Skip to comments.Cur Deus Homo Book Second XIX - XXII: The Precious Gift (Cath-Orth caucus)
Posted on 08/23/2007 5:11:11 PM PDT by annalex
How human salvation follows upon his death.
Anselm.. Let us now observe, if we can, how the salvation of men rests on this.
Boso. This is the very wish of my heart. For, although I think I understand you, yet I wish to get from you the close chain of argument.
Anselm.. There is no need of explaining how precious was the gift which the Son freely gave.
Boso. That is clear enough already.
Anselm.. But you surely will not think that he deserves no reward, who freely gave so great a gift to God.
Boso. I see that it is necessary for the Father to reward the Son; else he is either unjust in not wishing to do it, or weak in not being able to do it; but neither of these things can be attributed to God.
Anselm.. He who rewards another either gives him something which he does not have, or else remits some rightful claim upon him. But anterior to the great offering of the Son, all things belonging to the Father were his, nor did he ever owe anything which could be forgiven him. How then can a reward be bestowed on one who needs nothing, and to whom no gift or release can be made?
Boso. I see on the one hand a necessity for a reward, and on the other it appears impossible; for God must necessarily render payment for what he owes, and yet there is no one to receive it.
Anselm.. But if a reward so large and so deserved is not given to him or any one else, then it will almost appear as if the Son had done this great work in vain.
Boso. Such a supposition is impious.
Anselm.. The reward then must be bestowed upon some one else, for it cannot be upon him.
Boso. This is necessarily so.
Anselm.. Had the Son wished to give some one else what was due to him, could the Father rightfully prevent it, or refuse to give it to the other person?
Boso. No! but I think it would be both just and necessary that the gift should be given by the Father to whomsoever the Son wished; because the Son should be allowed to give away what is his own, and the Father cannot bestow it at all except upon some other person.
Anselm.. Upon whom would he more properly bestow the reward accruing from his death, than upon those for whose salvation, as right reason teaches, he became man; and for whose sake, as we have already said, he left an example of suffering death to preserve holiness? For surely in vain will men imitate him, if they be not also partakers of his reward. Or whom could he more justly make heirs of the inheritance, which he does not need, and of the superfluity of his possessions, than his parents and brethren? What more proper than that, when he beholds so many of them weighed down by so heavy a debt, and wasting through poverty, in the depth of their miseries, he should remit the debt incurred by their sins, and give them what their transgressions had forfeited?
Boso. The universe can hear of nothing more reasonable, more sweet, more desirable. And I receive such confidence from this that I cannot describe the joy with which my heart exults. For it seems to me that God can reject none who come to him in his name.
Anselm.. Certainly not, if he come aright. And the Scriptures, which rest on solid truth as on a firm foundation, and which, by the help of God, we have somewhat examined, -- the Scriptures, I say, show us how to approach in order to share such favor, and how we ought to live under it.
Boso. And whatever is built on this foundation is founded on an immovable rock.
Anselm.. I think I have nearly enough answered your inquiry, though I might do it still more fully, and there are doubtless many reasons which are beyond me and which mortal ken does not reach. It is also plain that God had no need of doing the thing spoken of, but eternal truth demanded it. For though God is said to have done what that man did, on account of the personal union made; yet God was in no need of descending from heaven to conquer the devil, nor of contending against him in holiness to free mankind. But God demanded that man should conquer the devil, so that he who had offended by sin should atone by holiness. As God owed nothing to the devil but punishment, so man must only make amends by conquering the devil as man had already been conquered by him. But whatever was demanded of man, he owed to God and not to the devil.
How great and how just is God's compassion.
Now we have found the compassion of God which appeared lost to you when we were considering God's holiness and man's sin; we have found it, I say, so great and so consistent with his holiness, as to be incomparably above anything that can be conceived. For what compassion can excel these words of the Father, addressed to the sinner doomed to eternal torments and having noway of escape: "Take my only begotten Son and make him an offering for yourself;" or these words of the Son: "Take me, and ransom your souls." For these are the voices they utter, when inviting and leading us to faith in the Gospel. Or can anything be more just than for him to remit all debt since he has earned a reward greater than all debt, if given with the love which he deserves.
