Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. IV:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
Against the Arians. (Orationes contra Arianos IV.): Chapter XVI.--Introductory to Proverbs viii. 22, that the Son is not a Creature. Arian formula, a creature but not as one of the creatures; but each creature is unlike all other creatures; and no creature can create. The Word then differs from all creatures in that in which they, though otherwise differing, all agree together, as creatures; viz. in being an efficient cause; in being the one medium or instrumental agent in creation; moreover in being the revealer of the Father; and in being the object of worship.
Chapter XVI.—Introductory to Proverbs viii. 22, that the Son is not a Creature. Arian formula, a creature but not as one of the creatures; but each creature is unlike all other creatures; and no creature can create. The Word then differs from all creatures in that in which they, though otherwise differing, all agree together, as creatures; viz. in being an efficient cause; in being the one medium or instrumental agent in creation; moreover in being the revealer of the Father; and in being the object of worship.
18. (continued). Now in the next place let us consider the passage in the Proverbs, The Lord created me a beginning of His ways for His works 2312 ; although in shewing that the Word is no work, it has been also shewn that He is no creature. For it is the same p. 358 to say work or creature, so that the proof that He is no work is a proof also that He is no creature. Whereas one may marvel at these men, thus devising excuses to be irreligious, and nothing daunted at the refutations which meet them upon every point. For first they set about deceiving the simple by their questions, 2313 Did He who is make from that which was not one that was not or one that was 2314 ? and, Had you a son before begetting him 2315 ? And when this had been proved worthless, next they invented the question, Is the Unoriginate one or two 2316 ? Then, when in this they had been confuted, straightway they formed another, Has He free-will and an alterable nature 2317 ? But being forced to give up this, next they set about saying, Being made so much better than the Angels 2318 ; and when the truth exposed this pretence, now again, collecting them all together, they think to recommend their heresy by work and creature 2319 . For they mean those very things over again, and are true to their own perverseness, putting into various shapes and turning to and fro the same errors, if so be to deceive some by that variousness. Although then abundant proof has been given above of this their reckless expedient, yet, since they make all places sound with this passage from the Proverbs, and to many who are ignorant of the faith of Christians, seem to say somewhat, it is necessary to examine separately, He created as well as Who was faithful to Him that made Him 2320 ; that, as in all others, so in this text also, they may be proved to have got no further than a fantasy.
19. And first let us see the answers, which they returned to Alexander of blessed memory, in the outset, while their heresy was in course of formation. They wrote thus: He is a creature, but not as one of the creatures; a work, but not as one of the works; an offspring, but not as one of the offsprings 2321 . Let every one consider the profligacy and craft of this heresy; for knowing the bitterness of its own malignity, it makes an effort to trick itself out with fair words, and says, what indeed it means, that He is a creature, yet thinks to be able to screen itself by adding, but not as one of the creatures. However, in thus writing, they rather convict themselves of irreligion; for if, in your opinion, He is simply a creature, why add the pretence 2322 , but not as one of the creatures? And if He is simply a work, how not as one of the works? In which we may see the poison of the heresy. For by saying, offspring, but not as one of the offsprings, they reckon many sons, and one of these they pronounce to be the Lord; so that according to them He is no more Only begotten, but one out of many brethren, and is called 2323 offspring and son. What use then is this pretence of saying that He is a creature and not a creature? for though ye shall say, Not as one of the creatures, I will prove this sophism of yours to be foolish. For still ye pronounce Him to be one of the creatures; and whatever a man might say of the other creatures, such ye hold concerning the Son, ye truly fools and blind 2324 . For is any one of the creatures just what another is 2325 , that ye should predicate this of the Son as some prerogative 2326 ? And all the visible creation was made in six days:—in the first, the light which He called day; in the second the firmament; in the third, gathering together the waters, He bared the dry land, and brought out the various fruits that are in it; and in the fourth, He made the sun and the moon and all the host of the stars; and on the fifth, He created the race of living things in the sea, and of birds in the air; and on the sixth, He made the quadrupeds on the earth, and at length man. And the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made 2327 ; and neither the light is as the night, nor the sun as the moon; nor the irrational as rational man; nor the Angels as the Thrones, nor the Thrones as the Authorities, yet they are all creatures, but each of the things made according to its kind p. 359 exists and remains in its own essence, as it was made.
