Church Fathers: Post-Nicene Fathers Vol 05: 25.01.11 Book II Part 2

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Church Fathers: Post-Nicene Fathers Vol 05: 25.01.11 Book II Part 2

TOPIC: Post-Nicene Fathers Vol 05 (Other Topics in this Collection)
SUBJECT: 25.01.11 Book II Part 2

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§7. Gregory Further Shows that the Only-Begotten Being Begotten Not Only of the Father, But Also Impassibly of the Virgin by the Holy Ghost, Does Not Divide the Substance; Seeing that Neither is the Nature of Then Divided or Severed from the Parents by Being Begotten, as is Ingeniously Demonstrated from the Instances of Adam and Abraham.

And now let us see what he adds to his previous statements. "Not dividing," he says, "His own essence by begetting, and being at once begetter and begotten, at the same time Father and Son; for He is incorruptible." Of such a kind as this, perhaps, is that of which the prophet says, touching the ungodly, "They weave a spider's webhyperlink ." For as in the cobweb there is the appearance of something woven, but no substantiality in the appearance, -for he who touches it touches nothing substantial, as the spider's threads break with the touch of a finger,-just such is the unsubstantial texture of idle phrases. "Not dividing His own essence by begetting and being at once begetter and begotten." Ought we to give his words the name of argument, or to call them rather a swelling of humours secreted by some dropsical inflation? For what is the sense of "dividing His own essence by begetting, and being at once begetter and begotten?" Who is so distracted, who is so demented, as to make the statement against which Eunomius thinks he is doing battle? For the Church believes that the true Father is truly Father of His own Son, as the Apostle says, not of a Son alien from Him. For thus he declares in one of his Epistles, "Who spared not His own Sonhyperlink ," distinguishing Him, by the addition of "own," from those who are counted worthy of the adoption of sons by grace and not by nature. But what says He who disparages this belief of ours? "Not dividing His own essence by begetting, or being at once begetter and begotten, at the same time Father and Son; for He is incorruptible." Does one who hears in the Gospel that the Word was in the beginning, and was God, and that the Word came forth from the Father, so befoul the undefiled doctrine with these base and fetid ideas, saying "He does not divide His essence by begetting?" Shame on the abomination of these base and filthy notions! How is it that he who speaks thus fails to understand that God when manifested in flesh did not admit for the formation of His own body the conditions of humannature, but was born for us a Child by the Holy Ghost and the power of the Highest; nor was the Virgin subject to those conditions, nor was the Spirit diminished, nor the power of the Highest divided? For the Spirit is entire, the power of the Highest remained undiminished: the Child was born in the fulness of our naturehyperlink , and did not sully the incorruption of His mother. Then was flesh born of flesh without carnal passion: yet Eunomius will not admit that the brightness of the glory is from the glory itself, since the glory is neither diminished nor divided by begetting the light. Again, the word of man is generated from his mind without division, but God the Word cannot be generated from the Father without the essence of the Father being divided! Is any one so witless as not to perceive the irrational character of his position? "Not dividing," quoth he, "His own essence by begetting." Why, whose own essence is divided by begetting? For in the case of men essence means human nature: in the case of brutes, it means, generically, brute nature, but in the case of cattle, sheep, and all brute animals, specifically, it is regarded according to the distinctions of their kinds. Which, then, of these divides its own essence by the process of generation? Does not the nature always remain undiminished in the case of every animal by the succession of its posterity? Further a man in begetting a man from himself does not divide his nature, but it remains in its fulness alike in him who begets and in him who is begotten, not split off and transferred from the one to the other, nor mutilated in the one when it is fully formed in the other, but at once existing in its entirety in the former and discoverable in its entirety in the latter. For both before begetting his child the man was a rational animal, mortal, capable of intelligence and knowledge, and also after begetting a man endowed with such qualities: so that in him are shown all the special properties of his nature; as he does not lose his existence as a man by begetting the man derived from him, but remains after that event what he was before without causing any diminution of the nature derived from him by the fact that the man derived from him comes into being.

