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Home > Summa Theologica > Third Part > Question 16

Question 16. Things which are applicable to Christ in his being and becoming

  1. Is this true: "God is man"?
  2. Is this true: "Man is God"?
  3. May Christ be called a lordly man?
  4. May what belongs to the Son of Man be predicated of the Son of God, and conversely?
  5. May what belongs to the Son of Man be predicated of the Divine nature, and what belongs to the Son of God of the human nature?
  6. Is this true: "The Son of God was made man"?
  7. Is this true: "Man became God"?
  8. Is this true: "Christ is a creature"?
  9. Is this true: "This man," pointing out Christ, "began to be"? or "always was"?
  10. Is this true: "Christ as man is a creature"?
  11. Is this true: "Christ as man is God"?
  12. Is this true: "Christ as man is a hypostasis or person"?

Article 1. Whether this is true: "God is man"?

Objection 1. It would seem that this is false: "God is man." For every affirmative proposition of remote matter is false. Now this proposition, "God is man," is on remote matter, since the forms signified by the subject and predicate are most widely apart. Therefore, since the aforesaid proposition is affirmative, it would seem to be false.

Objection 2. Further, the three Divine Persons are in greater mutual agreement than the human nature and the Divine. But in the mystery of the Incarnation one Person is not predicated of another; for we do not say that the Father is the Son, or conversely. Therefore it seems that the human nature ought not to be predicated of God by saying that God is man.

Objection 3. Further, Athanasius says (Symb. Fid.) that, "as the soul and the flesh are one man, so are God and man one Christ." But this is false: "The soul is the body." Therefore this also is false: "God is man."

Objection 4. Further, it was said in I, 39, 4 that what is predicated of God not relatively but absolutely, belongs to the whole Trinity and to each of the Persons. But this word "man" is not relative, but absolute. Hence, if it is predicated of God, it would follow that the whole Trinity and each of the Persons is man; and this is clearly false.

On the contrary, It is written (Philippians 2:6-7): "Who being in the form of God . . . emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of man, and in habit found as a man"; and thus He Who is in the form of God is man. Now He Who is in the form of God is God. Therefore God is man.

I answer that, This proposition "God is man," is admitted by all Christians, yet not in the same way by all. For some admit the proposition, but not in the proper acceptation of the terms. Thus the Manicheans say the Word of God is man, not indeed true, but fictitious man, inasmuch as they say that the Son of God assumed an imaginary body, and thus God is called man as a bronze figure is called man if it has the figure of a man. So, too, those who held that Christ's body and soul were not united, could not say that God is true man, but that He is figuratively called man by reason of the parts. Now both these opinions were disproved above (2, 5; 5, 1).

Some, on the contrary, hold the reality on the part of man, but deny the reality on the part of God. For they say that Christ, Who is God and man, is God not naturally, but by participation, i.e. by grace; even as all other holy men are called gods--Christ being more excellently so than the rest, on account of His more abundant grace. And thus, when it is said that "God is man," God does not stand for the true and natural God. And this is the heresy of Photinus, which was disproved above (2, 10,11). But some admit this proposition, together with the reality of both terms, holding that Christ is true God and true man; yet they do not preserve the truth of the predication. For they say that man is predicated of God by reason of a certain conjunction either of dignity, or of authority, or of affection or indwelling. It was thus that Nestorius held God to be man--nothing further being meant than that God is joined to man by such a conjunction that man is dwelt in by God, and united to Him in affection, and in a share of the Divine authority and honor. And into the same error fall those who suppose two supposita or hypostases in Christ, since it is impossible to understand how, of two things distinct in suppositum or hypostasis, one can be properly predicated of the other: unless merely by a figurative expression, inasmuch as they are united in something, as if we were to say that Peter is John because they are somehow mutually joined together. And these opinions also were disproved above (2, 3,6).

Hence, supposing the truth of the Catholic belief, that the true Divine Nature is united with true human nature not only in person, but also in suppositum or hypostasis; we say that this proposition is true and proper, "God is man"--not only by the truth of its terms, i.e. because Christ is true God and true man, but by the truth of the predication. For a word signifying the common nature in the concrete may stand for all contained in the common nature, as this word "man" may stand for any individual man. And thus this word "God," from its very mode of signification, may stand for the Person of the Son of God, as was said in I, 39, 4. Now of every suppositum of any nature we may truly and properly predicate a word signifying that nature in the concrete, as "man" may properly and truly be predicated of Socrates and Plato. Hence, since the Person of the Son of God for Whom this word "God" stands, is a suppositum of human nature this word man may be truly and properly predicated of this word "God," as it stands for the Person of the Son of God.

Reply to Objection 1. When different forms cannot come together in one suppositum, the proposition is necessarily in remote matter, the subject signifying one form and the predicate another. But when two forms can come together in one suppositum, the matter is not remote, but natural or contingent, as when I say: "Something white is musical." Now the Divine and human natures, although most widely apart, nevertheless come together by the mystery of Incarnation in one suppositum, in which neither exists accidentally, but [both] essentially. Hence this proposition is neither in remote nor in contingent, but in natural matter; and man is not predicated of God accidentally, but essentially, as being predicated of its hypostasis--not, indeed, by reason of the form signified by this word "God," but by reason of the suppositum, which is a hypostasis of human nature.

