THOMAS AQUINAS AND JOHN DUNS SCOTUS.
I. Thomas Aquinas took a step in advance, in so far as he endeavoured to combine the scholastic, the ecclesiastical, and the mystical view, with the double design of giving life to the former, and greater distinctness to the latter. His chief Christological authorities, therefore, are John of Damascus and the Pseudo-Areopagite.
In his "Summa Theologiae," the first question he discusses, is that as to the necessity of the incarnation.1 He denies its indispensability, especially apart from the existence of sin. To suppose that it would have taken place independently of sin, would be, he thinks, to represent it, not as something veritably supernatural,—that is, relatively to human nature, as something, strictly speaking, accidental,—but as something which pertains to the full conception of human nature.2 But still he had no intention of representing humanity as a mere accidens of the Deity, assumed as we assume a garment: it is, on the contrary, in "Unio personalis" with the Logos; so that the one Person of
1 Summa Theologiae (Antv. 1612, Opp. T. xii.), P. iii. Q. 1.
* He is also of opinion (Q. vi. Art. 12), that, if God-manhood belonged to the perfection of human nature, all would have to become Godmen in order to be properly men. For further details, see below.
the Logos, although it continued simple in itself, yet, since the incarnation, exists in two "suppositis," and is accordingly compound. How far he was, notwithstanding, from conceiving the relation between the Logos and humanity to be a substantial, an essential one, is clear from his opinion, that the Logos might have entered into this relation of "Unio" with more than one man.1 The pre-eminence of the God-man, therefore, lies not in His inner, essential nature, in the impossibility of His being ever repeated; but simply in the empirical fact, that a second God-man has not actually appeared: and as there was no necessity whatever in God of His becoming man, but merely a "convenientia," so also was there no necessity in the idea of man. Aquinas opposes Nihilianism; but in such a way as to reduce to the smallest possible measure, the part taken by the divine essence in the incarnation. The "Unio" he regards as something created; that is, it falls under the category of manifestations of grace to created beings, and does not denote a peculiar mode of the being of God (Q. ii. Art. 7). The human nature was, in his view, impersonal (non per se subsistens): it was personal, not in itself, but in the Logos,—which was a distinction conferred on it. Herein is involved the recognition of the truth, that without personality, human nature would not be complete. Its tendency to personality, however, found satisfaction in Christ, in another higher than itself, in one who, relatively to it, is absolutely supernatural,—a view which is certainly not consistent with the notion that a distinction was thus conferred on human nature itself; for, if it were distinguished thereby, it must have been capable of appropriating and receiving that which is elsewhere represented as absolutely above and beyond it. The deeper roots of this contradiction lie in the magical conception of grace already referred to; which took pleasure in representing the redemption of human nature as consisting in its being transported out of its own, into an absolutely different, essence. Considered in
1 Q. i. Art. 7, p. 24. Q. iii. Art. 7: "Persona divina non ita assumsit unam naturam humanam, quod non potuerit assuraere aliam;" for otherwise, "personalitas divina; naturae esset ita comprehensa per unam naturam humanam, quod (ut) ad ejus personalitatem alia aasumi non posset, quod est impossibile. Non enim increatum a creato comprehend* potest." Q. x. 1, ix. 4; P. i. Q. xii. 7.
relation to God, it would follow, then, that the act of incarnation met and satisfied the natural tendency of human nature towards personality, and both stayed and replaced it by the divine personality;—a view which reminds us of Cerinthus (Note 58).
The caro of Christ, therefore, appeared to him to be simply "nature," without a trace of personality; and yet, on the other hand, he regards matter as the "principium individuationis;'" —which would seem to imply, that Christ must necessarily become an individual man, on the ground of the matter of which He was the vehicle. It is true, he considers the Logos to have been the exclusively personal principle, and the humanity therefore to have been merely the material and nature employed by Him: but still the Logos was the principle constitutive of the personality in the sense, that that which is, in other cases, the work of the matter and of its tendency to take a limited individual form, was, in the present case, brought about by the power of the Logos, forming, separating, and consolidating an individual out of the human material. On the other hand, Thomas Aquinas also, considered that the divine nature did not become man; for the reason, that such a supposition would necessarily imply that Father and Spirit also became man, as touching their nature; though the Word alone became man as touching the personality. "Naturae divinae convenit assumere ratione personae" (Summa P. hi. Q. iii. Art. i.-iii.). The divine nature can be termed the u principium incarnationis" only in so far as it is the vehicle and bearer of the " persona filii." This latter, however, is "primo et propriissime" assumptive; and yet personality is also the terminus of the process. Consequently, the divine essence itself, or the divine nature, remained unconnected with the incarnation. This was the direct contrary of some more recent and quite as one-sided theories, which represent the Son as under the necessity of stooping and becoming merely divine nature (ceasing, that is, to be a divine person), ere He could accomplish the incarnation. The significance of the incarnation is, in his view, therefore, limited to the fact, that the divine Person of the Son—not, however, His divine nature—was inserted in the human nature. The divine personality stood, of course, in intimate connection with its own 1 P. 34', Q. vi. 1.
divine nature; but still did not allow any portion thereof to pass over into the human nature. It merely bestowed graces, so far as the human nature was able to grasp and contain them. A grace, however, is something created.1 The humanity of Christ participated in creaturely grace,—the very idea of which, involves its being finite, and finite alone: but the divine nature kept itself back, and did not communicate itself to the humanity. So far from viewing the " Unio" as a mode of the existence of God, he held it to be a mere relation between God and humanity,*—a mere form under which the divine grace was displayed towards a man distinguished by it, predestinated for it, but also, without doubt, owing his existence to it. In thought, of course, that which is assumed, must be posited as existent, prior to the act of assumption :—in the case of Christ, however, the personality is not conceived as existing prior to the act of assumption, because, in fact, it resulted from the assumption.' And notwithstanding, he remarks that it is impossible to> imagine a greater grace than that which was in Christ, although even in Him it was merely something finite, created, infused-. Of that genus of beings which participates in grace, Christ is the universal principle, and therefore the Head of the Church.* Additional remarks on this subject will be found further on.
This remarkable limitation of the incarnation to the personality of the Son without His nature, of which we have found traces even at an earlier period, had unquestionably another ground besides the trinitarian one just mentioned,—to wit, the desire by such means to render the problem of the incarnation an easier one; though also, it is true, to evade it in one essential particular, or even to let it entirely fall. Thomas Aquinas, and his numerous followers, masked this their retreat, by representing the personality of the Son as a mediatorial tie between the human and the divine natures, and by professing that a relation was thus established, on the ground of which grace is imported into the human nature from the divine.
1 P. 42*. Anima Christi creatura est, habeus capacitatem finitam. Compare Q. vu 12.
'Q. xvi. 6, "relatio quaedam." Q. xxxv. 5. Not every relation expressed by God from the point of view of time presupposes something real in God (aliquid secundum rem), but solely secundum rationem.
* Q. iv. 2. « Q. vi. 9; Q. viii
Touching the effects of the incarnation on the humanity of Christ, Thomas Aquinas resta satisfied substantially with the doctrine of Peter Lombard,—merely carrying it out into further detail, and modifying it in a few particulars. In general, he regards the grace which was in Christ, not as gradually increasing, but as communicated in such perfection at the very moment of incarnation, that, viewed from within, an increase of its vigour was inconceivable. From the very commencement He was not merely "viator," but also "comprehensor,"1—and that, both in reference to His knowledge, and in reference to His will. He possessed, however, a double knowledge, a double wisdom (Q. he. 1). As the Son, He naturally had the absolute divine wisdom; as a man, He had the knowledge of the blessed, that is, a knowledge of all things in the Word. But His human knowledge was again twofold :—firstly, an infused knowledge; and in this aspect, there was no knowledge in Him potentially, which was not also actual: secondly, He possessed an experimental or acquired knowledge (scientia experimentalis, or acquisita).2 More important is it to observe, that, in his view, Christ's knowledge did not embrace the divine knowledge; for His humanity continued to be creatural, and was confined within the limits of the creature;—but it is impossible for a creature to embrace the divine essence.3 Everything, indeed, which actually is, has been, and will be, in the world, was an object of the knowledge of Christ's soul in the Word (Q. x. 2); but not the possible: for, to know the infinite possibilities in God, would be to know His infinite essence (Art. 2). Christ's soul, accordingly, knows everything in the shape of
1 Q. xi. 2; Q. xxxiv.; Q. ix. 4; Q. xv. 10.
* Such a knowledge he had previously called in question; see Sentent. lib. iii. dist. xiv. In the Summa he saya,—there would have been a something superfluous in Christ, to wit, the potentiality of experimental knowledge, if He had possessed merely infused knowledge; and yet (p. 521) he describes the experimental knowledge, as one gained rather by " inventio," than by "disciplina."
3 Q. x. 1. "Sic facta est .nnio,—quod increatum manserit increatum, et creatum manserit intra limites creature. Est autem impossibile quod aliqua creatura comprehendat divinam essentiam (P. i. Q. xii. 7), eo quod infinitum non comprehenditur a finite. Et ideo dicendum, quod anima Christi nullo modo comprehendit divinam essentiam." Here we have the direct antithesis to the Lutheran doctrine.
an effect, even the day of judgment; and His ignorance of this last, was merely an ignorance relatively to others (non facit scire). Christ's soul knew the infinite God, but did not fully grasp His essence, the prime first cause of all effects: consequently, the knowledge possessed by God comprises more than Christ's soul, for God grasps and embraces Himself. In capacity of knowledge, it is true, the humanity of Christ did not grow; but yet, through His "scientia infusa," He increased the stock of experimental knowledge which He possessed side by side with the " scientia beatorum," which was complete from the very beginning. In virtue of the latter, He saw God, and in God everything; He knew everything also (Q. ix. coll. xii. 1) by and out of Himself, in that His soul, through the "gratia iufusa," was the expression of the archetype of the Logos, so far as the human nature could grasp Him.
