Four discourses against the arians

Chapters XXI-XXII
 
By Athanasius
From: http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/2816.htm

CHAPTER XXI.

TEXTS EXPLAINED; SIXTHLY, PROVERBS

viii. 22, CONTINUED.

Our Lord not said in Scripture to be 'created,' or the works to be 'begotten.'
'In the beginning' means in the case of the works 'from the beginning.'
Scripture passages explained. We are made by God first, begotten next;
creatures by nature, sons by grace. Christ begotten first, made or created
afterwards. Sense of 'First-born of the dead;' of 'First-born among many
brethren;' of 'First-born of all creation,' contrasted with 'Only-begotten.'
Further interpretation of 'beginning of ways,' and 'for the works.' Why a
creature could not redeem; why redemption was necessary at all. Texts which
contrast the Word and the works.

57. FOR had He been a creature, He had not said, 'He begets me,' for the
creatures are from without, and are works of the Maker; but the Offspring is
not from without nor a work, but from the Father, and proper to His Essence.
Wherefore they are creatures; this God's Word and Only-begotten Son. For
instance, Moses did not say of the creation, 'In the beginning He begat,' nor
'In the beginning was,' but 'In the beginning God created the heaven and the
earth(1).' Nor did David say in the Psalm, 'Thy hands have "begotten me,"' but
'made me and fashioned me(2),' everywhere applying the word 'made' to the
creatures. But to the Son contrariwise; for he has not said 'I made,' but 'I
begat(3),' and 'He begets me,' and 'My heart uttered a good Word(4).' And in
the instance of the creation, 'In the beginning He made;' but in the instance
of the Son, 'In the beginning was the Word(5).' And there is this difference,
that the creatures are made upon the beginning, and have a beginning of
existence connected with an interval; wherefore also what is said of them, 'In
the beginning He made,' is as much as saying of them, 'From the beginning He
made:'--as the Lord, knowing that which He had made, taught, when He silenced
the Pharisees, with the words, 'He which made them from the beginning, made
them male and female(6);' for from some beginning, when they were not yet,
were originate things brought into being and created. This too the Holy Spirit
has signified in the Psalms, saying, 'Thou, Lord, at the beginning hast laid
the foundation of the earth(7);' and again, 'O think upon Thy congregation
which Thou hast purchased from the beginning(8);' now it is plain that what
takes place at the beginning, has a beginning of creation, and that from some
beginning God purchased His congregation. And that In the beginning He made,'
from his saying made,' means 'began to make,' Moses himself shews by saying,
after the completion of all things, 'And God blessed the seventh day and
sanctified it, because that in it He had rested from all His work which God
began to make(9).' Therefore the creatures began to be made; but the Word of
God, not having beginning of being, certainly did not begin to be, nor begin
to come to be, but was ever. And the works have their beginning in their
making, and their beginning precedes their coming to be; but the Word, not
being of things which come to be, rather comes to be Himself the Framer of
those which have a beginning. And the being of things originate is measured by
their becoming(10), and from some beginning does God begin to make them
through the Word, that it may be known that they were not before their
origination; but the Word has His being, in no other beginning(11) than the
Father, whom(12) they allow to be without beginning, so that He too exists
without beginning m the Father, being His Offspring, not His creature.

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58. Thus does divine Scripture recognise the difference between the
Offspring and things made, and shew that the Offspring is a Son, not begun
from any beginning, but eternal; but that the thing made, as an external work
of the Maker, began to come into being. John therefore delivering divine
doctrine(1) about the Son, and knowing the difference of the phrases, said
not, 'In the beginning has become' or 'been made,' but 'In the beginning was
the Word;' that we might understand 'Offspring' by 'was,' and not account of
Him by intervals, but believe the Son always and eternally to exist. And with
these proofs, how, O Arians, misunderstanding the passage in Deuteronomy, did
you venture a fresh act of irreligion(2) against the Lord, saying that 'He is
a work,' or 'creature,' or indeed 'offspring?' for offspring and work you take
to mean the same thing; but here too you shall be shewn to be as unlearned as
you are irreligious. Your first passage is this, 'Is not He thy Father that
bought thee? did He not make thee and create thee(3)? And shortly after in the
same Song he says, 'God that begat thee thou didst desert, and forgattest God
that nourished thee(4).' Now the meaning conveyed in these passages is very
remarkable; for he says not first 'He begat,' lest that term should be taken
as indiscriminate with 'He made,' and these men should have a pretence for
saying, 'Moses tells us indeed that God said from the beginning, "Let Us make
man(5)," but he soon after says himself, 'God that begat thee thou didst
desert,' as if the terms were indifferent; for offspring and work are the
same. But after the words 'bought' and 'made,' he has added last of all
'begat,' that the sentence might carry its own interpretation; for in the word
'made' he accurately denotes what belongs to men by nature, to be works and
things made; but in the word 'begat' he shews God's lovingkindness exercised
towards men after He had created them. And since they have proved ungrateful
upon this, thereupon Moses reproaches them, saying first, 'Do ye thus requite
the Lord?' and then adds, 'Is not He thy Father that bought thee? Did He not
make thee and create thee(6)?' And next he says, 'They sacrificed unto devils,
not to God, to gods whom they knew not. New gods and strange came up, whom
your fathers knew not; the God that begat thee thou didst desert (7). '

59. For God not only created them to be men, but called them to be sons,
as having begotten them. For the term 'begat' is here as elsewhere expressive
of a Son, as He says by the Prophet, 'I begat sons and exalted them;' and
generally, when Scripture wishes to signify a son, it does so, not by the term
'created,' but undoubtedly by that of 'begat.' And this John seems to say, 'He
gave to them power to become children of God, even to them that believe on His
Name; which were begotten not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of
the will of man, but of God(1).' And here too the cautious distinction(2) is
well kept up, for first he says 'become,' because they are not called sons by
nature but by adoption; then he says 'were begotten,' because they too had
received at any rate the name of son. But the People, as says the Prophet,
'despised' their Benefactor. But this is God's kindness to man, that of whom
He is Maker, of them according to grace He afterwards becomes Father also;
becomes, that is, when men, His creatures, receive into their hearts, as the
Apostle says, 'the Spirit of His Son, crying, Abba, Father(3).' And these are
they who, having received the Word, gained power from Him to become sons of
God; for they could not become sons, being by nature creatures, otherwise than
by receiving the Spirit of the natural and true Son. Wherefore, that this
might be, 'The Word became flesh,' that He might make man capable of Godhead.
This same meaning may be gained also from the Prophet Malachi, who says, 'Hath
not One God created us? Have we not all one Father(4)?' for first he puts
'created,' next 'Father,' to shew, as the other writers, that from the
beginning we were creatures by nature, and God is our Creator through the
Word; but afterwards we were made sons, and thenceforward God the Creator
becomes our Father also. Therefore 'Father' is proper to the Son; and not
'creature,' but 'Son' is proper to the Father. Accordingly this passage also
proves, that we are not sons by nature, but the Son who is in us(5); and
again, that God is not our Father by nature, but of that Word in us, in whom
and because of whom we 'cry, Abba, Father(6).' And so in like manner, the
Father calls them sons in whomsoever He sees His own Son, and says, 'I begat;'
since begetting is significant of a Son, and making is indicative of the
works. And thus it is that we are not