Reply to Objection 2. The three Divine Persons agree in one Nature, and are distinguished in suppositum; and hence they are not predicated one of another. But in the mystery of Incarnation the natures, being distinct, are not predicated one of the other, in the abstract. For the Divine Nature is not the human nature. But because they agree in suppositum, they are predicated of each other in the concrete.

Reply to Objection 3. "Soul" and "flesh" are taken in the abstract, even as Godhead and manhood; but in the concrete we say "animate" and "carnal" or "corporeal," as, on the other hand, "God" and "man." Hence in both cases the abstract is not predicated of the abstract, but only the concrete of the concrete.

Reply to Objection 4. This word "man" is predicated of God, because of the union in person, and this union implies a relation. Hence it does not follow the rule of those words which are absolutely predicated of God from eternity.

Article 2. Whether this is true: "Man is God"?

Objection 1. It would seem that this is false: "Man is God." For God is an incommunicable name; hence (Wisdom 13:10; 14:21) idolaters are rebuked for giving the name of God, which is incommunicable, to wood and stones. Hence with equal reason does it seem unbecoming that this word "God" should be predicated of man.

Objection 2. Further, whatever is predicated of the predicate may be predicated of the subject. But this is true: "God is the Father," or "God is the Trinity." Therefore, if it is true that "Man is God," it seems that this also is true: "Man is the Father," or "Man is the Trinity." But these are false. Therefore the first is false.

Objection 3. Further, it is written (Psalm 80:10): "There shall be no new God in thee." But man is something new; for Christ was not always man. Therefore this is false: "Man is God."

On the contrary, It is written (Romans 9:5): "Of whom is Christ according to the flesh, Who is over all things, God blessed for ever." Now Christ, according to the flesh, is man. Therefore this is true: "Man is God."

I answer that, Granted the reality of both natures, i.e. Divine and human, and of the union in person and hypostasis, this is true and proper: "Man is God," even as this: "God is man." For this word "man" may stand for any hypostasis of human nature; and thus it may stand for the Person of the Son of God, Whom we say is a hypostasis of human nature. Now it is manifest that the word "God" is truly and properly predicated of the Person of the Son of God, as was said in I, 39, 4. Hence it remains that this is true and proper: "Man is God."

Reply to Objection 1. Idolaters attributed the name of the Deity to stones and wood, considered in their own nature, because they thought there was something divine in them. But we do not attribute the name of the Deity to the man in His human nature, but in the eternal suppositum, which by union is a suppositum of human nature, as stated above.

Reply to Objection 2. This word "Father" is predicated of this word "God," inasmuch as this word "God" stands for the Person of the Father. And in this way it is not predicated of the Person of the Son, because the Person of the Son is not the Person of the Father. And, consequently, it is not necessary that this word "Father" be predicated of this word "Man," of which the Word "God" is predicated, inasmuch as "Man" stands for the Person of the Son.

Reply to Objection 3. Although the human nature in Christ is something new, yet the suppositum of the human nature is not new, but eternal. And because this word "God" is predicated of man not on account of the human nature, but by reason of the suppositum, it does not follow that we assert a new God. But this would follow, if we held that "Man" stands for a created suppositum: even as must be said by those who assert that there are two supposita in Christ [Cf. 02, 3,6].

Article 3. Whether Christ can be called a lordly man?

[The question is hardly apposite in English. St. Thomas explains why we can say in Latin, e.g. 'oratio dominica' (the Lord's Prayer) or 'passio dominica' (Our Lord's Passion), but not speak of our Lord as 'homo dominicus' (a lordly man)].

Objection 1. It would seem that Christ can be called a lordly man. For Augustine says (Qq. lxxxiii, qu. 36) that "we are to be counseled to hope for the goods that were in the Lordly Man"; and he is speaking of Christ. Therefore it seems that Christ was a lordly man.

Objection 2. Further, as lordship belongs to Christ by reason of His Divine Nature, so does manhood belong to the human nature. Now God is said to be "humanized," as is plain from Damascene (De Fide Orth. iii, 11), where he says that "being humanized manifests the conjunction with man." Hence with like reason may it be said denominatively that this man is lordly.

Objection 3. Further, as "lordly" is derived from "lord," so is Divine derived from "Deus" [God]. But Dionysius (Eccl. Hier. iv) calls Christ the "most Divine Jesus." Therefore with like reason may Christ be called a lordly man.

On the contrary, Augustine says (Retract. i, 19): "I do not see that we may rightly call Jesus Christ a lordly man, since He is the Lord Himself."

