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Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. IX:
John of Damascus: Exposition of the Orthodox Faith.: The properties of the divine nature.

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter XIV.—The properties of the divine nature.

Uncreate, without beginning, immortal, infinite, eternal, immaterial 1634 , good, creative, just, enlightening, immutable, passionless, uncircumscribed, immeasurable, unlimited, undefined, unseen, unthinkable, wanting in nothing, being His own rule and authority, all-ruling, life-giving, omnipotent, of infinite power, containing and maintaining the universe and making provision for all: all these and such like attributes the Deity possesses by nature, not having received them from elsewhere, but Himself imparting all good to His own creations according to the capacity of each.

The subsistences dwell and are established firmly in one another. For they are inseparable and cannot part from one another, but keep to their separate courses within one another, without coalescing or mingling, but cleaving to each other. For the Son is in the Father and the Spirit: and the Spirit in the Father and the Son: and the Father in the Son and the Spirit, but there is no coalescence or commingling or confusion 1635 . And there is one and the same motion: for there is one impulse and one motion of the three subsistences, which is not to be observed in any created nature.

Further the divine effulgence and energy, being one and simple and indivisible, assuming many varied forms in its goodness among what is divisible and allotting to each the component parts of its own nature, still remains simple and is multiplied without division among the divided, and gathers and converts the divided into its own simplicity 1636 . For all things long after it and have their existence in it. It gives also to all things being according to their several natures 1637 , and it is itself the being of existing things, the life of living things, the reason of rational beings, the thought of thinking beings. But it is itself above mind and reason and life and essence.

Further the divine nature has the property of penetrating all things without mixing with them and of being itself impenetrable by anything else. Moreover, there is the property of knowing all things with a simple knowledge and of seeing all things, simply with His divine, all-surveying, immaterial eye, both the things of the present, and the things of the past, and the things of the future, before they come into being 1638 . It is also sinless, and can cast sin out, and bring salvation: and all that it wills, it can accomplish, but does not will all it could accomplish. For it could destroy the universe but it does not will so to do 1639 .


Footnotes

17b:1634

Text, τὸ ἄ& 203·λον: in one codex there is added as emendation or explanation, τὸ ἁπλοῦν, τὸ ἀσύνθετον.

17b:1635

Greg. Naz., Orat. 1, 13 and 40.

17b:1636

Dionys., De div. nom., c. 5.

17b:1637

Text, καθὼς ἔχει φύσεως: in the margin of the manuscript is ὡς ἔχουσι.

17b:1638

Dan. ii. 22.

17b:1639

Greg., Orat. 40.


Next: Book II

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