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Home > Summa Theologiae > Third Part > Question 46

Question 46. The passion of Christ

  1. Was it necessary for Christ to suffer for men's deliverance?
  2. Was there any other possible means of delivering men?
  3. Was this the more suitable means?
  4. Was it fitting for Christ to suffer on the cross?
  5. The extent of His sufferings
  6. Was the pain which He endured the greatest?
  7. Did His entire soul suffer?
  8. Did His Passion hinder the joy of fruition?
  9. The time of the Passion
  10. The place
  11. Was it fitting for Him to be crucified with robbers?
  12. Is Christ's Passion to be attributed to the Godhead?

Article 1. Whether it was necessary for Christ to suffer for the deliverance of the human race?

Objection 1. It would seem that it was not necessary for Christ to suffer for the deliverance of the human race. For the human race could not be delivered except by God, according to Isaiah 45:21: "Am not I the Lord, and there is no God else besides Me? A just God and a Saviour, there is none besides Me." But no necessity can compel God, for this would be repugnant to His omnipotence. Therefore it was not necessary for Christ to suffer.

Objection 2. Further, what is necessary is opposed to what is voluntary. But Christ suffered of His own will; for it is written (Isaiah 53:7): "He was offered because it was His own will." Therefore it was not necessary for Him to suffer.

Objection 3. Further, as is written (Psalm 24:10): "All the ways of the Lord are mercy and truth." But it does not seem necessary that He should suffer on the part of the Divine mercy, which, as it bestows gifts freely, so it appears to condone debts without satisfaction: nor, again, on the part of Divine justice, according to which man had deserved everlasting condemnation. Therefore it does not seem necessary that Christ should have suffered for man's deliverance.

Objection 4. Further, the angelic nature is more excellent than the human, as appears from Dionysius (Div. Nom. iv). But Christ did not suffer to repair the angelic nature which had sinned. Therefore, apparently, neither was it necessary for Him to suffer for the salvation of the human race.

On the contrary, It is written (John 3:14): "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of man be lifted up, that whosoever believeth in Him may not perish, but may have life everlasting."

I answer that, As the Philosopher teaches (Metaph. v), there are several acceptations of the word "necessary." In one way it means anything which of its nature cannot be otherwise; and in this way it is evident that it was not necessary either on the part of God or on the part of man for Christ to suffer. In another sense a thing may be necessary from some cause quite apart from itself; and should this be either an efficient or a moving cause then it brings about the necessity of compulsion; as, for instance, when a man cannot get away owing to the violence of someone else holding him. But if the external factor which induces necessity be an end, then it will be said to be necessary from presupposing such end—namely, when some particular end cannot exist at all, or not conveniently, except such end be presupposed. It was not necessary, then, for Christ to suffer from necessity of compulsion, either on God's part, who ruled that Christ should suffer, or on Christ's own part, who suffered voluntarily. Yet it was necessary from necessity of the end proposed; and this can be accepted in three ways. First of all, on our part, who have been delivered by His Passion, according to John (3:14): "The Son of man must be lifted up, that whosoever believeth in Him may not perish, but may have life everlasting." Secondly, on Christ's part, who merited the glory of being exalted, through the lowliness of His Passion: and to this must be referred Luke 24:26: "Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and so to enter into His glory?" Thirdly, on God's part, whose determination regarding the Passion of Christ, foretold in the Scriptures and prefigured in the observances of the Old Testament, had to be fulfilled. And this is what St. Luke says (22:22): "The Son of man indeed goeth, according to that which is determined"; and (Luke 24:44-46): "These are the words which I spoke to you while I was yet with you, that all things must needs be fulfilled which are written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms concerning Me: for it is thus written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise again from the dead."

Reply to Objection 1. This argument is based on the necessity of compulsion on God's part.

Reply to Objection 2. This argument rests on the necessity of compulsion on the part of the man Christ.

Reply to Objection 3. That man should be delivered by Christ's Passion was in keeping with both His mercy and His justice. With His justice, because by His Passion Christ made satisfaction for the sin of the human race; and so man was set free by Christ's justice: and with His mercy, for since man of himself could not satisfy for the sin of all human nature, as was said above (III:1:2), God gave him His Son to satisfy for him, according to Romans 3:24-25: "Being justified freely by His grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God hath proposed to be a propitiation, through faith in His blood." And this came of more copious mercy than if He had forgiven sins without satisfaction. Hence it is said (Ephesians 2:4): "God, who is rich in mercy, for His exceeding charity wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together in Christ."

Reply to Objection 4. The sin of the angels was irreparable; not so the sin of the first man (I:64:2).

Article 2. Whether there was any other possible way of human deliverance besides the Passion of Christ?

Objection 1. It would seem that there was no other possible way of human deliverance besides Christ's Passion. For our Lord says (John 12:24): "Amen, amen I say to you, unless the grain of wheat falling into the ground dieth, itself remaineth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit." Upon this St. Augustine (Tract. li) observes that "Christ called Himself the seed." Consequently, unless He suffered death, He would not otherwise have produced the fruit of our redemption.

Objection 2. Further, our Lord addresses the Father (Matthew 26:42): "My Father, if this chalice may not pass away but I must drink it, Thy will be done." But He spoke there of the chalice of the Passion. Therefore Christ's Passion could not pass away; hence Hilary says (Comm. 31 in Matth.): "Therefore the chalice cannot pass except He drink of it, because we cannot be restored except through His Passion."

Objection 3. Further, God's justice required that Christ should satisfy by the Passion in order that man might be delivered from sin. But Christ cannot let His justice pass; for it is written (2 Timothy 2:13): "If we believe not, He continueth faithful, He cannot deny Himself." But He would deny Himself were He to deny His justice, since He is justice itself. It seems impossible, then, for man to be delivered otherwise than by Christ's Passion.

Objection 4. Further, there can be no falsehood underlying faith. But the Fathers of old believed that Christ would suffer. Consequently, it seems that it had to be that Christ should suffer.

On the contrary, Augustine says (De Trin. xiii): "We assert that the way whereby God deigned to deliver us by the man Jesus Christ, who is mediator between God and man, is both good and befitting the Divine dignity; but let us also show that other possible means were not lacking on God's part, to whose power all things are equally subordinate."

I answer that, A thing may be said to be possible or impossible in two ways: first of all, simply and absolutely; or secondly, from supposition. Therefore, speaking simply and absolutely, it was possible for God to deliver mankind otherwise than by the Passion of Christ, because "no word shall be impossible with God" (Luke 1:37). Yet it was impossible if some supposition be made. For since it is impossible for God's foreknowledge to be deceived and His will or ordinance to be frustrated, then, supposing God's foreknowledge and ordinance regarding Christ's Passion, it was not possible at the same time for Christ not to suffer, and for mankind to be delivered otherwise than by Christ's Passion. And the same holds good of all things foreknown and preordained by God, as was laid down in I:14:13.

Reply to Objection 1. Our Lord is speaking there presupposing God's foreknowledge and predetermination, according to which it was resolved that the fruit of man's salvation should not follow unless Christ suffered.

