Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. VIII:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
De Spiritu Sancto.: That v: not found “of whom” in the case of the Son and of the Spirit.
That “through whom” is said also in the case of the Father, and “of whom” in the case of the Son and of the Spirit.
7. After thus describing the outcome of our adversaries arguments, we shall now proceed to shew, as we have proposed, that the Father does not first take “of whom” and then abandon “through whom” to the Son; and that there is no truth in these mens ruling that the Son refuses to admit the Holy Spirit to a share in “of whom” or in “through whom,” according to the limitation of their new-fangled allotment of phrases. “There is one God and Father of whom are all things, and one Lord Jesus Christ through whom are all things.” 734
Yes; but these are the words of a writer not laying down a rule, but carefully distinguishing the hypostases. 735
The object of the apostle in thus writing was not to introduce the diversity of nature, but to exhibit the notion of Father and of Son as unconfounded. That the phrases are not opposed to one another and do not, like squadrons in war marshalled one against another, bring the natures to which they are applied into mutual conflict, is perfectly plain from the passage in question. The blessed Paul brings both phrases to bear upon one and the same subject, in the words “of him and through him and to him are all things.” 736 That this plainly refers to the Lord will be admitted even by a reader paying but small attention to the meaning of the words. The apostle has just quoted from the prophecy of Isaiah, “Who hath known the mind of the Lord, or who hath p. 6 been his counsellor,” 737 and then goes on, “For of him and from him and to him are all things.” That the prophet is speaking about God the Word, the Maker of all creation, may be learnt from what immediately precedes: “Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance? Who hath directed the Spirit of the Lord, or being his counsellor hath taught him?” 738 Now the word “who” in this passage does not mean absolute impossibility, but rarity, as in the passage “Who will rise up for me against the evil doers?” 739 and “What man is he that desireth life?” 740 and “Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord?” 741 So is it in the passage in question, “Who hath directed [lxx., known] the Spirit of the Lord, or being his counsellor hath known him?” “For the Father loveth the Son and sheweth him all things.” 742 This is He who holds the earth, and hath grasped it with His hand, who brought all things to order and adornment, who poised 743 the hills in their places, and measured the waters, and gave to all things in the universe their proper rank, who encompasseth the whole of heaven with but a small portion of His power, which, in a figure, the prophet calls a span. Well then did the apostle add “Of him and through him and to him are all things.” 744 For of Him, to all things that are, comes the cause of their being, according to the will of God the Father. Through Him all things have their continuance 745 and constitution, 746 for He created all things, and metes out to each severally what is necessary for its health and preservation. Wherefore to Him all things are turned, looking with irresistible longing and unspeakable affection to “the author” 747 and maintainer “of” their “life,” as it is written “The eyes of all wait upon thee,” 748 and again, “These wait all upon thee,” 749 and “Thou openest thine hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing.” 750
8. But if our adversaries oppose this our interpretation, what argument will save them from being caught in their own trap?
For if they will not grant that the three expressions “of him” and “through him” and “to him” are spoken of the Lord, they cannot but be applied to God the Father. Then without question their rule will fall through, for we find not only “of whom,” but also “through whom” applied to the Father. And if this latter phrase indicates nothing derogatory, why in the world should it be confined, as though conveying the sense of inferiority, to the Son? If it always and everywhere implies ministry, let them tell us to what superior the God of glory 751 and Father of the Christ is subordinate.
They are thus overthrown by their own selves, while our position will be on both sides made sure. Suppose it proved that the passage refers to the Son, “of whom” will be found applicable to the Son. Suppose on the other hand it be insisted that the prophets words relate to God, then it will be granted that “through whom” is properly used of God, and both phrases have equal value, in that both are used with equal force of God. Under either alternative both terms, being employed of one and the same Person, will be shewn to be equivalent. But let us revert to our subject.
9. In his Epistle to the Ephesians the apostle says, “But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ; from whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body.” 752
And again in the Epistle to the Colossians, to them that have not the knowledge of the Only Begotten, there is mention of him that holdeth “the head,” that is, Christ, “from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered increaseth with the increase of God.” 753 And that Christ is the head of the Church we have learned in another passage, when the apostle says “gave him to be the head over all things to the Church,” 754 and “of his fulness have all we received.” 755 And the Lord Himself says “He shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.” 756 In a word, the diligent reader will perceive that “of whom” is used in diverse manners. 757 For instance, the Lord says, “I perceive that virtue is gone out of me.” 758 Similarly we have frequently observed “of whom” used of the Spirit. “He that soweth to the spirit,” it is said, p. 7 “shall of the spirit reap life everlasting.” 759 John too writes, “Hereby we know that he abideth in us by (ἐκ) the spirit which he hath given us.” 760 “That which is conceived in her,” says the angel, “is of the Holy Ghost,” 761 and the Lord says “that which is born of the spirit is spirit.” 762 Such then is the case so far.
