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Skip to comments.The ABSOLUTE Primacy of Christ
Posted on 06/13/2007 4:39:26 AM PDT by fr maximilian mary
Franciscan (Scotistic) Thesis: Absolute Primacy Of Christ -Jesus Christ was absolutely predestined for grace and glory in His Incarnation quite apart from any question of sin. The elect (men and angels) were chosen and predestined in Him by an eternal decree. And this before the universe had been created.
Supporters of this:
-St. Maximus the Confessor: This [the Incarnation] is that great and hidden mystery. This is the blessed end for which all things were created. This is the divine purpose foreknown before the beginning of creation Really, it was for the sake of Christ, that is the mystery of Christ, that all the ages and all the things of all the ages themselves received the beginning and end of existence in Christ.
-St. Francis De Sales: The primary reason for the Incarnation was that God might communicate Himself outside Himself (ad extra). From all eternity He saw that the most excellent way to do this was in uniting Himself to some created nature, in such sort that the creature might be engrafted and implanted in the divinity, and become one single Person with it. Thus God willed the Incarnation. Through Christ and for His sake God willed to pour out His goodness on other creatures thus choosing to create men and angels to accompany His Son, to participate in His grace and glory, to adore and praise Him forever.
-St. Albert the Great: In his commentary on the Sentences he writes, to the extent that I can offer my opinion, I believe that the Son of God would have become man even if there had been no sin Nevertheless, on this subject I say nothing in a definitive manner; but I believe that what I said is more in harmony with the piety of faith.
Bl. John Duns Scotus:
The absolute primacy of Christ begins with Gods plan. So we can say that it begins from above, and not from below (from man). It begins with God. Scotus seeks to see the created world form Gods point of view. And God, he would hold, does not subordinate His eternal decrees to mans temporal situation. God rather in His goodness, freely wills to create the universe according to a fixed plan.
The key note to Scotus system is the word "predestination"
Note the distinction again from a Calvinist predestination: God has a fixed plan for creation, but man is still free. For Scotus, the origin of all creation rests on predestination. Scotus defines Predestination as "An act of divine will which destines (chooses or elects) an intellectual creature to grace and glory." Predestination is characterized by 2 activities:
1) eternal: the eternal act outside of time. This refers to the intention of God for all eternity. This specifically refers to the activity of "determining the end." Meaning determining the goal or purpose or final cause of all of Gods activity outside of Himself.
2) temporal: " The Execution of His foreseen plan in time." This means the gradual realization of His eternal plan in time.
-Therefore, we have a single plan of predestination with 2 activities that bring it about. Intention and execution. The intention which God freely chooses from eternity always precedes the execution of His intention in time. The example used by Scotists is that of a sculptor. First the artist sees in his mind a life-size wooden statue (say, of Sacred Heart of Jesus) and he wants to carve this wooden statue.
The first thing the sculptor does is have an intention to carve the statue. Now to execute that intention, he obtains a large chunk of wood. He brings it to a studio and begins to carve. What we can see in this process is that the intention is first and the execution is second, and in a certain sense we can say that the execution (the chunk of wood) is less perfect compared to what the final statue would be (the more perfect). But the sculptor throughout the process sees the Sacred Heart of Jesus in that wood. That intention is what moves the execution of the plan along. So in the sculptors activity of intention, the perfect is willed and is seen first. Whereas, in the activity of execution, he begins with the less perfect and gradually moves to the perfect.
Applying this to subject of primacy of Christ: God is the divine artist. The first thing he does is wills and predestines the Most sacred Heart of Jesus to the maximum grace and glory as possible. This maximum grace in glory is by virtue of the personal union that the human heart of Jesus will have with the eternal Word in the Incarnation. This happens through the hypostatic union. Now through the activity of the intention God wills the end of all creation; The goal and height of all creation: Jesus Christ.
To get to this goal of all creation, God sets his plan in motion (the execution), with the creation of the universe. God moves from the lesser perfect to the most perfect realization of his eternal decree. (Chunk of wood to the actual statue). Thats why he starts with creation. The most perfect of his eternal decree is the grace and glory of Jesus Christ. (Scotus says that Scripture supports this. Jesus is the high point of creation.) Thus the Sacred Heart of Jesus is the first created being willed by God and was done so for all eternity and the Sacred Heart is predestined to the height of Glory. The Sacred Heart is the goal of all creation. What God seeks to realize in the fullness of time (Gal 4:4). So this eternal intention of God and the temporal execution towards this end, is what is fixed by predestination. Secondly, all other rational creatures are predestined in, thru, and for Jesus Christ.
