St. Edmund Campion Catechism Group - Series 4 Lesson 12

Theology for Beginners: Chp 12. The Redeemer
Theology for Beginners: All chapters
Scripture: Is 52-53, Rom 3:23, Rom 5:8, 1 Pet 2:21
Penny Catechism: Q31-70
Catechism of the Council of Trent (The Roman Catechism): The Creed Art. 3-6
Sermons: 1. O Felix Culpa, 2. Necessity of the Redemption, 3. New Theology vs Precious Blood, 4. Justice, Mercy & The Sacred Heart, 5. Ascension6. Redemption & The Mass,
Catholic Encyclopedia: Redemption
Aquinas 101: The Paschal Mystery
Summa Theologica: Tertia Pars Q46-59, Q46a3
Companion to the Summa: Vol4 Chp 10
Ite Missa Est article: Paradigms To Order



  1. Recap:

    Chapter 1: Why study theology?

    - Theology is wisdom which is the knowledge of all things in relation to their highest cause.

    - Theology is the greatest of all sciences by the sublimity of its object: God; and by the certitude of its conclusions: the certitude of faith.

    - Theology teaches us our finality: the finality of man is the supernatural perfection of all his faculties - the greatest among these are his intellect and will.

    - Theology helps us attain our finality in respect of ourselves by the perfect love of God.

    - Theology helps us attain our finality in respect of our neighbour: if we love God, then we love everything He loves.

    Chapter 2: Spirit

    - A spirit is an immaterial intelligent living being (types: God, the angels and the souls of men)

    - A soul is defined as the first principle of life of those material things which live (plants, animals and men). Plants, animals and men have souls, but only the souls of men are spirits.

    - Properties: a spirit does not change in its being, does not corrupt, does not die (and is therefore eternal), has no mass, no shape, and no place e say that spirits are subsistent, which means that they have all they need to exist - they do not need a body to exist (like a plant or animal soul).

    Acts: to know and love. No material organ is required for these activities.

    Chapter 3: The Infinite Spirit

    God is the Infinite Spirit. 

    - God is all knowing, all loving, all powerful

    - God is His own existence

    - God was not created, He does not change, He has no past and future, God perpeturally in the present.

    - God is naturally everywhere: by His essence (per essentiam), by His power (per potentiam), by His knowing (per scientiam)

    God is Actus Purus, He cannot ever be in potency to doing anything; He is His action.  St. Thomas says that He is Actus Purus – one , simple, infinite and perfect action which is always in the present.

    Chapter 4: The Blessed Trinity

    The Blessed Trinity is the term used to express the central doctrine on the Christian religion: the truth that in the unity of the Godhead there are Three Persons, the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, these Three Persons being truly distinct from one another. There is one being, with one nature and there are Three Persons. The Blessed Trinity is known only by revelation, but can subsequently be explored by reason.

    Chapter 5: The Three Persons

    In an attempt to understand as much as possible about the Blessed Trinity using revelation and our knowledge of the intellect and being (by the science of metaphysics), St. Thomas, building on theologians before him, makes a best attempt to reconcile the unity of God and the distinction of the Three Persons in God. God has one nature by which the Three Persons operate. The distinction of the Three Persons is discerned in the mutually opposed relations resulting from the act of God knowing Himself and loving Himself. The Persons, are distinguished as the subsistant relations or Paternity, Filiation and Passive Spiration.

    Most of us, however, do not have a sufficient grasp of metaphysics to understand this complex theory and so a simpler one is proposed: In the act of knowing Himself, God generates a mental Word which is identical to the Generator. In the generator we discern the Father, in the generated, we discern the Son. These are Persons Who will naturally love each other, this love being personified in the Holy Ghost

    Chapter 6: Making the doctrine of the Trinity a living and loved reality

    For most people something like that happens when they embrace a mystery of the faith revealed to them by the Church:

     - first there is an intellectual response as they grasp the theological exposition of the mystery

     - then a vital response as the wonder and beauty of the mystery draws the observer in

     - then a loving response as the mystery becomes a light and a power in our lives.

