The One Christ

The One Christ

DAVID VINCENT MECONI
Copyright Date: 2013
Pages: 296
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt31nkbn
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  • Book Info
    The One Christ
    Book Description:

    By treating Augustine's passages on deification both chronologically and constructively, Meconi situates Augustine in a long chorus of Christian pastors and theologians who understand the essence of Christianity as the human person's total and transformative union with God.

    eISBN: 978-0-8132-2128-1
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Abbreviations
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. xi-xxii)

    Deification of the human person is central to how St. Augustine presents a Christian’s new life in Christ. Augustine accordingly presents the Christian life in terms of the Son of God’s becoming human so humans can become God. This transformative union thus allows the Bishop of Hippo to exhort his congregation: “Let us thus rejoice and give thanks, for we have been made not Christians, but we have been made Christ.”¹ Or employing his preferred scriptural idiom, the Holy Spirit’s pouring charity into our hearts (cf. Rom. 5:5), Augustine could teach those before him that through charity [per dilectionem] they...

  5. One CREATION AS THE UNIFYING PROLOGUE
    (pp. 1-33)

    As our introduction chronicled, critics of Augustine are correct to point out how the degree of communion between God and creation parallels the extent to which a creature can be divinized. In his Saint Augustin, Patric Ranson likewise uses this relationship to argue that the absence of deification in Augustine forbids any union between creator and creature.¹ Ranson rightly sees how creation and salvation are organically linked in Augustine’s thought; he is also accurate in stating that the mariage of the created and the uncreated is the sens premier of Christianity. However, is he correct in judging that a close...

  6. Two MADE TO BE GODLY: The Divine Image Bestowed and Broken
    (pp. 34-78)

    Understanding the imago Dei is crucial to unlocking Augustine’s theology of deification. This chapter, accordingly, begins with an analysis of what Augustine means by imago. By focusing on a passage from De Trinitate 7.3.5, we come to see how Augustine locates the divine image in the one creature purposefully made “incomplete,” the one creature brought into being for a relationship outside of him or herself. Unfortunately, the human person rejected this invitation to genuine deification, choosing instead the enemy’s illusory invitation “to be like gods” (Gen. 3:5) and the divine image was de-imaged. The final section of this chapter is...

  7. Three THE SON’S DESCENT
    (pp. 79-134)

    Our study began with an examination of how Augustine understood the relationship between God and creation. We saw how all contingent being exists only insofar as it imitates the Logos in adhering to the Father. In so doing, creation displays a triadic ontology that is most often explained in terms of existence, essence, and a creature’s proper place in the ordered cosmos. From creation in general we then focused more particularly on Augustine’s understanding of how the human person images God. The sole creature which points to one beyond himself, Adam has been brought into being so as to find...

  8. Four THE HOLY SPIRIT’S INDWELLING
    (pp. 135-174)

    The indwelling of the Holy Spirit within the human soul is an indispensable component of Augustinian deification. Reserving the term deificare for the overt work of the incarnate Son, Augustine nevertheless depicts how the Spirit’s presence renders men and women gods: “not by nature, but are graced to be made and fashioned into gods by the Father through the Son by the gift of the Holy Spirit.”¹ Once again we encounter the doctrine that God transforms the elect into “gods” through the Son and by the gift of the Spirit. But precisely how does the Holy Spirit achieve this and...

  9. Five ECCLESIAL RECEPTION OF THE DIVINE LIFE
    (pp. 175-233)

    In his centenary address on Augustine at the University of Tübingen, Karl Adam argued that as Augustine grew as a pastor and theologian, he came to see how the sacraments were the necessary agents of unity. As we have seen, Augustine emphasized that it was the Son’s corporeality which drew believers into God. This unity between enfleshed persons is what allowed Karl Adam to argue that Christianity for Augustine is necessarily sacramental: “. . . for it is by means of the sacraments that our union with Christ is established, renewed and deepened. In his early period Augustine had little...

  10. CONCLUSION
    (pp. 234-242)

    To conclude this work, let us review the preceding arguments and raise some possible ways this thesis might prove advantageous, as well as reveal some questions for further study. These pages have set out to argue that Augustine of Hippo understands humanity’s deification to be the primary purpose of Christian salvation. We began by looking at the Trinity as the supreme and unmatchable instance of alterity in unity. There we saw that communion with a divine person does not obliterate but actualizes the other and, as such, Augustine analogously presented all of creation as a conuersio ad Deum. That is,...

  11. Appendix: AUGUSTINE’S WORKS
    (pp. 243-250)
  12. Selected Bibliography
    (pp. 251-260)
  13. Index of Augustine’s Works
    (pp. 261-266)
  14. Index of Scripture
    (pp. 267-268)
  15. General Index
    (pp. 269-280)
  16. Back Matter
    (pp. 281-281)