Reply to Objection 2. In the same way we must understand what is here objected to in the second instance: "If this chalice may not pass away but I must drink of it"—that is to say, because Thou hast so ordained it—hence He adds: "Thy will be done."

Reply to Objection 3. Even this justice depends on the Divine will, requiring satisfaction for sin from the human race. But if He had willed to free man from sin without any satisfaction, He would not have acted against justice. For a judge, while preserving justice, cannot pardon fault without penalty, if he must visit fault committed against another—for instance, against another man, or against the State, or any Prince in higher authority. But God has no one higher than Himself, for He is the sovereign and common good of the whole universe. Consequently, if He forgive sin, which has the formality of fault in that it is committed against Himself, He wrongs no one: just as anyone else, overlooking a personal trespass, without satisfaction, acts mercifully and not unjustly. And so David exclaimed when he sought mercy: "To Thee only have I sinned" (Psalm 50:6), as if to say: "Thou canst pardon me without injustice."

Reply to Objection 4. Human faith, and even the Divine Scriptures upon which faith is based, are both based on the Divine foreknowledge and ordinance. And the same reason holds good of that necessity which comes of supposition, and of the necessity which arises of the Divine foreknowledge and will.

Article 3. Whether there was any more suitable way of delivering the human race than by Christ's Passion?

Objection 1. It would seem that there was some other more suitable way of delivering the human race besides Christ's Passion. For nature in its operation imitates the Divine work, since it is moved and regulated by God. But nature never employs two agents where one will suffice. Therefore, since God could have liberated mankind solely by His Divine will, it does not seem fitting that Christ's Passion should have been added for the deliverance of the human race.

Objection 2. Further, natural actions are more suitably performed than deeds of violence, because violence is "a severance or lapse from what is according to nature," as is said in De Coelo ii. But Christ's Passion brought about His death by violence. Therefore it would have been more appropriate had Christ died a natural death rather than suffer for man's deliverance.

Objection 3. Further, it seems most fitting that whatsoever keeps something unjustly and by violence, should be deprived of it by some superior power; hence Isaias says (52:3): "You were sold gratis, and you shall be redeemed without money." But the devil possessed no right over man, whom he had deceived by guile, and whom he held subject in servitude by a sort of violence. Therefore it seems most suitable that Christ should have despoiled the devil solely by His power and without the Passion.

On the contrary, St. Augustine says (De Trin. xiii): "There was no other more suitable way of healing our misery" than by the Passion of Christ.

I answer that, Among means to an end that one is the more suitable whereby the various concurring means employed are themselves helpful to such end. But in this that man was delivered by Christ's Passion, many other things besides deliverance from sin concurred for man's salvation. In the first place, man knows thereby how much God loves him, and is thereby stirred to love Him in return, and herein lies the perfection of human salvation; hence the Apostle says (Romans 5:8): "God commendeth His charity towards us; for when as yet we were sinners . . . Christ died for us." Secondly, because thereby He set us an example of obedience, humility, constancy, justice, and the other virtues displayed in the Passion, which are requisite for man's salvation. Hence it is written (1 Peter 2:21): "Christ also suffered for us, leaving you an example that you should follow in His steps." Thirdly, because Christ by His Passion not only delivered man from sin, but also merited justifying grace for him and the glory of bliss, as shall be shown later (III:48:1; III:49:1 and III:49:5). Fourthly, because by this man is all the more bound to refrain from sin, according to 1 Corinthians 6:20: "You are bought with a great price: glorify and bear God in your body." Fifthly, because it redounded to man's greater dignity, that as man was overcome and deceived by the devil, so also it should be a man that should overthrow the devil; and as man deserved death, so a man by dying should vanquish death. Hence it is written (1 Corinthians 15:57): "Thanks be to God who hath given us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." It was accordingly more fitting that we should be delivered by Christ's Passion than simply by God's good-will.

Reply to Objection 1. Even nature uses several means to one intent, in order to do something more fittingly: as two eyes for seeing; and the same can be observed in other matters.

Reply to Objection 2. As Chrysostom [Athanasius, Orat. De Incarn. Verb.] says: "Christ had come in order to destroy death, not His own, (for since He is life itself, death could not be His), but men's death. Hence it was not by reason of His being bound to die that He laid His body aside, but because the death He endured was inflicted on Him by men. But even if His body had sickened and dissolved in the sight of all men, it was not befitting Him who healed the infirmities of others to have his own body afflicted with the same. And even had He laid His body aside without any sickness, and had then appeared, men would not have believed Him when He spoke of His resurrection. For how could Christ's victory over death appear, unless He endured it in the sight of all men, and so proved that death was vanquished by the incorruption of His body?"

Reply to Objection 3. Although the devil assailed man unjustly, nevertheless, on account of sin, man was justly left by God under the devil's bondage. And therefore it was fitting that through justice man should be delivered from the devil's bondage by Christ making satisfaction on his behalf in the Passion. This was also a fitting means of overthrowing the pride of the devil, "who is a deserter from justice, and covetous of sway"; in that Christ "should vanquish him and deliver man, not merely by the power of His Godhead, but likewise by the justice and lowliness of the Passion," as Augustine says (De Trin. xiii).

Article 4. Whether Christ ought to have suffered on the cross?

Objection 1. It would seem that Christ ought not to have suffered on the cross. For the truth ought to conform to the figure. But in all the sacrifices of the Old Testament which prefigured Christ the beasts were slain with a sword and afterwards consumed by fire. Therefore it seems that Christ ought not to have suffered on a cross, but rather by the sword or by fire.

Objection 2. Further, Damascene says (De Fide Orth. iii) that Christ ought not to assume "dishonoring afflictions." But death on a cross was most dishonoring and ignominious; hence it is written (Wisdom 2:20): "Let us condemn Him to a most shameful death." Therefore it seems that Christ ought not to have undergone the death of the cross.

Objection 3. Further, it was said of Christ (Matthew 21:9): "Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord." But death upon the cross was a death of malediction, as we read Deuteronomy 21:23: "He is accursed of God that hangeth on a tree." Therefore it does not seem fitting for Christ to be crucified.

On the contrary, It is written (Philippians 2:8): "He became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross."

I answer that, It was most fitting that Christ should suffer the death of the cross.

First of all, as an example of virtue. For Augustine thus writes (QQ. lxxxiii, qu. 25): "God's Wisdom became man to give us an example in righteousness of living. But it is part of righteous living not to stand in fear of things which ought not to be feared. Now there are some men who, although they do not fear death in itself, are yet troubled over the manner of their death. In order, then, that no kind of death should trouble an upright man, the cross of this Man had to be set before him, because, among all kinds of death, none was more execrable, more fear-inspiring, than this."

Secondly, because this kind of death was especially suitable in order to atone for the sin of our first parent, which was the plucking of the apple from the forbidden tree against God's command. And so, to atone for that sin, it was fitting that Christ should suffer by being fastened to a tree, as if restoring what Adam had purloined; according to Psalm 68:5: "Then did I pay that which I took not away." Hence Augustine says in a sermon on the Passion [Cf. Serm. ci De Tempore]: "Adam despised the command, plucking the apple from the tree: but all that Adam lost, Christ found upon the cross."

