Introduction to Theology, Serial No. 01123

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Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of those who believe in you and kindle within them fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. Let us pray. May the outpouring of your Holy Spirit, O Lord, cleanse our hearts and make them fruitful by the ever-springing of His dew, through Christ our Lord. Today I'm going to talk about Stelio Poitiers, Theology as an Answer to Heresy and Penetration of Faith. Just in case people don't know how to spell, here is Karl, Victor Benz, Mr. Benz. During this visit there, if you're ever passing anywhere near Stelio Poitiers, in the west of France, it's a very fascinating old cathedral. Going back to the times of Berligund.


It's perhaps necessary to anticipate the account of the major work of history on the Trinity, which I hope to share with you in this lecture, but not only that, a little bit more towards the end, with a bare minimum of historical information. He was a somewhat younger contemporary of St. Athanasius. If Athanasius was born perhaps about 2298, he was probably born about 315. Unlike Athanasius, it looks as though he didn't become a Christian until his adolescence. And in Book 1 of the work on the Trinity, we will have some almost autobiographical passages of his approach to faith. This is a rather interesting thing. We are reminded, as in the case of Athanasius, of the ambience of the pagan world.


It's beginning slowly to surround us again today. All the time I work, it's extraordinary how I find how very contemporary all these early writers are. The kinds of concerns which the uppermost in their minds, from an apologetic point of view, are very much at work in the world's realm today. What links Hilary and Athanasius in spirit is that their careers were overtaken by the crisis about the Creed of the Council of Nicaea, and the view of Ares and his followers. It may also well be that Hilary knows some of his way of expressing himself directly to the teaching of Athanasius. They could conceivably have met, but I don't think there's any evidence that they actually


did. What is sort of very curious is that Athanasius was banished to the west, to Tria, and he lived there, on the German border of modern Luxembourg. And Hilary, who had been made Bishop of Poitiers in 350, found himself forced to take refuge in the east. I don't know how your Europe is, but here was Athanasius of course is here, which is basically south, which is the north of Africa, and Alexandria is Athanasius' home. And if you go one time, you can go by a wonderful express called the Saphir, which is where


you had to travel first class to meet Michael on the lake of Rhone-sur-Elysée, which is where Athanasius went on it. Not as far as Egypt, but as far as this direction. It ran along through Belgium, and Luxembourg is just here, and the old town of Echternach where the really large valley lies, just across there is the old city of Tria, which was Ambrose's birthplace. And still has things which Ambrose could have seen in the streets, in the sense that the old Roman gate is still there, and a basilica of that early period. But all that he really owes to his taking refuge in the east has never really, I think, been adequately worked out. I was so delighted when I gave the paper, a copy which I can offer to any of you who want to take it later, at a conference ago, that was 1980 I suppose, that I was preceded


by a Frenchman who had been working a bit on the sources, but hadn't got yet very far. Nobody has really got any adequate information about just how much he had really directly used his Greek sources. He certainly could read Greek, and there's no doubt the influences are there. What would be still more interesting to know is whether he knew any Hebrew, which is not impossible. As his Greek was certainly good, it's not unlikely that the direct contact with the church in Asia was of considerable importance. So of course he went right across, off the Black Walk a bit, into Phrygia, where the twelve books of the work on the Trinity were written. In the main, I wish to avoid saying much of the polemical side of this work, and concentrate on what it has to tell us of Hillary's view of the theology.


For if we are to have a broadly based view of the way the Fathers envisaged their faith as a possible model for our own theological formation, then this is the direction in which I think we must look. While naturally not neglecting to notice that no theologian ever really does vital work in a vacuum. Those of you who wish to read the work as a whole will find it among the better of the Fathers of the Church volumes in this translation. It's a rather intense kind of Latin that Hillary writes, and so it's not very easy to translate, and this is really relatively good. In book one, in so far as it appears to be partly autobiographical, I draw your attention


to the following passages. Hillary has begun by talking about pagan speculations about the world, which was still very much in the air. In paragraph nine, he says something which I think will interest us when we remember St. Thomas quoting St. John of Damascus talking about desire, the innate knowledge of God. Hillary says, amid all these speculations, however, a natural yearning was still hidden that the profession of piety would be encouraged by some hope of everlasting happiness. With regard to this reference to a natural yearning of some half-specified kind, this is a matter which I wish to return a little bit later in our series. I'm not going to try to solve it in the way it used to be solved, but I think we just have to notice it.


And I shall notice it in connection with something St. Thomas says in the summer, which has always seemed to me as not being given quite sufficient weight. In paragraph ten of book one, Hillary evidently speaks of a confrontation with the prologue to the Gospel of John. My mind, he says, advances beyond the knowledge of natural reason and is taught more about God than it suspected. It learns that its creator is God from God. It hears that the Word is God and is with God from the beginning. It knows the light of the world that remains in the world and is not comprehended by the world. It recognizes him who comes into his own and is not received by them. Finally, it acknowledges that the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, that his glory


has been seen, which, belonging to the only Son of the Father, is perfect in grace and truth. What a very Athanasian ring about this there is. And what a very Catholic ring, if I may say so. For we notice that, like Athanasius, Hillary has no conception that the world and revelation are, as it were, two worlds apart, but rather the beauty of the world becomes only more luminous to the light of faith. And also, as we proceed to paragraph 11, that for Hillary, as for Athanasius, the confrontation with the Word in person is the way that leads to the notion of God the Father. As he says, by these words my soul found greater hope than it had anticipated.