20. Let the Word then be excepted from the works, and as Creator be restored to the Father, and be confessed to be Son by nature; or if simply He be a creature, then let Him be assigned the same condition as the rest one with another, and let them as well as He be said every one of them to be a creature but not as one of the creatures, offspring or work, but not as one of the works or offsprings. For ye say that an offspring is the same as a work, writing generated or made 2328 . For though the Son excel the rest on a comparison, still a creature He is nevertheless, as they are; since in those which are by nature creatures one may find some excelling others. Star, for instance, differs from star in glory, and the rest have all of them their mutual differences when compared together; yet it follows not for all this that some are lords, and others servants to the superior, nor that some are efficient causes 2329 , others by them come into being, but all have a nature which comes to be and is created, confessing in their own selves their Framer: as David says in the Psalms, The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament sheweth His handy work 2330 ; and as Zorobabel the wise says, All the earth calleth upon the Truth, and the heaven blesseth it: all works shake and tremble at it 2331 . But if the whole earth hymns the Framer and the Truth, and blesses, and fears it, and its Framer is the Word, and He Himself says, I am the Truth 2332 , it follows that the Word is not a creature, but alone proper to the Father, in whom all things are disposed, and He is celebrated by all, as Framer; for I was by Him disposing 2333 ; and My Father worketh hitherto, and I work 2334 . And the word hitherto shews His eternal existence in the Father as the Word; for it is proper to the Word to work the Fathers works and not to be external to Him.
21. But if what the Father worketh, that the Son worketh also 2335 , and what the Son createth, that is the creation of the Father, and yet the Son be the Fathers work or creature, then either He will work His own self, and will be His own creator (since what the Father worketh is the Sons work also), which is absurd and impossible; or, in that He creates and worketh the things of the Father, He Himself is not a work nor a creature; for else being Himself an efficient cause 2336 , He may cause that to be in the case of things caused, which He Himself has become, or rather He may have no power to cause at all.
For how, if, as you hold, He is come of nothing, is He able to frame things that are nothing into being? or if He, a creature, withal frames a creature, the same will be conceivable in the case of every creature, viz. the power to frame others. And if this pleases you, what is the need of the Word, seeing that things inferior can be brought to be by things superior? or at all events, every thing that is brought to be could have heard in the beginning Gods words, Become and be made, and so would have been framed. But this is not so written, nor could it be. For none of things which are brought to be is an efficient cause, but all things were made through the Word: who would not have wrought all things, were He Himself in the number of the creatures. For neither would the Angels be able to frame, since they too are creatures, though Valentinus, and Marcion, and Basilides think so, and you are their copyists; nor will the sun, as being a creature, ever make what is not into what is; nor will man fashion man, nor stone devise stone, nor wood give growth to wood. But God is He who fashions man in the womb, and fixes the mountains, and makes wood grow; whereas man, as being capable of science, puts together and arranges that material, and works things that are, as he has learned; and is satisfied if they are but brought to be, and being conscious of what his nature is, if he needs aught, knows to ask 2337 it of God.
22. If then God also wrought and compounded out of materials, this indeed is a gentile thought, according to which God is an artificer and not a Maker, but yet even in that case let the Word work the materials, at the bidding and in the service of God 2338 . But if He p. 360 calls into existence things which existed not by His proper Word, then the Word is not in the number of things non-existing and called; or we have to seek another Word 2339 , through whom He too was called; for by the Word the things which were not have come to be. And if through Him He creates and makes, He is not Himself of things created and made; but rather He is the Word of the Creator God and is known from the Fathers works which He Himself worketh, to be in the Father and the Father in Him, and He that hath seen Him hath seen the Father 2340 , because the Sons Essence is proper to the Father, and He in all points like Him 2341 . How then does He create through Him, unless it be His Word and His Wisdom? and how can He be Word and Wisdom, unless He be the proper offspring of His Essence 2342 , and did not come to be, as others, out of nothing? And whereas all things are from nothing, and are creatures, and the Son, as they say, is one of the creatures too and of things which once were not, how does He alone reveal the Father, and none else but He know the Father? For could He, a work, possibly know the Father, then must the Father be also known by all according to the proportion of the measures of each: for all of them are works as He is. But if it be impossible for things originate either to see or to know, for the sight and the knowledge of Him surpasses all (since God Himself says, No one shall see My face and live 2343 ), yet the Son has declared, No one knoweth the Father, save the Son 2344 , therefore the Word is different from all things originate, in that He alone knows and alone sees the Father, as He says, Not that any one hath seen the Father, save He that is from the Father, and no one knoweth the Father save the Son 2345 , though Arius think otherwise. How then did He alone know, except that He alone was proper to Him? and how proper, if He were a creature, and not a true Son from Him? (For one must not mind saying often the same thing for religions sake.) Therefore it is irreligious to think that the Son is one of all things; and blasphemous and unmeaning to call Him a creature, but not as one of the creatures, and a work, but not as one of the works, an offspring, but not as one of the offsprings; for how not as one of these, if, as they say, He was not before His generation 2346 ? for it is proper to the creatures and works not to be before their origination, and to subsist out of nothing, even though they excel other creatures in glory; for this difference of one with another will be found in all creatures, which appears in those which are visible 2347 .
