"Fourth Discourse
Against the Arians"

by Athanasius

Source Used:  Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second SeriesVol. 4.  Translated by John Henry Newman and Archibald Robertson. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1892.

Fourth Discourse Against the Arians:

1-5. The substantiality of the Word proved from Scripture. If the One Origin be substantial, Its Word is substantial. Unless the Word and Son be a second Origin, or a work, or an attribute (and so God be compounded), or at the same time Father, or involve a second nature in God, He is from the Father’s Essence and distinct from Him. Illustration of John 10:30, drawn from Deuteronomy 4:4.

  1. The Word is God from God; for ‘the Word was God John 1:1,’ and again, ‘Of whom are the Fathers, and of whom Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen Romans 9:5.’ And since Christ is God from God, and God’s Word, Wisdom, Son, and Power, therefore but One God is declared in the divine Scriptures. For the Word, being Son of the One God, is referred to Him of whom also He is; so that Father and Son are two, yet the Monad of the Godhead is indivisible and inseparable. And thus too we preserve One Beginning of Godhead and not two Beginnings, whence there is strictly a Monarchy. And of this very Beginning the Word is by nature Son, not as if another beginning, subsisting by Himself, nor having come into being externally to that Beginning, lest from that diversity a Dyarchy and Polyarchy should ensue; but of the one Beginning He is own Son, own Wisdom, own Word, existing from It. For, according to John, ‘in’ that ‘Beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God,’ for the Beginning was God; and since He is from It, therefore also ‘the Word was God.’ And as there is one Beginning and therefore one God, so one is that Essence and Subsistence which indeed and truly and really is, and which said ‘I am that I am Exodus 3:14,’ and not two, that there be not two Beginnings; and from the One, a Son in nature and truth, is Its own Word, Its Wisdom, Its Power, and inseparable from It. And as there is not another essence, lest there be two Beginnings, so the Word which is from that One Essence has no dissolution, nor is a sound significative, but is an essential Word and essential Wisdom, which is the true Son. For were He not essential, God will be speaking into the air 1 Corinthians 14:9, and having a body, in nothing differently from men; but since He is not man, neither is His Word according to the infirmity of man. For as the Beginning is one Essence, so Its Word is one, essential, and subsisting, and Its Wisdom. For as He is God from God, and Wisdom from the Wise, and Word from the Rational, and Son from Father, so is He from Subsistence Subsistent, and from Essence Essential and Substantive, and Being from Being.
  1. Since were He not essential Wisdom and substantive Word, and Son existing, but simply Wisdom and Word and Son in the Father, then the Father Himself would have a nature compounded of Wisdom and Word. But if so, the forementioned absurdities would follow; and He will be His own Father, and the Son begetting and begotten by Himself; or Word, Wisdom, Son, is a name only, and He does not subsist who owns, or rather who is, these titles. If then He does not subsist, the names are idle and empty, unless we say that God is Very Wisdom and Very Word. But if so, He is His own Father and Son; Father, when Wise, Son, when Wisdom; but these things are not in God as a certain quality; away with the dishonourable thought; for it will issue in this, that God is compounded of essence and quality. For whereas all quality is in essence, it will clearly follow that the Divine Monad, indivisible as it is, must be compound, being severed into essence and accident. We must ask then these headstrong men; The Son was proclaimed as God’s Wisdom and Word; how then is He such? If as a quality, the absurdity has been shown; but if God is that Very Wisdom, then it is the absurdity of Sabellius; therefore He is so, as an Offspring in a proper sense from the Father Himself, according to the illustration of light. For as there is light from fire, so from God is there a Word, and Wisdom from the Wise, and from the Father a Son. For in this way the Monad remains undivided and entire, and Its Son, Word not unessential, nor not subsisting, but essential truly. For were it not so, all that is said would be said notionally and verbally. But if we must avoid that absurdity, then is a true Word essential. For as there is a Father truly, so Wisdom truly. In this respect then they are two; not because, as Sabellius said, Father and Son are the same, but because the Father is Father and the Son Son, and they are one, because He is Son of the Essence of the Father by nature, existing as His own Word. This the Lord said, viz. ‘I and the Father are One John 10:30;’ for neither is the Word separated from the Father, nor was or is the Father ever Wordless; on this account He says, ‘I in the Father and the Father in Me. ‘
  2. And again, Christ is the Word of God. Did He then subsist by Himself, and subsisting, has He become joined to the Father, or did God make Him or call Him His Word? If the former, I mean if He subsisted by Himself and is God, then there are two Beginnings; and moreover, as is plain, He is not the Father’s own, as being not of the Father, but of Himself. But if on the contrary He be made externally, then is He a creature. It remains then to say that He is from God Himself; but if so, that which is from another is one thing, and that from which it is, is a second; according to this then there are two. But if they be not two, but the names belong to the same, cause and effect will be the same, and begotten and begetting, which has been shown absurd in the instance of Sabellius. But if He be from Him, yet not another, He will be both begetting and not begetting; begetting because He produces from Himself, and not begetting, because it is nothing other than Himself. But if so, the same is called Father and Son notionally. But if it be unseemly so to say, Father and Son must be two; and they are one, because the Son is not from without, but begotten of God. But if any one shrinks from saying ‘Offspring,’ and only says that the Word exists with God, let such a one fear lest, shrinking from what is said in Scripture, he fall into absurdity, making God a being of double nature. For not granting that the Word is from the Monad, but simply as if He were joined to the Father, he introduces a twofold essence, and neither of them Father of the other. And the same of Power. And we may see this more clearly, if we consider it with reference to the Father; for there is One Father, and not two, but from that One the Son. As then there are not two Fathers, but One, so not two Beginnings, but One, and from that One the Son essential.
  3. But the Arians we must ask contrariwise: (for the Sabellianisers must be confuted from the notion of a Son, and the Arians from that of a Father:) let us say then — Is God wise and not word-less: or on the contrary, is He wisdom-less and word-less ? If the latter, there is an absurdity at once; if the former, we must ask, how is He wise and not word-less? Does He possess the Word and the Wisdom from without, or from Himself? If from without, there must be one who first gave to Him, and before He received He was wisdom-less and word-less. But if from Himself, it is plain that the Word is not from nothing, nor once was not; for He was ever; since He of whom He is the Image, exists ever. But if they say that He is indeed wise and not word-less, but that He has in Himself His own wisdom and own word, and that, not Christ, but that by which He made Christ, we must answer that, if Christ in that word was brought to be, plainly so were all things; and it must be He of whom John says, ‘All things were made by Him,’ and the Psalmist, ‘In Wisdom have You made them all.’ And Christ will be found to speak untruly, ‘I in the Father,’ there being another in the Father. And ‘the Word became flesh John 1:14 ‘ is not true according to them. For if He in whom ‘all things came to be,’ Himself became flesh, but Christ is not in the Father, as Word ‘by whom all things came to be,’ then Christ has not become flesh, but perhaps Christ was named Word. But if so, first, there will be another besides the name, next, all things were not by Him brought to be, but in that other, in whom Christ also was made. But if they say that Wisdom is in the Father as a quality or that He is Very Wisdom , the absurdities will follow already mentioned. For He will be compound , and will prove His own Son and Father. Moreover, we must confute and silence them on the ground, that the Word which is in God cannot be a creature nor out of nothing; but if once a Word be in God, then He must be Christ who says, ‘I am in the Father and the Father in Me John 14:20,’ who also is therefore the Only-begotten, since no other was begotten from Him. This is One Son, who is Word, Wisdom, Power; for God is not compounded of these, but is generative of them. For as He frames the creatures by the Word, so according to the nature of His own Essence has He the Word as an Offspring, through whom He frames and creates and dispenses all things. For by the Word and the Wisdom all things have come to be, and all things together remain according to His ordinance. And the same concerning the word ‘Son;’ if God be without Son , then is He without Work; for the Son is His Offspring through whom He works ; but if not, the same questions and the same absurdities will follow their audacity.
  4. From Deuteronomy; ‘But ye that did attach yourselves unto the Lord your God are alive every one of you this day Deuteronomy 4:4.’ From this we may see the difference, and know that the Son of God is not a creature. For the Son says, ‘I and the Father are One,’ and, ‘I in the Father, and the Father in Me;’ but things originate, when they make advance, are attached unto the Lord. The Word then is in the Father as being His own; but things originate, being external, are attached, as being by nature foreign, and attached by free choice. For a son which is by nature, is one with him who begot him; but he who is from without, and is made a son, will be attached to the family. Therefore he immediately adds, ‘What nation is there so great who has God drawing near unto them ?’ and elsewhere, ‘I a God drawing near ;’ for to things originate He draws near, as being strange to Him, but to the Son, as being His own, He does not draw near, but He is in Him. And the Son is not attached to the Father, but co-exists with Him; whence also Moses says again in the same Deuteronomy, ‘You shall obey His voice, and apply yourselves unto Him Deuteronomy 13:4;’ but what is applied, is applied from without.

