Church Fathers: Post-Nicene Fathers Vol 05: 25.01.09 Book I Part 8

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Church Fathers: Post-Nicene Fathers Vol 05: 25.01.09 Book I Part 8

TOPIC: Post-Nicene Fathers Vol 05 (Other Topics in this Collection)
SUBJECT: 25.01.09 Book I Part 8

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§39. Answer to the Question He is Always Asking, "Can He Who is Be Begotten?"

Eunomius does not like the meaning of the Ungenerate to be conveyed by the term Father, because he wants to establish that there was a time when the Son was not. It is in fact a constant question amongst his pupils, "How can He who (always) is be begotten?" This comes, I take it, of not weaning oneself from the human application of words, when we have to think about God. But let us without bitterness at once expose the actual falseness of this `arrière pensée' of hishyperlink , stating first our conclusions upon the matter.

These names have a different meaning withus, Eunomius; when we come to the transcendent energies they yield another sense Wide, indeed, is the interval in all else that divides the human from the divine; experience cannot point here below to anything at all resembling in amount what we may guess at and imagine there. So likewise, as regards the meaning of our terms, though there may be, so far as words go, some likeness between man and the Eternal, yet the gulf between these two worlds is the real measure of the separation of meanings. For instance, our Lord calls God a `man' that was a `householder' in the parablehyperlink ; but though this title is ever so familiar to us, will the person we think of and the person there meant be of the same description; and will our `house' be the same as that large house, in which, as the Apostle says, there are the vessels of gold, and those of silverhyperlink , and those of the other materials which are recounted? Or will not those rather be beyond our immediate apprehension and to be contemplated in a blessed immortality, while ours are earthern, and to dissolve to earth? So in almost all the other terms there is a similarity of names between things human and things divine, revealing nevertheless underneath this sameness a wide difference of meanings. We find alike in both worlds the mention of bodily limbs and senses; as with us, so with the life of God, which all allow to be above sense, there are set down in order fingers and arm and hand, eye and eyelids, hearing, heart, feet and sandals, horses, cavalry, and chariots; and other metaphors innumerable are taken from human life to illustrate symbolically divine things. As, then, each one of these names has a human sound, but not a human meaning, so also that of Father, while applying equally to life divine and human, hides a distinction between the uttered meanings exactly proportionate to the difference existing between the subjects of this title. We think of man's generation one way; we surmise of the divine generation in another. A man is born in a stated time; and a particular place must be the receptacle of his life; without it it is not in nature that he should have any concrete substance: whence also it is inevitable that sections of time are found enveloping his life; there is a Before, and With, and After him. It is true to say of any one whatever of those born into this world that there was a time when he was not, that he is now, and again there will be time when he will cease to exist; but into the Eternal world these ideas of time do not enter; to a sober thinker they have nothing akin to that world. He who considers what the divine life really is will get beyond the `sometime,' the `before,' and the `after,' and every mark whatever of this extension in time; he will have lofty views upon a subject so lofty; nor will he deem that the Absolute is bound by those laws which he observes to be in force in human generation.

Passion precedes the concrete existence of man; certain material foundations are laid for the formation of the living creature; beneath it all is Nature, by God's will, with her wonderworking, putting everything under contribution for the proper proportion of nutrition for thatwhich is to be born, taking from each terrestrial element the amount necessary for the particular case, receiving the co-operation of a measured time, and as much of the food of the parents as is necessary for the formation of the child: in a word Nature, advancing through all these processes by which a human life is built up, brings the non-existent to the birth; and accordingly we say that, non-existent once, it now is born; because, at one time not being, at another it begins to be. But when it comes to the Divine generation the mind rejects this ministration of Nature, and this fulness of time in contributing to the development, and everything else which our argument contemplated as taking place in human generation; and he who enters on divine topics with no carnal conceptions will not fall down again to the level of any of those debasing thoughts, but seeks for one in keeping with the majesty of the thing to be expressed; he will not think of passion in connexion with that which is passionless, or count the Creator of all Nature as in need of Nature's help, or admit extension in time into the Eternal life; he will see that the Divine generation is to be cleared of all such ideas, and will allow to the title `Father' only the meaning that the Only-begotten is not Himself without a source, but derives from That the cause of His being; though, as for the actual beginning of His subsistence, he will not calculate that, because he will not be able to see any sign of the thing in question. `Older' and `younger' and all suchnotions are found to involve intervals of time; and so, when you mentally abstract time in general, all such indications are got rid of along with it.

