Wednesday, 26 May 2010
On the Fullness of Christ's Wisdom - Part 1
This is a question that I have often considered and it is still a subject of great mystery that we must be astounded at. I will take the following discussion from the Compendium of Theology written by the Angelic Doctor.
First, one must call to mind the reality of the hypostatic union, where the pre-existing Eternal Wisdom of the Father at the appointed time assumed a human nature from the substance of the Holy Virgin and dwelt amongst us. In truth, what He was, He remained and what He was not, He assumed. Therefore in order for us to contemplate the single existing subject that Christ our Lord was and remains as, we must recall the two natures. Accordingly the wisdom of Jesus must be two-fold, in respect of the divine substance firstly, 'He is wise in mind and strong in strength' (Job 9:4). Yet creatures may also be given the appellation of 'wise' as in 'Behold, I send you wise men and scribes' (Mt. 23:34).
His divine wisdom is proper to Him in as much as He endures as God, and 'through Him all things were made' (John 1:3) whereby He retains the power belonging to His deity. As the Word of the Father, He is Wisdom and power (1 Cor. 1:24), through whom the Unbegotten understands Himself and all His effects (creatures included). Also the Apostle states 'All the treasures of the wisdom and knowledge of God have been hidden in Him' (Col. 2:3) and in Christ 'all the fullness of the deity dwells bodily' (Col 2:9).
I wish to explain this vitally important facet as it needs further elucidation. Let us think of the holy Guardian of Jesus and His Mother, Saint Joseph laboring in his workshop. He wishes to manufacture a table for use in the Holy Residence at Nazareth and in order for him to bring forth from his hands this piece of furniture, he must have an inner conception of the finished article. It is through this 'inner verbalisation' that the Patriarch forms his desired object. This when applied to the creative power of God is entirely analogous and the divinity utterly surpasses the most acute and incisive words of men, yet it shares some truth of God's Word in relation to His Father.However, for the completion of Joseph's work, external items must be applied and for all of the Carpenter's sanctity he is incapable of actualising a potentiality simply by the movement of His will.
For God to create anything He must have an understanding of His works, as it is impossible for someone to will (or love) an object if that substance is unknown. As the Creator of all things is under no compulsion to bring any creature into existence from nothing, He must freely will to do so. Man can only love what his intellect is capable of grasping (at least to a certain degree) and can only desire to know the unknown.
Let us now return to what is proper to the assumed humanity of our Blessed Lord.
In respect of our Lord's created human soul, one source of knowledge is godlike, 'insofar as He sees God essentially and other things in God, just as God in understanding Himself understands all things' (that is He is knowledgeable of all creatures that He has brought forth from nothing). This vision of the essence of the Creator makes God and all rational subjects blessed who experience this.
Thereupon, it is fitting that our Saviour who is the universal and efficient cause of our salvation claims this knowledge as it behooves such a source. Saint Thomas upholds the aptness that the agent of our reconciliation must be 'unmovable and outstanding in power'. Christ our Saviour died for many so that they may have abundant and eternal life which is to know God which is to experience the beatific vision. The elect will participate in the life of the divine Trinity only upon their realease from the corrupted, earthly body, but it is appropriate that Christ who brings about such a grace, had from the first moment of His conception in the womb of the Immaculate Mary the immediate and direct vision of the divine uncreated essence. If our Lord obtained this experience over time, it would be that He were deficient in blessedness which is not congruous for the source of our future inheritence and eternal felicity.
To be continued...