Michael Gorman

in The Oxford Handbook of Aquinas

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780195326093
Published online May 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks


More Like This

Show all results sharing these subjects:

  • Philosophy
  • History of Western Philosophy
  • Philosophy of Religion


Show Summary Details


The article explains Aquinas's view on incarnation. Aquinas mentioned that Christ is one individual rational substance. The incarnation is not a relationship between two rational substances such as a relationship by which the Word of God makes Jesus holy. Aquinas thought that Christ could have had every possible human perfection, but at the same time Aquinas was clear that Christ did have imperfections or defects both of body and of soul. Aquinas argued that Christ took on bodily defects for three reasons. Firstly, to be able to atone for sins of human beings by taking punishment upon himself, secondly, to make his human nature more believable, and lastly, to be able to provide us with an example of patience in the face of suffering. Aquinas would say that a good test of whether one has correct views in Christology is whether one accepts the ‘communication of idioms’, that is, the sharing of properties. Aquinas argued that everything that possesses a human nature must have absolute existence as a supposit, that is, every human being must be a supposit. There can be a human nature that is humanizing but not supposit-supporting is certainly to deviate from the usual way of thinking.

Keywords: incarnation; supposit; bodily defects; rational substances; human perfection; imperfections

Article.  4039 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; History of Western Philosophy ; Philosophy of Religion

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.