Church Fathers: Post-Nicene Fathers Vol 05: 25.01.34 Answer to Eunomius Part 6

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Church Fathers: Post-Nicene Fathers Vol 05: 25.01.34 Answer to Eunomius Part 6

TOPIC: Post-Nicene Fathers Vol 05 (Other Topics in this Collection)
SUBJECT: 25.01.34 Answer to Eunomius Part 6

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But our pious opponent will not allow of God's using our language, because of our proneness to evil, shutting his eyes (good man!) to the fact that for our sakes He did not refuse to be made sin and a curse. Such is the superabundance of His love for man, that He voluntarily came to prove not only our good, but our evil. And if He was partaker in our evil, why should He refuse to be partaker in speech, the noblest of our gifts? But he advances David in his support, and declares that he said that names were imposed on things by God, because it is thus written, "He telleth the number of the stars; He calleth them all by their nameshyperlink ." But I think it must be obvious to every man of sense that what is thus said of the stars has nothing whatever to do with the subject. Since, however, it is not improbable that some may unwarily give their assent to his statement, I will briefly discuss the point. Holy Scripture often- times is wont to attribute expressions to God such that they seem quite accordant with our own, e.g. "The Lord was wroth, and it repented Him because of their sinshyperlink "; and again, "He repented that He had anointed Saul kinghyperlink "; and again, "The Lord awaked as one out of sleephyperlink "; and besides this, it makes mention of His sitting, and standing, and moving, and the like, which are not as a fact connected with God, but are not without their use as an accommodation to those who are under teaching. For in the case of the too unbridled, a show of anger restrains them by fear. And to those who need the medicine of repentance, it says that the Lord repenteth along with them of the evil, and those who grow insolent through prosperity it warns, by God's repentance in respect to Saul, that their good fortune is no certain possession, though it seem to come from God. To those who are not engulfed by their sinful fall, but who have risen from a life of vanity as from sleep, it says that God arises out of sleep. To those who steadfastly take their stand upon righteousness,-that He stands. To those who are seated in righteousness,-that He sits. And again, in the case of those who have moved from their steadfastness in righteousness,-that He moves or walks; as, in the case of Adam, the sacred history records God's walking in the garden in the cool of the dayhyperlink , signifying thereby the fall of the first man into darkness, and, by the moving, his weakness and instability in regard to righteousness.

But most people, perhaps, will think this too far removed from the scope of our present inquiry. This, however, no one will regard as out of keeping with our subject; the fact that many think that what is incomprehensible to themselves is equally incomprehensible to God, and that whatever escapes their own cognizance is also beyond the power of His. Now since we make number the measure of quantity, and number is nothing else than a combination of units growing into multitude in a complex way (for the decad is a unit brought to that value by the composition of units, and again the hundred is a unit composed of decads, and in like manner the thousand is another unit, and so in due proportion the myriad is another by a multiplication, the one being made up to its value by thousands, the other by hundreds, by assigning all which to their underlying class we make signs of the quantity of the things numbered), accordingly, in order that we may be taught by Holy Scripture that nothing is unknown to God, it tells us that the multitude of the stars is numbered by Him, not that their numbering takes place as I have described, (for who is so simple as to think that God takes knowledge of things by odd and even, and that by putting units together He makes up the total of the collective quantity?) but, since in our own case the exact knowledge of quantity is obtained by number, in order, I say, that we might be taught in respect to God that all things are comprehended by the knowledge of His wisdom, and that nothing escapes His minute cognizance, on this account it represents God as "numbering the stars," counselling us by these words to understand this, viz. that we must not imagine God to take note of things by the measure of human knowledge, but that all things, however incomprehensible and above human understanding, are embraced by the knowledge of the wisdom of God. For as the stars on account of their multitude escape numbering, as far as our human conception is concerned, Holy Scripture, teaching the whole from the part, in saying that they are numbered by God attests that not one of the things unknown to us escapes the knowledge of God. And therefore it says, "Who telleth the multitude of the stars," of course not meaning that He did not know their number beforehand; for how should He be ignorant of what He Himself created, seeing that the Ruler of the Universe could not be ignorant of that which is comprehended in His power; which includes the worlds in its embrace? Why, then, should He number what He knows? For to measure quantity by number is the part of those who want information. But He Who knew all things before they were created needs not number as His informant. But when David says that He "numbers the stars," it is evident that the Scripture descends to such language in accordance with our understanding, to teach us emblematically that the things which we know not are accurately known to God. As, then, He is said to number, though needing no arithmetical process to arrive at the knowledge of things created, so also the Prophet tells us that He calleth them all by their names, not meaning, I imagine, that He does so by any vocal utterance. For verily such language would result in a conception strangely unworthy of God, if it meant that these names in common use among ourselves were applied to the stars by God. For, should any one allow that these were so applied by God, it must follow that the names of the idol gods of Greece were applied by Him also to the stars, and we must regard as true all the tales from mythological history that are told about those starry names, as though God Himself sanctioned their utterance. Thus the distribution among the Greek idols of the seven planets contained in the heavens will exempt from blame those who have erred in respect to them, if men be persuaded that such an arrangement was God's. Thus the fables of Orion and the Scorpion will be believed, and the legends respecting the ship Argo, and the Swan, and the Eagle, and the Dog, and the mythical story of Ariadne's crown. Moreover it will pave the way for supposing God to be the inventor of the names in the zodiacal circle, devised after some fancied resemblance in the constellations, if Eunomius is right in supposing that David said that these names were given them by God.

