Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. IV:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
Against the Arians. (Orationes contra Arianos IV.): Sections 13, 14
§§13, 14. Such a doctrine precludes all real distinctions of personality in the Divine Nature. Illustration of the Scripture doctrine from 2 Cor. vi. 11, &c.
13. This perhaps he 3329 borrowed from the Stoics, who maintain that their God contracts and again expands with the creation, and then rests without end. For what is dilated is first straitened; and what is expanded is at first contracted; and it is what it was, and does but undergo an affection. If then the Monad being dilated became a Triad, and the Monad was the Father 3330 , and the Triad is Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, first the Monad being dilated, underwent an affection and became what it was not; for it was dilated, whereas it had not been dilate. Next, if the Monad itself was dilated into a Triad, and that, Father and Son and Holy Ghost, then Father and Son and Spirit prove the same, as Sabellius held, unless the Monad which he speaks of is somep. 438 thing besides the Father, and then he ought not to speak of dilatation, since the Monad was to make Three, so that there was a Monad, and then Father, Son, and Spirit. For if the Monad were dilated, and expanded itself, it must itself be that which was expanded. And a Triad when dilated is no longer a Monad, and when a Monad it is not yet a Triad. And so, He that was Father was not yet Son and Spirit; but, when become These, is no longer only Father. And a man who thus should lie, must ascribe a body to God, and represent Him as passible; for what is dilatation, but an affection of that which is dilated? or what the dilated, but what before was not so, but was strait indeed; for it is the same, in time only differing from itself.
14. And this the divine Apostle knows, when he writes to the Corinthians, Be ye not straitened in us, but be ye yourselves dilated, O Corinthians 3331 ; for he advises identical persons to change from straitness to dilatation. And as, supposing the Corinthians being straitened were in turn dilated, they had not been others, but still Corinthians, so if the Father was dilated into a Triad, the Triad again is the Father alone. And he says again the same thing, Our heart is dilated 3332 ; and Noah says, May God dilate for Japheth 3333 , for the same heart and the same Japheth is in the dilatation. If then the Monad dilated, it would dilate for others; but if it dilated for itself, then it would be that which was dilated; and what is that but the Son and Holy Spirit? And it is well to ask him, when thus speaking, what was the action 3334 of this dilatation? or, in very truth, wherefore at all it took place? for what does not remain the same, but is in course of time dilated, must necessarily have a cause of dilatation. If then it was in order that Word and Spirit should be with Him, it is beside the purpose to say, First Monad, and then dilated; for Word and Spirit were not afterwards, but ever, or God would be wordless 3335 , as the Arians hold. So that if Word and Spirit were ever, ever was it dilated, and not at first a Monad; but if it were dilated afterwards, then afterwards is there a Word. But if for the Incarnation it was dilated, and then became a Triad, then before the Incarnation there was not yet a Triad. And it will seem even that the Father became flesh, if, that is, He be the Monad, and was dilated in the Man; and thus perhaps there will only be a Monad, and flesh, and thirdly Spirit; if, that is, He was Himself dilated; and there will be in name only a Triad. It is absurd too to say that it was dilated for creating; for it were possible for it, remaining a Monad, to make all; for the Monad did not need dilatation, nor was wanting in power before being dilated; it is absurd surely and impious, to think or speak thus in the case of God. Another absurdity too will follow. For if it was dilated for the sake of the creation, and while it was a Monad the creation was not, but upon the Consummation it will be again a Monad after dilatation, then the creation too will come to nought. For as for the sake of creating it was dilated, so, the dilatation ceasing, the creation will cease also.
i.e. Marcellus, cf. §§14, 25, &c.437:3330
2 Cor. 6:12, 13.438:3332
2 Cor. 6.11.438:3333
Gen. ix. 27, LXX.438:3334
ἐνέργεια [Prolegg. ch. ii. §3 (2) c.]438:3335
Or. i. 19.
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