Sunday, July 29, 2007

God's Simplicity and Christ's Composition of Person

MYTH
If the hypostasis of Jesus is composite then God is not wholly simple

It is not contradictory to affirm that God is completely simple and that the Person or hypostasis of Christ is composite upon the Incarnation. For the Person or hypostasis of Christ is per se wholly simple even as the Nature of the Word, but the Person of Christ subsists in two natures and though there is one subsisting being in Him there are different aspects of subsistence.

Source: Summa Theologica 3.2.4

Friday, July 27, 2007

"Today You Shall Be With Me In Paradise"

1. God's being is the act of His intellect and His act of understanding, which is His substance, is the measure and cause of all other beings and intellects. Wherefore it is clear that God is the sovereign and first truth, pure truth itself. That is why Jesus says "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life" [Jn 14:6]. As such God cannot tell a lie. Jesus is God and so He never lies. Thus we are obligated to believe without reservation all His words in Sacred Scripture, of which He as God Almighty is the author.

2. Jesus was crucified next to two thieves, one of whom was repentant and is now in Heaven. Jesus said to the repentant thief, "Today you shall be with me in paradise" [Lk 23:43]. The thief descended locally into hell (limbus patrum = limbo of the holy fathers) with Christ yet as to reward was in paradise since, like all other saints, he enjoyed our Lord's Godhead.

3. Christ did not locally stay in Purgatory (Purgatorio) because Purgatory is evidently not the same abode of the dead as limbus patrum. For the holy fathers did not die in a state of venial or mortal sin, but original sin only. The thief's contrition cleansed him of venial and mortal sin. Christ delivered the holy fathers from limbo. But He evidently did not deliver them from Purgatory because they had no venial sin and so had no business there; moreover, people still go to Purgatory to become completely sanctified by fire, a punishment more painful than anything on earth and yet not as severe as in the hell of the damned, and Christ's Passion has the same efficacy forever.

4. Christ did not deliver the lost/damned from Hell{1} (Infernus) because they either had no faith in Christ's Passion because they were infidels or if they had faith they did not conform to the charity of Christ's suffering, which was more painful than the pains of Hell, and hence could not be cleansed from their sins by the power of His Passion.

Notes and References
{1} St. Job says of the Hell of the lost [Job 10:21], "Before I go, and return no more, to a land that is dark and covered with the mist of death." Christ did not descend locally into the Hell of the lost because He is the light and St. Paul says [2 Cor 6:14-15], "Do not be mismated with unbelievers. For what partnership have righteousness and iniquity? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever?"

Source: ST 3.52.2,4-6,8

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Arius and the Eternal Generation of the Son Once More

1. The heretic Arius maintained that the Son is less than the Father because He is a created being, and the Jehovah’s Witnesses share this wicked belief to this day. Arius mentioned twelve modes of generation in an attempt to prove that if the Son is from the Father then He is less than the Father in His Divine nature and/or later than the Father (i.e. there was a time when He was not). These are the twelve modes with their respective problems:
(1) issue of a line from a point – inequality of simplicity
(2) emission of rays from the sun – inequality of nature
(3) mark/impression made by a seal – no consubstantiality or executive power
(4) infusion of a good will from God – no consubstantiality
(5) emanation of an accident from its subject – accident has no subsistence
(6) abstraction of a species from matter, as sense receives the species from the sensible object – inequality of spiritual simplicity
(7) exciting of the will by knowledge – excitation is temporal instead of eternal
(8) transformation, as an imagine is made of brass – this transformation is material instead of immaterial
(9) motion from a mover – effect and cause
(10) taking of species from genera – does not happen in God because the Father is not predicated of the Son as the genus of a species
(11) realization of an idea – external coffer arises from the one in the mind
(12) birth, as a man is begotten of his father – priority and posteriority of time

2. Obviously Arius was an intelligent and thoughtful man, but not intelligent enough to grasp the truth of the eternal generation of the Son from the Father, which involves consubstantiality and thus equality of greatness, power, etc. Arius thought that generation implies that the Son is not equal to the person from Whom He proceeds in eternity. On the contrary, the procession of the Son from the Father can be called generation. For the Son proceeds by way of an intelligible action (a vital operation) and by way of similitude (the concept of the intellect is a likeness of the object conceived), and the Son exists in the same nature (in God the act of understanding is His existence).

