Capital Grace of the Word Incarnate According to Saint Thomas Aquinas
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The doctrine of capital grace was developed during the Scholastic period and bears on many areas of theology including ecclesiology, Christology, sacraments, and Trinitarian theology with regard to the missions of the Word and the Holy Spirit. Viewed from a Christological standpoint, capital grace sheds light on how Christ in his human nature can be said to be a source of grace to the members of the Church. Following his contemporaries, the young Thomas Aquinas espoused a view in which Christ is a meritorious, ministerial, and dispositive cause of grace according to his human nature, and an efficient cause according to his divinity. After a deeper reading of John Damascene’s treatment of Christ’s humanity being an instrument of his divinity, Thomas was able to articulate a view in which Christ’s human nature is an instrumental efficient cause of grace. This view undergirds Aquinas’s strong conception of Christ as one acting person in two natures.
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