Since, then, it is monstrous to regard God as the inventor of such names, lest the names even of these idol gods should seem to have had their origin from God, it will be well not to receive what has been said without inquiry, but to get to the meaning in this case also after the analogy of those things of which number informs us. Well, since it attests the accuracy of our knowledge, when we call one familiar to us by his name, we are here taught that He Who embraces the Universe in His knowledge not only comprehends the total of the aggregate quantity, but has an exact knowledge of the units also that compose it. And therefore the Scripture says not only that He "telleth the number of the stars," but that "He calleth them all by their names," which means that His accurate knowledge extends to the minutest of them, and that He knows each particular respecting them, just as a man knows one who is familiar to him by name. And if any one say that the names given to the stars by God are different ones, unknown to human language, he wanders far away from the truth. For if there were other names of stars, Holy Scripture would not have made mention of those which are in common use among the Greeks, Esaias sayinghyperlink , "Which maketh the Pleiads, and Hesperus, and Arcturus, and the Chambers of the South," and Job making mention of Orion and Aserothhyperlink ; so that from this it is clear that Holy Scripture employs for our instruction such words as are in common use. Thus we hear in Job of Amalthea's hornhyperlink , and in Esaias of the Sirenshyperlink , the former thus naming plenty after the conceit of the Greeks, the latter representing the pleasure derived from hearing, by the figure of the Sirens. As, then, in these cases the inspired word has made use of names drawn from mythological fables, with a view to the advantage of the hearers, so here it freely makes use of the appellations given to the stars by human fancy, teaching us that all things whatsoever that are named among men have their origin from God-the things, not their names. For it does not say Who nameth, but "Who maketh Pleiad, and Hesperus, and Arcturus." I think, then, it has been sufficiently shown in what I have said that David supports our opinion, in teaching us by this utterance, not that God gives the stars their names, but that He has an exact knowledge of them, after the fashion of men, who have the most certain knowledge of those whom they are able, through long familiarity, to call by their names.

And if we set forth the opinion of most commentators on these words of the Psalmist, that of Eunomius regarding them will be still more convicted of foolishness. For those who have most carefully searched out the sense of the inspired Scripture, declare that not all the works of creation are worthy of the Divine reckoning. For in the Gospel narratives of feeding the multitudes in the wilderness, women and children are not thought worthy of enumeration. And in the account of the Exodus of the children of Israel, those only are enumerated in the roll who were of age to bear arms against their enemies, and to do deeds of valour. For not all names of things are fit to be pronounced by the Divine lips, but the enumeration is only for that which is pure and heavenly, which, by the loftiness of its state remaining pure from all admixture with darkness, is called a star, and the naming is only for that which, for the same reason, is worthy to be registered in the Divine tablets. For of His adversaries He says, "I will not take up their names into my lipshyperlink ."

But the names which the Lord gives to such stars we may plainly learn from the prophecy of Esaias, which says, "I have called thee by thy name; thou art Minehyperlink ." So that if a man makes himself God's possession, his act becomes his name. But be this as the reader pleases. Eunomius, however, adds to his previous statement that the beginnings of creation testify to the fact, that names were given by God to the things which He created; but I think that it would be superfluous to repeat what I have already sufficiently set forth as the result of my investigations; and he may put his own arbitrary interpretation on the word Adam, which, the Apostle tells us, points prophetically to Christhyperlink . For no one can be so infatuated, when Paul, by the power of the Spirit, has revealed to us the hidden mysteries, as to count Eunomius a more trustworthy interpreter of Divine things-a man who openly impugns the words of the inspired testimony, and who by his false interpretation of the word would fain prove that the various kinds of animals were not named by Adam. We shall do well, also, to pass over his insolent expressions, and tasteless vulgarity, and foul and disgusting tongue, with its accustomed fluency going on about our Master as "a sower of tares," and about "a deceptive showhyperlink of grain, and the blight of Valentinus, and his grain piled in our Master's mind": and we will veil in silence the rest of his unsavoury talk as we veil putrefying corpses in the ground, that the stench may not prove injurious to many. Rather let us proceed to what remains for us to say. For once more he adduces a dictum of our Masterhyperlink , to this effect. "We call God indestructible and ungenerate, applying these words from different points of view. For when we look to the ages that are past, finding the life of God transcending all limitation, we call Him ungenerate. But when we turn our thoughts to the ages that are yet to come, Him Who is infinite, illimitable, and without end, we call indestructible. As, then, that which has no end of life is indestructible, so that which has no beginning we call ungenerate, representing things so by the faculty of conception."

