Often we feel like aliens in this world, yet at the same time, we long to be part of eternity. We want our purpose and our work to count, to matter, to last for eternity. We yearn to understand our place in the universe. But most of the time we can't make sense of any of it. Have you ever heard a Christian speak of a "God-shaped vacuum" or a "hole" inside the heart that led them to faith in God?
The believer may testify of that truly beautiful moment in time when he or she realized God was the missing piece of the puzzle that fit perfectly into that hole. God allows the confusion, the challenging questions, the yearning desires, all of it, so that we will earnestly pursue him. Even still, once we find him and know that he is the answer to all of our questions, many of the endless mysteries of God continue to remain unanswered.
The second part of the verse explains that even though God put within us a sense of wonder to understand eternity , we'll never fully fathom all that God has done from beginning to end. We learn to trust that God has obscured certain secret things from us for a reason. It follows therefore that in God there is only one word.
There is yet another difference: The word of our intellect does not measure up to the power of our intellect, because when we mentally conceive one thing we can still conceive many other things; thus the word of our intellect is imperfect and can be composed, when several imperfect notions are put together to form a more perfect word, as happens in the process of formulating a definition. But the divine Word measures up to the power of God, because by his essence he understands himself and everything else.
So the Word he conceives by his essence, when he understands himself and everything else, is as great as his essence. It is therefore perfect, simple and equal to God. We call this Word of God a Son, as said above, because he is of the same nature with the Father, and we profess that he is co-eternal with the Father, only-begotten and perfect. Chapter 4: How the Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son.
We must also observe that every act of knowledge is followed by an act of the appetite.
Islamic Beliefs About the Afterlife - ReligionFacts
Of all appetitive acts love is the principle. Without it there is no joy at gaining something one does not love, or sadness at missing something one does not love - that is, if love is taken away; likewise all other appetitive acts would go, since they are all somehow related to sadness and joy. Therefore, since God has perfect knowledge, he must also have perfect love, which arises as the expression of an appetitive act, as a word arises as the expression of an intellective act.
But there is a difference between an intellectual and an appetitive act. For an intellectual act and any other act of knowledge takes place by the knowable thing somehow existing in the knowing power, namely, sensible things in the sense and intelligible things in the intellect. But an appetitive act takes place by an orientation and movement of the appetitive power to the things exposed to the appetite. Things that have a hidden source of their motion are called spirits.
For instance, winds are called spirits because their origin is not apparent. Likewise breath, which is a motion from an intrinsic source, is called spirit. So, as divine things are expressed in human terms, the very love coming from God is called a spirit. But in us love comes from two different sources. Sometimes it comes from a bodily and material principle, which is impure love, since it disturbs the purity of the mind.
Sometimes it comes from the a pure spiritual principle, as when we love intelligible goods and what is in accord with reason; this is pure love. God cannot have a material love. Therefore we fittingly call his love not simply Spirit, but the Holy Spirit, since holiness refers to his purity. It is clear that we cannot love anything with an intelligible and holy love unless we conceive it through an act of the intellect. The conception of the intellect is a word; so love must arise from a word.
Just as God's act of knowledge is his very being, so also is his act of loving. And just as God is always actually understanding, so also he is always actually loving himself and everything else by loving his own goodness. Therefore, as the Son of God, who is the Word of God, subsists in the divine nature and is co-eternal with the Father and perfect and unique, likewise we must profess the same about the Holy Spirit.
Since everything that subsists with an intelligent nature we call a "person", which is equivalent to the Greek "hypostasis", it is necessary to say that the Word of God, whom we call Son, is a hypostasis or person. No one doubts that God, from whom a word and a love comes forth, is a subsistent reality, and can also be called a hypostasis or a person.
Thus we fittingly posit three persons in God: the person of the Father, the person of the Son and the person of the Holy Spirit. We do not say that these three persons or hypostases are distinct by essence, since, just as God's act of knowing and loving is his very being, so also his Word and Love are the very essence of God.
Whatever is absolutely asserted of God is nothing other than his essence, since God is not great or powerful or good accidentally, but by his essence. So we do not say the three persons or hypostases are distinct absolutely, but by mere relations which arise from the coming forth of the word and the love. Since we call the coming forth of the word generation, and from generation result the relationships of fatherhood and sonship, we say that the person of the Son is distinct from the person of the Father only by fatherhood and sonship, while all else belongs to both commonly and without distinction.
Just as we call the Father true God, almighty, eternal and whatever else, so also the Son, and for the same reason the Holy Spirit.
Therefore, since the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit are not distinct in their divine nature, but only by relationship, we are right in saying that the three persons are not three gods, but one true and perfect God. Three human persons are three men and not one man, because the nature of humanity, which is common to them, belongs to each separately because they are materially distinct, which does not apply to God.
So in three men there are three numerically different human natures, while only the essence of humanity is common to them. But in the divine persons there are not three numerically different divine natures, but necessarily only one simple divine nature, since the essence of God's word and of his love is not different from the essence of God.
