Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. V:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
Dogmatic Treatises.: He then shows the unity of the Son with the Father and Eunomius' lack of understanding and knowledge in the Scriptures.
§6. He then shows the unity of the Son with the Father and Eunomius lack of understanding and knowledge in the Scriptures.
What he adds next after this is as follows:—“Having no sharer,” he says, “in His Godhead, no divider of His glory, none who has lot in His power, or part in His royal throne: for He is the one and only God, the Almighty, God of Gods, King of Kings, Lord of Lords.” I know not to whom Eunomius refers when he protests that the Father admits none to share His Godhead with Himself. For if he uses such expressions with reference to vain idols and to the erroneous conceptions of those who worship them (even as Paul assures us that there is no agreement between Christ and Belial, and no fellowship between the temple p. CVII of God and idols 290 ) we agree with him. But if by these assertions he means to sever the Only-begotten God from the Godhead of the Father, let him be informed that he is providing us with a dilemma that may be turned against himself to refute his own impiety. For either he denies the Only-begotten God to be God at all, that he may preserve for the Father those prerogatives of deity which (according to him) are incapable of being shared with the Son, and thus is convicted as a transgressor by denying the God Whom Christians worship, or if he were to grant that the Son also is God, yet not agreeing in nature with the true God, he would be necessarily obliged to acknowledge that he maintains Gods sundered from one another by the difference of their natures. Let him choose which of these he will,—either to deny the Godhead of the Son, or to introduce into his creed a plurality of Gods. For whichever of these he chooses, it is all one as regards impiety: for we who are initiated into the mystery of godliness by the Divinely inspired words of the Scripture do not see between the Father and the Son a partnership of Godhead, but unity, inasmuch as the Lord hath taught us this by His own words, when He saith, “I and the Father are one 291 ,” and “he that hath seen Me hath seen the Father 292 .” For if He were not of the same nature as the Father, how could He either have had in Himself that which was different 293 ? or how could He have shown in Himself that which was unlike, if the foreign and alien nature did not receive the stamp of that which was of a different kind from itself? But he says, “nor has He a divider of His glory.” Herein he speaks in accordance with the fact, even though he does not know what he is saying: for the Son does not divide the glory with the Father, but has the glory of the Father in its entirety, even as the Father has all the glory of the Son. For thus He spake to the Father “All Mine are Thine and Thine are Mine 294 .” Wherefore also He says that He will appear on the Judgment Day “in the glory of the Father 295 ,” when He will render to every man according to his works. And by this phrase He shows the unity of nature that subsists between them. For as “there is one glory of the sun and another glory of the moon 296 ,” because of the difference between the natures of those luminaries (since if both had the same glory there would not be deemed to be any difference in their nature), so He Who foretold of Himself that He would appear in the glory of the Father indicated by the identity of glory their community of nature.
But to say that the Son has no part in His Fathers royal throne argues an extraordinary amount of research into the oracles of God on the part of Eunomius, who, after his extreme devotion to the inspired Scriptures, has not yet heard, “Seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God 297 ,” and many similar passages, of which it would not be easy to reckon up the number, but which Eunomius has never learnt, and so denies that the Son is enthroned together with the Father. Again the phrase, “not having lot in his power,” we should rather pass by as unmeaning than confute as ungodly. For what sense is attached to the term “having lot” is not easy to discover from the common use of the word. Those cast lots, as the Scripture tells us, for the Lords vesture, who were unwilling to rend His garment, but disposed to make it over to that one of their number in whose favour the lot should decide 298 . They then who thus cast lots among themselves for the “coat” may be said, perhaps, to “have had lot” in it. But here in the case of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, inasmuch as Their power resides in Their nature (for the Holy Spirit breathes “where He listeth 299 ,” and “worketh all in all as He will 300 ,” and the Son, by Whom all things were made, visible and invisible, in heaven and in earth, “did all things whatsoever He pleased 301 ,” and “quickeneth whom He will 302 ,” and the Father put “the times in His own power 303 ,” while from the mention of “times” we conclude that all things done in time are subject to the power of the Father), if, I say, it has been demonstrated that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit alike are in a position of power to do what They will, it is impossible to see what sense there can be in the phrase “having lot in His power.” For the heir of all things, the maker of the ages 304 , He Who shines with the Fathers glory and expresses in Himself the Fathers person, has all things that the Father Himself has, and is possessor of all His power, not that the right is transferred from the Father to the Son, but that it at once remains in the Father and resides in the Son. For He Who is in the Father is manifestly in the Father with all His own might, and He Who has the Father in Himself includes all the power and might of the Father. For He has in Himself all the Father, and not merely a part of Him: and He Who has Him entirely assuredly has His power as well. With what meaning, then, Eunomius asserts that the Father has “none who has lot in His power,” those p. CVIII perhaps can tell who are disciples of his folly: one who knows how to appreciate language confesses that he cannot understand phrases divorced from meaning. The Father, he says, “has none Who has lot in His power.” Why, who is there that says that the Father and Son contend together for power and cast lots to decide the matter? But the holy Eunomius comes as mediator between them and by a friendly agreement without lot assigns to the Father the superiority in power.