6, 7. When the Word and Son hungered, wept, and was wearied, He acted as our Mediator, taking on Him what was ours, that He might impart to us what was His.

  1. But in answer to the weak and human notion of the Arians, their supposing that the Lord is in want, when He says, ‘Is given unto Me,’ and ‘I received,’ and if Paul says, ‘Wherefore He highly exalted Him,’ and ‘He set Him at the right hand ,’ and the like, we must say that our Lord, being Word and Son of God, bore a body, and became Son of Man, that, having become Mediator between God, and men, He might minister the things of God to us, and ours to God. When then He is said to hunger and weep and weary, and to cry Eloi, Eloi, which are our human affections, He receives them from us and offers to the Father , interceding for us, that in Him they may be annulled. And when it is said, ‘All power is given unto Me,’ and ‘I received,’ and ‘Wherefore God highly exalted Him,’ these are gifts given from God to us through Him. For the Word was never in want , nor has come into being ; nor again were men sufficient to minister these things for themselves, but through the Word they are given to us; therefore, as if given to Him, they are imparted to us. For this was the reason of His becoming man, that, as being given to Him, they might pass on to us. For of such gifts mere man had not become worthy; and again the mere Word had not needed them ; the Word then was united to us, and then imparted to us power, and highly exalted us. For the Word being in man, highly exalted man himself; and, when the Word was in man, man himself received. Since then, the Word being in flesh, man himself was exalted, and received power, therefore these things are referred to the Word, since they were given on His account; for on account of the Word in man were these gifts given. And as ‘the Word became flesh John 1:14,’ so also man himself received the gifts which came through the Word. For all that man himself has received, the Word is said to have received ; that it might be shown, that man himself, being unworthy to receive, as far as his own nature is concerned, yet has received because of the Word become flesh. Wherefore if anything be said to be given to the Lord, or the like, we must consider that it is given, not to Him as needing it, but to man himself through the Word. For every one interceding for another, receives the gift in his own person, not as needing, but on his account for whom he intercedes.
  2. For as He takes our infirmities, not being infirm , and hungers not hungering, but sends up what is ours that it may be abolished, so the gifts which come from God instead of our infirmities, does He too Himself receive, that man, being united to Him, may be able to partake them. Hence it is that the Lord says, ‘All things whatsoever You have given Me, I have given them,’ and again, ‘I pray for them John 17:7-9.’ For He prayed for us, taking on Him what is ours, and He was giving what He received. Since then, the Word being united to man himself, the Father, regarding Him, vouchsafed to man to be exalted, to have all power and the like; therefore are referred to the Word Himself, and are as if given to Him, all things which through Him we receive. For as He for our sake became man, so we for His sake are exalted. It is no absurdity then, if, as for our sake He humbled Himself, so also for our sake He is said to be highly exalted. So ‘He gave to Him,’ that is, ‘to us for His sake;’ ‘and He highly exalted Him Philippians 2:9,’ that is, ‘us in Him.’ And the Word Himself, when we are exalted, and receive, and are succoured, as if He Himself were exalted and received and were succoured, gives thanks to the Father, referring what is ours to Himself, and saying, ‘All things, whatsoever You have given Me, I have given unto them John 17:7-8.’

8. Arians date the Son’s beginning earlier than Marcellus, etc.

  1. Eusebius and his fellows, that is, the Ario-maniacs, ascribing a beginning of being to the Son, yet pretend not to wish Him to have a beginning of kingship. But this is ridiculous; for he who ascribes to the Son a beginning of being, very plainly ascribes to Him also a beginning of reigning; so blind are they, confessing what they deny. Again, those who say that the Son is only a name, and that the Son of God, that is, the Word of the Father, is unessential and non-subsistent, pretend to be angry with those who say, ‘Once He was not.’ This is ridiculous also; for they who give Him no being at all, are angry with those who at least grant Him to be in time. Thus these also confess what they deny, in the act of censuring the others. And again Eusebius and his fellows, confessing a Son, deny that He is the Word by nature, and would have the Son called Word notionally; and the others confessing Him to be Word, deny Him to be Son, and would have the Word called Son notionally, equally void of footing.

9, 10. Unless Father and Son are two in name only, or as parts and so each imperfect, or two gods, they are coessential, one in Godhead, and the Son from the Father.

  1. ‘I and the Father are One John 10:30.’ You say that the two things are one, or that the one has two names, or again that the one is divided into two. Now if the one is divided into two, that which is divided must need be a body, and neither part perfect, for each is a part and not a whole. But if again the one have two names, this is the expedient of Sabellius, who said that Son and Father were the same, and did away with either, the Father when there is a Son, and the Son when there is a Father. But if the two are one, then of necessity they are two, but one according to the Godhead, and according to the Son’s coessentiality with the Father, and the Word’s being from the Father Himself; so that there are two, because there is Father, and Son, namely the Word; and one because one God. For if not, He would have said, ‘I am the Father,’ or ‘I and the Father am;’ but, in fact, in the ‘I’ He signifies the Son, and in the ‘And the Father,’ Him who begot Him; and in the ‘One’ the one Godhead and His coessentiality. For the Same is not, as the Gentiles hold, Wise and Wisdom, or the Same Father and Word; for it were unfit for Him to be His own Father, but the divine teaching knows Father and Son, and Wise and Wisdom, and God and Word; while it ever guards Him indivisible and inseparable and indissoluble in all respects.
  1. But if any one, on hearing that the Father and the Son are two, misrepresent us as preaching two Gods (for this is what some feign to themselves, and immediately mock, saying, ‘You hold two God.’), we must answer to such, If to acknowledge Father and Son, is to hold two Gods, it instantly follows that to confess but one we must deny the Son and Sabellianise. For if to speak of two is to fall into Gentilism, therefore if we speak of one, we must fall into Sabellianism. But this is not so; perish the thought! But, as when we say that Father and Son are two, we still confess one God, so when we say that there is one God, let us consider Father and Son two, while they are one in the Godhead, and in the Father’s Word being indissoluble and indivisible and inseparable from Him. And let the fire and the radiance from it be a similitude of man, which are two in being and in appearance, but one in that its radiance is from it indivisibly.

