Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol IX:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
Epistle to Gregory and Origen's Commentary on the Gospel of John.: Chapter I
1. “And the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” In the preceding section, my revered brother Ambrosius, brother formed according to the Gospel, we have discussed, as far as is at present in our power, what the Gospel is, and what is the beginning in which the Word was, and what the Word is which was in the beginning. We now come to consider the next point in the work before us, How the Word was with God. To this end it will be of service to remember that what is called the Word came to certain persons; as “The Word of the Lord 4659 which came to Hosea, the son of Beeri,” and “The Word 4660 which came to Isaiah, the son of Amos, concerning Judah and concerning Jerusalem,” and “The Word which came to Jeremiah 4661 concerning the drought.” We must enquire how this Word came to Hosea, and how it came also to Isaiah the son of Amos, and again to Jeremiah concerning the drought; the comparison may enable us to find out how the Word was with God. The generality will simply look at what the prophets said, as if that were the Word of the Lord or the Word, that came to them. May it not be, however, that as we say that this person comes to that, so the Son, the Word, of whom we are now theologizing, came to Hosea, sent to him by the Father; historically, that is to say, to the son of Beeri, the prophet Hosea, but mystically to him who is saved, for Hosea means, etymologically, Saved; and to the son of Beeri, which etymologically means wells, since every one who is saved becomes a son of that spring which gushes forth out of the depths, the wisdom of God. And it is nowise marvellous that the saint should be a son of wells. From his brave deeds he is often called a son, whether, from his works shining before men, of light, or from his possessing the peace of God which passes all understanding, of peace, or, once more, from the help which wisdom brings him, a child of wisdom; for wisdom, 4662 it says, is justified of her children. Thus he who by the divine spirit searches all things, and even the deep things of God, so that he can exclaim, 4663 “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God!” he can be a son of wells, to whom the Word of the Lord comes. Similarly the Word comes also to Isaiah, teaching the things which are coming upon Judæa and Jerusalem in the last days; and so also it comes to Jeremiah lifted up by a divine elation. For Iao means etymologically lifting up, elation. Now the Word comes to men who formerly could not receive the advent of the Son of God who is the Word; but to God it does not come, as if it had not been with Him before. The Word was always with the Father; and so it is said, “And the Word was with God.” He did not come to God, and this same word “was” is used of the Word because He was in the beginning at the same time when He was with God, neither being separated from the beginning nor being bereft of His Father. And again, neither did He come to be in the beginning after He had not been in it, nor did He come to be with God after not having been with Him. For before all time and the remotest age 4664 the Word was in the beginning, and the Word was with God. Thus to find out what is meant by the phrase, “The Word was with God,” we have adduced the words used about the prophets, how He came to Hosea, to Isaiah, to Jeremiah, and we have noticed the difference, by no means accidental, between “became” and “was.” We have to add that in His coming to the prophets He illuminates the prophets with the light of knowledge, causing them to see things which had been before them, but which they had not understood till then. With God, however, He is God, just because p. 323 He is with Him. And perhaps it was because he saw some such order in the Logos, that John did not place the clause “The Word was God” before the clause “The Word was with God.” The series in which he places his different sentences does not prevent the force of each axiom from being separately and fully seen. One axiom is, “In the beginning was the Word,” a second, “The Word was with God,” and then comes, “And the Word was God.” The arrangement of the sentences might be thought to indicate an order; we have first “In the beginning was the Word,” then, “And the Word was with God,” and thirdly, “And the Word was God,” so that it might be seen that the Word being with God makes Him God.
Hos. i. 1.322:4660
Isa. ii. 1.322:4661
Jer. xiv. 1.322:4662
Matt. xi. 19.322:4663
Rom. xi. 33.322:4664
Omitting τὸ, with Jacobi.
Next: Chapter II
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