Sunday, August 26, 2007

Holtz on Hell

MYTH
The Bible does not give clear and consistent teachings about Hell

Apostate Brian Holtz says (AAC.2002) that "Jesus failed to leave clear teachings about … [H]ell."

On the contrary, the Bible's doctrine of Hell is perfectly clear.

In Hell=Gehenna=Infernus, the damned (men and demons) are subject to everlasting punishment [Is 66:24; Jer 18:7; Mt 25:41,46; Mk 9:43,45,47; 1 Cor 6:9-10; 2 Thess 1:9; Jam 2:10; 2 Pt 2:21; Rev 14:11; 19:3; 20:10] by corporeal fire [Wis 5:21; Mt 3:12; 13:42,50; 18:8; 25:41; Jude 7; Rev 19:20] of the same species as elemental fire [Wis 11:17; Is 30:33], brimstone and storms of winds [Ps 10:7; Is 30:33], snow waters [Job 24:19], an incorporeal worm which is the remorse of conscience (pain of loss) [Judith 16:21; Sir 7:19], incorporeal weeping [Lk 13:28; Rev 18:7], and material darkness [Ps 28:7; Mt 22:13; 25:30; 2 Pt 2:17; Jude 13]. The damned, who hate God [Ps 73:23] and always will evil and by right and deliberate reason wish not to be [Sir 41:3-4; Jer 20:14; Mt 26:24; Rev 9:6], repent indirectly by hating sin on account of the punishment with which it is connected [Wis 5:3], and they wish that the saints are damned [Is 14:9; 26:11]. The damned, whose pains are essentially immutable and differ in degree according to demerit, can use knowledge they acquired on earth [Lk 16:25] and they see the glory of the blessed [Wis 5:2; Lk 16:23]. Hell is beneath the earth [Nu 16:31; Jonah 2:4; Ps 54:16; Is 5:14; 14:9; Ek 26:20; Mt 12:40; Phil 2:10; Rev 5:3] and has plenty of room for the bodies of the damned [Prov 30:15-16].

Friday, August 24, 2007

The Devil's Sin

1. Contra Porphyry,{1} Beelzebub is not naturally wicked.{2} For as an intellectual substance, he is naturally inclined towards good which is the intellectually apprehensible object of the will. He did not sin in the first instant of his creation.{3} Jesus did not teach that He did, but simply that he never ceased to be evil after his first sin.{4} For God, the agent Who created the angels, is not the cause of sin (the evil of fault) and the operation of the angels came from God Who created their nature. But there was no interval between Satan's creation and his fall. For he used his free will in the first instant of his creation and was created in grace, and if he merited in the first instant of his creation then he would have received the beatific vision.

2. Now Satan was absolutely the highest angel God created.{5} Thus he is called Lucifer on account of the state from which he fell.{6} He was set over the terrestrial order as Rex Mundi.{7} The Seraphim are the highest order of angels{8} and Satan was from the order of the Cherubim.{9} Given the Catholic angelic hierarchy then, how is he said to be the highest angel? He is called a cherub (full of knowledge) instead of a seraph (on fire) because knowledge is compatible with mortal sin but the heat of charity is not compatible with mortal sin.{10}

3. And how could God’s will be frustrated in the noblest creature? This question is based on a false premise; God's will is not frustrated in the reprobate or the elect since He foreknows and makes glory from both. The wise God made it so that the intellectual creature so that even an exalted one such as Lucifer could use its own will in order to act for its own end, and thus could stray from its due end.{11} Further, though Lucifer's inclination to good may have been exceedingly high, he was not forced to incline towards good contrary to free will and hence he was able to not follow it.{12}

4. Satan caused the other angels to fall, not via coercion, but via encouragement,{13} and the cause and effect occurred in the same instant, since no angel needs to take time to deliberate and choose and consent, as we do. Of the seven deadly sins, only pride and envy can exist in a demon with regard to affection of their spiritual nature.{14} Beelzebub’s first sin was pride. For he first desired not to be subject to a superior when he was supposed to. His second sin was envy because he coveted the excellence which ceased to be singular when God, against Beelzebub’s will, used man for His glory.{15}

5. Satan sinned by seeking to be as God, not be equality, but by likeness.{16} In other words, he sinned by seeking final beatitude of his own power, which is proper to God alone. He desired final beatitude without God’s assistance by grace.{17} And thus he evilly wanted to have the authority of dominion over other beings. The will of Satan and his demons is forever obstinate in evil.{18} This sin is still in him according to desire, but he obviously doesn’t think he can get what he sought at this point. In the same way, a lustful man who remains in the same location while the lustful woman he knows moves to another country would fornicate if they could, i.e. if they weren’t so geographically separated.{19} Demons always sin when they act of their deliberate will; for they may tell the truth so as to trick somebody and when they unwillingly confess the truth when compelled by the evidence,{20} as in the case of the exorcism of Nicola Aubrey when Beelzebub, Legion, Astaroth, Cerberus, and other demons were forced to confess the truth of the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist.{21}

6. Satan is the most wicked and miserable being in the universe.{22} But he and his demons are not sorrow for the evil of sin on account of the sin itself, since that would mean he and his fallen angels have good will. Their sorrow is not evidence of a good will, but of their good nature which was created by God.{23}

7. The demons are subject to everlasting punishment. Origen incorrectly believed that God’s mercy will deliver the demons from their punishment after a very long time.{24} Scripture, on the other hand, teaches that the pains of Hell NEVER end.{25} If their sufferings ended then the bliss of the blessed would likewise end. God per se has mercy on everyone{26} but since His wisdom orders His mercy, the damned who are forever obstinate in evil (5) and make themselves unworthy of His mercy are not saved by His mercy. Mercy is not contrary to justice but is more than justice.{27} There is justice and mercy in every work of God.{28}

