Skip to comments.Cur Deus Homo XIX-XX: No Satisfaction (Cath-Orth caucus)
Posted on 06/07/2007 11:13:37 AM PDT by annalex
How man cannot be saved without satisfaction for sin.
Anselm.. It was fitting for God to fill the places of the fallen angels from among men.
Boso. That is certain.
Anselm.. Therefore there ought to be in the heavenly empire as many men taken as substitutes for the angels as would correspond with the number whose place they shall take, that is, as many as there are good angels now; otherwise they who fell will not be restored, and it will follow that God either could not accomplish the good which he begun, or he will repent of having undertaken it; either of which is absurd.
Boso. Truly it is fitting that men should be equal with good angels.
Anselm.. Have good angels ever sinned?
Anselm.. Can you think that man, who has sinned, and never made satisfaction to God for his sin, but only been suffered to go unpunished, may become the equal of an angel who has never sinned?
Boso. These words I can both think of and utter, but can no more perceive their meaning than I can make truth out of falsehood.
Anselm.. Therefore it is not fitting that God should take sinful man without an atonement, in substitution for lost angels; for truth will not suffer man thus to be raised to an equality with holy beings.
Boso. Reason shows this.
Anselm.. Consider, also, leaving out the question of equality with the angels, whether God ought, under such circumstances, to raise man to the same or a similar kind of happiness as that which he had before he sinned.
Boso. Tell your opinion, and I will attend to it as well as I can.
Anselm.. Suppose a rich man possessed a choice pearl which had never been defiled, and which could not be taken from his hands without his permission; and that he determined to commit it to the treasury of his dearest and most valuable possessions.
Boso. I accept your supposition.
Anselm.. What if he should allow it to be struck from his hand and cast in the mire, though he might have prevented it; and afterwards taking it all soiled by the mire and unwashed, should commit it again to his beautiful and loved casket; will you consider him a wise man?
Boso. How can I? for would it not be far better to keep and preserve his pearl pure, than to have it polluted?
Anselm.. Would not God be acting like this, who held man in paradise, as it were in his own hand, without sin, and destined to the society of angels, and allowed the devil, inflamed with envy, to cast him into the mire of sin, though truly with man's consent? For, had God chosen to restrain the devil, the devil could not have tempted man. Now I say, would not God be acting like this, should he restore man, stained with the defilement of sin, unwashed, that is, without any satisfaction, and always to remain so; should He restore him at once to paradise, from which he had been thrust out?
Boso. I dare not deny the aptness of your comparison, were God to do this, and therefore do not admit that he can do this. For it should seem either that be could not accomplish what he designed, or else that be repented of his good intent, neither of which things is possible with God.
Anselm.. Therefore, consider it settled that, without satisfaction, that is, without voluntary payment of the debt, God can neither pass by the sin unpunished, nor can the sinner attain that happiness, or happiness like that, which he had before he sinned; for man cannot in this way be restored, or become such as he was before he sinned.
Boso. I am wholly unable to refute your reasoning. But what say you to this: that we pray God, "put away our sins from us," and every nation prays the God of its faith to put away its sins. For, if we pay our debt, why do we pray God to put it away? Is not God unjust to demand what has already been paid? But if we do not make payment, why do we supplicate in vain that he will do what he cannot do, because it is unbecoming?
Anselm.. He who does not pay says in vain: "Pardon"; but he who pays makes supplication, because prayer is properly connected with the payment; for God owes no man anything, but every creature owes God; and, therefore, it does not become man to treat with God as with an equal. But of this it is not now needful for me to answer you. For when you think why Christ died, I think you will see yourself the answer to your question.
Boso. Your reply with regard to this matter suffices me for the present. And, moreover, you have so clearly shown that no man can attain happiness in sin, or be freed from sin without satisfaction for the trespass, that, even were I so disposed, I could not doubt it.
That satisfaction ought to be proportionate to guilt; and that man is of himself unable to accomplish this.
Anselm.. Neither, I think, will you doubt this, that satisfaction should be proportionate to guilt.
Boso. Otherwise sin would remain in a manner exempt from control (inordinatum), which cannot be, for God leaves nothing uncontrolled in his kingdom. But this is determined, that even the smallest unfitness is impossible with God.
Anselm.. Tell me, then, what payment you make God for your sin?
