Friday, May 08, 2009

Hilary of Poitiers, 5

Two notable passages today, and then some enlightenment from RPC Hanson.

And what a triumph it was, when He offered Himself to those who sought to crucify Him, and they could not endure His presence: when He stood under sentence of death, Who shortly was to sit on the right hand of power: when He prayed for His persecutors while the nails were driven through Him: when He completed the mystery as He drained the draught of vinegar; when He was numbered among the transgressors and meanwhile granted Paradise: that when He was lifted on the tree, the earth quaked: when He hung on the cross, sun and day were put to flight: that He left His own body, yet called life back to the bodies of others: was buried a corpse and rose again God: as man suffered all weaknesses for our sakes, as God triumphed in them all.
- DT 10.48

Christ prayed for His persecutors, because they knew not what they did. He promised Paradise from the cross, because He is God the King. He rejoiced upon the cross, that all was finished when He drank the vinegar, because He had fulfilled all prophecy before He died. He was born for us, suffered for us, died for us, rose again for us. This alone is necessary for our salvation, to confess the Son of God risen from the dead: why then should we die in this state of godless unbelief?
- DT 10.71

"Hilary is perhaps inevitably obscure here [IX.14]. He seems to want to say that Christ abandoned the form, that is the appearance and condition, of God without abandoning any of the powers of God and without ceasing to be God"
RPC Hanson, The Search for the Christian Doctrine of God, 1988. p495.

Hanson I think helps grasp something of Hilary's Christology and Economics that I found really difficult. I would put it like this: Christ being in the form of God, emptied himself of the form of God and took the form of a servant, yet abided in the form of God (ie, the Godhead). Reading through Book XI is quite bewildering too, since Hilary has some form of deification-theology, in thinking that Christ's humanity is transformed and made into God, and we too participate in the glorification of our humanity and being deified. (Hilary doesn't use the language of deification, but I'm pretty sure that's what he means). He seems to go so far to say that Christ's humanity will cease because it will become God.

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