Notes and References
{1} Bishop St. Augustine the Great, Doctor of Grace, De Civ. Dei x, 11. Porphyry claimed that "There is a class of demons of crafty nature, pretending that they are gods and the souls of the dead."
{2} Pseudo-Dionysius, Div. Nom. iv.
Moreover, Lateran IV, cap. i, Firmiter credimus, says that "Diabolus enim et alii dæmones a Deo quidem naturâ creati sunt boni, sed ipsi per se facti sunt mali." This means that "the Devil and the other demons were created by God good in their nature but they by themselves have made themselves evil."
{3} St. Moses says [Gen 1:31], "God saw all the things that He had made, and they were very good."
St. Ezekiel says [Ek 28:13,15], "You were in the pleasures of the paradise of God. … You have walked in the midst of the stones of fire; you were perfect in your ways from the day of your creation until iniquity was found in you." St. Ezekiel is representing the instantaneous spiritual movement of the free will tending towards good as a corporeal movement measured by time.
St. Isaiah says [Is 14:12], "How you are fallen, O Lucifer, who did rise in the morning!"
Origen says [Hom. i in Ek], "The serpent of old did not from the first walk upon his breast and belly."
{4} St. John the Evangelist says [Jn 8:44], "He was a murderer from the beginning."
{5} That is why the Bible says "the Devil and his angels" [Mt 25:41], "the prince of the Powers of this air" [Eph 2:2] (referring to the seventh highest circle of angels, cf. Eph 1:21), and "the dragon and his angels" [Rev 12:7].
Pope St. Gregory I the Great, Doctor of the Church, Hom. xxxiv in Ev.: Satan, "being set over all the hosts of angels, surpassed them in brightness, and was by comparison the most illustrious among them."
{6} Petavius, De Angelis, III, iii, 4.
{7} St. John the Evangelist quotes our Lord as saying [Jn 14:30] "I will not now speak many things to you, for the prince of this world comes, and in Me he has not anything." Wherefore St. John Damascene says [De Fide Orth. ii, 4], "He who from among these angelic powers was set over the earthly realm, and into whose hands God committed the guardianship of the earth, was not made wicked in nature but was good, and made for good ends, and received from his Creator no trace whatever of evil in himself."
{8} St. Ezekiel says [Ek 28:14], "You were a cherub stretched out, and protecting, and I set you in the holy mountain of God."
{9} Pseudo-Dionysius, Coel. Hier. vi-vii.
{10} St. Thomas Aquinas, ST 1.63.7.1r.
{11} St. Thomas Aquinas, ST 1.63.7.2r.
{12} St. Thomas Aquinas, ST 1.63.7.3r.
{13} St. John the Evangelist says [Rev 12:3-4], "And another portent appeared in Heaven; behold, a great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems upon his heads. His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven, and cast them to the earth…"
{14} Bishop St. Augustine the Great says [De Civ. Dei xiv, 3] that Satan "is not a fornicator nor a drunkard, nor anything of the like sort; yet he is proud and envious."
{15} St. Thomas Aquinas, 1.63.2.
{16} St. Isaiah says of Satan [Is 14:13-14], "You said in your heart, 'I will ascend to Heaven, above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will make myself like the Most High.'"
{17} St. Anselm, De casu diaboli, iv: "He sought that which he would have come had he stood fast."
{18} King St. David says [Ps 73:23], "The pride of them that hate You, ascends continually."
{19} Cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, ST 1.64.2.3r.
{20} St. Thomas Aquinas, ST 1.64.2.5r.
{21} "Satan's Aliases." The Banana Republican. 1 June 2007. 24 Aug. 2007 <http://thebananarepublican.blogspot.com/2007/06/satans-aliases.html>.
{22} St. John the Evangelist says [Rev 18:7], "As much as she has glorified herself, and lived in delicacies, so much torment and sorrow give Ye to her."
{23} Bishop St. Augustine the Great says [De Civ. Dei xix, 13] that "sorrow for good lost by punishment is the witness to a good nature."
{24} Bishop St. Augustine the Great, De Civ. Dei xxi.
{25} St. Matthew, quoting Jesus, says [Mt 25:41], "Depart from Me, you cursed, into everlasting fire, which is prepared for the devil and his angels."
St. John the Evangelist says [Rev 20:9-10], "The devil who seduced them was cast into the pool of fire and brimstone, where both the beast and false prophet shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever."
{26} King St. Solomon says [Wis 11:24], "You have mercy upon all, O Lord, because You can do all things."
{27} St. James the Less says [Jam 2:13], "Mercy exalts itself above judgment."
{28} King St. David says [Ps 24:10], "All the ways of the Lord are mercy and truth."

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Craig Says God Is Intrinsically Mutable

MYTH
God is not immutable in a strong sense

1. William Lane Craig and J.P. Moreland say, "Moreover, God's knowledge of tensed facts, implied by his omniscience, requires that since the moment of creation he undergoes intrinsic change as well, since he knows what is now happening in the universe. Thus God is not immutable in a strong sense."{1} Now I would say that Craig is a genius, but that he clings to several errors. Here he argues in favor of the error that God’s knowledge is variable.

2. I disagree with Craig and Moreland's proposition that God's knowledge is variable since it is contrary to verses from the Old Testament and New Testament to posit intrinsic change in God.{2}

3. Moreover, the diversity of enunciable propositions does not entail variation in God’s knowledge. God knows something to be and not to be without variation in His knowledge and so He knows that an enunciable proposition is true on some occasions on false on others. God does not know all things by composing and dividing as we do but rather by simple intelligence,{3} and thus his does not vary with respect to truth and falsity. Because God is eternal He is not ignorant and then afterwards aware of something. For God in His eternity knows whatever is or can be at any time. Craig and Moreland commit the fallacy of confusing knowledge of the variability of things with the variability of knowledge of things.

