Four discourses against the arians

Chapters XIV-XVI
By Athanasius




HEBREWS iii. 2.

Introduction; the Regula Fidei counter to an Arian sense of the text; which is
not supported by the word 'servant,' nor by 'made' which occurs in it; (how
can the Judge be among the 'works' which 'God will bring into judgment?') nor
by 'faithful;' and is confuted by the immediate context, which is about
Priesthood; and by the foregoing passage, which explains the word 'faithful'
as meaning trustworthy, as do 1 Pet. iv. fin. and other texts. On the whole
made may safely be understood either of the divine generation or the human

1. I DID indeed think that enough had been said already against the hollow
professors of Arius's madness, whether for their refutation or in the truth's
behalf, to insure a cessation and repentance of their evil thoughts and words
about the Saviour. They, however, for whatever reason, still do not succumb;
but, as swine and dogs wallow(1) in their own vomit and their own mire, rather
invent new expedients for their irreligion. Thus they misunderstand the
passage in the Proverbs, 'The Lord hath created me a beginning of His ways for
His works(2),' and the words of the Apostle, 'Who was faithful to Him that
made Him(3),' and straightway argue, that the Son of God is a work and a
creature. But although they might have learned from what is said above, had
they not utterly lost their power of apprehension, that the Son is not front
nothing nor in the number of things originate at all, the Truth witnessing(4)
it (for, being God, He cannot be a work, and it is impious to call Him a
creature, and it is of creatures and works that we say, 'out of nothing,' and
'it was not before its generation'), yet since, as if dreading to desert their
own fiction, they are accustomed to allege the aforesaid passages of divine
Scripture, which have a good meaning, but are by them practised on, let us
proceed afresh to take up the question of the sense of these, to remind the
faithful, and to shew from each of these passages that they have no knowledge
at all of Christianity. Were it otherwise, they would not have shut themselves
up in the unbelief(5) of the present Jews(6), but would have inquired and
learned(6) that, whereas 'In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with
God, and the Word was God,' in consequence, it was when at the good pleasure
of the Father the Word became man, that it was said of Him, as by John, 'The
Word became flesh(7);' so by Peter, 'He hath made Him Lord and Christs(8);--as
by means of Solomon in the Person of the Lord Himself, 'The Lord created me a
beginning of His ways for His works(9);' so by Paul, 'Become so much better
than the Angels(10);' and again, 'He emptied Himself, and took upon Him the
form of a servant(11);' and again, 'Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the
heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession,
Jesus, who was faithful to Him that made Him(12).' For all these texts have
the same force and meaning, a religious one, declarative of the divinity of
the Word, even those of them which speak humanly concerning Him, as having
become the Son of man. But, though this distinction is sufficient for their
refutation, still, since from a misconception of the Apostle's words (to
mention them first), they consider the Word of God to be one of the works,
because of its being written, 'Who was faithful to Him that made Him,' I have
thought it needful to, silence this further argument of theirs, taking in
hand(13), as before, their statement.


2. If then He be not a Son, let Him be called a work, and let all that is
said of works be said of Him, nor let Him and Him alone be called Son, nor
Word, nor Wisdom neither let God be called Father, but only Framer and Creator
of things which by Him come to be; and let the creature be Image and
Expression of His framing will, and let Him, as they would have it, be without
gene-rative nature, so that there be neither Word, nor Wisdom, no, nor Image,
of His proper substance. For if He be not Son(1), neither is He Image(2). But
if there be not a Son, how then say you that God is a Creator? since all
things that come to be are through the Word and in Wisdom, and without This
nothing can be, whereas you say He hath not That in and through which He makes
all things. For if the Divine Essence be not fruitful itself(3), but barren,
as they hold, as a light that lightens not, and a dry fountain, are they not
ashamed to speak of His possessing framing energy? and whereas they deny what
is by nature, do they not blush to place before it what is by will(4)? But if
He frames things that are external to Him and before were not, by willing them
to he, and becomes their Maker, much more will He first be Father of an
Offspring from His proper Essence. For if they attribute to God the willing
about things which are not, why recognise they not that in God which ties
above the will? now it is a something that surpasses will, that He should be
by nature, and should be Father of His proper Word. If then that which comes
first, which is according to nature, did not exist, as they would have it in
their folly, how could that which is second come to be, which is according to
will? for the Word is first, and then the creation. On the contrary the Word
exists, whatever they affirm, those irreligious ones; for through Him did
creation come to be, and God, as being Maker, plainly has also His framing
Word, not external, but proper to Him;--for this must be repeated. If He has
the power of will, and His will is effective, and suffices for the consistence
of the things that come to be, and His Word is effective, and a Framer, that
Word must surely be the living Will(5) of the Father, and an essential(6)
energy, and a real Word, in whom all things both consist and are excellently
governed. No one can even doubt, that He who disposes is prior to the
disposition and the things disposed. And thus, as I said, God's creating is
second to His begetting; for Son implies something proper to Him and truly
from that blessed and everlasting Essence; but what is from His will, comes
into consistence from without, and is framed through His proper Offspring who
is from It.

3. As we have shewn then they are guilty of great extravagance who say
that the Lord is not Son of God, but a work, and it follows that we all of
necessity confess that He is Son. And if He be Son, as indeed He is, and a son
is confessed to be not external to his father but from him, let them not
question about the terms, as I said before, which the sacred writers use of
the Word Himself, viz. not 'to Him that begat Him,' but 'to Him that made
Him;' for while it is confessed what His nature is, what word is used in such
instances need raise no question(7). For terms do not disparage His Nature;
rather that Nature draws to Itself those terms and changes them. For terms are
not prior to essences, but essences are first, and terms second. Wherefore
also when the essence is a work or creature, then the words 'He made,' and 'He
became,' and 'He created,' are used of it properly, and designate the work.
But when the Essence is an Offspring and Son, then 'He made,' and 'He became,'
and 'He created,' no longer properly belong to it, nor designate a work; but
'He made' we use without question for 'He begat.' Thus fathers often call the
sons born of them their servants, yet without denying the genuineness of their
nature; and often they affectionately call their own servants children, yet
without putting out of sight their purchase of them originally; for they use
the one appellation from their authority as being fathers, but in the other
they speak from affection. Thus Sara called Abraham lord, though not a servant
but a wife; and while to


Philemon the master the Apostle joined Onesimus the servant as a brother,
Bathsheba, although mother, called her son servant, saying to his father, 'Thy
servant Solomon(8);'--afterwards also Nathan the Prophet came in and repeated
her words to David, 'Solomon thy servant(9).' Nor did they mind calling the
son a servant, for while David heard it, he recognised the 'nature,' and while
they spoke it, they forgot not the 'genuineness,' praying that he might be
made his father's heir, to whom they gave the name of servant; for to David he
was son by nature.

