Thursday, 13 November 2014

Latin Doctor Quote of the Day - Our Redemption in the Thought of St Anselm of Canterbury

St Anselm of Canterbury.

''On the basis of these considerations it is easy to recognise, that with regard to the nature of mankind, there are two alternatives; either God will complete what He has begun, or it was to no avail that He created this life-form - so sublime a life-form, and with such great good as its purpose. But, if it is recognised that God has made nothing more precious than rational nature, whose intended purpose is that it should rejoice in Him, it is utterly foreign to Him to allow any rational type of creature to perish utterly.'' - Cur Deus Homo (Why God Became Man)


We are here discussing the fittingness of our redemption in lieu of its necessity. God is under no obligation, whether metaphysical or moral to effect our salvation. He would be neither less wise or less good if He abandoned man to his own willing guilt. His proffering of salvation is entirely gratuitousness and is based solely on His own good pleasure and mercy. For certain, He would have remained the Supreme Good even it He had never uttered the creative words, ''Fiat Lux''.

 The only 'necessity' that God incurs in His (logical) relation to creation is the binding He freely undertakes by promising to man His forgiveness which is assured for all eternity. He has bound Himself to man by His own decree of mercy.

 It is with this in mind that we acknowledge the fittingness of God redeeming man, the microcosm of creation. Man may be said to be, pardon any excess, the summation of creation, inasmuch as he unites matter which does not remain dumb but is almost ''deified'' by its assumption by the intellectual soul which informs it. As we know adequate species of the angels were confirmed in good and attained their beatitude. The mineral and animal kingdoms are to give glory by their existence. What could we say of man if he was permitted to remain in his own guilt, far from salvation, with a rational will utterly enslaved to a perverse sensual appetite? It could be said that the condemned human race would present an unseemly obstacle to the integrity of the hierarchy of creation.

 In addition, our redemption is not merely the resumption of a just order, but more gloriously, the elevation of human nature to the divine. God's nature is the radical principle of His knowledge and love and in accordance with this, by our formal and actual participation in the divine nature, we come to know and love God as He is in Himself as the Author of grace which surpasses the realm of what is due to nature.

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