Since, then, He who is with the Father, in some inconceivable category, before the ages admits not of a `sometime,' He exists by generation indeed, but nevertheless He never begins to exist. His life is neither in time, nor in place. But when we take away these and all suchlike ideas in contemplating the subsistence of the Son, there is only one thing that we can even think of as before Him-i.e. the Father. But the Only-begotten, as He Himself has told us, is in the Father, and so, from His nature, is not open to the supposition that He ever existed not. If indeed the Father ever was not, the eternity of the Son must be cancelled retrospectively in consequence of this nothingness of the Father: but if the Father is always, how can the Son ever be non-existent, when He cannot be thought of at all by Himself apart from the Father, but is always implied silently in the name Father. This name in fact conveys the two Persons equally; the idea of the Son is inevitably suggested by that word. When was it, then, that the Son was not? In what category shall we detect His non-existence? In place? There is none. In time? Our Lord was before all times; and if so, when was He not? And it He was in the Father, in what place was He not? Tell us that, ye who are so practised in seeing things out of sight. What kind of interval have your cogitations given a shape to? What vacancy in the Son, be it of sub stance or of conception, have you been able to think of, which shows the Father's life, when drawn out in parallel, as surpassing that of the Only-begotten? Why, even of men we cannot say absolutely that any one was not, and then was born. Levi, many generations before his own birth in the flesh, was tithed by Melchisedech; so the Apostle says, "Levi also, who receiveth tithes, payed tithes (in Abraham),"hyperlink adding the proof, "for he was yet in the loins of his father, when" Abraham met the priest of the Most High. If, then, a man in a certain sense is not, and is then born, having existed beforehand by virtue of kinship of substance in his progenitor, according to an Apostle's testimony, how as to the Divine life do they dare to utter the thought that He was not, and then was begotten? For He `is in the Father,' as our Lord has told us;

"I am in the Father, and the Father in Mehyperlink ," each of course being in the other in two different senses; theSon being in the Father as the beauty of the image is to be found in the form from which it has been outlined; and the Father in the Son, as that original beauty is to be found in the image of itself. Now in all hand-made images the interval of time is a point of separation between the model and that to which it lends its form; but there the one cannot be separated from the other, neither the "express image" from the "Person," to use the Apostle's wordshyperlink , nor the "brightness" from the "glory" of God, nor the representation from the goodness; but winch once thought has grasped one of these, it has admitted the associated Verity as well. "Being," he says (not becoming), "the brightness of His gloryhyperlink ;" so that clearly we may rid ourselves for ever of the blasphemy which lurks in either of those two conceptions; viz., that the Only-begotten can be thought of as Ungenerate (for he says "the brightness of His glory," the brightness coming from the glory, and not, reversely, the glory from the brightness); or that He ever began to be. For the word "being" is a witness that interprets to us the Son's continuity and eternity and superiority to all marks of time.

What occasion, then, had our foes for proposing for the damage of our Faith that trifling question, which they think unanswerable and, so, a proving of their own doctrine, and which they are continually asking, namely, `whether One who is can be generated.' We may boldly answer them at once, that He who is in the Ungenerate was generated from Him, and does derive His source from Him. `I live by the Fatherhyperlink :' but it is impossible to name the `when' of His beginning. When there is no intermediate matter, or idea, or interval of time, to separate the being of the Son from the Father, no symbol can be thought of, either, by which the Only-begotten can be unlinked from the Father's life, and shewn to proceed from some special source of His own. If, then, there is no other principle that guides the Son's life, if there is nothing that a devout mind can contemplate before (but not divided from) the subsistence of the Son, but the Father only; and if the Father is without beginning or generation, as even our adversaries admit, how can He who can be contemplated only within the Father, who is without beginning, admit Himself of a beginning?

