PCARR BibleNotes MyJournal
Found: 155: Polycarp martyred
Found: Objection 3: Further, whosoever is master of a thing, can change it. But man could not have changed the course of the heavenly bodies; for this belongs to God alone, as Dionysius says (Ep. ad Polycarp. vii). Therefore man had no dominion over them.
Found: Reply to Objection 3: The study of philosophy is in itself lawful and commendable, on account of the truth which the philosophers acquired through God revealing it to them, as stated in Rom. kjv@1:19. Since, however, certain philosophers misuse the truth in order to assail the faith, the Apostle says (Col. 2:8): "Beware lest any man cheat you by philosophy and vain deceit, according to the tradition of men . . . and not according to Christ": and Dionysius says (Ep. vii ad Polycarp.) of certain philosophers that "they make an unholy use of divine things against that which is divine, and by divine wisdom strive to destroy the worship of God."
Found: Objection 3: Further, Christ's soul had in its highest degree the "grace of miracles" or works of might. But every transmutation of the creature can belong to the grace of miracles; since even the heavenly bodies were miraculously changed from their course, as Dionysius proves (Ep. ad Polycarp). Therefore Christ's soul had omnipotence with regard to the transmutation of creatures.
Found: I answer that, As stated above (4217Q43, A4) it behooved Christ's miracles to be a sufficient proof of His Godhead. Now this is not so sufficiently proved by changes wrought in the lower bodies, which changes can be brought about by other causes, as it is by changes wrought in the course of the heavenly bodies, which have been established by God alone in an unchangeable order. This is what Dionysius says in his epistle to Polycarp: "We must recognize that no alteration can take place in the order end movement of the heavens that is not caused by Him who made all and changes all by His word." Therefore it was fitting that Christ should work miracles even in the heavenly bodies.
Found: On this point, however, credence is to be given rather to Dionysius, who is an eyewitness as to this having occurred by the moon eclipsing the sun. For he says (Ep. ad Polycarp): "Without any doubt we saw the moon encroach on the sun," he being in Egypt at the time, as he says in the same letter. And in this he points out four miracles. The first is that the natural eclipse of the sun by interposition of the moon never takes place except when the sun and moon are in conjunction. But then the sun and moon were in opposition, it being the fifteenth day, since it was the Jewish Passover. Wherefore he says: "For it was not the time of conjunction."---The second miracle is that whereas at the sixth hour the moon was seen, together with the sun, in the middle of the heavens, in the evening it was seen to be in its place, i.e. in the east, opposite the sun. Wherefore he says: "Again we saw it," i.e. the moon, "return supernaturally into opposition with the sun," so as to be diametrically opposite, having withdrawn from the sun "at the ninth hour," when the darkness ceased, "until evening." From this it is clear that the wonted course of the seasons was not disturbed, because the Divine power caused the moon both to approach the sun supernaturally at an unwonted season, and to withdraw from the sun and return to its proper place according to the season. The third miracle was that the eclipse of the sun naturally always begins in that part of the sun which is to the west and spreads towards the east: and this is because the moon's proper movement from west to east is more rapid than that of the sun, and consequently the moon, coming up from the west, overtakes the sun and passes it on its eastward course. But in this case the moon had already passed the sun, and was distant from it by the length of half the heavenly circle, being opposite to it: consequently it had to return eastwards towards the sun, so as to come into apparent contact with it from the east, and continue in a westerly direction. This is what he refers to when he says: "Moreover, we saw the eclipse begin to the east and spread towards the western edge of the sun," for it was a total eclipse, "and afterwards pass away." The fourth miracle consisted in this, that in a natural eclipse that part of the sun which is first eclipsed is the first to reappear (because the moon, coming in front of the sun, by its natural movement passes on to the east, so as to come away first from the western portion of the sun, which was the first part to be eclipsed), whereas in this case the moon, while returning miraculously from the east to the west, did not pass the sun so as to be to the west of it: but having reached the western edge of the sun returned towards the east: so that the last portion of the sun to be eclipsed was the first to reappear. Consequently the eclipse began towards the east, whereas the sun began to reappear towards the west. And to this he refers by saying: "Again we observed that the occultation and emersion did not begin from the same point," i.e. on the same side of the sun, "but on opposite sides."
23 e : Polycarp, Bishop and Martyr of Smyrna, 156