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Cur Deus Homo Book Second V-VII: The Necessity of God-Man (Cath-Orth caucus)
Internet Medieval Source Book ^ | A.D. 1097-1100 | Saint Anselm of Canterbury

Posted on 07/06/2007 3:03:23 PM PDT by annalex

 

CHAPTER V.

How, although the thing may be necessary, God may not do it by a compulsory necessity; and what is the nature of that necessity which removes or lessens gratitude, and what necessity increases it.

Boso. But if it be so, then God seems as it were compelled, for the sake of avoiding what is unbecoming, to secure the salvation of man. How, then, can it be denied that he does it more on his own account than on ours? But if it be so, what thanks do we owe him for what he does for himself? How shall we attribute our salvation to his grace, if he saves us from necessity?

Anselm.. There is a necessity which takes away or lessens our gratitude to a benefactor, and there is also a necessity by which the favor deserves still greater thanks. For when one does a benefit from a necessity to which he is unwillingly subjected, less thanks are due him, or none at all. But when he freely places himself under the necessity of benefiting another, and sustains that necessity without reluctance, then he certainly deserves greater thanks for the favor. For this should not be called necessity but grace, inasmuch as he undertook or maintains it, not with any constraint, but freely. For if that which to-day you promise of your own accord you will give to-morrow, you do give to-morrow with the same willingness; though it be necessary for you, if possible, to redeem your promise, or make yourself a liar; notwithstanding, the recipient of your favor is as much indebted for your precious gift as if you had not promised it, for you were not obliged to make yourself his debtor before the time of giving it: just so is it when one undertakes, by a vow, a design of holy living. For though after his vow he ought necessarily to perform, lest he suffer the judgment of an apostate, and, although he may be compelled to keep it even unwillingly, yet, if he keep his vow cheerfully, he is not less but more pleasing to God than if he had not vowed. For he has not only given up the life of the world, but also his personal liberty, for the sake of God; and he cannot be said to live a holy life of necessity, but with the same freedom with which he took the vow. Much more, therefore, do we owe all thanks to God for completing his intended favor to man; though, indeed, it would not be proper for him to fail in his good design, because wanting nothing in himself he begun it for our sake and not his own. For what man was about to do was not hidden from God at his creation; and yet by freely creating man, God as it were bound himself to complete the good which he had begun. In fine, God does nothing by necessity, since he is not compelled or restrained in anything. And when we say that God does anything to avoid dishonor, which he certainly does not fear, we must mean that God does this from the necessity of maintaining his honor; which necessity is after all no more than this, viz., the immutability of his honor, which belongs to him in himself, and is not derived from another; and therefore it is not properly called necessity. Yet we may say, although the whole work which God does for man is of grace, that it is necessary for God, on account of his unchangeable goodness, to complete the work which he has begun.

Boso. I grant it.

 

CHAPTER VI.

How no being, except the God-man, can make the atonement by which man is saved.

Anselm.. But this cannot be effected, except the price paid to God for the sin of man be something greater than all the universe besides God.

Boso. So it appears.

Anselm.. Moreover, it is necessary that he who can give God anything of his own which is more valuable than all things in the possession of God, must be greater than all else but God himself.

Boso. I cannot deny it.

Anselm.. Therefore none but God can make this satisfaction.

Boso. So it appears.

Anselm.. But none but a man ought to do this, other wise man does not make the satisfaction.

Boso. Nothing seems more just.

Anselm.. If it be necessary, therefore, as it appears, that the heavenly kingdom be made up of men, and this cannot be effected unless the aforesaid satisfaction be made, which none but God can make and none but man ought to make, it is necessary for the God-man to make it.

Boso. Now blessed be God! we have made a great discovery with regard to our question. Go on, therefore, as you have begun. For I hope that God will assist you.

Anselm.. Now must we inquire how God can become man.

 

CHAPTER VII.

How necessary it is for the same being to be perfect God and perfect man.