10. It must now be pointed out that the phrase “through whom” is admitted by Scripture in the case of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost alike. It would indeed be tedious to bring forward evidence of this in the case of the Son, not only because it is perfectly well known, but because this very point is made by our opponents. We now show that “through whom” is used also in the case of the Father. “God is faithful,” it is said, “by whom (δι᾽ οὖ) ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son,” 763 and “Paul an apostle of Jesus Christ by (διά) the will of God;” and again, “Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God.” 764 And “like as Christ was raised up from the dead by (διά) the glory of God the Father.” 765 Isaiah, moreover, says, “Woe unto them that make deep counsel and not through the Lord;” 766 and many proofs of the use of this phrase in the case of the Spirit might be adduced. “God hath revealed him to us,” it is said, “by (διά) the spirit;” 767 and in another place, “That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by (διά) the Holy Ghost;” 768 and again, “To one is given by (διά) the spirit the word of wisdom.” 769
11. In the same manner it may also be said of the word “in,” that Scripture admits its use in the case of God the Father. In the Old Testament it is said through (ἐν) God we shall do valiantly, 770 and, “My praise shall be continually of (ἐν) thee;” 771 and again, “In thy name will I rejoice.” 772 In Paul we read, “In God who created all things,” 773 and, “Paul and Silvanus and Timotheus unto the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father;” 774 and “if now at length I might have a prosperous journey by (ἐν) the will of God to come to you;” 775 and, “Thou makest thy boast of God.” 776 Instances are indeed too numerous to reckon; but what we want is not so much to exhibit an abundance of evidence as to prove that the conclusions of our opponents are unsound. I shall, therefore, omit any proof of this usage in the case of our Lord and of the Holy Ghost, in that it is notorious. But I cannot forbear to remark that “the wise hearer” will find sufficient proof of the proposition before him by following the method of contraries. For if the difference of language indicates, as we are told, that the nature has been changed, then let identity of language compel our adversaries to confess with shame that the essence is unchanged.
12. And it is not only in the case of the theology that the use of the terms varies, 777 but whenever one of the terms takes the meaning of the other we find them frequently transferred from the one subject to the other. As, for instance, Adam says, “I have gotten a man through God,” 778 meaning to say the same as from God; and in another passage “Moses commanded…Israel through the word of the Lord,” 779 and, again, “Is not the interpretation through God?” 780 Joseph, discoursing about dreams to the prisoners, instead of saying “from God” says plainly “through God.” Inversely Paul uses the term “from whom” instead of “through whom,” when he says “made from a woman” (A.V., “of” instead of “through a woman”). 781 And this he has plainly distinguished in another passage, where he says that it is proper to a woman to be made of the man, and to a man to be made through the woman, in the words “For as the woman is from [A.V., of] the man, even so is the man also through [A.V., by] the woman.” 782 Nevertheless in the passage in question the apostle, while illustrating the variety of usage, at the same time corrects obiter the error of those who supposed that the body of the Lord was a spiritual body, 783 and, to shew that the God-bearing 784 flesh was formed out of the comp. 8 mon lump 785 of human nature, gave precedence to the more emphatic preposition.
The phrase “through a woman” would be likely to give rise to the suspicion of mere transit in the generation, while the phrase “of the woman” would satisfactorily indicate that the nature was shared by the mother and the offspring. The apostle was in no wise contradicting himself, but he shewed that the words can without difficulty be interchanged. Since, therefore, the term “from whom” is transferred to the identical subjects in the case of which “through whom” is decided to be properly used, with what consistency can these phrases be invariably distinguished one from the other, in order that fault may be falsely found with true religion?
