfecting it not in its notion of nature or essence, but in its notion of suppositum or person, inasmuch as it pertains to the dignity of a thing that it exist by itself; as St. Thomas says: "It is a greater dignity to exist in something nobler than oneself than to exist by oneself. Hence, from this very fact, Christ's human nature is not less noble but more noble than ours."[446]

It must be noted that the above definition of person, namely, an intelligent and free subject, easily finds its verification both in the human person, the angelic person, and the divine person. In all of them the subject is incommunicable, which cannot be attributed to another, and all of them enjoy intelligence and free will. But it is evident that person is not predicated univocally of God and man; it is predicated analogically, though not metaphorically, but properly; for the formal signification of person is properly retained in God proportionally, just as the proper signification of intelligence and liberty, of the real subject.[447]

Difficulty proposed by more modern critics. The final difficulty is thus proposed by many modern philosophers of the Guntherian and Rosminian trend of thought. They say that the mystery of the Incarnation is absolutely unintelligible from the mere abstract and metaphysical notion of either suppositum or subsistence or personality. For it is not only the metaphysical or ontological concept of personality that must be considered; it must be viewed in its psychological and moral aspects likewise, which come under experience. But psychologically, personality seems to consist in consciousness of oneself, and in personal judgment. Hence Locke, and after him Gunther, defined person as "a nature conscious of itself."[448] But in the moral order, personality seems to consist in this, that every one is sui juris, or is master of himself, or is free to act as he wishes, and Rosmini insists on this point.[449]

In the days of Modernism (1905) several students of dogmatic theology attending this course in a certain university did not even listen to the professor who was explaining the treatise on the Incarnation. They wrote letters or read books not pertaining to dogmatic theology, because, as they said, the conception of personality as proposed by scholastic theology is unintelligible.

I then said to one of these students: "Therefore, in your opinion in what does personality consist so as to give us a better understanding of the mystery of the Incarnation?" He replied: "Personality consists in a consciousness of oneself, and this is enough." I asked him how many consciousnesses and intelligences there are in Christ? This student had not even considered the fact that there are two intelligences and consequently two consciousnesses in Christ. Therefore there ought to be two personalities in Christ, if personality formally consisted in consciousness of oneself.

Another of these students replied to me: "Personality consists in freedom or dominion over oneself." But neither had he considered that in Christ there are two freedoms, and so there ought to be two personalities and hence two persons, which is the heresy of Nestorianism.

Hence it is manifest that, for assuming a more profound notion of personality, it must be considered in its ontological aspect, and not merely in its psychological and moral aspects.

For the solution of this difficulty, which is very widespread in these days, it will be useful at the beginning of this treatise, for its clarification, to start with a certain introduction or ascent from the psychological and moral notion of personality, especially as found in the saints, ending in the ontological notion of the most exalted personality of Christ. The notion of personality will thus be present in a less abstract, but more vivid and concrete manner, as befitting this mystery, when speaking not only with modern philosophers, but also with the faithful who are not accustomed to the language of philosophy, and who must, nevertheless, live by faith in the Incarnation, and who aspire to the contemplation of this mystery.

Introduction Or Ascent Toward A Certain Understanding Of The Incarnation

There are three articles of St. Thomas that enable us to make this ascent.[450] But what pertains to the psychological and moral aspects of person must be added.

This introduction must begin by a definition of person considered under this threefold aspect, namely, ontological, psychological, and moral, and in accordance with the law of true progress from the psychological and moral aspects of personality.

Person under this threefold aspect is defined as an intelligent and free subject, or a substance of a rational nature, by itself separately existing and operating, conscious of and responsible for itself, such as Peter and Paul.

Human personality is that by which a man is thus by himself separately existing, and hence conscious of and responsible for his actions, which means that he is master of his actions. What must especially be noted about personality is that, besides its common independence from every suppositum, inasmuch as it exists separately by itself, it enjoys a threefold special independence, for a person is a suppositum by itself separately existing, whose specific existence and operation, namely, understanding and willing, does not intrinsically depend upon matter.

Therefore a person enjoys the following threefold independence:

1. Its existence does not intrinsically depend upon matter, and thus the soul separated from the body remains immortal.

2. In like manner its understanding does not intrinsically depend upon matter, and thus it transcends actually existing individual things and extends to the universal.

3. It will also remain independent of particular goods that are mingled with evil, for these do not infallibly attract the will, which is specified by universal good. Thus personality far surpasses individuation by means of matter.

What, then, is the law of true and complete progress concerning psychological and moral personality?

Some think that this law consists simply in progress of the aforesaid independence, which would finally be in every respect absolute, or it would consist in complete autonomy of spirit and will, as Kant says. In accordance with this tendency, however, the complete evolution of man's personality would mean that he recognizes nobody his superior. Once this personality is fully developed, there would no longer be any place for virtues that are called passive, such as humility, obedience, patience, meekness, even for the theological virtues; and hence this superior personality would not differ much from the perfect insubordination of him who said: "I will not serve." This absolute autonomy, which is the doctrine of Kant, was condemned by the Vatican Council in these words: "If anyone shall say that human reason is so independent that faith cannot be enjoined upon it by God; let him be anathema."[451]

It is manifest that the law of true and complete progress of personality does not consist merely in progress of the above-mentioned independence; for the true and legitimate independence of the human person toward things inferior to it has its foundation in the strict dependence toward realities that are superior to it. Thus our reason transcends sensible things, space and time, because it is ordered to universal truth, and so to the knowledge of Him who is supreme Truth, at least so far as He is naturally knowable.

Likewise, as our will is free and independent with reference to the attraction of particular good, this is because it is ordered to universal good, and so to the supreme Good, which means to God the author of nature, who is to be loved above all things.

True personality has this characteristic, that its legitimate independence or relative autonomy toward things inferior to itself has its foundation in immediate dependence on truth and goodness, on supreme Truth and supreme Goodness, that is, God.

What follows from this characteristic as regards the law of true and complete progress of psychological and moral personality? It follows that the more personality dominates inferior things and the more intimately it is dependent on God, then the more perfect it is.

This is the true law of its progress, which is easily illustrated by examples, ascending gradually from the lowest grade of human personality until we reach the personality of Christ.

Thus the lowest grade of psychological and moral personality is verified in the man who is addicted to inordinate passions. Yet this man is a person or a substance of an intellectual nature, but insufficiently conscious of his dignity and dominion. Such a man is not ruled by right reason, but by his senses, imagination, and inordinate passions as in the case of irrational animals. He has not dominion over himself, nor independence as regards those things inferior to him, acting as if invincibly attracted by the lowest kind of good, by pleasure and every concupiscible object, living according to the prejudices of the world, rather its slave than its master; he is the slave of sin. What is developed in him is not personality but the lowest type of individuality, which manifests itself as individualism or egoism. He wishes to be the center of all things, and truly becomes the slave of all things, the slave of his passions that are in open rebellion against one another, inasmuch as they are not controlled; he becomes the slave of men and events that can in the twinkling of an eye definitely take away from him the least happiness he enjoys.

Moral personality is far nobler in the virtuous man, who is conscious of his human dignity and succeeds in controlling his passions, in proportion as he increases in the love of truth and justice, that is, in proportion as he increasingly makes his life dependent on God who is to be loved above all things.

This was, in a certain manner, understood by the great philosophers of antiquity, such as Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, and to some extent by the Stoics.[452]

Likewise, in the intellectual order, to what shall we attribute that superiority of intellectual personality in men of great genius compared with those of ordinary intellectual ability? It must be attributed to the fact that a man of great genius depends less on the help to be obtained from men of his age and country, and this because he receives a higher inspiration from God, and is more dependent on God. Aristotle said about these great men, who are called divine, such as the divine Plato: "They follow an interior instinct, and it is not expedient for them to be given advice, because they are moved by a better principle,"[453] that is, they depend more immediately on God, and their lives are dominated by this higher inspiration, which sometimes is most impelling. Thus genius is defined as a certain special nearness to God, a relationship with the absolute.

But how far superior are the saints to men of ordinary virtue and to men of great genius! The saints alone fully understood the law of true and complete progress of human personality, that human personality is the more perfect in proportion as it is more dependent on God, and united with Him, dominating inferior things. This aspect of personality is something that belongs most especially to the saints, being found only in them, since they exemplify in their lives these words of Christ: "He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world keepeth it unto life eternal."[454] The saints, thoroughly understanding these words of our Lord, engaged in a real conflict with their own ego, fought against a personality that is the result of egoism or self-love, and reached such a superior degree of psychological and moral personality that it is truly supernatural, and even distinguished in the order of grace.

The saints in dying to themselves, submerge themselves, their personality in God's personality, so that they become truly and most profoundly servants of God, as the Church says: for the servant is not free, is not master of himself. God's servant, however, participates in His supreme independence; hence it is commonly said that to serve God is to reign, and this is the culmination of created personality, which bears a certain remote resemblance to Christ's uncreated personality.

How did the saints acquire this eminent personality? In dying to themselves, they are guided in their intellect not by their own more or less inordinate judgment, but by the most correct judgment of God received in them by means of faith and the gifts of the Holy Ghost. Thus it is said that the just man lives not by his own inspiration but by faith, and considers all things, so to speak, as God sees them, in the mist of faith.

Likewise, in the case of the will, the saint gradually substitutes God's will for his own will, in accordance with our Lord's words: "My meat is to do the will of Him that sent Me that I may perfect His work."[455] They live continually faithful to the divine will of expression, and they completely abandon themselves to the divine will of good pleasure not yet made manifest, so that they become in the profoundest sense the servants of God, just as our hand is the servant of our will; they become in some manner something of God, or a creature of God, always in the hand of his Creator. As St. Thomas says, "They live not for themselves, but for God,"[456] in that charity of friendship with God, and God is to them another ego.

In fact, the saints keenly perceive that God is to them another ego that is much more intimate to them than their own ego, and infinitely more perfect, inasmuch as what perfection there is in their own ego is found most eminently in God, and inasmuch as God is the radical principle of their intimate life. Thus the saints, giving up entirely, as it were, their own will and independence in their relation to God to be loved above all things, finally come to say with St. Paul: "I live, now not I, but Christ liveth in me,"[457] or "For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain."[458] As St. Thomas remarks: "As the hunter is preoccupied with hunting, and the student with study, and as the sick person is preoccupied in regaining health, so with the saints to live is Christ, because He is the principle and end of their lives."[459]

Thus the psychological and moral personality of the saints in the supernatural order exceedingly transcends the type of personality found in wise pagans, just as grace transcends nature. The personality of the saints transcends not only sensible things, space and time, but in a certain manner all created things inasmuch as the saints live not for themselves but for God.

This supernatural transcendence is the extraordinary secret of St. Paul's personality, so that after twenty centuries a vast number of Christians daily model their lives according to his epistles, as if these had been written yesterday; whereas only a few of the learned read once in their lives the epistles of Seneca. It is also the secret of the personality of all the saints, for example, of St. Francis of Assisi, of St. Catherine of Siena, of St. Vincent de Paul, who, in a certain manner die to their own personality, so that they might live to God, so that their supernatural influence is felt not only in their own times and countries, but practically throughout the Church and for many centuries.

Pascal excellently pointed this out in one of his works, saying: "The saints have their realm, their glory, their victory, their luster, and have no need of temporal or spiritual (intellectual) aggrandizement which in no way affects them, neither increasing nor decreasing their greatness. The saints are seen by God and the angels, not by bodies or curious minds. God suffices for them."[460]

This is strictly speaking to live not for oneself but for God, as St. Thomas remarks.[461] This means, so to speak, to lose one's own personality in God by denial of oneself, acquiring perfect mastery over one' passions and all inferior things. Yet there is an infinite distance between God and the saints, inasmuch as their ontological personality is created, even though they may say with St. Paul: "I live, now not I but Christ liveth in me."[462] They are intimately united with Him in the moral order..

The error of Nestorius, and afterward of Rosmini, consisted in reducing the union of the Word incarnate to God's union with the saints, so that the difference between them was only one of degree, and the union itself was accidental. Hence the following proposition of Rosmini was condemned: "In Christ's humanity the human will was so rapt by the Holy Spirit to adhere to the objective entity of the Word, that it gave up completely its human control to the Word, and the Word personally assumed this control, thus uniting the human nature to Himself. Hence the human will ceased to be personal in Christ as man, and, although it constitutes a person in other human beings, in Christ as man it remained a nature,"[463] This means the confusion of the psychological and moral manifestation of the ontological personality with its personality.

Truly the uncreated personality of Christ is the inaccessible culmination of the true and complete progress of personality that can be conceived by us. For not only in Christ's intellect is God's judgment substituted for His own human judgment, not only in His will is God's will substituted for His own volition, but radically in these faculties, in fact, radically in the very soul of Christ, there is no human personality, but in its place there is the uncreated personality of the Word that assumed Christ's humanity in an ineffable manner. And whereas the saints almost never speak in their own person except to accuse themselves of their sins, Christ speaks of His uncreated and adorable person saying: "I am the resurrection and the life."[464] "I and the Father are one."[465] "I" designates the uncreated personality of the Word, in whom the human nature of Christ exists.

Thus the fitness of the Incarnation is in a certain way made manifest, and a certain knowledge of this mystery is acquired by considering, on the one hand, that it belongs to the notion of the supreme Good, namely, God, that He communicate Himself in the highest manner to the creature, which means in person, as already stated.[466] On the other hand, the more intimately personality is dependent on God and is united with Him, dominating things that are inferior, the more perfect it is. The saints are, in a way, one in judgment and will with God, since theirs is in complete conformity with His. The ideal union would be if our human nature were united, without any commingling, with the divine nature in the same divine person, and in the same divine existence. But this wonderful union, which absolutely transcends our natural desire, is verified in the Incarnation of the Word, in which supreme personality is made manifest according to the greatest possible intimacy with God, and its domination over inferior things.

All these notes are implicitly contained in the true definition of person, which is an intelligent and free subject. To say that a person is a subject or person is to declare its ontological personality; to say that it is intelligent and therefore conscious of itself is to declare its psychological personality; to say that it is free and is master of itself is to declare its moral personality, or to consider it in its moral aspect. From what has been said, it is clearly evident that ontological personality is the root or foundation of psychological and moral personality. Therefore they must not be separated, but must be considered as one person.

Thus it is easy to see that in accordance with revelation, Christ is but one person, namely, just one intelligent and free subject, although He has two intellects and two wills. In Christ it is not merely the ontological union of two natures in one person, for it also follows that there is a wonderful union in Him in the psychological, moral, and spiritual orders. This union is a kind of compenetration of Christ's two intellects, inasmuch as His most holy soul, from the moment of its creation, enjoys the beatific vision, as will be stated farther on.[467] Thus His human intellect sees immediately, without any impressed and expressed species, God's essence and intellection, and by this supreme intellection is comprehensively seen, and by it is continually reinforced by the light of glory, which is preserved in it and measured by participated eternity. Likewise there is in Christ's most holy soul from the beginning of its existence a kind of interpenetration of the two wills, for Christ as man, by reason of His infused charity intensely loves God's good pleasure as regards everything, and is in the highest degree loved by God.[468]

Thus Christ's ontological personality results in a union not only of natures in the order of being, but also in a union of activities in accordance with the most perfect and intimate subordination of the two intellects and wills in the order of operation, or in the psychological, moral, and spiritual orders.

Two Theories About The Hypostatic Union

It is of faith, as we have said, that the union of the two natures in Christ was personal or subsistential,[469] as the Council of Ephesus stated,[470] and for this reason the union is called hypostatic. But theologians dispute about what formally constitutes a person, or what is meant properly by personality or subsistence.

Hence, after a brief examination of the theories condemned by the Church, we must explain those freely disputed among theologians.

Theories condemned by the Church. There are two, namely, Gunther's system that reduces personality to consciousness of oneself, and Rosmini's that would have personality to consist in freedom of will or in dominion over oneself.

Gunther's theory.[471] According to Gunther the fundamental question in philosophy is the theory of knowledge, which, he said, has its foundation in the consciousness of oneself, which is what Descartes taught. Gunther rejects pantheism, of course, but he admits a substantial unity of all created beings, considering these to be manifestations of the same substance, which he calls nature. This nature that is unconscious of itself, becomes conscious in man.

Hence Gunther holds that personality properly consists in a consciousness of oneself, and this note belongs to the rational soul.

From the notion of personality Gunther seeks to explain the mysteries of the Trinity and the Incarnation. He is unwilling to admit that God is conscious of Himself by His essence, for then there would be only one person in God. If, therefore, says Gunther, God knows Himself, it is because in Him subject and object are in opposition, and he affirms the equality of each. The subject conscious of itself is the Father, the object conscious of itself is the Son; finally, the consciousness of equality between each results in the Holy Spirit. Thus Gunther seeks to demonstrate the Trinity, and reduce it to the order of philosophical truth. In this we have the essence of semi-rationalism, which does not deny supernatural revelation, but seeks to reduce all revealed mysteries to truths of the natural order, as if revelation were supernatural only as to the manner of its production, not substantially or essentially, namely, on the part of the object revealed.

Gunther also denies the freedom of creation, admitting the absolute optimism of Leibnitz. Just as the elevation of the human race to the supernatural order was necessary, as Baius contends, so also was the Incarnation.

Finally, Gunther explains the union of the Word incarnate. His theory that personality consists in a consciousness of oneself leads to Nestorianism, for there are in Christ two consciousnesses, just as there are two intellectual natures. Gunther, however, in order to avoid the heresy of Nestorianism, devises a theory that scarcely differs from it, inasmuch as he makes the human nature in Christ conscious of its subordination and dependence on the divine nature. But this condition is already verified in all the saints, and is not something special that is found in Christ alone.

This theory, as also Gunther's semi-rationalism, was condemned by Pius IX in his papal brief to Cardinal de Geissel, archbishop of Cologne.[472]

This theory is refuted philosophically and theologically.

Philosophically. Consciousness of oneself testifies to or asserts the identity of our person, but does not constitute it. This means that we know and remember from our past lives that we are the same persons, and consciousness of ourselves tells us that we are today the same persons we were in the past. Therefore both memory and consciousness imply or presuppose an already constituted person; they merely announce the presence of or are attributed to person. They constitute only the psychological aspect of personality.

Hence the saying: I am conscious of myself or of my personality; if consciousness constituted personality, we should have to say: I am conscious of my consciousness. Person is a substance, whereas consciousness is an act.

Confirmation of the preceding. If consciousness together with memory constituted personal identity, this identity would be lessened, in fact would be destroyed, as often as the exercise of memory or consciousness is lessened or suspended.[473]

Expressed briefly, a person is a subject conscious of itself, but it must be first constituted as a subject in order that it be conscious of itself.

Theologically. Gunther's theory is refuted by the very fact that it posits in Christ two persons regardless of his wishes; for Christ's humanity is conscious of itself, and so is the Godhead. Nor does he avoid the error of Nestorianism by saying that Christ's humanity is conscious of the subordination to and dependence on the Godhead; for this union, which is already realized in the saints, is nothing else but a moral and accidental union with God's judgment and will. Pius IX was right in condemning this theory. Modernists express themselves in almost the same terms as Gunther.

Rosmini's theory. Rosmini (1797-1855) did not start, as Gunther did, with the "cogito" of Descartes, being more of an ontologist than Gunther. St. Thomas says: "The first thing conceived by the intellect is being. Hence being is the object of the intellect."[474] But Rosmini teaches[475] that what is first conceived by the intellect is the beginning of being, which is something divine, belonging to the divine nature; it is something divine not by participation, but in the strict sense it "is an actuality that is not distinct from the remainder of the divine actuality";[476] "it is something of the Word."[477]

All Rosmini's theories are deduced from this principle.

1) He seeks to prove the Trinity about the same way Gunther did, by distinguishing in God between subjectivity, objectivity, and sanctity, or between reality, ideality, and morality, inasmuch as these are three supreme forms of the being, namely, subjective being, objective being, and their union by love.[478]

2) He denies the freedom of creation, as Gunther did.[479] He admits generationism or traducianism, saying: "The human soul, by coming in contact solely with its intuitive sentient principle, becomes a being, and by this union that principle, which before was only sentient, becomes intelligent, subsistent, and immortal."[480] Rosmini held that the will constitutes human personality, by which everyone is responsible for and master of himself. Hence Rosmini teaches: "In Christ's humanity, the human will was so rapt by the Holy Spirit to adhere to the objective entity of the Word, that it gave up completely to the Word its human control.... Hence the human will ceased to be personal in Christ as man, and, although it is a person in other human beings, in Christ as man it remained a nature."[481]

This theory is refuted both philosophically and theologically about the same way as Gunther's.

Philosophically. It is false to say that the will constitutes the person in human beings, for the will is attributed to an already ontologically established person, such as Peter or Paul, and the will is this will, since in that it is the will of this particular subject, by itself separately existing. Person is a substance, whereas will is its accident, an inseparable accident, indeed, but a predicamental accident, although it is not a predicable, which means that it is not contingent.

Theologically. Rosmini's theory leads to Nestorianism, for the union it admits is only a union of wills or a moral union, such as we find in the saints, who would differ from Christ only according to the degree of their love for Him.

What results from the condemnation of these two theories?

It follows that merely phenomenalist or dynamistic notions of personality cannot be reconciled with the Catholic doctrine of the Incarnation, as we showed in another work.[482]

According to the empiric phenomenalism of Hume, Stuart Mill, and Taine, we have knowledge only of phenomena or states of consciousness, but not of the "ego" itself as substance. But conscious facts are united according to the laws of association, and then personality is established by a dominating state of consciousness. But if there be a psychological disturbance, as in madness, some think that there are two personalities, for at times a person considers himself a king, and at other times a servant.

The rational phenomenalism of Renouvier considers personality to be an a priori form of our mind, which unites all that belongs to us. Our existence is merely so far as it is represented.[483]

As for the dynamic evolutionism or philosophy of becoming (of such philosophers as H. Bergson), person is neither an association of phenomena nor a certain category of the mind, but it is a vital and free impulse, which manifests itself in an unbroken series of divers states of consciousness.

It is evident, however, that the person of the Word incarnate, as conceived by the Catholic Church, cannot be either a certain association of phenomena or a certain category of the mind, or a vital and free impulse; all these pertain to the finite and hence created order, and cannot constitute the uncreated personality of the Word incarnate.

But in contrast to either empiric or rational phenomenalism, or the philosophy of becoming, traditional philosophy may be called the philosophy of being, inasmuch as the formal object of our intellect is neither an internal nor an external phenomenon, nor a category of the mind, but it is the intelligible being of sensible things. This is, as H. Bergson avows, the natural metaphysics of human intelligence, or the conception of natural reason, or the sensus communis, which develops by a gradual process from the confused state of rudimentary knowledge to the clearly defined state of philosophic knowledge. Gradually our intellect ascends from the knowledge of the being of sensible things to the knowledge of the soul and of God, who is conceived as the First Being or as the self-subsisting Being.

According to this philosophy of being, however, person is something more profound than phenomena and their laws, either empiric or a priori, something of even deeper significance than the becoming of being that underlies phenomena, for it is a substance of a rational nature by itself separately existing, or an intelligent and free individual subject, permanent in itself, by itself operating, and hence conscious of itself and because of free will responsible for its actions. Briefly, person is an intelligent and free subject. Hence the aforesaid theories consider only the psychological or moral aspects of personality, but not ontological personality, on which these aspects depend. This ontological personality is that by which a person is a subject or a whole by itself separately existing, intelligent and free.

As we said, a person enjoys a threefold independence, inasmuch as its being, its understanding, and its will are not intrinsically dependent on matter. Thus it is evident that ontological personality is the foundation of psychological personality and of moral personality.

It is also apparent that those notes which constitute personality, namely, a subject subsisting in itself, endowed with intelligence and freedom, are absolutely simple perfections, which can be attributed analogically and in the proper sense to God, whereas, on the contrary, merely phenomenal personality cannot be attributed even analogically to Him, since God is absolutely above the phenomenal order.

Various Scholastic Views About Personality

There are different views about ontological personality among the Scholastics. They are radically divided: some admit and others do not admit a real distinction between what is and its existence, a distinction that is declared among the greater in the philosophy of St. Thomas, and which forms one of the twenty-four theses approved by the Sacred Congregation of Studies in 1916.

Some say, in these days, that the first of these twenty-four propositions on which the others depend, is not found in the works of St. Thomas, who admitted, so they say, only logical composition of potentiality and act, but not real composition in every created:[484]

On the contrary, St. Thomas said explicitly: "Everything that is in the genus of substance is a real composite...; and its existence must be different from itself.... Therefore everything that is directly in the predicament of substance is composed at least of existence and that which exists."[485] This means that there is a real distinction in the created suppositum between that which exists and its existence. The suppositum is the whole, and its existence is a contingent predicate.

Again he writes: "The act that is measured by aeviternity, the aeviternal existence, differs indeed really from that whose act it is";[486] which means that an angel's essence differs really from his existence. On this point Father Norbert del Prado, O. P., has collected many similar texts from St. Thomas in the famous book he wrote on this subject.[487] In this work, he shows that the first truth by way of doctrinal judgment though the highest of causes is that in God alone essence and existence are the same; He alone can say: I am who am.

These truths presupposed, however, among Scholastics who deny a real distinction between what is and its existence, and between essence and existence, Scotus says that personality is something negative, namely, the negation of the hypostatic union in a singular nature.[488] Suarez considers personality to be a substantial mode that presupposes the existence of a singular nature, and that renders it incommunicable.[489]

Among those Scholastics who admit a real distinction between existence and what exists, there are especially three opinions. Cajetan and very many Thomists say that personality is that by which a singular nature becomes immediately capable of existence.[490]

Others, following Capreolus, say less clearly that personality is a singular nature as constituted before it exists.[491] Lastly, Father Billot reduces personality to existence that actuates the singular nature.[492]

[diagram page 145]

PERSONALITY

real distinction admitted

It is that by which a singular nature becomes what it is, or becomes immediately capable of existence. (View of Cajetan and very many Thomists).

It is a singular nature as constituted before it exists (Capreolus)

It is existence that actuates a singular nature (Billot)

real distinction denied

It is a substantial mode that presupposes the existence of the substance (Suarez)

It is something negative, the negation of the hypostatic union. (Scotus)

Criterion To Be Followed In The Examination Of These Opinions

All these theologians wish to retain the ontological validity of the common notion of person, namely, an intelligent and free subject, and they wish to pass methodically, although they do not all do so, by the light of revelation, from this common notion of person to the more philosophical notion of person, which is like the guiding star.

We said, however, that according to natural reason, a person is an intelligent subject by itself separately existing, and this absolutely must be maintained.

Moreover, it must be observed that there are assertions of natural reason confirmed by revelation, and these must likewise be preserved intact. First of all, there are affirmative judgments, in which those things that pertain to a person are predicated of the person as a real subject of predication, such as: Peter is a man, Peter is existing, Peter is acting. In these affirmative propositions, however, the verb "is" affirms real identity between subject and predicate, and postulates the same real subject underlying nature, existence, and operation.

Lastly, the following truth must be retained. God alone is His existence, He alone can say: "I am who am."[493] Peter is not his existence. This statement means that the act of existence even when in act is included only in God's essence, which is related to existence as A is to A, for God's essence is the self-subsisting Being.[494] On the other hand, no created essence is its existence, no created essence contains existence as an essential predicate, for in such a case it would be self-existent and would not be created; but existence befits it as a contingent predicate, inasmuch as it is possible for this essence not to exist. Hence it is said of Michael the archangel, that he is not his existence, just as a grain of sand is not its existence. These propositions are commonly admitted by theologians as true, which means that they correspond to a reality, and hence we must say, as the Thomists assert, that before the consideration of our mind, Michael's essence or man's essence is not his existence, which means that it is really distinct from its existence.[495]

Nevertheless we say that Michael is existing, Peter is existing. Thus the verb "is" signifies real identity between subject and predicate notwithstanding the real distinction between created essence and existence.

This principle is the criterion in the judgment of the above-mentioned opinions, and it is manifest that it makes a considerable difference in the notion of person, to whom essence and existence are attributed, according as a real distinction between essence and existence is or is not admitted. The true teaching about person has its foundation in this, that it is a requisite for the verification of the following judgments: Peter is existing, but is not his existence, whereas Christ is existing, and is His existence, just as "He is truth and life."[496]

1) Opinion of Scotus. Scotus holds that a twofold negation is added to the notion of person as applied to a singular human nature, namely, actual dependence on the divine person, and aptitudinal dependence on this same divine person.[497] Thus this humanity of ours is a person, because it is neither naturally apt to be terminated, nor actually terminated by the divine personality.

Scotus gives the following reasons for this conclusion:[498]

(1) Because then there would be some positive entity in the human nature that would be incapable of assumption by the Word. (2) Because it would follow that the human nature assumed by the Word would be wanting in some positive entity... and thus Christ would not be universally a man.

Criticism. Cajetan[499] reproduces exactly these arguments of Scotus, and examines them.[500] Capreolus had already examined them.[501] Later on John of St. Thomas,[502] Zigliara,[503] and Billot[504] had discussed these arguments. The Thomists show that this opinion of Scotus is contrary to the teaching of St. Thomas, and that it does not preserve the common notion of person.

Fundamental argument. The constitutive element of that which is not perfect in nature cannot be assigned to something negative. But as St. Thomas says, "Person signifies what is most perfect in all nature, that is, a subsistent individual of a rational nature."[505] Therefore its constitutive element or its personality cannot be assigned to something negative. John of St. Thomas explains this point well.

1) "Subsistence," he says, "is not the negation of dependence. It is impossible for the independent not to be more perfect than the dependent. But dependence is something positive. Therefore, a fortiori, independence in that genus, cannot be a pure negation, although it is explained negatively, just as simplicity is explained by indivision."[506]

Thus infinity in substance; although it is explained negatively, yet it is something positive. Hence God's independence in being constitutes His greatest perfection.[507] Therefore that by which anything is a subject by itself, separately existing, cannot be a mere negation, for it is that which constitutes a subject as the first subject of attribution. Likewise every negation has its foundation in something positive, as Father Billot says against Scotus.

2) "Moreover," adds John of St. Thomas, "natural and proper subsistence is not only opposed to the hypostatic union, but it is also opposed to the existential mode of accident, or even of a part. And if the inherence of accident is something positive and not a negative notion, a fortiori the subsistence of first substance, to which second substance is attributed, must be something positive."[508]

3) Then again, proper subsistence is something primo and per se natural, because it constitutes something of the natural order. Therefore it cannot primo and per se consist in the negation of the hypostatic union, which is supernatural, although the negation may also include this latter, just as in anything of the natural order we have the negation of the supernatural, although things of the natural order are not primo and per se constituted as such by this negation. Thus, according to the opinion of Scotus, either Heraclitus or Thales would have been persons, because their nature was not hypostatically united to any divine person.

4) Finally, in the case of the divine persons, there are in the strictest sense of the terms, three subsistences and three personalities, which, inasmuch as they are subsistences, denote positive realities, and not three negations. And the subsistence of the Word substituting Its subsistence for that of the human nature; but this union did not consist in anything negative, but in something positive.

But there must be analogy between the divine personality and created personality. "Nor is there something unbefitting resulting from this, as Scotus would have, for the Word assumed whatever pertains to the human nature, as a nature, although not whatever pertains to man as a suppositum." As St. Thomas says, "It is a greater dignity to exist in something nobler than oneself than to exist by oneself."[509]

5) Furthermore, it must be said against Scotus that this theory does not make it clear how the following affirmative judgments can be true: Peter is a man, Peter is existing; for the verb "is" expresses real identity between subject and predicate. But this real identity cannot be established by something negative. In other words: that by which anything is a who or a what, or a first subject of attribution, cannot be something negative.

Some Scotists say that a subject is a singular nature.

Reply. The nature itself is not this subject, for as St. Thomas often says: "nature, i. e., humanity, is that by which anything is such, i. e., a man; it is not that which is."[510] Individuation alone is not that by which anything is a who or a what, for matter constitutes this individuation in Christ, namely, this humanity; yet it does not constitute a subject distinct from the Word. Individuation is also found in the parts of a nature, for example, in this flesh, these bones, but these parts do not have the incommunicability that belongs properly to the suppositum.

Moreover, as we said, individuation derived from matter is something very low in dignity, but subsistence and especially personality is something far nobler, for it is that by which anything is a subject by itself separately existing and operating. On the contrary, matter is not that which is, but that by which anything is material.

6) Finally, Scotus denies a real distinction between created essence and existence, and so we should have to say: Peter is his existence, just as we say: God is His existence. But before the consideration of our mind it is true to say: God is His existence, and there is no real distinction between the Deity and His existence. Whereas, on the contrary, before any consideration of the mind, it is true that Peter is not his existence, but has existence, just as Peter cannot say: "I am the truth and the life," but only "I have truth and life." Hence, before any consideration of the mind, there is a certain distinction, not indeed spatial, but real or ontological between Peter's essence and his existence. More briefly, that which truly is not its existence, before any consideration of the mind is distinct from its existence, in some way just as matter is not form, but is related to it as potency is to act, as potency limiting to act determining. Act of itself is not limited, but is limited by the potency in which it is received; so also existence is in various ways limited in the essence of stones, plants, animals, and other things in which it is received.

Wherefore we said that the true doctrine of person has its foundation in this, that it postulates the truth of the following judgments: Peter is existing, but is not existence; whereas Christ is existing and is His existence.

7) It follows from the thesis of Scotus that there are two existences in Christ, which is contrary to the teaching of St. Thomas,[511] and then this means that the humanity of Christ has its own ultimate actuality, namely, its own existence. Thus, before its union with the Word, it is absolutely complete, both substantially and subsistentially. Hence there is danger of Nestorianism in this opinion, since the human nature in Christ appears to be a suppositum distinct from the Word, with whom it can be united only accidentally. Scotus does not wish to affirm this, but his principles ought to lead him to this conclusion. There would be two supposita whose union would not have its foundation in anything positive.[512]

2) Opinion of Suarez.[513] This opinion of Suarez is examined after that of Scotus, since the two views are much alike, although Suarez departs from Scotus inasmuch as he holds personality to consist in something positive, namely, in a substantial mode, which in his opinion presupposes existence for the essence. How does Suarez reach this conclusion?

Often in his eclecticism, Suarez searches for a via media between St. Thomas and Scotus. In the present question, he sees, as the Thomists say, that personality must consist in something positive, and then he says: this positive element cannot be an accident, since person is a first substance. Therefore it must be a substantial mode by which a singular nature is rendered incommunicable, which is what Cajetan said. In Christ, he says, the human nature is not a person, because the mode of personality is wanting to it, the mode of the union taking its place.

But, on the other hand, Suarez holds, as Scotus does, that there is no real distinction between created essence and existence. Hence, in his opinion, the substantial mode which constitutes ontological personality, presupposes not only essence or nature, but also existence.

Thus Suarez frequently in accordance with his eclecticism, as in this question, refutes Scotus by St. Thomas, and St. Thomas by Scotus. But this via media is most difficult to follow, since it is very difficult to maintain the proper equilibrium or stability by this method, so that Suarez in the development of his theses not infrequently fluctuates or oscillates between St. Thomas and Scotus, not taking a firm stand for either view.

Criticism. The Thomists reply:

1) This opinion does not preserve what is fundamental in the truth of the following proposition: Peter is not his own existence, for only God is His existence. He alone can say: "I am who am,"[514] "I am the truth and the life,"[515] and not merely "I have being, truth, and life." But these judgments, acknowledged to be true by all theologians, demand a real distinction between created essence and existence; for, that these propositions be true even before any consideration of our mind, there must be a real distinction between Peter and his existence, whereas, on the contrary, God is really His existence, without even the least of real distinctions.

Hence the Sacred Congregation of Studies (1916), among the twenty-four propositions of St. Thomas that it declared to be the greater, posited a real distinction between created essence and existence. It is the third proposition which reads: "All other beings (except God) which participate in being, have a nature which is limited by existence, and consist of essence and existence, as really distinct principles."[516]

Furthermore, the Thomists with John of St. Thomas[517] say that the substantial mode, which is subsistence, does not presuppose existence, for it is by subsistence that the suppositum is formally constituted as either a suppositum or a person. But, as St. Thomas says: "Being is consequent upon nature, not as upon that which has being, but upon that whereby a thing is such; whereas it is consequent upon person or hypostasis, as upon that which has being. Hence it has unity from the unity of the hypostasis, rather than duality from the duality of the nature."[518] Peter is that which is, and first comes the concept of person and personality before existence that is attributed to the person when we say: Peter is existing, but is not his existence.

Hence personality terminates the nature and ultimately comes existence as primarily befitting the suppositum, and through the intermediary of the suppositum the nature. This is the constant teaching of St. Thomas.[519] There is no existing subject unless the whole being is terminated and incommunicable (e. g., Peter), to whom existence is applicable as a contingent predicate. Being and becoming befit the suppositum, as St. Thomas shows,[520] for the terminus of creation, or even of generation, is that which is, not that by which anything is such as it is.

Therefore very many Thomists say with Cajetan that the substantial mode is the terminus that causes the singular nature to be incommunicable and terminated, just as the point terminates the line and does not continue it,[521] nor is subsistence an unexplainable entity. But it must be something real that constitutes this mode, not nature alone, however, nor existence. Therefore it must be by what terminates the mode. Thus John of St. Thomas, following Cajetan.[522]

3) The Thomists and Father Billot also say against Suarez:

Since the existence of substance is its ultimate actuality, as St. Thomas often says, whatever accrues to substance already complete in its existence accrues to it accidentally. But this mode consisting in personality or subsistence, according to Suarez, accrues to substance after existence. Therefore the mode is not substantial as he would have it, but accidental.

Hence, as already stated against the opinion of Scotus, the union of the Word incarnate would thus be merely accidental, since each nature would have its own existence, or its ultimate actuality.

3) Opinion of Father Billot. Father Billot, S. J.,[523] insists especially on this, that St. Thomas maintains there is only one existence in Christ.[524] Father Billot vigorously asserts this against Scotus and Suarez, because he firmly defends against them the opinion of a real distinction between essence and existence. On this point he is truly in agreement with St. Thomas and the Thomists.

But on the other hand, Father Billot, always attacking Suarez, will not admit a substantial mode even in Cajetan's sense, for-he says: "There is nothing positive about the terminus itself except what it terminates, for all that the point does which terminates a line is to deny its further extension, adding absolutely nothing to it."[525]

Cajetan would reply by saying that the terminus itself is not indeed a new thing or reality, but is a real mode, really and modally distinct from the thing itself. Thus a line is made up of divisible parts and of indivisible points; a point that terminates a line, or two lines that converge in it, is neither a nonentity nor a part;[526] So the roundness of a metallic sphere is not nothing; it is something really and modally distinct from substance, even from the metallic quantity that it terminates; the quantity of this metal is not its roundness, and it could have another shape.[527]

But since Father Billot refuses to admit this substantial mode as terminating the nature, so that it is immediately capable of existing, he says that person is a singular nature under its own existence, and he identifies subsistence or personality with the existence of the substance.[528]

He quotes for his opinion especially the passage[529] in which St. Thomas asserts, and in similar passages, that there is one being in Christ. This assertion is indeed valid against Scotus and Suarez, but not against Cajetan, for he also maintains that there is one being in Christ.

Father Billot,[530] who quotes Capreolus for his view, interprets him as saying that person is a singular nature with its existence. Cajetan's answer would be: Yes, it is a singular nature (terminated) with its existence, but it must be declared terminated, for nature in itself is only that by which anything is such as it is, it is not that which is.

The exact words of Capreolus on this point are: "1. The name suppositum is affirmed of that individual which subsists by itself. 2. Understood formally, as a mode, and then by suppositum is meant the composite that consists of the individual with its suchness and its own subsistence."[531] It cannot be inferred from this text that a person and the singular nature are identical, for a person is what is, and the nature that by which something is; nor can it be said that personality is existence, for personality is attributed to a person already formally constituted as a person.

Criticism of Father Billot's opinion. It may be reduced to the following arguments.

1) This opinion is not in harmony with the teaching of St. Thomas, who says: "Being is consequent upon nature not as that which has being, but upon that whereby a thing is; whereas it is consequent upon person or hypostasis as upon that which has being."[532] Hence being or existence does not formally constitute personality, because it is consequent upon a person already formally constituted as such by personality. St. Thomas speaks similarly in the body of the article just quoted.

2) Moreover, St. Thomas takes up this disputed point in discussing Christ's unity of being,[533] by considering, as he himself says in the prologue to the previous question,[534] the consequences of the union. Therefore he first established his teaching on the hypostatic union,[535] and from this that there is only one person in Christ. Then he goes on to deduce that there is one being in Christ, inasmuch as being is immediately consequent not upon nature, but upon person, which alone is what is.

Hence if Father Billot's opinion were the true teaching of St. Thomas, the holy Doctor ought to have shown at the beginning of this treatise[536] that there is one being in Christ, so as to make it clear that there is only one person and only one personality in Christ. But he considers this point only farther on,[537] which presupposes the solution of the problem concerning what constitutes the hypostatic union.

3) The Complutenses Abbreviati[538] note that St. Thomas teaches that "the angel is composed of existence and what is."[539] Thus Michael is existing but is not his existence. Hence the holy Doctor teaches that existence enters into composition not only with essence, but also with the suppositum. It would not be so, however, if existence were the same as subsistence or personality. Likewise, the principium quod of the theandric operations in Christ is not common to the three divine persons.[540] But existence is common to the three divine persons. Therefore the principium quod in Christ is not formally constituted by existence.

4) St. Thomas says: "Existence does not pertain to the notion of a created suppositum,"[541] which means that Peter is not his existence. But subsistence pertains to the notion of suppositum, and personality to the notion of person. Therefore they are not really the same as being or existence, at least for St. Thomas.

Finally, St. Thomas[542] treats as distinct the following two questions, namely, whether essence and existence are the same, and whether essence and suppositum are the same. This would be superfluous if there were no real distinction between existence and subsistence. Such is the excellent observation of the Complutenses Abbreviati.

Moreover, it must be observed so as to avoid ambiguity, that subsistence does not mean existence of substance, but subsistence is the abstract name that is the correlative of the concrete name suppositum. Hence subsistence is to suppositum as personality is to person, as existence is to exist, and as running is to run.

Hence subsistence is not an abstract name that would correspond to the concrete to subsist, but to the concrete that is called suppositum. But to avoid this ambiguity, it is better to use the word personality than subsistence, because it is evident that personality corresponds in the concrete to person, and not as such to the word "subsist." Hence subsistence is to suppositum as personality is to person, and as existence is to exist or to being.

5) Father Billot's opinion leads to the denial of a real distinction between essence and existence, a distinction that he firmly maintains nevertheless against Scotus and Suarez. For it must be said that being which is not its existence, is, before the consideration of the mind, really distinct from its existence. But Peter's person, even his personality, is not his existence. Therefore Peter's person, even his personality, is really distinct from his existence.

The major of this argument is the principle from which we deduce that there is a real distinction between essence and existence, and this Father Billot accepts. But the minor is most certain, namely, that Peter's person is not his existence, and therefore it differs from the person of the Word; moreover Peter's personality is not his existence, because it formally constitutes Peter's person, which is not his existence.

In other words, the denial of a real distinction between a created person, constituted as such by his own personality and existence, means that a real distinction between created essence and existence is without any foundation; for a being that is not its own existence is, before the consideration of the mind, really distinct from its existence. But Peter's person, formally constituted as such by his personality, just as his essence, is really distinct from his existence. Only God is His existence, and the truth of this assertion will be most clearly seen in the beatific vision.

This point was more fully explained by quoting several texts of St. Thomas,[543] and in the examination of the recent work of Father Charles Giacon, S. J.[544]

Certain disciples of Father Billot advance the following objection. Peter is not his nature. Yet there is no real distinction between him and his nature. Therefore between him and his existence there is no real distinction.

Reply. I concede the major. I deny the minor and parity of agreement. For Peter is not his nature, because his nature is an essential part of himself, and even an essential part is not identified with the whole.

Thus I concede the major: Peter is not his nature. I deny the minor, for there is a real distinction between Peter and his nature, just as there is a real distinction between the real whole and its real part, and I deny also the parity of argument, because Peter's nature is an essential part of himself, but his existence is not. Thus when we say, "Peter is a man," man is an essential predicate; on the contrary, when we say, "Peter is existing," existing is a contingent predicate.

Father G. Mattiussi replies to this as follows: "St. Thomas says that existence is not included in the notion of suppositum, inasmuch as existence is not essential to any finite thing; but the suppositum can be considered in the order of possible things, without its actually existing"[545]

To this it must be said: When I say that Peter is not his existence, I am not concerned with Peter's possible existence, but with his actual existence; just as when we say that the essence of a created thing really differs from its existence, it is not a question of a possible essence, but of a real essence that underlies the existence which it limits. For as Father Mattiussi himself admits, the act of existing is multiplied and limited only by the real essence and not the possible, in which it is received. Similarly, existence is a contingent predicate of existing Peter, and not of possible Peter. Of existing Peter we say that Peter is existing, but is not his existence; whereas of God, we say that God exists and is His existence.

That being which is not its existence is really distinct from its existence. But Peter's person, even his personality, is not his existence, which is a contingent predicate. Therefore Peter's person, even his personality, is really distinct from his existence, which is really distinct from his personality.

Father Mattiussi[546] quotes three texts of St. Thomas in proof that he, too, was of the same opinion, namely, that subsistence is the existence of substance. On the contrary, in these texts we read: "Subsistence is said of that whose act is to subsist, just as essence is said of that whose act is to exist."[547] On the contrary, these texts do not in any way contradict Cajetan's opinion. Father Mattiussi does not search for that by which anything is a what, or for that in which the concrete, this man differs from this humanity. This man is what is, humanity that by which he is. They differ however by that which constitutes man the first subject of attribution, for it is the concrete that is constituted, whereas the form is in the subject. The Complutenses Abbreviati present this argument in various forms and excellently, showing that otherwise the proposition, man is existing, would be an eternally true proposition, just as this proposition, man is a substance of a rational nature. They insist on this, that subsistence or personality is intrinsic to the notion of a created person, whereas existence accrues to it and is completely outside the notion of person.[548] Hence Father Billot's opinion denies the truth of the following proposition: Peter is not his existence.

6) Moreover, Father Billot's opinion denies the truth of another proposition, -namely, that Peter is existing. For in every affirmative proposition, the word "is" expresses real identity between subject and predicate. This real identity, however, must have its foundation in some real positive thing, in that by which anything is a what. But that by which anything is a what, is neither even a singular nature nor existence. For nature is that by which anything is such, for example, a man; existence is that by which anything is established beyond nothing and its causes. And two elements related to each other as by which, do not constitute a one that is a what, that is, a subject of itself separately existing.[549]

7) Moreover, Father Billot overlooks the fact that in God there are three personalities and one existence, not three relative existences but one esse in that is substantial. St. Thomas says: "There is only one being in God and three subsistencies."[550] Therefore personality is not being.[551]

8) Capreolus does not say that personality is formally constituted by existence, but he says, supported by Cajetan on this point: "The being of actual existence is called the act of the essence as whereby of the suppositum, and the act of the suppositum as what exists....Existence thus pertains to the notion of suppositum, not forming a part of the suppositum, nor is it included in the essence of this latter, but is related to it by way of connotation and is implied indirectly, which is about the equivalent of saying that the suppositum is identical with the individual substance having existence. Such was the opinion of St. Thomas, so I think."[552] Cajetan admits this. There is, indeed, a more recent opinion that maintains person is the singular nature itself underlying its existence.

Criticism. This does not explain whereby anything is properly what is, or the first subject of attribution subsisting of itself, first substance. For the singular nature, for example, this humanity, is not what is, but whereby anyone, namely, Peter or Paul, is a man. Hence we say: Peter is not his humanity, because the whole is not its part, it is not identical with its part, but includes other things besides; thus Peter includes his nature, existence, and accidents. Hence we seek that whereby a person is formally constituted the first subject of attribution, not attributable to another subject; whereas, on the contrary, this humanity is attributed to each human being.

Moreover, this humanity immediately is not capable of the act of existing, for it is not what exists. We are seeking the subject of this singular nature, of its existence and accidents.[553]

Common opinion among Thomists. It is Cajetan's opinion, which he explains,[554] and very many Thomists follow.

Cajetan passes methodically from the commonly accepted definition of person, namely, a subject of a rational nature, to the definition of personality. He notes that the name personality signifies that whereby a person is constituted the first subject that is of itself separately, so that it cannot be attributed to another subject.

But that whereby anything is a subjective what, cannot be anything accidental, or a permanent accident, such as the intellectual faculty, or the free will, or a transitory accident, such as an act of conscience or even a free act. It must be something substantial, as constituting the subject of attribution.

But this substantial can be neither a singular nature that is an essential part of this subject but not the subject itself, nor existence, which is a contingent predicate of whatsoever created person, and hence does not formally constitute it. Therefore personality is a substantial mode that terminates the singular nature, so that it may become the immediate subject of existence, for the subject is what is, and not the nature.