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begotten first, but made; for it is written, 'Let Us make man(7);' but
afterwards, on receiving the grace of the Spirit, we are said thenceforth to
be begotten also; just as the great Moses in his Song with an apposite meaning
says first 'He bought,' and afterwards 'He begat;' lest, hearing 'He begat,'
they might forget their own original nature; but that they might know that
from the beginning they are creatures, but when according to grace they are
said to be begotten, as sons, still no less than before are men works
according to nature.

60. And that creature and offspring are not the same, but differ from each
other in nature and the signification of the words, the Lord Himself shews
even in the Proverbs. For having said, 'The Lord treated me a beginning of His
ways;' He has added, 'But before all the hills He begat me.' If then the Word
were by nature and in His Essence(1) a creature, and there were no difference
between offspring and creature, He would not have added, 'He begat me,' but
had been satisfied with 'He created,' as if that term implied the begat;' but,
as it is, after saying, 'He created me a beginning of His ways for His works,'
He has added, not simply 'begat me,' but with the connection of the
conjunction 'But,' as guarding thereby the term 'created,' when he says, 'But
before all the hills He begat me.' For 'begat me' succeeding in such close
connection to 'created me,' makes the meaning one, and shews that 'created' is
said with an object(2), but that 'begat me' is prior to 'treated me.' For as,
if He had said the reverse, 'The Lord begat me,' and went on, 'But before the
hills He created me,' 'created' would certainly precede 'begat,' so having
said first 'created,' and then added 'But before all the hills He begat me,'
He necessarily shews that 'begat preceded 'created.' For in saying, 'Before
all lie begat me,' He intimates that He is other than all things; it having
been shewn to be trues in an earlier part of this book, that no one creature
was made before another, but all things originate subsisted at once together
upon one and the same command(4). Therefore neither do the words which follow
'created,' also follow 'begat me;' but in the case of 'created' is added
'beginning of ways,' but of 'begat me,' He says not, 'He begat me as a
beginning,' but 'before all He begat me.' But He who is before all is not a
beginning of all, but is other than all(5); but if other than all (in which
'all' the beginning of all is included), it follows that He is other than the
creatures; and it becomes a clear point, that the Word, being other than all
things and before all, afterwards is created 'a beginning of the ways for
works,' because He became man, that, as the Apostle has said, He who is the
'Beginning' and 'First-born from the dead, in all things might have the
preeminence(6).'

61. Such then being the difference between 'created' and 'begat me,' and
between 'beginning of ways' and 'before all,' God, being first Creator, next,
as has been said, becomes Father of men, because of His Word dwelling in them.
But in the case of the Word the reverse; for God, being His Father by nature,
becomes afterwards both His Creator and Maker, when the Word puts on that
flesh which was created and made, and becomes man. For, as men, receiving the
Spirit of the Son, become children through Him, so the Word of God, when He
Himself puts on the flesh of man, then is said both to be created and to have
been made. If then we are by nature sons, then is He by nature creature and
work; but if we become sons by adoption and grace, then has the Word also,
when in grace towards us He became man, said, 'The Lord created me.' And in
the next place, when He put on a created nature and became like us in body,
reasonably was He therefore called both our Brother and 'First-born(1).' For
though it was after us(2) that He was made man for us, and our brother by
similitude of body, still He is therefore called and is the 'First-born' of
us, because, all men being lost, according to the transgression of Adam, His
flesh before all others was saved and liberated, as being the Word's body(3);
and henceforth we, becoming incorporate with It, are saved after Its pattern.
For in It the Lord becomes our guide to the Kingdom of Heaven and to His own
Father, saying, 'I am the way' and 'the door(4),' and through Me all must
enter.' Whence also is He said to be 'First-born from the dead(5),' not that
He died before us, for we had died first; but because having undergone death
for us and abolished it, He was the first to rise, as man, for our sakes
raising His own Body. Henceforth He having risen, we too from Him and because
of Him rise in due course from the dead.

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62. But if He is also called 'First-born of the creation(1),' still this
is not as if He were levelled to the creatures, and only first of them in
point of time (for how should that be, since He is 'Only-begotten?'), but it
is because of the Word's condescension(2) to the creatures, according to which
He has become the 'Brother' of 'many.' For the term 'Only-begotten' is used
where there are no brethren, but 'First-born(3)' because of brethren.
Accordingly it is nowhere written in the Scriptures, 'the first-born of God,'
nor 'the creature of God;' but 'Only-begotten' and 'Son' and 'Word' and
'Wisdom,' refer to Him as proper to the Father(4). Thus, 'We have seen His
glory, the glory as of the Only-be-gotten of the Father(5);' and 'God sent His
Only-begotten Son(6);' and 'O Lord, Thy Word endureth for ever(7);' and 'In
the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God;' and 'Christ the Power
of God and the Wisdom of God(8);' and 'This is My beloved Son;' and 'Thou art
the Christ, the Son of the Living God(9).' But ' first-born' implied the
descent to the creation(10); for of it has He been called first-born; and 'He
created' implies His grace towards the works, for for them is He created. If
then He is Only-begotten, as indeed He is, 'First-born' needs some
explanation; but if He be really First-born, then He is not Only-begotten(10).
For the same cannot be both Only-begotten and First-born, except in different
relations; -that is, Only-begotten, because of His generation from the Father,
as has been said; and First-born, because of His condescension to the creation
and His making the many His brethren. Certainly, those two terms being
inconsistent with each other, one should say that the attribute of being
Only-begot-ten has justly the preference in the instance of the Word, in that
there is no other Word, or other Wisdom, but He alone is very Son of the
Father. Moreover(11), as was before(12) said, not in connection with any
reason, but absolutely(13) it is said of Him, 'The Only-begotten Son which is
in the bosom of the Father(14);' but the word 'First-born' has again the
creation as a reason in connection with it, which Paul proceeds to say, 'for
in Him all things were created(15).' But if all the creatures were created in
Him, He is other than the creatures, and is not a creature, but the Creator of
the creatures.

