Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. IV:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
Against the Arians. (Orationes contra Arianos IV.): Sections 15-24
§§15–24. Since the Word is from God, He must be Son. Since the Son is from everlasting, He must be the Word; else either He is superior to the Word, or the Word is the Father. Texts of the New Testament which state the unity of the Son with the Father; therefore the Son is the Word. Three hypotheses refuted—1. That the Man is the Son; 2. That the Word and Man together are the Son; 3. That the Word became Son on His incarnation. Texts of the Old Testament which speak of the Son. If they are merely prophetical, then those concerning the Word may be such also.
15. Such absurdities will be the consequence of saying that the Monad is dilated into a Triad. But since those who say so venture to separate Word and Son, and to say that the Word is one and the Son another, and that first was the Word and then the Son, come let us consider this doctrine also. Now their presumption takes various forms; for some say that the man whom the Saviour assumed is the Son 3336 ; and others both that the man and the Word then became Son, when they were united 3337 . And others say that the Word Himself then became Son when He became man 3338 ; for from being Word, they say, He has become Son, not being Son before, but only Word. Now both are Stoic 3339 doctrines, whether to say that God was dilated or to deny the Son, but especially is it absurd to name the Word, yet deny Him to be Son. For if the Word be not from God, reasonably might they deny Him to be Son; but if He is from God, how see they not that what exists from anything is son of him from whom it is? Next, if God is Father of the Word, why is not the Word Son of His own Father? for one is and is called father, whose is the son; and one is and is called son of another, whose is the father. If then God is not Father of Christ, neither is the Word Son; but if God be Father, then reasonably also the Word is Son. But if afterwards there is Father, and first God, this is an Arian thought 3340 . Next, it is absurd p. 439 that God should change; for that belongs to bodies; but if they argue that in the instance of creation He became afterwards a Maker, let them know that the change is in the things 3341 which afterwards came to be, and not in God.
16. If then the Son too were a work, well might God begin to be a Father towards Him as others; but if the Son is not a work, then ever was the Father and ever the Son 3342 . But if the Son was ever, He must be the Word; for if the Word be not Son, and this is what a man waxes bold to say, either he holds that Word to be Father or the Son superior to the Word. For the Son being in the bosom of the Father 3343 , of necessity either the Word is not before the Son (for nothing is before Him who is in the Father), or if the Word be other than the Son, the Word must be the Father in whom is the Son. But if the Word is not Father but Word, the Word must be external to the Father, since it is the Son who is in the bosom of the Father. For not both the Word and the Son are in the bosom, but one must be, and He the Son, who is Only-begotten. And it follows for another reason, if the Word is one, and the Son another, that the Son is superior to the Word; for no one knoweth the Father save the Son 3344 , not the Word. Either then the Word does not know, or if He knows, it is not true that no one knows. And the same of He that hath seen Me, hath seen the Father, and I and the Father are One, for this is uttered by the Son, not the Word, as they would have it, as is plain from the Gospel; for according to John when the Lord said, I and the Father are One, the Jews took up stones to stone Him. Jesus 3345 answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from My Father, for which of those works do ye stone Me? The Jews answered Him, saying, For a good work we stone Thee not, but for blasphemy, and because that Thou, being a man, makest Thyself God. Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods? If he called them gods unto whom the Word of God came, and the Scripture cannot be broken, say ye of Him, whom the Father hath sanctified and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest, because I said, I am the Son of God? If I do not the works of My Father, believe Me not. But if I do, though ye believe not Me, believe the works, that ye may know and believe that the Father is in Me, and I in the Father. And yet, as far as the surface of the words intimated, He said neither I am God, nor I am Son of God, but I and the Father are One.
