Aquinas: Two Ways of Christ’s Reconciliation of Man

It is important to ask if sin is an ontological reality rather than an exclusive legal reality. To ask this is also to ask if man’s relationship to God is effected by the nature of man’s reflecting God’s own image.  Aquinas’ distinction in two ways is helpful:

On the part of Christ he [Paul] writes of two ways through which Christ has made us pleasing [to God]. For within us there exists two antagonisms to the divine good pleasure, the stains of sin and the punishing injuries [sin inflicts]. Justice is as opposed to sin as life is to death, so that through sin, having departed from our likeness to God, we cease being pleasing to God. But through Christ he has made us pleasing. First, indeed, by abolishing the punishment; and in reference to this he says that in Christ we have redemption from the slavery of sin. “You know that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, as gold or silver, from the vain manner of life handed down from your fathers: but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb unspotted and undefiled” (1 Pet. 1:18*-19). “Thou hast redeemed us to God, in thy blood” (Apoc. 5:9).  Continue reading “Aquinas: Two Ways of Christ’s Reconciliation of Man”