I will pass over, then, the abuse with which he has prefaced his discussion of these matters, as when he uses such terms as "alteration of seed," and "teacher of sowing," and "illogical censure," and whatever other aspersions he ventures on with his foul tongue. Let us rather turn to the point which he tries to establish by his calumnious accusation. He promises to convict us of saying that God is not by His nature indestructible. But we hold only such things foreign to His nature as may be added to or subtracted from it. But, in the case of things without which the subject is incapable of being conceived by the mind, how can any one be open to the charge of separating His nature from itself? If, then, the indestructibility which we ascribe to God were adventitious, and did not always belong to Him, or might cease to belong to Him, he might be justified in his calumnious attack. But if it is always the same, and our contention is, that God is always what He is, and that He receives nothing by way of increase or addition of properties, but continues always in whatsoever is conceived and called good, why should we be slanderously accused of not ascribing indestructibility to Him as of His essential nature? But he pretends that he grounds his accusation on the words of Basil which I have already quoted, as though we bestowed indestructibility on God by reference to the ages. Now if our statement were put forward by ourselves, our defence might perhaps seem open to suspicion, as if we now wanted to amend or justify any questionable expressions of ours. But since our statements are taken from the lips of an adversary, what stronger demonstration could we have of their truth than the evidence of our opponents themselves? How is it, then, with the statement which Eunomius lays hold of with a view to our prejudice? When, he says, we turn our thoughts to the ages that are yet to be, we speak of the infinite, and illimitable, and unending, as indestructible. Does Eunomius count such ascription as identical with bestowing? Yet who is such a stranger to existing usage as to be ignorant of the proper meaning of these expressions? For that man bestows who possesses something which another has not, while that man ascribes who designates with a name what another has. How is it, then, that our instructor in truth is not ashamed of his plainly calumnious impeachment? But as those who, from some disease, are bereft of sight, are unseemly in their behaviour before the eyes of the seeing, supposing that what is not seen by themselves is a thing unobserved also by those whose sight is unimpaired, just such is the case of our sharp-sighted and quick-witted opponent, who supposes his hearers to be afflicted with the same blindness to the truth as himself. And who is so foolish as not to compare the words which he calumniously assails with his charge itself, and by reading them side by side to detect the malice of the writer? Our statement ascribes indestructibility; he charges it with bestowing indestructibility. What has this to do with our statement? Every man has a right to be judged by his own deeds, not to be blamed for those of others; and in this present case, while he accuses us, and points his bitterness at us, in truth he is condemning no one but himself. For if it is reprehensible to bestow indestructibility on God, and this is done by no one but himself, is not our slanderer his own accuser, assailing his own statements and not ours? And with regard to the term indestructibility, we assert that as the life which is endless is rightly called indestructible, so that which is without beginning is rightly called ungenerate. And yet Eunomius says that we lend Him the primacy over all created things simply by reference to the ages.

I pass in silence his blasphemy in reducing God the Only-begotten to a level with all created things, and, in a word, allowing to the Son of God no higher honour than theirs. Still, for the sake of my more intelligent hearers, I will here give an instance of his insensate malice. Basil, he says, lends God the primacy over all things by reference to the ages. What unintelligible nonsense is this! Man is made God's patron, and gives to God a primacy owing to the ages! What is this vain flourish of baseless expressions, seeing that our Master simply says that whatever in the Divine essence transcends the measurable distances of the ages in either direction is called by certain distinctive names, in the case of Him Who, as saith the Apostle, hath neither beginning of days nor end of lifehyperlink , in order that the distinction of the conception might be marked by distinction in the names. And yet on this account Eunomius has the effrontery to write, that to call that which is anterior to all beginning ungenerate, and again that which is circumscribed by no limit, immortal and indestructible, is a bestowing or lending on our part, and other nonsense of the kind. Moreover, he says that we divide the ages into two parts, as if he had not read the words he quoted, or as if he were addressing those who had forgotten his own previous statements. For what says our Master? "If we look at the time before the Creation, and if passing in thought through the ages we reflect on the infinitude of the Eternal Life, we signify the thought by the term ungenerate. And if we turn our thoughts to what follows, and consider the being of God as extending beyond all ages, we interpret the thought by the word endless or indestructible." Well, how does such an account sever the ages in twain, if by such possible words and names we signify that eternity of God which is equally observable from every point of view, in all things the same, unbroken in continuity? For seeing that human life, moving from stage to stage, advances in its progress from a beginning to an end, and our life here is divided between that which is past and that which is expected, so that the one is the subject of hope, the other of memory; on this account, as, in relation to ourselves, we apprehend a past and a future in this measurable extent, so also we apply the thought, though incorrectly, to the transcendent nature of God; not of course that God in His own existence leaves any interval behind, or passes on afresh to something that lies before, but because our intellect can only conceive things according to our nature, and measures the eternal by a past and a future, where neither the past precludes the march of thought to the illimitable and infinite, nor the future tells us of any pause or limit of His endless life. If, then, it is thus that we think and speak, why does he keep taunting us with dividing the ages? Unless, indeed, Eunomius would maintain that Holy Scripture does so too, signifying as it does by the same idea the infinity of the Divine existence; David, for example, making mention of the "kingdom from everlasting," and Moses, speaking of the kingdom of God as "extending beyond all ages," so that we are taught by both that every duration conceivable is environed by the Divine nature, bounded on all sides by the infinity of Him Who holds the universe in His embrace. For Moses, looking to the future, says that "He reigneth from generation to generation for evermore." And great David, turning his thought backward to the past, says, "God is our King before the ageshyperlink ," and again, "God, Who was before the ages, shall hear us." But Eunomius, in his cleverness taking leave of such guides as these, says that we talk of the life that is without beginning as one, and of that which is without end as quite another, and again, of diversities of sundry ages, effecting by their own diversity a separation in our idea of God. But that our controversy may not grow to a tedious length, we will add, without criticism or comment, the outcome of Eunomius' labours on the subject, well fitted as they are by his industry displayed in the cause of error to render the truth yet more evident to the eyes of the discerning.

