2. Theological Speculations: In the apostolic Fathers only simple practical, Biblical statements are found, with reminiscences of apostolic preaching for the purposes of edification. Ignatius of Antioch calls Christ God without qualification (Ad Ephes., vii.
18; cf. Ad Rom.,
vi.). Polycarp calls him "the eternal Son of God " (Ad Phil., ii.
8), and associates him in his last prayer with the Father and the Spirit (Martyrium. Polycarpi,, xiv.).
The theological speculation on the person of Christ began with Justin Martyr, and was carried on by Clement of Alexandria and Origen, in the East; by Irenssus, Hippolytus, and Tertullian, in the West.
1. Justin Martyr. Justin Martyr (d. 166) takes up the Johannean Logos idea, which proved a very fruitful germ of theological speculation. It was prepared by the Old Testament personification of the word and wisdom of God, assumed an idealistic shape in Philo of Alexandria, and reached a realistic completion in St. John, although it is not likely that John's had anything more in common with Philo's idea than the name "Logos." Following the suggestion of the double meaning of the Greek logos (ratio
Justin distinguishes in the Logos two elements-the immanent and the transitive; the revelation of God ad infra,
and the revelationad extra.
He teaches the procession of the Logos from the free will (not the essence) of God by generation, without division or diminution of the divine substance. This begotten Logos he conceives as a hypostatical being, a person distinct from the Father, and subordinate to him. He coordinates God, the Son, and the prophetic Spirit, as objects of Christian worship (ApoI., i.
6). Peculiar is his doctrine of the logos spermotikos
, the "seminal Logos," or the Word disseminated among men ,i.e., Christ before the incarnation, who scattered elements of truth and virtue among the heathen philosophers and poets, although they did not know it.
2. Clement of Alexandria. Clement of Alexandria (d. 220) sees in the Logos the ultimate principle of all existence (without beginning, and timeless), the revealer of the Father, the sum of all intelligence and wisdom, the personal truth, the author of the world, the source of light and life, the educator of the race, who at last became man to make us partakers of his divine nature. Like some other ante-Nicene Fathers (Justin Martyr, Tertullian, and Origen), he conceived the outward appearance of Christ's humanity in the state of humiliation to have been literally without form or comeliness (Isa. liii. 2, 3); but he had made a distinction between two kinds of beauty-the outward beauty of the flesh, which soon fades away; and the moral beauty of the soul, which is permanent, and shone even through the servant form of our Lord (Padagogus, iii.