3. The procession of the Holy Spirit from the Father and/through the Son is not called generation. The procession of the intellect is by way of similitude and is called generation since every generator begets its own like, while the procession of the will is not by way of similitude but by way of impulse and movement towards an object. There are but two processions in God since the divine processions can be derived only from the actions which remain within the agent, i.e. in the intellectual nature.

4. The Son is other than the Father but we must use extreme caution when we affirm this truth. "Distinction" is a good term to use because it implies relative opposition which is intrinsic to real relation. The masculine "alius" is good because it implies only a distinction of suppositum and the Son is another eternal suppositum of the Divine nature as He is another person and another hypostasis.

Avoiding Heretical Terminology
5. On the other hand, "difference" and "diversity" are poisonous terms because they imply disunity of essence. Likewise "separation" and "division" are bad because they belong to the parts of a whole and thus take away the singleness of the Divine essence. "Disparity" is bad because it takes away quality and "alien" and "discrepant" are bad because they remove similitude. Moreover, "singularity" is bad because it takes away the communicability of the Divine essence (by way of an intelligible emanation), and "only" as in "unici" is bad because it takes away the number of the Persons (three, viz. Father, Son, Holy Ghost)."Confused" is bad because it removes the order of the Persons' nature. Finally, do not use "solitary" because that adjective removes the society of the three Persons.

Source: St. Thomas Aquinas (Doctor Angelicus), Summa Theologica 1.27.1-2,4-5; 1.31.2; 1.36.2-3; 1.42.1-4,6

Monday, July 23, 2007

Why Did God Become Incarnate?

God would not have assumed flesh had there been no sin in the world, since the Bible repeatedly assigns Adam’s sin (pride) as the reason for the Incarnation. The Incarnation was necessary for the restoration of mankind,{1} and the Incarnation perfectly manifests God's infinite goodness, justice, wisdom, and power.{2} He came at a fitting time, neither the beginning nor the end of the world, to take away all sins.

Notes and References
{1} St. John the Evangelist says [Jn 3:16], "God so loved the world as to give His only-begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him may not perish, but my have life everlasting."
{2} St. John Damascene, De Fide Orth. iii, 1.

Source: ST 3.1.1-6

Saturday, July 21, 2007

On Supposed Christian Anti-Semitism, Part I

1. Supposedly St. Augustine the Great, Bishop of Hippo and Doctor (of Grace) of the Church, said in Epistle 82 that “The ceremonies of the Jews are both baneful and deadly to Christians and whoever keeps them is doomed to the abyss of the devil.” This quote appears to be fake since it is absent in both Letter 82 and Tractate 82.

2. Blessed Juliana of Norwich says [Revelations of Divine Love], "I knew in my faith that the Jews were accursed and condemned without end, except those who were converted." She is simply saying, in accordance with EENS (Extra ecclesiam nulla salus) which the Church has always affirmed, that the Jews who don’t become members of the Church before dying suffer in Hell for eternity. This is the same sense conveyed by Pope Eugenius IV at the Ecumenical Council of Florence when he said, “all those who are outside the catholic church, not only pagans but also Jews or heretics and schismatics, cannot share in eternal life and will go into the everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels, unless they are joined to the catholic church before the end of their lives.”

3. St. Gregory of Nyssa supposedly accused every single Jew of deicide. The quote attributed to him—“The Jews are murderers of the Lord … They are guilty of shouting: ‘Away with Him, away with Him! Crucify Him!’ He who was God in the flesh!”—is said to be from his Oration on the Resurrection of Christ. But this quote appears to be fake. In all the online listings of the works of Gregory of Nyssa, I have found none entitled "Homilies on the Resurrection." The closest title I could find is "On the Soul and the Resurrection", the text of which is in the public domain at http://www.ccel.org/fathers2/NPNF2-05/Npnf2-05-37.htm. It has no mention of Jews whatsoever.

