Saturday, March 10, 2012

freed by God's goodness

Lord, you delight rather to free by your goodness those whom by justice you were able to condemn—-thank you.

Cur Deus Homo? “Why did God become Man?” This great theological question was first asked in Latin. That shows how old it is. :-)

In the second century, Irenaeus considered this question. He said God became Man to defeat the devil. We looked at that earlier. (See the “Second Adam” prayer and its accompanying thoughts if you’d like to refresh your memory.)

About 950 years after that, Anselm agreed with this and added another idea when he wrote a treatise called Cur Deus Homo? He explained that God became Man because he is both just and merciful. God, in his justice, pronounced a death penalty over sin. Before we think this too harsh, however, remember this penalty is only natural: death is the only thing evil can produce since evil is never found in the God of life. God, also in his justice, required that the offenders themselves pay this penalty. It’s a hopeless situation.

But God, in his mercy, saw that the trespassers were unable to pay the penalty because the debt was infinite and humans are finite. So, God, in his mercy became one of us. Now that God was Man, the only one who could pay the debt (because he is infinite) became the only one who should pay the debt (because humans owed it).

When God became Man, God satisfied both his justice and his mercy with one act. This is one among many reasons God became Man.

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us. -2 Corinthians 5:21

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