Saturday, September 08, 2012

How Augustine Explains the Relationship Between Christ and the Holy Spirit

AservantofJehovah,

Maybe this quote from Augustine will be helpful. I post this information to promote understanding:

Therefore also the Lord Jesus Christ Himself not only gave the Holy Spirit as God, but also received it as man, and therefore He is said to be full of grace, and of the Holy Spirit. And in the Acts of the Apostles it is more plainly written of Him, "Because God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit." Certainly not with visible oil but with the gift of grace which is signified by the visible ointment wherewith the Church anoints the baptized. And Christ was certainly not then anointed with the Holy Spirit, when He, as a dove, descended upon Him at His baptism. For at that time He deigned to prefigure His body, i.e. His Church, in which especially the baptized receive the Holy Spirit. But He is to be understood to have been then anointed with that mystical and invisible unction, when the Word of God was made flesh, i.e. when human nature, without any precedent merits of good works, was joined to God the Word in the womb of the Virgin, so that with it it became one person. Therefore it is that we confess Him to have been born of the Holy Spirit and of the Virgin Mary. For it is most absurd to believe Him to have received the Holy Spirit when He was near thirty years old: for at that age He was baptized by John; but that He came to baptism as without any sin at all, so not without the Holy Spirit. For if it was written of His servant and forerunner John himself, "He shall be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb," because, although generated by his father, yet he received the Holy Spirit when formed in the womb; what must be understood and believed of the man Christ, of whose flesh the very conception was not carnal, but spiritual? Both natures, too, as well the human as the divine, are shown in that also that is written of Him, that He received of the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, and shed forth the Holy Spirit: seeing that He received as man, and shed forth as God. And we indeed can receive that gift according to our small measure, but assuredly we cannot shed it forth upon others; but, that this may be done, we invoke over them God, by whom this is accomplished.

This quote is from De Trinitate 26.46.

2 comments:

aservantofJehovah said...

I Understand what he is trying to convey,but he is contradicting himself.No one can receive what is eternally innate,the only way to get this argument to work is to treat Jesus' human nature as if it were a distinct person(i.e a concrete reality rather than an abstraction),which of course he is unwilling to do.

Edgar Foster said...

I understand your objection: even Augustine said that "we" speak about the Trinity to keep from being silent about the TRES PERSONAE. He wants to believe that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are eternally and necessarily distinct with respect to the divine ESSENTIA. But this idea that the Spirit is the love between God and his Son appears to obscure rather than illuminate the whole concept. And you're correct that for Augustine, the Son of God is one person with two natures.