Vestiges of the Lamb
Thursday of Pentecost 16
8 September 2016
Rational proofs of the existence of God have always been tenuous, even if interesting, mental exercises. Believers will at least feel a resonance with the arguments if they are able to understand them. Unbelievers reject the arguments as circular reasoning relegating them to the intellectual trash heap.

Augustine of Hippo goes far beyond any arguments for the existence of God. He has argued that the human mind's inner workings provide signs of the unity and distinction in the holy Trinity, because the human mind above all, as the foremost creation of God, is filled with the vestigia Trinitatis, "vestiges of the Trinity." Although Augustine speculated at great length about these signs of the Trinity in creation and especially in the human mind, for many people these speculations are not satisfying. Augustine does admit that this speculation is seeing through a glass darkly and that perhaps it only poses the question of God and His triune nature to the human mind. It does not solve the question or reveal God as He wants to be known by us.

Since we are weighed down by our flesh and its depravity God has condescended to become incarnate in that flesh in Christ. So we are not left with mere rational speculation about God in our minds, but the incarnation of God in the world that that Son might reveal the holy Trinity to us (Mt 28:19-20; Jn 14:9). Inward looking cannot find God, only the Lamb of God can reveal God to us. For the Lamb is the Son of God who takes away the sin of the world. Thus God wants to turn us away from, and out of, our own speculation to His own Son, His self-revelation. The external Word gives us all. That is the solid foundation of our faith. The Lamb is not mere "vestiges," of the Trinity, but the incarnate revelation of God the holy Trinity. Behold, the Lamb of God!

Rev. Dr. Scott R. Murray
Memorial Lutheran Church

Augustine of Hippo
"I have explained the Trinity in as many ways as I could. But there are those who will still see their own mind, and yet do not believe or understand it to be an image of God. They see indeed a glass, but do not so see through the glass Him who is now to be seen through the glass. They do not even know the glass itself which they see to be a reflection, that is, an image. And if they knew this, perhaps they would feel that He too whose glass this is, should by it be sought, and somehow provisionally be seen, with a true faith cleansing their hearts (1Ti 1:5), so that He who is now seen through a glass may be able to be seen face to face (1Co 13:12).
"If they despise this faith that purifies the heart, what do they accomplish by understanding the most subtle disputes concerning the nature of the human mind, unless it is to be condemned also by the witness of their own understanding? And they would certainly not so fail in understanding, and hardly arrive at anything certain, were they not involved in penal darkness, and burdened with the corruptible body that presses down the soul. And for what deficiency save that of sin is this evil inflicted on them? Therefore, being warned by the magnitude of so great an evil, they ought to follow the Lamb that takes away the sin of the world (Jn 1:29)."

Augustine, On the Trinity, 15.24
John 1:29-34

The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is he of whom I said, 'After me comes a man who ranks before me, because he was before me.' I myself did not know him, but for this purpose I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel." And John bore witness: "I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, 'He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.' And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God." (ESV)
O Christ, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world, have mercy on us. O Christ, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world, have mercy on us. O Christ, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world, grant us Your peace. Amen.
For faculty at Memorial Lutheran School, that the Lord Jesus would be with them

For George Inman, who is gravely ill, that the holy angels would attend his bedside and that he would be granted a peaceful release to the life that cannot die
For President Lawrence Rast and the faculty of Concordia Theological Seminary, that the seminary would continue to preach the Word
For Leslie Roch, that the Lord of the church would watch over her and build her up in the holy faith of Christ her Savior as she gives thanks for her healing
Art: Durer, Albrecht  The Adoration of the Trinity (1515) 
Memorial Lutheran Church
© Scott Murray 2016
Memorial Lutheran Church, 5800 Westheimer Rd., Houston, TX 77057
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