This substantial mode terminates the singular nature in some way as the point terminates the line and makes of the line a complete whole; thus, when a line is divided by a point into two lines, whichever of these, that before was in potentia to be continued, now becomes a line in act, becomes some whole in act, by the very fact that it is terminated. Similarly, the line itself, for instance, a circular line terminates the surface of a scroll. This is also the case in the order of substances, for, when an animal of the lower order, a worm, for instance, is divided in two, then we have two worms, two supposita; before the division they were potentially two, now they are actually two.

Thus this humanity, which is in Christ, could be terminated in its own right, and thus it would be a distinct suppositum, a human person. De facto, however, it is terminated by the pre-existing personality of the Word, just as a line is extended so that it remains one line and not two lines; or, better still, just as two lines terminate in the same point at the apex of an angle.[555]

Cajetan's fundamental argument. It may be reduced to the following syllogism.

Something real and positive is required by which the created subject is what is, which is against Scotus. But this cannot be either the singular nature, which is related to the subject as whereby, or existence, which is a contingent predicate of the created subject, which is against other opinions. Therefore something else positive is required, namely, personality, which ultimately disposes the singular nature for existence. It would indeed be repugnant if a substantial mode accrued to substance already existing, for then it would be an accident, which is against Suarez; but it would not be so if it accrued to substance before it existed.

Cajetan's opinion is admitted by Francis Sylvester (Ferrariensis),[556] by Bannez,[557] by John of St. Thomas, Gonet, Goudin, by Billuart,[558] by the Salmanticenses, and by very many Thomists.

There are two proofs for this opinion. 1. It is proved on the authority of St. Thomas; 2. it is proved from reason; 3. it explains satisfactorily the dogma of the Incarnation; 4. it is defended against those who attack the opinion.

Proof from St. Thomas. Cajetan quotes four texts,[559]

a) "Being is consequent upon nature, not as upon that which has being, but as upon that whereby a thing is; whereas it is consequent upon person or hypostasis, as upon that which has being."[560] Therefore being does not constitute personality but presupposes it, and as that which is really distinct from the singular nature, which is not the what or suppositum, as is evident in ourselves who have this flesh, these bones, and also in Christ who has this humanity.

b) "Temporal nativity would cause a real temporal filiation in Christ if there were in Him a subject capable of such filiation."[561] The subject would be a human person, not a nature. On the contrary, the Word cannot acquire a new relation, or an accident that is superadded to Him.

c) "If the human nature had not been assumed by a divine person, the human nature would have had its own personality.... The divine person by His union hindered the human nature from having its personality."[562]

d) "If the human personality had existed prior to the union... then it would have ceased to exist by corruption."[563] And again: "I say that essence is predicated of that whose act is to exist, subsistence of that whose act is to subsist."[564] Therefore subsistence is not identical with subsist. Finally St. Thomas says: "The form signified by the word 'person' is not essence or nature, but personality."[565] But in God there are three personalities and only one essence and one existence. Therefore personality is not existence. St. Thomas likewise says: "The name 'person' is imposed by the form personality, which means the reason for subsisting in such a nature."[566]

Proof from reason. Cajetan's opinion has its foundation in the principle that on the part of the object it is required that the commonly accepted definition of person, namely, an intelligent and free subject, be true, and that these two judgments are true: Peter is existing, but is not his existence.

Cajetan says: "If we all acknowledge this principle, in examining the quiddity of the thing signified, why turn away from what is commonly admitted?"[567] In other words, in the transition from the nominal definition to the real definition, why depart from the nominal definition of person, which is, what exists separately of itself in a rational nature? The quiddity of the name contains confusedly the quiddity of the thing, and the explicit definition must not be the negation of the implicit or nominal definition, but must be in conformity with it, otherwise philosophical reason disagrees with the findings of natural reason.

Moreover, for the verification of the two above-mentioned judgments (Peter is existing, but is not his existence), there must be a foundation for the real identity between subject and predicate, which is affirmed in the first judgment, yet such that there is not identity, which is rightly so denied in the second judgment. But this foundation, must be something positive, real, which is substantial and not accidental, which is not existence, however, for this is a contingent predicate of Peter, or nature, which is related as whereby and as an essential part of this subject. It must formally be that whereby anything is a what or a real subject of these divers predications.

Therefore a terminus is required or a mode that is substantial and not accidental. This argument, namely, that on the part of the object there is required real identity between subject and predicate in the affirmative judgment, Peter is existing, is confirmed by several theologians.[568]

The search or hunt for the definition of personality can be more briefly set forth, by beginning with the nominal definition, and by comparing personality with those things unlike it, namely, with negations and accidents, and with those things like it and related to it, such as with the singular nature and with existing substance, as also by separating in this way those things that do not pertain to the genus of substance to which person belongs.

1) Personality is not anything negative, but is something positive, because it formally constitutes person, which is something positive.

2) Personality is not anything positive that is accidental, because person is a substance. Thus consciousness of self, liberty, or dominion of oneself cannot constitute ontological personality.

3) Personality is not the singular nature itself, because the singular nature is not what is, but that whereby anything is constituted in a certain species. If personality were the singular nature itself, then in Christ there would be two personalities, and in God there would be only one person.

4) Personality is not existence itself that actuates the nature, because existence is a contingent predicate of a created person, and it comes to the person already formally constituted as having existence. Peter is not his existence, but only has existence. Peter exists contingently, whereas Peter necessarily is Peter, and, by virtue of the principle of identity, can be only Peter.

5) Personality is therefore that whereby the singular nature becomes immediately capable of existence, and thus the subjective what is really constituted.

This is the commonly accepted opinion among Thomists, and this real definition of personality corresponds to the nominal definition, that personality is that whereby any intelligent subject is a person, just as existence is that whereby a subject exists. This latter assertion is almost frankly admitted by all, and in a confused manner implies that personality is not the same as a person's existence.

3) Finally, Cajetan's opinion very well explains the dogma of the Incarnation.

1) It explains that there is one person in Christ, because it posits in Him two natures, indeed, but only one subsistence or personality, and only one existence, which follows the one and only person in Christ.

2) It explains why the councils call this union subsistential or hypostatic, and not existential or natural. It is not called an existential union, but a hypostatic union, which means a union that is according to subsistence or personality, which means that whereby anything is a what, or a terminated whole, of itself separately existing.

Moreover, as St. Thomas says, "the three persons in God have only one being."[569] Therefore St. Thomas is of the opinion that personality or subsistence is not being or existence, nor is it the singular nature, which is related to the suppositum as whereby and as an essential part. Therefore personality is a substantial mode by which a singular nature is made immediately possible of receiving existence.

The truth of this doctrine is to be seen in the instinct of self-preservation. Now, for instance, every suppositum whether mineral, vegetable, or animal seeks to retain what it possesses. Similarly the human person seeks to retain his nature, body and soul, his existence, his faculties, his integral parts, his operations; he seeks to retain all he possesses. It is not his individualized nature that possesses all these things, but his very person considered as the first subject of attribution, his very "ego."

What has been said also clearly shows the sublimity of Christ's personality; for He has not a human personality, and therefore all that pertains to His human nature is under the dominion of the Word incarnate. It is the person of the Son of God who possesses all these things, and therefore nowhere in creation has there been such a perfect illustration of God's supreme dominion both in the past and in present times, as in the case of Christ's most holy humanity.

The Complutenses Abbreviati give a good explanation of this doctrine in their philosophical works. It is fitting here to quote their proofs. They remark: "It must be said that there is a real distinction between subsistence and existence. Such is the teaching of St. Thomas, for he says: 'Being is consequent upon nature, not as upon that which has being, but upon that whereby a thing is; whereas it is consequent upon person or hypostasis, as upon that which has being.’[570] But that which is consequent upon another is really distinct from it.... He also says: 'An angel is composed of existence and what is,’[571] and he expounds this doctrine here remarkably well by saying that existence forms a composite not only with the essence of a thing, but also with its suppositum; but if it were really identical with the subsistence of a thing, it could not enter into composition with the suppositum, but we should have to say that it formally constitutes the suppositum. Then in another work, he says: 'Existence does not pertain to the notion of suppositum,’[572] but subsistence belongs to the notion of suppositum, and even formally constitutes it as such....

"Finally, the holy Doctor, in discussing various questions, asks whether essence and existence are identical in created things, and also whether the essence and suppositum are the same.[573] This would be superfluous if existence and subsistence are not really distinct....

"The second proof for this thesis is founded on an argument taken from St. Thomas,[574] which may be presented as follows: Act is really distinct from the real subject in which it is received; but the suppositum is the real susceptive subject of existence. Therefore the suppositum is really distinct from its existence. This second consequence is a legitimate inference from the first consequence; for it is by subsistence that the suppositum is formally constituted. Hence if existence really differs from the suppositum, and is received in this latter, it must presuppose subsistence as a reality, and be really distinct from this latter. The minor is clarified: because that receives as what existence, which comes into being as what and operates as what; for becoming is ordered to being, and being to operation; but to come into being as what, and to operate as what belongs properly to the suppositum, which is the common teaching of scholastic theologians and philosophers. Therefore the suppositum really is the recipient as what of existence.

"The third proof for this assertion made above is taken from the previously quoted argument of St. Thomas,[575] and is substantially as follows: That which belongs intrinsically to the notion of suppositum is really distinct from that which accrues to it and is completely superfluous to the proper notion of suppositum; but subsistence belongs intrinsically to the notion of suppositum, whereas existence accrues to it and is not at all included in its proper notion. Therefore existence is really distinct from subsistence. The major and the consequence are evident. But the first part of the minor is sufficiently clear, ... and the Complutenses give a brief proof and conclude that this is an eternal verity, namely, the suppositum is a subsisting substance and incapable of being attributed to another.... The second part of the minor is expounded as follows: Existence does not apply necessarily and essentially to the suppositum, otherwise this proposition, the suppositum exists, would be an eternal truth, which is absurd. Therefore existence is an accidental attribute of the suppositum, and is not included in its proper notion.

"The first confirmation of these proofs is that the suppositum is identical with the first substance that is directly assignable among the predicamentals; but the aforesaid substance is not constituted a reality by existence, inasmuch as all things placed among the predicamentals prescind from the notion of existence....

"The second confirmation is that existence and subsistence are lacking in every principle of identity. Therefore they are not really the same. The antecedent is proved first of all because existence does not pertain to the notion of subsistence; otherwise anything of which subsistence is predicated would also require existence to be predicated of it. Consequently, just as this proposition, man is subsisting, is eternally true, so also this proposition, man is existing, would be eternally true, which nobody would concede. Again, existence does not enter into the concept of any third object by which it would be identified with subsistence: for no third object can be thought of, except the suppositum, whose concept, however, does not include the notion of existence, as we have just seen. Finally, existence and subsistence do not originate from the same form."[576] Such are the splendid comments of the Complutenses, who preserve absolutely intact, therefore, the interpretation of St. Thomas offered by Cajetan.

Solution Of Objections Against Cajetan's Opinion

First objection. In a certain work we read: "The necessity of this substantial mode is freely affirmed, namely, that an individualized substance be immediately capable of existing separately; it is of the very notion of an individualized and complete substance that it exist in itself and of itself."[577]

Reply. Substance or individualized nature is not what exists, but whereby any subject is such as it is, constituted in a certain species with its individualizing conditions. What exists is not this humanity of Peter. Otherwise this humanity of Christ would already be what is, and thus there would be two supposita in Christ, or two persons. On the contrary, there is only one suppositum in Christ, to whom the two natures are attributed.

Such is the common teaching of theologians in discussing the theandric acts of Christ, and the infinite value of His merits and satisfaction. They say these meritorious and satisfactory acts are of infinite value not because of the principle from which they are elicited, namely, the human nature, its faculties and infused virtues, but because of the subjective principle that elicits these acts, that is, the divine suppositum or divine person.

Personality must therefore be a real, positive, and substantial thing, distinct from the individualized nature and also from existence that is a contingent predicate of the created person. This means that personality is properly that whereby any intelligent and free subject is what is. Thus the common teaching of St. Thomas is that, in any creature whatever, there is a difference between what is and being.[578]

Second objection. On the part of substance, to subsist is to exist. But the relation between subsistence and to subsist is the same as between existence and to exist, with which latter it is identified. Therefore subsistence is the same as existence.

Reply. I concede the major, inasmuch as subsistence is the fact of existence attributed to the person, but not constituting the person, for the person is the thing that de facto exists. Hence we concede the major, or let it pass without comment.

I deny the minor; for the relation is not between subsistence and to subsist, but between subsistence and the suppositum, which is the same as between existence and to be or to exist; which means that it is a relation between the abstract and the concrete, as between a race and running. This becomes clearer if we substitute "personality" for "subsistence"; for the relation is not between personality and subsistence, but between personality and person, which is a relation between the abstract and the concrete. Hence the relation is the same as that between existence and to exist, and between a race and running. And thus there is a real distinction between personality or subsistence and existence, or between to exist and to subsist, which de facto is attributed to the suppositum as a contingent predicate.

St. Thomas admits this distinction; for he writes: "The relation between life and to live is not the same as that between essence and to exist; but rather as that between a race and to run, one of which signifies the act in the abstract, and the other in the concrete."[579]

Thus there is a threefold order in the signification of both the abstract and the concrete:

[diagram page 169]

abstract: essencehumanitypersonality or subsistenceexistence

concrete: beingmanperson (Peter) |to exist

As St. Thomas says: "The three persons in God have only one being,"[580] and this latter is identified with the divine essence, which is not really distinct from the divine persons, although there is a real distinction between the persons.

Against Cajetan's argument other objections have been proposed in our times, such as the following.

Objection. St. Thomas says: "Being and operation belong to the person by reason of the nature, yet in a different manner. For being belongs to the very constitution of the person, and in this respect it has the nature of a term, that is, as ultimate actuality; consequently unity of person requires unity of the complete and personal being. But operation is an effect of the person by reason of the former nature. Hence plurality of operations is not incompatible with personal unity."[581]

Reply. In this text St. Thomas is not inquiring into the formal constituent of person, which has already been determined;[582] but why there are two operations just as there are two natures, whereas there is one being. He replies that "being belongs to the very constitution of the person,"[583] namely, to the person constituted as a person, as to that which has being, as St. Thomas said. For it is the person that immediately is, whereas operation, which follows personal being, belongs to the person through the intermediary of the nature and its faculties. Thus in Christ there are one being and two operations, just as there are two natures. In this text St. Thomas is not inquiring about the formal constituent of person, since this he had already done,[584] and had no need to postpone the determination of this formal constituent of person, when confronted by the doubt, which he proposed to himself, namely, whether there is only one operation in Christ;[585] for operation follows being, and what belongs to being must be considered before what concerns operation.

Father Mattiussi, S. J.,[586] presents three texts from the works of St. Thomas in proof that he taught the identity between subsistence and existence. But the true gist of these texts is: "Subsistence is said of that whose act is to subsist, as essence is said of that whose act is to exist."[587] Therefore, as existence is really distinct from essence in which it is received, so suppositum and subsistence that formally constitutes suppositum, is distinct from existence.

Another objection. From two acts there does not result per se unity; wherefore prime matter must be pure potency. But essence, subsistence, and existence are three acts.[588] Therefore these three acts cannot result in per se unity.

Reply. I distinguish the major. That there cannot result from two acts a nature one per se, this I concede; that there cannot result a suppositum one per se, this I deny. I concede the minor. Essence, subsistence, and existence are three acts, yet so ordered that one is the terminus of the other. I distinguish the conclusion. Therefore from these three acts there does not result a third per se nature, this I concede; that there does not result a one per se suppositum, this I deny. For when the rational nature is completed by personality, it is constituted a person, to whom existence applies accidentally or contingently. Aristotle distinguished between four modes of per se predication:[589] (1) definition which shows that the nature is one per se; (2) per se predicate that denotes a necessary property; (3) per se predication that declares something is of itself subsisting or a suppositum, which means that it is one per se as a subject, although it may be an essential part and have accidental parts; (4) predication that denotes a cause that is per se, and not per accidens. It must be noted that in a certain article of a Carmelite periodical, personality is something relative and is only reduced to the category of substance.[590] In reply to this, we say that the divine personalities are indeed relative entities, that is, they are subsisting relations, paternity, filiation, passive spiration, whose esse in (or inexistence) is substantial. But either human personality or angelic personality is not a relative entity, but an absolute entity; for it does not imply reference to another person, as paternity does. It is predicated as belonging indirectly to the category of substance, as a substantial mode, whereby an individual nature becomes immediately capable of existence.

Conclusion. Thus in the opinion held by Cajetan there is a legitimate transition from the commonly accepted definition of person, namely, that person is the first subject of attribution in a rational nature, to the philosophical notion of personality. Cajetan so very well says: "If all acknowledge this, then why in scrutinizing the quiddity of the thing signified, do we turn away from the common admission?"[591]

According to this common admission, person is that which exists separately of itself in a rational nature, and personality is that whereby person is formally constituted as a what of itself separately existing, to whom existence is attributed contingently.

Hence the entire opinion of Cajetan reduces itself to what is required on the part of the object, which is the verification of these two judgments admitted by all theologians, namely, the person of Peter exists, but he is not his existence. And just as no created essence is its existence, so no created person, formally constituted as such, by its own personality, is his own existence. Only God is His existence.

Doubt. Does Cajetan consider subsistence or personality to be the intrinsic terminus of substance?

Reply. He certainly does, inasmuch as subsistence is the formal constituent of first substance, or the suppositum, although it does not belong to the notion of nature. Thus subsistence pertains to the substantial order. Father Hugon correctly says: "The metaphysical foundation for this opinion is the radical difference prevailing between what belongs to the existential order and what belongs to the substantial order. This means that no created person is his existence. Likewise the end of motion is what properly terminates it, but it is no longer motion, which has ceased; so also it is subsistence that terminates the nature, but is not the nature; however, it constitutes the first substance, or suppositum. No created person, whether understood denominatively as a singular nature, or formally, that is, with personality, is its existence. The second article of St. Thomas may now be read again, so that this doctrine may be more clearly understood."[592]

Recapitulation. The principal argument in this opinion that is held by very many Thomists is reduced to the following conclusion, as stated above. Something real and positive is required whereby a created and existing subject is what is, which is against Scotus. But this something cannot be either the singular nature, which is related to the subject as constituting it in its species, or existence, which is a contingent predicate of the created subject, which is against other opinions. Therefore some other positive entity is required, namely, personality, which is the ultimate disposition of a singular nature for existence. A substantial mode that would accrue to substance already existing would, indeed, be a contradiction in terms, for it would thus be an accident, which is against Suarez; but there would be no contradiction if it came to substance before it existed.

Third Article: Whether The Union Of The Word Incarnate Took Place In The Suppositum Or Hypostasis

The meaning of the title is: whether the union of the Word incarnate so took place that in Christ there is one suppositum, only one hypostasis..

The answer is in the affirmative, and it is of faith. The Council of Ephesus declares that "the union is subsistential."[593] But some heretics said that there is one person but two supposita.

St. Thomas refutes this heresy by three arguments.

1) He points out that, by the addition of the note of person to the hypostasis, the nature becomes determinate and rational.

2) If it be said that "what person adds to the hypostasis is a dignity," then the union would be according to a certain dignity, or it would be a moral union, as Nestorius contended.

3) If there were two supposita in Christ, then to one of these what pertains to God would be attributed, and to the other what pertains to man. This would result in the severance of the subsistential union.[594]

Fourth Article: Whether After The Incarnation The Person Or Hypostasis Is Composite

State of the question. Some deny that the person of Christ is composite, such as St. Bonaventure, Durandus, Scotus; and this for reasons posited by St. Thomas in his objections at the beginning of this article. He points out: (1) that the person of Christ is the very person of the Word, who is in Himself most simple, and in no way composite. (2) Moreover, the divine nature cannot be a part in Christ, because the part is always less perfect than the whole. (3) It cannot be said that Christ is composed of two natures, because thus there would be a composite nature, just as the human nature is composed of soul and body, and then the Deity would be to the composite as form, and therefore as part. This would be Monophysitism.

Reply. The person of Christ is one, but is composed of two natures.

First proof. It rests on the authority of St. Damascene, who is quoted in the counterargument of this article. Moreover, the Second Council of Constantinople corroborates the conclusion stated above, saying: "The Holy Church of God... confesses that the union of the Word of God with the flesh was by way of composition, which means that it was subsistential."[595]

Second proof. The argument is from reason, and there are two parts to it.

a) The person of Christ in itself is an absolutely simple uncreated being, even as the nature of the Word is, and therefore in itself is in no way composite. Thus Christ is one subsisting being.

b) Nevertheless, this person of Christ subsists in two natures, and thus He can and must be said to be a composite of two natures.

First objection. The reply is evident from the argumentative part of the article.

Reply to second objection. The divine nature, however, is not to be considered as a part of this composite. For "this composition of a person from natures is not so called on account of parts, but by reason of number, even as that in which two things concur may be said to be composed of them." Hence Christ is not a composite of parts, but of extremes that are united. St. Thomas explains this point more fully elsewhere,[596] remarking that composition may be viewed in two ways.

1) It may be considered as the union of parts which causes and results in the totality of the being, and this union implies imperfection, inasmuch as the part is an incomplete being, not so perfect as the whole, and inasmuch as the being of the whole is dependent on its parts and thus is caused.

2) Composition may be viewed as the union of extremes in some third entity that communicates being to the extremes. The extreme, however, prescinds from the notion whether it be a complete or incomplete being. Thus, for example, seeing terminates in the thing seen without resulting in any imperfection on the part of the object seen, on which the seeing depends, but which does not depend on the seeing. Thus the intellect of the blessed is united to God who is clearly seen, without involving any imperfection on the part of God. There is something similar to this in the hypostatic union, but in the order of being and not merely of operation, since the human nature is terminated by the absolutely simple person of the divine Word, without involving any imperfection on the part of the divine person. The person of the Word is related to the human nature not as informing act, but as terminating act.

First corollary. Christ is also a composite of the person of the Word and the human nature, because He consists of these really distinct and united. Yet it cannot be said that Christ is a creature, because created being applies to the person, who is what is. The person of Christ, however, is uncreated, but in Him the human nature is something created.

Second corollary. Although Christ is thus composite, He is not more perfect than the Word not made flesh in this composition, because the Word is the infinite extreme eminently containing the perfection of the human nature.

In contrast to this, God is not said to be a composite of persons and nature, because the divine persons, although united in the same nature, are not united among one another, but are rather in opposition, not being united with the nature, because They are simply identical with the nature. Thus They are not really distinct from the nature, but They are really distinct from one another by a relation of opposition.

Fifth Article: Whether In Christ There Is Any Union Of Soul And Body

State of the question. If so, then it seems that there would be in Christ a human person, for the human person is the result of the union of the soul with the body.

Reply. The answer is in the affirmative and it is of faith.[597] But the human nature thus being a composite has not its own personality.

Sixth Article: Whether The Human Nature Was United To The Word Of God Accidentally

This article is both a recapitulation of the preceding articles and the completion of their definition of the hypostatic union.

State of the question. It seems that this union is accidental, for whatever accrues to a being after it is complete as an entity, accrues to it accidentally. Whatever does not pertain to the essence of anything, is its accident. But the human nature does not pertain to the divine nature of the Son of God. Therefore the union of the human nature with the divine nature is accidental.

Reply. It is given about the end of the argumentative part of the article. St. Thomas says: "The Catholic faith, holding an intermediate position between Monophysitism and Nestorianism, does not affirm that the union of God and man took place in the essence or nature, nor yet in something accidental, but midway, in a subsistence or hypostasis."[598]

1) Indirect proof. It is drawn from the counterargument, and is expressed by the following argument. Whatever is predicated accidentally, is not predicated substantially, but quantitatively or qualitatively. But the humanity of Christ is not predicated quantitatively or qualitatively. Therefore it is not predicated accidentally.

2) Direct proof. It is founded on the arguments defining the faith on this point, which declare that the union is not natural, which is against Eutyches, nor accidental, which is against Nestorius, but is subsistential. The two opinions quoted by the Master of the Sentences in this article may be included in the error of Nestorius. The argument may be reduced to the following syllogism.

The union of substantial things that form the composite of one person is not accidental. But such is the union of the Word incarnate. Therefore the union is in no way accidental, but substantial, which means that it is subsistential.

This implies more than the expression "in the person," for even accidents are in the person to whom they are attributed.[599] To understand this article it must be noted that there are four modes of per se predication, and that personal union means more than union in the person, as Cajetan observes.[600]

There are four modes of per se and not per accidens predication, as Aristotle explains.[601] St. Thomas says in his commentary on Aristotle: In the first mode of per se predication, definition is predicated of the subject, for instance, man is per se or essentially a rational animal.

In the second mode of per se predication a property is predicated of the subject, for instance, man is risible, or has the power of laughing, which manifests itself on his countenance as an indication of intelligence, and this power does not belong either to the angel or to the irrational animal.

The third mode of per se predication is more the mode that pertains to existence, and not to predication, since it signifies something that exists in itself and not in another as in a subject. Thus first substance, for example, Peter, is per se or in himself existing, in opposition to accident, and to second substance, for example to humanity, which is predicated of Peter and is in him.

The fourth mode of per se predication is according to the notion of causality, when the proper effect is attributed to its proper cause. Thus the doctor restores to health, that is, he does this inasmuch as he is a doctor; strangling kills, light illumines. Contrary to this, it is accidental that the doctor sings.

It is evident that the humanity is united with the Word neither in the first mode, nor in the second mode, nor in the fourth mode, but in the third mode, inasmuch as it exists in the Word not per accidens, but per se,[602] and as Cajetan says,[603] it is united with the Word not only as in the person or in the hypostasis, as accidents are so united with substance, but it is united with the Word hypostatically, which means substantially, according to the third mode of predication.

Solution of difficulties. Durandus holds that this union is not predicamentally or physically accidental, because humanity belongs to the predicamental substance, and not to any of the others. But the union is predicably or logically accidental, because the predicable accident is defined as that which can be either present or absent from its subject of predication, without the corruption of this latter. But the humanity can be either present or absent from the Word, which remains unchanged.

The principal objections in scholastic form are the following.

First objection. What accrues to anything after the completion of its being, accrues to it accidentally. But the human nature accrues to the Word after the completion of the former as a being. Therefore the human nature is united with the Word accidentally.

Reply. I distinguish the major: if it is not drawn into the same personal being, I concede the major; otherwise I deny it. I contradistinguish the minor: that the human nature is drawn into the personal being of the Word,[604] this I concede; that it is not, this I deny.

But I insist. Even though it is drawn into the same personal being, it is united accidentally. The accident that accrues to any subject is drawn into the same being of the subject. But the accident is united with this subject. Therefore the human nature is united with the Word accidentally.

Reply. I distinguish the major: that it is drawn into the same being of the suppositum, this I deny; improperly so, I concede; for it has its own being, but inheres in a subject. It belongs to the being of accident to inhere. I concede the minor. I distinguish the conclusion: if the human nature were an accident inhering in the Word, then I concede the conclusion; otherwise I deny it.

The human nature is truly united with the Word not only in the person as accidents are, but also substantially inasmuch as it is terminated by the personality of the Word, and has one personal being or one existence with it, just as body and soul are so united.

Again I insist. Nevertheless the union is accidental at least predicably, if not predicamentally as Durandus says.

What is not predicated of a subject per se is a predicable accident.

But the human nature is not predicated per se of the Word.

Therefore the human nature is united with the Word as a predicable accident.

Reply. I distinguish the major; what is in no way predicated per se, I concede; what is at least predicated per se in the third mode or per se as subsisting, I deny. I contradistinguish the minor, and I deny the consequent and consequence. The humanity of Christ does not indeed belong to the definition of the Word or of the Second Person of the Trinity, nor is it a property of the Word, but the Word subsists in the human nature, and the human nature in the Word.

Finally I insist. Nevertheless, what can be either absent or present, the subject remaining intact, is united with the subject accidentally. But the human nature can be absent from the Word, which remains intact. Therefore the human nature is united with the Word accidentally.

Reply. I distinguish the major: the subject remaining intact considered as a composite, this I concede; the subject considered as a mere subsisting form, I deny. I contradistinguish the minor: the human nature can be absent, the Word remaining intact considered in Himself, as the eternal person, I concede; considered as the Word incarnate, I deny.

Thus the body is not united accidentally with the soul, and yet the body can be separated from the soul, this latter continuing to exist, though the composite ceases as such. In other words, there can be no separation of the body from the soul unless there is a cessation of the composite, and so the union is per se and not per accidens. Similarly the humanity is united with the Word, although the union between the two is not essential.

Corollary. Hence the hypostatic union differs from an essential union that would result in one sole composite nature, such as the union between body and soul. It also differs from an accidental union. It is, however, an absolutely unique union of its kind, one that is subsistential or hypostatic, or a formally personal union, and not only a material union in the person, for even accidents, which accrue to man, are united to him materially in the person, but not formally as constituting the person.

Therefore Christ's human nature in the Word is neither a predicamental accident, as, for example, the intellectual faculty is in the rational soul or in the angel, nor a predicable or contingent accident as, for example, a certain person may be sitting instead of standing.

Thus is determined the exact meaning of this conciliar expression, namely, "hypostatic union." We are not concerned here with a theological conclusion deduced from the dogma, but with a metaphysical explanation of the dogma. The hypostatic union is not a new truth concerning the Incarnation, but it is a metaphysical explanation of this revealed truth.

Seventh Article: Whether The Union Of The Divine Nature And The Human Is Something Created

State of the question. It seems that the union is not anything created, and this for the following reasons.

1) Because this union is in God, for it is God united to the human nature, and there can be nothing created in God.

2) The terminus of the union is the uncreated person of the Word. Therefore the union itself is not anything created.

This question presents considerable difficulty, because there are three possible meanings to the word "union." It may be understood: (1) as unitive action; (2) as rather the passive union of some things into one; (3) as a relation that follows from this union.

1) If we consider the union as meaning the act of uniting the human nature with the Word, then certainly the action is uncreated, and it is common to the whole Trinity, for the Father and the Holy Ghost united Christ's human nature with the Word, although they did not assume it.[605] This action common to the whole Trinity, inasmuch as it is dependent on the omnipotence that is common to the three Persons, is formally immanent, but virtually transitive, and hence is certainly uncreated.

2) If we consider the union as implying a real relation of dependence on the part of Christ's human nature on the Word, St. Thomas clearly shows it to be something created, and so it presents no difficulty.

3) But if we consider the union rather as denoting a passive combination of Christ's humanity with the Word, then theologians dispute whether it is something real and created that is distinct from the human nature. Scotus, Suarez, Vasquez, and certain Thomists, such as the Salmanticenses and Godoy, as also Father de la Taille in recent times, affirm this view.[606] But Scotus would have it to be something relative that is an extrinsic adjunct, whereas others say it is a substantial mode and the foundation of the real relation of which St. Thomas speaks.

On the contrary, Cajetan and several other Thomists, such as Billuart and Father Billot, deny that the union is something created, remarking that there is no substantial mode in this case, one that is a quasi-intermediate connection formally uniting the human nature with the Word, so that it is impossible to detect any other formal union distinct from the extremes united, except the relation itself that follows from the passive change effected in the human nature by the action of the Word uniting to Himself. So says Billuart. Thus passive creation is merely a real relation of dependence, nothing else, and it has its foundation in the being of a creature, inasmuch as a creature is not its own existence. This seems to be the true solution of the difficulty.[607] Let us see what St. Thomas says.

In the counterargument he observes that this union began in time, therefore it is something created. In the body of the article, however, he determines what this something created formally is. St. Thomas speaks only of relation here. His argument is reduced to the following syllogism.

Every relation between God and the creature is real in the creature and logical in God. But the relation about which we speak is a certain relation of Christ's humanity to the Word. Therefore this union is in Christ's humanity as something real, and created, namely, a real relation of dependence on the Word assuming this nature, just as creation is a real relation of dependence of the creature on the Creator.[608]

But what is the foundation for this relation? St. Thomas says in the body of this article: "By the change effected in the creature such a relation is brought into being," that is, this foundation is passion that corresponds to the unitive action. Whether this passion is really distinct from the human nature passively assumed, is a disputed point among the above-mentioned theologians.

Let us see whether the replies to the objections define more clearly the nature of this union.

Reply to first objection. It declares that this union is not anything real in God.

Reply to second objection. It states that this union is something real and created in the human nature. It is not apparent from this reply that the union is anything more than a real relation.

Did St. Thomas speak more explicitly on this point elsewhere? He certainly did; for in another of his commentaries he says: "We must know that in the union of the human nature with the divine there can be nothing intervening that is the formal cause of the union with which the human nature is joined before it is united with the person. For, just as there can be no intervening entity between matter and form that would be in the matter prior to the substantial form, otherwise accidental existence would be prior to substantial existence, which is impossible; so also between the nature and the suppositum there can be nothing intervening in the above said mode."[609] Thus there is nothing intervening between the Word and the humanity. Hence union in the passive sense or created is nothing else but a real relation of the human nature that is dependent on the Word as a person, just as creation in the passive sense is nothing else but a real relation of dependence of the creature on the Creator.

Which is the more probable opinion? An intervening substantial mode between the Word and the human nature, as Cajetan, Billuart and others show, appears to be inadmissible.

Proof. The Word is united with the human nature by that whereby the Word terminates and maintains it. But the Word by Himself or solely by his personality, every formal connection excluded, terminates and sustains the human nature. Therefore the Word Himself or His personality is united with the human nature.

The union of the Word with the human nature means nothing else but the termination of this latter; thus analogically, in the order of operation, God clearly seen immediately terminates the beatific vision.

First confirmation. Created subsistence is by itself immediately united with created nature. Therefore a fortiori uncreated subsistence is so united, as it is most actual in the notion of terminating.

Second confirmation. Likewise existence, as the ultimate actuality, by itself immediately actuates the created suppositum; similarly personality by itself immediately is united with created nature, or terminates it; so also one and the same point immediately terminates two lines that meet in it, which is a very faint image of the union of the two natures in the Word.

Doubt. Was the human nature changed in being assumed by the Word?

Reply. In the strictest sense of the term, it was not, because it did not exist before it was assumed, inasmuch as it did not have its own personality, but was assumed by another personality. A nature must be first produced before it can be assumed.

Thus St. Thomas shows[610] that creation is not a change except as we conceive it, for he says: "Change means that the same something should be different now from what it was previously."[611] But this cannot be either in creation, or even in the assumption of Christ's humanity, which did not exist before its assumption. And St. Thomas says: "When motion is removed from action and passion, only relation remains."[612] Hence creation in the passive sense is nothing but a real relation of dependence that has its foundation in created substantial being. Similarly, in the hypostatic union, the soul of Christ is created as dependent on the Word as a person. If other authors wish to affirm that it is something else, namely, a special substantial mode, let them prove its existence. St. Thomas never spoke about this special mode.

What is therefore the foundation of the relation in the hypostatic union? It is Christ's humanity, inasmuch as it is not terminated by its own created personality, and so it can be terminated and possessed by the Word.

Eighth Article: Whether Union Is The Same As Assumption

First conclusion. There is a distinction between union as implying a relation, and assumption that implies an action; for this relation is in Christ's humanity and follows the active assumption, which is the foundation for this relation, just as passive generation is the foundation of the relation of filiation.

Second conclusion. Hence assumption implies becoming, whereas union implies having become. Thus we say of what took place, that the Word assumed the human nature, and even now that it is united with the Word.

Third conclusion. Whereas union implies a relation of quasi-equivalence, and both the divine nature and the human nature are declared united; but assumption, which is the action of the one assuming, does not designate the divine nature, but the agent assuming and the human nature that is assumed.

Fourth conclusion. Who unites and who assumes are not the same absolutely, for only the Son of God assumed the human nature, but the Father and the Holy Spirit are said to unite, but not to assume. For union as an action implies only the conjunction of extremes, whereas assumption as an action means the same as the taking to oneself, inasmuch as He who assumes unites to Himself personally, and is the end of the terminating action and not merely its beginning. Every external action of God is common to the three persons, just as omnipotence is, from which action derives its power; but one person, such as the person of the Word, can be separately the terminus of some real relation.[613]

Ninth Article: Whether The Union Of The Two Natures In Christ Is The Greatest Of Unions

State of the question. St. Thomas, as Cajetan remarks, considers union here not so much as a relation, but as it is a substantial and immediate conjunction of the two natures in the person of the Word. And the conjunction is the foundation of the above-mentioned relation. There are difficulties, as stated in the beginning of this article.

1) Unity that is the principle of number, seems to be a greater unity than Christ.

2) It seems that this union is not the greatest, because the divine and human natures are infinitely apart, and the greater the distance between the extremes that are united, the less is the union.

3) It seems that the union between body and soul is greater, because from it there results what is one not only in person, but also in nature.

The counterargument presents a contrary objection, as if the union of the Incarnation were greater than the unity of the divine essence.

Reply. The hypostatic union is the greatest of unions, not on the part of the things united, but on the part of the person in whom they are united.

First part. It is proved in the body of this article, and in the reply to the second objection as follows: The greater the distance between the extremes united, the less is the union in this respect. But the divine and human natures, which are the extremes of this union, are infinitely apart. Therefore the union of the divine and the human natures is the least in this respect.

Second part. It is proved as follows: On the part of the medium in which the extremes are united, so much the greater is the union as this medium is in more one and simple, and more intimately united with the extremes. But the medium in this union, namely, the person of the Word, is most simple in Himself, and really identical with the divine nature, and substantially united with the human nature, so that the person of the Word imparts to the human nature both subsistence and existence.[614] Therefore this union, on the part of the medium in which it took place, is the greatest of created unions.

This same principle serves as the means of illustrating the mystical body of Christ. Although the members of His mystical body live far apart from one another in most distant climes, yet they are most closely united both in Christ and in the Holy Spirit.

Thus it is that sometimes two saintly persons living far apart according to their nationality, are more intimately united in Christ than with their fellow citizens. The principle on which the unity of the mystical body of Christ depends is, indeed, far more productive of this spirit of unity than that of any family or nation on this earth.

It is the formal unitive principle that is of greater consideration in union than the actual distance, however great this may be, which separates the members. Thus it is apparent that the greatest intimacy is to be found in the hypostatic union, which evidently far transcends the unity of the mystical body of Christ. Nevertheless the hypostatic union is not so great as the unity of the Trinity;[615] for the unity of the Trinity is a unity of an absolutely simple nature, which is numerically one in the three divine persons and identical with each of them.

St. Bernard has given us three conclusions in equivalent words in one of his works, saying: "Among all things that are properly called one, the unity of the Trinity holds the first place, in which the three persons are one in substance or nature; conversely, that union holds the second place by which three substances are present in the one person of Christ,"[616] namely, the Deity, the soul, and the body.

Reply to first objection. The unity of the divine person in Christ is greater than numerical unity, which is the principle of number; for the unity of a divine person is an uncreated and self-subsisting unity, and is incompatible with the nature of a part.

This union is sublime; for what is extraordinary in the order of the beautiful is sublime. Beauty is splendor of unity in variety, and the more distant are the extremes that are united and the more intimately they are united, the more beautiful is their union. This union of which we are speaking is unique, and is both a miracle and an essentially supernatural mystery. Its real possibility is not apodictically proved by reason alone, but it is persuaded and defended against those denying it.

There remains, however, the principal difficulty.[617] It may be expressed by the following syllogism.

That union is greater from which results not only one person, but also one nature. But such is the union between soul and body. Therefore it is greater than the hypostatic union.

Reply to third objection. On the part of the medium in which it takes place, the hypostatic union is nobler, for "the unity of the divine person is greater than the unity of person and nature in us."[618] This is evident, for the divine person of the Word is absolutely simple, whereas the human person and the human nature are composite. Thus the human composite is corruptible, whereas the hypostatic union is incorruptible.

How shall we reply, therefore, to the major of this objection, namely, that union is greater from which results not only one person but also one nature? I distinguish: that the union is greater on the part of the extremes, this I concede; on the part of the medium, this I deny.

Thus the union in the Incarnation is intensively more perfect than the union between soul and body, and therefore is indissoluble; whereas soul and body are separated by death, and as long as the soul is separated it is not properly a person.

This article is most sublime in doctrine. It can be developed so as to elevate the mind to spiritual things, combining this article with the above-mentioned principle, namely, "It is a greater dignity to exist in something nobler than oneself than to exist by oneself."[619] This principle is very rich in possibilities if closely examined, first as found in Christ, and then as it applies in a certain extended sense to us in the operational order. Thus it is better for us to be passive in our relations with God, by a perfect conformity of our will with the divine will, than following our own will to rule the world, which is contrary to Satan's doctrine, who, in seeking to tempt Christ, said: "All these things will I give Thee, if falling down Thou wilt adore me."[620] Thereupon Jesus says to him: "Begone, Satan! For it is written: The Lord thy God shalt thou adore, and Him only shalt thou serve."[621] It is a greater dignity for one to exist in someone nobler than oneself than to exist by oneself, and to act in conformity with God's will than to perform great acts by one's own choice. As Cajetan says: "It is better to obey the king, than to rule over one's household,"[622] or it is better to be in a passive frame of mind as regards those superior to us, than to assume an active role as regards those inferior to us; and although it is better to give than to receive, it is better to receive from someone superior to us, than to give to someone inferior to us. Thus the true way of passivity in the spiritual life is nobler than to act, relying on one's own ability, as Dionysius says of Hierotheus that he was "passive to the divine operations (patiens divina) "[623]

Tenth Article: Whether The Union Of The Two Natures In Christ Took Place By Grace

State of the question. The difficulties at the beginning of this article show clearly the purpose of this question. It seems that the union did not take place by grace, because grace is an accident inhering in the soul of everyone in the state of grace; whereas the hypostatic union is substantial, as stated above, and belongs exclusively to Christ.

Reply. This union did not take place by created grace, which is an accident, and an habitual gift inhering in the soul, but it took place by uncreated grace, which is the gratuitous will of God doing something without any preceding merits on the part of the beneficiary of the gift.

First part. It is evident, because this union is substantial, and not accidental.

Second part. It is also evident, because this union infinitely transcends the faculty and exigencies of created nature, even the angelic.[624]

In this article St. Thomas does not speak of a substantial mode that would be present between the Word that assumes and the humanity that is assumed.

Eleventh Article: Whether Any Merits Preceded The Union Of The Incarnation

State of the question. In a certain sense it seems the Incarnation was merited, for the just of the Old Testament merited eternal life, to which they could attain only through the Incarnation. Therefore it seems that they likewise merited the Incarnation. Also the Church chants of the Blessed Virgin that "she merited to bear the Lord of all "[625]

On the contrary, St. Augustine teaches that no merits preceded our regeneration,[626] and he gives St. Paul as his authority.[627] Therefore no merits preceded the generation of Christ. Moreover, in the above-mentioned work, St. Augustine shows in his own beautiful way that the predestination of Christ as man to divine natural sonship, could not have been because of Christ's foreseen merits, for these merits presuppose His person already constituted. From this St. Augustine concludes that likewise our predestination, of which Christ's predestination is the exemplar, is not because of our foreseen merits, which are the effects of our predestination, as explained by St. Thomas.[628]

Reply. There are three conclusions in the body of the article.

First conclusion. Christ could not merit His incarnation, because every operation of Christ followed the hypostatic union; for Christ was not first a mere man, and afterward united to the Word, but at the very moment His human nature was created, it was personally united to the Word. This conclusion is de fide against Photinus.[629]

Second conclusion. The patriarchs of the Old Testament and the Blessed Virgin Mary did not merit and could not merit de condigno the Incarnation, and this for three reasons.

1) Because the Incarnation transcends the beatitude of eternal life, to which the merits of the just are ordained as their ultimate reward. The Incarnation establishes the hypostatic order above the order of grace and glory.

2) Because the principle of grace cannot fall under merit, for it would be its own cause. Thus the state of grace does not fall under merit, and a fortiori this applies to the Incarnation, which is the principle of grace, for the Gospel says: "Grace and truth came by Jesus Christ."[630]

3) Because the incarnation of Christ is for the reformation of the entire human nature, and therefore it is not on account of the merit of any particular man. St. John says: "Of His fullness we have all received."[631]

Third conclusion. Yet the patriarchs of the Old Testament merited the Incarnation congruously or in a broad sense by desiring and beseeching, for it was becoming that God should hearken to those who obeyed Him. "The Blessed Virgin," says St. Thomas, "is said to have merited to bear the Lord of all; not that she merited His incarnation, but because by the grace bestowed upon her she merited that grade of purity and holiness which fitted her to be the Mother of God."[632] These are golden words, and in the strictest sense express what the Blessed Virgin Mary truly merited, for she did not merit the Incarnation, which is the principle of that plenitude of grace which she received so as to merit, but she merited an increase of grace by which she became worthy to be the Mother of God.[633]

There are some doubts that arise concerning this article.

For the solution of these doubts we must recall the division of merit as set forth in the treatise on grace. Merit is a work performed that is deserving of a reward, or, more correctly, there is a right to a reward in this work performed. Hence the foundation for this division is according to the excellence of the work performed, inasmuch as there is or is not equality of proportion between the work performed and the reward. There is this proportion in condign merit, but not in congruous merit.

[diagram page 190]

MERIT

condign

which has its foundation at least in distributive justice, inasmuch as there is condignity or equality of proportion between the work and the reward

congruous

in the strict sense: is founded on friendship, or a friendly right between persons, inasmuch as friendship is a potential part of justice

in the broad sense: is founded on God's pure mercy, without implying any right or obligation to reward because of the work performed

First doubt. Could Christ have merited His incarnation by works that followed from it?[634]

Some theologians, such as Suarez, Ruiz, Coninck, are of this opinion, inasmuch as God had decreed the execution and continuance of the Incarnation in future times because of the foreseen future merits of Christ.

The Thomists deny this view. They defend this first conclusion of St. Thomas by saying that Christ neither merited nor could have absolutely merited His incarnation either de condigno or de congruo, not even by works that followed from it.

The reason for this is that the principle of merit neither falls nor can fall under merit, for it would be its own cause, as explained in the treatise on grace.[635]

More briefly, Christ did not merit His own self. Merit is the morally efficient cause of reward, inasmuch as it is a right to a reward; if, therefore, the principle of merit were to fall under merit as a reward, then merit would be its moral cause; and thus it would be its own cause; it would be both cause and effect in the same genus and in the same aspect, which is absurd.

But the Incarnation is the principle of the whole of Christ's merit because it is impossible to conceive of any of Christ's operations that does not proceed from His person as the efficient principle that operates, since actions belong to the supposita, and operation follows being, and the person of the Word gives an infinite value to Christ's merits, which will be more clearly explained farther on.

Hence not even Christ's good works following from the Incarnation could have merited it either de condigno or de congruo, for these works would have been the cause of Christ Himself. Similarly the Incarnation would have been both cause and effect in the same aspect; it would have been both principle and principled, prior and posterior to itself, all of which are contrary to the principle of contradiction, that must be preserved in these mysteries, otherwise mysteries would be nothing but absurdities, not above reason, but contrary to reason.

Confirmation. The Incarnation was decreed even as regards its execution before the merits of Christ were foreseen. For just as being precedes operation, so the being of Christ was decreed before His operation.[636] Hence Christ could not have merited His incarnation at least in its essentials.

Second doubt. Did Christ merit the circumstances of His incarnation?

The Thomists answer by distinguishing between circumstances either preceding or accompanying the Incarnation, and others that follow from it. They also subdistinguish the preceding circumstances so far as they either are or are not necessarily connected with the Incarnation.[637] They say:

1) Christ did not merit the preceding or concomitant circumstances of the Incarnation that essentially belong to His being or were its necessary accompaniments.[638]

The reason is that Christ's merits presuppose His incarnation as their principle, and likewise the aforesaid circumstances that belong to His essence and individuation in the Incarnation.

Moreover, God cannot infallibly foresee Christ's future merits, unless He previously foresees that Christ will exist in some moment of time.

Hence Christ did not merit to be conceived of the Holy Ghost, to be born of the Blessed Virgin Mary, of the Jewish race, in a certain place, at a certain time, and in a certain manner.

2) Christ merited those circumstances of His incarnation that neither essentially belong to His being nor were its necessary accompaniments, or those that did not pertain to His essence and individuation in the Incarnation.

These circumstances are not the cause or principle of merit, nor does Christ's merit depend on them. Christ merited all that fittingly can be called merit. Thus He merited what the prophets foretold about Him, what the angel announced,[639] and more probably the virginity of Mary, for Mary's virginity does not essentially belong to the Incarnation, any more than that a mother be of the white race; nor does it seem necessarily connected with the Incarnation. Likewise Christ merited the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

3) Christ merited the circumstances that followed from the Incarnation; because these are not connected with the principle of merit, but follow from it. Thus He merited the multitude of angels singing after His birth, the adoration of the Magi, the appearance of the star, the care given to Him by the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Joseph, to be the judge of the world, the institutor of the sacraments, His resurrection.[640]

More briefly, as the Salmanticenses say: "Concerning all the circumstances of the Incarnation, it may be said that Christ did not merit those that belong to the essence and individuation of the Incarnation, such as to be conceived of the Holy Ghost, to be born of the Virgin, and so He did not merit the maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary; but He merited all the circumstances that do not belong to the essence of the mystery.

