Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Anselm of Canterbury, Theologian

Tuesday after Easter 4
April 27, 2010

The Lord be with you

Anselm of Canterbury died April 21, 1109 and so April 21 has been set aside to commemorate him. He was born in Italy in 1033 and is most closely associated with England, where he served as archbishop of Canterbury from 1093 until his death. A brilliant scholar and writer, Anselm used his political skills with the British kings on behalf of the established Christian Church, affirming that it is the leadership of the Church, not the state, that is responsible for establishing structure and maintaining order among the clergy. Anselm is especially remembered for his classic book, Why God Became Man, which taught that the reason for the incarnation was that Jesus, the Son of God, would suffer and die in place of sinners.

What follows is a quote form Anselm, which I found in Treasury of Daily Prayer, published by Concordia Publish House.

    The restoration of human nature by God is more wonderful than its creation. Both were equally easy for God; but before man was made he had not sinned so that he ought not to be denied existence. But after man was made, he deserved, by his sin, to lose his existence together with its design, though he never has wholly lost this, viz., that he should be one capable of being punished or of receiving God’s compassion. For neither of these things could take effect if he were annihilated. Therefore God’s restoring man is more wonderful than his creating man, inasmuch as it is done for the sinner contrary to what he deserves; while the act of creation was not for the sinner and was not in opposition to what man deserved. How great a thing it is, also, for God and man to unite in one person, that, while the perfection of each nature is preserved, the same being may be both God and man! Who, then, will dare to think that the human mind can discover how wisely, how wonderfully, so incomprehensible a work has been accomplished?
Blessings in Christ,
John Rickert

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