4. As then, when we read this, we interpret it fairly, without accounting
Solomon a servant because we hear him so called, but a son natural and
genuine, so also, if, concerning the Saviour, who is confessed to be in truth
the Son, and to be the Word by nature, the saints say, 'Who was faithful to
Him that made Him,' or if He say of Himself, 'The Lord created me,' and, 'I am
Thy servant and the Son of Thine handmaid(1),' and the like, let not any on
this account deny that He is proper to the Father and from Hint; but, as in
the case of Solomon and David, let them have a right idea of the Father and
the Son. For if, though they hear Solomon called a servant, they acknowledge
him to be a son are they not descrying of many deaths(2), who, instead of
preserving the same explanation in the instance of the Lord, whenever they
hear 'Offspring,' and 'Word,' and 'Wisdom,' forcibly misinterpret and deny the
generation, natural and genuine, of the Son from the Father; but on hearing
words and terms proper to a work, forthwith drop down to the notion of His
being by nature a work, and deny the Word; and this, though it is possible,
from His having been made man, to refer all these terms to His humanity? And
are they not proved to be an abomination' also 'unto the Lord,' as having
'diverse weights(3)' with them, and with this estimating those other
instances, and with that blaspheming the Lord? But perhaps they grant that the
word 'servant' is used under a certain understanding, but lay stress upon 'Who
made' as some great support of their heresy. But this stay of theirs also is
but a broken reed; for if they are aware of the style of Scripture, they must
at once give sentence against(4) themselves. For as Solomon, though a son, is
called a servant, so, to repeat what was said above, although parents call the
sons springing from themselves 'made' and 'created' and 'becoming,' for all
this they do not deny their nature. Thus Hezekiah, as it is written in Isaiah,
said in his prayer, 'From this day I will make children, who shall declare Thy
righteousness, O God of my salvation(5).' He then said, 'I will make;' but the
Prophet in that very book and the Fourth of Kings, thus speaks, 'And the sons
who shall come forth of thee(6).' He uses then 'make' for 'beget' and he calls
them who were to spring from him, 'made,' and no one questions whether the
term has reference to a natural offspring. Again, Eve on bearing Cain said, 'I
have gotten a man from the Lord(7);' thus she too used 'gotten' for 'brought
forth.' For, first she saw the child, yet next she said, 'I have gotten.' Nor
would any one consider, because of 'I have gotten,' that Cain was purchased
from without, instead of being born of her. Again, the Patriarch Jacob said to
Joseph, 'And now thy two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, which became thine in
Egypt, before I came unto thee into Egypt, are mine(8).' And Scripture says
about Job, 'And there came to him seven sons and three daughters(9).' As Moses
too has said in the Law, 'If sons become to any one,' and 'If he make a
son(10).' Here again they speak of those who are begotten, as 'become' and
'made,' knowing that, while they are acknowledged to be sons, we need not make
a question of 'they became,' or 'I have gotten,' or 'I made(11).' For nature
and truth draw the meaning to themselves.

5. This being so(1), when persons ask whether the Lord is a creature or
work, it is proper to ask of them this first, whether He is Son and Word and
Wisdom. For if this is shewn, the surmise about work and creation fails to the
ground at once and is ended. For a work could never be Son and Word; nor could
the Son be a work. And again, this being the state of the case, the proof is
plain to all, that the phrase, 'To Him who made Him' does not serve their
heresy, but rather condemns it. For it has been shewn that the expression 'He
made' is applied in divine Scripture even to children genuine and natural;
whence, the Lord being proved to be the Father's Son naturally and genuinely,
and Word, and Wisdom, though 'He made' be used concerning Him, or 'He became,'
this is not said of Him as if a work, but the saints make no question about
using the expression,--for instance in the case of Solomon, and Heze-


kiah's children. For though the fathers had begotten them from themselves,
still it is written, 'I have made,' and 'I have gotten,' and 'He became.'
Therefore God's enemies, in spite of their repeated allegation of such
phrases(2), ought now, though late in the day, after what has been said, to
disown their irreligious thoughts, and think of the Lord as of a true Son,
Word, and Wisdom of the Father, not a work, not a creature. For if the Son be
a creature, by what word then and by what wisdom was He made Himself(3)? for
all the works were made through the Word and the Wisdom, as it is written, 'In
wisdom hast Thou made them all,' and, 'All things were made by Him, and
without Him was not anything made(4).' But if it be He who is the Word and the
Wisdom, by which all things come to be, it follows that He is not in the
number of works, nor in short of things originate, but the Offspring of the

