Filius Dei venit ad adoptionem
God’s Son comes for adoption
4:4 At ubi venit plenitudo temporis, misit Deus Filium suum factum ex muliere, factum sub lege, [n. 199]
4:4 But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent his Son, made of a woman, made under the law: [n. 199]
4:5 ut eos, qui sub lege erant, redimeret, ut adoptionem filiorum reciperemus. [n. 209]
4:5 That he might redeem those who were under the law: that we might receive the adoption of sons. [n. 209]
199. Hic adaptat Apostolus similitudinem propositam ad Christum. Et
199. Here the Apostle applies to Christ the simile he has proposed.
primo ponitur adaptatio;
First, he makes the application;
secundo finis rei, in qua similitudo adaptatur, ibi ut eos qui sub lege erant, et cetera.
second, he discloses the purpose of the reality that corresponds to the simile, at that he might redeem those who were under the law.
200. Sciendum est autem quod supra, in similitudine proposita, quatuor ostendit per ordinem, sicut dictum est. Hic autem illa quatuor adaptans ad Christum, incipit ab ultimo, scilicet a determinatione temporis, cuius ratio est, quia idem tempus fuit in quo Christus fuit humiliatus et in quo fideles fuerunt exaltati.
200. It should be noted that above, in the simile he proposed, there were four items pointed out in order, as has been said. But now, in applying them to Christ, he begins with the last, namely, the fixing of a time. The reason for this is that the time in which Christ was humiliated and in which the faithful were exalted turns out to be the same.
Et ideo dicit at ubi venit plenitudo temporis, id est postquam tempus, quod fuerat praefinitum a Deo Patre de mittendo Filio suo, erat completum; et hoc modo accipitur Lc. II, 6: impleti sunt dies, et cetera.
Hence he says: but, when the fullness of the time was come, i.e., after the time fixed by God the Father for sending his Son had been accomplished. This is how it is taken in Luke: her days were accomplished, that she should be delivered (Luke 2:6).
Dicitur autem plenum tempus illud propter plenitudinem gratiarum, quae in eo dantur, secundum Ps. LXIV, 10: flumen Dei repletum est aquis, et cetera. Item propter impletionem figurarum veteris legis. Matth. V, 17: non veni solvere legem, et cetera. Item, propter impletionem promissorum. Dan. IX, 27: confirmabit autem pactum multis hebdomada una.
This time is called ‘full’ because of the fullness of the graces that are given in it, according to a psalm: the river of God is filled with water; you have prepared their food: for so is its preparation (Ps 65:9). Also because of the fulfillment of the figures of the old law: I have not come to destroy but to fulfill (Matt 5:17). And because of the fulfillment of the promises: and he shall confirm the covenant with many, in one week (Dan 9:27).
Hoc autem quod dicit at ubi venit plenitudo temporis, etc., similiter et in aliis Scripturae locis, ubi tempus circa Christum impleri dicitur, non est referendum ad fatalem necessitatem, sed ad divinam ordinationem, de qua dicitur in Ps. CXVIII, 91: ordinatione tua perseverat dies, et cetera.
However, the fact that he likewise says, but, when the fullness of time was come, in other places of Scripture where the time respecting Christ is said to be accomplished, should not be explained in terms of a necessity imposed by fate, but in terms of a divine ordinance, concerning which a psalm states: by your ordinance the day goes on; for all things serve you (Ps 119:91).
201. Assignatur autem duplex ratio, quare illud tempus praeordinatum est ad adventum Christi. Una sumitur ex magnitudine. Quia enim magnus est qui venturus erat, oportebat et multis indiciis et multis praeparationibus homines ad adventum eius disponi. Hebr. I, 1: multifarie multisque modis, et cetera.
201. Two reasons are given why that time was pre-ordained for the coming of Christ. One is taken from his greatness: for since he that was to come was great, it was fitting that men be made ready for his coming by many indications and many preparations. God, who, at sundry times and in diverse manners, spoke in times past to the fathers by the prophets, last of all in these days has spoken to us by his Son (Heb 1:1).
Alia ex conditione venientis. Quia enim medicus erat venturus, oportebat quod ante adventum suum convincerentur homines de morbo, et quantum ad defectum scientiae in lege naturae et quantum ad defectum virtutis in lege scripta. Et ideo oportuit utrumque, scilicet et legem naturae et legem Scripturae, adventum Christi praecedere.
The other is taken from the role of the one coming: for since a physician was to come, it was fitting that before his coming, men should be keenly aware of their infirmity, both as to their lack of knowledge during the law of nature and as to their lack of virtue during the written law. Therefore it was fitting that both, namely, the law of nature and the written law, precede the coming of Christ.
