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The Arians Of The Fourth Century - Blessed John Henry Newman

Observation on the foregoing Section

THERE will, of course, be differences of opinion, in deciding how much of the ecclesiastical doctrine, as above described, was derived from direct Apostolical Tradition, and how much was the result of intuitive spiritual perception in scripturally-informed and deeply religious minds. Yet it does not seem too much to affirm, that copious as it may be in theological terms, yet hardly one can be pointed out which is not found or strictly implied in the New Testament itself. And indeed so much perhaps will be granted by all who have claim to be considered Trinitarians; the objections, which some among them may be disposed to raise, lying rather against its alleged over-exactness in systematizing Scripture, than against the truths themselves which are contained in it. But it should be remembered, that it is we in after times who systematize the statements of the Fathers, which, as they occur in their works, are for the most part as natural and unpremeditated as those of the inspired volume itself. If the more exact terms and phrases of any writer be brought together, i. e. a writer who has fixed principles at all, of course they will appear technical and severe. We count the words of the Fathers, and measure their sentences; and so convert doxologies into creeds. That we do so, that the Church has done so more or less from the Nicene Council downwards, is the fault of those who have obliged us, those who, “while men slept,” have “sowed tares among the wheat.”

Variations in early theological language

This remark applies to the statements brought together in the last section, from the early writers: which, even though generally subservient to certain important ends, as e. g. the maintenance of the Unity of God, &c. are still on the whole written freely and devotionally. But now the discussion passes on to that more intentional systematizing on the part of the Ante-Nicene Fathers, which, unavoidable as it was, yet because it was in a measure conventional, was ambiguous, and in consequence afforded an apparent countenance to the Arian heresy. It often becomes necessary to settle the phraseology of divinity, in points, where the chief problem is, to select the clearest words to express notions in which all agree; or to find the proposition which will best fit in with, and connect, a number of received doctrines. E. g. the Calvinists dispute among themselves whether or not God wills the damnation of the non-elect; both parties agree in doctrine, they doubt how their own meaning may be best expressed. However clearly we see, and firmly we grasp the truth, we have a natural fear of the appearance of inconsistency; nay, a becoming fear of misleading others by our inaccuracy of language; and especially when our words have been misinterpreted by opponents, are we anxious to guard against such an inconvenience in future. There are two characteristics of opinions subjected to this intellectual scrutiny; first, they are variously expressed during the process; secondly, they are expressed technically, at the end of it. Now, to exemplify this in certain Ante-Nicene statements of the great Catholic doctrine.

The ἀγέννητον

1. The word ἀγέννητον, was the philosophical term to denote that which had existed from eternity. It had accordingly been applied by Aristotle to the world or to matter, which was according to his system without beginning; and by Plato to his ideas. Now since, the Divine Word was according to Scripture γεννητός, He could not be called ἀγέννητος, (everlasting), without a verbal contradiction. In process of time a distinction was made between ἀγένητος and ἀγέννητος, (uncreate and unbegotten); so that the Son might be said to be ἀγενήτως γεννητός. The argument, arising from this perplexity of language, is urged by Arius himself; who ridicules the ἀγεννητογενές, which he conceives must be ascribed, according to the orthodox creed, to the Son of God. Some years afterwards, the same was the palmary, or rather the essential argument of Eunomius, the champion of the Anomœans.