"The reason is, as regards the first conditions, that the principle of merit, the Incarnation, does not fall under merit; concerning the other circumstances, the reason is that these are not connected with the principle of merit."[641] Briefly, Christ did not merit His own self.

[diagram page 193]

CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE INCARNATION

preceding and accompanying it

those pertaining to essence and individuation of Incarnation -

e.g., conceived of the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary; i.e., Christ did not merit her virginal maternity (so the Salmanticenses(Christ did not merit these)

what does not pertain to the essence of the Incarnation—(Christ did merit these)

what the prophets foretold about Him, what the angel announced, and other such things—following from it

adoration of Magi, care given to Him by Blessed Virgin and St. Joseph, to institute sacraments, to rise from dead—(Christ did merit these)

Third doubt. Did Christ merit the continuation of His incarnation? Suarez and certain other theologians affirm that He did.

The majority of the theologians, especially among the Thomists, say that He did not. They give as their reason, that the continuation does not differ from the Incarnation itself, which cannot be the object of merit. The Incarnation is not a continuation after the manner of successive and divisible things by some addition, namely, by way of part, degree or help, but it is simultaneously whole and is measured by an absolutely indivisible duration, which transcends the continuity of solar time, and also the discrete time in the succession of thoughts of angels. This duration, that measures the Incarnation, is participated eternity, participated indeed inasmuch as the Incarnation had a beginning. The reason is that the hypostatic union is unchangeable, and more permanent than the beatific vision, which is really measured by participated eternity on the part of the object, inasmuch as there is neither change nor succession in it.

Confirmation. Now the continuation of the state of grace until death no more falls under merit than the beginning of this state, which is the principle of merit; a fortiori, therefore, the continuation of the Incarnation, which is the radical principle of all merits of both Christ and baptized persons, does not fall under merit.

Fourth doubt. This concerns the merits of the patriarchs of the Old Testament and of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

St. Thomas clearly shows indeed that they could not have merited de condigno the Incarnation, which is the radical principle of the merits of all men after the Fall and their regeneration, and which transcends our beatitude or the ultimate end of our merit. This is the commonly accepted and certain opinion among theologians, which is expressed in passages of Holy Scripture where it is stated that the Incarnation is a work of mercy. The canticle that is called the Benedictus, says: "Through the bowels of the mercy of our God, in which the Orient from on high hath visited us."[642] St. Paul says: "But when the goodness and kindness of God our Savior appeared; not by the works of justice which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us."[643]

Hence neither the Blessed Virgin Mary could merit de condigno the Incarnation; but it was the radical principle of all the merits of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who received the grace of the Immaculate Conception because of the future merits of Christ, as Pius IX declared.[644]

Therefore the only difficulty that remains is that which concerns congruous merit. In other words, what does St. Thomas mean by saying toward the end of the body of this eleventh article: "Yet the holy fathers of the Old Testament merited the Incarnation congruously by desiring and beseeching; for it was becoming that God should hearken to those who obeyed Him"?

Is it here a case of congruous merit in the strict sense, a merit that is founded on friendship, or on an amicable right; or is it merely congruous merit in the broad sense, which has its foundation in God's pure mercy who hears our prayers even without their being meritorious either de condigno or de congruo, as when He hears the prayers of sinners who cannot merit to be heard, since they are in a state of sin?

Several theologians, even some Thomists, say that congruous merit is here meant. But they are incapable of solving the objection that immediately presents itself, namely, that the incarnation of Christ is the principle of the whole merit acquired by the Blessed Virgin Mary, and by the fathers of both the Old Testament and of the New.[645] The principle of merit does not fall under merit, not even under congruous merit in the strict sense, for this merit has its foundation in friendship or in charity that comes from Christ. St. Thomas says: "Christ is the Savior of the whole human race,"[646] as the angel said: "He shall save His people from their sins."[647]

Some theologians reply that in the intentional order the Incarnation is the principle of merit concerning the fathers of the Old Testament, and in the order of execution the merits of the fathers prepare for the Incarnation. In other words, the Incarnation and these merits are mutually causes, though in a different order; the Incarnation is the final cause, but merits constitute the moral efficient cause.

This reply is of no value. It would perhaps apply to the merits of Adam in the state of innocence, but here it is valueless; for the merits of the fathers are dependent on the future merits of Christ, not only as final cause, but as moral efficient cause. These causes are mutually causes, though in a different order. Hence St. Thomas says: "The mystery of the Incarnation is the principle of merit, because of His fullness we all have received,"[648] even all the just of the Old Testament. The same must be said of the merits of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In the present state of man after the Fall, there is no merit, nor is it possible to conceive of any, which does not derive its value and power of meriting from the merits of Christ. Merits in Christ are not conceived as morally efficient cause of our merits, except so far as Christ is considered as existing, or absolutely will exist in some moment of time, and consequently actually existing and not merely intending to exist; for actions belong to supposita that exist, and operation follows being. Hence the principle "causes mutually interact" does not apply here, for they would be causes in the same genus of causality, which constitutes a vicious circle.[649]

Hence neither the fathers of the Old Testament nor the Blessed Virgin could merit strictly de congruo the accomplishment of the Incarnation as foreseen and decreed by God, nor therefore as taking place in time. If we merit the attainment of glory in the order of execution, it is because God so willed this by His eternal and effective decree. This means, as it is commonly said, that in the intentional order God freely wills to give glory to His elect, but He does not will to give it freely to the adult elect in the order of execution. This means that the adult must merit glory to which they have been freely predestined.[650]

Solution of the doubt. Several Thomists, such as Sylvius and Gotti, say that the problem concerns congruous merit in the broad sense of the term, which has its foundation in God's pure mercy hearing our prayers even though they are not strictly meritorious, such as the prayers of sinners.[651] And this seems to be the meaning of the following text of St. Thomas: "It was becoming that God should hear the prayers of those who obey Him."[652] Therefore congruous merit in the broad sense is the same as impetration.

Otherwise 1. the Fathers would have merited something better than Christ Himself merited; 2. Christ would be indebted to the fathers for His incarnation; 3. The Incarnation would not be a work of pure mercy.

Thus the principle enunciated by St. Thomas in the body of this eleventh article, namely, "the principle of merit does not fall under merit," remains intact. This principle applies equally to strictly congruous merit, which is the result of God's love obtained for us by Christ, as to condign merit. Sacrosanct also is the principle that Christ is the source of the merits of the regenerated both in the Old Testament and in the New, even of the merits of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

This interpretation is confirmed by the fact that St. Thomas denies that the Blessed Virgin Mary merited the Incarnation, for he writes: "The Blessed Virgin is said to have merited to bear the Lord of all, not that she merited His incarnation, but because by the grace bestowed upon her she merited that grade of purity and holiness which fitted her to be the Mother of God."[653]

St. Thomas said practically the same in another of His works, in which he wrote: "The Blessed Virgin did not merit the Incarnation, but after its accomplishments she merited to be instrumental in bringing it about, not by condign merit, but by congruous merit, inasmuch as it was becoming that the Mother of God should be most pure and most perfect."[654]

Objection. Strictly congruous merit has its foundation in the mutual friendship prevailing between the one who merits and the one who rewards. But the holy fathers who desired the Incarnation were God's friends, and a fortiori the Blessed Virgin was. Therefore the Blessed Virgin and the holy fathers de congruo merited the Incarnation.

Reply. I distinguish the major; when nothing militates against the notion of merit, I concede the major; otherwise I deny it. But the obstacle here is that the Incarnation is the principle of merit for the fathers, and cannot be merited. Moreover, as already stated, the Incarnation constitutes a special hypostatic order, which is beyond the scope of merit; for the only purpose of merit is for the attainment of eternal happiness, and "the union of the Incarnation transcends the union of the beatified mind with God, and therefore it cannot fall under merit,"[655] as St. Thomas says.

Twelfth Article: Whether The Grace Of Union Was Natural To The Man Christ

Cajetan remarks that this question concerns Christ, not as God, but as man. Is the grace of union natural to Him?

Reply. The grace of union is not natural to Christ, if this would mean that it is caused by the principle of the human nature; but it may be called natural inasmuch as it was bestowed upon Him together with the human nature, and moreover, inasmuch as it comes from the divine nature of Christ. Infused habitual grace in the soul of Christ is also natural in this sense.

The reason is that both graces are substantially supernatural and were given to Christ at the moment of His conception.

Doubt. Was the Blessed Virgin Mary the instrumental cause of the union of the human nature with the Word at the very moment of Christ's conception?

Reply. Most certainly no creature was or could be the principal efficient cause of the Incarnation, for the Incarnation is not only a work that belongs properly to God, such as creation, but it is His greatest work; for it is a miracle of the first order surpassing in substance all created and creatable powers and all exigencies of whatsoever created nature. It is also a mystery that transcends the mysteries of grace and that constitutes a special order, known as the hypostatic order.

The Incarnation was a work of the Trinity, by reason of omnipotence, which is a common attribute of the three persons. Thus, as we stated, the Father and the Holy Ghost joined in the act of uniting the human nature with the Word, but only the Son assumes or takes this nature to Himself.

But a doubt arises. Was the Blessed Virgin the instrumental cause of the Incarnation?

The question is disputed. St. Thomas says that Mary was not, for he writes: "In the conception of Christ, the Blessed Virgin took no active part, but was merely the material cause."[656] But the instrumental cause takes an active part through the power of the principal agent.

Likewise St. Thomas maintains that there is no instrumental cause in creation,[657] not even in the creation of the souls of infants, which occurs every day. The parents are not the efficient cause, but merely furnish the matter or dispose the body for the reception of the soul; a fortiori there is no instrumental cause in the Incarnation.

The principle on which this a fortiori argument rests may be illustrated by the following syllogism.

An instrument must dispose the subject for the effect of the principal agent. But, as in creation, there is no subject from which is produced that which is created from nothing; so in the Incarnation there is no pre-existing subject to be disposed, for the Incarnation is the communication of the personality of the Word to the human nature of Christ. The Word, however, is beyond the scope of created action, and is not the subject on which created action operates. Matter cannot be disposed for something uncreated, namely, for the Word that assumes. Therefore there is no instrumental cause in the Incarnation.[658]

Hence, if the Blessed Virgin is said at times to be the instrumental cause of the creation of Christ's soul and even of the Incarnation, this must be understood in a broad sense, inasmuch as she provided the matter which was formed by the Holy Ghost into the human nature and united with the Word.


CHAPTER V: QUESTION 3: THE MODE OF THE UNION ON THE PART OF THE PERSON ASSUMING

After the consideration of the hypostatic union in itself, we must now discuss the nature of this union on the part of the person assuming.

John of St. Thomas observes in the beginning of his commentary on this third question that St. Thomas divides it into two parts: 1. the person assuming (a. 1-5); 2. the manner of the assumption (a. 6-8).

First Article: Whether It Is Fitting For A Divine Person To Assume

Cajetan says the purport of this title is to show that the question of this article concerns the divine person as such, so far as we introduce a mental distinction between person and the divine nature.[659]

State of the question. It is apparent from the first two difficulties presented at the beginning of the article, namely, that there is no possibility of any addition to a divine person because this person is in Himself infinitely perfect. Also incommunicability belongs to the concept of person.

Conclusion. To assume a nature is most properly befitting to a person.

Authoritative proof. St. Augustine, who is quoting St. Fulgentius, says: "This God, that is, the Only-begotten One, took the form, that is, the nature of a servant to His own person."

Proof from reason. It may be expressed in syllogistic form as follows: The word "assume," which practically means to take to oneself, is both the principle and the term of an act. But only a person can be both the principle and term of an act. Therefore only a person can assume.

The other articles of this question will bring out more clearly the meaning of the adverb "most properly."

Proof of minor. It belongs to a person to act, for actions are attributed to supposita, and a person is that which by itself separately exists and acts. Moreover a person is the term of this assumption, because the union took place in the person and not in the nature.

Assumption is properly an action by which the human nature is drawn into the subsistence of the Son, so that it may subsist by this subsistence. Hence this action not only produces in the human nature of Christ a relation of dependence on the Word, but communicates to it the personality of the Word.

Reply to first objection. No addition is made to the divine person, who is infinite. But what is divine is united to man. Hence not God, but man is perfected.

Reply to second objection. "A divine person is said to be incommunicable inasmuch as it cannot be predicated of several supposita, but nothing prevents several things being predicated of the person.... But this is proper to a divine person, on account of its infinity, that there should be a concourse of natures in it, in subsistence."[660]

Doubt. Does the termination of another nature belong exclusively to a divine person, so that it would be repugnant to every created or creatable personality? Can an angel, for example, or a devil assume the human nature? Some thought that St. John the Baptist was an angel incarnate, and that Antichrist will be a devil incarnate.

Reply. It is the common teaching among theologians that no created person can assume a nature into union with its suppositum. So say Cajetan, Soto, Alvarez, Medina, Suarez, Vasquez, Billuart. The reason is that finite personality derives its limitation and species from the nature whose complement and term it is. Although subsistence is the mode and term of the nature, it does not specify the nature, but is specified by it. Thus we speak of the human personality, or of the angelic personality; hence it implies a contradiction for the same personality of one nature to terminate another. On the contrary, the divine personality because of its infinity, as St. Thomas says,[661] is above both genus and species and contains formally and eminently the power of all possible personalities.

Second Article: Whether It Is Befitting To The Divine Nature To Assume

State of the question. The meaning of the title is, as Cajetan remarks, whether de facto it is true that the Deity, or rather God, assumed the human nature.[662]

It seems not to be true, because the union did not take place in the nature, but in the person; also because to assume in this manner could be said of the three persons.

Nevertheless, St. Augustine or rather St. Fulgentius, who is quoted in the counter-argument, says that the divine nature took our nature.

Conclusion. In the strictest sense a person is said to assume inasmuch as it is both principle and term of the assumption. In a secondary sense, however, it can be said that the Deity or God assumed the human nature inasmuch as the Deity was the principle of the assumptive act but not its term. The whole article must be read.[663]

All the other articles of this question, on the supposition of the real possibility, even of the very fact of the incarnation of the Word, examine what else was either possible or impossible. I say: "on the supposition of the real possibility of the incarnation of the Word," which, as already stated, is neither demonstrated by reason alone, nor can be disproved, but is persuaded and defended against those denying it, and is firmly held by faith.

Third Article: Whether The Nature Abstracted From The Personality Can Assume

State of the question. The meaning of the title is: Can the divine nature assume a nature different from its own, if by God we understand, in the way the pagans and Jews imagine Him to exist, without personal relations and without persons, as our Catholic faith acknowledges to be in Him?

It seems that the divine nature cannot so assume; because, as stated above, it befits the nature to assume because of the person, and because the union took place not in the nature, but in the person.

Reply. It is affirmed, nevertheless, that the divine nature can assume our nature.

Proof. It is taken from the counterargument of this article, from the argumentative part and from the reply to the second objection. The reasons given are: 1. In this hypothesis, God's omnipotence, by which the Incarnation took place, would remain. 2. There would also remain the one personality of God as the Jews understand, which could be the term of the assumption.[664]

In God, the Deity and God are identical, or in God whereby it is and what is are the same; for God's essence is His self-existing being.[665]

First doubt. Is it something absolute or something relative that immediately terminates the human nature of Christ?

Reply. It is something relative that immediately and proximately terminates Christ's human nature, namely, the personality of the Word, which is constituted by relative subsistence, or by the subsisting relation of sonship, as explained in the treatise on the Trinity. The divine relations are subsisting relations, inasmuch as their inexistence (esse in) is substantial and not accidental as in created predicamental relations, for example, in created paternity and created sonship.[666]

Proof. The Eleventh Council of Toledo in its profession of faith says: "Neither the Holy Spirit nor God the Father, but only the person of the Son took flesh."[667] But if the Word were to terminate the human nature formally and proximately by a common and absolute subsistence, then the Father and the Holy Spirit equally with the Son, would have been incarnate.

Second doubt. Could the triune God assume the human nature primarily on account of absolute subsistence, and only secondarily on account of relative subsistences?

Reply. The triune God could have assumed absolutely our human nature, because this absolute subsistence "could be the principle and term of this assumption," as stated by St. Thomas in this article.[668] For the reason why God subsists in His own nature, can be the reason why He subsists in a different nature. But absolute and common subsistence could be the reason for His subsistence in a different nature.

Third doubt. What is the difference between the incommunicability of absolute subsistence and of relative subsistence?

Reply. The first incommunicability is not within the Trinity, but only external to it. The second incommunicability is both internal and external to the Trinity. Common and absolute subsistence does not formally attribute incommunicability internally to the Deity, for the Deity is communicated to the Son and to the Holy Ghost. On the contrary, the personality of the Father is not communicated to the Son. But God by reason of His common and absolute subsistence is incommunicable externally, in this sense that He is by Himself separately existing, really and essentially distinct from the world. St. Thomas says: "A person is said to be incommunicable inasmuch as it cannot be predicated of several supposita."[669]

What the philosopher means by saying that God is personal, is that He is the separately existing being, distinct from every creature, intelligent and free and so is externally incommunicable. When theologians speak of the three divine persons, what they first of all have in mind is internal incommunicability. Thus the Father communicates the whole divine nature to the Son, but not His personality, which is the subsistent relation of paternity in opposition to filiation.[670]

Objection. The Fathers and councils never mention this absolute subsistence, which seems to have been discovered by Cajetan.

Reply. They never referred to it because there was no occasion of doing so to refute errors against it such as Nestorianism and Monophysitism, which had not yet arisen. It sufficed to exclude union in the nature and affirm the union in the person of the Word, as recorded in revelation. Absolute subsistence was not discovered by Cajetan, for St. Thomas explicitly refers to it in this third article.

Fourth Article: Whether One Person Without Another Can Assume A Created Nature

State of the question. The difficulty, as presented by the first objection, is that assumption, being a certain external operation, pertains to all three persons, who operate externally by a common omnipotence. Thus it has been shown[671] that the Trinity of persons cannot be known from creatures by natural reason; for "the creative power of God is common to the whole Trinity."[672]

Reply. Nevertheless it is of faith that only the Son of God became incarnate, neither the Father nor the Holy Spirit. The Eleventh Council of Toledo says: "We believe that of these three persons, only the person of the Son... true man... assumed[our nature]."[673]

The body of the article contains the solution of the difficulty arising from the definition of assumption, or to assume.

Assumption implies two things: the act of assuming and the term of the assumption. But revelation says that only the person of the Son is the term of the assumption. Therefore assumption, considered as the term, applies only to the person of the Son, although considered as an act, it is common to the three persons.

Thus we said that the Father and the Holy Ghost united the human nature with the Word, but They did not assume it in the sense of term.

Fifth Article: Whether Each Of The Divine Persons Could Have Assumed Human Nature

State of the question. The difficulty is, as stated in the second objection, that by the divine Incarnation, men acquired the adoption of sons, which is a participated likeness of natural sonship, which applies only to the Son. Therefore it seems that only the Son could be incarnate. Moreover, to be incarnate is to be sent, which cannot apply to the Father, who cannot be sent by any person, since the other two persons proceed from Him.

Reply. Nevertheless it is affirmed, that each of the persons could have assumed human nature. For to assume another nature is befitting to God because of His omnipotence, as the principle of the assumption, and because of His person, as the term of the assumption. But each of the divine persons is omnipotent and has His own personality. Therefore each of the divine persons could have assumed human nature.

Reply to first objection. It was fitting, if the Father became incarnate, for Him as man to have been the Son of man, for example, the son of David; for this would be according to difference of natures, and would not result in confusion of realities, but at most of names.

Reply to second objection. It contains a beautiful scriptural text concerning adoptive sonship, which is a certain participated likeness of natural sonship. But if the Father became incarnate, we would have received this adoptive sonship from Him, as coming from the principle of natural sonship;[674] but farther on in this question, it is shown that it was more fitting for the Son to have become incarnate.[675]

Reply to third objection. The Father, who is innascible as to eternal birth, could have been born temporally as man if He had become incarnate. In such case the Incarnation would not have been a mission. Thus the Father dwells in the just, as the Son and the Holy Ghost do, but He is not sent, and so He comes without being sent; whereas the other two persons are sent by Him. So the pope sends His legate, but he himself is not sent, but comes.

Sixth Article: Whether Several Divine Persons Can Assume One And The Same Individual Nature

State of the question. The meaning is: Can the three persons assume this human nature, terminating it proximately and immediately by their own relations?

The difficulty is that it could not then be said the human nature is assumed by one man or by several men, because there would be one human nature and three divine persons who possess it.

Reply. Yet St. Thomas affirms the possibility of the three persons assuming one and the same human nature. It is the commonly accepted teaching, but it was attacked by Scotus.

Indirect proof. It is taken from the counterargument of this article, and proceeds by way of analogy; for just as the divine nature is common to the three persons, so likewise the human individualized nature can be common to Them.

A more direct and proper proof is found in the argumentative part of this article. It may be expressed by the following syllogism.

The divine persons do not exclude one another from communicating in the same nature, since they terminate together the same divine nature.

But in the mystery of the Incarnation, the whole reason of the deed is the power of the doer, as Augustine says.

Therefore in passing judgment on the act, we must take into special consideration the condition of the person assuming, who does not exclude the other two persons from communicating in the same nature.

There is no repugnance on the part of the human nature, because it can be assumed, not by reason of its natural limited power, but because of its obediential power, which extends to all that is not essentially repugnant.

What is truly impossible is for a divine person to assume a human person, for then there would be two persons in one person.

Reply to first objection. It contains the solution of the difficulty proposed in the objection, namely, that, granting the hypothesis, it would be true to say that the three divine persons were one man, because of the one human nature, just as we say that they are one God, because of the one divine nature, which is one numerically, without any multiplication and division.[676]

Seventh Article: Whether One Divine Person Can Assume Two Human Natures

State of the question. This question is posited, as the preceding questions are, so as to make it known more clearly in what the mystery of the Incarnation consists on the part of the person assuming.

The difficulty is that there would be one suppositum for two natures of the same species, for example, the same divine person would be Peter and John. Another difficulty is that it could not then be said that the person incarnate is one man, because He would have two human natures; nor several men, because several men have distinct supposita. It is not apparent how these two human natures could be united to each other, one of these natures being perhaps in one part of the world, and the other in another part.

Reply. St. Thomas affirms, however, the possibility of such an assumption.

Indirect proof. It is taken from the counter-argument of this article, and may be expressed by the following syllogism.

Whatever the Father can do externally, the Son also can do. But after the Incarnation, the Father can assume a human nature distinct from that assumed by the Son. Therefore the Son can assume a human nature distinct from the one He assumed.

Direct proof. This same principle is again invoked, as in the following syllogism.

The power of a divine person, both as regards the principle in the assumption and as regards the term of the assumption, is infinite; nor can it be restricted to what has been created. But a divine person would be restricted in power if He could assume only one human nature. Therefore a divine person can assume more than one human nature.

Some have objected that such two human natures would interpenetrate.

Reply. To establish the truth of this conclusion, it is not necessary for the divine person to assume these two natures in the same place; for divine immensity makes it possible for any of the divine persons to assume one of the human natures in Rome, and the other in some place far away from this city. Such action involves no absurdity.[677]

Reply to first objection. "There can be a numerical multitude on the part of the nature, on account of the division of matter, without distinction of supposita."

Reply to second objection. There would still be one man, and not several, because there is only one suppositum. In fact, one divine person could assume many individual human natures, and there would be no pantheism in this for there would be no confusion of the divine nature with the human nature; but all these natures would be impeccable. Toletus gave us a good rule to follow, one that is taken from the teaching of St. Thomas. He says: "For the multiplication of concrete substantive names both kinds of multitude are required, namely, of supposita and of forms; the absence of one results in unity."[678]

Eighth Article: Whether It Was More Fitting That The Person Of The Son Rather Than Any Other Divine Person Should Assume Human Nature

State of the question. It seems that it is not, because the effect of the Incarnation is a kind of second creation, which befits the Father, inasmuch as creative power is appropriated to Him. Besides, the Incarnation is ordained to the remission of sins, which is attributed to the Holy Ghost.

Conclusion. Yet it was most fitting that the person of the Son should become incarnate, and this for three reasons.

1) Because of the principle of the union. All things were made by the Word, as by the exemplary cause. Therefore it was fitting that ail things be restored by the Word. Thus the craftsman, by the intelligible form or concept of his art, whereby he fashioned his handiwork, restores it when it has fallen into ruin.

2) The end of the union. It was fitting that He who is the natural Son of God, should make us adoptive sons.[679] He received by eternal generation the whole divine nature without its being multiplied or divided; but we receive a participation of the divine nature, or the radical principle of strictly divine operations, and finally a participation of the beatific vision.[680]

3) Reparation for sin. An inordinate desire for knowledge had resulted in the sin and spiritual death of man. Hence it was fitting that reparation be made by Him to whom wisdom is attributed.

St. Paul says: "[God] predestinated[us] to be made conformable to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren."[681] St. Thomas in commenting on this text[682] shows clearly that adoptive sonship is a participated likeness of natural and eternal sonship. Adoption is generally known as the legal acceptance of an unrelated person as son.[683] To adopt is to admit someone freely as heir to one's estate.[684] It befits the whole Trinity to adopt men, "although in God, to beget belongs to the person of the Father, yet to produce any effect in creatures is common to the whole Trinity, by reason of the oneness of Their nature; because, where there is one nature, there must be one power and one operation."[685] The adopted son of God is not strictly begotten, but made; yet sometimes it may be said that he is begotten, by reason of spiritual regeneration, which is gratuitous and not natural. Hence it befits the whole Trinity to adopt men as sons.

Nevertheless St. Thomas says: "Adoptive sonship is a certain likeness of the eternal sonship.... Now man is likened to the splendor of the eternal Son by reason of the light of grace which is attributed to the Holy Ghost. Therefore adoption, though common to the whole Trinity, is appropriated to the Father as its author; to the Son as its exemplar, to the Holy Ghost as imprinting on us the likeness of this exemplar."[686] It is easy to assign similarities and differences between the divine, natural, eternal sonship and adoptive sonship; for the Son of God is by nature begotten, not made; He is light of light, true God of true God; possesses the whole Deity that can neither be divided nor multiplied. The adopted son is made, not begotten, but he is spiritually born of God by grace, which is a participation of the divine nature, and this radically disposes him for strictly divine acts, namely, to see God face to face and love Him for all eternity.

Recapitulation. What has been discussed in this third question will enable us to acquire a better understanding of the hypostatic union in all its aspects so far considered.

Therefore it has been established that in the strictest sense it befits a divine person to assume a created nature, that is, take it to Himself (a. 1 and 2). Nevertheless, God as conceived by Jews and Monotheists, not consisting of three persons who are related to one another, could assume a created nature, because He is omnipotent, and He could terminate this nature by absolute subsistence, which is common to the three divine persons.

It follows from this, as has been stated, that anyone of the divine persons could assume the human nature. In fact, the three divine persons could assume one and the same human nature, just as they have one and the same divine nature.

Finally, one divine person could assume two human natures, because the power of the person on the part of the principle and the term of the assumption is infinite. But although these divers hypotheses are possible, it was more fitting that the Son of God rather than the Father or the Holy Ghost should assume the human nature of Christ.


CHAPTER VI: QUESTION 4: THE MODE OF THE UNION ON THE PART OF THE HUMAN NATURE ASSUMED

We must now discuss the mode of the union not on the part of the person assuming, but on the part of what was assumed; and here two things must be considered.

1) What the Word assumed:

a) The human nature itself (q. 4).

b) Of the parts of the human nature, which refutes Docetism and Apollinarianism (q. 5).

c) Of the order of this assumption, for example, whether the soul was assumed before the flesh (q. 6).

2) What things were co-assumed; (a) of perfections, where the habitual grace of Christ, His knowledge and power are discussed; (b) of defects, or of those defects which Christ voluntarily accepted for our satisfaction, such as passibility of the body, death, in which Christ's impeccability is discussed, as also His propassions. (q. 7-15)

Thus the treatise on the hypostatic union is complete, since we find discussed: (a) the union itself (q. 2); (b) the person assuming (q. 3); (c) the nature assumed, both as to its parts and those things co-assumed (q. 4-15). Afterward there will be a discussion of the consequences of the union, in themselves and in their relations both to the Father and to us.

The fourth question contains six articles, treating of the human nature in itself, both in its relation to human personality, which Christ did not have, and in its relation to individuals of the human nature.

First Article: Whether Human Nature Was More Assumable By The Son Of God Than Any Other Nature

State of the question. The inquiry concerns human nature as assumable, not according to its natural passive power nor according to its obediential power,[687] but according to its fitness.[688] The more common opinion among theologians affirms with St. Thomas[689] that according to God's absolute power any other nature is assumable. The discussion here concerns only its fitness.

This question is of some importance in determining whether besides the obediential power there is a fitness attached to the nature, but not necessarily so, for example, a fitness of assumption in the human nature rather than in the angelic.

First objection. The difficulty is that God's absolute power is not limited to one nature; for just as there is no such thing actually as the best of all possible worlds, so there is no created nature that is more fitted for the hypostatic union.

Second objection. The difficulty is that also in irrational creatures there is a trace of God's image.

Third objection. In the angelic nature we find a more perfect likeness of God than in the human nature, and there is need of redemption for angels that are sinners.

Fourth objection. Finally the whole universe is more capable of assumption than the human nature.

Conclusion. It was more fitting, says St. Thomas, for the human nature to be assumed by the Word, than any other nature.

Authoritative proof. This fittingness is intimated in various passages of Scripture. Thus the Wisdom of God is represented as saying: "My delights were to be with the children of men."[690] Similarly St. Paul writes: "For it became Him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, who had brought many children into glory, to perfect the author of their salvation, by His passion.... For nowhere doth He take hold of the angels, but of the seed of Abraham He taketh hold. Wherefore it behooved Him in all things to be made like unto His brethren, that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest before God, that He might be a propitiation for the sins of the people."[691] Christ had to be both priest and victim because no other victim was worthy of fulfilling this role.

Theological proof. It may be reduced to the following syllogism.

This greater fitness may be viewed both according to the dignity and the necessity or need of the assumable nature.

But the human is more worthy than the irrational nature since it can attain to union with the Word by knowledge and love.[692] Moreover, it needed reparation, since it was subjected to original sin, which is not true of the angels, for all did not sin, and those who did are already confirmed in their sin and incapable of redemption. Therefore it was more fitting for the human nature than any other nature to be assumed by the Word. This conclusion must be understood in the sense given by St. Thomas at the end of the argumentative part of this article, where he says: "Hence it follows that only human nature was assumable."

Moreover, as St. Thomas remarks in another of his works,[693] the human nature is a quasi-compendium of the universe, a microcosm, inasmuch as it contains within itself being, as in minerals, life as in the lower forms of living animals, intelligence as in the angels, although in not so perfect a way.

The solution of the difficulties raised in the objections confirms this last observation of St. Thomas.

Reply to first objection. Here it is shown that besides the obediential power, which includes everything that is not in itself repugnant to reason, there can be a certain fitness or congruity in the human nature for its being assumed by the Word in the hypostatic union, a fitness that is not found either in stones, plants, a lamb, or a dove. Hence St. Thomas says in this reply: "Therefore a creature is said to be not assumable, not as if we withdrew anything from the power of God, but in order to show the condition of the creature which has no capability for this." Therefore this capability, which is in neither stone nor dove, is not this obediential power for assumption, which is in either a stone or in any animal, for example, in the most spotless lamb.

As Cajetan remarks, St. Thomas did not ask whether the Word can assume the nature of a stone. There is nothing intrinsically impossible in this according to God's purely absolute power, but there would be no end or purpose in doing this. Thus God can by His purely absolute power annihilate the Blessed Virgin Mary, but there is no reason for doing so on the part of the end in view. Therefore this is repugnant, if not by God's purely absolute power, at least by His ordained power, either ordinary or extraordinary.

Yet there is truly in the nature of either a stone, a lamb, or a dove a non-repugnance or obediential power for the hypostatic union, although there is no capability in the sense of congruity.

From this reply to the first objection, it seems to follow that the capability or fitness of our nature to be elevated to the beatific vision is not this obediential power, which of itself requires nothing else but a non-repugnance to this elevation, inasmuch as God can do whatever is not repugnant. In fact, as will be stated farther on, there is in the most holy soul of Christ the obediential power for a greater degree of the light of glory.[694] The obediential power of our intellect is in itself unrestricted, because our intellect by God's absolute power, can always be raised to a higher degree of the light of glory, and our will to a higher degree of charity.

There remains this obediential power in the nature of the damned for being raised to the beatific vision, but it is no longer any fittingness in them.

Reply to second objection. "The irrational creature which falls short of the union with God by operation has no fitness to be united with Him in personal being."

Reply to third objection. Concerning the reply to this third objection, which must be real, Cajetan observes against Scotus, that for St. Thomas personality is something positive and real that is distinct from the individualized nature, for instance, from Michaelness, because St. Thomas says: "In this way, nothing pre-existing would be corrupted in it,"[695] if God, by producing a new angelic nature, were to unite it to Himself.

In this same reply, it is pointed out that the bad angels fell irreparably, though not indeed absolutely, but according to the way that is consistent with divine providence, as already explained by St. Thomas, for, when asking whether the will of the demons is confirmed in evil, he says: "The angel's free will is flexible to either opposite before the choice, but not after."[696] This means that the angel's choice elicited by means of intuitive and simultaneous knowledge of those things that must be considered in the object, is irrevocable, and thus it participates in the immutability of the divine choice, which is both most free and absolutely immutable. On the contrary, our choice is elicited by means of abstractive and discursive knowledge, which only gradually acquires the knowledge of all those things that must be considered. Hence it is revocable, inasmuch as after the choice we can consider certain new things not previously considered.[697]

Hence man is capable of redemption, but not the angel. Moreover, the first man was tempted by the devil and fell, whereas the devil fell solely by his own will. Hence the human nature is more worthy of compassion than the nature of the fallen angel.

First doubt. Can an irrational nature, such as that of a lamb or dove, be united befittingly with the person of the Word?

Reply. Several theologians give an affirmative answer, just as it was not unbecoming for the Word incarnate to be scourged, spit upon, and to die. In fact, during the three days of death, the Word remained hypostatically united to the corpse, not personally, but subsistentially. But these reasons do not rest on solid grounds, for the Word was united to the corpse of Christ, only because it was previously united to His human nature, and, if the Word was scourged and crucified, this was meritorious for our redemption. Whereas there is no comparison in the above-mentioned hypothesis, because the dove and the lamb are incapable of meriting and satisfying.

Second doubt. St. Thomas says in various passages that suppositum and nature are the same in the angels;[698] yet in his reply here[699] he holds that the angelic nature is assumable, which cannot be unless it is distinct from the suppositum.

Reply. Cajetan, Medina, Alvarez, Gonet, and Billuart say that St. Thomas in the passage cited above[700] means that the angelic nature is not distinct from its individualizing notes; but he holds that the angel has its own subsistence or personality that is distinct from its nature, which it would lose if the angelic nature were united with the Word. On several occasions St. Thomas says that there is a difference between what is (suppositum), and being (existence).[701] For it is manifest that Michael has not only his nature or Michaelness, but also his being and accidents, such as successive intellections and volitions.

Second Article: Whether The Son Of God Assumed A Person

State of the question. The difficulty is that the Son of God assumed an individualized nature and thus it appears that He assumed this particular man or person.

Reply. Nevertheless, the answer is that He did not assume a person, which is of faith against Nestorius,[702] inasmuch as the Church defined the union to be subsistential, so that there is only one person in Christ. the counterargument gives a quotation from St. Fulgentius, under the name of St. Augustine.

The theological explanation is given in the body of the article, which may be explained by the following syllogism. What is assumed must be presupposed to the assumption. But a person in human nature is not presupposed to assumption, but is rather the term of the assumption. Therefore the human person is not assumed; but the person of the Word assumed to Himself the human nature.

Indirect proof of minor. If the person were presupposed, then it was either corrupted, in which case its assumption was to no purpose; or it remained after the union, and then there were two persons in Christ, which is contrary to revelation, and then the union would not be personal, but accidental, as Nestorius contended.

Reply to first objection. The Son of God assumed an individualized human nature, or a singular human nature, namely, this human nature of Christ.

Reply to second objection. It is pointed out that "the nature assumed did not have its own personality through the loss of anything pertaining to the perfection of the human nature, but through the addition of something which is above human nature, which is union with a divine person." Concerning this difficulty, St. Thomas had said: "It is a greater dignity to exist in something nobler than oneself than to exist by oneself."[703]

Reply to third objection. St. Thomas says: "The divine person by His union hindered the human nature from having its own personality." Therefore St. Thomas considers personality to be something positive, real, and distinct from the nature. It is not identical with existence, because existence is a contingent predicate of any created person, whose formal constituent is personality. No created person, even created personality, is his or its existence. Thus St. Thomas often says that in every creature there is a difference between quod est and esse, namely, between suppositum and existence.[704]

Concerning Cajetan's great commentary, it suffices to note that he shows there is a distinction even between the individualized nature and subsistence. He says: "The whole force of the argument consists in this, that the constituent of a thing, in this respect, is that a being intrinsically and primarily susceptive of real entity, must be some reality. But this man, in this respect, differs from this humanity, because he includes in himself something by which he is primarily and intrinsically susceptive of some real entity that is repugnant to this human nature. Therefore he includes in himself a reality that constitutes him in being, by which he differs from this human nature. But he differs only in personal being, whereby this man is a hypostasis or person, which this human nature is not. Therefore the person of this man adds some reality that intrinsically constitutes him a human person, which this human nature is not."[705] This man is what is, whereas his individualized humanity is that whereby he is constituted in a certain species.

Wherefore St. Thomas says in the present article: "If created personality were presupposed to assumption, then it must either have been corrupted... or there would be two persons." And also in his reply to the third objection, he also says: "The divine person by His union hindered the human nature from having its personality." Hence Cajetan's interpretation, by which he shows that created personality is a substantial mode, truly has its foundation in this text quoted from St. Thomas.

More briefly, Cajetan's whole argument may be reduced to the following syllogism. The created suppositum differs from the nature inasmuch as it is what is, namely, the real subject of existence, which is attributed to it contingently. But that whereby anything is a real and not merely a logical subject of existence is something real, distinct from this nature and from existence, which is predicated contingently of a created person already formally constituted as a person. Therefore the created suppositum is something real that differs both from the individual nature and from existence.

Hence the whole of Cajetan's interpretation has its foundation in the legitimate transition from the common sense notion of personality to its philosophical notion, namely, from its nominal definition to its real definition, or from the Christian acceptation to its theological notion, as Cajetan himself remarks.[706]

Cajetan's opinion asserts only what is required for the verification of the following three arguments of common sense.

1) This man, Peter, is not his human nature, which is attributed to him as an essential part, and the part is not predicated of the whole; for the whole is not the part, but has the part.

2) This man, Peter, is not his existence, which is attributed to him contingently and not essentially. This means that it constitutes neither the essence nor personality of Peter, but is really distinct from them. Thus in every creature there is a real difference between suppositum and existence.[707]

3) This man, Peter, is existing, namely, it is the same suppositum that is existing. In this judgment the word "is" affirms real identity between subject and predicate, which means that the predicate is identical with the suppositum. Therefore subsistence is that whereby anything is what; and as a substantial mode, it is distinct both from nature, whereby anything is constituted in a certain species, and from existence, whereby anything is established outside nothing and its causes.[708]

Likewise, applying this doctrine to Christ, in accordance with revelation, we say: "This man Jesus is God,"[709] meaning that this man is the same suppositum that is God, or is the same person. But the divine personality of Christ is distinct from the human nature He assumed.

Doubt. Could the Word have assumed a nature terminated by its own subsistence, this latter remaining.

Reply. The answer is in the negative. The reason is that it implies a contradiction for the same nature to subsist and not to subsist in a suppositum different from its own.

Objection. The divine nature is terminated simultaneously by the three personalities. Therefore, in like manner, the human nature could be terminated simultaneously by two personalities.

Reply. The comparison does not apply, for the three divine personalities are not foreign to but belong properly to the divine nature,[710] and from several subsistences that belong properly to the divine nature there follows one effect which is to subsist and be terminated in itself, although in divers ways. On the contrary, from a subsistence proper to a person and one foreign to it there follows a double effect that is repugnant, inasmuch as the person subsists in itself and not in another, and also subsists in another and not in itself.

Third Article: Whether The Divine Person Assumed A Man

Is it strictly true to say that God assumed a man?

Reply. It is not, because man is the name of a person that signifies the human nature as subsisting. But God did not assume a created person. Hence, in the strict sense, it is not true to say that the Word assumed a man. After the Incarnation, however, it is true to say that the Word is man.[711] Similarly, the proposition, "God is man," and also the proposition, "man is God," are true, because of the unity of the person.[712] The word "is" expresses real identity between subject and predicate, and this identity is identity of suppositum or person, which means that this man Jesus is the same being or suppositum that is God.

Reply to first objection. If the Fathers at times said that the Word assumed a man, this word "man" must not be taken in the strict sense of the term.

Fourth Article: Whether The Son Of God Ought To Have Assumed Human Nature Abstracted From All Individuals

This article is inserted here to refute the error of certain Platonists, who admitted that the Son of God ought to have assumed such a nature.

It is denied that the Son of God assumed a nature abstracted from individuals, because such a nature has only mental existence,[713] and also because by the very fact that the nature is assumed by some person, it belongs properly to this person. Moreover, only common and universal operations can be attributed to the common nature, by which a person does not merit, because merit pertains to a particular circumstance and time. Finally, even though the human nature were to exist apart from sensible things, as Plato contended, the assumption of this kind of separated human nature would not be fitting, because the Son of God assumed the human nature so that He could be seen by men.

Reply to first objection. Nevertheless, it remains true that Christ is "the universal cause of human salvation," for this universality is not of predication, but of causation.

Fifth Article: Whether The Son Of God Ought To Have Assumed Human Nature In All Individuals

Reply. It is denied that the human nature should be assumed by the Word in all individuals: 1. because the multitude of supposita which are natural to human nature, would thus be taken away; 2. because this would be derogatory to the divinity of the incarnate Son of God since He is the first-born of many brethren according to the human nature, even as He is the first-born of every creature according to the divine nature. Finally, divine wisdom demands this subordination, for St. Paul says: "For all are yours, and you are Christ's, and Christ is God's."[714] It must be noted that, if the Son of God had assumed the individualized nature of all human beings, then all human beings would have been impeccable.

Sixth Article: Whether It Was Fitting For The Son Of God To Assume Human Nature Of The Stock Of Adam

The Son of God could, indeed, have assumed the human nature created anew, just as Adam was created.

Reply. The answer is, nevertheless, that it was fitting for the Son of God to assume the human nature of the stock of Adam, and this for three reasons: 1. so that He might satisfy for the race that had sinned; 2. because the conqueror of the devil should come from the race conquered by the devil; 3. to manifest God's omnipotence that. raised a weakened and corrupt nature to such virtue and dignity. God permits evil only for a greater good.

Hence in the Roman Breviary, the Church recites: "That flesh hath purged, what flesh hath stained."[715] The Scripture says: "Who can make him clean that is conceived of unclean seed. Is it not Thou who only art?"[716] Thus there are sinners in Christ's genealogy, although He is separated from sinners in this respect.

Reply to first objection. Christ's innocence is the more wonderful in this, that, although He assumed His nature from a mass tainted by sin, it was endowed with such purity.

Reply to second objection. It was not fitting for the Word to assume the particular nature of Adam, who was a sinner; because Christ, who had come to cleanse all sinners, had to be separated from all who sinned.

Third objection. The difficulty is this: "If the Son of God wished to assume human nature from sinners, He ought rather to have assumed it from the Gentiles than from the stock of Abraham, who was just."

Reply to third objection. Christ, indeed, had to be like sinners in His assumed nature, but He also had to be separated from them as regards sin. Hence it was fitting that between the first sinner and Christ, some just men should intervene, who were to be in certain respects conspicuous types of Christ's future holiness, and these began in Abraham.

But why the Jewish race was chosen in preference to any of the Gentile nations depends on God's absolute free choice, just as the predestination of Christ, of His Blessed Mother, of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and the prophets are so dependent. The mystery of predestination is apparent in the whole course of Jewish history, since one is chosen in preference to another, for instance, Abel to Cain, Noe to those who died in the flood, Isaac to another son of Abraham, Jacob to Esau; and so it is with other descendants. It must be noted that the merits of the elect are not the cause of their predestination, because they are its effects. This is especially evident both as regards Christ's predestination to divine natural sonship, and the predestination of the Blessed Virgin Mary to divine maternity.

Supplementary Questions

First doubt. Does the human nature united with the Word still have an innate desire for its own subsistence?

Reply. The common opinion of the Thomists, especially of Cajetan and John of St. Thomas, is that it has no such desire as a reflected act (actus secundus), because it is perfected by a more perfect subsistence, which contains formally and eminently absolutely whatever there would be in its own subsistence. Therefore the natural desire of the assumed human nature rests satisfied in the higher subsistence.[717]

Second doubt. Can incomplete substances and accidents be assumed immediately by the Word, such as prime matter, non-subsistent forms, for instance, the substantial form of bread, or of another body?

Reply. The query is denied, because these incomplete realities are intrinsically incapable of having their own subsistences. Thus prime matter, the substantial form of bread, and accidents cannot be assumed except mediately, that is, through the mediation of substance, whose parts they are, or in which they inhere. But the rational soul separated from the body, which is capable of having its own subsistence and existence, is assumable.

Corollary. Integral parts of the human body, such as the hand, the head, feet, so long as they are united to the whole, cannot be assumed unless the whole is assumed. But if these parts are separated by death, they can remain united with the Word, because these parts separated from the whole are capable of having their own subsistence and existence, distinct from the subsistence and existence of the whole.


CHAPTER VII: QUESTION 5: THE MODE OF THE UNION CONCERNING THE PARTS OF THE HUMAN NATURE ASSUMED

Since these parts are the body and soul, Docetism and Apollinarianism are here refuted.

First Article: Whether The Son Of God Ought To Have Assumed A Human Body

It is of faith that the Word assumed a real body, and not a phantom or shadow. This truth has been frequently defined in such councils as Nicaea, Ephesus, Constantinople, Chalcedon, and others,[718] against the Marcionites and Manichaeans, who attribute to Christ the semblance of a body, because they thought every body comes from the principle of evil, and is evil. Simon Magus, Saturninus, and Basilides are likewise condemned. This latter heresiarch, says St. Irenaeus,[719] maintained that Simon of Cyrene was crucified instead of Jesus, who exchanged external figure and countenance with Simon of Cyrene.

Scriptural proof. In the New Testament we read: "The Word was made flesh."[720] And again: "Every spirit which confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, is of God. And every spirit that dissolveth Jesus, is not of God."[721] St. Paul says: "Concerning His Son, who was made to Him of the seed of David, according to the flesh."[722] Christ speaking of Himself, says: "Behold we go up to Jerusalem, and the Son of man shall be betrayed..., and crucified, and the third day He shall rise again."[723] Finally, after the Resurrection, Jesus said: "Handle and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as you see Me to have."[724]

Theological proof. It is taken especially from the arguments proposed by the Fathers, especially from Tertullian,[725] and from St. Irenaeus.[726]

Three reasons are given in the body of the article. 1. Christ would not be a true man if He did not have a true body. 2. If Christ is not truly man, then He did not truly die, as narrated in the Gospels. 3. Jesus did not speak the truth when He said: "Handle and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as you see Me to have."[727]

Second Article: Whether The Son Of God Ought To Have Assumed An Earthly Body

This means: Ought Christ to have assumed flesh and blood, rather than a heavenly body?

Reply. The answer is in the affirmative, and it is of faith against the Valentinians, who said that Christ assumed a celestial body and passed through the Blessed Virgin, as water flows through a channel.[728]

Scriptural proof. In the New Testament we read: "A spirit hath not flesh and bones, as you see Me to have."[729] St. Paul says of Jesus: "He was made to Him[Father] of the seed of David, according to the flesh."[730] And again: "God sent His Son, made of a woman."[731] In Christ's genealogy, it is said of Him: "Son of David, son of Abraham."[732] The angel says to Mary: "Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb and shalt bring forth a son, and thou shalt call His name Jesus."[733] St. Joseph is also declared to be "the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus."[734]

All these texts would not be true if Christ had come down from heaven with a celestial body, and had merely passed through the Blessed Virgin, as through a channel.