Well, man is begotten of man, and the nature of the begetter is not divided. Yet Eunomius does not admit that the Only-begotten God, Who is in the bosom of the Father, is truly of the Father, for fear forsooth, lest he should mutilate the inviolable nature of the Father by the subsistence of the Only-begotten: but after saying "Not dividing His essence by begetting," be adds, "Or being Himself begetter and begotten, or Himself becoming Father and Sonhyperlink ," and thinks by such loose disjointed phrases to undermine the true confession of godliness or to furnish some support to his own ungodliness, not being aware that by the very means he uses to construct a reductio ad absurdum he is discovered to be an advocate of the truth. For we too say that He who has all that belongs to His own Father is all that He is, save being Father, and that He who has all that belongs to the Son exhibits in Himself the Son in His completeness, save being Son: so that the reductio ad absurdum, which Eunomius here invents, turns out to be a support of the truth, when the notion is expanded by us so as to display it more clearly, under the guidance of the Gospel. For if "he that hath seen the Son seeth the Fatherhyperlink " then the Father begat another self, not passing out of Himself, and at the same time appearing in His fulness in Him: so that from these considerations that which seemed to have been uttered against godliness is demonstrated to be a support of sound doctrine.

But he says, "Not dividing His own essence by begetting, and being at once begetter and begotten, at the same time Father and Son; for He is incorruptible." Most cogent conclusion! What do you mean, most sapient sir? Because He is incorruptible, therefore He does not divide His own essence by begetting the Son: nor does He beget Himself or be begotten of Himself, nor become at the same time His own Father and His own Son because He is incorruptible. It follows then, that if any one is of corruptible nature he divides his essence by begetting, and is begotten by himself, and begets himself, and is his own father and his own son, because he is not incorruptible. If this is so, then Abraham, because he was corruptible, did not beget Ishmael and Isaac, but begat himself by the bondwoman and by his lawful wife or, to take the other mountebank tricks of the argument, he divided his essence among the sons who were begotten of him, and first, when Hagar bore him a son, he was divided into two sections, and in one of the halves became Ishmael, while in the other he remained half Abraham; and subsequently the residue of the essence of Abraham being again divided took subsistence in Isaac. Accordingly the fourth part of the essence of Abraham was divided into the twin sons of Isaac, so that there was an eighth in each of his grandchildren! How could one subdivide the eighth part, cutting it small in fractions among the twelve Patriarchs, or among the threescore and fifteen souls with whom Jacob went down into Egypt? And why do I talk thus when I really ought to confute the folly of such notions by beginning with the first man? For if it is a property of the incorruptible only not to divide its essence in begetting, and ifAdam was corruptible, to whom the word was spoken, "Dust thou art and unto dust shalt thou returnhyperlink ," then, according to Eunomius' reasoning, he certainly divided his essence, being cut up among those who were begotten of him, and by reason of the vast number of his posterity (the slice of his essence which is to be found in each being necessarily subdivided according to the number of his progeny), the essence of Adam is used up before Abraham began to subsist, being dispersed in these minute and infinitesimal particles among the countless myriads of his descendants, and the minute fragment of Adam that has reached Abraham and his descendants by a process of division, is no longer discoverable in them as a remnant of his essence, inasmuch as his nature has been already used up among the countless myriads of those who were before them by its division into infinitesimal fractions. Mark the folly of him who "understands neither what he says nor whereof he affirmshyperlink ." For by saying "Since He is incorruptible" He neither divides His essence nor begets Himself nor becomes His own father, he implicitly lays it down that we must suppose all those things from which he affirms that the incorruptible alone are free to be incidental to generation in the case of every one who is subject to corruption. Though there are many other considerations capable of proving the inanity of his argument, I think that what has been said above is sufficient to demonstrate its absurdity. But this has surely been already acknowledged by all who have an eye for logical consistency, that, when he asserted incorruptibility of the Father alone, he places all things which are considered after the Father in the category of corruptible, by virtue of opposition to the incorruptible, so as to make out even the Son not to be free from corruption. If then he places the Son in opposition to the incorruptible, he not only defines Him to be corruptible, but also asserts of Him all those incidents from which he affirms only the incorruptible to be exempt. For it necessarily follows that, if the Father alone neither begets Himself nor is begotten of Himself, everything which is not incorruptible both begets itself and is begotten of itself, and becomes its own father and son, shifting from its own proper essence to each of these relations. For if to be incorruptible belongs to the Father alone, and if not to be the things specified is a special property of the incorruptible, then, of course, according to this heretical argument, the Son is not incorruptible, and all these circumstances of course, find place about Him,-to have His essence divided, to beget Himself and to be begotten by Himself, to become Himself His own father and His own son.