For, proceeding with his discourse, he asks us what we mean by the ages. And yet we ourselves might more reasonably put such questions to him. For it is he who professes to know the essence of God, defining on his own authority what is unapproachable and incomprehensible by man. Let him, then, give us a scientific lecture on the nature of the ages, boasting as he does of his familiarity with transcendental things, and let him not so fiercely brandish over us, poor ignorant individuals, the double danger of the dilemma involved in our reply, telling us that, whether we hold this or that view of the ages, the result must be in either case an absurdity. For if (says he) you say that they are eternal, you will be Greeks, and Valentinianshyperlink , and uninstructedhyperlink : and if you say that they are generate, you will no longer be able to ascribe ungeneracy to God. What a terribly unanswerable attack! If, O Eunomius, something is held to be generate, we no longer hold the doctrine of the Divine ungeneracy! And pray what has become of your subtle distinctions between generacy and ungeneracy, by which you sought to establish the dissimilarity of the essence of the Son from that of the Father? For it seems from what we are now being taught that the Father is not dissimilar in essence when contemplated in respect of generacy, but that, in fact, if we hold His ungeneracy, we reduce Him to non-existence; since "if we speak of the ages as generate, we are driven to relinquish the Ungenerate. But let us examine the force of the argument, by which he would compel us to allow this absurdity. When, says he, those things by comparison with which God is without beginning are non-existent, He Who is compared with them must be non-existent also. What a sturdy and overpowering grip is this! How tightly has this wrestler got us by the waist in his inextricable grasp! He says that God's ungeneracy is added to Him through comparison with the ages. By whom is it so added? Who is there that says that to Him Who hath no beginning ungeneracy is added as an acquisition through comparison with something else? Neither such a word nor such a sense will be found in any writings of ours. Our words indeed carry their own justification, and contain nothing like what is alleged against us; and of the meaning of what is said, who can be a more trustworthy interpreter than he who said it? Have not we, then, the better title to say what we mean when we speak of the life of God as extending beyond the ages? And what we say is what we have said already in our previous writings. But, says he, comparison with the ages being impossible, it is impossible that any addition should accrue from it to God, meaning of course that ungeneracy is an addition. Let him tell us by whom such an addition has been made. If by himself, he becomes simply ridiculous in laying his own folly to our charge: if by us, let him quote our words, and then we will admit the force of his accusation.

But I think we must pass over this and all that follows. For it is the mere trifling of children who amuse themselves with beginning to build houses in sand. For having composed a portion of a paragraph, and not yet brought it to a conclusion, he shows that the same life is without beginning and without end, thus in his eagerness working out our own conclusion. For this is just what we say; that the Divine life is one and continuous in itself, infinite and eternal, in no wise bounded by any limit to its infinity. Thus far our opponent devotes his labours and exertions to the truth as we represent it, showing that the same life is on no side limited, whether we look at that part of it which was before the ages, or at that which succeeds them. But in his next remarks he returns to his old confusion. For after saying that the same life is without beginning and without end, leaving the subject of life, and ranging all the ideas we entertain about the Divine life under one head, he unifies everything. If, says he, the life is without beginning and without end, ungenerate and indestructible, then indestructibility and ungeneracy will be the same thing, as will also the being without beginning and without end. And to this he adds the aid of arguments. It is not possible, he says, for the life to be one, unless indestructibility and ungeneracy are identical terms. An admirable "addition" on the part of our friend. It would seem, then, that we may hold the same language in regard to righteousness, wisdom, power, goodness, and all such attributes of God. Let, then, no word have a meaning peculiar to itself, but let one signification underlie every word in a list, and one form of description serve for the definition of all. If you are asked to define the word judge, answer with the interpretation of "ungeneracy"; if to define justice, be ready with "the incorporeal" as your answer. If asked to define incorruptibility, say that it has the same meaning as mercy or judgment. Thus let all God's attributes be convertible terms, there being no special signification to distinguish one from another. But if Eunomius thus prescribes, why do the Scriptures vainly assign various names to the Divine nature, calling God a Judge, righteous, powerful, long-suffering, true, merciful and so on? For if none of these titles is to be understood in any special or peculiar sense, but, owing to this confusion in their meaning, they are all mixed up together, it would be useless to employ so many words for the same thing, there being no difference of meaning to distinguish them from one another. But who is so much out of his wits as not to know that, while the Divine nature, whatever it is in its essence, is simple, uniform, and incomposite, and that it cannot be viewed under any form of complex formation, the human mind, grovelling on earth, and buried in this life on earth, in its inability to behold clearly the object of its search, feels after the unutterable Being in divers and many-sided ways, and never chases the mystery in the light of one idea alone. Our grasping of Him would indeed be easy, if there lay before us one single assigned path to the knowledge of God: but as it is, from the skill apparent in the Universe, we get the idea of skill in the Ruler of that Universe, from the large scale of the wonders worked we get the impression of His Power; and from our belief that this Universe depends on Him, we get an indication that there is no cause whatever of His existence; and again, when we see the execrable character of evil, we grasp His own unalterable pureness as regards this: when we consider death's dissolution to be the worst of ills, we give the name of Immortal and Indissoluble at once to Him Who is removed from every conception of that kind: not that we split up the subject of such attributes along with them, but believing that this thing we think of, whatever it be in substance, is One, we still conceive that it has something in common with all these ideas. For these terms are not set against each other in the way of opposites, as if, the one existing there, the other could not co-exist in the same subject (as, for instance, it is impossible that life and death should be thought of in the same subject); but the force of each of the terms used in connection with the Divine Being is such that, even though it has a peculiar significance of its own, it implies no opposition to the term associated with it. What opposition, for instance, is there between "incorporeal" and "just," even though the words do not coincide in meaning: and what hostility is there between goodness and invisibility? So, too, the eternity of the Divine Life, though represented under the double name and idea of "the unending" and "the unbeginning," is not cut in two by this difference of name; nor yet is the one name the same in meaning as the other; the one points to the absence of beginning, the other to the absence of end, and yet there is no division produced in the subject by this difference in the actual terms applied to it.