202. Secundo adaptat quantum ad haereditariam dignitatem, cum dicit misit Deus Filium suum, scilicet proprium et naturalem. Et si Filius, ergo et haeres. Dicit autem Filium suum, id est proprium, naturalem et unigenitum, non adoptivum. Io. III, v. 16: sic Deus dilexit mundum, ut, et cetera. Misit, inquam, eum non a se separatum, quia missus est per hoc, quod assumpsit humanam naturam, et tamen erat in sinu Patris, Io. I, 18: unigenitus, qui est in sinu Patris aeternaliter. Io. III, 13: nemo ascendit in caelum, nisi qui descendit de caelo, Filius hominis qui est in caelo, qui, licet descenderit per assumptionem carnis, tamen est in caelo.
202. Second, he applies it as to his dignity as heir, when he says, God sent his Son, namely, his own natural Son; and if Son, then an heir also. He says, his Son, i.e., his own, natural, only begotten but not adopted, Son: God so loved the world as to give his only begotten Son (John 3:16). He sent him, I say, without his being separated from him, for he was sent by assuming human nature, and yet he was in the bosom of the Father: the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father eternally (John 1:18); And no man has ascended into heaven, but he that descended from heaven, the Son of man, who is in heaven (John 3:13), who, although he descended by assuming flesh is, nevertheless, in heaven.
Item misit eum, non ut esset ubi prius non erat; quia, licet in propria venerit per praesentiam carnis, in mundo tamen erat per praesentiam Deitatis, ut dicitur in Evangelio Io. I, 14. Similiter non misit eum quasi ministrum, quia sua missio fuit assumptio carnis, non depositio maiestatis.
Again, he sent him, not to be where before he was not; because, although he came unto his own by his presence in the flesh, yet by the presence of his Godhead, he was in the world, as is said in John (John 1:14). Furthermore, he did not send him as a minister, because his mission was the assuming of flesh, not the putting off of majesty.
Misit ergo Deus Filium suum ad sanandum, inquam, deviationem concupiscibilis, et ad illuminandum ignorantiam rationalis creaturae. Ps. CVI, 20: misit Verbum suum, et cetera. Misit etiam ad liberandum a potestate daemonis contra infirmitatem irascibilis. Is. XIX, v. 20: mittet eis Salvatorem, qui liberet eos. Item ad remedium ab obligatione aeternae mortis. Os. III, 14: de manu mortis liberabo eos, de morte redimam eos. Item ad salvandum ab eorum peccatis. Io. III, 17: non misit Deus Filium suum in mundum, ut iudicet mundum, sed ut salvetur mundus per ipsum, et cetera.
God, therefore, sent his Son, I say, to heal the errantry of the concupiscible part and to illumine the ignorance of the rational part: he sent his Word and healed them: and delivered them from their destructions (Ps 106:20). He sent him also to deliver them from the power of the devil against the infirmity of the irascible part: he shall send them a Savior and defender to deliver them (Isa 19:20). Also as a deliverer from the chains of eternal death: I will deliver them out of the hand of death. I will redeem them from death (Hos 13:14). Also to save them from their sins: for God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world but that the world may be saved by him (John 3:17).
203. Tertio adaptat similitudinem quantum ad parvitatem, cum dicit factum ex muliere. Is. IX, 6: parvulus natus est nobis, et cetera. Phil. II, 7: exinanivit semetipsum, et cetera.
203. Third, he applies the simile as to smallness, when he says, made of a woman: for a child is born to us (Isa 9:6); he emptied himself taking the form of a servant (Phil 2:7).
Parvum se fecit non dimittendo magnitudinem, sed assumendo parvitatem.
He made himself small not by putting off greatness, but by taking on smallness.
204. In hoc autem quod dicit factum ex muliere, cavendi sunt duo errores, scilicet Photini, qui dixit Christum purum hominem esse et ex Virgine principium essendi sumpsisse; et ideo ita dicit ipsum factum ex muliere, quasi totaliter initium ex ea sumpserit.
204. In interpreting the passage, made of woman, two errors must be avoided; namely, that of Photinus, who said that Christ was solely man and received the beginning of his existence from the Virgin; in other words, that Christ was made of a woman as though deriving his beginning entirely from her.
Sed hoc est falsum, quia est contra illud quod dicitur Rom. I, 3: qui factus est ei ex semine David secundum carnem; non dicit secundum personam, quae est ab aeterno, scilicet ipsa hypostasis Filii Dei. Unde sicut cum scutum fit album de novo, non oportet dicere, quod ipsa substantia scuti de novo fiat sed quod ei de novo albedo accesserit, ita ex hoc quod Filius Dei de novo carnem assumpsit, non oportet dicere, quod persona Christi de novo sit facta, sed quod natura humana ei de novo advenit, sicut corpori cum absque sui mutatione quaedam accidunt. Aliqua enim adveniunt alicui et immutant ipsum, sicut formae et qualitates absolutae; quaedam vero absque mutatione adveniunt, et huiusmodi est assumptio carnis, secundum quod dicit relationem. Unde per hoc persona Verbi in nullo mutatur.
