Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. V:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
Dogmatic Treatises.: He falsely imagines that the same energies produce the same works, and that variation in the works indicates variation in the energies.
§27. He falsely imagines that the same energies produce the same works, and that variation in the works indicates variation in the energies.
Of the same strain is that which he adds in the next paragraph; “the same energies producing sameness of works, and different works indicating difference in the energies as well.” Finely and irresistibly does this noble thinker plead for his doctrine. “The same energies produce sameness of works.” Let us test this by facts. The energy of fire is always one and the same; it consists in heating: but what sort of agreement do its results show? Bronze melts in it; mud hardens; wax vanishes: while all other animals are destroyed by it, the salamander is preserved alive 155 ; tow burns, asbestos is washed by the flames as if by water; so much for his sameness of works from one and the same energy. How too about the sun? Is not his power of warming always the same; and yet while he causes one plant to grow, he withers another, varying the results of his operation in accordance with the latent force of each. That on the rock withers; that in deep earth yields an hundredfold. Investigate Natures work, and you will learn, in the case of those bodies which she produces artistically, the amount of accuracy there is in his statement that sameness of energy effects sameness of result. One single operation is the cause of conception, but the composition of that which is effected internally therein is so varied that it would be difficult for any one even to count all the various qualities of the body. Again, imbibing the milk is one single operation on the part of the infant, but the results of its being nourished so are too complex to be all detailed. While this food passes from the channel of the mouth into the secretory ducts 156 , the transforming power of Nature forwards it into the several parts proportionately to their wants; for by digestion she divides its sum total into the small change of multitudinous differences, and into supplies congenial to the subject matter with which she deals; so that the same milk goes to feed arteries, veins, brain and its membranes, marrow, bones, nerves 157 , sinews, tendons, flesh, surface, cartilages, fat, hair, nails, perspiration, vapours, phlegm, bile, and besides these, all useless superfluities deriving from the same source. You could not name either an organ, whether of motion or sensation, or anything else making up the bodys bulk, which was not formed (in spite of startling differences) from this one and selfsame operation of feeding. If one were to compare the mechanic arts too it will be seen what is the scientific value of his statement; for there we see in them all the same operation, I mean the movement of the hands; but what have the results in common? What has building a shrine to do with a coat, though manual labour is employed on both? The house-breaker and the well-digger both move their hands: the mining of the earth, the murder of a man are results of the motion of the hands. The soldier slays the foe, and the husbandman wields the fork which breaks the clod, with his hands. How, then, can this doctrinaire lay it down that the same energies produce sameness of work? But even if we were to grant that this view of his had any truth in it, the essential union of the Son with the Father, and of the p. LXXII Holy Spirit with the Son, is yet again more fully proved. For if there existed any variation in their energies, so that the Son worked His will in a different manner to the Father, then (on the above supposition) it would be fair to conjecture, from this variation, a variation also in the beings which were the result of these varying energies. But if it is true that the manner of the Fathers working is likewise the manner always of the Sons, both from our Lords own words and from what we should have expected a priori—(for the one is not unbodied while the other is embodied, the one is not from this material, the other from that, the one does not work his will in this time and place, the other in that time and place, nor is there difference of organs in them producing difference of result, but the sole movement of their wish and of their will is sufficient, seconded in the founding of the universe by the power that can create anything)—if, I say, it is true that in all respects the Father from Whom are all things, and the Son by Whom are all things in the actual form of their operation work alike, then how can this man hope to prove the essential difference between the Son and the Holy Ghost by any difference and separation between the working of the Son and the Father? The very opposite, as we have just seen, is proved to be the case 158 ; seeing that there is no manner of difference contemplated between the working of the Father and that of the Son; and so that there is no gulf whatever between the being of the Son and the being of the Spirit, is shewn by the identity of the power which gives them their subsistence; and our pamphleteer himself confirms this; for these are his words verbatim: “the same energies producing sameness of works.” If sameness of works is really produced by likeness of energies, and if (as they say) the Son is the work of the Father and the Spirit the work of the Son, the likeness in manner 159 of the Fathers and the Sons energies will demonstrate the sameness of these beings who each result from them.
But he adds, “variation in the works indicates variation in the energies.” How, again, is this dictum of his corroborated by facts? Look, if you please, at plain instances. Is not the energy of command, in Him who embodied the world and all things therein by His sole will, a single energy? “He spake and they were made. He commanded and they were created.” Was not the thing commanded in every case alike given existence: did not His single will suffice to give subsistence to the nonexistent? How, then, when such vast differences are seen coming from that one energy of command, can this man shut his eyes to realities, and declare that the difference of works indicates difference of energies? If our dogmatist insists on this, that difference of works implies difference of energies, then we should have expected the very contrary to that which is the case; viz., that everything in the world should be of one type. Can it be that he does see here a universal likeness, and detects unlikeness only between the Father and the Son?
Let him, then, observe, if he never did before, the dissimilarity amongst the elements of the world, and how each thing that goes to make up the framework of the whole hangs on to its natural opposite. Some objects are light and buoyant, others heavy and gravitating; some are always still, others always moving; and amongst these last some move unchangingly on one plan 160 , as the heaven, for instance, and the planets, whose courses all revolve the opposite way to the universe, others are transfused in all directions and rush at random, as air and sea for instance, and every substance which is naturally penetrating 161 . What need to mention the contrasts seen between heat and cold, moist and dry, high and low position? As for the numerous dissimilarities amongst animals and plants, on the score of figure and size, and all the variations of their products and their qualities, the human mind would fail to follow them.
is preserved alive; ξωογονεῖται. This is the LXX., not the classical use, of the word. Cf. Exod. 1:17, Judg. 8:19, &c. It is reproduced in the speech of S. Stephen, Acts 7:19, Luke 17:33Acts vii. 19: cf. Luke xvii. 33, “shall preserve (his life).”LXXI:156
ἀποκριτικοὺς, activè, so, the Medical writers. The Latin is in meatus destinato descendit takes it passivè (ἀποκριτίκους).LXXI:157
νεῦρα. So since Galens time: not tendon.LXXII:158
Punctuating παρασκευάζεται, ἐπείδὴ, κ.τ.λ. instead of a full stop, as Oehler.LXXII:159
Gregory replaces sameness (in the case of the energies in Eunomius argument) by likeness since the Father and the Son could not be said to be the same, and their energies, therefore, are not identical but similar.LXXII:160
ἐπὶ τὸ ἓν.LXXII:161
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