Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. X:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
Dogmatic Treatises, Ethical Works, and Sermons.: Chapter VII. The likeness of Christ to the Father is asserted on the authority of St. Paul, the prophets, and the Gospel, and especially in reliance upon the creation of man in God's image.
The likeness of Christ to the Father is asserted on the authority of St. Paul, the prophets, and the Gospel, and especially in reliance upon the creation of man in Gods image.
48. The Apostle saith that Christ is the image of the Father—for he calls Him the image of the invisible God, the first-begotten of all creation. First-begotten, mark you, not first-created, in order that He may be believed to be both begotten, in virtue of His nature, 1761 and first in virtue of His eternity. In another place also the Apostle has declared that God made the Son “heir of all things, by Whom also He made the worlds, Who is the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His substance.” 1762 The Apostle calls Christ the image of the Father, and Arius says that He is unlike the Father. Why, then, is He called an image, if He hath no likeness? Men will not have their portraits unlike them, and Arius contends that the Father is unlike the Son, and would have it that the Father has begotten one unlike Himself, as though unable to generate His like.
49. The prophets say: “In Thy light we shall see light;” 1763 and again: “Wisdom is the brightness of everlasting light, and the spotless mirror of Gods majesty, the image of His goodness.” 1764 See what great names are declared! “Brightness,” because in the Son the Fathers glory shines clearly: “spotless mirror,” because the Father is seen in the Son: 1765 “image of goodness,” because it is not one body seen reflected in another, but the whole power [of the Godhead] in the Son. The word “image” teaches us that there is no difference; “expression,” that He is the counterpart of the Fathers form; and “brightness” declares His eternity. 1766 The “image” in truth is not that of a bodily countenance, not one made up of colours, nor modelled in wax, but simply derived from God, coming out from the Father, drawn from the fountainhead.
50. By means of this image the Lord showed Philip the Father, saying, “Philip, he that sees Me, sees the Father also. How then dost thou say, Show us the Father? Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me?” 1767 Yes, he who looks upon the Son sees, in portrait, the Father. 1768 Mark what manner of portrait is spoken of. It is Truth, Righteousness, the Power of God: 1769 not dumb, for it is the Word; not insensible, for it is Wisdom; not vain and foolish, for it is Power; not soulless, for it is the Life; not dead, for it is the Resurrection. 1770 p. 209 You see, then, that whilst an image is spoken of, the meaning is that it is the Father, Whose image the Son is, seeing that no one can be his own image.
51. More might I set down from the Sons testimony; howbeit, lest He perchance appear to have asserted Himself overmuch, let us enquire of the Father. For the Father said, “Let us make man in Our image and likeness.” 1771 The Father saith to the Son “in Our image and likeness,” and thou sayest that the Son of God is unlike the Father.
52. John saith, “Beloved, we are sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: we know that if He be revealed, we shall be like Him.” 1772 O blind madness! O shameless obstinacy! We are men, and, so far as we may, we shall be in the likeness of God: dare we deny that the Son is like God?
53. Therefore the Father hath said: “Let us make man in Our image and likeness.” At the beginning of the universe itself, as I read, the Father and the Son existed, and I see one creation. I hear Him that speaketh. 1773 I acknowledge Him that doeth: 1774 but it is of one image, one likeness, that I read. This likeness belongs not to diversity but to unity. What, therefore, thou claimest for thyself, thou takest from the Son of God, seeing, indeed, that thou canst not be in the image of God, save by help of the image of God.
i. e., of His Sonship. St. Ambrose refers to Col. i. 15.208:1762
Heb. i. 2.208:1763
Ps. xxxvi. 9.208:1764
Wis. vii. 26.208:1765
Cf. S. John xii. 45.208:1766
The brightness or effulgence of a body lasts as long as that body exists; seeing, then, that the Father is eternal, the Son, Who is His brightness, must be eternal also (H.).208:1767
S. John xiv. 9-10.208:1768
Or “He who beholds the Father in the Son, beholds Him in a portrait.”208:1769
Christ the Truth: S. John xiv. 6. Righteousness: Jer. 33:16, Jer. 23:6, 1 Cor. 1:30. Power of God: 1 Cor. i. 24.208:1770
Christ the Word: S. John i. 1-18. Wisdom: 1 Cor. 1:24, 30. Life and Resurrection: S. John xi. 25.209:1771
Gen. i. 26.209:1772
2 John iii. 2.209:1773
Next: Chapter VIII. The likeness of the Son to the Father being proved, it is not hard to prove the Son's eternity, though, indeed, this may be established on the authority of the Prophet Isaiah and St. John the Evangelist, by which authority the heretical leaders are shown to be refuted.
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