Question 15. The defects of soul assumed by Christ

Article 1. Whether there was sin in Christ?

No.  Christ assumed our human nature, with its possibility of corruption, as material, and therefore the possibility of physical evil.  However, moral evil in no way was assumed or even possible.

Article 2. Whether there was the “fomes” of sin in Christ?

Christ, by the Holy Spirit, had the fullness of grace and all the virtues most perfectly. Likewise, His body was completely subject to His soul, and in no way the slave of it, as can be said of us in our fallen state.  He had perfect control of His passions, by perfect virtue.

Article 3. Whether in Christ there was ignorance?

“He came to enlighten them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death” (Luke 1:79). The fullness of infused knowledge leaves no room for ignorance in Christ, just as the fullness of virtue leaves no room for the “fomes” of sin.

Article 4. Whether Christ’s soul was passible?

Christ assumed a true human nature.  Therefore, the body, by nature, is corruptible and mortal.  Even in our created state, Adam was not given the preternatural gifts then he too would have been, by his natural material body, mortal.  This is not a moral evil, and Christ took on this passible, mortal nature in His body.

Article 5. Whether there was sensible pain in Christ?

“Surely He hath borne our infirmities and carried our sorrows.”

Christ’s body was able to be hurt, since it was passible and mortal, as above stated. In a real body/soul relationship, the mortal body, when damage is inflicted upon it, feels sensible pain.  It is one part of our nature that we recognize all too well.

Article 6. Whether there was sorrow in Christ?

“My soul is sorrowful even unto death.”

There is a true correlation between pain and sorrow. In psychology, aversion is a repugnance to an evil presenting itself.  Sorry follows this, if the evil actually afflicts the knowing subject.  As Christ was able to feel pain in His body and experience evil (in others, such as the sins of His disciples, etc) in His soul, He likewise felt sorrow.

Article 7. Whether there was fear in Christ?

It is written (Mark 14:33): Jesus “began to fear and to be heavy.”

As sorrow is caused by the apprehension of a present evil, so also is fear caused by the apprehension of a future evil (again this is basic Aristotelian psychology).

It is worth simply quoting Thomas in full here: “Now the apprehension of a future evil, if the evil be quite certain, does not arouse fear. Hence the Philosopher says that we do not fear a thing unless there is some hope of avoiding it. For when there is no hope of avoiding it the evil is considered present, and thus it causes sorrow rather than fear. Hence fear may be considered in two ways. First, inasmuch as the sensitive appetite naturally shrinks from bodily hurt, by sorrow if it is present, and by fear if it is future; and thus fear was in Christ, even as sorrow. Secondly, fear may be considered in the uncertainty of the future event, as when at night we are frightened at a sound, not knowing what it is; and in this way there was no fear in Christ.”

Article 8. Whether there was wonder in Christ?

As we spoke of earlier regarding Christ’s knowledge, both in its perfection and in His empirically learned knowledge through true human experience, the answer to the question of wonder is based on empirical knowledge experience as part of having a true human intellect: “things could be new and unwonted with regard to His empiric knowledge, in regard to which new things could occur to Him day by day…and He assumed this affection for our instruction, i.e. in order to teach us to wonder at what He Himself wondered at.”

Augustine says “Our Lord wondered in order to show us that we, who still need to be so affected, must wonder. Hence all these emotions are not signs of a disturbed mind, but of a master teaching.”

Article 9. Whether there was anger in Christ?

Anger is the movement towards an evil that is hard to overcome for the sake of avoiding it. It is an effect of sorrow There arises within a person a desire to repel this injury brought upon himself or others. Christ certainly had anger, as God hates sin.  Obviously, there was not sin in this anger, as there often is in us, but a mere passion for the destruction of evil and upholding of justice. Christ, we may say, had a righteous indignation, seeking the glory of God and the overcoming of evil.

Augustine says that “he is eaten up by zeal for the house of God, who seeks to better whatever He sees to be evil in it, and if he cannot right it, bears with it and sighs.”

Article 10. Whether Christ was at once a wayfarer and a comprehensor?

“Why wilt Thou be as a stranger in the land, and as a wayfaring man turning in to lodge?” (Jeremiah 14:8)

A man is called a wayfarer from tending to beatitude, and a comprehensor from having already obtained beatitude. Christ was at the same time both, for He as a Divine Person never lacked the beatific vision, but as human, mortal and passible as we said, and having His passion, death, and resurrection still in front of Him, still awaited final glory. In this way, He was still tending toward beatitude.

 

 

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