Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Whether it is proper to say that God abandoned Christ at the moment of His crucifixion?

I answer that God is in things [i.e., they are related to him] in certain common and special ways. He is in everything by essence, according to which he is in a thing as an efficient cause is in its effect; by presence, according to which all things are known to him; and by power, according to which all things are subject to his influence. He is in rational creatures in a special way by grace which produces the habits of knowing and loving God which is a kind of presence of the object known in the knower and the object loved in the lover. God is in Christ is an utterly unique way by hypostatic-union.

Now the common ways in which God is everywhere and in everything are inviolable and limitless. Whereas the special presence by which God is in the rational creature by grace can be removed, as David laments in the psalm, “Do not drive me from your presence, nor take from me your holy spirit.” (51: 13 NAB)

The union of manhood and Godhead in one person in Christ is an inseparable union. It is also the cause of the fullness-of-grace in his soul (John 1:14), for no creature can be more conformed to the divine nature than the manhood of Christ that subsists in one person with it. In the unique activity of Christ the theandric (divine human) co-operation so perfectly conforms the created nature to the uncreated as to make it an efficient instrument of the latter. Thus the soul of Christ by its proximity to the source of grace, i.e., the divine nature, becomes the very fountainhead of grace in the world (John 1:16).

This is no truer than in the Atonement where the God-Man gave up his own created life as a sacrifice for sin, redemption of sinners, and victory over death and the devil. Were God to remove from Christ at this moment the grace in his soul, such taking away would make the Atonement impossible for two reasons: [1] It would no longer be a theandric act since the principle by which the human nature conformed to the divine would no longer be present and [2] the charity by which the Savior offered himself freely for love of God would have been removed with the grace.

4 comments:

jbrim said...

Thomas,

You write:

I answer that God is in things [i.e., they are related to him] in certain common and special ways. He is in everything by essence, according to which he is in a thing as an efficient cause is in its effect; by presence, according to which all things are known to him; and by power, according to which all things are subject to his influence.

My comments are a rabbit trail, I freely admit. :)

In the sense you have written in the above quote, would it be proper to argue that, in some sense, everything in creation is living? If life itself is defined in terms of relationship to God, and everything that exists is sustained by its relationship with its Creator, then all things are living. Could this give us a hint at what the New Testament is referring to when it makes such statements as "all creation groans etc...?"

Jason

Thomas said...

I would have to think about the exact sense in which I was using the word “living”, and obviously I would want to avoid pantheism, but I think your intuition is correct in the sense that whereas modern man looks at the universe and himself as so much “stuff”, i.e. matter fortuitously arranged and moving for no reason but only from proximate physical causes (thus the ultimate obliteration of the formal distinction between living and non living), the Christian universe is “alive” with the wisdom and power and purpose of its First Principle. Theology itself is the notion that at the root of every ‘thing’ there is some conformity to He-Who-Is-Life-Itself. A Platonist might say that the Super-essential Goodness, i.e. God, attracts everything to itself in a manner that might be described as a living impulse.

itiscuriousthat said...
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itiscuriousthat said...

"The union of manhood and Godhead in one person in Christ is an inseparable union. It is also the cause of the fullness-of-grace in his soul (John 1:14), for no creature can be more conformed to the divine nature than the manhood of Christ that subsists in one person with it."

The Ordinary Universal Magisterium agrees with you. See paragraph #75 of Pope Pius XII's Mystici Corporis, June 29, 1943.