(DP) - Angelic Wisdom about Divine Providence

DP 262

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1. A doubt may be raised against the Divine Providence from the fact that the whole Christian world worships one God under three Persons, that is, three Gods, and that hitherto it has not known that God one in Person and in Essence, in whom is a Trinity, and that this God is the Lord. One who reasons about the Divine Providence may say, Are not three Persons three Gods when each Person by Himself is God? Who can think otherwise? Who, indeed, does think otherwise? Athanasius himself could not; and therefore in the Creed which has its name from him it says:
Although from Christian verity we ought to acknowledge each Person to be God and Lord, yet from the Christian faith it is not allowable to affirm or to name three Gods or three Lords.
This means nothing else than that we ought to acknowledge three Gods and Lords, but that it is not allowable to affirm or name three Gods and three Lords.
[2] Who can possibly have a perception of one God unless He is also one in Person? If it is declared that it is possible to have such a perception provided one thinks of the three as having one essence, does one have any other perception, indeed, can he have, than that they are thus of one mind and purpose, and yet are three Gods? If one thinks more deeply he says to himself, How can the Divine Essence, which is infinite, be divided? Further, how can the Divine Essence from eternity beget some other, and produce still another, who proceeds from them both? It may be affirmed that this must be believed and not thought about; but who does not think about that which it is declared must be believed? How otherwise can there be any acknowledgment which in its essence is faith? Was it not from the conception of God as three Persons that Socinianism and Arianism arose, which prevail in the hearts of more persons than you suppose? Belief in one God, and that this God is the Lord, constitutes the Church; for in Him is the Divine Trinity. That this is true may be seen in THE DOCTRINE OF THE NEW JERUSALEM CONCERNING THE LORD, from beginning to end.
[3] But what is thought of the Lord at this day? Is it not thought that He is God and Man, God from Jehovah the Father of whom He was conceived, and Man from the Virgin Mary from whom He was born? Who thinks that God and Man in Him, or His Divine and His Human, are one Person, and that they are one as soul and body are one? Does anyone know this? Ask the Doctors of the Church, and they will say that they did not know it; and yet it is so stated in the doctrine of the Church received throughout the whole Christian world, which is as follows:
Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and Man; and although He is God and Man yet there are not two, but there is one Christ. He is one because the Divine took to itself the Human; indeed He is altogether one, for He is one Person, since as soul and body make one man so God and Man is one Christ.
This is from the Faith or Creed of Athanasius. The Doctors did not know, because when they read this they did not think of the Lord as God but only as a man.
[4] If the same are asked whether they know from whom He was conceived, whether from God the Father or from His own Divine, they will answer that He was conceived from God the Father, for this is according to Scripture. Are not then the Father and He one, as the soul and body are one? Who can think that He was conceived from two Divines (Divinis), and if from His own that this was His Father? If you ask them further, what their idea is of the Lord's Divine and what of His Human, they will say that His Divine is from the Essence of the Father and His Human from the essence of His mother, and that His Divine is with the Father. If they are then asked where His Human is, they will make no reply; for in their thought they separate His Divine and His Human, and make His Divine equal to the Divine of the Father and His Human like the human of another man; not knowing that in so doing they also separate soul and body; nor do they see the absurdity involved, that thus there would have been born a rational man from a mother alone.
[5] In consequence of the idea impressed upon him concerning the Human of the Lord, that it was like the human of another man, it has come to pass that it is with difficulty that a Christian can be led to think of a "Divine Human", even although it should be affirmed that the Lord's soul or life from conception was and is Jehovah Himself. Now gather up the reasons and consider whether there is any other God of the universe than the Lord alone, in whom is the originating (a quo) Divine itself which is called the Father, the Divine Human which is called the Son, and the Divine proceeding which is called the Holy Spirit; thus that God is one in Person and in Essence, and that this God is the Lord.
[6] If you persist and affirm that the Lord Himself mentioned three in Matthew:
Go ye therefore and make disciples of all nations (A.V. and teach all nations), baptising them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit (A.V. Ghost). Matt. xxviii. 19;
yet it is clear from the preceding and following verses that He said this to make known that in Himself now glorified there was the Divine Trinity. In the verse immediately preceding He says that to Him is given all power in heaven and on earth; and in the verse immediately following He says that He would be with them until the end (consummatio) of the age; thus He speaks of Himself alone, and not of three.
[7] Consider now why the Divine Providence has permitted Christians to worship one God under three Persons, that is, to worship three Gods, and why they have hitherto not known that God is one in Person and in Essence, in whom is a Trinity, and that this God is the Lord. The reason does not lie with the Lord, but with man himself. The Lord has clearly taught this in His Word, as may be evident from all the passages in THE DOCTRINE OF THE NEW JERUSALEM CONCERNING THE LORD, which have been quoted. He has also taught it in the doctrine of all the Churches, in which it is stated that His Divine and His Human are not two but one Person, united like soul and body.
[8] The first reason why they divided the Divine and the Human, and made the Divine equal to the Divine of Jehovah the Father and the Human equal to the human of another man, was that the Church after its rise fell away into the state of Babylon, which transferred to itself the Lord's Divine power; but that it might not be called Divine power but human power, they made the Lord's Human similar to that of another man. Afterwards when the Church was reformed, and faith alone was received as the sole means of salvation-the faith that God the Father has mercy for the sake of the Son-the Lord's Human could be viewed in no other way. The reason why this is so is that no one can approach the Lord and in heart acknowledge Him as the God of heaven and earth if he does not live according to His precepts. In the spiritual world, where everyone is obliged to speak as he thinks, no one can even mention the name Jesus if he has not lived in the world as a Christian. This is of His Divine Providence, lest His name should be profaned.


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