SAMT

Summary Against Modern Thought: Answering Criticisms Against The Incarnation

Previous post.

Part II, and part last, of the rebuttals of the objections against the incarnation. This chapter is what we of a mathematical mind call long.

ANSWER TO THE ARGUMENTS PREVIOUSLY SET DOWN AGAINST THE SUITABILITY OF THE INCARNATION

1 Now, then, the points opposed to this doctrine above are disposed of easily.

2 It is not contrary to the order of things for God to become man, as the first argument proceeded. This is the case because, although the divine nature exceeds the human nature to infinity, man in the order of his nature has God Himself for end and has been born to be united to God by his intellect And this union had as example and testimony of a sort the union of God to man in person; nonetheless, what was proper to each nature was preserved, so that nothing of the excellence of the divine nature was lost, nor was there an exaltation which drew the human nature beyond the bounds of its species.

3 There is the following to be considered, also. By reason of the perfection and immobility of the divine goodness, God loses no dignity no matter how closely a creature draws near to Him, although this makes the creature grow in dignity. For He communicates His goodness to creatures in such wise that He Himself suffers no loss.

4 In like fashion, too, one grants that God’s will suffices for doing all things; nevertheless, the divine wisdom requires that provision be made for the various classes of things in harmony with themselves, for He has suitably established the proper causes of various things. Be it granted, accordingly, that God was able by His will alone to effect in the human race every useful good which we are saying came from God’s Incarnation, as the second argument was proposing; nevertheless, it was in harmony with human nature to bring about these useful goods through God made man, just as the arguments giving make apparent to some extent.

5 The answer to the third argument is also plain. For, since man is constituted of a spiritual and of a bodily nature, and stands, so to say, on the boundary of each nature, that appears to belong to the whole of creaturehood which is done for the salvation of man. For the lesser bodily creatures seem to yield to man’s use and are in some way subject to him. But the superior spiritual, namely the angelic, creature has the achievement of the ultimate end in common with man (this is plain from the foregoing). Thus, it seems suitable that the universal cause of all things assume that creature into unity of person in which the cause shares more with other creatures.

6 This fact should be considered, also: To act of itself belongs only to the rational creature, for irrational creatures are more acted upon by a rational force than they are acting of themselves. Hence, they are rather in the order of instrumental causes than bearing themselves as principal agents. But the assumption of a creature by God had to be of the kind which could act of itself as a principal agent. For whatever acts as an instrument acts as moved into action, but a principal agent acts of itself. If, then, something was to be done divinely by an irrational creature, it sufficed, the creature’s condition considered, that it merely be moved by God. But it would not be assumed in person for the person to act, since its natural condition was not susceptible of this, it was only the condition. of the rational nature which was so susceptible. Therefore, for God to assume an irrational creature was not suitable, whereas to assume a rational one, whether human or angelic, was.

7 And, although one finds in the angelic nature natural properties making it more excellent than the human nature, as the fourth argument was proposing, the human nature was nevertheless assumed with greater fitness. First, indeed, this is because in man sin is subject to expiation; and this is so because his choice is not unchangeably fixed on something, but can be perverted from good to evil, and from evil restored to good.

In man’s reason, also, this happens: Since it gathers the truth from sensible things and certain signs, the way lies open to contradictory positions.

But an angel, just as he has an unchangeable grasp of truth because he knows by simple understanding, so also he has an unchangeable choice. Accordingly, he is either not fixed upon evil at all, or, if he is fixed on evil, is fixed so immutably. Hence, his sin is not subject to expiation.

Since, then, the chief cause of the divine incarnation appears to be the expiation of sin, as divine Scripture teaches us, it was more fitting that God assume a human than an angelic nature. Second, the assumption of the creature by God is in person, not in nature, as the foregoing makes clear. It was, therefore, more suitable to assume the human than the angelic nature because in man the nature is other than the person, for man is composite of matter and form; but this is not so in the angel, who is immaterial.

Third, the angel, in what is proper to his nature, is closer to the knowledge of God than man is whose knowledge arises from the senses. Therefore, it was sufficient for the angel to be intelligibly instructed by God regarding divine truth. But the condition of man required that God instruct man sensibly about Himself as Man. This was done by the Incarnation.

Then, again, the very distance of man from God seemed more repugnant to the divine enjoyment. Therefore, man needed to be assumed by God more than an angel did, that man’s hope for beatitude be stimulated. Lastly, man, since he is the term of creatures, presupposing, so to say, all other creatures in the natural order of generation, is suitably united to the first principle of things to finish a kind of cycle in the perfection of things.

8 But the fact that God assumed human nature gives no occasion of error, as the fifth argument was trying to show. For the assumption of humanity, as already said, took place in a unity of person, not in a unity of nature, which might result in our agreement with those who held that God is not exalted above all things, and said that God was the soul of the universe, or something of the sort.

9 We grant, of course, that respecting God’s Incarnation certain errors have arisen, as the sixth argument objected; nevertheless, it is manifest that after the Incarnation many more errors were removed. For, just as in the creation of things which proceeded from the divine goodness some evils followed, and this was proportionate to the condition of creatures which are able to fail, so also in the manifestation of divine truth it is not astonishing that some errors have arisen from the failure of human minds. And these errors, for all that, exercised the talents of the faithful toward a more diligent penetration and understanding of divine truth, just as the evils which occur in creatures are ordered by God to some good.

10 Although, of course, every created good turns out to be negligible in comparison to the divine good, nevertheless, because in things created nothing can be greater than the salvation of the rational creature (which consists in the enjoyment of the divine goodness itself), since human salvation has followed upon the divine Incarnation it was no small usefulness which the Incarnation mentioned brought to the universe (so the seventh argument was proceeding).