Such is our position; our adversary's, with regard to the precise meaning of this termhyperlink , is such as can derive no help from any reasonings; he only spits forth at random about it these strangely unmeaning and bombastic expressionshyperlink , in the framework of his sentences and periods. But the upshot of all he says is this; that there is no difference in the meaning of the most varied names. But we must most certainly, as it seems to me, quote this passage of his word for word, lest we be thought to be calumniously charging him with something that does not belong to him. "True expressions," he says, "derive their precision from the subject realities which they indicate; different expressions are applied to different realities, the same to the same: and so one or other of these two things must of necessity be held: either that the reality indicated is different (if the expressions are), or else that the indicating expressions are not different." With these and many other such-like words, he proceeds to effect the object he has before him, excluding from the expression certain relations and affinitieshyperlink , such as species, proportion, part, time, manner: in order that by the withdrawal of all these "Ungeneracy" may become indicative of the substance of God. His process of proof is in the following manner (I will express his idea in my own words). The life, he says, is not a different thing from the substance; no addition may be thought of in connection with a simple being, by dividing our conception of him into a communicating and communicated side; but whatever the life may be, that very thing, he insists, is the substance. Here his philosophy is excellent; no thinking person would gainsay this. But how does he arrive at his contemplated conclusion, when he says, "when we mean the unbeginning, we mean the life, and truth compels us by this last to mean the substance"? The ungenerate, then, according to him is expressive of the very substance of God. We, on the other hand, while we agree that the life of God was not given by another, which is the meaning of "unbeginning," think that the belief that the idea expressed by the words "not generated" is the substance of God is a madman's only. Who indeed can be so beside himself as to declare the absence of any generation to be the definition of that substance (for as generation is involved in the generate, so is the absence of generation in the ungenerate)? Ungeneracy indicates that which is not in the Father; so how shall we allow the indication of that which is absent to be His substance? Helping himself to that which neither we nor any logical conclusion from the premises allows him, he lays it down that God's Ungeneracy is expressive of God's life. But to make quite plain his delusion upon this subject, let us look at it in the following way; I mean, let us examine whether, by employing the same method by which he, in the case of the Father, has brought the definition of the substance to ungeneracy, we may not equally bring the substance of the Son to ungeneracy.

He says, "The Life that is the same, and thoroughly single, must have one and the same outward expression for it, even though in mere names, and manner, and order it may seem to vary. For true expressions derive their precision from the subject realities which they indicate; different expressions are applied to different realities, the same to the same; and so one or other of these two things must of necessity be held; either that the reality indicated is quite different (if the expressions are), or else that the indicating expressions are not different;" and there is in this case no other subject reality besides the life of the Son, "for one either to rest an idea upon, or to cast a different expression upon." Is there, I may ask, any unfitness in the words quoted, which would prevent them being rightly spoken or written about the Only-begotten? Is not the Son Himself also a "Life thoroughly single"? Is there not for Him also "one and the same" befitting "expression," "though in mere names, and manner, and order He may seem to vary"? Must not, for Him also, "one or other of these two things be held" fixed, "either that the reality indicated is quite different, or else that the indicating expressions are not different," there being no other subject reality, besides his life, "for one either to rest an idea upon, or to cast a different expression upon"? We mix up nothing here with what Eunomius has said about the Father; we have only passed from the same accepted premise to the same conclusion as he did, merely inserting the Son's name instead. If, then, the Son too is a single life, unadulterated, removed from every sort of compositeness or complication, and there is no subject reality besides this life of the Son (for how in that which is simple can the mixture of anything foreign be suspected? what we have to think of along with something else is no longer simple), and if the Father's substance also is a single life, and of this single life, by virtue of its very life and its very singleness, there are no differences, no increase or decrease in quantity or quality in it creating any variation, it needs must be that things thus coinciding in idea should be called by the same appellation also. If, that is, the thing that is detected both in the Father and the Son, I mean the singleness of life, is one, the very idea of singleness excluding, as we have said, any variation, it needs must be that the name befitting the one should be attached to the other also. For as that which reasons, and is mortal, and is capable of thought and knowledge, is called "man" equally in the case of Adam and of Abel, and this name of the nature is not altered either by the fact that Abel passed into existence by generation, or by the fact that Adam did so without generation, so, if the simplicityhyperlink and incompositeness of the Father's life has ungeneracy for its name, in like manner for the Son's life the same idea will necessarily have to be attached to the same utterance, if, as Eunomius says, "one or other of these two things must of necessity be held; either that the reality indicated is quite different, or else that the indicating expressions are not different."

But why do we linger over these follies, when we ought rather to put Eunomius' book itself into the hands of the studious, and so, apart from any examination of it, to prove at once to the discerning, not only the blasphemy of his opinion, but also the nervelessness of his stylehyperlink ? While in various ways, not going upon our apprehension of it, but following his own fancy, he misinterprets the word Conception, just as in a night-battle nobody can distinguish friend and foe, he does not understand that he is stabbing his own doctrine with the very weapons he thinks he is turning upon us. For the point in which he thinks he is most removed from the church of the orthodox is this; that he attempts to prove that God became Father at some later time, and that the appellation of Fatherhood is later than all those other names which attach to Him; for that He was called Father from that moment in which He purposed in Himself to become, and did become, Father. Well, then, since in this treatise he is for proving that all the names applied to the Divine Nature coincide with each other, and that there is no difference whatever between them, and since one amongst these applied names is Father (for as God is indestructible and eternal, so also He is Father), we must either sanction, in the case of this term also, the opinion he holds about the rest, and so contravene his former position, seeing that the idea of Fatherhood is found to be involved in any of these other terms (for it is plain that if the meaning of indestructible and Father is exactly the same, He will be believed to be, just as He is always indestructible, so likewise always Father, there being one single signification, he says, in all these names): or else, if he fears thus to testify to the eternal Fatherhood of God, he must perforce abandon his whole argument, and own that each of these names has a meaning peculiar to itself; and thus all this nonsense of his about the Divine names bursts like a bubble, and vanishes like smoke.