First of all, it received knowledge of God the Father. I should like to give you paragraph 12 as a whole, because if you look at it closely, you will see that it is saying something that has an important theological future before it. I think this is what makes Hillary a very exciting writer to read, one constantly comes across these kind of journals which are very, very fertile and going to be developed by later writers. She's got them very concentratedly. Why didn't I bring another thing? It's down the road there. Down in the bookcase, I think. Tell me. My soul therefore gladly accepted this doctrine of the divine revelation, to proceed through the flesh to God, to be called to a new birth by faith, to be permitted by his power to obtain a heavenly regeneration. In all this it sees the solicitude of its Father and Creator, nor does it believe that


it would be annihilated by him through whom it had been brought from nothingness to this very thing that is. Is this conviction, which I'm going to go back to again, I think on Wednesday, if I look at it in our own ears, it's a kind of, if you like, a displacement of the centre of religious theology in terms of the redemptive work of Christ. It's the impossibility of believing that God could have made the world vain. All this is beyond the range, to go back to Hilary's own words, all this is beyond the range of the human mind because reason, incapable of grasping the ordinary teaching of heavenly wisdom, regards this only as proper to the nature of things.


To be either what it perceives within itself or what issues forth from itself. It measured the abstract roots of God according to the magnificence of the eternal power, not with the mind, but with its unbounded faith. So it refused to give up its belief in the doctrine that God was in the beginning with God. And the word made flesh dwelt among us because it could not understand, but it remembered that it would be able to understand if it believed. I'm told that the young Chinese teacher, whom the Abbot is trying to get to come here, is going to try to perceive along this line of thought the idea of faith, seeking, understanding, which of course also was the program of St. Andrew and so on. In Latin it's Fides Querens Intellectu. And you get it also in Augustine quite a lot. Faith, this is really what we're doing.


We're going to do it much more ferociously in the next day or two. Together. It really is very much so. I'm very much depending on your own reactions to what I should be doing in the lectures that come after this one to see that we are thinking quite clearly. It's faith, seeking, understanding. And this is the way real theology proceeds I suppose. It is to ask oneself what the creeds mean, what the things that we say habitually mean, what we read in the scriptures mean, what the liturgy does and what it means. Reconciling our minds to it. This passage is given, it's saying a great deal. It appears to be telling us about the great principle of what I would call sacramentality. And by the humbling of the mind, the acceptance of the truth of revelation,


the world, like the flesh of the incarnate son, reveals its sacramental dimension. Can you see that, what I'm saying there? Could you repeat that? Yes, I was just saying that I think by the humbling of the mind to the acceptance of the truth of revelation, the world, like the flesh of the incarnate son, reveals its sacramental dimension. This is of course me, it's not Hillary, but it's a reflection on Hillary, which I think is a valid one. You see, Peter, you were struck by the idea of Athanasius saying that we could find God by starting in ourselves. In one way, this is looking at the thing the other way around, almost, one might say, that by the illumination of the sense of the world, the sense of things, by the presence of the word, everything somehow conveys God to one,


not in a strictly sacramental sense, but in a sacramental way, because God uses all these things by his providence sacramentally. And this, in its turn, needs naturally to be completed by the sacrament of baptism. I hope to be able to reach that point before we depart on Monday next, but some way or other, I think you will see that in a certain way, it's when we confront the faith in its fullness, when we feel and see the world illuminated by the word, then we are drawn into the sacrament of the church. Although I was only being so very brief this morning, I was expressing what is of course a very deep kind of conviction that we can't know the number of real believers in the world,


because, as it were, all about the fringes of the church, there are those who certainly are receiving God's grace through sacramentals, even if not through sacraments, if you see what I mean. Of course God is doing this for us too, if we are living with our awareness awake all the time. You'll remember that the ordinary catechism way of distinguishing between sacraments and sacramentals is that sacraments always do what God says they do, whereas sacramentals do what they do because of the awareness of the one who uses them, if you like, what we make of them. In faith. This now gives the mind the capacity to move in the divine way of looking at things.


It gives us what Paul calls the mind of Christ. And thus, although to believe that the word was made flesh is well beyond human understanding and reason, the soul remembers that it will be able to understand if it believes. This is something that Augustine very much likes to say. In fact, I think it wasn't in the very first lecture, when we were talking about the resurrection appearances, that certainly Augustine was alluding to this formula that he frequently uses, crede, belie, ut interrogas. Well, it sounds like a phenomenon.


It oughtn't to really, I think, if somebody really believes. Believes. In order to see. It should be conditioned. I can't tell you how this works, but I'll take it to you, all of you know it, by some kind of experience. I should be very surprised if anybody lived in the monastery for very long, really praying, who didn't really see that suddenly, even when you're singing the psalms in choir, that you understand things you didn't understand before. And of course it inspires a monk like Anselm, getting in rather a fix in the choir, because it all came quite suddenly in one blow. With his theological program, the faith seeks understanding.


Remember how he describes the way the post-login came into existence, that he was tussling about his own particular form of the God problem, and suddenly it all seemed to come, and he rushed back to his cell and wrote it all down on wax tablets, and some of them got broken, so he had to think all again. But I think that one ought to, I think this experience ought to be fairly normal, I don't ask anybody to admit to this, but I think you all must know in a sort of way, what is being taken about here. This shouldn't of course be interpreted as a kind of double ball to the mind back upon itself. The task is not to try to get behind the faith, to make it merely reason, but it is to use the God-given gift of reason to penetrate as far as possible the things of faith,


and by their light to reconcile the straying mind to the things of God. This is I think, we shall see a bit later Peter, I don't know whether we are going to be able to satisfy you about this, but we will try. This is the way in which, if you will take Athanasius' insight as a program, this is the way, if you like, one frees oneself of the world of illusion, because one is leading the mind continuously in the light of the word, in the light of the faith, in a way which reconciles the straying mind to the things of God. You do really see, of course you don't feel this intensely all the time, every day, but you see it quite enough of the time to see you through. Sometimes, as in book 11, paragraph 44,