6. For consider how grave an error it is, to call God's Word a work.
Solomon says in one place in Ecclesiastes, that 'God shall bring every work
into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good or whether it be
evil(1).' If then the Word be a work, do you mean that He as well as others
will be brought into judgment? and what room is there for judgment, when the
Judge is on trial? who will give to the just their blessing, who to the
unworthy their punishment, the Lord, as you must suppose, standing on trial
with the rest? by what law shall He, the Lawgiver, Himself be judged? These
things are proper to the works, to be on trial, to be blessed and to be
punished by the Son. Now then fear the Judge, and let Solomon's words convince
you. For if God shall bring the works one and all into judgment, but the Son
is not in the number of things put on trial, but rather is Himself the Judge
of works one and all, is not the proof clearer than the sun, that the Son is
not a work but the Father's Word, in whom all the works both come to be and
come into judgment? Further, if the expression, 'Who was faithful,' is a
difficulty to them, from the thought that 'faithful' is used of Him as of
others, as if He exercises faith and so receives the reward of faith, they
must proceed at this rate to find fault with Moses for saying, 'God faithful
and true(2),' and with St. Paul for writing, 'God is faithful, who will not
suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able(3).' But when the saints;
spoke thus, they were not thinking of God in a human way, but they
acknowledged two senses of the word 'faithful' in Scripture, first
'believing,' then 'trustworthy,' of which the former belongs to man, the
latter to God. Thus Abraham was faithful, because He believed God's word; and
God faithful, for, as David says in the Psalm, 'The Lord is faithful in all
His words(4),' or is trustworthy, and cannot lie. Again, 'If any faithful
woman have widows(5),' she is so called for her right faith; but, 'It is a
faithful saying(6),' because what He hath spoken has a claim on our faith, for
it is true, and is not otherwise. Accordingly the words, 'Who is faithful to
Him that made Him,' implies no parallel with others, nor means that by having
faith He became well-pleasing; but that, being Son of the True God, He too is
faithful, and ought to be believed in all He says and does, Himself remaining
unalterable and not changed(7) in His human Economy and fleshly presence.

7. Thus then we may meet these men who are shameless, and from the single
expression 'He made,' may shew that they err in thinking that the Word of God
is a work. But further, since the drift also of the context is orthodox,
shewing the time and the relation to which this expression points, I ought to
shew from it also how the heretics lack reason; viz. by considering, as we
have done above, the occasion when it was used and for what purpose. Now the
Apostle is not discussing things before the creation when he thus speaks, but
when 'the Word became flesh;' for thus it is written, 'Wherefore, holy
brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High
Priest of our profession Jesus, who was faithful to Him that made Him.' Now
when became He 'Apostle,' but when He put on our flesh? and when became He
'High Priest of our profession,' but when, after offering Himself for us, He
raised His Body from the dead, and, as now, Himself brings near and offers to
the Father those who in faith approach Him, redeeming all, and for all
propitiating God? Not then as wishing to signify the Essence of the Word nor
His natural generation from the Father, did the Apostle say, 'Who was faithful
to Him that made Him'--(perish the thought! for the Word is not made, but
makes)--but as signifying His


descent to mankind and High-priesthood which did 'become'--as one may easily
see from the account given of the Law and of Aaron. I mean, Aaron was not born
a high-priest, but a man; and in process of time, when God willed, he became a
high-priest; yet became so, not simply, nor as betokened by his ordinary
garments, but putting over them the ephod, the breastplate(1), the robe, which
the women wrought at God's command, and going in them into the holy place, he
offered the sacrifice for the people; and in them, as it were, mediated
between the vision of God and the sacrifices of men. Thus then the Lord also,
'In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was
God;' but when the Father willed that ransoms should be paid for all and to
all, grace should be given, then truly the Word, as Aaron his robe, so did He
take earthly flesh, having Mary for the Mother of His Body as if virgin
earth(2), that, as a High Priest, having He as others an offering, He might
offer Himself to the Father, and cleanse us all from sins in His own blood,
and might rise from the dead.

8. For what happened of old was a shadow of this; and what the Saviour did
on His coming, this Aaron shadowed out according to the Law. As then Aaron was
the same and did not change by putting on the high priestly dress(3), but
remaining the same was only robed, so that, had any one seen him offering, and
had said, 'Lo, Aaron has this day become high-priest,' he had not implied that
he then had been born man, for man he was even before he became high-priest,
but that he had been made high-priest in his ministry, on putting on the
garments marie and prepared for the high-priesthood; in the same way it is
possible in the Lord's instance also to understand aright, that He did not
become other than Himself on taking the flesh, but, being the same as before,
He was robed in it; and the expressions 'He became' and 'He was made,' must
not be understood as if the Word, considered as the Word(3a), were made, but
that the Word, being Framer of all, afterwards(4) was made High Priest, by
putting on a body which was originate and made, and such as He can offer for
us; wherefore He is said to be made. If then indeed the Lord did not become
man(5), that is a point for the Arians to battle; but if the 'Word became
flesh,' what ought to have been said concerning Him when become man, but 'Who
was faithful to Him that made Hint?' for as it is proper to the Word to have
it said of Him, 'In the beginning was the Word,' so it is proper to man to
'become' and to be 'made.' Who then, on seeing the Lord as a man walking
about, and yet appearing to be God from His works, would not have asked, Who
made Him man? and who again, on such a question, would not have answered, that
the Father made Him man, and sent Him to us as High Priest? And this meaning,
and time, and character, the Apostle himself, the writer of the words, Who is
faithful to Him that made Him,' will best make plain to us, if we attend to
what goes before them. For there is one train of thought, and the lection is
all about One and the Same. He writes then in the Epistle to the Hebrews thus;
'Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also
Himself likewise took part of the same; that through death He might destroy
him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver them who
through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For verily
He took not on Him the nature of Angels; but He took on Him the seed of
Abraham. Wherefore in all things it behoved


Him to be made like unto His brethren, that He might be a merciful and
faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for
the sins of the people. For in that He Himself hath suffered being tempted, He
is able to succour them that are tempted. Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers
of a heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession,
Jesus; who was faithful to Him that made Him[6].'

9. Who can read this whole passage without condemning the Arians, and
admiring the blessed Apostle, who has spoken well? for when was Christ 'made,'
when became He 'Apostle,' except when, like us, He 'took part in flesh and
blood?' And when became He 'a merciful and faithful High Priest,' except when
'in all things He was made like unto His brethren?' And then was He 'made
like,' when He became man, having put upon Him our flesh. Wherefore Paul was
writing concerning the Word's human Economy, when he said, 'Who was faithful
to Him that made Him,' and not concerning His Essence. Have not therefore any
more the madness to say, that the Word of God is a work; whereas He is Son by
nature Only-begotten, and then had 'brethren,' when He took on Him flesh like
ours; which moreover, by Himself offering Himself, He was named and became
'merciful and faithful,'--merciful, because in mercy to us He offered Himself
for us, and faithful, not as sharing faith with us, nor as having, faith in
any one as we have, but as deserving to receive faith in all He says and does,
and as offering a faithful sacrifice, one which remains and does not come to
nought. For those which were offered according to the Law, had not this
faithfulness, passing away with the day and needing a further cleansing; but
the Saviour's sacrifice, taking place once has perfected everything, and is
become faithful as remaining for ever. And Aaron had successors, and in a word
the priesthood under the Law exchanged its first ministers as time and death
went on; but the Lord having a high priesthood without transition and without
succession, has become a 'faithful. High Priest,' as continuing for ever; and
faithful too by promise, that He may hear[7] and not mislead those who come to
Him. This may be also learned from the Epistle of the great Peter, who says,
'Let them that suffer according to the will of God, commit their souls to a
faithful Creator[8].' For He is faithful as not changing, but abiding ever,
and rendering what He has promised.

