Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. III:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
Doctrinal Treatises of St. Augustin: Chapter 6
Chapter 6. —Why This Opinion is to Be Rejected.
6. We do not therefore reject this opinion, because we fear to think of that holy and inviolable and unchangeable Love, as the spouse of God the Father, existing as it does from Him, but not as an offspring in order to beget the Word by which all things are made; but because divine Scripture evidently shows it to be false. For God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness;” and a little after it is said, “So God created man in the image of God.” 749 Certainly, in that it is of the plural number, the word “our” would not be rightly used if man were made in the image of one person, whether of the Father, or of the Son, or of the Holy Spirit; but because he was made in the image of the Trinity, on that account it is said, “After our image.” But again, lest we should think that three Gods were to be believed in the Trinity, whereas the same Trinity is one God, it is said, “So God created man in the image of God,” instead of saying, “In His own image.”
7. For such expressions are customary in the Scriptures; and yet some persons, while maintaining the Catholic faith, do not carefully attend to them, in such wise that they think the words, “God made man in the image of God,” to mean that the Father made man after the image of the Son; and they thus desire to assert that the Son also is called God in the divine Scriptures, as if there were not other most true and clear proofs wherein the Son is called not only God, but also the true God. For whilst they aim at explaining another difficulty in this text, they become so entangled that they cannot extricate themselves. For if the Father made man after the image of the Son, so that he is not the image of the Father, but of the Son, then the Son is unlike the Father. But if a pious faith teaches us, as it does, that the Son is like the Father after an equality of essence, then that which is made in the likeness of the Son must needs also be made in the likeness of the Father. Further, if the Father made man not in His own image, but in the image of His Son, why does He not say, “Let us make man after Thy image and likeness,” whereas He does say, “our;” unless it be because the image of the Trinity was made in man, that in this way man should be the image of the one true God, because the Trinity itself is the one true God? Such expressions are innumerable in the Scriptures, but it will suffice to have produced these. It is so said in the Psalms, “Salvation belongeth unto the Lord; Thy blessing is upon Thy people;” 750 as if the words were spoken to some one else, not to Him of whom it had been said, “Salvation belongeth unto the Lord.” And again, “For by Thee,” he says, “I shall be delivered from temptation, and by hoping in my God I shall leap over the wall;” 751 as if he said to some one else, “By Thee I shall be delivered from temptation.” And again, “In the heart of the kings enemies; whereby the people fall under Thee;” 752 as if he were to say, in the heart of Thy enemies. For he had said to that King, that is, to our Lord Jesus Christ, “The people fall under Thee,” whom he intended by the word King, when he said, “In the heart of the kings enemies.” Things of this kind are found more rarely in the New Testament. But yet the apostle says to the Romans, “Concerning His Son who was made to Him of the seed of David according to the flesh, and declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection of the dead of Jesus Christ our Lord;” 753 as though he were speaking above of some one p. 158 else. For what is meant by the Son of God declared by the resurrection of the dead of Jesus Christ, except of the same Jesus Christ who was declared to be Son of God with power? And as then in this passage, when we are told, “the Son of God with power of Jesus Christ,” or “the Son of God according to the spirit of holiness of Jesus Christ,” or “the Son of God by the resurrection of the dead of Jesus Christ,” whereas it might have been expressed in the ordinary way, In His own power, or according to the spirit of His own holiness, or by the resurrection of His dead, or of their dead: as, I say, we are not compelled to understand another person, but one and the same, that is, the person of the Son of God our Lord Jesus Christ; so, when we are told that “God made man in the image of God,” although it might have been more usual to say, after His own image, yet we are not compelled to understand any other person in the Trinity, but the one and selfsame Trinity itself, who is one God, and after whose image man is made.
8. And since the case stands thus, if we are to accept the same image of the Trinity, as not in one, but in three human beings, father and mother and son, then the man was not made after the image of God before a wife was made for him, and before they procreated a son; because there was not yet a trinity. Will any one say there was already a trinity, because, although not yet in their proper form, yet in their original nature, both the woman was already in the side of the man, and the son in the loins of his father? Why then, when Scripture had said, “God made man after the image of God,” did it go on to say, “God created him; male and female created He them: and God blessed them”? 754 (Or if it is to be so divided, “And God created man,” so that thereupon is to be added, “in the image of God created He him,” and then subjoined in the third place, “male and female created He them;” for some have feared to say, He made him male and female, lest something monstrous, as it were, should be understood, as are those whom they call hermaphrodites, although even so both might be understood not falsely in the singular number, on account of that which is said, “Two in one flesh.”) Why then, as I began by saying, in regard to the nature of man made after the image of God, does Scripture specify nothing except male and female? Certainly, in order to complete the image of the Trinity, it ought to have added also son, although still placed in the loins of his father, as the woman was in his side. Or was it perhaps that the woman also had been already made, and that Scripture had combined in a short and comprehensive statement, that of which it was going to explain afterwards more carefully, how it was done; and that therefore a son could not be mentioned, because no son was yet born? As if the Holy Spirit could not have comprehended this, too, in that brief statement, while about to narrate the birth of the son afterwards in its own place; as it narrated afterwards in its own place, that the woman was taken from the side of the man, 755 and yet has not omitted here to name her.
Gen. 1:26, 27Gen. 1:26, 27157:750
Ps. 3.8Ps. iii. 8157:751
Ps. 18.29Ps. xviii. 29157:752
Ps. 45.5Ps. xlv. 5157:753
Rom. 1:3, 4Rom. 1:3, 4158:754
Gen. 1:27, 28Gen. 1:27, 28158:755
Gen. 2:24, 22Gen. 2:24, 22
Next: Chapter 7
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