23. Moreover if, as the heretics hold, the Son were creature or work, but not as one of the creatures, because of His excelling them in glory, it were natural that Scripture should describe and display Him by a comparison in His favour with the other works; for instance, that it should say that He is greater than Archangels, and more honourable than the Thrones, and both brighter than sun and moon, and greater than the heavens. But he is not in fact thus referred to; but the Father shews Him to be His own proper and only Son, saying, Thou art My Son, and This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. 2348 Accordingly the Angels ministered unto Him, as being one beyond themselves; and they worship Him, not as being greater in glory, but as being some one beyond all the creatures, and beyond themselves, and alone the Fathers proper Son according to essence 2349 . For if He was worshipped as excelling them in glory, each of things subservient ought to worship what excels itself. But this is not the case 2350 ; for creature does not worship creature, but servant Lord, and creature God. Thus Peter the Apostle hinders Cornelius who would worship him, saying, I myself also am a man 2351 . And an Angel, when John would worship him in the Apocalypse, hinders him, saying, See thou do it not; for I am thy fellow-servant, and of thy brethren the Prophets, and of them that keep the sayings of this book: worship God 2352 . Therefore to God alone appertains worship, and this the very Angels know, that though they excel other beings in glory, yet they are all creatures and not to be worshipped 2353 , but worship the Lord. Thus Manoah, the father of p. 361 Samson, wishing to offer sacrifice to the Angel, was thereupon hindered by him, saying, Offer not to me, but to God 2354 . On the other hand, the Lord is worshipped even by the Angels; for it is written, Let all the Angels of God worship Him 2355 ; and by all the Gentiles, as Isaiah says, The labour of Egypt and merchandize of Ethiopia and of the Sabeans, men of stature, shall come over unto thee, and they shall be thy servants; and then, they shall fall down unto thee, and shall make supplication unto thee, saying, Surely God is in thee, and there is none else, there is no God 2356 . And He accepts His disciples worship, and certifies them who He is, saying, Call ye Me not Lord and Master? and ye say well, for so I am. And when Thomas said to Him, My Lord and my God 2357 , He allows his words, or rather accepts him instead of hindering him. For He is, as the other Prophets declare, and David says in the Psalm, the Lord of hosts, the Lord of Sabaoth, which is interpreted, the Lord of Armies, and God True and Almighty, though the Arians burst 2358 at the tidings.
24. But He had not been thus worshipped, nor been thus spoken of, were He a creature merely. But now since He is not a creature, but the proper offspring of the Essence of that God who is worshipped, and His Son by nature, therefore He is worshipped and is believed to be God, and is Lord of armies, and in authority, and Almighty, as the Father is; for He has said Himself, All things that the Father hath, are Mine 2359 . For it is proper to the Son, to have the things of the Father, and to be such that the Father is seen in Him, and that through Him all things were made, and that the salvation of all comes to pass and consists in Him.