I answer that, As was said above (2, ad 3), when we say "the Man Christ Jesus," we signify the eternal suppositum, which is the Person of the Son of God, because there is only one suppositum of both natures. Now "God" and "Lord" are predicated essentially of the Son of God; and hence they ought not to be predicated denominatively, since this is derogatory to the truth of the union. Hence, since we say "lordly" denominatively from lord, it cannot truly and properly be said that this Man is lordly, but rather that He is Lord. But if, when we say "the Man Christ Jesus," we mean a created suppositum, as those who assert two supposita in Christ, this man might be called lordly, inasmuch as he is assumed to a participation of Divine honor, as the Nestorians said. And, even in this way, the human nature is not called "divine" by essence, but "deified"--not, indeed, by its being converted into the Divine Nature, but by its conjunction with the Divine Nature in one hypostasis, as is plain from Damascene (De Fide Orth. iii, 11,17).

Reply to Objection 1. Augustine retracts these and the like words (Retract. i, 19); hence, after the foregoing words (Retract. i, 19), he adds: "Wherever I have said this," viz. that Christ Jesus is a lordly man, "I wish it unsaid, having afterwards seen that it ought not to be said although it may be defended with some reason," i.e. because one might say that He was called a lordly man by reason of the human nature, which this word "man" signifies, and not by reason of the suppositum.

Reply to Objection 2. This one suppositum, which is of the human and Divine natures, was first of the Divine Nature, i.e. from eternity. Afterwards in time it was made a suppositum of human nature by Incarnation. And for this reason it is said to be "humanized"--not that it assumed a man, but that it assumed human nature. But the converse of this is not true, viz. that a suppositum of human nature assumed the Divine Nature; hence we may not say a "deified" or "lordly" man.

Reply to Objection 3. This word Divine is wont to be predicated even of things of which the word God is predicated essentially; thus we say that "the Divine Essence is God," by reason of identity; and that "the Essence belongs to God," or is "Divine," on account of the different way of signifying; and we speak of the "Divine Word," though the Word is God. So, too, we say "a Divine Person," just as we say "the person of Plato," on account of its different mode of signification. But "lordly" is not predicated of those of which "lord" is predicated; for we are not wont to call a man who is a lord, lordly; but whatsoever belongs to a lord is called lordly, as the "lordly will," or the "lordly hand," or the "lordly possession." And hence the man Christ, Who is our Lord, cannot be called lordly; yet His flesh can be called "lordly flesh" and His passion the "lordly passion."

Article 4. Whether what belongs to the human nature can be predicated of God?

Objection 1. It would seem that what belongs to the human nature cannot be said of God. For contrary things cannot be said of the same. Now, what belongs to human nature is contrary to what is proper to God, since God is uncreated, immutable, and eternal, and it belongs to the human nature to be created temporal and mutable. Therefore what belongs to the human nature cannot be said of God.

Objection 2. Further, to attribute to God what is defective seems to be derogatory to the Divine honor, and to be a blasphemy. Now what pertains to the human nature contains a kind of defect, as to suffer, to die, and the like. Hence it seems that what pertains to the human nature can nowise be said of God.

Objection 3. Further, to be assumed pertains to the human nature; yet it does not pertain to God. Therefore what belongs to the human nature cannot be said of God.

On the contrary, Damascene says (De Fide Orth. iii, 4) that "God assumed the idioms," i.e. the properties, "of flesh, since God is said to be passible, and the God of glory was crucified."

I answer that, On this question there was a difference of opinion between Nestorians and Catholics. The Nestorians wished to divide words predicated of Christ, in this way, viz. that such as pertained to human nature should not be predicated of God, and that such as pertained to the Divine Nature should not be predicated of the Man. Hence Nestorius said: "If anyone attempt to attribute sufferings to the Word, let him be anathema" [Council of Ephesus, Part I, ch. 29]. But if there are any words applicable to both natures, of them they predicated what pertained to both natures, as "Christ" or "Lord." Hence they granted that Christ was born of a Virgin, and that He was from eternity; but they did not say that God was born of a virgin, or that the Man was from eternity. Catholics on the other hand maintained that words which are said of Christ either in His Divine or in His human nature may be said either of God or of man. Hence Cyril says [Council of Ephesus, Part I, ch. 26]: "If anyone ascribes to two persons or substances," i.e. hypostases, "such words as are in the evangelical and apostolic Scriptures, or have been said of Christ by the Saints, or by Himself of Himself, and believes that some are to be applied to the Man, and apportions some to the Word alone--let him be anathema." And the reason of this is that, since there is one hypostasis of both natures, the same hypostasis is signified by the name of either nature. Thus whether we say "man" or "God," the hypostasis of Divine and human nature is signified. And hence, of the Man may be said what belongs to the Divine Nature, as of a hypostasis of the Divine Nature; and of God may be said what belongs to the human nature, as of a hypostasis of human nature.

Nevertheless, it must be borne in mind that in a proposition in which something is predicated of another, we must not merely consider what the predicate is predicated of, but also the reason of its being predicated. Thus, although we do not distinguish things predicated of Christ, yet we distinguish that by reason of which they are predicated, since those things that belong to the Divine Nature are predicated of Christ in His Divine Nature, and those that belong to the human nature are predicated of Christ in His human nature. Hence Augustine says (De Trin. i, 11): "We must distinguish what is said by Scripture in reference to the form of God, wherein He is equal to the Father, and what in reference to the form of a servant, wherein He is less than the Father": and further on he says (De Trin. i, 13): "The prudent, careful, and devout reader will discern the reason and point of view of what is said."