And it need not follow on this that all men should be saved, but only those who adhere to the Incarnation mentioned by faith and the sacraments of the faith. To be sure, the power of the divine Incarnation is equal to the salvation ‘of all men, but the fact that some are not saved thereby comes from their indisposition: they are unwilling to take unto themselves the fruit of the Incarnation; they do not cleave to the incarnate God by faith and love. For men were not intended to lose that freedom of choice by which they are able to cleave or not to cleave to the incarnate God, lest the good of man be produced by coercion, a good without merit and without praise.

Notes Free will exists.

11 There have also been sufficient indications to make this Incarnation of God manifest to men. For there is no more suitable way to manifest divinity than by things which are God’s very own. But this is God’s very own: the power to change the laws of nature by doing something above that nature whose very author He is.

Most suitably, then, is something proved divine by doing works above the laws of nature, to enlighten the blind, for instance, or to cleanse lepers, or to raise the dead. Works of this kind are what Christ did. Accordingly, when He was asked: “Are you He that is to come or look we for another?” by these works He Himself indicated His divinity in His reply: “The blind see, the lame walk, the deaf hear” (Mat. 11:15, 5), And so forth.

But to create another world was not necessary; and this was not consonant either with the divine wisdom or with the nature of things. One may, of course, say, as the eighth argument was proposing, that we read of others also performing miracles of this kind, but it must be borne in mind that Christ performed them very differently and more divinely. For we read of others doing these things by praying; Christ did them by commanding by His very own power, so to say.

And He not only did these things Himself, but even granted to others the power to do the same, and greater; and the latter used to do them by the mere invocation of the name of Christ. And not merely bodily miracles were worked through Christ, but spiritual ones as well, and these are much greater: namely, by Christ and at the invocation of His name the Holy Spirit is received, and so hearts are inflamed by the affection of divine charity; and minds suddenly are instructed in the knowledge of things divine; and the tongues of the unlettered are rendered skilled for setting divine truth forth to men.

But works of this sort are express indications of the divinity of Christ; they are things so pare man was able to do. Hence, the Apostle says that the salvation of men “which, having begun to be declared by the Lord, was confirmed unto us by them that heard Him, God also bearing them witness by signs and wonders, and divers miracles, and distributions of the Holy Spirit” (Heb. 2:3-4).

12 Granted, of course, that God’s Incarnation was necessary for the entire human race, it was not for all that, necessary that God be incarnate from the beginning of the world, as the ninth objection ran.

Now first: by the incarnate God a remedy against sin had to be brought to men, as was shown above. But no one receives a suitable remedy against sin unless first he acknowledges his failure, so that man in his lowliness, not relying on himself, may put his ‘hope in God, by whom alone sin can be healed, as was said above. Man’s presumption was possible, of course, both in regard to knowledge and in regard to virtue. He had, then, to be left to himself for a while to discover that he was not equal to his own salvation: not equal by natural knowledge, for before the time of the written law man transgressed the law of nature; nor equal by his own virtue, for, when he was given knowledge of sin through the law, he still sinned out of weakness.

Thus necessarily, man, presuming neither on his knowledge nor on his virtue, could at last be given efficacious help against sin by Christ’s Incarnation; namely, the grace of Christ by which he was not only to be instructed in doubtful matters lest he be deficient in knowledge, but also to be strengthened against the assaults of temptation lest he be deficient through frailty. And so it happened that there were three states of the human race: the first, before the Law; the second, under the Law; the third, under grace.

Then, again, by the incarnate God precepts and perfect testimonies were to be given to men. Now, the condition of human nature requires that it be not led immediately to the perfect, but that it be led by the hand through the imperfect so as to arrive at perfection. We see this in the instruction of children. They are first instructed minimally; for they cannot grasp perfect things in the beginning. In the same way, also, if to some multitude things unheard of were proposed as great, the multitude would not grasp them immediately unless it became accustomed to these things by something less great. Thus, then, was it suitable that from the beginning the human race be instructed in the matter of its salvation by some light and lesser testimonies through the Patriarchs, and the Law, and the Prophets; and that at last, at the consummate time, the perfect teaching of Christ be set forth on earth. Thus, the Apostle says: “When the fullness of the time was come “sent His Son” into the world. And we read in the same place: “The law was our pedagogue in Christ. But we are no longer under a pedagogue” (Gal. 4:4; 3:24-2-5).

One must also consider this: as the coming of a great king must be preceded by a number of envoys to prepare his subjects to receive him more reverently, so many things had to precede the coming of God to the earth: to prepare men for the reception of the incarnate God. Indeed, this did take place when, because of the promises and testimonies that had gone before, the minds of men were disposed the more readily to believe Him who had had envoys before Him, and the more eagerly to receive Him because of the previous promises.

Notes And this makes you wonder what we are to make of the signs of the times now.

13 One may also grant that the coming of the incarnate God was extremely necessary for human salvation; nevertheless, it was not necessary for human salvation that He converse with men even unto the end of the world, as the tenth argument was proposing. For this would have worked against the reverence which men ought to show to the incarnate God, so long as, seeing Him clothed in flesh similar to other men, they esteemed Him nothing beyond other men. But He, after the wondrous things which He did upon the earth, withdrew His presence from men, and they began to revere Him the more. For this reason He did not even give His disciples the fullness of the Holy Spirit so long as He conversed with them, as though by His absence their souls were more prepared for spiritual gifts. Hence, He Himself said to them: “If I go not the Paraclete will not come to you; but if I go I will send Him to you” (John 16:7).

14 It was not right for God to take flesh incapable of suffering and death, as the eleventh argument was proposing, but, rather, capable of suffering and death. First, indeed, because it was necessary for men to know the beneficence of the Incarnation so as to be thereby inflamed in the divine love. But to manifest the truth of the Incarnation He had to same flesh like that of other men; namely, capable of suffering and death. For, if He had taken flesh incapable of suffering and death, it would have seemed to men who did not know such flesh that it was a phantom and not the reality of flesh.