How it is impossible for the devil to be reconciled.
IF you carefully consider the scheme of human salvation, you will perceive the reconciliation of the devil, of which you made inquiry, to be impossible. For, as man could not be reconciled but by the death of the God-man, by whose holiness the loss occasioned by man's sin should be made up; so fallen angels cannot be saved but by the death of a God-angel who by his holiness may repair the evil occasioned by the sins of his companions. And as man must not be restored by a man of a different race, though of the same nature, so no angel ought to be saved by any other angel, though all were of the same nature, for they are not like men, all of the same race. For all angels were not sprung from one, as all men were. And there is another objection to their restoration, viz , that, as they fell with none to plot their fall, so they must rise with none to aid them; but this is impossible. But otherwise they cannot be restored to their original dignity. For, had they not sinned, they would have been confirmed in virtue without any foreign aid, simply by the power given to them from the first. And, therefore, if any one thinks that the redemption of our Lord ought to be extended even to the fallen angels, he is convinced by reason, for by reason he has been deceived. And I do not say this as if to deny that the virtue of his death far exceeds all the sins of men and angels, but because infallible reason rejects the reconciliation of the fallen angels.
How the truth of the Old and New Testament is shown in the things which have been said.
Boso. All things which you have said seem to me reasonable and incontrovertible. And by the solution of the single question proposed do I see the truth of all that is contained in the Old and New Testament. For, in proving that God became man by necessity, leaving out what was taken from the Bible, viz., the remarks on the persons of the Trinity, and on Adam, you convince both Jews and Pagans by the mere force of reason. And the God-man himself originates the New Testament and approves the Old. And, as we must acknowledge him to be true, so no one can dissent from anything contained in these books.
Anselm.. If we have said anything that needs correction, I am willing to make the correction if it be a reasonable one. But, if the conclusions which we have arrived at by reason seem confirmed by the testimony of the truth, then ought we to attribute it, not to ourselves, but to God, who is blessed forever. --
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 now have completed publishing it on the Free Republic in the following installments:
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
Cur Deus Homo Book Second V-VII: The Necessity of God-Man
Cur Deus Homo Book Second VIII: The Necessity of the Virgin Mary
Cur Deus Homo Book Second IX-X: The Sinless Word
Cur Deus Homo Book Second XI: Christ Chose To Die
Cur Deus Homo Book Second XII-XV: Christ's Death Removes Sin
Cur Deus Homo Book Second XVI: Christ, Mary, Adam, Eve
Cur Deus Homo Book Second XVII-XVIII(a): Will and Necessity
Cur Deus Homo Book Second XVIII(b): Debt and Freedom
As all preceding installments, this is a Catholic-Orthodox caucus thread. 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.
Thank you all for your company.
It is clear that Christ deserves the reward from the Father for the precious gift the He freely gave. But since Christ and the Father are one, there is nothing really that the Father can give to the Son, Who already has all that there is. It follows that the reward goes to man: "whom could he more justly make heirs of the inheritance, which he does not need, and of the superfluity of his possessions, than his parents and brethren?".
We marvel at the infinite compassion of the Father and the Son, Who say "to the sinner doomed to eternal torments and having noway of escape: 'Take my only begotten Son and make him an offering for yourself;' or these words of the Son: 'Take me, and ransom your souls.'"
We note that the reconciliation of the fallen angels remains an impossibility, not for the insufficiency of the gift, but due to the fact that the angels were created separately, and that the devil did not conspire with another to fall: "as man must not be restored by a man of a different race, though of the same nature, so no angel ought to be saved by any other angel, though all were of the same nature, for they are not like men, all of the same race [...] as they fell with none to plot their fall, so they must rise with none to aid them"
It is by the mere force of reason, rather than the testimony of the Bible, that the truth of the atonement of Christ has now been proven, and the truth of all contained in the Bible is shown.
St. Anselm, pray for us.
No trace of the Father demanding, compelling, or commanding the sacrifice of Christ, in the whole book.