Impietas et iniustia Gentium
Impiety and injustice of the gentiles
1:20 Invisibilia enim ipsius, a creatura mundi, per ea quae facta sunt, intellecta, conspiciuntur: sempiterna quoque ejus virtus, et divinitas: ita ut sint inexcusabiles. [n. 123]
1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made. His eternal power also and divinity: so that they are inexcusable. [n. 123]
1:21 Quia cum cognovissent Deum, non sicut Deum glorificaverunt, aut gratias egerunt: sed evanuerunt in cogitationibus suis, et obscuratum est insipiens cor eorum: [n. 126]
1:21 Because that, when they knew God, they had not glorified him as God or given thanks, but became vain in their thoughts. And their foolish heart was darkened. [n. 126]
1:22 dicentes enim se esse sapientes, stulti facti sunt. [n. 131]
1:22 For, professing themselves to be wise, they became fools. [n. 131]
1:23 Et mutaverunt gloriam incorruptibilis Dei in similitudinem imaginis corruptibilis hominis, et volucrum, et quadrupedum, et serpentium. [n. 132]
1:23 And they changed the glory of the incorruptible God into the likeness of the image of a corruptible man and of birds, and of fourfooted beasts and of creeping things. [n. 132]
1:24 Propter quod tradidit illos Deus in desideria cordis eorum, in immunditiam, ut contumeliis afficiant corpora sua in semetipsis: [n. 137]
1:24 Wherefore, God gave them up to the desires of their heart, unto uncleanness: to dishonour their own bodies among themselves, [n. 137]
1:25 qui commutaverunt veritatem Dei in mendacium: et coluerunt, et servierunt creaturae potius quam Creatori, qui est benedictus in saecula. Amen. [n. 141]
1:25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. [n. 141]
123. Postquam Apostolus ostendit veritatem Dei fuisse a gentibus cognitam, hic ostendit eos obnoxios culpae impietatis et iniustitiae.
123. After showing that truth about God was known by the gentiles, he now states that they were guilty of the sins of ungodliness and injustice.
Et primo ostendit hoc quantum ad culpam impietatis,
First, he shows this with regard to the sin of impiety;
secundo quantum ad culpam iniustitiae, ibi et sicut non probaverunt, etc.
second, in regard to injustice, at and as they liked not to have (Rom 1:28).
Posset autem aliquis credere eos a culpa impietatis excusari propter ignorantiam, sicut Apostolus de se dicit infra I Tim. I, 13: misericordiam consecutus sum, quia ignorans feci,
But someone might believe that they would be excused from the sin of ungodliness on account of ignorance, as the Apostle says of himself in 1 Timothy: I received mercy, because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief (1 Tim 1:13).
primo ergo ostendit gentiles non esse excusabiles,
First, therefore, he shows that they are without excuse;
secundo ponit eorum culpam, ibi et mutaverunt gloriam.
second, he states their sin, at and they changed the glory.
124. Circa primum considerandum est quod tunc ignorantia culpam excusat quando sic procedit et causat culpam, quod non causatur a culpa. Sicut cum aliquis, adhibita diligentia debita, dum credit percutere hostem, percutit patrem. Si vero ignorantia causetur ex culpa, non potest subsequentem culpam ignorantia excusare. Unde si quis per ebrietatem homicidium committit, non excusatur a culpa, quia peccavit se inebriando, unde secundum Philosophum meretur duplices mulctationes.
124. In regard to the first it should be noted that ignorance excuses from guilt, when it precedes and causes guilt in such a way that the ignorance itself is not the result of guilt; for example, when a person, after exercising due caution, thinks he is striking a foe, when he is really striking his father. But if the ignorance is caused by guilt, it cannot excuse one from a fault that follows. Thus, if a person commits murder, because he is drunk, he is not excused from the guilt, because he sinned by intoxicating himself; indeed, according to the Philosopher, he deserves a double penalty.
