Wednesday, 9 June 2010
Wisdom of Christ - Part 3
It is not only through an intuitive vision of God that man may come to an apprehension of truth. As such a blessed state is closed off to men in this valley of tears, man must reach knowledge in another manner suitable to his condition.
The Angelic Doctor rightly states that the angels as personal pure spirits, attain knowledge, not solely through the Word, but, by 'a later knowledge whereby they know things in the things' own natures'. We human beings obtain truth concerning the external world through the senses. Our eyes, ears, hands etc, are instruments whereby one may be informed about sensible reality, where the actual forms of another person or item, are abstracted from their concrete existence and placed within the active intellect. For us, the presence of the active intellect enables the 'potential intellect' to comprehend the nature of material realities, appraise situations and engage in deductive reasoning. Those items that take their place around us, live, move and interact are true substances created by God, and, although but mere shadows compared to the deity, are not phantoms that dupe man to believe falsely that this world of the senses is real.
As the angels are not of a material, corporal nature, their knowledge can not be attaining through bodily functions, but rather is infused by the divine light. 'As God brings things into existing, so also He imprints the natures or likenesses of things in the angelic intellect'.
However, as mere material knowledge will not sustain a human soul, and as it's intellect is incapable through its own strength and powers to procure veracity, special revelation is required to raise us up.
It is fitting that no perfection according to the human soul should be found lacking in Christ's soul, other forms of knowledge must be accredited to Him therefore, in addition to the beatific vision. The first is appropriately titled 'experiential', whereby our Divine Redeemer as true man, deficient in nothing according to the flesh, apprehends truth through the instruments of the senses, just as His brothers, who are of the same stock as Him.
Second, His Eternal Father deposited within His soul, a knowledge so that His Son may 'know all the things that the natural knowledge of a human being can reach', so that He who is the Word who sanctifies should lack no perfection. As Jesus was perfect from His very conception in the womb of the Most Holy Mother, it is erroneous to believe that His intellect, albeit created, was lacking in human excellence. Before an intelligible form is abstracted and comprehended, the intellect remains potential until it is actualised, which is contrary to the nature of so great a Redeemer, the dispenser of all graces.
From this, it was necessary that He through all things were reconciled, whether in heaven or earth should receive in His incarnational mode of existence a third kind of knowledge. Such knowledge is of the mysteries of grace. As He came to redeem, to offer a propitiatory sacrifice, and to teach men to live in accordance with God's will, He must have understood His mission. Faith for the human person is the adherence of the intellect to a truth revealed by God on His divine authority, therefore the created intellect has the potential to grasp this truth, however it must be actualised by the Lord from on high. 'The light of the active intellect brings the human intellect into actuality to know natural things (through the senses), and the human intellect acquires knowledge of the mysteries of grace by the divine light (that is, by the gracious revelation by God).
It follows that knowledge of such things must exist in Christ in a preeminent manner, surpassing all men, but remaining within the created faculty of a human being.
We read in the Sacred Scriptures that 'Jesus grew in wisdom and stature' (Lk. 2:52), however this must be understood in reference to His experiential knowledge, whereby over the course of His blessed life on earth He came into contact with sensibly perceptible things, by the assumption of a body of flesh.
Such a question, however articulately answered by the Dominican falls short terribly of the truth concerning the ineffable hypostatic union, therefore let the Christian soul rest in awe with an 'O Altitudo'...