The predestination is the positive act of the divine will which destines a rational creature to grace and glory. This refers first to Jesus Christ in his humanity, and also to all the saints and angels.
For Scotus predestination is absolute, not relative, meaning that it is not relative to any created need or circumstance. Rather it is based on Gods own intrinsic goodness and moving creatures to himself for the optimum grace and glory.
Christ was willed (Incarnation) before the foundation of the world (cf. Eph. 1:4). Jesus is first of all willed for His own sake and not first for mans sake. In fact, men and angels are created for Him and He for God (cf. I Cor. 3:23). Jesus could not be predestined to grace and glory on account of sin....even though he will conquer sin in his mercy. Thus the Incarnation is the supreme work of God ad extra (outside of Himself) and it is not occasioned by sin. This predestination of Christ, of men, and of angels is one simultaneous act. So God destines all of the elect to grace and glory in Jesus Christ.
In Scotuss Ordinatio he says:
1) God predestines Christ (in His humanity), saints and angels to glory before any foreseen sin.
2) Predestination is absolute in the intention of God and not based on future needs or sins of creatures.
3) Thirdly that Christs absolute predestination could not be "occasioned by sin" or even for the sake of men and angels.
a) After willing the Trinity, the first thing that God wills is the humanity of Jesus.
b) You dont predestine the height of created glory based on the fall of an inferior creature.
Consequently, this is the view I hold. It also has implications for the Blessed Virgin as well, which I will post on at a later time.
In the meantime, Tom over at Disputations has started a discussion on the subject... Make sure you check out the discussion in the combox. You will find that Fr. Maximilian Mary Dean, F.I. has joined the discussion. Note what he says, for he wrote the book on this subject......literally! It's called A Primer on the Absolute Primacy of Christ.
Be sure to check out Fr. Maximilian's vlog series on this subject at AirMaria.com.
by Danny Garland Jr. at Irish-Catholic and Dangerous
I think that one phrase is going to cause more talk than any ideas of predestination!
What I find intriguing is the dirth of Scriptural references; I tallied three. It seems to be more the philosophical musings of the author than an effort to explore God’s Word for doctrine and correction.
Number of Scripture citations is by no means a measure of truth.
However, there are aspects of this essay which I find troubling.
What exactly is meant by "will(ing) the Trinity"? Rather than taking the usual FR tack of seeing something I don't understand and hollering "UnBiBlIcAl!!!!!!! HeReTiC!!!!!!!!!", I'll ask. What does that mean?
Also, what is meant by: "Thirdly that Christs absolute predestination could not be "occasioned by sin" or even for the sake of men and angels."? I can understand that the Incarnation and Glorification of Christ have nothing to do with sin, but what does that say of the Sacrifice?
Looks like the author is a Jehovah's Witness.
It's easy to see, however, how the JWs (and others) lacking the sure guidance of the Catholic Church can go off the rails when contemplating the Incarnation.
Yes, but what did he mean when he said "willing the Trinity" right before that?
Personally, I think asking "what do you mean?" is more useful than clucking my tongue, snapping my fingers, and hollering "HeReTiC!!!!!"
See post 8.
Caucuses are treated as if they are a meeting behind the closed doors of a church. The assembly will not be disturbed.
If the caucus label is not used - or cannot be used - then the thread is "open" like a town square. Challenges, even ridicule, will occur.
If you wish to add the caucus protection to this article, let me know.
Thank you for your posts.
I think what Danny Garland Jr. is saying is this (at least this is what Bl. John Duns Scotus says):
First, God knows and loves Himself (from all eternity, outside time, before creation).
Second, He wills to create the universe in order to communicate His glory to creatures outside Himself--first in His plan of creation is the Sacred Humanity of Christ.
I would not use the term "after willing the Trinity" (and Scotus doesn't use that terminology). However, if love is of the will, then God loves Himself (wills Himself?)--at best its not the best use of terminology; at worst it could be considered heretical. But leave that aside, the point to be discussed here is this:
Did God will the Incarnation solely as a remedy for man's sin? Or did God will first His most perfect masterpiece in all creation (the Incarnation) and then will everything else for Christ (sin or no sin)? God bless...
Thank you for your post. I don’t think Danny’s intention is to prove from Scripture this point; hence the relatively few quotes from the Bible.