11, 12. Marcellus and his disciples, like Arians, say that the Word was, not indeed created, but issued, to create us, as if the Divine silence were a state of inaction, and when God spoke by the Word, He acted; or that there was a going forth and return of the Word; a doctrine which implies change and imperfection in Father and Son.

  1. They fall into the same folly with the Arians; for Arians also say that He was created for us, that He might create us, as if God waited till our creation for His issue, as the one party say, or His creation, as the other. Arians then are more bountiful to us than to the Son; for they say, not we for His sake, but He for ours, came to be; that is, if He was therefore created, and subsisted, that God through Him might create us. And these, as irreligious or more so, give to God less than to us. For we oftentimes, even when silent, yet are active in thinking, so as to form the results of our thoughts into images; but God they would have inactive when silent, and when He speaks then to exert strength; if, that is, when silent He could not make, and when speaking He began to create. For it is just to ask them, whether the Word, when He was in God, was perfect, so as to be able to make. If on the one hand He was imperfect, when in God, but by being begotten became perfect , we are the cause of His perfection, that is, if He has been begotten for us; for on our behalf He has received the power of making. But if He was perfect in God, so as to be able to make, His generation is superfluous; for He, even when in the Father, could frame the world; so that either He has not been begotten, or He was begotten, not for us, but because He is ever from the Father. For His generation evidences, not that we were created, but that He is from God; for He was even before our creation.
  2. And the same presumption will be proved against them concerning the Father; for if, when silent, He could not make, of necessity He has gained power by begetting, that is, by speaking. And whence has He gained it? And wherefore? If, when He had the Word within Him, He could make, He begets needlessly, being able to make even in silence. Next, if the Word was in God before He was begotten, then being begotten He is without and external to Him. But if so, how says He now, ‘I in the Father and the Father in Me John 14:10?’ but if He is now in the Father, then always was He in the Father, as He is now, and needless is it to say, ‘For us was He begotten, and He reverts after we are formed, that He may be as He was.’ For He was not anything which He is not now, nor is He what He was not; but He is as He ever was, and in the same state and in the same respects; otherwise He will seem to be imperfect and alterable. For if, what He was, that He shall be afterwards, as if now He were not so, it is plain, He is not now what He was and shall be. I mean, if He was before in God, and afterwards shall be again, it follows that now the Word is not in God. But the Lord refutes such persons when He says, ‘I in the Father and the Father in Me;’ for so is He now as He ever was. But if so He now is, as He was ever, it follows, not that at one time He was begotten and not at another, nor that once there was silence with God, and then He spoke, but there is ever a Father , and a Son who is His Word, not in name alone a Word, nor the Word in notion only a Son, but existing coessential with the Father, not begotten for us, for we are brought into being for Him. For, if He were begotten for us, and in His begetting we were created, and in His generation the creature consists, and then He returns that He may be what He was before, first, He that was begotten will be again not begotten. For if His progression be generation, His return will be the close of that generation, for when He has come to be in God, God will be silent again. But if He shall be silent, there will be what there was when He was silent, stillness and not creation, for the creation will cease to be. For, as on the Word’s outgoing, the creation came to be, and existed, so on the Word’s retiring, the creation will not exist. What use then for it to come into being, if it is to cease? Or why did God speak, that then He should be silent? And why did He issue One whom He recalls? And why did He beget One whose generation He willed to cease? Again it is uncertain what He shall be. For either He will ever be silent, or He will again beget, and will devise a different creation (for He will not make the same, else that which was made would have remained, but another); and in due course He will bring that also to a close, and will devise another, and so on without end.

13, 14. Such a doctrine precludes all real distinctions of personality in the Divine Nature. Illustration of the Scripture doctrine from 2 Corinthians 6:11, etc.

  1. This perhaps he borrowed from the Stoics, who maintain that their God contracts and again expands with the creation, and then rests without end. For what is dilated is first straitened; and what is expanded is at first contracted; and it is what it was, and does but undergo an affection. If then the Monad being dilated became a Triad, and the Monad was the Father , and the Triad is Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, first the Monad being dilated, underwent an affection and became what it was not; for it was dilated, whereas it had not been dilate. Next, if the Monad itself was dilated into a Triad, and that, Father and Son and Holy Ghost, then Father and Son and Spirit prove the same, as Sabellius held, unless the Monad which he speaks of is something besides the Father, and then he ought not to speak of dilatation, since the Monad was to make Three, so that there was a Monad, and then Father, Son, and Spirit. For if the Monad were dilated, and expanded itself, it must itself be that which was expanded. And a Triad when dilated is no longer a Monad, and when a Monad it is not yet a Triad. And so, He that was Father was not yet Son and Spirit; but, when become These, is no longer only Father. And a man who thus should lie, must ascribe a body to God, and represent Him as passible; for what is dilatation, but an affection of that which is dilated? Or what the dilated, but what before was not so, but was strait indeed; for it is the same, in time only differing from itself.
  1. And this the divine Apostle knows, when he writes to the Corinthians, ‘Be not straitened in us, but be yourselves dilated, O Corinthians 2 Corinthians 6:12-13;’ for he advises identical persons to change from straitness to dilatation. And as, supposing the Corinthians being straitened were in turn dilated, they had not been others, but still Corinthians, so if the Father was dilated into a Triad, the Triad again is the Father alone. And he says again the same thing, ‘Our heart is dilated ;’ and Noah says, ‘May God dilate for Japheth ,’ for the same heart and the same Japheth is in the dilatation. If then the Monad dilated, it would dilate for others; but if it dilated for itself, then it would be that which was dilated; and what is that but the Son and Holy Spirit? And it is well to ask him, when thus speaking, what was the action of this dilatation? Or, in very truth, wherefore at all it took place? For what does not remain the same, but is in course of time dilated, must necessarily have a cause of dilatation. If then it was in order that Word and Spirit should be with Him, it is beside the purpose to say, ‘First Monad, and then dilated;’ for Word and Spirit were not afterwards, but ever, or God would be wordless , as the Arians hold. So that if Word and Spirit were ever, ever was it dilated, and not at first a Monad; but if it were dilated afterwards, then afterwards is there a Word. But if for the Incarnation it was dilated, and then became a Triad, then before the Incarnation there was not yet a Triad. And it will seem even that the Father became flesh, if, that is, He be the Monad, and was dilated in the Man; and thus perhaps there will only be a Monad, and flesh, and thirdly Spirit; if, that is, He was Himself dilated; and there will be in name only a Triad. It is absurd too to say that it was dilated for creating; for it were possible for it, remaining a Monad, to make all; for the Monad did not need dilatation, nor was wanting in power before being dilated; it is absurd surely and impious, to think or speak thus in the case of God. Another absurdity too will follow. For if it was dilated for the sake of the creation, and while it was a Monad the creation was not, but upon the Consummation it will be again a Monad after dilatation, then the creation too will come to nought. For as for the sake of creating it was dilated, so, the dilatation ceasing, the creation will cease also.

15-24. Since the Word is from God, He must be Son. Since the Son is from everlasting, He must be the Word; else either He is superior to the Word, or the Word is the Father. Texts of the New Testamentwhich state the unity of the Son with the Father; therefore the Son is the Word. Three hypotheses refuted — 1. That the Man is the Son; 2. That the Word and Man together are the Son; 3. That the Word became Son on His incarnation. Texts of the Old Testamentwhich speak of the Son. If they are merely prophetical, then those concerning the Word may be such also.