17. The Jews then, when they heard One, thought like Sabellius that He said that He was the Father, but our Saviour shews their sin by this argument: Though I had said “God,” you should have remembered what is written, “I said, Ye are gods;” then to clear up I and the Father are One, He has explained the Sons oneness with the Father in the words, Because I said, I am the Son of God. For if He did not say it in words, still He has referred the sense of are One to the Son. For nothing is one with the Father, but what is from Him. What is that which is from Him but the Son? And therefore He adds, that ye may know that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me. For, when expounding the One, He said that the union and the inseparability lay, not in This being That, with which It was One, but in His being in the Father and the Father in the Son. For thus He overthrows both Sabellius, in saying, I am not, “the Father,” but, the Son of God; and Arius, in saying, are One. If then the Son and the Word are not the same, it is not that the Word is one with the Father, but the Son; nor he that hath seen the Word hath seen the Father, but he that hath seen the Son. And from this it follows, either that the Son is greater than the Word, or the Word has nothing beyond the Son. For what can be greater or more perfect than One, and I in the Father and the Father in Me, and He that hath seen Me, hath seen the Father? for these utterances also belong to the Son. And hence the same John says, He that hath seen Me, hath seen Him that sent Me, and, He that receiveth Me, receiveth Him that sent Me; and, I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth in Me, should not abide in darkness. And, if any one hear My words and observe them not, I judge him not; for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. The word which he shall hear, the same shall judge him in the last day, because I go unto the Father 3346 . The preaching, He says, judges him who has not observed the commandment; for if, He says, I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin; but now they shall have no cloke 3347 , He says, having heard My words, through which those who observe them shall reap salvation.
18. Perhaps they will have so little shame as to say, that this utterance belongs not to the Son but to the Word; but from what preceded it appeared plainly that the speaker was the Son. p. 440 For He who here says, I came not to judge the world but to save 3348 , is shewn to be no other than the Only-begotten Son of God, by the same Johns saying before 3349 , For God so loved the world that He gave His Only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He that believeth on Him is not condemned, but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the Name of the Only-begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil 3350 . If He who says, For I came not to judge the world, but that I might save it, is the Same as says, He that seeth Me, seeth Him that sent Me 3351 , and if He who came to save the world and not judge it is the Only-begotten Son of God, it is plain that it is the same Son who says, He that seeth Me, seeth Him that sent Me. For He who said, He that believeth on Me, and, If any one hear My words, I judge him not, is the Son Himself, of whom Scripture says, He that believeth on Him is not condemned, but He that believeth not is condemned already, because He hath not believed in the Name of the Only-begotten Son of God. And again: And this is the condemnation of him who believeth not on the Son, that light hath come into the world, and they believed not in Him, that is, in the Son; for He must be the Light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world 3352 . And as long as He was upon earth according to the Incarnation, He was Light in the world, as He said Himself, While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light; for I, says He, am come a light into the world 3353 .
19. This then being shewn, it follows that the Word is the Son. But if the Son is the Light, which has come into the world, beyond all dispute the world was made by the Son. For in the beginning of the Gospel, the Evangelist, speaking of John the Baptist, says, He was not that Light, but that he might bear witness concerning that Light 3354 . For Christ Himself was, as we have said before, the True Light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world. For if He was in the world, and the world was made by Him 3355 , of necessity He is the Word of God, concerning whom also the Evangelist witnesses that all things were made by Him. For either they will be compelled to speak of two worlds, that the one may have come into being by the Son and the other by the Word, or, if the world is one and the creation one, it follows that Son and Word are one and the same before all creation, for by Him it came into being. Therefore if as by the Word, so by the Son also all things came to be, it will not be contradictory, but even identical to say, for instance, In the beginning was the Word, or, In the beginning was the Son. But if because John did not say, In the beginning was the Son, they shall maintain that the attributes of the Word do not suit with the Son, it at once follows that the attributes of the Son do not suit with the Word. But it was shewn that to the Son belongs, I and the Father are One, and that it is He Who is in the bosom of the Father, and, He that seeth Me, seeth Him that sent Me 3356 ; and that the world was brought into being by Him, is common to the Word and the Son; so that from this the Son is shewn to be before the world; for of necessity the Framer is before the things brought into being. And what is said to Philip must belong, according to them, not to the Word, but to the Son. For, Jesus said, says Scripture, Have I been so long time with you, and yet thou hast not known Me, Philip? He that hath seen Me, hath seen the Father. And how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father? Believest thou not, that I am in the Father and the Father in Me? the words that I speak unto you, I speak not of Myself, but the Father that dwelleth in Me, He doeth the works. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else, believe Me for the very works sake. Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that believeth on Me, the works that I do shall he do also, and greater works than these shall he do, because I go unto the Father. And whatsoever ye shall ask in My Name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son 3357 . Therefore if the Father be glorified in the Son, the Son must be He who said, I in the Father and the Father in Me; and He who said, He that hath seen Me, hath seen the Father; for He, the same who thus spoke, shews Himself to be the Son, by adding, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
20. If then they say that the Man whom the Word wore, and not the Word, is the Son of God the Only-begotten, the Man must be by consequence He who is in the Father, in whom also the Father is; and the Man must be He who is One with the Father, and who is in the bosom of the Father, and the True Light. And they will be compelled to say that through the Man Himself the world came into being, and that the Man was He who came not to judge the p. 441 world but to save it; and that He it was who was in being before Abraham came to be. For, says Scripture, Jesus said to them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, before Abraham was, I am 3358 . And is it not absurd to say, as they do, that one who came of the seed of Abraham after two and forty generations 3359 , should exist before Abraham came to be? is it not absurd, if the flesh, which the Word bore, itself is the Son, to say that the flesh from Mary is that by which the world was made? and how will they retain He was in the world? for the Evangelist, by way of signifying the Sons antecedence to the birth according to the flesh, goes on to say, He was in the world. And how, if not the Word but the Man is the Son, can He save the world, being Himself one of the world? And if this does not shame them, where shall be the Word, the Man being in the Father? And where will the Word stand to the Father, the Man and the Father being One? But if the Man be Only-begotten, what will be the place of the Word? Either one must say that He comes second, or, if He be above the Only-begotten, He must be the Father Himself. For as the Father is One, so also the Only-begotten from Him is One; and what has the Word above the Man, if the Word is not the Son? For, while Scripture says that through the Son and the Word the world was brought to be, and it is common to the Word and to the Son to frame the world, yet Scripture proceeds to place the sight of the Father, not in the Word but in the Son, and to attribute the saving of the world, not to the Word, but to the Only-begotten Son. For, saith it, Jesus said, Have I been so long while with you, and yet hast thou not known Me, Philip? He that hath seen Me, hath seen the Father. Nor does Scripture say that the Word knows the Father, but the Son; and that not the Word sees the Father, but the Only-begotten Son who is in the bosom of the Father.
21. And what more does the Word contribute to our salvation than the Son, if, as they hold, the Son is one, and the Word another? for the command is that we should believe, not in the Word, but in the Son. For John says, He that believeth on the Son, hath everlasting life; but he that believeth not the Son, shall not see life 3360 . And Holy Baptism, in which the substance of the whole faith is lodged, is administered not in the Word, but in Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. If then, as they hold, the Word is one and the Son another, and the Word is not the Son, Baptism has no connection with the Word. How then are they able to hold that the Word is with the Father, when He is not with Him in the giving of Baptism? But perhaps they will say, that in the Fathers Name the Word is included? Wherefore then not the Spirit also? or is the Spirit external to the Father? and the Man indeed (if the Word is not Son) is named after the Father, but the Spirit after the Man? and then the Monad, instead of dilating into a Triad, dilates according to them into a Tetrad, Father, Word, Son, and Holy Ghost. Being brought to shame on this ground, they have recourse to another, and say that not the Man by Himself whom the Lord bore, but both together, the Word and the Man, are the Son; for both joined together are named Son, as they say. Which then is cause of which? and which has made which a Son? or, to speak more clearly, is the Word a Son because of the flesh? or is the flesh called Son because of the Word? or is neither the cause, but the concurrence of the two? If then the Word be a Son because of the flesh, of necessity the flesh is Son, and all those absurdities follow which have been already drawn from saying that the Man is Son. But if the flesh is called Son because of the Word, then even before the flesh the Word certainly, being such, was Son. For how could a being make other sons, not being himself a son, especially when there was a father 3361 ? If then He makes sons for Himself, then is He Himself Father; but if for the Father, then must He be Son, or rather that Son, by reason of Whom the rest are made sons.