The ἄναρχον

2. The ἄναρχον, (the uncaused or unoriginate). According to the doctrine of the μοναρχία, as already explained, the Father alone is the ἀρχή, and the Son and Spirit are not ἀρχαί. The heresy of the Tritheists, made it necessary to insist upon this. Hence the condemnation, in the (so called) Apostolical Canons, of those who baptized εἰς τρεῖς ἀνάρχους, “in the name of Three unoriginate.” And Athanasius, (e. g.) says “We do not teach three Principles, (ἀρχαί,) as our illustration shows; for we do not speak of three Suns, but of the Sun and its radiance.” For the same reason the early writers spoke of the Father as the πηγὴ θεότητος. At the same time, lest they should in word dishonour the Son, they ascribed to Him ἄναρχος γέννησις. Thus Alexander, the first champion of orthodox truth against Arius, in his letter to his namesake of Byzantium: “We must reserve to the unbegotten Father His peculiar prerogative, confessing that His existence is from none, and to the Son we must pay the due honour, attributing to Him τὴν ἄναρχον γέννησιν; and, as we have said already, paying Him worship, so as ever to speak of Him piously and reverently as ‘pre-existent, ever-living,’ and ‘before the worlds.’ ” This distinction however, as might be expected, was but partially received among the Catholics. Contrasted with all created beings, the Son and Spirit are of necessity unoriginate, or ἄναρχοι in the Unity of the Father. Clement, e. g. applies the following forcible expressions to the Son; he calls Him, τὴν ἄχρονον, ἄναρχον, ἀρχήν τε καὶ ἀπαρχὴν τῶν πάντων; “the everlasting, unoriginate, origin and type of all things.”) It was not till they became alive to the seeming ditheism of such phrases, which the Sabellian controversy was sure to charge upon them, that they learned the accurate discrimination observed by Alexander. On the other hand, when the Arian contest urged them in the contrary direction to Sabellius, then they returned more or less to the original language of Clement, though with a fuller explanation of their own meaning. Gregory Nyssen, gives the following plain account of the variations of their practice: “Whereas the word ἀρχὴ has many significations.… sometimes we say that the appellation of the uncaused (ἄναρχος,) is not unsuitable to the Son. For when it is taken to mean derivation of existence from no origin, (μὴ ἐξ αἰτίου τινός,) this indeed we ascribe to the Father alone. But according to the other senses of the word, since creation, time, the order of the world are referred to a cause, (ἀρχὴ), in respect of these we ascribe to the only-begotten, superiority to any cause; so as to believe Him to be beyond creation, time, and system, through whom were made all things. And thus we confess Him, who is not unoriginate (μὴ ἄναρχον,) in regard to His Person (τῆς ὑποστάσεως,) in all other respects to be unoriginate, i. e. uncaused, (ἔχειν τὸ ἄναρχον); and, while the Father is unoriginated and unbegotten, the Son to be unoriginated in the sense explained, yet not unbegotten.”

The αἴτιος

The word αἴτιος used in this passage, as a substitute for that use of ἀρχὴ which peculiarly applies to the Father as the πηγὴ θεότητος, is found as early as the time of Justin Martyr, who in his dialogue with Trypho, declares the Father is to the Son the αἴτιος τοῦ εἶναι; and it was resumed by the Post-Nicene writers, when the Arian controversy was found to turn in no small degree on the exact application of such terms. Gregory Nazianzen, e. g. says, “We shall keep to the doctrine of one God, if we do but refer the Son and Spirit to one origin (εἰς ἓν αἴτιον).”

3. The Ante-Nicene history of the word ὁμοούσιον, which the Council of Nicæa adopted as its test, will introduce a more important discussion.

