the humanity of christ
Aquinas thinks that Christ fully experienced the human state,
including learning things, being surprised, and experiencing wonder,
hunger, thirst, and suffering, just like everyone else. He did
this “to prove the genuineness of his human nature, and
give us an example of virtue.” (3a, 15, 1)
And he thought that Christ had normal human desires. “Flesh
has a natural sensory desire for what delights it, but in man
- a reasoning animal - it desires this in a reasonable manner
or measure. And that is the way Christ’s flesh had a natural
sensory desire for food and drink and sleep and whatever it
reasonable to desire.” (3a, 15, 2) Aquinas saw Christ as
in no way drawn to sin and as always reasonable, as you would
happy person to be. And he doesn’t think the death of Christ
was inevitable but something he accepted on purpose: it was
an act of will.
what it really means to be human
In Robert Heinlein's novel Stranger in a Strange Land,
when we see the characters greeting one another with the phrase
"thou are God," we may find it a bit jarring. But that
is the heart of what the Incarnation means.
The attributes of self-awareness, will and reason, which appeared
in humans in the Garden and which distinguish and separate us
from the other
life forms on the planet, are the attributes which get
us into trouble but also are the ones that create our trajectory
towards God. With Christ as a model, we see what it really
to be human. Christ
is the living proof of concept that it's possible for humans
grow into the happy self-awareness of the divine.
This is so, according to Aquinas, because Christ gets us adopted
by God. This means that we can become like the Son, participating
God as described by the Trinity, and in the love that results.
makes the Trinity the new model for consciousness. "Thinking
creatures resemble the Word both in its form and in its mentality,
as a student's knowledge resembles his teacher's idea; and by
grace and charity those who are divinely adopted resemble the
eternal Word of God in his union with the Father: that they
may be one with us, as we are also one. Adoption is a privilege
reserved to thinking creatures, but actually possessed only
those in whose hearts the Spirit of adoption as sons pours
out his love of charity." (3A, 23, 3)
Christ's purpose in the Incarnation is to share with thinking
creatures the self-aware love and joy of the Trinity, but for
us to claim it, we need the love of charity, which Christ's life
modeled and about which Christ spend his life teaching.
"Adoptive sonship is an imitation of natural sonship, common
to the whole Trinity, but appropriated to the Father as author,
to the Son as model and to the Holy Spirit as imprinting in a
likeness to the model."
(3A, 23, 2)
"The function of a mediator is to bring together those
between whom he mediates."