The Union of God and Man in Christ

ST III Q2 a1
ST III Q2 a2

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Last year, we went through Book IV of St. Thomas’ Summa Contra Gentiles. We learned a couple new philosophical terms, including supposit. That is, a particular instance of a type of thing. This is what we mean when we use the article “a” in front of a noun.

As in:

“Pencil” is a concept, existing only in thought. The particular pencil lying on the desk is a supposit, an instance of “pencil,” made of a unique conglomeration of atoms. Those unique atoms form a pencil.


One thought on “The Union of God and Man in Christ

  1. So maybe St. Thomas is saying something like this:

    When your parents brought you into the world, they were humans passing on to you their like human nature. They begot the resultant supposit/aka/hypostasis/aka/Mark White, whose nature was like to both of theirs. So, their union was like the math equation:

    1 x 1 = 1, where the product on the right side, you, is equal in nature to each component on the left side, which represents your parents.

    But what if there was a begetting among unlike natures? What if the equation were 2 x 1, or, to make it Trinitarian, 3 x 1, what if God begot another being with the Blessed Virgin and her purely human nature? Then we have:

    3 x 1 = 3, but at the level of arithmetic, this appears that the resultant being looks exactly like one of the parents and not anything like the other. This looks as if one nature, the divine, totally annihilates the other. For an analogous reason, Thomas can say that the union does not take place in the nature.

    But considered at the level of geometry, in a 2-dimensional plane, 3 x 1 = 3 could be interpreted as the product that is a rectangle with one side of length 3 and the other of length 1. The hypo-stasis of this union, the resultant rectangle, would maintain its three-ness in one dimension and its one-ness on the other, keeping both attributes of both parents, keeping both natures, unmixed, and distinguishable. Thus, in the hypo-static union of the Incarnate Word, the divinity and humanity are both present and unmixed, and the union occurs in the person or hypo-stasis, with a Divine axis and a Marian/human axis.

    Something like that…

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