10. Now the so called gods of the Greeks, unworthy the name, are faithful
neither in their essence nor in their promises; for the same are not
everywhere, nay, the local deities come to nought in course of time, and
undergo a natural dissolution; wherefore the Word cries out against them, that
'faith is not strong in them,' but they are 'waters that fall,' and 'there is
no faith in them.' But the God of all, being one really and indeed and true,
is faithful, who is ever the same, and says, 'See now, that I, even I am He,'
and I 'change not[1];' and therefore His Son is 'faithful,' being ever the
same and unchanging, deceiving neither in His essence nor in His promise;--as
again says the Apostle writing to the Thessaloninns, 'Faithful is He who
calleth you, who also will do it[2];' for in doing what He promises, He is
faithful to His words. And he thus writes to the Hebrews as to the word's
meaning ' unchangeable;' 'If we believe not, yet He abideth faithful; He
cannot deny Himself[3].' Therefore reasonably the Apostle, discoursing
concerning the bodily presence of the Word, says, an 'Apostle and faithful to
Him that made Him,' shewing us that, even when made man, 'Jesus Christ' is
'the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever[4]' is unchangeable. And as the
Apostle makes mention in his Epistle of His being made man when mentioning His
High Priesthood, so too he kept no long silence about His Godhead, but rather
mentions it forthwith, furnishing to us a safeguard on every side, and most of
all when he speaks of His humility, that we may forthwith know His loftiness
and His majesty which is the Father's. For instance, he says, 'Moses as a
servant, but Christ as a Sons;' and the former 'faithful in his house,' and
the latter ' over the house,' as having Himself built it, and being its Lord
and Framer, and as God sanctifying it. For Moses, a man by nature, became
faithful, in believing God who spoke to Him by His Word; but[6] the Word was
not as one of things originate in a body, nor as creature in creature, but as
God in flesh[7], and Framer of all and Builder in that which was built by Him.
And men are clothed in flesh in order to be and to subsist; but the Word of
God was made man in order to sanctify the flesh, and, though He was Lord, was
in the form of a servant; for the whole creature is the


Word's servant, which by Him came to be and was made.

11. Hence it holds that the Apostle's expression, 'He made,' does not
prove that the Word is made, but that body, which He took like ours; and in
consequence He is called our brother, as having become man. But if it has been
shewn, that, even though the word 'made' be referred to the Very Word, it is
used for 'begat,' what further perverse expedient will they be able to fall
upon, now that the present discussion has cleared up the word in every point
of view, and shewn that the Son is not a work, hut in Essence indeed the
Father's offspring, while in the Economy, according to the good pleasures of
the Father, He was on our behalf made, and consists as man? For this reason
then it is said by the Apostle, 'Who was faithful to Him that made Him;' and
in the Proverbs, even creation is spoken of. For so long as we are confessing
that He became man, there is no question about saying, as was observed before,
whether 'He became,' or 'He has been made,' or 'created,' or 'formed,' or
'servant,' or 'son of an handmaid,' or 'son of man,' or 'was constituted,' or
'took His journey,' or 'bridegroom,' or 'brother's son,' or 'brother.' All
these terms happen to be proper to man's constitution; and such as these do
not designate the Essence of the Word, but that He has become man.



ACTS ii. 36.

The Regula Fidei must be observed; made applies to our Lord's manhood; and to
His manifestation; and to His office relative to us; and is relative to the
Jews. Parallel instance in Gen. xxvii. 29, 37. The context contradicts the
Arian interpretation.

11 (continued). THE same is the meaning of the passage in the Acts which
they also allege, that in which Peter says, that 'He hath made both Lord and
Christ that same Jesus whom ye have crucified.' For here too it is not
written, 'He made for Himself a Son,' or 'He made Himself a Word,' that they
should have such notions. If then it has not escaped their memory, that they
speak concerning the Son of God, let them make search whether it is anywhere
written. 'God made Himself a Son,' or 'He created for Himself a Word;' or
again, whether it is anywhere written in plain terms, 'The Word is a work or
creation;' and then let them proceed to make their case, the insensate men,
that here too they may receive their answer. But if they can produce nothing
of the kind, and only catch at such stray expressions as 'He made' and 'He has
been made,' I fear test, from hearing, 'In the beginning God made the heaven
and the earth,' and 'He made the sun and the moon,' and 'He made the sea,'
they should come in time to call the Word the heaven, and the Light which took
place on the first day, and the earth, and each particular thing that has been
made, so as to end in resembling the Stoics, as they are called, the one
drawing out their God into all things[1], the other ranking God's Word with
each work in particular; which the they have well nigh done already, saying
that He is one of His works.