like every humble theologian, Hilary will feel this task is well beyond him. As the final sentence of that paragraph says, assuredly this is the attitude of a devout mind, to think about God in such a way that nothing is wanting to him, and that he is full. But as he said in book 1, paragraph 18, Hilary is also aware that other devout minds will also share his theological order. And you, indeed, who have been inspired to read by your ardent faith and zeal for the truth that is unknown to the world, and to the wise ones of the world, must remember that the shallow and foolish opinions of men are to be rejected, and all the narrow limits of our imperfect knowledge are to be extended by a pious eagerness of knowledge. It is this thirst for knowing the things of faith


that drives him forward. He expresses this conviction even more strongly in book 2, paragraph 10. The book has begun with the fact of the sacrament of baptism, and the command to baptise in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. That is, in the confession of the origin, the only begotten, and the gift. And by paragraph 1, he will be saying, for this reason, pay attention to the unbegotten Father, listen to the only begotten Son, the Father is greater than I. Here, I and the Father are one. Force yourself into this secret, and amid the one unbegotten Son, and amid the one unbegotten God,


and the one only begotten God, immerse yourself in the mystery of the inconceivable birth. Begin, go forward, persevere. Your power of comprehension comes to a standstill at this boundary line of the words. I suppose, if you like, one can say that this is very much the heart of the penetration of all the tremendous attempts to express the idea of the Trinity. When we use the word God, of the Father, as, for instance, in the greeting I used this morning, when we had had Father Thomas Jonah put the word Father in, which doesn't actually, of course, occur in St. Paul's phrase, I use it as it is originally in St. Paul's phrase. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God


guard the unbegotten. The Father is unbegotten. He is the ultimate mystery. And the Son is the only begotten. And the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. I don't know any other writer except St. Paul, who suddenly says, we'll probably pivot in some way. Remember, amicus et frate. The Holy Spirit is friend and brother. If you want to put this in very philosophical terms, you can say that most religions, most world religions will be able to classify those which are preoccupied with the transcendent or the imminent.


Difficult, then? What it means is that this, if you like, some religions will insist on the absolute otherness of God, that he transcends everything. This is really what is typical of the Islamic, if you will, view. And nearly all the other views take some form of pantheism, in which God, as it were, is in and through everything. He's imminent in everything. Of course, the wonder of the doctrine of the Trinity, really, is that here we've got the Holy Spirit, who, precisely because, by Bernard's intuition, he's friend and brother, he's imminent in everything. Not only that, of course. So our religion is both imminent and transcendent. This is the way the Trinity spans the whole religious spectrum, I think. That's seen as a property, then,


of the person of the Holy Spirit. In a certain way, yes. It doesn't mean to say, of course, that as we have the relevant scripture for saying, of course, all the persons come. And in fact, the normal theological formula, which we get in the time of St. Thomas, is that all the works add extra. All the things that happen outside the inner life of God are the work of the Holy Trinity as a whole. Because, of course, the Father sends the Son, and the Father, at least, sends the Holy Spirit. I want you to give me that document of John Paul sometime, if you will. Can you look it up for me, please? But going back to language which nobody can dispute, if you like, the Son proceeds from the Father.


The Son is forgotten by the Father, and the Holy Spirit proceeds. This is the link here. And so, of course, really, I think we can say that when we're talking really seriously theologically, we're going off the path of the Father. to stop short at certain things, certain things which we can't say, certain mysteries which we can't penetrate, and we're always going to be, as it were, pushing towards the boundary of the words that we can correctly use. What a very important notion this is. Theology is not, as some people suppose, just a matter of words. It's a matter of finding those words


which are the Bible alliance of mystery. What we were doing, of course, when we were making our profession of faith at the Eucharist on Sunday, was saying a certain number of minimal things which we can say about the mystery of God. This is, of course, exactly what the creeds do for us, and what our reflection upon our belief continuously does for us anew in so far as we perhaps look at all these phrases of the creed or reflect on them and penetrate on their meaning. In other words, as Hilary says in book two, paragraph five, by my words I shall acknowledge not my weakness, but my inability to speak. Or again in book one, nineteen, there is no comparison between earthly things and God, but the limitations


of our knowledge force us to look for certain resemblances in inferior things, as if they were manifestations of higher things. In order that, while we are being made aware of familiar and ordinary things, we may be drawn from our conscious manner of reasoning to think in a fashion to which we are not accustomed. Every analogy, therefore, is to be considered as more useful to man than as appropriate to God, because it hints at the meaning rather than explains it fully. I've mentioned this before, that we're here all the time, because we're talking about what is profoundly mysterious to us, whether we're experiencing God as immanent or transcendent. And here again, I think we certainly in our only inner experience will sometimes feel very strongly the immanence of the presence of God as nearness to us.


And sometimes we will feel how very little we are and how very exalted he is. And of course, to use the way it's spelt on my heat regulator, high and low, it's an analogy, if you like, for the sort of thing that this is an analogy, because God isn't in fact higher or lower, I mean God is underneath my feet as well as up above my head. So there's no way of regulating this, but in fact this is an analogy which points to the aspect which we happen to be talking about for the moment. This kind of language is of course a permanent acquisition to theology, namely that in speaking


of divine things we are forced to talk by analogy. So it's very very important to remember that they are analogies. In scripture this situation is naturally always clearest when anthropomorphic language is used. That's to say, when we're speaking of God as though he was somebody with human emotions and passions and so on. Remember again, this fits in with what we saw St Thomas saying, that the cruder the image is, the safer they are. To picture God as angry is something we're quite well able to do, because we have some experience of what anger feels like. Though God is not in fact angry like a human being is. Angry, angry, I suppose it's William of Sanctuary, he has in one of his meditations the idea that on the day of judgment the face of Christ, which is really in fact the same, would be seen as different by everybody, everybody who experiences him. Because in some cases


