Saturday, 4 September 2010

Whether the First Man Was Created in Grace?

P1, Q 95, A1.

So far we have examined according to the thought of Saint Thomas Aquinas whether Adam saw God through His Divine Essence and whether he knew all things. Now we must consider spiritual constitution of Adam in regards to his soul and its possession of grace.
The Angelic Doctor affirms that our first parent was created in grace, but first states a number of objections to this position. First of all, the Divine Apostle contrasts dramatically the state of Adam and Christ when he writes, 'The first Adam was made into a living soul; the last Adam (that is, Jesus our Lord) into a quickening spirit' (1 Cor. 15:45), accordingly Christ alone was made in grace. Since the soul is animated (that is, given true life) by grace, and no such mention is said of the condition of Adam, it implies that he was not made in grace.
2) Further 'evidence' for this position may be taken from an unknown writer (was thought to be Augustine) who stated, 'Adam did not possess the Holy Ghost', and the objection runs that, 'whoever possesses grace, has the Holy Ghost'. 3) The Doctor of Grace also explains that, 'God so ordered the life of the angels and men, as to show first what they could do by free will, then what they can do by His grace, and by the discernment of righteousness'. Therefore, the initial condition of man was one of free will which possessed authentic liberty and only after the Fall did God infuse men with grace. 4) One may also say that, for man to possess grace he must consent to the divine initiative, and since one is unable to consent to one's creation, grace would have been infused without agreement, which is contrary to what we believe concerning grace. Other objections may be stated, but we must proceed to how Saint Thomas answers such positions and how he elucidates the truth.
Saint Thomas states, 'man and angel are both ordained to grace' and since the angels were designed in such a condition, which the Bishop of Hippo affirms when he says, 'God at the same time fashioned their nature and endowed them with grace'. It follows therefore, that the rational creature of the earth possessed grace as well. Justice requires that the lower is subject to the higher or to the superior. Creatures must acknowledge their dependence upon the Lord, realising the ontological chasm that exists between them. Furthermore, the soul, in which the imago Dei consists, is therefore more conformed to the likeness of God than corporeal matter, so in justice, the body will exist in subjection to the soul, as servant to master. 'God made man right' (Eccles. 7:30) which requires that no such disorder, chaos or irrationality reign as this is proper to the state of banishment, of sin and shame. In Eden, all things were ordered to the glory of God, conducting a harmony of praise to His Divine Goodness whereby our first parents shared in some sense in the life of God. Reason which is the correct and truthful ordering of men to God, necessitates the subordination of the body to soul, not in the manner of bridling the passions, but allowing physical matter to exist according to its nature. Saint Thomas confirms that such an arrangement and perfect symphony to the majesty of God 'was not from nature; otherwise it would have remained after sin'. As a direct result of the Fall, grace was banished by the soul, signified by the casting out from the Garden, into the unknown and the dangerous. The discord and infirmity caused, turns man away from his Source of being and reduces him to corruption and death, spiritual as well as physical. Let us realise the great confusion and distress the first sin caused man, in himself, in relation to the other and with God. Both our parents were shamed at their nakedness, which they have not previously noticed. When God accuses Adam of eating the fruit he blames it on his wife (actually he refers culpability to God as Adam states 'the woman You placed with me), who in turn assigns the fault to the 'serpent'. Accordingly, 'the primitive subjection by virtue of which reason was subject to God, was not merely a natural gift, but a supernatural endowment of grace; for it is not possible that the effect should be of greater efficiency than the cause'. One must note here that the Angelic Doctor is following the Greek Fathers in asserting that the natural of man remains untouched after the Fall.
Saint Augustine also states, 'as soon as they (Adam and Eve) disobeyed the Divine command, and forfeited Divine grace, they were ashamed of their nakedness, for they felt the impulse of disobedience in the flesh, as though it were a punishment corresponding to their own disobedience'. The grace that fled from their souls resulting in that discord which far removed them from that orginal state of peace, unity and harmony. The lower powers rose up against their master and caused embarrassment and confusion.
Now let us return to the objections stated earlier.

1) Saint Paul means in that statement, 'that there is a spiritual body, if there is an animal body, inasmuch the spiritual life of the body began in Christ, who is the 'firstborn from the dead', as the body's animal life began in Adam'. From His Glorious Resurrection from the dead, which no man had even done before (it is certain that men had been raised from the dead, however they would soon perish again), His Sacred Body shown forth in majesty, there was no need for food or drink, no threat of pain or discomfort, as these are associated with the life of fallen man. It follows that Adam although possessing a spiritual soul, did not come into possession of a spiritual body. It was not the appointed time.
2) Saint Augustine clarifies when he writes, 'he (Adam) did not possess the Holy Ghost, as the faithful possesses Him now', as those in possession of the Sanctifier, Who dwells in our hearts, making us into a spiritual offering to the glory of God and joins us together in unity in the Church, permits us to enter perpetual felicity after our death immediately.
3) The Angelic Doctor explains, 'Augustine does not assert that angels or men were created with natural free-will before they possessed grace; but that God shows first what their free-will could do before being confirmed in grace, and what they acquired afterwards by being so confirmed.'
4) It must be stated that not all graces to be infused are in conjunction with the will of the human person. Infants are baptised even when they are unable to consent to this bath of regeneration, and with which faith, hope and charity are poured into their hearts.

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