128. Sciendum est autem ad horum intellectum, quod mundus in Scriptura accipitur tribus modis. Aliquando enim ratione suae creationis, sicut hic inferius ait Evangelista mundus per ipsum factus est. Aliquando autem ratione suae perfectionis, ad quam per Christum pertingit, sicut illud II Cor. V, 19: Deus erat in Christo mundum reconcilians sibi. Aliquando ratione suae perversitatis sicut illud I Io. V, 19: totus mundus in maligno positus est.
128. To understand this, we should know that world is taken in three ways in Scripture. Sometimes, from the point of view of its creation, as when the Evangelist says here, through him the world was made. Sometimes, from the point of view of its perfection, which it reaches through Christ, as in God was, in Christ, reconciling the world to himself (2 Cor 5:19). And sometimes it is taken from the point of view of its perversity, as in the whole world lies under the power of the evil one (1 John 5:19).
Illuminatio seu illuminari per Verbum, intelligitur dupliciter: scilicet de lumine naturalis cognitionis, de quo dicitur in Ps. IV, 7: signatum est super nos lumen vultus tui, Domine. Item de lumine gratiae, de quo dicitur Is. LX, 1: illuminare, Ierusalem.
On the other hand, enlightenment or being enlightened by the Word is taken in two ways. First, in relation to the light of natural knowledge, as in the light of your countenance, O Lord, is marked upon us (Ps 4:7). Second, as the light of grace, be enlightened, O Jerusalem (Isa 60:1).
129. His duabus distinctionibus suppositis, facile solvitur dubitatio quae ex istis oritur.
129. With these two sets of distinctions in mind, it is easy to solve a difficulty which arises here.
Cum enim dicit Evangelista illuminat omnem hominem, videtur subesse falsum, cum adhuc multi sint in mundo tenebrosi.
For when the Evangelist says, enlightens every man, this seems to be false, because there are still many in darkness in the world.
Si ergo nos, memores dictarum distinctionum, accipiamus mundum secundum quod ponitur ratione suae creationis; et illuminare, secundum quod accipitur pro lumine naturalis rationis, verbum Evangelistae nullam habet calumniam: quia homines omnes venientes in hunc mundum sensibilem illuminantur lumine naturalis cognitionis ex participatione huius verae lucis, a qua derivatur quicquid de lumine naturalis cognitionis participatur ab hominibus. Utitur autem Evangelista hoc modo loquendi, ut dicat venientem in hunc mundum, non quod homines vixissent aliquo temporis spatio extra mundum, et postea venirent in mundum, cum hoc sit contra sententiam Apostoli, Rom. IX, 11: cum enim nondum nati essent, aut aliquid egissent boni, aut mali (ut secundum electionem propositum Dei manere), non ex operibus, sed ex vocante dictum est etc. Unde cum non egissent aliquid antequam nati essent, manifestum est quod anima non est antequam corpori coniungatur.
However, if we bear in mind these distinctions and take world from the standpoint of its creation, and enlightens as referring to the light of natural reason, the statement of the Evangelist is beyond reproach. For all men coming into this visible world are enlightened by the light of natural knowledge through participating in this true light, which is the source of all the light of natural knowledge participated in by men. When the Evangelist speaks of man coming into this world, he does not mean that men had lived for a certain time outside the world and then came into the world, since this is contrary to the teaching of the Apostle: when the children were not yet born nor had they done anything good or evil (in order that, according to the proposed election of God flow), not out of works, but out of calling, as it has been said (Rom 9:11). Therefore, since they had done nothing before they were born, it is plain that the soul does not exist prior to its union with the body.
Dicit ergo venientem in hunc mundum, ut ostendat quod homines illuminantur a Deo, secundum hoc scilicet quod veniunt in mundum, idest secundum intellectum qui est ab extrinseco. Homo enim ex duplici natura constituitur, corporali scilicet et intellectuali: et secundum corporalem quidem naturam, seu sensibilem, illuminatur homo lumine corporeo et sensibili; secundum animam vero et intellectualem naturam, illuminatur lumine intellectuali et spirituali. Cum ergo homo, secundum naturam corporalem non veniat in hunc mundum, sed sit ex mundo, sed secundum intellectualem naturam, quae est ab extrinseco, ut dictum est, sit a Deo per creationem, unde dicitur Eccle. XII, 7: donec omnis caro in suam revertatur originem, et spiritus dirigatur ad Deum qui fecit illum: ostendit Evangelista quod haec illuminatio est secundum illud quod est ab extrinseco, scilicet secundum intellectum, cum dicit venientem in hunc mundum.