Prov. viii. 22. [This text, which had been immemorially applied to the Λόγος (supr. p. 168, note 7), and which in the false rendering of the LXX. strongly favoured the Arian side], is presently explained at greater length than any other of the texts he handles, forming the chief subject of the Oration henceforth, after an introduction which extends down to 44.358:2313
From the methodical manner in which the successive portions of his foregoing Oration are here referred to, it would almost seem as if he were answering in course some Arian work. vid. also supr. Orat. i. 37, 53. infr. Orat. iii. 26. He does not seem to be tracing the controversy historically.358:2314
Supr. ch. vii.358:2315
Ch. xiv. and xv.358:2320
Ch. xiv. Heb. iii. 2358:2321
Vid. Ariuss letter, de Syn. 16. This was the sophism by means of which Valens succeeded with the Fathers of Arminium. vid. S. Jerome in Luciferian. 18. vid. also in Eusebius, supr. Ep. Eus. 6.358:2322
De Syn. 32.358:2323
υἵον χρηματίζειν. The question between Catholics and Arians was whether our Lord was a true Son, or only called Son. Since they whisper something about Word and Wisdom as only names of the Son, &c. ὀνόματα μόνον, supr. i. 26, note 1, and de Decr. 16, note 10. And so the title of Image is not a token of a similar substance, but His name only, supr. i. 21, and so infr. 38. where τοῖς ὀνόμασι is synonymous with κατ᾽ ἐπίνοιαν, as Sent. D. 22. f. a. Vid. also 39. Orat. iii. 11. 18. not named Son, but ever Son, iv. 24. fin. Ep. Æg. 16. We call Him so, and mean truly what we say; they say it, but do not confess it. Chrysost. in Act. Hom. 33. 4. vid. also νόθοις ὥσπερ ὀνόμασι, Cyril. de Trin. ii. p. 418. Non hæc nuda nomina, Ambros. de Fid. i. 17. Yet, since the Sabellians equally failed here, also considering the Sonship as only a notion or title, vid. Orat. iv. 2. (where in contrast, The Father is Father, and the Son Son, vid. supr. p. 319, note 1.) 12. 23. 25. the word real was used as against them, and in opposition to ἀνυπόστατος λόγος by the Arians, and in consequence failed as a test of orthodox teaching; e.g. by Arius, supr. p. 97. by Euseb. in Marc. pp. 19, d. 35, b. 161, c. by Asterius, infr. 37. by Palladius and Secundus in the Council of Aquileia ap. Ambros. Opp. t. 2. p. 791. (ed. Bened.) by Maximinus ap. August. contr. Max. i. 6.358:2324
Matt. xxiii. 19.358:2325
And so S. Ambrose, Quæ enim creatura non sicut alia creatura non est? Homo non ut Angelus, terra non ut cœlum. de Fid. i. n. 130, and a similar passage in Nyss. contr. Eun. iii. p. 132, 3.358:2326
ἐξαίρετον. vid. infr. Orat. iii. 3. init. iv. 28. init. Euseb. Eccl. Theol. pp. 47. b. 73. b. 89. b. 124. a. 129. c. Theodor. H. E. p. 732. Nyss. contr. Eunom. iii. p. 133. a. Epiph. Hær. 76. p. 970. Cyril. Thes. p. 160.358:2327
Rom. i. 20.359:2328
γεννηθέντα ἢ ποιηθέντα; as if they were synonymous; in opposition to which the Nicene Creed says, γεννηθέντα ἢ ποιηθέντα. In like manner Arius in his letter to Eusebius uses the words, πρὶν γεννηθῇ ἤτοι κτισθῇ, ἢ ὀρισθῇ, ἢ θεμελιωθῇ, Theodor. H. E. p. 750. And to Alexander, ἀχρόνως γεννηθεὶς καὶ πρὸ αἰ& 240·νων κτισθεὶς καὶ θεμελιωθείς· de Syn. 16. And Eusebius to Paulinus, κτιστὸν καὶ θεμελιωτὸν καὶ γεννητόν Theod. p. 752. The different words profess to be Scriptural, and to explain each other; created being in Prov. viii. 22. made in the passages considered in the last two chapters, appointed or declared in Rom. i. 4. and founded or established in Prov. viii. 23. which is discussed infr. 22, &c. vid. also 52.359:2329
21, note 2.359:2330
Ps. xix. 1.359:2331
1 Esdr. iv. 36.359:2332
John xiv. 6.359:2333
Prov. viii. 30, LXX.359:2334
John v. 17.359:2335
Orat. iii. 11. note.359:2336
ποιητικὸν αἴτιον, also, infr. 27. and Orat. iii. 14. and contr. Gent. 9 init. No creature can create, vid. e.g. about Angels, August. de Civ. Dei xii. 24. de Trin. iii. 13–18. Damasc. F. O. ii. 3. Cyril in Julian, ii. p. 62. Our reason rejects the idea that the Creator should be a creature, for creation is by the Creator. Hil. Trin. xii. 5. πῶς δύναται τὸ κτιζόμενον κτίζειν; ἢ πῶς ὁ κτίζων κτίζεται; Athan. ad Afros. 4 fin. Vid. also Serap. i. 24, 6. iii. 4, e. The Gnostics who attributed creation to Angels are alluded to infr. Orat. iii. 12. Epiph. Hær. 52. 53, 163, &c. Theodor. Hær. i. 1 and 3.359:2337
