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Chapter V.—Defence of the Council’s Phrases, “from the essence,” And “one in essence.” Objection that the phrases are not scriptural; we ought to look at the sense more than the wording; evasion of the Arians as to the phrase “of God” which is in Scripture; their evasion of all explanations but those which the Council selected, which were intended to negative the Arian formulæ; protest against their conveying any material sense.
18. Now Eusebius and his fellows were at the former period examined at great length, and convicted themselves, as I said before; on this they subscribed; and after this change of mind they kept in quiet and retirement874874 [Prolegg. ch. ii. §6 (2).]; but since the present party, in the fresh arrogance of irreligion, and in dizziness about the truth, are full set upon accusing the Council, let them tell us what are the sort of Scriptures from which they have learned, or who is the Saint875875 supr. §7, note 2. by whom they have been taught, that they have heaped together the phrases, ‘out of nothing876876 ἐξ οὐκ ὄντων.,’ and ‘He was not before His generation,’ and ‘once He was not,’ and ‘alterable,’ and ‘pre-existence,’ and ‘at the will;’ which are their fables in mockery of the Lord. For the blessed Paul in his Epistle to the Hebrews says, ‘By faith we understand that the ages were framed by the Word of God, so that that which is seen was not made of things which do appear877877 Heb. xi. 3..’ But nothing is common to the Word with the ages878878 By αἴων, age, seems to be meant duration, or the measure of duration, before or independent of the existence of motion, which is in measure of time. As motion, and therefore time, are creatures, so are the ages. Considered as the measure of duration, an age has a sort of positive existence, though not an οὐσία or substance, and means the same as ‘world,’ or an existing system of things viewed apart from time and motion. Vid. Theodt. in Hebr. i. 2. Our Lord then is the Maker of the ages thus considered, as the Apostle also tells us, Hebr. xi. 3. and God is the King of the ages, 1 Tim. i. 17. or is before all ages, as being eternal, or προαιώνιος. However, sometimes the word is synonymous with eternity; ‘as time is to things which are under time, so ages to things which are everlasting.’ Damasc. Fid. Orth. ii. 1, and ‘ages of ages’ stands for eternity; and then the ‘ages’ or measures of duration may be supposed to stand for the ἴδεαι or ideas in the Divine Mind, which seems to have been a Platonic or Gnostic notion. Hence Synesius, Hymn iii. addresses the Almighty as αἰωνότοκε, parent of the ages. Hence sometimes God Himself is called the Age, Clem. Alex. Hymn. Pæd. iii. fin. or, the Age of ages, Pseudo-Dion. de Div. Nom. 5. p. 580. or again, αἰ& 240·νιος. Theodoret sums up what has been said thus: ‘Age is not any subsisting substance, but is an interval indicative of time, now infinite, when God is spoken of, now commensurate with creation, now with human life.’ Hær. v. 6. If then, as Athan. says in the text, the Word is Maker of the ages, He is independent of duration altogether; He does not come to be in time, but is above and beyond it, or eternal. Elsewhere he says, ‘The words addressed to the Son in the 144th Psalm, ‘Thy kingdom is a kingdom of all ages,’ forbid any one to imagine any interval at all in which the Word did not exist. For if every interval is measured by ages, and of all the ages the Word is King and Maker, therefore, whereas no interval at all exists prior to Him, it were madness to say, “There was once when the Everlasting (αἰ& 240·νιος) was not.” Orat. i. 12. And so Alexander; ‘Is it not unreasonable that He who made times, and ages, and seasons, to all of which belongs ‘was not,’ should be said not to be? for, if so, that interval in which they say the Son was not yet begotten by the Father, precedes that Wisdom of God which framed all things.’ Theod. Hist. i. 4. vid. also Basil de Sp. S. n. 14. Hilar. de Trin. xii. 34.; for He it is who is in existence before 162the ages, by whom also the ages came to be. And in the Shepherd879879 Herm. Mand. 1. vid. ad Afr. 5. it is written (since they allege this book also, though it is not of the Canon880880 [Letter 39, and Prolegg. ch. iv. §4.] He calls it elsewhere a most profitable book. Incarn. 3.), ‘First of all believe, that God is one, who created all things, and arranged them, and brought all things from nothing into being;’ but this again does not relate to the Son, for it speaks concerning all things which came to be through Him, from whom He is distinct; for it is not possible to reckon the Framer of all with the things made by Him, unless a man is so beside himself as to say that the architect also is the same as the buildings which he rears.
