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Wearing Adam Down

August 16, 2009

As confessional Christians, we hold to the perspicuity of Scripture – or the plainness of it.  It is, as Augustine puts it, “adapting itself to babes” – meaning that God reveals himself truly in a way that creatures can understand.  Yet, still there are many passages that are difficult.  They do not seem plain.  It does not seem to adapt well to our minds.

Take, for example, passages on the doctrine of the Trinity, “For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself” John 5:26.  It is difficult for the creaturely mind to grasp the concept of any “being” to have “life in himself,” much less granting another “to have life in himself.”  Its impossible for creature knowledge to understand the nature of the Creator fully.

However, for Augustine, this should not stop the creature from stretching their minds as far as human weakness is able.  But this is not for simply intellectual reasons, but for our sanctification.  He writes,

People who seek God, and stretch their minds as far as human weakness is able toward an understanding of the Trinity, must surely experience the strain of trying to fix their gaze on light inaccessible (I Timothy 6:16), and the difficulties presented by Holy Scriptures in their multifarious diversity of form, which are designed, so it seems to me, to wear Adam down and let Christ’s glorious grace shine through (Augustine, De Trinitate, II.1.97).

For the sake of “wearing Adam down”, lets press on to know him.

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