(Continuing from justice and order in CDH I.11-15)
“By what reason or necessity did God become man and by His death, just as we believe and profess, return life to the world when He was able to do this through another person, either angelic or human, or by His will alone?” (CDH I.1)
Angels. The answer is angels!
In order to close out his discussion of punishment Anselm has to show hell’s insufficiency for restoring order to the universe. His strong case for punishment as an instrument of order and beauty in chapters fourteen and fifteen makes that difficult. If it works so well, why not just let the punishment of hell regulate the order and beauty of the universe and be done with the problem of justice?
The problem, it turns out, is not intrinsic to punishment itself. Instead the punishment of hell conflicts with God’s original plan for mankind and the universe. Anselm alludes to this divine plan way back in chapters four and five when setting the initial argument with Boso and insisting that God must do something about sin. In chapters sixteen through eighteen, Anselm returns to that idea and makes the plan explicit.
Working from his favorite Patristic source, St. Augustine, Anselm extends the idea about the order and beauty of the universe. As God is supremely wise, all that He does must be supremely orderly and proportional–beautiful, as we have said many times. Part of the order and beauty of the universe, indeed the pinnacle of that order and beauty, is the City of God, the kingdom of heaven itself. It is the signet of perfection; that anything detract from this perfection is impossible.
The supreme order and beauty of the City of God no doubt has many aspects, but Anselm focuses on one in particular: it has an ideal number of citizens. No one can know this number save God, but Anselm commits to there being such a number. That’s a big problem, since sin destroyed that ideal number.
No, not the sin of Adam. The sin of the angels. Continue reading Cur Deus Homo I.16-18