What harm, too, does our Faith suffer from our admitting those expressions of our opponents which they bring forward against us as absurd, when they ask `whether He which is can be begotten? 'We do not assert that this can be so in the sense in which Nicodemus put his offensive questionhyperlink , wherein he thought it impossible that one who was in existence could come to a second birth: but we assert that, having His existence attached to an Existence which is always and is without beginning, and accompanying every investigator into the antiquities of time, and forestalling the curiosity of thought as it advances into the world beyond, and intimately blended as He is with all our conceptions of the Father He has no beginning of His existence any more than He is Ungenerate: but He was both begotten and was, evincing on the score of causation generation from the Father but by virtue of His everlasting life repelling any moment of non-existence.

But this thinker in his exceeding subtlety contravenes this statement; he sunders the being of the Only-begotten from the Father's nature, on the ground of one being Generated, the other Ungenerate; and although there are such a number of names which with reverence may be applied to the Deity, and all of them suitable to both Persons equally, he pays no attention to anyone of them, because these others indicate that in which Both participate; he fastens on the name Ungenerate, and that alone; and even of this he will not adopt the usual and approved meaning; be revolutionizes the conception of it, and cancels its common associations. Whatever can be the reason of this? For without some very strong one he would not wrest language away from its accepted meaning, and innovatehyperlink by changing the signification of words. He knows perfectly well that if their meaning was confined to the customary one he would have no power to subvert the sound doctrine; but that if such terms are perverted from their common and current acceptation, he will be able to spoil the doctrine along with the word. For instance (to come to the actual words which he misuses), if, according to the common thinking of our Faith be had allowed that God was to be called Ungenerate only because He was never generated, the whole fabric of his heresy would have collapsed, with the withdrawal of his quibbling about this Ungenerate. If, that is, he was to be persuaded, by following out the analogy of almost all the names of God in use for the Church, to think of the God over all as Ungenerate, just as He is invisible, and passionless, and immaterial; and if he was agreed that in every one of these terms there was signified only that which in no way belongs to God-body, for instance, and passion and colour, and derivation from a cause-then, if his view of the case had been like that, his party's tenet of the Unlikeness would lose its meaning; for in all else (except the Ungeneracy) that is conceived concerning the God of all even these adversaries allow the likeness existing between the Only-begotten and the Father. But to prevent this, he puts the term Ungenerate in front of all these names indicating God's transcendent nature; and he makes this one a vantage-ground from which he may sweep down upon our Faith; he transfers the contrariety between the actual expressions `Generated' and `Ungenerate' to the Persons themselves to whom these words apply; and thereby, by this difference between the words he argues by a quibble for a difference between the Beings; not agreeing with us that Generated is to be used only because the Son was generated, and Ungenerate because the Father exists without having been generated; but affirming that he thinks the former has acquired existence by having been generated; though what sort of philosophy leads him to such a view I cannot understand. If one were to attend to the mere meanings of those words by themselves, abstracting in thought those Persons for whom the names are taken to stand, one would discover the groundlessness of these statements of theirs. Consider, then, not that, in consequence of the Father being a conception prior to the Son (as the Faith truly teaches), the order of the names themselves must be arranged so as to correspond with the value and order of that which underlies them; but regard them alone by themselves, to see which of them (the word, I repeat, not the Reality which it represents) is to be placed before the other as a conception of our mind; which of the two conveys the assertion of an idea, which the negation of the same; for instance (to be clear, I think similar pairs of words will give my meaning), Knowledge, Ignorance-Passion, Passionlessness-and suchlike contrasts, which of them possess priority of conception before the others? Those which posit the negation, or those which posit the assertion of the said quality? I take it the latter do so. Knowledge, anger, passion, are conceived of first; and then comes the negation of these ideas. And let no one, in his excess of devotionhyperlink , blame this argument, as if it would put the Son before the Father. We are not making out that the Son is to be placed in conception before the Father, seeing that the argument is discriminating only the meanings of `Generated,' and `Ungenerate.' So Generation signifies the assertion of some reality or some idea; while Ungeneracy signifies its negation; so that there is every reason that Generation must be thought of first. Why, then, do they insist herein on fixing on the Father the second, in order of conception, of these two names; why do they keep on thinking that a negation can define and can embrace the whole substance of the term in question, and are roused to exasperation against those who point out the groundlessness of their arguments?