63. Not then because He was from the Father was He called 'First-born,'
but because in Him the creation came to be; and as before the creation He was
the Son, through whom was the creation, so also before He was called the
First-born of the whole creation, not the less was the Word Himself with God
and the Word was God. But this also not understanding, these irreligious men
go about saying, 'If He is First-born of all creation, it is plain that He too
is one of the creation.' Senseless men! if He is simply 'First-born(1) of the
whole creation,' then He is other than the whole creation; for he says not,
'He is First-born above the rest of the creatures,' lest He be reckoned to be
as one of the creatures, but it is written, 'of the whole creation,' that He
may appear other than the creation(2). Reuben, for instance, is not said to be
first-born of all the children of Jacob(3), but of Jacob himself and his
brethren; lest he should be thought to be some other beside the children of
Jacob. Nay, even concerning the Lord Himself the Apostle says not, 'that He
may become First-born of

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all,' lest He be thought to bear a body other than ours, but 'among many
brethren(4),' because of the likeness of the flesh. If then the Word also were
one of the creatures, Scripture would have said of Him also that He was
First-born of other creatures; but in fact, the saints saying that He is
'First-born of the whole creation(5),' the Son of God is plainly shewn to be
other than the whole creation and not a creature. For if He is a creature, He
will be First-born of Himself. How then is it possible, O Arians, for Him to
be before and after Himself? next, if He is a creature, and the whole creation
through Him came to be, and in Him consists, how can He both create the
creation and be one of the things which consist in Him? Since then such a
notion is in itself unseemly, it is proved against them by the truth, that He
is called 'First-born among many brethren' because of the relationship of the
flesh, and 'First-born from the dead,' because the resurrection of the dead is
from Him and after Him; and 'First-born of the whole creation,' because of the
Father's love to man, which brought it to pass that in His Word not, only 'all
things consist(6),' but the creation itself, of which the Apostle speaks,
'waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God, shall be delivered' one
time 'from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children
of God(7).' Of this creation thus delivered, the Lord will be First-born, both
of it and of all those who are made children, that by His being called first,
those that come after Him may abide(8), as depending on the Word as a
beginning(9).

64. And I think that the irreligious men themselves will be shamed from
such a thought; for if the case stands not as we have said, but they will rule
it that He is 'First-born of the whole creation' as in essence--a creature
among creatures, let them reflect that they will be conceiving Him as brother
and fellow of the things without reason and life. For of the whole creation
these also are parts; and the 'First-born' must be first indeed in point of
time but only thus, and in kind and similitude(1) must be the same with all.
How then can they say this without exceeding all measures of irreligion? or
who will endure them, if this is their language? or who can but hate them even
imagining such things? For it is evident to all, that neither for Himself, as
being a creature, nor as having any connection according to essence with the
whole creation, has He been called 'First-born' of it: but because the Word,
when at the beginning He framed the creatures, condescended to things
originate, that it might be possible for them to come to be. For they could
not have endured His nature, which was untempered splendour, even that of the
Father, unless condescending by the Father's love for man He had supported
them and taken hold of them and brought them into existence(2); and next,
because, by this condescension of the Word, the creation too is made a sons
through Him, that He might be in all respects 'First-born' of it, as has been
said, both in creating, and also in being brought for the sake of all into
this very world. For so it is written, 'When He bringeth the First-born into
the world, He saith, Let all the Angels of God worship Him(4).' Let Christ's
enemies hear and tear themselves to pieces, because His coming into the world
is what makes Him called 'First-born' of all; and thus the Son is the Father's
'Only-begotten,' because He alone is from Him, and He is the 'First-born of
creations,' because of this adoption of all as sons(5). And as He is
First-born among brethren and rose from the dead 'the first fruits of them
that slept(6);' so, since it became Him 'in all things to have the
preeminence(7),' therefore He is created 'a beginning of ways,' that we,
walking along it and entering through Him who says, 'I am the Way' and 'the
Door,' and partaking of the knowledge of the Father, may also hear the words,
'Blessed are the undefiled in the Way,' and 'Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they shall see God(8).'

65. And thus since the truth declares that the Word is not by nature a
creature, it is fitting now to say, in what sense He is 'beginning of

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ways.' For when the first way, which was through Adam, was lost, and in place
of paradise we deviated unto death, and heard the words, 'Dust thou art, and
unto dust(1) shall thou return,' therefore the Word of God, who loves man,
puts on Him created flesh at the Father's will(2), that whereas the first man
had made it dead through the transgression, He Himself might quicken it in the
blood of His own body(3), and might open 'for us a way new and living,' as the
Apostle says, 'through the veil, that is to say, His flesh(4);' which he
signifies elsewhere thus, 'Wherefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new
creation; old things are passed away, behold all things are become new(5).'
But if a new creation has come to pass, some one must be first of this
creation; now a man, made of earth only, such as we are become from the
transgression, he could not be. For in the first creation, men had become
unfaithful, and through them that first creation had been lost; and there was
need of some one else to renew the first creation, and preserve the new which
had come to be. Therefore from love to man none other than the Lord, the
'beginning' of the new creation, is created as 'the Way,' and consistently
says,' The Lord created me a beginning of ways for His works;' that man might
walk no longer according to that first creation, but there being as it were a
beginning of a new creation, and with the Christ 'a beginning of its ways,' we
might follow Him henceforth, who says to us,' I am the Way:'--as the blessed
Apostle teaches in Colossians, saying, 'He is the Head of the body, the
Church, who is the Beginning, the First-born from the dead, that in all things
He might have the preeminence.'