it would be a welcoming face, in other cases it would be repugnant. It's the same face. How then is it going to speak of the generation of the sun? Of the eternal generation we have a clear statement in book three, paragraph three. This unbegotten one therefore brought forth the sun from himself before all time, not from any pre-existing matter, because all things are through the sun, nor from nothing, because the sun is from him, nor as an ordinary birth, because there is nothing changeable or empty in God, nor as a part that is divided,


cut off or extended, because God is incapable of suffering and is incorporeal, and these things are characteristic of suffering and the flesh. According to the apostle in Christ dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. In other words when we are saying the sun is begotten, we are talking the language of analogy because in fact we are going to insist that the only begotten is eternal. God has always begotten the sun. The word always of course is a time word, but that's the word we have to use. God's self-knowledge is identical in substance with himself. He doesn't lose a part of himself because the sun is begotten,


nothing is cut off or extended, because that was one of the early things which had to be condemned. One of my friends who likes to play about with theologic language sometimes says, the father in heaven pray for us, which of course we can't really say. When we say that God cannot suffer, we are using the word in a very strictly philosophical sense. I can't touch this table without actually suffering the impact of the wood on my hand. The making of the world, the changing of the sun,


that doesn't affect God in this way. Everything proceeds from him absolutely effortlessly, nothing by necessity. This is of course why the creation itself is a free act of God. It doesn't just flow out of him because it has to, it's not like a great big vat full of water which just overflows. God's goodness does overflow, but he chooses that it should. Now of course what belongs to the sun because of the body that he assumed, results from the eagerness of his good will for our salvation. In other words, when we say the sun assumes the human nature, we are saying that he does this so that in fact he can suffer in the way that we do.


Because of course the tail body is to be capable of suffering. It's rather unfortunate that the word passion has got exclusively reserved for violent feelings in most people's minds, whereas in fact a mere awareness is a passion, something we undergo. For since he as one born from God is invisible, incorporeal and inconceivable, he has taken upon himself as much matter and abasement as we possess the power to understand, perceive and comprehend. Adapting himself to our weakness rather than abandoning those things which belong to his own nature. And so the last sentence of book 7, 14 will read, Thus he who is born into God did not begin to be, nor did he develop into that which God is.


This was of course what a lot of the controversies were about. When the first Christians were trying to define what was special about our Lord as a person, some people wanted to say that by the incarnation the sun began to be the son of God. And orthodox theology has always insisted that the sun didn't begin to be the unbegotten son, he began to be incarnate. Nor, take it the other way about the alien way, do we say that the sun is born of a human mother indeed, and so somehow or other he is raised to the level of being the son of God.


The birth therefore maintains the nature from which it subsists, and the son of God does not subsist in anything else than that which God is. Remember we had this on the board the other day, that if you like the person, the person of the sun, sustains the two natures. Without their being mixed, he is not semi-divine, he is not almost God, or almost man, he is alive in the person of the sun.


And further at 7.27 we read, and because the son of God was not understood in the mystery of the assumed body, and in the man born from Mary, the faith in his name was taught by his deeds, since he said, if I do not perform them, and if you are not willing to believe me, believe the works. First of all, he does not wish that we believe in him as the son of God, except through the works of the Father that he does. For why should the mystery of him who is born as man be an obstacle to the understanding of the divine birth, since the divine birth fulfils its entire work during the ministry of the body which he assumed. If therefore you do not believe that the man is the son of God because of the works, then believe that the works are indicative of the son of God. This of course as history has said in book 6.36 is what is the real point of Peter's confession.


Am I going too fast Mark? Are you lost? A bit? Please ask me to repeat something if you need me to. In other words, what Peter is saying is that Peter's confession is not saying that Jesus is a son of God in the same sense as anyone else is. This is why it comes from the Father, as our Lord says to him, it is the gift of the Father. It is the realisation that what he is confronting is the eternal son of God. So as book 6.37 continues, this faith is the foundation of the church and therefore the gates of hell are powerless against her. This faith is the gift which the Father has revealed, not to misrepresent Christ as a creature from nothing, but to confess him as the son of God in accordance with a nature that is truly his own.


I wonder how often, it always seems to me that this is not often very clearly preached and really what our Lord is saying to Peter in his praise of him is insisting that the foundation of the church is this faith. I think this is one of the ways in which the papacy has a very good record in the events of the Incarnation. It is very instructive to look at the work of some recent popes, how many times these issues have come forward. The Encyclical that Pius XII wrote on the Sacred Heart, which I imagine not many people look at, is a very strongly patristic work on the lines of the Incarnation. It is in the tradition of this belief that the faith in the Incarnation is the foundation of the church.


This faith is the gift which the Father has revealed, not to misrepresent Christ as a creature from nothing, but to confess him as the son of God in accordance with a nature that is truly his own. I may say at once in brackets that it seems to me that the real source of most Christological difficulties is the desire to imagine what it can be like to be the Incarnate Son of God. I don't know if anybody feels very strongly about this, but they have been reading books which make them feel strongly about it. This is something which we necessarily cannot know in its interiority, except in the way in which scripture itself authorises us to speak of homoousion, which is the Greek word for of one substance, because even Athanasius found he couldn't avoid this esoteric type of form.


We get this first part in the words like homogenous and so on, the same substance, here it is Saxons. I don't know whether any of you have thought about this, but it does seem to me that a great number of the difficult speculations about the person of Christ do arise from the refusal to admit that he is the son of God. If we are going to say that Christ is the son of God in a very special sense, it is absolutely impossible to know what this can mean as an interior experience. We are told the signs of it, the fact that our Lord slept and was hungry, thirsty and so on, and sad, capable of weeping.