§40. His Unsuccessful Attempt to Be Consistent with His Own Statements After Basil Has Conlured Him.

For notice how bitter he is against one who did detect the rottenness and weakness of his work of mischief; how he revenges himself all he can, and that is only by abuse and vilification: in these, however, he possesses abundant ability. Those who would give elegance of style to a discourse have a way of filling out the places that want rhythm with certain conjunctive particleshyperlink , whereby they introduce more euphony and connexion into the assembly of their phrases; so does Eunomius garnish his work with abusive epithets in most of his passages, as though he wished to make a display of this overflowing power of invective. Again we are `fools,' again we `fail in correct reasoning,' and `meddle in the controversy without the preparation which its importance requires,' and `miss the speaker's meaning.' Such, and still more than these, are the phrases used of our Master by this decorous orator. But perhaps after all there is good reason in his anger; and this pamphleteer is justly indignant. For why should Basil have stung him by thus exposing the weakness of this teaching of his? Why should he have uncovered to the sight of the simpler brethren the blasphemy veiled beneath his plausible sophistries? Why should he not have let silence cover the unsoundness of this view? Why gibbet the wretched man, when he ought to have pitied him, and kept the veil over the indecency of his argument? He actually finds out and makes a spectacle of one who has somehow got to be admired amongst his private pupils for cleverness and shrewdness! Eunomius had said somewhere in his works that the attribute of being ungenerate "follows" the deity. Our Master remarked upon this phrase of his that a thing which "follows" must be amongst the externals, whereas the actual Being is not one of these, but indicates the very existence of anything, so far as it does exist. Then this gentle yet unconquerable opponent is furious, and pours along a copious stream of invective, because our Master, on hearing that phrase, apprehended the sense of it as well. But what did he do wrong, if he firmly insisted only upon the meaning of your own writings. If indeed he had seized illogically on what was said, all that you say would be true, and we should have to ignore what he did; but seeing that you are blushing at his reproof, why do you not erase the word from your pamphlet, instead of abusing the reprover? 'Yes, but he did not understand the drift of the argument. Well, how do we do wrong, if being human, we guessed at the meaning from your actual words, having no comprehension of that which was buried in your heart? It is for God to see the inscrutable, and to inspect the characters of that which we have no means of comprehending, and to be cognizant of unlikenesshyperlink in the invisible world. We can only judge by what we hear.

§41. The Thing that Follows is Not the Same as the Thing that It Follows.

He first says, "the attribute of being ungenerate follows the Deity." By that we understood him to mean that this Ungeneracy is one of the things external to God. Then he says, "Or rather this Ungeneracy is His actual being." We fail to understand the `sequitur' of this; we notice in fact something very queer and incongruous about it. If Ungeneracy follows God, and yet also constitutes His being, two beings will be attributed to one and the same subject in this view; so that God will be in the same way as He was before and has always been believed to behyperlink , but besides that will have another being accompanying, which they style Ungeneracy, quite distinct from Him Whose `following' it is, as our Master puts it. Well, if he commands us to think so, he must pardon our poverty of ideas, in not being able to follow out such subtle speculations.

