Saturday, August 10, 2013

Thoughts on the Father; Thomas on Matthew 24:36

No one has ever seen God; the only Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has made him known. (John 1:18)

All things have been delivered to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and any one to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.  (Matthew 11:27)

The only notion that pertains to the Father is "unbegotten", which is negative. The Son reveals the Father, but the Father is otherwise hidden. The Son and the Holy Spirit proceed and are sent. The Father does not proceed and is not sent. We participate in Christ's sonship by the sending of the Holy Spirit, but is any creature properly said to participate in the Father? A couple verses:

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named. (Ephesians 3:14-15)

But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brethren. And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. Neither be called masters, for you have one master, the Christ. (Matthew 23:8-10)

The Ephesians verse says that it is from the Father that every family is named. So it seems every family has some participation in the Father. Yet there is the verse that says to call no man father, as if this name is incommunicable. Yet we do use this name to speak of our earthly and spiritual fathers; even Christ and St. Paul do this.

"The Father, when known by anyone in time, is not said to be sent; for there is no one whence He is, or from whom He proceeds." (St. Augustine, De Trinitate 4:20)

The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are present in all of us who possess grace, yet only the Son and the Holy Spirit are said to be sent. For to be sent is to proceed, yet the Father proceeds not. By sending the Son and the Holy Spirit, the Father is present in us.

"The Lord said to my Lord." (Psalm 110) Pope Benedict (following Tertullian and many others) see how this verse points to the Trinity. "The Lord" is the Father and he speaks to "my Lord" who is the Son, and I who sing this Psalm am inspired by the Holy Spirit and on this account am able to bear witness to this eternal conversation.  The Lord said to my Lord. It is by sending the Holy Spirit into words of the prophets, that the speech of the Father is made known. He remains in complete mystery, never coming down from his dwelling place, yet he sends his Spirit on the waters and sends his only Son, and by this he is present without being sent. Present without being sent. Who is he?

"This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased." (Matthew 3:17)

When he speaks from the heavens, he speaks of his Son. Later, at the scene of the Transfiguration, he says, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him." (Matthew 17:5)

Listen to the Son and we will hear the Father. The voice that came from heaven: What is it? It is (if I am not mistaken) a creature which bears testimony to the Father, yet the Father is not sent as these words are heard. Rather it is a sound that points to the Christ, the only one who shows us the Father. And here is a puzzle verse:

"But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only." (Matthew 24:36)

Surely he speaks of the Son with respect to his human knowledge? I will seek St. Thomas' commentary on the matter...

Sed est quaestio hic, secundum Hieronymum, quia dicit Marcus XIII, 26: nec etiam filius hominis; ex quo videtur Arius suam haeresim confirmare, quia si pater scit quod nescit filius, ergo maior est eo.
But a question is here, according to Jerome, because Mark 13:26 says "nor even the Son of man", from which Arius seems to confirms his heresy. Because if the Father knows what the Son does not know, there he is greater.
Ideo potest dici quod filius scit, et quod dies iudicii secundum aliquam rationem determinatus est, et quidquid determinatur a Deo, suo verbo aeterno determinatur; ideo impossibile est quin verbum sciat.
Therefore it is able to be said that the Son knows, both that the day of judgment was determined according to some account, and that whatever is determined by God is determined in/by his eternal word. Therefore it is impossible that the Son know not.
Sed quare dicitur nescire? Augustinus et Hieronymus dicunt quod consuetus modus loquendi est dicere nescire aliquid, quando non facit illud scire; sicut dicitur Gen. XXII, v. 12: nunc cognovi quod timeas Deum; idest, cognoscere feci; ideo dicitur filius nescire, quia non facit scire.
But why is he said not to know? Augustine and Jerome says that it is a fit way of speaking to say that he does not know something when he does not make to know it [awkward]. Just as is said in Genesis 22:12, "Now I have known that you fear God," that is, I have made to know; therefore it is said that the Son does not know because he does not make to know.
Alio modo dicit Origenes quod Christus et Ecclesia sunt sicut caput et corpus, quia sicut caput et corpus sunt sicut una persona, ita Christus et Ecclesia. Sed Christus aliquando accipit formam Ecclesiae, ut in illo Ps. XXI, v. 2: Deus, Deus meus, respice in me, unde quod dicitur quod Christus non scit, intelligitur quod Ecclesia non scit: unde dominus, Act. I, 7: non est vestrum scire tempora vel momenta et cetera.
In another way, Origen says that Christ and the Church are just as head and body, because just as the head and the body are one person, so Christ and the Church. But Christ somewhere takes the form of the Church (just as in Psalm 22, "My God, my God, look at me, why have you forsaken me?"). Whence is said that Christ knows not, but it is understood that the Church knows not. Whence the Lord says in Acts 1:7, "It is not yours to know the time or the moment."
Notate quod dicit Augustinus quod ipse volebat ostendere ex quibusdam signis, quod adventus iudicii non possit sciri determinate, quia non determinat quodcumque tempus.
Note that Augustine says that he wants to show from certain signs, that the the coming of judgment is not able to be known determinately, because he does not determine any time. ...[he goes on and talks about the ages of the world]

It is interesting to see how Origen interprets the text. He uses one of the seven rules that St. Augustine lays down toward the end of On Christian Doctrine, about attending to the head and the body. Oh well, more thoughts later.

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