We can't know what the interior thing offers, we can't know this about each other. We are almost as mysterious to each other as the sun is to us, because of course we gradually know each other only by external signs and sometimes we make mistakes about these. Hilary defends the use of this term, which Athanasius also had to defend himself for using, in book 4 of the De Infinitati, especially perhaps paragraph 6, where the last sentence reads, The saintly men, full of zeal for God's doctrine, have designated the son as consubstantial with the father. Not because of the errors and reasons that we have already referred to, but in order that no one might believe that the term Hosea did away with the birth of the only begotten son, because he was said to be consubstantial with the father.


I am of course aware, and if you want to come back to this in our discussion we can do so, this doesn't exhaust all that might usefully be said on this subject. But I think the issues are very well summarised in a paragraph of characteristic lucidity by Professor Yosef Perekhan in his first volume of A History of the Development of Doctrine. In page 256 he says, The dogmatic future belonged to the theology of pre-existence, kenosis and exaltation. I think this is a very good thing. In the arguments the future of theology belonged to the three conceptions of pre-existence. Kenosis, which is the Greek word meaning cell emptying, and exaltation for the son. Which is of course the basis of such passages as Philippians 2, 6 to 11.


Pre-existence, kenosis, exaltation. I'm sorry, exaltation, it's very easy to do that. Philippians 2, 6 to 11. So as you can affirm a hypothetic union of the divine and human in Christ as well as a permanent distinction between the divine and human in Christ also after the incarnation. The term kenosis of course is taken from the phrase emptied himself in that passage. As the theology of the hypothetic union was chiefly identified with Alexandria,


so that theology was associated with the thought of the Latin West. It found its most characteristic spokesman in Hillary. Its most authoritative formulation in the decree of the Council of Chalcedon. Yet, as he very rightly says, it's no more exclusively regional in its origin than either of the others. From the point of view of the others, especially the theology of the hypothetic union, it achieved its conceptual clarity and its evangelical simplicity by ignoring the deeper issues of biblical exegesis as well as of Christological speculation. And this is of course what some of the things being written about the person of Christ today are returning to. Speculations about what this really means. But to talk about the humanity of our Lord. As the title pre-existence kenosis exaltation, I've got it correctly typed, I'm glad to say, indicates.


This Christology took its departure not only from the relation between nature but also from the relation between states. Not only from the being of Christ as God and man but from his history as well. Here I think Professor Bellacan suitably refers to Hillary's work on the Trinity, book 9, paragraph 6. We do not at all deny that whatever he says in his name, in his own name, proceeds from his own nature. But if Christ is man and God, and neither is he not God first of all when he is man, nor when he is also man is he not also God. Nor after the man in God is not the whole man in the whole God. It necessarily follows that the mystery of the man is not the whole man in the whole God.


It necessarily follows that the mystery of his words must be one and the same as the mystery of his nature. To put it in another way, when the son speaks of, for instance, as our Lord does, he doesn't know the day when certain kinds of things are going to happen. He's speaking as a man. This is not to deny that he is God. For in keeping with the qualities of his various natures, he must speak in one way in the mystery of the man who was not yet born, in another way in the man who is to die, and still another way in the man who is already eternal. So that means that Christ is speaking in different ways? Well, he evidently is, isn't he? And this is partly what some of the earlier discussions and some of the contemporary ones arise out of in the Gospels.


Our Lord does... You see, one of the sorts of fights which has gone on right from the beginning and still goes on really is... I think you see, in fact, it's very interesting, the only thing the Church has defined about the humanity of our Lord, apart from the union of the two natures, is that there is a human will in our Lord. Because this is essential to being human. And the prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane reveals the possibility that the human will might, of its human nature, wish for something different. In other words, this prayer is not an illusion, but it's not incompatible with the union of the two natures. Because what it feels like to be a man is to feel reluctant to die.


Now, I imagine that up to this point, what you will be missing in history after the very luminous relationship between the eternal word and the nature of man in Latter-day Saints' overall vision of creation and redemption, is any account of where we come into the picture. This is by no means absent as Hilary's great work on the Trinity draws to its close. Though here it's not always very easy to translate him into satisfactory English. And here, in my quotations, I shall somewhat dissent from the Fathers of the Church version. Thus, in the final paragraph of paragraph 49 of book 11, we have Hilary saying this. It will therefore be a gain for the taking of our nature that God will be all in all. We must again confess that he who was found in the form of a slave, when he was in the form of God, is in the glory of God the Father, in order that it may be clearly understood that he possesses his form in whose glory he shares.


Hence, it's not only part of the economy of the Incarnation, not a change, for he possesses that which he had possessed. But since that which he had in the beginning is in the middle, that is to say, being born man, so everything is acquired for that nature which previously was not God, since God is revealed as being all in all, after the mystery of the economy. Accordingly, these things are for our benefit and our advancement. That is, we are to be made conformable to the glory of the body of God. You'll remember, in fact, I've just quoted it in one of the letters for Wednesday, St Paul saying that we are being transformed from glory to glory in the likeness of Christ. Furthermore, only the only begotten Son was also born as man. He is nothing else than God, the all in all.


You see, in other words, what we're saying is that the Father wasn't born, the Father wasn't sent. But this is not to say that the only begotten who was born as man is anything other than God. On his Godward side. Moreover, we shall press forward to a glory similar to that of our humanity, and we who have been renewed to the knowledge of God shall be again formed into the image of the Creator. According to the words of the Apostles, seeing that you put off the old nature with its practices and put on the new nature, the old translation used to say the old Adam and the new Adam, of course, the new man and the old man, which is being renewed in knowledge of the image of its Creator, this is really, hence man is made perfect as the image of God. When he's been made conformable to the glory of God's body, he will be raised to the image of his Creator, according to the exemplar of the first man that has been placed before him.