66. For if, as has been said, because of the resurrection from the dead He
is called a beginning, and then a resurrection took place when He, bearing our
flesh, had given Himself to death for us, it is evident that His words, 'He
created me a beginning of ways,' is indicative not of His essence(6), but of
His bodily presence. For to the body death was proper(7); and in like manner
to the bodily presence are the words proper, 'The Lord created me a beginning
of His ways.' For since the Saviour was thus created according to the flesh,
and had become a beginning of things new created, and had our first fruits,
viz. that human flesh which He took to Himself, therefore after Him, as is
fit, is created also the people to come, David saying, 'Let this be written
for another generation, and the people that shall be created shall praise the
Lord(2).' And again in the twenty-first Psalm, 'The generation to come shall
declare unto the Lord, and they shall declare His righteousness, unto a people
that shall be born whom the Lord made(3).' For we shall no more hear, 'In the
day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die but 'Where I am, there ye'
shall 'be also;' so that we may say, 'We are His workmanship, created unto
good works(5).' And again, since God's work, that is, man, though created
perfect, has become wanting through the transgression, and dead by sin, and it
was unbecoming that the work of God should remain imperfect (wherefore all the
saints were praying concerning this, for instance in the hundred and
thirty-seventh Psalm, saying, 'Lord, Thou shall requite for me; despise not
then the works of Thine hands(6)); therefore the perfect(7) Word of God puts
around Him an imperfect body, and is said to be created 'for the works;' that,
paying the debts in our stead, He might, by Himself, perfect. what was wanting
to man. Now immortality was wanting to him, and the way to paradise. This then
is what the Saviour says, 'I glorified Thee on the earth, I perfected the work
which Thou hast given Me to do(9);' and again, 'The works which the Father
hath given Me to perfect, the same works that I do, bear witness of Me;' but
'the works(10)' He here says that the Father had given Him to perfect, are
those for which He is created, saying in the Proverbs, 'The Lord created me a
beginning of His ways, for His works;' for it is all one to say, 'The Father
hath given me the works,' and 'The Lord created me for the works.'

67. When then received He the works to perfect, O God's enemies? for from
this also 'He created' will be understood. If ye say, 'At the beginning when
He brought them into being out of what was not,' it is an untruth; for they
were not yet made; whereas He appears to speak as taking what was already in
being. Nor is it pious to refer to the time

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which preceded the Word's becoming flesh, lest His coming should thereupon
seem superfluous, since for the sake of these works that coming took place.
Therefore it remains for us to say that when He has become man, then He took
the works. For then He perfected them, by healing our wounds and vouchsafing
to us the resurrection from the dead. But if, when the Word became flesh, then
were given to Him the works, plainly when He became man, then also is He
created for the works. Not of His essence then is 'He created' indicative, as
has many times been said, but of His bodily generation. For then, because the
works were become imperfect and mutilated from the transgression, He is said
in respect to the body to be created; that by perfecting them and making them
whole, He might present the Church unto the Father, as the Apostle says, 'not
having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but holy and without blemish(1).'
Mankind then is perfected in Him and restored, as it was made at the
beginning, nay, with greater grace. For, on rising from the dead, we shall no
longer fear death, but shall ever reign in Christ in the heavens. And this has
been done, since the own Word of God Himself, who is from the Father, has put
on the flesh, and become man. For if, being a creature, He had become man, man
had remained just what he was, not joined to God; for how had a work been
joined to the Creator by a work(2)? or what succour had come from like to
like, when one as well as other needed it(3)? And how, were the Word a
creature, had He power to undo God's sentence, and to remit sin, whereas it
is written in the Prophets, that this is God's doing? For 'who is a God like
unto Thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by transgression (4)?' For
whereas God has said, 'Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return(5),' men
have become mortal; how then could things originate undo sin? but the Lord is
He who has undone it, as He says Himself, 'Unless the Son shall make you
free(6);' and the Son, who made free, has shewn in truth that He is no
creature, nor one of things originate, but the proper Word and Image of the
Father's Essence, who at the beginning sentenced, and alone remitteth sins.
For since it is said in the Word, 'Dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt
return,' suitably through the Word Himself and in Him the freedom and the
undoing of the condemnation has come to pass.

68. 'Yet,' they say, 'though the Saviour were a creature, God was able to
speak the word only and undo the curse.' And so another will tell them in like
manner, 'Without His coming among us at all, God was able just to speak and
undo the curse;' but we must consider what was expedient for mankind, and not
what simply is possible with God(1). He could have destroyed, before the ark
of Noah, the then transgressors; but He did it after the ark. He could too,
without Moses, have spoken the word only and have brought the people out of
Egypt; but it pro-fired to do it through Moses. And God was able without the
judges to save His people; but it was profitable for the people that for a
season judges should be raised up to them. The Saviour too might have come
among us from the beginning, or on His coming might not have been delivered to
Pilate; but He came 'at the fulness of the ages(2),' and when sought for said,
'I am He(3).' For what He does, that is profitable for men, and was not
fitting in any other way; and what is profitable and fitting, for that He
provides(4). Accordingly He came, not 'that He might be ministered unto, but
that He might minister(5),' and might work our salvation. Certainly He was
able to speak the Law from heaven, but He saw that it was expedient to men for
Him to speak from Sinai; and that He has done, that it might be possible for
Moses to go up, and for them hearing the word near them the rather to believe.
Moreover, the good reason of what He did may be seen thus; if God had but
spoken, because it was in His power, and so the curse had been undone, the
power had been shewn of Him who gave the word, but man had become such as Adam
was before the transgression, having received grace from without(6), and not
having it united to the body; (for he was such when he was placed in Paradise)
nay, perhaps had become worse,

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because he had learned to transgress. Such then being his condition, had he
been seduced by the serpent, there had been fresh need for God to give command
and undo the curse; and thus the need had become interminable(7), and men had
remained under guilt not less than before, as being enslaved to sin; and, ever
sinning, would have ever needed one to pardon them, and had never become free,
being in themselves flesh, and ever worsted by the Law because of the
infirmity of the flesh.

69. Again, if the Son were a creature, man had remained mortal as before,
not being joined to God; for a creature had not joined creatures to God, as
seeking itself one to join it(1); nor would a portion of the creation have
been the creation's salvation, as needing salvation itself. To provide against
this also, He sends His own Son, and He becomes Son of Man, by taking created
flesh; that, since all were under sentence of death, He, being other than them
all, might Himself for all offer to death His own body; and that henceforth,
as if all land died through Him, the word of that sentence might be
accomplished (for 'all died(2)' in Christ), and all through Him might
thereupon become free from sin and from the curse which came upon it, and
might truly abide(3) for ever, risen from the dead and clothed in immortality
and incorruption. For the Word being clothed in the flesh, as has many times
been explained, every bite of the serpent began to be utterly staunched from
out it; and whatever evil sprung from the motions of the flesh, to be cut
away, and with these death also was abolished, the companion of sin, as the
Lord Himself says(4), 'The prince of this world cometh, and findeth nothing in
Me;' and 'For this end was He manifested,' as John has written, 'that He might
destroy the works of the devil(5).' And these being destroyed from the flesh,
we all were thus liberated by the kinship of the flesh, and for the future
were joined, even we, to the Word. And being joined to God, no longer do we
abide upon earth; but, as He Himself has said, where He is, there shall we be
also; and henceforward we shall fear no longer the serpent, for he was brought
to nought when he was assailed by the Saviour in the flesh, and heard Him say,
'Get thee behind Me, Satan(6),' and thus he is cast out of paradise into the
eternal fire. Nor shall we have to watch against woman beguiling us, for 'in
the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are as the
Angels(7);' and in Christ Jesus it shall be 'a new creation,' and 'neither
male nor female, but all and in all Christ(8);' and where Christ is, what
fear, what danger can still happen?

