Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. III:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
Doctrinal Treatises of St. Augustin: Chapter 2
Chapter 2 .—What is Said of the Father and Son Together, and What Not.
3. But if nothing is spoken of the Father as such, except that which is spoken of Him in relation to the Son, that is, that He is His father, or begetter, or beginning; and if also the begetter is by consequence a beginning to that which he begets of himself; but whatever else is spoken of Him is so spoken as with the Son, or rather in the Son; whether that He is great with that greatness which He begat, or just with that justice which He begat, or good with that goodness which He begat, or powerful with that force or power which He begat, or wise with that wisdom which He begat: yet the Father is not said to be greatness itself, but the begetter of greatness; but the Son, as He is called the Son as such, is not so called with the Father but in relation to the Father, so is not great in and by himself, but with the Father, of whom He is the greatness; and so also is called wise with the Father, of whom He Himself is the wisdom; just as the Father is called wise with the Son, because He is wise with that wisdom which He begat; therefore the one is not called without the other, whatever they are called in respect to themselves; that is, whatever they are called that manifests their essential nature, both are so called together;—if these things are so, then the Father is not God without the Son, nor the Son God without the Father, but both together are God. And that which is said, “In the beginning was the Word,” means that the Word was in the Father. Or if “In the beginning” is intended to mean, Before all things; then in that which follows, “And the Word was with God,” the Son alone is understood to be the Word, not the Father and Son together, as though both were one Word (for He is the Word in the same way as He is the Image, but the Father and Son are not both together the Image, but the Son alone is the Image of the Father: just as He is also the Son of the Father, for both together are not the Son). But in that which is added, “And the Word was with God,” there is much reason to understand thus: “The Word,” which is the Son alone, “was with God,” which is not the Father alone, but God the Father and the Son together. 603 But what wonder is there, if this can be said in the case of some twofold things widely different from each other? For what are so different as soul and body? Yet we can say the soul was with a man, that is, in a man; although the soul is not the body, and man is both soul and body together. So that what follows in the Scripture, “And the Word was God,” 604 may be understood thus: The Word, which is not the Father, was God together with the Father. Are we then to say thus, that the Father is the begetter of His own greatness, that is, the begetter of His own power, or the begetter of His own wisdom; and that the Son is greatness, and power, and wisdom; but that the great, omnipotent, and wise God, is both together? How then God of God, Light of Light? For not both together are God of God, but only the Son is of God, that is to say, of the Father; nor are both together Light of Light, but the Son only is of Light, that is, of the Father. Unless, perhaps, it was in order to intimate and inculcate briefly that the Son is co-eternal with the Father, that it is said, God of God, and Light of Light, or anything else of the like kind: as if to say, This which is not the Son without the Father, of this which is not the Father without the Son; that is, this Light which is not Light without the Father, of that Light, viz. the Father, which is not Light without the Son; so that, when it is said, God which is not the Son without the Father, and of God which is not the Father without the Son, it may be perfectly understood that the Begetter did not precede that which He begot. And if this be so, then this alone cannot be said of them, namely, this or that of this or that, which they are not both together. Just as the Word cannot be said to be of the p. 99 Word, because both are not the Word together, but only the Son; nor image of image, since they are not both together the image; nor Son of Son, since both together are not the Son, according to that which is said, “I and my Father are one.” 605 For “we are one” means, what He is, that am I also; according to essence, not according to relation.
[The term “God,” in the proposition, “the Word was with God,” must refer to the Father, not to “the Father and Son together,” because the Son could not be said to be “with” himself. St. John says that “the word was God” (θεὸς). The absence of the article with θεὸς denotes the abstract deity, or the divine nature without reference to the persons in it. He also says that “the Word was with God” (τὸν θεὸν). The presence of the article in this instance denotes one of the divine persons in the essence: namely, the Father, with whom the Word was from eternity, and upon whose “bosom” he was from eternity. (John 1.18John i. 18).—W.G.T.S.]98:604
John 1.1John i. 199:605
John 10.30John x. 30
Next: Chapter 3
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