In like manner also, he denies to the soul of Christ omnipotence,—urging, that such an attribute can belong alone to the uncircumscribed being of God.1 The soul of Christ was unable, by itself, to sway omnipotently even its own body; it was able to do so merely as the instrument of the Deity. Not by its own power did it raise the body from the dead; but alone by the power of the Deity, of which the soul was the instrument.
Kelatively to the will, more particularly, he taught, that there was a divine will in Christ, which was the active cause of everything He did (principium primum movens).2 Yet there was also in Him a human will, which was not a mere dead instrument. The human nature, in serving as the instrument of the Deity, was moved, not by a constraining necessity, but by its own will. It is not repugnant to the human will to be inwardly moved by God; and, notwithstanding divine impulses, it still continues to be a human will, for God's will works volition. Examining more closely, however, we find in Christ a two/old human will,—the sensuous will, and the rational will. According to the former (voluntas sensitiva), He willed things other than those which God willed; for in Himself God does not will the things of the sensuous will, which the Son of God allowed freely to work prior to His Passion. And yet nothing contrary (contrarietas) to, but merely something different from, 1 Q. xiii. 1. » Q. xviii. 1, xliii. 2.
the rational will, was the effect of the sensuous will. The will of the Word and the human rational will, remained immoveably and unweariedly on the side of the sensuous will;—nay more, it was their will, that the sensuous will should work: hence the unity of the Person of Christ continued untroubled. The will of redemption was, and remained, absolute. When treating of the relation of the rational will to the divine, he followed in the footsteps of John of Damascus, teaching that Christ had a free will (liberum arbitrium) and a faculty of choice (Q. xviii. 4); and that He took counsel with Himself, and thought discursively (Q. xi. 3). He denied Him, on the other hand, the power, strictly speaking, to decide for and of Himself; and maintained, that He was determined by God, who moved the will as a kind of secondary causality, and really, in the last instance, worked everything Himself.1 Nevertheless, inasmuch as this one supreme cause worked in two forms, and, moreover, so worked, that the human form was in some respect different from, although it was the instrument of, the divine, and had not only a certain independence of being, but also an individual mode of action, peculiar to itself, Christ was able to earn His glory, although it already belonged to Him by nature.* And it is nobler to possess something through one's own efforts, than to receive it entirely from another. How Christ could acquire that which He already possessed, Thomas Aquinas does not explain; unless we are to find an explanation in the nature and constitution of His body, which, without being opposed to His will, and naturally too without sin, was under the necessity of being defective, not merely for the sake of the redemptive work, but also for the sake of the human nature.3
He also adopts the principle laid down by the Lombard, that Christ was Mediator, not as God, but as man. As the Mediator, it was His mission to unite the extremes. Simply as God, He could not do this; for, as God, there was no difference between Him and the Father and the Spirit: but as a man,
1 Q. xix. 1, 2. In Christ there was one " vis operatrix;" but this one had "duo operata," or "operamenta," corresponding to the two natures. This view is, therefore, substantially Monotheletism.
* Q. xix. 3.
* Q. xiii.; Q. xxxi.: "He took upon Himself the impure flesh of Adam, in order to purify it by the " assumtio"
He occupied a middle position, being different from God as touching His nature, and different from men in worth, grace, and glory.1 In this case again, therefore, the humanity, as endowed with the grace of God, is the Mediator, and not the Godmanhood. No marvel, then, that Thomas Aquinas should pass at once on to Mary, whose natural birth is put on the same footing with the second birth, nay more, even with sanctification.2 In consequence of such sanctification, her soul was filled with the fulness of grace, and immediately after her birth, if even not after her very conception, shone with a purity, than which none can be conceived greater, save that of God.3 But even the services rendered by the mediatorial human nature of Christ, were not regarded by him as the final and sufficient cause of our salvation.4 It is true, His sufferings, in particular, were necessary; that is, it was appointed that He should undergo them, for the benefit of the world. But this same object might have been realized by other means; for to God all things are possible. Without infringing on justice, God might have pardoned guilt without punishment; but no other way was more fitting than that actually adopted. Even the very least degree of suffering would have sufficed to deliver the human race from all sin; but in order to meet the claims of propriety, of fitness, it behoved Christ to undergo, at all events, every species of suffering.8 He asks,—If Christ endured pains which were intenser than those of all others; especially, if His whole soul suffered, how can He be said to have enjoyed, at the same moment, the blessed fruition (fruitio beata)? His answer is,—In its essence, if not in all its powers, the soul remained blessed. Elsewhere he had described Christ as at once the "viator" and "comprehensor:" here, on the contrary, out of regard for His sufferings, he endeavours to show that the bond of union between the different aspects of Christ's nature was at first still a loose one, or even quite dissoluble, and that consequently the incarnation of God was not completely accom
1 Q. xxvi. 2. * Q. xxvii.
3 Q. xxvii. 2, p. 102*. The Feast of the Conception of the Virgin Mary is not kept by the Romish Church. In some Churches, however, it is tolerated ; and is not totally objectionable, if not meant to teach that she was holy even at the very moment of her conception.
• Q. xlvi. • Q. xlvi. 5 ff.
plished from the commencement,—nay more, that it was not realized to the extent to which the idea of human nature admitted of it. He says,—" So long as He was a sojourner, His glory did not stream forth from the higher regions of His essence into the lower, from His soul into His body: on the other hand, the higher aspect of His soul suffered no hindrance from the lower, in that which belonged to its essential nature. Hence the higher part of the soul continued in perfect fruition, whilst Christ underwent sufferings."
That Thomas not only did not arrive at the true idea of the incarnation, but even endeavoured to evade it, is plain from what has been advanced; but especially clear from the mode in which he discusses the formulas, "God is Man," "Man is God."1 All the divine attributes may be attributed to the man Christ, and all the human to the Son of God;—not, however, as though, strictly speaking, they pertained to the respective natures; for, strictly viewed, they pertained to the personality alone. The human and the divine, he regards as opposed, not as belonging to, compatible with, each other. Opposites, however, cannot be predicated of one and the same thing, in one and the same relation; but only in a different relation. So in the present case, opposites cannot be predicated of the person in its totality, but merely, either in its divine aspect, or in its human aspect. But how readily does the reverse question then suggest itself,—Is it possible for one personality to be the personality of natures so absolutely opposed to each other? To this question, however, Thomas devotes no attention; and merely lays down the canon,—That what pertains to the one nature, cannot be predicated of the other, considered in itself (in abstracto), but solely so far as it is in the person (in concreto). Like the Lombard, he takes especial pains to limit the proposition,—That in Christ, man is God. The only validity he allows it, is as declaring that God is that element which took the place of the human hypostasis. It is true, this person, to wit, the Logos, is eternally God; but of what advantage is that to the man? The human nature became the nature of the Son of God :—truly; but how? In his view, it was simply a predicate of the Logos, as is evident from the comparison he employs :— One may truly say that a man has become white; but
1 Q. xvi.
we cannot say that this same white has become man. One might have supposed that he would at all events represent this predicate, humanity, as having become God's own; or that he would have, at the very least, treated it as henceforth appertaining to the being of the Son :—on the contrary, he rather says (xvi. 6),—the incarnation was not a new mode of being or "habitus" of God Himself, but simply a new thing relatively to men, or a new operation of God. A man who stands on the right side, may come to be on the left side, without moving himself, provided the other at whose side he stands moves: so in this case, humanity is changed, not God; and the Unio is a mere relation, a something created. Although he speaks of the predestination of Christ, he did not turn his attention to the question, whether the unchangeableness of God is not ensured by the fact of the incarnation having been the object of His eternal counsel, even though it be conceded that God was actually one with humanity in Christ.
On the other hand, when Thomas Aquinas allowed his Mysticism to speak, his contributions to Christology were of greater importance.
So far as Thomas conceded any independent significance to human nature, he approximated to Adoptianism; for, in his view, the humanity of Christ participated in grace, which is merely something created. As to his fundamental tendency, however, he is opposed to Adoptianism. This is most clearly evident from his doctrine regarding the free will of Christ The divine Ego is represented as the sole actor. Vacillating in this manner, it was impossible that he should arrive at a divine-human unity. Notwithstanding the premises with which he starts, he still asserts that the humanity could participate in the hypostasis of the Son, the created in the supra-created. But even this cannot help the matter. The Ego, in itself, has no attributes; for the divine nature is not supposed to have become man. Consequently the Ego is again reduced to a merely formal unity;—it is, as it were, the empty space or circle, which is able to embrace within itself indifferently, elements essentially antagonistic, divine and human. It is self-evident, that by means of such a formal unity, no conciliation of the divine and human natures is effected. Such a conciliation was, indeed, rendered beforehand impossible, by the influence which emanatistic views of the relation between God and the creature continued to exercise. For, so long as full justice was not done to the distinction between the natures, a true unity could never be attained. The activity of Christ, however, he held to have distributed itself through a twofold system of knowledge and volition, to wit, a divine system and a human. The latter system branched out again into two,—the knowledge and volition which originated in the infused grace; and the knowledge gained by experience and the volition of the sensuous will. All this is analyzed and distinguished, but in such a manner, that the unity of the Christological image is effectually disintegrated and destroyed. Nor is this the effect of the scholastic method in itself; but his premises were such as to render it impossible scientifically to realize such an image. Even the communication of the attributes, of which he speaks so much^ is in his view a purely nominal one,—it did not rest on a communication of the natures to each other.
II. Duns Scotus1 appears, at first sight, to have held essentially the same Christological views as Thomas Aquinas and Peter Lombard; for he also limits the incarnation to a relation between God and man: and he did not conceive the nature assuming to have held or acquired, in itself, a real relation to the nature assumed, but only the nature assumed to the nature assuming. The motion is entirely on the side of the humanity: it is that which is worked upon, dependent: the effect neither reacts on the cause, nor is eternally rooted in its essence (L. ill. Dist. 1, Q. 1). He also, like Thomas Aquinas, pronounces judgment against both Nihilianism and Adoptianism (Dist. vi. 1, 2, vii. x.). Lastly, he remains true to the point of view taken by the afore-mentioned,—nay more, exaggerates it, by questioning whether, in the last instance, the incarnation and redemption through Christ were really necessary. His doubts on this subject arose from his conceiving the unconditioned free will of God to be raised above every kind of necessity, whether that necessity were rooted in the divine wisdom or in the divine essence (Dist. xix. xx.).
