QUESTION 35: OF THE IMAGE
We next inquire concerning the image: about which there are two points of inquiry:
(1) Whether Image in God is said personally?
(2) Whether this name belongs to the Son alone?
Article 1: Whether image in God is said personally?
Objection 1: It would seem that image is not said personally of God. For
Augustine (Fulgentius, De Fide ad Petrum i) says, "The Godhead of the
Holy Trinity and the Image whereunto man is made are one." Therefore
Image is said of God essentially, and not personally.
Objection 2: Further, Hilary says (De Synod.): "An image is a like species of
that which it represents." But species or form is said of God
essentially. Therefore so also is Image.
Objection 3: Further, Image is derived from imitation, which implies "before"
and "after." But in the divine persons there is no "before" and "after."
Therefore Image cannot be a personal name in God.
On the contrary, Augustine says (De Trin. vii, 1): "What is more absurd
than to say that an image is referred to itself?" Therefore the Image in
God is a relation, and is thus a personal name.
I answer that, Image includes the idea of similitude. Still, not any
kind of similitude suffices for the notion of image, but only similitude
of species, or at least of some specific sign. In corporeal things the
specific sign consists chiefly in the figure. For we see that the species
of different animals are of different figures; but not of different
colors. Hence if the color of anything is depicted on a wall, this is not
called an image unless the figure is likewise depicted. Further, neither
the similitude of species or of figure is enough for an image, which
requires also the idea of origin; because, as Augustine says (Questions.
lxxxiii, qu. 74): "One egg is not the image of another, because it is not
derived from it." Therefore for a true image it is required that one
proceeds from another like to it in species, or at least in specific
sign. Now whatever imports procession or origin in God, belongs to the
persons. Hence the name "Image" is a personal name.
Reply to Objection 1: Image, properly speaking, means whatever proceeds forth in
likeness to another. That to the likeness of which anything proceeds, is
properly speaking called the exemplar, and is improperly called the
image. Nevertheless Augustine (Fulgentius) uses the name of Image in this
sense when he says that the divine nature of the Holy Trinity is the
Image to whom man was made.
Reply to Objection 2: "Species," as mentioned by Hilary in the definition of
image, means the form derived from one thing to another. In this sense
image is said to be the species of anything, as that which is assimilated
to anything is called its form, inasmuch as it has a like form.
Reply to Objection 3: Imitation in God does not signify posteriority, but only
Article 2: Whether the name of Image is proper to the Son?
Objection 1: It would seem that the name of Image is not proper to the Son;
because, as Damascene says (De Fide Orth. i, 18), "The Holy Ghost is the
Image of the Son." Therefore Image does not belong to the Son alone.
Objection 2: Further, similitude in expression belongs to the nature of an
image, as Augustine says (Questions. lxxxiii, qu. 74). But this belongs to the
Holy Ghost, Who proceeds from another by way of similitude. Therefore the
Holy Ghost is an Image; and so to be Image does not belong to the Son
Objection 3: Further, man is also called the image of God, according to 1 Cor.
11:7, "The man ought not to cover his head, for he is the image and the
glory of God." Therefore Image is not proper to the Son.
On the contrary, Augustine says (De Trin. vi, 2): "The Son alone is the
Image of the Father."
I answer that, The Greek Doctors commonly say that the Holy Ghost is the
Image of both the Father and of the Son; but the Latin Doctors attribute
the name Image to the Son alone. For it is not found in the canonical
Scripture except as applied to the Son; as in the words, "Who is the
Image of the invisible God, the firstborn of creatures" (Col. 1:15) and
again: "Who being the brightness of His glory, and the figure of His
substance." (Heb. 1:3).
Some explain this by the fact that the Son agrees with the Father, not
in nature only, but also in the notion of principle: whereas the Holy
Ghost agrees neither with the Son, nor with the Father in any notion.
This, however, does not seem to suffice. Because as it is not by reason
of the relations that we consider either equality or inequality in God,
as Augustine says (De Trin. v, 6), so neither (by reason thereof do we
consider) that similitude which is essential to image. Hence others say
that the Holy Ghost cannot be called the Image of the Son, because there
cannot be an image of an image; nor of the Father, because again the
image must be immediately related to that which it is the image; and the
Holy Ghost is related to the Father through the Son; nor again is He the
Image of the Father and the Son, because then there would be one image of
two; which is impossible. Hence it follows that the Holy Ghost is in no
way an Image. But this is no proof: for the Father and the Son are one
principle of the Holy Ghost, as we shall explain further on (Question , Article ). Hence there is nothing to prevent there being one Image of the Father
and of the Son, inasmuch as they are one; since even man is one image of
the whole Trinity.
Therefore we must explain the matter otherwise by saying that, as the
Holy Ghost, although by His procession He receives the nature of the
Father, as the Son also receives it, nevertheless is not said to be
"born"; so, although He receives the likeness of the Father, He is not
called the Image; because the Son proceeds as word, and it is essential
to word to be like species with that whence it proceeds; whereas this
does not essentially belong to love, although it may belong to that love
which is the Holy Ghost, inasmuch as He is the divine love.
Reply to Objection 1: Damascene and the other Greek Doctors commonly employ the
term image as meaning a perfect similitude.
Reply to Objection 2: Although the Holy Ghost is like to the Father and the Son,
still it does not follow that He is the Image, as above explained.
Reply to Objection 3: The image of a thing may be found in something in two ways.
In one way it is found in something of the same specific nature; as the
image of the king is found in his son. In another way it is found in
something of a different nature, as the king's image on the coin. In the
first sense the Son is the Image of the Father; in the second sense man
is called the image of God; and therefore in order to express the
imperfect character of the divine image in man, man is not simply called
the image, but "to the image," whereby is expressed a certain movement of
tendency to perfection. But it cannot be said that the Son of God is "to
the image," because He is the perfect Image of the Father.