70. But this would not have come to pass, had the Word been a creature;
for with a creature, the devil, himself a creature, would have ever continued
the battle, and man, being between the two, had been ever in peril of death,
having none in whom and through whom he might be joined to God and delivered
from all fear. Whence the truth shews us that the Word is not of things
originate, but rather Himself their Framer. For therefore did He assume the
body originate and human, that having renewed it as its Framer, He might deify
it(1) in Himself, and thus might introduce us all into the kingdom of heaven
after His likeness. For man had not been deified if joined to a creature, or
unless the Son were very God; nor had man been brought into the Father's
presence, unless He had been His natural and true Word who had put on the
body. And as we had not been delivered from sin and the curse, unless it had
been by nature human flesh, which the Word put on (for we should have had
nothing common with what was foreign), so also the man had not been deified,
unless the Word who became flesh had been by nature from the Father and true
and proper to Him. For therefore the union was of this kind, that He might
unite what is man by nature to Him who is in the nature of the Godhead, and
his salvation and deification might be sure. Therefore let those who deny that
the Son is from the Father by nature and proper to His Essence, deny also that
He took true human flesh(2) of Mary Ever-Virgin(3); for in neither case had it
been of profit to us men, whether the Word were not true and naturally Son

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of God, or the flesh not true which He assumed. But surely He took true flesh,
though Valentinus rave; yea the Word was by nature Very God, though
Ariomaniacs rave(4); and in that flesh has come to pass the beginnings of our
new creation, He being created man for our sake, and having made for us that
new way, as has been said.

71. The Word then is neither creature nor work; for creature, thing made,
work, are all one; and were He creature and thing made, He would also be work.
Accordingly He has not said, 'He created Me a work,' nor 'He made Me with the
works,' lest He should appear to be in nature and essence(6) a creature; nor,
'He created Me to make works,' lest, on the other hand, according to the
perverseness of the irreligious, He should seem as an instrument(7) made for
our sake. Nor again has He declared, 'He created Me before the works,' lest,
as He really is before all, as an Offspring, so, if created also before the
works, He should give 'Offspring' and 'He created' the same meaning. But He
has said with exact discrimination(8), 'for the works;' as much as to say,
'The Father has made Me, into flesh, that I might be man,' which again shews
that He is not a work but an offspring. For as he who comes into a house, is
not part of the house, but is other than the house, so He who is created for
the works, must be by nature other than the works. But if otherwise, as you
hold, O Arians, the Word of God be a work, by what(9) Hand and Wisdom did He
Himself come into being? for all things that came to be, came by the Hand and
Wisdom of God, who Himself says, 'My hand hath made all these things(1);' and
David says in the Psalm, 'And Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the
foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Thy hands(2);' and
again, in the hundred and forty-second Psalm, 'I do remember the time past, I
muse upon all Thy works, yea I exercise myself in the works of Thy hands(3).'
Therefore if by the Hand of God the works are wrought, and it is written that
'all things were made through the Word,' and 'without Him was not made one
thing(4),' and again, 'One Lord Jesus, through whom are all things,' and 'in
Him all things consist(6),' it is very plain that the Son cannot be a work,
but He is the Hand(7) of God and the Wisdom. This knowing, the martyrs in
Babylon, Ananias, Azarias, and Misael, arraign the Arian irreligion. For when
they say, 'O all ye works of the Lord, bless ye the Lord,' they recount things
in heaven, things on earth, and the whole creation, as works; but the Son they
name not. For they say not, 'Bless, O Word, and praise, O Wisdom;' to shew
that all other things are both praising and are works; but the Word is not a
work nor of those that praise, but is praised with the Father and worshipped
and confessed as God(8), being His Word and Wisdom, and of the works the
Framer. This too the Spirit has declared in the Psalms with a most apposite
distinction, 'the Word of the Lord is true, and all His works are
faithful(9);' as in another Psalm too He says, 'O Lord, how manifold are Thy
works! in Wisdom hast Thou made them all(10).'

72. But if the Word were a work, then certainly He as others had been made
in Wisdom; nor would Scripture distinguish Him from the works, nor while it
named them works, preach Him as Word and own Wisdom of God. But, as it is,
distinguishing Him from the works, He shews that Wisdom is Framer of the
works, and not a work. This distinction Paul also observes, writing to the
Hebrews, 'The Word of God is quick and powerful, and sharper than any
two-edged sword, reaching even to the dividing of soul and spirit, joints and
marrow, and a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart, neither is
there any creature hidden before Him, but all things are naked and open unto
the eyes of Him with whom is our account(1).' For behold he calls things
originate 'creature;' but the Son he recognises as the Word of God, as if He
were other than the creatures. And again saying, 'All things are naked and
open to the eyes of Him with whom is our account,' he signifies that He is
other than all of them. For hence it is that He judges, but each of all things
originate is bound to give account to Him. And so also, when the whole
creation is groaning together with us in order to be set free from the bondage
of corruption, the Son is thereby shewn to be other than the creatures. For if
He were creature, He too would be one of those who groan, and would need one
who should bring adoption and deliverance to Himself as well as others. But if
the whole creation groans together, for the sake of freedom from the bondage
of corruption, whereas the Son is not of those that groan nor of those who
need freedom, but He it is who gives sonship and freedom to all, saying to the
Jews of His

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time(2), 'The servant remains not in the house for ever, but the Son remaineth
for ever; if then the Son shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed(3);' it
is clearer than the light from these considerations also, that the Word of God
is not a creature but true Son, and by nature genuine, of the Father.
Concerning then 'The Lord hath created me a beginning of the ways,' this is
sufficient, as I think, though in few words, to afford matter to the learned
to frame more ample refutations of the Arian heresy.

CHAPTER XXII.

TEXTS EXPLAINED; SIXTHLY, THE CONTEXT

or PROVERBS viii. 22, viz. 22--30.