Reply to Objection 1. It is impossible for contraries to be predicated of the same in the same respects, but nothing prevents their being predicated of the same in different aspects. And thus contraries are predicated of Christ, not in the same, but in different natures.

Reply to Objection 2. If the things pertaining to defect were attributed to God in His Divine Nature, it would be a blasphemy, since it would be derogatory to His honor. But there is no kind of wrong done to God if they are attributed to Him in His assumed nature. Hence in a discourse of the Council of Ephesus [Part III, ch. 10] it is said: "God accounts nothing a wrong which is the occasion of man's salvation. For no lowliness that He assumed for us injures that Nature which can be subject to no injury, yet makes lower things Its own, to save our nature. Therefore, since these lowly and worthless things do no harm to the Divine Nature, but bring about our salvation, how dost thou maintain that what was the cause of our salvation was the occasion of harm to God?"

Reply to Objection 3. To be assumed pertains to human nature, not in its suppositum, but in itself; and thus it does not belong to God.

Article 5. Whether what belongs to the human nature can be predicated of the Divine Nature?

Objection 1. It would seem that what belongs to the human nature can be said of the Divine Nature. For what belongs to the human nature is predicated of the Son of God, and of God. But God is His own Nature. Therefore, what belongs to the human nature may be predicated of the Divine Nature.

Objection 2. Further, the flesh pertains to human nature. But as Damascene says (De Fide Orth. iii, 6), "we say, after the blessed Athanasius and Cyril, that the Nature of the Word was incarnate." Therefore it would seem with equal reason that what belongs to the human nature may be said of the Divine Nature.

Objection 3. Further, what belongs to the Divine Nature belongs to Christ's human nature; such as to know future things and to possess saving power. Therefore it would seem with equal reason that what belongs to the human may be said of the Divine Nature.

On the contrary, Damascene says (De Fide Orth. iii, 4): "When we mention the Godhead we do not predicate of it the idioms," i.e. the properties, "of the humanity; for we do not say that the Godhead is passible or creatable." Now the Godhead is the Divine Nature. Therefore what is proper to the human nature cannot be said of the Divine Nature.

I answer that, What belongs to one cannot be said of another, unless they are both the same; thus "risible" can be predicated only of man. Now in the mystery of Incarnation the Divine and human natures are not the same; but the hypostasis of the two natures is the same. And hence what belongs to one nature cannot be predicated of the other if they are taken in the abstract. Now concrete words stand for the hypostasis of the nature; and hence of concrete words we may predicate indifferently what belongs to either nature--whether the word of which they are predicated refers to one nature, as the word "Christ," by which is signified "both the Godhead anointing and the manhood anointed"; or to the Divine Nature alone, as this word "God" or "the Son of God"; or to the manhood alone, as this word "Man" or "Jesus." Hence Pope Leo says (Ep. ad Palaest. cxxiv): "It is of no consequence from what substance we name Christ; because since the unity of person remains inseparably, one and the same is altogether Son of Man by His flesh, and altogether Son of God by the Godhead which He has with the Father."

Reply to Objection 1. In God, Person and Nature are really the same; and by reason of this identity the Divine Nature is predicated of the Son of God. Nevertheless, its mode of predication is different; and hence certain things are said of the Son of God which are not said of the Divine Nature; thus we say that the Son of God is born, yet we do not say that the Divine Nature is born; as was said in I, 39, 5. So, too, in the mystery of Incarnation we say that the Son of God suffered, yet we do not say that the Divine Nature suffered.

Reply to Objection 2. Incarnation implies union with flesh, rather than any property of flesh. Now in Christ each nature is united to the other in person; and by reason of this union the Divine Nature is said to be incarnate and the human nature deified, as stated above (2, 1, ad 3).

Reply to Objection 3. What belongs to the Divine Nature is predicated of the human nature--not, indeed, as it belongs essentially to the Divine Nature, but as it is participated by the human nature. Hence, whatever cannot be participated by the human nature (as to be uncreated and omnipotent), is nowise predicated of the human nature. But the Divine Nature received nothing by participation from the human nature; and hence what belongs to the human nature can nowise be predicated of the Divine Nature.

Article 6. Whether this is true: "God was made man"?

Objection 1. It would seem that this is false: "God was made man." For since man signifies a substance, to be made man is to be made simply. But this is false: "God was made simply." Therefore this is false: "God was made man."

Objection 2. Further, to be made man is to be changed. But God cannot be the subject of change, according to Malachi 3:6: "I am the Lord, and I change not." Hence this is false: "God was made man."

Objection 3. Further, man as predicated of Christ stands for the Person of the Son of God. But this is false: "God was made the Person of the Son of God." Therefore this is false: "God was made man."

On the contrary, It is written (John 1:14): "The Word was made flesh": and as Athanasius says (Ep. ad Epictetum), "when he said, 'The Word was made flesh,' it is as if it were said that God was made man."

