April 21, 2007

Augustine (via Aquinas) on Christ's Scars

Thomas Aquinas, in his Summa Theologica, wrote the following:
Augustine says (De Symb. ii): "Christ knew why He kept the scars in His body. For, as He showed them to Thomas who would not believe except he handled and saw them, so will He show His wounds to His enemies, so that He who is the Truth may convict them, saying: 'Behold the man whom you crucified; see the wounds you inflicted; recognize the side you pierced, since it was opened by you and for you, yet you would not enter.'"
This same passage in Augustine is referred to by Richard Baxter in a side note in Catholick Theologie (London: Printed by Robert White, for Nevill Simmons at the Princes Arms in St. Pauls Church-yard,), II.67. The reference he gives is de Symb. ad Catech. l.2.c.8. This may be psuedo-Augustine.

This is an interesting idea. I've meditated on the idea of how Christ willed to keep his scars in His glorified body for the benefit of His people (they will rejoice in the grace of God forever because of his suffering), but it may be the case that it will also be a way of convicting the wicked at the day of judgment, since they spurned the way of forgiveness opened for them through Christ's death. Imagine having the memory of his scars in your conscience while in everlasting torment. The same symbol in the conscience of the redeemed will be a source for joy, but it will be a source for increased sorrow for the damned. Cursed are the impure in heart, for they shall also see God, but not in the same way the blessed shall behold him.

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