All Christians believe in the primacy of Christ:
“He is the head of his body the Church; he who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things he may have the first place” [primacy] (Col. 1:18).
But not all Christians believe in the ABSOLUTE primacy of Christ. In other words, many view the primacy of Christ as a relative primacy—relative to man’s sin. For them the sole or primary reason for the Incarnation is Redemption from sin. If man had not sinned, Christ would not have come. Whereas Scotus and others held that when God willed to create He willed first to predestine the humanity of Christ to glory through the Incarnation and then willed to predestine us in Christ (sin or no sin) so that the primacy of Christ is not relative to (or occasioned by sin).
“Even as he [God] chose us in him [Christ] before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blemish in his sight in love. He predestined us to be adopted through Jesus Christ as his sons, according to the purpose of his will, unto the praise of the glory of his grace, with which he has favored us in his beloved Son.” (Eph. 1:4-6).
For us to be predestined as God’s children in Christ Jesus God first had to predestine the Sacred Humanity of Christ the Incarnation. God first saw the Word made flesh in His intention, then He willed all things for Christ (I Cor. 3:22-23).
I guess that is your own personal interpretation of Garland?
I think he made himself clear. He thinks that God became a trinity and that the trinity has not always existed. He later makes a strange statement about Jesus being a created being. And, of course, in the end he makes reference to how all of this has implications for "The Blessed Virgin." Naturally, no true Catholic article is complete without a deferential reference to the Queen of Heaven, The Mediatrix of all Grace and the Future Co-Redeemer with Christ.
I don't think anyone's disputing that point. The problem here is that, according to the article, your Bl. John Duns Scotus claims (or the author, claiming on his behalf), that the Trinity itself - the divisions of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit - was the first thing that God created.
Hopefully this is just a case of unintentional wording, but given the double use of the word "will" in the same sentence, I don't think it's unintentional. I think it smacks of an Arian-like heresy on someone's part.
Future? You mean she isn't now? ;-)
I say that the Incarnation of Christ was not foreseen as something occasioned [by sin], but that it was foreseen by God from all eternity and as a good more immediately proximate to the end... Hence this is the order followed in Gods prevision. First, God understood Himself as the highest good. In the second instant He understood all creatures. In the third He predestined some to glory and grace, and concerning some He had a negative act by not predestining. In the fourth, He foresaw that all these would fall in Adam. In the fifth He preordained and foresaw the remedyhow they would be redeemed through the Passion of His Son, so that, like all the elect, Christ in the flesh was foreseen and predestined to grace and glory before Christs Passion was foreseen as a medicine against the fall, just as a physician wills the health of a man before he wills the medicine to cure him.
Bl. Scotus doesn't say that God "wills the Trinity", but that first He understands Himself (knows and loves Himself).
Danny's wording is not the best here, but even he does not say that God creates the Trinity. That said, my interest is in a discussion of the insight Bl. Scotus on the Incarnation--so if you can overlook that unintentional "Arian-style" wording about the Trinity and see the argument of Scotus on the Incarnation even if Adam had not sinned, then I'd like to hear more.
Perhaps this article is worded better:
She's waiting patiently for the official announcement from the Pope. The Title will be given retroactive application to the date of the Crucifixion. That way the Catholics can insist that they did not change her status, they merely confirmed it. :-)
What Fr. Maximilian Mary said that I meant is exactly what I meant to say. I don’t for one minute think that the Trinity is created, nor for that matter does Scotus.
The outline was pulled together from my notes for my Mariology II class last semester. The phrasing for “After willing the Trinity” is not something I came up with, but was what my professor(who also does not believe that the Trinity is created) mentioned was in Scotus’ account. I believe he was thinking of this section from Scotus:
“I say, nevertheless, that the Fall is not the cause of Christ’s predestination. Indeed, even if one angel had not fallen, or one man, Christ would still have been predestined thuseven if others had not been created, but only Christ. This I demonstrate thus: anyone who wills methodically first wills an end, and then more immediately, those things which are more immediate to the end. But God wills most methodically; therefore, He wills thus: first He wills Himself, and everything intrinsic to Himself; more directly, so far as concerns things extrinsic, is the soul of Christ. Therefore, in relation to whatever merit and before whatever dement was foreseen, He foresees that Christ must be united to Him in a substantial union...”
The “willing of himself” is meant I suppose in the way Fr. Maximilian Mary explained. Love is of the will and God loves Himself.
I also agree that this discussion should focus on the Incarnation of Christ and His Absolute Primacy and the implications thereof.
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