Wednesday, October 27, 2010

STIII, Q13

My regular weekly installment of summaries for Christology. I plan to post something on the "AI Wars," an episode aired on National Geographics' channel tonight. I'm hoping I can lure Jimmy Akin to responding on that post since he seems to speculate quite a bit on such things.

But for now, it's all Aquinas... all the time.

A1. The Divine nature is unbounded and from it flows active power to all things that have the nature being. Clearly, since the principle of human nature is the Divine power, human nature (in Christ’s soul) cannot itself be omnipresent. However, as ad 1 notes, by the communication of idioms (also called the communication of properties by Ocaríz et al), the man Christ can be said to be omnipotent since His human nature is in union with His Divine nature in the Person of the Word.

A2. St. Thomas identifies three ways in which transmutation of creatures occurs. Transmutation can be brought about by an agent naturally or by means of the miraculous. For example, naturally we can bring about changes in other creatures through the use of practical knowledge. Supernaturally, we can be an instrument of God in bringing about some transmutation (such as miraculous healings attributed to saints, conversions brought about by witness, and so on). Finally, something’s existence can be brought to nothing. The power of Christ’s soul can be viewed in respect to proper nature and its power of grace or as the instrument of the Word. In the former case, Christ’s soul had the power proper to its nature, including its ability to enlighten other rational creatures in a way appropriate to another rational creature. As an instrument of the Word, it could be used in a way to effect miraculous transmutations. In both these senses, His soul had the same capacity as other human souls but He had them in perfection while we do not. Of the final mode of transmutation—of bringing something’s existence to nothing—only God has this capacity. The final mode, then, cannot be seen as simply the ability to destroy another creation but to actually make an existent cease to exist.

A3. While Adam in his prelapsarian state may have had the ability to keep himself from harm, Christ took on the penalties mankind’s separation. Christ’s soul, in its natural power, was incapable of preventing the natural workings of natural bodies, including His own. As an instrument of the Word, He was able to do so, but it would be attributable not to His soul but to the Word of God. Thus, Christ’s soul was not omnipotent in regard to His body.

A4. Christ, having two wills, willed in two ways. First, He willed those things which were in the power of His human nature to do. Second, He willed those things that could be brought about by Divine power. The first could only extend as far as His own capabilities and influence. Compelling other human wills was not within His natural power as a man. The second extends to His use as an instrument of the Word: miracles deeds and His own bodily resurrection.
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