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Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol IX:
Epistle to Gregory and Origen's Commentary on the Gospel of John.: Chapter XVII

Early Church Fathers  Index     

17.  The Higher Powers are Men; And Christ is Their Light Also.

Another, again, appeals to the text, “Let us make man according to our image and likeness, 4718 ” and maintains that whatever is made according to God’s image and likeness is man.  To support this, numberless instances are adduced to show that in Scripture “man” and “angel” are used indifferently, and that the same subject is entitled both angel and man.  This is true of the three who were entertained by Abraham, and of the two who came to Sodom; in the whole course of Scripture, persons are styled sometimes men, sometimes angels.  Those who hold this view will say that since persons are styled angels who are manifestly men, as when Zechariah says, 4719 “The messenger of the Lord, I am with you, saith the Lord Almighty,” and as it is written of John the Baptist, 4720 “Behold I send My messenger before thy face,” the angels (messengers) of God are so called on account of their office, and are not here called men on account of their nature.  It confirms this view that the names applied to the higher powers are not those of species of living beings, but those of the orders, assigned by God to this and to that reasonable being.  “Throne” is not a species of living being, nor “dominion,” nor “principality,” nor “power”; these are names of the businesses to which those clothed with the names have been appointed; the subjects themselves are nothing but men, but the subject has come to be a throne, or a dominion, or a principality, or a power.  In Joshua, the son of Nun, we read 4721 that in Jericho there appeared to Joshua a man who said, “I am captain of the Lord’s host, now am I come.”  The outcome of this is that the light of men must be held to be the same as the light of every being endowed with reason; for every reasonable being is man, since it is according to the image and likeness of God.  It is spoken of in three different ways, “the light of men,” and simply “the light,” and “the true light.”  It is the light of men either, as we showed before, because there is nothing to prevent us from regarding it as the light of other beings besides men, or because all beings endowed with reason are called men because they are made in the image of God.



Gen. i. 26.


Zechar. i.; Hagg. i. 13.


Mal. 3:1, Mark 1:2.


Josh. 5:13, 14.

Next: Chapter XVIII