Notes and References
{1} J.P. Moreland and William Lane Craig, Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview p. 527. Buy this book because it is excellent food for thought!
{2} St. Moses says [Nu 23:19], "God is not as man, that He should change."
St. Malachi says [Mal 3:6], "I am the Lord, and I change not."
St. James in his Catholic Epistle says [Jam 1:17] that in God "there is no change nor shadow of alteration."
{3} St. Paul says [Heb 4:13], "All things are naked and open to His eyes." Wherefore Bishop St. Augustine the Great says [De Trin. xv], "God does not see all things in their particularity or separately, as if He saw alternately here and there; but He sees all things together at once." For God sees all things together instead of successively and He sees His effects in Himself as their cause, according to St. Thomas Aquinas [ST 1.14.7].

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Contra Eastern Orthodoxy

1. I have several family members and friends who are Greek Orthodox. But there are a number of reasons that the Greek Orthodox Church is not truly “orthodox” and thus the Catholic Church Christ founded does not subsist in the Greek Orthodox Church. So if you are, say, a Protestant coming home towards Christ’s true Church and you are having difficulty choosing between the Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church, you must choose the Catholic Church because it is the true Church.

2. In the first place the Greek denial of the Filioque clause constitutes aheresy. Why join a church which has erred in its official position on the Trinity? For the Holy Ghost protects Christ’s Church from error. Now the Greek Church is in error because it says that the Holy Ghost proceeds only from the Father and not from the Father and/through the Son. One verse from God’s infallible word suffices to show whether a doctrine is true. And I have proved from the Lord Jesus’ own words in the Gospel of St. John the Evangelist that the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Son by way of origin.{1}

3. The Greek Orthodox church also fell into error with regard to sexual morality. Now contraception is mortally sinful{2} and was universally condemned by all Christian denominations until 1930, when the Anglicans held the Lambeth conference. But Eastern Orthodoxy does not forbid contraception, and thus endangers the souls of many. Additionally, contravening Christ’s teaching, Orthodoxy allows second and third marriages. Christ teaches that valid sacramental marriage between two baptized Christians is absolutely indissoluble and that “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another, commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery” [Mk 10:11-12].

4. The papacy is found in scripture.{3} The pentarchy, however, is not. And had Jesus instituted a pentarchy, He would be a false prophet, which is impossible, for He is the omniscient Son of God. For He promised that His Church is indefectible{4} and that cannot be said of the non-Roman sees of the pentarchy: Constantinople, Alexandria, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem. The see of Constantinople{5} was plagued by Arianism (Eusebius, Eudoxius), Semi-Arianism (Macedonius), Monophysitism (Acacius, Phravitas, Euphemius, Timothy I, Anthimus), Nestorianism (Nestorius), and Monothelitism (Sergius I, Pyrrhus,{6} Paul II, Peter, John VI). The poisonous smoke of Satan billowed into the see of Antioch in the form of Docetism, Modalism=Sabellianism (Paul of Samosata), Arianism (Eulalius, Euphronius), Nestorianism,{7} Monophysitism (Peter the Fuller, John Codonatus, Palladius, Severus, Sergius, Paul the Black, Peter Callinicum), and Monothelitism (Anthanasius, Macedonius, Macarius). The see of Alexandria succumbed to Monophysitism (Dioscorus, Timothy Aelurus, Peter Mongo, Athanasius II, John II, John III, Timothy III, Theodosius, Damianus) after its wicked rejection of the canons of the Council of Chalcedon in A.D. 451, and was also preyed upon by Monothelitism (Cyrus). Jerusalem succumbed to Monophysitism (Juvenal) and Origenism (Eustachius). The Muslim Arabs, who held to an incorrect theology, venerated a notorious sinner, and pretended that the fallible Quran with its internal contradictions{8} is the infallible Word of God, reigned over Jerusalem for the bulk of the period between A.D. 637 and World War I.

5. Eastern Orthodoxy has also suffered in the past from a perverted relationship between Church and State. The Church truly transcends the State but contrary to the Catholic Faith, the State has been for extended periods of time above the Church in the Greek church. Moreover, the Pope is not the “First Among Equals.” He never had that title. On the contrary, he was called “Vicar of Christ” in the late 300s, Servant of the Servants of God in the middle of the fifth century, and the “Head of the Church” in the late 400s—man Greek Fathers,{9} and the synodal letters of the Ecumenical Councils of Chalcedon, Constantinople III, and Nicaea II called the pope the “Head of the Church” well before the schism of 1054. The councils of Constantinople in 638 and 639 were not Ecumenical since Rome did not approve and cooperate with them, and these councils formally held to Monothelitism by ratifying the Ecthesis. There have been 21 Ecumenical Councils, the first of which was Nicaea I in A.D. 325 and the most recent of which was Vatican II in 1965. And yet the Greek church only accepts one third of the ecumenical councils, repudiating the fourteen most recent ones: Nicaea I (325), Constantinople I (381), Ephesus (431), Chalcedon (451), Constantinople II (553), Constantinople III (680), and Nicaea II (787.) There is no point in agreeing upon a system which makes Ecumenical Councils central to the governance of the Church universal and then out of the blue abandoning the Councils for 1220 years. That is not right.

6. In a similar vein Orthodoxy truncates doctrinal development, contrary to Scripture.{10} That is why it systematically denies Papal supremacy/primacy and infallibility, the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the dogma of Purgatory, Filioque, etc. And thus it cannot properly be called Orthodox, a title it usurped from Rome. Really it is the Eastern Heterodox Church.