Perhaps, however, it is waste of time to linger long over such follies. Let us pass to the next point of his statement. He adds to what he had already said, "Not standing in need, in the act of creation, of matter or parts or natural instruments: for He stands in need of nothing." This proposition, though Eunomius states it with a certain looseness of phrase, we yet do not reject as inconsistent with godly doctrine. For learning as we do that "He spake the word and they were made: He commanded and they were createdhyperlink ,"we know that the Word is the Creator of matter, by that very act also producing with the matter the qualitiesof matter, so that for Him the impulse of Hisalmighty will was everything and instead of everything, matter, instrument, place, time, essence, quality, everything that is conceived in creation. For at one and the same time did He will that that which ought to be should be, and His power, that produced all things that are, kept pace with His will, turning His will into act. For thus the mighty Moses in the record of creation instructs us about the Divine power, ascribing the production of each of the objects that were manifested in the creation to the words that bade them be. For "God said," he tells us, "Let there be light, and there was lighthyperlink :" and so about the rest, without any mention either of matter or of any instrumental agency. Accordingly the language of Eunomius on this point is not to be rejected. For God, when creating all things that have their origin by creation, neither stood in need of any matter on which to operate, nor of instruments to aid Him in His construction: for the power and wisdom of God has no need of any external assistance. But Christ is "the Power of God and the Wisdom of Godhyperlink ," by Whom all things were made and without Whom is no existent thing, as John testifieshyperlink . If, then, all things were made by Him, both visible and invisible, and if His will alone suffices to effect the subsistence of existing things (for His will is power), Eunomius utters our doctrine though with a loose mode of expressionhyperlink . For what instrument and what matter could He Who upholds all thinsg by the word of His powerhyperlink need in upholding the constitution of existing things by His almighty word? But if he maintains that what we have believed to be true of the Only-begotten in the case of the creation, is true also in the case of the Son -in the sense that the Father created Him in like manner as the creation was made by the Son,-then we retract our former statement, because such a supposition is a denial of the Godhead of the Only-begotten. For we have learnt from the mighty utterance of Paul that it is the distinguishing feature of idolatry to worship and serve the creature more than the Creatorhyperlink , as well as from David, when He says "There shall no new God be in thee: neither shalt thou worship any alien Godhyperlink ." We use this line and rule to arrive at the discernment of the object of worship, so as to be convinced that that alone is God which is neither "new" nor "alien." Since then we have been taught to believe that the Only-begotten God is God, we acknowledge, by our belief that He is God, that He is neither "new" or "alien." If, then, He is God, He is not "new," and if He is not new, He is assuredly eternal. Accordingly, neither is the Eternal "new," nor is He Who is of the Father and in the bosom of the Father and Who has the Father in Himself "alien" from true Deity. Thus he who severs the Son from the nature of the Father either absolutely disallows the worship of the Son, that he may not worship an alien God, or bows down before an idol, making a creature and not God the object of his worship, and giving to his idol the name of Christ.

Now that this is the meaning to which he tends in his conception concerning the Only-begotten will become more plain by considering the language he employs touching the Only-begotten Himself, which is as follows. "We believe also in the Son of God, the Only-begotten God, the first-born of all creation, very Son, not ungenerate, verily begotten before the worlds, named Son not without being begotten before He existed, coming into being before all creation, not un-create." I think that the mere reading of his exposition of his faith is quite sufficient to render its impiety plain without any investigation on our part. For though he calls Him "first-born," yet that he may not raise any doubt in his readers' minds as to His not being created, he immediately adds the words, "not uncreate," lest if the natural significance of the term "Son" were apprehended by his readers, any pious conception concerning Him might find place in their minds. It is for this reason that after at first confessing Him to be Son of God and Only-begotten God, he proceeds at once, by what he adds, to pervert the minds of his readers from their devout belief to his heretical notions. For he who hears the titles "Son of God" and "Only-begotten God" is of necessity lifted up to the loftier kind of assertions respecting the Son, led onward by the significance of these terms, inasmuch as no difference of nature is introduced by the use of the title "God" and by the significance of the term "Son." For how could He Who is truly the Son of God and Himself God be conceived as something else differing from the nature of the Father? But that godly conceptions may not by these names be impressed beforehand on the hearts of his readers, he forthwith calls Him "the first-born of all creation, named Son, not without being begotten before He existed, coming into being before all creation, not uncreate." Let us linger a little while, then, over his argument, that the miscreant may be shown to be holding out his first statements to people merely as a bait to induce them to receive the poison that he sugars over with phrases of a pious tendency, as it were with honey. Who does not know how great is the difference in signification between. the term "only-begotten" and "first-born?" For "first-born" implies brethren, and "only-begotten" implies that there are no other brethren. Thus the "first-born" is not "only-begotten," for certainly "first-born" is the first-born among brethren, while he who is "only-begotten" has no brother: for if he were numbered among brethren he would not be only-begotten. And moreover, whatever the essence of the brothers of the first-born is, the same is the essence of the first-born himself. Nor is this all that is signified by the title, but also that the first-born and those born after him draw their being from the same source, without the first born contributing at all to the birth of those that come after him: so that herebyhyperlink is maintained the falsehood of that statement of John, which affirms that "all things were made by Himhyperlink ." For if He is first-born, He differs from those born after Him only by priority in time, while there must be some one else by Whom the power to be at all is imparted alike to Him and to the rest. But that we may not by our objections give any unfair opponent ground for an insinuation that we do not receive the inspired utterances of Scripture, we will first set before our readers our own view about these titles, and then leave it to their judgment which is the better.