Theological proof. 1. If Christ had not assumed our nature, then He would not be truly man, since flesh and bones are required for a nature to be truly human. 2. Also Christ would not have been really hungry, or have suffered and died, as recorded in the Gospels. 3. He would have told a lie in presenting Himself to men as having a body of flesh. If St. Paul says that "the first man was of the earth, earthly: the second man from heaven, heavenly,"[735] this means that Christ's body was formed from the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary by a heavenly power, namely, by the Holy Ghost.[736]

Reply to second objection. Christ came in passible flesh, "that He might carry through the work of our redemption." Hence Christ's death was not the result of original sin, but the consequence of a nature conceived in passible flesh, and this consequence He offered in submission for our redemption.[737] He submitted to the penalty of death not for Himself, but for our sake.

That the Word came, however, in passible and mortal flesh, rather than in impassible flesh, presupposes Adam's sin, although in Christ death was not the result of original sin, which He did not contract. The same must be said of the Blessed Virgin, who was preserved from original sin.

Reply to third objection. It pertains to the greatest glory of God that He raised a most weak and earthly body to such sublimity. It was mercy that moved God to unite the highest with the lowest for our salvation. St. Thomas has treated this question more fully in another work.[738]

Doubt. Was Christ's blood hypostatically united with the Word? This question is of no slight importance, because it concerns the precious blood of Jesus Christ that was shed in His passion and that is offered daily in the Mass.

This doubt was formerly the subject of much dispute. Durandus denied that the Word hypostatically united with Himself the natural blood. Alphonsus Tostatus (Abulensis),[739] Richard,[740] and several Franciscan theologians were of the same opinion. St. Thomas took the affirmative view both here and in his commentary on the resurrection of Christ.[741] The Thomists, Cajetan and Capreolus, and almost all theologians are in agreement with St. Thomas on this point. Since this question gave rise to bitter contention between the Franciscans and Dominicans, the latter defending the doctrine of St. Thomas, Pius II (1464) issued a decree[742] putting an end to these disputes, until it was defined what must be believed. Later on, however, as Suarez observes, the Franciscan view was eliminated from their schools of theology, as being neither pious nor safe teaching.

There are three proofs for this affirmative view, which is the one most commonly held.[743]

Scriptural proof. St. Paul says: "Therefore because the children[i. e., men] are partakers of flesh and blood[i. e., are composed of flesh and blood], He Himself[Christ] in like manner hath been partaker of the same."[744]

This same teaching is confirmed in other passages of Sacred Scripture, in which our redemption is attributed to the blood of Christ, His Son, as in the following text: "The blood of Christ, His Son, cleanseth us from all sin."[745]

Authoritative proof. The Council of Trent, in its discussion on the Holy Eucharist, affirms the natural union of the body and blood of Christ in these words: "The body itself is under the species of bread, and the blood is under the species of wine, and the soul under both, by the force of that natural connection and concomitance, whereby the parts of Christ our Lord... are united together."[746] Therefore the blood is a part of Christ.

Similarly Clement VI affirmed that the blood of Christ was united with the Word, saying: "The innocent and immaculate lamb is known to have shed His blood, a single drop of which, on account of its union with the Word, would have sufficed[for our redemption].[747]

Theological proof. Blood is a necessary part of the human body because it is required for its life and for the nutrition of its various parts, as also for the natural process of combustion by which natural heat is generated.

Hence theologians maintain that there will be blood in glorified bodies, inasmuch as this pertains to the integrity of the body.[748]

Confirmation of proof. From the definition of the Church on the Holy Eucharist.

If the Word did not assume hypostatically the blood, then the Word is not by concomitance under the species of wine. For that is by concomitance in the sacrament which is united really and substantially with the primary term of the consecration and conversion. But, if the Word did not assume hypostatically the blood, the Word is not really and substantially united with the blood, which is the primary term in the consecration of the chalice. Therefore, in this case, the Word would not be by concomitance present under the species of wine, which is contrary to the teaching of the Council of Trent.

Objection. Those holding the opposite opinion have said that blood is not animated, and is not actually a part of the body. The Thomists contradict this assertion, remarking that the blood is a fluid that contributes to the nutrition of the other parts of the body.

Again the opponents object, saying: What the Word once assumed, remained always united with Him. But He severed His union with the blood.

Reply. In answer to this, we say with St. Thomas:[749] I deny the minor; for the blood of Christ, just as His corpse, although it was no longer animated, remained hypostatically united with the Word during the triduum of death because it had to be reassumed.[750] And if, during the triduum of death, there had been the consecration of the wine in the chalice, the divinity would have been present by concomitance under the species of wine, as the Council of Trent declares.[751] This cannot be said of Christ's blood that was shed at the circumcision, because it was not intended to be reassumed.

It must be observed that when St. Thomas says: "All the blood which flowed from Christ's body, belonging as it does to the integrity of human nature, rose again with His body,"[752] this must be understood of all the blood shed in a moral sense, but not of absolutely all the blood in a physical sense. As Pius II says, it is not contrary to faith for one to assert that a portion of the blood that was shed by Christ on the cross, or at the crowning of thorns, was not reassumed; but then this portion of blood, if it was not reassumed, was not hypostatically united with the Word, because, just as in the case of the blood shed at the circumcision, this blood was not indeed intended to be reassumed in the resurrection for the integrity of Christ's body. What has been said suffices, in our days, for the solution of this doubt that was formerly disputed.

Third Article: Whether The Son Of God Assumed A Soul

State of the question. The next two articles are written in refutation of Apollinaris and Arius, who first of all denied that Christ had a soul; then, retracting this former opinion, they granted that He had a soul, but it was not an intellectual soul, saying that the Word took the place of the intellect.

The Council of Ephesus defined against these heretics that the Word assumed an intellectual soul.[753]

Scriptural proof. Our Lord says of Himself: "My soul is sorrowful even unto death."[754] And again: "Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit."[755]

St. Thomas explains in the body of the article that these words cannot be taken metaphorically, especially because the Gospel says that Jesus wondered, was angry, and hungry. These acts belong to a soul that is both intellectual and sensitive.

Theological proof. The principal reason given in the theological proof is that Christ would be neither truly man nor the Son of man as declared in the Gospel, unless He had a soul; and thus there would be no more any truth to the Incarnation.

Reply to first objection. If St. John says in his prologue, "And the Word was made flesh," flesh is taken for the whole man, just as sometimes in Sacred Scripture we read such assertions as, "All flesh shall see that the mouth of the Lord hath spoken."[756]

Reply to second objection. The Word is the effective cause of Christ's human life, the soul is its formal cause, and hence it is not useless. Moreover, the Word cannot be the formal cause of the human body, because the formal cause is the intrinsic cause and therefore is a part of the composite, not so perfect as the composite. But this cannot be said of the uncreated Word.

Fourth Article: Whether The Son Of God Assumed A Human Mind Or Intellect

Reply. That the Son of God assumed an intellect has been defined against the Arians and Apollinarians as belonging to the faith.

Scriptural proof. Jesus says: "Learn of Me because I am meek and humble of heart."[757] Christ was also obedient and merited, which was possible only if He had a human intellect and a human will; for the divine intellect and the divine will cannot be the principle of an act of obedience as regards a higher will.

Theological proof. The principal reason in this proof is that, if Christ did not have a human intellect, then He was not truly man, which is contrary both to what He Himself said and to Scripture.


CHAPTER VIII: QUESTION 6: THE ORDER OF ASSUMPTION

State of the question. This question is inserted here especially because of Origen's error that was condemned by Pope Vigilius in the following canon: "If anyone says or thinks that our Lord's soul existed and was united with God, the Word, prior to His incarnation and birth from the Virgin, let him be anathema."[758]

Origen said that Christ's soul was created at the beginning of the world, and by the performance of good works merited to be united hypostatically with the Word, and was de facto united with the Word, before it was united with the body in the womb of the Blessed Virgin. Hence Vigilius declared: "If anyone says or thinks that the body of our Lord Jesus Christ was first formed in the womb of the Blessed Virgin, and that afterward God the Word and the soul were united with it, as if He had already existed, let him be anathema."[759]

Hence the teaching of the Church as defined against Origen is that Christ's soul and body, or His entire humanity, was at the same moment assumed by the Word. St. Thomas explains this teaching of the Church especially in the third article of this question. In the other articles, however, especially in the fifth, he considers what was assumed by priority of nature, both on the part of the agent assuming and according to his intention, and thus the entire human nature of Christ was first assumed; and also he considers what was first assumed on the part of the subject assumed in the order of execution, and thus the parts were assumed before the whole, and so the soul was first assumed, and the body through the soul as intermediary, and finally the whole as resulting from each, or the complete human nature.

Thus this distinction being established between priority of time and priority of nature together with the aforesaid subdistinction, the whole of this question will be understood.

First Article: Whether The Son Of God Assumed Flesh Through The Medium Of The Soul

State of the question. In this article soul and body are compared in accordance with the natural order, and thus this article is distinct from the third, although for the benefit of the doctrine St. Thomas begins by distinguishing between the temporal order and the natural order.

There are two conclusions.

First conclusion. In the order of time the Word united the whole human nature of Christ to Himself simultaneously, at the very moment of the creation of Christ's soul.[760]

This conclusion is defined to be of faith against Origen.[761] It will be explained more fully farther on,[762] when St. Thomas, discussing Christ's conception, shows that it is contrary to the faith to say that Christ's flesh was first conceived and afterward was assumed by the Word of God. This assertion is against Photinus who said that Christ was first a mere man and afterward by the sanctity of His life came to be considered the Son of God.[763] In such a case, the Blessed Virgin would not be the Mother of God.

St. Thomas gives us the reason for this conclusion in these words: "If Christ's flesh had been conceived before being assumed by the Word, it would have been at some time a hypostasis other than that of the Word of God,"[764] and so there would have been two hypostases in the Word incarnate, or one would have been destroyed, which is not fitting. Hence Christ's entire humanity was simultaneously assumed.

Second conclusion. In the natural order, however, the Word instantaneously united the flesh with Himself, through the intermediary of the soul, since the soul is mediating link by reason of its dignity and causality. There is clearly here a distinction between priority of time, which is denied, and priority of nature which is affirmed, inasmuch as the very moment that Christ's soul was created, the Word assumed the flesh through the mediation of the soul; otherwise the flesh would not be human.

Third objection. It must be noted that St. Thomas says that, if the medium is taken away, then the extremes are separated. But the soul is taken away by death, though the union of the Word with the flesh still remains; for "what is bestowed through God's grace is never withdrawn except through fault."[765] Therefore the Word was not united with the flesh through the mediation of the soul.

Reply to third objection. The soul, before its separation from the body, rendered the latter apt for assumption, though it did not sever the union of the Word with the flesh; just as the loss of a woman's beauty, though this beauty contributed to her fittingness for marriage, does not sever the marriage bond.

Second Article: Whether The Son Of God Assumed A Soul Through The Medium Of The Spirit Or Mind

The purpose of this article is to explain the following text of St. Augustine, quoted in the counter-argument: "The invisible and unchangeable Truth took a soul by means of the spirit, and a body by means of the soul."

Conclusion. The Word assumed by means of the mind the other parts of the soul, just as He assumed the body by means of the soul, on account of the dignity of the order and the congruity of the assumption; for mind is the highest part of the soul in its relation to the sensitive soul.[766] What is meant by mind is the essence of the spiritual soul from which the higher faculties are derived, those that are purely spiritual, namely, the intellect and will.

Third Article: Whether The Soul Was Assumed Before The Flesh By The Son Of God

This article is strictly concerned with priority of time, for the purpose of denying such priority against Origen, and thus it differs from the first article. Origen not only maintained that all immortal souls were created in the beginning along with the angels, before they were united to bodies, but he also said this especially of Christ's soul, inasmuch as it is nobler than the angels.

Reply. The answer is that Christ's soul was not created prior to its union with the Word, and it is of faith, as evident from the condemnation of Origen by Pope Vigilius.[767]

In the counter-argument St. Thomas quotes the authority of St. John Damascene, who most clearly is against Origen's opinion.

Theological proof. It shows the unfittingness of Origen's view. It is derogatory to Christ's dignity to suppose that His soul was created before its assumption, because then it would have had its own subsistence, and hence there would be two subsistences in Christ, and two supposita, or else one subsistence would have been destroyed, which is unbecoming to Christ, as well as being a mere assertion without any foundation.

Likewise it is derogatory to Christ's dignity to suppose that His soul was created and simultaneously assumed before His body was formed, because then this soul of Christ would not seem to be of the same nature as our souls, which are created at the same time that they are infused into our bodies, inasmuch as it is the very nature of the soul to be the form of the body, and thus it differs from the angels.

As St. Thomas says in this article, quoting St. Leo: "Christ's soul excels our soul not by diversity of genus, but by sublimity of power."[768]

Doubt. Is St. Thomas speaking only of sublimity of supernatural power, that is, of plenitude of grace, whereby Christ's most holy soul excels the sanctity even of the first and second highest among the choirs of angels, namely, the seraphim and cherubim; or has he in mind the natural and individual nobility of the soul, whereby Christ's soul excels in nobility the soul of any human being?

Reply. The holy Doctor admits inequality of power among human souls in the same species.[769]

Since matter and form are mutually causes, and "since the form is not for the matter, but rather the matter for the form,"[770] Providence made Christ's body more apt for its union with the nobler part, which is the soul, just as He made the body of the Blessed Virgin Mary more fitting so that she might be worthy of becoming the Mother of God.

St. Thomas says: "It is plain that the better the disposition of a body, the better the soul allotted to it. This clearly appears in things of different species, and the reason thereof is that act and form are received into matter according to the capacity of matter. Thus, because some men have bodies of better disposition, their souls have a greater power of understanding, wherefore it is said that it is to be observed that 'those who have soft flesh are of apt mind.’[771] Secondly, this occurs in regard to the lower powers of which the intellect has need in its operations; for those in whom the imaginative, cogitative, and memorative powers are of better disposition, are better disposed to understand."[772]

St. Thomas applies this teaching to Christ, showing that the body was miraculously formed from the most pure blood of the Blessed Virgin Mary.[773]

On the one hand, the soul, although it is created and not educed from matter, thus depends materially, but not intrinsically, on the body, and therefore it can continue to exist after its separation from the body.

On the other hand, the body is better disposed, inasmuch as it depends finally and formally and in some way in the evolution of the embryo efficiently on the better disposed soul. Hence St. Thomas says: "What is received in anything can be considered both being and perfection. According to its being it is in the one in which it is received, after the manner of the recipient; nevertheless, the one that received it is drawn to its perfection."[774] Thus heat is received in water, light in the air, the soul in the body, grace in the soul, and the subject that receives is made conformable to the perfection received.

So there is a mutual transcendental relation between matter and form, body and soul, which therefore remains individuated after its separation from the body by reason of this transcendental relation to the body, which will be again informed by the soul on the day of the resurrection of the dead.

Father Gredt correctly remarks that "one human soul differs from another in perfection substantially, of course, though not essentially but accidentally, taking the word 'accidentally' as a predicable accident,"[775] but not as a predicamental accident, which is an operative faculty that is really distinct from substance. Thus the soul of Christ, even as a substance, is individually, although not specifically, nobler than the soul of any other human being, just as His body, which was miraculously formed in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary, was better disposed than any other human body whatever. It is also evident that the souls of great doctors of the Church, in which there are signs of great genius, are individually nobler than many other souls.

Thus we have a beautiful verification of the principle that causes mutually interact, but in a different genus; for the form determines the matter, and the latter is ordained for the form, as also the agent attains the end which attracts it.

Fourth Article: Whether The Flesh Of Christ Was Assumed By The Word Before Being United With The Soul

State of the question. This article concerns priority of time. The purpose of this article, as stated in the first and second difficulties, is that, according to the teaching of the ancient philosophers, in the conception of other men, living flesh is found in possession of vegetative life, and already of the sensitive life, before the rational soul, which is created by God, comes to it. Thus in the first two objections of this article, disposition of the matter precedes the coming of the form, and in human beings, the body is conceived before the rational soul comes to it.

But, on the other hand, as we stated in the first article, it is evident, concerning the condemnation of Origen's teaching, that the Word assumed simultaneously the flesh and soul of Christ, for flesh is not human before the soul comes to it.

This question presupposes another, namely, whether Christ's flesh was conceived or formed, at least in accordance with its remote natural dispositions, before it was united with the rational soul. The solution of the present article depends on this query, but this point concerns the question of Christ's conception, and is therefore explained farther on.[776]

In the passage quoted above, St. Thomas shows that it is against the faith to say that Christ's flesh was first conceived, and afterward was animated and assumed by the Word. This is evident from what the Church has declared against Origen and against Photinus.[777]

Reply. Christ's flesh ought not to have been assumed before the soul.

Authoritative proof. St. John Damascene says: "At the same time the Word of God was made flesh, and flesh was united to a rational and intellectual soul."[778] This means to say that Christ's flesh was conceived, animated, and assumed simultaneously. This is what the Church declares against Origen and against Photinus.[779]

Theological proof. It is expressed briefly in the last line of the argumentative part of the article. Flesh is not strictly human before it receives the rational soul. But the Word assumed only strictly human flesh. Therefore flesh ought not to have been assumed before the soul.

This is well explained in the body of the article. For human flesh is assumable by the Word according to the order it has to the rational soul. But it has not (at least this immediate) order, before the rational soul comes to it; because the moment that the matter is ultimately disposed for the form, it also receives the form. The whole article must be read.[780]

But how is the difficulty that is presented in the first objection to be solved. It states that our bodies are conceived before they are animated by the rational soul. St. Thomas admits this statement as at least probable in fact, inasmuch as the body first has the vegetative life, then the sensitive life, before it is ultimately disposed for the rational soul, which is created by God instantaneously from nothing, and is not educed from matter.

St. Thomas replies to the first objection of this article, saying that it is certainly so with us, remarking that "before the coming of the human soul, there is no human flesh," but there is in the body a previous but not ultimate disposition for human flesh. He goes on to say: "In the conception of Christ, the Holy Ghost, who is an agent of infinite might, disposed the matter and brought it to its perfection at the same time." Likewise, he says farther on: "Christ's body, on account of the infinite power of the agent, was perfectly disposed instantaneously. Wherefore at once and in the first instant it received a perfect form, that is, the rational soul."[781] Farther on he says: "Christ's conception must be said to be entirely miraculous (on the part of the active power), and in a qualified manner natural (on the part of the matter contributed by the mother)."[782]

Thus in the miraculous conversion of water into wine at Cana, the matter of water (without any previous dispositions) is disposed to receive the form of wine. So also, in the operational order, the conversion of St. Paul was instantaneous; similarly the sanctification of the Blessed Virgin Mary took place at the very moment of her conception, inasmuch as, when her soul was created, it instantaneously received a plenitude of grace, and was preserved from original sin through the merits of Christ. So too, in the natural order, men of great genius solve problems, but, at times, they do not sufficiently prepare their pupils to understand their teaching, which is then understood in a wrong sense, and thus these pupils fall into error.

Different from Christ's conception, St. Thomas does not admit that the rational soul of the Blessed Virgin Mary was created at the moment of her conception, for he distinguishes between this moment and the moment after the animation of her flesh. In this he distinguishes between the virginal conception of Christ and that of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which was not miraculous, inasmuch as her conception was not virginal, but natural; for she was born in a natural way from a father and mother. St. Thomas asks whether the Blessed Virgin Mary was sanctified before animation, which is distinct from the passive conception of the body. But complete passive conception of the body, inasmuch as it is distinct from the beginning of this conception, took place in the Blessed Virgin at the same time as animation, which is the usual procedure in human beings.[783]

Reply to third objection. The conception, animation, and assumption of Christ's body were instantaneous. But by priority of nature the body was preserved by the Word as a being, before its animation, because the body is first a being, and then a body.

Nevertheless, as regards the personal union, Christ's body was, in accordance with nature, first united with the soul, before it was united with the Word, because it is from its union with the soul that it is capable of being united with the Word in person; especially since a person, as such, is found only in the rational nature. So it was that during the three days in which our Lord's body was separated from the soul, the Word was not united personally but only subsistentially with Christ's corpse. The entire reply to the third objection should be read.

A question that deserves special attention is: When is the rational soul created? Does this take place at the moment of conception or afterward? Father Gredt says: "The ancient philosophers taught that, first of all, ... the merely vegetative soul that is imperfect and transitory would be educed, and this soul by a process of evolution would become corrupt and would be substituted by another that is imperfect, the sensitive soul, which also becomes corrupt, and forty days after conception the rational soul would finally be created and infused into the body." "Nevertheless," says Father Gredt, "it is better to say with modern philosophers that from the very beginning the germinal cells are united, and there is present a special organization and proximate disposition for the infusion of the rational soul, which is therefore created and infused by God, without the intervention of any other soul.[784]

On the contrary, Father Barbado, O. P., says: "It is not our purpose to decide this question that is so much disputed among Scholastics. However, we must point out that experience shows the foundation for this traditional view, which the ancient philosophers took from embryology, is strongly supported by present-day investigations.... For the egg, in the segmentation process and the follicles in the blastodermic process do not possess actually but only potentially the future organization, and it is only much later that the organs come to perfection."[785]

Moreover, after death or the separation of the rational soul from the body, facts seem to attest that for some time the vegetative soul remains, since the hair and nails still grow. If such be the case after the separation of the rational soul from the body, why not before the creation of the soul?

Fifth Article: Whether The Whole Human Nature Was Assumed Through The Medium Of The Parts

This title is not concerned with the order of time, but with that of nature.

State of the question. The purpose of the article is to explain what St. Augustine means when he says, as quoted in the first objection: "The invisible and unchangeable Truth assumed the soul through the medium of the spirit, and the body through the medium of the soul, and in this way the whole man." We stated in the first article that the Word assumed flesh through the medium of the soul. But the whole human nature results from the union of the parts.

Conclusion. The Word of God assumed the human nature through the medium of the whole. This means the body and the soul, because of their relation to the whole. Evidently the article is concerned only with the order of nature and not with that of time.

Authoritative proof. It is taken from St. John Damascene, who is quoted in the counter-argument.

Theological proof. The order of nature, which concerns us here, is of two kinds. It may be considered either on the part of the agent assuming, or on the part of the subject assumed. In the Incarnation, however, our attention must be given especially to the first kind, because the whole idea of the deed is estimated from the omnipotence of the agent.

But on the part of the agent, that is absolutely first which is first in intention, which is to assume the entire human nature. Therefore the Word of God assumed the parts of the human nature through the medium of the whole, or on account of the whole that was first intended.[786]

Sixth Article: Whether The Human Nature Was Assumed Through The Medium Of Grace

This article is inserted here because of the necessity of explaining the threefold meaning of the word "grace."

1) There is a certain grace that is the uncreated will of God freely doing or donating something. In this sense, it is called effective grace, but not formal grace.

2) In Christ there is the grace of union which is formally in Him, and it is the very personal being of the Word, which terminates, possesses, and sanctifies the human nature of Christ.

3) Habitual grace is also formally in Christ, inhering in His soul' as an accident, which will be more clearly explained in the following question.

Two conclusions follow from this distinction.

1) The hypostatic union did not take place through the medium of the grace of union or through the medium of habitual grace. For the grace of union is the very personal being of Christ, which is the term of the assumption. Habitual grace, which inheres in the soul of Christ, is the consequent effect of the hypostatic union, and this will be made clearer in the following question.

2) The hypostatic union took place by grace that is God's uncreated will, not as a medium, but as efficient cause.

Thus St. Thomas, speaking of the grace that predestines the elect, inquires whether predestination places anything in the predestined, and he replies: "Predestination is not anything in the predestined, but only in the person who predestines.... But the execution of predestination, which is the calling, the justification, the magnification, is in the predestined."[787]

Doubt. Is there a created actuation produced by the uncreated act in the hypostatic union by the very fact that Christ's human nature began to be actuated terminatively by the Word, as Father de la Taille contends? Is the grace of union in Christ anything created, as St. Thomas maintains?

This question is about the same as that concerning the substantial mode whereby Christ's humanity is united with the Word.[788]

Reply. Both parts of the question are denied. St. Thomas says in the present article: "The grace of union is the personal being that is given gratis from above to the human nature in the person of the Word," and therefore it cannot be understood in the sense of a created medium, a created actuation that is produced by the uncreated act. The grace of union is not something created, but it is the very Word that terminates the human nature, both possessing and sanctifying it.

Likewise, when St. Thomas inquires about the union of the two natures in Christ, as to whether it was effected by grace, he replies: "If grace be understood as the will of God gratuitously doing something, ... then the union of the Incarnation took place by grace, ... but not as though there were a habitual grace by means of which the union took place."[789] It would have been so, however, if there were a created and indeed supernatural actuation produced by the uncreated act.

St. Thomas says, too, in the present article: "Grace is an accidental perfection of the soul, and therefore it cannot ordain the soul to personal union, which is not accidental."[790]

We have already quoted the passage in which St. Thomas says: "It must be known that in the union of the divine nature and the human nature, there can be no medium that formally causes the union, to which the human nature is previously joined before it is united with the divine person; just as there can be no mediating being between matter and form, which would be previously in the matter before the substantial form, otherwise accidental being would be prior to substantial being, which is impossible. So also, between nature and suppositum there can be no medium in the above-mentioned manner, since each conjunction is for substantial union."[791] But it is shown that the union, as a real relation of the human nature with the Word, is the consequent or resulting effect; for St. Thomas says: "This relation follows, which is called union; hence union is the medium, not as causing the assumption, but as following it."[792]

St. Thomas also shows elsewhere that the union is declared to be something created since it is a real relation of Christ's human nature to the Word, but it is only a logical relation of the Word to the human nature. Thus creation in the passive sense is a real relation of the creature to the Creator.[793]

As we remarked above,[794] it cannot properly be said that the human nature undergoes a change in its assumption by the Word, and that this change is the finite actuation produced by the uncreated act.

St. Thomas shows that we look upon creation as a change, whereas in reality it is not a change, saying: "Change means that the same something should be different now from what it was previously."[795] But this is impossible in the case of creation, and even in the assumption of Christ's humanity, because the subject that is to undergo the change is not as yet in existence. As Thomas says, "When motion is removed from action and passion, only relation remains."[796] Hence passive creation is simply a relation of dependence, which is likewise the case with Christ's hypostatic union. This means that Christ's human nature is dependent on the Word.

Likewise the formal effect is not distinct from the form that is received in the subject. Thus the formal effect of whiteness is to make a thing white, and it is only by this whiteness that anything is white. Similarly man is made pleasing to God by habitual grace.

Matter is also actuated by form, and there is no distinction between this actuation and its substantial form, otherwise, as St. Thomas stated above, "accidental being would be prior to substantial being, which is impossible."[797]

But if the actuation of prime matter is the same as the formal act that it receives, so also the actuation produced by the uncreated act cannot be anything created, because then there would be a real and infinite distinction between it and the uncreated act.

Thus we terminate the metaphysical questions concerning the mode of the union of the human nature with the Word, first in itself, and then on the part of the person assuming, and of the human nature that is assumed together with its parts, as also the order in which these parts are assumed. Let us pass on now to consider questions that are not so much metaphysical as psychological and spiritual, and that concern the co-assumed parts, such as Christ's grace, knowledge, power, His sensitive nature or His propassions. But metaphysical questions will again arise, when we consider the consequences of the hypostatic union,[798] namely, the truth of the propositions because of the personal unity in Christ, and when we come to inquire whether there is unity of being in Christ, just as there is unity of person in Him.[799]

It is already to some extent apparent that the answer will be in the affirmative.


CHAPTER IX: QUESTION 7: THE THINGS CO-ASSUMED THE GRACE OF CHRIST

Having considered the nature that was assumed, we pass on to n treat of what pertains to the perfection of Christ's human nature, namely, His grace, knowledge, and power; then we shall discuss His passibility together with His sensitive nature. The thirteenth question is concerned with Christ's human will, namely, with those things that pertain to the conformity of the two wills in Christ. There are two questions on Christ's grace, namely: (1) Christ's grace as an individual man (q. 7); (2) Christ's grace as the head of the Church (q. 8).

Theologians generally distinguish between two graces in Christ: (1) the grace of union, that is, His personal being that is gratuitously given by God to His human nature; (2) His habitual grace, as an individual man and as head of the Church.

In the seventh question St. Thomas, in discussing Christ's habitual grace as an individual man, includes the whole organism of the supernatural life in Christ's most holy soul, namely, the grace that is called "the grace of the virtues and of the gifts"; in that the virtues and the gifts belong properly to this grace. He also treats of the graces gratis datae and of the plenitude of Christ's grace. Some might object to the order followed in these questions, and say that the present problem, just as the question concerning the union of wills in Christ, ought to be relegated to the latter part of this treatise, when the consequences of the union are discussed.

The answer must be, in all probability, that the proper place to discuss the things co-assumed on the part of the human nature is here; whereas, on the contrary, from the sixteenth to the twenty-sixth questions inclusive, those things consequent to the union of the two natures are discussed, namely, Christ's unity as regards being, will, and operation, as also His relation to the Father, and to us, for example, that Christ must be worshiped as God.[800]

Hence the proper place to discuss the things co-assumed is here, this being the truly logical order, after the consideration of the nature that was assumed.

Hence, after consideration of the nature that was assumed, the truly logical order is to discuss the things that were co-assumed, from the seventh question to the fifteenth question.

There are three parts to this seventh question.

First part. It discusses habitual grace, the virtues and gifts in Christ (a. 1-6).

Second part. It treats of the graces freely bestowed upon Christ by His heavenly Father.

Third part. It is concerned with the plenitude of Christ's grace (a. 9-13).

All these articles pertain to Christ's sanctity. But after the time of St. Thomas, Christ's sanctity was discussed more in detail by way of a preliminary question, which is usually inserted here by way of a preliminary by the Thomists. The precise purport of this question is to settle the doubt whether the substantial grace of union sanctifies formally or merely radically Christ's human nature.

This question must be examined here since it serves as an introduction to the articles of the seventh question, enabling us to understand them better, for the substantial grace and uncreated grace of union is, so to speak, the radical cause of habitual grace, or the grace of the virtues and gifts in Christ.

Preliminary Question: Christ's Substantial Grace Of Union As The Source Of His Sanctification

State of the question. Gonet observes: "It is a question of three kinds of grace, to which St. John briefly and indirectly alludes. For concerning the substantial grace of union, he says: 'The Word was made flesh.’[801] Concerning Christ's habitual grace as an individual person, he adds: 'We saw His glory full of grace and truth.’ Finally, there is indirect allusion to Christ's grace as head of the Church when, farther on he says: 'And of His fullness we have all received.’ "[802]

Cajetan observes in his commentary at the beginning of this seventh question that St. Thomas already discussed the grace of union, not under the name of grace, however, but inasmuch as it is the hypostatic union of Christ's human nature with the Word. But when the question arose, whether Christ's human nature is formally sanctified by the substantial and uncreated grace of union, then Durandus[803] and the Scotists said that Christ's human nature is not formally but only radically sanctified by the grace of union. The affirmative opinion prevails as the more general one among, Thomist theologians and those of other schools, which is the conclusion we come to from the teaching of the councils and the Fathers of the Church, and there is more than an indirect reference to this opinion in the passages we shall quote from St. Thomas. Of this opinion are John of St. Thomas, Godoy, Soto, Salmanticenses, Gonet, Billuart, and more recent Thomists, as also Suarez, de Lugo, Valentia, Vasquez, Franzelin, Billot, Hurter, and Pesch. It is the common and certain doctrine.[804]

Thesis. Christ's human nature is not only radically, but also formally sanctified by the substantial and uncreated union of the Word with the human nature.

In other words, Christ's sanctity is not accidental, but it is also substantial and uncreated, because it began at the very moment of His virginal conception. To understand this doctrine we must recall what sanctity is. St. Thomas says that sanctity is steadfast union with God, which implies "stainless purity."[805]

This steadfast union is unchangeable in heaven or among the blessed. The just have not as yet in this life attained to this unchangeableness, but, as St. Thomas says,[806] the holiness of the wayfarer causes him to direct his thoughts and actions toward God or is firmly turned to Him.

There is a twofold acceptation of sanctity as thus defined.

1) It may mean the proximately operative virtue of good, and in this sense there is no difference between it and the virtue of religion that is commanded by the theological virtues and that firmly directs all our actions to the worship of God.

2) It may be regarded as the foundation for this union with God, and thus in us it is habitual grace, which for this reason is called sanctifying grace, or the grace that unites us with God and makes us pleasing to Him.

All admit that Christ, as God, possesses essential and uncreated sanctity. But the question is whether the uncreated and substantial grace of union sanctifies Christ's human nature radically, namely, in that it is the source of habitual grace, or whether it sanctifies His human nature formally, that is, in the true and strict sense of the word, independently even of habitual grace. Likewise, farther on there will be a question of whether the grace of union suffices for the negative effect of sanctity, namely, impeccability; and the answer will be in the affirmative.

1) Teaching of the Fathers on Christ's sanctity. The passages commonly quoted are as follows:

St. Cyril: "Christ was anointed not as other saints and kings are; but because the Word is flesh,"[807] that is, because the Word was made flesh.

St. Gregory Nazianzen: "Christ is so called because of His divine nature; for that is the unction of His human nature, which is not effected by operation, as in others that are anointed, but Christ is sanctified by the presence of the whole divine unction."[808]

St. John Damascene: "He[Christ I anointed Himself, which means that as God, He anointed His body by His divine nature; He was anointed, however, as man.... Moreover, the divinity is the unction of His humanity."[809]

St. Augustine, commenting on this scriptural text, "that they also may be sanctified in truth,"[810] says: "The Son of man was sanctified from the beginning of His creation, when the Word was made flesh; because one person became Word and man. Therefore He was sanctified by Himself in Himself; because the one Christ, who is Word and man, sanctifies the man in the Word."[811]

In another work St. Augustine says likewise: "Christ... was known to be anointed by that mystic and invisible union, at the time when the Word was made flesh, namely, when the human nature, without any previous merits because of good works, was united with the Word of God in the womb of the Virgin so as to become one person with the Word."[812]

2) St. Thomas says in a similar manner: "The grace of union is the personal being that is given gratis from above to the human nature in the person of the Word, and it is the term of the assumption, whereas the habitual grace pertaining to the spiritual holiness of the man is an effect following the union."[813] But the effect, inasmuch as it is a consequent accident, presupposes substantial sanctity.

Likewise St. Thomas,[814] in proving the necessity of habitual grace in Christ, does not seek the reason for it in His already established sanctity by the grace of union, but he explains it: (1) because of the union of His soul with the Word; (2) because it had to be the connatural principle of knowledge and love in the supernatural order; (3) on account of Christ's relation to the human race, since He is its head.

Hence St. Thomas does not say that Christ's habitual grace is sanctifying grace. In fact, he says farther on that Christ's human nature during the Passion had "the actual holiness of a victim, from the charity which it had from the beginning, and from the grace of union sanctifying it absolutely."[815] St. Thomas speaks in similar terms when discussing the plenitude of Christ's grace. After having said that by habitual grace man is united to God by love, he adds: "There is another kind of union of man with God, which is not only accomplished by love or the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, but also by the unity of the hypostasis.... And this belongs properly to Jesus Christ...and makes Him most pleasing to God, so that it may be said of Him as an individual: This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased."[816]

Again, when St. Thomas asks whether Christ can be called the adopted Son of God, he replies: "The sonship of adoption is a participated likeness of natural sonship; nor can a thing be said to participate in what it has essentially. Therefore Christ, who is the natural Son of God, can nowise be called an adopted Son."[817]

He also shows that Christ, as man, was predestined primarily and principally for natural and divine sonship, or for the grace of union, and secondarily and consequently for habitual grace and glory, as the effects of the grace of union.[818] St. Thomas, in his comment on the scriptural text, "Whom the Father hath sanctified and sent into the world,"[819] referring to St. Hilary, likewise says: "He precedes the rest by this, that He was sanctified as the Son."[820] Hence St. Thomas taught even explicitly the doctrine of the present thesis, and, though he did not use the same terminology as nowadays, yet he expressed himself in equivalent terms.

Theological proof. This proof from reason that is proposed in various ways by the Thomists, may be clearly expressed by the following syllogism.

Formal sanctity which the just possess by reason of sanctifying grace, includes but four requisite conditions. But these four requisite conditions are found in Christ solely because of the grace of union, even independently of habitual grace. Therefore the substantial grace of union is what formally constitutes sanctity in Christ. Therefore His sanctity is innate, substantial, and increate. Accidental sanctity, which results from habitual grace is derived from this grace of union.

Proof of major. Formal sanctity about which we are concerned, is not a proximately operative virtue that is really distinct from the virtue of religion, but it is that union with God which the just have by reason of habitual or sanctifying grace. This formal sanctity, however, includes but four necessary conditions, so that the just person be formally holy. These conditions are the following.

1) That the person be united with God and somehow drawn into union with the divine being.

2) That the person be constituted the son of God, heir of His kingdom, pleasing to Him and loved by Him.

3) That the person be radically disposed to perform supernaturally good works.

4) That the principle of life is in such a person, which principle is incompatible with mortal sin.

All these four conditions are fully explained in that part of the treatise in which habitual or sanctifying grace is discussed, or that grace which makes us pleasing to God.

Minor. But Christ possesses these four conditions in a much higher degree by reason of His substantial and increate grace of union, even independently of habitual grace. For 1) by the grace of union, Christ's human nature is more perfectly drawn to and united with the divine nature than by habitual grace. For Christ's human nature is drawn to the divine nature as it is in Itself, and not merely to a participation in the divine nature. It is also united with the divine nature not merely accidentally and lovingly, but substantially and personally.

2) By the grace of union, Christ as man becomes the natural Son and heir of God, most pleasing to Him and loved by Him, whereas by habitual grace man becomes merely the adopted son of God. St. Thomas shows that love on God's part is the diffusion of good, and He could not confer a greater good on the human nature than to give Himself substantially to it.[821]

3) The grace of union makes Christ the principium quod[822] of theandric operations that are infinitely meritorious, whereas Christ has need of habitual grace only so that these supernatural operations be elicited connaturally by His human faculties.

4) Finally, the hypostatic union implies greater incompatibility with sin than habitual grace does, for, as will be stated farther on, not only is this union incompatible with mortal sin, but even with the slightest sin, and it makes such a man not only sinless, but absolutely impeccable.[823]

Therefore the conclusion follows that the substantial grace of union is what makes Christ formally holy, and this holiness is not accidental, but substantial, increate, and also innate.

Confirmation. By the grace of union, Christ is the natural Son of God. To be the natural Son of God means the maximum of sanctity, or the greatest of union with God and of supernatural union with Him, in accordance with what the Father said: "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."[824]

Objection. The grace of union cannot make a man formally blessed. Therefore it cannot make him formally holy.

Reply. I deny the consequent. The difference between the two is that formal blessedness is a vital act consisting in the vision and love of God; formal holiness, however, with which we are here concerned, consists in habitual union with God, which is ordered to right action; and just as habitual grace gives one a right to eternal happiness, provided this grace be not lost by mortal sin, so a fortiori does the grace of union..

Again I insist. But if the Word were to assume an irrational nature, for example, a dove or a lamb, such a creature would not be sanctified by the Word.

Reply. The reason for this lack of sanctification would be that such subject or nature that is assumed is incapable of it; in fact, the Word would not give personality but only subsistence to such a nature. Likewise during the three days of Christ's death, the Word remained united with Christ's corpse, not because it was a person, but because it was a suppositum.

Another objection. The divine nature can formally sanctify Christ's human nature only by intrinsically perfecting it and really changing it as its intrinsic form. But the divine nature cannot be in relation to Christ's human nature as its intrinsic form. Therefore the divine nature cannot formally sanctify Christ's human nature. This means that Christ's human nature would be holy only by extrinsic denomination.

Reply. I distinguish the major: unless the divine nature intrinsically perfected the human nature as the intrinsic form that terminates it, or rather as the act that intrinsically terminates it, this I concede; that the divine nature could formally sanctify it only as its intrinsic form that informs it, this I deny. And I contradistinguish the minor.

For just as Christ's human nature is really and intrinsically perfected, not because it is a nature, but because it is a suppositum, inasmuch as it is terminated by the Word, so it is really and intrinsically sanctified by its personal union with the Word.

But I insist. There can be no holiness without the intrinsic form that excludes sin. But this intrinsic form must inform, just as sin is an inherent privation; so also blindness is removed only by the inherent power to see, and not as proposed by reason of the terminating object.

Reply. I concede the major. I deny the minor, for sin is absolutely impossible in Christ's human nature solely because this human nature is assumed by the Word. The reason is that sin is a privation that introduces disorder in the entire suppositum, and the divine suppositum cannot be subjected to disorder. On the contrary, blindness is only the privation of some particular accident, namely, the power to see, and hence this blindness is removed only by the restoration of the inherent visual faculty.

Final objection. But in such a case, Christ's human nature is sanctified by the increate sanctity and consequently would be God or the Godhead. Confusion of the nature would follow the form.

Reply. I distinguish the consequent as in the previous objection. That Christ's human nature would be God or the Godhead, if it were sanctified by the divine nature, as the informing form, this I concede; as the act that properly terminates the nature, this I deny. Therefore Christ's sanctity is substantial, increate, and also innate.

Doubt. Is Christ's human nature formally and substantially sanctified by the divine nature that is included in the personality of the Word, or is it sanctified by His relative personality, because of what this adds to the absolute perfections, or even by the very mode of the union?

Reply. Gonet, Billuart, and several other Thomists say that Christ's humanity is substantially sanctified by the divine nature that is included in the personality of the Word, but not in the other two ways. There is authoritative proof for this affirmation from the quotations of the above-mentioned Fathers, especially St. Gregory, who says: 'Christ[anointed] is so called because of His divine nature, for that is the unction of the human nature."[825] But what anoints the human nature is formally what sanctifies it. Therefore the human nature is formally sanctified by the divine nature.

Theological proof. Christ's human nature is formally sanctified by the divine sanctity. The divine sanctity, however, is the divine nature as such, which is included in the personality of the Word, and therefore the three divine persons are holy by the same essential holiness.[826]

Confirmation. Habitual grace formally sanctifies inasmuch as it is a participation of the divine nature, and thus it is the source of strictly divine operations and ultimately of the beatific vision. Therefore, in like manner, what formally sanctifies Christ's human nature is precisely the divine nature that is included in the personality of the Word.

Hence the other two modes are rejected. First of all, it is clearly evident that Christ's human nature is not formally sanctified by the mode itself of the union, because, in our opinion, there is no such mode of union; and if there were, it would not formally sanctify the nature, because it would not be the sanctifying form, but merely the application of the nature to the form. Thus the just person is not said to be sanctified by the mode of union with habitual grace, but by habitual grace itself.

Finally, Christ's human nature is not formally sanctified by the relative personality of the Word because of what this personality adds to the absolute perfections of the divine persons, for, according to the more probable opinion of several Thomists as explained in the treatise on the Trinity, the divine personalities considered as such or because of the notion of reference to the opposite correlative in the order of divine relations (esse ad), which they add to the divine essence, do not declare a new perfection, and therefore sanctity, but rather they abstract, as the free act of God does, from both perfection and imperfection. Otherwise we should have to say that the Father is lacking in a certain perfection since He does not have sonship, or that subsistent relation which constitutes the person of the Son. Hence the subsistent, divine relations, that are opposed to one another and God's free act, are not absolutely simple perfections at least in the strict sense; for an absolutely simple perfection is defined as a perfection the concept of which implies no imperfection, and which is better to have than not to have. Thus the Father has all absolutely simple perfections, otherwise He would not be God, but He does not have the correlative opposite relation of sonship. It is also not better for Him to have the free act of creating than not to have it. For God is not better because He created the universe.

Objection. Some say that Christ's nature is formally sanctified by that with which it is immediately united. But it is more immediately united with the subsistence of the Word than with the divine nature. Therefore Christ's nature is formally sanctified by the subsistence of the Word.

Reply. I distinguish the major. If this to which the human nature is immediately united is the sanctifying form, then I concede the major; otherwise I deny it.

It is not unbefitting Christ's human nature to be united with the divine nature through the medium of the personality of the Word, because this union cannot be effected in the nature, but only in the person. Likewise it is only through the medium of the person of the Word that the human nature is united with the one and only divine nature.[827] Similarly habitual grace sanctifies the whole being of man, although it is not united immediately with the whole of his being.

Thus it remains true that Christ's human nature is formally sanctified by the substantial and increate grace of union, but with a union not by participation with the divine nature, but with the divine nature itself, in the person of the Word. Thus, as already stated, Christ's sanctity is not only a transport of joy experienced in His intellect and will, but it is also the transport of joy that is felt in His whole being.

This preliminary article does not give the complete teaching of St. Thomas on this question, but it covers a particular phase of it, for this is what he had already said in equivalent words.

Having discussed Christ's substantial sanctity, we must now consider the question of His accidental sanctity, which consists in habitual grace that was infused into His soul at the moment of His conception. St. Thomas treats of this grace throughout the whole of this seventh question.

First Article: Whether In The Soul Of Christ There Was Any Habitual Grace

State of the question. Paludanus asserts[828] that some theologians were of the opinion that there was no habitual grace in Christ, because they thought it to be entirely superfluous in Him. Their reasons are given by St. Thomas in the objections placed at the beginning of this article, and are as follows:

1. Grace is a certain participation of the divine nature; but Christ is God not by participation, but in truth.

2. By the mere fact that Christ was the natural Son of God, He had the power of doing all things well in the supernatural order, and eternal life was His by right.

What is true about these arguments, as will at once be evident, is that, absolutely speaking, Christ could have acted freely, and, by way of transient help that functions instead of habitual grace, be elevated to elicit supernatural and even meritorious acts, but these would not have been connatural to Him.[829] It is difficult to deny this statement, which is admitted by several Thomists, such as Gonet, Godoy, Billuart, and others.

Let us suppose that Christ or the Word incarnate had not received habitual grace and, nevertheless, had offered Himself for us on the cross; this oblation would not only be salutary, as our acts are that precede justification and dispose us for it, but by virtue of the grace of union this oblation would also be meritorious, in fact, of infinite value.[830] Nevertheless, as we shall immediately show, this oblation would not have been connatural, as it must be, nor would it have been connatural merit de condigno.

Conclusion. We must say that Christ's soul was endowed with habitual grace.

It is the common opinion among theologians, which the Scholastics hold along with the Master of the Book of Sentences[831] and the commentators of St. Thomas on this article. This conclusion is at least theologically certain which is correctly deduced and commonly admitted, so that it belongs at least to "the science of theology," which is subordinate to faith and above theological systems.

For the purpose of reconciling the various theologians who do not attach the same note of censure to the opposite opinion, Francis Sylvius made the following distinctions.

In his opinion: (1) It is certainly of faith that Christ even in His human nature was holy and pleasing to God.

2) It is probably of faith that Christ was sanctified by habitual grace that was infused into His soul, especially because, as Sacred Scripture attests, Christ had charity and the other infused virtues, which presuppose habitual grace.

3) Christ in His human nature was sanctified in two ways: first by the grace of union; secondly by habitual grace. The first sanctity is substantial, the second is accidental. Hence the opinion of those who said that Christ's habitual grace must be denied as superfluous, because He was sanctified by the grace of union, must be rejected, as at least temerarious.

Scriptural proof. St. Thomas quotes in the counterargument, the following text: "The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him[i. e. Christ, or the Messias] : the spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the spirit of counsel and of fortitude, the spirit of knowledge and of godliness, and He shall be filled with the spirit of the fear of the Lord."[832]

This text from Isaias proves directly the presence of the gifts of the Holy Ghost in the soul of Christ and consequently the presence of created habitual grace, from which the gifts proceed as explained in the treatises on grace and the gifts. Thus grace is called by theologians the grace of the virtues and gifts, because these are derived from it.

The Evangelist explains these words of Isaias as referring to Christ,[833] and the interpretation of St. Thomas on these words is the one generally followed.

There is another text that must be quoted concerning this grace. The Evangelist writes: "And the Word was made flesh... and we saw His glory as it were of the only-begotten of the Father[which is the grace of union or natural divine sonship], full of grace and truth"[834][where the fullness of habitual grace is implied]. The Evangelist likewise says: "And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace."[835] We have confirmation of this grace from those texts of Scripture attributing to Christ virtues that presuppose habitual grace, such as charity, humility, and other virtues.

The meaning of these texts of Sacred Scripture is made clearer by the testimony of tradition, which is the living commentary of Scripture.

Patristic proof.[836] St. John Chrysostom says: "The full measure of grace has been poured out over that Temple[Christ] : for the Spirit does not measure this grace out to Him.... We have received of His fullness, but that Temple has received the complete measure of grace.... In Him is all grace, in men but a small measure, a drop of that grace."[837]

St. Cyril of Alexandria says: "Christ sanctifies Himself, since as God He is holy by nature; but according to His human nature He is sanctified together with us."[838]

St. Augustine says: "The Lord Jesus Christ Himself not only gave the Holy Spirit as God; but also received it as man, and therefore He is said to be full of grace[839] and of the Holy Spirit.[840] And it is still more plainly written of Him, 'Because God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit.’[841] Certainly, not with visible oil, but with the gift of grace, which is signified by the visible ointment wherewith the Church anoints the baptized."[842]

St. Bernard, commenting on these words of the Evangelist, "And therefore also the Holy that shall be born of thee,"[843] says: "He[Christ] was undoubtedly and particularly holy through the sanctification by the Spirit and assumption by the Word."[844] These last words contain two distinct assertions. Evidently, the words "and through the assumption by the Word" signify the increate grace of union; hence the preceding words, "through the sanctification by the Spirit," imply created or habitual grace.