But if he disowns this view, and does not admit a double being in the Deity, one represented by the godhead, the other by the ungeneracy, let our friend, who is himself neither `rash' nor `malignant,' prevail upon himself not to be over partial to invective while these combats for the truth are being fought, but to explain to us, who are so wanting in culture, how that which follows is not one thing and that which leads another, but bow both coalesce into one; for, in spite of what he says in defence of his statement, the absurdity of it remains; and the addition of that handful of wordshyperlink does not correct, as he asserts, the contradiction in it. I have not yet been able to see that any explanation at all is discoverable in them. But we will give what he has written verbatim. "We say, 'or rather the Ungeneracy is His actual beinghyperlink without meaning to contract into the beings that which we have proved to follow it, but applying `follow' to the title, but is to the being." Accordingly when these things are taken together, the whole resulting argument would be, that the title Ungenerate follows, because to be Ugenerate is His actual being. But what expounder of this expounding shall we get? He says "without meaning to contract into the being that which we have proved to follow it." Perhaps some of the guessers of riddles might tell us that by `contract into' he means `fastening together.' But who can see anything intelligible or coherent in the rest? The results of `following' belong, he tells us, not to the being, but to the title. But, most learned sir, what is the title? Is it in discord with the being, or does it not rather coincide with it in the thinking? If the title is inappropriate to the being, then how can the being be represented by the title; but if, as he himself phrases it, the being is fittingly defined by the title of Ungenerate, how can there be any parting of them after that? You make the name of the being follow one thing and the being itself another. And what then is the `construction of the entire view?' "The title Ungenerate follows God, seeing that He Himself is Ungenerate." He says that there `follows' God, Who is something oilier than that which is Ungenerate, this very title. Then how can he place the definition of Godhead within the Ungeneracy? Again, he says that this title `follows' God as existing without a previous generation. Who will solve us the mystery of such riddles? `Ungenerate' preceding and then following; first a fittingly attached title of the being, and then following like a stranger! What, too, is the cause or this excessive flutter about this name; he gives to it the whole contents of godheadhyperlink ; as if there will be nothing wanting in our adoration, if God be so named; and as if the whole system of our faith will be endangered, if He is not? Now, if a brief statement about this should not be deemed superfluous and irrelevant, we will thus explain the matter.

§42. Explanation of `Ungenerate,' And a `Study' Of Eternity.

The eternity of God's life, to sketch it in mere outline, is on this wise. He is always to be apprehended as in existence; He admits not a time when He was not, and when He will not be. Those who draw a circular figure in plane geometry from a centre to the distance of the line of circumference tell us there is no definite beginning totheir figure; and that the line is interrupted by no ascertained end any more than by any visible commencement: they say that, as itforms a single whole in itself with equal radii on all sides, it avoids giving any indication of beginning or ending. When, then, we compare the Infinite being to such a figure, circumscribed though it be, let none find fault with this account; for it is not on the circumference, but on the similarity which the figure bears to the Life which in every direction eludes the grasp, that we fix our attention when we affirm that such is our intuition of the Eternal. From the present instant, as from a centre and a "point," we extend thought in all directions, to the immensity of that Life. We find that we are drawn round uninterruptedly and evenly, and that we are always following a circumference where there is nothing to grasp; we find the divine life returning upon itself in an unbroken continuity, where no end and no parts can be recognized. Of God's eternity we say that which we have heard from prophecyhyperlink ; viz.. that God is a king "of old," and rules for ages, and for ever, and beyond. Therefore we define Him to be earlier than any beginning, and exceeding any end. Entertaining, then, this idea of the Almighty, as one that is adequate, we express it by two titles; i.e., `Ungenerate' and `Endless' represent this infinitude and continuity and ever-lastingness of the Deity. If we adopted only one of them for our idea, and if the remaining one was dropped, our meaning would be marred by this omission; for it is impossible with either one of them singlyhyperlink to express the notion residing in each of the two; but when one speaks of the `endless,' only the absence as regards an end has been indicated, and it does not follow that any hint has been given about a beginning; while, when one speaks of the `Unoriginatehyperlink ,' the fact of being beyond a beginning has been expressed, but the case as regards an end has been left quite doubtful.