I answer that, A thing is said to be made that which begins to be predicated of it for the first time. Now to be man is truly predicated of God, as stated above (Article 1), yet in such sort that it pertains to God to be man, not from eternity, but from the time of His assuming human nature. Hence, this is true, "God was made man"; though it is understood differently by some: even as this, "God is man," as we said above (Article 1).

Reply to Objection 1. To be made man is to be made simply, in all those in whom human nature begins to be in a newly created suppositum. But God is said to have been made man, inasmuch as the human nature began to be in an eternally pre-existing suppositum of the Divine Nature. And hence for God to be made man does not mean that God was made simply.

Reply to Objection 2. As stated above, to be made implies that something. is newly predicated of another. Hence, whenever anything is predicated of another, and there is a change in that of which it is predicated, then to be made is to be changed; and this takes place in whatever is predicated absolutely, for whiteness or greatness cannot newly affect anything, unless it be newly changed to whiteness or greatness. But whatever is predicated relatively can be newly predicated of anything without its change, as a man may be made to be on the right side without being changed and merely by the change of him on whose left side he was. Hence in such cases, not all that is said to be made is changed, since it may happen by the change of something else. And it is thus we say of God: "Lord, Thou art made [Douay: 'hast been'] our refuge" (Psalm 89:1). Now to be man belongs to God by reason of the union, which is a relation. And hence to be man is newly predicated of God without any change in Him, by a change in the human nature, which is assumed to a Divine Person. And hence, when it is said, "God was made man," we understand no change on the part of God, but only on the part of the human nature.

Reply to Objection 3. Man stands not for the bare Person of the Son of God, but inasmuch as it subsists in human nature. Hence, although this is false, "God was made the Person of the Son of God," yet this is true: "God was made man" by being united to human nature.

Article 7. Whether this is true: "Man was made God"?

Objection 1. It would seem that this is true: "Man was made God." For it is written (Romans 1:2-3): "Which He had promised before by His prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning His Son Who was made to Him of the seed of David according to the flesh." Now Christ, as man, is of the seed of David according to the flesh. Therefore man was made the Son of God.

Objection 2. Further, Augustine says (De Trin. i, 13) that "such was this assumption, which made God man, and man God." But by reason of this assumption this is true: "God was made man." Therefore, in like manner, this is true: "Man was made God."

Objection 3. Further, Gregory Nazianzen says (Ep. ad Chelid. ci): "God was humanized and man was deified, or whatever else one may like to call it." Now God is said to be humanized by being made man. Therefore with equal reason man is said to be deified by being made God; and thus it is true that "Man was made God."

Objection 4. Further, when it is said that "God was made man," the subject of the making or uniting is not God, but human nature, which the word "man" signifies. Now that seems to be the subject of the making, to which the making is attributed. Hence "Man was made God" is truer than "God was made man."

On the contrary, Damascene says (De Fide Orth. iii, 2): "We do not say that man was deified, but that God was humanized." Now to be made God is the same as to be deified. Hence this is false: "Man was made God."

I answer that, This proposition, Man was made God, may be understood in three ways. First, so that the participle "made" absolutely determines either the subject or the predicate; and in this sense it is false, since neither the Man of Whom it is predicated was made, nor is God made, as will be said (8,9). And in the same sense this is false: "God was made man." But it is not of this sense that we are now speaking. Secondly, it may be so understood that the word "made" determines the composition, with this meaning: "Man was made God, i.e. it was brought about that Man is God." And in this sense both are true, viz. that "Man was made God" and that "God was made Man." But this is not the proper sense of these phrases; unless, indeed, we are to understand that "man" has not a personal but a simple supposition. For although "this man" was not made God, because this suppositum, viz. the Person of the Son of God, was eternally God, yet man, speaking commonly, was not always God. Thirdly, properly understood, this participle "made" attaches making to man with relation to God, as the term of the making. And in this sense, granted that the Person or hypostasis in Christ are the same as the suppositum of God and Man, as was shown (2, 2,3), this proposition is false, because, when it is said, "Man was made God," "man" has a personal suppositum: because, to be God is not verified of the Man in His human nature, but in His suppositum. Now the suppositum of human nature, of Whom "to be God" is verified, is the same as the hypostasis or Person of the Son of God, Who was always God. Hence it cannot be said that this Man began to be God, or is made God, or that He was made God.

But if there were a different hypostasis of God and man, so that "to be God" was predicated of the man, and, conversely, by reason of a certain conjunction of supposita, or of personal dignity, or of affection or indwelling, as the Nestorians said, then with equal reason might it be said that Man was made God, i.e. joined to God, and that God was made Man, i.e. joined to man.

Reply to Objection 1. In these words of the Apostle the relative "Who" which refers to the Person of the Son of God ought not to be considered as affecting the predicate, as if someone already existing of the "seed of David according to the flesh" was made the Son of God--and it is in this sense that the objection takes it. But it ought to be taken as affecting the subject, with this meaning--that the "Son of God was made to Him ('namely to the honor of the Father,' as a gloss expounds it), being of the seed of David according to the flesh," as if to say "the Son of God having flesh of the seed of David to the honor of God."