It is right to interpret this passage by the Regula Fidei. 'Founded' is used
in contrast to superstructure; and it implies, as in the case of stones in
building, previous existence. 'Before the world' signifies the divine
intention and purpose. Recurrence to Prov. viii. 22, and application of it to
created Wisdom as seen in the works. The Son reveals the Father, first by the
works, then by the Incarnation.

BUT since the heretics, reading the next verse, take a perverse view of
that also, because it is written, 'He founded me before the world(4),' namely,
that this is said of the Godhead of the Word and not of His incarnate
Presence(5), it is necessary, explaining this verse also, to shew their error.

73. It is written, 'The Lord in Wisdom rounded the earth(1);' if then by
Wisdom the earth is founded, how can He who founds be founded? nay, this too
is said after the manner of proverbs(2), and we must in like manner
investigate its sense; that we may know that, while by Wisdom the Father
frames and founds the earth to be firm and steadfast(3), Wisdom Itself is
founded for us, that It may become beginning and foundation of our new
creation and renewal. Accordingly here as before, He says not, 'Before the
world He hath made me Word or Son,' lest there should be as it were a
beginning of His making. For this we must seek before all things, whether He
is Son(4), and on this point specially search the Scriptures(5);' for this it
was, when the Apostles were questioned, that Peter answered, saying, 'Thou art
the Christ, the Son of the Living God(6)., This also the father(7) of the
Arian heresy asked as one of his first questions; 'If Thou be the Son of
God(8);' for he knew that this is the truth and the sovereign principle of our
faith; and that, if He were Himself the Son, the tyranny of the devil would
have its end; but if He were a creature, He too was one of those descended
from that Adam whom he deceived, and he had no cause for anxiety. For the same
reason the Jews of the day(9) were angered, because the Lord said that He was
Son of God, and that God was His proper Father. For had He called Himself one
of the creatures, or said, 'I am a work,' they had not been startled at the
intelligence, nor thought such words blasphemy, knowing, as they did, that
even Angels had come among their fathers; but since He called Himself Son,
they perceived that such was not the note of a creature, but of Godhead and of
the Father's nature(10). The Arians then ought, even in imitation of their own
father the devil, to take some special pains(11) on this point; and if He has
said, 'He founded me to be Word or Son,' then to think as they do; but if He
has not so spoken, not to invent for themselves what is not.

74. For He says not, 'Before the world He founded me as Word or Son,' but
simply, 'He founded me,' to shew again, as I have said, that not for His own
sake(1) but for those who are built upon Him does He here also speak, after
the way of proverbs. For this knowing, the Apostle also writes, 'Other
foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ; but let
every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon(2).' And it must be that the
foundation should be such as the things built on it, that they may admit of
being well compacted together. Being then the Word, He has not, as Word(3),
any such as Himself, who may be compacted with Him; for He is Only-begotten;
but having become man, He has the like of Him, those namely the likeness of
whose flesh He has put on. Therefore according to His manhood He is rounded,
that we, as precious stones, may admit of building upon Him, and may become a
temple of the Holy Ghost who dwelleth in us. And as He is a foundation, and we
stones built upon Him, so again He is a Vine and we knit to Him as
branches,--not according to the Essence of the Godhead; for this surely is
impossible; but according to His manhood, for the branches

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must be like the vine, since we are like Him according to the flesh. Moreover,
since the heretics have such human notions, we may suitably confute them with
human resemblances contained in the very matter they urge. Thus He saith not,
'He made me a foundation,' lest He might seem to be made and to have a
beginning of being, and they might thence find a shameless occasion of
irreligion; but, 'He founded me.' Now what is founded is founded for the sake
of the stones which are raised upon it; it is not a random process, but a
stone is first transported from the mountain and set down in the depth of the
earth. And while a stone is in the mountain, it is not yet founded; but when
need demands, and it is transported, and laid in the depth of the earth, then
forthwith if the stone could speak, it would say, 'He now founded me, who
brought me hither from the mountain.' Therefore the Lord also did not when
rounded take a beginning of existence; for He was the Word before that; but
when He put on our body, which He severed and took from Mary, then He says 'He
hath founded me;' as much as to say, 'Me, being the Word, He hath enveloped in
a body of earth.' For so He is founded for our sakes, taking on Him what is
ours(4), that we, as incorporated and compacted and bound together in Him
through the likeness of the flesh, may attain unto a perfect man, and abide(5)
immortal and incorruptible.

75. Nor let the words 'before the world' and 'before He made the earth'
and 'before the mountains were settled' disturb any one; for they very well
accord with 'founded' and 'created;' for here again allusion is made to the
Economy according to the flesh. For though the grace which came to us from
the Saviour appeared, as the Apostle says, just now, and has come when He
sojourned among us; yet this grace had been prepared even before we came into
being, nay, before the foundation of the world, and the reason why is kindly
and wonderful. It beseemed not that God should counsel concerning us
afterwards, lest He should appear ignorant of our fate. The God of all
then,--creating us by His own Word, and knowing our destinies better than we,
and foreseeing that, being made 'good(1),' we should in the event be
transgressors of the commandment, and be thrust out of paradise for
disobedience,--being loving and kind, prepared beforehand in His own Word, by
whom also. He created us(2), the Economy of our salvation; that though by the
serpent's deceit we fell from Him, we might not remain quite dead, but having
in the Word the redemption and salvation which was afore prepared for us, we
might rise again and abide immortal, what time He should have been created
for us 'a beginning of the ways,' and He who was the 'First-born of creation'
should become 'first-born' of the 'brethren,' and again should rise
'first-fruits of the dead.' This Paul the blessed Apostle teaches in his
writings; for, as interpreting the words of the Proverbs 'before the world'
and before the earth was,' he thus speaks to Timothy(3); 'Be partaker of the
afflictions of the Gospel according to the power of God, who hath saved us and
called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to
His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world
began, but is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ,
who hath abolished death, and brought to light life(4).' And to the Ephesians;
'Blessed be God even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us
with all spiritual blessing in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, according as
He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be
holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestinated us to the
adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself(5).'