This is something I'm going to throw at you at the end of tomorrow's lecture. Of course, Irenaeus has a passage I think most people since that time have been rather frightened to write. Irenaeus will say that we really couldn't see what we're saying here until the Son of God becomes incarnate. We have to be able to see in flesh the one who we're going to venerate as God. Before we can understand that we ourselves can really actually participate in this heavenly sonship. Irenaeus has a very concrete sense of this, but all the writers are saying it in one way or another. And this is not quite all from Irenaeus' teaching about the one who by nature is the image,


and his relation with the one who is made in the image. In other words, I suppose what he's just said is that because of the exaltation, which is also exaltation, the flesh, he is seated at the right hand of the Father in our flesh. And so it becomes important for us that this is so. The final book twelve of the work on the Trinity begins with the words, Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we are finally approaching the safe and peaceful harbour of the impregnable faith. And in many ways, although there are some storms, as Hilary foresees, you will have to make a last attempt to get through the weather, this section is rather like a long look back over the perspective of which we shall, I think,


perhaps get a better and more positive view from another long lost work of Hilary. I can't allow you to neglect, however, the important fact that the frame of this final book twelve is dominated by the themes, by the text of Proverbs 8.22. You remember that text? The Lord created me in the beginning of his work, the first of his acts of old. Ages ago I was set up for the beginning of the earth. This text from the Old Testament, which represents God's wisdom as a person, has evidently always been a text of deep significance for believing Christians. As Hilary says in paragraph two, book twelve, We do not recognise the Lord Christ as a creature, because he himself is not such. And the substance of Hilary's answer to the difficulties by the reference to a personified wisdom as a creature


begins in paragraph six, with another look at the meaning of kenosis, or self-emptying, of the Son. To be in the form of God does not mean anything else than to be in the nature of God. And God, therefore, is also a creature, because a creature possesses his nature. In other words, this is possessed entirely seriously. He who was in the form of God was not guilty of robbery in making himself equal to God, because he passed from equality with God, that is, from his form into the form of a slave. He who emptied himself did not destroy himself so that he no longer existed, since he was something else in the form of a slave. In other words, we are not saying that the Son was born of the Virgin Mary from all eternity,


although the Son was born from all eternity. He was not born by the incarnation from all eternity. And in paragraph twenty-four, Since the only begotten God contains in himself the form and image of the invisible God, he is made equal to him in all these attributes that are proper to God the Father through the fullness of the Godhead in himself. When we go back over our thoughts, and are always being brought back further and further in the understanding of him who is, this one fact about him is always prior to them, namely that he is. Hence we confess, paragraph twenty-six, that the only begotten God was born, but born before the eternal ages. And then as we move forward to paragraph forty-five, we really take the long perspective of creation. Since Christ is wisdom, we must first of all see whether he himself is the beginning of the way of the works of God.


There is, I believe, no doubt about this, he says, I am the way. No one goes to the Father but through me. He also created in time for the ways of God when he humbled himself to the invisible form of creature and assumed the appearance of something created. Thus we come in paragraph forty-six to a touching anticipation of the last work of history written over by Hilary to which I want to refer today. Hilary begins paragraph forty-six by saying, Hence let us see for what ways of God and for what works in time the wisdom that was born before time was created. Adam heard the voice of one walking in paradise. Do we imagine that the step of the one walking was heard in any other way than in the form of an assumed creation? So that he who was heard walking up and down


was present in some created form. I referred to this passage in a paper I gave at the Trinity Conference before last, in a paper on Hilary's commentary on Psalm 91 or 92, according to whether you use the Valgate or Hebrew noun ring. I brought a few offsprings with me in case any of you are interested in seeing this. Now we happen to know that these commentaries on the Psalms come later in Hilary's work than the work on the Trinity. And with them another work referred to by St Jerome, as you call him in America, as a book of mysteries, with which Hilary himself calls, a little book which Hilary himself calls a libellus, a little line of a little book, a libellus is a little book. This had been lost to us until a very recent time but it was found almost complete in a single 11th century manuscript


and has been edited for Swiss Chrétien in volume 19 bis. May I just go and get it? I meant to bring my own copy with me. It's going to be just down the road, in the browning section. 19.2, bis means two, because it hasn't yet, now I've got the text. Jehovah, Jehovah, Jehovah, Well, I've read it many, many times. It's very, very fascinating at work. And it begins


with a little row of dots because, in fact, we don't have quite the beginning of it. But there it begins. It would seem to have been intended to be a user's little handbook meant for the ordinary faithful like you and me, whom he, like Athanasius, exhorts in his commentary on the Psalms to read and ponder on the scriptures. And I think it's that bit of it I'd like you all to have a look at. I've only summarised it, of course, at the end there, because these communications have to be given in a very small number of minutes, and I've always timed them very exactly. But you will see how Hitler has fitted all the things like Dextero Divina into his whole way of living there. The mysteries of which Hitler, in his little book, appears to be speaking are those indications


of the mysterious presence of Christ from one end of the scripture to the other, which as I hope you'll remember was the subject of the conversation of our Lord with the two disciples going to a Mass on the day when they were glooming with frustrated hope, and which you'll also remember St Thomas, in full accord with the main tradition behind them, says the Old Testament is really all about. This view is, I think, Hitler's sense of that kind of illumination which Athanasius feels the presence of the world gives us, even in ourselves. I think, you see, Hitler has it very strongly for the scriptures, this idea of it all being illuminated by the word, that when you read the scriptures in the light of the word, then they become luminous, in the way that we, in Athanasius' image, when you're aware of the reality of the word, the incarnate word, we become luminous to ourselves. So you've got


two kinds of parallels, parallel kinds of luminosity. Both of them, in rather different ways, think of our Lord as the bringer of light in dark places. This is at any rate, with a few missing introductory lines lost in the manuscript, this is the way Hitler's little book begins, so Hitler's little book begins by saying, The entire work which is contained in the sacred books proclaims by words, expresses by events, and confirms by examples the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, whereby, sent from the Father, he is born man, sent from the Father, he is born of a virgin through the Spirit. For it is he, throughout the entire duration of the time of this world, who by true and evident prefigurings, either generates, or washes, or sanctifies, or chooses the Church