  1. Such absurdities will be the consequence of saying that the Monad is dilated into a Triad. But since those who say so venture to separate Word and Son, and to say that the Word is one and the Son another, and that first was the Word and then the Son, come let us consider this doctrine also. Now their presumption takes various forms; for some say that the man whom the Saviour assumed is the Son ; and others both that the man and the Word then became Son, when they were united. And others say that the Word Himself then became Son when He became man ; for from being Word, they say, He has become Son, not being Son before, but only Word. Now both are Stoic doctrines, whether to say that God was dilated or to deny the Son, but especially is it absurd to name the Word, yet deny Him to be Son. For if the Word be not from God, reasonably might they deny Him to be Son; but if He is from God, how see they not that what exists from anything is son of him from whom it is? Next, if God is Father of the Word, why is not the Word Son of His own Father? For one is and is called father, whose is the son; and one is and is called son of another, whose is the father. If then God is not Father of Christ, neither is the Word Son; but if God be Father, then reasonably also the Word is Son. But if afterwards there is Father, and first God, this is an Arian thought. Next, it is absurd that God should change; for that belongs to bodies; but if they argue that in the instance of creation He became afterwards a Maker, let them know that the change is in the things which afterwards came to be, and not in God.
  2. If then the Son too were a work, well might God begin to be a Father towards Him as others; but if the Son is not a work, then ever was the Father and ever the Son. But if the Son was ever, He must be the Word; for if the Word be not Son, and this is what a man waxes bold to say, either he holds that Word to be Father or the Son superior to the Word. For the Son being ‘in the bosom of the Father John 1:18,’ of necessity either the Word is not before the Son (for nothing is before Him who is in the Father), or if the Word be other than the Son, the Word must be the Father in whom is the Son. But if the Word is not Father but Word, the Word must be external to the Father, since it is the Son who is ‘in the bosom of the Father.’ For not both the Word and the Son are in the bosom, but one must be, and He the Son, who is Only-begotten. And it follows for another reason, if the Word is one, and the Son another, that the Son is superior to the Word; for ‘no one knows the Father save the Son Matthew 11:27,’ not the Word. Either then the Word does not know, or if He knows, it is not true that ‘no one knows.’ And the same of ‘He that has seen Me, has seen the Father,’ and ‘I and the Father are One,’ for this is uttered by the Son, not the Word, as they would have it, as is plain from the Gospel; for according to John when the Lord said, ‘I and the Father are One,’ the Jews took up stones to stone Him. ‘Jesus answered them, Many good works have I showed you from My Father, for which of those works do ye stone Me? The Jews answered Him, saying, For a good work we stone You not, but for blasphemy, and because that You, being a man, make Yourself God. Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, You are gods? If he called them gods unto whom the Word of God came, and the Scripture cannot be broken, say ye of Him, whom the Father has sanctified and sent into the world, Thou blaspheme, because I said, I am the Son of God? If I do not the works of My Father, believe Me not. But if I do, though ye believe not Me, believe the works, that you may know and believe that the Father is in Me, and I in the Father.’ And yet, as far as the surface of the words intimated, He said neither ‘I am God,’ nor ‘I am Son of God,’ but ‘I and the Father are One.’
  3. The Jews then, when they heard ‘One,’ thought like Sabellius that He said that He was the Father, but our Saviour shows their sin by this argument: ‘Though I had said God, you should have remembered what is written, I said, You are gods;‘ then to clear up ‘I and the Father are One,’ He has explained the Son’s oneness with the Father in the words, ‘Because I said, I am the Son of God.’ For if He did not say it in words, still He has referred the sense of ‘are One’ to the Son. For nothing is one with the Father, but what is from Him. What is that which is from Him but the Son? And therefore He adds, ‘that you may know that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me.’ For, when expounding the ‘One,’ He said that the union and the inseparability lay, not in This being That, with which It was One, but in His being in the Father and the Father in the Son. For thus He overthrows both Sabellius, in saying, ‘I am’ not, the Father, but, ‘the Son of God;’ and Arius, in saying, ‘are One.’ If then the Son and the Word are not the same, it is not that the Word is one with the Father, but the Son; nor he that has seen the Word ‘has seen the Father,’ but ‘he that has seen’ the Son. And from this it follows, either that the Son is greater than the Word, or the Word has nothing beyond the Son. For what can be greater or more perfect than ‘One,’ and ‘I in the Father and the Father in Me,’ and ‘He that has seen Me, has seen the Father.’ for these utterances also belong to the Son. And hence the same John says, ‘He that has seen Me, has seen Him that sent Me,’ and, ‘He that receives Me, receives Him that sent Me;’ and, ‘I have come a light into the world, that whosoever believes in Me, should not abide in darkness. And, if any one hear My words and observe them not, I judge him not; for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. The word which he shall hear, the same shall judge him in the last day, because I go unto the Father.’ The preaching, He says, judges him who has not observed the commandment; ‘for if,’ He says, ‘I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin; but now they shall have no cloke John 15:22,’ He says, having heard My words, through which those who observe them shall reap salvation.
  1. Perhaps they will have so little shame as to say, that this utterance belongs not to the Son but to the Word; but from what preceded it appeared plainly that the speaker was the Son. For He who here says, ‘I came not to judge the world but to save John 12:47,’ is shown to be no other than the Only-begotten Son of God, by the same John’s saying before , ‘For God so loved the world that He gave His Only-begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He that believes in Him is not condemned, but he that believes not is condemned already, because he has not believed in the Name of the Only-begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil.’ If He who says, ‘For I came not to judge the world, but that I might save it,’ is the Same as says, ‘He that sees Me, sees Him that sent Me ,’ and if He who came to save the world and not judge it is the Only-begotten Son of God, it is plain that it is the same Son who says, ‘He that sees Me, sees Him that sent Me.’ For He who said, ‘He that believes in Me,’ and, ‘If any one hear My words, I judge him not,’ is the Son Himself, of whom Scripture says, ‘He that believes in Him is not condemned, but He that believes not is condemned already, because He has not believed in the Name of the Only-begotten Son of God.’ And again: ‘And this is the condemnation’ of him who believes not on the Son, ‘that light has come into the world,’ and they believed not in Him, that is, in the Son; for He must be ‘the Light which lights every man that comes into the world.’ And as long as He was upon earth according to the Incarnation, He was Light in the world, as He said Himself, ‘While you have light, believe in the light, that you may be the children of light;’ for ‘I,’ says He, ‘have come a light into the world. ‘
  2. This then being shown, it follows that the Word is the Son. But if the Son is the Light, which has come into the world, beyond all dispute the world was made by the Son. For in the beginning of the Gospel, the Evangelist, speaking of John the Baptist, says, ‘He was not that Light, but that he might bear witness concerning that Light.’ For Christ Himself was, as we have said before, the True Light that lights every man that comes into the world. For if ‘He was in the world, and the world was made by Him ,’ of necessity He is the Word of God, concerning whom also the Evangelist witnesses that all things were made by Him. For either they will be compelled to speak of two worlds, that the one may have come into being by the Son and the other by the Word, or, if the world is one and the creation one, it follows that Son and Word are one and the same before all creation, for by Him it came into being. Therefore if as by the Word, so by the Son also all things came to be, it will not be contradictory, but even identical to say, for instance, ‘In the beginning was the Word,’ or, ‘In the beginning was the Son.’ But if because John did not say, ‘In the beginning was the Son,’ they shall maintain that the attributes of the Word do not suit with the Son, it at once follows that the attributes of the Son do not suit with the Word. But it was shown that to the Son belongs, ‘I and the Father are One,’ and that it is He ‘Who is in the bosom of the Father,’ and, ‘He that sees Me, sees Him that sent Me ;’ and that ‘the world was brought into being by Him,’ is common to the Word and the Son; so that from this the Son is shown to be before the world; for of necessity the Framer is before the things brought into being. And what is said to Philip must belong, according to them, not to the Word, but to the Son. For, ‘Jesus said,’ says Scripture, ‘Have I been so long time with you, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He that has seen Me, has seen the Father. And how do you say then, Show us the Father? Do you not believe, that I am in the Father and the Father in Me? The words that I speak unto you, I speak not of Myself, but the Father that dwells in Me, He does the works. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else, believe Me for the very works’ sake. Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that believes in Me, the works that I do shall he do also, and greater works than these shall he do, because I go unto the Father. And whatsoever you shall ask in My Name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.’ Therefore if the Father be glorified in the Son, the Son must be He who said, ‘I in the Father and the Father in Me;’ and He who said, ‘He that has seen Me, has seen the Father.’ for He, the same who thus spoke, shows Himself to be the Son, by adding, ‘that the Father may be glorified in the Son.’