We do not find, however, that the Fathers distinguish so clearly between the increate grace of union and created habitual grace as the Scholastics do and especially as St. Thomas does. Yet the Fathers distinguish more explicitly between the Word and charity that is infused into Christ's soul, because the Gospels and epistles frequently refer to Christ's charity and His other virtues that always presuppose habitual grace. The Fathers spoke more in the concrete, that is, they spoke of Christ's acts and were not so much concerned with the abstract question of habitual grace. Such is always the case, inasmuch as our intellect gradually makes the transition from the concrete to the abstract and then returns to the concrete for a better understanding of the question. We find this to be the method of procedure in all treatises.

Theological proof. Three proofs from theological reasoning are given in the body of this article.

1) On account of the principle which is the hypostatic union.

2) In view of the end, or the purpose of the supernatural operations in Christ's soul.

3) Because of Christ's relation to the human race.

The article must be read.

1) The reason on the part of the principle, which is the hypostatic union, is reduced to the following syllogism.

The nearer any recipient is to an inflowing cause, the more does it partake of its influence. But Christ's soul is most closely associated with the Word of God, the Author of grace, since it is united with the Word in the person, and there cannot be a closer union. Therefore Christ's soul receives the maximum influx of grace from God.

It follows from this that Christ's habitual grace, though it is not a physical property, is at least a moral property of the hypostatic union, inasmuch as the Word incarnate was connaturally entitled to it. It is not, however, a physical property, for the Word does not constitute with Christ's human nature one nature, but only one person.

A similar reason, all due proportions being observed, prevails for the fullness of grace in the Blessed Virgin Mary.

2) The reason, because of the end of Christ's operation in His soul, may thus be expressed: That the operations of the soul, namely, knowledge and love, may attain to God the Author of grace, who is to be loved above all things, the soul and its faculties must be elevated by habitual grace as by a second nature. But it was necessary that operations of Christ's soul should most closely and therefore connaturally attain to God the Author of grace, by knowledge and love. Therefore Christ's soul and its faculties had to be elevated by habitual grace.

The major is evident, inasmuch as habitual grace is necessary so that these operations be elicited connaturally. For the agent operates connaturally when it has in itself the nature or permanent form by which it is inclined to its act. But Christ's soul could be inclined intrinsically and permanently to vital supernatural acts only by habitual grace. Therefore, that Christ's soul be inclined intrinsically and permanently to vital supernatural acts, it had to have habitual grace.[845]

The nature itself of the soul did not suffice nor did the grace of union.

For the soul by nature is entitatively natural and hence it is intrinsically incapable of eliciting vital supernatural acts; but with merely actual grace it could indeed elicit such acts, just as a sinner elicits a salutary act before justification; but such an act is not connatural to the soul, as it is generally admitted to be in the case of a just person.[846]

The grace of union likewise did not suffice, because this grace is, as already stated by St. Thomas: "the personal being that is given gratis from above to the human nature in the person of the Word."[847] Thus this grace was the principium quod of the operations, but not the principium quo. That by which Christ's soul is intrinsically, permanently, and connaturally inclined to supernatural acts, must be in the soul by way of a second nature, as the radical principium quo of operations, just as the infused virtues are the proximate principium quo.

It is evident from this that habitual grace in Christ was not superfluous, but it was necessary for the eliciting of connatural supernatural and meritorious acts.[848]

We must insist upon the word "connatural" because, absolutely speaking, Christ, in virtue of the grace of union, and with a transient help, could have elicited supernatural and even meritorious acts. But that He should elicit these acts connaturally, His soul had to be endowed with habitual grace as a second nature, which is a participation of the divine nature. Otherwise His soul would be imperfect, which is absolutely unbefitting Him.

3) The reason of Christ's relation to us confirms the preceding proofs, and may be expressed by the following syllogism.

The mediator between God and man must have grace overflowing upon others. But Christ, as man, is the mediator between God and man, for the Scripture says: "Of His fullness, we have all received, and grace for grace."[849]

We shall see farther on that Christ's grace as head of the Church is not precisely the grace of union, but it is habitual grace as presupposing and connoting the grace of union. For St. Thomas says: "Everything acts inasmuch as it is a being in act..., hence the agent is nobler than the patient.... And therefore from this pre-eminence of grace which Christ received, it is befitting to Him that this grace is bestowed on others."[850]

Truly Christ is the head of the human race inasmuch as He merited and satisfied for us, and He could not connaturally elicit these meritorious and satisfactory acts without habitual grace, as already stated. But the grace of union is presupposed so that these acts may be of infinite value on the part of the principium quod of these operations.

For a more complete understanding of this article, the following three conclusions taken from Gonet, with whom several other Thomists such as Godoy and Billuart agree, must be noted. However, the Salmanticenses differ from the others concerning the third conclusion.

1) Habitual grace was required in Christ's soul for the completion and perfection of His sanctity. Such is the opinion of all theologians except Vasquez.

2) Habitual grace was required in Christ's soul for His supernatural acts to be connatural.

3) It was necessary for Christ to have habitual grace so that He could merit connaturally a supernatural reward. By Christ's absolute power, however, without this grace He could have merited a supernatural reward with intrinsically supernatural help by way of a transient light of glory.

So say several Thomists, such as Godoy and Billuart.

Objection. The argument raised against this third conclusion is that St. Thomas says: "Although there is a certain note of infinity in Christ's merit because of the dignity of the person, yet His actions are meritorious because of habitual grace, without which merit is impossible."[851]

Gonet replies as follows: "I answer that the purpose of St. Thomas in the passage just quoted is to point out that without habitual grace there can be no question of connatural merit. It does not follow from this, absolutely speaking, and according to God's absolute power that Christ's soul solely with the grace of union and an actual help in the supernatural order could not merit a supernatural reward, but only that He could not do so connaturally."[852]

John of St. Thomas is of about the same opinion, saying: "Habitual grace is not absolutely necessary for the validity of Christ's merit and satisfaction that transcends the former and that is derived from the value of the person."[853]

The conclusion of St. Thomas is confirmed from the solution of the objections in this article.

Reply to first objection. "The soul of Christ is not essentially divine. Hence it behooves it to be divine by participation, which is by grace."

Reply to second objection. In Christ's soul "the beatific act and its fruition could not be without grace."

Reply to third objection. "Christ's humanity is the instrument of the Godhead, not indeed an inanimate instrument, which nowise acts, but is merely acted upon, but an instrument animated by a rational soul, which is so acted upon as to act." For Christ's soul to act supernaturally by the love of charity, it was at least the normal requisite for His soul to have habitual grace. It would have been something absolutely abnormal for Christ not to have this habitual grace.

Another objection. If Christ had habitual grace, He would be the adoptive son of God, for adoptive sonship is the formal effect of habitual grace. We shall see further on that Christ cannot be called the adopted son of God, because He is already the natural Son of God in His own right.

Reply. I deny the consequence, for adoptive sonship is not the primary effect of habitual grace, but only its secondary effect, and even if it were the primary effect, it would not be communicated to Christ, because He is already the natural Son of God and hence is incapable of being an adopted son of God. Adopted sonship applies to anyone by reason of the suppositum, or person, and hence the person who is the natural Son of God, cannot be called the adopted son. Hence the Blessed Virgin Mary is the first of the adopted children of God.

First doubt. When did Christ receive habitual grace?

Reply. He received this grace at the moment of His conception, because habitual grace is the connatural consequence of the hypostatic union.[854]

Second doubt. Did Christ at the first moment of His conception dispose Himself by an act of free will for the habitual grace that was then infused?

St. Thomas answers this question in the affirmative, because this mode of sanctification by one's own disposing act, as in adults, is more perfect than to be sanctified by the disposing act of another as an infant.[855]

St. Thomas holds that "Christ's intellect in regard to His infused knowledge, could understand at the first moment of His conception, without turning to phantasms."[856] Many doctors admit this truth as applicable to the Blessed Virgin Mary. So also the angels; Adam and Eve, who were created as fully grown, by receiving habitual grace at the moment of their creation disposed themselves for it by actual grace.

Objection. Some say that this act of free will comes from habitual grace and therefore cannot dispose one for it.

Reply. Several Thomists, such as Gonet and Serra rightly maintain in their treatises on grace, when discussing the justification of adults, that the free act that ultimately disposes in the order of material cause for habitual grace follows it in the order of formal cause and hence is the effect of habitual grace, in accordance with the principle: causes mutually interact, though in a different order.

Likewise the due organization of the human body disposes it for the reception of the human soul; however, the body has this ultimate disposition only from the soul, as St. Thomas teaches.[857]

Other Thomists, such as Goudin, say that the free act which is the ultimate disposition for habitual grace in adults proceeds effectively from the virtue of charity that is not as yet permanently communicated as a habit but is of the nature of a transient actual help. The former answer seems the more profound.

St. Thomas solves this question, saying: "Because the infusion of grace and the remission of sin regard God who justifies, hence in the order of nature, [instantaneously] the infusion of grace is prior to the freeing from sin. But if we look at what takes place on the part of the man justified, it is the other way about, since in the order of nature, the being freed from sin, is prior to the obtaining of justifying grace."[858] But the being freed from sin is the ultimate disposition for the attainment of habitual grace, and this takes place in the adult only by an act of free will (as stated in the body of the article); this movement of the free will to God proceeds from the actual infusion of habitual grace and follows it in the orders of formal, efficient, and final causes, although it precedes this grace in the order of material cause, as the ultimate disposition in the body in its relation to the soul.

Second Article: Whether In Christ There Were Virtues

State of the question. We are concerned with virtues that are so called in the strict sense, such as the theological and cardinal virtues. Afterward, in discussing Christ's knowledge, we shall devote a question exclusively (q. 9) to the consideration of the intellectual virtues, which are not virtues in the strict sense inasmuch as they do not make a person absolutely good, but only in a qualified manner, such as when we say a person is good in metaphysics or mathematics.

We are concerned not only with directly infused moral virtues, but also with moral virtues of the natural order, which are acquired by our individual acts.

Conclusion. Christ had all the virtues. This means that He had all virtues that do not in their notion imply any defect in the soul of Christ, who was both wayfarer and comprehensor, as will be pointed out farther on. Thus in the following articles we shall have occasion to remark that Christ did not have either faith or hope or penance.

Scriptural proof. The Gospels authoritatively represent Christ as the exemplar of all virtues. Rationalists, such as Renan, acknowledge this to be true. We must insist upon this truth for the better manifestation of Christ's sanctity, which is the motive of credibility that leads to faith in Him.

There is negative evidence of this truth inasmuch as Christ was sinless, so that He could say to the Jews who sought to kill Him: "Which of you shall convince Me of sin?"[859] And nobody dared to contradict Him. Truly, indeed, as the Gospel narrates: "The chief priests and the whole council sought false witness against Jesus that they might put Him to death, and they found not."[860] But it was only because Jesus confessed that He is Christ, the Son of God, that "the high priest rent His garments, saying: 'He hath blasphemed. "[861] Even Judas confessed, saying: "I have sinned in betraying innocent blood";[862] and Pilate said: "I am innocent of the blood of this just man, look you to it."[863]

Moreover, Christ had all virtues and even most different kinds of them which He practiced in a heroic degree. Love and dutiful submission to God are especially evident in the life of Jesus, His love and mercy for men, perfect self-denial, humility and utmost magnanimity, most perfect meekness as also fortitude and patience on the cross, as when He prayed for those who tortured Him. We find wonderfully reconciled in Christ that holy rigor of justice toward the impenitent Pharisees and that immensity of mercy toward those sinners who do not resist God's grace.

In fact, as shown in apologetics, this harmony and perseverance that prevails between such vastly different virtues practiced in a heroic degree is a moral miracle. For this sublime and profound harmony between the virtues or holiness of life is impossible without God's special intervention, for it consists in an inseparable union with God which can come only from God, inasmuch as the order of agents must correspond to the order of ends. Apologetical arguments founded not on revelation but on reason make this already evident.

In fact, Christ's sanctity is not only eminent, but is manifestly extraordinary in that it unites in itself vastly different heroic virtues. We have seen indeed that a person is at times naturally disposed or is by force of habit ready to perform acts requiring fortitude of soul, who, nevertheless, is not ready to perform acts that call for meekness of soul, for by nature such a person is determined one particular way. But that anyone may have all the virtues and also excel in them, even those so vastly different, such as supreme fortitude and supreme meekness, perfect love of truth and justice and also the greatest of mercy toward those that err and fall into sin, this is impossible without God's special help, who alone in the simplicity of His nature contains formally and eminently vastly different perfections, and who can unite these in the human soul, so as to make it a perfect image of God. Thus the soul of Christ is that most sublime image in which it is possible to contemplate the Deity.

Theological proof. It can be proved by theological reasoning that Christ had all the virtues. This reasoning of St. Thomas is valid for the infused virtues, and may be expressed as follows:

As the faculties of the soul stem from its essence, so the infused virtues stem from habitual grace, and in a proportionate degree. But Christ's soul was endowed with habitual grace from the moment of His conception, and indeed in the highest degree of perfection, as will be more clearly explained farther on.[864] Therefore Christ had all the infused virtues and in the highest degree.[865]

We are concerned with virtues which, in what they mean, imply no defect in the soul of Christ, who was both wayfarer and comprehensor. Thus faith, hope, and repentance must be excluded.[866] The reason given by St. Thomas holds good for charity and all the infused moral virtues.

Reply to first objection. Habitual grace performs supernatural acts only through the medium of the virtues.

Reply to second objection. Christ had the virtues most perfectly, beyond the common mode. In this sense Plotinus gave to a certain sublime degree of virtue the name of virtue of the purified soul, as Macrobius says.[867]

Reply to third objection. "Christ showed the highest kind of liberality and magnificence by despising all riches." For these virtues, just as wittiness which has to do with joking, can be either made use of or despised for the sake of a higher end. But Christ had no evil desires whatever, as will be shown farther on.[868] Thus Christ had perfect temperance, but not continence, which St. Augustine says is not a virtue but something less than the virtue of chastity, for the continent person, strictly speaking, has evil tendencies, but resists them by will power. Cajetan[869] remarks, taking the name "continence" in the more common acceptation of the word, that there is nothing that prevents us from calling Christ continent.

First doubt. Did Christ have all moral virtues that of themselves can be acquired? Theologians generally give an affirmative answer to this question..

The reason is that the sensitive appetite in Christ was no different from ours, which is an inclination to sensible delectable good; that it may completely and perfectly tend to its natural and fitting good, it requires a superadded form, that can be nothing else but a moral virtue that is directly acquirable. Infused moral virtues did not suffice, because the direct purpose of these is to incline the will to supernatural acts. The correlative moral and acquirable virtues, although they are in themselves in their own order truly virtues, are related to the virtues as dispositions from which there arises an extrinsic facility for the practice of the infused virtues, for they exclude inordinate inclinations resulting from repetition of acts.[870] The acquired moral virtues are in their relation to the infused virtues somewhat like dexterity in manipulating the harp is to the art that is in the practical intellect of the musician. Hence it is certain that Christ had moral virtues that are of themselves acquirable; otherwise He would have been morally imperfect, just as beginners in the Christian life who, by the very fact that they are in the state of grace, have infused prudence, which scarcely manifests itself, however, because they lack the virtue of acquired prudence, without which it is difficult to practice the virtue of infused prudence.

Confirmation. Christ's will must be perfected as regards good, just as much as His intellect is as regards truth. But there was acquired knowledge in Christ's intellect, as will be made clear farther on.[871] Therefore, likewise in His will and sensitive appetite there was the possibility of acquiring moral virtues.

First objection. To perform a most perfect act is to act from a supernatural motive. But Christ always had to perform most perfect acts. Therefore He always acted from a supernatural motive or by acts of the infused virtues and not by acts of virtues that of themselves were acquirable.

Reply. I distinguish the major: to perform a most perfect act is to act from a supernatural motive, when this motive is the end in view of the person acting, this I concede; that the deed performed must always be in itself supernatural, this I deny. Hence, just as Christ performed not only acts of charity, but also acts of the infused virtues, so also He performed natural acts that as regards the object and end of these acts were good and fitting, though they were subordinated to the supernatural end of charity as being the end in view of the person acting. Thus Christ said: "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's...."[872] These are natural obligations, just as even pagans know that commutative justice requires the payment of debts.

As grace does not destroy nature but perfects it, so also the infused virtues neither destroy nor render the acquired virtues useless, but perfect them, directing them to be performed for the love of God, not that the acts themselves are supernatural, but that the end in view of the agent is supernatural. Thus the act of the acquired virtue of temperance is modally supernatural, whereas the act of the infused virtue of temperance is substantially supernatural. Thus the acquired moral virtues are subordinated to the infused moral virtues in some way just as the imagination and sensitive memory are subordinated to knowledge, philosophy to theology, and theology to the doctrine of faith that transcends the science of theology. There is a normal hierarchy of functions in this subordination.

Second objection. But the acquired virtues are required to restrain the immoderate tendencies of the passions, which Christ did not have, for, as will be mentioned farther on,[873] Christ was free from concupiscence. Therefore He had no need of the acquired virtues.

Reply. I distinguish the antecedent: that the acquired virtues are necessary in a secondary sense so as to check the immoderate tendencies of the passions, this I concede; that they are primarily necessary, this I deny. For the primary and special purpose of these virtues is to enable the faculties to act properly, promptly, and with facility in the natural order. It is in this way that chastity operates, for example, even when there are no temptations to be overcome or passions to be curbed. Thus humility in Christ did not check the first movements of pride, but it completely subjected His will to the divine majesty.

Thus Adam in the state of innocence had those virtues that are of themselves capable of attainment, and they remain in the blessed, as St. Thomas teaches.[874]

Second doubt. Did Christ have these moral virtues that can be acquired of themselves by infusion, or did He acquire them by His own acts?

It is difficult to give a definite answer to this question.[875] The more probable opinion of several Thomists is that they were infused, just as Adam in the state of innocence had them from the moment of his creation. However, Adam was created in the adult state, whereas Christ as man gradually grew up to manhood.

The principal reason for this answer is that Christ was never without these virtues, for to be deprived of them for any time is in itself something evil, and no defect is admissible in God, except those that are not contrary to the end of the Incarnation, such as the privation of the glorification of His body for a time. But such is not the case with the temporary privation of these virtues. It would be more derogatory to Christ's dignity that He should be for a time without these virtues, than increase in perfection by acquiring them, which cannot be instantaneous, but only a progressive process. Moreover, the Church declared in the Second Council of Constantinople: "Christ was not subjected to passions, nor did He become better by the repetition of virtuous acts."[876]

Objection. But the Gospel says: "Jesus advanced in wisdom and age, and grace with God and men."[877]

Reply. The answer of St. Thomas is: "Christ advanced in wisdom and grace as also in age (not by an actual increase of the habits but), because as He advanced in age He performed more perfect works."[878]

Another objection. St. Thomas says farther on[879] that Christ advanced in acquired knowledge. Therefore He also advanced in moral virtues that of themselves can be acquired.

Reply. There is not parity of argument. (1) The natural sciences do not make man absolutely good, such as the moral virtues do, but good only in a qualified sense, such as good in mathematics or in physics. (2) If the natural sciences were infused in Christ, then His active intellect would be in a state of continual idleness as regards its first function, which is to abstract intelligible species from the senses. Therefore it is more probable that Christ had moral virtues that of themselves can be acquired from the time of His conception.

Third Article: Whether In Christ There Was Faith

The general opinion of theologians is that Christ did not have faith. Such is the opinion of St. Thomas.

The reason given in the counterargument does not absolutely prove this assertion, for the words of Peter quoted here, namely, "Thou knowest all things,"[880] were spoken after Christ's resurrection. Hence these words prove to some extent that at least after the resurrection Jesus did not have faith concerning mysteries in the strict sense, but the beatific vision.

The body of the article presupposes what must be proved farther on,[881] namely, that Christ from the first moment of His conception completely saw God in His essence. But the clear vision of God excludes the notion of faith, which is of things not seen.

In other words, a virtue cannot be in a subject to whom its primary act is derogatory. But the primary act of faith refers to God not seen. Therefore Christ could not have had faith, since from the moment of His conception He clearly saw God in His essence. This is the common opinion among theologians. No theologian holds that an act of faith is simultaneously compatible with the beatific vision, because the scriptural text of St. Paul is clear on this point: "Faith[882]... is the evidence of things that appear not." Durandus thinks that the habit of faith, however, if not its act, can remain in the blessed. Scotus holds this to be possible, but useless. St. Thomas and St. Bonaventure are of the opinion that the habit of faith cannot co-exist with the beatific vision. Thus St. Thomas says: "The object of faith is a divine thing not seen. But the habit of virtue... takes its species from the object. Hence, if we deny that the divine thing was not seen, we exclude the very essence of faith."[883]

At least the permanence of the beatific vision excludes both act and habit of faith. The beatific vision as a transient act, which St. Augustine and St. Thomas think St. Paul had on this earth, excludes the act of faith concerning this object, but not the habit of faith.

Reply to first objection. The moral virtues, although they are inferior to faith, were and are always in Christ because they imply no defect as regards their subject matter.[884]

Reply to second objection. St. Thomas does not teach that Christ had the merit of faith, but He had what constitutes the reward of our faith, which is perfect obedience to the loving commands of God.

But Christ was faithful to His promises, and this is sometimes called faith in Sacred Scripture.[885] Thus the prophet says of the Messias: "Faith shall be the girdle of His loins."[886]

Therefore the maximum of faith that any intellectual creature had was the theological faith of the Blessed Virgin Mary, for her faith was proportionate to her plenitude of grace. From this we conclude how sublime must have been the acts of faith and hope made by the Blessed Virgin Mary, especially on Mount Calvary, not in the least doubting that her Son, who seemed to be conquered, was the Son of God, the conqueror of the devil and sin, and the proximate victor of death.

Fourth Article: Whether In Christ There Was Hope

State of the question. There is some difficulty, for the Psalmist, speaking in the person of Christ, says: "In Thee, O Lord, have I hoped."[887] Moreover, Christ awaited or hoped for the glorification of His body and the building up of His mystical body.

Conclusion. St. Thomas, with whom the majority of theologians agree, maintains that Christ did not have the virtue of hope but had a certain act of hope or rather of desire concerning things He did not yet possess.

Scriptural proof. St. Paul says: "What a man seeth, why doth he hope for?"[888] But Christ did not have faith, as was said above,[889] because from the beginning (of the hypostatic union) He enjoyed the vision of the divine essence. Therefore, too, He did not have the virtue of hope.

Theological proof. The reason for this proof is taken from the formal or primary object of hope, for hope, considered as a theological virtue, has God Himself as its primary object, whose fruition is expected. But Christ from the beginning of His conception had the complete fruition of the divine essence, as will be stated farther on.[890] Therefore He did not have the theological virtue of hope.

The principle of the preceding article applies equally here, namely, a virtue cannot be in a subject to whom its primary act is derogatory.

However, at the end of the argumentative part of this article, St. Thomas admits that Christ had a certain act of hope or rather of desire as regards some things, so that He could expect the glorification of His body and the building up of the Church. Thus the Psalmist, speaking in the person of Christ, says: "In Thee, O Lord, have I hoped."[891] But these things do not constitute the primary object of the theological virtue of hope, and thus it remains true that Christ did not have this theological virtue of hope.

Therefore of all intellectual creatures, the hope of the Blessed Virgin Mary was the most sublime especially on Mount Calvary, when all the apostles, with the exception of St. John, did not have the courage to witness the death of Christ. Hence it is said of her: "Grant that I may carry the cross of Christ."[892]

First doubt. To what virtue must we attribute this act of desire in Christ for the glorification of His body and the building up of the Church?

Reply. This act must be attributed to the virtue of charity, as its secondary act, whereby Christ loved Himself and the Church, for God's sake, as the Evangelist says: "Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends."[893]

Thus the love of concupiscence by which we desire eternal life for the glory of God, is attributed to us as a secondary act of charity.

Second doubt. Was there penance as a virtue in Christ?

Reply. There was no penance, as a virtue, in Christ, because it implies in the strict sense sorrow for one's own sins. But Christ was impeccable, as will be explained farther on. The Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office forbade such invocations as: "Heart of Jesus, penitent for us, Jesus penitent, Jesus penitent for us."[894]

The truth of this reply is clearly established since it agrees with the generally accepted teaching of St. Thomas, which declares that penance is a special virtue that is distinct not only from the virtue of religion, but also from the virtue of vindictive justice and of all the other virtues.[895]

Thus the primary and specific act of penance is sorrow for one's own sins with the motive of amendment, and the intention of performing salutary acts in satisfaction for one's past offenses.

But a virtue cannot be in a subject to whom its primary act is intrinsically repugnant. But the act of penance is intrinsically repugnant to Christ's human nature, because it was united to the Word.[896] But Christ had a perfect detestation for sin inasmuch as it is an offense against God, arising from the intensity of His love for God offended and for souls that are dead to God through mortal sin.

Fifth Article: Whether In Christ There Were The Gifts

State of the question. The difficulty is that gifts are given to help the virtues. But the virtues were most perfect in Christ. Therefore He did not need this help.

Moreover, Christ had already on this earth the contemplation of heaven as explained farther on. But the gifts of wisdom, knowledge, and understanding seem to belong to contemplation in this life, and apparently these are useless in a soul that already enjoys the beatific vision.

Conclusion. It is commonly admitted, however, that the soul of Christ had these gifts in a pre-eminent degree.

Gonet maintains that this conclusion is a certainty of the faith, because of the text of Isaias quoted in the proof.

Scriptural proof. The prophet says: "The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him: the spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the spirit of counsel and of fortitude, the spirit of knowledge and of godliness. And He shall be filled with the spirit of the fear of the Lord."[897]

Instead of the words, "the spirit of knowledge and of godliness," the Hebrew text reads, "the spirit of knowledge and of fear." Thus fear is mentioned twice. The Greek version and the Vulgate give "godliness," which is about the same in meaning as reverential godliness. The Old Testament does not distinguish so clearly between. godliness and fear as the New Testament does, which is not the law of fear, but of love.[898]

The Fathers and Scholastics are generally agreed that this text concerns Christ's human nature.

Theological proof. Although it has been revealed that Christ had gifts and still has them, this assertion can also be proved from higher revealed principles, namely, from the definition of gifts. St. Thomas says in this article: "The gifts, properly, are certain perfections of the soul's powers, inasmuch as they have a natural aptitude to be moved by the Holy Ghost," according to St. Luke, who says: "And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the desert." Hence it is manifest that the gifts were in Christ in a pre-eminent degree.

The thesis is confirmed by the fact that the gifts of the Holy Ghost follow from habitual grace and are connected with charity, as St. Thomas teaches.[899] But Christ had habitual grace in the most perfect manner and the highest degree of charity. Therefore He also had pre-eminently the gifts.

The thesis is also confirmed from the solution of the objections.

Reply to first objection. It points out that as a man, however perfect he may be, needs to be helped by God, so also, no matter how perfect the virtues are, they need to be helped by the gifts, which perfect the powers of the soul, inasmuch as these are not controlled by reason illumined by faith, but by the Holy Spirit. This reply confirms the teaching of St. Thomas as set forth in a previous passage[900] where he shows that the infused virtues, even the highest degree, are specifically distinct from the gifts as regards their formal object quo or their rule or motive;[901] for to be ruled by right reason even though illumined by the light of faith differs from being ruled by the Holy Spirit, which means to be ruled by His special inspiration, which transcends the discursive process of reasoning. Thus there is a manifest difference between being ruled by infused prudence, which proceeds from living faith, and being ruled by the gift of counsel.

Reply to third objection. It states that the gifts were not useless in Christ, for He also had earthly knowledge, as will be stated farther on;[902] for Christ was both wayfarer and comprehensor. He was comprehensor as regards the higher part of the soul, and wayfarer inasmuch as His soul still was passible and His body passible and mortal, so that He looked forward to beatitude in all those things which were wanting to Him of beatitude. Moreover, as explained elsewhere,[903] the gifts remain in heaven.

As stated in this last citation, this doctrine of the permanence of the gifts in heaven is affirmed by St. Ambrose,[904] and the reason is that the gifts of the Holy Spirit perfect the human mind to follow the prompting of the Holy Spirit, which is especially the case in heaven. But in heaven, evil and temptation being no more, by the gifts of the Holy Spirit we are perfected in good, not entirely as regards the same material object but the gifts will preserve in us intact the same formal objects both quo and quod of the virtues by which latter they are specified; for as theologians in heaven will see the object of theology, either in the Word if in this life they studied it out of love for God, or outside the Word; so also all the blessed in heaven will receive special inspirations from the Holy Spirit to know something special by means of experimental knowledge, according as it is connaturally related to divine things, for instance, to know for what wayfarers they must especially pray. The beatific vision precedes beatific love, whereas the knowledge obtained by the gifts follows this love. Finally, there is neither succession in knowledge nor acquisition of anything new, whereas by the gifts it is possible for the blessed to acquire additional knowledge.

But obscurity and similar imperfections that now actually belong to the gifts, either of wisdom or counsel, or of other such gifts, do not belong to the state of glory, nor were these defects in Christ.

Thus the gift of wisdom disposed Christ so as to be moved with facility by the Holy Spirit to pass certain judgment on divine things by the highest of causes, in accordance with a connaturalness that is founded on charity for things.

But the gift of understanding attributed to Him correct and immediate penetration of those things that pertain to the kingdom of God.

The gift of counsel likewise attributed to Christ the power of immediately finding out the motive for action.

The gift of knowledge so that even in the consideration of inferior motives, He might judge with absolute certainty about things that happened.

The gift of fortitude expelled from Him the fear of death and its attendant tortures.

Gonet says these conclusions are admitted by all theologians as being certain and beyond dispute.

Sixth Article: Whether In Christ There Was The Gift Of Fear

State of the question. There are two difficulties: (1) It seems that hope is stronger than fear, for the object of hope is good, whereas the object of fear is evil. If, therefore, Christ did not have the virtue of hope, a fortiori He did not have the gift of fear. (2) The gift of fear makes one afraid either of being separated from God, or of being punished by Him. But these two were impossible for Christ, because He was impeccable.

Reply. Christ had the gift of fear.

Scriptural proof. The testimony of the prophet, quoted in the preceding article, is: "He shall be filled with the spirit of the fear of the Lord,"[905] which also in the Hebrew text refers to the spirit of fear. Moreover, the Church condemned the following proposition of Abelard: "The spirit of the fear of the Lord was not in Christ."[906]

Theological proof. This assertion of Sacred Scripture is not so much proved as explained by the following syllogism.

God is feared by an act of reverential fear, not only inasmuch as He can inflict punishment but on account of His pre-eminence, who cannot with impunity be resisted. But the soul of Christ was moved by the Holy Spirit toward God b; certain reverential affection. Therefore Scripture attributes to Him the fullness of the gift of fear, not indeed of the fear of punishment, or sin, but of reverential fear.

Confirmation. This gift of fear, understood as reverential fear, remains in the blessed, for the Psalmist exclaims: "The fear of the Lord is holy, enduring forever and ever."[907] It is said of the angels, especially of those called Powers: "The Powers tremble."[908] For every creature that is not self-existent trembles in the sight of Him who alone is and can be the self-subsisting Being. But Christ's human nature is not His being, although it exists by the very being of the Word, inasmuch as there is one being in Christ, just as there is one person.[909]

Doubt. What is the primary object of the gift of fear?

It is God's pre-eminence, who cannot with impunity be resisted; and its primary act is reverence for this divine pre-eminence, and so this gift can be both in Christ and the blessed. The secondary object of the gift of fear, or of filial fear, is the evil of sin that must be avoided.

In contrast to this, the primary object of fear, considered as a passion, is terrifying sensible evil, and the primary act of this fear is flight from this evil. Finally, the primary object of servile fear is the evil of punishment to be inflicted on account of the offense committed.

Thus it remains true that the habits of the virtues and the gifts properly and directly refer to good, but to evil as a consequence.

Seventh Article: Whether The Graces Gratis Datae Were In Christ

State of the question. By placing the article about the graces gratis datae here, it is evident that St. Thomas draws a complete distinction between them and the gifts as he has already shown.[910] The seven gifts, which are connected with charity, belong to the organism of the supernatural life, but the graces gratis datae do not.

The difficulty is that the graces gratis datae are freely given by way of a transient act. But Christ had permanently the fullness of grace. Hence He did not need these secondary graces. The Gospel does not say that He had the gift of tongues.

Reply. Nevertheless the answer is that all the graces gratis datae were pre-eminently in Christ as the first and chief teacher of the faith.

Authoritative proof. St. Augustine says: "As in the head are all the senses, so in Christ were all the graces."[911] St. Augustine is also expressly referring here to the graces gratis datae in Christ.

The Master of the Book of the Sentences is precisely of the same opinion,[912] and it is commonly admitted by the scholastic theologians.

Theological proof. Graces gratis datae are ordained for the manifestation of faith and spiritual doctrine, because the manner of their enumeration makes this evident,[913] and also the explanation of St. Thomas.[914] But Christ is the first and chief teacher of the faith and of spiritual doctrine. Therefore the graces gratis datae were in Christ.

This means that the graces gratis datae were most excellently in Christ, being ordained for the benefit of others. They may be expressed by the following schema.

[diagram page 281]

GRACES GRATIS DATAE that are ordained for the instruction of others in divine things

to acquire complete knowledge of divine things

faith concerning principles,[915]

word of wisdom concerning the principal conclusions,

word of knowledge concerning the examples and effects

to confirm the divine revelation

by doing: grace of healing working of miracles

by knowing: prophecy, discerning of spirits

to convey fittingly to the hearers the divine message

kinds of tongues, interpretation of speeches

Christ had to have in the most perfect degree all these graces that were bestowed on others; for they denote no imperfection that is repugnant either to the beatific vision or to the hypostatic union. They are also becoming to the dignity of the head of the mystical body, as St. Augustine says in the counter-argument of this article.

Reply to first objection. St. Thomas points out that these graces are called "diversities of graces,"[916] inasmuch as in the saints these graces are divided; but Christ had these graces all at once and in their plenitude just as He had and always has the plenitude of habitual grace.

Reply to second objection. It was fitting for Christ to have habitual grace, not according to His divine nature, but according to His human nature.

Reply to third objection. It is pointed out that, although we do not read of Christ having had the gift of tongues, because He preached only to the Jews, "yet a knowledge of all languages was not wanting to Him, since even the secrets of hearts, of which all words are signs, were not hidden from Him."[917]

Christ likewise had the grace gratis datae of faith. This grace is a certain pre-eminence of knowledge concerning the revealed mysteries whether such knowledge be clear or obscure;[918] it is also a facility given by the Holy Spirit of proposing the things of faith simply and in a way adapted to all, so that they can be understood even by the ignorant, as explained by St. Thomas.[919] It is evident from the Gospel that Christ had both kinds of excellence.

There is no doubt about Christ's powers concerning either the grace of healing or the discernment of spirits, for the Evangelist says: "And Jesus seeing their thoughts[of the Pharisees], said: 'Why do you think evil in your hearts?'"[920] Again he says: "Jesus knowing their thoughts.[921]

Finally, Christ had pre-eminently the grace of interpretation of speech for explaining the Scriptures in the true and most exalted sense. Hence the Evangelist relates that the disciples going to the town called Emmaus said: "Was not our heart burning within us, whilst He spoke in the way, and opened to us the Scriptures?"[922]

Eighth Article: Whether In Christ There Was The Gift Of Prophecy

State of the question. St. Thomas posited this special article about prophecy, because this grace gratis data presents a particular difficulty. For the first objection of this article remarks that prophecy implies a certain obscurity. But Christ already enjoyed on this earth the beatific vision. Also prophecy concerns distant things or those that are far off, and seems to imply an essential imperfection, as faith and hope do. Moreover, the Apostle says that in heaven, "prophecies shall be made void."[923]

Reply. The answer is in the affirmative.

Scriptural proof. Moses announced to the Israelites: "The Lord thy God will raise up to thee a Prophet... of thy brethren... Him thou shalt hear."[924] Jesus applied to Himself what Moses foretold of Him, saying: "He wrote of Me."[925] Likewise Jesus said of Himself in the synagogue at Nazareth: "A prophet is not without honor, save in his own country."[926]

Theological proof. He is a prophet who knows and announces what is distant both from himself according to his state and from his hearers. But Christ, who was not only comprehensor but also wayfarer, knew and announced very many things which were distant from Him according to His state as wayfarer, such as His betrayal, death, and resurrection,[927] as also the destruction of Jerusalem, the signs preceding the end of the world, the denial of Peter, and several other events. Therefore Christ was a prophet.

Reply to first objection. Prophecy, as usually communicated, is obscure and enigmatic not in itself, but because of the imperfection of the hearer. Its clarity or obscurity, that it be communicated transiently, or permanently, are of themselves a matter of indifference. But in Christ prophecy was clear and permanent because of the union of His human nature with the Word.

But if the Apostle says that in heaven "prophecies shall be made void,"[928] he has in mind complete beatitude, which is incompatible with the state of wayfarer.

Ninth Article: Whether In Christ There Was The Fullness Of Grace

State of the question. The third part of this question begins here. After the consideration of the grace of the virtues and of the gifts and of the graces gratis datae in Christ, St. Thomas treats of the fullness of grace. He asks whether Christ was simply full of grace, both intensively and extensively.

This article and those that follow are therefore concerned with the perfection of Christ's grace.

Conclusion. Christ had fullness of grace, both intensively, that is, as regards its perfection, and extensively, that is, as regards the various effects it can produce.

Scriptural proof. The Evangelist says: "We saw His glory... full of grace and truth.... And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace."[929] Likewise St. John the Baptist testified concerning Christ, and the Evangelist says; "He whom God hath sent, speaketh the words of God; for God does not give to Him the spirit by measure. The Father loveth the Son, and He hath given all things into His hand."[930]

The Fathers of the Church have often explained these texts by showing that Christ, who is most full of grace, had every kind of holiness.[931]

Theological proof. It is simply discursive and explanatory, explaining the above quoted text.[932]

This proof may be reduced to the following syllogism.

Fullness of grace is of two kinds, namely, intensive and extensive.

But Christ had each kind. Therefore Christ had absolutely or completely fullness of grace.

Major. It is thus explained. There is intensive fullness of any quality in a being, for instance, of whiteness, when the being has as much of this quality as it can naturally have. Thus it appears that a lily has the highest possible degree of whiteness; so also snow.

Hence intensive fullness is estimated from the degree and radication of any quality in the subject. But extensive fullness of any quality is estimated from the relation to the various effects that any operative principle is capable of producing; for example, the irrational animal has not extensive fullness of life, because it has not intellectual life, but only the vegetative life and sensitive life.

Minor. Its parts are proved. Christ had intensive fullness of grace, that is, in the highest degree that it can be had, for two reasons.

1) Because His soul, which was united to God by the most exalted of all possible unions, which is the hypostatic union, received the greatest influx of grace, just as the air that is nearer to the fire is warmer and more luminous.

2) Because grace was given to Christ, as the head, from which it was to be poured out upon all others; just as in this world nothing is brighter than the sun, which illumines all other things. Hence the Evangelist quotes Jesus as saying: "I am come to cast fire on the earth, and what will I but that it be kindled?"[933] The reference is to fire that purifies, illumines, and kindles spiritually.

From these proofs it is apparent that intensive fullness of any quality is estimated from its intrinsic perfection inasmuch as it is pure and free from all imperfection. Thus snow is perfectly white; it has whiteness in all its intensity or purity, containing no element that is not white.

If there is reference to some operative habit, since this habit determines the faculty to operate, it is all the more perfect intensively, the more it determines the faculty with reference to the formal object of the operation to be elicited, that is, it actuates the faculty and is radicated in it. There is something similar in the case of habitual grace, which is an entitative habit, which is received in the essence of the soul, and is radically operative, inasmuch as the virtues are derived from it, just as the faculties are derived from the essence of the soul. Thus intensive fullness of habitual grace is estimated from its intrinsic perfection free from all imperfection, and its radication in the soul, which it especially determines radically to operate most holily free from all imperfection. This intensive fullness of grace would apply to Christ even if His soul were ordered solely to the performance of acts of the love of God.

Likewise Christ had extensive fullness of grace, which is estimated from its relation to the various effects it can produce.

The reason is that, as St. Thomas says: "Christ had grace for all its operations and effects, and this because it was bestowed on Him, as upon a universal principle in the genus of such as have grace... just as the sun is the universal cause of generation."[934]

This twofold fullness, intensive and extensive, is called absolute on the part of the grace itself, which by God's ordinary power cannot be received in a more perfect manner. It is not merely relatively perfect or according to the exigencies of the state or dignity of the subject. In fact, this most exalted dignity of head and redeemer of the human race demands absolute fullness of grace.

Doubt. Is this plenitude of grace more perfect intensively than extensively?

Reply. It is the common opinion among theologians that intensive plenitude is the more perfect, just as quality is to be preferred to quantity, although positivism is inclined to the contrary view; for indeed intensive plenitude is immediately estimated from the intrinsic perfection of the quality, and is the foundation of extensive plenitude. This is especially evident in knowledge, for its intensive plenitude results from the deeper penetration of its first notions and principles, whereas its extensive plenitude, both habitual and actual, is estimated according to the number of conclusions that are deduced from the principles. There are certain physicists who know all the conclusions of their own science in its actual state of development, and who have read all the books of any importance belonging to this science. This does not mean, however, that they have penetrated more deeply into the principles of this science; for the scientific habit is not yet, perhaps, established in their intellect as a sort of second nature. On the contrary, another physicist knows more from on high the principles of this particular science, and their subordination to the other sciences, even though he may have forgotten certain conclusions. The perfection of a science is not estimated according to the number of its conclusions, for although science may make use of many subordinated ideas, it is a simple quality that perfects the intellect in its relation to some formal object and to certain first principles, which virtually contain all the conclusions of this particular science.

Thus there is a great difference between Aristotle and the author of a textbook on peripatetic philosophy. Although the author of such a textbook may perhaps succeed in giving to this science new conclusions, yet he has not the genius of Aristotle, nor could he be the author of such works as the Organon, Physics, Metaphysics, and Ethics of the Stagirite. There is also a similar difference between St. Thomas and his commentators, although the latter may succeed in giving to the science new conclusions.

Likewise those historians Who Write a critical estimate of the life of Napoleon have a more extensive knowledge perhaps than the ambassadors and soldiers of his time, but they generally do not penetrate so intensively and vividly into the mind of such a genius as Napoleon.

Similarly those historians who insist on giving us a critical evaluation of the Gospels, certainly have a less intensive knowledge of Christ's preaching than the apostles had who heard Him. Thus St. John the Evangelist had a better knowledge of Christ's teaching than a theologian would have who would know all the condemned propositions contained in Denzinger's Enchiridion.

Therefore, a fortiori, there was in Christ intensive plenitude of habitual grace and hence of the virtues and gifts.

Tenth Article: Whether The Fullness Of Grace Is Proper To Christ

State of the question. The reason for inserting this article is that Sacred Scripture attributes at least a certain fullness of grace to some others. Thus the angel says to the Blessed Virgin Mary: "Hail, full of grace."[935] The Scripture also says: "Stephen, full of grace and fortitude."[936] In fact, St. Paul writing to the Ephesians, thus expresses his desire to them: "That you may be filled unto all the fullness of God."[937] Moreover, for all the blessed in heaven, beatitude is the fullness of all good, which presupposes a certain fullness of grace in this life. What is therefore the fullness of grace that is proper to Christ?

First conclusion. Absolute fullness of grace, but not relative fullness, belongs to Christ alone.

Scriptural proof. The Evangelist says: "We saw His glory, the glory as it were of the only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth."[938] But to be the only-begotten of the Father, belongs to Christ alone. Therefore, too, does fullness of grace.

Theological proof. Absolute fullness of grace is attained when there is as much grace as can be had, at least according to God's ordinary power. But Christ alone had grace in the highest possible degree of excellence and intensity that can be had, at least according to God's ordinary power. Therefore Christ alone had absolute fullness of grace, both in its intensity and extent, as was stated in the preceding article.

Second conclusion. Relative fullness of grace does not belong to Christ alone, but is communicated to others through Him.

There is, indeed, relative fullness of grace when it is of such a nature and extent as demanded by the condition and office of the person to whom it is attributed.

But several saints, especially the Blessed Virgin Mary, had grace that was perfectly proportioned to the state and duty assigned to them. Thus the Blessed Virgin is declared to be "full of grace."[939] Therefore relative fullness of grace does not belong to Christ alone.[940]

Corollary.[941] Christ's habitual grace, from the very moment of His conception, excelled in both intensity and extent all grace, even the ultimate grace of angels and men combined. The reason is that the grace in Christ is in proportion to the hypostatic union, and is in Him as the source from which it flows even to the angels; for, as will be stated farther on, Christ is the head of the angels at least as regards accidental grace and glory, inasmuch as the angels are His ministers in the kingdom of God. Jesus said, "The Son of man shall send His angels, and they shall gather out of His kingdom all scandals, and all them that work iniquity, and shall cast them into the furnace of fire."[942] He likewise said: "He shall send His angels and shall gather together His elect."[943]

From these texts it is evident that Christ has a higher degree of grace than all angels and men combined, including the blessed, just as in a way the sun is brighter in its intensity than any lesser light whatever, and iron is of more value than a huge pile of common stones. Moreover, it is also said of the Blessed Virgin Mary that her first fullness of grace excelled in intensity the final degree of grace, though not the glory of angels and men combined, and so it is said: "The holy Mother of God has been raised above the choirs of angels to the heavenly kingdom."[944]

It even appears to be true that the grace received by the founders of religious orders excels, as regards the founding of the order, the grace of their combined associates, in this sense, that these associates, unless their founder had been especially inspired by God, would not have started this order, whereas, contrary to this, the founder, deputed by God for this work, could have done it with other companions. Thus the grace, either of St. Benedict or of St. Dominic or of St. Francis, seems to excel the grace of his companions. Likewise, the degree of grace in St. Thomas is greater than that of all his commentators combined. This is more readily understood in that grace is a quality and hence its perfection is qualitative but not quantitative. Consequently, grace that is equivalent for ten talents is of a higher degree than ten graces each of which is equivalent to one talent. Thus a saint, such as the saintly parish priest of Ars, has a greater degree of grace and accomplishes more than many of the faithful and even priests whose charity is of a less degree.

Thus St. Thomas shows[945] that charity—and he says that the same applies to habitual grace—is not increased in intensity by the addition of charity to charity; for this would be a multiplication of charity, but not an increase of it. It is increased, however, by becoming more firmly rooted in the recipient or, not using metaphysical language, by a greater actuation or determination of, and inherence in the recipient; for it is the nature of an accident to inhere.

All these statements are but one and the same way of expressing the intensification of qualities. A new degree of charity, and a more perfect actuation of this charity and of its inherence in the recipient, mean the same thing.

If, then, a higher degree of grace is taken in a qualitative sense and not in its quantitative sense, it is easy to see that Christ's habitual grace excels in intensity even every ultimate grace of men and angels combined. From the moment of His conception it excelled their glory.

St. Thomas teaches that this fullness of grace is of three kinds. He says: "There is sufficient fullness by which anyone has sufficient grace to perform meritorious and excellent acts, as St. Stephen did. There is likewise redundant fullness by which the Blessed Virgin excelled all the saints on account of the eminence and abundance of her merits. There is also efficient and affluent fullness, which applies to Christ alone as man, as to the quasi-author of grace. Thus there was an outpouring of grace on us by the Blessed Virgin, yet she was by no means the author of grace.... Christ's fullness of grace is the cause of all the graces in all intellectual creatures."[946]

St. Thomas says in this text, "of all graces" in general; he does not, however, determine the kind, and he does not say "even of essential grace and glory" in the angels, which elsewhere he denies.[947]

Objection. There would be great disproportion in the natural body if the head were larger than the rest of the body. Therefore, for a similar reason, there would be disproportion in the mystical body if the grace of Christ as its head were in intensity to exceed or equal all the grace of those that constitute His mystical body.

Reply. Gonet answers this objection by conceding the antecedent and denying the consequence, because, as he points out, a distinction must be made between quality and quantity, and there is by no means parity of argument between the mystical body and the natural body. There is indeed similarity of comparison between the two bodies as regards the influx of the head in the members and its pre-eminence over them. But in the natural body the substantial form demands a determinate quantity, both in the head and in the members, that the body may be able to perform its vital operations: and so it is necessary that our head be smaller than our body. Moreover, since habitual grace is the form that vivifies the mystical body of the Church, it does not demand a determinate intensity, but can be increased indefinitely.[948] Hence in the head of the mystical body there can be a greater intensification of grace than in all other persons, and this even pertains to the dignity of the head. Finally, there is in no way any vital dependence of the mystical body on the members, whereas, on the contrary, the head of the physical body depends on the heart, lungs, and other parts.