{1} “Invincible Argument for Filioque.” http://thebananarepublican.blogspot.com/2007/04/invincible-argument-for-filioque.html.
{2} “Contraception is a Mortal Sin.”
{3} “Papacy, Part I.”
{4} “Papacy, Part II.”
{5} This means that its leaders, its patriarchs, were heretics. But no Pope (Bishop of Rome) has been a heretic, which is explained in another post, “Heretical Popes – No Way.”
{6} Pyrrhus is such a cool name and he had to blacken it by embracing a Christological heresy which fails to distinguish between what is one, absolutely speaking, and what is one in subordination to another.
{7} I submit that Nestorianism is the easiest Christological heresy to fall into, and that many people who don’t know any better are Crypto-Nestorians who need to be more educated about the sublime mystery of the Incarnation. See “Contra Nestorius.”
{8} “Quranic Errancy, Pt. 1.” http://thebananarepublican.blogspot.com/2007/03/in-evaluating-quran-as-with-any-other.html.
{9} The monk St. John Cassian says [Contra Nestorium iii, 12], “That great man, the disciple of disciples, that master among masters, who wielding the government of the Roman Church possessed the principle authority in faith and in priesthood. Tell us, therefore, we beg of you, Peter, prince of Apostles, tell us how the Churches must believe in God.”
St. Maximus the Confessor says [Ep. to Peter], “If the Roman See recognizes Pyrrhus to be not only a reprobate but a heretic, it is certainly plain that everyone who anathematizes those who have rejected Pyrrhus also anathematizes the See of Rome, that is, he anathematizes the Catholic Church. I need hardly add that he excommunicates himself also, if indeed he is in communion with the Roman See and the Catholic Church of God ...Let him hasten before all things to satisfy the Roman See, for if it is satisfied, all will agree in calling him pious and orthodox. For he only speaks in vain who thinks he ought to persuade or entrap persons like myself, and does not satisfy and implore the blessed Pope of the most holy Catholic Church of the Romans, that is, the Apostolic See, which is from the incarnate of the Son of God Himself, and also all the holy synods, according to the holy canons and definitions has received universal and supreme dominion, authority, and power of binding and loosing over all the holy churches of God throughout the whole world.” Moreover J.P. Migne in PG 90 (see http://thebananarepublican.blogspot.com/2007/00000) quotes the confession of St. Maximus in his Opuscula theological et polemica of the infallibility of the Apostolic Roman Church: “The extremities of the earth, and everyone in every part of it who purely and rightly confess the Lord, look directly towards the Most Holy Roman Church and her confession and faith, as to a sun of unfailing light awaiting from her the brilliant radiance of the sacred dogmas of our Fathers, according to that which the inspired and holy Councils have stainlessly and piously decreed. For, from the descent of the Incarnate Word amongst us, all the churches in every part of the world have held the greatest Church alone to be their base and foundation, seeing that, according to the promise of Christ Our Savior, the gates of hell will never prevail against her, that she has the keys of the orthodox confession and right faith in Him, that she opens the true and exclusive religion to such men as approach with piety, and she shuts up and locks every heretical mouth which speaks against the Most High.”
The final quote in our brief list is from St. Theodore the Studite of Constantinople, Book I, Ep. 23 to Pope Leo III,
{10} St. John the Evangelist [Jn 14:26; 16:13-15].

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Contra Nestorius

Mirror link

This is a decisive refutation of Nestorius' objectively heretical Christological teaching. I'm not sure but my titular Latin may be incorrect; the correct Latin might be "Contra Nestorium." I will distinguish the various Trinitarian terms and prove that in Christ there are not two hypostases and that the two hypostases teaching of Nestorius inexorably leads to two Christs, which is repugnant to the Catholic faith.

1. Holtz attributes the rise of the Nestorian heresy to an imperfection in Christ's teaching. Lest anyone defend the perfidious heretic Nestorius as orthodox, I will explain why Nestorius's doctrine of the Incarnation is impossible. What follows is a short and succinct summary: We do not admit two Sons. If that were true we would be worshipping a Divine Quaternity instead of the Trinity. For the Son of God is one Person in one hypostasis with two natures. Nestorius taught that there are two hypostases in Christ, while insisting that Christ is one Person. But in Christ there are not two hypostases. For if Christ as Man is a hypostasis there would be two persons: one eternal and one temporal.{1} Therefore Nestorius's teaching inexorably leads to two Christs, or two Sons, which is contrary to the Catholic faith.

2. The human nature of Christ exists in alio in the Divine Personality of the Word; it is not a person because it is not communicated by assumption and does not exist per se seorsum. The person of "that man Who is called Jesus" [Jn 9:11] affirms that "Before Abraham was, I AM" [Jn 8:58] and that "I and the Father are one" [Jn 10:30], meaning that the person of that Man is the person of the Son of God; i.e. that Jesus Christ is one person only. Moreover, the Man Christ who ascended to Heaven [Acts 1:9] and the Word of God who descended from Heaven are the same person [Eph 4:10].

3. The Son of God was made man because to be man is truly predicated of the Son of God, not from eternity, but from the time of His assuming human nature, the moment of His conception ca. 2000 years ago. "Made man" does not imply a change in God, which would contradict Mal 3:6 ("I am the Lord, and I change not"). Whatever is predicated relatively can be newly predicated of Jack without Jack's change. The change was only on the part of the human nature assumed and not on the part of God. To illustrate, take the men Jack and John. To be on the right side is predicated of Jack without Jack's change, for Jack was immobile while John changed by moving to Jack's left side.

4. The Son of God was made man. Therefore, man is God. For "man" may represent any hypostasis of human nature and thus may represent the Person of the Son of God (a hypostasis of human nature), of whom the word God is truly and properly predicated [ST III, q. 16, art. 2, corp.]. We do not attribute the name of the Deity to the man in His human nature, but in the eternal suppositum, which by union is a suppositum of the human nature [ibid., ad 1] (n.b., there is only one suppositum of both natures and only one hypostasis of one person, contra the heretic Nestorius and his followers; if Christ as man is a hypostasis or person there would be two persons in Christ, one temporal and the other eternal, which is repugnant to the truth of the Incarnation).

5. The man Christ did not begin to be; He always was. Christ began to be Man, since "Man" signifies the eternal, uncreated suppositum when placed in the subject and refers to the finite human nature when placed in the predicate [ST III, q. 16, art. 9, ad 3].