Why then, when they have invented on their part unscriptural phrases, for the purposes of irreligion, do they accuse those who are religious in their use of them881881 Athan. here retorts, as it was obvious to do, the charge brought against the Council which gave occasion for this Treatise. If the Council went beyond Scripture in the use of the word ‘essence’ (which however can hardly be granted), who made this necessary, but they who had already introduced the phrases, ‘the Son was out of nothing,’ &c., &c.? ‘Of the essence,’ and ‘one in essence,’ were directly intended to contradict and supplant the Arian unscriptural innovations, as he says below, §20. fin. 21. init. vid. also ad Afros. 6. de Synod. §36, 37. He observes in like manner that the Arian ἀγένητος, though allowable as used by religious men, de Syn. §40. was unscriptural, Orat. i. §30, 34. Also Epiph. Hær. 76. p. 941. Basil. contr. Eunom. i. 5. Hilar. contr. Const. 16. Ambros. Incarn. 80.? For irreligiousness is utterly forbidden, though it be attempted to disguise it with artful expressions and plausible sophisms; but religiousness is confessed by all to be lawful, even though presented in strange phrases882882 Vid. §10, note 3., provided only they are used with a religious view, and a wish to make them the expression of religious thoughts. Now the aforesaid grovelling phrases of Christ’s enemies have been shewn in these remarks to be both formerly and now replete with irreligion; whereas the definition of the Council against them, if accurately examined, will be found to be altogether a representation of the truth, and especially if diligent attention be paid to the occasion which gave rise to these expressions, which was reasonable, and was as follows:—
19. The Council883883 vid. ad. Afr. 5. wishing to do away with the irreligious phrases of the Arians, and to use instead the acknowledged words of the Scriptures, that the Son is not from nothing but ‘from God,’ and is ‘Word’ and ‘Wisdom,’ and not creature or work, but a proper offspring from the Father, Eusebius and his fellows, led by their inveterate heterodoxy, understood the phrase ‘from God’ as belonging to us, as if in respect to it the Word of God differed nothing from us, and that because it is written, ‘There is one God, from whom, all things884884 1 Cor. viii. 6.;’ and again, ‘Old things are passed away, behold, all things are become new, and all things are from God885885 2 Cor. v. 17..’ But the Fathers, perceiving their craft and the cunning of their irreligion, were forced to express more distinctly the sense of the words ‘from God.’ Accordingly, they wrote ‘from the essence of God886886 Hence it stands in the Creed, ‘from the Father, that is, from the essence of the Father.’ vid. Eusebius’s Letter, infr. According to the received doctrine of the Church all rational beings, and in one sense all beings whatever, are ‘from God,’ over and above the fact of their creation; and of this truth the Arians made use to deny our Lord’s proper divinity. Athan. lays down elsewhere that nothing remains in consistence and life, except from a participation of the Word, which is to be considered a gift from Him, additional to that of creation, and separable in idea from it; vid. above, §17, note 5. contr. Gent. 42. de Incarn. 5. Man thus considered is, in his first estate, a son of God and born of God, or, to use the term which occurs so frequently in the Arian controversy, in the number, not only of the creatures, but of things generate, γεννητά. This was the sense in which the Arians said that our Lord was Son of God; whereas, as Athan. says, ‘things originate, being works, cannot be called generate, except so far as, after their making, they partake of the begotten Son, and are therefore said to have been generated also; not at all in their own nature, but because of their participation of the Son in the Spirit.’ Orat. i. 56. The question then was, as to the distinction of the Son’s divine generation over that of holy men; and the Catholics answered that He was ἐξ οὐσίας, from the essence of God; not by participation of grace, not by resemblance, not in a limited sense, but really and simply, and therefore by an internal divine act. vid. below, §22. and infr. §31. [The above note has been modified so as to eliminate the erroneous identification of γεννητὸς and γενητός.],’ in order that ‘from God’ might not be considered common and equal in the Son and in things originate, but that all others might be acknowledged as creatures, and the Word alone as from the Father. For though all things be said to be from God, yet this is not in the sense in which the Son is from Him; for as to the creatures, ‘of God’ is said of them on this account, in that they exist not at random or spontaneously, nor come to be by chance887887 Cf. de Syn. §35., according to those philosophers who refer them to the combination of atoms, and to elements of similar structure,—nor as certain heretics speak of a distinct Framer,—nor as others again say that the 163constitution of all things is from certain Angels;—but in that (whereas God is), it was by Him that all things were brought into being, not being before, through His Word; but as to the Word, since He is not a creature, He alone is both called and is ‘from the Father;’ and it is significant of this sense to say that the Son is ‘from the essence of the Father,’ for to nothing originate does this attach. In truth, when Paul says that ‘all things are from God,’ he immediately adds, ‘and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom all things888888 1 Cor. viii. 6.,’ in order to shew all men, that the Son is other than all these things which came to be from God (for the things which came to be from God, came to be through His Son); and that he had used his foregoing words with reference to the world as framed by God889889 When characteristic attributes and prerogatives are ascribed to God, or to the Father, this is done only to the exclusion of creatures, or of false gods, not to the exclusion of His Son who is implied in the mention of Himself. Thus when God is called only wise, or the Father the only God, or God is said to be unoriginate, ἀγένητος, this is not in contrast to the Son, but to all things which are distinct from God. vid. Orat. iii. 8. Naz. Orat. 30, 13. Cyril. Thesaur. p 142. ‘The words “one” and “only” ascribed to God in Scripture,’ says S. Basil, ‘are not used in contrast to the Son or the Holy Spirit, but with reference to those who are not God, and falsely called so.’ Ep. 8. n. 3. On the other hand, when the Father is mentioned, the other Divine Persons are implied in Him, ‘The Blessed and Holy Trinity,’ says S. Athan. ‘is indivisible and one in itself; and when the Father is mentioned, His Word is added, and the Spirit in the Son; and if the Son is named, in the Son is the Father, and the Spirit is not external to the Word.’ ad Serap. i. 14., and not as if all things were from the Father as the Son is. For neither are other things as the Son, nor is the Word one among others, for He is Lord and Framer of all; and on this account did the Holy Council declare expressly that He was of the essence890890 Vid. also ad Afros. 4. Again, ‘“I am,” τὸ ὂν, is really proper to God and is a whole, bounded or mutilated neither by aught before Him, nor after Him, for He neither was, nor shall be.’ Naz. Orat. 30. 18 fin. Also Cyril Dial. i. p. 392. Damasc. Fid. Orth. i. 9. and the Semiarians at Ancyra, Epiph. Hær. 73. 12 init. By the ‘essence,’ however, or, ‘substance’ of God, the Council did not mean any thing distinct from God, vid. note 3 infr. but God Himself viewed in His self-existing nature (vid. Tert. in Hermog, 3.), nay, it expressly meant to negative the contrary notion of the Arians, that our Lord was from something distinct from God, and in consequence of created substance. Moreover the term expresses the idea of God positively, in contradistinction to negative epithets, such as infinite, immense, eternal, &c. Damasc. Fid. Orthod. i. 4. and as little implies any thing distinct from God as those epithets do. of the Father, that we might believe the Word to be other than the nature of things originate, being alone truly from God; and that no subterfuge should be left open to the irreligious. This then was the reason why the Council wrote ‘of the essence.’