He refers to every man coming into this world, to show that men are enlightened by God with respect to that according to which they came into the world, i.e., with respect to the intellect, which is something external. For man is constituted of a twofold nature, bodily and intellectual. According to his bodily or sensible nature, man is enlightened by a bodily and sensible light; but according to his soul and intellectual nature, he is enlightened by an intellectual and spiritual light. Now man does not come into this world according to his bodily nature, but under this aspect, he is from the world. His intellectual nature is derived from a source external to the world, as has been said, i.e., from God through creation; as in until all flesh returns to its origin, and the spirit is directed to God, who made it (Eccl 12:7). For these reasons, when the Evangelist speaks of coming into this world, he is showing that this enlightenment refers to what is from without, that is, the intellect.
130. Si vero accipiatur illuminari pro lumine gratiae, sic hoc quod dicitur, illuminat omnem hominem potest tripliciter exponi.
130. If we understand enlightenment with respect to the light of grace, then he enlightens every man may be explained in three ways.
Uno modo, secundum Origenem in illa Hom. Aquila grandis, exponitur hoc modo, ut accipiamus mundum ratione suae perfectionis, ad quam perducitur homo reconciliatus per Christum. Et tunc dicitur illuminat omnem hominem venientem, per fidem, in hunc mundum, spiritualem, scilicet Ecclesiam illuminatam lumine gratiae.
The first way is by Origen in his homily, The Great Eagle, and is this. World is understood from the point of view of its perfection, which man attains by his reconciliation through Christ. And so we have, he enlightens every man coming, by faith, into this world, i.e., this spiritual world, that is, the Church, which has been enlightened by the light of grace.
Alio modo, secundum Chrysostomum, exponitur, accipiendo mundum ratione suae creationis, et talis est sensus: illuminat, scilicet Verbum, quantum de se est, quia ex parte sua nulli deest, imo vult omnes salvos fieri, et ad agnitionem veritatis venire, ut dicitur I Tim. II, 4, omnem hominem venientem, idest qui nascitur in hunc mundum sensibilem. Quod si aliquis non illuminatur, ex parte hominis est, avertentis se a lumine illuminante.
Chrysostom explains it another way. He takes world under the aspect of creation. Then the sense is: he enlightens, i.e., the Word does, in so far as it depends on him, because he fails no one, but rather wants all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Tim 2:4); every man coming, i.e., who is born into this sensible world. If anyone is not enlightened, it is due to himself, because he turns from the light that enlightens.
Tertio modo, secundum Augustinum, exponitur, ut ly ‘omnem’ sit distributio accommoda. Ut sit sensus illuminat omnem hominem venientem in hunc mundum, non simpliciter, sed omnem hominem, qui illuminatur, scilicet quia nullus illuminatur nisi a Verbo. Dicit ergo, secundum Augustinum, venientem, ut assignet rationem quare homo indiget illuminari; accipiendo tamen mundum ratione suae perversitatis et defectus. Quasi dicat: ideo indiget illuminari, quia venit in hunc mundum, perversitate et defectibus tenebrosum et ignorantia plenum. De mundo spirituali primi hominis; Lc. I, 79: illuminare his, qui in tenebris et in umbra mortis sedent.
Augustine explains it a third way. For him, ‘every’ has a restricted application, so that the sense is: he enlightens every man coming into this world, not every man universally, but every man who is enlightened, since no one is enlightened except by the Word. According to Augustine, the Evangelist says, coming into this world, in order to give the reason why man needs to be enlightened, and he is taking world from the point of view of its perversity and defect. It is as though he were saying: man needs to be enlightened because he is coming into this world which is darkened by perversity and defects and is full of ignorance. This followed the spiritual world of the first man: to enlighten those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death (Luke 1:79).
131. Destruitur autem per verba praedicta error Manichaei ponentis, homines a principio contrario, idest diabolo, in mundo creatos fuisse: quia si homo fuisset creatura diaboli, veniens in mundum, non illuminaretur a Deo, sive a Verbo; quia Christus venit in mundum, ut dissolvat opera diaboli; I Io. III.