Seeing, then, that these two titles equally help to express the eternity of the divine life, it is high time to inquire why our friends cut in two the complete meaning of this eternity, and declare that the one meaning, which is the negation of beginning, constitutes God's being (instead of merely forming part of the definition of eternityhyperlink ), while they consider the other, which is the negation of end, as amongst the externals of that being. It is difficult to see the reason for thus assigning the negation of beginning to the realm of being, while they banish the negation of end outside that realm. The two are our conceptions of the same thing; and, therefore, either both should be admitted to the definition of being, or, if the one is to be judged inadmissible, the other should be rejected also. If, however, they are determined thus to divide the thought of eternity, and to make the one fall within the realm of that being, and to reckon the other with the non-realities of Deity (for the thoughts which they adopt on this subject are grovelling, and, like birds who have shed their feathers, they are unable to soar into the sublimities of theology), I would advise them to reverse their teaching, and to count the unending as being, overlooking the unoriginate rather, and assigning the palm to that which is future and excites hope, rather than to that which is past and stale. Seeing, I say (and I speak thus owing to their narrowness of spirit, and lower the discussion to the level of a child's conception), the past period of his life is nothing to him who has lived it, and all his interest is centred on the future and on that which can be looked forward to, that which has no end will have more value than that which has no beginning. So let our thoughts upon the divine nature be worthy and exalted ones; or else, if they are going to judge of it according to human tests, let the future be more valued by them than the past, and let them confine the being of the Deity to that, since time's lapse sweeps away with it all existence in the past, whereas expected existence gains substance from our hopehyperlink .

Now I broach these ridiculously childish suggestions as to children sitting in the market-place and playinghyperlink ; for when one looks into the grovelling earthliness of their heretical teaching it is impossible to help falling into a sort of sportive childishness. It would be right, however, to add this to what we have said, viz., that, as the idea of eternity is completed only by means of both (as we have already argued), by the negation of a beginning and also by that of an end, if they confine God's being to the one, their definition of this being will be manifestly imperfect and curtailed by half; it is thought of only by the absence of beginning, and does not contain the absence of end within itself as an essential element. But if they do combine both negations, and so complete their definition of the being of God, observe, again, the absurdity that is at once apparent in this view; it will be found, after all their efforts, to be at variance not only with the Only-begotten, but with itself. The case is clear and does not require much dwelling upon. The idea of a beginning and the idea of an end are opposed each to each; the meanings of each differ as widely as the other diametric oppositionshyperlink , where there is no half-way proposition belowhyperlink . If any one is asked to define `beginning,' he will not give a definition the same as that of end; but will carry his definition of it to the opposite extremity. Therefore also the two contrarieshyperlink of these will be separated from each other by the same distance of opposition; and that which is without beginning, being contrary to that which is to be seen by a beginning, will be a very different thing from that which is endless, or the negation of end. If, then, they import both these attributes into the being of God, I mean the negations of end and of beginning, they will exhibit this Deity of theirs as a combination of two contradictory and discordant things, because the contrary ideas to beginning and end reproduce on their side also tile contradiction existing between beginning and end. Contraries of contradictories are themselves contradictory of each other. In fact, it is always a true axiom, that two things which are naturally opposed to two things mutually opposite are themselves opposed to each other; as we may see by example. Water is opposed to fire; therefore also the forces destructive of these are opposed to each other; if moistness is apt to extinguish fire, and dryness is apt to destroy water, the opposition of fire to water is continued in those qualities themselves which are contrary to them; so that dryness is plainly opposed to moistness. Thus, when beginning and end have to be placed (diametrically) opposite each otherhyperlink , the terms contrary to these also contradict each other in their meaning, I mean, the negations of end and of beginning. Well, then, if they determine that one only of these negations is indicative of the being (to repeat my former assertion), they will bear evidence to half only of God's existence, confining it to the absence of beginning, and refusing to extend it to the absence of end; whereas, if they import both into their definition of it, they will actually exhibit it so as a combination of contradictions in the way that has been said; for these two negations of beginning and of end, by virtue of the contradiction existing between beginning and end, will part it asunder. So their Deity will be found to be a sort of patchwork compound, a conglomerate of contradictions.

But there is not, neither shall there be, in the Church of God a teaching such as that, which can make One who is single and incomposite not only multiform and patchwork, but also the combination of opposites. The simplicity of the True Faith assumes God to be that which He is, viz., incapable of being grasped by any term, or any idea, or any other device of our apprehension, remaining beyond the reach not only of the human but of the angelic and of all supramundane intelligence, unthinkable, unutterable, above all expression in words, having but one name that can represent His proper nature, the single name of being `Above every namehyperlink '; which is granted to the Only-begotten also, because "all that the Father hath is the Son's." The orthodox theory allows these words, I mean "Ungen-crate," "Endless," to be indicative of God's eternity, but not of His being; so that "Ungenerate" means that no source or cause lies beyond Him, and "Endless" means that His kingdom will be brought to a standstill in no end. "Thou art the same," the prophet says, "and Thy years shall not failhyperlink ," showing by "art" that He subsists out of no cause, and by the words following, that the blessedness of His life is ceaseless and unending.