1 Compare the " Commentary on the Sentences," by John Duns Scotus, ed. Hngo Cavellus, Antw. 1620, T. ii. L. iii. iv.; H. Ritter a. a. 0. iv. 370 ff.
But in another respect Scotus was a remarkable phenomenon, even relatively to Christology. We may remark, in general, in the first place, that his tendency was decidedly ethical. His main interest was concentrated on the world of the will, not on theories (L. iv. Dist. xlix. Q. 4, p. 515 ff.). Hence, also, subjectivity, in the form of a free Ego, assumed a more distinct and determinate shape in his system than in the system of any preceding teacher. This, of course, implies that it could not be.so easy a thing for him to sacrifice the human personality of Christ. The mode in which he endeavours to arrive at the personality of Christ is the following:—A distinction must be made between the process by which an individual is constituted and that by which a person is constituted (Individuation, Personirung); the former is not identical with the latter, though it is its condition. Now, that which constitutes personality may be regarded, either, 1. as a positive entity (entitas positiva), which is superadded to the individuality of human nature, or, 2. as a negation. 1. Regarded as a positive entity, it admits of no incarnation. For, had the human nature of Christ had this further positive element, an Unio would have been impossible, inasmuch as "persona est incommunicabilis existentia;"—there would, consequently, then have been an element which was "inassumptibile;" whereas all created things must be assumptible. But, did Christ's humanity not possess that positive entity at first, or did it possess it no longer after the "assumtio," we should have to apply the canon,—That which is not assumed is not healed ;• the human nature of Christ lacked, accordingly, full equality with ours, inasmuch as it lacked that in which its actual consummation consists: on this supposition, moreover, a spiritual nature without personality were a conceivable thing.—2. But neither can the personality be brought to pass by mere negation. The negation by which a personality is posited, must be the negation of dependence on any external personality, and every individual soul would be a personality. Further, every personality, according to its idea, is incommunicable: but every negation is communicable; consequently, that which constitutes the personality must be something positive. Every negation, more
* The German is " geheilt:" perhaps it should be "getheilt," divided, shared.—Trs.
over, is based upon and presupposes an affirmation; consequently, the personality exists by affirmation prior to existing by negation. To be divided, is an imperfection; that through which anything resists division (arofiov) must, therefore, be a positive entity or a superiority. So also, if dependence on an external personality be an imperfection, as it is, that contrariety to such dependence, which is an integrant element of the idea of a personality, must necessarily be grounded in an "entitas positiva."—3. He himself now discriminates between "dependentia actualis, potentialis et aptitudinalis." In order to understand him fully, it is necessary to bear in mind that he considers the essential characteristic of personality to consist, not in self-consciousness, but in independence—independence especially relatively to others. As has been just shown, the negation of actual dependence does not yet constitute personality; nor does even potential independence: for such an independence is not possessed by the creature relatively to the Word. But the "dependentia aptitudinalis," — by which he understands that dependence which, as far as in it lies, is always in actus (for example, ponderables in seeking their centre, so far as nothing prevents them),—seems to him to be that, the negation of which, connected with the negation of actual dependence, constitutes a personality. Aptitudinal independence, in his view, constitutes an intellectual nature a personality, and can be at the same time combined with an incarnation. This aptitudinal independence is inherent in every nature which is capable of becoming a personality (naturae personabili), even when it does not possess actual independence. All created things are of necessity actually dependent on the Word; but aptitudinal independence is quite compatible with this actual dependence. For such a nature, like everything created, stands at the same time in a relation of compliancy (has an aptitudo obedientiae)' to the Word; and may, therefore, very easily enter into such a state of actual dependence on the Word, that it shall become personal through the personality on which it is dependent. And yet, even if it had not acquired its independence through the person of the Word, it would have become personal in itself, through the mere negation of its dependence, and not, for the first time, through a positive addition to that which constituted it the nature which it was.
Scotus consequently conceives the human nature of Christ to have heen so constituted, that it would have attained to personality even apart from the Word, and would of itself have negatived dependence on any other than God, without needing, for this purpose, any further positive adjunct;—such also, at the same time, that it did not the less stand in the obediential relation to God which befits the creature, and was thus capable, through actual dependence on, and union with, the Word, of realizing that negation of dependence, or that independence of personalities external to itself, which belongs to the idea of personality. His real intention, however, becomes plainer when we take into view another point. He adds, that, more closely examined, the divine is unquestionably personal in a different sense from the human; for incommunicableness pertains to the essence of the divine person alone, not to that of the human —at all events, not relatively to the Word of God (Dist. i. Q. 1, pp. 4-6). With the nature of the creature it is not incompatible that personality should be communicated to it, because it contains essentially within itself the "potentia obedientialis" also; whereas the divine personality possesses, in place thereof, a further "positiva entitas," which offers resistance to communication (compare L. i. Dist. ii. Q. vii. 38, T. i. 58), to wit, absolute independence. But the fact of his asserting for the humanity of Christ such a latent or possible personality, shows that he attributed to it real significance, in a fuller sense than Thomas Aquinas; and that he did not regard it as a mere selfless husk. For this reason also, he did not, like Thomas, merely categorically repudiate Adoptianism: but, in place of the idea of adoption, he advances that of the predestination of Christ to a dignity which He did not possess by nature,—to an inheritance which had always indeed pertained to Him, yet was His solely by grace; —and this is really nothing but Adoption. The Church, however, had already pronounced judgment against Adoptianism, and therefore he leaves the problem unsolved. Nay more, he further objects to Adoptianism, that, as an "opus Dei ad extra," it ought to be attributed to the entire Trinity; therefore also to the Son: which would imply that the Son of God, in so far as He constituted the actual personality in Christ, adopted Himself, or was His own Son (Dist. x.). Scotus ought consistently to have limited the predestination and adoption to that latent or
possible personality: but in that case the adoption would have continued to be a mere possibility, and could not have been referred to the humanity of Christ, in its actuality. We see, however, on the whole, that Scotus strove to vindicate to the humanity more than a mere selfless being; but the principles on which he took his stand mocked all the acuteness with which he endeavoured to escape from the consequences they involved. In the last instance, therefore, all that he did was to direct attention to a gap which needed to be filled up, but which could not be filled up independently of further and more thorough reforms.
What Scotus did towards showing that an union between the divine and human natures and personalities was possible, is by no means to be lightly estimated. In estimating his services, we must take into consideration his view of the supernatural and natural, which was very different from any that had preceded. To the idea of an exaltation of human nature by grace above itself, he objects: he also objects to the idea that ecstasis is the perfection of man, and to that supra-human virtue, of which others had approved.1 The supernatural, on the contrary, ho regards as the complement of human nature itself; and whereas Thomas thought to do honour to grace by putting in the place of the old, something absolutely new, which altogether transcends the limits of human nature; and whereas, further, he was unable to conceive of man's capability of receiving as other than limited, although he at the same time supposed himself able to acknowledge an incarnation; Duns Scotus, on the contrary, lays down the principle, that God can only enter into the higher beings (illabi), in virtue of a susceptibility (capacitas) or capacity in them of possessing the divine. Nay more, the reception of grace, is, in his view, at the same time a development of human capacities: the nature of man being, in its final roots, supernatural, and his destination, God. He further teaches, that the vitality or activity of this susceptibility must bear proportion to the grace which is to be received.2 In short, inasmuch as we are intended to receive God the Infinite One, the soul must possess, not a merely finite, but an infinite
1 L. iii. Dist. xxxiv. 3 :—"Omnia actus hominis proprie loquendo est humanus; actus convenire debet operanti," p. 288. Dist. xiv. Q. 2, 3, pp. 94-102.
2 L. c. L. iv. Dist. xlix. 11, p. 535 f.
capacity;1 although this infinite capacity can only by degrees be developed and co-operate towards the impletion of itself with God. Accordingly, he maintained with regard to the humanity of Christ, that it might have through the Word the most complete possible intuitive view of creation, which cannot but be an infinite one.2 The objection, that this would lead to the assumption of two such infinite intuitive views,—a created and an uncreated one,—did not occasion him diificulty. For, is it not acknowledged that Intellectus in general never arrives at rest and satisfaction, save in the infinite; and yet, relatively to the cognitive act, it is not coincident with the infinite. Merely in relation to concrete, intuitive knowledge, does he also allow that the soul of Christ was limited, on the ground that the knowledge of the concrete was not included in that knowledge of the general, which it possessed. This also was the opinion of Thomas Aquinas, when he spoke of Christ's habitual (habitus) knowledge. The soul of Christ has the habitual capacity of knowing everything concrete, but it gains this knowledge by degrees.
Having laid down these principles, the incarnation of God became for him a much more approachable idea. The problem now presented to him, was not a demand that the whole should be represented as existing or comprised in the part, the infinite in the finite; but he was required to conceive the infinite ethical susceptibility of man as filled by the infinite God. This infinite God is discriminated from man, not by the infinitude of His being,—for the being of both is infinite, though each in a different way;—but whereas God is the Unconditioned, Necessary, and Necessarily Free, relatively to Him, man is the Necessarily Conditioned. He does not regard susceptible humanity, it is true, as merely passive; but in general as personal, and as destined to develop ever increasing vitality and activity. Far greater difficulties, therefore, lay in his way, than in the
1 In Sententias lib. i. Dist. ii. Q. vii. 40. He carries out this capacity for the infinite, both as respects knowledge and as respects volition. L. iii. Dist. xiv. Q. ii. 6, 16, pp. 95, 98. But still he had no intention of putting God's knowledge of Himself, and the knowledge possessed by the creature of God, on the same footing: ib. p. 96, L. iv. Dist. xlix. Q. 2. He frequently makes the observation, that the human soul "satiatur, quietatur" by the "infinitum."