6. The characteristics of the Son of Man may be predicated of the Son of God and the characteristics of the Son of God may be predicated of the Son of Man. That means that we can say of Christ that "God is passible," "the God of glory was crucified," and "God died."

7. Because there is one hypostasis of the Divine and the human nature, the name of either nature (Son of Man, Son of God) signifies the same hypostasis. What belongs to the Divine nature be said of the Man, as of a hypostasis of the Divine nature [ST III, q. 16, art. 4, corp.]. Moreover, what belongs to the human nature may be said of God, as of a hypostasis of human nature [ibid.]. The Catholic faithful do not distinguish things predicated of Christ but distinguish the reasons for which they are predicated [ibid.].

8. Now the critical thinker will not fall into the trap of predicating the characteristics of the Son of Man of the Divine nature and the characteristics of the Son of God of the human nature. In the Mystery of the Incarnation the Divine and human natures are not the same, though the hypostasis of the two natures in the same. Therefore what belongs to one nature cannot be predicated of the other if they are taken in the abstract. Now concrete words stand for the hypostasis of the nature. Ergo of concrete words we may predicate simply what belongs to either nature, whether the concrete word of which they are predicated refers to the Divine nature alone or the human nature alone.

9. Therefore we affirm that "God is passible" but we deny that "the Godhead is passible." Q.E.D.

10. No longer do you need to be confused about the Latin and Green Trinitarian vocabulary! Note that for the definitions of "person" and "subsistence" I use “substance” not to mean the "essence” or "quiddity" of a thing, but a "subject" or "suppositum." For by claiming the existence of three "essences" in God I would be guilty of Tritheism. Lest anyone object that "suppositum" and "hypostasis" are unbecoming to God, I say: We name Divine things after the manner of created things, and according to St. Thomas "created natures are individualized by matter which is the subject of the specific nature;"{2} thus we call individuals "subjects," "supposita," and "hypostases," but without positing any real "subjection" in God so as to imply that God is composed of subject and accident,{3} for God is absolutely simple.{4}
Essence: Esse is the same as ousía.
According to the old Catholic Encyclopedia, essence is "that whereby any given thing is that which it is, the ground of its characteristics and the principle of its being."
Person: Persona is the same as prósopon.
A subsistent (existing in himself and for himself) individual substance of a complete rational nature.
Subsistence: Subsistentia (NOT substantia) is the same as hypostasis.
An individual of the genus substance; first substance; a particular substance. In other words, an individual substance of a complete nature who exists in himself and for himself. Or, what exists in and for himself and is specially and peculiarly indicated by a name.
Hypostasis is not altogether the same as person because the definition of hypostasis does not include the rationality of the nature.
Nature: Natura is the same as physis.
According to the old Catholic Encyclopedia, nature is "that whereby it acts as it does, the essence considered as the foundation and principle of its operation." St. Thomas [De ente et essentia, cap. i] defines it thusly: "the essence of a thing according as it has relation to its proper operation."

11. In order to remove occasions of error I say:
A. If anyone denies that in the Holy Trinity there is one Nature having three Hypostases of Persons, let him be anathema.
B. If anyone denies that aside from the Trinity and the Incarnation, every physis is a hypostasis and every hypostasis is a physis, let him be anathema.
C. If anyone denies that physis is an abstraction which cannot exist except as a concrete, i.e. as a hypostasis, let him be anathema.
D. If anyone denies that Christ's human nature is per se anhypostatos, let him be anathema.
E. If anyone denies that the Person of the Son is the hypostasis of the human nature, let him be anathema.
F. If anyone denies that the union in Christ is a union not of two natures directly with each other but a union of two natures in one hypostasis and that the two natures are distinct yet inseparable and act in communion with each other, let him be anathema.{5}
G. If anyone denies that the Three Persons are of one ousía, let him be anathema.

A thousand anathemas to Nestorius and those who follow his blasphemies!


Notes and References
{1} St. Thomas Aquinas, ST III, q. 16, art. 12. In reference to the suppositum, we affirm that "Christ as man is a person" because the suppositum of human nature is the Person of the Son. We deny that in "Christ as man is a person" as if "in Christ a proper personality caused by the principles of the human nature is due to the human nature" since the human nature does not subsist (exist of itself) apart from the Divine Nature, and subsistence is essential to personhood. Cf. Anathema 4.
{2} St. Thomas Aquinas, ST I, q. 39, art. 1, ad 3.
{3} Boethius, On the Trinity. Every accident is in a subject, and God cannot be a subject since "no simple form can be a subject."
{4} Bishop St. Augustine the Great of Hippo, On the Trinity 4:6-7.
{5} Echoing the Tome of Pope St. Leo I the Great (A.D. 449), the Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon (451) declared infallibly that the two natures of Christ are "asynchytos, atreptos, adiairetos, achoristos;" to wit: "without confusion, without change, without division, without separation." Amen.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Saint Judas is an Oxymoron

MYTH
Judas is a saint

1. Now there is a list, or canon, of persons whom the Church reckons as saints. Judas Iscariot is not on this list of saints. The Church does not, strictly speaking, have a canon of the lost/damned, but I believe that there are certain people in the Bible whose eternal fate we can infer.

2. Judas's name in Hebrew (Judah = יהודה = Yehûdâh) means "praised" and Ioúdas Iskáriōth (Ιούδας Ισκάριωθ) is the Greek translation of that. His last name is Iscariot because he came from a city of Judah called Carioth; cf. Josh 15:25. He was the one of the twelve Apostles who carried the purse{1} before he betrayed the Lord Jesus Christ.{2} This is why he is called the Traitor as a proper name.{3} For he told the chief priests, after being possessed by Satan, and offered our Lord to them for money.{4} The omniscient Son of God foreknew Judas's betrayal.{5} God's knowledge was not the cause of Judas' sin, but the cause of the good by which Judas's sin was known. God knows all things perfectly and thus knows all things that are accidental to good, and this includes evil, which is the privation of good.{6}

3. Judas came with a band of the chief priests’ soldiers to where Jesus was staying with His faithful disciples. Judas came and said "Hail, Rabbi" and kissed Jesus. Jesus asked Judas two questions{7} and said "I am He," making everyone fall back onto the ground.