Eleventh Article: Whether The Grace Of Christ Is Infinite

State of the question. This article is evidently not strictly concerned with the increate grace of union, for St. Thomas said: "The grace of union is the personal being that is given gratis from above to the human nature in the person of the Word."[949] This increate grace of union is infinite inasmuch as it is identical with the very Word of God that terminates the human nature. But it is strictly a question here of habitual grace which is "an effect following the union."[950]

Theologians are not all agreed on this point. Major[951] asserts that Christ's grace is absolutely infinite in intensity. Maldonatus[952] and Hurtado[953] afterward said the same. St. Bonaventure, Durandus, Scotus, Ricardus, and the Thomists Cajetan and Nazarius are of the same opinion, since they taught that Christ's grace could not be increased by God's absolute power. But the opposite opinion seems far more probable and more in conformity with the teaching of St. Thomas, and it is commonly held by theologians, not only of the Thomist school of thought, but also of other schools.

St. Thomas splendidly presents the difficulty of the question at the beginning of this article, where he remarks that Christ's grace appears to be infinite, because the Gospel declares it to be measureless or immense, saying: "God doth not give His Spirit by measure";[954] whereas, contrary to this, St. Paul says of others: "To every one of us is given grace, according to the measure of the giving of Christ."[955] Moreover, Christ's grace extends to the whole human race. Finally, if Christ's grace were finite, then some other person's grace might increase so much as to equal Christ's grace. These objections consider in habitual grace, not only the being of grace, but also the nature of grace.

Nevertheless it is evidently true to say that Christ's habitual grace, inasmuch as it is distinct from His grace of union, is something created. But everything created is finite, as stated in the counter-argument of this article. Therefore Christ's habitual grace must be finite.

How is this question to be solved? The article must be read.

First conclusion. The grace of union is infinite, because it is the very person of the Word, who terminates Christ's human nature, as stated above.[956]

Second conclusion. Christ's habitual grace, inasmuch as it is a being, or considered as an entity, is not physically infinite, because it is in Christ's soul, as an accident is in its subject. But Christ's soul is a certain creature having finite capacity. It will be made clear in the following article that grace can always be increased, but considered as a being, since it is something created, it can never be physically and actually infinite.

Third conclusion. Christ's habitual grace, not considered as a being, but according to what strictly pertains to the notion of grace, can be termed infinite.[957] Almost all Thomists understand this conclusion in this sense, namely, that Christ's grace is in its notion of grace morally infinite, though not physically so.[958] For St. Thomas says: "As stated above (q. 7, a. 12) there cannot be a greater grace than the grace of Christ with respect to the union with the Word; and the same is to be said of the perfection of the divine vision; although, absolutely speaking, there could be a higher and-more sublime degree by the infinity of the divine power."[959] He says the same in the reply to the second objection of the next article of this question.[960] Neither does St. Thomas say, concerning this third conclusion of ours: "We must say that Christ's grace, considered as grace, is infinite," but he says "it can be termed infinite," which means, if interpreted in some good sense.

Hence this third conclusion thus understood of grace that is morally infinite viewed in its specific nature of grace, is easily proved.

Two proofs are given in the body of this article, inasmuch as this grace is considered both intensively and extensively.

Intensive proof. Christ's habitual grace is intensively infinite because it has whatever can pertain to the nature of grace, and it is not bestowed "in a fixed measure," just as we may say that the light of the sun is infinite, not indeed in being, but in the nature of light, inasmuch as it has whatever can pertain to the nature of light.

This means that Christ's habitual grace is according to its intensity in the highest degree of its excellence capable of being bestowed on others, at least according to God's ordination and His ordinary power.[961]

We shall see that it can be increased by God's absolute power.[962] Moreover, it must be noticed that the three objections placed at the beginning of the present article conclude that Christ's grace, considered in its specific nature, is also infinite, and that this is denied in the counter-argument.

Something of very great importance must be added here which is implied in the present article,[963] namely, that this habitual grace of Christ, by reason of its union with the Word, is the principle by which Christ performs meritorious and satisfactory acts that are intrinsically and absolutely infinite in value. This infinity, although it comes from the divine person as the principle that operates, nevertheless redounds in moral value and worth on the habitual grace that is the principle by which Christ performs meritorious acts that are strictly and intrinsically infinite in value. Farther on we discuss the commonly accepted thesis of Thomists and almost all theologians, with the exception of Scotists, namely, that Christ's operations were not only extrinsically accepted by God, but they were also intrinsically "absolutely infinite in value both for meriting and for satisfying."[964]

All these things considered, it is no wonder that St. Thomas says in this article, concerning Christ's habitual grace taken in its intensity, that it can be termed infinite, viewed in its specific nature of grace, though he afterward adds that it can be increased by God's absolute power.[965]

Extensive proof. Christ's habitual grace is at least morally infinite because, as St. Thomas says in this article, it is bestowed on Christ's soul, as on a universal principle for bestowing grace on human nature. St. Paul says: "He hath graced us in His beloved Son."[966] This means that Christ's habitual grace extends to all effects that pertain to the nature of grace, even to those that are syncategorematically infinite. Thus we shall see that this habitual grace is called the grace of headship, inasmuch as by it there flows from Christ upon the members of the Church (through the influx of His merits) grace and glory; but glory is without end, since it is eternal life.[967]

But if Christ's grace does not extend so far as to merit the essential grace of Adam in the state of innocence and of the angels, this is not because it did not have the power, but because these were not included in the divine ordering. Hence Christ's grace viewed in its specific nature of grace is morally infinite, both in intensity and extent.

The answer of St. Thomas, as understood in the sense stated above, receives its confirmation in the solution of the objections.

First objection. The Gospel declares: "God doth not give the Spirit by measure[to the Son]."[968] Therefore Christ's grace is infinite.

St. Thomas replies that the words of the Baptist as recorded by St. John can refer: (1) either to the eternal and infinite gift, namely, to the divine nature which the Father from all eternity communicated to the Son; (2) or to the grace of union that is infinite inasmuch as the Word terminates the human nature; (3) or to habitual grace inasmuch as it extends to all that pertains to grace, namely, to the word of wisdom or to the word of knowledge, or to other such gifts.

Hence St. Thomas does not concede the conclusion of the objection, that Christ's habitual grace is absolutely and physically infinite, so that it cannot be greater by God's absolute power.

Reply to second objection. "The grace of Christ has an infinite effect," which means that it includes the salvation of the whole human race "both because of the aforesaid infinity of grace," which for this reason is called the grace of headship, and because of the unity[969] of the divine person, to whom Christ's soul is united. Thus, as we said, Christ's habitual grace, because of its union with the Word, is the principle by which His meritorious and satisfactory acts for us were intrinsically of absolutely infinite validity, and He could have merited eternal life for an ever greater and vast number of human beings, even though, for example, the generations of human beings were to continue even after the end of the world.

By this reply St. Thomas shows that he does not concede the conclusion of this second objection, which is that Christ's habitual grace viewed in this sense is absolutely and physically infinite, so that it cannot by God's absolute power be increased.

Third objection. It states that, "if Christ's grace were finite, then the grace of any other man could increase to such an extent as to reach to an equality with Christ's grace." The Beghards were condemned for saying: "If one could always advance in perfection, then someone more perfect than Christ could be found."[970]

Reply. St. Thomas does not say that Christ's habitual grace is physically and absolutely infinite viewed in its specific nature of grace, but he says: "The grace of any man is compared to the grace of Christ as a particular to a universal power." By way of illustration, the light of the moon, no matter how much it may increase in intensity, cannot equal in intensity the light of the sun from which it receives its light. For the moon does not have its own light, but transmits the light it has received from the sun. St. Thomas, in accordance with the physics of ancient times, made use of another example because he thought the stars were incorruptible, and the light and heat of the sun were of a kind different from the heat of terrestrial fire. Spectral analysis, however, has established the fact that the stars are not incorruptible, but that the same chemical combinations take place in these as on this earth.

Therefore Christ's habitual grace is a finite being, and viewed in its specific nature of grace, if it is not physically infinite, is at least morally infinite, both in its intensity and in its extent, inasmuch as it concurs with the grace of union to produce merit that is intrinsically of infinite validity.

Cajetan, in his commentary on this article, adverting to the fact of his recent elevation to the cardinalate, considers this all the more a reason why the mysteries of Christ should be examined and made known to all. His purpose is to show that Christ's habitual grace is in Him in all the perfection that grace as such can have. In other words, this grace is in Christ "as in the whole that is equivalent to it as such," just as heat is not in the air but in the fire; just as a line could be infinite in length, viewed as a line, although finite as a being, just as whiteness, which is finite indeed, as a being, since it is an accident, is intensively infinite in its nature of whiteness, since there could not be a more perfect whiteness.

Nevertheless Cajetan maintains[971] that Christ's habitual grace, as well as that of others, is of the same most particular species, as regards its essence; the difference is only as regards the mode of its being, just as heat differs in its mode of being as found in terrestrial fire and in the air.[972]

Let us see in what Cajetan agrees and disagrees with other Thomists.

Cajetan[973] maintains, indeed, with other Thomists, that charity can always be increased in this life, and that charity in itself has no ultimately possible degree, because it is a participation of infinite charity and so it differs from heat and from whiteness. But Cajetan is not in agreement with other Thomists when he says that charity in itself does not exclude the highest possible degree of this virtue, especially so if it is ordered to the greatest possible union, namely, the hypostatic union, for then it has, as proportionate to this union, the highest possible degree of this virtue, as heat in fire, and whiteness in snow.

Other Thomists justly reply to him by saying that there is a greater difference between habitual grace or charity and natural qualities, such as heat in fire and whiteness in snow.

First difference. These natural qualities have their own intrinsic and finite specification, and are not defined with reference to something else; whereas habitual grace is defined as a formal and physical participation in the divine nature, the possibility of this participation being infinite. Thus of itself there is no limit to it, but it even excludes this, which means that it seeks intrinsically to have syncategorematically no limitation, which means that the highest possible degree of habitual grace, or of charity or of the light of glory, is intrinsically repugnant, just as the absolutely swiftest motion is a contradiction in terms, for it is always possible to conceive a swifter motion, accomplished in a shorter time, that is however distinct from the indivisible instant of time.

Second difference. Natural qualities, such as heat in fire—a better illustration is whiteness in snow—are natural properties of some natural and finite substance; whereas habitual grace is not a natural property of the created intellectual substance, not even of Christ's soul as united with the Word, because it flows in a certain measure not necessarily, but freely from the Word, a point that will be more clearly explained in the following article.[974]

Third difference. Natural qualities, such as heat and whiteness, are received in the subject according to its passive and finite natural power, whereas habitual grace is received in the subject not according to its natural power, but its obediential power. And St. Thomas says: "The obediential power, inasmuch as it can receive something from God, is not limited in this respect because, whatever God does in the creature, there still remains in it the power to accept something from God."[975]

Finally, grace is something freely given that is dependent in its measure on the divine good pleasure.

Cajetan seeks to defend his opinion and says: "It is possible for one to have a higher degree of the vision of God (than the degree granted to the soul of Christ) from a more sublime intellect equally illumined,"[976] in other words, if to an equal degree of the light of glory an angel were assumed by the Word of God into unity of person.

Other Thomists reply that then the degree of the beatific vision would not be formally more sublime but only materially; in fact, not even materially, because this angel would not have a clearer vision of the divine essence, which is an essentially supernatural object that absolutely transcends the power of whatsoever created intellect, as Alvarez remarks.[977]

Cajetan likewise sets forth his same view in his treatise on charity.[978] He maintains especially in his great commentary, that charity in this life can always be increased and in itself this virtue is not found in the highest possible degree, though it does not exclude this degree, as it excludes mortal sin. In fact, for it to be proportionate to this union, then charity must be in the highest possible degree.

Cajetan, seeking to magnify Christ's habitual grace, minimizes the sublimity of absolutely assumed grace, as we shall see in the explanation of the following article.

So far, Cajetan asserts but he does not prove that Christ's habitual grace is not in the highest possible degree. We shall see in the explanation of the following article what he adds in confirmation of his special opinion.

Twelfth Article: Whether The Grace Of Christ Could Increase

State of the question. St. Thomas clearly sets forth the difficulty of this problem, for he says:

1) To every finite thing addition can be made. But Christ's habitual grace, as we said, considered as a being, is finite. Therefore it can be increased.

2) Also considered as grace, it seems that it can be increased, for increase of grace is effected by divine power; and since this power is absolutely infinite, there are no limits to it.

3) The Evangelist says that "Jesus advanced in wisdom and age. and grace with God and men."[979]

Conclusion. Christ's habitual grace could not be increased after the first moment of His conception, either on the part of the grace itself, or on the part of the recipient of this grace. Thus Christ differs from all others, even from the Blessed Virgin and the angels, who were wayfarers and not comprehensors.

Let us first of all examine the proofs of this article; afterward we shall consider Cajetan's interpretation; finally we shall discuss the interpretation of other Thomists.

Scriptural proof. The Evangelist says: "We saw His glory, the glory as it were of the only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth."[980] "But nothing can be or can be thought greater than that anyone should be the begotten of the Father. Therefore no greater grace can be or can be thought than that of which Christ was full."[981] Thus we said in the preceding article that Christ's grace is at least morally infinite inasmuch as it is the principle by means of which He performed meritorious and satisfactory acts that are of absolutely infinite value. Thus Christ's habitual grace absolutely excels the grace of all men and angels combined.

Moreover, the Second Council of Constantinople defined: "If anyone defends the assertion that Christ... as He advanced in the performance of good works became better... let him be declared anathema."[982] This means that Christ did not either become more perfect, or was subjected to passions, or offered sacrifice for Himself.[983] In this Christ differs from all the just, even from the angels in heaven, who became more perfect in the second instant of their creation, since they were wayfarers and merited, and after this they were only comprehensors. But if St. Luke says that "Jesus advanced in wisdom and age, and grace with God and men,"[984] St. Thomas replies in this article, along with the whole of ecclesiastical tradition: "Christ did not increase inasmuch as the very habits of wisdom and grace were increased in Him..., but as regards the effects, ... since in the course of time He did more perfect works, to prove Himself true man, both in the things of God and in the things of man."[985] The Greek and Latin Fathers generally take this view when they speak of the fullness of Christ's grace.[986]

Theological proof. There are two subdivisions to this proof.

a) On the part of the recipient of this grace, Christ's grace could not be increased from the beginning, because as man He was from the first moment of His conception truly and completely comprehensor, as will be made clear farther on.[987] But in comprehensors, or in the blessed, there can be no increase of grace, subjectively speaking, for they have already reached their final end to which they were eternally predestined. Therefore, subjectively speaking, there can be no increase in Christ's grace.

b) On the part of grace. Christ's grace from the beginning could not be increased, because Christ as man was from the beginning personally united with the Word, and He already received, as St. Thomas says in this article, "the highest measure of grace."

This consequence is proved by one syllogism on which Cajetan very much insists.

It is in reference to the end that a measure is prefixed to each form; for example, in accordance with the physics of the ancients, there is no greater gravity than that of the earth because there is no lower place than that of the earth. Or, as we now can say, in our solar world there is no greater light and heat than the light and heat of the sun, which is the center of attraction of this solar world.

But the end of grace is the union of the rational creature with God, and there cannot be a greater union than the hypostatic union of Christ's human nature with the Word.

Therefore, from the moment of His conception, Christ's grace attained its highest degree of grace, and there was no possibility of its future increase; whereas, on the contrary, the first fullness of grace in the Blessed Virgin always received an increase of this grace until it acquired its consummate fullness when she entered heaven.

St. Thomas determines more clearly the force of this conclusion in his replies to the objections placed at the beginning of this article.

Reply to first objection. To the proposed difficulty that "to every finite thing addition can be made," St. Thomas replies by making the following distinction: that addition can be made to every finite mathematical quantity, namely, to every line, to every number, I concede; that addition can be made to every natural quantity I deny, for example, the quantity or height of a dog or a horse, or an elephant, or a man cannot always be increased. St. Thomas concludes at the end of his reply by saying: "Hence it is not necessary that addition should be capable of being made to Christ's grace," although it is finite in its essence, which means that it is finite as having reached "the highest measure of grace" as stated toward the end of the argumentative part of this article.

Second objection. "It is by divine power that grace is increased and, since this power is infinite, it is confined by no limits."

Reply. St. Thomas answers by saying: "Although the divine power can make something greater and better than the habitual grace of Christ, yet it could not make it to be ordained to anything greater than the personal union with the only-begotten Son of the Father; and the measure of grace corresponds sufficiently (not adequately) to this union, in accordance with the definition of divine wisdom." This text is of great importance. Similarly farther on it is stated that, "absolutely speaking, there could be a higher and more sublime degree[of the beatific vision] by the infinity of the divine power."[988]

Concerning the interpretation of this second reply and of what is said in the body of this article, Cajetan and Nazarius differ from the rest of the Thomists, both ancient and modern. Let us consider each interpretation.

Cajetan's interpretation.

Cajetan gives the following interpretation to this article. He himself says: "What is substantially for the end must be commensurate with the end (as the shape of the saw for the cutting of wood), ... wherefore, since the tendency of a heavy object is to fall down, ... the lowest point to which an object can fall must be governed and measured only by the maximum influence exerted on it by the law of gravitation. Thus the greatest union of the rational creature with God must be measured only by the greatest grace."[989] Farther on Cajetan remarks: "Therefore Christ's grace is finite and at the same time it excludes addition."[990]

In the reply to the second objection, when St. Thomas says that "God can make something greater and better than the habitual grace of Christ," Cajetan introduces the following distinction: that God can make something greater and better inasmuch as it is a being, this I concede; inasmuch as it is ordained to its proper end, which is the hypostatic union, this I deny.[991]

Criticism. Cajetan does not sufficiently explain the words of St. Thomas in his reply to the second objection, when he says: "To this[hypostatic] union such measure of grace is correspondingly sufficient, according to the definition of divine wisdom" or the divine ordination. He also does not explain the similar and clearer text of St. Thomas concerning the higher degree of the light of glory that is possible by God's absolute power.[992]

It is of no avail to say that God can produce something better than Christ's grace because this is an accident, and God can produce substance or even give to an angel the same degree of the light of glory.

In these considerations Cajetan, who almost always views problems in their formal aspect, seems to understand the reply to the second objection of this article in a material sense, as well as the other reply similar to this.[993]

He seems to stress too much the quasi-material aspect in the subject of grace and the fact that grace is an accident, and not a substance.

Now indeed, as St. Thomas says: "The good of grace in one is greater than the good of nature in the whole universe"[994] that is, than all created and creatable creatures. Hence, when St. Thomas says, "The divine power can make something greater and better than the habitual grace of Christ,"[995] his purpose is not to speak of substance God can produce. Nor does it seem true, as stated above, that an angel, who would have the same degree of the light of glory as the soul of Christ, would have a clearer vision of the divine essence, because the divine essence is an essentially supernatural object, which does not seem to be seen more clearly because of the keener penetration of a material and created intellect.

Common interpretation of Thomists.

Such are Capreolus, Bannez, John of St. Thomas, Salmanticenses, Gonet, Billuart, and others.

To understand this interpretation, we must bear in mind the division commonly admitted by the Thomists about the divine power. It may be expressed by the following schema.[996]

[diagram page 303]

DIVINE POWER

absolute

ordained

extraordinary

ordinary

according to hypostatic order

ascending to order of grace

according to natural order

spiritual

corporal

The merely absolute divine power is the divine power considered apart from the ordination of divine wisdom, and so considered it refers to all things not intrinsically repugnant even though they may be extrinsically repugnant on the part of the end.[997]

Thus God, by His merely absolute power, could annihilate all the blessed in heaven, even the Blessed Virgin and Christ's human nature, since He freely preserves these in being. This annihilation is not intrinsically repugnant but extrinsically repugnant on the part of the end, for on the part of the end there can be no purpose in this annihilation. Hence this annihilation is repugnant to God's power as regulated by divine wisdom.

The ordained divine power is that which refers to the ordaining of divine wisdom, and it concerns everything that is neither intrinsically repugnant, nor extrinsically repugnant on the part of the end.

It is divided into ordinary and extraordinary. The ordinary ordained divine power is that which operates in accordance with the laws as established by God, either in the natural order, or in the supernatural order, or even in the order of the hypostatic union.

It is called extraordinary, when it is called into action and reaches beyond the above-mentioned laws either of the natural order (as when miracles of the physical order are performed) or of the supernatural order (such as a sudden and miraculous conversion as in the case of the conversion of St. Paul) or of those that pertain to the hypostatic union. Thus the question is put, whether Christ's habitual grace could have been greater by God's absolute power, and also by His ordained power and His extraordinary power, so that the Incarnation could have taken place without Christ suffering. There seems to be no doubt that the fullness of even the grace acquired by the Blessed Virgin Mary at the time of her death could have been intensively greater not only by God's absolute power but even by His ordained power and also His extraordinary power.

These principles established, Thomists almost unanimously hold that by God's absolute power Christ's habitual grace could have been increased in intensity, although He actually had the highest possible degree of such grace by God's ordained and ordinary power. So say Capreolus,[998] Bannez, Medina, John of St. Thomas, Alvarez, Suarez, Vasquez, and others, against the Scotists and Cajetan.

John of St. Thomas says that this opinion is more probable and undoubtedly more according to the mind of St. Thomas. This seems to be proved when he says: "As stated above, there cannot be a greater grace than the grace of Christ with respect to the union with the Word; and the same is to be said of the perfection of the divine vision; although, absolutely speaking, there could be a higher and more sublime degree by the infinity of the divine power."[999] So says St. Thomas in this passage, and he is plainly speaking of God's absolute power and he cites and explains what he had said previously about Christ's grace.[1000]

To be sure, Cajetan says that Christ's beatific vision could increase, not because of a greater light of glory but because of a greater natural power, for example, if the Word were to assume an angelic nature.

Reply. The beatific vision is regulated and measured only according to the elevating power which is the light of glory; for the vision itself is an essentially supernatural act, specified by an essentially supernatural object, which infinitely transcends the natural vigor of any created or creatable intellect whatever.

Doubt. Is it possible to conceive a grace and light of glory of a higher species, and can Christ's grace be of a higher species than ours?

Reply. The answer is, No, for the following reasons. (1) Because grace, as in the just and in Christ is already a formal and physical participation in the Deity, having in each case the same definition, and there cannot be anything capable of participation that is higher than the divine nature or the Deity as it is in Itself, or in other words, God's intimate life; this view is against a certain thesis of Father Billot.[1001]

2) Because otherwise Christ would not contain in Himself all the effects of grace if He did not have a certain species of grace. Therefore the only possible conception of a higher beatific vision is that resulting from a greater penetration of the divine essence and from an increase in the intensity of habitual grace and of the light of glory in the same species.

This same interpretation is also proved from the previous reply of St. Thomas to his query about the possibility of charity being increased infinitely. He says: "In no way, either on the part of the form or of the agent or of the subject is a limit to be set to the increase of charity in this life. For there is no limit to the increase of charity in what properly belongs to it in its species, for it is a certain participation of infinite charity, which is the Holy Spirit. Similarly also the causal agent of charity is infinite in power, for it is God. Similarly, too, on the part of the subject, there can be no pre-assigned terminus set to this increase since the greater the increase, the greater the aptitude for further increase."[1002] because as St. Thomas also says here, "by it[charity] the heart expands."[1003] As we already remarked, St. Thomas says: "The obediential power, inasmuch as it can receive something from God, is not limited in this respect, because whatever God does in the creature, there still remains in it the power to receive something from God";[1004] for the obediential power in the creature has immediate reference not to some object that must be known or loved, or to some act that must be elicited, but it has reference to the absolutely free agent, who is infinite in power, whom it obeys and from whom it can always receive something.

Hence we must conclude, as St. Thomas says in this article: "By the purpose of divine wisdom, the measure of grace is sufficient for this[hypostatic] union."[1005]

John of St. Thomas remarks: "Clearly St. Thomas signifies that the end in view of that grace is union with the Word, not in the absolute sense, but as it serves the purpose of divine Wisdom, who assigned such measure of grace to Christ. Hence we conclude that by another purpose of divine Wisdom, there is nothing repugnant in a different measure and increase of grace being given to Christ."[1006]

Solution of objections.

Objection. St. Thomas says in his counter-argument to this twelfth article: "Therefore no greater grace can be or can be thought than that of which Christ was full."

Reply. That St. Thomas says this about Christ's grace with reference to its extrinsic end, which is the hypostatic union, of which he speaks in the preceding article of this question, and as it serves the purpose of divine Wisdom, with which his reply to the second objection of this article is concerned, this I concede; that he says this about Christ's grace taken in the absolute sense of the term and independently of the purpose of divine Wisdom, this I deny.

Thus Christ's grace on account of the union of His human nature with the person of the Word, was the greatest in this order in which it is produced; that is, it is connaturally the greatest, for the purpose or ordination of divine Wisdom that pre-assigned the connatural limits to all forms, according to the connatural order in which these were established by this Wisdom. As God, who gave to St. Peter, to St. John, and to St. Paul, also to St. Augustine, and to St. Thomas a fitting degree of wisdom and charity, could have given them a higher degree, so He gave Christ a higher degree of grace, but on absolute consideration He could have given Christ a higher degree, because the highest possible degree cannot be conceived. Thus the final argument fittingly terminates the best sermon, although, absolutely speaking, there could still be another exhortation.

Another objection. St. Thomas said in the preceding article: "Christ's grace has whatsoever can pertain to the nature of grace."

Reply. This must be understood from the immediate context and from other texts of St. Thomas in this same question, because we cannot suppose that He contradicted himself. In other words, he meant that Christ's grace has whatever pertains to the nature of grace, considered in its moral aspect and with reference to its union with the Word.

Finally, God's power would be exhausted if He could produce nothing more perfect by His absolute power, and even by His extraordinary ordained power.

Final objection. If a higher degree of grace were possible, then Christ would have merited this grace, for His merits were of infinite value.

Reply. That Christ would have merited a higher degree of grace if He had not already been a comprehensor and beyond the condition of wayfarer, let this pass without comment; but although the comprehensor, by means of grace performs many good works, this neither increases grace nor merits an increase of it in the comprehensor, as is evident in the blessed, who in this respect are like to God, inasmuch as God's works can in no way increase His perfection. God did not become better by the fact that He created the universe or sent His Son into the world for our salvation.

If Christ merited the glorification of His body, the reason is that the temporary lack of this glorification of the body was conducive to the end of redemption; whereas, on the contrary, He had from the beginning grace in the highest degree according to His connatural state both as comprehensor and as wayfarer, and thus He absolutely transcended all the just, both angels and men. The Second Council of Constantinople declared that Christ was not made better by advancing in the performance of good works.[1007] On the contrary, the Blessed Virgin, by her continuous and uninterrupted performance of meritorious acts until death, was made better.

Corollary. Hence Christ adored God's supreme good pleasure by which He simultaneously freely willed the Incarnation and determined the degree of habitual grace befitting the Word incarnate. In this also Christ could say: "I confess to Thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth... for so hath it seemed good in Thy sight."[1008] God's most free decrees must be adored and they are infinitely good, since they are decrees that are the result of infinite wisdom and of infinite love. From this the sublimity of the Deity and of grace taken in the absolute sense, which by God's absolute power can always be increased, is more clearly seen since it is a participation of the divine nature, which is always capable of participation in a more sublime way.

Thirteenth Article: Whether The Habitual Grace Of Christ Followed After The Union

Reply. The grace of union precedes the habitual grace of Christ, not in order of time but by nature and in thought, and this for three reasons.

1) Because of the principles of both graces. For the mission of the Son by the Incarnation precedes by nature the mission of the Holy Spirit by habitual grace and charity, just as in the order of nature the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Son.

2) Because of the relation of grace to its cause. For Christ's habitual grace is caused by God's presence in Him through His personal union with the Word just as the brightness of the sun comes from the sun.

3) Because of the end of grace. For the purpose of grace is good action, and actions belong to the suppositum and presuppose the suppositum constituted in being. Therefore Christ's habitual grace, since the purpose of it is good action, presupposes the union of the human nature with the Word.

Reply to second objection. "Habitual grace is not understood to have preceded the union but to have followed it, as a natural property"; however, as already stated, the degree of this habitual grace does not flow of necessity from the Word, but "the measure of grace is sufficient to this union by the purpose of divine Wisdom."[1009]

This terminates the question of Christ's grace inasmuch as He is a certain individual man. This question presents to us a sublime illustration of the definition of grace, inasmuch as now we see more clearly that there cannot be a nobler species of habitual grace than ours, or a more exalted species of the beatific vision than that which the blessed possess.


CHAPTER X: QUESTION 8: CHRIST'S GRACE AS HEAD OF THE CHURCH

There are two parts to this question.

First part. It treats of grace which befits Christ as head of the Church (a. 1-6).

The first article considers the meaning of the expression, head of the Church. Then there is a discussion of the grace of headship as it extends to men and angels (a. 2-4).

Finally whether to be head of the Church is proper to Christ.

Second part. It concerns the devil and Antichrist. Is the devil the head of all the wicked? (a. 7.) Can Antichrist be called the head of all the wicked? (a. 8.)

It must first of all be noted that this whole doctrine has its foundation in the epistles of St. Paul, in which Christ is often spoken of as the head of the Church. Christ indeed had already said, as reported by the Evangelist: "I am the true vine, and My Father is the husbandman. Every branch in Me that beareth not fruit He will take away; and everyone that beareth fruit He will purge it that it may bring forth more fruit.... I am the vine, you the branches; He that abideth in Me, and I in Him, the same beareth much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone abide not in Me, he shall be cast forth as a branch, and shall wither, and they shall gather him up and cast him into the fire, and he burneth."[1010]

This same doctrine is developed under another analogy, namely, of the head and mystical body of Christ, in whom the faithful must gradually be incorporated, by participating in the hidden life of Christ, His public life, His sorrowful life, and finally His glorious life. As St. Paul often says in the following text and in others: "He[God]... hath made Him[Christ] head over all the Church, which is His body, and the fullness of Him who is filled all in all."[1011]

First Article: Whether Christ Is The Head Of The Church

State of the question. We are concerned with the Church, though the title of the article does not as yet determine whether we are concerned only with the Church militant, or also with the Church triumphant, for this will be determined farther on. We are also concerned with Christ as man.

The difficulties are these: (1) The head imparts sense and motion to the members, and it seems, as St. Augustine says, that Christ as man does not give the Holy Spirit, and hence He does not impart spiritual sense and motion to those men who are the faithful of His Church. (2) Furthermore, the head of man receives an inflow of blood from the heart, for just as it could not live without receiving this influx of blood from the heart, and its re-oxygenation in the lungs, so the head of man is dependent on the heart, the lungs, and also on other organs; whereas, on the contrary, Christ does not depend either formally or efficiently, or finally on the faithful, but they depend on Him. Thus this article is most appropriate for the discernment of the dissimilarities and similarities in this analogy.

Reply. Christ as man is head of the Church. The expression "as man" must not be understood absolutely in its reduplicative sense, as if it meant solely by reason of Christ's human nature, but it must be taken in its special sense, namely, as man subsisting by the divine personality, which will be more clearly explained farther on.

Scriptural proof. The following text is especially cogent: "God... raising Him up from the dead, and setting Him on His right hand in the heavenly places... hath made Him head over all the Church."[1012] It is manifest, however, that St. Paul is here speaking of Christ as man, for he says that He was raised from the dead.

St. Paul has developed this doctrine at considerable length in his epistles, from which he proceeds to establish four conclusions.

1) Christ is the head of the regenerated human race raised to the supernatural and fallen from it. St. Paul says: "For if by the offense of one many died, much more the grace of God, and the gift, by the grace of one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.... For if by the offense of one many died, much more the grace of God, and the gift, by the grace of one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.... For if by one man's offense death reigned through one, much more they who receive abundance of grace, and of the gift and of justice, shall reign in life through one, Jesus Christ. Therefore, as by the offense of one, unto all men to condemnation, so also by the justice of one unto all men to justification of life."[1013]

For God permits evil only for a greater good, and He permitted Adam's sin only for the greater good of the redemptive Incarnation, as we showed above, when discussing the motive of the Incarnation.[1014]

St. Paul likewise says: "For as in one body we have many members, but all the members have not the same office, so we being many, are one body in Christ, and everyone members one of another."[1015]

2) St. Paul teaches that the influx of Christ as head over all men, even the angels as His ministers, presupposes the great pre-eminence of Christ. Most striking is the following text: "You are filled in Him[Christ], who is the head of all principality and power."[1016]

3) St. Paul says that this influx of Christ as head makes itself felt on various persons throughout the course of the centuries. Thus he writes: "The whole body... groweth unto the increase of God."[1017]

4) St. Paul insists on the unity of this mystical body, both as regards the head, source of this influence, and as regards the end of this unity. In many texts he speaks of our common participation in the blood of Christ.[1018]

This doctrine of Christ's headship is de fide, not only as contained in Scripture and the ordinary teaching authority of the Church, but it is also the teaching of the Council of Trent, which says: "For whereas Jesus Christ Himself continually infuses His virtue into the said justified, as the head into the members and the vine into the branches, and this virtue always precedes and accompanies and follows their good works, which without it could not in any wise be pleasing and meritorious before God...."[1019] The Council likewise says: "If anyone denies that Christ whole and entire, the fountain and author of all graces, is received under the one species of bread, because, as some falsely assert, He is not received, according to the institution of Christ Himself, under both species; let him be anathema."[1020]

In the body of the article, St. Thomas gives three reasons why Christ is fittingly called the head of the Church, according to a metaphorical analogy in which there is similarity of proportionality and also dissimilarity.

1) Argument from order. The head is the first part of man, that is, the superior part. But Christ as man, on account of His nearness to God, by grace is higher than all, for St. Paul says: "For whom He foreknew, He also predestinated to be made conformable to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren."[1021]

2) Argument from perfection. In the head flourish all the senses, both interior and exterior. But Christ has the fullness of all graces, for the Evangelist says: "We saw Him full of grace and truth."[1022]

3) Argument from power. From the head proceeds the motion and direction of the members, by reason of the sensitive and motive power that resides in the head. But Christ has the power of bestowing grace on all members of the Church, for the Evangelist says: "Of His fullness we have all received."[1023]

Reply to first objection. Christ as God is the principal physical cause of grace, and as man He is the meritorious or moral cause of grace for us, and furthermore its physical instrumental or efficient cause, on which more must be said farther on.[1024]

Therefore this analogy of proportionality is extremely appropriate, though it is not analogy of proper proportionality, because, according to the strict meaning of head, it designates the higher part of the animal; but the metaphor is appropriate because of the above-mentioned similarities. There are also dissimilarities, as in all analogies, especially in those that are metaphorical.

Reply to second objection. "A natural head depends on the other members or organs, from which it receives nourishment; but the father of a family is subject to the civil governor, and Christ as man is subject to God, so that there is no reason why God cannot be the head of Christ."

In a general reply to the third objection it may be observed that the natural head is dependent on other members and organs for its nutrition and life, and it is therefore a member. Contrariwise, the moral head of the Church, Christ, is in no way dependent on the members and the body for His spiritual life. Thus Christ cannot be called a member of the Church; although St. Thomas in other passages conceded that Christ can be called, though not in the strict sense of the term, a member of the Church, since He is united with the Church as His mystical body, and receives an influx from God as the principal head of the whole Church.[1025]

Third objection. Why cannot Christ be called the heart of the Church, since the metaphor would be even more fitting, because the heart influences the head and other members?

Reply to third objection. The head has a manifest pre-eminence over the other members; but the heart has a certain hidden influence. And hence the Holy Ghost is likened to the heart, since He invisibly quickens and unites the Church; but Christ is likened to the head in His visible nature in which man is set over man.

Second Article: Whether Christ Is Head Of Men As To Their Bodies Or Only As To Their Souls

State of the question. The meaning of the title to this article is clear from the tenor of the third objection, in which it is doubted whether Christ, even as regards His body, is head over other men even as regards their bodies.

Reply. The answer is in the affirmative, for the whole human nature of Christ is an instrument united with the divine nature in the operation of our salvation, which was formerly accomplished in the passion of our Lord, and is now instrumentally and physically continued in the Holy Eucharist.

Christ not only bestows both habitual and actual grace on the soul, but He also influences our bodies, inasmuch as in this life He makes them to be instruments that cooperate in our sanctification by the performance of the external acts commanded by the virtues. Thus the infused virtues of temperance and fortitude are in the sensitive appetite, and, after the resurrection of the dead, Christ will be the instrumental and physical cause as regards the glorification of the bodies of the saints.

Third Article: Whether Christ Is The Head Of All Men

State of the question. It is apparent from the difficulties posited at the beginning of this article, for the objections declare: (1) Infidels do not at all seem to be members of the Church, of which Christ is the head, because they are in no way related to Christ, whom they do not even know. (2) In fact, many of the faithful are in the state of mortal sin, and therefore do not seem to belong to the Church, for St. Paul says: "Christ delivered Himself up for the Church... that He might present it to Himself a glorious Church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing."[1026] This difficulty as proposed here was in later times the heretical teaching of John Hus and Quesnel, as will be stated farther on. (3) It is not clear how Christ can be the head of those who lived before Him in the Old Testament, for He could not have influenced them.

Reply. Christ is the head of all men, but in different degrees.

1) This doctrine is of faith, it being evidently the teaching of the New Testament. St. Paul says: "Who[Christ] is the Savior of all men, especially of the faithful."[1027] The Evangelist likewise says: "He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world."[1028] The Church also condemned John Hus, who maintained that it consisted only of the elect, and Quesnel, who declared that only the just belong to the Church.[1029]

2) Theological proof. It is developed in the argumentative part of the article, and may be expressed by the following syllogism.

Among the members of the mystical body, some are potentially members, and others are actually members, since they are not all living at the same time or all in the state of grace. But Christ is the head of all human beings, according as they are members of His mystical body. Therefore Christ is the head of all human beings either actually or potentially.

[diagram page 316]

MEMBERS

actually

by glory

by charity in this life

by faith only (these are imperfect members only relatively united with Christ (ad 2)

potentially

destined to be

in eternity, by glory

in time, by faith and charity

those not destined to be

(this will always be so in adults because of some personal sin; for God does not deny grace to one who does one's best)

This schema is clear enough in print, but it presupposes the great mystery of predestination. The entire article should be read.

Corollary. Those who die not in the state of grace, "completely cease to be Christ's members" because it is no longer potentially possible for them to be united with Him.

Reply to first objection. "Those who are unbaptized, though not actually in the Church, are in the Church potentially. And this potentiality is rooted in two things: first and principally in the power of Christ, which is sufficient for the salvation of the whole human race; secondly, in free will," for they can still be converted to God.

Therefore the difference between the mystical head and the natural head is this, that the former not only can preserve and direct those members it already has, but it can also unite others to itself, and with reference to these it is called a potential head.

Reply to second objection. The Church that has neither spot nor wrinkle is the Church triumphant in heaven. But the Church militant actually consists both of the just and the faithful in the state of mortal sin, and these are imperfect members, being only in a qualified sense united with Christ.

This needs some explanation, because of what Quesnel maintained. For those among the faithful who are in a state of mortal sin actually receive from Christ an influx, which consists in a certain permanent bond, namely, in infused faith, and by this bond they are permanently united with the other members of the Church in one belief. Perfect union with Christ, indeed, requires charity. But it is already something of great importance to preserve the gift of infused faith.

This doctrine that was denied by John Hus and Quesnel, is manifestly in agreement with what Sacred Scripture says. The Gospel compares the Church to a threshing floor in which along with the wheat there is chaff that must be burnt, or to a net cast into the sea that contains good and bad fishes;[1030] or it is compared to ten virgins, five of whom were foolish, not having provided themselves with the oil of charity.[1031] Thus the Fourth Council of the Lateran defined the Church as a "congregation of the faithful", saying: "There is but one universal Church of the faithful outside which absolutely nobody is saved."[1032]

But if certain Fathers of the Church said that the wicked do not belong to the Church, this must be understood as meaning that they are not perfect members of the Church; they are, nevertheless, imperfect members if they have faith.

Those among the faithful who are in the state of mortal sin are called members of the devil, or of the Babylonian city, inasmuch as they are turned away from God; but they are called members of the Church, so far as they keep the faith. So also in our bodies, a member that no longer has the sensitive life is an imperfect member. Thus the hair and nails are still parts of the body.

Corollary. All who have faith are members of the Church, even if they are only catechumens or schismatics, although it is true to say that schism easily drifts into heresy, and there is scarcely any formal schismatic who was not a heretic.

Reply to third objection. The ancient fathers of the Old Testament, "by observing the legal sacraments, which were types of future things, were born to Christ by the faith and love of charity", and so "they belonged to the same body of the Church as we do." However, Christ, who merited for them the grace of salvation, did not physically influence them, for a physical influence presupposes the existence of the influencing cause. On the contrary, the moral meritorious cause can be as yet non-existent and future, because it moves not as actually existing, but as known as pertaining either to the future or the past. Thus, on account of Christ's future merits, God bestowed grace on the just of the Old Testament. They received medicinal grace and redemption dependent on Christ's future merits, just as we receive such grace and redemption dependent on Christ's past merits. But Christ always living now exerts a physical influence on us, as the instrumental cause of grace.

First doubt. Is Christ actually the head of baptized and occult heretics, because of the baptismal character that remains in them? The query is concerned with formal heretics.

Reply. The answer is in the negative, against Cajetan's view, because in their case not even infused faith remains, which means that they do not belong to the third class. St. Thomas has in mind in the body of the article, those who are united with Christ neither by glory nor by charity in this life, but by faith. The Church is defined as "the congregation of the faithful," inasmuch as faith is the foundation and beginning of the supernatural life.

Christ, to be sure, influences these heretics by actual graces, but these graces only dispose them for the life of grace, and are not anything permanent in them, which means that they do not constitute a permanent bond uniting the member with Christ. Thus nobody is said to be a member of a family, merely because he visits it occasionally. Christ also bestows actual graces on infidels, of whom certainly He is actually the head.

Cajetan's objection. Christ bestows on baptized infidels something spiritual and permanent, namely, a baptismal character.

Reply. It is not enough for Christ to bestow on them something spiritual and permanent, for this something spiritual and permanent must be both vital and uniting the baptized with the one who is believed or loved. Otherwise Christ would be the head of the baptized who are damned. Cajetan concedes this last conclusion, but St. Thomas clearly denies it at the end of the argumentative part of this article.

It would be an error in the other extreme opposed to that of John Hus and Quesnel.

Hence the baptized formal heretic is not an actual member of the Church, and yet the Church has the right of punishing him, inasmuch as he does not maintain what he promised to believe, just as a king has the right to punish fugitive soldiers.

St. Robert Bellarmine's objection. The pope who becomes a secret heretic is still an actual member of the Church, for he is still the head of the Church, as Cajetan, Cano, Suarez, and others teach.

Reply. This condition is quite abnormal, hence no wonder that something abnormal results from it, namely, that the pope becoming secretly a heretic would no longer be an actual member of the Church, according to the teaching as explained in the body of the article, but would still retain his jurisdiction by which he would influence the Church in ruling it. Thus he would still be nominally the head of the Church, which he would still rule as head, though he would no longer be a member of Christ, because he would not receive that vital influx of faith from Christ, the invisible and primary head. Thus in quite an abnormal manner he would be in point of jurisdiction the head of the Church, though he would not be a member of it.

This condition could not apply to the natural head in its relation to the body, but such a condition is not repugnant in the case of the moral and secondary head. The reason is that, whereas the natural head must receive a vital influx from the soul before it can influence the members of its body, the moral head, such as the pope is, can exercise his jurisdiction over the Church, although he receives no influx of interior faith and charity from the soul of the Church. More briefly, as Billuart says, the pope is constituted a member of the Church by his personal faith, which he can lose, and his headship of the visible Church by jurisdiction and power is compatible with private heresy. The Church will always consist in the visible union of its members with its visible head, namely, the pope of Rome, although some, who externally seem to be members of the Church, may be private heretics. Thus the conclusion we must come to is, that occult heretics are only apparent members of the Church, which they externally and visibly profess to be the true Church.

Second doubt. Was Christ the head of our first parents in the state of innocence?

This is a difficult question, and the answer depends on the way we solve the problem concerning the motive of the Incarnation.

The Scotists and Suarez answer this question in the affirmative, for they maintain that Christ as man was the head of Adam in the state of innocence, even as regards essential grace, because Christ is the first of all the predestined.

Many Thomists deny this assertion of the Scotists and Suarez, for they say that the primary and principal reason of Christ's coming was to redeem the human race, and Adam in the state of innocence did not need redemption. Nevertheless, among Thomists, Godoy and Gonet maintain that Christ as man was truly and in the strict sense the head of our first parents in the state of innocence about as in the case of the angels, as regards the accidental grace of faith in Christ to come not as redeemer, but as consummator of glory.[1033]

Let us now see how the more common opinion of the Thomists is explained by those who hold, as the Salmanticenses do, that God permitted Adam's sins for a greater good, namely, the redemptive Incarnation, so that the Incarnation is prior in the genus of final cause, and the fall of the human race is prior in the genus of material cause to be perfected or repaired, as we explained above in discussing the motive of the Incarnation.

Thesis. Christ as man was not the head of our first parents in the state of innocence as regards essential grace.

Authoritative proof. St. Augustine says: "He[Adam] was not in need of those graces resulting from Christ's death; the blood of the lamb absolved fallen men from both hereditary sin and personal sins."[1034] He calls the grace of the state of innocence, God's grace, and the grace bestowed on man after the Fall, Christ's grace.[1035]

St. Thomas likewise says: "Granted as true the opinion that Christ would not have become incarnate if man had not sinned, Christ before sin would have been the head of the Church only as God, but after sin He must be the head of the Church as man."[1036]

Fundamental theological proof. The more common opinion of the Thomists is proved by the following syllogistic reasoning.

Christ was willed by God first and principally as the Redeemer, and so the grace bestowed by Christ is a medicinal and healing grace. But Adam had no grace in the state of innocence that was a medicinal and healing grace. Therefore Adam had no grace in the state of innocence that was bestowed on Him by Christ.

In other words, according to the present decree, Christ was willed as a remedy for the human race because of original sin. Thus the redemptive Incarnation depends on Adam's sin not indeed in the genus of final cause or of efficient cause or of formal cause, but in the genus of material cause that must be perfected or repaired, inasmuch as the alleviation of misery is the reason for being merciful. Hence every grace coming from Christ as head comes from Him by reason of His redemption and death for the human race.

Solution Of Objections

First objection. The principal reason for the opposite Scotist opinion is this. Christ is the first of all the predestined, as St. Thomas himself says.[1037] But the first of all the predestined is the cause of all the graces the other predestined receive, among whom are the first parents. Therefore Christ was the cause of all the graces received by the first parents, even their essential grace, and so He was their head.

Reply. I distinguish the major: that Christ is the first of all the predestined by a priority of dignity as regards all, even the angels, this I concede, because He is predestined to divine and natural sonship, and not to adoptive sonship; that He is the first of all predestined by a priority of meritorious causality of all, this I deny; for He is only thus first of all as regards the redeemed, since He came as redeemer for us men. I contradistinguish the minor; the first of all the predestined is the meritorious cause of all the graces of the predestined to be redeemed, as redeemed, this I concede; that He is the meritorious cause of the essential grace of the others, that is, of the angels and Adam, not as to be redeemed, but as innocent, this I deny. And I deny the consequent and consequence, for the notion of head requires causality by way of merit. Thus farther on we shall state that Christ as man is truly the head of the angels inasmuch as, if He did not merit for them the essential grace of justification and glory, at least He merited accidental graces for them to be ministers in the kingdom of God. Adam in the state of innocence, however, was not Christ's minister in the kingdom of God.

Third doubt. Was Christ, as man, the end of the essential grace bestowed on our first parents in the state of innocence? It is not here strictly a question of Christ's merits, but of Christ as He is the end of creatures.

The Thomists, as also the Salmanticenses, generally agree in saying that Christ was the end of this essential grace, not in its production but in its reparation. For Christ was first intended as the Redeemer of the human race, and therefore this presupposes the destruction of original justice through Adam's sin.

According to the interpretation of the Salmanticenses and Gonet concerning the teaching of St. Thomas on the motive of the Incarnation, which we admitted, the end to which Christ was appointed is the permission of original sin by which original justice is destroyed, and not the production of this original justice. Hence Christ is not appointed for the production of this original justice, but for its reparation. So say the Salmanticenses[1038] and Billuart.[1039]

As regards the essential grace and glory of the good angels, we shall discuss this farther on. Although this grace is not the result of Christ's merits, yet it is ordained to Christ as to its end. For this grace was neither destroyed nor to be repaired, and the decree of the Incarnation did not therefore presuppose its destruction by some sin permitted by God.