De Decr. 11.359:2338
προσταττόμενος καὶ ὑπουργῶν. It is not quite clear that Athan. accepts these words in his own person, as has been assumed de Decr. 9. note 2, de Syn. 27 (3). Vid. de Decr. 7. and infr. 24. and 31, which, as far as they go, are against the use of the word. Also S. Basil objects to ὑποῦργος contr. Eunom. ii. 21. and S. Cyril in Joan. p. 48. though S. Basil speaks of τὸν προστάττοντα κύριον. i. 46, note 3. and S. Cyril of the Sons ὑποταγή, Thesaur. p. 255. Vid. ministering, ὑπηρετοῦντα, to the Father of all. Just. Tryph. p. 72. The Word become minister, ὑπηρέτης, of the Creator, Origen Hom. in Joan. p. 61. also Constit. Ap. viii. 12. but Pseudo-Athan. objects to ὑπηρετῶν, de Comm. Essent. 30. and Athan. apparently, infr. 28. Again, Whom did He order, præcepit? Iren. Hær. iii. 8. n. 3. The Father bids, ἐντέλλεται (allusion to Ps. xxxiii. 9. vid. infr. 31), the Word accomplishes.…He who commands, κελεύων, is the Father, He who obeys, ὑπακούων, the Son.…The Father willed, ἠθέλησεν, the Son did it. Hippol. contr. Noet. 14. on which Fabriciuss note. S. Hilary speaks of the Son as subditus per obedientiæ obsequelam. de Syn. 51. Vid. below, on §31. In note 8 there the principle is laid down for the use of these expressions. [Supr. p. 87, note 2.]360:2339
Cf. Ep. Æg. 14. vid. also supr. p. 155. and Orat. iii. 2. 64. Aug. in Joan. Tract. i. 11. Vid. a parallel argument with reference to the Holy Spirit. Serap. i. 25. b.360:2340
Vid. John 14:9, 10.360:2341
τὴν κατὰ πάντα ὁμοιότητα: vid. parallel instances, de Syn. 26 (5) note 1, which add, ὅμοιος κατὰ πάντα, Orat. i. 40. κατὰ πάντα καὶ ἐν πᾶσι, Ep. Æg. 17, c. τοῦ πατρὸς ὅμοιος, Orat. ii. 17. Orat. iii. 20, a. not ὅμοιος, as the Church preaches, but ὡς αὐτοὶ θέλουσι᾽ (vid. p. 289, note 4), also de Syn. 53, note 9.360:2342
As Sonship is implied in Image (supr. §2, note 2), so it is implied in Word and Wisdom. Orat. iv. 15. Orat. iii. 29 init. de Decr. 17. And still more pointedly, Orat. iv. 24 fin. vid. also supr. i. 28, note 5. And so Image is implied in Sonship: being Son of God He must be like Him, supr. 17. And so Image is implied in Word; ἐν τῇ ἰδί& 139· εἰκόνι, ἥτις ἐστὶν ὁ λόγος αὐτοῦ, infr. 82, d. also 34, c. On the contrary, the very root of heretical error was the denial that these titles implied each other, vid. supr. 27, de Decr. 17, 24, notes.360:2343
Vid. Ex. xxxiii. 20.360:2344
Matt. xi. 27.360:2345
John vi. 46, not to the letter.360:2346
Vid. supr. 1. and Exc. B.360:2347
Greek text dislocated.360:2348
Ps. ii. 7; Matt. iii. 17.360:2349
De Decr. 10.360:2350
Vid. Orat. iii. 12.360:2351
Acts x. 26.360:2352
Rev. xxii. 9.360:2353
[A note, to the effect that worship is an ambiguous term, is omitted here.]361:2354
Vid. Judg. xiii. 16.361:2355
Heb. i. 6.361:2356
Is. xlv. 14.361:2357
John xiii. 13; xx. 28.361:2358
διαῤ& 191·ηγνύωσιν ἑαυτούς· also ad Adelph. 8. and vid. supr. note on de Decr. 17. vid. also διαῤ& 191·ηγνύωνται, de Syn. 54, καὶ διαῤ& 191·αγοῖεν, Marcell. ap. Euseb. Eccl. Theol. p. 116. also p. 40 τρίζωσι τοὺς ὀδόντως, de Fug. 26. init. τριζέτωσαν, ad Adelph. 8. Hist. Ar. 68. fin. and literally 72. a. κόπτουσιν ἑαυτούς. In illud Omnia 5.361:2359
John xvi. 15.
Next: Introduction to Proverbs viii. 22 continued. Absurdity of supposing a Son or Word created in order to the creation of other creatures; as to the creation being unable to bear God's immediate hand, God condescends to the lowest. Moreover, if the Son a creature, He too could not bear God's hand, and an infinite series of media will be necessary. Objected, that, as Moses who led out the Israelites was a man, so our Lord; but Moses was not the Agent in creation:--again, that unity is found in created ministrations, but all such ministrations are defective and dependent:--again, that He learned to create, yet could God's Wisdom need teaching? and why should He learn, if the Father worketh hitherto? If the Son was created to create us, He is for our sake, not we for His.
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