  3. If then they say that the Man whom the Word wore, and not the Word, is the Son of God the Only-begotten, the Man must be by consequence He who is in the Father, in whom also the Father is; and the Man must be He who is One with the Father, and who is in the bosom of the Father, and the True Light. And they will be compelled to say that through the Man Himself the world came into being, and that the Man was He who came not to judge the world but to save it; and that He it was who was in being before Abraham came to be. For, says Scripture, Jesus said to them, ‘Verily, verily, I say unto you, before Abraham was, I am John 8:58.’ And is it not absurd to say, as they do, that one who came of the seed of Abraham after two and forty generations , should exist before Abraham came to be? Is it not absurd, if the flesh, which the Word bore, itself is the Son, to say that the flesh from Mary is that by which the world was made? And how will they retain ‘He was in the world?’ for the Evangelist, by way of signifying the Son’s antecedence to the birth according to the flesh, goes on to say, ‘He was in the world.’ And how, if not the Word but the Man is the Son, can He save the world, being Himself one of the world? And if this does not shame them, where shall be the Word, the Man being in the Father? And where will the Word stand to the Father, the Man and the Father being One? But if the Man be Only-begotten, what will be the place of the Word? Either one must say that He comes second, or, if He be above the Only-begotten, He must be the Father Himself. For as the Father is One, so also the Only-begotten from Him is One; and what has the Word above the Man, if the Word is not the Son? For, while Scripture says that through the Son and the Word the world was brought to be, and it is common to the Word and to the Son to frame the world, yet Scripture proceeds to place the sight of the Father, not in the Word but in the Son, and to attribute the saving of the world, not to the Word, but to the Only-begotten Son. For, says it, Jesus said, ‘Have I been so long while with you, and yet have you not known Me, Philip? He that has seen Me, has seen the Father.’ Nor does Scripture say that the Word knows the Father, but the Son; and that not the Word sees the Father, but the Only-begotten Son who is in the bosom of the Father.
  4. And what more does the Word contribute to our salvation than the Son, if, as they hold, the Son is one, and the Word another? For the command is that we should believe, not in the Word, but in the Son. For John says, ‘He that believes in the Son, has everlasting life; but he that believes not the Son, shall not see life John 3:36.’ And Holy Baptism, in which the substance of the whole faith is lodged, is administered not in the Word, but in Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. If then, as they hold, the Word is one and the Son another, and the Word is not the Son, Baptism has no connection with the Word. How then are they able to hold that the Word is with the Father, when He is not with Him in the giving of Baptism? But perhaps they will say, that in the Father’s Name the Word is included? Wherefore then not the Spirit also? Or is the Spirit external to the Father? And the Man indeed (if the Word is not Son) is named after the Father, but the Spirit after the Man? And then the Monad, instead of dilating into a Triad, dilates according to them into a Tetrad, Father, Word, Son, and Holy Ghost. Being brought to shame on this ground, they have recourse to another, and say that not the Man by Himself whom the Lord bore, but both together, the Word and the Man, are the Son; for both joined together are named Son, as they say. Which then is cause of which? And which has made which a Son? Or, to speak more clearly, is the Word a Son because of the flesh? Or is the flesh called Son because of the Word? Or is neither the cause, but the concurrence of the two? If then the Word be a Son because of the flesh, of necessity the flesh is Son, and all those absurdities follow which have been already drawn from saying that the Man is Son. But if the flesh is called Son because of the Word, then even before the flesh the Word certainly, being such, was Son. For how could a being make other sons, not being himself a son, especially when there was a father ? If then He makes sons for Himself, then is He Himself Father; but if for the Father, then must He be Son, or rather that Son, by reason of Whom the rest are made sons.
  1. For if, while He is not Son, we are sons, God is our Father and not His. How then does He appropriate the name instead, saying, ‘My Father,’ and ‘I from the Father ?’ for if He be common Father of all, He is not His Father only, nor did He alone come out from the Father. But he says, that He is sometimes called our Father also, because He has Himself become partaker in our flesh. For on this account the Word has become flesh, that, since the Word is Son, therefore, because of the Son dwelling in us , He may be called our Father also; for ‘He sent forth,’ says Scripture, ‘the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, Abba, Father Galatians 4:6.’ Therefore the Son in us, calling upon His own Father, causes Him to be named our Father also. Surely in whose hearts the Son is not, of them neither can God be called Father. But if because of the Word the Man is called Son, it follows necessarily, since the ancients are called sons even before the Incarnation, that the Word is Son even before His sojourn among us; for ‘I begot sons,’ says Scripture; and in the time of Noah, ‘When the sons of God saw,’ and in the Song, ‘Is not He your Father ?’ Therefore there was also that True Son, for whose sake they too were sons. But if, as they say again, neither of the two is Son, but it depends on the concurrence of the two, it follows that neither is Son; I say, neither the Word nor the Man, but some cause, on account of which they were united; and accordingly that cause which makes the Son will precede the uniting. Therefore in this way also the Son was before the flesh. When this then is urged, they will take refuge in another pretext, saying, neither that the Man is Son, nor both together, but that the Word was Word indeed simply in the beginning, but when He became Man, then He was named Son; for before His appearing He was not Son but Word only; and as the ‘Word became flesh,’ not being flesh before, so the Word became Son, not being Son before. Such are their idle words; but they admit of an obvious refutation.
  2. For if simply, when made Man, He has become Son, the becoming Man is the cause. And if the Man is cause of His being Son, or both together, then the same absurdities result. Next, if He is first Word and then Son, it will appear that He knew the Father afterwards, not before; for not as being Word does He know Him, but as Son. For ‘No one knows the Father but the Son.’ And this too will result, that He has come afterwards to be ‘in the bosom of the Father Matthew 11:27; John 1:18,’ and afterwards He and the Father have become One; and afterwards is, ‘He that has seen Me, has seen the Father John 14:9.’ For all these things are said of the Son. Hence they will be forced to say, The Word was nothing but a name. For neither is it He who is in us with the Father, nor whoever has seen the Word, has seen the Father, nor was the Father known to any one at all, for through the Son is the Father known (for so it is written, ‘And he to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him’), and, the Word not being yet Son, not yet did any know the Father. How then was He seen by Moses, how by the fathers? For He says Himself in the Kingdoms, ‘Was I not plainly revealed to the house of your father ?’ But if God was revealed, there must have been a Son to reveal, as He says Himself, ‘And he to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him.’ It is irreligious then and foolish to say that the Word is one and the Son another, and whence they gained such an idea it were well to ask them. They answer, Because no mention is made in the Old Testament of the Son, but of the Word; and for this reason they are positive in their opinion that the Son came later than the Word, because not in the Old, but in the New only, is He spoken of. This is what they irreligiously say; for first to separate between the Testaments, so that the one does not hold with the other, is the device of Manichees and Jews, the one of whom oppose the Old, and the other the New. Next, on their showing, if what is contained in the Old is of older date, and what in the New of later, and times depend upon the writing, it follows that ‘I and the Father are One,’ and ‘Only-begotten,’ and ‘He that has seen Me has seen the Father ,’ are later, for these testimonies are adduced not from the Old but from the New.
  3. But it is not so; for in truth much is said in the Old also about the Son, as in the second Psalm, ‘You are My Son, this day have I begotten You ;’ and in the ninth the title , Unto the ‘end concerning the hidden things of the Son, a Psalm of David;’ and in the forty-fourth, ‘Unto the end, concerning the things that shall be changed to the Sons of Korah for understanding, a song about the Well-beloved;’ and in Isaiah, ‘I will sing to my Well-beloved a song of my Well-beloved touching my vineyard. My Well-beloved has a vineyard Isaiah 5:1;’ Who is this ‘Well-beloved’ but the Only-begotten Son? As also in the hundred and ninth, ‘From the womb I begot You before the morning star ,’ concerning which I shall speak afterwards; and in the Proverbs, ‘Before the hills He begot me;’ and in Daniel, ‘And the form of the Fourth is like the Son of God ;’ and many others. If then from the Old be ancientness, ancient must be the Son, who is clearly described in the Old Testament in many places. ‘Yes,’ they say, ‘so it is, but it must be taken prophetically.’ Therefore also the Word must be said to be spoken of prophetically; for this is not to be taken one way, that another. For if ‘You are My Son?’ refer to the future, so does ‘By the Word of the Lord were the heavens established;’ for it is not said ‘were brought to be,’ nor ‘He made.’ But that ‘established’ refers to the future, it states elsewhere: ‘The Lord reigned ,’ followed by ‘He so established the earth that it can never be moved.’ And if the words in the forty-fourth Psalm ‘for My Well-beloved’ refer to the future, so does what follows upon them, ‘My heart uttered a good Word.’ And if ‘From the womb’ relates to a man, therefore also ‘From the heart.’ For if the womb is human, so is the heart corporeal. But if what is from the heart is eternal, then what is ‘From the womb’ is eternal. And if the ‘Only-begotten’ is ‘in the bosom,’ therefore the ‘Well-beloved’ is ‘in the bosom.’ For ‘Only-begotten’ and ‘Well-beloved’ are the same, as in the words ‘This is My Well-beloved Son.’ For not as wishing to signify His love towards Him did He say ‘Well-beloved,’ as if it might appear that He hated others, but He made plain thereby His being Only-begotten, that He might show that He alone was from Him. And hence the Word, with a view of conveying to Abraham the idea of ‘Only-begotten,’ says, ‘Offer your son your well-beloved Genesis 22:2;’ but it is plain to any one that Isaac was the only son from Sara. The Word then is Son, not lately come to be, or named Son, but always Son. For if not Son, neither is He Word; and if not Word, neither is He Son. For that which is from the father is a son; and what is from the Father, but that Word that went forth from the heart, and was born from the womb? For the Father is not Word, nor the Word Father, but the one is Father, and the other Son; and one begets, and the other is begotten.