4. After the betrayal Judas committed suicide.{8} Before he betrayed Christ he was a great and holy man because he was one of the twelve who felt the influence of the Good Lord Jesus; he was not possessed by Satan until adulthood, pace the Apocryphal Arabic Gospel of the Infancy of the Savior, which says Satan entered him when he was still a child.

5. But Judas knew full well what would happen when he betrayed Christ but did feel guilty when he actually committed the sin, as is the case with first degree murderers. He committed the mortal sin of covetousness, betraying his Master for thirty pieces of silver.{9} Why would Jesus say that it would have been better if Judas had never been born unless Judas is damned?{10} Judas committed not only covetousness which led to deicide, but despair, which is the greatest of sins.{11} And ultimately his suicide let to his damnation.

6. For there is no way to justify Judas's suicide, i.e. to rationalize that he may have went to Heaven as did such men who killed themselves as St. Samson [Jdg 16; Heb 11] and St. Razias [2 Macc 14:42]. Contra Origen, Judas would not have killed himself to seek pardon from Christ in the afterlife, since St. Paul tells us [Rom 3:8] that "evil must not be done that good may come." The Apostle means that one may not lawfully commit a greater evil to avoid a lesser evil. Along that line Aristotle implies that a man cannot kill himself to avoid evils of this life and pass to a happier life because the greatest evil of this life is death.{12} So Judas killed himself unlawfully and thus died in a state of mortal sin because by killing himself after having betrayed Christ he destroyed his opportunity for genuine repentance and one can only kill a sinner by the sentence of a public authority, lest he usurp God's authority.{13} Moreover, Judas's betrayal is complicated (i.e. made more grievously sinful) by other factors. Hence St. John Chrysostom the Great says "Judas was not converted while partaking of the sacred mysteries: hence on both sides his crime becomes the more heinous, both because imbued with such a purpose he approached the mysteries, and because he became none the better for approaching, neither from fear, nor from the benefit received, nor from the honor conferred on him."{14} And if Judas was a saint, he would not have been replaced by St. Matthias the new Apostle.{15}

Notes and References
{1} St. John the Evangelist says [Jn 12:4-6], "Then one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot, he that was about to betray Him, said: 'Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor?' Now he said this not because he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and having the purse, carried the things that were put therein."
{2} St. John the Evangelist says [Jn 6:71-72], "Jesus answered them: Have I not chosen you twelve; and one of you is a devil? Now He meant Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon: for this same was about to betray Him whereas he was one of the twelve."
{3} St. Matthew says [Mt 26:14-15], "Then went one of the twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, to the chief priests, and said to them: What will you give me, and I will deliver Him unto you?"
{4} St. Mark says [Mk 14:10-1], "And Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve, went to the chief priests, to betray Him to them. Who hearing it were glad; and they promised him they would give him money."
St. Luke says [Lk 22:3-6],
And Satan entered into Judas, who was surnamed Iscariot, one of the twelve. And he went, and discoursed with the chief priests and the magistrates, how he might betray Him to them. And they were glad, and covenanted to give him money. And he promised. And he sought opportunity to betray Him in the absence of the multitude.
St. John the Evangelist says [Jn 13:2], "the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, to betray Him."
{5} St. John the Evangelist says [Jn 6:65], "For Jesus knew from the beginning, who they were that did not believe, and who he was, that would betray Him."
{6} It is a tenet of faith that God knows evil things; this is a corollary from His omniscience. King St. Solomon says [Prov 15:11], "Hell and destruction are before the Lord." Wherefore St. Dionysius the Areopagite says [On the Divine Names 7], "God through Himself receives the vision of darkness, not otherwise seeing darkness except through light."
{7} St. Matthew says [Mt 26:50], "And Jesus said to him: Friend, whereto art thou come?"
St. Luke, quoting Jesus, says [Lk 22:48], "Judas, dost thou betray the Son of man with a kiss?"
{8} St. Matthew says [Mt 27:3-5], "Then Judas, who betrayed Him, seeing that He was condemned, repenting himself, brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and ancients, saying: I have sinned in betraying innocent blood. But they said: What is that to us? Look thou to it. And casting down the pieces of silver in the temple, he departed: and went and hanged himself with an halter." For Judas to have been expiated of his betrayal his confession would have needed to be all of the following, according to St. Thomas Aquinas [Summa Theologica III-S, q. 9, art. 4, obj. 1]: "simple, humble, pure, faithful, frequent, undisguised, discreet, voluntary, shamefaced, entire, secret, tearful, not delayed, courageously accusing, ready to obey." Now Judas's fate is not just a question of the quality of his confession, but his suicide.
St. Luke, quoting Pope St. Peter, says [Acts 1:16-20],
Men, brethren, the Scripture must be fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost spoke before by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who was the leader of them that apprehended Jesus: who was numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry. And he indeed hath possessed a field of the reward of iniquity, and being hanged, burst asunder in the midst: and all his bowel gushed out. And it became known to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem: so that the same field was called in their tongue, Aceldama, that is to say, the field of blood. For it is written in the book of Psalms: Let their habitation become desolate, and let there be none to dwell therein. And his bishopric let another take.
Pope St. Peter cited Ps 68:26; 108:8.
{9} St. Matthew says [Mt 27:9-10], "Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying: And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him that was prized , whom they prized of the children of Israel. And they gave them unto the potter's field, as the Lord appointed to me."
{10} St. Matthew, quoting Jesus, says [Mt 26:24], "It were better for him, if that man had not been born."
{11} This is how St. Thomas Aquinas expounds Jer 15:18, which says, "My wound is desperate so as to refuse to be healed." See 2.II.20.3. 2.II means Second Part of the Second Part. According to Pope St. Gregory I the Great [Moral. xxxi], covetousness is a capital vice [Rom 1:29; Heb 13:5] opposed to liberality [Ecc 5:9] whose daughters are treachery, fraud, falsehood, perjury, restlessness, violence, and insensibility to mercy.
{12} Aristotle, Ethic. iii, 6.
{13} Bishop St. Augustine the Great, De Civ. Dei. i: "A man who, without exercising public authority, kills an evildoer, shall be judged guilty of murder, and all the more, since he has dared to usurp a power which God has not given him." Cf. the statement of St. Moses quoting YHWH [Dt 32:39], "I will kill and I will make to live."
{14} St. John Chrysostom the Great, Hom. lxxxii in Matth.
{15} St. Luke says [Acts 1:23-26],
And they put forward two, Joseph, called Barabbas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. And they prayed and said, "Lord, Who knowest the hearts of all men, show which one of these two Thou hast chosen to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside, to go to his own place." And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias; and he was enrolled with the eleven apostles.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Heretical Popes? No Way!