The third reason is because, as Chrysostom says in a sermon on the Passion (De Cruce et Latrone i, ii): "He suffered upon a high rood and not under a roof, in order that the nature of the air might be purified: and the earth felt a like benefit, for it was cleansed by the flowing of the blood from His side." And on John 3:14: "The Son of man must be lifted up," Theophylact says: "When you hear that He was lifted up, understand His hanging on high, that He might sanctify the air who had sanctified the earth by walking upon it."

The fourth reason is, because, by dying on it, He prepares for us an ascent into heaven, as Chrysostom [Athanasius, vide A, III, ad 2] says. Hence it is that He says (John 12:32): "If I be lifted up from the earth, I will draw all things to Myself."

The fifth reason is because it is befitting the universal salvation of the entire world. Hence Gregory of Nyssa observes (In Christ. Resurr., Orat. i) that "the shape of the cross extending out into four extremes from their central point of contact denotes the power and the providence diffused everywhere of Him who hung upon it." Chrysostom [Athanasius, vide A. III, ad 2] also says that upon the cross "He dies with outstretched hands in order to draw with one hand the people of old, and with the other those who spring from the Gentiles."

The sixth reason is because of the various virtues denoted by this class of death. Hence Augustine in his book on the grace of the Old and New Testament (Ep. cxl) says: "Not without purpose did He choose this class of death, that He might be a teacher of that breadth, and height, and length, and depth," of which the Apostle speaks (Ephesians 3:18): "For breadth is in the beam, which is fixed transversely above; this appertains to good works, since the hands are stretched out upon it. Length is the tree's extent from the beam to the ground; and there it is planted—that is, it stands and abides—which is the note of longanimity. Height is in that portion of the tree which remains over from the transverse beam upwards to the top, and this is at the head of the Crucified, because He is the supreme desire of souls of good hope. But that part of the tree which is hidden from view to hold it fixed, and from which the entire rood springs, denotes the depth of gratuitous grace." And, as Augustine says (Tract. cxix in Joan.): "The tree upon which were fixed the members of Him dying was even the chair of the Master teaching."

The seventh reason is because this kind of death responds to very many figures. For, as Augustine says in a sermon on the Passion (Serm. ci De Tempore), an ark of wood preserved the human race from the waters of the Deluge; at the exodus of God's people from Egypt, Moses with a rod divided the sea, overthrew Pharaoh and saved the people of God. the same Moses dipped his rod into the water, changing it from bitter to sweet; at the touch of a wooden rod a salutary spring gushed forth from a spiritual rock; likewise, in order to overcome Amalec, Moses stretched forth his arms with rod in hand; lastly, God's law is entrusted to the wooden Ark of the Covenant; all of which are like steps by which we mount to the wood of the cross.

Reply to Objection 1. The altar of holocausts, upon which the sacrifices of animals were immolated, was constructed of timbers, as is set forth Exodus 27:, and in this respect the truth answers to the figure; but "it is not necessary for it to be likened in every respect, otherwise it would not be a likeness," but the reality, as Damascene says (De Fide Orth. iii). But in particular, as Chrysostom [Athanasius, vide A, III, ad 2] says: "His head is not cut off, as was done to John; nor was He sawn in twain, like Isaias, in order that His entire and indivisible body might obey death, and that there might be no excuse for them who want to divide the Church." While, instead of material fire, there was the spiritual fire of charity in Christ's holocaust.

Reply to Objection 2. Christ refused to undergo dishonorable sufferings which are allied with defects of knowledge, or of grace, or even of virtue, but not those injuries inflicted from without—nay, more, as is written Hebrews 12:2: "He endured the cross, despising the shame."

Reply to Objection 3. As Augustine says (Contra Faust. xiv), sin is accursed, and, consequently, so is death, and mortality, which comes of sin. "But Christ's flesh was mortal, 'having the resemblance of the flesh of sin'"; and hence Moses calls it "accursed," just as the Apostle calls it "sin," saying (2 Corinthians 5:21): "Him that knew no sin, for us He hath made sin"—namely, because of the penalty of sin. "Nor is there greater ignominy on that account, because he said: 'He is accursed of God.'" For, "unless God had hated sin, He would never have sent His Son to take upon Himself our death, and to destroy it. Acknowledge, then, that it was for us He took the curse upon Himself, whom you confess to have died for us." Hence it is written (Galatians 3:13): "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us."

Article 5. Whether Christ endured all suffering?

Objection 1. It would seem that Christ did endure all sufferings, because Hilary (De Trin. x) says: "God's only-begotten Son testifies that He endured every kind of human sufferings in order to accomplish the sacrament of His death, when with bowed head He gave up the ghost." It seems, therefore, that He did endure all human sufferings.

Objection 2. Further, it is written (Isaiah 52:13): "Behold My servant shall understand, He shall be exalted and extolled, and shall be exceeding high; as many as have been astonished at Him [Vulgate: 'thee', so shall His visage be inglorious among men, and His form among the sons of men." But Christ was exalted in that He had all grace and all knowledge, at which many were astonished in admiration thereof. Therefore it seems that He was "inglorious," by enduring every human suffering.

Objection 3. Further, Christ's Passion was ordained for man's deliverance from sin, as stated above (Article 3). But Christ came to deliver men from every kind of sin. Therefore He ought to have endured every kind of suffering.

On the contrary, It is written (John 19:32): "The soldiers therefore came: and they broke the legs of the first, and of the other who was crucified with Him; but after they were come to Jesus, when they saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs." Consequently, He did not endure every human suffering.

I answer that, Human sufferings may be considered under two aspects. First of all, specifically, and in this way it was not necessary for Christ to endure them all, since many are mutually exclusive, as burning and drowning; for we are dealing now with sufferings inflicted from without, since it was not beseeming for Him to endure those arising from within, such as bodily ailments, as already stated (III:14:4. But, speaking generically, He did endure every human suffering. This admits of a threefold acceptance. First of all, on the part of men: for He endured something from Gentiles and from Jews; from men and from women, as is clear from the women servants who accused Peter. He suffered from the rulers, from their servants and from the mob, according to Psalm 2:1-2: "Why have the Gentiles raged, and the people devised vain things? The kings of the earth stood up, and the princes met together, against the Lord and against His Christ." He suffered from friends and acquaintances, as is manifest from Judas betraying and Peter denying Him.

Secondly, the same is evident on the part of the sufferings which a man can endure. For Christ suffered from friends abandoning Him; in His reputation, from the blasphemies hurled at Him; in His honor and glory, from the mockeries and the insults heaped upon Him; in things, for He was despoiled of His garments; in His soul, from sadness, weariness, and fear; in His body, from wounds and scourgings.