76. How then has He chosen us, before we came into existence, but that, as
he says himself, in Him we were represented(6) beforehand? and how at all,
before men were created, did He predestinate us unto adoption, but that the
Son Himself was 'founded before the world,' taking on Him that economy which
was for our sake? or how, as the Apostle goes on to say, have we 'an
inheritance being predestinated,' but that the Lord Himself was founded
'before the world,' inasmuch as He had a purpose, for our sakes, to take on
Him through the flesh all that inheritance of judgment which lay against us,
and we henceforth were made sons in Him? and how did we receive it 'before the
world was,' when we were not yet in being, but afterwards in time, but that in
Christ was stored the grace which has reached us? Wherefore also in the
Judgment, when every one shall receive according to his conduct, He says,
'Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the
foundation of the world(1).' How then, or in whom, was it prepared before we
came to be, save in the Lord who 'before the world' was founded for this
purpose; that we, as built upon Him, might partake, as well-compacted stones,
the life and grace which is from Him? And this took place, as natur-

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ally suggests itself to the religious mind, that, as I said, we, rising after
our brief death, may be capable of an eternal life, of which we had not been
capable(2), men as we are, formed of earth, but that 'before the world' there
had been prepared for us in Christ the hope of life and salvation. Therefore
reason is there that the Word, on coming into our flesh, and being created in
it as 'a beginning of ways for His works,' is laid as a foundation according
as the Father's will(3) was in Him before the world, as has been said, and
before land was, and before the mountains were settled, and before the
fountains burst forth; that, though the earth and the mountains and the shapes
of visible nature pass away in the fulness of the present age, we on the
contrary may not grow old after their pattern, but may be able to live after
them, having the spiritual life and blessing which before these things have
been prepared for us in the Word Himself according to election. For thus we
shall be capable of a life not temporary, but ever afterwards abide(4) and
live in Christ; since even before this our life had been founded and prepared
in Christ Jesus.

77. Nor in any other way was it fitting that our life should be founded,
but in the Lord who is before the ages, and through whom the ages were brought
to be; that, since it was in Him, we too might be able to inherit that
everlasting life. For God is good; and being good always, He willed this, as
knowing that our weak nature needed the succour and salvation which is from
Him. And as a wise architect, proposing to build a house, consults also about
repairing it, should it at any time become dilapidated after building, and, as
counselling about this, makes preparation and gives to the workmen materials
for a repair; and thus the means of the repair are provided before the house;
in the same way prior to us is the repair of our salvation founded in Christ,
that in Him we might even be new-created. And the will and the purpose were
made ready 'before the world,' but have taken effect when the need required,
and the Saviour came among us. For the Lord Himself will stand us in place of
all things in the heavens, when He receives us into everlasting life. This
then suffices to prove that the Word of God is not a creature, but that the
sense of the passage is right(5). But since that passage, when scrutinized,
has a right sense in every point of view, it may be well to state what it is;
perhaps many words may bring these senseless men to shame. Now here I must
recur to what has been said before, for what I have to say relates to the same
proverb and the same Wisdom. The Word has not called Himself a creature by
nature, but has said in proverbs, 'The Lord created me;' and He plainly
indicates a sense not spoken 'plainly' but latent(6), such as we shall be able
to find by taking away the veil from the proverb. For who, on hearing from the
Framing Wisdom, 'The Lord created me a beginning of His ways,(3) does not at
once question the meaning, reflecting how that creative Wisdom can be created?
who on hearing the Only-begotten Son of God say, that He was created 'a
beginning of ways,' does not investigate the sense, wondering how the
Only-begotten Son can become a Beginning of many others? for it is a dark
saying(7); but 'a man of understanding,' says he, 'shall understand a proverb
and the interpretation, the words of the wise and their dark sayings(8).'

78. Now the Only-begotten and very Wisdom(1) of God is Creator and Framer
of all things; for 'in Wisdom hast Thou made them all(2),' he says, and 'the
earth is full of Thy creation.' But that what came into being might not only
be, but be good(3), it pleased God that His own Wisdom should condescend(4) to
the creatures, so as to introduce an impress and semblance of Its Image on all
in common and on each, that what was made might be manifestly wise works and
worthy of God(5). For as of the Son of God, considered as the Word, our word
is an image, so of the same Son considered as Wisdom is the wisdom which is
implanted in us an image; in which wisdom we, having the power of knowledge
and thought, become recipients of the All-framing Wisdom; and through It we
are able to know Its Father. 'For he who hath the Son,' saith He, 'hath the
Father also;' and 'he that receiveth Me, receiveth Him that sent Me(6).' Such
an impress then of Wisdom being created in us, and being in all the works,
with reason does the true and framing Wisdom take to Itself what belongs to
its own impress, and say, 'The Lord created me for His works;' for what the
wisdom in us says, that

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the Lord Himself speaks as if it were His own; and, whereas He is not Himself
created, being Creator, yet because of the image of Him created in the
works(7), He says this as if of Himself. And as the Lord Himself has said, 'He
that receiveth you, receiveth Me(8),' because His impress is in us, so,
though He be not among the creatures, yet because His image and impress is
created in the works, He says, as if in His own person, 'The Lord created me a
beginning of His ways for His works.' And therefore has this impress of Wisdom
in the works been brought into being, that, as I said before, the world might
recognise in it its own Creator the Word, and through Him the Father. And this
is what Paul said, 'Because that which may be known of God is manifest in
them, for God has shewed it unto them: for the invisible things of Him from
the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things
that are made(9).' But if so, the Word is not a creature in essence(10); but
the wisdom which is in us and so called, is spoken of in this passage in the
Proverbs.

79. But if this too fails to persuade them, let them tell us themselves,
whether there is any wisdom in the creatures or not(1)? If not how is it that
the Apostle complains, 'For after that in the Wisdom of God the world by
wisdom knew not God(2)?' or how is it if there is no wisdom, that a 'multitude
of wise men(3)' are found in Scripture? for 'a wise man feareth and departeth
from evil(4);' and 'through wisdom is a house builded(5);' and the Preacher
says, 'A man's wisdom maketh his face to shine;' and he blames those who are
headstrong thus, 'Say not thou, what is the cause that the former days were
better than these? for thou dost not inquire in wisdom concerning this(6).'
But if, as the Son of Sirach says, 'He poured her out upon all His works; she
is with all flesh according to His gift, and He hath given her to them that
love Him(7),' and this outpouring is a note, not of the Essence of the Very(8)
Wisdom and Only-begotten, but of that wisdom which is imaged in the world, how
is it incredible that the All-framing and true Wisdom Itself, whose impress is
the wisdom and knowledge poured out in the world, should say, as I have
already explained, as if of Itself, 'The Lord created me for His works?' For
the wisdom in the world is not creative, but is that which is created in the
works, according to which 'the heavens declare the glory of God, and the
firmament sheweth His handywork(9).' This if men have within them(10), they
will acknowledge the true Wisdom of God; and will know that they are made
really(11) after God's Image. And, as some son of a king, when the father
wished to build a city(12), might cause his own name to be printed upon each
of the works that were rising, both to give security to them of the works
remaining, by reason of the show of his name on everything, and also to make
them remember him and his father from the name, and having finished the city
might be asked concerning it, how it was made, and then would answer, 'It is
made securely, for according to the will of my father, I am imaged in each
work, for my name was made in the works;' but saying this, he does not signify
that his own essence is created, but the impress of himself by means of his
name; in the same manner, to apply the illustration, to those who admire the
wisdom in the creatures, the true Wisdom makes answer, 'The Lord created me
for the works,' for my impress is in them; and I have thus condescended for
the framing of all things.