§8. He Further Very Appositely Expounds the Meaning of the Term "Only-Begotten," And of the Term "First Born," Four Times Used by the Apostle.

The mighty Paul, knowing that the Only-begotten God, Who has the pre-eminence in all thingshyperlink , is the author and cause of all good, bears witness to Him that not only was the creation of all existent things wrought by Him, but that when the original creation of man had decayed and vanished awayhyperlink , to use his own language, and another new creation was wrought in Christ, in this too no other than He took the lead, but He is Himself the first-born of all that new creation of men which is effected by the Gospel. And that our view about this may be made clearer let us thus divide our argument. The inspired apostle on four occasions employs this term, once as here, calling Him, "first-born of all creationhyperlink ," another time, "the first-born among many brethrenhyperlink ," again, "first-born from the deadhyperlink ," and on another occasion he employs the term absolutely, without combining it with other words, saying, "But when again He bringeth the first-born into the world, He saith, And let all the angels of God worship Himhyperlink ." Accordingly whatever view we entertain concerning this title in the other combinations, the same we shall in consistency apply to the phrase "first-born of all creation." For since the title is one and the same it must needs be that the meaning conveyed is also one. In what sense then does He become "the first-born among many brethren?" in what sense does He become "the first-born from the dead?" Assuredly this is plain, that because we are by birth flesh and blood, as the Scripture saith, "He Who for our sakes was born among us and was partaker of flesh and bloodhyperlink ," purposing to change us from corruption to incorruption by the birth from above, the birth by water and the Spirit, Himself led the way in this birth, drawing down upon the water, by His own baptism, the Holy Spirit; so that in all things He became the first-born of those who are spiritually born again, and gave the name of brethren to those who partook in a birth like to His own by water and the Spirit. But since it was also meet that He should implant in our nature the power of rising again from the dead, He becomes the "first-fruits of them that slepthyperlink " and the "first-born from the deadhyperlink ," in that He first by His own act loosed the pains of deathhyperlink , so that His new birth from the dead was made a way for us also, since the pains of death, wherein we were held, were loosed by the resurrection of the Lord. Thus, just as by having shared in the washing of regenerationhyperlink He became "the first-born among many brethren," and again by having made Himself the first-fruits of the resurrection, He obtains the name of the "first-born from the dead," so having in all things the pre-eminence, after that "all old things," as the apostle says, "have passed awayhyperlink ," He becomes the first-born of the new creation of men in Christ by the two-fold regeneration, alike that by Holy Baptism and that which is the consequence of the resurrection from the dead, becoming for us in both alike the Prince of Lifehyperlink , the first-fruits, the first-born. This first-born, then, hath also brethren, concerning whom He speaks to Mary, saying, "Go and tell My brethren, I go to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your Godhyperlink ." In these words He sums up the whole aim of His dispensation as Man. For men revolted front God, and "served them which by nature were no godshyperlink ," and though being the children of God became attached to an evil father falsely so called. For this cause the mediator between God and manhyperlink having assumed the first-fruits of all human naturehyperlink , sends to His brethren the announcement of Himself not in His divine character, but in that which He shares with us, saying, "I am departing in order to make by My own self that true Father, from whom you were separated, to be your Father, and by My own self to make that true God from whom you had revolted to be your God, for by that first-fruits which I have assumed, I am in Myself presenting all humanity to its God and Father."

