Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. V:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
Dogmatic Treatises.: Then he again mentions S. Peter's word, “made,” and the passage in the Epistle to the Hebrews, which says that Jesus was made by God “an Apostle and High Priest”: and, after giving a sufficient answer to the charges brought against him by Eunomius, shows that Eunomius himself supports Basil's arguments, and says that the Only-begotten Son, when He had put on the flesh, became Lord.
§2. Then he again mentions S. Peters word, “made,” and the passage in the Epistle to the Hebrews, which says that Jesus was made by God “an Apostle and High Priest”: and, after giving a sufficient answer to the charges brought against him by Eunomius, shows that Eunomius himself supports Basils arguments, and says that the Only-begotten Son, when He had put on the flesh, became Lord.
And although we make these remarks in passing, the parenthetic addition seems, perhaps, not less important than the main question before us. For since, when St. Peter says, “He made Him Lord and Christ 761 ,” and again, when the Apostle Paul says to the Hebrews that He made Him a priest 762 , Eunomius catches at the word “made” as being applicable to His pre-temporal existence, and thinks thereby to establish his doctrine that the Lord is a thing made 763 , let him now listen to Paul when he says, “He made Him to be sin for us, Who knew not sin 764 .” If he refers the word “made,” which is used of the Lord in the passages from the Epistle to the Hebrews, and from the words of Peter, to the pretemporal idea, he might fairly refer the word in that passage which says that God made Him to be sin, to the first existence of His essence, and try to show by this, as in the case of his other testimonies, that he was “made”, so as to refer the word “made” to the essence, acting consistently with himself, and to discern sin in that essence. But if he shrinks from this by reason of its manifest absurdity, and argues that, by saying, “He made Him to be sin,” the Apostle indicates the dispensation of the last times, let him persuade himself by the same train of reasoning that the word “made” refers to that dispensation in the other passages also.
Let us, however, return to the point from which we digressed; for we might gather together from the same Scripture countless other passages, besides those quoted, which bear upon the matter. And let no one think that the divine Apostle is divided against himself in contradiction, and affords by his own utterances matter for their contentions on either side to those who dispute upon the doctrines. For careful examination would find that his argument is accurately directed to one aim; and he is not halting in his opinions: for while he everywhere proclaims the combination of the Human with the Divine, he none the less discerns in each its proper nature, in the sense that while the human weakness is changed for the better by its communion with the imperishable, the Divine power, on the other hand, is not abased by its contact with the lowly form of nature. When therefore he says, “He spared not His own Son,” he contrasts the true Son with the other sons, begotten, or exalted, or p. CLXXXIV adopted 765 (those, I mean, who were brought into being at His command), marking the specialty of nature by the addition of “own.” And, to the end that no one should connect the suffering of the Cross with the imperishable nature, he gives in other words a fairly distinct correction of such an error, when he calls Him “mediator between God and men 766 ” and “man 767 ,” and “God 768 ,” that, from the fact that both are predicated of the one Being, the fit conception might be entertained concerning each Nature—concerning the Divine Nature, impassibility, concerning the Human Nature, the dispensation of the Passion. As his thought, then, divides that which in love to man was made one, but is distinguished in idea, he uses, when he is proclaiming that nature which transcends and surpasses all intelligence, the more exalted order of names, calling Him “God over all 769 ,” “the great God 770 ,” “the power” of God, and “the wisdom” of God 771 , and the like; but when he is alluding to all that experience of suffering which, by reason of our weakness, was necessarily assumed with our nature, he gives to the union of the Natures 772 that name which is derived from ours, and calls Him Man, not by this word placing Him Whom he is setting forth to us on a common level with the rest of nature, but so that orthodoxy is protected as regards each Nature, in the sense that the Human Nature is glorified by His assumption of it, and the Divine is not polluted by Its condescension, but makes the Human element subject to sufferings, while working, through Its Divine power, the resurrection of that which suffered. And thus the experience of death is not 773 referred to Him Who had communion in our passible nature by reason of the union with Him of the Man, while at the same time the exalted and Divine names descend to the Man, so that He Who was manifested upon the Cross is called even “the Lord of glory 774 ,” since the majesty implied in these names is transmitted from the Divine to the Human by the commixture of Its Nature with that Nature which is lowly. For this cause he describes Him in varied and different language, at one time as Him Who came down from heaven, at another time as Him Who was born of woman, as God from eternity, and Man in the last days; thus too the Only-begotten God is held to be impassible, and Christ to be capable of suffering; nor does his discourse speak falsely in these opposing statements, as it adapts in its conceptions to each Nature the terms that belong to it. If then these are the doctrines which we have learnt from inspired teaching, how do we refer the cause of our salvation to an ordinary man? and if we declare the word “made” employed by the blessed Peter to have regard not to the pre-temporal