'Compare Baur l. c. ii. 842 ff.
way of those older writers (for example, Theodore of Pharan), who formed a Christology out of the conjunction of the active divine element, with a passive instrumental humanity. For this very reason, therefore, he taught that the humanity of Christ, like everything created, had a "potentia obedientialis" relatively to God, and that, consequently, it was not "inassumptibilis" for the Word. Whence he judged, that the human nature of Christ, although endowed with an immanent tendency to seek a consummation in personality, might determine or be determined, to put itself, into a relation of obedience towards God, and thus to make itself vitally susceptible to, and capable of receiving, God. The consequence thereof being, that the two wills,—on the one hand, that of the Son which proposed to become man; on the other hand, that of the compliant humanity,—conjoined to form one personality, in which the divine is the non-determined determining constituent, and the human aspect is determined by the divine :—the human, however, being determined by God in such a manner, that it also determines itself to increasing susceptibility to God. It is self-evident, that it was not only possible, but, strictly speaking, even necessary, for Duns Scotus to assume that Christ had a true humanity, and that it underwent a gradual process of growth, as touching both knowledge and volition (Dist. xviii. 5).1 He also attributes actual natural suffering to the soul and body of Chris't. His idea was not, that the will of Christ had constituted His body, which participated (perhaps in consequence of the Unio) in the glory of the Son of God, capable of suffering, by a miracle; but, that the glory of the higher portion of llis soul did not stream down into the lower powers. This abstinence practised by the divine nature, in
1 He pays in this case also, it is true, his portion of tribute to the period at which he lived, in that he represents Christ as possessing both perfect grace and perfect merit from the very beginning. He does not trace this grace to the Unio, nor even the sinlessness of Christ: but derives both from the Holy Spirit, who made the soul of Christ blessed, and thus sinless, apart altogether from merit of its own (L. iii. Dist. xii. xviii.). It frequently seems as though the Unio were for Scotus a mere dead treasure; and that the principal thing in his eyes were the supernatural gifts of the humanity of Christ, with which Mary also was endowed, and of which the principles hold good—" omnis actus hominis humanus," and, the " superhumanum" is a metaphor. (L. iii. Dist. xiii. Q. 4.)
order that the human might be really human, he describes also as a miracle,—the miracle by which the natural attained to actual existence (suffering, "Leiden").
If it be true and plain, then, that the idea of Scotus was to constitute Adoptianism a constituent element of Christology, the only question to be asked is,—Must he not of necessity have assumed (Cerinthically), that the human personality existed, and determined itself to dependence on the Son of God, prior to the act of incarnation? He did, perhaps, recognise as deducible from his idea, the conclusion, that the human nature of Christ determined itself to obedience prior to the incarnation, in so far as it had its existence primarily in Mary. Through her obedience, the human nature of Christ, which was primarily in her, received a self-determination to obedience, and thus became capable of receiving the Son of God. Perhaps, therefore, he found in the mother of the Lord that preexistence of the humanity of Christ, prior to the God-manhood, which his system required; and we thus see that it was no accident, but a logical and consequent procedure on the part of the adherents of Scotism, to run wild in their Cultus of Mary, to deny that she shared original sin, and to maintain her "immaculata conceptio" (Note 59). But Duns Scotus thus struck on another rock of danger. Such a transference of the obedience of Mary to Christ is incompatible with the significance which he otherwise attaches to personality. For in Mary there could only have been some elements of the human nature of Christ—not His soul, nor His personality.
Of these defects of his Christology, he himself was in great part conscious; and, therefore, sometimes refused to give a final decision. In addition may be mentioned other shortcomings. Between his Scholasticism and the Eomanic Scholasticism of Thomas Aquinas, there is, indeed, this distinction: that in the former, clearer traces are discernible of the ethical tendency which characterizes the Germanic mind. Scotus presents to us the picture of a vigorous wrestling mind, in which a new principle travails unto birth, still struggling with the chains imposed upon it by the antagonistic principle which had held sway. Whereas, previously, the theoretical and physical, necessity and nature (essence), had held almost undisputed sway, he now puts forth the claims of free will (L. iv. Dist. xliii. Q. iv):—though his mode of doing so is marked by abruptness and exclusiveness. The consequence thereof is, that perfection, as represented by him, consists in empty, formal freedom1—that the divine will stands in an accidental, fortuitous relation to human nature—and that the highest good receives an eudaemonistic colouring. Our will seeks its blessedness as a free will, and alone as such can find it. But the divine law, which is the object of the free will, although formally involved in, and posited by, the creatural relationship, is (as set forth by Scotus) fortuitous in content, and foreign to the nature of man. The spiritually universal (das geistig Allgemeine), notwithstanding that, apart from it, personality cannot realize its own idea, presents accordingly the appearance of a power, alien from, or even minatory to, freedom; and Scotus therefore deemed it necessary (Pelagianistically) to impose limitations on it. With this is connected the circumstance, that in his system the mystical element is thrown completely into the background, and that, consequently, its ethical features lack living roots.
Duns Scotus, it must be allowed, decidedly broke through that magic circle of ideas drawn by the Areopagite, that Emanatism which, by prematurely equalizing the divine and human, in regard to physical substance, rendered a true union of the two no less impossible than when they were abstractly separated. He posits a deeper distinction than that between infinite and finite, or whole and part: in his view, God is necessary, unconditioned, free being; man is conditioned and necessarily contingent being. Both are not merely equally being, but also infinite being, though different species of infinite being; the connection between which, he tries to point out. His idea of God, as the unconditionally free being, involves, indeed, that there was no necessity whatever, either for the creation of a world, or for its being such as it actually is: we know not whether God in Himself loves that good which He wills to be regarded as such in the world; and the giving of the law of God reveals to us nothing more than His will, that we should regard it as authoritative. Nevertheless, supposing God actually to will the existence of a world, it was necessary that it should be conditioned by His will; nay more, that God Him
1 L. iv. Dist. xliv. 2: "Libertas in Deo est perfectio simpliciter." L. ii. Dist. xxxvii. Q. ii. 9.
self, or, more precisely expressed, the Divine will, should be the goal of creation. On this account, it was also necessary, if man were created at all, that his will should be, not indeed equal to God, but still connected with, or, as Scotus was accustomed to say, proportionate to, the will of God, of infinite susceptibility, and destined for the infinite. He acknowledged, however, that the very idea of conditioned existence implied that this divine will could only be appropriated by degrees, and in an ethical manner, and that, consequently, the "viator" could not be at once also the "comprehensor." On the path to the goal lie freedom and merit; but that impletion with good, which is the foundation of the security and blessedness of the will, and which renders apostasy for ever impossible, cannot be the work of man, but must be the work of God.
Considered by itself, this view leads to the alternative, that either all are destined to God-manhood, or none. All are destined thereto, in so far as all must be proportionate to God or His will; and by using their freedom aright, would become God-men, unless God should withdraw Himself, and cease to be their end and aim ; whilst the world, if it exist at all, must needs have God as its goal. Scotus lays down the principle, that all the acts of man are human,—even those which are performed subsequent to, and in consequence of, the impletion of human susceptibility with God. The position would thus seem to be gained, that the truly human and the divine are but different aspects of the same thing, or the same thing regarded from different points of view. But, as though he feared that this would leave him merely a perfect man, he turns round again, and represents the incarnation in Christ (to which he was unable logically to assign the unique and pre-eminent position claimed for it by the Church) as an absolutely transcendent, isolated work of the Divine omnipotence or arbitrariness; and, overawed by the Divine omnipotence, so far forgets the ethical spirit of his system, as again to say,— God might have assumed any creature whatever; God might have assumed even a stone, without undergoing any change. This, however, leads us to the other aspect of the matter.
On a closer examination, we are compelled to confess that the system of Scotus does not admit of the accomplishment of a true and proper incarnation, even in Christ; for, according to it, the world does not stand in any relation to the inmost being and essence of God, but merely to His absolute, indeterminate will—to His power, the will of which, by itself, is empty and without heart.
Or, did he advance beyond this point of view, when he taught his well-known doctrine, that Christ would have come even had Adam not sinned? His course of reasoning is the following: To the opposed authorities it must be conceded, that without Adam's sin Christ would not have come as a Redeemer. But the incarnation was not resolved on, merely casually, at the instance of another, but from the very beginning. It was not willed merely as a means to the redemption of man, but immediately as a divine end and aim. More precisely, he sets forth his views as follows (Dist. 7, 10, 19): Among the things which God willed external to Himself, the incarnation of Christ was the first:—not because Christ had been from eternity conceived as the Head of humanity, but purely for Christ's own sake,—Christ was an end in Himself. The predestination of every soul, even to glory, necessarily precedes the foreknowledge of sin. Still more must this hold good with regard to the predestination of the soul of Christ, which infolds within itself the highest glory. Humanity as it is in Christ, was a final aim of God, prior to the glory of all other souls. Now, God invariably wills the end ere He wills the means; still more did He will this end, previously to His foreknowledge of sin. We see, accordingly, that the afore-mentioned principle laid down by Scotus, was by no means meant to establish an essential connection between God and humanity, or between humanity and the Person of Christ. It rather serves to break the connection between Christ and humanity, and to represent His mission as an event grounded solely in the free pleasure of God—that is, "liberum arbitrium." We cannot even say, that Scotus believed God to have beheld and willed His own glorification in the humanity of Christ, as in a good possessed of absolute inherent worth. In the last instance, in fact, he held both the existence of the world and the existence of Christ to be fortuitous.* Supposing, however, that God, in His free
* " Fortuitous"—" Zufallig:" that is, God was not moved by an internal necessity of His being to create a world: He merely willed to create, and might as easily not have willed.—Tb.
arbitrary will, should bring such a humanity into actual existence, it could not be conceived as a mere means, but only precedently to everything else (" vor allem Andern"). Strictly viewed also, it is not so much the incarnation of God, as this highly favoured humanity of Christ, that was the object of predestination :—and that the Unio, in his view of it, stands in no inner relation to the favour thus conferred, we have already shown. He does, indeed, allow that the incarnation was a fact; but his Christology is marked by an Ebionitic feature, which makes Christ dependent on the free pleasure of God; and it could have occasioned him but little difficulty to discover, as did Raymond Lullus at a subsequent time, a predestination for the holy Virgin, similar to that which he taught with regard to the humanity of Christ.