    Chapter 7: Creation

    God created all things from nothing and sustains all things in existence from moment to moment - all for His glory. 

    Chapter 8: The nature of man

    Man is made in the image and likeness of God, possessing an intellect and a will. He is different from the animals because he loves the things he knows whereas animals are attracted to the thing they sense; and he can choose what to love whereas animals are attracted to things by nature. Man is capable of moral good or evil, whereas animals always act according to their nature. The ultimate purpose of man is to know and love God. The ultimate purpose of non-intelligent creatures is to adorn creation for the glory of God.

    Chapter 9: The Supernatural Life

    Man is made for the Beatific Vision (that perfect possesion of God in heaven) but with his fallen nature he is radically incapable both of attaining this end and remaining in this state of perfect happiness. By sanctifying grace, man begins a supernatural life here below. He is transformed by grace and receives supernatural virtues and the Gift of the Holy Ghost with grace. He begins to live and act with the life and actions of God. He enters on to the path to heaven and progresses towards it. If he die in a state of grace, then the supernatural life within him is perfected to the point of perfect bliss in union with God.

    Chapter 10: The Fall

    Despite sanctifying grace, supernatural virtues, Gifts of the Holy Ghost, and the praternatural gifts, Adam fell for the temptation to become like God. This was the sin of pride. He was left bereft of everything supernatural and praeternatural, and therefore incapble of attaining that for which he was made: the Beatific Vision. The act against the injunction of God is called Original Sin, the consequence of this act (the deprivation of grace and gifts) is also called Original Sin. The Divine Will ordained that the Original Sin (consequence) be suffered by all the offspring of Adam. 

    Chapter 11: The Redeemer

    Jesus Christ is the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity Who operates through a divine nature as God, and through a human nature as man. The two natures are hypostatically united in the Person which allow him to act as a man but with acts of infinite value because His Person is divine. By taking to himself his human nature at the Incarnation, Jesus Christ was able to redeem mankind.

  2. Definition of the Redemption

    Redemption, as traditionally understood, signifies:

    (a) The freeing of man from sin and its attendant evils (servitude to the devil and death) by the paying of a debt (a redeeming of a debt).

    (b) The restoration of man’s supernatural union with God which is called an atonement (at-one-ment).

    (Notice how it is a mirror of Original Sin which signifies (a) the sin and (b) its consequences: loss of supernatural union with God together with attendant gifts).

    As the work of the Redeemer, it is called the Objective Redemption. It's realisation in individuals it is called Subjective Redemption.

    Christ redeemed the whole of mankind objectively but not subjectively by the merits of His actions.

    - Every individual to be saved must have applied the fruits of the Redemption to his soul. This is called Justification.

  3. Nature of the Redemption - Justice & Mercy

    The Redemption wrought by the shedding of the Precious Blood of Jesus Christ was an act of love which entwined both justice and mercy:

    - It’s shedding was an act of justice to the Father by the Son;

    - the application of its merits: an act of mercy by the Blessed Trinity on man

    and the two together are an act of love by the One True God.

    There is no contradiction between God’s justice and His mercy in the redemption of man; God’s justice is entirely routed in His mercy:

    - The bestowing of a superabundance of means upon man so that He might attain his end goes beyond justice to be an act of great mercy.

    - The rewarding of the good goes beyond justice for God rewards us beyond our merits. 

    - And the punishing of evil is never according to our just deserts for, in His mercy, God remits our sins. But he is nevertheless just for He demands repentance and atonement before doing so.

  4. Act of Redemption

    Man was redeemed by the merits of every act of the man-God, Jesus Christ, from conception until His death on Calvary. As God, every act had infinite merit to repair the debt in justice. The act of Redemption comprises seperate acts:

    1) The Incarnation (accrued merit)

    2) The Life (accrued merit)

    3) The Passion & Death (accrued merit)

    4) The Resurrection (demonstrates acceptation of the Sacrifice by God)

    5) The Ascension (demonstrates union with God resulting from the Sacrifice)

  5. Necessity of the Redemption

    (a) On the part of God: God did not have to redeem man; He could have left Him in sin. There was no necessity on the side of God.

