The LEVIATHAN and the Creeds

Working late on this Friday in Advent finding my way to the car on a cold dark night so drear thoughts of mortality and the passage time in relation to life brings on thoughts and ideas usually reserved for nightmares.  However, the electronic age managed to save my soul from despair as I receive a “vibrate” from my cellular announcing a new post from Nomocracy a blog I subscribed to some time ago.  In this post titled Leviathan: Latin Appendix 1.1-55 Professor Coyle O’Neal an assistant  professor of political science at Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, Missouri brings together in juxtaposition two of my favorite things, well a favorite thing being the Catholic creeds and a person in the form of Thomas Hobbes an English philosopher who along with Jean Jacques Rousseau  was one of the a primary exponents of the idea of the “social contract” .  My spirits soared as I read about Hobbes interpreataion of the the elements of the creeds as they so meshed with the orthodox theological concepts recently studied in a theology class utilizing Alister E. McGrath’s Theology the Basics. 

I will not bore you with the details but provide the link whereby you may feast at your leisure.

First, a bit about Hobbes taken from the introduction to his biography in Wikipedia:

Thomas Hobbes of Malmesbury (/hɒbz/; 5 April 1588 – 4 December 1679), in some older texts Thomas Hobbs of Malmsbury, was an English philosopher, best known today for his work on political philosophy. His 1651 book Leviathanestablished social contract theory, the foundation of most later Western political philosophy.[1]

Though on rational grounds a champion of absolutism for the sovereign, Hobbes also developed some of the fundamentals of European liberal thought: the right of the individual; the natural equality of all men; the artificial character of the political order (which led to the later distinction between civil society and the state); the view that all legitimate political power must be “representative” and based on the consent of the people; and a liberal interpretation of law which leaves people free to do whatever the law does not explicitly forbid.[2]

He was one of the founders of modern political philosophy andpolitical science. His understanding of humans as being matter and motion, obeying the same physical laws as other matter and motion, remains influential; and his account of human nature as self-interested cooperation, and of political communities as being based upon a “social contract” remains one of the major topics of political philosophy.

In addition to political philosophy, Hobbes also contributed to a diverse array of other fields, including history, geometry, the physics of gases, theology, ethics, and general philosophy

Now the link to Nomocracy and Leviathan: Latin Appendix 1.1-55. :Leviathan: Latin Appendix I.1-55

One quote to whet the appetite:

Second, Hobbes argues that the confession that Christ was “begotten” implies that unlike the rest of creation, there was not a time when Christ was not. (Other than in the very specific terms of the Incarnation.) Hobbes is somewhat more charitable to the theologians of the early church than he had been to the late-medieval Scholastics earlier in the Leviathan. He suggests that although their attempts to explain how Christ could be both fully God and fully man end up in a rhetorical and theological quagmire, their motivation—”to make the mystery of the Trinity intelligible to all Christians”—was a noble one (I.14). Nevertheless,

It seems to me that they were not right to want to explain that mystery. For what do you do when you explain a mystery except destroy it, or make of a mystery what is not a mystery? For faith, converted to knowledge, perishes, leaving only hope and charity. (I.15)

Peace and All Good Things. And, the blessing of God Almighty be with you now and always.


  1. Thomas Hobbes Portrait John Michael WrightNational Portrait Gallery: NPG 225 Licensed through Wikipedia Commons but copyright is claimed in  some jurisdictions. 

2.  Icon of the Council of Nicea





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