The οὐσία

It is a peculiarity of revelation, that it clears up all doubts as to the existence of God, as separate from, and independent of nature; and shows us that the course of the world depends not merely on a system, but on a Being, real, living, and individual. What we ourselves witness, evidences to us the operation of laws, physical and moral; but it leaves uncertain, whether or not the principle of these be a mere nature or fate, whether the life of all things be a mere anima mundi, a spirit connatural with the body in which it acts, or an Agent powerful to make or unmake, to change or supersede, according to His will. It is here that revelation supplies the deficiency of philosophical religion; miracles are its emblem, as well as its credentials, forcing on the imagination the existence of an irresponsible self-dependent Being, as well as recommending a particular message to the reason. This great truth, conveyed in the very circumstances under which revelation was given, is explicitly recognised in its doctrine. Among other modes of inculcating it, may be named the appellation under which Almighty God disclosed Himself to the Israelites; Jehovah, (or as the Septuagint translate it, ὁ ὤν) being an expressive appellation of Him, who is essentially separate from those variable and perishable substances, which creation presents to our observation. Accordingly, the description of the Supreme Being as τὸ ὄν, or in other words, the doctrine of the οὐσία of God, became familiar to the minds of the primitive Christians; as embodying the spirit of the Scriptures, and indirectly witnessing against the characteristic error of pagan philosophy, which considered the Divine Mind, not as a reality, but as a mere abstract name, or generalised law of nature, or at best as a mere mode, principle, or an animating soul, not a Being external to creation, and possessed of individuality. Cyril of Alexandria defines οὐσία to be πρᾶγμα αὐθύπαρκτον, μὴ δεόμενον ἑτέρου πρὸς τὴν ἑαυτοῦ σύστασιν, “that which has existence in itself, independent of every thing else to fix its reality;” i. e. an individual being. This sense of the word must be carefully borne in mind, since it was not the sense given to it by the philosophers; among whom it stood for the genus or species, not the individual, i. e. not the unum numero, (as logicians speak,) but the ens unum in multis; which latter sense of course it could not bear when applied to the One Unapproachable God. The word, thus appropriated to the service of the God of revelation, was from the earliest date used to give reality and subsistence to the Son; and no word could be less metaphorical and more precise for this purpose, although the Platonists chose to refine, and from an affectation of reverence called God ὑπερούσιος. Justin Martyr, e. g. speaks of heretics, who considered that God put forth and withdrew His Logos when it pleased Him, as if He were an influence, not a Person, somewhat in the sense afterwards adopted by Paulus of Samosata and others. To meet this error, he speaks of Him as inseparable from the οὐσία of the Father; i. e. in order to exclude all such evasions of Scripture, as might represent the man Christ as inhabited by a divine glory, power, nature, and the like; and which in reality lead to the conclusion that He is not God at all.

The ὁμοούσιον

For this purpose the word ὁμοούσιον was brought into use among Christian writers; viz. to express the real divinity of Christ, and that, as derived from, and one with the Father’s. Here again, as in the instance of its root, the word was adopted from the necessity of the case, in a sense different from the ordinary philosophical use of it. Ὁμοούσιος properly means of the same nature, i. e. under the same general nature, or species; i. e. is applied to things, which are but similar to each other, and are considered as one by an abstraction of our minds. Thus Aristotle speaks of the stars being ὁμοούσια with each other; and Porphyry, of the souls of brute animals being ὁμοούσιαι to ours. When, however, it was used in relation to the incommunicable Essence of God, there was obviously no abstraction possible in contemplating Him, who is above all comparison with His works. His nature is solitary, peculiar to Himself, and one; so that whatever was accounted to be ὁμοούσιος with Him, was necessarily included in His individuality, by all who would avoid recurring to the vagueness of philosophy, and were cautious to distinguish between the incommunicable Essence of Jehovah and all created intelligences. And hence the fitness of the term to denote without metaphor the relation which the Logos bore in the orthodox creed to His eternal Father. Its use is explained by Athanasius as follows. “Though,” he says, “we cannot understand what is meant by the οὐσία of God, yet we know as much as this, that God exists (εἶναι), which is the way in which Scripture speaks of Him; and after this pattern, when we wish to designate Him distinctly, we say God, Father, Lord. When then He says in Scripture, ‘I am ὁ ὤν,’ and ‘I am Jehovah, God,’ or uses the plain word ‘God,’ we understand by such statements nothing but His incomprehensible οὐσία, and that He, who is there spoken of, exists (ἐστίν). Let no one then think it strange, that the Son of God should be said to be ἐκ τῆς οὐσίας τοῦ θεοῦ, of the substance of God; rather, let him agree to the explanation of the Nicene fathers, who, for the words ἐκ θεοῦ, substituted the ἐκ τῆς οὐσίας. They considered the two phrases substantially the same, because, as I have said, the word God denotes nothing but the οὐσία αὐτοῦ τοῦ ὄντος. On the other hand, if the Word be not in such sense ἐκ τοῦ θεοῦ, as to be the true Son of the Father according to His nature, but be said to be ἐκ τοῦ θεοῦ, merely as all creatures are such as being His work, then indeed He is not ἐκ τῆς οὐσίας τοῦ πατρός, nor Son κατʼ οὐσίαν, but so called from His virtue, as we may be, who receive the title from grace.”

