Expert Answer Forum

Faith of Christ QUESTION from Anya Zablocki September 8, 1999
AMDG Dear John-Paul Ignatius,
From what I have been reading from F.X. Durwell's Holy Spirit of God, it is my understanding that Jesus Christ did have/practice faith - in a divine way. Thomas Aquinas points out that Christ did not have need of the theological virtue of faith since He was both God and Man and He always had the vision of the Father before Him.
But didn't Christ need to put his faith/trust in the Father that He would raise him from the dead? In sec. 449 of the Catholic Catechism, it states that the Father raised Christ from the dead.
Durwell states, Jesus put all his faith in the Father and committed himself into the hands (cf. Lk 23:46) that save from death. However, no one can believe except through 'the Spirit of faith' (cf. 2Cor 4:13). The Spirit of son ship is, as such, the Spirit of faith. He gives the faithful strength to believe (cf. 1Cor12:3) and was the source of perfect faith first of all for Jesus, who, in his death, became for all mankind the precursor (cf. Heb 6:20) of the faith in God which saves from death. (from Holy Spirit of God)
I realize this is deep theology. I am not a theologian, I only seek a better understanding of Christ and what the Church teaches.
I found myself in the middle of this theological dilemma when someone made the comment that, the moral of the story of Lot (in the O.T.)is that he did take a giant leap of faith because nothing happened to his daughters.
This statement struck me as counter to what we as Catholics believe about faith and suffering and I responded by pointing out that if you apply that formula to Jesus Christ it would read, the moral of the story is that Christ was a fool for taking a giant leap of faith because something terribly tragic happened to Him.
This person responded that Christ is God and had no need of faith.
Have I misrepresented Christ and the Church by saying what I said? How should I have responded?
But didn't Christ need to put his faith/trust in the Father that He would raise him from the dead? In sec. 449 of the Catholic Catechism, it states that the Father raised Christ from the dead.
Durwell states, Jesus put all his faith in the Father and committed himself into the hands (cf. Lk 23:46) that save from death.
However, no one can believe except through 'the Spirit of faith' (cf. 2Cor 4:13). The Spirit of son ship is, as such, the Spirit of faith. He gives the faithful strength to believe (cf. 1Cor 12:3) and was the source of perfect faith first of all for Jesus, who, in his death, became for all mankind the precursor (cf. Heb 6:20) of the faith in God which saves from death. (from Holy Spirit of God)
I realize this is deep theology. I am not a theologian, I only seek a better understanding of Christ and what the Church teaches.
I found myself in the middle of this theological dilemma when someone made the comment that, the moral of the story of Lot (in the O.T.)is that he did take a giant leap of faith because nothing happened to his daughters.
This statement struck me as counter to what we as Catholics believe about faith and suffering and I responded by pointing out that if you apply that formula to Jesus Christ it would read, the moral of the story is that Christ was a fool for taking a giant leap of faith because something terribly tragic happened to Him.
This person responded that Christ is God and had no need of faith.
Have I misrepresented Christ and the Church by saying what I said? How should I have responded?
ANSWER by Mr. Ron Curley, MA on September 13, 1999 Dear Miss Zablocki:
Ron Curley is better able to answer your question, so I deferred to him. His answer is below:
Dear Anya,
I would like to respond section by section to your complex question. (My comments are in bold)
You said, From what I have been reading from F.X. Durwell's Holy Spirit of God, it is my understanding that Jesus Christ did have/practice faith - in a divine way. Thomas Aquinas points out that Christ did not have need of the theological virtue of faith since He was both God and Man and He always had the vision of the Father before Him.
I respond -- This Divine way is a mystery, Anya. While is admirable that we explore the e ways of God, thus, theology, man seeking to understand God, it is impossible for us to explore the depths of God. So, we cannot be sure we are accurate, when we try to dissect divine faith, as Aquinas would. Also, St. Thomas Aquinas is more correct than Durwell, I might add if you represent his Durwell's view correctly. It is hard to say without reading Durwell with detail?
You said, But didn't Christ need to put his faith/trust in the Father that He would raise him from the dead? In sec. 449 of the Catholic Catechism, it states that the Father raised Christ from the dead.