Second, because it was necessary that God assume flesh to satisfy for the sin of the human race. It happens, of course, that one does satisfy for another (as was shown in Book III) in such wise, however, that the penalty for sin due to the second, and not due to the first, the first voluntarily assumes. But the penalty consequent on the sin of the human race is death and the other capacities for suffering of the present life, as was said above. Hence, the Apostle says: “By one man sin entered this world and by sin death” (Rom. 5:17.). Therefore, God had to assume without sin flesh capable of suffering and death, so that by suffering and dying He would satisfy for us and take away sin. And this is what the Apostle says, that “God sent His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh” (Rom. 8:3), that is, having flesh like that of sinners, namely, capable of suffering and death; and the Apostle adds “that of sin He might condemn sin in the flesh,” that is, in order that by the penalty which He sustained in the flesh for our sin He might take sin away from us.

Third, because by having flesh capable of suffering and death He gave us examples of virtue more effectively by overcoming bravely the sufferings of the flesh, and making virtuous use of them.

Fourth, because we are by this the more strengthened in the hope of immortality: that He from a state of flesh capable of suffering and death was changed into a state of flesh incapable of suffering and death; and this we can hope for ourselves, we who bear a flesh capable of suffering and death. But if from the beginning He had assumed flesh incapable of suffering and death, no occasion to hope for immortality would be given those who experience in themselves mortality and corruptibility. This, also, was required by His mission as mediator: that, while He had in common with us flesh capable of suffering and death, but in common with God power and glory, He should take away from us what He had in common with us—namely, suffering and death—in order to lead us to that which was common to Him and to God. For He was the mediator for uniting us to God.

15 In like fashion, also, it was not expedient that the incarnate God live in this world a life of riches, and one excelling in honors or dignities, as the twelfth argument was concluding. First, to be sure, because He had come to draw the minds of men, devoted to earthly things, away from earthly things and to lift them up to things divine. Hence, that His example might lead men to a contempt of riches and the other things which the worldly desire, He had to lead a needy and private life in this world. Second, because, if He had abounded in wealth and been established in some great dignity, what He did divinely would have been attributed more to secular power than to the virtue of the divinity. Hence, the most efficacious argument for His divinity has been this: Without the support of the secular power He has changed the whole world for the better.

16 Accordingly, the solution is open to what was said in the thirteenth objection.

17 It is not, of course, far from true to say that the incarnate Son of God bore His death in obedience to a command of His Father, according to the Apostle’s teaching (Phil. 2:8). For God’s commandment to men deals with the works of virtue; and the more perfectly one carries out an act of virtue, the more is he obedient to God. Among the other virtues, charity is the outstanding one to which all the other are referred. Christ then, when He fulfilled the act of charity most perfectly was most obedient to God. For there is no act of charity more perfect than the one by which a man bears even death for another; as our Lord Himself says: “Greater love than this no man has that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).

Therefore, one finds that Christ bearing death for the salvation of men and for the glory of God the Father was extremely obedient to God and carried out a perfect act of charity. Nor is this repugnant to His divinity, as the fourteenth argument ran. For the union in person took place in such wise that what was proper to each of the natures remained, namely to the divine and to the human, as was explained above. Therefore, even when Christ suffered death and other things proper to humanity, the divinity remained incapable of suffering, although by the unity of person we say that God suffered and died. And somewhat of an instance of this appears in us because, although the flesh dies, the soul remains immortal.

Notes I.e. the rational soul; our intellect and will.

18 This, too, should be understood: Although the will of God is not for the death of men, as the fifteenth argument” set down, the will of God is for virtue by which a man bears death bravely, and in charity exposes himself to the dangers of death. Thus, the will of God was for the death of Christ, in that Christ undertook that death in charity and bore it bravely.

19 Hence, clearly, it was neither impiety nor cruelty that God the Father willed Christ to die, as the sixteenth argument was concluding, for He did not coerce one who was unwilling but was pleased with that will in whose charity Christ undertook His death. And God even wrought this charity in the soul of Christ.

20 In the same way, too, there is no awkwardness in saying that Christ willed the death on the cross as a demonstration of humility. To be sure, the humility does not touch God, as the seventeenth argument was proposing. Truly, the virtue of humility consists in this, that one keep himself within his own limits; he does not stretch himself to what is above him, but he subjects himself to his superior.

Hence, clearly, God can have no proportionate humility, for He has no superior; He Himself exists above all things. But, if a man at times subjects himself in humility to an equal or inferior, this is because the one who is his equal or inferior simply is held by the man as his superior in a certain respect.

Therefore, although the virtue of humility was not fitting to Christ in His divine nature, it was fitting to Him in His human nature, and His humility was tendered the more praiseworthy by His divinity. For the dignity of the person contributes to the praise humility deserves; for example, when out of some necessity a great man has to suffer something lowly. But there can he no dignity of man so great as this: that he be God.

Hence, the humility of the God-man was praiseworthy in the extreme when He bore those abject things which He was called on to suffer for the salvation of men. For men were by reason of pride lovers of worldly glory. Therefore, to change the spirits of men over from love of worldly glory to love of divine glory He willed to bear death; not just any sort of death, but a death abject in the extreme. For there are some who, although they do not fear death, abhor an abject death. And even to the contempt of such a death did our Lord inspire men by the example of His death.

21 One grants also that men instructed by the divine lessons were able to be informed about humility, as the eighteenth argument was proposing. For all that, deeds are more provocative of action than words; and deeds move the more effectively, the more certain is the opinion of the goodness of him who performs such deeds. Hence, although many examples of humility of other men are discoverable, it was most expeditious to arouse men to humility by the example of the God-man. He clearly could not make a mistake, and His humility is the more wondrous as His majesty is the more sublime.

22 This, too, is clear from what has been said: Christ had to suffer death not only to give an example of holding death in contempt out of love of the truth, but also to wash away the sins of others. This indeed took place when He who was without sin willed to suffer the penalty due to sin that He might take on Himself the penalty due to others, and make satisfaction for others. And although the grace of God suffices by itself for the remission of sins, as the nineteenth argument was proposing, nonetheless in the remission of sin something is required on the part of him whose sin is remitted: namely, that he satisfy the one offended. And since other men were unable to do this for themselves, Christ did this for all by suffering a voluntary death out of charity.

