Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol IX:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
Epistle to Gregory and Origen's Commentary on the Gospel of John.: Chapter V
5. He (This One) Was in the Beginning with God.
To those who fail to distinguish with care the different propositions of the context the Evangelist may appear to be repeating himself. “He was in the beginning with God” may seem to add nothing to “And the Word was with God.” We must observe more carefully. In the statement “The Word was with God” we are not told anything of the when or the where; that is added in the fourth axiom. There are four axioms, or, as some call them, propositions, the fourth being “He was in the beginning with God.” Now “The Word was with God” is not the same thing as “He was,” etc.; for here we are told, not only that He was with God, but when and where He was so: “He was in the beginning with God.” The “He,” too, used as it is for a demonstration, will be considered to refer to the Word, or by a less careful enquirer, to God. What was noted before is now summed up in this designation “He,” the notion of the Logos and that of God; and as the argument proceeds the different notions are collected in one; for the notion God is not included in the notion Logos, nor the notion Logos in that of God. And perhaps the proposition before us is a summing up in one of the three which have preceded. Taking the statement that the p. 328 Word was in the beginning, we have not yet learned that He was with God, and taking the statement that the Word was with God it is not yet clear to us that He was with God in the beginning; and taking the statement that the Word was God, it has neither been shown that He was in the beginning, nor that He was with God.
Now when the Evangelist says, “He was in the beginning with God,” if we apply the pronoun “He” to the Word and to God (as He is God) and consider that “in the beginning” is conjoined with it, and “with God” added to it, then there is nothing left of the three propositions that is not summed up and brought together in this one. And as “in the beginning” has been said twice, we may consider if there are not two lessons we may learn. First, that the Word was in the beginning, as if He was by Himself and not with any one, and secondly, that He was in the beginning with God. And I consider that there is nothing untrue in saying of Him both that He was in the beginning, and in the beginning with God, for neither was He with God alone, since He was also in the beginning, nor was He in the beginning alone and not with God, since “He was in the beginning with God.”
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