Heythrop Journal 50 (5):890-900 (2009)
The Franciscan thesis maintains that the primary motive of the Incarnation is to glorify the triune God in the person of Jesus Christ: though Christ atones for human sins, his coming isn’t relative to our need for redemption but rather has an absolute primacy. The Franciscan thesis is sometimes associated with the counterfactual claim that Christ would have come even if humans hadn’t sinned. In recent work on the Franciscan thesis, an attempt is made to prove the counterfactual claim on the basis of a purely logical argument drawn from the writings of Bl. John Duns Scotus. After showing that this proof fails, I construct an axiological argument for the Franciscan thesis that disentangles it from unsubstantiated counterfactual claims while respecting the subtle interplay between natural and revealed theology. I then provide a metaphysical interpretation of the axiological argument that builds upon Scotist notions. Seen through this interpretive lens, Scotus’s logical argument can be un
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