80. Moreover, that the Son should be speaking of the impress that is
within us as if it were Himself, should not startle any one, considering (for
we must not shrink from repetition(1)) that, when Saul was persecuting the
Church, in which was His impress and image, He said, as if He were Himself
under persecution, 'Saul, why persecutest thou Me(2)?' Therefore (as has been
said), as, supposing the impress itself of Wisdom which is in the works had
said, 'The Lord created me for the works,' no one would have been startled,
so, if He, the True and Framing Wisdom, the Only-begotten Word of God, should
use what belongs to His image as about Himself, namely, 'The Lord created me
for the works,' let no one, overlooking the wisdom created in the world and

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in the works, think that 'He created' is said of the Substance of the Very(3)
Wisdom, lest, diluting the wine with water(3a), he be judged a defrauder of
the truth. For It is Creative and Framer; but Its impress is created in the
works, as the copy of the image. And He says, 'Beginning of ways,' since such
wisdom becomes a sort of beginning. and, as it were, rudiments of the
knowledge of God; for a man entering, as it were, upon this way first, and
keeping it in the fear of God (as Solomon says(4), 'The fear of the Lord is
the beginning of wisdom'), then advancing upwards in his thoughts and
perceiving the Framing Wisdom which is in the creation, will perceive in It
also Its Father(5), as the Lord Himself has said, 'He that hath seen Me, hath
seen the Father,' and as John writes, 'He who acknowledgeth the Son, hath the
Father also(6).' And He says, 'Before the world He founded me(7),' since in
Its impress the works remain settled and eternal. Then, lest any, hearing
concerning the wisdom thus created in the works, should think the true Wisdom,
God's Son, to be by nature a creature, He has found it necessary to add,
'Before the mountains, and before the earth, and before the waters, and before
all hills He begets me,' that in saying, 'before every creature' (for He
includes all the creation under these heads), He may shew that He is not
created together with the works according to Essence. For if He was created
'for the works,' yet is before them, it follows that He is in being before He
was created. He is not then a creature by nature and essence, but as He
Himself has added, an Offspring. But in what differs a creature from an
offspring, and how it is distinct by nature, has been shewn in what has gone
before.

81. But since He proceeds to say, 'When He prepared the heaven, I was
present with Him(8),' we ought to know that He says not this as if without
Wisdom the Father prepared the heaven or the clouds above (for there is no
room to doubt that all things are created in Wisdom, and without It was made
not even one(1) thing); but this is what He says, 'All things took place in Me
and through Me, and when there was need that Wisdom should be, created in the
works, in My Essence indeed I was with the Father, but by a condescension(2)
to things originate, I was disposing over the works My own impress, so that
the whole world as being in one body, might not be at variance but in concord
with itself.' All those then who with an upright understanding, according to
the wisdom given unto them, come to contemplate the creatures, are able to say
for themselves, 'By Thy appointment all things continue(3);' but they who make
light of this must be told, 'Professing themselves to be wise, they became
fools;' for 'that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God has
revealed it unto them; for the invisible things of Him from the creation of
the world are clearly seen, being perceived by the things that are made, even
His eternal Power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse. Because that
when they knew God, they glorified Him not as God, but served the creature
more than the Creator of all, who is blessed for ever. Amen(4).' And they will
surely be shamed at hearing, 'For, after that in the wisdom of God (in the
mode we have explained above), the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased
God by the foolishness of the preaching to save them that believe(5).' For no
longer, as in the former times, God has willed to be known by an image and
shadow of wisdom, that namely which is in the creatures, but He has made the
true Wisdom Itself to take flesh, and to become man, and to undergo the death
of the cross; that by the faith in Him, henceforth all that believe may obtain
salvation. However, it is the same Wisdom of God, which through Its own Image
in the creatures (whence also It is said to be created), first manifested
Itself, and through Itself Its own Father; and afterwards, being Itself the
Word, has 'become flesh(6),' as John says, and after abolishing death and
saving our race, still more revealed Himself and through Him His own Father,
saying, 'Grant unto them that they may know Thee the only true God, and Jesus
Christ whom Thou hast sent(7).'

82. Hence the whole earth is filled with the knowledge of Him; for the
knowledge of Father through Son and of Son from Father is one and the same,
and the Father delights in Him, and in the same joy the Son rejoices in the
Father, saying, 'I was by Him, daily His delight, rejoicing always before
Him(1).' And this again proves that the Son is not foreign, but proper to the
Father's Essence. For behold, not because of us has He come to be,

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as the irreligious men say, nor is He out of nothing (for not from without did
God procure for Himself a cause of rejoicing), but the words denote what is
His own and like. When then was it, when the Father rejoiced not? but if He
ever rejoiced, He was ever, in whom He rejoiced. And in whom does the Father
rejoice, except as seeing Himself in His own Image, which is His Word? And
though in sons of men also He had delight, on finishing the world, as it is
written in these same Proverbs(2), yet this too has a consistent sense. For
even thus He had delight, not because joy was added to Him, but again on
seeing the works made after His own Image; so that even this rejoicing of God
is on account of His Image. And how too has the Son delight, except as seeing
Himself in the Father? for this is the same as saying, 'He that hath seen Me,
hath seen the Father,' and 'I am in the Father and the Father in Me(3).' Vain
then is your vaunt as is on all sides shewn, O Christ's enemies, and vainly
did ye parade(4) and circulate everywhere your text, 'The Lord created me a
beginning of His ways,' perverting its sense, and publishing, not Solomon's
meaning, but your own comment(5). For behold your sense is proved to be but a
fantasy; but the passage in the Proverbs, as well as all that is above said,
proves that the Son is not a creature in nature and essence, but the proper
Offspring of the Father, true Wisdom and Word, by whom 'all things were made,'
and 'without Him was made not one thing