But if he should still answer with regard to this opposition (of the Divine names), that it is only the term Father, and the term Creator, that are applied to God as expressing production, both words being so applied, as he says, because of an operation, then he will cut short our long discussion of this subject, by thus conceding what it would have required a laborious argument on our part to prove. For if the word Father and the word Creator have the same meaning (for both arise from an operation), one of the things signified is exactly equivalent to the other, since if the signification is the same, the subjects cannot be different. If, then, He is called both Father and Creator because of an operation, it is quite allowable to interchange the names, and to turn one into the other and say that God is Creator of the Son, and Father of a stone, seeing that the term Father is to be devoid of any meaning of essential relationhyperlink . Well, the monstrous conclusion that is hereby proved cannot remain doubtful to those who reflect. For as it is absurd to deem a stone, or anything else that exists by creation, Divine, it must be agreed that there is no Divinity to be recognized in the Only-begotten either, when that one identical meaning of an operation, by which God is called both Father and Creator, assigns, according to Eunomius, both these terms to Him. But let us hold to the question before us. He abuses our assertion that our knowledge of God is formed by contributions of terms applied to different ideas, and says that the proof of His simplicity is destroyed by us so, since He must partake of the elements signified by each term, and only by virtue of a share in them can completely fill out His essence. Here I write in my own language, curtailing his wearisome prolixity; and in answer to his foolish and nerveless redundancy no sensible person, I think, would make any reply, except as regards his charging us with "senselessness." Now if anything of that description had been said by us, we ought of course to retract it if it was foolishly worded, or, if there was any doubt as to its meaning, to put an irreproachable interpretation upon it. But we have not said anything of the kind, any more than the consequences of our words lead the mind to any such necessity. Why, then, linger on that to which all assent, and weary the reader by prolonging the argument? Who is really so devoid of reflection as to imagine, when he hears that our orthodox conceptions of the Deity are gathered from various ways of thinking of Him, that the Deity is composed of these various elements, or completes His actual fulness by participating in anything at all? A man, say, has made discoveries in geometry, and this same man, let us suppose, has made discoveries also in astronomy, and in medicine as well, and grammar, and agriculture, and sciences of that kind. Will it follow, because there are these various names of sciences viewed in connection with one single soul, that that single soul is to be considered a composite soul? Yet there is a very great difference in meaning between medicine and astronomy; and grammar means nothing in common with geometry, or seamanship with agriculture. Nevertheless it is within the bounds of possibility that the idea of each of these sciences should be associated with one soul, without that soul thereby becoming composite, or, on the other hand, without all those terms for sciences blending into one meaning. If, then, the human mind, with all such terms applied to it, is not injured as regards its simplicity, how can any one imagine that the Deity, when He is called wise, and just, and good, and eternal, and all the other Divine names, must, unless all these names are made to mean one thing, become of many parts, or take a share of all these to make up the perfection of His nature?

But let us examine a still more vehement charge of his against us; it is this: "If one must proceed to say something harsher still, he does not even keep the Divine substance pure and unadulterated from inferior and contradictory elements." This is the charge, but the proof of it is,-what? Observe the strong professional attack! "If He is imperishable only by reason of the unending in His Life, and ungenerate only by reason of the unbeginning, then wherein He is not imperishable He is perishable, and wherein He is not ungenerate He is generated." Then returning to the charge, he repeats, "He will then be, as unbeginning, at once ungenerate and perishable, and, as unending, at once imperishable and generated." Such is his "harsher" statement, which, according to his threat, he has discharged against us, to prove that we say that the Divine substance is mingled with contradictory and even inferior elements. However, I think it is plain to all who keep unimpaired within themselves the power of judging the truth, that our Master has given no handle at all, in what he has said, to this calumniator, but that the latter has garbled it at will, and then, playing at arguing, has drawn out this childish sophistry. But that it may be plainer still to all my readers, I will repeat that statement of the Master word for word, and then confront Eunomius' words with it. "We call the Universal Deity" (he says) "imperishable and ungenerate, using these words with different applicationshyperlink of thought; for when we concentrate our view upon the ages behind us, we find the life of the Deity transcending every limit, and so name Him `ungenerate'; but when we turn our thoughts upon the ages to come, we call the infinite in Him, the boundless, the absence of all end to His living, `imperishability.' As, then, this endlessness is called imperishable, so too this beginninglessness is called ungenerate; and we arrive at these names by Conception." Such are the Master's words, and by them he teaches us this: that the Divine Life is essentially single and continuous with Itself, starting from no beginning, circumscribed by no end; and that the intuitions which we possess regarding this Life it is possible to make clear by words. That is, we express the never having come from any cause by the term unbeginning or ungenerate; and we express the not being circumscribed by any limit, and not being destroyed by any death, by the term imperishable, or unending; and this absence of cause, he defines, makes it right for us to speak of the Divine life as existing ungenerately; and this being without end we are to denote as imperishable, since anything that has ceased to exist is necessarily in a state of annihilation, and when we hear of anything annihilated, we at once think of the destruction of its substance. He says then, that One Who never ceases to exist, and is a stranger to all destruction and dissolution, is to be called imperishable.