But this is false, because it contradicts what is said in Romans: who was made to him of the seed of David, according to the flesh (Rom 1:3); he does not say according to his person, which exists from eternity, namely, the hypostasis of the Son of God. Hence, just as when a shield newly comes to be white, it is not proper to say that the very substance of the shield newly came to be, but that the whiteness newly accrued to it; so from the fact that the Son of God newly assumed flesh, it is not proper to say that the person of Christ newly came to be, but that a human nature newly accrued to that person, as when certain things affect a body without that body itself being changed. For certain items affect a thing and change it, such as forms and absolute qualities; but certain other items affect it without changing it. Of this sort is the assuming of flesh precisely as bespeaking a relationship. Hence the person of the Word is in no way changed by it.
Et inde est, quod in divinis utimur his quae relationem significant etiam ex tempore. Unde dicimus illud Ps. LXXXIX, 1: Domine, refugium factus es nobis, et quod Deus factus est homo. Non autem utimur formis et qualitatibus absolutis, ut: Deus factus est bonus, sapiens, et huiusmodi.
That is why in divine matters we employ in a temporal sense terms that signify a relationship; thus, we say in a psalm: Lord, you have been our refuge (Ps 89:1); or we say that God became man. But we do not thus use forms and absolute qualities, so as to say: God was made good or wise and so on.
205. Item vitandus est error Hebionis, qui dicit Christum ex Ioseph semine esse natum, motus ad hoc ponendum per hoc quod dicitur ex muliere. Nam, secundum eum, mulier tantum importat corruptionem.
205. Second, one must avoid the error of Ebion, who said that Christ was born of the seed of Joseph, and who was led to this by the saying, born of a woman. For according to him the word ‘woman’ always implies defloration.
Sed hoc est falsum, quia hoc nomen mulier, in Sacra Scriptura, designat etiam sexum naturalem, secundum illud Gen. III, 12: mulier quam dedisti mihi, et cetera. Vocat enim eam mulierem, quae tamen adhuc erat virgo.
But this is erroneous, for in Sacred Scripture ‘woman’ also denotes the natural sex, according to Genesis: Adam said: the woman whom you gave to me to be my companion gave to me of the tree (Gen 3:12). Here he calls her a woman while she was still a virgin.
206. Per hoc etiam quod dicitur ex muliere factus, destruuntur duo errores, scilicet Valentini dicentis Christum non sumpsisse corpus de Virgine, sed attulisse illud de caelo, et, per Beatam Virginem, sicut per fistulam seu canale, transivisse.
206. Furthermore, by saying made of a woman two errors are destroyed, namely, that of Nestorius saying that Christ did not take his body of the Virgin but of the heavens and that he passed through the Blessed Virgin as through a corridor or channel.
Sed hoc est falsum, quia si verum esset quod dicit, non fuisset factus ex muliere, ut Apostolus dicit. Haec enim praepositio, ex, causam materialem designat.
But this is false, for if it were true, he would not, as the Apostle says, have been made of a woman. By the preposition of the material cause is denoted.
207. Item, error Nestorii dicentis Beatam Virginem non esse matrem Filii Dei, sed filii hominis: quod falsum esse ostenditur per hoc quod dicit Apostolus hic, quod misit Deus Filium suum factum ex muliere. Qui enim fit ex muliere, est filius eius. Si ergo Filius Dei est factus ex muliere, scilicet ex Beata Virgine, manifestum est, quod beata Virgo est Mater Filii Dei.
207. Likewise, the error of Nestorius saying that the Blessed Virgin is not the mother of the Son of God but of the son of a man. But this is shown to be false by the words of the Apostle here, that God sent his Son made of a woman. Now one who is made of a woman is her son. Therefore, if the Son of God was made of a woman, namely, of the Blessed Virgin, it is obvious that the Blessed Virgin is the Mother of the Son of God.
Licet autem posset dici natus ex muliere signanter tamen dicit factum, et non natum. Nasci enim aliquid, est ipsum produci solum ex principio coniuncto, sed fieri etiam ex principio separato. Arca enim fit ab artifice, sed fructus nascitur ex arbore. Principium autem humanae generationis est duplex, scilicet materiale: et quantum ad hoc Christus processit ex principio coniuncto, quia materiam sui corporis sumpsit ex Virgine. Unde secundum hoc dicitur nasci de ea. Matth. I, 16: de qua natus est Iesus, et cetera. Aliud est principium activum, quod quidem in Christo, quantum ad id quod principium habuit, id est quantum ad formationem corporis, non fuit coniunctum, sed separatum, quia virtus Spiritus Sancti formavit illud. Et quantum ad hoc non dicitur natus ex muliere sed factus quasi ex principio exteriori. Ex quo patet, quod hoc quod dixit ex muliere, non dicit corruptionem, quia dixisset natum et non factum.