Thirdly, it may be considered with regard to His bodily members. In His head He suffered from the crown of piercing thorns; in His hands and feet, from the fastening of the nails; on His face from the blows and spittle; and from the lashes over His entire body. Moreover, He suffered in all His bodily senses: in touch, by being scourged and nailed; in taste, by being given vinegar and gall to drink; in smell, by being fastened to the gibbet in a place reeking with the stench of corpses, "which is called Calvary"; in hearing, by being tormented with the cries of blasphemers and scorners; in sight, by beholding the tears of His Mother and of the disciple whom He loved.

Reply to Objection 1. Hilary's words are to be understood as to all classes of sufferings, but not as to their kinds.

Reply to Objection 2. The likeness is sustained, not as to the number of the sufferings and graces, but as to their greatness; for, as He was uplifted above others in gifts of graces, so was He lowered beneath others by the ignominy of His sufferings.

Reply to Objection 3. The very least one of Christ's sufferings was sufficient of itself to redeem the human race from all sins; but as to fittingness, it sufficed that He should endure all classes of sufferings, as stated above.

Article 6. Whether the pain of Christ's Passion was greater than all other pains?

Objection 1. It would seem that the pain of Christ's Passion was not greater than all other pains. For the sufferer's pain is increased by the sharpness and the duration of the suffering. But some of the martyrs endured sharper and more prolonged pains than Christ, as is seen in St. Lawrence, who was roasted upon a gridiron; and in St. Vincent, whose flesh was torn with iron pincers. Therefore it seems that the pain of the suffering Christ was not the greatest.

Objection 2. Further, strength of soul mitigates pain, so much so that the Stoics held there was no sadness in the soul of a wise man; and Aristotle (Ethic. ii) holds that moral virtue fixes the mean in the passions. But Christ had most perfect strength of soul. Therefore it seems that the greatest pain did not exist in Christ.

Objection 3. Further, the more sensitive the sufferer is, the more acute will the pain be. But the soul is more sensitive than the body, since the body feels in virtue of the soul; also, Adam in the state of innocence seems to have had a body more sensitive than Christ had, who assumed a human body with its natural defects. Consequently, it seems that the pain of a sufferer in purgatory, or in hell, or even Adam's pain, if he suffered at all, was greater than Christ's in the Passion.

Objection 4. Further, the greater the good lost, the greater the pain. But by sinning the sinner loses a greater good than Christ did when suffering; since the life of grace is greater than the life of nature: also, Christ, who lost His life, but was to rise again after three days, seems to have lost less than those who lose their lives and abide in death. Therefore it seems that Christ's pain was not the greatest of all.

Objection 5. Further, the victim's innocence lessens the sting of his sufferings. But Christ died innocent, according to Jeremiah 9:19: "I was as a meek lamb, that is carried to be a victim." Therefore it seems that the pain of Christ's Passion was not the greatest.

Objection 6. Further, there was nothing superfluous in Christ's conduct. But the slightest pain would have sufficed to secure man's salvation, because from His Divine Person it would have had infinite virtue. Therefore it would have been superfluous to choose the greatest of all pains.

On the contrary, It is written (Lamentations 1:12) on behalf of Christ's Person: "O all ye that pass by the way attend, and see if there be any sorrow like unto My sorrow."

I answer that, As we have stated, when treating of the defects assumed by Christ (III:15:6), there was true and sensible pain in the suffering Christ, which is caused by something hurtful to the body: also, there was internal pain, which is caused from the apprehension of something hurtful, and this is termed "sadness." And in Christ each of these was the greatest in this present life. This arose from four causes.

First of all, from the sources of His pain. For the cause of the sensitive pain was the wounding of His body; and this wounding had its bitterness, both from the extent of the suffering already mentioned ([5]) and from the kind of suffering, since the death of the crucified is most bitter, because they are pierced in nervous and highly sensitive parts—to wit, the hands and feet; moreover, the weight of the suspended body intensifies the agony. And besides this there is the duration of the suffering because they do not die at once like those slain by the sword. The cause of the interior pain was, first of all, all the sins of the human race, for which He made satisfaction by suffering; hence He ascribes them, so to speak, to Himself, saying (Psalm 21:2): "The words of my sins."

Secondly, especially the fall of the Jews and of the others who sinned in His death chiefly of the apostles, who were scandalized at His Passion. Thirdly, the loss of His bodily life, which is naturally horrible to human nature.

The magnitude of His suffering may be considered, secondly, from the susceptibility of the sufferer as to both soul and body. For His body was endowed with a most perfect constitution, since it was fashioned miraculously by the operation of the Holy Ghost; just as some other things made by miracles are better than others, as Chrysostom says (Hom. xxii in Joan.) respecting the wine into which Christ changed the water at the wedding-feast. And, consequently, Christ's sense of touch, the sensitiveness of which is the reason for our feeling pain, was most acute. His soul likewise, from its interior powers, apprehended most vehemently all the causes of sadness.

Thirdly, the magnitude of Christ's suffering can be estimated from the singleness of His pain and sadness. In other sufferers the interior sadness is mitigated, and even the exterior suffering, from some consideration of reason, by some derivation or redundance from the higher powers into the lower; but it was not so with the suffering Christ, because "He permitted each one of His powers to exercise its proper function," as Damascene says (De Fide Orth. iii).

Fourthly, the magnitude of the pain of Christ's suffering can be reckoned by this, that the pain and sorrow were accepted voluntarily, to the end of men's deliverance from sin; and consequently He embraced the amount of pain proportionate to the magnitude of the fruit which resulted therefrom.

From all these causes weighed together, it follows that Christ's pain was the very greatest.

Reply to Objection 1. This argument follows from only one of the considerations adduced—namely, from the bodily injury, which is the cause of sensitive pain; but the torment of the suffering Christ is much more intensified from other causes, as above stated.

Reply to Objection 2. Moral virtue lessens interior sadness in one way, and outward sensitive pain in quite another; for it lessens interior sadness directly by fixing the mean, as being its proper matter, within limits. But, as was laid down in I-II:64:2, moral virtue fixes the mean in the passions, not according to mathematical quantity, but according to quantity of proportion, so that the passion shall not go beyond the rule of reason. And since the Stoics held all sadness to be unprofitable, they accordingly believed it to be altogether discordant with reason, and consequently to be shunned altogether by a wise man. But in very truth some sadness is praiseworthy, as Augustine proves (De Civ. Dei xiv)—namely, when it flows from holy love, as, for instance, when a man is saddened over his own or others' sins. Furthermore, it is employed as a useful means of satisfying for sins, according to the saying of the Apostle (2 Corinthians 7:10): "The sorrow that is according to God worketh penance, steadfast unto salvation." And so to atone for the sins of all men, Christ accepted sadness, the greatest in absolute quantity, yet not exceeding the rule of reason. But moral virtue does not lessen outward sensitive pain, because such pain is not subject to reason, but follows the nature of the body; yet it lessens it indirectly by redundance of the higher powers into the lower. But this did not happen in Christ's case, as stated above (cf. 14, 1, ad 2; III:45:2).