25. Marcellian illustration from 1 Corinthians 12:4, refuted.

  1. Arius then raves in saying that the Son is from nothing, and that once He was not, while Sabellius also raves in saying that the Father is Son, and again, the Son Father , in subsistence One, in name Two; and he raves also in using as an example the grace of the Spirit. For he says, ‘As there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit, so also the Father is the same , but is dilated into Son and Spirit.’ Now this is full of absurdity; for if as with the Spirit, so it is with God, the Father will be Word and Holy Spirit, to one becoming Father, to another Son, to another Spirit, accommodating himself to the need of each, and in name indeed Son and Spirit, but in reality Father only; having a beginning in that He becomes a Son, and then ceasing to be called Father, and made man in name, but in truth not even coming among us; and untrue in saying ‘I and the Father,’ but in reality being Himself the Father, and the other absurdities which result in the instance of Sabellius. And the name of the Son and the Spirit will necessarily cease, when the need has been supplied; and what happens will altogether be but make-belief, because it has been displayed, not in truth, but in name. And the Name of Son ceasing, as they hold, then the grace of Baptism will cease too; for it was given in the Son. Nay, what will follow but the annihilation of the creation? For if the Word came forth that we might be created , and when He had come forth, we were, it is plain that when He retires into the Father, as they say, we shall be no longer. For He will be as He was; so also we shall not be, as then we were not; for when He is no more gone forth, there will no more be a creation. This then is absurd.

26-36. That the Son is the Co-existing Word, argued from the New Testament. Texts from the Old Testamentcontinued; especially Psalm 110:3. Besides, the Word in Old Testamentmay be Son in New, as Spirit in Old Testamentis Paraclete in New. Objection from Acts 10:36; answered by parallels, such as 1 Corinthians 1:5. Lev. 9:7. etc. Necessity of the Word’s taking flesh, viz. to sanctify, yet without destroying, the flesh.