Boso. Repentance, a broken and contrite heart, self-denial, various bodily sufferings, pity in giving and forgiving, and obedience.
Anselm.. What do you give to God in all these?
Boso. Do I not honor God, when, for his love and fear, in heartfelt contrition I give up worldly joy, and despise, amid abstinence and toils, the delights and ease of this life, and submit obediently to him, freely bestowing my possessions in giving to and releasing others?
Anselm.. When you render anything to God which you owe him, irrespective of your past sin, you should not reckon this as the debt which you owe for sin. But you owe God every one of those things which you have mentioned. For, in this mortal state, there should be such love and such desire of attaining the true end of your being, which is the meaning of prayer, and such grief that you have not yet reached this object, and such fear lest you fail of it, that you should find joy in nothing which does not help you or give encouragement of your success. For you do not deserve to have a thing which you do not love and desire for its own sake, and the want of which at present, together with the great danger of never getting it, causes you no grief. This also requires one to avoid ease and worldly pleasures such as seduce the mind from real rest and pleasure, except so far as you think suffices for the accomplishment of that object. But you ought to view the gifts which you bestow as a part of your debt, since you know that what you give comes not from yourself, but from him whose servant both you are and he also to whom you give. And nature herself teaches you to do to your fellow servant, man to man, as you would be done by; and that he who will not bestow what he has ought not to receive what he has not. Of forgiveness, indeed, I speak briefly, for, as we said above, vengeance in no sense belongs to you, since you are not your own, nor is he who injures you yours or his, but you are both the servants of one Lord, made by him out of nothing. And if you avenge yourself upon your fellow servant, you proudly assume judgment over him when it is the peculiar right of God, the judge of all. But what do you give to God by your obedience, which is not owed him already, since he demands from you all that you are and have and can become?
Boso. Truly I dare not say that in all these things I pay any portion of my debt to God.
Anselm.. How then do you pay God for your transgression?
Boso. If in justice I owe God myself and all my powers, even when I do not sin, I have nothing left to render to him for my sin.
Anselm.. What will become of you then? How will you be saved?
Boso. Merely looking at your arguments, I see no way of escape. But, turning to my belief, I hope through Christian faith, "which works by love," that I may be saved, and the more, since we read that if the sinner turns from his iniquity and does what is right, all his transgressions shall be forgotten.
Anselm.. This is only said of those who either looked for Christ before his coming, or who believe in him since he has appeared. But we set aside Christ and his religion as if they did not exist, when we proposed to inquire whether his coming were necessary to man's salvation.
Boso. We did so.
Anselm.. Let us then proceed by reason simply.
Boso. Though you bring me into straits, yet I very much wish you to proceed as you have begun.
St. Anselm: Proslogium; Monologium: An Appendix In Behalf Of The Fool By
Gaunilo; And Cur Deus Homo, Translated From The Latin By Sidney Norton Deane, B. A. With An Introduction,
Bibliography, And Reprints Of The Opinions Of Leading Philosophers And Writers On The Ontological Argument,
(Chicago, The Open Court Publishing Company,, 1903, reprinted 1926)
I plan to publish it for discussion in short installments as Catholic-Orthodox caucus threads. All Christians as well as non-Christians are very welcome, but I ask all to maintain the caucus discipline: no interconfessional attacks, no personal attacks, and no off-topic posts. Avoid mentioning confessions outside of the caucus for any reason.
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Cur Deus Homo III-V
Cur Deus Homo VI-VIII: Is God Omnipotent and Wise?
Cur Deus Homo IX-X: Did The Father Wish Christ To Die?
Cur Deus Homo XI-XIV: God's Honor, Compassion, and Justice
Cur Deus Homo XV-XVIII: Men and Angels, Perfection and Election
The idea here is simple:
Man owes God satisfaction for his sins:
without satisfaction, that is, without voluntary payment of the debt, God can neither pass by the sin unpunished, nor can the sinner attain that happiness, or happiness like that, which he had before he sinned; for man cannot in this way be restored, or become such as he was before he sinned.
But since man owes everything to God, anything he does to offset sin is not his to give and therefore cannot be satisfaction.
you ought to view the gifts which you bestow as a part of your debt, since you know that what you give comes not from yourself, but from him whose servant both you are and he also to whom you give.
But what do you give to God by your obedience, which is not owed him already [...]?
I see no way of escape
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