All these statements are consistent with what we previously said about the motive of the Incarnation,[1040] namely, that God among innumerable possible worlds saw by His knowledge of simple intelligence the world free from sin, perfect and glorious not redeemed by the Incarnation, and the world of sin made perfect and glorious by the redemptive Incarnation, and by one simple and efficacious decree for the manifestation of His glory chose this second world, that is, He permitted both Adam's sin destroying original justice and willed the redemptive Incarnation, as a greater good without which He would not have permitted the aforesaid sin. Hence the permission of original sin and the restoration of original justice are ordained to Christ, as to their end; in fact, as will be stated farther on, the angels themselves and their essential grace and glory not destined to be destroyed are likewise ordained to Christ, as to their end, because there is only one decree for all parts of the universe, so that they may pass from the state of possibility to that of futurity.[1041]

Second objection. Adam's essential grace in the state of innocence is the effect of his predestination. But Adam's predestination, like ours, is the effect of Christ's merits. Therefore Adam's essential grace in the state of innocence is the effect of Christ's merits, who was therefore in the strict sense his head.

Reply. I distinguish the antecedent: that the grace as first given in the state of innocence was the effect of Adam's predestination, I deny; that it was so as destined to be repaired, I concede. For this grace as first given was not ordained efficaciously to glory, but only as it was repaired after its loss. Hence in the state of innocence, this grace did not depend either on Adam's predestination or on Christ's predestination, but on God's general providence in the supernatural order, just like the sufficient graces that were given, for example, to the angels who were not predestined.

I insist. But God's general providence is subordinated to the providence of the hypostatic union as end. Hence there is no solution of the difficulty.

Reply. The Salmanticenses[1042] answer by making the following distinction: that this subordination to the hypostatic union prevails as regards the reparation of this original justice, I concede; as regards the state itself of original justice, I deny. "Although," as they say, "the providence of the hypostatic union, to which Christ's predestination belongs, which is the cause of ours, on behalf of the dignity of its object, namely, of Christ, was sufficient to subordinate to Himself and to that providence the state of original justice, and God could fittingly enough so decree; yet, on the present supposition that de facto God intended Christ as a remedy for original sin, He could by His consequent power extend His decree to the above-mentioned subordination. The reason is that He could not look upon that first state of innocence except through the medium of original sin, which is the formal destruction and non-existence of this state; and therefore He could exert no influence on this being, as stated above. Consequently the influx of providence in the hypostatic union de facto consists precisely in those things that concern or connote original sin; it does not extend to other things, although in another series of things, considering the sufficiency of this providence, it could be extended to include them."[1043]

Yet it remains true, as the Salmanticenses furthermore say, that "all things which God decreed in reparation after the Fall, were directed to Christ as to their end."[1044] Thus original justice was only mediately and indirectly the material cause of the Incarnation, since this latter was decreed in reparation after sin.

Still I insist. But in the other predestined, such as in St. Peter, even the first of the series of graces interrupted by sin, is the effect of the person's predestination, according to the Thomist doctrine.[1045] Therefore the same must be said of Adam's first grace, though the series of graces was interrupted by sin.

Reply. There is not parity of argument in each case, for in the person predestined and redeemed, as in St. Peter, the first grace bestowed is given with the intention of leading him to glory by the recovery of this grace. On the contrary, grace was not bestowed on Adam in the state of innocence with the efficacious intention of leading him to glory in that state, but it came from God's general providence. That state of innocence had to be admitted and the decree of Christ's coming and His predestination depended on its loss, and through Christ's merits we are all redeemed. Hence Adam's first grace was the effect of his predestination, only as recovered, not as first bestowed.

Another difficulty. Is Christ as man Adam's head in the state of innocence as regards accidental graces, just as, as we shall immediately say, He is of the angels? Essential grace is habitual grace or sanctifying grace, and accidental grace is illuminating grace of the intellect, which is not absolutely necessary for justification.

It is a disputed question among Thomists. Some deny that Christ is Adam's head, because, so they say, the angels are Christ's ministers in the kingdom of God, but Adam in the state of innocence was not Christ's minister. So says Billuart.

Nevertheless Gonet's teaching is probable. He writes: "Christ as man was head of our first parents even in the state of innocence, for a moral influence came from Christ on our first parents still in the state of innocence, just as it was given to the angels, namely, some accidental grace, such as faith in Christ to come, not indeed as the redeemer, but as the consummator of glory."[1046]

Other Thomists, such as Billuart, reply with the following distinction: that Adam in the state of innocence believed in Christ, that is, in Christ objectively considered, I concede; that he had this belief through Christ, I deny. But if it is insisted that Adam believed in Christ as the consummator of glory, and therefore as the head, they reply: as the future head as being the consummator of glory, let this pass without comment; as the head actually exerting His influx in the state of innocence, this I deny.

At least it must be granted that Adam's belief in Christ to come as the consummator of glory was directed to Christ as to the end; and Adam continued in this belief, since it was not lost as the grace of original justice was, because Adam, strictly speaking, did not sin against faith, and so he did not lose it.

Final doubt. If we admit the teaching of St. Thomas on the motive of the Incarnation, is it probable that Adam's essential grace in the state of innocence rests on a twofold title: namely, (1) on God elevating him to this grace, independently of Christ; (2) dependent on Christ's merits.

Reply. Certain Thomists, such as Godoy, O. P., and Cipullus, O. P., maintain this for the angels and also, so it seems, for Adam in the state of innocence. Their reason is that this contributes to Christ's glory, just as the glorification of His physical body rests on a twofold title: namely, (1) as being connatural, since it is the overflow of glory from the soul, and (2) on the title of merit. Likewise, so they say, the essential grace of the angels and Adam rested on a twofold title.

This opinion of Godoy and Cipullus is attacked by Billuart and by Gonet, and to these last-mentioned theologians Contenson replies by saying: "According to this opinion, God the Father by the first expression of His will freely gave His grace, and afterward also willed to confer it because of Christ's merits; so that, if at first He had not decided to give it, by virtue of this second will it would be bestowed efficaciously. Certainly this way of presenting the case claims for itself probability, since it by all means safeguards Christ's dignity."[1047]

Contenson says that this conclusion is only probable, because we do not know what is positively contained in God's free decree on this point. It has not been sufficiently revealed.

However, even though this opinion were probable concerning the essential grace of the angels, it is not so probable as regards the essential grace of Adam in the state of innocence, because Christ came as the Redeemer on the supposition that Adam's sin was permitted, by which the grace in the state of innocence was lost, whereas the first grace of the predestined angels was not lost.

Fourth Article: Whether Christ Is The Head Of The Angels

State of the question. It concerns Christ as man, for there is not indeed any doubt that Christ, as God, is the head of the angels even as regards essential grace and glory, which is a participation of the divine nature.

There are three difficulties presented at the beginning of this article. (1) It seems that Christ is not the head of the angels, because the head and members are of the same nature; but Christ, as man, is not of the same nature with the angels. (2) The angels do not belong to the Church, which is the congregation of the faithful who are wayfarers exiled from the Lord. (3) Christ as man gives life to the souls of men, but in this respect He does not give life to the angels.

Reply. Christ is the head of the angels.

Scriptural proof. St. Paul says: "In Him[Christ] dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead Corporeally, and you are filled in Him, who is the head of all principality and power."[1048] There is a similar text from St. Paul quoted in the body of this article.[1049] In fact, the words of Jesus, as quoted by the Evangelist, are evidence of this truth, for He says: "The Son of man shall send His angels."[1050] And again: "He shall send His angels, and shall gather together His elect."[1051] "He shall send His angels with a trumpet, and a great voice."[1052] "All power is given to Me in heaven and in earth."[1053] Likewise St. Paul declares that Christ has inherited "a more excellent name than the angels,"[1054] and this for three reasons, because He is the only Son of God, because He is the Lord of God's kingdom, whereas the angels are His ministers, and because He is full of grace, this fullness being absolute and superabundant.

Theological proof. It is proved by two syllogistic reasonings, as follows:

There must be one head to one body. But there is one mystical body of the Church, which consists of men and angels, who are ordained to the same glory. Therefore this particular body, which is one because of the unity of its end, has one head.

But this one and only head is Christ, because He is nearer to God. Therefore not only men, but angels share in Christ's influence.

The first syllogism has its foundation in the one end of the entire mystical body, inasmuch as men and angels are ordained to the same ultimate supernatural end. The source of their spiritual life is derived from the same divine truth and from the same supreme divine good.

The second syllogism has its foundation in this principle: that Christ is nearer God by the hypostatic union and more perfectly shares in God's gifts, according to the absolute fullness of grace.[1055]

Thus the conclusion is that Christ is truly and in the strict sense the head of the angels, as attested by St. Paul.[1056]

The solution of the difficulties confirms this conclusion.

Reply to first objection. Christ as man is not in agreement with the angels in their specific nature, but in their generic nature, or in the generic grade of intellectuality. And though this does not suffice for natural headship, at least it does so for moral headship, otherwise God Himself would not be the head of the angels. Moreover, Christ has the same specific nature as the angels in the supernatural order, namely, the same and only species of habitual grace, which is the participation of the divine nature.

Reply to second objection. "The church in heaven is the congregation of comprehensors." But Christ already in this life was both wayfarer and comprehensor, having grace and glory to the fullest extent.

Reply to third objection. "Christ's humanity, by virtue of the divine nature, can cause something in the spirits of angels on account of its close conjunction with God, that is, by personal union."

Several doubts must be examined.

First doubt. Is Christ, as man, truly and strictly speaking, the head of the angels as regards their external government?

Theologians generally agree that Christ is the head in this sense, and to deny it would be an error on account of the very clear texts of Sacred Scripture, as quoted above. Also, just as the pope is called the head of the Church as regards its eternal government, so Christ as man, by reason of the hypostatic union, is the prince and lord of the entire Church triumphant, which consists of men and angels. Manifestly this is so from the very fact that Jesus said: "The Son of man... shall send His angels,"[1057] and "All power is given to Me in heaven and in earth."[1058]

Hence St. Thomas shows that Christ ascended above every spiritual creature,[1059] and that Christ's judiciary power, as man, extends to the angels, who are His ministers concerning men.

Second doubt. What grace does Christ as man bestow on the angels?

Reply. There is no doubt that He bestows on them accidental grace, which consists in the illumination of their intellect concerning those things that pertain to our redemption, especially the mystery of the redemptive Incarnation, that they may cooperate with Christ as His ministers in the business of man's salvation. Thus the archangel Gabriel was sent to the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Joseph was enlightened by the angel concerning those things that pertain to Christ and His defense, and Christ sends His angels to be guardians of men.

Thus Christ, as man, bestows on the angels by a physically instrumental influx, accidental graces that they minister to us, and so He purges them from error in this ministry, illumines and perfects them. Similarly Christ as man bestows accidental reward or accidental glory on the angels, on account of this ministry, and accidental joy in the objective and indirect reparation made for those seats lost by the fallen angels, through the justification and glorification of the saints. Thus the angels rejoice in the fact that, because of Christ's merits, the Blessed Virgin Mary has been exalted above their choirs and that the soul of St. Joseph is among them.

But Christ formerly merited the accidental graces, which by His physical instrumentality He bestows on the angels; for He merited whatever He afterward confers. This is clearly enough expressed by St. Paul in the following text: "Are they not all ministering spirits, sent to minister for them, who shall receive the inheritance of salvation?"[1060]

Now indeed, since Christ as man rules over the angels, and merited the accidental grace and glory He now bestows on them, He is truly and properly called their head, more than the pope is as regards the faithful; for the pope only governs the faithful and does not either merit or bestow such accidental grace and glory on them. In fact, Christ is more the head of the angels than of infidels, who are not actually subjected to Him as their head; for He does not impart actual graces to infidels as to actual living members of the Church, but only to dispose them to receive the life of faith.

It is not necessary for the moral head of the angels to bestow on them essential grace, for it is not the primary function of the natural head to give essential life to the members of the body, for this comes from the soul as the substantial form of the body; but it imparts only some vital motion as its secondary act. A fortiori, it suffices that the moral head exert its influence by ruling, as the pope does in the Church and the king in his kingdom.

Third doubt. Does Christ as man bestow on the angels also essential grace and glory, these being a participation of the divine nature? It is certain that as God He bestows this grace on them; but the question is whether He bestows this grace in His human nature, inasmuch as it is personally united with the Word and because of the fullness of grace possessed by Christ in His human nature.

It is a disputed question among theologians. Some absolutely affirm that He does, such as Scotus, the Scotists, Suarez, Valentia, and Godoy, among the Thomists. They give as their principal reason that Christ is the first of all the predestined, and therefore He is the cause of all graces for others.

On the contrary, some absolutely deny that Christ as man gives this grace to the angels. Many of these are Thomists, such as Medina, Alvarez, John of St. Thomas, Gonet, Billuart, and others; outside the school of St. Thomas, we have Vasquez and de Lugo.

The principal reason advanced by these Thomists is that Christ came as the Redeemer, to redeem us men, and He did not die for the angels who were not in need of redemption.

But others try to reconcile the two above-mentioned opinions. Among the Thomists are Vincent of Asturia and Cipullus, who maintain that the essential grace of the angels rests on a twofold title: (1) on God's liberality, and (2) on Christ's merits, just as there were two reasons for the glorification of Christ's body, namely, the connatural overflow of this glory from His soul, and the merit He acquired.

Finally, the Salmanticenses seem to solve the question better by saying: "Christ bestowed this essential grace on the angels, not indeed as physically efficient cause or as morally meritorious cause or as redemptive cause, but by way of objective end,"[1061] inasmuch as Christ was first intended by God above the angels.

Let us first consider the more common opinion among the Thomists, namely, that Christ as man does not bestow essential grace and glory on the angels.[1062]

Scriptural proof. In the Gospel we read: "The angel said to them[the shepherds], "I bring you good tidings of great joy... for this day is born to you a Savior."[1063] The angel says: "to you," not "to us." Similarly St. Bernard in one of his homilies, quoting the scriptural text, "A child is born to us, and a Son is given to us,"[1064] says: "He was not given also to the angels, who having the great, did not need the very little. Therefore He was born for us, given to us, because He is necessary to us."[1065]

But if St. Gregory the Great says, "No man or angel is holy except through Christ,"[1066] this can be understood of Christ as God.

Moreover, the Church says of the Son of God: "Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven and became incarnate,"[1067] not for the angels.

Proof from various texts of St. Thomas. Thus he says: "The angels are not wayfarers as regards their essential reward and therefore in this sense Christ did not merit anything for them. But they are in some manner wayfarers as regards their accidental reward; inasmuch as they minister to us, and this is what Christ merited for them."[1068]

Again he says: "He[Christ] does not exert His influence on the angels by removing the obstacle either by meriting grace for them or praying for them, because they are already in a state of bliss; but He exerts His influence in those things that pertain to hierarchic acts, inasmuch as one angel illumines, purges, and purifies another."[1069]

St. Thomas likewise says, concerning the extent of Christ's judiciary power as regards the angels: "They are submitted to Christ's judgment: (1) as regards the dispensation of those things which are done through them... whereas they minister to Christ as man; (2) as to other accidental rewards...; (3) as to the essential reward of the good angels, which is everlasting bliss; and as to the essential punishment of the wicked angels, which is everlasting damnation. But this was done by Christ from the beginning of the world inasmuch as He is the Word of God."[1070]

The principal theological proof for this more common opinion among the Thomists is about the same as for Adam's essential grace in the state of innocence and may be expressed by the following syllogistic reasoning.

Christ was willed by God primarily and principally as the Redeemer; and the grace that comes from Him is medicinal or healing, derived from His death. But the essential grace of the angels is not at all medicinal or healing, nor did Christ die for them.

Therefore the essential grace of the angels is not the result of Christ's merits.

Confirmation. In fact, God's efficacious decree of the Incarnation in passible flesh presupposes, even for the Scotists, that He permitted and foresaw Adam's sin; and this permission presupposes that He permitted the devil's sin, inasmuch as de facto Adam's sin came about from the temptation by the devil, who was the first to fall. Therefore the Word incarnate, as incarnate, was not the cause of essential grace in the angels, which had been lost through the devil's sin.

Solution of objections. The principal reason advanced by the Scotists in opposition to the Thomist opinion is as follows:

Christ as man is the first of all the predestined. But the first of all the predestined is the cause of all graces for the others, among whom are the good angels. Therefore Christ as man was the cause of the essential grace and glory of the angels.

Reply. As in the case of essential grace for Adam in the state of innocence, the answer is made by distinguishing the major: that Christ is the first of all the predestined by a priority of dignity, this I concede, because He was predestined to natural divine sonship which far transcends adoptive sonship of the angels;[1071] that He is the first of all the predestined by a priority of meritorious causality, this I deny, because He is such only as regards those to be redeemed, since He came as Redeemer for us men and not for the angels. I contradistinguish the minor: the first of all the predestined is the meritorious cause of all the graces of the predestined to be redeemed, this I concede; of the others, namely, of the angels, this I deny. And I deny the consequent and consequence.

But I insist. The Scotists in confirmation of their thesis add: For Christ to be truly and in the strict sense the head of the angels, it is not enough for Him to bestow upon them accidental grace and glory. For Christ is the head only of those on whom He bestows those gifts by which they are constituted members either of the Church militant, suffering, or triumphant, and which are grace, charity, faith, and in heaven the light of glory and the beatific vision.

Reply. The Thomists distinguish the antecedent. That the bestowal of accidental grace and glory is not enough for Christ to be considered in the absolutely strict sense the head of the angels just as He is the head of the just, this I concede; that such is not enough for Him to be truly their head, this I deny. Indeed, it is not the primary function even of the natural head and a fortiori of the moral head to bestow essential life on the members. It is not the primary function of the head to make the members living members, for this pertains to the soul as the substantial form of the whole body; but the head imparts to the members a vital motion, which is life in its secondary act. A fortiori the moral head, such as the pope in the Church or the king in his kingdom, each exerts influence on the members by external government, and yet each is truly called the head. But Christ as man, not only governs the angels by sending them on this or that ministry, but He also bestows on them accidental graces or illuminations for the correct and devout fulfillment of their ministry; and because of their having fulfilled their ministry in this way, He bestows on them an accidental reward. Thus Christ as man is truly and in the strict sense the head of the angels, although in a way not so perfect as He is the head of the just, though He is more the head of the angels than the pope is the head of the faithful.

Finally, the Scotists quote in their favor the following scriptural texts: "No man cometh to the Father, but by Me"'[1072] and "For if by the offense of one, many died, much more... the grace of one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many."[1073]

The Thomists point out that the scriptural texts and statements of the Fathers to which the Scotists refer on this subject, either do not certainly concern the angels but only the just, or if the angels are included, it is not evident from these texts that Christ as man bestows on them essential grace. Thus, when St. John quotes our Lord as saying: "No man cometh to the Father but by Me,"[1074] the meaning is: No one, either angel or man, comes to the Father, except through the Son, but in a different way; for man comes to the Father through the Son veiled in the flesh, but the angel through the Son inasmuch as He is God.

Fourth doubt. If the doctrine of St. Thomas on the motive of the Incarnation be admitted, is it probable that there are two reasons why the angels have their essential grace and glory, namely: (1) because of God's liberality independently of Christ; (2) dependent on Christ's merits?

Reply. Among Thomists, Godoy O. P. and Cipullus O. P., are of this opinion. Although Gonet and Billuart are against them, yet their opinion, as Contenson shows,[1075] does not lack probability. Their principal reason for this opinion is that it contributes to Christ's glory for Him to be the source of all graces; and in truth, Christ Himself obtained the glorification of His body by a twofold right: (1) in that it was connatural to Him, as being the overflow of glory from the soul; (2) by having merited this right.

As Contenson remarks,[1076] this opinion is probable. But if against this opinion the objection is raised that Christ, however, did not die for the angels, and therefore He did not merit for them, then the answer is that neither did Christ die for Himself, and yet He merited for Himself the glorification of His body, and this by a twofold right.

But this opinion cannot be demonstrated because, if it is an established fact, then this opinion depends on God's most free decree that has not been sufficiently revealed; nor can it be deduced with theological certainty from revealed principles. Hence St. Thomas observes a prudent silence concerning these things known to God alone. As the Apostle says, it behooves us "to be wise unto sobriety."[1077]

Fifth doubt. Is Christ as man the final cause of essential grace and glory in the angels?

Reply. That Christ is the final cause, we affirm along with the Salmanticenses, who say: "We add that Christ bestowed substantial grace and first justification on the angels, not indeed that He was either the efficient physical cause or the moral, meritorious, or redemptive cause, but He was the cause by way of objective end."[1078] This can most probably be declared in two ways.[1079]

The first reason, indeed, is that Christ was intended by God as the end of all things, to whom God ordained all things He decreed to make, as we explicitly showed.[1080] Now it suffices to say of this particular disposition on God's part that on the one hand there is nothing derogatory to God, and on the other that it is most befitting the excellence of Christ, our Lord, who, as He was the first of the predestined and the exemplary cause of all the predestined, thus it was becoming for Him to be the quasi-intermediate end for whose sake all things were created, and to whom God referred and subjected all things, so that they should serve Him and increase His glory.[1081] Hence, whatever grace and perfection they had and the angels have, they all participate in Christ's bestowal of this in the genus of final cause.

The second reason, however, is that the angels in the state of probation, and also our first parents in the state of innocence, believed in Christ as the consummator of glory. Thus Christ bestowed faith on the angels, and on our first parents in the state of innocence objectively.

Hence Christ is the end of essential grace in the angels, but He does not appear to be the meritorious cause of this grace, unless their grace rests on a twofold title, which is conjectural but cannot be proved; because, if it is so, this depends on God's decree that is not sufficiently made manifest.

Conclusion. Therefore Christ is truly and in the strict sense the head of the angels, although not so completely as He is of the just, whom He redeemed and on whom He certainly bestows not only accidental grace, but also essential grace and glory.[1082] The unanimous teaching of theologians is that Christ did not redeem the angels, and it is the more common opinion among Thomists that He probably did not merit for them essential grace.

Fifth Article: Whether The Grace Of Christ As Head Of Church Is The Same As His Habitual Grace, Inasmuch As He Is Man

State of the question. Is Christ's grace as head of the Church really distinct from His personal habitual grace, or are the two graces identical?

It seems that they are not the same, for the following reasons.

1) The actual or personal sin of Adam differs from original sin which He transmitted to posterity. Therefore the personal grace of Christ the new Adam is not the same as His grace of headship.

2) These graces are distinct inasmuch as they are ordained to different acts, for Christ's personal grace is ordained for His sanctification, whereas His capital grace is for the sanctification of others.

3) Theologians usually distinguish between three kinds of graces in Christ: the grace of union, the individual grace of the man, and the capital grace.

Conclusion. Christ's personal habitual grace and His capital grace are essentially the same, though there is a mental distinction between them.

Very many theologians accept this conclusion, though Vasquez and certain others teach that Christ's capital grace and His grace of union are really the same.

Scriptural proof. The Evangelist says: "of His fullness we all have received."[1083] Hence Christ is our head inasmuch as He had the fullness of personal habitual grace. Hence there is no real distinction between Christ's habitual grace and His capital grace; at least, the text quoted above implies that these two graces are really identical.

Theological proof. There is no difference between the act whereby anything is in act and whereby it acts, and the agent must be nobler than the patient. But Christ as man is constituted supernaturally in act by the personal habitual grace which He received in the highest degree. Therefore Christ as man bestowed this same grace on others, namely, on those members whose head He is.

The major is evident, for it is founded on the principle that everything acts inasmuch as it is a being in act. Thus what is hot heats according to the heat whereby it is hot. For the agent acts, inasmuch as it determines, and the manner of its determination is in accordance with its own determination.

The minor was explained above: for personal habitual grace intrinsically and physically informs Christ, as man. Thus this grace is the operative principle whereby He radically operates supernaturally, performing acts that are infinitely meritorious and satisfactory. The principium quo of these operations is habitual grace as it connotes the grace of union, or as it connotes the principium quod, or the person of the Word, from whom these works derive their infinite value.[1084]

Therefore this same habitual grace is called capital, inasmuch as by it Christ can bestow on the members of the Church grace and justification, that is, by exerting a moral influence on them by means of His infinitely meritorious and satisfactory works. It is precisely this influence that constitutes Him their head, although He also exerts a physically instrumental influence on them. Christ, the head of the faithful of the Old Testament, could not exert a physically instrumental influence on them, but only a moral influence by His merit and satisfaction, since they lived before His coming.

St. Thomas often speaks of this physically instrumental causality of Christ's human nature, inasmuch as it is the instrument united with the divine nature, whereas the sacraments are separate instruments.[1085] As one who blows a trumpet emits the sound by this instrument, so God can cause grace by Christ's human nature; so also our soul makes use of vocal chords as the instrument of speech. Moreover, it must be observed that, although Christ's body, inasmuch as it is in heaven as in a place, is locally distant from ours, the higher part of Christ's soul and of our soul are not of themselves localized, nor is Christ's mind locally distant from our mind, which is influenced by His mind, inasmuch as it is the instrument of His divine nature.[1086]

As regards moral causality by way of merit, it is not necessary that the moral cause already exist for it to exert its influence, since the moral cause operates inasmuch as it is known, and can be known as coming into existence. Thus God conferred grace on the faithful of the Old Testament because of Christ's future merits.

The solution of the objections confirms the conclusion.

Reply to first objection. We must distinguish in Adam between his personal sin and original sin that had its origin in him, which is a sin of the nature, "because in him the person, by turning away from God, corrupted the nature; and by means of this corruption the sin of the first man is transmitted to posterity.... Now grace is not vouchsafed us by means of human nature, but solely by the personal action of Christ Himself. Hence we must not distinguish a twofold grace in Christ, one corresponding to the nature, the other to the person." This means, as Cajetan observes, that "grace is not communicated to us by the action of the nature, or by communicating the nature as Adam would have communicated it, not corrupted, to his children, if he had not sinned, but by Christ's personal action, by which He merited for us and of His own will bestowed grace on us."[1087]

Reply to second objection. The eminence of Christ's personal habitual grace is the reason for the justification of others.

Reply to third objection. "The personal and the capital grace agree in the essence of the habit"; they are the same habit inasmuch as their more proximate purpose is for the performance of some meritorious act. On the contrary, the direct purpose of the grace of union is not for the eliciting of a meritorious act, and it is not a habit but, as stated above, "the grace of union is the personal being that is given gratis by God to the human nature in the person of the Word."[1088]

Objection. But for Vasquez the capital grace and the grace of union are identical because, so he says, the infinite value of Christ's merits is derived from this grace of union.

Reply. That the value of Christ's merits is derived remotely from the grace of union as from the principium quod[1089] that is connotated, this I concede; that it is derived proximately as from the operative principium quo, this I deny, although charity is the immediate principle of merit. It pertains to the notion of capital grace, however, for it to be the root, instrumentally, of those merits because the head of the Church as such exerts at least a moral influence on the members by His meritorious works.

But I insist. If Christ did not have habitual grace, He would, nevertheless, still be our head; for habitual grace is not absolutely necessary so as to enable Him to elicit meritorious acts. Therefore Christ is not the head because of habitual grace.

Reply. I distinguish the antecedent: If Christ did not have habitual grace, He would still be our head because of His divine personality, this I deny, for His personality does not constitute Him the operative principle of merit; because of the transient help given by it, this I concede. But then Christ would not be the connatural operative principle of merit.

Again I insist. Grace that is ordained for the sanctification of others is not grace gratum faciens, but grace gratis data. Therefore Christ's capital grace that is ordained for our sanctification is not identical with His personal habitual grace.

Reply. I distinguish the antecedent: Grace that is primarily ordained for the sanctification of others is not gratia gratum faciens, this I concede; grace that is only secondarily so ordained is not such, this I deny. Thus the gift of wisdom is included in sanctifying grace, although its secondary purpose is for the direction of souls, which means that it is for the benefit of others. Such was Christ's habitual grace.

Sixth Article: Whether It Is Proper To Christ To Be The Head Of The Church

In this article, as in the remaining ones of this question, St. Thomas shows that it is proper for Christ to be the head of the Church by a certain intrinsic influence of grace and justification, because He has this power from habitual grace, inasmuch as it presupposes the grace of union, to which is attributed the infinite value of His merits.[1090] But to be the head of the Church in its external government for a time befits the pope as regards the Church militant during the time of his pontificate. In this way, he is the vicar of Christ.

Seventh Article: Whether The Devil Is The Head Of All The Wicked

Lucifer, the prince of devils, is the head of all the wicked not by interiorly influencing their wills, for God alone can interiorly move the will; but he is their head by inducing them to commit sin by means of suggestions and temptations, it being easier to destroy than to build.

Eighth Article: Whether Antichrist May Be Called The Head Of All The Wicked

Antichrist is neither the head of all the wicked as regards those that lived before his time, since he will come only about the end of the world, nor as regards his power of influencing them, since he cannot have any influence on those sinners who lived before his coming; but he is their head only by reason of the perfection of his wickedness, so that all the wicked who preceded him are, so to speak, signs of Antichrist.[1091]


CHAPTER XI: QUESTION 9: CHRIST'S KNOWLEDGE IN GENERAL AND HIS POWER OF CONTEMPLATION

After the consideration of Christ's grace, both personal and capital, we must discuss the question of His knowledge: (1) What knowledge indeed or what kinds of knowledge did He have? (2) Then we shall inquire into each particular kind of knowledge, namely, His beatific knowledge (q. 10), His imprinted or infused knowledge (q. 11), His acquired knowledge (q. 13), that is, Christ's intellectual life, even His most sublime contemplation.

It is therefore evident that, as St. Thomas says, "We are here taking knowledge for any cognition of the human intellect,"[1092] even that which is not discursive. The most important article of this ninth question is the second, which inquires whether Christ had already in this life the knowledge that the blessed or comprehensors have, namely, the beatific vision. The first article, however, may be considered an introduction to the inquiries about Christ's created knowledge.

Notice must be taken of the fact that Sacred Scripture, which is a manifestation of divine truth for the purpose of salvation, insists more on the moral and religious than on the intellectual aspects of our Lord's life as Savior. But the idea of Christ as man is not of one who had the most sublime conception of moral and religious perfection to the exclusion of a proportionate knowledge of God, the soul, the world, the kingdom of God. It is in this way that the theologian is induced to treat of Christ's knowledge, and he inquires what can be known of Him from Sacred Scripture, tradition, and theological reasoning.[1093]

First Article: Whether Christ Had Any Knowledge Besides The Divine

State of the question. The meaning of the title is whether Christ had any other knowledge besides the uncreated knowledge. Why is it that any other knowledge is not superfluous since the uncreated knowledge already includes all other kinds of knowledge?

Reply. The answer is in the affirmative, namely, that Christ had created knowledge as well as uncreated knowledge. The conclusion is de fide.

Scriptural proof. That Christ had created knowledge is, indeed, quite clear, for He says of Himself: "I know Him[My Father] and do keep his Word, ';[1094] but He kept his Father's word by created actions as man. Therefore He likewise knew His Father by created knowledge. Moreover, Christ prayed, merited, obeyed, and performed many other human acts, and it is only by acts of the created intellect and of the created will that these can be performed. It was not, indeed, as God that He prayed, merited, and obeyed; for these acts presuppose the subordination of the created will under the guidance of the created intellect to the uncreated will.

Hence the Monothelites were condemned by the Third Council of Constantinople for refusing to admit two wills in Christ, namely, the uncreated will and the created will. This Council defined that Christ "is perfect both in His divine nature and in His human nature, truly God and truly man, of rational soul and body... and has two natural wills not contrary to each other..., and His human nature is in every respect human, sin absolutely excepted."[1095]

Medina maintains that it is manifestly heretical to deny that Christ's soul had created knowledge, at least in act.

As John of St. Thomas observes, concerning the last sentence in the body of this article, it was not indeed defined by the Council that Christ has two kinds of knowledge, but two wills and operations, and that He had a human nature, and all that belongs to it, except sin. From these definitions, by closer attention to the meaning than to the words, it follows that the Council condemned the view of those who deny two kinds of knowledge in Christ.

Theological proof. It is taken from the argumentative part of this article, and may be expressed in the following syllogistic form.

The human nature is imperfect without its connatural and proper act of knowledge. But the Son of God assumed a perfect human nature. Therefore the Son of God had the connatural and proper created act of intellective knowledge.

Major. Three reasons are given for its proof.

1) That the intellective soul is imperfect unless it be reduced to its act of understanding, for which it is ordained.

2) That everything is on account of its operation, or as Cajetan explains, operating on account of itself, not that the knowledge is innate, but inasmuch as, when the terms of the principles have been proposed, the intellect naturally adheres to them.

Minor. It is revealed, but it is also clearly stated in the previously quoted canons of the Third Council of Constantinople.[1096] Hence human intelligence would be for no purpose in Christ unless He could make use of it, and in this respect His soul would be more imperfect than the souls of the rest of mankind.

Doubt. Could Christ, as man, understand by communication from the uncreated act of understanding, as the Master of Good Hope thought?[1097]

Reply. This possibility is generally denied by theologians. For the act of understanding in the soul is a vital act, since it proceeds from an intrinsic principle, from the soul and its faculty. But the Deity cannot function as the soul, or a faculty, or a habit, for example, as the light of glory. In such a case it would not be the form as terminating but as confirming, and hence would be less perfect than the whole composite of which it is a part. Therefore Christ's soul could not understand by communication from the uncreated intellect.

Second Article: Whether Christ Had Knowledge Which The Blessed Or Comprehensors Have

State of the question. This article must be fully explained. First of all, it must be noted that Catholic theologians consider as theologically certain the doctrine that Christ's soul was free from all ignorance, that even from His conception He knew all things in the Word, which God knows by the knowledge of vision. This was formerly denied by several heretics and in our times especially by liberal Protestants and by Modernists.

Let us first consider these denials and their foundation.

The Nestorians, who said there were two persons in Christ, considered Christ as man to have been subject to ignorance and error. The Apollinarians and Anomoeans, who maintained that the Word functions as the mind in the Savior, denied all human knowledge to Christ. Likewise the Monophysites and Monothelites, who taught that there is only one operation in Christ, denied Him human knowledge. Finally, in the sixth century, the Agnoetae, under the leadership of Themistius, deacon of Alexandria, contended that Christ, as other men, was subject to the corruption of the flesh and was, as a human being, ignorant.[1098] They quoted two Gospel texts in their defense: (1) "But of that day or hour[of the judgment], no man knoweth, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son."[1099] (2) But of that day and hour no one knoweth, "not the angels of heaven, but the Father alone."[1100]

In our times, particularly the liberal Protestants hold that Christ was ignorant of many things from the beginning, and it was only gradually that He acquired a knowledge of His mission. The disciples of Gunther[1101] and others, as more recently Dr. Schell, said that Christ's knowledge was subject to the laws of human progress, and that in the beginning He did not have the beatific vision, but acquired it by His merits. Finally, the Modernists[1102] boldly asserted that Christ neither knew all things, nor was always conscious of His Messianic dignity, and even in some things He erred, for example, concerning the end of the world.

Against these errors, it is de fide that Christ never erred, that He even could not err, or in other words, that He was already infallible in this life. It is at least the commonly accepted and theologically certain doctrine that Christ's soul was free from ignorance. What follows makes this clear.

It is de fide that Christ, as man, was free from all error in His knowledge, that Christ, in fact, the founder of the Church, even in this life was infallible, just as He was impeccable.

1) Sacred Scripture is evidence of this, inasmuch as Christ says of Himself: "I am the way and the truth and the life."[1103] As God, He is truth and life; as man He is the way to essential truth, inasmuch as His human nature and His whole human intellectual life is personally united with essential truth. Thus, as man, He is presented to us as the master of truth, whom we must hear. "Neither be ye called masters, for one is your master, Christ,"[1104] and as the leader, following whom we never walk in darkness;[1105] who, in establishing His Church, made her infallible in her teaching, saying: "Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."[1106] But if it had been possible for Christ to err, a fortiori the Church He established could err in her teaching.

2) Christ was not only infallible in the doctrine He delivered to His apostles, but also in His acts, as is evident from the Gospel narrative, for it says that Christ, already in this life, saw and knew the thoughts of men, and had complete knowledge of the free future, foretelling the events long before the time. Thus He foretold the circumstances of His passion, the destruction of Jerusalem, the continuance of His Church until the end of time.[1107]

Finally and especially in the Gospel it is recorded that Christ is the Word of God made flesh, "full of grace and truth."[1108] That Christ was infallible, as we have seen, not only in the doctrine He delivered, and the events affirmed by Him, but this also follows as universally established by reason of the hypostatic union. The Word, indeed, assumed the complete human nature, but free from error and sin, for as sin is evil of the will, error is evil of the intellect; and as it is absolutely repugnant, as will be stated farther on, that the Word incarnate sinned or even was able to sin, so it was repugnant that He erred or even was able to err. For error would reflect on the very person of the Word in accordance with the adage: actions are attributed to the supposita. Hence error and sin cannot be attributed to the Word of God, who is essentially truth and holiness. Thus it is commonly said to be de fide that Christ, as man, the founder of the infallible Church, was infallible. To show the truth of this discursion by the explanatory method suffices, namely, an explanation of the terms of revelation, for an objectively illative method of reasoning is not necessary, namely, one by which a new truth is acquired that is not in itself revealed.

It is at least commonly accepted and theologically certain doctrine, that Christ's knowledge was absolutely exempt from all ignorance and not only from error.

St. Thomas proves this, presupposing that Christ had both beatific knowledge and infused knowledge.[1109] But it is first fitting to manifest the truth of this assertion from Sacred Scripture and tradition, so that by a quasi a posterori method it may afterward be clearly seen how it befitted Him to have this beatific knowledge even in this life.

Sacred Scripture. The texts already quoted state clearly that Christ's knowledge was absolutely exempt from all ignorance. Thus Christ is declared "full of grace and truth."[1110] He also knew the secrets of hearts,[1111] as also distant objects and the free future.[1112] These texts, however, do not refer to His uncreated knowledge, but to His human knowledge, which governed His human operation. Therefore Christ as man was exempt from all ignorance. Thus as man He was, as He Himself said, the way that leads to the truth and life.

Tradition likewise establishes more clearly that Christ's knowledge was immune from ignorance, especially from the declaration of St. Gregory the Great to the patriarch of Alexandria against the Agnoetae. The Pope says: "[But] concerning what is written: "of that day or hour no man knoweth, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son,’[1113] this has been most correctly understood by your beatitude, since this text most certainly refers not to the Son, inasmuch as He is the head[of the Church], but to His body which we are.[St. Augustine] also says... that it can be understood of the Son, because the omnipotent God does speak at times in a human way, as when He said to Abraham: "Now I know that thou fearest God.,[1114] It is not because then God Himself knew that He was feared but because then He made Abraham acknowledge that he feared God. For just as we declare a day joyful, not that the day itself is joyful, but because it makes us joyful, so the omnipotent Son says that He does not know the day which He causes to be unknown, not because He does not know it, but because He does not at all permit it to be known.... And so the knowledge He did not have according to His human nature, which made Him, like the angels, a creature, this knowledge along with the angels who are creatures He said He did not have. Therefore He who is God and man knows the day and the hour of judgment; but the reason for this is because God is man. But the issue is most manifest, for whoever is not a Nestorian can nowise be an Agnoete. For anyone who confesses the very incarnate wisdom of God, how can he say there is anything that the wisdom of God does not know? It is also written: "Jesus knowing that the Father had given Him all things into His hands.’[1115] If He knows all things, assuredly He knows the day and the hour of the judgment; therefore who is so foolish as to say that the Son received into His hands what He was ignorant of?"[1116]

In accordance with this doctrine thus explicitly formulated by Pope St. Gregory the Great, the common teaching of theologians will always be that Christ knew the day of judgment in His human nature, but not by reason of His human nature, which means that He did not know it by the natural light of the created intellect. Thus the angels, too, know this day only if they are supernaturally enlightened.[1117]

Before the time of St. Gregory several Fathers spoke in a similar manner, namely, that Christ knows all things, even the day and hour of the judgment; but He is silent about this latter event, or He says He does not know because He does not permit it to be known, and because it is not expedient that men be informed about it.[1118] St. Augustine teaches that ignorance can in no way be attributed to that Infant in whom the Word was made flesh.[1119]

Sophronius[1120] is of the same opinion, and St. John Damascene says: "If the flesh from the moment of conception was immediately united with God... and the two constituted one identical suppositum, then how can it be that it was not endowed with absolutely all the gifts of wisdom and grace?"[1121] It is in this sense that the Fathers interpreted the words "full of grace and truth,"[1122] concerning the Word incarnate.

In our times there are several Modernist propositions that have been condemned by the Church concerning Christ's knowledge.[1123] Among these are: "The natural sense of the Gospel texts cannot be reconciled with what our theologians teach about the consciousness and infallible knowledge of Jesus Christ."[1124] "Christ was not always conscious of His Messianic dignity."[1125]

Also later on the Holy Office declared that the following propositions cannot be safely taught: (1) "There is no evidence that Christ's soul in this life possessed that knowledge which the blessed or comprehensors have; (2) That opinion cannot be called certain that concludes Christ's soul was exempt from ignorance, but knew everything in the Word, past, present, and future, from the moment of His conception, or that He knew everything God knows by His knowledge of vision; (3) The opinion of certain more recent theologians about Christ's limited knowledge is equally to be accepted in Catholic schools, as the opinion of the ancient theologians concerning Christ's universal knowledge."[1126]

We shall see later on, in the explanation of the article, the theological reasons given by St. Thomas for maintaining the universality of Christ's knowledge.

Modernist objections. On the one hand, the Modernists assert that Christ erred in announcing that the end of the world was near; on the other hand, He said that He did not know the judgment day. These two objections are contradictory.

First objection. It has been examined at length by us in our work on apologetics,[1127] and there is no need to dwell upon it here. The difficulty arises from two Gospel texts. After foretelling the destruction of Jerusalem and the day of judgment, Jesus says: "This generation shall not pass till all these things be done."[1128] In the other text it is recorded that before the transfiguration of Jesus, He said: "There are some of them that stand here, that shall not taste death, till they see the Son of man coming in His kingdom."[1129]

Reply. This last text more probably alludes to the future and proximate resurrection of Christ.[1130] But other texts quoted from Sacred Scripture on this subject are indeed difficult to reconcile, for in this same discourse Christ spoke of both the end of Jerusalem and the end of the world, and although the first event is a figure of the second, it is difficult to detect what belongs to the first event, and what to the second. But what any particularly learned author has to say on this topic must be understood, if possible, as showing that there is no contradiction between the texts. However, as Catholic exegetes show,[1131] and several conservative Protestants, such as Godet and Sanday, the rationalist and Modernist interpretation is not founded on the Gospel texts, but is very much in contradiction to it.

1) Christ not only sent His apostles to the people of Israel, but He said to them: "Go ye into the whole world, and preach the gospel to every creature,"[1132] and "Going therefore teach ye all nations."[1133] He expressly says: "And unto all nations the gospel must first be preached,"[1134] before the second coming. Also: "And... many shall come from the east and the west...."[1135] But Christ did not announce these events as taking place in the immediate future.

2) He even distinguished in point of time between the destruction of Jerusalem and the end of the world, saying: "Jerusalem shall be trodden down by the Gentiles, till the times of the nations be fulfilled,"[1136] and de facto it is trodden down. Christ especially refused to state precisely when the end of the world would be, but He said: "It is not for you to know the times or moments which the Father hath put in His own power."[1137]

Second objection. Some of the earlier Fathers, such as St. Athanasius, St. Gregory Nazianzen, St. Cyril of Alexandria, say that Christ was ignorant of the Judgment Day.[1138]

Reply. These earlier Fathers were refuting the Arians and their only purpose was to bring out clearly the divinity of Christ in these texts, exempting it of every defect attributed to it, especially ignorance. Hence they said: If Christ was ignorant of the Judgment Day, He was ignorant of it not as the Word, but as man. The question of the perfection of Christ's human knowledge had not as yet been agitated. Hence no wonder that these earlier Fathers spoke somewhat inexactly on this subject.

Moreover, we shall see that also the more recent doctors and even Scholastics say that Christ knew the Judgment Day not from His human nature, that is, not by the natural light of the created intellect, but only by supernatural enlightenment.

Third objection. Some, too, have proposed the difficulty that the Gospel records that Christ often asked questions of men, such as, what they thought of Him, where the body of Lazarus was laid, and other such questions. They say that He even expressed amazement, for example, at the faith of the centurion and the incredulity of the people.

Reply. It is evident from the Gospel narrative that Christ asked questions in a human way, and likewise expressed admiration, but this was not from lack of knowledge, for the Evangelist says: "He needed not that any should give testimony of men; for He knew what was in man."[1139]

It is therefore clearly established from all these texts that Christ was exempt from all error, which is de fide, and from all ignorance, which is at least theologically certain. Thus we gain a clearer understanding why the question is put about whether Christ already in this life enjoyed the beatific vision.

Did Christ, during His mortal life, enjoy the beatific vision?

Reply. The answer is that Christ did, and ever since the twelfth century it has been the traditional teaching of all theologians, so that it is at least a theologically certain truth.[1140]

Hence the Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office declared (June 7, 1918) that the following proposition cannot be safely taught: "There is no evidence that Christ, living among men, had in His soul the knowledge the blessed or comprehensors have."[1141]

Scriptural proof. There are, indeed, several texts in the New Testament from which it is evident that the Son of God, as God, sees the Father. Thus Jesus says of Himself: "As the Father knoweth Me, and I know the Father,"[1142] and "No one knoweth the Son but the Father; neither doth anyone know the Father, but the Son."[1143]

It is considerably difficult to show from these texts that Christ even as man, already in this life, saw God immediately in His essence. But there are texts in the Fourth Gospel which make it sufficiently clear that Christ as man, already in this life, saw the Father.

For in this Gospel we read: "No man hath seen God at any time; the only-begotten Son who is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him."[1144] And again: "He that cometh from above is above all.... And what He hath seen and heard, that He testifieth."[1145] Also: "I speak that which I have seen with My Father."[1146] Hence the common method of argumentation among theologians may be expressed in the following syllogistic form.

What Christ preached as man, He knew as man, for human speech is the result of human intellectual knowledge; otherwise the Word would take the place of the rational soul in Christ, which was the contention of Appollinaris. But as man, Christ declared what He saw with the Father and in the bosom of the Father. Therefore Christ saw those things in the bosom of the Father, as man, and it is also said that He heard them, which properly belongs not to God inasmuch as He is God, but to man.

Moreover, all knowledge of divine things, exclusive of the beatific vision, pertains to the order of faith. Hence, if Christ did not see those truths that are in God, we should have to say He believed them, and thus as man He would not have known many and most sublime truths. It would have to be said of Him that concerning God He had known what He is not, instead of what He is. But we have already seen that Christ, as man, was exempt from ignorance. Nevertheless there is truly a difference between nescience and ignorance, and it would be possible for one to say that Christ did not know the secret of God's intimate life, but not that He was ignorant of it, simply because it was not as yet fitting for Him to know it. On the contrary, this fittingness will be clarified farther on in the theological proof from reason.

This argument is confirmed by the following Gospel text: "Not that any man hath seen the Father, but He who is of God, He hath seen the Father."[1147]

This means that He not only saw the secrets of the Father in His hidden life, but He also saw the Father Himself. The word "Vidit" is written as a quasi-preterite so as to make it clear that this vision transcends time, or, as the theologians say, it is measured by participated eternity.

There are two other texts from the Gospel which make it manifest that Christ had consciousness of and not merely faith in His divine nature and personality. For the Evangelist records Jesus as saying: "Although I give testimony of Myself, My testimony is true, for I know whence I came and whither I go,[1148] I know and not only believe." And again He says: "I came out from God. I came forth from the Father and am come into the world."[1149] When Christ says, "I know whence I came." He was conscious not only of His mission, but also of His divine nature and personality. But this clear consciousness of His divine nature transcends the supernatural knowledge of faith, for faith is of things not seen, and above the supernatural knowledge of faith there is only the beatific vision, as will be more clearly seen farther on.