125. Primo igitur proponit quod intendit, dicens ita, quod est Dei, notum est eis, ut sint inexcusabiles, id est ut per ignorantiam excusari non possint Iac. IV, 17: scienti bonum et non operanti peccatum est illi. Infra II, 1: propter quod inexcusabilis est.
125. First, therefore, he states his intention, saying so, i.e., things about God are so well known to them, that they may be without excuse, i.e., they cannot be excused on the plea of ignorance: whoever knows what is right to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin (Jas 4:17); wherefore, you are inexcusable (Rom 2:1).
126. Secundo ibi quia cum cognovissent, etc., probat quod dixerat.
126. Second, he proves his statement at because that, when they knew.
Et primo, ostendit quod prima eorum culpa ex ignorantia non processit,
First, he shows that their first guilt did not proceed from ignorance;
secundo quod ex hac culpa est ignorantia subsecuta, ibi sed evanuerunt.
second, that their ignorance proceeded from this guilt, at but became vain.
127. Quod autem prima eorum culpa non fuerit ex ignorantia, ostenditur per hoc quod Dei cognitionem habentes ea non sunt usi ad bonum. Dupliciter autem Deum cognoverunt. Uno modo sicut omnibus super eminentem, et sic ei debebant gloriam et honorem quae superexcellentibus debetur. Isti ideo dicuntur inexcusabiles quia cum cognovissent Deum, non sicut Deum glorificaverunt, vel quia ei debitum cultum non impenderunt, vel quia virtuti eius et scientiae terminum imposuerunt, aliqua eius potentiae et scientiae subtrahentes, contra id quod dicitur Eccli. XLIII, 37: glorificantes Dominum quantumcumque potueritis.
127. That their basic guilt was not due to ignorance is shown by the fact that, although they possessed knowledge of God, they failed to use it unto good. For they knew God in two ways: first, as the supereminent being, to whom glory and honor were due. They are said to be without excuse, therefore, because that, when they knew God, they have not glorified him as God, either because they failed to pay him due worship or because they put a limit to his power and knowledge by denying certain aspects of his power and knowledge, contrary to Ecclesiastes: when you exalt him, put forth all your strength (Eccl 43:30).
Secundo, cognoverunt eum sicut omnium bonorum causam. Unde ei in omnibus gratiarum actio debebatur, quam tamen ipsi non impendebant, sed potius suo ingenio et virtuti suae bona sua adscribebant; unde subdit gratias non egerunt, scilicet Domino, I Thess. ult.: in omnibus gratias agite.
Second, they knew him as the cause of all good things. Hence, in all things he was deserving of thanks, which they did not render; rather, they attributed their blessings to their own talent and power. Hence, he adds or given thanks, namely, to the Lord: give thanks to him in all circumstances (1 Thess 5:18).
128. Deinde cum dicit sed evanuerunt, ostendit quod in eis ex culpa est ignorantia subsecuta.
128. Then when he says but became vain he shows that in their case, ignorance was the result of their guilt.
Et primo ponit intentum,
First, he states his charge;
secundo manifestat propositum, ibi dicentes.
second, he explains it, at for, professing themselves.
129. Primo ergo proponit culpam quae est ignorantiae causa cum dicit evanuerunt.
129. First, then, he mentions the guilt which caused their ignorance, when he says, became vain.
Vanum enim dicitur quod non habet stabilitatem seu firmitatem. Solus autem Deus de se est immutabilis. Mal. III, 6: ego Deus et non mutor. Et ideo tunc solum mens humana est a vanitate libera quando Deo innititur. Cum autem, praetermisso Deo, innititur cuicumque creaturae, incurrit vanitatem. Sap. XIII, 1: vani sunt omnes homines in quibus non subest scientia Dei, etc.; Ps. XCIII, 11: Dominus scit cogitationes hominum quoniam vanae sunt. In cogitationibus suis evanuerunt, in quantum in seipsis, et non in Deo, fiduciam habebant, sibi et non Deo bona sua adscribentes, secundum illud Ps. XI, 5: labia nostra, etc.