131. The above statement refutes the error of the Manichaeans, who think than men were created in the world from an opposing principle, i.e., the devil. For if man were a creature of the devil when coming into this world, he would not be enlightened by God or by the Word, for Christ came into the world to destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8).
132. Sic ergo patet ex efficacia divini Verbi, quod defectus cognitionis in hominibus non est ex parte ipsius Verbi: quia ad omnes illuminandos efficax est, cum sit lux vera quae illuminat omnem hominem venientem in hunc mundum. Sed ne credas defectum ipsum esse ex remotione seu absentia verae lucis, hoc excludens Evangelista, subdit: in mundo erat.
132. So it is clear, from the efficacy of the divine Word, that the lack of knowledge in men is not due to the Word, because he is effective in enlightening all, being the true light, which enlightens every man coming into this world. But so you do not suppose this lack arose from the withdrawal or absence of the true light, the Evangelist rules this out adding, he was in the world.
Simile huic habetur Act. XVII, 27: non longe est ab unoquoque nostrum, scilicet Deus, in ipso enim vivimus, et movemur, et sumus. Quasi dicat Evangelista: Verbum divinum efficax est et praesens est ad illuminandum.
A comparable statement is found in he is not far from any one of us, that is, God, for in him we live, and move, and are (Acts 17:28). It is as though the Evangelist were saying: The divine Word is effective and is at hand in order to enlighten us.
133. Notandum vero quod in mundo dicitur aliquid esse tripliciter. Uno modo per continentiam, sicut locatum in loco; infra c. XVII, 11: hi in mundo sunt. Alio modo, sicut pars in toto; nam pars mundi dicitur esse in mundo, etiamsi non sit locata; sicut substantiae supernaturales, licet localiter non sint in mundo, tamen sunt ut partes Ps. CXLV, v. 6: qui fecit caelum et terram, mare et omnia quae in eis sunt.
133. We should remark that something is said to be ‘in the world’ in three ways. In one way, by being contained, as a thing in place exists in a place: these are in the world (John 17:11). In another way, as a part in a whole; for a part of the world is said to be in the world even though it is not in a place. For example, supernatural substances, although not in the world as in a place, are nevertheless in it as parts: God . . . who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all things that are in them (Ps 145:6).
Neutro autem istorum modorum lux vera in mundo erat, quia nec localis est, nec pars universi: immo quodammodo (ut ita liceat loqui), totum universum est pars, bonitatem eius partialiter participans. Erat ergo in mundo tertio modo, sicut causa efficiens et conservans; Ier. XXIII, 24: caelum et terram ego impleo.
But the true light was not in the world in either of these ways, because that light is neither localized nor is it a part of the universe. Indeed, (if we can speak this way,) the entire universe is in a certain sense a part, since it participates in a partial way in his goodness. Accordingly, the true light was in the world in a third way, i.e., as an efficient and preserving cause: I fill heaven and earth (Jer 23:24).
Sed tamen aliter est de Verbo agente et causante omnia, et aliter de aliis agentibus. Nam alia agentia operantur ut extrinsecus existentia: cum enim non agant nisi movendo et alterando aliquo modo quantum ad ea quae sunt extrinseca rei, ut extrinseca operantur. Deus vero operatur in omnibus ut interius agens, quia agit creando. Creare autem est dare esse rei creatae. Cum ergo esse sit intimum cuilibet rei, Deus, qui operando dat esse, operatur in rebus ut intimus agens. In mundo ergo erat ut dans esse mundo.
However, there is a difference between the way the Word acts and causes all things and the way in which other agents act. For other agents act as existing externally: since they do not act except by moving and altering a thing qualitatively in some way with respect to its exterior, they work from without. But God acts in all things from within, because he acts by creating. Now to create is to give being to the thing created. So, since existence is innermost in each thing, God, who by acting gives existence, acts in things from within. Hence God was in the world as one giving existence to the world.