The unconditioned freedom of God taught by Scotus, is, in the last instance, absolute arbitrariness, which must, strictly speaking, be able at any moment to take back the world and the God-man. What this freedom is, and what it wills, in itself, remains a mystery; and consequently we must conclude, that the inmost essence of God was not brought to light by the incarnation, did not become man. God's command may become incarnate, but not the freedom in which the command originated. And even supposing we say, that, in the view of Scotus, the will, considered as power, is the inmost essence of God, and that it reveals itself both in the creation and incarnation; still the very idea of such an absolute indeterminate freedom and power, implies that everything done by it is good, indeed, but good solely because it does it; and not also something willed by it, because it was good in itself. In itself, therefore, the resumption of the purpose of creation and incarnation would have been as good as its realization, if God had not, as it were fortuitously, already become incarnate, and an alteration thus been rendered impossible; in other words, if God's absolute indeterminateness had not subjected itself to that fatalism of facts, according to which "factum infectum fieri nequit," and been consequently transformed into its direct contrary, necessitation.
However closely, then, he conjoins the divine and human, and whatever efforts he makes to strip them of their mutual exclusiveness, Scotus still remains involved in contradictions. The determinations given of the "Unio personalis" by the doctrine of the Church, still drag on an existence in the system of Scotus; but the divine-human personality, in the sense in which it was held by the Church, was to him but as a dead fact. The Unio of the Word with the man assumed by Him, is allowed to have taken place: he does not expressly assail the doctrine of the Church. But he leaves this act of the Son of God almost entirely unnoticed, when he treats of Christology. Instead of removing the rubbish of the old edifice, he takes it for the foundation of his new edifice. The new idea by which he was led in his work, and which discriminated him from the school of Antioch, was a higher view of human nature. In setting forth that new thought, however, he not only approximates to Adoptianism, or even to a species of Cerinthianism; but his doctrine regarding God is so strongly marked by predestinarian features, as scarcely to allow of the existence of real human freedom. The most important point to be remarked, however, is, that his conception of God is such as not to admit of an incarnation of God. According to it, human nature can, strictly speaking, come into relation with the will of God alone, with that which God has appointed to be good for the world. From that good, however, the essential nature of God eternally withdraws itself, and, instead of expressing itself in it, soars freely above it as "liberum arbitrium." He is discriminated from his predecessors, it is true, by the firmness of his grasp on the form of the ethical (forma), the will; failing, however, to conceive of the ethical ontologically, and representing the will merely as an indeterminate form, and as free arbitrariness, the will, considered in itself, becomes again mere blind force, and falls back into the physical:—even as Thomas Aquinas and the older teachers were unable to work their way out of the domain of the physical, because they directed their attention solely to the good content of freedom (good volitions), and paid no regard to its form (the will). This is, further, very clear from the observations he makes regarding the necessity of the work of Christ. The merits of Christ, he says, have their basis in His human nature, and are therefore not (as Thomas Aquinas asserted them to be) infinite; for otherwise, the created will of Christ would have been as well-pleasing to God as the uncreated will, and the Trinity would have loved both with equal love. Those merits are infinite only in so far as they are sufficient for an infinite multitude of men; but they are not infinite in themselves, and intrinsically.1 There was, moreover, no necessity, he urges, that Christ should have suffered in order to restore the human race f and he undertakes a detailed refutation of the views of Anselm on this point. The death of Christ was necessary, simply because God willed it; and He willed it freely and fortuitously. God's foreknowledge that Christ would suffer was a fortuitous thing; but, without doubt, if it was foreknown, He did actually suffer.* Nor, agaiu, was there any necessity that our race should be restored; for the only reason why men should be restored, was the fact of their having been predestined to glory, to which it was impossible for fallen creatures to attain, save on the basis of a satisfaction; and the predestination of man was fortuitous, not necessary. The assertion may also be questioned, that man could not be reconciled without a satisfaction.3 Supposing, however, a satisfaction were necessary, it was not absolutely necessary that God Himself should make satisfaction. Anselm is further in error when he maintains, that, in the way of satisfaction, something greater than all creatures must be required; for we ought rather to say, that man, who had sinned by loving an infinitely worse object, ought himself to have made satisfaction by loving an infinitely nobler object. He entirely objected to any other infinitude of guilt than that which is so designated from the infinitude of its object, God. He considered Anselm to be further in error, when he argued that none but a man could make satisfaction; for he also who is not a debtor is able to make satisfaction for another, even as he is able to pray for him. If it had pleased God, an angel might have offered satisfaction. For a created offering possesses just as much value as God chooses shall attach to it, and no more. Even a mere man, born without original sin from a mother like Mary, and endowed with graces such as those which were possessed by the humanity of Christ, apart from any antecedent merit, might have earned the blotting out of sin; and yet, even had this been actually the case, we should not have been (as Eichard de St Victor supposed) under the same obligation to
1 L. c. Dist. xix. p. 138 ff. » Dist. xx. pp. 143-146.
* "Wenn es vorher gewusst war, so litt er." 3 Lib. iv. Dist. xv. Q. i. p. 255 ff.
such an one as we are under to God, because he would have owed all his good to God;—we should have been indebted to him merely as we are indebted to the Virgin and the saints. Finally, he maintains that every individual might offer satisfaction for himself, provided only there were bestowed on him the first grace (baptism) without merit:—and this, in fact, occurs. How was it possible more plainly to characterize the incarnation as a thing almost unnecessary to the redemption of man? What better method could have been adopted of equalizing the deserts of Christ, relatively to us, with the deserts of Mary, and of leaving to Christ merely the distinction of having founded sacramental grace?—which grace, again, was not deemed to have been necessarily, but merely as a matter of fact, dependent on the incarnation; inasmuch as God might, in the exercise of His freedom, have chosen other means of establishing the Church. These principles bear evident traces also of a pelagianizing tendency, which makes light both of sin and of the divine righteousness: and the explanation of their presence in the system of Scotus, is his reducing all things back to the divine freedom or arbitrariness, as their final ground.
Thomas Aquinas considered the incarnation to be something new merely in relation to man, not for God Himself. Even so, did Duns Scotus consider it rather in the light of a work (factio) undertaken by God for the sake of producing a "gratia creata" in a man, than as a mode of the divine being itself. This grace might have been produced without an "Unio;" and God's presence in Christ denotes an "habitus" merely in man, not in God.1 We see, accordingly, that the two greatest Scholastics, strictly speaking, let fall the very idea of an incarnation of God:—the one, in that he does not admit that God became man, but sees in Christ merely an impersonal manifestation of
1 Appositely does Baur remark (vol. ii. 832): "When God is said, by Dona Scotus, to have become mail, the real meaning of the words is rather —God became nothing; consequently, He did not become man: everything of the nature of growth, whether completed or in process, is predicable solely of the human nature of Christ. This being the case, it needs no further argument to show, that, if God did not become man, man cannot have become God; and when one of the two essential aspects of the * Unio' has been separated from the other, its very idea is destroyed, or is reduced to a purely nominal thing."
God under the form of a man; the other, in that, although far from intending to represent the humanity as selfless, he did not really advance beyond that position, except perhaps negatively, that is, by representing God as present in this man merely to a limited extent: and of such a limitation, the necessary consequence was, the reintroduction of the Nestorian doctrine of a double personality.
III. The Mystical Element In Scholasticism.—As we have seen, the scholastic Ohristology is, in general, very defective: its scientific formulas show no traces of progress; on the contrary, they indicate, in many ways, that the mind was already beginning to regard the scaffolding with less interest, and was disposed to evade the proper problem of Christology on the one hand, and an open confession of adherence to Nihilianism on the other. Still, side by side with the formulas of Scholasticism, we discover the signs of warmer life and higher contemplations; we find an image of the Person of Christ cherished, which, though but imperfectly expressed in the formulas of the Church, served the purpose of nourishing and fecundating the piety of private individuals, and, in part also, the public Cultus. Without the consideration of this aspect of the matter, an important factor in the work of preparation for the Germanic Mysticism, which we shall have subsequently to examine, would be wanting; and that being wanting, we should be less satisfactorily able to account for the rise and character of the Reformation.
It was the doctrine of the atonement, that, having been made the subject of more careful reflection, exerted a specially fecundatory influence on that form of Christology which made it its aim to steer clear both of Docetism and Nihilianism. But, as this Christology fixed its attention principally on the divine-human Person of Christ in its totality, it stood in no inner relation to the old doctrine of the duality of the natures, but had more affinity with the views of the first period;—with those views which were the fruit, not of the duality just referred to, nor of the unity which grew out of that duality, but of living Christianity itself, and of the impression which the picture of the life of Christ, contained in the Gospels, continuously made on pious hearts. Many teachers of the Middle Ages based the possibility of Christ's making satisfaction for us, amongst other things, on the fact that He is the Head of the mystical body of the Church. The head is able to offer satisfaction on behalf of its members. Following the example of Peter Lombard, the Scholastics were accustomed to devote a chapter of their Christology, specially to the subject of the peculiar "gratia" which was conferred on this person. Christ, they held, possesses in Himself the "plenitudo gratiae et divinitatis," because He is the Head.1 But the successors of the Lombard carried this further out in different directions. According to Albertus Magnus,2 there was in Christ an "increata gratia" side by side with the "creata," by which He is distinguished from all others. In his detailed description of this "gratia," the feature to which he gives most prominence, and apparently attaches chief importance, is,—Christ is the Head of the Church. He would appear, it is true, to be Head solely as to His divine nature, consequently, not as God-man; in that the motion and feeling produced by Christ in the Church, are traced to His divine nature. But he answers,—Relatively to its body, the head has three characteristics,—firstly, it is the principle which works actively on the powers, on the feeling, and on the motions; secondly, it streams forth into the members as a formative vital principle; thirdly, there is a conformity between the nature of the head and that of the members. Now, it is solely as God that Christ is a principle exercising an active influence; though this does not necessarily exclude His humanity from being the channel through which His divine power flows. As an assimilative principle, which flows over, as it were, like a formative form, Christ is the Head of the blessed, and of those who have received grace, and impresses upon them the likeness of His life, of His "sensus" and of His "motus." In the third sense, He is the Head of men alone;
1 Petr. Lomb. Sent. Lib. iii. Dist. xiii. u Ut in corpore nostro inest sensus singularis membris, sed non quantum in capite,—ibi enim et visus est, et auditua, et olfactus, et gustus, et tactus, in ceteris vero solus est tact us,—it a et in Christo habitat omnia plenitudo dignitatis, quia ille est caput, in quo est omnia sensus; in Sanctis vero quasi solus tactus est, quibus spiritus datus est ad mensuram, cum de illius plenitudine acceperunt. . Acceperunt autom de illius plenitudine non secundum essentiam, sed secundum similitudinem."