For something is futile when it lacks stability or firmness. But God alone is changeless: I, the Lord, do not change (Mal 3:6). Consequently, the human mind is free of futility only when it leans on God. But when God is rejected and the mind rests in creatures, it incurs futility: for all men who were ignorant of God were foolish and could not know God from the good things which are seen (Wis 13:1); the Lord knows the thoughts of man, that they are vain (Ps 94:11). In their thoughts they became vain, because they put their trust in themselves and not in God, ascribing their blessings not to God but to themselves, as the Psalmist says: our lips are with us; who is our master? (Ps 11:4).
130. Secundo ponit ignorantiam subsecutam dicens et obscuratum est; id est, per hoc quod obscuratum est, factum est cor eorum insipiens, id est lumine sapientiae privatum, per quam homo vere Deum cognoscit. Sicut enim qui oculos corporales a sole materiali avertit, obscuritatem corporalem incurrit, ita ille qui a Deo avertitur, de seipso praesumens et non de Deo, spiritualiter obscuratur. Prov. XI, 2: ubi humilitas, per quam scilicet homo se Deo subiicit, ibi sapientia; ubi superbia, ibi contumelia. Matth. XI, 25: abscondisti haec a sapientibus, secundum quod scilicet eis videbatur, et revelasti ea parvulis, id est humilibus. Et de his habetur Eph. IV, 17 s.: gentes ambulant in vanitate sensus sui, tenebris obscuratum habentes intellectum.
130. Second, he mentions the ignorance which followed, when he says was darkened, i.e., by the fact that their foolish heart was darkened, i.e., deprived of the light of wisdom, through which man truly knows God. For just as a person who turns his bodily eyes from the sun is put in darkness, so one who turns from God, presuming on himself and not on God, is put in spiritual darkness: where there is humility, which subjects a man to God, there is wisdom; where there is pride, there is a disgrace (Prov 11:2); you have hidden these things from the wise, as they seemed to themselves, and revealed them to babes, i.e., to the humble (Matt 11:25); the gentiles live in the futility of their mind; they are darkened in their understanding (Eph 4:17).
131. Deinde cum dicit dicentes exponit quod dixerat.
131. Then when he says professing themselves he explains his statement.
Et, primo, qualiter in cogitationibus suis evanuerunt, cum dicit dicentes se esse sapientes, stulti facti sunt. Dicentes, id est sapientiam sibi a seipsis adscribentes. Is. V, 21: vae qui sapientes estis in oculis vestris. Is. XIX, 11: quomodo dicetis Pharaoni: filius sapientium ego, filius regum antiquorum? Etc.
And first, how they became futile in their thinking, when he says professing themselves to be wise, they became fools. Professing themselves, i.e., ascribing wisdom to themselves as of themselves: woe to those who are wise in their own eyes (Isa 5:21); how can you say to Pharaoh: I am the son of the wise, a son of ancient kings? Where now are your wise men? (Job 19:11).
Secundo, exponit quod dixerat et obscuratum est insipiens cor, cum dicit stulti facti sunt, quasi contra divinam sapientiam agentes. Ier. X, 14: stultus factus est omnis homo a scientia sua, de qua scilicet praesumebat.
Second, he explains his statement that their foolish heart was darkened when he says they became fools to the point of acting contrary to divine wisdom: every man is stupid and without knowledge of his own on which he presumed (Jer 10:14).
132. Deinde cum dicit et mutaverunt gloriam, ponit peccatum impietatis gentilium.
132. Then when he says and they changed the glory, he mentions the punishment for the gentiles’ sin of ungodliness.
Et primo quanto ad hoc quod peccaverunt contra Dei gloriam,
First, in regard to sinning against God’s glory;
secundo quomodo contra veritatem naturae ipsius, ibi qui commutaverunt veritatem.
second, how they sinned against the truth of nature itself, at who changed the truth.
Circa primum duo facit:
In regard to the first he does two things:
primo ponit impietatis culpam,
first, he sets forth the sin of ungodliness;
secundo poenam, ibi propter quod tradidit.
second, the punishment, at wherefore, God gave them up.