Reply to Objection 3. The pain of a suffering, separated soul belongs to the state of future condemnation, which exceeds every evil of this life, just as the glory of the saints surpasses every good of the present life. Accordingly, when we say that Christ's pain was the greatest, we make no comparison between His and the pain of a separated soul. But Adam's body could not suffer, except he sinned. so that he would become mortal, and passible. And, though actually suffering, it would have felt less pain than Christ's body, for the reasons already stated. From all this it is clear that even if by impassibility Adam had suffered in the state of innocence, his pain would have been less than Christ's.

Reply to Objection 4. Christ grieved not only over the loss of His own bodily life, but also over the sins of all others. And this grief in Christ surpassed all grief of every contrite heart, both because it flowed from a greater wisdom and charity, by which the pang of contrition is intensified, and because He grieved at the one time for all sins, according to Isaiah 53:4: "Surely He hath carried our sorrows." But such was the dignity of Christ's life in the body, especially on account of the Godhead united with it, that its loss, even for one hour, would be a matter of greater grief than the loss of another man's life for howsoever long a time. Hence the Philosopher says (Ethic. iii) that the man of virtue loves his life all the more in proportion as he knows it to be better; and yet he exposes it for virtue's sake. And in like fashion Christ laid down His most beloved life for the good of charity, according to Jeremiah 12:7: "I have given My dear soul into the hands of her enemies."

Reply to Objection 5. The sufferer's innocence does lessen numerically the pain of the suffering, since, when a guilty man suffers, he grieves not merely on account of the penalty, but also because of the crime, whereas the innocent man grieves only for the penalty: yet this pain is more intensified by reason of his innocence, in so far as he deems the hurt inflicted to be the more undeserved. Hence it is that even others are more deserving of blame if they do not compassionate him. according to Isaiah 57:1: "The just perisheth, and no man layeth it to heart."

Reply to Objection 6. Christ willed to deliver the human race from sins not merely by His power, but also according to justice. And therefore He did not simply weigh what great virtue His suffering would have from union with the Godhead, but also how much, according to His human nature, His pain would avail for so great a satisfaction.

Article 7. Whether Christ suffered in His whole soul?

Objection 1. It would seem that Christ did not suffer in His whole soul. For the soul suffers indirectly when the body suffers, inasmuch as it is the "act of the body." But the soul is not, as to its every part, the "act of the body"; because the intellect is the act of no body, as is said De Anima iii. Therefore it seems that Christ did not suffer in His whole soul.

Objection 2. Further, every power of the soul is passive in regard to its proper object. But the higher part of reason has for its object the eternal types, "to the consideration and consultation of which it directs itself," as Augustine says (De Trin. xii). But Christ could suffer no hurt from the eternal types, since they are nowise opposed to Him. Therefore it seems that He did not suffer in His whole soul.

Objection 3. Further, a sensitive passion is said to be complete when it comes into contact with the reason. But there was none such in Christ, but only "pro-passions"; as Jerome remarks on Matthew 26:37. Hence Dionysius says in a letter to John the Evangelist that "He endured only mentally the sufferings inflicted upon Him." Consequently it does not seem that Christ suffered in His whole soul.

Objection 4. Further, suffering causes pain: but there is no pain in the speculative intellect, because, as the Philosopher says (Topic. i), "there is no sadness in opposition to the pleasure which comes of consideration." Therefore it seems that Christ did not suffer in His whole soul.

On the contrary, It is written (Psalm 87:4) on behalf of Christ: "My soul is filled with evils": upon which the gloss adds: "Not with vices, but with woes, whereby the soul suffers with the flesh; or with evils, viz. of a perishing people, by compassionating them." But His soul would not have been filled with these evils except He had suffered in His whole soul. Therefore Christ suffered in His entire soul.

I answer that, A whole is so termed with respect to its parts. But the parts of a soul are its faculties. So, then, the whole soul is said to suffer in so far as it is afflicted as to its essence, or as to all its faculties. But it must be borne in mind that a faculty of the soul can suffer in two ways: first of all, by its own passion; and this comes of its being afflicted by its proper object; thus, sight may suffer from superabundance of the visible object. In another way a faculty suffers by a passion in the subject on which it is based; as sight suffers when the sense of touch in the eye is affected, upon which the sense of sight rests, as, for instance, when the eye is pricked, or is disaffected by heat.

So, then, we say that if the soul be considered with respect to its essence, it is evident that Christ's whole soul suffered. For the soul's whole essence is allied with the body, so that it is entire in the whole body and in its every part. Consequently, when the body suffered and was disposed to separate from the soul, the entire soul suffered. But if we consider the whole soul according to its faculties, speaking thus of the proper passions of the faculties, He suffered indeed as to all His lower powers; because in all the soul's lower powers, whose operations are but temporal, there was something to be found which was a source of woe to Christ, as is evident from what was said above (Article 6). But Christ's higher reason did not suffer thereby on the part of its object, which is God, who was the cause, not of grief, but rather of delight and joy, to the soul of Christ. Nevertheless, all the powers of Christ's soul did suffer according as any faculty is said to be affected as regards its subject, because all the faculties of Christ's soul were rooted in its essence, to which suffering extended when the body, whose act it is, suffered.

Reply to Objection 1. Although the intellect as a faculty is not the act of the body, still the soul's essence is the act of the body, and in it the intellective faculty is rooted, as was shown in I:77:6; I:77:8.

Reply to Objection 2. This argument proceeds from passion on the part of the proper object, according to which Christ's higher reason did not suffer.

Reply to Objection 3. Grief is then said to be a true passion, by which the soul is troubled, when the passion in the sensitive part causes reason to deflect from the rectitude of its act, so that it then follows the passion, and has no longer free-will with regard to it. In this way passion of the sensitive part did not extend to reason in Christ, but merely subjectively, as was stated above.

Reply to Objection 4. The speculative intellect can have no pain or sadness on the part of its object, which is truth considered absolutely, and which is its perfection: nevertheless, both grief and its cause can reach it in the way mentioned above.

Article 8. Whether Christ's entire soul enjoyed blessed fruition during the Passion?

Objection 1. It would seem that Christ's entire soul did not enjoy blessed fruition during the Passion. For it is not possible to be sad and glad at the one time, since sadness and gladness are contraries. But Christ's whole soul suffered grief during the Passion, as was stated above (Article 7). Therefore His whole soul could not enjoy fruition.

Objection 2. Further, the Philosopher says (Ethic. vii) that, if sadness be vehement, it not only checks the contrary delight, but every delight; and conversely. But the grief of Christ's Passion was the greatest, as shown above (Article 6); and likewise the enjoyment of fruition is also the greatest, as was laid down in the first volume of I-II:34:3. Consequently, it was not possible for Christ's whole soul to be suffering and rejoicing at the one time.

Objection 3. Further, beatific "fruition" comes of the knowledge and love of Divine things, as Augustine says (Doctr. Christ. i). But all the soul's powers do not extend to the knowledge and love of God. Therefore Christ's whole soul did not enjoy fruition.

On the contrary, Damascene says (De Fide Orth. iii): Christ's Godhead "permitted His flesh to do and to suffer what was proper to it." In like fashion, since it belonged to Christ's soul, inasmuch as it was blessed, to enjoy fruition, His Passion did not impede fruition.

