« Ch. XVI. Q. 96. The Taking of Our Nature | Main | Ch. XVI. Q. 98. If Man Had Not Sinned »

August 15, 2005

Ch. XVI. Q. 97. Convenience of the Incarnation

THE CONVENIENCE or reasonableness of the taking of our nature by the Son of God appears in relation to (a) the Person who took it; (b) the nature which He took; (c) the purpose of His taking it; (d) the creatures which are indirectly affected.1

2. That the Son, rather than either the Father or the Holy Spirit, should take our nature was fitting because He is the divine Word2 and Image of the invisible God,3 whose proper economy it is to mediate between God and the creature, by externally manifesting God and by elevating the creature to God.4

3. We are personal beings, and our rational nature may suitably be assumed by a Person. Then too, we have been created in the image of God,5 and the nature which is stamped with God's image is not alien to Him who Himself is that Image. Moreover, since the nature assumed is finite, so that no commixture can occur between it and infinite Godhead, neither the divine nor the human nature is either altered or infringed upon in essence and operation by the meeting of both natures in one Ego.6

4. It was the Son's purpose to suffer aud die for sinful men. Therefore, because His Godhead is not susceptible of such experiences, it was both convenient and necessary for the fulfilment of His purpose that He should make our passible nature His own. It was also His purpose to make us sharers in divine sonship and glory; and this, so far as we can imagine, could not be achieved in a more fitting manner than by His assumption of our nature, and use of it as the medium of our mystical union with Him and of our consequent enjoyment of filial relations to the Father.7

5. The mediation of the Son has to do with all creation, in which it is the Father's eternal purpose that He shall have the preëminence.8 Howbeit man is the microcosm, whose nature recapitulates the macrocosm or larger world,9 and in whose fortunes the progress of all things is involved. His fall retarded creation's advance, and his recovery constitutes the condition of remedy—of the redemption of creation at large. It is therefore fitting that the redemptive operation of God upon the disordered universe should be achieved through the taking of human nature by the Redeemer.10

1 Incarnation, ch. iii. 3-4; St. Thomas, III. i-iii; xvi. 6-7; A.P. Forbes, Nicene Creed, pp. 165-172; T.B. Strong, Manual of Theol., ch. i; F. X. Schouppe, Elementa Theol. Dogm., Tr. VlII. §§ 86-94; A.J. Mason, Faith of the Gospels, ch. vi. 3.

2 St. John i. 1-5, 14. 17-18.

3 2 Cor. iv. 4; Col. i. 15; Heb. i. 3.

4 1 Tim. ii. 5. Cf. Job ix. 33. St. Thomas, III. iii; Rich. Hooker, Eccles. Polity, V. li. 2-3; A. J. Mason, ch. vi. 1.

5 Gen. i. 26. Cf. Rom. viii. 29; 2 Cor. iii. 18; Col. iii. 10; Phil. ii. 7; 1 St. John iii. 2.

6 St. Thomas, III. iv. 1.

7 St. Thomas, III. i. 2; A P. Forbes, as cited.

8 Rom. viii. 20-23; Ephes. i. 10; Col. i. 15-20.

9 Cf. Q. 85.4, above.

10 H.P. Liddon, Divinity of our Lord, pp. 208-269; A.J. Mason, ch. v. 11: P.G. Medd, One Mediator, § 56; B F. Westcott, Epp. of St. John, pp. 323-324.

Posted by AKMA at August 15, 2005 06:50 AM