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Ave Maria!

Welcome to what is probably the only website in the world exclusively dedicated to the absolute primacy of Jesus Christ according to the teachings of Bl. John Duns Scotus and the Franciscan school (“Franciscan” because, like the Immaculate Conception of Mary, they have championed the doctrine of the absolute primacy of Christ the King in all creation, but they are by no means the first or only ones to propose it; rather, as can be gathered from this website, this doctrine is found in the Scriptures, Fathers, Doctors, Saints and Mystics of the Church of all ages because it is simply the truth!).

Please note that all Christians are united in attributing a universal primacy to Christ; after all, He is God, the Eternal Word, made flesh! But is His universal primacy as the God-Man a relative primacy, in other words, occasioned by the sin of man? Or is His primacy absolute and unconditional and not dependent upon man’s need for Redemption? It is a question of God’s creative plan. Was Christ willed as the center of creation or was His coming due exclusively to man’s sin?

The Franciscan school has always proclaimed that God’s Masterpiece, namely Jesus the Son of God and Son of Mary, was at the center of God’s creative plan regardless of sin. And that is precisely what this website is all about – here we want to look at this sublime truth, like a sparkling diamond, from many angles, under different lights and with the aid of a variety of experts so as to see its dazzling beauty and appraise its infinite worth.

The text of the different pages is taken entirely from my book, A Primer on the Absolute Primacy of Christ (available for five bucks, if you’re interested), with occasional new comments or references in brackets, and the videos of my series The Cornerstone, are conveniently situated near the text that I’m explaining. In this way both the text and the videos are coherently linked according to subject matter which should make it easy to find and select the material related to the argument that interests you.

On this subject there are great minds, yes, even Doctors of the Church, on both sides, so we, like St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Bonaventure, need to respect both positions, even if we take a stand on one side or the other.

Thank you for visiting and let us pray for one another.

In Corde Matris,

fr. maximilian mary dean

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St. John Damascene – Christ the Firstborn of All Creation

In his Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith (Book IV, Chapter 8), the 8th century Doctor of the Church St. John Damascene speaks of Christ as Firstborn and Only-Begotten as a result of the union of the two Natures in the one Divine Person of the Word. What is important to note is that Only-Begotten refers to the Divinity of Christ for He is truly begotten of the Father from all in eternity as the eternal Son; whereas Firstborn refers to the Sacred Humanity of Christ born in time of the Θεοτοκος – Mother of God. The Saint is explicitly referring to the Pauline passages of Christ being the Firstborn among many brethren (Rm 8:29 – see my comments on this passage here) and the Firstborn of all creation (Col 1:16 – see my comments this passage here).

Here is the passage of St. John Damascene:

He who is first begotten is called first-born(1), whether he is only-begotten or the first of a number of brothers. If then the Son of God was called first-born, but was not called Only-begotten, we could imagine that He was the first-born of creatures, as being a creature(2). But since He is called both first-born and Only-begotten, both senses must be preserved in His case. We say that He is first-born of all creation(3) since both He Himself is of God and creation is of God, but as He Himself is born alone and timelessly of the essence of God the Father, He may with reason be called Only-begotten Son, first-born and not first-created. For the creation was not brought into being out of the essence of the Father, but by His will out of nothing(4). And He is called First-born among many brethren(5), for although being Only-begotten, He was also born of a mother. Since, indeed, He participated just as we ourselves do in blood and flesh and became man, while we too through Him became sons of God, being adopted through the baptism, He Who is by nature Son of God became first-born amongst us who were made by adoption and grace sons of God, and stand to Him in the relation of brothers. Wherefore He said, I ascend unto My Father and your Father(6). He did not say “our Father,” but “My Father,” clearly in the sense of Father by nature, and “your Father,” in the sense of Father by grace. And “My God and your God(7).” He did not say “our God,” but “My God:” and if you distinguish with subtle thought that which is seen from that which is thought, also “your God,” as Maker and Lord.

Obviously Christ is not the “First” born chronologically in His Humanity. This indicates that He was the Firstborn of all creation in the divine intention – God, outside of time, willed the Incarnation first and all else is ordered to the Word-Incarnate. Calling Christ the Firstborn makes no sense apart from the absolute primacy of Christ’s predestination.

Let me conclude by posting the brief video of how I explained this about 12 years ago (when I was a lot younger and had a lot less gray hair)…

  1. Fr. Frederick Faber – A Thoroughgoing Scotist Leave a reply
  2. Fr. Peter Fehlner and the Franciscan Thesis Leave a reply
  3. Fr. Sean Kopczynski, MSJB – Easter Sunday Shows Forth the Absolute Primacy of Christ Comments Off on Fr. Sean Kopczynski, MSJB – Easter Sunday Shows Forth the Absolute Primacy of Christ
  4. Depictions of Bl. John Duns Scotus Comments Off on Depictions of Bl. John Duns Scotus
  5. Summary of Bishop Robert Grosseteste by Fr. Eric Wood Comments Off on Summary of Bishop Robert Grosseteste by Fr. Eric Wood
  6. Bishop Grosseteste (+1253) – 16 arguments for the Incarnation even if Adam had not sinned Comments Off on Bishop Grosseteste (+1253) – 16 arguments for the Incarnation even if Adam had not sinned
  7. Rev. Chris Webb – Christ in All Scriptures Comments Off on Rev. Chris Webb – Christ in All Scriptures
  8. Fr. Alexander of Hales, O.F.M. – “Doctor Doctorum” (+1245) – on the appropriateness of the Incarnation, sin or no sin Comments Off on Fr. Alexander of Hales, O.F.M. – “Doctor Doctorum” (+1245) – on the appropriateness of the Incarnation, sin or no sin
  9. Abbot Rupert of Deutz, O.S.B. (+1129): Sin or no sin, God’s design was to send Christ as King and Head of the Elect 1 Reply