But, perhaps, some one amongst even very religious people will pause over these investigations of ours upon God's eternity, and say that it will be difficult from what we have said for the Faith in the Only-begotten to escape unhurt. Of two unacceptable doctrines, he will say, our accounthyperlink must inevitably be brought into contact with one. Either we shall make out that the Son is Ungenerate, which is absurd; or else we shall deny Him Eternity altogether, a denial which that fraternity of blasphemers make their specialty. For if Eternity is characterized by having no beginning and end, it is inevitable either that we must be impious and deny the Son Eternity, or that we must be led in our secret thoughts about Him into the idea of Ungeneracy. What, then, shall we answer? That if, in conceiving of the Father before the Son on the single score of causation, we inserted any mark of time before the subsistence of the Only-begotten, the belief which we have in the Son's eternity might with reason be said to be endangered. But, as it is, the Eternal nature, equally in the case of the Father's and the Son's life, and, as well, in what we believe about the Holy Ghost, admits not of the thought that it will ever cease to be; for where time is not, the "when" is annihilated with it. And if the Son, always appearing with the thought of the Father, is always found in the category of existence, what danger is there in owning the Eternity of the Only-begotten, Who "hath neither beginning of days, nor end of lifehyperlink ." For as He is Light from Light, Life from Life, Good from Good, and Wise, Just, Strong, and all else in the same way, so most certainly is He Eternal from Eternal.

But a lover of controversial wrangling catches up the argument, on the ground that such a sequence would make Him Ungenerate from Ungenerate. Let him, however, cool his combative heart, and insist upon the proper expressions, for in confessing His `coming from the Father' he has banished all ideas of Ungeneracy as regards the Only-begotten; and there will be then no danger in pronouncing Him Eternal and yet not Ungenerate. On the one hand, because the existence of the Son is not marked by any intervals of time, and the infinitude of His life flows back before the ages and onward beyond them in an all-pervading tide, He is properly addressed with the title of Eternal; again, on the other hand, because the thought of Him as Son in fact and title gives us the thought of the Father as inalienably joined to it, He thereby stands clear of an ungenerate existence being imputed to Him, while He is always with a Father Who always is, as those inspired words of our Master expressed it, "bound by way of generation to His Father's Ungeneracy." Our account of the Holy Ghost will be the same also; the difference is only in the place assigned in order. For as the Son is bound to the Father, and, while deriving existence from Him, is not substantially after Him, so again the Holy Spirit is in touch with the Only-begotten, Who is conceived of as before the Spirit's subsistence only in the theoretical light of a causehyperlink . Extensions in time find no admittance in the Eternal Life; so that, when we have removed the thought of cause, the Holy Trinity in no single way exhibits discord with itself; and to It is glory due.


153 auto to peplasmenon thj uponoiaj.

154 the parable, i.e. of the Tares. Matthew xiii. 27: cf. v. 52.

155 2 Tim. ii. 20.

156 Heb. vii. 9, Heb. vii. 10; Genesis xiv. 18.

157 John x. 38.

158 Heb. i.

159 Heb i. 3. (wn, not genomenoj).

160 John iv. 57.

161 John iii. 4.

162 cenizei, intrans. N.T. Polyb. Lucian.

163 eqeloqrhskeiaj, "will worship."

164 conjunctive particles, sundesmoi. In Aristotle's Poetics (xx. 6), these are reckoned as one of the 8 `parts of speech.

0' The term sundesmoj is illustrated by the examples men, htoi, dh, which leaves no doubt that it includes at all events conjunctions and particles. Its general character is defined in his Rhetoric iii. 12, 4: "It makes many (sentences) one." Harris (Hermes ii. c. 2), thus defines a conjunction, "A part of speech devoid of signification itself, but so formed as to help signification by making two or more significant sentences to be one significant sentence," a definition which manifestly comes from Aristotle.