I answer that, As stated above (Article 7), the whole soul can be understood both according to its essence and according to all its faculties. If it be understood according to its essence, then His whole soul did enjoy fruition, inasmuch as it is the subject of the higher part of the soul, to which it belongs, to enjoy the Godhead: so that as passion, by reason of the essence, is attributed to the higher part of the soul, so, on the other hand, by reason of the superior part of the soul, fruition is attributed to the essence. But if we take the whole soul as comprising all its faculties, thus His entire soul did not enjoy fruition: not directly, indeed, because fruition is not the act of any one part of the soul; nor by any overflow of glory, because, since Christ was still upon earth, there was no overflowing of glory from the higher part into the lower, nor from the soul into the body. But since, on the contrary, the soul's higher part was not hindered in its proper acts by the lower, it follows that the higher part of His soul enjoyed fruition perfectly while Christ was suffering.

Reply to Objection 1. The joy of fruition is not opposed directly to the grief of the Passion, because they have not the same object. Now nothing prevents contraries from being in the same subject, but not according to the same. And so the joy of fruition can appertain to the higher part of reason by its proper act; but grief of the Passion according to the subject. Grief of the Passion belongs to the essence of the soul by reason of the body, whose form the soul is; whereas the joy of fruition (belongs to the soul) by reason of the faculty in which it is subjected.

Reply to Objection 2. The Philosopher's contention is true because of the overflow which takes place naturally of one faculty of the soul into another; but it was not so with Christ, as was said above.

Reply to Objection 3. Such argument holds good of the totality of the soul with regard to its faculties.

Article 9. Whether Christ suffered at a suitable time?

Objection 1. It would seem that Christ did not suffer at a suitable time. For Christ's Passion was prefigured by the sacrifice of the Paschal lamb: hence the Apostle says (1 Corinthians 5:7): "Christ our Pasch is sacrificed." But the paschal lamb was slain "on the fourteenth day at eventide," as is stated in Exodus 12:6. Therefore it seems that Christ ought to have suffered then; which is manifestly false: for He was then celebrating the Pasch with His disciples, according to Mark's account (14:12): "On the first day of the unleavened bread, when they sacrificed the Pasch"; whereas it was on the following day that He suffered.

Objection 2. Further, Christ's Passion is called His uplifting, according to John 3:14: "So must the Son of man be lifted up." And Christ is Himself called the Sun of Justice, as we read Malachi 4:2. Therefore it seems that He ought to have suffered at the sixth hour, when the sun is at its highest point, and yet the contrary appears from Mark 15:25: "It was the third hour, and they crucified Him."

Objection 3. Further, as the sun is at its highest point in each day at the sixth hour, so also it reaches its highest point in every year at the summer solstice. Therefore Christ ought to have suffered about the time of the summer solstice rather than about the vernal equinox.

Objection 4. Further, the world was enlightened by Christ's presence in it, according to John 9:5: "As long as I am in the world I am the light of the world." Consequently it was fitting for man's salvation that Christ should have lived longer in the world, so that He should have suffered, not in young, but in old, age.

On the contrary, It is written (John 13:1): "Jesus, knowing that His hour was come for Him to pass out of this world to the Father"; and (John 2:4): "My hour is not yet come." Upon which texts Augustine observes: "When He had done as much as He deemed sufficient, then came His hour, not of necessity, but of will, not of condition, but of power." Therefore Christ died at an opportune time.

I answer that, As was observed above (Article 1), Christ's Passion was subject to His will. But His will was ruled by the Divine wisdom which "ordereth all things" conveniently and "sweetly" (Wisdom 8:1). Consequently it must be said that Christ's Passion was enacted at an opportune time. Hence it is written in De Qq. Vet. et Nov. Test., qu. lv: "The Saviour did everything in its proper place and season."

Reply to Objection 1. Some hold that Christ did die on the fourteenth day of the moon, when the Jews sacrificed the Pasch: hence it is stated (John 18:28) that the Jews "went not into Pilate's hall" on the day of the Passion, "that they might not be defiled, but that they might eat the Pasch." Upon this Chrysostom observes (Hom. lxxxii in Joan.): "The Jews celebrated the Pasch then; but He celebrated the Pasch on the previous day, reserving His own slaying until the Friday, when the old Pasch was kept." And this appears to tally with the statement (John 13:1-5) that "before the festival day of the Pasch . . . when supper was done" . . . Christ washed "the feet of the disciples."

But Matthew's account (26:17) seems opposed to this; that "on the first day of the Azymes the disciples came to Jesus, saying: Where wilt Thou that we prepare for Thee to eat the Pasch?" From which, as Jerome says, "since the fourteenth day of the first month is called the day of the Azymes, when the lamb was slain, and when it was full moon," it is quite clear that Christ kept the supper on the fourteenth and died on the fifteenth. And this comes out more clearly from Mark 14:12: "On the first day of the unleavened bread, when they sacrificed the Pasch," etc.; and from Luke 22:7: "The day of the unleavened bread came, on which it was necessary that the Pasch should be killed."

Consequently, then, others say that Christ ate the Pasch with His disciples on the proper day—that is, on the fourteenth day of the moon—"showing thereby that up to the last day He was not opposed to the law," as Chrysostom says (Hom. lxxxi in Matth.): but that the Jews, being busied in compassing Christ's death against the law, put off celebrating the Pasch until the following day. And on this account it is said of them that on the day of Christ's Passion they were unwilling to enter Pilate's hall, "that they might not be defiled, but that they might eat the Pasch."

But even this solution does not tally with Mark, who says: "On the first day of the unleavened bread, when they sacrificed the Pasch." Consequently Christ and the Jews celebrated the ancient Pasch at the one time. And as Bede says on Luke 22:7-8: "Although Christ who is our Pasch was slain on the following day—that is, on the fifteenth day of the moon—nevertheless, on the night when the Lamb was sacrificed, delivering to the disciples to be celebrated, the mysteries of His body and blood, and being held and bound by the Jews, He hallowed the opening of His own immolation—that is, of His Passion."

But the words (John 13:1) "Before the festival day of the Pasch" are to be understood to refer to the fourteenth day of the moon, which then fell upon the Thursday: for the fifteenth day of the moon was the most solemn day of the Pasch with the Jews: and so the same day which John calls "before the festival day of the Pasch," on account of the natural distinction of days, Matthew calls the first day of the unleavened bread, because, according to the rite of the Jewish festivity, the solemnity began from the evening of the preceding day. When it is said, then, that they were going to eat the Pasch on the fifteenth day of the month, it is to be understood that the Pasch there is not called the Paschal lamb, which was sacrificed on the fourteenth day, but the Paschal food—that is, the unleavened bread—which had to be eaten by the clean. Hence Chrysostom in the same passage gives another explanation, that the Pasch can be taken as meaning the whole feast of the Jews, which lasted seven days.

