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Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol VIII:
Pseudo-Clementine Literature.: Chapter XVI

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter XVI.—The Unbegotten and the Begotten Necessarily Different from Each Other.

“In addition to this, it is the peculiarity of the Father not to have been begotten, but of the Son to have been begotten; but what is begotten cannot be compared with that which is unbegotten or self-begotten.”  And Simon said:  “Is it not the same on account of its origin?” 1300   And Peter said:  “He who is not the same in all respects as some one, cannot have all the same appellations applied to him as that person.”  And Simon said:  “This is to assert, not to prove.”  And Peter said:  “Why, do you not see that if 1301 the one happens to be self-begotten or unbegotten, they cannot be called the same; nor can it be asserted of him who has been begotten that he is of the same substance as he is who has begotten him? 1302   Learn this also:  The bodies of men have immortal souls, which have been clothed with the breath of God; and having come forth from God, they are of the same substance, but they are not gods.  But if they are gods, then in this way the souls of all men, both those who have died, and those who are alive, and those who shall come into being, are gods.  But if in a spirit of controversy you maintain that these also are gods, what great matter is it, then, for Christ to be called God? for He has only what all have.



The word γένεσις, “arising, coming into being,” is here used, not γέννησις, “begetting.”  The idea fully expressed is:  “Is not that which is begotten identical in essence with that which begets it?”


We have inserted εἰ.  The passage is amended in various ways; this seems to be the simplest.


[The very ancient variant in John i. 18, “God only begotten,” indicates the distinction between the Unbegotten God and the Son.  Even the Arians use the phrase, “Only-begotten God.”—R.]

Next: Chapter XVII

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