12. But here they must have the same answer as before, and first be told
that the Word is a Son, as has been said above[2], and not a work, and that
such terms are not to be understood of His Godhead, but the reason and manner
of them investigated. To persons who so inquire, the human Economy will
plainly present itself, which He undertook for our sake. For Peter, after
saying, 'He hath made Lord and Christ,' straightway added, 'this Jesus whom ye
crucified;' which makes it plain to any one, even, if so be, to them, provided
they attend to the context, that not the Essence of the Word, but He according
to His manhood is said to have been made. For what was crucified but the body?
and how could be signified what was bodily in the Word, except by saying 'He
made?' Especially has that phrase, 'He made,' a meaning consistent with
orthodoxy; in that he has not said, as I observed before, 'He made Him Word,'
but 'He made Him Lord,' nor that in general terms[3], but 'towards' us, and
'in the midst of' us, as much as to say, 'He manifested Him.' And this Peter
himself, when he began this primary teaching, carefully[4] expressed, when he
said to them, 'Ye men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man
manifested of God towards you by miracles, and wonders, and signs, which God
did by Him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves know[5].' Consequently the
term which he uses in the end, 'made; this He has explained in the beginning
by 'manifested,' for by the signs and wonders which the Lord did, He was
manifested to be not merely man, but God in a body and Lord also, the Christ.
Such also is the passage in the Gospel according to John, 'Therefore the more
did the Jews persecute Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but said
also that God was His own Father, making Himself


equal with God[6]., For the Lord did not then fashion Himself to be God, nor
indeed is a made God conceivable, but He manifested it by the works, saying,
'Though ye believe not Me, believe My works, that ye may know that I am in the
Father, and the Father in Me 7.' Thus then the Father has 'made' Him Lord and
King in the midst of us, and towards us who were once disobedient; and it is
plain that He who is now displayed as Lord and King, does not then begin to be
King and Lord, but begins to shew His Lordship, and to extend it even over the

13. If then they suppose that the Saviour was not Lord and King, even
before He became man and endured the Cross, but then began to be Lord, let
them know that they are openly reviving the statements of the Samosatene. But
if, as we have quoted and declared above, He is Lord and King everlasting,
seeing that Abraham worships Him as Lord, and Moses says, 'Then the Lord
rained upon Sodore and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of
heaven[8];, and David in the Psalms, 'The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit Thou on
My right hand[9];' and, 'Thy Throne, O God, is for ever and ever; a sceptre of
righteousness is the sceptre of Thy Kingdom[10];' and, 'Thy Kingdom is an
everlasting Kingdom[11];' it is plain that even before He became man, He was
King and Lord everlasting, being Image and Word of the Father. And the Word
being everlasting Lord and King, it is very plain again that Peter said not
that the Essence of the Son was made, but spoke of His Lordship over us, which
'became' when He became man, and, redeeming all by the Cross, became Lord of
all and King. But if they continue the argument on the ground of its being
written, 'He made,' not willing that 'He made' should be taken in the sense of
'He manifested,' either from want of apprehension, or from their
Christ-opposing purpose, let them attend to another sound exposition of
Peter's words. For he who becomes Lord of others, comes into the possession of
beings already in existence; but if the Lord is Framer of all and everlasting
King, and when He became man, then gained possession of us, here too is a way
in which Peter's language evidently does not signify that the Essence of the
Word is a work, but the after-subjection of all things, and the Saviour's
Lordship which came to be over all. And this coincides with what we said
before[11a]; for as we then introduced the words, 'Become my God and
defence,' and 'the Lord became a refuge for the oppressed[12],' and it stood
to reason that these expressions do not shew that God is originate, but that
His beneficence 'becomes' towards each individual, the same sense has the
expression of Peter also.

14. For the Son of God indeed, being Himself the Word, is Lord of all; but
we once were subject from the first to the slavery of corruption and the curse
of the Law, then by degrees fashioning for ourselves things that were not, we
served, as says the blessed Apostle, 'them which by nature are no Gods[1],'
and, ignorant of the true God, we preferred things that were not to the truth;
but afterwards, as the ancient people when oppressed in Egypt groaned, so,
when we too had the Law ' engrafted[2]' in us, and according to the
unutterable sighings[3] of the Spirit made our intercession, 'O Lord our God,
take possession of us 4,' then, as 'He became for a house of refuge' and a
'God and defence,' so also He became our Lord. Nor did He then begin to be,
but we began to have Him for our Lord. For upon this, God being good and
Father of the Lord, in pity, and desiring to be known by all, makes His own
Son put on Him a human body and become man, and be called Jesus, that in this
body offering Himself for all, He might deliver all from false worship and
corruption, and might Himself become of all Lord and King. His becoming
therefore in this way Lord and King, this it is that Peter means by, 'He hath
made Him Lord,' and 'hath sent Christ;' as much as to say, that the Father in
making Him man for to be made belongs to man), did not simply make Him man,
but has made Him in order to His being Lord of all men, and to His hallowing
all through the Anointing. For though the Word existing in the form of God
took a servant's form, yet the assumption of the flesh did not make a
servant[5] of the Word, who was by nature Lord; but rather, not only was it
that emancipation of all humanity which takes place by the Word, but that very
Word who was by nature Lord, and was then made man, hath by means of a
servant's form been made Lord of all and Christ, that is, in order to hallow
all by the Spirit. And as God, when 'becoming a God and defence,' and saying,
'I will be a God to them,' does not then become God more than before, nor then
begins to become God, but, what He ever is, that He then becomes to those who
need Him, when it


pleaseth Him, so Christ also being by nature Lord and King everlasting, does
not become Lord more than He was at the time He is sent forth, nor then begins
to be Lord and King, but what He is ever, that He then is made according to
the flesh; and, having redeemed all, He becomes thereby again Lord of quick
and dead. For Him henceforth do all things serve, and this is David's meaning
in the Psalm, 'The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit Thou on My right hand, until I
make Thine enemies Thy footstool[6]., For it was fitting that the redemption
should take place through none other than Him who is the Lord by nature, lest,
though created by the Son, we should name another Lord, and fall into the
Arian and Greek folly, serving the creature beyond the all-creating God[7].

15. This, at least according to my nothingness, is the meaning of this
passage; moreover, a true and a good meaning have these words of Peter as
regards the Jews. For Jews, astray from the truth, expect indeed the Christ as
coming, but do not reckon that He undergoes a passion, saying what they
understand not; 'We know that, when the Christ cometh, He abideth for ever,
and how sayest Thou, that He must be lifted up[8]?' Next they suppose Him, not
the Word coming in flesh, but a mere man, as were all the kings. The Lord
then, admonishing Cleopas and the other, taught them that the Christ must
first suffer; and the rest of the Jews that God was come among them, saying,
'If He called them gods to whom the word of God came, and the Scripture cannot
be broken, say ye of Him whom the Father hath sanctified and sent into the
world, Thou blasphemest, because I said, I am the Son of God[9]?'