134. Consuetum est autem dici Deum esse in omnibus per essentiam, praesentiam et potentiam.
134. It is customary to say that God is in all things by his essence, presence and power.
Ad cuius intellectum sciendum est quod per potentiam dicitur esse aliquis in omnibus quae subduntur potentiae eius: sicut rex dicitur esse in toto regno sibi subiecto, per suam potentiam; non tamen ibi est per praesentiam, neque per essentiam. Per praesentiam dicitur esse in omnibus quae sunt in conspectu eius, sicut rex dicitur esse per praesentiam in domo sua. Per essentiam vero dicitur esse in illis rebus, in quibus est sua substantia: sicut est rex in uno loco determinato.
To understand what this means, we should know that someone is said to be by his power in all the things that are subject to his power; as a king is said to be in the entire kingdom subject to him, by his power. He is not there, however, by presence or essence. Someone is said to be by presence in all the things that are within his range of vision; as a king is said to be in his house by presence. And someone is said to be by essence in those things in which his substance is; as a king is in one determinate place.
Dicimus enim Deum esse ubique per potentiam, quia omnia eius potestati subduntur; Ps. CXXXVIII, 8: si ascendero in caelum, tu illic es . . . si sumpsero pennas meas diluculo et habitavero in extremis maris: etenim illuc manus tua deducet me et tenebit me dextera tua. Per praesentiam vero, quia omnia nuda et aperta sunt oculis eius, quae sunt in mundo, ut habetur Hebr. IV, 13. Per essentiam autem, quia essentia sua intima est omnibus rebus: oportet enim de necessitate omne agens, inquantum agens, immediate coniungi suo effectui, cum movens et motum oporteat simul esse. Deus autem actor est et conservator omnium secundum esse uniuscuiusque rei. Unde, cum esse rei sit intimum in qualibet re, manifestum est quod Deus per essentiam suam, per quam omnia creat, sit in omnibus rebus.
Now we say that God is everywhere by his power, since all things are subject to his power: if I ascend into heaven, you are there . . . if I take my wings early in the morning, and dwell in the furthest part of the sea, even there your hand will lead me, and your right hand will hold me (Ps 138:8). He is also everywhere by his presence, because all things are bare and open to his eyes (Heb 4:13). He is present everywhere by his essence, because his essence is innermost in all things. For every agent, as acting, has to be immediately joined to its effect, because mover and moved must be together. Now God is the maker and preserver of all things with respect to the existence of each. Hence, since the existence of a thing is innermost in that thing, it is plain that God, by his essence, through which he creates all things, is in all things.
135. Notandum autem quod Evangelista signanter utitur hoc verbo erat cum dicit in mundo erat, ostendens ab initio creaturae semper ipsum fuisse in mundo, causans et conservans omnia: quia si ad momentum subtraheret Deus virtutem suam a rebus conditis, omnia in nihilum redigerentur, et esse desinerent.
135. It should be noted that the Evangelist significantly uses the word was, when he says, he was in the world, showing that from the beginning of creation he was always in the world, causing and preserving all things; because if God for even a moment were to withhold his power from the things he established, all would return to nothing and cease to be.
Unde Origenes satis ad hoc congruo exemplo utitur, dicens quod sicut se habet vox humana ad verbum humanum in mente conceptum, sic se habet creatura ad Verbum divinum: nam sicut vox nostra est effectus Verbi concepti in mente nostra, ita et creatura est effectus Verbi in divina mente concepti; dixit enim et facta sunt. Ps. CXLVIII, v. 5. Unde sicut videmus quod statim, deficiente verbo nostro, vox sensibilis deficit, ita si virtus Verbi divini subtraheretur a rebus, statim res omnes in ipso momento deficerent; et hoc quia est portans omnia verbo virtutis suae, Hebr. I, 3.
Hence Origen uses an apt example to show this, when he says that as a human vocal sound is to a human word conceived in the mind, so is, the creature to the divine Word; for as our vocal sound is the effect of the word conceived in our mind, so the creature is the effect of the Word conceived in the divine mind. For he spoke, and they were created (Ps 148:5). Hence, just as we notice that as soon as our inner word vanishes, the sensible vocal sound also ceases, so, if the power of the divine Word were withdrawn from things, all of them would immediately cease to be at that moment. And this is because he is sustaining all things by his powerful word (Heb 1:3).