Since, then, the first-fruits made the true God to be its God, and the good Father to be its Father, the blessing is secured for human nature as a whole, and by means of the first-fruits the true God and Father becomes Father and God of all men. Now "if the first-fruits be holy, the lump also is holyhyperlink ." But where the first-fruits, Christ, is (and the first-fruits is none other than Christ), there also are they that are Christ's, as the apostle says. In those passages therefore where he makes mention of the "first-born" in connexion with other words, he suggests that we should understand the phrase in the way which I have indicated: but where, without any such addition, he says, "When again He bringeth the first-born into the worldhyperlink ," the addition of "again" asserts that manifestation of the Lord of all which shall take place at the last day. For as "at the name of Jesus every knee doth bow, of thingsin heaven and things in earth and things under the earthhyperlink ," although the human name does not belong to the Son in that He is above every name, even so He says that the First-born, Who was so named for our sakes, is worshipped by all the supramundane creation, on His coming again into the world, when He "shall judge the world with righteousness and the people with equityhyperlink ." Thus the several meanings of the titles "First-born" and "Only begotten" are kept distinct by the word of godliness, its respective significance being secured for each name. But how can he who refers the name of "first-born" to the pre-temporal existence of the Son preserve the proper sense of the term "Only-begotten"? Let the discerning reader consider whether these things agree with one another, when the term "first-born" necessarily implies brethren, and the term "Only-begotten" as necessarily excludes the notion of brethren. For when the Scripture says, "In the beginning was the Wordhyperlink ," we understand the Only-begotten to be meant, and when it adds "the Word was made fleshhyperlink " we thereby receive in our minds the idea of the first-born, and so the word of godliness remains without confusion, preserving to each name its natural significance, so that in "Only-begotten" we regard the pre-temporal, and by "the first-born of creation" the manifestation of the pre-temporal in the flesh.

§9. Gregory Again Discusses the Generation of the Only-Begotten, and Other Different Modes of Generation, Material and Immaterial, and Nobly Demonstrates that the Son is the Brightness of the Divine Glory, and Not a Creature.

And now let us return once more to the precise statement of Eunomius. "We believe also in the Son of God, the only begotten God, the first-born of all creation, very Son, not Un-generate, verily begotten before the worlds." That he transfers, then, the sense of generation to indicate creation is plain from his expressly calling Him created, when he speaks of Him as "coming into being" and "not uncreate". But that the inconsiderate rashness and want of training which shows itself in the doctrines may be made manifest, let us omit all expressions of indignation at his evident blasphemy, and employ in the discussion of this matter a scientific division. For it would be well, I think, to consider in a somewhat careful investigation the exact meaning of the term "generation." That this expression conveys the meaning of existing as the result of some cause is plain to all, and I suppose there is no need to contend about this point: but since there are different modes of existing as the result of a cause, this difference is what I think ought to receive thorough explanation in our discussion by means of scientific division. Of things which have come into being as the results of some cause we recognize the following differences. Some are the result of material and art, as the fabrics of houses and all other works produced by means of their respective material, where some art gives direction and conducts its purpose to its proper aim. Others are the result of material and nature; for nature ordershyperlink the generation of animals one from another, effecting her own work by means of the material subsistence in the bodies of the parents; others again are by material efflux. In these the original remains as it was before, and that which flows from it is contemplated by itself, as in the case of the sun and its beam, or the lamp and its radiance, or of scents and ointments, and the quality given off from them. For these, while remaining undiminished in themselves, have each accompanying them the special and peculiar effect which they naturally produce, as the sun his ray, the lamp its brightness, and perfumes the fragrance which they engender in the air. There is also another kind of generation besides these, where the cause is immaterial and incorporeal, but the generation is sensible and takes place through the instrumentality of the body; I mean the generation of the word by the mind. For the mind being in itself incorporeal begets the word by means of sensible instruments. So many are the differences of the term generation, which we discover in a philosophic view of them, that is itself, so to speak, the result of generation.

And now that we have thus distinguished the various modes of generation, it will be time to remark how the benevolent dispensation of the Holy Spirit, in delivering to us the Divine mysteries, imparts that instruction which transcends reason by such methods as we can receive. For the inspired teaching adopts, in order to set forth the unspeakable power of God, all the forms of generation that human intelligence recognizes, yet without including the corporeal senses attaching to the words. For when it speaks of the creative power, it gives to such an energy the name of generation, because its expression must stoop to our low capacity; it does not, however, convey thereby all that we include in creative generation, as time, place, the furnishing of matter, the fitness of instruments, the design in the things that come into being, but it leaves these, and asserts of God in lofty and magnificentlanguage the creation of all existent things, when it says, "He spake the word and theywere madehyperlink , He commanded and they were created." Again when it interprets to us the unspeakable and transcendent existence of the Only-begotten from the Father, as the poverty of human intellect is incapable of receiving doctrines which surpass all power of speech and thought, there too it borrows our language and terms Him "Son,"-a name which our usage assigns to those who are born of matter and nature. But just as Scripture, when speaking of generation by creation, does not in the case of God imply that such generation took place by means of any material, affirming that the power of God's will served for material substance, place, time and all such circumstances, even so here too, when using the term Son, it rejects both all else that human nature remarks in generation here below,-I mean affections and dispositions and the co-operation of time, and the necessity of place,-and, above all, matter, without all which natural generation here below does not take place. But when all such material, temporal and localhyperlink existence is excluded from the sense of the term "Son," community of nature alone is left, and for this reason by the title "Son" is declared, concerning the Only-begotten, the close affinity and genuineness of relationship which mark His manifestation from the Father. And since such a kind of generation was not sufficient to implant in us an adequate notion of the ineffable mode of subsistence of the Only-begotten, Scripture avails itself also of the third kind of generation to indicate the doctrine of the Son's Divinity,-that kind, namely, which is the result of material efflux, and speaks of Him as the "brightness of gloryhyperlink ," the "savour of ointmenthyperlink ," the "breath of Godhyperlink ;" illustrations which in the scientific phraseology we have adopted we ordinarily designate as material efflux.