History of its use

The term ὁμοούσιος is first employed for this purpose by the author of the Ποιμάνδρης, a Christian of the beginning of the second century. Next it occurs in several writers in the end of the second and the beginning of the third. In Tertullian, the equivalent phrase, unius substantiæ, is applied to the Trinity. In Origen’s comment on the Hebrews, the ὁμοούσιον of the Son is deduced from the figurative title ἀπαύγασμα, there given Him. In the same age, it was employed by various writers, bishops and historians, as we learn from the testimonies of Eusebius and Athanasius. But at this era, a change took place in the use of it and other similar words, which is next to be explained.

Its reception in the Oriental theology

The oriental doctrine of Emanations was at a very early period combined with the Christian theology. According to the system of Valentinus, a Gnostic heresiarch, who flourished in the early part of the second century, the Supreme Intelligence of the world gave existence to a line of Spirits or Eons; who were all more or less partakers of His nature, i. e. of a nature specifically the same, and included in His glory (πλήρωμα), though individually separate from the true and sovereign Deity. It is obvious, that such a doctrine as this abandons the great revealed principle above described, the incommunicable character and individuality of the Divine Essence. It considers all spiritual beings as like God, in the same sense that one man resembles or has the same nature as another; and accordingly it was at liberty to apply, and did actually apply, to the Creator and His creatures the word ὁμοούσιον, in the philosophical sense which the word originally bore. We have evidence in the work of Irenæus that the Valentinians did thus employ it. The Manichees followed, about a century later; they too were Emanatists, and spoke of the human soul as being ὁμοούσιον τῷ θεῷ, of one substance with God. Their principles evidently allowed of a kind of Trinitarianism; the Son and Spirit being considered Eons of a superior order to the rest, ὁμοούσια with God because Eons, but one with God in no sense which was not true also of the soul of man. It is said, moreover, that they were materialists; and used the word ὁμοούσιον in the still grosser meaning in which it may be applied to different vessels or instruments, wrought out from some one mass of metal or wood. However, whether this was so or not, it is plain that any how the word in question would become unsuitable to express the Catholic doctrine, in proportion as the ears of Christians were familiarized to the terms employed in the Gnostic and Manichean theologies.

The προβολὴ

The history of the word προβολὴ is parallel to that of the ὁμοούσιον. It properly means any thing which proceeds, or is sent forth from the substance of another, as the fruit of a tree, or the rays of the sun; in Latin it is translated by prolatio, emissio, or editio, or what is now expressed by the word development. Accordingly Justin employed it, or rather the cognate phrase προβληθὲν γέννημα, to designate what Cyril calls above the αὐθύπαρκτον, the reality of existence, of the Son, in opposition to the evasions in the system of Samosatenus, Sabellius, and the rest. Tertullian does the same; but by that time, Valentinus had given it a material signification. Hence Tertullian is obliged to apologize for using it, when writing against Praxeas, the forerunner of the Sabellians. “Can the Word of God,” he asks, “be unsubstantial, who is called the Son, who is even called God? He is said to be in the form of God. Is not God a substance, Spirit though He be?.… His substantial Word then, I call a Person, and the Son; and being such, He comes next to the Father. Let no one suppose that I am bringing in the notion of any such προβολὴ as Valentinus imagined, drawing out his Eons the one from the other. Why must I give up the word in a right sense, because heresy uses it in a wrong? besides, heresy borrowed it from us, and has turned truth into a lie.… This is the difference between the uses of it. Valentinus separates his probolæ from their Father; they know Him not. But we hold that the Son alone knows the Father, reveals Him, performs His will; in one sense, is a Spirit within Him. He is ever in the Father, as He has said; ever with God, as it is written; never separated from Him, for He and the Father are one. This is the true probole, sent forth not divided off.” Soon after Tertullian thus defended his use of the word προβολὴ, Origen in another part of the Church gave it up, or rather assailed it, in argument with Candidus, a Valentinian. “The Father,” he says, “though individual and simple, yet becomes the Father of the Son, not by development, (προβάλλων) as some suppose; for if so, (προβολὴ) both Father and Son were of a material nature.” Here we see two writers, with exactly the same theological creed before them, taking opposite views as to the propriety of using a word which heresy had corrupted.