23 Be it granted, also, that in the punishment of sins he who sinned ought to be punished, as the twenties argument was proposing, for all that, in the matter of satisfaction one can bear another’s penalty. For, when penalty is inflicted for sin, we weigh his iniquity who is punished; in satisfaction, however, when to placate the one offended, some other voluntarily assumes the penalty, we consider the charity and benevolence of him who makes satisfaction, and this most especially appears when one assumes the penalty of another. And, therefore, God does receive from one satisfaction for another, as was shown in Book III.

24 But to satisfy for the whole human race (this was shown previously) was beyond the power of any mere man; neither was an angel equal to this, as the twenty-first argument was proceeding. For, granted an angel in some natural properties has a power beyond man, nonetheless in the sharing of beatitude (and by the satisfaction man was to be restored to this) the angel is man’s equal. And again, there would be no full restoration of man’s dignity if man were rendered obnoxious to the angel satisfying for man.

25 One should, of course, know that the death of Christ had its satisfying power from His charity in which He bore death voluntarily, and not from the iniquity of His killers who sinned in killing Him; because sin is not wiped out by sin, as the twenty-second argument proposed.

26 And although the death of Christ was satisfactory for sin, it was unnecessary for Him to die just as many times as men sinned, as the twenty-third argument was concluding. The death of Christ was sufficient for the expiation of all sins; and this by reason of the extraordinary charity in which He bore death, as well as by reason of the dignity of the satisfying person who was God and man. But even in human affairs it is clear that by as much as the person is higher, by so much is the penalty he bears reckoned for more, whether reckoned by the humility and charity of the one suffering or by the fault of the one incurring the penalty.

27 Of course, for the satisfaction of the sin of the entire human race the death of Christ was sufficient. For, although He died only in His human nature, as the twenty-fourth argument was proposing, the dignity of the person suffering, and this is the Person of the Son of God, renders His death precious. For, as was said above, just as it is a greater crime to commit an injury to a person who stands out more in dignity, so it is more virtuous and proceeds from greater charity that the greater person submit Himself voluntarily to suffering for others.

28 But, although Christ has by His death satisfied sufficiently for original sin, there is nothing awkward in this: that the penalties consequent on original sin still remain in all, even in those who are given a share in Christ’s redemption, as the twenty-fifth argument was proceeding. For it was both fitting and useful to have the penalty remain even when the fault was taken away.

First, indeed, to achieve conformity of the faithful to Christ as members to the head; hence, just as Christ first bore many sufferings, and thus arrived at the glory of immortality, it also was becoming to His faithful first to undergo sufferings and so to arrive at immortality, bearing in themselves, so to say, the marks of the passion of Christ, in order to achieve a likeness to His glory. So the Apostle says: “Heirs, indeed of God, and joint-heirs with Christ: yet so, if we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified with Him” (Rom. 8:17).

Second, because, if men coming to Jesus were forthwith to achieve immortality and impassibility, many men would approach Christ more for these bodily benefits than for spiritual goods.

And this is against the intention of Christ who came into the world to change men from love of bodily things to love of spiritual things. Third, because, if those who come to Christ were forthwith rendered incapable of suffering and death, this would somehow compel men to accept faith in Christ. And thus the merit of faith would be diminished.

29 Granted, of course, that Christ has sufficiently satisfied for the sins of the human race by His death, as the twenty-sixth argument proposed, every single one, for all that, must seek the remedies of his own salvation. For the death of Christ is, so to say, a kind of universal cause of salvation, as the sin of the first man was a kind of universal cause of damnation. But a universal cause must be applied specially to each one, that he may receive the effect of the universal cause. The effect then, of the sin of the first parent comes to each one in the origin of the flesh, but the effect of the death of Christ comes to each one in a spiritual regeneration in which the man is somehow conjoined with Christ arid incorporated into Him. And for this reason each must seek to be regenerated through Christ, and must himself undertake to do those things in which ,the power of Christ’s death operates.

30 From this it is clear that the flow of salvation from Christ to men is not through a natural propagation, but through the zeal of good will in which a man cleaves to Christ. Hence, that which each accomplishes by Christ is a personal good. Wherefore, it is not passed on to descendants, as is the sin of the first parent, which is produced with the propagation of the nature. Accordingly, although the parents are cleansed of original sin by Christ, there is nothing awkward about the birth of their children in original sin, requiring the sacraments of salvation, as the twenty-seventh argument was concluding.

31 Thus, then, from what has been set down it is to some extent clear that what the Catholic faith preaches about the Incarnation contains nothing impossible and nothing inharmonious.

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38 replies »

  1. It’s a long apologetic and I just briefly flicked through it. I am, as usual, astonished with ole Tom’s perspicacity; it’s almost as though he was preempting the Modernist/Judeo/Masonic assault on Apostolic Christianity. But, then again, perhaps there’s nothing new under the Sun and every perversion is only a revamp or re-presentation of the original perversion that promised “be as gods.

  2. Once again, St. Thomas has nailed it. There isn’t anything new under the Sun, in terms of human nature at least. The arguments mentioned are quite old and the modernist has not done anything new there. In that, St. Thomas has indeed anticipated the modern age.

  3. Briggs, YOS would disagree with the Note:
    Notes I.e. the rational soul; our intellect and will.

    He always maintained it is JUST intellect and will nothing more.
    Your note qualifies which section of the ‘soul’ as if to imply tacitly, there’s more,
    YOS would disagree.

