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WORKS OF ARMINIUS - THE CREATION OF MAN AFTER THE IMAGE OF GOD
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ON THE CREATION OF MAN AFTER THE IMAGE OF GOD
I. Man is a creature of God; consisting of a body and a soul, rational, good, and created after the divine image -- according to his body, created from pre-existing matter, that is, earth mixed and besprinkled with aqueous and ethereal moisture, -- according to his soul, created out of nothing, by the breathing of breath into his nostrils.
II. But that body would have been incorruptible, and, by the grace of God, would not have been liable to death, if men had not sinned, and had not, by that deed, procured for himself the necessity of dying. And because it was to be the future receptacle of the soul, it was furnished by the wise Creator with various and excellent organs.
(1.) Its origin; for it is from nothing, created by infusion, and infused by creation, a body being duly prepared for its reception, that it might fashion matter as with form, and, being united to the body by a native bond, might, with it, compose one ufisamenon, production. Created, I say, by God in time, as he still daily creates a new soul in each body.
IV. Its substance, which is simple, immaterial, and immortal. Simple, I say, not with respect to God; for it consists of act and power or capability, of being and essence, of subject and accidents; but it is simple with respect to material and compound things. It is immaterial, because it can subsist by itself, and, when separated from the body, can operate alone. It is immortal, not indeed from itself, but by the sustaining grace of God.
V. Its faculties, which are two, the understanding and the will, as in fact the object of the soul is two-fold. For the understanding apprehends eternity and truth both universal and particular, by a natural and necessary, and therefore by a uniform act. But the will has an inclination to good. Yet this is either, according to the mode of its nature, to universal good and to that which is the chief good; or, according to the mode of liberty, to all other [kinds of] good.
VI. Lastly. In its habits, which are, First, wisdom, by which the intellect clearly and sufficiently understood the supernatural truth and goodness both of felicity and of righteousness. Secondly. Righteousness and the holiness of truth, by which the will was fitted and ready to follow what this wisdom commanded to be done, and what it showed to be desired. This righteousness and wisdom are called "original," both because man had them from his very origin, and because, if man had continued in his integrity, they would also have been communicated to his posterity.
VII. In all these things, the image of God most wonderfully shone forth. We say that this is the likeness by which man resembled his Creator, and expressed it according to the mode of his capacity -- in his soul, according to its substance, faculties and habits -- in this body, though this cannot be properly said to have been created after the image of God who is pure spirit, yet it is something divine, both from the circumstance that, if man had not sinned, his body would never have died, and because it is capable of special incorruptibility and glory, of which the apostle treats in 1 Corinthians 15, because it displays some excellence and majesty beyond the bodies of other living creatures, and, lastly, because it is an instrument well fitted for admirable actions and operations -- in his whole person, according to the excellence, integrity, and the dominion over the rest of the creatures, which were conferred upon him.
VIII. The parts of this image may be thus distinguished: Some of them may be called natural to man, and others supernatural; some, essential to him, and others accidental. It is natural and essential to the soul to be a spirit, and to be endowed with the power of understanding and of willing, both according to nature and the mode of liberty. But the knowledge of God, and of things pertaining to eternal salvation, is supernatural and accidental, as are likewise the rectitude and holiness of the will, according to that knowledge. Immortality is so far essential to the soul, that it cannot die unless it cease to be; but it is on this account supernatural and accidental, because it is through grace and the aid of preservation, which God is not bound to bestow on the soul.
IX. But the immortality of the body is entirely supernatural and accidental; for it can be taken away from the body, and the body can return to the dust, from which it was taken. Its excellence above other living creatures, and its peculiar fitness to produce various effects, are natural to it, and essential. Its dominion over the creatures which belongs to the whole man as consisting of body and soul, may he partly considered as belonging to it according to the excellence of nature, and partly as conferred upon it by gracious gift, of which dominion this seems to be an evidence, that it is never taken wholly away from the soul, although it be varied, and be augmented and diminished according to degrees and parts.
X. Thus was man created, that he might know, love and worship his Creator, and might live with him for ever in a state of blessedness. By this act of creation, God most manifestly displayed the glory of his wisdom, goodness and power.
XI. From this description of man, it appears, that he is both fitted to perform the act of religion to God, since such an act is required from him -- that he is capable of the reward which may be properly adjudged to those who perform [acts of] religion to God, and of the punishment which may be justly inflicted on those who neglect religion; and therefore that religion may, by a deserved right, be required from man according to this relation; and this is the principal relation, according to which we must, in sacred theology, treat about the creation of man after the image of God.
XII. In addition to this image of God, and this reference to supernatural and spiritual things, comes under our consideration the state of the natural life, in which the first man was created and constituted, according to the apostle Paul, "that which is natural was first, and afterwards, that which is spiritual." (1 Cor. xv, 46.)
This state is founded in the natural union of body and soul, and in the life which the soul naturally lives in the body; from which union and life it is that the soul procures for its body, things which are good for it; and, on the other hand, the body is ready for offices which are congruous to its nature and desires. According to this state or condition, there is a mutual relation between man and the good things of this world, the effect of which is, that man can desire them, and, in procuring them for himself, can bestow that labour which he deems to be necessary and convenient.