16. Peter then, having learned this from the Saviour, in both points set
the Jews right, saying, "O Jews, the divine Scriptures announce that Christ
cometh, and you consider Him a mere man as one of David's descendants, whereas
what is written of Him shews Him to be not such as you say, but rather
announces Him as Lord and God, and immortal, and dispenser of life. For Moses
has said, 'Ye shall see your Life hanging before your eyes[1].' And David in
the hundred and ninth Psalm, 'The Lord said unto My Lord, Sit Thou on My right
hand, till I make Thine enemies Thy footstool[2];' and in the fifteenth, 'Thou
shalt not leave my soul in hades, neither shalt Thou suffer Thy Holy One to
see corruption[3].' Now that these passages have not David for their scope he
himself witnesses, avowing that He who was coming was His own Lord. Nay you
yourselves know that He is dead, and His remains are with you. That the Christ
then must be such as the Scriptures say, you will plainly confess yourselves.
For those announcements come from God, and in them falsehood cannot be. If
then ye can state that such a one has come before, and can prove him God from
the signs and wonders which he did, ye have reason for maintaining the
contest, but if ye are not able to prove His coming, but are expecting such an
one still, recognise the true season from Daniel, for his words relate to the
present time. But if this present season be that which was of old,
afore-announced, and ye have seen what has taken place among us, be sure that
this Jesus, whom ye crucified, this is the expected Christ. For David and all
the Prophets died, and the sepulchres of all are with you, but that
Resurrection which has now taken place, has shewn that the scope of these
passages is Jesus. For the crucifixion is denoted by 'Ye shall see your Life
hanging,' and the wound in the side by the spear answers to 'He was led as a
sheep to the slaughter[4],' and the resurrection, nay more, the rising of the
ancient dead from out their sepulchres (for these most of you have seen), this
is, 'Thou shall not leave My soul in hades,' and 'He swallowed up death in
strengths,' and again, 'God will wipe away.' For the signs which actually took
place shew that He who was in a body was God, and also the Life and Lord of
death. For it became the Christ, when giving life to others, Himself not to be
detained by death; but this could not have happened, had He, as you suppose,
been a mere man. But in truth He is the Son of God, for men are all subject to
death. Let no one therefore doubt, but the whole house of Israel know
assuredly that this Jesus, whom ye saw in shape a man, doing signs and such
works, as no one ever yet had done, is Himself the Christ and Lord of all. For
though made man, and called JESUS, as we said before, He received no loss by
that human passion, but rather, in being made man, He is manifested as Lord of
quick and dead. For since, as the Apostle said,' in the wisdom of God the
world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching
to save them that believe[6].' And so, since we men would not acknowledge God
through His Word, nor serve the Word of God our


natural Master, it pleased God to shew in man His own Lordship, and so to draw
all men to Himself. But to do this by a mere man be-seemed not 7; lest, having
man for our Lord, we should become worshippers of man[8]. Therefore the Word
Himself became flesh, and the Father called His Name Jesus, and so 'made' Him
Lord and Christ, as much as to say, 'He made Him to rule and to reign;' that
while in the Name of Jesus, whom ye crucified, every knee bows, we may
acknowledge as Lord and King both the Son and through Him the Father."

17. The Jews then, most of them[1], hearing this, came to themselves and
forthwith acknowledged the Christ, as it is written in the Acts. But, the
Ario-maniacs on the contrary choose to remain Jews, and to contend with Peter;
so let us proceed to place before them some parallel phrases; perhaps it may
have some effect upon them, to find what the usage is of divine Scripture. Now
that Christ is everlasting Lord and King, has become plain by what has gone
before, nor is there a man to doubt about it; for being Son of God, He must be
like Him[2], and being like, He is certainly both Lord and King, for He says
Himself, 'He that hath seen Me, hath seen the Father.' On the other hand, that
Peter's there words, 'He hath made Him both Lord and Christ,' do not imply the
Son to be a creature, may be seen from Isaac's blessing, though this
illustration is but a faint one for our subject. Now he said to Jacob, 'Become
thou lord over thy brother;' and to Esau, 'Behold, I have made him thy lord
3.' Now though the word 'made' had implied Jacob's essence and the coming into
being, even then it would not be right in them as much as to imagine the same
of the Word of God, for the Son of God is no creature as Jacob was; besides,
they might inquire and so rid themselves of that extravagance. But if they, do
not understand it of his essence nor of his coming into being, though Jacob
was by nature creature and work, is not their madness worse than the
Devil's[4], if what they dare not ascribe in consequence of a like phrase even
to things by nature originate, that they attach to the Son of God, saying that
He is a creature? For Isaac said 'Become' and 'I have made,' signifying
neither the coming into being nor the essence of Jacob (for after thirty years
and more from his birth he said this); but his authority over his brother,
which came to pass subsequently.

18. Much more then did Peter say this without meaning that the Essence of
the Word was a work; for he knew Him to be God's Son, confessing, 'Thou art
the Christ, the Son of the Living God[5];' but he meant His Kingdom and
Lordship which was formed and came to be according to grace, and was
relatively to us. For while saying this, he was not silent about the Son of
God's everlasting Godhead which is the Father's; but He had said already, that
He had poured the Spirit on us; now to give the Spirit with authority, is not
in the power of creature or work, but the Spirit is God's Gift[6]. For the
creatures are hallowed by the Holy Spirit; but the Son, in that He is not
hallowed by the Spirit, but on the contrary Himself the Giver of it to all 7,
is therefore no creature, but true Son of the Father. And yet He who gives the
Spirit, the same is said also to be made; that is, to be made among us Lord
because of His manhood, while giving the Spirit because He is God's Word. For
He ever was and is, as Son, so also Lord and Sovereign of all, being like in
all things[8] to the Father, and having all that is the Father's[9] as He
Himself has said[10].