[UNDER CONSTRUCTION]

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The Fullness of Grace

1. St. Gabriel the Archangel hailed St. Mary, the Mother of God and a lifelong virgin, as full of grace [Lk 1:28]. Now Christ’s fullness of grace is special and more excellent than that of the Queen of Heaven. St. Mary is full of grace in reference to herself, i.e. inasmuch as she had sufficient grace to fulfill her divinely ordained role of being the immaculate Mother of the Father’s Only-Begotten Son. Jesus has fullness of grace on the part of grace itself, i.e. grace in its greatest possible excellence and all the fruits of grace. The assumption of Christ’s human nature to the unity of His Person preceded His habitual grace, which, though not infinite, could not have been increased. Why cannot Christ’s grace be properly called infinite? Because grace is a creature in the soul and the being of grace cannot exceed its subject.

2. Christ is full of all virtue and He has the gifts of the Holy Ghost and gratuitous graces, including the gifts of fear and prophecy. Christ has neither faith nor hope, since Christ saw God’s essence fully from the moment of His conception, and the object of faith is a divine thing not seen. Now when I say He sees God’s essence fully I do not mean to say that His soul comprehends the Word or the Divine Essence, for Christ’s soul is created and thus finite and the finite cannot comprehend the infinite.

3. But Christ’s soul knows all things in the Word, viz. all that in away way at all is, will be, or was done, said, or thought, by whomsoever and at any time. Moreover, his soul knows the infinite in the Word and it sees the Word more clearly than did any other creature. As regards the former point, a common verse cited as counterevidence is Mk 13:32. It must be said that Christ was unwilling to reveal the day and hour even though He has this knowledge from the Father. It cannot be said that Christ is ignorant of the precise time of Judgment because as Man He knows how to judge.

Source: Summa Theologica of St. Thomas Aquinas

Monday, July 09, 2007

Oy Vey!

Oy vey! Today I was just a fat slob. I had a plan to make the best out of today by improving myself; I have been pretty good about avoiding sloth lately but today was a grave lapse. Last night I bought the new Nike Air Pegasus running shoes just before seeing Pirates Of the Caribbean Three (10/10). I didn't think it possible, but the 2007 model is superior to the old one I had purchased for spring track. I was set upon buying only Pegasus shoes and I knew I was right when I took a walk in the light and cushy yet sturdy shoes. My plan was to do 50 crunches, run 4.2 miles in my new shoes, do an intense eight-minute circuit training routine from the Abs Diet Eat Right Every Time! Guide{1} (buy it today) and then do 50 more crunches before biking 24.6 miles and having a lunch of a chicken patty and chocolate shake with whipped cream. I might have gone for a swim but wouldn't have been surprised if I didn't have it in me. Then I would have bike another 7.4 miles back home and done 50 more crunches. That would have been the perfect workout.

Problem is, my plan was contingent upon getting a good night's sleep, and I did not accomplish that in time and did not beat the intense heat and humidity outdoors which I would have but for the movie (last night I loved the movie but I had expressed my reservations about going multiple times at around dinner time). So today I did essentially nothing but eat, sleep, and listen to music. I was sleeping to make up for the deficit that has been accumulating due to me falling asleep after midnight and getting up around 8:00 A.M. Now it's after 6:00 P.M. and I am not going for a run, and my left achilles has an open blister thanks to me foolishly picking it.

Lord, give me strength!

{1} Buy this book by David Zinczenko and Ted Spiker now @ http://www.amazon.com/Diet-Right-Every-Time-Guide/dp/1594862389. I love Men's Health books because they are always funny and they always dispel harmful misconceptions about fitness. This workout is total-body and builds lots of muscle and melts lots of fat.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Happy Fourth of July 2007

Happy Fourth of July 2007! God bless you and God bless America!