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Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. V:
Philosophical Works.: An examination of the kindred of mind to nature: wherein, by way of digression, is refuted the doctrine of the Anomœans.

Early Church Fathers  Index     

VI. An examination of the kindred of mind to nature: wherein, by way of digression, is refuted the doctrine of the Anomœans 1605 .

1. And let no one suppose me to say that the Deity is in touch with existing things in a manner resembling human operation, by means of different faculties. For it is impossible to conceive in the simplicity of the Godhead the varied and diverse nature of the apprehensive operation: not even in our own case are the faculties which apprehend things numerous, although we are in touch with those things which affect our life in many ways by means of our senses; for there is one faculty, the implanted mind itself, which passes through each of the organs of sense and grasps the things beyond: this it is that, by means of the eyes, beholds what is seen; this it is that, by means of hearing, understands what is said; that is content with what is to our taste, and turns from what is unpleasant; that uses the hand for whatever it wills, taking hold or rejecting p. 392 by its means, using the help of the organ for this purpose precisely as it thinks expedient.

2. If in men, then, even though the organs formed by nature for purposes of perception may be different, that which operates and moves by means of all, and uses each appropriately for the object before it, is one and the same, not changing its nature by the differences of operations, how could any one suspect multiplicity of essence in God on the ground of His varied powers? for “He that made the eye,” as the prophet says, and “that planted the ear 1606 ,” stamped on human nature these operations to be as it were significant characters, with reference to their models in Himself: for He says, “Let us make man in our image 1607 .”

3. But what, I would ask, becomes of the heresy of the Anomœans? what will they say to this utterance? how will they defend the vanity of their dogma in view of the words cited? Will they say that it is possible that one image should be made like to different forms? if the Son is in nature unlike the Father, how comes it that the likeness He forms of the different natures is one? for He Who said, “Let us make after our image,” and by the plural signification revealed the Holy Trinity, would not, if the archetypes were unlike one another, have mentioned the image in the singular: for it would be impossible that there should be one likeness displayed of things which do not agree with one another: if the natures were different he would assuredly have begun their images also differently, making the appropriate image for each: but since the image is one, while the archetype is not one, who is so far beyond the range of understanding as not to know that the things which are like the same thing, surely resemble one another? Therefore He says (the word, it may be, cutting short this wickedness at the very formation of human life), “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.”



The Bodleian Latin ms. gives:—“That God has not human limbs, and that the image of the Father and of the Son is one, against the Eunomians.”


Ps. xciv. 9.


Gen. i. 26.

Next: Why man is destitute of natural weapons and covering.

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