Skip to comments.Cur Deus Homo III-V (Catholic-Orthodox caucus)
Posted on 05/09/2007 3:58:56 PM PDT by annalex
Objections of infidels and replies of believers.
Boso. Infidels ridiculing our simplicity charge upon us that we do injustice and dishonor to God when we affirm that he descended into the womb of a virgin, that he was born of woman, that he grew on the nourishment of milk and the food of men; and, passing over many other things which seem incompatible with Deity, that he endured fatigue, hunger, thirst, stripes and crucifixion among thieves.
Anselm.. We do no injustice or dishonor to God, but give him thanks with all the heart, praising and proclaiming the ineffable height of his compassion. For the more astonishing a thing it is and beyond expectation, that he has restored us from so great and deserved ills in which we were, to so great and unmerited blessings which we had forfeited; by so much the more has he shown his more exceeding love and tenderness towards us. For did they but carefully consider bow fitly in this way human redemption is secured, they would not ridicule our simplicity, but would rather join with us in praising the wise beneficence of God. For, as death came upon the human race by the disobedience of man, it was fitting that by man's obedience life should be restored. And, as sin, the cause of our condemnation, had its origin from a woman, so ought the author of our righteousness and salvation to be born of a woman. And so also was it proper that the devil, who, being man's tempter, had conquered him in eating of the tree, should be vanquished by man in the suffering of the tree which man bore. Many other things also, if we carefully examine them, give a certain indescribable beauty to our redemption as thus procured.
How these things appear not decisive to infidels, and merely like so many pictures.
Boso. These things must be admitted to be beautiful, and like so many pictures; but, if they have no solid foundation, they do not appear sufficient to infidels, as reasons why we ought to believe that God wished to suffer the things which we speak of. For when one wishes to make a picture, he selects something substantial to paint it upon, so that his picture may remain. For no one paints in water or in air, because no traces of the picture remain in them. Wherefore, when we hold up to infidels these harmonious proportions which you speak of as so many pictures of the real thing, since they do not think this belief of ours a reality, but only a fiction, they consider us, as it were, to be painting upon a cloud. Therefore the rational existence of the truth first be shown, I mean, the necessity, which proves that God ought to or could have condescended to those things which we affirm. Afterwards, to make the body of the truth, so to speak, shine forth more clearly, these harmonious proportions, like pictures of the body, must be described.
Anselm.. Does not the reason why God ought to do the things we speak of seem absolute enough when we consider that the human race, that work of his so very precious, was wholly ruined, and that it was not seemly that the purpose which God had made concerning man should fall to the ground; and, moreover, that this purpose could not be carried into effect unless the human race were delivered by their Creator himself?
How the redemption of man could not be effected by any other being but God.
Boso. If this deliverance were said to be effected somehow by any other being than God (whether it were an angelic or a human being), the mind of man would receive it far more patiently. For God could have made some man without sin, not of a sinful substance, and not a descendant of any man, but just as he made Adam, and by this man it should seem that the work we speak of could have been done.
Anselm.. Do you not perceive that, if any other being should rescue man from eternal death, man would rightly be adjudged as the servant of that being? Now if this be so, he would in no wise be restored to that dignity which would have been his had he never sinned. For he, who was to be through eternity only the servant of God and an equal with the holy angels, would now be the servant of a being who was not God, and whom the angels did not serve.
... to be continued
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)
I plan to publish it for discussion in short installments as Catholic-Orthodox caucus threads. The Protestants 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.
Previous: Cur Deus Homo I-II
Humility of Christ is kenotic love of God. The symmetry between the fall and the redemption exists: disobedience of Adam is matched by obedience of Christ; Eve as a conduit of the fall is matched by Mary as conduit of the redemption; the Tree of Eden is matched by the Cross; triumph of the devil is matched by his defeat.
God loves His creation and it is logical the He should seek its redemption.
God would not send a hero as a redeemer because that would make man serve that hero.
I’ll do the heavy reading later, but it occurs to me already that the West would have been better served had it simply stuck with +Athanasius the Great.
There are no new ideas in this installment. The symmetry with Genesis 3 is, of course, noted as early as in St. Justin Martyr. I did not want to fast-forward to the dealings with the devil that are going to come up next.
I am sure you are correct. But this is what I was referring to:
"And so also was it proper that the devil, who, being man's tempter, had conquered him in eating of the tree, should be vanquished by man in the suffering of the tree which man bore.
By the way, I agree with your comment about the symmetry; nothing “unorthodox” about that.
I am not following. What?
I wonder if Scholasticism arose in the West as an effort to bolster the armamentarium for responses to heresies.
I don't know about controversies in the East and how they were dealt with. I DO get the impression that for a while there scholasticism in the West led to a kind of Free Republic argumentativeness -- "You're a heretic," "I know you are but what am I?""I'm rubber, you're glue ..."
“I wonder if Scholasticism arose in the West as an effort to bolster the armamentarium for responses to heresies.”
You may well be right. We know that Aquinas’ Aristotelianism was in reality simply the context within which he chose to contest with the Mohammedan theologians, providing a common language and ground rules within which to have their discussions. It has been argued that from Duns Scotus on, however, Aristotelian logic (and thus increasing legalism, not that it wasn’t already there) became definitional of Scholasticism rather than just a conversational matrix of sorts. Personally, I think it got out of hand very quickly.
In the East there was certainly a great deal of “You’re a heretic” stuff, but it was pretty much over by the time of Aquinas. The Patristic/conciliar method prevalent in The Church, East and West, for the first 1000 years seems to have been able to handle heresy, ultimately, quite well, and without resort to the methods of Scholaticism or legalism...or for that matter the Inquisition or the Reformation.
Off to do battle for a client!