136. Sic ergo patet quod defectus divinae cognitionis non est in hominibus ex Verbi absentia, quia in mundo erat; non est etiam ex Verbi indivisibilitate seu occultatione, quia fecit opus, in quo similitudo evidenter relucet, scilicet mundum. Sap. XIII, 5: a magnitudine speciei et creaturae cognoscibiliter poterit eorum creator videri; et Rom. I, 20: invisibilia Dei per ea quae facta sunt intellecta conspiciuntur. Et ideo statim Evangelista subiungit et mundus per ipsum factus est, ut scilicet in ipso lux ipsa manifestaretur. Sicut in artificio manifestatur ars artificis, ita totus mundus nihil aliud est quam quaedam repraesentatio divinae sapientiae in mente Patris conceptae; Eccli. I, 10: sparsit illam super omnia opera sua.
136. So it is plain that a lack of divine knowledge in minds is not due to the absence of the Word, because he was in the world; nor is it due to the invisibility or concealment of the Word, because he has produced a work in which his likeness is clearly reflected, that is, the world: for from the greatness and beauty of creatures, their creator can be seen accordingly (Wis 13:5), and the invisible things of God are clearly seen, being understood through the things that are made (Rom 1:20). And so the Evangelist at once adds, and through him the world was made, in order that that light might be manifested in it. For as a work of art manifests the art of the artisan, so the whole world is nothing else than a certain representation of the divine wisdom conceived within the mind of the Father, he poured her out upon all his works (Sir 1:10).
Sic ergo patet quod defectus divinae cognitionis non est ex parte Verbi, quia efficax est, cum sit lux vera; praesens est, quia in mundo erat; evidens est, quia mundus per ipsum factus est.
Now it is clear that the lack of divine knowledge is not due to the Word, because he is efficacious, being the true light; and he is at hand, since he was in the world; and he is knowable, since through him the world was made.
137. Unde autem sit huius defectus, ostendit Evangelista consequenter, cum dicit et mundus eum non cognovit; quasi dicat, non est ex parte ipsius, sed ex parte mundi, qui eum non cognovit.
137. The Evangelist indicates the source of this lack when he says, and the world did not know him, as if to say: it is not due to him, but to the world, who did not know him.
Dicit autem eum in singulari, quia supra Verbum dixerat non solum lucem hominum, sed Deum: unde cum dicit eum, intelligit Deum.
He says him in the singular, because earlier he had called the Word not only the light of men (John 1:4), but also God (John 1:1); and so when he says him, he means God.
Ponitur autem hic mundus pro homine: angeli namque cognoverunt eum intelligendo; elementa cognoverunt eum obediendo; sed mundus, idest homo habitator mundi, eum non cognovit.
Again, he uses world for man. For the angels knew him by their understanding, and the elements by their obeying him; but the world, i.e., man, who lives in the world, did not know him.
138. Et possumus hunc defectum cognitionis divinae referre vel ad naturam hominis, vel ad culpam.
138. We attribute this lack of divine knowledge either to the nature of man or to his guilt.
Ad naturam quidem, quia licet omnia haec praedicta auxilia data sint homini, ut ducatur in cognitionem Dei, tamen ratio humana in se deficiens est ab hac cognitione; Iob XXXVI, v. 25: unusquisque intuetur eum procul; et iterum ibi: ecce Deus magnus vincens scientiam nostram. Sed si aliqui eum cognoverunt, hoc fuit non inquantum fuerunt in mundo, sed inquantum fuerunt supra mundum, et tales quibus dignus non erat mundus, quia mundus eum non cognovit. Et est quasi ratio quare ab hominibus Deus non cognoscitur. Et sic mundus accipitur pro inordinato mundi amore; quasi dicat mundus eum non cognovit. Unde si aliquid aeternum in mente perceperunt, hoc fuit inquantum non erant de hoc mundo.
To his nature, indeed, because although all the aforesaid aids were given to man to lead him to the knowledge of God, human reason in itself lacks this knowledge. Man beholds him from afar (Job 36:25), and immediately after, God is great beyond our knowledge. But if some have known him, this was not insofar as they were in the world, but insofar as there were above the world; and the kind for whom the world was not worthy, because the world did not know him. And this is a certain kind of reason why God is not known by man. And also as the world has an inordinate love of the world; thus it is said the world did not know him. Hence if they mentally perceived anything eternal, that was insofar as they were not of this world.