So we profess not three gods, but one God, because of the one simple divine nature in three persons. Chapter 5: The reason for the incarnation of the Son of God. A similar blindness makes Muslims ridicule the Christian Faith by which we profess that the Son of God died, since they do not understand the depth of such a great mystery. First of all, lest the death of the Son of God be misinterpreted, we must first say something about the incarnation of the Son of God. For we do not say that the Son of God underwent death according to his divine nature, in which he is equal to the Father who is the foundational life of everything, but according to our own nature which he adopted into the unity of his person.
To say something about the mystery of the divine incarnation, we must observe that any intellectual agent operates through a conception of his intellect, which we call a word, as is clear in the case of a builder or any craftsman who operates outwardly according to the form that he conceives in his mind.
It is a rule that the principles which make something are also the principles for repairing it. If a house falls down, it is restored according to the plan by which it was first made. Among the creatures created through God's Word, rational creatures hold the first rank, since all other creatures serve them and seem ordered to them. That is reasonable, because a rational creature has mastery over his action through free will, while other creatures do not act from free judgement but by force of nature. Universally what is free is higher than what is in bondage; slaves serve the free and are governed by them.
Therefore the fall of a rational creature is truly considered more serious than the defect of any irrational creature.
Nor is there any doubt that God judges things according to their real value. So it was fitting for Divine Wisdom to repair the fall of human nature, much more than to step in if the heavens were to fall or any other catastrophe occur in bodily things.
Rational or intellectual creatures are of two kinds: one separated from a body, which we call an angel, and the other joined to a body, which is the human soul. In either one there can be a fall because of freedom of the will. By a fall, I do not mean that they fall out of existence, but that they lapse from righteousness of the will.
A fall or a defect refers specially to a principle of operation, as we say that a craftsman has gone wrong because he is deficient in the skill he needs to do his job, and we say that a natural thing is deficient or spoiled if the natural power by which it acts is corrupted, for example if a plant lacks the power of germinating or a piece of land lacks the power to be fruitful. A rational creature operates by its will, where it has freedom of choice. Therefore the fall of a rational creature is a defect of righteousness of the will, which takes place by sin.
The defect of sin, which is nothing other than perversity of the will, is something especially for God to remove, and that by his Word by which he created all creatures. The sin of angels, however, could not be corrected, because the immutability of their nature makes them impenitent from any direction they once take. But men's will is changeable by nature, so that they are not only able to choose different things, good or evil, but also abandon one choice and turn to another.
This changeableness of the will remains in man as long as he is united to his body which is subject to variation. When the soul is separated from the body it will have the same immutability as an angel naturally has; so that after death the soul is impenitent, and cannot turn from good to evil or from evil to good. Therefore it was fitting for God's goodness to restore fallen human nature through his Son.
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The way of restoring should correspond to the nature being restored and to its sickness. The nature to be restored was man's rational nature endowed with free will, who should not be subject to exterior power but be recalled to the state of righteousness according to his own will. His sickness, being a perversity of the will, demanded that the will should be called back to righteousness.
Righteousness of the human will consists in the proper ordering of love, which is its principal act. Rightly ordered love is to love God above all things as our supreme good, and to refer to him everything that we love as our ultimate goal, and to observe the proper order in loving other things by preferring spiritual to bodily goods. To excite our love towards God, there was no more powerful way than that the Word of God, through whom all things were made, should assume our human nature in order to restore it, so that he would be both God and man. First of all, because the strongest way God could show how much he loves man was his willing to become man for his salvation; and nothing can provoke love more than to know that one is loved.
Then also, man whose intellect and affections are weighed down towards bodily things cannot easily turn to things that are above himself. It is easy for any man to know and love another man, but to think of the divine highness and be carried to it by the proper affection of love is not for everyone, but only for those who, by God's help and with great effort and labour, are lifted up from bodily to spiritual things. Therefore, to open the way to God for everyone, God willed to become man, so that even children could know and love God as someone like themselves; and so by what they can grasp they can progress little by little to perfection.
Also, for God to become man gave man the hope of eventually participating in perfect happiness, which only God naturally has. If man, knowing his weakness, were promised the eventual happiness of which angels are hardly capable, since it consists in the vision and enjoyment of God, he could hardly hope to reach it unless the dignity of human nature was demonstrated in another way, namely, by God valuing it so highly that he became man for his salvation. So God's becoming man gave us hope that man can eventually be united to God in blessed enjoyment. Man's knowledge of his dignity, coming from God's assuming a human nature, helps to keep him from subjecting his affections to any creature, whether by worshipping demons or any creatures through idolatry or by subjecting himself to bodily creatures through disordered affection.
For if man has such a great dignity by God's judgement and he is so close to him that God wanted to become man, it is unworthy of man to subject himself improperly to things inferior to God. Chapter 6: The meaning of "God became man".
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When we say that God became man, let no one take this to mean that God was converted into a man, as air becomes fire when it is turned into fire. For God's nature is unchangeable. Only bodily things can be changed from one thing into another. A spiritual nature cannot be changed into a bodily nature, but can be united to it somehow by the strength of its power, as a soul is united to a body. Although human nature consists of soul and body, the soul is not of a bodily but a spiritual nature.