    (b) On the part of man: To arrive at the end for which he was created, there was an absolute necessity for redemption wrought by a being with infinite power. The offence of Original Sin and actual sin is infinite, the reparation must also be infinite.

  6. Necessity of the mode of Redemption - by the Passion & Death of Christ

    Was the dramatic means of redemption necessary? God could have redeemed us by condoning or pardoning our sin without exacting from us any form of reparation and without making a vicarious atonement for our sin.

    - It was not necessary absolutely that the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity become incarnate to redeem mankind. God with His omnipotent power could have restored human nature in many other ways (3aQ1a2).

    - Furthermore, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, once He became incarnate, could have redeemed all of mankind in justice by the least of His actions because they all have infinite merit; He had no absolute need to suffer the Passion.

    But God positively willed it the Passion; He willed it according to St. Thomas (3aQ46a3):

    1) In the first place, man knows thereby how much God loves him, and is thereby stirred to love Him in return, and herein lies the perfection of human salvation; hence the Apostle says (Rm. 5:8): "God commendeth His charity towards us; for when as yet we were sinners . . . Christ died for us."

    2) Secondly, because thereby He set us an example of obedience, humility, constancy, justice, and the other virtues displayed in the Passion, which are requisite for man's salvation. Hence it is written (1 Pt. 2:21): "Christ also suffered for us, leaving you an example that you should follow in His steps."

    3) Thirdly, because Christ by His Passion not only delivered man from sin, but also merited justifying grace for him and the glory of bliss.

    4) Fourthly, because by this man is all the more bound to refrain from sin, according to 1 Cor. 6:20: "You are bought with a great price: glorify and bear God in your body."

    5) Fifthly, because it redounded to man's greater dignity, that as man was overcome and deceived by the devil, so also it should be a man that should overthrow the devil; and as man deserved death, so a man by dying should vanquish death. Hence it is written (1 Cor. 15:57): "Thanks be to God who hath given us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." It was accordingly more fitting that we should be delivered by Christ's Passion than simply by God's good-will.

    God’s willing of the Passion (given His will to save us in the first place) was therefore, not of absolutely necessity in itself for our salvation, it was necessary as the best means by which we might be saved. From all eternity God ordained that His Incarnation, Passion, Death, Resurrection and Ascension should form the one whole redemptive act, a redemptive act that finds its apogee in the death of sacrifice on the Cross.

    If any man, therefore, should deny the means of redemption God has chosen, if He should say that salvation is possible outside the Church, outside the efficiency of Christ through His Passion, He denies the Faith and excludes himself from heaven.

  7. Modern error concerning the Redemption

    Since the Second Vatican Council The redemption is not, according to the modern conception, a repairing of an infinite offence but an act of merciful love which includes no element of justice.

    But by reducing the redemption to an act of love without justice:

    - The magnitude and completeness of the act of love is diminished;

    - The reality of sin as an offence against God is evacuated;

    - The example of repentance and penance enacted by Our Lord in His Passion becomes meaningless;

    - And, most of all, the efficient cause of the salvation of every human soul from the dawn of time, the Passion of Our Lord, is denied (making the modern ecumenism acceptable and even imperative) .

    Today we hear suggestions of:

    - A universal salvation;

    - A hell, if it exists, with no souls in it;

    - The non-existence of limbo, now viewed as a piece of theological history.

    In the modern conception of the Redemption the Redemption is perceived,

    - not as a repairing of an infinite offence,

    - not as the ransoming of a captive of sin,

    - not as an act of justice,

    - not as giving something back to God

    but, on the country, “a giving of God back to man.” (Emile Mersh).

    The modern concept of redemption is no longer the satisfaction of divine justice as wrought by Christ, but rather the supreme revelation of the eternal Covenant which God has made with humanity, a covenant that has not been destroyed by sin.

    - “If God is love,” a contemporary theologian might say, “if His act of Redemption was an act of merciful love, then the idea of an exacting God, counting His debtors and demanding payment from them is preposterous. God cannot demand justice and be merciful at the same time.”

    In effect, a false dialectic is posited between God’s justice and His love, or to be more precise, between His justice and His mercy.