Finding Faith
Gerard-Marie Anthony

Answers about Catholicism

Scripture and the Nike Principle

The Nike Principal

St. Thomas Aquinas gives many beautiful meditations on Scripture, especially relating them to its Anagogical sense.  He shows that Christ is the reason for everything and our inspiration in all we do.  He shares with us that the redemption of man is the principal purpose of the Incarnation:

For such things as spring from God's will, and beyond the creature's due, can be made known to us only through being revealed in the Sacred Scripture, in which the Divine Will is made known to us. Hence, since everywhere in the Sacred Scripture the sin of the first man is assigned as the reason of the Incarnation, it is more in accordance with this to say that the work of the Incarnation was ordained by God as a remedy for sin; so that, had sin not existed, the Incarnation would not have been. And yet the power of God is not limited to this; even had sin not existed, God could have become incarnate (Summa Part III, Art. 1, Q3).

With that being said, let me explain the “Nike” Biblical overview.  In the beginning, everything was in harmony, filled with God’s love and was beautiful.  As Gen. 4:7 states however, “sin is couching at the door; its desire is for you, but you must master [conquer] it.”  The battle between man conquering sin and sin conquering/enslaving man is the story of salvation history.  Sin ends up conquering many of men, making us less and less beautiful, more and more unnatural.  It turns us into beasts (remember our relationship with God is what separated us from the beasts-man and beasts were both made on the 6th day- which is why the 7th day is so important).  Thus, all of salvation history is our Heavenly Father giving help to His children to conquer sin.  The Greek word for conquer is “Nike.”  So thus, we have the “Nike Principle.”

This “Nike Principle” plays out in interesting ways in Scripture, but ends in a seemingly inconceivable way.  It ends with a wedding between the bride (the Church) and the Lamb (Christ)-see Rev. 21.  Now, why does Scripture use marriage image to show the end of the “Nike Principle?” It is because Marriage holds the key to the “Nike” principle.  In the end, the thing that ends up conquering sin is not simply man willing it, but love.  Not just any love, but God’s love.  St. Paul tells us this, “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  Love never fails” (1Cor. 13: 7-8).  God’s love is the completion of the Nike principal because it is the driving force throughout Scripture.  It is His love that brings us together so that our stories become His (God’s) story and together we make HISTORY!  The Nike principle shows us that sin destroys men and makes us ugly, but God’s love is always with us to restore and make us beautiful once again.  So when summarizing this “Nike Principle” in Scripture, remember, “Sin, Conquer it with love…JUST DO IT!”