Reply to Objection 2. As Augustine says (De Consensu Evang. iii): "'It was about the sixth hour' when the Lord was delivered up by Pilate to be crucified," as John relates. For it "was not quite the sixth hour, but about the sixth—that is, it was after the fifth, and when part of the sixth had been entered upon until the sixth hour was ended—that the darkness began, when Christ hung upon the cross. It is understood to have been the third hour when the Jews clamored for the Lord to be crucified: and it is most clearly shown that they crucified Him when they clamored out. Therefore, lest anyone might divert the thought of so great a crime from the Jews to the soldiers, he says: 'It was the third hour, and they crucified Him,' that they before all may be found to have crucified Him, who at the third hour clamored for His crucifixion. Although there are not wanting some persons who wish the Parasceve to be understood as the third hour, which John recalls, saying: 'It was the Parasceve, about the sixth hour.' For 'Parasceve' is interpreted 'preparation.' But the true Pasch, which was celebrated in the Lord's Passion, began to be prepared from the ninth hour of the night—namely, when the chief priests said: 'He is deserving of death.'" According to John, then, "the sixth hour of the Parasceve" lasts from that hour of the night down to Christ's crucifixion; while, according to Mark, it is the third hour of the day.

Still, there are some who contend that this discrepancy is due to the error of a Greek transcriber: since the characters employed by them to represent 3 and 6 are somewhat alike.

Reply to Objection 3. According to the author of De Qq. Vet. et Nov. Test., qu. lv, "our Lord willed to redeem and reform the world by His Passion, at the time of year at which He had created it—that is, at the equinox. It is then that day grows upon night; because by our Saviour's Passion we are brought from darkness to light." And since the perfect enlightening will come about at Christ's second coming, therefore the season of His second coming is compared (Matthew 24:32-33) to the summer in these words: "When the branch thereof is now tender, and the leaves come forth, you know that summer is nigh: so you also, when you shall see all these things, know ye that it is nigh even at the doors." And then also shall be Christ's greatest exaltation.

Reply to Objection 4. Christ willed to suffer while yet young, for three reasons. First of all, to commend the more His love by giving up His life for us when He was in His most perfect state of life. Secondly, because it was not becoming for Him to show any decay of nature nor to be subject to disease, as stated above (III:14:4). Thirdly, that by dying and rising at an early age Christ might exhibit beforehand in His own person the future condition of those who rise again. Hence it is written (Ephesians 4:13): "Until we all meet into the unity of faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the age of the fulness of Christ."

Article 10. Whether Christ suffered in a suitable place?

Objection 1. It would seem that Christ did not suffer in a suitable place. For Christ suffered according to His human nature, which was conceived in Nazareth and born in Bethlehem. Consequently it seems that He ought not to have suffered in Jerusalem, but in Nazareth or Bethlehem.

Objection 2. Further, the reality ought to correspond with the figure. But Christ's Passion was prefigured by the sacrifices of the Old Law, and these were offered up in the Temple. Therefore it seems that Christ ought to have suffered in the Temple, and not outside the city gate.

Objection 3. Further, the medicine should correspond with the disease. But Christ's Passion was the medicine against Adam's sin: and Adam was not buried in Jerusalem, but in Hebron; for it is written (Joshua 14:15): "The name of Hebron before was called Cariath-Arbe: Adam the greatest in the land of [Vulgate: 'among'] the Enacims was laid there."

On the contrary, It is written (Luke 13:33): "It cannot be that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem." Therefore it was fitting that He should die in Jerusalem.

I answer that, According to the author of De Qq. Vet. et Nov. Test., qu. lv, "the Saviour did everything in its proper place and season," because, as all things are in His hands, so are all places: and consequently, since Christ suffered at a suitable time, so did He in a suitable place.

Reply to Objection 1. Christ died most appropriately in Jerusalem. First of all, because Jerusalem was God's chosen place for the offering of sacrifices to Himself: and these figurative sacrifices foreshadowed Christ's Passion, which is a true sacrifice, according to Ephesians 5:2: "He hath delivered Himself for us, an oblation and a sacrifice to God for an odor of sweetness." Hence Bede says in a Homily (xxiii): "When the Passion drew nigh, our Lord willed to draw nigh to the place of the Passion"—that is to say, to Jerusalem—whither He came five days before the Pasch; just as, according to the legal precept, the Paschal lamb was led to the place of immolation five days before the Pasch, which is the tenth day of the moon.

Secondly, because the virtue of His Passion was to be spread over the whole world, He wished to suffer in the center of the habitable world—that is, in Jerusalem. Accordingly it is written (Psalm 73:12): "But God is our King before ages: He hath wrought salvation in the midst of the earth"—that is, in Jerusalem, which is called "the navel of the earth" [Cf. Jerome's comment on Ezekiel 5:5].

Thirdly, because it was specially in keeping with His humility: that, as He chose the most shameful manner of death, so likewise it was part of His humility that He did not refuse to suffer in so celebrated a place. Hence Pope Leo says (Serm. I in Epiph.): "He who had taken upon Himself the form of a servant chose Bethlehem for His nativity and Jerusalem for His Passion."

Fourthly, He willed to suffer in Jerusalem, where the chief priests dwelt, to show that the wickedness of His slayers arose from the chiefs of the Jewish people. Hence it is written (Acts 4:27): "There assembled together in this city against Thy holy child Jesus whom Thou hast anointed, Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel."

Reply to Objection 2. For three reasons Christ suffered outside the gate, and not in the Temple nor in the city. First of all, that the truth might correspond with the figure. For the calf and the goat which were offered in most solemn sacrifice for expiation on behalf of the entire multitude were burnt outside the camp, as commanded in Leviticus 16:27. Hence it is written (Hebrews 13:27): "For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the holies by the high-priest for sin, are burned without the camp. Wherefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people by His own blood, suffered without the gate."

Secondly, to set us the example of shunning worldly conversation. Accordingly the passage continues: "Let us go forth therefore to Him without the camp, bearing His reproach."

Thirdly, as Chrysostom says in a sermon on the Passion (Hom. i De Cruce et Latrone): "The Lord was not willing to suffer under a roof, nor in the Jewish Temple, lest the Jews might take away the saving sacrifice, and lest you might think He was offered for that people only. Consequently, it was beyond the city and outside the walls, that you may learn it was a universal sacrifice, an oblation for the whole world, a cleansing for all."

Reply to Objection 3. According to Jerome, in his commentary on Matthew 27:33, "someone explained 'the place of Calvary' as being the place where Adam was buried; and that it was so called because the skull of the first man was buried there. A pleasing interpretation indeed, and one suited to catch the ear of the people, but, still, not the true one. For the spots where the condemned are beheaded are outside the city and beyond the gates, deriving thence the name of Calvary—that is, of the beheaded. Jesus, accordingly, was crucified there, that the standards of martyrdom might be uplifted over what was formerly the place of the condemned. But Adam was buried close by Hebron and Arbe, as we read in the book of Jesus Ben Nave." But Jesus was to be crucified in the common spot of the condemned rather than beside Adam's sepulchre, to make it manifest that Christ's cross was the remedy, not only for Adam's personal sin, but also for the sin of the entire world.

Article 11. Whether it was fitting for Christ to be crucified with thieves?