But as in the cases alleged neither the birth of the creation nor the force of the term "Son" admits time, matter, place, or affection, so here too the Scripture employing only the illustration of effulgence and the others that I have mentioned, apart from all material conception, with regard to the Divine fitness of such a mode of generation, shows that we must understand by the significance of this expression, an existence at once derived from and subsisting with the Father. For neither is the figure of breath intended to convey to us the notion of dispersion into the air from the material from which it is formed, nor is the figure of fragrance designed to express the passing off of the quality of the ointment into the air, nor the figure of effulgence the efflux which takes place by means of the rays from the body of the sun: but as has been said in all cases, by such a mode of generation is indicated this alone, that the Son is of the Father and is conceived of along with Him, no interval intervening between the Father and Him Who is of the Father. For since of His exceeding loving-kindness the grace of the Holy Spirit so ordered that the divine conceptions concerning the Only-begotten should reach us from many quarters, and so be implanted in us, He added also the remaining kind of generation,-that, namely, of the word from the mind. And here the sublime John uses remarkable foresight. That the reader might not through inattention and unworthy conceptions sink to the common notion of "word," so as to deem the Son to be merely a voice of the Father, he therefore affirms of the Word that He essentially subsisted in the first and blessed nature Itself, thus proclaiming aloud, "In the Beginning was the Word, and with God, and God, and Light, and Lifehyperlink ," and all that the Beginning is, the Word was also.

Since, then, these kinds of generation, those, I mean, which arise as the result of some cause, and are recognized in our every-day experience, are also employed by Holy Scripture to convey its teaching concerning transcendent mysteries in such wise as each of them may reasonably be transferred to the expression of divine conceptions, we may now proceed to examine Eunomius' statement also, to find in what sense he accepts the meaning of "generation." "Very Son," he says, "not ungenerate, verily begotten before the worlds." One may, I think, pass quickly over the violence done to logical sequence in his distinction, as being easily recognizable by all. For who does not know that while the proper opposition is between Father and Son, between generate and ungenerate, he thus passes over the term "Father" and sets "ungenerate" in opposition to "Son," whereas he ought, if he had any concern for truth, to have avoided diverting his phrase from the due sequence of relationship, and to have said, "Very Son, not Father"? And in this way due regard would have been paid at once to piety and to logical consistency, as the nature would not have been rent asunder in making the distinction between the persons. But he has exchanged in his statement of his faith the true and scriptural use of the term "Father," committed to us by the Word Himself, and speaks of the "Ungenerate" instead of the "Father," in order that by separating Him from that close relationship towards the Son which is naturally conceived of in the title of Father, he may place Him on a common level with all created objects, which equally stand in opposition to the "ungeneratehyperlink ." "Verily begotten," he says, "before the worlds." Let him say of Whom He is begotten. He will answer, of course, "Of the Father," unless he is prepared unblushingly to contradict the truth. But since it is impossible to detach the eternity of the Son from the eternal Father, seeing that the term "Father" by its very signification implies the Son, for this reason it is that he rejects the title Father and shifts his phrase to "ungenerate," since the meaning of this latter name has no sort of relation or connection with the Son, and by thus misleading his readers through the substitution of one term for the other, into not contemplating the Son along with the Father, he opens up a path for his sophistry, paving the way of impiety by slipping in the term "ungenerate." For they who according to the ordinance of the Lord believe in the Father, when they hear the name of the Father, receive the Son along with Him in their thought, as the mind passes from the Son to the Father, without treading on an unsubstantial vacuum interposed between them. But those who are diverted to the title "ungenerate" instead of Father, get a bare notion of this name, learning only the fact that He did not at any time come into being, not that He is Father. Still, even with this mode of conception, the faith of those who read with discernment remains free from confusion. For the expression "not to come into being" is used in an identical sense of all uncreated nature: and Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are equally uncreated. For it has ever been believed by those who follow the Divine word that all the creation, sensible and supramundane, derives its existence from the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. He who has heard that "by the word of the Lord were the heavens made, and all the host of them by the breath of His mouthhyperlink ," neither understands by "word" mere utterance, nor by "breath" mere exhalation, but by what is there said frames the conception of God the Word and of the Spirit of God. Now to create and to be created are not equivalent, but all existent things being divided into that which makes and that which is made, each is different in nature from the other, so that neither is that uncreated which is made, nor is that created which effects the production of the things that are made. By those then who, according to the exposition of the faith given us by our Lord Himself, have believed in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, it is acknowledged that each of these Persons is alike unoriginatehyperlink , and the meaning conveyed by "ungenerate" does no harm to their sound belief: but to those who are dense and indefinite this term serves asa starting-point for deflection from sound doctrine. For not understanding the true force of the term, that "ungenerate" signifies nothing more than "not having come into being," and that "not coming into being" is a common property of all that transcends created nature, they drop their faith in the Father, and substitute for "Father" the phrase "ungenerate:" and since, as has been said, the Personal existence of the Only-begotten is not connoted in this name, they determine the existence of the Son to have commenced from some definite beginning in time, affirming (what Eunomius here adds to his previous statements) that He is called Son not without generation preceding His existence.