    Yet the New Testament including letters from the apostle state that such pontification and such “knowledge” and theory will come to nothing. (The equivalent of the latter day pharisees who were also corrected)

    It’s almost as if it’s like a guessing game, where the one who knows the answer knows for certain that the guesser will have no way of coming up with the right notion. So they offer silly imaginary bets and string them along STILL knowing, with full confidence:
    “Nope… you’ll never guess”
    I will I will…I’ve worked it out…
    “NOPE! you’l never get it… tell you what, you can have a £squilian if you get the right idea, even close…

    He’s not waiting, he’s smiling in places and probably very concerned at the hubris of many who were warned about pretending to know what Spirit they are made of in order to threaten others or make them part with money or their life

  4. We are actually united to God with our hearts and not our intellect (see Romans 10:10). The intellect reasons that it needs to trust in the Lord with all of our hearts, and not lean on our own understanding (see Proverbs 3:5-6). This brings us into the realm of inner peace and strength from God which the intellect is unable to comprehend.
    It was unnecessary for Christ to die just as many times as men sinned because He also died to strengthen us from the single law of sin (Romans 7:16 thru 8:2).

  5. We seem to have the Quakerish “know-nothings” trying to impose their dogmas on us all. The kind of dogma that is based in the notion that “you can’t know anything except that you can’t know anything”.

    The idea that God put us here without the capacity for action, knowledge and will; as idiotic automatons destined to be entirely irrational slaves to an “individual”, sentimental, fancy, detached from observable reality is repugnant to most people not addicted to the kind of narcissism that thinks it can create reality. Certainly not in the image of His Own Nature of doing, understanding and wanting.

    If you go to the Theosophy shop you will be assured that anything at all is acceptable and promoted EXCEPT Apostolic Christianity.

  6. RE: Johnny to Peter:
    Yes and there’s the quote that God gave us a spirit NOT of fear but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

    RE: Johnny to Joy:
    like he had to find a donkey to ‘hail’, (excuse me). That’s precisely how it reads to me and it truly is a small point, but since yo made it.
    He referred more than once or the bible does that he did this to fulfil what was written in THEIR laws.
    The point is that he rose from the dead. Isn’t that enough?
    Had he died because of some other ’cause’, would his divinity be nay different?

    (Presuming, hoping) the answer for you, as for me, to that, is no, but of course one has to be careful…presuming anything, people surprise me at times

     
    So he knew that he would be killed, had the crowd got hold of him they would have done it with their bare hands.
    So he “had” to be killed because all those who lived like him or believed like him were persecuted at the time. Just as Jesus predicted would happen in John 15 and elsewhere.
    I don’t disagree and understand what you’e saying but the difference is in the mechanism notion that it was some kind of metaphysical manoeuvre in ‘white out sin’, a kind of exchange of sin such as happens with debt, as with the substitutionary idea.
     
    I appreciate that you have a great knowledge of Old Testament particularly with regards the prophecies. So did Jesus and that’s not for nothing

  7. Thomas Aquinas made the “necessary to die” point.
    It’s such a small point because we’re arguing counter to what happened.
    As if that’s gong to do anything but describe one’s own rationale.
    The fact is that some remarkable detail WAS predicted in the Old Testament
    It is the manner with which people were able to recognise Who he was.

    Some just thought their messiah would be an earthly king, still do

  8. like he had to find a donkey to ‘hail’, (excuse me). That’s precisely how it reads to me

    When I say “fulfill” the Law, I do not refer to “fulfilling” scripture as a whole.
    I think of “The Law” in almost a Mathematical sense.
    I think of “fulfilling” the Law as applying the Mathematical sense of COMPLETENESS.
    Remember that the Law was supposed to go in tandem with God speaking to the prophets. The Law with God speaking to the prophets kept it Complete as much as the people harkened to God’s word through the prophets. But as Christ stated time and again that the prophets were rejected and often killed.

    The point is that he rose from the dead. Isn’t that enough?
    Had he died because of some other ’cause’, would his divinity be nay different?

    No, Christ could not have lived a Dan Brownian life of being married to Mary Magdalene, had children and died an old man and then rising from that death
    Christ had to Complete the Law.
    Christ showed that “The Law” by itself (without God’s intervention) could convict and punish a perfectly (PERFECT) innocent person.

  9. So he knew that he would be killed, had the crowd got hold of him they would have done it with their bare hands.
    So he “had” to be killed because all those who lived like him or believed like him were persecuted at the time. Just as Jesus predicted would happen in John 15 and elsewhere.
    I don’t disagree and understand what you’re saying but the difference is in the mechanism notion that it was some kind of metaphysical manoeuvre to ‘wipe out sin’, a kind of exchange of sin such as happens with debt, as with the substitutionary idea.

    I am glad that we agree.
    Yes, there were many times that “they” wanted to “lay hands” on him. But that would have “failed” the legal aspects of what had to be done legally to fulfill or complete the law.
    A skeptic once pointed out that after the garden of Gethsemane, Christ was illegally tried before the Sanhedrin could legally convene. He was questioned and witnesses were procured, but Christ never spoke and later the Sanhedrin could legally convene. It did not matter that once the Sanhedrin convicted Him, they had to turn him over to the Romans whose laws did not preclude the death of a perfectly innocent man either.
    I don’t know about “wiping out sin”, death was certainly denied
    Christ became our “Kinsman Redeemer” which ‘wiped out our debt’ – he became out kinsman redeemer by dying under Roman rule.

  10. erratum

    Christ became “Kinsman Redeemer” which ‘wiped out debt’ – he became kinsman redeemer to all gentiles by dying under Roman gentile rule.

    He was questioned and witnesses were procured, but Christ never spoke and later the Sanhedrin could and did legally convene and convict. Don’t know if some sort of Miranda applied but since Christ didn’t speak …

  11. There’s the absolutely necessary and the necessary for symmetry of the prophecies, which you explain. That is the reason given in the New Testament, pretty much. Not just with the hayling of. Donkey.
    Yet I still believe Jesus was divine regardless, maybe because he said “I Am”, before Abraham was. Wonder if that’s a translation thing, though. Again, to me, it doesn’t change the central tenet of Christianity, as that’s back to mechanistic explanations.