Objection 1. It would seem unfitting for Christ to have been crucified with thieves, because it is written (2 Corinthians 6:14): "What participation hath justice with injustice?" But for our sakes Christ "of God is made unto us justice" (1 Corinthians 1:30); whereas iniquity applies to thieves. Therefore it was not fitting for Christ to be crucified with thieves.

Objection 2. Further, on Matthew 26:35, "Though I should die with Thee, I will not deny Thee," Origen (Tract. xxxv in Matth.) observes: "It was not men's lot to die with Jesus, since He died for all." Again, on Luke 22:33, "I am ready to go with Thee, both into prison and death," Ambrose says: "Our Lord's Passion has followers, but not equals." It seems, then, much less fitting for Christ to suffer with thieves.

Objection 3. Further, it is written (Matthew 27:44) that "the thieves who were crucified with Him reproached Him." But in Luke 22:42 it is stated that one of them who were crucified with Christ cried out to Him: "Lord, remember me when Thou shalt come into Thy kingdom." It seems, then, that besides the blasphemous thieves there was another man who did not blaspheme Him: and so the Evangelist's account does not seem to be accurate when it says that Christ was crucified with thieves.

On the contrary, It was foretold by Isaias (53:12): "And He was reputed with the wicked."

I answer that, Christ was crucified between thieves from one intention on the part of the Jews, and from quite another on the part of God's ordaining. As to the intention of the Jews, Chrysostom remarks (Hom. lxxxvii in Matth.) that they crucified the two thieves, one on either side, "that He might be made to share their guilt. But it did not happen so; because mention is never made of them; whereas His cross is honored everywhere. Kings lay aside their crowns to take up the cross: on their purple robes, on their diadems, on their weapons, on the consecrated table, everywhere the cross shines forth."

As to God's ordinance, Christ was crucified with thieves, because, as Jerome says on Matthew 27:33: "As Christ became accursed of the cross for us, so for our salvation He was crucified as a guilty one among the guilty." Secondly, as Pope Leo observes (Serm. iv de Passione): "Two thieves were crucified, one on His right hand and one on His left, to set forth by the very appearance of the gibbet that separation of all men which shall be made in His hour of judgment." And Augustine on John 7:36: "The very cross, if thou mark it well, was a judgment-seat: for the judge being set in the midst, the one who believed was delivered, the other who mocked Him was condemned. Already He has signified what He shall do to the quick and the dead; some He will set on His right, others on His left hand." Thirdly, according to Hilary (Comm. xxxiii in Matth.): "Two thieves are set, one upon His right and one upon His left, to show that all mankind is called to the sacrament of His Passion. But because of the cleavage between believers and unbelievers, the multitude is divided into right and left, those on the right being saved by the justification of faith." Fourthly, because, as Bede says on Mark 15:27: "The thieves crucified with our Lord denote those who, believing in and confessing Christ, either endure the conflict of martyrdom or keep the institutes of stricter observance. But those who do the like for the sake of everlasting glory are denoted by the faith of the thief on the right; while others who do so for the sake of human applause copy the mind and behavior of the one on the left."

Reply to Objection 1. Just as Christ was not obliged to die, but willingly submitted to death so as to vanquish death by His power: so neither deserved He to be classed with thieves; but willed to be reputed with the ungodly that He might destroy ungodliness by His power. Accordingly, Chrysostom says (Hom. lxxxiv in Joan.) that "to convert the thief upon the cross, and lead him into paradise, was no less a wonder than to shake the rocks."

Reply to Objection 2. It was not fitting that anyone else should die with Christ from the same cause as Christ: hence Origen continues thus in the same passage: "All had been under sin, and all required that another should die for them, not they for others."

Reply to Objection 3. As Augustine says (De Consensu Evang. iii): We can understand Matthew "as putting the plural for the singular" when he said "the thieves reproached Him." Or it may be said, with Jerome, that "at first both blasphemed Him, but afterwards one believed in Him on witnessing the wonders."

Article 12. Whether Christ's Passion is to be attributed to His Godhead?

Objection 1. It would seem that Christ's Passion is to be attributed to His Godhead; for it is written (1 Corinthians 2:8): "If they had known it, they would never have crucified the Lord of glory." But Christ is the Lord of glory in respect of His Godhead. Therefore Christ's Passion is attributed to Him in respect of His Godhead.

Objection 2. Further, the principle of men's salvation is the Godhead Itself, according to Psalm 36:39: "But the salvation of the just is from the Lord." Consequently, if Christ's Passion did not appertain to His Godhead, it would seem that it could not produce fruit in us.

Objection 3. Further, the Jews were punished for slaying Christ as for murdering God Himself; as is proved by the gravity of the punishment. Now this would not be so if the Passion were not attributed to the Godhead. Therefore Christ's Passion should be so attributed.

On the contrary, Athanasius says (Ep. ad Epict.): "The Word is impassible whose Nature is Divine." But what is impassible cannot suffer. Consequently, Christ's Passion did not concern His Godhead.

I answer that, As stated above (2, 1,2,3,6), the union of the human nature with the Divine was effected in the Person, in the hypostasis, in the suppositum, yet observing the distinction of natures; so that it is the same Person and hypostasis of the Divine and human natures, while each nature retains that which is proper to it. And therefore, as stated above (III:16:4), the Passion is to be attributed to the suppositum of the Divine Nature, not because of the Divine Nature, which is impassible, but by reason of the human nature. Hence, in a Synodal Epistle of Cyril [Act. Conc. Ephes., P. i, cap. 26] we read: "If any man does not confess that the Word of God suffered in the flesh and was crucified in the flesh, let him be anathema." Therefore Christ's Passion belongs to the "suppositum" of the Divine Nature by reason of the passible nature assumed, but not on account of the impassible Divine Nature.

Reply to Objection 1. The Lord of glory is said to be crucified, not as the Lord of glory, but as a man capable of suffering.

Reply to Objection 2. As is said in a sermon of the Council of Ephesus [P. iii, cap. 10, "Christ's death being, as it were, God's death"—namely, by union in Person—"destroyed death"; since He who suffered "was both God and man. For God's Nature was not wounded, nor did It undergo any change by those sufferings."

Reply to Objection 3. As the passage quoted goes on to say: "The Jews did not crucify one who was simply a man; they inflicted their presumptions upon God. For suppose a prince to speak by word of mouth, and that his words are committed to writing on a parchment and sent out to the cities, and that some rebel tears up the document, he will be led forth to endure the death sentence, not for merely tearing up a document, but as destroying the imperial message. Let not the Jew, then, stand in security, as crucifying a mere man; since what he saw was as the parchment, but what was hidden under it was the imperial Word, the Son by nature, not the mere utterance of a tongue."

The Summa Theologiæ of St. Thomas Aquinas
Second and Revised Edition, 1920
Literally translated by Fathers of the English Dominican Province
Online Edition Copyright © 2017 by Kevin Knight
Nihil Obstat. F. Innocentius Apap, O.P., S.T.M., Censor. Theol.
Imprimatur. Edus. Canonicus Surmont, Vicarius Generalis. Westmonasterii.
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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