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Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. IX:
John of Damascus: Exposition of the Orthodox Faith.: Concerning divine union and separation.

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter X.—Concerning divine union and separation.

Therefore all these names must be understood as common to deity as a whole, and as containing the notions of sameness and simplicity and indivisibility and union: while the names Father, Son and Spirit, and causeless and caused, and unbegotten and begotten, and procession contain the idea of separation: for these terms do not explain His essence, but the mutual relationship 1591 and manner of existence 1592 .

When, then, we have perceived these things and are conducted from these to the divine essence, we do not apprehend the essence itself but only the attributes of the essence: just as we have not apprehended the essence of the soul even when we have learnt that it is incorporeal and without magnitude and form: nor again, the essence of the body when we know that it is white or black, but only the attributes of the essence. Further, the true doctrine 1593 teacheth that the Deity is simple and has one simple energy, good and energising in all things, just as the sun’s ray, which warms all things and energises in each in harmony with its natural aptitude and receptive power, having obtained this form of energy from God, its Maker.

But quite distinct is all that pertains to the divine and benignant incarnation of the divine Word. For in that neither the Father nor the Spirit have any part at all, unless so far as regards approval and the working of inexplicable miracles which the God-Word, p. 13b having become man 1594 like us, worked, as unchangeable God and son of God 1595 .


Footnotes

12b:1591

Greg. Naz., Orat. 45; cf. also Epist. ad. Evagr., and Greg. Nyss., Epist. ad Ablab.; Dionys., De div. nom., c. 2; Basil, Epist. 43 ad Greg. fratr.

12b:1592

Dionys., De div. nom., c. 2; Greg. Naz., Orat. 37 and 45; Nyss. Epist. ad. Ablab.

12b:1593

δὲ ἀληθὴς λόγος.

13b:1594

Text, ἄνθρωπος, which is absent in some codices and in Dionys., De div. nom., from which these words are taken.

13b:1595

Greg. Naz., Orat. 24: Dionys., De div. nom., c. 2.


Next: Concerning what is affirmed about God as though He had body.

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