in the patriarchs. This work moves me very much, I'd love to go on quoting it to you, especially perhaps the extended chapter on Adam and Eve, which never breathes a word about the Fall, though it's clearly in scripture, but it sees primarily our Lord as remembering the Church as bone of his bone, as Eve had been made from the rib of Adam as he slept. I suppose perhaps the beauty of these early Fathers is that they haven't asked themselves a lot of the questions that will someday have to be asked. We've every reason to return to their sense of perspective, I believe, as the fundament and hope of everything that is difficult to understand and live with. It's significant that the manuscript of the little book of Hilary stops short in the middle of the sentence, which is saying this, But posterity needed knowledge of the Scriptures that it might learn the truth, that it might


not be ignorant of the only begotten God, that it might not be in doubt that when God acted the two were one, since in human beings a unique likeness of the common image was established. And this is the opening of the sentence of this same paragraph. He says it's why we need to contemplate the present in the past, and the past in the present. For, and I don't think this is too great a leap to make, as much later, 17th century writer, the great Jesuit, Pierre de Caussade said the Holy Spirit has his pen in his hand. Still, what the early writers saw is that we must also have the courage to see that the tale of human history is complete in Christ. When it is, we shall see it visibly, with Christ as the centre. For eschatology, the knowledge of things to come, can hardly be telling us other things


than what we've already been told, though it may be continuously telling them in new ways. But on that somewhat enigmatic note, I want to leave you until tomorrow. Then I'm going to push you into the deep end. Let's take a break. It's the three volumes, and it's called, I think it's called, the first volume is called History of the Development of Doctrine. That's to say, he takes the first volume from the Apostles to 600, and then he has a volume on Eastern, the Greek people, and then another one which covers the Reformation. He is in fact a Lutheran himself, but he's a very objective kind of scholar and a very... So it would be a work on the history of doctrine, Christian Doctrine?


It is really. It is, I think, of its kind, the best, in so far as you've got, it's very nice on the eye, because you've got wide margins in which are used for all his references, and you've got the works and so on. Conveniently, the things he's referring to are all given very exactly in the margins, and I've never found him to let me down about anything. It's a very good quality thing. You certainly ought to have it, I think. I believe you can buy a paperback edition of it. He gave us the last paper at the conference I just went to, his last one. It was a statement


of his. I was wondering if you could say anything about... We were talking about pushing words towards their end, and you spoke of the Son, the Father beginning the Son, and the Spirit proceeding from the Father. Could you tell us the difference between those two words? I mean, what does it mean to say that the Son is begotten and that the Spirit proceed from the Father? Well, of course, this is part of what each theologian has to work out. The quickest answer is the one which I gave to Brother Paul the other day, that the begetting of the Son is like the begetting of the thoughts which are presumably following what I'm saying in your own mind. The mind begets these. Whereas the Holy Spirit proceeds like a love procession, like a movement of love. I suppose we can say this language is derived from the fact that


the scriptural language for the Son is word. Let's say the word logos is not only in St. John, but also is of course an Old Testament word. You'll remember the Hebrew word for word means both what God says and what God does. So even in the Hebrew sense, the word conception, which is always assimilated to the Son in fact, is very closely bound with the idea of the intellect, with the idea of, let's say, by analogy it is. Let's say, in other words, if your thoughts became persons, this is what they would, this is what it would be like. All right? You mean they would be begotten? I suppose, Paul, perhaps what's puzzling


you is the thing which medievals were even more bundled about than we are. Because, of course, you'll find many medieval writers say the only reason why women had to exist at all was in order that children might be begotten. And Thomas Asher Keith, Peter, Marcus and Augustine, which would have been just the same in China of course, because nobody would dream of having a woman as a friend. So you don't need them to do anything else except to produce children. So, in other words, I suppose what really is puzzling you there, Paul, if this is only a guess about what you're puzzled about, is that how can one beget without the help of God? Whereas, you see, in fact, here one is dealing with the mystery here


is that by revelation we do know that God's word exists from all eternity. That God's word becomes incarnate, but not the Father. So he is sent as the one who has been begotten from all eternity. Remember the psalm we sang, before the day of sorrow I begot you. It's in a certain way, of course it's been going on furiously in my room all the morning, the begetting has been going on. And I suppose in a way, the way you're begetting at the


moment in talking with me about this is that you're actually turning in upon your own mind, aren't you, examining what your own mind tells you. You're asking yourself questions and you're giving yourself answers. That's a kind of begetting, isn't it. And let's say all that stuff written down here, I was begotten by me and I didn't have a wife to do it, except my mind. Well, do you remember what we've been saying in the middle of all this? This is simply an analogy. And it isn't, in this particular case, it isn't at all like the sexual process of begetting. Though of course it's true, I suppose in one way, this is one of the things perhaps we shall have to talk about a bit more, I think we shall almost certainly find this later on next week, perhaps right at the very end we might be talking about it a bit more, is that of course in order to beget something, especially to


beget a poem. Are any of you poets here? Yes, perhaps some of you are. Are you a poet, Ken? No, you aren't. It's just a shot in the dark. Are you a poet, Ken? I've read some of it, it's good. The reason why I thought of Poiesias, which is a poetry, which is that kind of making, is that in a certain way, I suppose, it's very much like wooing one's mind, isn't it? That's to say, if that makes any sense at all. There is of course no way of making this daylight clear to you, but it seems to me that in so far as you can look at your own inner processes, this is of course one of the things which I'm not going to do with


you, which is a very special kind of thing and has affected Western theology a great deal, is that when Augustine came to speculate on the Trinity, he did in fact do a very great deal of introspection and very elaborate and very fascinating reflections on the whole process of understanding and loving. But I suppose one can say that somehow or other, in order to produce something new, in order to have a new thought, or even to do a new doodle or whatever it is you do while you're just letting something else go through your mind, you have to somehow produce a response from yourself, don't you?


