Saturday, October 24, 2015

De Trinitate 1.8.15-16 and 1.11.22 (Augustine on 1 Corinthians 15:28)

Concerning 1 Cor. 15:28, here are some quotes from Augustine's De Trinitate:

but if some affirm even further, that the man Christ
Jesus has already been changed into the substance of
God, at least they cannot deny that the human nature
still remained, when He said before His passion, "For
my Father is greater than I;" whence there is no
question that it was said in this sense, that the
Father is greater than the form of a servant, to whom
in the form of God the Son is equal. Nor let any one,
hearing what the apostle says, "But when He saith all
things are put under Him, it is manifest that He is
excepted which did put all things under Him," think
the words, that He hath put all things under the Son,
to be so understood of the Father, as that He should
not think that the Son Himself put all things under
Himself. For this the apostle plainly declares, when
he says to the Philippians, "For our conversation is
in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour,
the Lord Jesus Christ: who shall change our vile body,
that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body,
according to the working whereby He is able even to
subdue all things unto Himself." For the working of
the Father and of the Son is indivisible. Otherwise,
neither hath the Father Himself put all things under
Himself, but the Son hath put all things under Him,
who delivers the kingdom to Him, and puts down all
rule and all authority and power. For these words are
spoken of the Son: "When He shall have delivered up,"
says the apostle, "the kingdom to God, even the
Father; when He shall have put down all rule, and all
authority, and all power." For the same that puts
down, also makes subject (De Trinitate 1.8.15).

neither may we think that Christ shall so give up
the kingdom to God, even the Father, as that He shall
take it away from Himself. For some vain talkers have
thought even this. For when it is said, "He shall have
delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father," He
Himself is not excluded; cause He is one God together
with the Father (Ibid. 1.8.16).

Wherefore, having mastered this rule for
interpreting the Scriptures concerning the Son of God,
that we are to distinguish in them what relates to the
form of God, in which He is equal to the Father, and
what to the form of a servant which He took, in which
He is less than the Father; we shall not be disquieted
by apparently contrary and mutually repugnant sayings
of the sacred books. For both the Son and the Holy
Spirit, according to the form of God, are equal to the
Father, because neither of them is a creature, as we
have already shown: but according to the form of a
servant He is less than the Father, because He Himself
has said, "My Father is greater than I;" and He is
less than Himself, because it is said of Him, He
emptied Himself;" and He is less than the Holy Spirit,
because He Himself says, "Whosoever speaketh a word
against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him; but
whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall
not be forgiven Him (Ibid. 1.11.22).


Sean Killackey said...

I fail to see how the indivisible works of the Father and Son ams holy spirit neccesisitate the doctrine of the trinity.

Edgar Foster said...

Not trying to justify his thinking, but he is possibly reasoning the other way around--the doctrine of the Trinity necessitates that the three persons act/work indivisibly. This notion also stems from the doctrine of absolute divine simplicity.

Sean Killackey said...

That could be true, however (I think you'll agree), that such actions do not necessitate the Trinity. In fact there is a trinity, but not of being, for (even if the HS is a person) they are separate from each other (or in the case that the HS is not a person, they are not all each other, the HS being "part" of God), but by no means is there a triune being.

Matt13weedhacker said...

Just looking at Augustine reasoning on Phil. 3:21 "according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto Himself." This seems plausible for a moment, until one remembers that: "( all ) power" was "given" to him by guess who? And when one remembers the words: "I can do nothing of myself" etc. So, it was not inherent power stemming from his, (i.e. any), pre, or non human nature, but adequate, (i.e. "all" the "power" necessary), for him to carry out the purpose, will, counsel, and good pleasure of: "his God and Father" Rev. 1:6.

Ho he can deny the obvious, (that it was the Father who makes subject "all things"), in 1st Cor. 15:24-28, just simply astounds me.

Edgar Foster said...

Sean: I'm not trying to defend Augustine or Trinitarians, and it's true that acts like creation, sanctification, or redemption don't necessitate three persons, but do Trinitarians believe in a triune being? Is there not one divine being constituted by three persons? One writer penned a book on the tripersonal God, although the Trinity says the persons are distinct from one another; however, Tertullian and others deny that they're separate.

Edgar Foster said...

Matthew13weedhacker: Augustine might say that the Son qua man was given authority, but not the Son qua God. But I agree that his "exegesis" of 1 Cor 15:28ff is way off.

Matt13weedhacker said...

Just an interesting point or two I thought I'd like to share.

James Leonard Papendrea, in his: "Novatian of Rome - The Culmination of Pre-Nicene Orthodoxy," made some thought provoking comments about the second century Apologists "Logos Christology,” or doctrine.

He brought up, the common concept they< (the Apologists, seem to share about the Logos. They taught that the Logos resided in the Father, as an undifferentiated, (i.e. in a person-al sense), part of the Father, (as a thought or idea etc residing within His mind). And taught that the Logos did not "become" the Son, until his "procession" from out of the Father, and/or his temporal "generation," (actually "creation" = my opinion).

And also, because the likes of Justin, Tatian, Theophilus etc, sometimes blurred the identity of “the spirit” with the "Logos," (= again undifferentiated in a person-al sense), well, actually did appear to identify them as one and the same person in a few cases, (also Ignatius and Shepherd of Hermas did the same).

So, in brief summary:

[1.] The Son was not differentiated from the Father as a separate person before his generation
[2.] The Son was not differentiated from the spirit as a separate person post his generation.

He remarked, that this idea, found in their, (generally considered as “Orthodox”), works and teaching, may have in fact, and in part, directly contributed to the rise of 2nd-3rd century “Modalism.”

I found that an interesting thought.