Summary Against Modern Thought: Understanding The Trinity XII

Summary Against Modern Thought: Understanding The Trinity XII

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Once again we learn all knowledge comes from God.


1 Looking to the effects which He properly produces in the rational nature, we must also give consideration to this fact: When we are somehow made like a divine perfection, perfection of this kind is said to be given us by God; so wisdom is said to be a gift from God to us when we are somehow made like the divine wisdom.

Since, then, the Holy Spirit proceeds by way of the love by which God loves Himself, as was shown, from the fact that in loving God we are made like to this love, the Holy Spirit is said to be given to us by God. Hence the Apostle says: “The charity of God is poured forth in our hearts, by the Holy Spirit, who, is given to us” (Rom. 5:5).

Notes All knowledge, beliefs about Truth, flow from God, because they all must have a singular source—because if there were separate sources, each of these would have to have a cause, and the series cannot go to infinity.

2 One should realize, for all that, that what is in us from God is related to God as to an efficient and as to an exemplar cause. We say as to an efficient cause inasmuch as something is accomplished in us by the divine operative power. We say as to an exemplar cause so far as we are, thanks to that in us which is from God, imitating God.

Since, then, the power of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit is identical just as the essence is, necessarily whatever God effects in us must be, as from an efficient cause, simultaneously from the Father and the Son and the, Holy Spirit. Nevertheless, the “word of wisdom” (cf. Dan. 1:20) by which we know God, and which God sends into us, is properly representative of the Son. And in like fashion the love by which we love God is properly representative of the Holy Spirit. And thus the charity which is in us, although it is an effect of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, is nonetheless for a special sort of reason said to be in us through the Holy Spirit.

3 However the divine effects not only begin to be by the divine operation, by it they are also maintained in being (as is clear from the foregoing). And nothing operates where it is not, for the agent and that acted upon must be simultaneously in act, just as the mover and the moved.

Necessarily, then, wherever there is an effect of God, there God Himself is efficient. Hence, since the charity by which we love God is in us by the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit Himself must also be in us, so long as the charity is in us.

And so the Apostle says: “Know you not that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” (1 Cor. 3:16). Therefore, since we are made lovers of God by the Holy Spirit, and every beloved is in the lover as such, by the Holy Spirit necessarily the Father and the Son dwell in us also. And so our Lord says: “We will come to him”—He means to one who loves God—“and will make our abode with him” (John 14:23). And in 1 John. (3:7.4) we read: “In this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit which He has given us.”

4 Moreover, God manifestly loves in the greatest degree those whom He has made lovers of Himself through the Holy Spirit, for He would not confer so great a good save by loving us. Hence, we read in Proverbs (8:17) from the Person of God: “I love those who love Me”; “not as though we had loved God, but because He has first loved us,” as we read in 1 John (4:10).

Of course, every beloved is in a lover. Therefore, by the Holy Spirit not only is God in us, but we also are in God. Hence, we read in 1 John (4:16, 13): “He who abides in charity abides in God, and God in him;” and: “In this we know that we abide in Him and He in us: because He has given us of His Spirit.”

5 Of course, this is the proper mark of friendship: that one reveal his secrets to his friend.

For, since charity unites affections and makes, as it were, one heart of two, one seems not to have dismissed from his heart that which he reveals to a friend; and so our Lord says to His disciples: “I will not now call you servants but friends: because all things whatsoever I have heard of My Father I have made known to you” (John 15:15).

Therefore, since by the Holy Spirit we are established as friends of God, fittingly enough it is by the Holy Spirit that men are said to receive the revelation of the divine mysteries. Hence, the Apostle says: “It is written that eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither has it entered into the heart of man, what things God has prepared for them that love Him. But to us God has revealed them, by His Spirit” (1 Cor. 2:9-10).

Notes I find this a very pleasant thought: the only way to new knowledge is through the love (or gift) of God.

6 It is from the things a man knows that his speech is formed; fittingly, therefore, a man speaks the mysteries through the Holy Spirit. Hence, the words of 1 Corinthians (14:2): “By the Spirit He speaks mysteries”; and Matthew (10:20): “It is not you that speak, but the Spirit of your Father that speaks in you.” And of prophets, 2 Peter (1:21) says that “the holy men of God spoke, inspired by the Holy Spirit.” Hence, also, in the Creed of our faith we say of the Holy Spirit: “Who spoke through the prophets.”

7 Now, it is not only proper to love that one reveal his secrets to a friend by reason of their unity in affection, but the same unity requires that what he has he have in common with the friend. For, “since a man has a friend as another self,” he must help the friend as he does himself, making his own possessions common with the friend, and so one takes this as the property of friendship “to will and to do the good for a friend.”

This agrees with 1 John (3:17): “He who has the substance of this world, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his bowels from him: how does the charity of God abide in him?” But such is especially the case with God whose will is efficacious on its effect. Therefore, it is fitting that all the gifts of God are said to be gifts from the Holy Spirit; thus, in 1 Corinthians (12:8, 11): “To one, indeed, by the Spirit is given the word of wisdom, to another, the word of knowledge, according to the same Spirit”; and later on, having mentioned many, it says: “One and the same Spirit works, dividing to every one according as He will.”

8 This, too, is manifest: just as, to get a body to the place of fire, it must be likened to fire by acquiring that lightness according to which fire is moved by its own motion; so also, to get a man to the beatitude of divine enjoyment which is proper to God in His own nature, these are necessary: first, that by spiritual perfections he be likened to God; then, that he operate with these perfections; and thus, lastly, achieve that beatitude we mentioned.

Of course, the spiritual gifts are given to us by the Holy Spirit, as was shown. And thus by the Holy Spirit we are configured to God and through Him we are made ready for good operation. And by the same Spirit the road to beatitude is opened to us. The Apostle implies all three of these when he says: “He who confirms us… is God who also has sealed us, and given the pledge of the Spirit in our hearts” (2 Cor. 1:21, 22). And in Ephesians (1:13, 14): ‘You were signed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the pledge of our inheritance: For the “signing” seems to belong to the likeness of configuration; the “confirming” to man’s readiness for perfect operation; the “pledge,” of course, to the hope by which we are ordered to the heavenly inheritance, and this is perfect beatitude.

9 Further, since out of the good will which one has to another it comes about that he adopt that other as his son—and so the inheritance belongs to that other as adopted—it is fitting that the adoption of the sons of God is attributed to the Holy Spirit, in the words of Romans (8:15): “You have received the Spirit of adoption of sons, whereby we cry: Abba (Father).”

10 Of course, by the fact that one is established as the friend of another, every offense is removed, because friendship and offense are contraries. Thus, we read in Proverbs (10:12): “Charity covers all sins.”

Therefore, since we are established as friends of God by the Holy Spirit, it is by Him that God remits our sins, and so our Lord says to His disciples (John 20:22-23): “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven.” Therefore, also, in Matthew (12:31) blasphemers against the Holy Spirit are denied the remission of sins, as though they do not have that by which a man achieves the remission of his sins.

11 Hence, also, it is by the Holy Spirit that we are said to be renewed, and cleansed or washed; as the Psalmist has it: “Send forth your Spirit, and they shall be created, and You shall renew the face of the earth” (Ps. 103:30); and Ephesians (4:23): “Be renewed in the Spirit of your mind”; and Isaiah (4:4): “If the Lord shall wash away the filth of the sons of Zion and cleanse away the blood of her daughters in the midst by the Spirit of judgment and the Spirit of burning.”

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