In the Enchiridion Theologicum (“Theological Handbook”), Niels Hemmingsen, in discussing man in the fallen state and the consequent necessity he has of faith in Christ for regeneration (which he identifies with the restoration of the image of God), quotes Augustine (De libero arbitrio 2.20.54) to strengthen his point: we must lay hold in faith of Jesus Christ, God’s right hand extended to us from above.
In hoc igitur statu lapsus homo dextera Dei erigitur, dum in Christum credit. Unde praeclare Augustinus: Sed quoniam (inquit) non sicut sponte homo cecidit, ita sponte resurgere potest, porrectam nobis desuper dexteram Dei, id est, Dominum nostrum Iesum Christum, firma fide teneamus.
Therefore, in this state fallen man is set upright by the right hand of God when he believes in Christ. Whence Augustine very beautifully says: But since man is not able to rise again willingly in the same way as he fell willingly, let us hold with firm faith the right hand of God stretched out to us from above, that is, our Lord Jesus Christ. 1
E.J. Hutchinson is Assistant Professor of Classics at Hillsdale College.
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