De Monarchia By Dante Alighieri Book I Chapter VIII: Men Are Made In the Image of God; But God Is One.

BALESTRA, Antonio 
Adoration of the Shepherds 
c. 1707

And it came to pass, that in those days there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that the whole world should be enrolled. This enrolling was first made by Cyrinus, the governor of Syria. And all went to be enrolled, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem: because he was of the house and family of David, To be enrolled with Mary his espoused wife, who was with child. And it came to pass, that when they were there, her days were accomplished, that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him up in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. Lk

Men are made in the image of God; but God is one.

1. And everything is well, nay, best disposed which acts in accordance with the intention of the first agent, who is God. This is self-evident, save to such as deny that divine goodness attains the summit of perfection. It is of the intention of God that all things should represent the divine likeness in so far as their peculiar nature is able to receive it.1 For this reason it was said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.”2 Although “in our image” cannot be said of things inferior to man, nevertheless, “after our likeness” can be said of all things, for the entire universe is nought else than a footprint of divine goodness. The human race, therefore, is ordered well, nay, is ordered for the best, when according to the utmost of its power it becomes like unto God.3 But the human race is most like unto God when it is most one, for the principle of unity dwells in Him alone. Wherefore it is written, “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord.”4

2. But the human race is most one when all are united together, a state which is manifestly impossible unless humanity as a whole becomes subject to one Prince, and consequently comes most into accordance with that divine intention which we showed at the beginning of this chapter is the good, nay, is the best disposition of mankind.

[1. ]Conv. 3. 14. 1: “The sun . . . sending his rays here below, makes all things to resemble his own brightness, as far as they, of their own nature, are capable of receiving light. Thus . . . God brings this love to His own likeness, in so far as it is possible for it to resemble Him.”

Par. 1. 104: “Form . . . makes the universe in the likeness of God.” Cf. De Mon. 2. 2. 2, and note 3.

[2. ]Gen. 1. 26. Used in Conv. 4. 12. 6: “God is the source of our soul and has made it like unto Himself (as it is written, ‘Let us make man in our image and likeness’).”

[3. ]Eth. 10. 8. 13: “The energy of the deity, as it surpasses all others in blessedness, must be contemplative: and therefore, of human energies, that which is nearest allied to this must be the happiest.”

[4. ]Deut. 6. 4.


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