existence, but to the new dispensation of the Incarnation, what has this to do with the charge against us? For this great Apostle says that that which was seen in the form of the servant has been made, by being assumed, to be that which He Who assumed it was in His own Nature. Moreover, in the Epistle to the Hebrews we may learn the same truth from Paul, when he says that Jesus was made an Apostle and High Priest by God, “being faithful to him that made Him so 775 .” For in that passage too, in giving the name of High Priest to Him Who made with His own Blood the priestly propitiation for our sins, he does not by the word “made” declare the first existence of the Only-begotten, but says “made” with the intention of representing that grace which is commonly spoken of in connection with the appointment of priests. For Jesus, the great High Priest (as Zechariah says 776 ), Who offered up his own lamb, that is, His own Body, for the sin of the world; Who, by reason of the children that are partakers of flesh and blood, Himself also in like manner took part with them in blood 777 (not in that He was in the beginning, being the Word and God, and being in the form of God, and equal with God, but in that He emptied Himself in the form of the servant, and offered an oblation and sacrifice for us), He, I say, became a High Priest many generations later, after the order of Melchisedech 778 . Surely a reader who has more than a casual acquaintance with the discourse to the Hebrews knows the mystery of this matter. As, then, in that passage He is said to have been made Priest and Apostle, so here He is said to have been made Lord and Christ,—the latter for the dispensation on our behalf, the former by the change and transformation of the Human to the Divine (for by “making” the Apostle means “making anew”). Thus is manifest the knavery of our adversaries, who insolently wrest the words referring to the dispensation to apply them to the pretemporal existence. For we learn from the Apostle not to know Christ in the same manner now as before, as Paul thus speaks, “Yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now know we Him no more 779 ,” in the sense that the one knowledge manifests p. CLXXXV to us His temporary dispensation, the other His eternal existence. Thus our discourse has made no inconsiderable answer to his charges:—that we neither hold two Christs nor two Lords, that we are not ashamed of the Cross, that we do not glorify a mere man as having suffered for the world, that we assuredly do not think that the word “made” refers to the formation of the essence. But, such being our view, our argument has no small support from our accuser himself, where in the midst of his discourse he employs his tongue in a flourishing onslaught upon us, and produces this sentence among others: “This, then, is the conflict that Basil wages against himself, and he clearly appears neither to have applied his own mind to the intention of the Apostles, nor to be able to preserve the sequence of his own arguments; for according to them he must, if he is conscious of their irreconcilable character, admit that the Word Who was in the beginning and was God became Lord,” or he fits together “statements that are mutually conflicting.” Why, this is actually our statement which Eunomius repeats, who says that “the Word that was in the beginning and was God became Lord.” For, being what He was, God, and Word, and Life, and Light, and Grace, and Truth, and Lord, and Christ, and every name exalted and Divine, He did become, in the Man assumed by Him, Who was none of these, all else which the Word was and among the rest did become Lord and Christ, according to the teaching of Peter, and according to the confession of Eunomius;—not in the sense that the Godhead acquired anything by way of advancement, but (all exalted majesty being contemplated in the Divine Nature) He thus becomes Lord and Christ, not by arriving at any addition of grace in respect of His Godhead (for the Nature of the Godhead is acknowledged to be lacking in no good), but by bringing the Human Nature to that participation in the Godhead which is signified by the terms “Christ” and “Lord.”
Acts ii. 36.CLXXXIII:762
Cf. Heb. v. 5CLXXXIII:763
Altering Oehlers punctuation.CLXXXIII:764
2 Cor. v. 21.CLXXXIV:765
Reading, as Gulonius seems to have done, and according to Oehlers suggestion (which he does not himself follow), υἱοθετηθεῖσι for ἀθετήσασι. In the latter reading the mss. seem to agree, but the sense is doubtful. It may be rendered, perhaps, “Who were begotten and exalted, and who rejected Him.” The quotation from S. Paul is from Rom. viii. 32.CLXXXIV:766
1 Tim. ii. 5.CLXXXIV:767
1 Tim. ii. 5.CLXXXIV:768
The reference is perhaps to 1 Tim iii. 16, but more probably to 1 Tim. ii. 5.CLXXXIV:769
Rom. ix. 5.CLXXXIV:770
Tit. ii. 13.CLXXXIV:771
1 Cor. i. 24.CLXXXIV:772
Reading οὔτε, in favour of which apparently lies the weight of mss. The reading of the Paris edition gives an easier connection, but has apparently no ms. authority. The distinction S. Gregory draws is this:—“You may not say God died, for human weakness does not attach to the Divine Nature; you may say He who died is the Lord of glory, for the Human Nature is actually made partaker of the power and majesty of the Divine.”CLXXXIV:774
1 Cor. ii. 8.CLXXXIV:775
Cf. Heb. 3:1, 2.CLXXXIV:776
Cf. Zech. iii. 1CLXXXIV:777
Cf. Heb. ii. 14CLXXXIV:778
Cf. Heb. vii. 21CLXXXIV:779
Cf. 2 Cor. v. 16
Next: He then gives a notable explanation of the saying of the Lord to Philip, “He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father;” and herein he excellently discusses the suffering of the Lord in His love to man, and the impassibility, creative power, and providence of the Father, and the composite nature of men, and their resolution into the elements of which they were composed.
Like & share St-Takla.org
© Saint Takla Haymanout Website: Coptic Orthodox Church - Alexandria, Egypt / URL: https://st-takla.org / Contact us at