22. For if, while He is not Son, we are sons, God is our Father and not His. How then does He appropriate the name instead, saying, My Father, and I from the Father 3362 ? for if He be common Father of all, He is not His Father only, nor did He alone come out from the Father. But he says, that He is sometimes called our Father also, because He has Himself become partaker in our flesh. For on this account the Word has become flesh, that, since the Word is Son, therefore, because of the Son dwelling in us 3363 , He may be called our Father also; for He sent forth, says Scripture, the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, Abba, Father 3364 . Therefore the Son in us, calling upon His own Father, causes Him to be named our Father also. Surely in whose hearts the Son is not, of them neither can God be called Father. But if because of the Word the Man is called Son, it follows necessarily, since the ancients 3365 are called sons even before the Incarnation, that the Word is Son even before His sojourn among us; for I begat sons, saith Scripture; and in p. 442 the time of Noah, When the sons of God saw, and in the Song, Is not He thy Father 3366 ? Therefore there was also that True Son, for whose sake they too were sons. But if, as they say again, neither of the two is Son, but it depends on the concurrence of the two, it follows that neither is Son; I say, neither the Word nor the Man, but some cause, on account of which they were united; and accordingly that cause which makes the Son will precede the uniting. Therefore in this way also the Son was before the flesh. When this then is urged, they will take refuge in another pretext, saying, neither that the Man is Son, nor both together, but that the Word was Word indeed simply in the beginning, but when He became Man, then He was named 3367 Son; for before His appearing He was not Son but Word only; and as the Word became flesh, not being flesh before, so the Word became Son, not being Son before. Such are their idle words; but they admit of an obvious refutation.
23. For if simply, when made Man, He has become Son, the becoming Man is the cause. And if the Man is cause of His being Son, or both together, then the same absurdities result. Next, if He is first Word and then Son, it will appear that He knew the Father afterwards, not before; for not as being Word does He know Him, but as Son. For No one knoweth the Father but the Son. And this too will result, that He has come afterwards to be in the bosom of the Father 3368 , and afterwards He and the Father have become One; and afterwards is, He that hath seen Me, hath seen the Father 3369 . For all these things are said of the Son. Hence they will be forced to say, The Word was nothing but a name. For neither is it He who is in us with the Father, nor whoso has seen the Word, hath seen the Father, nor was the Father known to any one at all, for through the Son is the Father known (for so it is written, And he to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him), and, the Word not being yet Son, not yet did any know the Father. How then was He seen by Moses, how by the fathers? for He says Himself in the Kingdoms, Was I not plainly revealed to the house of thy father 3370 ? But if God was revealed, there must have been a Son to reveal, as He says Himself, And he to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him. It is irreligious then and foolish to say that the Word is one and the Son another, and whence they gained such an idea it were well to ask them. They answer, Because no mention is made in the Old Testament of the Son, but of the Word; and for this reason they are positive in their opinion that the Son came later than the Word, because not in the Old, but in the New only, is He spoken of. This is what they irreligiously say; for first to separate between the Testaments, so that the one does not hold with the other, is the device of Manichees and Jews, the one of whom oppose the Old, and the other the New 3371 . Next, on their shewing, if what is contained in the Old is of older date, and what in the New of later, and times depend upon the writing, it follows that I and the Father are One, and Only-begotten, and He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father 3372 , are later, for these testimonies are adduced not from the Old but from the New.