What is this vain juggling with words? Is he aware that it is God of Whom he speaks, Who was in the beginning and is in the Father, nor was there any time when He was not? He knows not what he says nor whereof he affirmshyperlink , but he endeavours, as though he were constructing the pedigree of a mere man, to apply to the Lord of all creation the language which properly belongs to our nature here below. For, to take an example, Ishmael was not before the generation that brought him into being, and before his birth there was of course an interval of time. But with Him Who is "the brightness of gloryhyperlink ," "before" and "after" have no place: for before the brightness, of course neither was there any glory, for concurrently with the existence of the glory there assuredly beams forth its brightness; and it is impossible in the nature of things that one should be severed from the other, nor is it possible to see the glory by itself before its brightness. For he who says thus will make out the glory in itself to be darkling and dim, if the brightness from it does not shine out at the same time. But this is the unfair method of the heresy, to endeavour, by the notions and terms employed concerning the Only-begotten God, to displace Him from His oneness with the Father. It is to this end they say, "Before the generation that brought Him into being He was not Son:" but the "sons of ramshyperlink ," of whom the prophet speaks,-are not they too called sons after coming into being? That quality, then, which reason notices in the "sons of rams," that they are not "sons of rams" before the generation which brings them into being,-this our reverend divine now ascribes to the Maker of the worlds and of all creation, Who has the Eternal Father in Himself, and is contemplated in the eternity of the Father, as He Himself says, "I am in the Father, and the Father in Mehyperlink ." Those, however, who are not able to detect the sophistry that lurks in his statement, and are not trained to any sort of logical perception, follow these inconsequent statements and receive what comes next as a logical consequence of what preceded. For he says, "coming into being before all creation," and as though this were not enough to prove his impiety, he has a piece of profanity in reserve in the phrase that follows, when he terms the Son "not uncreate." In what sense then does he call Him Who is not uncreate "very Son"? For if it is meet to call Him Who is not uncreate "very Son," then of course the heaven is "very Son;" for it too is "not uncreate." So the sun too is "very Son," and all that the creation contains, both small and great, are of course entitled to the appellation of "very Son." And in what sense does He call Him Who has come into being "Only-begotten"? For all things that come into being are unquestionably in brotherhood with each other, so far, I mean, as their coming into being is concerned. And from whom did He come into being? For assuredly all things that have ever come into being did so from the Son. For thus did John testify, saying, "All things were made by Himhyperlink ." If then the Son also came into being, according to Eunomius' creed, He is certainly ranked in the class of things which have come into being. If then all things that came into being were made by Him, and the Word is one of the things that came into being, who is so dull as not to draw from these premises the absurd conclusion that our new creed-monger makes out the Lord of creation to have been His own work, in saying in so many words that the Lord and Maker of all creation is "not uncreate"? Let him tell us whence he has this boldness assertion. From what inspired utterance? What evangelist, what apostle ever uttered such words as these? What prophet, what lawgiver, what patriarch, what other person of all who were divinely moved by the Holy Ghost, whose voices are preserved in writing, ever originated such a statement as this? In the tradition of the faith delivered by the Truth we are taught to believe in Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. If it were right to believe that the Son was created, how was it that the Truth in delivering to us this mystery bade us believe in the Son, and not in the creature? and how is it that the inspired Apostle, himself adoring Christ, lays it down that they who worship the creature besides the Creator are guilty of idolatryhyperlink ? For, were the Son created, either he would not have wor-shipped Him, or he would have refrained from classing those who worship the creature along with idolaters, lest he himself should appear to be an idolater, in offering adoration to the created. But he knew that He Whom he adored was God over allhyperlink , for so he terms theSon in his Epistle to the Romans. Why then do those who divorce the Son from the essence of the Father, and call Him creature, bestow on Him i mockery the fictitious title of Deity, idly conferring on one alien from true Divinity the name of "God," as they might confer it on Bel or Dagon or the Dragon? Let those, therefore, who affirm that He is created, acknowledge that He is not God at all, that they may be seen to be nothing but Jews in disguise, or, if they confess one who is created to be God, let them not deny that they are idolaters.