  1. But that the Son has no beginning of being, but before He was made man was ever with the Father, John makes clear in his first Epistle, writing thus: ‘That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled of the Word of Life; and the Life was manifested, and we have seen it; and we bear witness and declare unto you that Eternal Life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us 1 John 1:1-2.’ While he says here that ‘the Life,’ not ‘became,’ but ‘was with the Father,’ in the end of his Epistle he says the Son is the Life, writing, ‘And we are in Him that is True, even in His Son, Jesus Christ; this is the True God and Eternal Life.’ But if the Son is the Life, and the Life was with the Father, and if the Son was with the Father, and the same Evangelist says, ‘And the Word was with God John 1:1,’ the Son must be the Word, which is ever with the Father. And as the ‘Son’ is ‘Word,’ so ‘God’ must be ‘the Father.’ Moreover, the Son, according to John, is not merely ‘God’ but ‘True God;’ for according to the same Evangelist, ‘And the Word was God;’ and the Son said, ‘I am the Life.’ Therefore the Son is the Word and Life which is with the Father. And again, what is said in the same John, ‘The Only-begotten Son which is in the bosom of the Father ,’ shows that the Son was ever. For whom John calls Son, Him David mentions in the Psalm as God’s Hand , saying, ‘Why do You not strech forth Your Right Hand out of Your bosom ?’ Therefore if the Hand is in the bosom, and the Son in the bosom, the Son will be the Hand, and the Hand will be the Son, through whom the Father made all things; for it is written, ‘Your Hand made all these things,’ and ‘He led out His people with His Hand ;’ therefore through the Son. And if ‘this is the changing of the Right Hand of the Most Highest,’ and again, ‘Unto the end, concerning the things that shall be changed, a song for My Well-beloved ;’ the Well-beloved then is the Hand that was changed; concerning whom the Divine Voice also says, ‘This is My Beloved Son.’ This ‘My Hand’ then is equivalent to ‘This My Son.’
  2. But since there are ill-instructed men who, while resisting the doctrine of a Son, think little of the words, ‘From the womb before the morning star I begot You ;’ as if this referred to His relation to Mary, alleging that He was born of Mary ‘before the morning star,’ for that to say ‘womb’ could not refer to His relation towards God, we must say a few words here. If then, because the ‘womb’ is human, therefore it is foreign to God, plainly ‘heart’ too has a human meaning , for that which has heart has womb also. Since then both are human, we must deny both, or seek to explain both. Now as a word is from the heart, so is an offspring from the womb; and as when the heart of God is spoken of, we do not conceive of it as human, so if Scripture says ‘from the womb,’ we must not take it in a corporeal sense. For it is usual with divine Scripture to speak and signify in the way of man what is above man. Thus speaking of the creation it says, ‘Your hands made me and fashioned me,’ and, ‘Your hand made all these things,’ and, ‘He commanded and they were created.’ Suitable then is its language about everything; attributing to the Son ‘propriety’ and ‘genuineness,’ and to the creation ‘the beginning of being.’ For the one God makes and creates; but Him He begets from Himself, Word or Wisdom. Now ‘womb’ and ‘heart’ plainly declare the proper and the genuine; for we too have this from the womb; but our works we make by the hand.
  3. What means then, say they, ‘Before the morning star?’ I would answer, that if ‘Before the morning star’ shows that His birth from Mary was wonderful, many others besides have been born before the rising of the star. What then is said so wonderful in His instance, that He should record it as some choice prerogative , when it is common to many? Next, to beget differs from bringing forth; for begetting involves the primary foundation, but to bring forth is nothing else than the production of what exists. If then the term belongs to the body, let it be observed that He did not then receive a beginning of coming to be when he was evangelized to the shepherds by night, but when the Angel spoke to the Virgin. And that was not night, for this is not said; on the contrary, it was night when He issued from the womb. This difference Scripture makes, and says on the one hand that He was begotten before the morning star, and on the other speaks of His proceeding from the womb, as in the twenty-first Psalm, ‘You are he that drew Me from the womb.’ Besides, He did not say, ‘before the rising of the morning star,’ but simply ‘before the morning star.’ If then the phrase must be taken of the body, then either the body must be before Adam, for the stars were before Adam, or we have to investigate the sense of the letter. And this John enables us to do, who says in the Apocalypse, ‘I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end. Blessed are they who make broad their robes, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever makes and loves a lie. I Jesus have sent My Angel, to testify these things in the Churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star. And the Spirit and the Bride say, Come; and let him that hears say, Come; and let him that is thirsty, Come; and whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely.’ If then ‘the Offspring of David’ be the ‘Bright and Morning Star,’ it is plain that the flesh of the Saviour is called ‘the Morning Star,’ which the Offspring from God preceded; so that the sense of the Psalm is this, ‘I have begotten You from Myself before Your appearance in the flesh;’ for ‘before the Morning Star’ is equivalent to ‘before the Incarnation of the Word.’
  4. Thus in the Old also, statements are plainly made concerning the Son; at the same time it is superfluous to argue the point; for if what is not stated in the Old is of later date, let them who are thus disputatious, say where in the Old is mention made of the Spirit, the Paraclete? For of the Holy Spirit there is mention, but nowhere of the Paraclete. Is then the Holy Spirit one, and the Paraclete another, and the Paraclete the later, as not mentioned in the Old? But far be it to say that the Spirit is later, or to distinguish the Holy Ghost as one and the Paraclete as another; for the Spirit is one and the same, then and now hallowing and comforting those who are His recipients; as one and the same Word and Son led even then to adoption of sons those who were worthy. For sons under the Old were made such through no other than the Son. For unless even before Mary there were a Son who was of God, how is He before all, when they are sons before Him? And how also ‘First-born,’ if He comes second after many? But neither is the Paraclete second, for He was before all, nor the Son later; for ‘in the beginning was the Word John 1:1.’ And as the Spirit and Paraclete are the same, so the Son and Word are the same; and as the Saviour says concerning the Spirit, ‘But the Paraclete which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in My Name ,’ speaking of One and Same, and not distinguishing, so John describes similarly when he says, ‘And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of one Only-begotten from the Father.’ For here too he does not distinguish but witnesses the identity. And as the Paraclete is not one and the Holy Ghost another, but one and the same, so Word is not one, and Son another, but the Word is Only-Begotten; for He says not the glory of the flesh itself, but of the Word. He then who dares distinguish between Word and Son, let him distinguish between Spirit and Paraclete; but if the Spirit cannot be distinguished, so neither can the Word, being also Son and Wisdom and Power. Moreover, the word ‘Well-beloved’ even the Greeks who are skilful in phrases know to be equivalent with ‘Only-begotten.’ For Homer speaks thus of Telemachus, who was the only-begotten of Ulysses, in the second book of the Odyssey:

O’er the wide earth, dear youth, why seek to run,

An only child, a well-beloved son?

He whom you mourn, divine Ulysses, fell

Far from his country, where the strangers dwell.

Therefore he who is the only son of his father is called well-beloved.