What, then, does Eunomius say to this? "If He is imperishable only by reason of the unending in His Life, and ungenerate only by reason of the unbeginning, then wherein He is not imperishable He is perishable, and wherein He is not ungenerate He is generated." Who conceded to you this, Eunomius, that the imperishability is not to be associated with the whole life of God? Who ever divided that Life into two parts, and then put particular names to each half of the Life, so that to the division which the one name fitted the other could not be said to apply? This is the result of your dialectic sharpness; to say that the Life which has no beginning is perishable, and that what is imperishable cannot be associated with what is unbeginning! It is just as if, when one had said that man was rational, as well as capable of speculation and knowledge, attaching each phrase to the subject of them according to a different application and idea, some one was to jeer, and to go on in the same strain, "If man is capable of speculation and knowledge, he cannot, as regards this, be rational, but wherein he is capable of such knowledge, he is this and this only, and his nature does not admit of his being the other"; and reversely, if rational were made the definition of man, he were to deny in this case his being capable of this speculation and knowledge; for "wherein he is rational, he is proved devoid of mind." But if the ridiculousness and absurdity in this case is plain to any one, neither in that former case is it at all doubtful. When you have read the passage from the Master, you will find that his childish sophistry will vanish like a shadow. In our case of the definition of man, the capability of knowledge is not hindered by the possession of reason, nor the reason by the capability of knowledge: no more is the eternity of the Divine Life deprived of imperishability, if it be unbeginning, or of beginninglessness, if we recognize its imperishability. This would-be seeker after truth, with the artifices of his dialectic shrewdness, inserts in our argument what comes from his own repertoire; and so he fights with himself and overthrows himself, without ever touching anything of ours. For our position was nothing but this; that the Life as existing without beginning is styled, by means of a fresh Conception, as ungenerate: is styled, I say, not, is made such; and that we mark the Life as going on into infinity with the appellation of imperishable; mark it, I say, as such, not, make it such; and that the result is, that while it is a property of the Divine Life, inherent in the subject, to be infinite in both views, the thoughts associated with that subject are expressed in this way or in that only as regards that particular term which indicates the thought expressed. One thought associated withthat life is, that it does not exist from any cause; this is indicated by the term "ungenerate." Another thought about it is, that it is limitless and endless; this is represented by the word imperishable. Thus, while the subject remains what it is, above everything, whether name or thought, the not being from any cause, and the not changing into the non-existent, are signified by means of the Conception implied in the aforesaid words.

What, then, out of all that we have said, has stirred him up to this piece of childish folly, in which he returns to the charge and repeats himself in these words: "He will, then, be, as unbeginning, at once ungenerate and perishable, and, as unending, at once imperishable and generated." It is plain to any possessing the least reflection, without our testing this logically, how absurdly foolish it is, or rather, how con- demnably blasphemous. By the same argument as that whereby he establishes this union of the perishable and the unbeginning, he can make sport of any proper and worthily conceived name for the Deity. For it is not these two ideas only that we associate with the Divine Life, I mean, the being without beginning, and the not admitting of dissolution; but It is called as well immaterial and without anger, immutable and incorporeal, invisible and formless, true and just; and there are numberless other ways of thinking about the Divine Life, each one of which is announced by an expressive sound with a peculiar meaning of its own. Well, to any name-any name, I mean, expressive of some proper conception of the Deity-it is open for us to apply this method of unnatural union devised by Eunomius. For instance, immateriality and absence of anger are both predicated of the Divine Life; but not with the same thought in both cases; for by the term immaterial we convey the idea of purity from any mixture with matter, and by the term "without anger" the strangeness to any emotion of anger. Now in all probability Eunomius will run trippingly over all this, and have his dance, just as before, upon our words. Stringing together his absurdities in the same way, he will say: "If wherein He is separated from all mixture with matter He is called immaterial, in this respect He will not be without anger; and if by reason of His not indulging in anger He is without anger, it is impossible to attribute to him immateriality, but logic will compel us to admit that, in so far as He is exempt from matter, He is both immaterial and wrathful;" and so you will find the same to be the case in respect to his other attributes. And if you like we will propound another pairing of the same, i.e. His immutability and His incorporeality. For both these terms being used of the Divine Life in a distinct sense, in their case also Eunomius' skill will embellish the same absurdity. For if His being always as He is is signified by the term immutable, and if the term incorporeal represents the spirituality of His essence, Eunomius will certainly say the same here also, that the terms are irreconcilable, and alien to each other, and that the notions which our minds attach to them haveno point of contact one with the other; for inso far as God is always the same He is immutable, but not incorporeal; and in regard to the spirituality and formlessness of His essence, while He possesses attributes of incorporeality, He is not immutable; so that it happens that when immutability is considered with respect to the Divine Life, along with that immutability it is established that It is corporeal; but if spirituality is the object of search, you prove that It is at once incorporeal and mutable.

