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Sunday, July 01, 2007

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Nietzsche and the Trinity

In mass today, I was thinking about the co-eternity of the Son according to orthodox Christian belief. That is, the Son is eternal like the Father and the Holy Spirit. The belief that the Son was created by the Father is the heresy of Arianism.

The Son, of course, took flesh as man as well as God to redeem the Fall of Humanity. This raises an interesting question - to what extent was the story of the Fall and the Son's place in it foreordained? It is almost as if the Son has always existed so that He could have a role in the redemption of Mankind. That is, it is almost as if the story of the Fall is part of the essential nature of God. The Son has always existed as a person of the Trinity - but his particular role is as it were to take part in the story of man.

In Catholic teaching, the role of Mary the Mother of God is also part of an eternal plan:

"The divine plan of salvation -- which was fully revealed to us with the coming of Christ -- is eternal. And according to the teaching contained in the Letter just quoted and in other Pauline Letters (cf. Col 1:12-14; Rom 3:24; Gal 3:13; 2 Cor 5:18-29), it is also eternally linked to Christ. It includes everyone, but it reserves a special place for the "woman" who is the Mother of him to whom the Father has entrusted the work of salvation."

Redemptoris Mater.

All of this raises the question - how can a plan, such as the plan of salvation including the Son of God and his earthly mother, be eternal? It is like saying that a work of art is eternal. This is where Nietzsche comes in. I have not been able to find the exact quote, but I believe he argued that the existence of the Universe does not imply an author of the Universe. It is possible for a work of art to be composed without an artist. All that we must do is abandon the grammatical prejudice - as he saw it - that every object requires a subject.

In a similar way, it is as if God's eternal plan of salvation can be eternal if we argue like Nietzsche (although to a very different end) that an object does not require a subject, a play does not require a playwright, a work of art does not imply an artist. Likewise, the story of salvation does not require an author. Rather, the story has always been and is eternal.

Julian

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