* Compend. theoL L. iv. de Incarn. Chrieti, c. 14, and L. iii. on the Sentences, Dist. xiii.
—as Head, namely, of members consubstantial with Himself, He is able to communicate to them His merits.
The "gratia" of this Head, consists, accordingly, in the "virtus influendi." Even as an individual man, He possessed a grace so rich and full, that it overflowed in Him (exuberat). Therefore does He pour forth spiritual feelings and motions into the members of His mystical body, out of the abundance of the graces of which He is the well-spring.1 Not merely as God, but also as man, does He inspire all those who cling to Him with "sensus et motus spiritus et gratiae." But, as man, He exercises active influence not immediately, but "meritorie:" He earns for us the inflowing of grace, and delivers us, in that He removes the obstacle to influx out of the way (obstaculum influxus in nos),—to wit, by paying our debt of guilt.
Thomas Aquinas discusses the same question at length.2 In his "Summa," he advances in support of the opinion, that Christ, as a man, cannot be the Head of the Church, the further consideration,—that God is designated the Head of Christ; that, moreover, the head is a single member, itself dependent in turn on the heart; whereas Christ is the universal principle of the entire Church. From this it, accordingly, might apparently be concluded, that He is not the Head of the Church, but merely governs it in His divine nature. He replies,—As the whole Church is designated a mystical body, after the similitude of the natural body, so Christ is designated the Head of the Church, after the similitude of the human head. Now, this latter is head in three respects:—Firstly, it is the first in point of rank; secondly, it is the first in point of perfection, for all the senses are concentrated in it; Odrdly, it is the first in point of power, for, the human head being the throne of the "vis sensitiva et motiva," the other members derive their strength and motion, and their government, from it. All this may be applied to Christ in a more perfect, even in a spiritual sense. He is nearer to God,—this gives Him His rank; He possesses the fulness of grace,—therein consists His perfection;
1 Comp. theol. iv. 14: "Influit in membra corporis sui mystici sensum et modum spiritualem secundum fontalem plenitudinem omnia gratis in ipso habitantis."
* P. iii. quaest. 8, 1. Quaest. 3, 4, 7, 19, 23. Super Sentent. Lib. iii. Dist. xiii.; Quaest. 1, 2.
He has the power of pouring forth grace into all His members, —and that constitutes His "virtus." To the deity of Christ it belongs originatively (auctoritative), to His humanity instrumentally (instrumentaliter), to communicate the Holy Spirit; and although God is the Head of Christ, Christ is notwithstanding the Head of the Church. But the heart of His body, the Church, is the Holy Spirit. To be the Head of the Church, is the distinctive function of Christ. There is undoubtedly an influence on the members of the Church,—for example, by means of government,—which others besides He are capable of exercising, locally and temporarily, with His authority; but that inner influx (influxus interior), by which " virtus motiva et sensitiva a capite derivator ad cetera membra," pertains alone to Him, because He possesses the "plenitudo gratiae" in a thoroughly unique sense. On the soul of Christ was conferred grace, as on a universal principle in the genus of those who participate in grace. But the power of the first principle of a genus is universally diffused through all the operations of the same genus; consequently, as the universal principle, an universal significance attaches to Him in relation to the operations. On account of His mediatorial connection with the human race, He must needs have been in possession of a grace which streamed forth also upon others. This is the "fontalis gratia" of Albertus Magnus.1 Specially clear, however, is the following passage,* in which Thomas Aquinas makes use of the idea of the head, in order to show how the merit of Christ can be transferred to us:—" In Christo non solum fuit gratia, sicut in quodam homine singulari, sed sicut in capite totius Ecclesice, cui omnes uniuntur, sicut capiti membra, ex quibus constituitur mystice una persona. Et exinde est, quod meritum Christi se extendit ad alios, in quantum sunt membra ejus; quia non solum sibi sentit, sed omnibus memorise As Adam, in a natural respect, was the principle of the entire human nature, so is Christ appointed by God to be the Head of all men; and, therefore, in the kingdom of grace, His merit extends itself to all His children.
He occupies himself also with the question,3—In what sense did Christ assume humanity and the universal human nature?
1 Compare Summa 1. c. Qu. vii. 1, 9, viii. 1, 6, ix.; Qu. xiz. 4, ad secundam.
3 Qu. jrix. 4, Resp. * Qu. iv. Art. 4.
Not in the sense, in which it may be conceived, apart even from its earthly realization, as a notion of the human mind; or (Platonically), as the general idea, preceding the concrete realization of, humanity (etSo?, forma communis). The former would be a mere fiction, originating in the subjective representations of the human mind: and the "forma communis" is not at the same time individual; whereas the end of the incarnation was the realization of that personality, in which the "forma communis" should individualize itself. Indeed, man, according to his very idea, forms part of the sensuous world; for this reason, the humanity of Christ was under the necessity of participating in sensuous material, and cannot be represented as a Platonic eKo?, whose existence preceded that of the concrete. But, if human nature subsisted neither in the divine intelligence by itself, nor indeed, at all, except in an actual sensible form, in the concrete individuals of the human race, the question at once arises, —Whether Christ appropriated the general human nature, in the sense that He became man in every individual man? This might appear a fitting course, says he; for a wise master-builder completes his work by the shortest possible method. But, to constitute men universally and naturally sons of God, would be a shorter path, than to bring the many to sonship by means of one natural Son. Now, as this is agreeable to the divine wisdom, so also would it seem to be consonant to love: and, inasmuch as that which belongs to a particular genus of beings per se, belongs to all the individuals of the genus, it would appear congruous that human nature should be assumed in all its subjects. To these reasonings, he replies,—The wisdom of a masterworkman is rather shown in his not attaining a result by means of many things, which could be satisfactorily attained by means of one. Moreover, to be assumed by God, does not belong to human nature in itself, in the sense that such an assumption pertained to its natural individuality, or its "principia essentialia:" were such the case, all the subjects sharing this nature must undoubtedly be assumed. The love of God was further manifested, not merely in His "assumtio," but also in His "passio" for others.—It was, further, impossible that all should be assumed; for it would have involved the abolition of the plurality of the subjects which share human nature. As the assumed nature could have no other personal centre than the person by which it was assumed, it follows, that, after the assumption, there would have been but one single subject in human nature, to wit, the assumptive person* (Note 60). At such points, the essence of God and the essence of man did not seem to Thomas to be so opposed to each other as they were represented by the Church, and even by himself in other connections.2 We may here adduce the doctrine laid down by him,—To God's perfect and necessary knowledge of Himself, belongs also the knowledge of His communicableness to the creatures, in different kinds of resemblance: in thus knowing Himself, God knows also the creatures, after their different kinds, in different ideas; so, however, that, like an artist, He comprehends His entire work in one thought.* The differences between the creatures are accordingly, in his view, based solely on the differences of their resemblance to God; and the different measures of their resemblance to God, are grounded again in the different degrees of the communication of the divine substance. Such a view is unquestionably emanatistic; and the consequence thereof would be, that Christ, in order to be perfect, must cease to be man: we see again, therefore, that the dualistic background previously referred to,4 still continued to give a tone to the reasoning of Aquinas. It will repay us, however, to consider other efforts which he put forth, and which almost ended in his establishing an inner and more essential connection between the divine and human natures. Human nature, says he, was more capable of being assumed by the Son of God than any other nature, in consonance with its dignity. All creatures, it is true, bear some traces of resemblance to the Word, but man resembles the Word as His image and likeness. By knowledge and love, human nature is able, in some measure, to attain even to the Word Himself (contingere). It was fitting, moreover, that God should deny to no creature that which it is capable of receiving (capax).* Now, a thing may be made to resemble the Word in three ways: Firstly, in reference to form;—for, as a building resembles the preconceived idea (verbo mentali) of the architect, so every
1 Summa iii. Q. iv. 8. * See above, p. 304.
8 Ritter, "Geschichte der christlichen Pbiloeopbie," B. iv. 286.
4 See above, p. 804.
» Snmm. P. iii. Q. iv. Art. i.; Sent. lib. iii. Dint. i. Q. i. Art. 2.
creature is like the Word, because it is embraced by His artistic idea. Secondly, in reference to cognition also (intellectualitas, Erkemituiss), a resemblance to the Word is possible; even as the knowledge which exists in the mind of a scholar bears a resemblance to the word which lives in the mind of the teacher. In this sense the rational creation resembles the Word of God, as to its very nature. Thirdly, the creature may attain to a resemblance to the Word of God, as regards His unity with the Father, by means of grace and love; and hereby does its adoption to the position of a child become complete.1
To this connection belongs his clear and ingenious answer to the question, so commonly raised by the Scholastics,—Why the Son, and not the Father nor the Holy Spirit, became man? His reply is,—Because the Son is the archetype, according to the pattern of which man was created at the beginning, and according to which, therefore, he must needs be restored.2 The Word of God is the eternal idea of God, the archetype of all creation: and as the several ranks of creatures owe their existence and constitution to participation in this primal type, though after a mutable manner; so was it fitting, that by the personal, and not merely partial or participative, union of the Word with creation, it should be restored in a manner consonant to its original order, to an eternal and unchangeable perfection. For even so, an artist, when his work has been spoiled, restores it by means of the idea which ruled him in its first production.