24. But it is not so; for in truth much is said in the Old also about the Son, as in the second Psalm, Thou art My Son, this day have I begotten Thee 3373 ; and in the ninth the title 3374 , Unto the end concerning the hidden things of the Son, a Psalm of David; and in the forty-fourth, Unto the end, concerning the things that shall be changed to the Sons of Korah for understanding, a song about the Well-beloved; and in Isaiah, I will sing to my Well-beloved a song of my Well-beloved touching my vineyard. My Well-beloved hath a vineyard 3375 ; Who is this Well-beloved but the Only-begotten Son? as also in the hundred and ninth, From the womb I begat Thee before the morning star 3376 , concerning which I shall speak afterwards; and in the Proverbs, Before the hills He begat me; and in Daniel, And the form of the Fourth is like the Son of God 3377 ; and many others. If then from the Old be ancientness, ancient must be the Son, who is clearly described in the Old Testament in many places. Yes, they say, so it is, but it must be taken prophetically. Therefore also the Word must be said to be spoken of prophetically; for this is not to be taken one way, that another. For if Thou art My Son refer to the future, so does By the Word of the Lord were the heavens established; for it is not said were brought to be, nor He made. But that established refers to the future, it states elsewhere: The Lord reigned 3378 , followed by He so established the earth that it can never be moved. And if the words in the forty-fourth Psalm for My Well-beloved refer to the future, so does what follows upon them, My heart uttered a good Word. And if From the womb relates to a man, therefore p. 443 also From the heart. For if the womb is human, so is the heart corporeal. But if what is from the heart is eternal, then what is From the womb is eternal. And if the Only-begotten is in the bosom, therefore the Well-beloved is in the bosom. For Only-begotten and Well-beloved are the same, as in the words This is My Well-beloved Son 3379 . For not as wishing to signify His love towards Him did He say Well-beloved, as if it might appear that He hated others, but He made plain thereby His being Only-begotten, that He might shew that He alone was from Him. And hence the Word, with a view of conveying to Abraham the idea of Only-begotten, says, Offer thy son thy well-beloved 3380 ; but it is plain to any one that Isaac was the only son from Sara. The Word then is Son, not lately come to be, or named Son, but always Son. For if not Son, neither is He Word; and if not Word, neither is He Son. For that which is from the father is a son; and what is from the Father, but that Word that went forth from the heart, and was born from the womb? for the Father is not Word, nor the Word Father, but the one is Father, and the other Son; and one begets, and the other is begotten.
Vid. §22 fin.438:3339
Cf. Ritt. and Prell. (Ed. 5) §398 (?).438:3340
Cf. i. 29.439:3342
Or. i. 14, n. 4.439:3343
John i. 18.439:3344
Matt. xi. 27.439:3345
John x. 32-38439:3346
John xii. 45; Matt. x. 40; John xii. 46-48.439:3347
John xv. 22.440:3348
John xii. 47.440:3349
John 3:18, 19.440:3351
John 22:36, 46.440:3354
John x. 30; i. 18; xii. 45.440:3357
John viii. 58.441:3359
Vid. Matt. i. 17441:3360
John iii. 36.441:3361
Cf. iii. 11, n. 1.441:3362
John v. 17; xvi. 28.441:3363
Or. ii. 60. n. 5.441:3364
Gal. iv. 6.441:3365
Isa. 1:2, Gen. 6:2, Deut. 32:6Is. i. 2, LXX.; Gen. vi. 2; Deut. xxxii. 6442:3367
Or. ii. 19, n. 3.442:3368
Matt. xi. 27; John i. 18.442:3369
John xiv. 9.442:3370
1 Sam. ii. 27, LXX.442:3371
Cf. i. 53, n. 7; iii. 35, n. 5.442:3372
John x. 30; i. 18; xiv. 9.442:3373
Ps. ii. 7.442:3374
Ib. ix. title xlv. title.442:3375
Is. v. 1.442:3376
Ps. cx. 3, LXX.442:3377
Prov. 8:25, Dan. 3:25Prov. viii. 25, LXX.; Dan. iii. 25.442:3378
Cf. Exp. in Ps. xcii.443:3379
Ps. xxxiii. 6; xciii. 1; xlv. 1; Matt. iii. 17.443:3380
Gen. xxii. 2.
Next: Section 25
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