Reply to Objection 2. This saying of Augustine is to be taken in the sense that by the assumption that took place in Incarnation it was brought about that Man is God and God is Man; and in this sense both sayings are true as stated above.

The same is to be said in reply to the third, since to be deified is the same as to be made God.

Reply to Objection 4. A term placed in the subject is taken materially, i.e. for the suppositum; placed in the predicate it is taken formally, i.e. for the nature signified. Hence when it is said that "Man was made God," the being made is not attributed to the human nature but to the suppositum of the human nature, Which is God from eternity, and hence it does not befit Him to be made God. But when it is said that "God was made Man," the making is taken to be terminated in the human nature. Hence, properly speaking, this is true: "God was made Man," and this is false: "Man was made God"; even as if Socrates, who was already a man, were made white, and were pointed out, this would be true: "This man was made white today," and this would be false; "This white thing was made man today." Nevertheless, if on the part of the subject there is added some word signifying human nature in the abstract, it might be taken in this way for the subject of the making, e.g. if it were said that "human nature was made the Son of God's."

Article 8. Whether this is true: "Christ is a creature"?

Objection 1. It would seem that this is true: "Christ is a creature." For Pope Leo says [Cf. Append. Opp. August., Serm. xii de Nativ.]: "A new and unheard of covenant: God Who is and was, is made a creature." Now we may predicate of Christ whatever the Son of God became by Incarnation. Therefore this is true; Christ is a creature.

Objection 2. Further, the properties of both natures may be predicated of the common hypostasis of both natures, no matter by what word they are signified, as stated above (Article 5). But it is the property of human nature to be created, as it is the property of the Divine Nature to be Creator. Hence both may be said of Christ, viz. that He is a creature and that he is uncreated and Creator.

Objection 3. Further, the principal part of a man is the soul rather than the body. But Christ, by reason of the body which He took from the Virgin, is said simply to be born of the Virgin. Therefore by reason of the soul which is created by God, it ought simply to be said that He is a creature.

On the contrary, Ambrose says (De Trin. i): "Was Christ made by a word? Was Christ created by a command?" as if to say: "No!" Hence he adds: "How can there be a creature in God? For God has a simple not a composite Nature." Therefore it must not be granted that "Christ is a creature."

I answer that, As Jerome [Gloss, Ord. in Hosea 2:16] says, "words spoken amiss lead to heresy"; hence with us and heretics the very words ought not to be in common, lest we seem to countenance their error. Now the Arian heretics said that Christ was a creature and less than the Father, not only in His human nature, but even in His Divine Person. And hence we must not say absolutely that Christ is a "creature" or "less than the Father"; but with a qualification, viz. "in His human nature." But such things as could not be considered to belong to the Divine Person in Itself may be predicated simply of Christ by reason of His human nature; thus we say simply that Christ suffered, died and was buried: even as in corporeal and human beings, things of which we may doubt whether they belong to the whole or the part, if they are observed to exist in a part, are not predicated of the whole simply, i.e. without qualification, for we do not say that the Ethiopian is white but that he is white as regards his teeth; but we say without qualification that he is curly, since this can only belong to him as regards his hair.

Reply to Objection 1. Sometimes, for the sake of brevity, the holy doctors use the word "creature" of Christ, without any qualifying term; we should however take as understood the qualification, "as man."

Reply to Objection 2. All the properties of the human, just as of the Divine Nature, may be predicated equally of Christ. Hence Damascene says (De Fide Orth. iii, 4) that "Christ Who God and Man, is called created and uncreated, passible and impassible." Nevertheless things of which we may doubt to what nature they belong, are not to be predicated without a qualification. Hence he afterwards adds (De Fide Orth. iv, 5) that "the one hypostasis," i.e. of Christ, "is uncreated in its Godhead and created in its manhood": even so conversely, we may not say without qualification, "Christ is incorporeal" or "impassible"; in order to avoid the error of Manes, who held that Christ had not a true body, nor truly suffered, but we must say, with a qualification, that Christ was incorporeal and impassible "in His Godhead."

Reply to Objection 3. There can be no doubt how the birth from the Virgin applies to the Person of the Son of God, as there can be in the case of creation; and hence there is no parity.

Article 9. Whether this Man, i.e. Christ, began to be?

Objection 1. It would seem that this Man, i.e. Christ, began to be. For Augustine says (Tract. cv in Joan.) that "before the world was, neither were we, nor the Mediator of God and men--the Man Jesus Christ." But what was not always, has begun to be. Therefore this Man, i.e. Christ, began to be.

Objection 2. Further, Christ began to be Man. But to be man is to be simply. Therefore this man began to be, simply.

Objection 3. Further, "man" implies a suppositum of human nature. But Christ was not always a suppositum of human nature. Therefore this Man began to be.

On the contrary, It is written (Hebrews 13:8): "Jesus Christ yesterday and today: and the same for ever."

