Wednesday, July 17, 2013

St Robert Bellarmine, S.J., " For It Was Fitting That If The Son Of God Wished To Become Son Of Man He Should Be Born Only From A Virgin,"

Lodovico Carracci "The Trinity with the Dead Christ"
The first testimony is the confession of Peter from the revelation of God the Father, Matthew ch.16, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Note here that Peter asserts that Christ is the true and natural Son of God, for that is why he added ‘living’, because it is proper to living things to generate for themselves something a like in nature. And it is confirmed from other places, for in John ch.3 Christ is said to be “the only begotten Son,” Romans ch.8 he is called “proper Son,” I John ch.5 he is called “true Son,”  Colossians ch.1 and Hebrews ch.1 he is called “natural” for he is called the image or the type of the paternal hypostasis, which does not belong to adoptive sons. Again in the same place he is called a Son such that with respect to him the angels are called servants, who however are otherwise adoptive Sons of God, and indeed chiefly so. Next, Christ is accused of having preached that he was the Son of God, John19, “For we have a law and according to the law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God.” And it is certain that he was not accused of having made himself adoptive or metaphorical Son of God, for even the Jews say, “We have one Father, God,” John ch.8. And yet Christ did not dilute this accusation but as it were admitted it, and in that confession he wished 39 But if he is true, proper, only begotten, natural Son, then he is begotten of the substance of the Father; but he did not receive a part of the substance, because God is without parts, therefore he received the whole of it, therefore he is one God in number with the Father. The Transylvanian ministers and Blandrata reply that Christ is true and proper Son of God because he was conceived from the Holy Spirit, and they prove it from Luke ch.1 where it is said, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the virtue of the Most High will overshadow you, and therefore the holy thing that is born from you will be called the Son of God.” But on the contry, for even Adam, Eve, and all the angels were not born of the seed of man but are directly the work of God. How then is he called only begotten Son? Second if for this reason Christ is Son of God because he was conceived in the womb of a virgin by the work of the Holy Spirit, then he could be called the Son of the Holy Spirit; but Scripture never says this, nay on the contrary it says that the Spirit proceeds from the Son, John ch.15 and elsewhere. Third, this is not to be natural and true Son, for God did not generate Christ from his own substance in the womb of a virgin but from the substance alone of the Virgin; hence in Hebrews ch.7 Christ is said to be without father and without mother, that is, without father on earth and without mother in heaven, as all the Greeks and Latins expounded. To the place of Luke ch.1 I say with Ambrose, Gregory, Bede, Bernard that the virtue of the Most High is the Word of God which descended into the womb of the Virgin, and there put on flesh, and therefore the Son of Mary is called the Son of the Most High. It can also be said that conception from the Holy Spirit is a sign, not a cause, that Christ is called Son of God. For it was fitting that if the Son of God wished to become Son of Man he should be born only from a virgin, and if a virgin were to give birth, she should give birth only to God, as St. Bernard rightly said. Further, Jacob Palaeologus, who, although he was one of the chief doctors of the new Samosatans, at length at Rome, as we said above, was converted to the true faith, not only made no account of our argument but turned it back against us by means of this reasoning: any true Son of God cannot be true God; but Christ is true Son of God, therefore he is not true God. And this syllogism (as I have often heard from him) he used to boast was a very firm demonstration, even though I said to him that the major proposition of the syllogism is so false that the contrary is most true. For as the true son of man is true man, the true son of a lion is true lion, and in all others in like manner, so too the true Son of God must be true. 
Link (here) to the full book by St Robert Bellarmine, S.J.  entitled,  Disputations about Controversies of the Christian Faith against the Heretics of this Age, first published at Ingolstadt in 1581,1593 and republished several times thereafter.
The Latin text can be downloaded from Google books: 

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