Here I will consider the orthodoxy of 25 out of the 266 popes and demonstrate why, as to whether they fell into material or formal heresy with regard to faith or morals, we can answer in the negative. Obviously popes can and have erred regarding faith and morals—I see John XXII as the best incontrovertible example--but they have not nullified the doctrine of papal infallibility, nor have they lost the charisms which prevent their falling into material or formal heresy.
1. St. Peter (32-67)
2. St. Anicetus (155-156)
3. St. Victor I (189-199)
4. St. Zephyrinus (199-217) - Pope St. Zephyrinus was not a Modalist (Sabellian) who denied the distinction of persons in the Trinity, but was negligent in addressing the heresy. Therefore St. Hippolytus, an antipope who was later reconciled to the Church and martyred via mutilation by horses, was right to criticize him.
5. St. Marcellinus (296-304)
6. Liberius (352-366)
7. St. Zosimus (417-418)
8. Vigilius (537-555) - Vigilius was orthodox and was never a Nestorian nor a teacher of Nestorianism, but as the pope is not impeccable his wavering conduct with respect to the Nestorian Three Chapters does not make a lie out of the Catholic Faith.
9. Honorius I (625-638) - Honorius I was not a Monothelite heretic but was condemned by Pope St. Leo II for his lack of fortitude in dealing with the Monothelite heresy. Honorius I charitably treated Sergius, Patriarch of Constantinople, in his response in which he did not teach Monothelitism but interpreted Sergius's deceptive explanations in a perfectly orthodox manner.
10. Stephen III (752-757)
11. John VIII (887-882)
12. Stephen VII (896-897)
13. St. Gregory VII (1073-1085)
14. Innocent III (1198-1216)
15. Boniface VIII (1294-1303) – This does not have to do with Unam Sanctum but with his treatment of his predecessor, St. Celestine V.
16. John XXII (1316-1334) - John XXII wrongly denied that the souls of the just departed have the beatific vision before the last judgment, and that the damned are not thrown into Hell until the Day of Judgment. Cardinal Orsini traveled to Bavaria and proclaimed that John XXII was a heretic. John XXII made a theological error—there is no getting around that obvious fact. Now there are two kinds of heresy: material and formal. But John XXII was not a material heretic because he simply stated his opinion in a sermon as a private individual. Nor was he a formal heretic because he immediately appointed a commission to investigate the issue. Moreover, before he died, he signed a document which states, "The souls of the just, separated from their bodies, but fully purified from their sins, are in Heaven, in Paradise, with Jesus Christ, in the company of the angels. According to common tradition, they see God and the divine essence face to face, clearly, as far as the state and condition of a soul separated from the body allow."
17. Nicholas V (1447-1455)
18. Paul V (1605-1621)
19. Urban VIII (1623-1644)
20. Benedict XIV (1740-1758)
21. Blessed Pius IX (1846-1878)
22. Pius XI (1922-1939)
23. Pius XII (1939-1958)
24. John Paul II (1978-2005)
25. Benedict XVI (2005--) - Sedevacantist Feeneyite heretic Patrick Pollock attributes 101 heresies to Benedict. He misunderstands Benedict XVI’s statements about doctrinal development, infants who die without water baptism, Vatican I and Vatican II, the Church’s relationship to non-Catholics, magisterial teachings, Allah, Jews their promised Messiah, etc.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

A Solution to a Common Objection to the Trinity

It is urged by critics of the most sublime mystery of the Trinity that Trinitarianism cannot rationally maintain the distinction of persons. They say correctly (for the sake of argument) that:
(1) The Father is God.
(2) The Son is God.
(3) The Holy Spirit is God.
But then on the basis of these three premises they say that the following set of propositions is false:
(4) The Father is not the Son.
(5) The Father is not the Holy Spirit.
(6) The Son is not the Holy Spirit.
They base their bogus conclusion on the axiom that things identical with the same thing are identical with each other. But this axiom that they mention in support of their hypothesis is true of absolute entities only.

We affirm that the Father and Son are both identical with the Divine Essence, i.e. that the Divine Essence is identical with each of two relations (paternity and filiation). We deny that the Divine Essence is identical with two absolute entities. Because these relations are by nature correlative, they are necessarily mutually opposed and thus distinct.

Moreover anti-Trinitarians say, “None of the three Persons in the Godhead can be infinite because each must lack something possessed by the others.” But a relation per se differs from quantity and quality in that it is not an intrinsic perfection. For a relation regards something other than itself. So the one infinite Divine Essence has the supreme perfection of the Godhead.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

The Hypostatic Union is a Creature

1. The Hypostatic Union is created because the relation has a beginning in time; as was said in “On God Died,” every relation between God and the creature is really in the creature by whose change the relation begins to exist and not really in God since it is not caused by any change in God.