I answer that, We must not say that "this Man"--pointing to Christ--"began to be," unless we add something. And this for a twofold reason. First, for this proposition is simply false, in the judgment of the Catholic Faith, which affirms that in Christ there is one suppositum and one hypostasis, as also one Person. For according to this, when we say "this Man," pointing to Christ, the eternal suppositum is necessarily meant, with Whose eternity a beginning in time is incompatible. Hence this is false: "This Man began to be." Nor does it matter that to begin to be refers to the human nature, which is signified by this word "man"; because the term placed in the subject is not taken formally so as to signify the nature, but is taken materially so as to signify the suppositum, as was said (1, ad 4). Secondly, because even if this proposition were true, it ought not to be made use of without qualification; in order to avoid the heresy of Arius, who, since he pretended that the Person of the Son of God is a creature, and less than the Father, so he maintained that He began to be, saying "there was a time when He was not."

Reply to Objection 1. The words quoted must be qualified, i.e. we must say that the Man Jesus Christ was not, before the world was, "in His humanity."

Reply to Objection 2. With this word "begin" we cannot argue from the lower species to the higher. For it does not follow if "this began to be white," that therefore "it began to be colored." And this because "to begin" implies being now and not heretofore: for it does not follow if "this was not white hitherto" that "therefore it was not colored hitherto." Now, to be simply is higher than to be man. Hence this does not follow: "Christ began to be Man--therefore He began to be."

Reply to Objection 3. This word "Man," as it is taken for Christ, although it signifies the human nature, which began to be, nevertheless signifies the eternal suppositum which did not begin to be. Hence, since it signifies the suppositum when placed in the subject, and refers to the nature when placed in the predicate, therefore this is false: "The Man Christ began to be": but this is true: "Christ began to be Man."

Article 10. Whether this is true: "Christ as Man is a creature"?

Objection 1. It would seem that this is false: "Christ as Man is a creature," or "began to be." For nothing in Christ is created except the human nature. But this is false: "Christ as Man is the human nature." Therefore this is also false; Christ as Man is a creature.

Objection 2. Further, the predicate is predicated of the term placed in reduplication, rather than of the subject of the proposition; as when I say: "A body as colored is visible," it follows that the colored is visible. But as stated (8,9) we must not absolutely grant that "the Man Christ is a creature"; nor consequently that "Christ as Man is a creature."

Objection 3. Further, whatever is predicated of a man as man is predicated of him "per se" and simply, for "per se" is the same as "inasmuch as itself," as is said Metaph. v, text. 23. But this is false: "Christ as Man is per se and simply a creature." Hence this, too, is false; "Christ as Man is a creature."

On the contrary, Whatever is, is either Creator or creature. But this is false: "Christ as Man is Creator." Therefore this is true: "Christ as Man is a creature."

I answer that, When we say "Christ as Man" this word "man" may be added in the reduplication, either by reason of the suppositum or by reason of the nature. If it be added by reason of the suppositum, since the suppositum of the human nature in Christ is eternal and uncreated, this will be false: "Christ as Man is a creature." But if it be added by reason of the human nature, it is true, since by reason of the human nature or in the human nature, it belongs to Him to be a creature, as was said (8).

It must however be borne in mind that the term covered by the reduplication signifies the nature rather than the suppositum, since it is added as a predicate, which is taken formally, for it is the same to say "Christ as Man" and to say "Christ as He is a Man." Hence this is to be granted rather than denied: "Christ as Man is a creature." But if something further be added whereby [the term covered by the reduplication] is attracted to the suppositum, this proposition is to be denied rather than granted, for instance were one to say: "Christ as 'this' Man is a creature."

Reply to Objection 1. Although Christ is not the human nature, He has human nature. Now the word "creature" is naturally predicated not only of abstract, but also of concrete things; since we say that "manhood is a creature" and that "man is a creature."

Reply to Objection 2. Man as placed in the subject refers to the suppositum--and as placed in the reduplication refers to the nature, as was stated above. And because the nature is created and the suppositum uncreated, therefore, although it is not granted that "this man is a creature," yet it is granted that "Christ as Man is a creature."

Reply to Objection 3. It belongs to every man who is a suppositum of human nature alone to have his being only in human nature. Hence of every such suppositum it follows that if it is a creature as man, it is a creature simply. But Christ is a suppositum not merely of human nature, but also of the Divine Nature, in which He has an uncreated being. Hence it does not follow that, if He is a creature as Man, He is a creature simply.

Article 11. Whether this is true: "Christ as Man is God"?

Objection 1. It would seem that Christ, as Man, is God. For Christ is God by the grace of union. But Christ, as Man, has the grace of union. Therefore Christ as Man is God.

Objection 2. Further, to forgive sins is proper to God, according to Isaiah 43:25: "I am He that blot out thy iniquities for My own sake." But Christ as Man forgives sin, according to Matthew 9:6: "But that you may know that the Son of Man hath power on earth to forgive sins," etc. Therefore Christ as Man is God.

Objection 3. Further, Christ is not Man in common, but is this particular Man. Now Christ, as this Man, is God, since by "this Man" we signify the eternal suppositum which is God naturally. Therefore Christ as Man is God.

On the contrary, Whatever belongs to Christ as Man belongs to every man. Now, if Christ as Man is God, it follows that every man is God--which is clearly false.