20. Again, when the Bishops said that the Word must be described as the True Power and Image of the Father, in all things exact891891 ἀπαράλλακτον and like the Father, and as unalterable, and as always, and as in Him without division (for never was the Word not, but He was always, existing everlastingly with the Father, as the radiance of light), Eusebius and his fellows endured indeed, as not daring to contradict, being put to shame by the arguments which were urged against them; but withal they were caught whispering to each other and winking with their eyes, that ‘like,’ and ‘always,’ and ‘power,’ and ‘in Him,’ were, as before, common to us and the Son, and that it was no difficulty to agree to these. As to ‘like,’ they said that it is written of us, ‘Man is the image and glory of God892892 1 Cor. xi. 7.:’ ‘always,’ that it was written, ‘For we which live are alway893893 2 Cor. iv. 11.:’ ‘in Him,’ ‘In Him we live and move and have our being894894 Acts xvii. 28.:’ ‘unalterable,’ that it is written, ‘Nothing shall separate us from the love of Christ895895 Rom. viii. 35, who shall separate.:’ as to ‘power,’ that the caterpillar and the locust are called ‘power’ and ‘great power896896 Joel ii. 25.,’ and that it is often said of the people, for instance, ‘All the power of the Lord came out of the land of Egypt897897 Ex. xii. 41.:’ and there are others also, heavenly ones, for Scripture says, ‘The Lord of powers is with us, the God of Jacob is our refuge898898 Ps. xlvi. 7..’ Indeed Asterius, by title the sophist, had said the like in writing, having learned it from them, and before him Arius899899 vid. supr. §8, note 3. having learned it also, as has been said. But the Bishops discerning in this too their dissimulation, and whereas it is written, ‘Deceit is in the heart of the irreligious that imagine evil900900 Prov. xii. 20.,’ were again compelled on their part to collect the sense of the Scriptures, and to re-say and re-write what they had said before, more distinctly still, namely, that the Son is ‘one in essence901901 vid. ad Afros. 5, 6. ad Serap. ii. 5. S. Ambrose tells us, that a Letter written by Eusebius of Nicomedia, in which he said, ‘If we call Him true Son of the Father and uncreate, then are we granting that He is one in essence, ὁμοούσιον,’ determined the Council on the adoption of the term. de Fid. iii. n. 125. He had disclaimed ‘of the essence,’ in his Letter to Paulinus. Theod. Hist. i. 4. Arius, however, had disclaimed ὁμοούσιον already, Epiph. Hær. 69. 7. It was a word of old usage in the Church, as Eusebius of Cæsarea confesses in his Letter, infr. Tertullian in Prax. 13 fin. has the translation ‘unius substantiæ:’ (vid. Lucifer de non Parc. p. 218.) as he has ‘de substantia Patris,’ in Prax. 4. and Origen perhaps used the word, vid. Pamph. Apol. 5. and Theognostus and the two Dionysii, infr. §25, 26. And before them Clement had spoken of the ἕνωσις τῆς μοναδικῆς οὐσίας, ‘the union of the single essence,’ vid. Le Quien in Damasc. Fid. Orth. i. 8. Novatian too has ‘per substantiæ communionem,’ de Trinit. 31.’ with the Father: by way of signifying, that the Son was from the Father, and not merely like, but the same in likeness902902 The Arians allowed that our Lord was like and the image of the Father, but in the sense in which a picture is like the original, differing from it in substance and in fact. In this sense they even allowed the strong word ἀπαράλλακτος unvarying [or rather exact] image, vid. beginning of §20. which had been used by the Catholics (vid. Alexander, ap. Theod. Hist. i. 3. p. 740.) as by the Semiarians afterwards, who even added the words κατ᾽ οὐσίαν, or ‘according to substance.’ Even this strong phrase, however, κατ᾽ οὐσίαν ἀπαράλλακτος εἰκὼν, or ἀπαραλλάκτως ὅμοιος, did not appear to the Council an adequate safeguard of the doctrine. Athan. notices de Syn. that ‘like’ applies to qualities rather than to essence, §53. Also Basil. Ep. 8. n. 3. ‘while in itself,’ says the same Father, ‘it is frequently used of faint similitudes and falling very far short of the original.’ Ep. 9. n. 3. Accordingly, the Council determined on the word ὁμοούσιον as implying, as the text expresses it, ‘the same in likeness,’ ταὐτὸν τῇ ὁμοιώσει, that the likeness might not be analogical. vid. the passage about gold and brass, §23 below, Cyril in Joan. 1. iii. c. v. p. 302. [See below de Syn. 15, note 2.], and 164of shewing that the Son’s likeness and unalterableness was different from such copy of the same as is ascribed to us, which we acquire from virtue on the ground of observance of the commandments. For bodies which are like each other may be separated and become at distances from each other, as are human sons relatively to their parents (as it is written concerning Adam and Seth, who was begotten of him that he was like him after his own pattern903903 Gen. v. 3.); but since the generation of the Son from the Father is not according to the nature of men, and not only like, but also inseparable from the essence of the Father, and He and the Father are one, as He has said Himself, and the Word is ever in the Father and the Father in the Word, as the radiance stands towards the light (for this the phrase itself indicates), therefore the Council, as understanding this, suitably wrote ‘one in essence,’ that they might both defeat the perverseness of the heretics, and shew that the Word was other than originated things. For, after thus writing, they at once added, ‘But they who say that the Son of God is from nothing, or created, or alterable, or a work, or from other essence, these the Holy Catholic Church anathematizes904904 vid. Euseb.’s Letter, supr..’ And by saying this, they shewed clearly that ‘of the essence,’ and ‘one in essence,’ are destructive of those catchwords of irreligion, such as ‘created,’ and ‘work,’ and ‘originated,’ and ‘alterable,’ and ‘He was not before His generation.’ And he who holds these, contradicts the Council; but he who does not hold with Arius, must needs hold and intend the decisions of the Council, suitably regarding them to signify the relation of the radiance to the light, and from thence gaining the illustration of the truth.
21. Therefore if they, as the others, make an excuse that the terms are strange, let them consider the sense in which the Council so wrote, and anathematize what the Council anathematized; and then if they can, let them find fault with the expressions. But I well know that, if they hold the sense of the Council, they will fully accept the terms in which it is conveyed; whereas if it be the sense which they wish to complain of, all must see that it is idle in them to discuss the wording, when they are but seeking handles for irreligion. This then was the reason of these expressions; but if they still complain that such are not scriptural, that very complaint is a reason why they should be cast out, as talking idly and disordered in mind. And let them blame themselves in this matter, for they set the example, beginning their war against God with words not in Scripture. However, if a person is interested in the question, let him know, that, even if the expressions are not in so many words in the Scriptures, yet, as was said before, they contain the sense of the Scriptures, and expressing it, they convey it to those who have their hearing unimpaired for religious doctrine. Now this circumstance it is for thee to consider, and for those ill-instructed men to give ear to. It has been shewn above, and must be believed as true, that the Word is from the Father, and the only Offspring905905 γέννημα, offspring; this word is of very frequent occurrence in Athan. He speaks of it, Orat. iv. 3. as virtually Scriptural. Yet Basil, contr. Eunom. ii. 6–8. explicitly disavows the word, as an unscriptural invention of Eunomius. ‘That the Father begat we are taught in many places: that the Son is an offspring we never heard up to this day, for Scripture says, “unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given.”’ c. 7. He goes on to say that ‘it is fearful to give Him names of our own to whom God has given a name which is above every name;’ and observes that offspring is not the word which even a human father would apply to his son, as for instance we read, ‘Child, (τέκνον,) go into the vineyard,’ and ‘Who art thou, my son?’ moreover that fruits of the earth are called offspring (‘I will not drink of the offspring of this vine’), rarely animated things, except indeed in such instances as, ‘O generation (offspring) of vipers.’ Nyssen defends his brother, contr. Eunom. Orat. iii. p 105. In the Arian formula ‘an offspring, but not as one of the offsprings,’ it is synonymous with ‘work’ or ‘creature.’ On the other hand Epiphanius uses it, e.g. Hær. 76. n. 8. and Naz. Orat. 29. n. 2. Eusebius, Demonstr. Ev. iv. 2. Pseudo-Basil. adv. Eunom. iv. p. 280. fin. proper to Him and natural. For whence may one conceive the Son to be, who is the Wisdom and the Word, in whom all things came to be, but from God Himself? However, the Scriptures also teach us this, since the Father says by David, ‘My heart uttered a good Word906906 Ps. xlv. 1.,’ and, ‘From the womb before the morning star I begat Thee907907 Ib. cx. 3.;’ and the Son signifies to the Jews about Himself, ‘If God were your Father, ye would love Me; for I proceeded forth from the Father908908 John viii. 42..’ And again; ‘Not that anyone has seen the Father, save He which is from God, He hath seen the Father909909 Ib. vi. 46..’ And moreover, ‘I and My Father are one,’ and, ‘I in the Father and the Father in Me910910 Ib. x. 30, and xiv. 10.,’ is equivalent to saying, ‘I am from the Father, and inseparable from Him.’ And John in saying, ‘The Only-begotten Son which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him,911911 Ib. i. 18.’ spoke of what He had learned from the Saviour. Besides, what else does ‘in the bosom’ intimate, but the Son’s genuine generation from the Father?
22. If then any man conceives God to be compound, as accident912912 συμβεβηκός. Cf. Orat. iv. 2. also Orat. i. 36. The text embodies the common doctrine of the Fathers. Athenagoras, however, speaks of God’s goodness as an accident, ‘as colour to the body,’ ‘as flame is ruddy and the sky blue,’ Legat. 24. This, however is but a verbal difference, for shortly before he speaks of His being, τὸ ὄντως ὂν, and His unity of nature, τὸ μονοφυὲς, as in the number of ἐπισυμβεβηκότα αὐτῶ. Eusebius uses the word συμβεβηκὸς in the same way [but see Orat. iv. 2, note 8], Demonstr. Evang. iv. 3. And hence S. Cyril, in controversy with the Arians, is led by the course of their objections to observe, ‘There are cogent reasons for considering these things as accidents συμβεβηκότα in God, though they be not.’ Thesaur. p. 263. vid. the following note. is in essence, or 165to have any external envelopement913913 περιβολὴ, and so de Syn. §34. which is very much the same passage. Some Fathers, however, seem to say the reverse. E.g. Nazianzen says that ‘neither the immateriality of God nor ingenerateness, present to us His essence.’ Orat. 28. 9. And S. Augustine, arguing on the word ingenitus, says, that ‘not every thing which is said to be in God is said according to essence.’ de Trin. v. 6. And hence, while Athan. in the text denies that there are qualities or the like belonging to Him, περὶ αὐτὸν, it is still common in the Fathers to speak of qualities, as in the passage of S. Gregory just cited, in which the words περὶ θεὸν occur. There is no difficulty in reconciling these statements, though it would require more words than could be given to it here. Petavius has treated the subject fully in his work de Deo. i. 7–11. and especially ii. 3. When the Fathers say that there is no difference between the divine ‘proprietates’ and essence, they speak of the fact, considering the Almighty as He is; when they affirm a difference, they speak of Him as contemplated by us, who are unable to grasp the idea of Him as one and simple, but view His Divine Nature as if in projection (if such a word may be used), and thus divided into substance and quality as man may be divided into genus and difference., and to be encompassed, or as if there is aught about Him which completes the essence, so that when we say ‘God,’ or name ‘Father,’ we do not signify the invisible and incomprehensible essence, but something about it, then let them complain of the Council’s stating that the Son was from the essence of God; but let them reflect, that in thus considering they utter two blasphemies; for they make God corporeal, and they falsely say that the Lord is not Son of the very Father, but of what is about Him. But if God be simple, as He is, it follows that in saying ‘God’ and naming ‘Father,’ we name nothing as if about Him, but signify his essence itself. For though to comprehend what the essence of God is be impossible, yet if we only understand that God is, and if Scripture indicates Him by means of these titles, we, with the intention of indicating Him and none else, call Him God and Father and Lord. When then He says, ‘I am that I am,’ and ‘I am the Lord God914914 Ex. iii. 14, 15.,’ or when Scripture says, ‘God,’ we understand nothing else by it but the intimation of His incomprehensible essence Itself, and that He Is, who is spoken of915915 In like manner de Synod. §34. Also Basil, ‘The essence is not any one of things which do not attach, but is the very being of God.’ contr. Eun. i. 10 fin. ‘The nature of God is no other than Himself, for He is simple and uncompounded.’ Cyril Thesaur. p. 59. ‘When we say the power of the Father, we say nothing else than the essence of the Father.’ August. de Trin. vii. 6. And so Numenius in Eusebius, ‘Let no one deride, if I say that the name of the Immaterial is essence and being.’ Præp. Evang. xi. 10.. Therefore let no one be startled on hearing that the Son of God is from the Essence of the Father; but rather let him accept the explanation of the Fathers, who in more explicit but equivalent language have for ‘from God’ written ‘of the essence.’ For they considered it the same thing to say that the Word was ‘of God’ and ‘of the essence of God,’ since the word ‘God,’ as I have already said, signifies nothing but the essence of Him Who Is. If then the Word is not in such sense from God, as a son, genuine and natural, from a father, but only as creatures because they are framed, and as ‘all things are from God,’ then neither is He from the essence of the Father, nor is the Son again Son according to essence, but in consequence of virtue, as we who are called sons by grace. But if He only is from God, as a genuine Son, as He is, then the Son may reasonably be called from the essence of God.
23. Again, the illustration of the Light and the Radiance has this meaning. For the Saints have not said that the Word was related to God as fire kindled from the heat of the sun, which is commonly put out again, for this is an external work and a creature of its author, but they all preach of Him as Radiance916916 Athan.’s ordinary illustration is, as here, not from ‘fire,’ but from ‘radiance,’ ἀπαύγασμα, after S. Paul [i.e. Hebrews] and the Author of the Book of Wisdom, meaning by radiance the light which a light diffuses by means of the atmosphere. On the other hand Arius in his letter to Alexander, Epiph. Hær. 69. 7. speaks against the doctrine of Hieracas that the Son was from the Father as a light from a light or as a lamp divided into two, which after all was Arian doctrine. Athanasius refers to fire, Orat. iv. §2 and 10, but still to fire and its radiance. However we find the illustration of fire from fire, Justin. Tryph. 61. Tatian contr. Græc. 5. At this early day the illustration of radiance might have a Sabellian bearing, as that of fire in Athan.’s had an Arian. Hence Justin protests against those who considered the Son as ‘like the sun’s light in the heaven,’ which ‘when it sets, goes away with it,’ whereas it is as ‘fire kindled from fire.’ Tryph. 128. Athenagoras, however, like Athanasius, says ‘as light from fire,’ using also the word ἀπό& 207·ῥοια, effluence: vid. also Orig. Periarch. i. 2. n. 4. Tertull. Ap. 21. Theognostus, quoted infr. §25., thereby to signify His being from the essence, proper and indivisible, and His oneness with the Father. This also will secure His true unchangableness and immutability; for how can these be His, unless He be proper Offspring of the Father’s essence? for this too must be taken to confirm His identity with His own Father. Our explanation then having so religious an aspect, Christ’s enemies should not be startled at the ‘One in essence,’ either, since this term also has a sound sense and good reasons. Indeed, if we say that the Word is from the essence of God (for after what has been said this must be a phrase admitted by them), what does this mean but the truth and eternity of the essence from which He is begotten? for it is not different in kind, lest it be combined with the essence of God as something foreign and unlike it. Nor is He like only outwardly, lest He seem in some respect or wholly to be other in essence, as brass shines like gold and silver like tin. For these are foreign and of other nature, are separated off from each other in nature and virtues, nor is brass proper to gold, nor is the pigeon born from the dove917917 vid. de Syn. §41.; but 166though they are considered like, yet they differ in essence. If then it be thus with the Son, let Him be a creature as we are, and not One in essence; but if the Son is Word, Wisdom, Image of the Father, Radiance, He must in all reason be One in essence. For unless it be proved that He is not from God, but an instrument different in nature and different in essence, surely the Council was sound in its doctrine and correct in its decree918918 As ‘of the essence’ declared that our Lord was uncreate, so ‘one in essence’ declared that He was equal with the Father; no term derived from ‘likeness,’ even ‘like in essence’ answering for this purpose, for such phrases might all be understood of resemblance or representation. vid. §20, notes 8, 9..