History of the ὁμοούσιον

Though Origen gave up the word προβολὴ, yet he used the word ὁμοούσιος, as has already been mentioned. But shortly after his death, his pupils abandoned it at the celebrated Council held at Antioch, (A. D. 264) against Paulus of Samosata. When they would have used it as a test, this heretic craftily objected to it on the very ground on which Origen had surrendered the προβολή. He urged that, if Father and Son were of one substance, ὁμοούσιοι, there was some common οὐσία in which they partook, and which consequently was distinct from and prior to the Divine Persons themselves; a wretched sophism, which of course could not deceive Firmilian and Gregory, but which, being adapted to perplex weak minds, might decide them on withdrawing the word. It is remarkable too, that the Council was held about the time when Manes appeared on the borders of the Antiochene Patriarchate. The disputative school of Paulus pursued the advantage thus gained; and from that time used the charge of materialism as a weapon for attacking all sound expositions of Scripture truth. Having extorted from the Catholics the condemnation of a word long known in the Church, almost found in Scripture, and less figurative and material in its meaning than any which could be selected, and objectionable only as used by heretics, they employed this concession as a ground of attacking expressions more directly metaphorical, taken from visible objects, and sanctioned by less weighty authority. In a letter which shall afterwards be cited, Arius charges the Catholics with teaching the errors of Valentinus and Manes; and in another of the original Arian documents, Eusebius of Nicomedia, maintains in like manner that their doctrine involves the materiality of the Divine Nature. Thus they were gradually silencing the Church by a process which legitimately led to Pantheism, when the Alexandrians gave the alarm, and nobly stood forward in defence of the faith.

The Alexandrians retain it

It is worth observing that, when the Asiatic Churches had given up the ὁμοούσιον, they, on the contrary, had preserved it. Not only Dionysius willingly accepts the challenge of his namesake of Rome, who reminded him of the value of the symbol; but Theognostus also, who presided at the Catechetical School at the end of the third century, recognizes it by implication in the following passage, which has been preserved by Athanasius. “The substance (οὐσία) of the Son,” he says, “is not external to the Father, or created; but it is by natural derivation from that of the Father, as the radiance comes from light (Heb. 1:3.). For as the radiance is not the sun, and yet not foreign to it, so is there an effluence, (ἀπόῤῥοια, Wisd. 7:25.) from the Father’s substance (οὐσία) though it be indivisible. For as the sun remains the same without infringement of its nature, though it pour forth its radiance, so the Father’s substance is unchangeable, though the Son be its Image.”

The θελήσει γεννηθέν

4. Some notice of the θελήσει γεννηθέν, or voluntary generation, will suitably follow the discussion of the ὁμοούσιον; though the subject does not closely concern the Church. It has been already observed that the tendency of the heresies of the first age was towards materialism and fatalism. As it was the object of revelation to destroy all theories which interfered with the notion of the Divine Omniscience and active Sovereignty, so the Church seconded this design by receiving and promulgating the doctrine of the ὁ ὤν, or οὐσία of God, as a symbol of His essential distinction from the perishable world in which He acts. But when the οὐσία itself was taken by the Gnostics and Manichees in a material sense, the error was again introduced by the very term which was intended to witness against it. According to the Oriental Theory, the emanations from the Deity were eternal with Himself, and were considered as the result, not of His will and moral energy, but of the necessary laws to which He was subjected; a doctrine which was but fatalism in another shape. The Eclectics honourably distinguished themselves in withstanding this blasphemous, or rather atheistical tenet. Plotinus declares, that “God’s substance and His will are the same; and if so, as He willed, so He is; so that it is not more certain that, as His substance or nature, so is His will and providence, than, as His will and providence, so is His substance.” Origen had preceded them in their opposition to the same school. Speaking of the simplicity and perfection of the Divine Essence, he says, “God does not even participate in substance, (οὐσίας) rather He is partaken; by those, namely, who have His Spirit. And our Saviour does not share in holiness, but, being holiness itself, is shared by the holy.” The meaning of this doctrine is clear;—to protest, in the manner of Athanasius, in a passage lately cited, against the notion that the οὐσία of God is something distinct from God Himself, the one immaterial, intelligent, all-perfect Spirit; but the risk of it lay in its tendency to destroy the doctrine of His individual and real existence, (which the Catholic use of οὐσία symbolized,) and to introduce in its stead the notion of a quality or mode of acting, as the governing principle of nature; in other words, Pantheism. This is an error of which Origen of course cannot be accused; but it is in its measure chargeable on the Platonic mysteries, and is countenanced even by their mode of speaking of the Supreme Being, as not an οὐσία, but ὑπερούσιος, above the notion of substance.