Si vero referatur ad culpam hominis, tunc hoc quod dixit mundus eum non cognovit, est quasi ratio quare ab hominibus Deus non cognoscitur; et sic accipitur mundus pro inordinato mundi amatore. Quasi dicat mundus eum non cognovit, quia sunt mundi amatores. Amor enim mundi, ut dicit Augustinus, maxime retrahit a Dei cognitione; quia amor mundi inimicum Dei constituit, Iac. c. IV, 4. Qui autem non diligit Deum, non potest eum cognoscere; I Cor. II, 14: animalis homo non percipit ea quae sunt spiritus Dei.
But if this lack is attributed to man’s guilt, then the phrase, the world did not know him, is a kind of reason why God was not known by man; in this sense world is taken for inordinate lovers of the world. It is as though it said, the world did not know him, because they were lovers of the world. For the love of the world, as Augustine says, is what chiefly withdraws us from the knowledge of God, because love of the world makes one an enemy to God (Jas 4:4); the sensual man does not perceive the things that pertain to the Spirit of God (1 Cor 2:14).
139. Notandum autem quod ex hoc solvitur quaestio gentilium, qui vane quaerunt: si a paucis temporibus Filius Dei pro salute humana mundo innotuit, videtur quod ante tempus illud naturam humanam despiceret.
139. From this we can answer the question of the gentiles who futilely ask this: if it is only recently that the Son of God is set before the world as the savior of men, does it not seem that before that time he scorned human nature?
Quibus dicendum est quod non despexit, sed semper fuit in mundo, et quantum in se est, cognoscibilis est ab hominibus; sed quod aliqui eum non cognoverunt, fuit eorum culpa, quia mundi amatores erant.
We should say to them that he did not scorn the world but was always in the world, and on his part is knowable by men; but it was due to their own fault that some have not known him, because they were lovers of the world.
140. Notandum etiam quod Evangelista loquitur de incarnatione Verbi, ut ostendat idem esse Verbum incarnatum, et quod erat in principio apud Deum et Deus.
140. We should also note that the Evangelist speaks of the incarnation of the Word to show that the incarnate Word and that which was in the beginning with God (John 1:1), and God, are the same.
Resumit quae de ipso supra dixerat. Ibi enim dixerat quod Verbum erat lux hominum; hic vero dicit quod erat lux vera. Ibi quod omnia per ipsum facta sunt; hic vero et mundus per ipsum factus est. Supra vero dixit, quod sine ipso factum est nihil, idest, secundum unam expositionem, omnia conservans; hic vero dicit in mundo erat, mundum et omnia creans et conservans. Ibi dixit: et tenebrae eam non comprehenderunt; hic vero et mundus eum non cognovit.
He repeats what he had said of him earlier. For above he had said that the Word was the light of men (John 1:4); here he says he was the true light. Above, he said that all things were made through him (John 1:3); here he says that through him the world was made. Earlier he had said, without him was made nothing (John 1:3), that is, according to one explanation, he conserves all things; here he says, he was in the world, creating and conserving the world and all things. There he had said, the darkness did not comprehend it (John 1:5); here he says, the world did not know him.
Et ideo totum hoc quod sequitur ab illo loco erat lux vera, videtur quaedam explicatio superiorum.
And so, all he says after he was the true light, is an explanation of what he had said before.
141. Possumus etiam ex praedictis accipere triplicem rationem, quare Deus voluit incarnari.
141. We can gather three reasons from the above why God willed to become incarnate.
Una est perversitas humanae naturae, quae ex sui malitia iam obtenebrata erat vitiorum et ignorantiae obscuritate. Unde supra dixerat quod tenebrae eam non comprehenderunt. Venit ergo in carnem Deus, ut tenebrae possent apprehendere lucem, idest cognitionem eius pertingere. Is. IX, 2: populus, qui ambulabat in tenebris, vidit lucem magnam.
One is because of the perversity of human nature which, because of its own malice, had been darkened by vices and the obscurity of its own ignorance. And so he said before, the darkness did not comprehend it (John 1:5). Therefore, God came in the flesh so that the darkness might apprehend the light, i.e., obtain a knowledge of it. The people who walked in darkness saw a great light (Isa 9:2).