24. Further, let every corporeal reference be banished on this subject; and transcending every imagination of sense, let us, with pure understanding and with mind alone, apprehend the genuine relation of son to father, and the Word’s proper relation towards God, and the unvarying likeness of the radiance towards the light: for as the words ‘Offspring’ and ‘Son’ bear, and are meant to bear, no human sense, but one suitable to God, in like manner when we hear the phrase ‘one in essence,’ let us not fall upon human senses, and imagine partitions and divisions of the Godhead, but as having our thoughts directed to things immaterial, let us preserve undivided the oneness of nature and the identity of light; for this is proper to a son as regards a father, and in this is shewn that God is truly Father of the Word. Here again, the illustration of light and its radiance is in point919919 Athan. has just used the illustration of radiance in reference to ‘of the essence:’ and now he says that it equally illustrates ‘one in essence;’ the light diffused from the sun being at once contemporaneous and homogeneous with its original.. Who will presume to say that the radiance is unlike and foreign to the sun? rather who, thus considering the radiance relatively to the sun, and the identity of the light, would not say with confidence, ‘Truly the light and the radiance are one, and the one is manifested in the other, and the radiance is in the sun, so that whoso sees this, sees that also?’ but such a oneness and natural property, what should it be named by those who believe and see aright, but Offspring one in essence? and God’s Offspring what should we fittingly and suitably consider, but Word, and Wisdom, and Power? which it were a sin to say was foreign to the Father, or a crime even to imagine as other than with Him everlastingly. For by this Offspring the Father made all things, and extended His Providence unto all things; by Him He exercises His love to man, and thus He and the Father are one, as has been said; unless indeed these perverse men make a fresh attempt, and say that the essence of the Word is not the same as the Light which is in Him from the Father, as if the Light in the Son were one with the Father, but He Himself foreign in essence as being a creature. Yet this is simply the belief of Caiaphas and the Samosatene, which the Church cast out, but these now are disguising; and by this they fell from the truth, and were declared to be heretics. For if He partakes in fulness the light from the Father, why is He not rather that which others partake920920 Vid. §10 init. note 4., that there be no medium introduced between Him and the Father? Otherwise, it is no longer clear that all things were generated by the Son, but by Him, of whom He too partakes921921 The point in which perhaps all the ancient heresies concerning our Lord’s divine nature agreed, was in considering His different titles to be those of different beings or subjects, or not really and properly to belong to one and the same person; so that the Word was not the Son, or the Radiance not the Word, or our Lord was the Son, but only improperly the Word, not the true Word, Wisdom, or Radiance. Paul of Samosata, Sabellius [?], and Arius, agreed in considering that the Son was a creature, and that He was called, made after, or inhabited by the impersonal attribute called the Word or Wisdom. When the Word or Wisdom was held to be personal, it became the doctrine of Nestorius.. And if this is the Word, the Wisdom of the Father, in whom the Father is revealed and known, and frames the world, and without whom the Father doth nothing, evidently He it is who is from the Father: for all things originated partake of Him, as partaking of the Holy Ghost. And being such, He cannot be from nothing, nor a creature at all, but rather a proper Offspring from the Father, as the radiance from light.
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