I answer that, This term "man" when placed in the reduplication may be taken in two ways. First as referring to the nature; and in this way it is not true that Christ as Man is God, because the human nature is distinct from the Divine by a difference of nature. Secondly it may be taken as referring to the suppositum; and in this way, since the suppositum of the human nature in Christ is the Person of the Son of God, to Whom it essentially belongs to be God, it is true that Christ, as Man, is God. Nevertheless because the term placed in the reduplication signifies the nature rather than the suppositum, as stated above (Article 10), hence this is to be denied rather than granted: "Christ as Man is God."

Reply to Objection 1. It is not with regard to the same, that a thing moves towards, and that it is, something; for to move belongs to a thing because of its matter or subject--and to be in act belongs to it because of its form. So too it is not with regard to the same, that it belongs to Christ to be ordained to be God by the grace of union, and to be God. For the first belongs to Him in His human nature, and the second, in His Divine Nature. Hence this is true: "Christ as Man has the grace of union"; yet not this: "Christ as Man is God."

Reply to Objection 2. The Son of Man has on earth the power of forgiving sins, not by virtue of the human nature, but by virtue of the Divine Nature, in which Divine Nature resides the power of forgiving sins authoritatively; whereas in the human nature it resides instrumentally and ministerially. Hence Chrysostom expounding this passage says [Implicitly. Hom. xxx in Matth; cf. St. Thomas, Catena Aurea on Mark 2:10]: "He said pointedly 'on earth to forgive sins,' in order to show that by an indivisible union He united human nature to the power of the Godhead, since although He was made Man, yet He remained the Word of God."

Reply to Objection 3. When we say "this man," the demonstrative pronoun "this" attracts "man" to the suppositum; and hence "Christ as this Man, is God, is a truer proposition than Christ as Man is God."

Article 12. Whether this is true: "Christ as Man is a hypostasis or person"?

Objection 1. It would seem that Christ as Man is a hypostasis or person. For what belongs to every man belongs to Christ as Man, since He is like other men according to Philippians 2:7: "Being made in the likeness of men." But every man is a person. Therefore Christ as Man is a person.

Objection 2. Further, Christ as Man is a substance of rational nature. But He is not a universal substance: therefore He is an individual substance. Now a person is nothing else than an individual substance of rational nature; as Boethius says (De Duab. Nat.). Therefore Christ as Man is a person.

Objection 3. Further, Christ as Man is a being of human nature, and a suppositum and a hypostasis of the same nature. But every hypostasis and suppositum and being of human nature is a person. Therefore Christ as Man is a person.

On the contrary, Christ as Man is not an eternal person. Therefore if Christ as Man is a person it would follow that in Christ there are two persons--one temporal and the other eternal, which is erroneous, as was said above (2, 6; 4, 2).

I answer that, As was said (10,11), the term "Man" placed in the reduplication may refer either to the suppositum or to the nature. Hence when it is said: "Christ as Man is a person," if it is taken as referring to the suppositum, it is clear that Christ as Man is a person, since the suppositum of human nature is nothing else than the Person of the Son of God. But if it be taken as referring to the nature, it may be understood in two ways. First, we may so understand it as if it belonged to human nature to be in a person, and in this way it is true, for whatever subsists in human nature is a person. Secondly it may be taken that in Christ a proper personality, caused by the principles of the human nature, is due to the human nature; and in this way Christ as Man is not a person, since the human nature does not exist of itself apart from the Divine Nature, and yet the notion of person requires this.

Reply to Objection 1. It belongs to every man to be a person, inasmuch as everything subsisting in human nature is a person. Now this is proper to the Man Christ that the Person subsisting in His human nature is not caused by the principles of the human nature, but is eternal. Hence in one way He is a person, as Man; and in another way He is not, as stated above.

Reply to Objection 2. The "individual substance," which is included in the definition of a person, implies a complete substance subsisting of itself and separate from all else; otherwise, a man's hand might be called a person, since it is an individual substance; nevertheless, because it is an individual substance existing in something else, it cannot be called a person; nor, for the same reason, can the human nature in Christ, although it may be called something individual and singular.

Reply to Objection 3. As a person signifies something complete and self-subsisting in rational nature, so a hypostasis, suppositum, and being of nature in the genus of substance, signify something that subsists of itself. Hence, as human nature is not of itself a person apart from the Person of the Son of God, so likewise it is not of itself a hypostasis or suppositum or a being of nature. Hence in the sense in which we deny that "Christ as Man is a person" we must deny all the other propositions.

The Summa Theologica of St. Thomas Aquinas
Second and Revised Edition, 1920
Literally translated by Fathers of the English Dominican Province
Online Edition Copyright © 2008 by Kevin Knight
Nihil Obstat. F. Innocentius Apap, O.P., S.T.M., Censor. Theol.
Imprimatur. Edus. Canonicus Surmont, Vicarius Generalis. Westmonasterii.
APPROBATIO ORDINIS
Nihil Obstat. F. Raphael Moss, O.P., S.T.L. and F. Leo Moore, O.P., S.T.L.
Imprimatur. F. Beda Jarrett, O.P., S.T.L., A.M., Prior Provincialis Angliæ

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