I mean, in a certain way, I suppose I'm not near enough, am I? I just ask you to consider what you know about yourself. I mean, self-understanding would bring you very close to it. Augustine does come to one point in the Deuteronomy, he says if you could stop at the point at which you're just asking yourself a question and see the process going on, then you'd understand what this was like. And so how do you get the answer out of your head? I suppose we're all used to getting an answer of some kind to our own questions. And these are products of our mind. They are really begotten, aren't they? They don't just flow out, in other words. Unlike the process of love, which happens spontaneously, which is a flowing out, even if it doesn't express itself outwardly, it simply flows out of you,


as it were, drawn out of you. But when you decide to think how on earth we're going to get rid of that tree there and be replaced by something else, we have to go through quite an abrupt process of begetting thoughts out of what we previously know. So if you could say a word which expressed all that was in you, then it would be like the sun. But this is why I suppose St Thomas seems to put poetry down, because we can only say the Trinity is like this. Yes, this is, I say, why we have to say that we can only talk by analogy, and the analogies are pretty weak. I say we're nearer being able to talk about it when we're talking about the question of the begetting of the word, because I think you can see that if you're not going to use the word beget, what are you going to use as a word for this process? I mean, it is very, very like that, of actually having a sun of your own. And let's say your


own thoughts, and we all of us feel this very strongly, I'm sure, that our own thoughts are very precious to us, they are the products of our own mind, and they do represent something about us, so that our most private thoughts, sometimes things we don't say, are very important to us, because they do reflect the very deep self that is in us. And this is why I suppose sometimes, poets and musicians and other people who are very creative, will find that more of that, I remember once saying to a Norwegian friend of mine, that I had wanted to talk to two very remarkable performers after a concert. I had a number of musician friends in Norway, and these two I particularly wanted to meet. And I found they simply couldn't


talk about anything, she said, you know, it's perhaps what some people like when they do things like that, that's the way they express themselves. They can't talk about it, they play, and this kind of begetting occurs then. Not everybody is like that. I know, for instance, I also had a chance of meeting a Finnish conductor whom I admired very much, who was a much smaller man than I, who was just like a ball of fire in performance. He could get the most amateur kind of orchestra really going in the most wonderful way, and I heard him once in my time, with a number of amateur musicians, doing a very fine performance, he played his second symphony. And one of the violinists and also one of the double bass players said to me, you are going to see him aren't you? And I said, yes indeed I am. So I went, and there was Otto, standing there waving his arms as usual, and said, it was


absolutely marvellous. But the kind of creative process, just how he did this, he only had perhaps two days with them, and then somehow this work came out of them. He really begot it. They couldn't have done it without him, they couldn't have done it. It was simply a creation of itself. A very splendid thing it is. Great people can do this. Some people think it's only just a question of learning a certain amount of technique, but it's much, much more than that. Yes? You've got a thought? Well it's the same... You've forgotten something. It's the same... Yeah, it's about a begotten, but it's not the beginning bit, it's the eternal bit. And I can't quite... This is of course where the analogies always come to their greatest strength, because in


one way, you remember we said that there were two kinds of ways of talking about God. One is cataphatic, the one that goes up, and the apophatic, the one that takes away. Let's say God is not... You see, when we've said... We can say that God is good, because he's not good in the way that I'm good or anybody else is good. So as soon as we get up in this region, even our assertions are always reserved. Because the idea of begetting... Let's say if Paul gets a thought, which is really all Paul, solid Paul, through every slice, there's


a moment when it wasn't, isn't there? And this was one of the phrases that constantly came up in the early Christological debates, was there a moment when the Son wasn't? And of course the answer is no, because God always knew himself. You see, the trouble is that we only get to know ourselves by thinking about other things mostly. Let's say even self-knowledge is hardly possible except because other things exist. It's partly over against the rest of the world that we achieve our own self-knowledge, and it's why we need relationship to develop as human beings. You can't really do this. And let's say, I think there have been one or two experiments, I'm not sure there are one or two still going on in America, Africa, bringing children up in a kind of glass case or something like that and seeing what happens. It's very, very... Isn't it true? I think it has been done somewhere. It's very, very terrifying of course, because in fact it denies the child one of the things that a human being


does in fact need in order to know itself even. The fewer relationships you have, the less you are able to conceive your own potentialities, your own possibilities, and so on. So all those things involve time processes for us, and to think of begetting a word, even a splendid single word, with no syllables, which remember is one of the things Athanasius was saying to us, no syllables in this word. To think of something like this, which just is with yourself from the very beginning, the thought of yourself, is not really conceivable to us. The language that we use about it is meaningful, I think, because it is an expression which is as near as we can come to what it is to have a thought. But we don't have thoughts


in this way. Though they are, I think our thoughts, our own thoughts are really begotten up there. Is this still a problem to you? I think you can see that it is a very good analogy, it is the nearest one we can get to talk about this at all, because it is more like the process of begetting, which in ordinary sexual begetting, we happen to know now that the female, the woman, is not in fact purely passive, which medieval people thought she was. We thought she was a kind of receptive vessel into which the man brought the seed. We now know, of course, that is by no means the case. There is a union that takes place there. And so in one way, of course, it makes the conception of begetting which we have


slightly richer than it was for medieval people, because indeed even our own interior begettings of thoughts are coming together, I think. You can't really have a newer idea unless you have got two already. Isn't that true? I didn't have problems with the word begetting itself, but my problem was more trying to figure out why we have a different word for the Holy Spirit or how he comes forth.