Mark, I pray you, the absurdity and childishness of this grovelling exposition of his articles of faith. What! He Who “upholds all things by the word of His power 305 ,” Who says what He wills to be done, and does what He wills by the very power of that command, He Whose power lags not behind His will and Whose will is the measure of His power (for “He spake the word and they were made, He commanded and they were created 306 ”), He Who made all things by Himself, and made them consist in Himself 307 , without Whom no existing thing either came into being or remains in being,—He it is Who waits to obtain His power by some process of allotment! Judge you who hear whether the man who talks like this is in his senses. “For He is the one and only God, the Almighty,” he says. If by the title of “Almighty” he intends the Father, the language he uses is ours, and no strange language: but if he means some other God than the Father, let our patron of Jewish doctrines preach circumcision too, if he pleases. For the Faith of Christians is directed to the Father. And the Father is all these—Highest, Almighty, King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, and in a word all terms of highest significance are proper to the Father. But all that is the Fathers is the Sons also; so that, on this understanding 308 , we admit this phrase too. But if, leaving the Father, he speaks of another Almighty, he is speaking the language of the Jews or following the speculations of Plato,—for they say that that philosopher also affirms that there exists on high a maker and creator of certain subordinate gods. As then in the case of the Jewish and Platonic opinions he who does not believe in God the Father is not a Christian, even though in his creed he asserts an Almighty God, so Eunomius also falsely pretends to the name of Christian, being in inclination a Jew, or asserting the doctrines of the Greeks while putting on the guise of the title borne by Christians. And with regard to the next points he asserts the same account will apply. He says He is “God of Gods.” We make the declaration our own by adding the name of the Father, knowing that the Father is God of Gods. But all that belongs to the Father certainly belongs also to the Son. “And Lord of Lords.” The same account will apply to this. “And Most High over all the earth.” Yes, for whichever of the Three Persons you are thinking of, He is Most High over all the earth, inasmuch as the oversight of earthly things from on high is exercised alike by the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost. So, too, with what follows the words above, “Most High in the heavens, Most High in the highest, Heavenly, true in being what He is, and so continuing, true in words, true in works.” Why, all these things the Christian eye discerns alike in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. If Eunomius does assign them to one only of the Persons acknowledged in the creed, let him dare to call Him “not true in words” Who has said, “I am the Truth 309 ,” or to call the Spirit of truth “not true in words,” or let him refuse to give the title of “true in works” to Him Who doeth righteousness and judgment, or to the Spirit Who worketh all in all as He will. For if he does not acknowledge that these attributes belong to the Persons delivered to us in the creed, he is absolutely cancelling the creed of Christians. For how shall any one think Him a worthy object of faith Who is false in words and untrue in works.
But let us proceed to what follows. “Above all rule, subjection and authority,” he says. This language is ours, and belongs properly to the Catholic Church,—to believe that the Divine nature is above all rule, and that it has in subordination to itself everything that can be conceived among existing things. But the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost constitute the Divine nature. If he assigns this property to the Father alone, and if he affirms Him alone to be free from variableness and change, and if he says that He alone is undefiled, the inference that we are meant to draw is plain, namely, that He who has not these characteristics is variable, corruptible, subject to change and decay. This, then, is what Eunomius asserts of the Son and the Holy Spirit: for if he did not hold this opinion concerning the Son and the Spirit, he would not have employed this opposition, contrasting the Father with them. For the rest, brethren, judge whether, with these sentiments, he is not a persecutor of the Christian faith. For who will allow it to be right to deem that a fitting object of reverence which varies, changes, and p. CIX is subject to decay? So then the whole aim of one who flames such notions as these,—notions by which he makes out that neither the Truth nor the Spirit of Truth is undefiled, unvarying, or unchangeable,—is to expel from the Church the belief in the Son and in the Holy Spirit.
Cf. 2 Cor. 6:15, 16.CVII:291
S. John x. 30CVII:292
S. John xiv. 9CVII:293
S. John xvii. 10.CVII:294
S. John xvii. 10.CVII:295
S. Mark viii. 38.CVII:296
1 Cor. xv. 41.CVII:297
Col. iii. 1.CVII:298
Cf. S. John 19:23, 24.CVII:299
S. John iii. 8CVII:300
Cf. 1 Cor. 12:6, 111 Cor. xii. 6 and 11.CVII:301
Ps. cxxxv. 6.CVII:302
S. John v. 21CVII:303
Acts i. 7.CVII:304
Cf. Heb. i. 2CVIII:305
Heb. i. 3.CVIII:306
Ps. 148:4, Ps. 33:9Ps. cxlviii. 5, or xxxiii. 9 in LXX.CVIII:307
Cf. Col. 1:16, 17.CVIII:308
“If this is so:” i.e. if Eunomius means his words in a Christian sense.CVIII:309
S. John xiv. 6
Next: Gregory further shows that the Only-Begotten being begotten not only of the Father, but also impassibly of the Virgin by the Holy Ghost, does not divide the substance; seeing that neither is the nature of men divided or severed from the parents by being begotten, as is ingeniously demonstrated from the instances of Adam and Abraham.
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