Introduced into the doctrine of the Trinity

The controversy did not rest even on the sacred ground which has been described, but was pursued by the heretical party into the peculiar subject of Christian theology. The Manichees considered the Son and Spirit as necessary Emanations from the Father; erring, first in their classing those Divine Persons with intelligences confessedly imperfect and subservient, next in introducing a sort of materialism into their notion of the Deity. The Eclectics on the other hand maintained, by a strong figure, that the Eternal Son originated from the Father at His own will; meaning thereby, that the everlasting mystery which constitutes the relation between Father and Son, has no physical or material conditions, and is such as becomes Him who is altogether Intellect, and bound by no laws but those established by His own perfection as a first cause. Iamblichus, e. g. calls the Son αὐτόγονος, self-begotten.

Perversion of it

The discussion seems hardly to have entered further into the Ante-Nicene Church than is implied in the above notice of it; though some suppose that Justin and others referred the divine γέννησις to the will of God. However, it is easy to see that the ground was prepared for the introduction of a subtle and impious question, whenever the theologizing Sophists should choose to raise it. Accordingly, it was one of the first and principal interrogations put to the Catholics by their Arian opponents, whether the γέννησις of the Son was voluntary or not on the part of the Father; their inference being, that Almighty God were subject to laws external to Himself, if it were not voluntary; and that, if it were voluntary, the Son was in the number of things created. But of this, more in its place.

The λόγος ἐνδιάθετος and προφορικός

5. The λόγος ἐνδιάθετος and προφορικός. One theory there was, adopted by several of the early Fathers, which led them to speak of the Son’s γέννησις as resulting from the Father’s will, and yet did not interfere with His ὁμοούσιον. Of the two titles ascribed in Scripture to our Lord, that of the Logos expresses, with peculiar force, His co-eternity in the One Almighty Father. On the other hand, the word Son has more reference to His derivation and ministrative office. A distinction resembling this had already been applied by the Stoics to the Platonic Logos, which they represented under two aspects, the ἐνδιάθετος and the προφορικός, i. e. the internal thought and purpose of God and its external manifestation, as if in words spoken. The terms were received into the Church; the ἐνδιάθετος standing for the Word, as hid from everlasting in the bosom of the Father, while the προφορικός was the Son sent forth into the world, in apparent separation from God, with His Father’s name and attributes upon Him, and his Father’s will to perform. This contrast is acknowledged by Athanasius, Gregory Nyssen, Cyril, and other Post-Nicene writers; nor can it be censured, being scriptural in its doctrine, and merely expressed in philosophical language, found ready for the purpose. But further, this change of state in the Eternal Word, from repose to energetic manifestation, as it took place at the creation, was called by them a γέννησις; and here too, no blame attaches to them, for the expression is used in Scripture in different senses, one of which appears to be the very signification which they put on it, the mission of the Word to make and govern all things, as may be argued from Gen. 1:3. Col. 1:15. Heb. 11:3. Rev. 3:14. Ecclus. 24:3–9. This γέννησις was also called the προέλευσις, or συγκατάβασις, of the Son, which may scripturally be ascribed to the θέλησις, the will of the All-bountiful Father. However, there are some early writers who seem to interpret the γέννησις in this meaning exclusively, the title of Son being ascribed to our Lord after the date of His mission or economy, and that of the Logos being His peculiar appellation during the previous eternity. Nay, if we carry off their expressions hastily or perversely, as some theologians have done, we shall perhaps conclude that they dared to conceive that God existed in one Person before the προέλευσις, and then, (if it may be said,) by a change of nature He began to exist in a second; as if an attribute (λόγος ἐνδιάθετος) had become a real person, (προφορικός). The Fathers, who have laid themselves open to this charge, are Athenagoras, Tatian, Theophilus, Hippolytus, and Novatian, as mentioned in the first chapter.

