Refutations Ep.5a of 8 - Intermission - St. Anselm's Proslogion Chapters 5-9

Author Streamed Wednesday September 22nd, 2021


I have made reference to this passage a couple of times in the course of this series of videos. I said it was from the Meditations but it turns out to have been from the Proslogion. I include it here as an intermission and I hope it will edify all who listen with careful attention and unfeigned faith.


Refutations Ep.5a of 8 - Intermission - St. Anselm's Proslogion Chapters 5-9

Author Streamed September 2nd, 2021

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These YouTube transcripts are generated automatically and are therefore unformatted and replete with errors.
i am live i think i'm live wait for the counter to up there we go so this is going to be episode 5 a because in episode 5 and at least one of the other prior episodes in this series of refutations of the 500 so-called arguments against christianity against the god of christianity i have mentioned saint anselm and his treatment of paradoxical nature of god when it comes to his uh justice his goodness and how that all plays out and how it's counter intuitive to us here below because we have a certain uh limited capacity for understanding justice how to reward the good punish the evil these sorts of things so i'm gonna just play it let it place audio it's an audio book i don't know where i found it i know you can watch it listen to it on youtube if you search for and sound and sound proslogion you can find it on youtube i can't remember where i got it but i'm just going to play chapters 5 through 9 and i don't think i even need to comment maybe at the end i'll say a little few words the devotions of saint anselm proslogian or address to god concerning his existence chapter 5 what then art thou lord god thou than which nothing greater can be conceived what indeed but that supreme good which being alone of all things self-existent dits make all other things beside thee out of nothing for whatsoever is not this is less than me can be conceived but thou canst not be conceived to be less than the highest conceivable what good thing is lacking to the supreme good where on depends the being of every good thing beside thou therefore art righteous true blessed and has to all attributes which it is better to have than to be without for it is better to be righteous than not righteous and blessed than not chapter 6 but since it is better to have perception or to have omnipotence to be pitiful or to be without passions than not to have these attributes how has thou perception if thou art not a body or omnipotence if thou canst not do everything or how art thou at one and the same time pitiful and without passions or if only bodily things have perception since the senses with which we perceive belong and attach to the body how can thou have perception since thou art not a body but the supreme spirit which is higher than a body can be but if perception is only knowledge or a means towards knowledge since he who perceives has knowledge thereby according to the special character of the senses by sight of colors by taste of savers and so forth then whatsoever has knowledge in whatsoever manner may be said without impropriety in some sense to perceive therefore o lord although thou art not a body yet of a truth thou hast in this sense perception in the highest degree since thou knowest all things in the highest degree but not in the sense wherein an animal that has knowledge by means of bodily feeling is said to have perception chapter 7 but again how canst thou be omnipotent if thou canst not do all things yet if thou canst not suffer corruption canst not lie canst not make what is true to be false or what is done undone and so forth how can thou do all things or shall we say that to be capable of these would be not power but rather impotence for he who cannot do these can do what is not expedient for him and what he ought not and the more he can do what is not expedient for him and what he ought not the more power have evil and wickedness over him and the less power hath he against them he therefore that can do such things can do them in virtue not of power but of impotence for he has said to be able to do them not because he himself has power in doing them but because his impotence gives something else power to work in him or else in an improper way of speaking such as we often use when we put to be for not to be and to do for not to do or to do nothing for we often say to one who says that a thing is not such and such it is as you say it is when it would seem more proper to say again we say this man sits as that man does or this man rests as that man does though sitting is a kind of not doing and resting is doing nothing thus then when a man is said to have the power of doing or undergoing what is not expedient for him or what he ought not the word power signifies impotence since the more power of this sword he hath the more power have evil and wickedness against him and the less hath he against them therefore o lord god thou art all the more truly omnipotent that thou canst do nothing that is done through impotence and nothing hath any power against thee chapter 8 once again how art thou at the same time pitiful and yet without passions for unless thou have passions thou will not have compassion if thou hast not compassion thy heart is not made sorry by compassion that is by fellow feeling with the sorrowful and this is what pity is yet if thou art not pitiful once have the sorrowful so great consolation from me how then canst thou at once be and not be pitiful o lord unless because thou art pitiful in respect of us and are not pitiful in respect of for thou art pitiful to our apprehension and are not pitiful to thine own for when thou hast respect to us in our sour we perceive the effects of pitting but thou feel us not the emotion thereof and thus thou art pitiful in that thou save us the wretched and spare us those that sin against thee and yet again thou art not moved by a fellow feeling with our misery chapter 9 again how doest thou spare the wicked if thou art holy and supremely just for how dost thou being holy and supremely just do odd that is not just and what manner of justice is that to give eternal life to one that deserves eternal death once then o good god good both to the good and to the evil whence is it that thou savest the evil if to save the evil is not just and yet thou dost nothing that is not just or is it because thy goodness is incomprehensible that this lieth hid in that light unapproachable which is thy dwelling place verily it is in the most deep and secret abyss of thy goodness that there lieth hid the fountain once floweth the river of thy mercy for though thou art holy and supremely just yet art thou also gracious to the quickened because