2. This created union of the two natures brought about by grace{1} differs from assumption and it is the greatest union in regard to that to which things are united (but not in regard to the things united) because the unity of the Divine Person in which the two natures are united is the greatest.

Notes and References
{1} St. Augustine the Great, Bishop of Hippo and Doctor of Grace, says [De Praed. Sanct. xv], "By the same grace every man is made a Christian, from the beginning of his faith, as this man from His beginning was made Christ," and the man became Christ by union with the Divine nature.

Source: ST 3.2.7-10

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

On "God Died"

MYTH
Christ is not God because Christ died

Oh, the treasures of wisdom to be gleaned from the writings of the Angelic Doctor St. Thomas Aquinas!!!

1. The Son of God was made man because to be man is truly predicated of the Son of God, not from eternity, but from the time of His assuming human nature, the moment of His conception ca. 2000 years ago. “Made man” does not imply a change in God, which would contradict Mal 3:6 (“I am the Lord, and I change not”). Whatever is predicated relatively can be newly predicated of Jack without Jack’s change. The change was only on the part of the human nature assumed and not on the part of God. To illustrate, take the men Jack and John. To be on the right side is predicated of Jack without Jack’s change, for Jack was immobile while John changed by moving to Jack’s left side.

2. The Son of God was made man. Therefore, man is God. For “man” may represent any hypostasis of human nature and thus may represent the Person of the Son of God (a hypostasis of human nature), of whom the word God is truly and properly predicated. We do not attribute the name of the Deity to the man in His human nature, but in the eternal suppositum, which by union is a suppositum of the human nature (n.b. there is only one suppositum of both natures and only one hypostasis of one person, contra the heretic Nestorius and his followers; if Christ as man is a hypostasis or person there would be two persons in Christ, one temporal and the other eternal, which is repugnant to the truth of the Incarnation).

3. The man Christ did not begin to be; He always was. Christ began to be Man, since “Man” signifies the eternal, uncreated suppositum when placed in the subject and refers to the finite human nature when placed in the predicate.

4. The characteristics of the Son of Man may be predicated of the Son of God and the characteristics of the Son of God may be predicated of the Son of Man. That means that we can say of Christ that “God is passible,” “the God of glory was crucified,” and “God died.”

5. Because there is one hypostasis of the Divine and the human nature, the name of either nature (Son of Man, Son of God) signifies the same hypostasis. What belongs to the Divine nature be said of the Man, as of a hypostasis of the Divine nature. Moreover, what belongs to the human nature may be said of God, as of a hypostasis of human nature. The Catholic faithful do not distinguish things predicated of Christ but distinguish the reasons for which they are predicated.

6. Now the critical thinker will not fall into the trap of predicating the characteristics of the Son of Man of the Divine nature and the characteristics of the Son of God of the human nature. In the Mystery of the Incarnation the Divine and human natures are not the same, though the hypostasis of the two natures in the same. Therefore what belongs to one nature cannot be predicated of the other if they are taken in the abstract. Now concrete words stand for the hypostasis of the nature. Ergo of concrete words we may predicate simply what belongs to either nature, whether the concrete word of which they are predicated refers to the Divine nature alone or the human nature alone.

7. Therefore we affirm that “God is passible” but we deny that “the Godhead is passible.”

Q.E.D.

Source: ST 3.16.2,4-6,9,12

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Christ Sits At The Right Hand of the Father

It is proper to Christ to sit at the right hand of the Father according to His Divine nature (in respect of which He is equal to the Father) and His human nature (He excels all creatures in the possession of Divine gifts) because He abides eternally in the Father’s bliss and reigns together with the Father, from Whom He has royal and judiciary power.

Source: ST 3.58.1-4

Thursday, August 02, 2007

"Questions About Angels"

Billy Collins was the U.S. Poet Laureate from 2001-2003 and I had to read and comment on four of his poems for an AP English 12 summer assignment. Here is my commentary:

I am fond of Billy Collins’s “Questions About Angels” because this poem was very thought-provoking to me as someone who is deeply interested in Roman Catholic theology, including, among many other branches, angelogy. Moreover, I feel that Collins’s questions deserve answers.

The most frequently heard question Collins starts out with, in a tone of complaint and implied curiosity, is the number of angels who can be said to be able to dance on a pinhead at the same time. The thing that makes these questions worthwhile is that they beg, i.e. lead to, many other questions. The first inquiry begs the question, “Is an angel in a place?” I would venture to say that an angel is in a place in a different way than a body, which, unlike an angel, has dimensional quantity; an incorporeal angel is in a corporeal place by using its power to act there. An angel, unlike God, does not have infinite power, so he must be in only one place and not be omnipresent, viz. wherever he applies his finite power. And so I say that several angels cannot be in the same place simultaneously. For there cannot be two immediate causes of the same thing, and an angel is in the place it immediately affects. Therefore, there can be but one angel dancing on the head of a pin, but not because one angel would fill that place like a body leaving no dimensional room for another. Sure enough, Collins’s poetic hypothesis is “one female angel dancing alone in her stocking feet, a small jazz combo working in the background.” Collins’s use of the simile “she sways like a branch in the wind” made me think of the beauty, loveliness, and serenity of God’s highest spiritual creatures.

Collins’s figurative language caught my attention and made me ponder these questions because he anthropomorphized the angels, as I am more likely to be concerned about someone who is similar to me in respect of human(-like) characteristics. For example, Collins wonders “about their sleeping habits” and “the fabric of their robes.” Collins cleverly phrases a question about their beatific vision (vision of God in His essence) in terms of a “diet of unfiltered divine light,” a fitting metaphor in light of the aforesaid definition of their blessing. I thought Collins described them as “tall presences” because they are noble creatures and mentioned “a wall [angels] can look over and see hell” in order to emphasize the likeness of Heaven to a sanctuary.

Questions for Discussion: Which question about angels was most interesting to you, how would you answer it, and why?