Innocently used by the fiveFathers

Now, that they did not mean what a superficial reader might lay to their charge, may be argued first, from the parallel language of the Post-Nicenes, lately enumerated, whose orthodoxy no one questions. Next from the extreme absurdity, not to speak of the impiety, of the doctrine imputed to them; as if, with a more than Gnostic extravagance, they should conceive that any change or extension could take place in that Individual Essence which is without parts or passions, or that the divine γέννησις could be an event in time, instead of being considered a mere expression of the eternal relation of the Father towards the Son. Indeed the very absurdity of the literal sense of their words, in whatever degree they so expressed themselves, was the mischief to be apprehended from them. The reader, trying a rhetorical description by too rigid a rule, would attempt to elicit sense by imputing a heresy; and would conclude, that they meant by the προφορικὸς λόγος a created being, made at the beginning of all things as the visible emblem of the ἐνδιάθετος, to be the instrument of God’s purposes towards His creation. This is in fact the Arian doctrine, which doubtless availed itself in its defence of these declarations of incautious piety; or rather we have evidence of the fact that it did so in the letter of Arius to Alexander, and from the anathema of the Nicene creed directed against such as said that the Son πρὶν γεννηθῆναι οὒκ ἦν.

Theophilus

Lastly, the orthodoxy of the five writers in question, is ascertained by a careful examination of the passages from which the accusation has been brought against them. By way of illustration one or two of these shall here be added. E. g. Theophilus says; “God having His own Logos within Him, begat Him together with His Wisdom, (i. e. His Spirit,) putting them forth before the world. ἔχων … ὁ Θεὸς τὸν ἑαυτοῦ λόγον ἐνδιάθετον ἐν τοῖς ἰδίοις σπλάγχνοις, ἐγέννησεν αὐτὸν μετὰ τῆς ἑαυτοῦ σοφίας ἐξερευξάμενος (Psalm 45:1.) πρὸ τῶν ὅλων. He had this Logos as the Minister of His works, and did all things through Him … The prophets were not in existence when the world was made; but the Wisdom of God, which is in Him, and His holy Logos, who is ever present with Him. ἀεὶ συμπαρὼν αὐτῷ …” Elsewhere he speaks of, “the Logos, eternally seated in the heart of God;” τὸν λόγον διαπαντὸς ἐνδιάθετον ἐν καρδίᾳ θεοῦ. For, he presently adds, “before any thing was made, He possessed this Counsellor, as being His mind and providence. And when God purposed to make all that He had deliberated on, He begat this Logos and put it forth, ἐγέννησε προφορικόν, being the first born antecedent to the whole creation; not however Himself losing the Logos (reason,) but begetting it, and yet everlastingly communing with it.”

Hippolytus

The following passage is from the work of Hippolytus against Noetus. “God was alone, and there was no being coeval with Him, when He willed to create the world.… Not that He was destitute of reason, (λόγος,) wisdom, or counsel. They were all in Him, He was all. At the time and in the manner He willed, He manifested His Word.… through whom He made all things.… Moreover He placed over them His Word, whom He begat as His Counsellor and Instrument; whom He had within Him, invisible to creation, till He manifested Him, uttering the word, and begetting Light from Light.… and so another stood by Him; not as if there were two Gods, but as though light from light, or a ray from the Sun.”

And thus we close our survey of the Catholic Ante-Nicene theology.








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