The comparison here seems to be between these constantly recurring particles, themselves `devoid of significant,

0' in an `elegant

0' discourse, and the perpetually used epithets, "fools," &c., which, though utterly meaningless, serve to connect his dislocated paragraphs. The `assembly

0' (sunacij, always of the synagogue or the Communion. See Suicer) of his words is brought, it is ironically implied, into some sort of harmony by these means.

165 A hit at the Anomooeans. `Your subtle distinctions, in the invinsible world of your own mind, between the meanings of "following" are like the unlikenesses which you see between the Three Persons.


166 wj einai men ton Qeon kata tauton wj einai pote (infinitive by attraction to preceding) kai einai pepisteutai.

167 euariqmhtwn rhmatwn. But it is possible that the true reading may be eurufmwn, alluding to the `rhythm

0' in the form of abuse with which Eunomius connected his arguments (preceding section).

168 ouk eij to einai suairountej.

169 He gives to it the whole contents of godhead. It was the central point in Eunomius' system that by the 'Agennhsia we can comprehend the Divine Nature; he trusts entirely to the Aristotelian divisions (logical) and sub-divisions. A mere word (gennhtoj) was thus allowed to destroy the equality of the Son. It was almost inevitable, therefore, that his opponent, as a defender of the Homoousion, should occasionally fall back so far upon Plato, as to maintain that opposites are joined and are identical with each other, i.e. that gennhsij and agennhsia are not truly opposes to each other. Another method of combating this excessive insistence on the physical and logical was, to bring forward the ethical realities; and this Gregory does constantly throughout this treatise. We are to know God by Wisdom, and Truth, and Righteousness. Only occasionally (as in the next section) does he speak of the `eternity

0' of God: and here only because Eunomius has obliged him, and in order to show that the idea is made up of two negations, and nothing more.

170 from prophecy. Psalm x. 16. Basileusei Kurioj eij ton aiwna, kai eij ton aiwna tou aiwnoj: Psalm xxix. 10. kaqieitai Kurioj Basileuj eij ton aiwna: Psalm lxxiv. 12. 'O de qeoj basileuj hmwn pro aiwnoj.

171 enoj tinoj toutwn.

172 anarxon.

173 ou peri to aidion qewreisqai.

174 Cf. Heb. xi. 1, of faith, elpizomenwn upostasisj pragmatwn.

175 Luke vii. 32.

176 kata diametron allhloij antikeimenwn, i.e. Contradictories in Logic.

177 As in A or E, both of which have the Particular below them (I or O) as a half-way to the contrary Universal. Thus-


All men are mortal.



Some men are mortal.



No men are mortal.


No men are mortal. Some men are not mortal. All men are mortal. But between A and O, E and I, there is no half-way.

178 Beginning (Contraries) Beginningless.

Endless (Contraries) Ending.

179 upenantiwj diakeimenwn. The same term has been used to express the opposition between Ungenerate and Generated: so that it means both Oppositions, i.e. Contraries and Contradictories.

180 Philip. ii. 9. onoma to uper pan onoma.

181 Psalm cii. 27.

182 Adopting o logoj from the Venice Cod. (e/i pantwj o logoj sunenexqhsetai). The verb cannot be impersonal: and tij above, the only available nominative, does not suit the sense very well.

Gregory constructs this scheme of Opposition after the analogy of Logical Opposition. Beginning is not so opposed to Beginning-less, as it is to Ending, because with the latter there is no half-way, i.e. no word of definition in common.

183 Heb. vii. 3.

184 ton thj aitiaj logon. This is much more probably the meaning, because of before above, than "on the score of the different kind of causation" (Non omne quod procedat nascitur, quamvis omne procedat quod nascitur. S. August.). It is a direct testimony to the `Filioque

0' belief. "The Spirit comes forth with the Word, not begotten with Him, but being with and accompanying and proceeding from Him." Theodoret. Serra. II.