Such are the clever discoveries of Eunomius against the truth. For what need is there to go through all his argument with trifling prolixity? For in every instance you may see an attempt to establish the same futility. For instance, by an implication such as that above, what is true and what is just will be found opposed to each other; for there is a difference in meaning between truth and justice. So that by a parity of reasoning Eunomius will say about these also, that truth is not injustice, and that justice is absent from truth; and it will happen that, when in respect of God we think of His being alien to injustice, the Divine Being will be shown to be at once just and untrue, while if we regard His being alien to untruth, we prove Him to be at once true and unjust. So, too, of His being invisible and formless. For according to a wise reasoning similar to that which we have adduced, it will not be permissible to say either that the invisible exists in that which is formless, or to say that that which is formless exists in that which is invisible; but he will comprise form in that which is invisible, and so again, conversely, he will prove that that which is formless is visible, using the same language in respect of these as he devised in respect to that which is imperishable and unbeginning, to the effect that when we regard the incomposite nature of the Divine Life, we confess that it is formless, yet not invisible; and that when we reflect that we cannot see God with our bodily eyes, while thus admitting His invisibility, we cannot admit His being formless. Now if these instances seem ridiculous and foolish, much more will every sensible man condemn the absurdity of the statements, starting from which his argument has logically brought him to such a pitch of absurdity. Yet he carps at the Master's words, as wrong in seeing that which is imperishable in that which is unending, and that which is unending in that which is imperishable. Well, then, let us also have our sport, in a manner something like this cleverness of Eunomius. Let us examine his opinion about these two names aforesaid, and see what it is.


107 Ps. cxlvii 4.

108 Ps. cvi. 40.

109 1 Sam. xv. 35.

110 Ps. lxxviii. 65.

111 Gen. iii. 8.

112 The words here attributed to Isaiah are found in Job ix. 9 (LXX.): and Orion in Isaiah xiii. 10 (LXX.), with "the stars of heaven;" and in Amos v. 8 with "the seven stars."

113 For Aseroth perhaps Mazaroth should be read. Cf. Job xxxviii. 32, "Canst thou lead forth the Mazaroth in their season?" (R.V.) and 2 Kings xxiii. 5, "to the planets (toij mazourwq)," i.e. the twelve signs of the Zodiac.

114 'Amalqeiaj keraj. So LXX. for the name of Job's third daughter, Keren-happuch, for which Symmachus and Aquila have Karnafouk, i.e. Horn of purple (fucus). The LXX. translator of Job was rather fond of classical allusions, and so brought in the Greek horn (of plenty). Amalthea's goat, that suckled Jupiter, broke its horn.

"Sustulit hoc Nymphe, cinctumque recentibus herbis

Et plenum pomis ad Jovis ora tulit."-

Ovid, Fasti, v. 123.

115 Isaiah xiii. 21. kai anapausontai ekei seirhnej, kai daimonia ekei orxhsontai, "and ostriches shall dwell there, and satyrs shall dance there" (R. V.). The LXX. render the Hebrew (bath-jaana) by seirhnej also in Isaiah xxxiv. 13, Isaiah xliii. 20: and in Micah i. 8: Jeremiah i. 39. Cyril of Alexandria has on the first passage, "Birds that have a sweet note: or, according to the Jewish interpretation, the owl." And this is followed by the majority of commentators. Cf. Gray-

"The moping owl doth to the moon complain."

But Bochart has many and strong arguments to prove that the ostrich, i.e. the strouqo-kamhloj, or "large sparrow with the long neck," is meant by bath-jaana: it has a high sharp unpleasant note. Cf. Job xxx. 29, "I am a companion to ostriches" (R. V.), speaking of his bitter cry.-Jerome also translates "habitabunt ibi struthiones;" and the LXX. elsewhere than above by strouqia. Gregory follows the traditional interpretation, of some pleasant note; and somehow identifies the Greek word with the Hebrew.

116 Ps. xvi. 4.

117 Is. xliii. I.

118 Rom. xvi. 25.-On Eunomius' knowledge of Scripture, see Socrates iv. 7. "He had a very slender knowledge of the letter of Scripture: he was wholly unable to enter into the spirit of it. Yet he abounded in words, and was accustomed to repeat the same thoughts in different terms without ever arriving at a clear explanation of what he had proposed to himself. Of this his seven books on the Apostle's Epistle to the Romans, on which he expended a quantity of vain labour, is a remarkable proof." But see c. Eunom. II. p. 107.

119 prosoyin, the reading of Oehler's mss.: also of Pithoeus' ms., which John the Franciscan changed into the vox nihili proshyin (putredinem), which appears in the Paris Editt. of 1638.

120 These words are in S. Basil's first Book against Eunomius.

121 Heb. vii. 3.

122 Cf. Ps. xliv. 4, and Ps. xlviii. 14, with Ps. lxxiv. 12.

123 Valentinus "placed in the pleroma (so the Gnostics called the habitation of the Deity) thirty aeons (ages), of which one half were male, and the other female" (Mosheim), i.e. these aeons were co-eternal with the Deity.

124 barbaroi here being not opposed to "Greeks" must imply mere inability to speak aright: amongst those who claimed to use Catholic language another "barbarism," or "jargon," had arisen (i.e. that of heresy, whether Platonist or Gnostic), different from that which separated the Greeks from the Jews, Africans, Romans alike. Hesychius; barbaroi oi apaideutoi. So to S. Paul "the people" of Malta (Acts xxviii. 2-4), as to others the Apostles, were barbarian.

125 i.e. agennhtoj.

126 alloktwj autou taj toiautaj otomfwdeij adianohtouj fwnaj ...proj to sumban apoptuontoj.

127 ekbalwn tou logou sxeseij tinaj kai paraqeseij. Gulonius' Latin is wrong; "protulit in medium."

128 Reading eiper to aploun with the editt., which is manifestly required by the sense.

129 sunhqeiaj, lit. usage of language. Cf. Plato, Theaet. 168 B, ek sunhqeiaj rhmatwn te kai onomatwn. It is used absolutely, by the Grammarians, for the "Vulgar dialect."

130 thj kata fusin sxetikhj shmasiaj.

131 epibolaj.