Anselm on the Cost of Salvation

Anselm on the Cost of Salvation

Leftow, Brian

Medieval Philosophy and Theology, vol. 6, no. 1 (1997)


Anselm’s Cur Deus Homo (CDH) discusses a number of objections to the Christian claim that God became incarnate and atoned for human sin. One objection is this: if God is omnipotent and wise and offers humanity salvation, God does not become incarnate or atone for human sin. For if God is omnipotent, God can offer humanity salvation without doing either. If God can do so, then if He is wise, He would not have become incarnate or atoned…..

This paper examines Anselm’s reply to this argument in order to shed light on a number of issues in philosophical theology, including the metaphysics of the Incarnation, the relation between perfect being theology and the doctrines of the Incarnation and the Atonement, the senses in which the Christian God might be impassible, and the nature of God’s perfect rationality and wisdom.

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