1 Summ. P. iii. Q. xxiii. 8, "Filiatio adoptionis est quaedam similitudo filiationis naturalis."
2 Summa, P. iii. Q. iii. Art. 8, coll. sup. Sent. iii. Dist. i. Q. ii. Art. 2: "imago convenientiam habet cum eo, qui reparandus erat, scilicet cum homine; unde decuit, ut imago imaginem assumeret." (Similarly also Albert us Magnus, 1. c. Comp. theol. cap. vi.: "imago debuit per imaginem reparari.") Summa L & he says,—" Convenienter enim ea, que sunt similia, uniuntur, ipsius autem persona; filii, qui est Yerbum Dei, attenditur convenientia ad totam creaturam, quia verbum artificis, i.e., conceptus ejus, est similitudo exemplaris eorum, qu« ab artifice fiunt. Unde Verbum Dei, quod est seternus conceptus ejus, est similitudo exemplaris totiua creaturse: et ideo, sicut per participation em hujus similitudinis creature sunt in propriis speciebus institute sed mobiliter, ita per unionem Verbi ad creaturam non participatam sed personalem, conveniens fuit reparari creaturam in online ad reternam et immobilem perfect ionera. Nam et artifez per formam artis conceptam, qua artificiatum condidit, ipsum, si collapsum fuerit, restaurat."
How nearly did Thomas here approach to the doctrine of Irenaeus, that the first creation was still incomplete; that there was a necessity for the "immohile exemplar," instead of the "mobilis imago," being manifested through the personal, and not merely through the partial or participative "Unio" of the Word with humanity; and that, therefore, the incarnation of God was not entirely and solely occasioned by sin, but was essential to the realization of the eternal type of humanity I1
This will be, perhaps, the most fitting place to take a more careful and connected review of the history of the question,— Whether the incarnation of God formed part of the original idea of the world and of humanity, and was consequently a constituent and essential element of the highest mundane good; or, whether its ground is to be supposed to have been the contingent one, of sin—the question,—" Utrum Christus venisset, si Adam non peccasset?"
During the earlier period of its existence, the Church paid but little attention to this question. It was, for the most part, satisfied with basing the necessity of the incarnation of Christ on the actual and evident need of a work of redemption. The ground thus assigned, however, was inadequate, in so far as Christ, the highest of all rational beings, in and by whom humanity is exalted to the throne of God, is represented as a mere means for others; whereas all other beings have the dignity of being ends to themselves, and ends for Him. To the Person of Christ, in and by itself, therefore, no importance could be attached: His work, His merit, alone—that impersonal neutral thing—was of consequence. This view, logically carried out, reduces Christ to the position of a mere act of revelation on the part of God—of a mere theophany, the ground for the continuance of which necessarily ceased with the vanquishment of sin; and this drives us irresistibly on to Nihilianism. It is true, that even on this supposition God and His glorification may continue to be an end to themselves; and that God is also in Christ. But it is God in Christ, and God alone, that is this self-end: for the Logos aaapKo<;, the humanity of Christ is a mere means, as
1 To this connection belongs also Sent. L. iii. Dist. i. Q. i. Art. 3, where he remarks,—" The incarnation effected not merely the deliverance from sin, but also "humanse nature exaltatio et totius universi consummate." Compare the beautiful passage in the Prologue to Sent. L. iii. init.
also for us; the humanity itself did not share with the Logos the privilege of being an end, nay more, of being an end to itself, and a good possessed of an absolute intrinsic value. Yet this was but another mode of giving expression to the prevalent opinion, that the humanity of Christ was impersonal, a mere thing ;—with which opinion contrasted remarkably the equally prevalent custom of worshipping the entire Christ,—a custom which proved a corrective as regards piety, but not as regards theory. Such Docetism as this, kept its hold the more firmly in the Church, in proportion as the work of redemption, the necessity for which was supposed to have been the ground of the appearance of the Mediator, was conceived to consist merely in the communication of divine doctrine or in the exhibition of divine power,—that is, merely as the work of a Prophet or of a King. The organ employed to communicate true doctrine is an unimportant and fortuitous thing; the particular personality of the organ is scarcely brought into consideration in connection therewith; nor was a human personality at all more necessary to the exhibition of the redemptive power of God (in conflict with the devil or death). For such a purpose, indeed, it was scarcely requisite that the organ should bear the likeness of man. Not until the process of deliverance is conceived as a moral one, can significance be attached to the human personality as such,— even though it should be, in the first instance, merely the significance of a means. But in the moral sphere, a personality which lovingly constitutes itself a means, asserts or maintains for itself, by that very act, the dignity of an end;—means and end are then no longer divided. Towards the attainment of this position a great step was taken by Anselm's "Cur Deus Homo?" That treatise represents, not indeed the doing of Christ, but yet His suffering, as a valuable moral possession and property of humanity, and as endued with atoning virtue. But, however readily the subsequent Scholastics recognised the necessity of the work of redemption, they advanced with equal decision in the direction of maintaining, that there was no necessity for Christ being the Saviour. God might have forgiven sin independently of Christ: in the freedom of God, was eternally involved the possibility of His forgiving sin independently of a Mediator. The appearance of Christ, therefore, must have been, in the last instance, contingent and almost unnecessary; although it was congruous (congrua) that man should thus be redeemed;—an opinion glaringly in opposition to the views and feelings of the Christian Church.
Beyond this tendency to Nihilianism those had, it is true, advanced, who regarded Christ merely as the absolutely moral personality, and almost exclusively as an end to Himself:—Such were all the Ebionite parties; such also were, especially, Pelagius, and in more recent times, the Socinians. The example of Christ, to which they attached chief importance, presupposes the existence of a true human personality, which as such is also an end to itself. Those who took this turn, could not therefore grant that Christ appeared solely on account of sin, and that He was not of significance in Himself, independently of sin. On the contrary, with their Deism, they were inclined to teach that Christ is the man, who by his own virtue gained for himself the highly important position which he occupied, and showed what a man can do. Lactantius, however, connected the religious with the moral view of Christ, and represented Him as the ethical revelation of God, as the lex viva. But the personality thus presented to us is exclusively an end, and not also means: the importance of the work, therefore, is reduced to a minimum, and, relatively to the person, becomes almost as fortuitous, as, according to the prevalent doctrine, the divine-human person was, relatively to the work. By the Church, the human aspect was curtailed; by the parties just referred to, the divine aspect was curtailed, and an unsatisfactory estimate, at the same time, formed even of the moral element. At an early period, however, the deeper thinking Fathers of the Church were stirred by a disposition to regard Christ, not merely as a means, but as also an end to Himself; and especially to acknowledge in the exalted Lord, the highest good of humanity, the centre of mundane good. Irenaeus, above all, was inclined to take this view of Christ.1
1 iii. 18, 7, v. 16, 2. The passage (cap. xiv. 1),—"Si non haberet caro salvari, nequaquam verbum Dei caro factum esset," is only apparently inconsistent therewith; for the first words may signify, " If it had not been possible to restore humanity to its archetypal form, it would have lacked the capability of being assumed by the Logos." But even supposing we must take them to refer to the necessity of the " salvatio," and not to its possibility, Irenteus may have understood the word aa^ur, which he probably employed, also of the preservation and completion of human nature, which in Adam was still in an unsettled condition.
Those who held the incarnation to be at the same time the consummation of humanity, and not merely the consummation of revelation,—who further considered that in Christ more was gained for humanity than was lost in Adam,—had already, in effect, allowed the validity of the premises, from which may be deduced the necessity of the incarnation of God, as involved in the eternal idea of the world. So taught, not only Irenaeus, but also Tertullian and Athanasius.1 Even Theodore of Mopsuestia, also, although his doctrine of the office and work of Christ bore a resemblance to that of Pelagius (in so far as both represent Him as an example, as the bringer of immortality, and as the deliverer from death, although not from sin), advances onward to the speculative principle, that to the perfection of the world, He was indispensable, who, being the cosmical image of God and the archetype, combines and reconciles all antagonisms in Himself. When Pelagius maintained that the Person of Christ was without sin, the result was substantially to lower the dignity of Christ, and to loosen the connection between Him and the idea of humanity, his conception of which was an atomistic one. Theodore, on the contrary, starting from a similar point of view, goes on to represent the Person of Christ as the ornament and crown of the world, as the consummatory realization of its idea; and in order to establish the distinctive eminence of the Person of Christ, he makes reference, although in an unsatisfactory manner, to the deed wrought by God. In exactly the same manner, starting from the opposite point,—to wit, from the idea of the consummation of the divine acts of revelation,—the afore-mentioned Fathers had arrived at the conclusion, that this act of revelation involved, at the same time, the positing of the perfect man, of the true primal man, whom God had in view even when He created Adam.
But when Pelagius and Theodore represented Christ as a good in Himself, and as an end to Himself, it was at the cost of His Mediatorship; even as the Neo-Platonists taught a doctrine of the Trinity which was disconnected from the work of redemption. Those two teachers went even so far as to convert their Christology into a buttress of theories of the self-deliverance of man. That similar views should make their appearance in the Scotist school, was the more to be expected, as Scholas1 See above, Part I. pp. 579, 834 ff. of this work.
tii-ism, for the most part, denied that the appearance of Chiist was rendered necessary by sin; maintaining that God could have forgiven sin apart from the mediation of Christ. So long as God was held to be eternally reconciled with sin, or so long as man was considered capable of saving himself, it was of course impossible to deny to Christ alone the dignity of being an end to Himself; His appearance, on the contrary, must necessarily be attributed to some other cause than the existence of sin. For this reason, the Scotists were able to teach, that Christ was not a mere "bonum occasionatum," existing for the sake of others, but lovely in Himself.
