Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol IX:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
Epistle to Gregory and Origen's Commentary on the Gospel of John.: Chapter III
3. Various Relations of the Logos to Men.
Now it is possible that some may dislike what we have said representing the Father as the one true God, but admitting other beings besides the true God, who have become gods by having a share of God. They may fear that the glory of Him who surpasses all creation may be lowered to the level of those other beings called gods. We drew this distinction between Him and them that we showed God the Word to be to all the other gods the minister of their divinity. To this we must add, in order to obviate objections, that the reason which is in every reasonable creature occupied the same relation to the reason who was in the beginning with God, and is God the Word, as God the Word occupies to God. As the Father who is Very God and the True God is to His image and to the images of His image—men are said to be according to the image, not to be images of God—so He, the Word, is to the reason (word) in every man. Each fills the place of a fountain—the Father is the fountain of divinity, the Son of reason. As, then, there are many gods, but to us there is but one God the Father, and many Lords, but to us there is one Lord, Jesus Christ, so there are many Λόγοι, but we, for our p. 324 part, pray that that one Λόγος may be with us who was in the beginning and was with God, God the Logos. For whoever does not receive this Logos who was in the beginning with God, or attach himself to Him as He appeared in flesh, or take part in some of those who had part in this Logos, or whoever having had part in Him falls away from Him again, he will have his portion in what is called most opposite to reason. What we have drawn out from the truths with which we started will now be clear enough. First, we spoke about God and the Word of God, and of Gods, either, that is, beings who partake in deity or beings who are called Gods and are not. And again of the Logos of God and of the Logos of God made flesh, and of logoi, or beings which partake in some way of the Logos, of second logoi or of third, thought to be logoi, in addition to that Logos that was before them all, but not really so. Irrational Reasons these may be styled; beings are spoken of who are said to be Gods but are not, and one might place beside these Gods who are no Gods, Reasons which are no Reasons. Now the God of the universe is the God of the elect, and in a much greater degree of the Saviours of the elect; then He is the God of these beings who are truly Gods, and then He is the God, in a word, of the living and not of the dead. But God the Logos is the God, perhaps, of those who attribute everything to Him and who consider Him to be their Father. Now the sun and the moon and the stars were connected, according to the accounts of men of old times, with beings who were not worthy to have the God of gods counted their God. To this opinion they were led by a passage in Deuteronomy which is somewhat on this wise: 4667 “Lest when thou liftest up thine eyes to heaven, and seest the sun and the moon and the whole host of heaven, thou wander away and worship them and serve them which the Lord thy God hath appointed to all the peoples. But to you the Lord thy God hath not so given them.” But how did God appoint the sun and the moon and all the host of heaven to all the nations, if He did not give them in the same way to Israel also, to the end that those who could not rise to the realm of intellect, might be inclined by gods of sense to consider about the Godhead, and might of their own free will connect themselves with these and so be kept from falling away to idols and demons? Is it not the case that some have for their God the God of the universe, while a second class, after these, attach themselves to the Son of God, His Christ, and a third class worship the sun and the moon and all the host of heaven, wandering, it is true, from God, but with a far different and a better wandering than that of those who invoke as gods the works of mens hands, silver and gold,—works of human skill. Last of all are those who devote themselves to the beings which are called gods but are no gods. In the same way, now, some have faith in that Reason which was in the beginning and was with God and was God; so did Hosea and Isaiah and Jeremiah and others who declared that the Word of the Lord, or the Logos, had come to them. A second class are those who know nothing but Jesus Christ and Him crucified, considering that the Word made flesh is the whole Word, and knowing only Christ after the flesh. Such is the great multitude of those who are counted believers. A third class give themselves to logoi (discourses) having some part in the Logos which they consider superior to all other reason: these are they who follow the honourable and distinguished philosophical schools among the Greeks. A fourth class besides these are they who put their trust in corrupt and godless discourses, doing away with Providence, which is so manifest and almost visible, and who recognize another end for man to follow than the good. It may appear to some that we have wandered from our theme, but to my thinking the view we have reached of four things connected with the name of God and four things connected with the Logos comes in very well at this point. There was God with the article and God without the article, then there were gods in two orders, at the summit of the higher order of whom is God the Word, transcended Himself by the God of the universe. And, again, there was the Logos with the article and the Logos without the article, corresponding to God absolutely and a god; and the Logoi in two ranks. And some men are connected with the Father, being part of Him, and next to these, those whom our argument now brings into clearer light, those who have come to the Saviour and take their stand entirely in Him. And third are those of whom we spoke before, who reckon the sun and the moon and the stars to be gods, and take their stand by them. And in the fourth and last place those who submit to soulless and dead idols. To all this we find analogies in what concerns the Logos. Some are adorned with the Word Himself; some with what is next to Him and appears to be p. 325 the very original Logos Himself, those, namely, who know nothing but Jesus Christ and Him crucified, and who behold the Word as flesh. And the third class, as we described them a little before. Why should I speak of those who are thought to be in the Logos, but have fallen away, not only from the good itself, but from the very traces of it and from those who have a part in it?
Deut. iv. 19, quoted apparently from memory.
Next: Chapter IV
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