Arian formula, a creature but not as one of the creatures; but each creature
is unlike all other creatures; and no creature can create. The Word then
differs from all creatures in that in which they, though otherwise differing,
all agree together, as creatures; viz. in being an efficient cause; in being
the one medium or instrumental agent in creation; moreover in being the
revealer of the Father; and in being the object of worship.

18. (continued). Now in the next place let us consider the passage in the
Proverbs, 'The Lord created me a beginning of His ways for His works[1];'
although in shewing that the Word is no work, it has been also shewn that He
is no creature. For it is the same


to say work or creature, so that the proof that He is no work is a proof also
that He is no creature. Whereas one may marvel at these men, thus devising
excuses to be irreligious, and nothing daunted at the refutations which meet
them upon every point. For first they set about deceiving the simple by their
questions 'Did He who is make from that which was not one that was not or one
that was 3?'and, 'Had you a son before begetting him[4]?'And when this had
been proved worthless,next they invented the question, 'Is the Unoriginate one
or two[5]?' Then, when in this they had been confuted, straightway they formed
another, 'Has He free-will and an alterable nature[6]?' But being forced to
give up this, next they set about saying, 'Being made so much better than the
Angels[7];' and when the truth exposed this pretence, now again, collecting
them all together, they think to recommend their heresy by 'work' and
'creature[8].' For they mean those very things over again, and are true to
their own perverseness, putting into various shapes and turning to and fro the
same errors, if so be to deceive some by that variousness. Although then
abundant proof has been given above of this their reckless expedient, yet,
since they make all places sound with this passage from the Proverbs, and to
many who are ignorant of the faith of Christians, seem to say somewhat it is
necessary to examine separately, 'He created' as well as 'Who was faithful to
Him that made Him[9];' that, as in all others, so in this text also, they may
be proved to have got no further than a fantasy.

19. And first let us see the answers, which they returned to Alexander of
blessed memory, in the outset, while their heresy was in course of formation.
They wrote thus: 'He is a creature, but not as one of the creatures; a work,
but not as one of the works; an offspring, but not as one of the offsprings
Let every one consider the profligacy and craft of this heresy; for knowing
the bitterness of its own malignity, it makes an effort to trick itself out
with fair words, and says, what indeed it means, that He is a creature, yet
thinks to be able to screen itself by adding, 'but not as one of the
creatures.' However, in thus writing, they rather convict themselves of
irreligion; for if, in your opinion, He is simply a creature, why add the
pretence[2], 'but not as one of the creatures?' And if He is simply a work,
how 'not as one of the works?' In which we may see the poison of the heresy.
For by saying, 'offspring, but not as one of the offsprings,' they reckon many
sons, and one of these they pronounce to be the Lord; so that according to
them He is no more Only begotten, but one out of many brethren, and is
called[3] offspring and son. What use then is this pretence of saying that He
is a creature and not a creature? for though ye shall say, Not as 'one of the
creatures,' I will prove this sophism of yours to be foolish. For still ye
pronounce Him to be one of the creatures; and whatever a man might say of the
other creatures, such ye hold concerning the Son, ye truly 'fools and
blind[4].' For is any one of the creatures just what another is[5], that ye
should predicate this of the Son as some prerogative[6]? And all the visible
creation was made in six days:--in the first, the light which He called day;
in the second the firmament; in the third, gathering together the waters, He
bared the dry land, and brought out the various fruits that are in it; and in
the fourth, He made the sun and the moon and all the host of the stars; and on
the fifth, He created the race of living things in the sea, and of birds in
the air; and on the sixth, He made the quadrupeds on the earth, and at length
man. And 'the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are
clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made[7]; and neither the
light is as the night, nor the sun as the moon; nor the irrational as rational
man; nor the Angels as the Thrones, nor the Thrones as the Authorities, yet
they are all creatures, but each of the things made according to its kind


exists and remains in its own essence, as it was made.

20. Let the Word then be excepted from the works, and as Creator be
restored to the Father, and be confessed to be Son by nature; or if simply He
be a creature, then let Him be assigned the same condition as the rest one
with another, and let them as well as He be said every one of them to be 'a
creature but not as one of the creatures, offspring or work, but not as one of
the works or offsprings.' For ye say that an offspring is the same as a work,
writing 'generated or made[1].' For though the Son excel the rest on a
comparison, still a creature He is nevertheless, as they are; since in those
which are by nature creatures one may find some excelling others. Star, for
instance, differs from star in glory, and the rest have all of them their
mutual differences when compared together; yet it follows not for all this
that some are lords, and others servants to the superior, nor that some are
efficient causes[2], others by them come into being, but all have a nature
which comes to be and is created, confessing in their own selves their Framer:
as David says in the Psalms, 'The heavens declare the glory of God, and the
firmament sheweth His handiworks;' and as Zorobabel the wise says, 'All the
earth calleth upon the Truth, and the heaven blesseth it: all works shake and
tremble at it[4].' But if the whole earth hymns the Framer and the Truth, and
blesses, and fears it, and its Framer is the Word, and He Himself says, 'I am
the Truths,' it follows that the Word is not a creature, but alone proper to
the Father, in whom all things are disposed, and He is celebrated by all, as
Framer; for 'I was by Him disposing[6];' and 'My Father worketh hitherto, and
I work[7].' And the word 'hitherto' shews His eternal existence in the Father
as the Word; for it is proper to the Word to work the Father's works and not
to be external to Him.

21. But if what the Father worketh, that the Son worketh also[1], and what
the Son createth, that is the creation of the Father, and yet the Son be the
Father's work or creature, then either He will work His own self, and will be
His own creator (since what the Father worketh is the Son's work also), which
is absurd and impossible; or, in that He creates and worketh the things of the
Father, He Himself is not a work nor a creature; for else being Himself an
efficient cause[2], He may cause that to be in the case of things caused,
which He Himself has become, or rather He may have no power to cause at all.