Finally, there is another Gospel text in which Christ speaks more clearly as man when He says: "No man hath ascended into heaven, but He that descended from heaven, the Son of man who is in heaven."[1150] The Son of man is Christ as man, and it is said of Him that He has already ascended into heaven, and that He is now in heaven, which means in paradise or in the beatific state. It cannot be said that He is already in heaven solely by means of the hypostatic union, for the whole context is concerned with ascent in the order of knowledge; for in the text that immediately precedes, Jesus had said: "If I have spoken to you earthly things, and you do not believe; how will you believe if I shall speak to you of heavenly things."[1151] Christ, in calling others to the faith, never says that He Himself believes, but that He sees, and knows whence He came, namely, by the knowledge of vision, and that already "He is in heaven." This text is confirmed by another, in which Jesus says: "'Father, I will that where I am, they also whom Thou hast given Me may be with Me; that they may see My glory, which Thou hast given Me."[1152]

Proof from tradition. The above-mentioned texts of Sacred Scripture are furthermore declared and explained by tradition. The Second Council of Constantinople implicitly affirms Christ's beatific vision in this life, when it says that "He did not increase in holiness as He advanced in the performance of good works."[1153] If He did not have the beatific vision from the beginning of His existence, He would have very much increased in holiness, by passing from the state of faith and of wayfarer to that of vision, and to the final state of glory in heaven. The Fathers likewise in various ways affirming that Christ did not increase in holiness, implicitly teach that He was from the beginning of His existence both comprehensor and wayfarer, which we find afterward is the common teaching, especially since the twelfth century.

Rouet de Journel[1154] quotes several patristic texts that explicitly affirm Christ's beatific vision in this life. Thus Eusebius of Caesarea says: "Then, too, when [Christ] was living among men, He nevertheless accomplished everything, in the meantime being with the Father and in the Father, and at the same time He likewise took care of all things, both celestial and terrestrial, nowhere without that presence, which is in all things, our way excluded, nor hindered by the divine presence from acting in His accustomed way."[1155] St. Basil clearly enough affirms that Christ, our Savior, already had the beatific knowledge in the highest degree.[1156]

This is more clearly asserted by St. Fulgentius, who writes: "How harsh it is and entirely incompatible with sound faith to say that Christ's soul, even in this life, did not have complete knowledge of His divine nature, with which we believe that He naturally constituted one person."[1157] And he adds: "That soul knew His divine nature completely, yet the soul is not the divine nature. Therefore that very divine nature is naturally known to it, but that soul received from the divine nature, which it knew, the power to know It"[1158]

Finally, St. Augustine maintains that Paul, who was rapt to the third heaven, saw the divine essence and not merely a certain refulgence of this brightness.[1159] But if, as St. Augustine says, St. Paul had the beatific vision transiently, already in this life, then a fortiori Christ Himself must have had it, and not merely in a transient way.

Theological proof. The first argument is taken from the end of the Incarnation. It is one of fitness and from this point is most convincing. It may be expressed by the following syllogism.

What is in potentiality is reduced to act by what is in act. But men are in potentiality to see God to which they are ordained by God, and to which they must be brought by Christ's human nature. Therefore Christ as man most fittingly had the beatific vision.

Major. It is evident, for it enunciates the very principle of causality. Thus nothing becomes hot except by what is actually hot; and the cause must always be more efficacious than its effect.[1160]

It is, of course, true that Christ's soul is only the instrumental cause of glory in the blessed, not by its own power, but by the power of the principal agent, namely, the Deity. Nevertheless it is a most excellent instrument, which is capable of being instrumental in producing the form which is beatitude. Therefore it is fitting for the soul actually to have this beatitude. Hence St. Thomas does not infer that this was strictly necessary but that it was proper because it was becoming.[1161]

We thus have from this application of the major to Christ's humanity an argument of fitness. It must also be said, however, that what is more fitting and more excellent must be granted to Christ, unless it be incompatible with the end of the Incarnation, and especially if it manifestly contributes to this end, as will be explained in the minor. Christ is, of course, the most perfect Redeemer.

Minor. It is de fide, both as to the ordaining of men to the beatific vision, and as to Christ's influence as Savior on them, in bringing them to eternal life. Christ said; "I am the way and the truth and the life."[1162] He is the way as man, and as God He is the truth and the life. Similarly a text from St. Paul is quoted in this article, which says: "It became Him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, who had brought many children into glory, to perfect the author of their salvation, by His passion."[1163] For Him to bring men into glory, He most fittingly had it already in this life.

The force of this argument of fitness is more clearly seen when Christ as man is compared with the apostles, the great doctors of later times, and the higher contemplatives. The Savior of all, as we said, the head of the Church, both militant, suffering, and triumphant; He was the supreme doctor in divine matters, the Master of all masters and contemplatives, from whom we have received the fullness of the revelation of life. In other words, already on earth, He was, as man, the supreme witness of divine truth, already transcending the beatified angels,[1164] so that St. Paul speaking in Christ's name, could say: "But though we or an angel from heaven preach a gospel to you besides that which we have preached to you, let him be anathema."[1165] Thus Christ as the Master of all masters and higher contemplatives is the most perfect leader to beatitude even to the end of time, which means that He will be surpassed by no master. Therefore it was most becoming to him, as man, that He should give testimony as an ocular witness concerning the beatific vision, and that He should have complete knowledge of the ultimate end to which He must bring all wayfarers of all times in this life.[1166]

Confirmation. This argument of fitness is all the more convincing when we consider either the sublime contemplation of St. John the Evangelist concerning the Word, in the Prologue of his Gospel, or that of St. Paul, the doctor of the Gentiles, who says: "I know a man in Christ above fourteen years ago (whether in the body I know not, or out of the body, I know not, God knoweth), such a one caught up to the third heaven.[1167] And I know such a man, whether in the body or out of the body, I know not, God knoweth, that he was caught up into paradise, and heard secret word which it is not granted to man to utter."[1168] But if St. Paul, that he might be the doctor of the Gentiles, and might always have more, by his preaching, in his mind and heart than in utterance, received such a gift of contemplation, so that his preaching came from the fullness of his contemplation, as St. Thomas says,[1169] what must be thought of Christ's contemplation, so that He might fittingly be the supreme Doctor of all generations of men? Christ must have, however, what is most fitting for Him to have.

Moreover, it must be noted that St. Thomas, following St. Augustine, maintains that St. Paul, when in rapture, "saw the very essence of God and not a certain reflection of His clarity";[1170] and so he concludes: "Therefore it is more becoming to hold that he saw God in His essence."[1171] St. Thomas considers this view the more probable one. But if such was the case, then a fortiori, Christ already in this life saw the Deity.[1172]

St. Thomas, too, because of his sublime contemplation, toward the end of his life became incapable of dictating any more of his Theological Summa, which appeared to him as straw, and not wheat; yet Christ's contemplation was far more sublime. It certainly transcended Adam's contemplation in the state of innocence, concerning which St. Thomas says: "Adam did not see God in His essence.... The difference between the vision the blessed enjoy and that granted to the wayfarer does not consist in this, that the former sees more perfectly and the other less perfectly, but in this, that the former sees God and the latter does not see Him."[1173] To believe is not to see, for faith is of things not seen. Adam's contemplation in the state of innocence remained within the order of faith, whereas Christ's contemplation in this life transcended this order.

Thus we understand how Christ's preaching is both most sublime and most simple and beyond all possibility of contradiction. Moreover, it is adapted to all minds, to most learned or simple minds; whereas, on the contrary, human teachers often speak in a terminology that is not accessible to all, because they do not sufficiently realize the relations that should exist between the doctrine to be explained and the more profound aspiration of the human heart. On this subject Bossuet remarks: "Who would not admire the condescension He shows in adapting the sublimity of His doctrine to His audience? It is milk for children and entirely bread for the strong. We see Him filled with God's secrets, but He is not astonished at this, as other mortals are to whom He communicates Himself. He speaks in a natural way of them, as though born to these secrets and this glory. What He has beyond measure,[1174] this He imparts to others by degrees, so that our weakness may be able to bear it."[1175]

He is the supreme Master, of unique and incomparable authority. Thus with the greatest simplicity He enlightens the mind, fills the heart with holy joy, and efficaciously moves the will to upright and holy action.[1176] This preaching must come from the plenitude of most sublime contemplation.

Finally, this argument would find its corroboration by considering what such mystics as St. John of the Cross and St. Theresa have to say about most sublime mystic contemplation in this life, and the intellectual vision of the Most Holy Trinity by means of infused species. This vision, so far as God is not yet seen directly as He is in His essence, belongs to the order of faith.[1177] There is not yet intrinsic evidence of the mystery of the Trinity, so that it is quite evident that God could not be God if He were not the triune God. But Christ already in this life certainly had a sublimer contemplation of the Trinity than that of the most sublime contemplative, even, as we shall see farther on, He was not without it when dying on the cross. Hence St. Paul says that in Christ Jesus "are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge."[1178]

This argument is derived from the end of the Incarnation. There are other arguments that have their foundation in the divine personality of Christ, and His consciousness of this personality.

Second argument. It rests on the consciousness Christ had of His divine nature and of His divine personality. He said, as we already remarked: "Although I give testimony of Myself, My testimony is true, for I know whence I came and whither I go."[1179] And again: "I came out from God. I came forth from the Father and am come into the world."[1180] From these texts it is clearly enough established that Christ was conscious of His divine nature, for He does not say "I believe," but "I know whence I came." There is also another text in which He says: "I speak that which I have seen with My Father."[1181] He spoke as man, therefore He sees as man.

But this consciousness would not transcend the order of faith unless it were the direct vision of the Deity; for above the order of faith illuminated by the gifts of the Holy Ghost, such as we find in saints who are still wayfarers, there is only the beatific vision.[1182] Therefore, if Christ did not have this beatific vision, then He only believed in His divine nature and divine personality, just as the saints believe in the indwelling of the most Holy Trinity in the souls of the just.

Objection. The saints who are still wayfarers have a quasi-experimental knowledge of this presence of the most Holy Trinity through the filial love God enkindles in their hearts, as St. Thomas says, for concerning the following text of St. Paul, "The Spirit Himself giveth testimony to our spirit."[1183] he remarks: "He gives testimony by means of the filial love He enkindles in our hearts."[1184]

Reply. This quasi-experimental knowledge does not rise above the order of faith, for it is the result of faith illumined by the gifts of the Holy Ghost, especially the gift of wisdom, and so it is faith penetrating and tasting the mysteries of God in accordance with the text: "Taste and see that the Lord is sweet."[1185] But these saints who are still wayfarers do not see the Trinity present in themselves, but they have a certain experimental knowledge and belief of this presence. On the contrary, Christ said: "I know whence I came."[1186] "I speak that which I have seen with My Father."[1187]

Third argument. It has its foundation in the influences of the hypostatic union. By the very fact of the hypostatic union, which in itself is more exalted than the beatific vision, Christ's soul was in the state of comprehensor. But this state of comprehensor pertains to the beatific vision. Therefore it was fitting for Christ to be both wayfarer and comprehensor, as all theologians commonly admit, especially after the twelfth century.

This argument is corroborated by considering the overflow from this grace of union. For the nearer any recipient is to an inflowing cause, the more it partakes of its influence, as already stated in discussing the fullness of habitual grace in Christ.[1188] But Christ's human nature was united personally to the Word of God. Therefore it was supremely fitting for Christ as man, even in this life, to participate in this most perfect grace, which is the grace that is consummated by glory.

Fourth argument. It is founded on natural sonship. Christ as man, was predestined not to divine adoptive sonship, but to divine natural sonship, which surpasses even glory.[1189] But divine natural filiation implies the right to divine heirship, even to the immediate attainment of this heirship, which consists in the intuitive vision of God. Therefore the beatific vision was befitting to Christ as man, even in this life.

As we have already stated, what was befitting to Christ must be attributed to Him, especially if this serves, as we have seen, the end of the redemptive Incarnation, so that Christ may be the ideal Master of all masters even to the end of the world.

It must be noted that this doctrine is also confirmed from what St. Thomas teaches concerning the knowledge of the apostles.[1190]

The theologically certain conclusions to be deduced from all these arguments is that Christ already in this life had the beatific vision, and truly was, as commonly admitted by theologians since the twelfth century, both wayfarer and comprehensor. Thus Christ already in this life clearly saw the Trinity and all mysteries of grace, such as that efficacious grace is not only reconciled with free will, but is also the reason why the choice is free.

Doubt. Did Christ have the beatific vision from the first moment of His conception?

Reply. St. Thomas answers this question in the affirmative[1191] because Christ's human nature from the first moment of its creation was assumed by the Word, and the beatific vision befitted Christ as man, inasmuch as, by virtue of the hypostatic union, He was the head of the Church. Hence all the preceding proofs apply with equal force for the first moment of conception. For this was in no way repugnant to the end of the Incarnation; it was even befitting to this end. Moreover, the Council of Constantinople condemned the proposition that Christ would have become better; but He would have become better if He had received the beatific vision in the course of the present life.[1192]

Objection. It is more perfect to merit the glory of heaven than to have it without merit, and Christ's merits were completed only by His death. In fact, Jesus said, as recorded in the Gospel: "Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and so to enter into His glory?"[1193] Therefore Christ entered into glory only after His death.

Reply. With St. Thomas, I distinguish the antecedent, namely, that it is also more perfect for Christ to have a thing by merit than without merit "unless it be of such a nature[for example, a gift] that its want would detract from Christ's dignity and perfection more than would accrue to Him by merit. Hence He merited neither grace nor knowledge, nor the beatitude of His soul, nor the Godhead..., the want of which would have diminished Christ's dignity more than His merits would have increased it. But the glory of the body and the like are less than the dignity of meriting which pertains to the virtue of charity."[1194] Thus Christ merited the glory of His body, which is the sense of the text quoted above from St. Luke.[1195]

Second objection. Utmost joy is incompatible with utmost sorrow. But Christ said in the Garden of Gethsemane: "My soul is sorrowful even unto death."[1196] Therefore at this time He had neither this beatific joy, nor hence the beatific vision, to which this joy is the necessary sequel.

Reply. In answer to this, we say with St. Thomas:[1197] that utmost joy is incompatible with utmost sorrow concerning absolutely the same object considered in the same aspect, I concede; otherwise, I subdistinguish; naturally incompatible, I concede; supernaturally so, I deny. But Christ was supernaturally both wayfarer, inasmuch as His human nature was passible, and comprehensor in the higher part of the mind. Nay, even as we showed in another work,[1198] His utmost joy and His utmost sorrow were the result of this same plenitude of grace.

On the one hand, from the plenitude of consummated grace there resulted the light of glory, the beatific vision, the highest degree of love of God, and supreme joy. On the other hand, from this same plenitude of Christ's grace as wayfarer, and from His utmost love for God and for us, there resulted the utmost of supernatural grief for the sins of men, inasmuch as they are an offense against God and bring supernatural death to our souls. Moreover, because of His utmost love for God and for us, Christ willed as priest and voluntary victim to offer Himself as a most perfect holocaust; and for this reason, in virtue of His love, He most freely delivered Himself up to grief, by preventing the overflow of glory from the higher part of His mind into the lower parts and allowed Himself to be overwhelmed by all manner of grief in His sensitive nature. Herein is the miracle consequent upon the unique state of Christ as both wayfarer and comprehensor.

St. Thomas says: "Christ grieved not only over the loss of His own bodily life, but also over the sins of all others. And this grief in Christ surpassed all grief of every contrite heart, both because it flowed from a greater wisdom and charity, by which the pang of contrition is intensified, and because He grieved at the one time for all sins, according to Isaias 53:4: "Surely He hath carried our sorrows. "[1199]

St. Thomas says likewise in another treatise about Christ's passion: "These same things about which[Christ] grieved according to the senses, imagination, and lower reason, in the higher[reason] were a source of joy, inasmuch as He referred them to the order of divine wisdom.... He allowed each of the lower powers to be moved by its own impulse,"[1200] and He experienced sadness in the highest degree so that He might become a perfect holocaust. Thus He rejoiced in His passion inasmuch as it contributed to the redemption of the human race, and it made Him sad inasmuch as it was contrary to nature. Thus He most freely abandoned Himself to grief, limiting the beatific joy to the summit of His mind and preventing it from overflowing into the lower part of His mind and into His sensitive nature. Thus, by most freely abandoning Himself to grief, as a most generous and voluntary victim, He prevented the overflow of joy of the higher part of the mind into the lower. But this grief ceased when Christ was no longer a wayfarer. Hence Christ suffering in His human nature is like a mountain, the summit of which is poised in the clear sky, the base of which is made desolate by stormy weather.

Third Article: Whether Christ Had Imprinted Or Infused Knowledge

State of the question. Besides the beatific vision, did Christ have knowledge infused by God, which is also called imprinted knowledge, inasmuch as it is given to the soul along with the nature as in the angels? The question concerns knowledge that is not only per accidens infused, but also per se, namely, that can be caused only by God, and cannot be acquired by one's own acts.

The difficulty is: (1) It seems that the beatific vision, since it is perfect knowledge, excludes that which is imperfect, and so it excludes faith; (2) it seems that infused knowledge is at least superfluous, just as the disposition for a form is superfluous, when it is already present; (3) finally, just as matter cannot receive simultaneously two forms, so also the intellect cannot simultaneously receive these two kinds of knowledge, the beatific and the infused.

Conclusion. It befitted Christ as man to have infused knowledge besides the beatific vision.

Scriptural proof. St. Paul says: "In Christ are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge."[1201] But included in these treasures is infused knowledge as found in the angels and in disembodied spirits, a knowledge which several of the saints also received in this life for the perfect exercise of their mission. Thus the apostles received the gift of tongues, but this knowledge of languages was in them only per accidens infused, because they could have learned these languages by their own efforts. Yet some saints also received knowledge that was at least per se infused concerning certain things, as mystic theologians show especially when they treat of intellectual visions that take place through the intermediary of infused species. St. Paul, too, who heard "the secret words of God,"[1202] received either the beatific vision as a transient act, which is the opinion of St. Augustine and St. Thomas, or else a sublime form of infused knowledge, transmitted by means of infused species. Therefore infused knowledge pertains to these "treasures of wisdom and knowledge,"[1203] which St. Paul speaks of. The Fathers often speak of Christ's imprinted knowledge, but they do not as yet explicitly distinguish it from beatific knowledge. But from the time of Peter Lombard, theologians commonly admit three kinds of knowledge in Christ, namely, beatific, infused, and acquired. This common consent of the theologians, however, would have for us the force of a certain argument from tradition if they were to assert that this doctrine is de fide; this, however, they do not assert. Hence it is only a theological conclusion that is commonly admitted by the Scholastics, which does not appear to be definable by the Church as doctrine that pertains to the faith, because it is the result of a strictly illative process of reasoning, and is not merely explicative. This consent of the theologians gives at least great probability to this opinion about the kinds of knowledge in Christ, as being a commonly accepted opinion.

Theological proof. It was fitting that the nature assumed by the Word should not be imperfect. But it would have been imperfect without infused knowledge. Therefore it was fitting that Christ as man should have infused knowledge.

Major. It expresses a certain moral necessity, which presupposes the hypostatic union, namely, that what is more worthy and more excellent and is not repugnant to the end of the Incarnation, must be granted to Christ. In other words, only corporal defects are to be attributed to Christ, such as passibility, death, thirst, and such defects that are necessary for our redemption by the sacrifice on the cross, as will be stated farther on.[1204]

This moral necessity did not lessen, as some said, the divine liberty, because it depends on the most free decree of the redemptive Incarnation. But this decree being posited, then the great fitness of the Incarnation follows as a necessary consequence, and it was necessary because it was fitting. In other words, it was necessary to grant the Word of God incarnate what manifestly befits Him. Thus the conclusion is proved and is not merely a persuasive argument.

Minor. It is proved by the following syllogism. Everything in potentiality is imperfect unless it be reduced to act. But the possible human intellect is in potentiality to all intelligible things, and to know them not only in the Word by the beatific vision, or merely in themselves by acquired knowledge, but in themselves by infused knowledge, as the angels and disembodied spirits know them. Therefore the soul of Christ had infused knowledge inasmuch as His possible human intellect was in potentiality to know intelligible things as the angels and disembodied spirits know them, which is by infused species.

This knowledge befitted Christ even in this life, before the separation of His soul from the body, because He was not only wayfarer but also comprehensor. Hence St. Thomas says: "Since Christ was both comprehensor and wayfarer, He had each way of considering things, one by which He was like the angels, inasmuch as He considered things without process of reasoning, the other by having recourse to phantasms."[1205] Thus anyone who has the gift of tongues can actually make use of it without having to study the grammar of the language, but this can also be studied. Hence, as St. Thomas says: "Even as in the angels, according to Augustine (Gen. ad lit., Bk. IV, chaps. 22, 24, 30), there is a double knowledge: one the morning knowledge, whereby they know things in the Word; the other the evening knowledge, whereby they know things in their proper natures by infused species, so also there was this twofold knowledge in Christ."[1206] These species were imprinted on the minds of the angels by the Word of God, and it equally befitted the Word of God to perfect Christ's soul, which was personally united to the Word. Finally, Christ's soul would have been made more perfect if it had received these infused species only after its separation from the body. It was not fitting for Christ in this mortal life to be lacking in experimental knowledge of the mode of cognition pertaining to disembodied spirits, for whom He merited and grieved, and for whom He died. When in the parable of the wicked rich man He spoke of the state of the soul separated from the body, this shows that He had experimental knowledge of the mode of cognition of these souls.

This thesis finds its confirmation from the extraordinary events in the lives of the saints, for example, in the life of St. Catherine of Siena, for our Lord gave her infused knowledge concerning the hidden lives of several saints, and marvelous spiritual insight in doctrinal matters, a doctrine which she dictated when in ecstasy, and which is preserved for us in her Dialogue; she also learned to read and write not by her own efforts, but our Lord Himself was her teacher; even the secrets of hearts and distant events she often knew by infused knowledge.[1207] Similar extraordinary knowledge was granted to other saints,[1208] and a fortiori this was the prerogative of the most holy soul of Christ.

Doubt. Is this knowledge only per accidens infused, or is it per se infused?

Reply. It is per accidens infused so far as it concerns things that can be known by human efforts, and it is per se infused so far as it concerns things that cannot be acquired by human efforts and are therefore beyond the powers of our intellect. In fact, we must, in the same way, distinguish in Christ between two kinds of subordinated infused knowledge, just as in the just there are two kinds of prudence, one infused and of the supernatural order, specified by a supernatural object, the other acquired and of the natural order, specified by a natural object. Thus a musician has in a certain manner the art of music in the practical intellect, but the ability to play is in the hands. Indeed, Christ could by His infused knowledge of supernatural things know also by this eminent knowledge natural things in their relation to supernatural things, but it befitted Him also to know these things in another way, namely, by knowledge that is per accidens infused to which His intellect was in potentiality.[1209] Thus Christ knew the supernatural secrets of hearts by knowledge that is per se infused, just as in our times He speaks in an exceptional way to certain saints, who are still wayfarers, in their own language or dialect.

Confirmation of this doctrine from the solution of the objections of this article.

Reply to first objection. The beatific vision excludes faith, which is of things not seen, but it does not exclude infused knowledge; for the same intellect can by two distinct means see things in two ways: first, in the Word, and secondly in themselves. Thus there are two ways, either by physics or by mathematics, whereby we can know the same conclusion, for example, the rotundity of the earth.

Reply to second objection. As he who knew some conclusion by a probable argument, and afterward knows it by a demonstrative argument, can still consider the probable argument; although he no longer holds it as an opinion that he fears may be wrong, that is, he no longer wavers between uncertainty and certainty, so Christ can have simultaneously both beatific knowledge and infused knowledge.

Reply to third objection. The beatific vision does not render infused knowledge superfluous; for the ineffable knowledge of things in the Word does not make the knowledge of them in themselves superfluous. Moreover, these two acts can be simultaneous, provided that there is subordination, just as we can have knowledge of principle and conclusion. The Blessed Virgin Mary also had infused knowledge on this earth.

Fourth Article: Whether Christ Had Any Acquired Knowledge

State of the question. This article concerns the habit of experimental knowledge acquired by the intellect through species abstracted from phantasms, or obtained gradually by individual acts.

The difficulty is: (1) If Christ had this knowledge, then He did not have it perfectly, because He never studied. (2) This acquired knowledge seems superfluous if Christ already had directly infused knowledge of created things, and especially if He already had accidentally infused knowledge of sensible things.

Conclusion. Christ had knowledge that is essentially capable of being acquired, and that was also actually acquired by Him.

Scriptural proof. St. Paul says: "Whereas, indeed, He was the Son of God, He learned obedience by the things which He suffered,"[1210] that is, by what He experienced. Farther on,[1211] St. Thomas quotes the following Gospel text: "Jesus advanced in wisdom and age, and grace with God and men,"[1212] which He explains as resulting from an increase of acquired knowledge.

St. Thomas himself admits in the present article that he corrects what he wrote in an earlier work on this subject,[1213] in which he taught that Christ had knowledge that is essentially acquirable, yet it was not acquired by His own acts, but was accidentally infused, as in the case of Adam who was created completely developed. But now St. Thomas maintains that, as it was fitting for Christ's body to develop gradually, so also it was proper for His soul to advance gradually in the knowledge of natural things. Hence the Evangelist says: "Jesus advanced in wisdom and age."[1214]

Theological proof. Nothing that God planted in our nature was wanting to the human nature of Christ, among which is the active intellect or the connatural active principle of intellectual knowledge.

But the active intellect would have been useless in Christ, lacking in its own and special operation, if He did not have knowledge acquired by His own acts by abstracting intelligible species from phantasms.

Therefore Christ had this knowledge.

Objection. Scotus maintains that the active intellect neither was useless in Adam, nor is it so in the blessed. The purpose of the active intellect is not only to abstract species, but it also serves the purpose of illustrating principles to be made use of in conclusions.

Reply. The Thomists point out that there is a difference between Christ and Adam, who was created not as a child, but as fully developed, as there is a difference between Christ and disembodied spirits that no longer have the connatural mode of understanding by turning to phantasms. If Christ had not acquired knowledge by repeated acts of the intellect, His active intellect would have been useless, not absolutely so, but as regards its connatural mode of operating; for it would be deprived of that act to which it is entitled in such a state and at such a time.

Moreover, it was no imperfection for Christ that as a child He was deprived of speech, or that He was unable as yet to acquire perfect knowledge of things. He already had by the beatific knowledge superabundant cognition for the perfect knowledge of divine things and of other things in the Word. Therefore Christ in a certain sense progressed intellectually, but not morally.

The solution of the objections of this article confirms the reply of St. Thomas.

Reply to first objection. "It was more fitting for Christ to possess a knowledge acquired by discovery than by being taught", hence He acquired acquirable knowledge not by learning, but rather by discovery, by a consideration of nature and men.

Reply to second objection. "It behooved Christ's intellect to be also perfected with regard to phantasms," although it was already perfected by infused knowledge. For this is a new and connatural mode of knowing. Someone may already have certainty of knowledge by the gift of prophecy that death will come on a certain day; in another way, however, there is experimental knowledge of the moment of death.

Reply to third objection. There was also a distinction between this acquired knowledge and infused knowledge concerning sensible things, for this second kind of knowledge, coming as it does from on high, is not proportioned to phantasms. Thus he who sings the melody of a musical composition solely from memory, not having studied music, can afterward in another way know this melody by distinguishing the various parts and notes of the musical score, reading it even to the least detail. Previously he knew the musical composition as some general melody, but now he knows its parts and the way these are distinctly related to the whole.

Thus, then, it is the common teaching of theologians since the time of Peter Lombard, that there were three kinds of knowledge in Christ: the beatific, infused, and acquired knowledge.

Each particular knowledge must now be considered briefly.


CHAPTER XII: QUESTION 10: THE BEATIFIC KNOWLEDGE OF CHRIST'S SOUL

1) Was it comprehensive? (2) Though not comprehensive, did it extend to all things; if not to all possible things, at least to all things that God knows by the knowledge of vision, including even the Judgment Day? (3) Did Christ's soul know the infinite in the Word? at least those things that are in the potentiality of the creature, such as the thoughts and affections of immortal souls, which will never end? (4) Did Christ's soul see the Word clearer than any other creature did?

First Article: Whether The Soul Of Christ Comprehended The Word

Reply. The answer is in the negative because "the infinite is not comprehended by the finite."

Reply to second objection. "Christ's soul sees the whole of God's essence, yet His soul does not see it totally," that is, "not as perfectly as it is knowable"; for it is infinitely knowable.

The contrary opinion was condemned in the Council of Basel, and this condemnation was approved by Nicholas V.

Second Article: Whether Christ's Soul Knew All Things In The Word

Reply. Christ's soul did not know in the Word all possible things, but it knew all present, past, and future things that will be.

Proof of negative part. If Christ's soul knew all possible things, this would mean that it comprehended all that God can do, which would mean that it comprehended the divine power, and consequently the divine essence.[1215]

Proof of affirmative part. It may be presented in the following syllogistic form.

No beatified intellect fails to know in the Word whatever pertains to itself. But to Christ all things belong, inasmuch as all things are subject to Him, as the head of the Church, the end of the universe, the Lord of heaven and earth, the judge of the living and the dead. Therefore Christ's intellect knows in the Word all things that are subject to Him.

Evidently it belongs to the moral head to know his members and his influence for them; to one who has knowledge of the end to know the means by which it can be attained; to the judge to know all things that concern his tribunal, such as each and every thought of all men; the judge must also know whom to punish, and whom to reward.

In fact, Christ's soul seems to have not only habitual knowledge but also actual knowledge of all these things,[1216] like a perfect theologian who not only could at will successively contemplate all theological conclusions, but who could simultaneously and actually contemplate all of them. The reason for this is that the beatific vision, objectively considered, is measured by eternity, which admits of neither succession nor change. Hence all the thoughts and actions of angels and men, known by Christ, although as regards their own duration they are successive, nevertheless are simultaneously present in the Word, according to the one now of eternity. It is like an intelligible panorama, just as in the sensible order the visible stars of the firmament are all seen in one glance. It must be observed that beatific love is likewise measured by participated eternity, as also Christ's adoration, thanks, and internal offering of Himself to His Father. Such enduring acts as these constitute, so to speak, the soul of the sacrifice of the Mass, whose principal priest is Christ as man.

The outstanding difficulty concerns the Judgment Day, inasmuch as we read in the Gospel that Christ says: "But of that day or hour no man knoweth, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father."[1217]

Reply to first objection. St. Thomas says: (1) "Arius and Eunomius understood this saying... of the divine knowledge of the Son, whom they held to be less than the Father.... But this will not stand, since all things were made by the Word of God" (John 1:3). Hence, especially inasmuch as Christ is God, He knew everything. (2) The Son knows also in the human nature the Day of Judgment, because, as Chrysostom argues (hom. 78 in Matt.); "If it is given to Christ as man to know how to judge which is greater, much more is it given to Him to know the less, namely, the time of Judgment" But "He is said not to know the day and the hour of the Judgment, because He does not make it known." Pope St. Gregory the Great spoke similarly against the Agnoetae.[1218]

If some of the earlier Fathers spoke less accurately on this subject, this is because they were disputing with the Arians, to whom they replied: Christ did not know the Judgment Day, not indeed as God as if they conceded that He did not know it as man.

The question of the knowledge given to Christ's soul had not yet arisen, and it had not yet occurred to anyone to distinguish between knowledge acquired naturally by human efforts, and knowledge not so acquired but received from a supernatural source, which is not meant to be made known to men.

Reply to second objection. "The soul of Christ knows all things that God knows in Himself by the knowledge of vision," yet not so clearly and distinctly.[1219]

Third Article: Whether The Soul Of Christ Can Know The Infinite In The Word

The answer consists of two conclusions.

First conclusion. The soul of Christ does not know the actually infinite; that is, as is evident from the context, He does not know an actually infinite multitude of substances, because such a multitude was not created, which was proved in a previous article,[1220] which stated: Multitude in nature is created, and everything created is comprehended under some clear intention. Nevertheless Christ's soul knows in the Word the thoughts and affections of angels and men. to which there will be no end, that is, they will go on for all eternity. But this multitude is not actually infinite, since all its parts do not constitute a simultaneous whole, and it is known, moreover, by Christ's soul inasmuch as it is represented in a certain unity, namely, in the infinitely perfect Word.

St. Thomas says: "But as material things can be received by the intellect immaterially, and many things unitedly, so can infinite things be received by the intellect, not after the manner of the infinite, but finitely."[1221] But what is infinite, not materially but in perfection, can be known, although it cannot be comprehended by Christ's soul, which can actually and simultaneously know all our thoughts throughout eternity. St. Thomas, inquiring whether the name "Word" imports relation to creation, says: "Because God by one act understands Himself and all things, His one only Word is expressive not only of the Father, but of all creatures."[1222]

Second conclusion. Christ's soul knows in the Word infinite things that are in the potentiality of the creature. Thus, as stated in the counter-argument, "Christ's soul knows all its power and all it can do. It can cleanse, however, infinite sins."

Fourth Article: Whether Christ's Soul Sees The Word Or The Divine Essence More Clearly Than Does Any Other Creature

Reply. The answer is in the affirmative. This conclusion is de fide, as His fullness of grace is.

Scriptural proof. St. Paul says: "God set Christ on His right hand in the heavenly places, above all Principality and Power and Virtue and Domination, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come."[1223] But this heavenly glory presupposes a more exalted knowledge of God.

Theological proof. The beatific vision is according to a participation of light that is derived from the Word of God. But Christ's soul, since it is united to the Word in person, is more closely associated with the Word than any other creature, even the angelic. Therefore Christ's soul received a greater influx of light, and thus sees the divine essence more perfectly.

Reply to second objection. Christ's soul sees the essence of God more clearly than even the highest of the angels, whose intellect is, nevertheless, naturally more powerful, because—and of this, Cajetan did not sufficiently take note—"the vision of the divine essence exceeds the natural power of any creature. And hence the degrees thereof depend rather on the order of grace, in which Christ is supreme, than on the order of nature, in which the angelic nature is placed before the human."[1224] Thus, granted an equal degree of glory, St. Joseph's soul sees the divine essence just as clearly as the higher angels do. Hence the beatific vision that belongs to Christ's soul is in the highest degree, "although, absolutely speaking, there could be a higher and more sublime degree by the infinity of the divine power."[1225] The highest possible degree of the light of glory cannot be conceived, because the divine nature is capable of infinite participation, and there is always an infinite difference between Christ's beatific vision and the uncreated and comprehensive vision, not as regards the object, but as regards the mode of cognition or penetration.

Cajetan seeks to explain the reply to the third objection of St. Thomas by saying: "If an angel were assumed by the Word of God in unity of person to an equal degree of glory, the angel would see God more perfectly than Christ's soul would, and the degree of the beatific vision would be more sublime, not because of the more sublime light or degree of light, but because of the more sublime intellect that is equally illumined."[1226] Thus, in Cajetan's opinion, there can be a more sublime degree of the beatific vision in the angel, only because the angelic intellect is naturally more powerful than Christ's human intellect, and therefore transcends it in this order.

A considerable number of the other Thomists do not agree with Cajetan, especially Alvarez, and they say against Cajetan that St. Thomas in his reply to the third objection had spoken "of a possibly more sublime degree," not in the formal sense, but only materially, which is not his usual way of speaking. Moreover, they also remark that Cajetan's view would conflict with the reply to the second objection in which St. Thomas said: "The essentially supernatural degrees of the vision depend rather on the order of grace... than on the order of nature."[1227] Therefore, Christ's soul sees God's essence more clearly than the highest angels do. He received the light of glory in a degree that was in proportion to the plenitude of His grace, which is derived from the grace of union.[1228]


CHAPTER XIII: QUESTION II

The Infused Knowledge Of Christ's Soul

It is the knowledge by which Christ's soul knows things outside the Word. This question considers (1) the object of this knowledge, (2) its acts (a. 2-4), (3) its habits (a. 5, 6).

First Article: Whether By This Knowledge Christ Knows All Things

State of the question. The word "all" signifies not all possible things, but all things existing in any period of time, either natural or supernatural.

The difficulty is that it does not seem to pertain to the perfection of the human intellect to know things of which there are no phantasms. Therefore it does not seem that by this infused knowledge Christ knows angels as they are in themselves, or that He knows all singulars.

Reply. Nevertheless St. Thomas affirms that Christ by infused knowledge knew all things, both natural and supernatural, namely, all past, present, and future things; He did not, however, know the divine essence by this knowledge, since this is the proper object of the beatific vision.

St. Thomas, who is usually both conservative and prudent in his affirmations, does not fear to make this assertion, although not a few may look upon it as incredible.

Quasi-scriptural proof. The prophet says of Christ: "The Spirit of wisdom and understanding, of knowledge and counsel shall fill Him,"[1229] under which are included all knowable things, both in the speculative and the practical orders. And Christ had these gifts more perfectly than the angels, because they were in proportion to the fullness of His grace and charity, and hence evidently without limitation.

Theological proof. It was fitting that Christ's soul should be entirely perfect by having all its power reduced to act.

But there is a twofold power in Christ's soul: one is natural for knowing all natural things, not only by acquired species, but also by infused species;[1230] the other is obediential for knowing all supernatural things, even by infused species, as often happens with the saints in this life. Therefore Christ knew all things by infused knowledge.[1231]

If perfect works of human art are at times most beautiful, how beautiful must be those of divine art and how sublime must be the spiritual and supernatural operations of divine goodness, actually in the Blessed Virgin and especially in Christ Himself !

This article defines most accurately the natural and the obediential powers, either as regards a natural agent or a supernatural and free agent. Thus the obediential power is insatiable, that is, it cannot be satisfied, but in Christ it is reduced to perfect act according to the most fitting purpose of divine wisdom, as already stated.[1232]

Reply to second objection. As separated souls see themselves and angels by their essence,[1233] so Christ's soul already in this life saw itself and angels by His essence, because Christ was both wayfarer and comprehensor. This seems to us incredible, as if one born blind were told that we have seen by one glance innumerable stars in the heavens most distant from one another.

Reply to third objection. The knowledge of singulars pertains to the perfection of practical knowledge. But Christ had fullness of prudence and of the gift of counsel. This befitted Him, as already stated, because He is judge of the living and the dead, head of the Church and even of the angels, supreme Lord of the whole world. It is, indeed, true that He already knew these singulars because of the beatific vision in the Word, but all comprehensors also know created things outside the Word.

Confirmation. The angels know all natural things even according to their individual conditions by means of infused species that are typified in or derived from the divine essence.[1234] But Christ, by infused knowledge, knows natural things by means of infused species similarly typified in or derived from the divine essence, and His cognition is not inferior to angelic cognition. Thus one who knows a melody merely from memory knows all its notes, although each successive note has neither been learned nor read, and at times some cannot read the notes.

These infused species in Christ's soul, although not so universal as the angelic species since they are proportioned to the vigor of Christ's human intellect, are not, however, so restricted as those that are abstracted from sensible things, because they are likenesses derived from the divine essence. Moreover, the infused light of the gifts of wisdom, understanding, knowledge, and counsel is of a higher degree in Christ than in the angels, because it is proportioned to Christ's charity and the fullness of His habitual grace. But cognition is formally dependent more on light than on species, and thus the infused faith of angels as wayfarers was of the same species as ours, although the faith of the angels makes use of species that are infused and not acquired.

First doubt. How does Christ's infused knowledge include future contingent events and the secrets of hearts?

Reply. It includes these inasmuch as by this knowledge Christ knows the divine decrees in the terminative sense, not indeed as He knows them by the beatific knowledge, but through the intermediary of a certain species, which is a quasi-testimony of God revealing these future contingents and likewise the secrets of hearts.

Second doubt. Is this infused knowledge of future contingent events intuitive, just as by the beatific vision they are included in the Word and the now of eternity, in which futures are already present?

Reply. It is not intuitive. It is, however, called abstractive because it is measured by discrete time, which is not co-existent with the past and future as eternity is, which is the measure of beatific knowledge.[1235] Only eternity comprises all time, and in it future things are known not as future, but as present.[1236]

Third doubt. Does Christ's soul by means of essentially infused knowledge have quiddative knowledge of created supernatural gifts, for example, of sanctifying grace? Expressed more briefly: is it possible, apart from the beatific vision, to have quiddative knowledge or only analogical knowledge of sanctifying grace?

This question is of considerable importance, especially in its relation to the dignity of sanctifying grace.

Reply. The question is disputed among theologians, even among Thomists. Bannez,[1237] Alvarez,[1238] Lorca, and others deny that the knowledge is quiddative. They say that Christ's soul by inspired knowledge does not know sanctifying grace with objective evidence of it but with evidence that rests on divine testimony, which is objective evidence in the one who testifies. The reason is that sanctifying grace is intrinsically and essentially supernatural inasmuch as it is a formal participation of the divine nature as this nature actually is, and there can be no quiddative knowledge of the formal participation of any object, unless there is quiddative knowledge of the object in which there is participation. Thus it is impossible to have quiddative knowledge of the power of a seed unless there is quiddative knowledge of the fruit from the seed. The divine essence, however, can be known quiddatively only by the beatific vision and not by infused knowledge, because no created species can adequately represent this essence. A fortiori, as these theologians say, the light of glory cannot be known quiddatively by infused knowledge, because it transcends any other created light whatever. Therefore, as these theologians say, this light of glory can be known quiddatively only in the Word, and not outside the Word. Still more so, according to these theologians, it is impossible for the soul of Christ by infused knowledge to know quiddatively the hypostatic union, for this union transcends the order of grace. Thus it was only by the beatific vision that Christ could have quiddative knowledge of the hypostatic union. This first opinion, proposed by Bannez, Alvarez, and others, if not certain, merits a degree of probability, in fact, it is the far more probable opinion.

Other theologians, however, such as Suarez, and several Thomists, such as the Salmanticenses, Gonet, John of St. Thomas, and Billuart, maintain that it is possible for Christ's soul by means of essentially infused knowledge to have quiddative knowledge of essentially supernatural created gifts. They give as their reason that these gifts are of limited entity and therefore representable by a limited infused species, such as the infused species of the angels. This opinion seems to me not so probable as the first, which is evident from the following objection.

Objection. These gifts, such as habitual grace and the light of glory, although they are created and limited, nevertheless are essentially supernatural and essentially refer to God as He is in Himself. But God cannot, by infused knowledge, be quiddatively known as He is in Himself. Therefore these gifts cannot be quiddatively known by infused knowledge.

Reply. These theologians deny the consequence, saying that grace is not a universal participation, but an analogical participation of the divine nature, and it suffices to know the existence of the divine essence. This reason does not appear convincing. They say: "Because the hypostatic union, a property of which is infused knowledge, is the radical principle of cognition of Christ's infused knowledge, it suffices that this union be of the same degree of immateriality and perfection as the above-mentioned supernatural objects." This confirmation seems insufficient because the radical principle of infused knowledge does not change the nature of this knowledge, which is specified by its object, even though the infused light by which Christ's infused knowledge judges be substantially supernatural, as our faith is, which nevertheless does not give us quiddative knowledge of sanctifying grace. Hence it does not seem possible for infused knowledge, which makes use of created species, to have quiddative knowledge of sanctifying grace as it actually is. Thus the angels in the state of probation did not have quiddative knowledge of their grace, whereas on the contrary they already had quiddative knowledge of their angelic nature. This argument confirms us in saying that Christ already in this life had the beatific vision for the clear knowledge of His divine nature and personality.

Fourth doubt. Did Christ's soul by means of infused knowledge have evident cognition of the mystery of the Trinity as to its existence, it being supposed that only by the beatific vision is there quiddative knowledge of the Deity and the Trinity?

Reply. Alvarez and Lorca, as also Vasquez, answer in the negative, saying that the only way such knowledge is evident is from the evidence that is in the one testifying, inasmuch as the mystery of the Trinity was revealed to Christ's soul, yet it was not believed but seen by Him, by reason of the beatific vision He enjoyed, which is above infused knowledge, and this applies equally to the mystery of the Incarnation. This opinion, if not certain, is most probable.

But other Thomists, such as Gonet, John of St. Thomas, and Billuart, answer in the affirmative, because, so they say, by means of infused species Christ's soul outside the Word has knowledge of His beatific vision, the terminus of which is the Trinity. Thus He had by infused knowledge evidence concerning the existence of the Trinity, which is of a higher order that that enjoyed by the one who testifies to it.

It is difficult to prove the truth of this second opinion, since, as we saw in the solution of the preceding opinion, there is no certainty for its foundation, inasmuch as it is not certain and is even not probable, that by infused knowledge Christ's soul could have evident and quiddative knowledge of sanctifying grace and the light of glory. The possession of the beatific vision and a quiddative knowledge of the divine essence, of which grace is a formal participation, are indispensable for a quiddative knowledge of sanctifying grace, which is the seed of glory.

Second Article: Whether Christ Could Use This Knowledge Without Turning To Phantasms

Reply. Christ could use this infused knowledge without having to turn to phantasms. The reason is (1) that by this knowledge He could know separate substances, such as angels, that cannot be known by means of phantasms; (2) that Christ was both wayfarer and comprehensor, and the condition of a comprehensor's soul is for it to be nowise subject to its body, or dependent on it, but completely to dominate it. Thus Christ could merit even during sleep.

Reply to third objection. "Although the soul of Christ could understand without turning to phantasms, yet it could also understand by turning to phantasms," also by means of infused knowledge. This means that Christ could, as He chose, use this knowledge either by not turning to phantasms or by turning to them, forming or not forming in the imagination pictures of the same object as is known by this infused knowledge. Thus in the sensible order one may be inspired to sing the melody of a musical composition, writing or not writing the score at one's choice. Similarly one is free to think in one language, and possibly express one's thoughts in another language.

Corollary. We must take care to distinguish between infused contemplation and essentially infused knowledge, for this normally functions without having recourse to the imagination, as in the case of angels and separated souls, as also by very special favor with certain wayfarers. But infused contemplation, which is the result of living faith illumined by the gifts of wisdom and understanding, normally functions with the concurrence of the imagination, which is the normal manner of sanctification, but it is not infused knowledge.

Third Article: Whether This Knowledge Was Collative Or Discursive

St. Thomas replies that this knowledge was not collative or discursive in its acquisition, because it was divinely infused and not acquired by a process of reasoning. But Christ could use this knowledge in a discursive way, like wayfarers, though He was independent of this discursive process. This means that He could, like wayfarers, by divers acts of reasoning deduce conclusions from principles, effects from causes, properties from essences, as men at times who already know the effects conclude them from their causes, not that they may learn them anew, but wishing to use the knowledge they have; or as theologians who at times deduce from some revealed truth another which is otherwise revealed, and which prior to its deduction is already a certainty of faith. The reason given by St. Thomas as stated in this article,[1239] is that the collative and discursive process is connatural to the rational soul, and also to the souls of the blessed, but not to the angels.

Fourth Article: Whether In Christ This Infused Knowledge Was Greater Than That Of The Angels

St. Thomas replies that this knowledge in Christ was far more excellent because of its influencing cause, which is the Word; for the light divinely infused in the soul of Christ is much more excellent than the natural light of the angels. So this infused knowledge in Christ was absolutely more certain than was the infused knowledge of the angels, and extended to many more things, namely, to all things, even Judgment Day, including everything that pertains to the supreme judge of the living and the dead, and to the king of the angels.

Nevertheless, in a qualified sense Christ's infused knowledge was inferior to that of the angels, namely, on the part of the recipient, which is the rational soul, or as regards the mode of its reception, for, as we stated, Christ could use this knowledge by turning to phantasms and by having recourse to the discursive process of reasoning.

Moreover, as stated farther on[1240] it was connatural for Christ's soul to receive species not so universal in scope as those of the angels. This means that the species are in proportion to the human intellect which is not so perfect as the angelic intellect. But if St. Thomas taught the contrary,[1241] namely, that the infused species in Christ's soul were not so universal in scope as those of the angels, he clearly reversed his opinion in the sixth article of this question.

But although the infused knowledge of Christ as regards the mode of its reception is inferior to the angelic knowledge, this does not prevent it from being absolutely more exalted. Thus St. Thomas teaches that "faith is simply more certain than wisdom, the understanding of first principles, and knowledge; but these three, as denoting evidence, are more certain relatively, that is, for us."[1242] Similarly it is certain that the faith of the Blessed Virgin Mary was simply more exalted than the faith of the angels as wayfarers although she made use of species not so universal in scope; for the perfection of knowledge depends more on the light than on the species since the light is the more formal principle.[1243] For the light or the habit adapts itself to the faculty in the exercise of its act and especially in passing judgment.

Fifth Article: Whether Christ's Infused Knowledge Was Habitual Or Actual; That Is, Whether It Was Always In Act

The answer of St. Thomas: "The knowledge imprinted on the soul of Christ was habitual, for He could use it when He pleased." The reason is that this knowledge was in Him according to the connatural mode of the human soul, which is to receive knowledge as a habit that can be used at will. Thus Christ's infused knowledge was univocal to our knowledge, as stated in the argument and counter-argument of this article, though it was not univocal in species but in the genus of knowledge.

Reply to first objection. This infused knowledge of Christ was inferior to that of the beatific vision, for this latter was always actual with respect to everything He knew in this way; nevertheless it seems that Christ's infused knowledge always actually knew certain objects even when He was asleep, during which times He could merit. Thus Christ's soul in this way always knew itself.

Sixth Article: Whether This Infused Knowledge Of Christ Was Distinguished By Diverse Habits

St. Thomas affirms that Christ's infused knowledge was distinguished by different habits, because He made use of species not so universal in scope as those of the angels, and thus His knowledge was distinguished according to the different kinds of knowable things.


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