  1. Some of the followers of the Samosatene, distinguishing the Word from the Son, pretend that the Son is Christ, and the Word another; and they ground this upon Peter’s words in the Acts, which he spoke well, but they explain badly. It is this: ‘The Word He sent to the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ; this is Lord of all Acts 10:36.’ For they say that since the Word spoke through Christ, as in the instance of the Prophets, ‘Thus says the Lord,’ the prophet was one and the Lord another. But to this it is parallel to oppose the words in the first to the Corinthians, ‘waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, who shall also confirm you unto the end unblameable in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ 1 Corinthians 1:7-8.’ For as one Christ does not confirm the day of another Christ, but He Himself confirms in His own day those who wait for Him, so the Father sent the Word made flesh, that being made man He might preach by means of Himself. And therefore he straightway adds, ‘This is Lord of all;’ but Lord of all is the Word.
  1. ‘And Moses said to Aaron, Go unto the altar and offer your sin-offering, and your burnt-offering, and make an atonement for yourself and for the people; and offer the offering of the people, and make an atonement for them, as the Lord commanded Moses Leviticus 9:7.’ See now here, though Moses be one, Moses himself speaks as if about another Moses, ‘as the Lord commanded Moses.’ In like manner then, if the blessed Peter speak of the Divine Word also, as sent to the children of Israel by Jesus Christ, it is not necessary to understand that the Word is one and Christ another, but that they were one and the same by reason of the uniting which took place in His divine and loving condescension and becoming man. And even if He be considered in two ways , still it is without any division of the Word, as when the inspired John says, ‘And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us John 1:14.’ What then is said well and rightly by the blessed Peter, the followers of the Samosatene, understanding badly and wrongly, stand not in the truth. For Christ is understood in both ways in Divine Scripture, as when it says Christ ‘God’s power and God’s wisdom 1 Corinthians 1:24.’ If then Peter says that the Word was sent through Jesus Christ unto the children of Israel, let him be understood to mean, that the Word incarnate has appeared to the children of Israel, so that it may correspond to ‘And the Word became flesh.’ But if they understand it otherwise, and, while confessing the Word to be divine, as He is, separate from Him the Man that He has taken, with which also we believe that He is made one, saying that He has been sent through Jesus Christ, they are, without knowing it, contradicting themselves. For those who in this place separate the divine Word from the divine Incarnation, have, it seems, a degraded notion of the doctrine of His having become flesh, and entertain Gentile thoughts, as they do, conceiving that the divine Incarnation is an alteration of the Word. But it is not so; perish the thought.
  2. For in the same way that John here preaches that incomprehensible union. ‘the mortal being swallowed up of life 2 Corinthians 5:4,’ nay, of Him who is Very Life (as the Lord said to Martha, ‘I am the Life John 11:25 ‘), so when the blessed Peter says that through Jesus Christ the Word was sent, he implies the divine union also. For as when a man heard ‘The Word became flesh,’ he would not think that the Word ceased to be, which is absurd, as has been said before, so also hearing of the Word which has been united to the flesh, let him understand the divine mystery one and simple. More clearly however and indisputably than all reasoning does what was said by the Archangel to the Bearer of God herself, show the oneness of the Divine Word and Man. For he says, ‘The Holy Ghost shall come upon you, and the Power of the Highest shall overshadow you: therefore also that Holy Thing which shall be born of you, shall be called the Son of God Luke 1:35.’ Irrationally then do the followers of the Samosatene separate the Word who is clearly declared to be made one with the Man from Mary. He is not therefore sent through that Man; but He rather in Him sent, saying, ‘Go, teach all nations Matthew 28:19.’
  3. And this is usual with Scripture , to express itself in inartificial and simple phrases. For so also in Numbers we shall find, Moses said to Raguel the Midianite, the father-in-law of Moses; for there was not one Moses who spoke, and another whose father-in-law was Raguel, but Moses was one. And if in like manner the Word of God is called Wisdom and Power and Right-Hand and Arm and the like, and if in His love to man He has become one with us, putting on our first-fruits and blended with it, therefore the other titles also have, as was natural, become the Word’s portions. For that John has said, that in the beginning was the Word, and He with God and Himself God, and all things through Him, and without Him nothing made, shows clearly that even man is the formation of God the Word. If then after taking him, when enfeebled , into Himself, He renews him again through that sure renewal unto endless permanence, and therefore is made one with him in order to raise him to a diviner lot, how can we possibly say that the Word was sent through the Man who was from Mary, and reckon Him, the Lord of Apostles, with the other Apostles, I mean prophets, who were sent by Him? And how can Christ be called a mere man? On the contrary, being made one with the Word, He is with reason called Christ and Son of God, the prophet having long since loudly and clearly ascribed the Father’s subsistence to Him, and said, ‘And I will send My Son Christ ,’ and in the Jordan, ‘This is My Well-beloved Son.’ For when He had fulfilled His promise, He showed, as was suitable, that He was He whom He said He had sent.
  4. Let us then consider Christ in both ways, the divine Word made one in Mary with Him which is from Mary. For in her womb the Word fashioned for Himself His house, as at the beginning He formed Adam from the earth; or rather more divinely, concerning whom Solomon too says openly, knowing that the Word was also called Wisdom, ‘Wisdom built herself a house Proverbs 9:1;’ which the Apostle interprets when he says, ‘Which house are we Hebrews 3:6,’ and elsewhere calls us a temple, as far as it is fitting to God to inhabit a temple, of which the image, made of stones, He by Solomon commanded the ancient people to build; whence, on the appearance of the Truth, the image ceased. For when the ruthless men wished to prove the image to be the truth, and to destroy that true habitation which we surely believe His union with us to be, He threatened them not; but knowing that their crime was against themselves, He says to them, ‘Destroy this Temple, and in three days I will raise it up John 2:19,’ He, our Saviour, surely showing thereby that the things about which men busy themselves, carry their dissolution with them. For unless the Lord had built the house, and kept the city, in vain did the builders toil, and the keepers watch. And so the works of the Jews are undone, for they were a shadow; but the Church is firmly established; it is ‘founded on the rock,’ and ‘the gates of hades shall not prevail against it.’ Theirs it was to say, ‘Why do You, being a man, make Yourself God ?’ and their disciple is the Samosatene; whence to his followers with reason does he teach his heresy. But ‘we did not so learn Christ, if so be that we heard’ Him, and were taught from Him, ‘putting off the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts,’ and taking up ‘the new, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.’ Let Christ then in both ways be religiously considered.
  5. But if Scripture often calls even the body by the name of Christ, as in the blessed Peter’s words to Cornelius, when he teaches him of ‘Jesus of Nazareth, whom God anointed with the Holy Ghost,’ and again to the Jews, ‘Jesus of Nazareth, a Man approved of God for you ,’ and again the blessed Paul to the Athenians, ‘By that Man, whom He ordained, giving assurance to all men, in that He raised Him from the dead Acts 17:31 ‘ (for we find the appointment and the mission often synonymous with the anointing; from which any one who will may learn, that there is no discordance in the words of the sacred writers, but that they but give various names to the union of God the Word with the Man from Mary, sometimes as anointing, sometimes as mission, sometimes as appointment), it follows that what the blessed Peter says is right , and he proclaims in purity the Godhead of the Only begotten, without separating the subsistence of God the Word from the Man from Mary (perish the thought! For how should he, who had heard in so many ways, ‘I and the Father are one,’ and ‘He that has seen Me, has seen the Father ?)’ In which Man, after the resurrection also, when the doors were shut, we know of His coming to the whole band of the Apostles, and dispersing all that was hard to believe in it by His words, ‘Handle Me and see, for a spirit has not flesh and bones, as you see Me have Luke 24:39.’ And He did not say, ‘This,’ or ‘this Man which I have taken to Me,’ but ‘Me.’ Wherefore the Samosatene will gain no allowance, being refuted by so many arguments for the union of God the Word, nay by God the Word Himself, who now brings the news to all, and assures them by eating, and permitting to them that handling of Him which then took place. For certainly he who gives food to others, and they who give him, touch hands. For ‘they gave Him,’ Scripture says, ‘a piece of a broiled fish and of an honey-comb, and’ when He had ‘eaten before them, He took the remains and gave to them.’ See now, though not as Thomas was allowed, yet by another way, He afforded to them full assurance, in being touched by them; but if you would now see the scars, learn from Thomas. ‘Reach hither your hand and thrust it into My side, and reach hither your finger and behold My hands John 20:27;’ so says God the Word, speaking of His own side and hands, and of Himself as whole man and God together, first affording to the Saints even perception of the Word through the body , as we may consider, by entering when the doors were shut; and next standing near them in the body and affording full assurance. So much may be conveniently said for confirmation of the faithful, and correction of the unbelieving.
  6. And so let Paul of Samosata also stand corrected on hearing the divine voice of Him who said ‘My body,’ not ‘Christ besides Me who am the Word,’ but ‘Him with Me, and Me with Him.’ For I the Word am the chrism, and that which has the chrism from Me is the Man ; not then without Me could He be called Christ, but being with Me and I in Him. Therefore the mention of the mission of the Word shows the uniting which took place with Jesus, born of Mary, Whose Name means Saviour, not by reason of anything else, but from the Man’s being made one with God the Word. This passage has the same meaning as ‘the Father that sent Me,’ and ‘I came not of Myself, but the Father sent Me.’ For he has given the name of mission to the uniting with the Man, with Whom the Invisible nature might be known to men, through the visible. For God changes not place, like us who are hidden in places, when in the fashion of our littleness He displays Himself in His existence in the flesh; for how should He, who fills the heaven and the earth? But on account of the presence in the flesh the just have spoken of His mission. Therefore God the Word Himself is Christ from Mary, God and Man; not some other Christ but One and the Same; He before ages from the Father, He too in the last times from the Virgin; invisible before even to the holy powers of heaven, visible now because of His being one with the Man who is visible; seen, I say, not in His invisible Godhead but in the operation of the Godhead through the human body and whole Man, which He has renewed by its appropriation to Himself. To Him be the adoration and the worship, who was before, and now is, and ever shall be, even to all ages. Amen.