For how, if, as you hold, He is come of nothing, is He able to frame
things that are nothing into being? or if He, a creature, withal frames a
creature, the same will be conceivable in the case of every creature, viz. the
power to frame others. And if this pleases you, what is the need of the Word,
seeing that things inferior can be brought to be by things superior? or at all
events, every thing that is brought to be could have heard in the beginning
God's words, 'Become' and be made,' and so would have been framed. But this
is not so written, nor could it be. For none of things which are brought to be
is an efficient cause, but all things were made through the Word: who would
not have wrought all things, were He Himself in the number of the creatures.
For neither would the Angels be able to frame, since they too are creatures,
though Valentinus, and Marcion, and Basilides think so, and you are their
copyists; nor will the sun, as being a creature, ever make what is not into
what is; nor will man fashion man, nor stone devise stone, nor wood give
growth to wood. But God is He who fashions man in the womb, and fixes the
mountains, and makes wood grow; whereas man, as being capable of science, puts
together and arranges that material, and works things that are, as he has
learned; and is satisfied if they are but brought to be, and being conscious
of what his nature is, if he needs aught, knows to ask[3] it of God.

22. If then God also wrought and compounded out of materials, this indeed
is a gentile thought, according to which God is an artificer and not a Maker,
but yet even in that case let the Word work the materials, at the bidding and
in the service of God[1]. But if He


calls into existence things which existed not by His proper Word, then the
Word is not in the number of things non-existing and called; or we have to
seek another Word[2], through whom He too was called; for by the Word the
things which were not have come to be. And if through Him He creates and makes
He is not Himself of things created and made but rather He is the Word of the
Creator God and is known from the Father's works which He Himself worketh, to
be 'in the Father and the Father in Him,' and 'He that hath seen Him hath seen
the Father[3],' because the Son's Essence is proper to the Father, and He in
all points like Him[4]. How then does He create through Him, unless it be His
Word and His Wisdom? and how can He be Word and Wisdom, unless He be the
proper offspring of His Essences, and did not come to be, as others, out of
nothing? And whereas all things are from nothing, and are creatures, and the
Son, as they say, is one of the creatures too and of things which once were
not, how does He alone reveal the Father, and none else but He know the
Father? For could He, a work possibly know the Father, then must the Father be
also known by all according to the proportion of the measures of each: for all
of them are works as He is. But if it be impossible for things originate
either to see or to know, for the sight and the knowledge of Him surpasses all
(since God Himself says, 'No one shall see My face and live[6]'), yet the Son
has declared, 'No one knoweth the Father, save the Son[7],' therefore the Word
is different from all things originate, in that He alone knows and alone sees
the Father, as He says, 'Not that any one hath seen the Father, save He that
is from the Father,' and 'no one knoweth the Father save the Son[8],' though
Arius think otherwise. How then did He alone know, except that He alone was
proper to Him? and how proper, if He were a creature, and not a true Son from
Him? (For one must not mind saying often the same thing for religion's sake.)
Therefore it is irreligious to think that the Son is one of all things; and
blasphemous and unmeaning to call Him 'a creature, but not as one of the
creatures, and a work, but not as one of the works, an offspring, but not as
one of the offsprings;' for how not as one of these, if, as they say, He was
not before His generation 9? for it is proper to the creatures and works not
to be before their origination, and to subsist out of nothing, even though
they excel other creatures in glory; for this difference of one with another
will be found in all creatures, which appears in those which are visible[10].

23. Moreover if, as the heretics hold, the Son were creature or work, but
not as one of the creatures, because of His excelling them in glory, it were
natural that Scripture should describe and display Him by a comparison in His
favour with the other works; for instance, that it should say that He is
greater than Archangels, and more honourable than the Thrones, and both
brighter than sun and moon, and greater than the heavens. But he is not in
fact thus referred to; but the Father shews Him to be His own proper and only
Son, saying, 'Thou art My Son,' and 'This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well
pleased[1]' Accordingly the Angels ministered unto Him, as being one beyond
themselves; and they worship Him, not as being greater in glory, but as being
some one beyond all the creatures, and beyond themselves, and alone the
Father's proper Son according to essence[2]. For if He was worshipped as
excelling them in glory, each of things subservient ought to worship what
excels itself. But this is not the case 3; for creature does not worship
creature, but servant Lord, and creature God. Thus Peter the Apostle hinders
Cornelius who would worship him, saying, 'I myself also am a man[4].' And an
Angel, when John would worship him in the Apocalypse, hinders him, saying,
'See thou do it not; for I am thy fellow-servant, and of thy brethren the
Prophets, and of them that keep the sayings of this book: worship God[5].'
Therefore to God alone appertains worship, and this the very Angels know, that
though they excel other beings in glory, yet they are all creatures and not to
be worshipped[6], but worship the Lord. Thus Manoah, the father of


Samson, wishing to offer sacrifice to the Angel, was thereupon hindered by
him, saying, 'Offer not to me, but to God[7].' On the other hand, the Lord is
worshipped even by the Angels; for it is written, 'Let all the Angels of God
worship Him[8];' and by all the Gentiles, as Isaiah says, 'The labour of Egypt
and merchandize of Ethiopia and of the Subeans, men of stature, shall come
over unto thee, and they shall be thy servants;' and then, 'they shall fall
down unto thee, and shall make supplication unto thee, saying, Surely God is
in thee, and there is none else, there is no God[9].' And He accepts His
disciples' worship, and certifies them who He is, saying, 'Call ye Me not Lord
and Master? and ye say well, for so I am.' And when Thomas said to Him, 'My
Lord and my God[10] He allows his words, or rather accepts him instead of
hindering him. For He is, as the other Prophets declare, and David says in the
Psalm, 'the Lord of hosts, the Lord of Sabaoth,' which is interpreted, 'the
Lord of Armies,' and God True and Almighty, though the Arians burst[11] at the

24. But He had not been thus worshipped, nor been thus spoken of, were He
a creature merely. But now since He is not a creature, but the proper
offspring of the Essence of that God who is worshipped, and His Son by nature,
therefore He is worshipped and is believed to be God, and is Lord of armies,
and in authority, and Almighty, as the Father is; for He has said Himself,
'All things that the Father hath, are Mine[1].' For it is proper to the Son,
to have the things of the Father, and to be such that the Father is seen in
Him, and that through Him all things were made, and that the salvation of all
comes to pass and consists in Him.