The older Fathers whom we have mentioned, were influenced by quite different considerations. They tried to combine the necessity for the appearance of Christ arising from sin, with that necessity which related to the perfection of the world. Such was specially the effort of Gregory the Great, with whom the passage quoted above (p. 395), in connection with Richard de St Victor, is said to have originated. Augustine, indeed, says also,—" Si homo non peccasset, filius Dei non esset incarnatus" (de Trin. xiii. 10): he taught, too, that the necessity for the appearance of Christ on account of sin, consisted in its appropriateness and fitness to the end in view. But though he did not conceive Christ to be absolutely necessary as a means of redemption, he held Him to be necessary as a means of perfection; and represents Him as essentially allied with humanity.1
During the Middle Ages, Peter Abelard, Alexander of Hales, and Albert the Great,2 left it uncertain whether sin
1 August- de peccato mortali, c. 26, 27. Though even in his system, humanity occupies but a precarious accidental position, inasmuch as the sole reason urged for the creation of men, is that they might fill up the gap caused in the heavenly world by the fall of some of the angels. Compare Ambrosius, de Incarn. Domini iv. 6; Gregorii M. Moralia, iii. 11; John Damasc. de fide orth. iii. 18.
* Compare Quenstedt's System. Theol. P. iii. p. 110. Albert the Great says, in his Sentent. T. iii. Dist. 20, Art. 4, after having adduced in detail the arguments pro and contra, that it is more probable that Christ would have come, even independently of sin. Didacus Stella, in his Enarrat. in Luc. T. ii. 1593, remarks on Luke xv. (p. 131), that redemption was the principal motive of the incarnation. "Nisi Adam peccasset, quanquani Christus ad extollendam humanitatem illamque praanio prsedestinationis arternse beandam nihilominus erat venturus, et ut operibus nostris vigorem daret, tamen in carne passibili non descenderet, etc."
rendered the appearance of Christ necessary, and were satisfied when they had shown His coming to be appropriate in relation to sin; but they, at the same time, asserted the more distinctly, that His appearance was necessary apart from sin. On the other hand, Ruprecht of Deutz connected both reasons, by teaching, that when God predestined the manifestation of Christ, sin also was included in His eternal counsel, in so far as it was fitted to become an instrument for the revelation of the Divine love. At all events, he considers it to have been fitting that the first Adam should not possess sufficient power in himself, in order that opportunity might be afforded for the most complete revelation of the love of God,—which was only possible in conflict with sin. He regards the Person of Christ as the absolute goal of the world, to which everything else, even sin itself, was made subservient. There is a certain resemblance between this view and the doctrine of the later Calvinists, who, although their system of thought had a supra-lapsarian character, did not therefore regard sin as the sole ground of the necessity of a God-man (herein differing from most Calvinists); but, on the contrary, held sin also to have been, for the sake of Christ, included in the Divine counsel;—or rather, to put the case more exactly, they conceived both the appearance of Christ and the existence of sin to have been willed simultaneously, as mutually conditioning each other—neither without the other, and each for the sake of the other. They did not consider the full significance of Christ to have been expressed, when we designate Him "Redeemer," although to redeem was the primary purpose of His coming; but even after the accomplishment of the work of redemption, Christ continues to be essential and necessary to the world of the chosen, who are His body.1 Richard de St Victor, on the contrary, held that the exist
1 Compare Quenstedt's " Systema Theol." Pars. iii. cap. iii. Membr. L Q. 1, p. 108. So says Bucanus in his " Instit. Theol." Art. x. Q. 3,—Even supposing man had continued in his original righteousness, he would still have needed this Mediator, "non ut reconciliaretur Deo et sanaretur a peccato—sed per quem retineretur in gratia Dei et prseservaretur a peccato." Similar also, according to Quenstedt, was the opinion of Zanchius, in his Hexaemer. Pars iii. L. 3, c. 2. Polanus' "Syntagma," L. vi. cap. 27. Even Calvin himself (see his " Instit." L. ii. xii. 4) adopts the usual view, only so far as supra-lapsarian principles make clearer the necessity which existed for a God-man, that is, because of sin.
ence of sin was not a necessity, but a contingency; and that the appearance of Christ was necessary on account of sin, which was contingent. At the same time, however, he believed that Christ would have come independently of sin, because Christ appeared to him to realize the absolute harmony of the world,— the perfect, eternal idea of the world,—in such a manner that we need no longer regret the introduction of sin, seeing that sin rather served to bring Christ into a more inward and blessed connection with us. Christ is the Head of humanity; and (Ruprecht, in particular, subjoins), so far from sin being the sole condition of the possibility, or the sole reason of the necessity, thereof,—a reconciliation of man would have been impossible, had not the human nature which He assumed, been from the beginning created with a view to Him. This idea was especially advocated by Johann Wessel (sec. 15).1 Even if Adam had not sinned, the Son of God, he thinks, would have appeared (Note 61). God must needs become man, in order that the holy and honourable body, to wit, the entire community of the triumphant blessed, might not be mutilated, but might rejoice in the possession of its proper and lawful Head: in other words, that it might become the temple of the corner-stone, on which the two walls—angels and men—should unitedly and securely rest. About the same time, the arguments in favour of the view, that God would have become man quite independently of sin, were collected in the work entitled, "Roberti Caracoli de Licio de laudibus Sanctorum (Sermo iii.)," published at Venice, A.d. 1489:—the author was a Franciscan monk. These arguments are drawn from the idea of the universe; from the dignity and blessedness of man, and his destination for God; from the idea of God, specially of His might, wisdom, and love; and, finally, from the dignity and inner excellence of the Person of Christ. The incarnation of God namely, served primarily to perfect man, and mediately to perfect the universe, because through it the human race attained "Completio," both as touching its nature, and as touching grace and glory:—the former, because the completeness of the world required that man should take his rise in the way in
1 "De causis incarnationis," L. ii.; compare Ullmann's "Johann Weasel," 1834, p. 264. Appeal was particularly made to Col. i. 18; Rom. viii. 29; Heb. ii. 10; Gen. i. 26 ; Prov. yiii. 22.
which Christ took His rise; everything actually possible must attain an actual existence: the latter, because the state of grace requires that the Church have its Head, whether sin exist or not; and because the full realization of blessedness depended iu any case on the incarnation, apart altogether from the existence of sin. In no other way was it possible for man to find true inward and outward joy. The incipient fitness, the "capacitas," of human nature—a " capacitas" by which it is distinguished from angelic natures—for personal union with God, would have remained useless, but for the incarnation. But no gift could have been conferred on human nature without some purpose.—Then, further, as regards God,—By the act of incarnation He manifested His power, wisdom, and goodness. Such a manifestation pertained to the very idea of God, and had nothing to do with the falling or standing of man. The incarnation exalts human nature (above the Adamitic nature); now, if this exaltation had not already been predetermined, it would appear as though man had derived a blessing from His sin,—which, considered in relation to God, would be unrighteous. —Thirdly, as regards the Person of Christ,—It is as difficult to merit and earn the infinite good for ourselves, as it is to offer satisfaction for an insult of Him who is the infinite good. If man was incapable of doing the latter, he was also incapable of doing the former. It was, therefore, quite as fitting, even on the supposition that man had remained good, that Christ should appear, in order that through Him the infinite good might be earned; as it was fitting that He should come to make atonement, when man had sinned. As a last reason, mention is made of the dignity of the human soul of Christ. If the incarnation occurred "principaliter," for the sake of the atonement, the soul of Christ was not willed as an end in itself, but merely, as it were, incidentally (that is, the last of all, as a means for the deliverance of the rest) :—but it is plainly inappropriate that the noblest of all creatures should have come into existence merely "occasionaliter."1
1 The author himself does not pronounce judgment, because nothing is revealed concerning the matter. Similarly also, at a later period, Bellarmine ("De Christo," L. v. c. 10) remarks,—"If Adam had not fallen, Christ would probably not have appeared in the flesh." So also Gregor. de Valentia. Petavius, on the contrary, translated the "probably not"
Most of the disciples of Thomas Aquinas opposed this view, as even Bonaventura had already done.1 Thomas himself, however (as we have previously shown), approximated somewhat to the idea of the incarnation of God, as essentially necessary to the realization of the eternal archetype of humanity. It pertains to the omnipotence of the divine nature, says he, that it should perfect its works, and reveal itself in an infinite effect; but a mere creature cannot be termed an infinite effect, inasmuch as it is essentially finite. Now, this demand for an infinite operation or effect, seems to be met by the incarnation; for it united things which were separated from each other by an infinite distance. The universe also appears to attain completion by this work, in that the last creature, man, is thus united with God, the Beginning of all things. This idea would seem to imply that the incarnation of God would have taken place even if there had been no sin.a But although he felt somewhat inclined to affirm this conclusion,3 he was prevented, partly by the absence of scriptural proofs in its favour, and partly by passages of an opposite tendency in some of the Fathers, as, for example, in Augustine. Finally, therefore, he contents himself with saying, that it is more probable that Christ would not have become man if there had been no sin. His followers, with few exceptions, turned his probability into a direct negation.
of Bellarmine, into a "certainly not:" and his example was followed by most of our old Church writers on Dogmatics, as, for example, Wigand, Calov, Gerhard, Dorscheus, Scherzer, Quenstedt; compare the latter 1. c. p. 110 ff. 116.
1 In the main, Suarez alone (T. i. in tert. Part. Thomte, diep. 5, sec. 2) inclined towards Duns Scotus, and endeavours at the same time to remain true to Thomas. Bonaventura and others also took the part of the opponents of this view.
* Summa, Pars iii. Q. i. Art. iii.: "Ad omnipotentiam divinaa nature pertinet, ut opera sua perficiat, et se manifestet per aliquem infinitum effectum: sed nulla pura creatura potest dici infinitus effectus, cum sit finita per suam essentiam."
3 He evinces this inclination more atrongly in his commentary on Sent, iii. Dist. i. Q. i. Art. iii. than in the passage just quoted from the Summa. In the latter he says,— alii contrarium asserunt quorum assertioni magis assentiendum videtur, though it is certain that God alone can decide it.