1 Cor. viii. 6.5:735
If Catholic Theology does not owe to St. Basil the distinction between the connotations of οὐσία and ὑπόστασις which soon prevailed over the identification obtaining at the time of the Nicene Council, at all events his is the first and most famous assertion and defence of it. At Nicæa, in 325, to have spoken of St. Paul as “distinguishing the hypostases” would have been held impious. Some forty-five years later St. Basil writes to his brother, Gregory of Nyssa (Ep. xxxviii.), in fear lest Gregory should fall into the error of failing to distinguish between hypostasis and ousia, between person and essence. cf. Theodoret Dial. i. 7, and my note on his Ecc. Hist. i. 3.5:736
Rom. xi. 36.6:737
Rom. 11:34, Isa. 40:13.6:738
Isa. 40:12, 13.6:739
Ps. xciv. 16.6:740
Ps. xxxiv. 12.6:741
Ps. xxiv. 3.6:742
John v. 20.6:743
ἰσοῤ& 191·οπία. cf. Plat. Phæd. 109, A.6:744
Rom. xi. 38.6:745
διαμονή. cf. Arist. de Sp. i. 1.6:746
cf. Col. 1:16, 17.6:747
Acts iii. 15.6:748
Ps. cxlv. 15.6:749
Ps. civ. 27.6:750
Ps. cxlv. 16.6:751
Ps. 29:3, Acts 7:2.6:752
Eph. 4:15, 16.6:753
Col. ii. 19.6:754
Eph. i. 22.6:755
John i. 16.6:756
1 John xvi. 15.6:757
πολύτροποι. cf. the cognate adverb in Heb. i. 1.6:758
“ἐξ ἐμοῦ ” The reading in Luke 8.46 is ἀπ᾽ ἐμοῦ. In the parallel passage, Mark v. 30, the words are, “Jesus knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him,” ἐξ αὐτοῦ which D. inserts in Luke viii. 45.7:759
Gal. vi. 8.7:760
1 John iii. 24.7:761
Matt. i. 20.7:762
John iii. 6.7:763
1 Cor. i. 9.7:764
Gal. iv. 7. A.V. reads “an heir of God through Christ;” so אCD. R.V. with the copy used by Basil agrees with A.B.7:765
Rom. vi. 4. It is pointed out by the Rev. C.F.H. Johnston in his edition of the De Spiritu that among quotations from the New Testament on the point in question, St. Basil has omitted Heb. ii. 10, “It became him for whom (δι᾽ ὅν) are all things and through whom (δι᾽ οὗ) are all things,” “where the Father is described as being the final Cause and efficient Cause of all things.”7:766
Is. xxix. 15, lxx.7:767
1 Cor. ii. 10.7:768
2 Tim. i. 14.7:769
1 Cor. xii. 8.7:770
Ps. cvii. 13.7:771
Ps. lxxi. 6.7:772
For “shall they rejoice,” Ps. lxxxix. 16.7:773
Eph. iii. 9.7:774
2 Thess. i. 1.7:775
Rom. i. 10.7:776
Rom. ii. 17.7:777
According to patristic usage the word “theology” is concerned with all that relates to the divine and eternal nature of Christ, as distinguished from the οἰκονομία, which relates to the incarnation, and consequent redemption of mankind. cf. Bishop Lightfoots Apostolic Fathers, Part II. Vol. ii. p. 75, and Newmans Arians, Chapter I. Section iii.7:778
Gen. iv. 1, lxx. A.V. renders “she conceived and bare Cain and said,” and here St. Basil has been accused of quoting from memory. But in the Greek of the lxx. the subject to εἶπεν is not expressed, and a possible construction of the sentence is to refer it to Adam. In his work adv. Eunom. ii. 20, St. Basil again refers the exclamation to Adam.7:779
Num. xxxvi. 5, lxx.7:780
Gen. xl. 8, lxx.7:781
Gal. iv. 4.7:782
1 Cor. xi. 12.7:783
The allusion is to the Docetæ. cf. Luke xxiv. 39.7:784
The note of the Benedictine Editors remarks that the French theologian Fronton du Duc (Ducæus) accuses Theodoret (on Cyrils Anath. vii.) of misquoting St. Basil as writing here “God-bearing man” instead of “God bearing flesh,” a term of different signification and less open as a Nestorian interpretation. “God-bearing,” θεοφόρος, was an epithet applied to mere men, as, for instance, St. Ignatius. So Clement of Alexandria, I. Strom. p. 318, and Gregory of Nazianzus, Or. xxxvii. p. 609. St. Basil does use the expression Jesus Christ ἄνθρωπον Θεόν in Hom. on Ps. xlix.8:785
φυραμα. cf. Rom. ix. 21.
Next: Issue joined with those who assert that the Son is not with the Father, but after the Father. Also concerning the equal glory.
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