thou art holy and supremely good for thou wouldst be less good if thou were not gracious to any that was evil for better is he who is good both to the good and to the evil then he who is good to the good only and better is he who is good to the evil both in punishing and inspiring them then he who is good in punishing them only therefore thou art pitiful because thou art holy and supremely good and although perchance we suppose that we see reason why thou dost reward good to the good and evil to the evil yet certainly we must be filled with wonder why thou being holy and supremely just and having need of nothing render us good to the evil and those who have sinned against them oh the depth of thy goodness o god we both see once thou art merciful and yet see it only in part we perceive once the river flows yet behold not the fountain from which it springs for it is of the plenitude of thy goodness that thou art kind to them that have sinned against thee and yet it lieth hid in the depth of thy goodness wherefore this is so verily although it is in thy goodness that thou reward us good to the good and evil to the evil yet this the rule of justice seems to require but when thou reward us good to the evil then we know that the supremely good willed to do that yet wonder that the supremely just was able so to will o thou mercy of god from how abundant a sweetness from how sweet and abundance flowest thou forth unto us o boundless goodness of god how are we sinners to be moved by love of thee for thou saveth the just justice ascending but deliver us the wicked when justice condemns them thou saveth the just by the help of their deserts thou deliver us the wicked against their deserts thou saveth the just acknowledging in them the good which thou disgive them thou deliver us the wicked pardoning the evil which thou hatest oh immeasurable goodness passing all understanding let that mercy be shed upon me which proceedeth from the great riches of that goodness let there flow into me that mercy which floweth out of that goodness spare thy mercy and take not vengeance in my justice for although it'd be hard to understand how their mercy is not parted from thy justice yet it is necessary to believe that it is not at enmity with thy justice that it floweth from thy goodness that it is not without justice nay in truth accordeth with thy justice for it thou art merciful only because thou art supremely good and are supremely good only because thou art supremely just therefore art thou in truth merciful because thou art supremely just help me o just and merciful god for i seek thy light help me that i may understand what i say verily then thou art merciful because thou art just is then i mercy born of thy justice dost thou then out of justice spare the wicked if it be so o lord if it be so teach me how it is so is it because it is just that thou should so be good that thou couldst not be conceived better and should us work so mightily that thou couldst not be conceived mightier for what is juster than this yet this would not be if thou were good in punishing only not in sparing and if thou made us them good only that were merely not good and not also those that were evil and so it is just that thou shalt spare the wicked and make them that were wicked to be good lastly what is not done justly ought not to be done and what ought not to be done is done unjustly if then thou dost not have mercy on the wicked justly then thou hast mercy on them unjustly and since it were blasphemy to say this it is fit to believe that thou hast mercy on the wicked amen amazing amazing stuff from one of my favorite saints of all time saint anselm of canterbury if you haven't read the proslogion if you haven't read the prayers and meditations you can get them all three in one bound book it's a short book i've read it a couple times and now i'm going through it again i've gone through it once recently on audiobook it's a nice experience even though the edition that i found on audiobook is not a catholic edition it's an anglican edition if i remember correctly but still the texts are there the texts themselves the texts of saint and style are very very catholic because he is a catholic saint highly recommend you go out and buy that for your kindle or download the free pdf or the free librevox recording if you can find it i did a quick search i wasn't able to find it but uh you can listen to the audiobook on youtube as i said earlier so some of the key notions that helped me bridge the gap between atheism and monotheism during that hairy journey that perilous philosophical journey back in 2008 2009 a lot of it comes from saint anselm because as many of you will already know if you listened to my podcast for a while i was chewing on saint anselm's prologion in particular the ontological argument so-called ontological proof of the existence of god i was chewing on that mulling it over turning it over in my mind for a good solid eight years and uh not only the ontological argument but some of the notions such as uh the pure perfections that uh god possesses the perfections that is to say that are those that perfections which are better to have than to be without uh that notion really helped me and then of course the the way he just discussed in chapters five through eight the paradoxical attributes of god how can god be omnipotent how can god be um what he calls pitiful meaning uh passable i guess of being uh having the capability of having compassion and he explains these uh saint anselm by the grace of god is able to explain these in a way that i find very powerful and is a very uh fruitful for your own meditations because these mysteries are deep they're profound and they can they warrant a quiet meditation over long periods of time not just hours not just days not just weeks not just months but over years meditating on these ideas the attributes of god is goodness his justice his mercy and we can see how the justice and mercy of god are slippery notions for us finite creatures right it's very slippery but saint anselm does a wonderful job briefly outlining how it might be that god's justice and his mercy work together because they are rooted in his being in his goodness and of course the attributes of god these pure perfections are united among themselves and they're united they're one with god they're united in the person of god and the godhead in the triune god three persons one god so i'll leave it there i'm gonna continue with my refutations episode six will be coming up we'll probably do that right now but i'll wrap this up for now as a little intermission i hope you enjoyed it please meditate on saint anselm's pro slogian his meditations and his prayers that's it take care and his prayers that's it take care we'll talk soon god bless

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