    His life ‘events’ didn’t make him divine but of course he couldn’t have lived a life which was other than the one he led because it wouldn’t be his person, his character, so to speak. Anyway, I think John was his favourite, not convinced by the Mary Magdalene storyline.
    Do wonder why none of his earlier life is included, maybe a. Need to know basis.

    Learning more about the prophecies from Old Testament will no doubt clarify. Helps to know the Gospels better prior to studying the Old Testament. It’s not the way to start at the beginning and try and read the entire thing from start to Finnish in a go. Which is what I did, knowing better, but still did it to ‘save time’.

    Re: Paying debts and all. It’s not the way I look at this but I understand. More it is about human guilt and human reconciliation with God through Jesus Christ, his life example in all its particulars and his passion at the end as you mention. The resurrection proves that his power was not o f this world. Therefore, there is good reason to believe what he said and trust n what he is recorded to have stated about ‘The Father’ and God’s Grace.

    The matter of sin is dealt with in a different way than any other religion.
    There are hints in the Old scripture though, aside from the prophecies, where the notions of Wisdom, kindness, gentleness and, fortitude, peacefulness are demonstrated, but there’ a lot of error and sin on full display from everybody. God is misrepresented, I believe, (that’s a bad thing to say, yes) I don’t believe God tells men to go and kill an entire town, for example. Just don’t, never will. Is he powerful enough? No reason to doubt that, but it is not his will. Someone doing so today would be tried for mass murder and put into a hospital prison.

    Thanks for your explanation, I wouldn’t suggest it should have happened another way but also suspect if he were here today something similar would happen, for similar reasons,
    As I reread your bit about ‘the law’, I see an interesting connection in the denial of death, as you put it. Ultimate justice. God also seems to be part of all time, not just b the bible says it somewhere. That’s how he seems to me.
    My views aren’t ossified generally unless stated overtly as I’ve found it’s not the way to be yet people tend to assume all statements are absolutes

  12. Faith needs to be of the heart (see Romans 10:10)

    I can’t disagree but I’m not sure why you posited that to me.

    Did I write something that denied that thought?

    According to the source I linked, the Hebrew word used for the heart typically referred to the intellect or the rational, thinking aspect of humankind. The soul referred to the emotions or passions.

    I think the first part of Romans 10, simply says that “knowledge” of Christ (or God for that matter) is not enough.

    Like Deuteronomy, you’re whole being must be poured into that “knowledge” so that it becomes more than just a fact.

    Paul belies Jack Webb’s “Just the facts, ma’am”. Sgt Friday wanted just the facts so he could apply his own heart and soul into the problem. Paul wants you to be Sgt Friday; yes, get the facts, but piece those facts together to make a cohesive whole.

    Romans 10:10 is a fact. But you need 10:1 through 10:21 to make a cohesive whole

  13. The intellect reasons that it needs to trust in the Lord with all of our hearts, and not lean on our own understanding (see Proverbs 3:5-6)

    You had the answer the first time. One of my favorite proverbs (I needed to apply it more the last two years)
    I carried it in my wallet for years. Don’t know if I lost it during a wallet change or if it fell apart.

  14. I don’t believe God tells men to go and kill an entire town, for example.

    Exactly, the Pentateuch is peppered of lies.

    We must only believe what we choose to believe – for that is what Faith/Creed denote and if we reject the word of God owing to our own limitations God will not punish us for our unbelief because we are good people.

    http://www.drbo.org/chapter/04031.htm

    Well, come on; are we really expected to believe this happened because God ordered it to happen?

    And killing the children too – preadolescent males and females but – the Jews get to keep the virgins?

    Well, yeah, according to the first Inquisitor, Moses. Yes.

  15. Thus, then, was it suitable that from the beginning the human race be instructed in the matter of its salvation by some light and lesser testimonies through the Patriarchs, and the Law, and the Prophets;

    I waited two weeks for this? Sorry Aquinas, that answer doesn’t address the real problem. Human beings have existed for at least 250,000 years, long before the time of the Patriarchs. (And there’s no credible evidence that the Patriarchs existed in history, but that’s a separate issue – although also a significant one, to say the least.)

  16. Why not just say the Jewish law, or the Torah?
    “The Pentateuch, or what came to be known as the Torah or the Book of the Law, is regarded as the most authoritative and highly inspired of all the Old Testament writings, in large part because these books contain the laws given to the Israelites by Yahweh.”

    “we are good people”. (presuming sarcasm or some other double talk)

    “we” There is no ‘we’
    When it comes to judgement from God, its individual responsibility, not group think and group responsibility. What is being proposed or assumed is yet more tribalism, or tribal thinking. “them and Us”…

    It’s one of the reasons why the stories in the bible’s old testament about what God did to a group because of what some did, is just wrong. In both senses. Wrong interpretation and wrong morally as a notion. God is ultimate justice, ultimate truth, ultimate kindness, ultimate beauty, ultimate true love in it’s [roper meaning
    No idea what is meant by the Jews getting all the virgins, does the bible say that, too?

    Ask the jihadists, precisely how many?
    Shows how some minds work …

  17. According to the source I linked, the Hebrew word used for the heart typically referred to the intellect or the rational, thinking aspect of humankind. The soul referred to the emotions or passions.

    The heart typically referred to the intellect or the rational, thinking aspect of humankind. The soul referred to the emotions or passions. So, to do something with one’s heart and soul is to do it with one’s whole being. The third term, might, really means “very, very much,” or “exceedingly.” It is probably included here to give extra emphasis.

    Would the word effort, or strength not describe it better?

    I’m suspicious of the person’s idea that soul and heart and mind meant anything different than it does today. Only that the heart was severely hard in the past, as most have noted, so perhaps hearts aren’t what they used to be after all?

    https://oxford.universitypressscholarship.com/view/10.1093/0198250134.001.0001/acprof-9780198250135-chapter-2

    There’s cross talk about active versus passive and what it all means but the bible if read by today’s standards of meaning is not unclear.
    Whether Deuteronomy or the New Testament.
    I suppose if you can change the definitions though, you can control the meanings and the people; the gullible ones who don’t trust the mind they’re saying they use to interpret. Then when some indoctrinated person. comes along and tells you not to trust your conscience, well, how is that in keeping with either commands from the old or New Testament. Why tell people to use their ‘anything’ to do anything, if their anything can’t be trusted?