Moreover, although he might have said born of a woman, he distinctly says made, and not born. Indeed, for something to be born it must not only be produced of a principle conjoined to it but be made from a principle separate from it. Thus a wooden chest is made by an artisan, but fruit is born from a tree. Now the principle of human generation is twofold, namely, material—and as to this, Christ proceeded from a conjoined principle, because he took the matter of his body from the Virgin; and it is according to this that he is said to be born of her: of whom was born Jesus who is called Christ (Matt 1:16). The other is the active principle, which in the case of Christ, so far as he had a principle, i.e., as to the forming of the body, was not conjoined but separate, because the power of the Holy Spirit formed it. And with respect to this he is not said to have been born of a woman, but made, as it were, from an extrinsic principle. From this it is obvious that the saying, of a woman, does not denote a defloration; otherwise he would have said born and not made.
208. Quarto adaptat similitudinem quantum ad subiectionem, cum dicit factum sub lege.
208. Fourth, he applies the simile as to its aspect of subjection when he says, made under the law.
Sed contra est, quod dicitur infra V, 18: si Spiritu ducimini, non estis sub lege. Si ergo Christus non solum est spiritualis, sed etiam dator Spiritus, inconvenienter videtur dici quod sit factus sub lege.
But here a difficulty comes to mind from what is said below, namely: if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law (Gal 5:18). Hence if Christ is not only spiritual but the giver of the Spirit, it seems unbecoming to say that he was made under the law.
Respondeo. Dicendum est quod esse sub lege dicitur dupliciter. Uno modo, ut ly sub, denotet solam observantiam legis, et sic Christus fuit factus sub lege, quia circumcisus fuit et in Templo praesentatus. Matth. V, v. 17: non veni legem solvere, et cetera. Alio modo, ut ly sub, denotet oppressionem. Et hoc modo ille dicitur esse sub lege, qui timore legis opprimitur et hoc modo nec Christus, nec viri spiritales dicuntur esse sub lege.
I answer that ‘to be under the law’ can be taken in two ways: in one way so that ‘under’ denotes the mere observance of the law, and in this sense Christ was made under the law, because he was circumcised and presented in the Temple: I am not come to destroy but to fulfill (Matt 5:17). In another way so that ‘under’ denotes oppression. And in this way one is said to be under the law if he is oppressed by fear of the law. But neither Christ nor spiritual men are said to be under the law in this way.
209. Consequenter cum dicit ut eos qui sub lege, etc., ponit fructum rei in qua similitudo adaptatur, scilicet quod ideo voluit isto tempore fieri subiectus, ut haeredes fierent magni et liberi.
209. Then when he says, that he might redeem those who were under the law, he sets down the fruit of the reality in which the simile is applied, namely, that the reason why he willed they be subject during that time was that they might become heirs, great and free.
Et haec duo ponit, et, primo, fructum liberationis contra subiectionem. Et ideo dicit ut eos qui sub lege erant, id est sub maledicto et onere legis, liberaret. Supra III, v. 13: Christus nos redemit de maledicto legis, et cetera.
And he mentions both of these things. First, the fruit of freedom as against subjection; hence he says, that he might redeem those who were under the law, i.e., under the curse and burden of the law; Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us (Gal 3:13).
Secundo fructum exaltationis, inquantum adoptamur in filios Dei per hoc quod accipimus Spiritum Christi et conformamur ei. Rom. VIII, 9: si quis Spiritum Christi non habet, et cetera.
Second, the fruit of being made great, inasmuch as we are adopted as sons of God by receiving the Spirit of Christ and being conformed to him: now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his (Rom 8:9).
Et haec adoptio specialiter competit Christo, quia non possumus fieri filii adoptivi, nisi conformemur Filio naturali. Rom. VIII, v. 29: quos praescivit conformes fieri imaginis Filii eius, et cetera. Et quantum ad hoc dicit ut adoptionem filiorum reciperemus, id est ut per Filium Dei naturalem efficeremur filii adoptivi secundum gratiam per Christum.
This adoption belongs in a special way to Christ, because we cannot become adopted sons unless we are conformed to the natural Son: for whom he foreknew, he also predestined to be made conformable to the image of his Son (Rom 8:29). With this in mind, he says, that we might receive the adoption of sons, i.e., that through the natural Son of God we might be made adopted sons according to grace through Christ.
Filii et haeres
Sons and heirs