Anselm.. The Divine and human natures cannot alternate, so that the Divine should become human or the human Divine; nor can they be so commingled as that a third should be produced from the two which is neither wholly Divine nor wholly human. For, granting that it were possible for either to be changed into the other, it would in that case be only God and not man, or man only and not God. Or, if they were so commingled that a third nature sprung from the combination of the two (as from two animals, a male and a female of different species, a third is produced, which does not preserve entire the species of either parent, but has a mixed nature derived from both), it would neither be God nor man. Therefore the God-man, whom we require to be of a nature both human and Divine, cannot be produced by a change from one into the other, nor by an imperfect commingling of both in a third; since these things cannot be, or, if they could be, would avail nothing to our purpose. Moreover, if these two complete natures are said to be joined somehow, in such a way that one may be Divine while the other is human, and yet that which is God not be the same with that which is man, it is impossible for both to do the work necessary to be accomplished. For God will not do it, because he has no debt to pay; and man will not do it, because he cannot. Therefore, in order that the God-man may perform this, it is necessary that the same being should perfect God and perfect man, in order to make this atonement. For he cannot and ought not to do it, unless he be very God and very man. Since, then, it is necessary that the God-man preserve the completeness of each nature, it is no less necessary that these two natures be united entire in one person, just as a body and a reasonable soul exist together in every human being; for otherwise it is impossible that the same being should be very God and very man.

Boso. All that you say is satisfactory to me.

 


Source.

St. Anselm: Proslogium; Monologium: An Appendix In Behalf Of The Fool By Gaunilo; And Cur Deus Homo, Translated From The Latin By Sidney Norton Deane, B. A. With An Introduction, Bibliography, And Reprints Of The Opinions Of Leading Philosophers And Writers On The Ontological Argument, (Chicago, The Open Court Publishing Company, 1903, reprinted 1926)




TOPICS: Apologetics; Catholic; Orthodox Christian; Theology
KEYWORDS:
Cur Deus Homo (Why God Became Man) is the first major theological work in the West that followed the Great Schism of 1054. This book is a major contribution to the theology of Atonement.

I plan to publish it for discussion in short installments as Catholic-Orthodox caucus threads. All Christians as well as non-Christians are very welcome, but I ask all to maintain the caucus discipline: no interconfessional attacks, no personal attacks, and no off-topic posts. Avoid mentioning confessions outside of the caucus for any reason.

Previous:

Cur Deus Homo I-III
Cur Deus Homo III-V
Cur Deus Homo VI-VIII: Is God Omnipotent and Wise?
Cur Deus Homo IX-X: Did The Father Wish Christ To Die?
Cur Deus Homo XI-XIV: God's Honor, Compassion, and Justice
Cur Deus Homo XV-XVIII: Men and Angels, Perfection and Election
Cur Deus Homo XIX-XX: No Satisfaction
Cur Deus Homo XXI-XXIII: Enormity of Sin
Cur Deus Homo XXIV-XXV: Unhappiness of Man
Cur Deus Homo Book Second I-IV: Holy, Happy Man

1 posted on 07/06/2007 3:03:26 PM PDT by annalex
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To: Andrew Byler; Blogger; Forest Keeper; fr maximilian mary; Huber; jo kus; Kolokotronis; kosta50; ...
Write to me if you want in or out on this St. Anselm ping list.

The summary:

***

Previously we established that it is necessary that God should finish what He started and restore man to perfection. But how can necessity even apply to sovereign God?

when we say that God does anything to avoid dishonor, which he certainly does not fear, we must mean that God does this from the necessity of maintaining his honor; which necessity is after all no more than this, viz., the immutability of his honor, which belongs to him in himself, and is not derived from another; and therefore it is not properly called necessity.

If God acts out of a necessity, can salvation He offers be a gift to us?

when [someone] freely places himself under the necessity of benefiting another, and sustains that necessity without reluctance, then he certainly deserves greater thanks for the favor

[...]

we owe all thanks to God for completing his intended favor to man; though, indeed, it would not be proper for him to fail in his good design, because wanting nothing in himself he begun it for our sake and not his own

Because of the enormity of the sin of the Fall, only God can repay it, but only man ought to repay it:

it is necessary that he who can give God anything of his own which is more valuable than all things in the possession of God, must be greater than all else but God himself

[...]

none but a man ought to do this, other wise man does not make the satisfaction

And so we arrive, logically, at the necessity of perfect God and perfect man united in a single person, the God-man:

it is necessary that the God-man preserve the completeness of each nature, [and] it is no less necessary that these two natures be united entire in one person, just as a body and a reasonable soul exist together in every human being; for otherwise it is impossible that the same being should be very God and very man.

2 posted on 07/06/2007 3:18:39 PM PDT by annalex
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To: annalex
Next installment:


Cur Deus Homo Book Second VIII: The Necessity of the Virgin Mary

3 posted on 07/11/2007 4:55:17 PM PDT by annalex
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