I respond here -- Jesus did not need the theological virtue of faith. Jesus could say that I and my Father are One, and this truth speaks volumes here. His trust was the trust of knowing what he (the Son of God) and the Holy Trinity were acting upon in the world and in the whole schema of things, eternally. The focus of Jesus was for us and our salvation. Jesus was, is, and remains, our Salvation, the translation of Jesus from the Hebrew. (Yahweh is Salvation) The Catechism portion of your question is answered -- Yes, true, but, Jesus also raised himself from the dead -- we must recollect always the mystery of the Holy Trinity, and remember all were acting as the One God the three Persons ARE. Remember Jesus' words? ... cast this temple down and in three days I WILL raise it up? The temple of his body...see John's Gospel I believe.
You mention, Durwell states, Jesus put all his faith in the Father and committed himself into the hands (cf. Lk 23:46) that save from death.
I would respond -- Yes, but this is a unique Trinitarian Faith, and is not the same for Jesus the God-Man as for mere mankind. With Aquinas I concur. Durwell seems to be clouding the matter, as I listen to what you have said.
You said -- However, no one can believe except through 'the Spirit of faith' (cf. 2Cor 4:13). The Spirit of son ship is, as such, the Spirit of faith. He gives the faithful strength to believe (cf. 1Cor 12:3)
Indeed, you are right in the first part of the statement as it applies to us who're mortal men...however,
You wrote, ...and was the source of perfect faith first of all for Jesus, who, in his death, became for all mankind the precursor (cf. Heb 6:20) of the faith in God which saves from death.
I add here again -- from the Holy Spirit of God Jesus had the Spirit of God without measure. It was infinite and Trinitarian. We must take great care here to avoid the heretical.. Yet faith that seeks understanding, ergo, theology. So, we would submit that Jesus ‘needed,' as the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, Divine faith from the Holy Spirit. A caution though, It is not accurate to mix what we need with who Jesus really IS. One deals with Divine Essence when we speak of Jesus, the Incarnate Son of God, the Son of Man, while in speaking of mankind in general, we deal with human needs, because we are born in sin. Still, it is GOD who supplies our needs by grace through faith, the fruit of the Holy Spirit called, faith. Jesus is in Essence, our true Faith, by his Essence, he is our Hope, by his Essence, he is Love, etc. He manifests all these virtues, because Jesus IS the full embodiment of the One True God, all the fullness dwells in him bodily. Yet, he is truly Man, a unique hypostatic union. Jesus is divine and human unmixed...etc.)
You wrote -- I realize this is deep theology. I am not a theologian, I only seek a better understanding of Christ and what the Church teaches.
I respond -- Yes you are, as we all are who think of God. You may also want to re-read -- The writings of the Council of Calcedon 451 A.D., which details to issues surrounding the Incarnation of Jesus, the Person of Christ in relationship to the Holy Trinity, One God...)
Finally, you wrote, I found myself in the middle of this theological dilemma when someone made the comment that, the moral of the story of Lot (in the O.T.)is that he did take a giant leap of faith because nothing happened to his daughters.
I must respond as follows, Yes, but, that was the story of Lot, not Jesus... Jesus has nothing to do with the stupidity of Lot's actions and the horrible customs that Lot had sunk into in Sodom... as we in our efforts to be plausible, sink into in trying to please the whole darned world system...that was not faith on Lot's part, it was dumb and cruel...Lot had lost his faith, his morality of the family, the sense of propriety, as had been learned with Abraham...even though Abe lost his propriety on occasion as well, regaining it with the Isaac event...which does speak of Christ.
You wrote, This statement struck me as counter to what we as Catholics believe about faith and suffering and I responded by pointing out that if you apply that formula to Jesus Christ it would read, the moral of the story is that Christ was a fool for taking a giant leap of faith because something terribly tragic happened to Him.
Again, I must say -- Lot and Jesus are not related in this matter and Jesus should not be applied to Lot in type or analogy...Lot is more like the faithless masses, rather than Jesus.
You wrote -- This person responded that Christ is God and had no need of faith.
Simply stated, I would respond that -- This person is closer to Aquinas than what you presented, it appears... and, I say this gently, because I believe you may need to study the issue from the standpoint of the Council of Calcedon, above, the issue of the hypostatic union and to re-think Lot's real role. And, you need to come up for air, and not be too deep in this theological thinking. Stay with the basics -- Christ died for our sins, and your personal faith, etc., when speaking to others.
You wrote, Have I misrepresented Christ and the Church by saying what I said? How should I have responded?
I respond -- I am not clear as to exactly what you represented in entirety, however, I have stated what I think should be the emphasis and wish you God's best in presenting the essentials of the faith and not the things that are too murky for even Aquinas...:o) God bless you sister.
In Christ, Ronald Barnabas Anthony, Hermit
Back to Index Page

You have successfully subscribed!