    So much circular rubbish and it’s so unnecessary

  18. Swordfish,
    And there’s no credible evidence that the Patriarchs existed in history, …
    There is more evidence that Jesus Christ existed than there is evidence that Julius Caesar existed, according to what I’ve been led to believe, never having checked personally. We have it on authority from non believers that Jesus did exist.
    So if that is a matter of history, Jesus referred back to the Old Laws, which were also upheld over the centuries. What reason is there to doubt the actual existence of the patriarchs? Which ones?
    I would say supposing they made the existence of the patriarchs is akin to the weird and whacky side of the anti covid conspiracy movement. Saying the overlords made it all up in an elaborate and cunning plan Baldric style… it’s in that kind of realm of unbelievability

  19. I can’t totally disagree with your thoughts

    Whether Deuteronomy or the New Testament.

    A huge problem in translating the Jewish Bible that is written in Hebrew is that the words are written without vowels
    The problem raised in the link is one of Vocabulary and ultimately translation (your point).
    Some of the most important tenets of the Bible are repeated. The really important ones show up in Old and New.
    It’s why it’s unhelpful to look at a single verse to prove one’s point

  20. Re translation, John Lennox reported that he investigated among Hebrew scholars, including those with no faith, about the translation of the word “day” and there are more than ten (fifteenI think) interpretations/meanings just of that one word. *re Genesis days
    Regarding agreement on these matters, it’s impossible to find a single person with whom to agree on everything they say regarding Christianity. That has been my experience. So don’t feel obliged to agree on my part

  21. Joy

    Thanks for that.

    there are more than ten (fifteen I think) interpretations/meanings just of that one word. *re Genesis days”

    I “knew” (suspected) this

    What I DID know was that Daniel Weeks meant seven years. Fundamentalists accepted this but only accept the 24 hour day in Genesis

  22. I found this for some who believe in a literal bible:
    Re “seven days that divide the world”
    It is a very long speech/lecture.
    I’ve just realised the fifteen different meanings referred to by John is with regards to another interpretation so I’ll have to listen through to clarify what it actually is that is claimed.

    In the above link John Lennox mentions only four meanings for the word day

  23. 35:30 begins talking about Genesis’ day

    37:20 Lennox explains that there are fifteen to sixteen different Genesis days interpretations but these morph into three or four main streams.

    Also explains logical versus chronological order and how they are mixed up

    Here:
    https://youtu.be/0FmO2XKMe6g

  24. Joy,

    There is more evidence that Jesus Christ existed than there is evidence that Julius Caesar existed, according to what I’ve been led to believe, never having checked personally.

    Perhaps you should have checked. The evidence for Caeser is far stronger than that for Jesus. For Caeser, we have his own writings and those of known contemporaries like Sallust and Cicero. For Jesus we have anonymous gospels written decades after his supposed life, and letters from Paul who never met Jesus. You’d also have to question why contemporaries like Philo of Alexandria, who wrote 30 volumes (850,000 words) on Jewish events, completely failed to mention Jesus at all, despite Jesus attracting crowds of thousands, working miracles, and causing an earthquake when he was crucified.

    We have it on authority from non believers that Jesus did exist.

    We don’t have it on authority from non-believers that Jesus was divine, otherwise they would be believers. Modern historians reject supernatural claims, so at best, there are historians who think that Jesus existed, but who only accept a non-divine Jesus. Given that, there’s no reason to suppose Jesus had any more idea about the historicity of the Patriarchs than anyone else.

    So if that is a matter of history, Jesus referred back to the Old Laws, which were also upheld over the centuries. What reason is there to doubt the actual existence of the patriarchs?

    Have you read the Old Testament? That’s the reason to doubt their existence, as it’s a far-fetched, nonsensical fable. That and the complete lack of evidence, such as no mention of thousands of Jews in ancient Egypt.

    I would say supposing they made the existence of the patriarchs is akin to the weird and whacky side of the anti covid conspiracy movement. Saying the overlords made it all up in an elaborate and cunning plan Baldric style… it’s in that kind of realm of unbelievability

    You’re basically arguing that it’s more likely that unbelievable characters and events really existed than that they were made up! I assume you wouldn’t think the same argument would apply to any other religion, fable, myth, superhero comic, movie, or novel?

  25. Swordfish,
    1) How do you conclude the Gospels are anonymous?
    2) “Perhaps you should have checked. “ Yes, having disliked history at school, I never doubted that Boadicea or Caesar existed. Why would anyone? At such a basic level?
    3) “The evidence for Caesar is far stronger than that for Jesus. “
    I imagine, that they ‘estimated’ the evidence in a different way to someone who expects that only evidence of a certain formal type should count.
    So I take the assertion (evidence of existence) in the manner with which it’s presumably intended. and If historians don’t doubt Jesus’ existence we only need decide whether what he said was true.
    Sincerely, is there anything wrong with that logic?
    It boils down to what is accepted as evidence. In criticising those who believe in God, you say there is no evidence, but this is not entirely accurate. It restricts the definition as to what evidence IS. Accepting it is of a different type and quality. Quantity? Not so sure.
     
