Blessed John Duns Scotus, Franciscan Intellectual Tradition, Philosophy, The Franciscans, Theology

Bl. John Duns Scotus on the Human Person

blessed-john-duns-scotus-on-the-human-person-part-21. God, who is absolutely free and perfectly loving, chose to create human beings in the divine image and likeness and sustain them in mutual relationship. This is a great affirmation of the value of humanity.

2. The Incarnation was not dependent on human sin. On the contrary, God intended the Incarnation from the beginning of time. God confirmed the value of human life by choosing human flesh as the medium most fitting to join with the divine in the Incarnation.

3. Inviolable dignity is not given to humans only in a general way, as a species. Scotus’s principle of haecceitas holds that each distinct individual person has a particular dignity that must be reverenced and honored. Indeed, each creature of the created world bears this distinctiveness and must be respected accordingly.

4. Humans are intelligent and free beings created by God, who is absolutely free and absolutely loving. The human response to God is to live in a manner that is intelligently and responsibly free and deeply loving. There is no moral legalism here. Obedience to God comes from love, not fear of punishment.

5. Scotus shows how the life of the Trinity provides a model for unity and mutual love. The Subtle Doctor holds Trinitarian life in mutual relationship as a foundational model for relationships between God, creatures, humans with one another, and between the divine and human as co-creators and redeemers of the world.

6. We need to pay attention to the two affections of the human will – the affection for happiness and the affection for justice. When these are in harmony and balanced in us, we are healthy persons of integrity and we can be genuinely caring and loving. If we find ourselves living exclusively out of one affection or the other, there is cause for concern, because therein, says Scotus is the occasion for sin.

7. The deep desire of God is that humans return to final communion with the divine in the Beatific Vision. In marvelous acts of love, God accepts all human efforts to love…bringing our efforts to completion and perfection, fulfilling the divine intention and the order of love. Our honest and integral efforts to live in love and in god’s presence are found worthy, profoundly respected and generously affirmed and supported by God. Herein lies great hope for humanity!

– Dawn M. Nothwehr, O.S.F., The Franciscan View of the Human Person


– Lucas G. Westman


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