18 November 2011


Chapter 5.— The Opinion Which Devises an Image of the Trinity in the Marriage of Male and Female, and in Their Offspring.

5. Accordingly they do not seem to me to advance a probable opinion, who lay it down that a trinity of the image of God in three persons, so far as regards human nature, can so be discovered as to be completed in themarriage of male and female and in their offspring; in that the man himself, as it were, indicates the person of the Father, but that which has so proceeded from him as to be born, that of the Son; and so the third person as of the Spirit, is, they say, the woman, who has so proceeded from the man as not herself to be either son or daughter, although it was by her conception that the offspring was born. For the Lord has said of the Holy Spiritthat He proceeds from the Father, and yet he is not a son. In this erroneous opinion, then, the only point probably alleged, and indeed sufficiently shown according to the faith of the Holy Scripture, is this—in the account of the original creation of the woman—that what so comes into existence from some person as to make another person, cannot in every case be called a son; since the person of the woman came into existence from the person of the man, and yet she is not called his daughter. All the rest of this opinion is in truth so absurd, nay indeed so false, that it is most easy to refute it. For I pass over such a thing, as to think the Holy Spirit to be the mother of the Son of God, and the wife of the Father; since perhaps it may be answered that these thingsoffend us in carnal things, because we think of bodily conceptions and births. Although these very things themselves are most chastely thought of by the pure, to whom all things are pure; but to the defiled and unbelieving, of whom both the mind and conscience are polluted, nothing is pure; so that even Christ, born of avirgin according to the flesh, is a stumbling-block to some of them. But yet in the case of those supremespiritual things, after the likeness of which those kinds of the inferior creature also are made although most remotely, and where there is nothing that can be injured and nothing corruptible, nothing born in time, nothing formed from that which is formless, or whatever like expressions there may be; yet they ought not to disturb the sober prudence of any one, lest in avoiding empty disgust he run into pernicious error. Let him accustom himself so to find in corporeal things the traces of things spiritual, that when he begins to ascend upwards from thence, under the guidance of reason, in order to attain to the unchangeable truth itself through which these things were made, he may not draw with himself to things above what he despises in things below. For no one ever blushed to choose for himself wisdom as a wife, because the name of wife puts into a man's thoughts the corruptible connection which consists in begetting children; or because in truth wisdom itself is a woman in sex, since it is expressed in both Greek and Latin tongues by a word of the feminine gender.

Chapter 6. — Why This Opinion is to Be Rejected.

6. We do not therefore reject this opinion, because we fear to think of that holy and inviolable and unchangeableLove, as the spouse of God the Father, existing as it does from Him, but not as an offspring in order to beget theWord by which all things are made; but because divine Scripture evidently shows it to be false. For God said,Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and a little after it is said, So God created man in the image of God. Certainly, in that it is of the plural number, the word our would not be rightly used if man were made in the image of one person, whether of the Father, or of the Son, or of the Holy Spirit; but because he was made in the image of the Trinity, on that account it is said, After our image. But again, lest we should think that three Gods were to be believed in the Trinity, whereas the same Trinity is one God, it is said, So Godcreated man in the image of God, instead of saying, In His own image.
7. For such expressions are customary in the Scriptures; and yet some persons, while maintaining the Catholicfaith, do not carefully attend to them, in such wise that they think the words, God made man in the image ofGod, to mean that the Father made man after the image of the Son; and they thus desire to assert that the Son also is called God in the divine Scriptures, as if there were not other most true and clear proofs wherein the Son is called not only God, but also the true God. For while they aim at explaining another difficulty in this text, they become so entangled that they cannot extricate themselves. For if the Father made man after the image of theSon, so that he is not the image of the Father, but of the Son, then the Son is unlike the Father. But if a piousfaith teaches us, as it does, that the Son is like the Father after an equality of essence, then that which is made in the likeness of the Son must needs also be made in the likeness of the Father. Further, if the Father made man not in His own image, but in the image of His Son, why does He not say, Let us make man after Your image and likeness, whereas He does say, our; unless it be because the image of the Trinity was made in man, that in this way man should be the image of the one true God, because the Trinity itself is the one trueGod? Such expressions are innumerable in the Scriptures, but it will suffice to have produced these. It is so said in the Psalms, Salvation belongs unto the Lord; Your blessing is upon Your people; as if the words were spoken to some one else, not to Him of whom it had been said, Salvation belongs unto the Lord. And again, For by You, he says, I shall be delivered from temptation, and by hoping in my God I shall leap over the wall; as if he said to some one else, By You I shall be delivered from temptation. And again, In the heart of the king's enemies; whereby the people fall under You; as if he were to say, in the heart of Your enemies. For he had said to that King, that is, to our Lord Jesus Christ, The people fall under You, whom he intended by the word King, when he said, In the heart of the king's enemies. Things of this kind are found more rarely in the New Testament. But yet the apostle says to the Romans, Concerning His Son who was made to Him of the seed ofDavid according to the flesh, and declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection of the dead of Jesus Christ our Lord; as though he were speaking above of some one else. For what is meant by the Son of God declared by the resurrection of the dead of Jesus Christ, except of the same Jesus Christ who was declared to be Son of God with power? And as then in this passage, when we are told, the Son of God with power of Jesus Christ, or the Son of God according to the spirit of holiness of Jesus Christ, or the Son of God by the resurrection of the dead of Jesus Christ, whereas it might have been expressed in the ordinary way, In His own power, or according to the spirit of His own holiness, or by theresurrection of His dead, or of their dead: as, I say, we are not compelled to understand another person, but one and the same, that is, the person of the Son of God our Lord Jesus Christ; so, when we are told that God made man in the image of God, although it might have been more usual to say, after His own image, yet we are not compelled to understand any other person in the Trinity, but the one and selfsame Trinity itself, who is one God, and after whose image man is made.
8. And since the case stands thus, if we are to accept the same image of the Trinity, as not in one, but in threehuman beings, father and mother and son, then the man was not made after the image of God before a wife was made for him, and before they procreated a son; because there was not yet a trinity. Will any one say there was already a trinity, because, although not yet in their proper form, yet in their original nature, both the womanwas already in the side of the man, and the son in the loins of his father? Why then, when Scripture had said,God made man after the image of God, did it go on to say, God created him; male and female created He them: and God blessed them? (Or if it is to be so divided, And God created man, so that thereupon is to be added, in the image of God created He him, and then subjoined in the third place, male and female createdHe them; for some have feared to say, He made him male and female, lest something monstrous, as it were, should be understood, as are those whom they call hermaphrodites, although even so both might be understood not falsely in the singular number, on account of that which is said, Two in one flesh.) Why then, as I began by saying, in regard to the nature of man made after the image of God, does Scripture specify nothing except male and female? Certainly, in order to complete the image of the Trinity, it ought to have added also son, although still placed in the loins of his father, as the woman was in his side. Or was it perhaps that the woman also had been already made, and that Scripture had combined in a short and comprehensive statement, that of which it was going to explain afterwards more carefully, how it was done; and that therefore a son could not be mentioned, because no son was yet born? As if the Holy Spirit could not have comprehended this, too, in thatbrief statement, while about to narrate the birth of the son afterwards in its own place; as it narrated afterwards in its own place, that the woman was taken from the side of the man, and yet has not omitted here to name her.