    Clearly there is none which you find compelling or of sufficient physical measurability/verifiability. History is not science though, they don’t carry out their investigations like controlled experiements, they work with what they have and use inference to the best explanation. Yes they use scientific instruments, sure, where they’re helpful.
    4) We don’t know what Jesus wrote, if he wrote anything. He wrote in the sand, he was a carpenter, so somewhere there’s some of his marks potentially, on wood in some old building somewhere.
    Since he said that His true disciples must abide in his word and his Holy Spirit would follow, it’s not surprising he didn’t leave another “written law” or tablet, for adamant and over certain officious types to use for their own purposes. Over the years, the system has managed to put God in a a contained constrained physical place. There are only two things which he said to the disciples, it was simple. He showed his divinity to those who were present. Then, to those who saw the risen Jesus. There is enough in that without any writing being necessary. So that’s why some Christians aren’t looking where perhaps you think they should? I don’t believe only because of the bible, perhaps there was a time. Although I always believed in God as a child, thought he was ‘there’ …studying biology and evolution never made me think God was suddenly out of the question. (without help of intellectual types).
    When you really get an “answer”, despite having thought you had faith, it changes everything. It also leaves answers and questions all at once. God is not depending only on the bible, neither should we. So if we can be really specific on a thing in the OT maybe I can say what and which, otherwise…
    6) The contemporary Jews rejected Jesus Christ’s validity as their messiah they were expecting something rather physical and political.
    7) “His supposed life”. Didn’t realise you still questioned that he even existed.
    “We don’t have it on authority from non-believers that Jesus was divine, “
    Obviously, that is the state of the argument: It is about whether what he said was true. No serious historian argues about his “supposed existence”. Did you note that, in the book of Mark Jesus asked that his divinity be kept secret and even argued against it with suggestion of it?
    “Modern historians reject supernatural claims, “
    That’s not what their role is as historians. Do you mean there’s no record of anybody making the claims? I doubt they speak with one voice on the divinity question. That would imply there are no Christian historians. My school teacher was evidence that isn’t tru
    …suppose Jesus had any more idea about the historicity of the Patriarchs than anyone else.
    Why would any contemporary Jew be arguing about the patriarchy? Are you and I arguing at cross purposes? You do mean the Jewish religious texts of the time?

    Have you read the Old Testament? That’s the reason to doubt their existence, as it’s a far-fetched, nonsensical fable. That and the complete lack of evidence, such as no mention of thousands of Jews in ancient Egypt.
     

    You’re basically arguing that it’s more likely that unbelievable characters and events really existed than that they were made up! I assume you wouldn’t think the same argument would apply to any other religion, fable, myth, superhero comic, movie, or novel

    Well I think you have to be specific in what you’re assuming about what I or anyone believes. The Old Testaments full of fables, I’d say inspired by God in some way. Surprised you didn’t pick that up. The point was about the patriarchy’s existence. We can certainly discuss what and which Old Testament stories I take literally but that’s not relevant to the patriarchy.
    Am I missing something in the word “patriarchy” and your idea of “evidence is different from mine. Not that much though. I have a different idea of where science has a role and where it is irrelevant.
    No need to be down on science or history. They’re different I don’t believe. In the luddite notion of science with regards faith. Science doesn’t conflict with what is ultimately true or it’s proven wrong.
    Christianity is falsifiable, in the theoretical sense but in practical terms is hasn’t been and can’t be

  26. Sorry for lack of paragraphs, last paragraph was not your quote, to be clear.
    Christianity is falsifiable, in the theoretical sense but in practical terms it hasn’t been.
     
    pause for breath,
    If I’m right in what I believe, it won’t be

  27. Wikipedia intends something similar to that used pejoratively by activists today.

    In Christianity the patristic fathers are what traditional Christinas hold to with regards to faith. (whether Catholic or not).

    of or relating to the church fathers or their writings.

    I thought we were discussing the Abrahamic/Jewish equivalent. i.e. what Jesus would have been taught as a child in the synagogue..

  28. Sorry again, missed the beginning, (tired)
    Patriarchy:
    Wikipedia intends something similar to that used pejoratively by activists today.

    Biblical patriarchy, also known as Christian patriarchy, is a set of beliefs in Reformed Evangelical Protestant Christianity concerning gender relations and their manifestations in institutions, including marriage, the family, and the home. It sees the father as the head of the home, responsible for the conduct of his family. Notable people associated with biblical patriarchy include Douglas Wilson,[1] R. C. Sproul, Jr.,[2] Voddie Baucham,[3] the Duggar family,[4] and Douglas Phillips.

    In Christianity the patristic fathers are what traditional Christinas hold to with regards to faith. (whether Catholic or not).

    of or relating to the church fathers or their writings.

    I thought we were discussing the Abrahamic/Jewish equivalent. i.e. what Jesus would have been taught as a child in the synagogue.
    So your argument about patriarchy,

  29. Judaism is a Matriarchal system, if I’m not mistaken.
    So what have we been arguing about? and do you care ?;)

  30. What is rather interesting is that the Canaanite tribes targeted for destruction by the Israelites appear to be tribes that had intermarried with the Nephillim, Biblical giants (Hebrew perhaps fallen ones, but translated Gigantes meaning giants in the Greek Septuagint version of the Bible; which the Dead Sea scrolls eventually showed to be more accurate than the Masoretic text in places.)
    These giants were the descendants of pre-flood “sons of God” (Genesis 6) in other words, angels, (see Jude 1:6,1 Peter 3:18-22 and 2 Peter 2:4, ) who left their proper domain and intermarried with human women. This sounds very strange to modern ears. But what do we really know about the past?
    It was understood by Joshua and his companions that somehow there were Nephilim in the post flood era also, see Numbers 13:33. Goliath seems to have been one of these descendants, and possibly also the Amalekites, whom Saul was commanded to destroy and failed to obey, thus causing the situation in the book of Esther hundreds of years later.
    This is fairly speculative I suppose – but if the DNA of these groups of people was polluted by non-human (fallen angelic) DNA then I believe it is more understandable why God would want to destroy these groups. There certainly appears to have been a depth of evil seen in the multi-generational hatred the Amalekites held towards the Jews that was more than human.
    There are of course other theories about what the Sons of God in Genesis 6 were, eg the Sethite theory expounded by Augustine and Calvin, but in the New Testament the epistles of 1 Peter, 2 Peter and Jude support the contemporary 1st century interpretation (seen also in the apocryphal Enoch, which Jude actually quotes).

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