69 Is. lix. 5.

70 Rom. viii. 32.

71 This, or something like this, appears to be the force of olon.

72 The quotation does not verbally correspond with Eunomius' words as cited above.

73 Cf. S. John xiv. 9.

74 Gen. iii. 19.

75 Cf. 1 Tim. i. 7.

76 Ps. cxlviii. 5, or Ps. xxxiii. 9 in [LXX.]

77 Gen. i. 3.

78 1 Cor. i. 24.

79 Cf. S. John i. 3.

80 Reading en atonoush th lecei for enatonoush th lecei (the reading of the Paris edition, which Oehler follows).

81 Cf. Heb. i. 3. The quotation is not verbally exact.

82 Cf. Rom. i. 26.

83 Ps. lxxxi. 10, [LXX.] The words prosfatoj ("new") and allotrioj ("alien") are both represented in the A.V. by "strange," and so in R.V. The Prayer-book version expresses them by "strange" and "any other." Both words are subsequently employed by Gregory in his argument.

84 Hereby, i.e. by the use of the term prwtotokoj as applicable to the Divinity of the Son.

85 S. John i. 3.

86 Cf. Col. i. 18.

87 Cf. Heb. viii. 13, whence the phrase is apparently adapted.

88 Col. i. 15.

89 Rom. viii. 29.

90 Col. i. 18 (cf. Rev. i. 5).

91 Heb. i. 6.

92 Cf. Heb. i. 14.

93 1 Cor. xv. 20.

94 Col. i. 18.

95 Cf. Acts ii. 24. See note 2 p. 104, supra.

96 The phrase is not verbally the same as in Tit. iii. 5.

97 Cf. 2 Cor. v. 17.

98 Cf. Acts iii. 15.

99 Cf. S. John xx. 17: the quotation is not verbal.

100 Cf. Gal. iv. 8.

101 Cf. 1 Tim. ii. 5.

102 The Humanity of Christ being regarded as this "first-fruits:" unless this phrase is to be understood of the Resurrection, rather than of the Incarnation, in which case the first-fruits will be His Body, and analabwn should be rendered by "having resumed."

103 Rom. ix. 16. The reference next following may be to S. John xii. 26, or John xiv. 3; or to Col. iii. 3.

104 Heb. i. 6.

105 Phil. ii. 10, Phil. ii. 11.

106 Cf. Ps. xcviii. 10.

107 S. John i. 1.

108 S. John i. 14.

109 Reading oikonomei or oikodomei.

110 Or "were generated." The reference is to Ps. cxlviii. 5.

111 diasthmatikhj seems to include the idea of extension in time as well as in space.

112 Heb. i. 3.

113 The reference may be to the Song of Solomon i. 3.

114 Wisd. vii. 25.

115 Cf. S. John i. 1 sqq.

116 That is, by using as the terms of his antithesis, not "Son" and "Father," but "Son" and "Ungenerate," he avoids suggesting relationship between the two Persons, and does suggest that the Second Person stands in the same opposition to the First Person in which all created objects stand as contrasted with Him.

117 Ps. xxxiii. 6.

118 tomh genesqaiti toutwn epishj omologeitai. This may possibly mean "it is acknowledged that each of those alternatives" (viz. that that which comes into being is uncreate, and that that which creates should itself be created) "is equally untrue." But this view would not be confined to those who held the Catholic doctrine: the impossibility of the former alternative, indeed, was insisted upon by the Arians as an argument in their own favour.

119 Cf. 1 Tim. i. 7.

120 Cf. Heb. i. 3.

121 Ps. cxiv. 4, in Septuagint.

122 S. John xiv. 10.

123 S. John i. 3.

124 Rom. i. 25, where para ton ktisanta may be better translated "besides the Creator," or "rather than the Creator," than as in the A.V.

125 Rom. ix. 5.