Four discourses against the arians

Chapters XVII-XX
By Athanasius




Absurdity of supposing a Son or Word created in order to the creation of other
creatures; as to the creation being unable to bear God's immediate hand, God
condescends to the lowest. Moreover, if the Son a creature, He too could not
bear God's hand, and an infinite series of media will be necessary. Objected,
that, as Moses who led out the Israelites was a man, so our Lord; but Moses
was not the Agent in creation:--again, that unity is found in created
ministrations, but all such ministrations are defective and dependent:--again,
that He learned to create, yet could God's Wisdom need teaching? and why
should He learn, if the Father worketh hitherto? If the Son was created to
create us, He is for our sake, not we for His.

24 (continued). AND here it were well to ask them also this question[1],
for a still clearer refutation of their heresy;--Wherefore, when all things
are creatures, and all are brought into consistence from nothing, and the Son
Himself, according to you, is creature and work, and once was not, wherefore
has He made 'all things through Him' alone, 'and without Him was made not one
thing'?' or why is it, when 'all things' are spoken of, that no one thinks the
Son is signified in the number, but only things originate; whereas when
Scripture speaks of the Word, it does not understand Him as being in the
number of 'all,' but places Him with the Father, as Him in whom Providence and
salvation for 'all' are wrought and effected by the Father, though all things
surely might at the same command have come to be, at which He was brought into
being by God alone? For God is not wearied by commanding 3, nor is His
strength unequal to the making of all things, that He should alone create the
only Son[4], and need His ministry and aid for the framing of the rest. For He
lets nothing stand over, which He wills to be done; but He willed only[5], and
all things subsisted, and no one 'hath resisted His will[6].' Why then were
not all things brought into being by God alone at that same command, at which
the 'Son came into being? Or let them tell us, why did all things through Him
come to be, who was Himself but originate? How void of reason! however, they
say concerning Him, that 'God willing to create originate nature, when He saw
that it could not endure the untempered hand of the Father, and to be created
by Him, makes and creates first and alone one only, and calls Him Son and
Word, that, through Him as a medium, all things might thereupon be brought to
be[6a]." This they not only have said, but they have dared to put it into
writing, namely, Eusebius, Arius, and Asterius who sacrificed 7.

25. Is not this a full proof of that irreligion,


with which they have drugged themselves with much madness, till they blush not
to be intoxicate against the truth? For if they shall assign the toil of
making all things as the reason why God made the Son only, the whole creation
will cry out against them as saying unworthy things of God; and Isaiah too who
has said in Scripture, 'The Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends
of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary: there is no searching of His
understanding[1].' And if God made the Son alone, as not deigning to make the
rest, but committed them to the Son as an assistant, this on the other hand is
unworthy of God, for in Him there is no pride. Nay the Lord reproves the
thought, when He says, 'Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing?' and 'one of
them shall not fall on the ground without your Father which is in heaven.' And
again, 'Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, nor yet for your
body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than
raiment? Behold the fowls of the air, for they sow not, neither do they reap,
nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them; are ye not much
better than they? Which of you by taking thought, can add one cubit unto his
stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the
field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: and yet I say unto
you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
Wherefore if God so clothe the grass of the field which to-day is, and
to-morrow is cast into the oven, shall He not much more clothe you, O ye of
little faith[2]?' If then it be not unworthy of God to exercise His
Providence, even down to things so small, a hair of the head, and a sparrow,
and the grass of the field, also it was not unworthy of Him to make them. For
what things are the subjects of His Providence, of those He is Maker through
His proper Word. Nay a worse absurdity lies before the men who thus speak; for
they distinguish[3] between the creatures and the framing; and consider the
latter the work of the Father, the creatures the work of the Son; whereas
either all things must be brought to be by the with the Son, or if all that is
originate comes to be through the Son, we must not call Him one of the
originated things.

26. Next, their folly may be exposed thus:--if even the Word be of
originated nature, how, whereas this nature is too feeble to be God's own
handy work, could He alone of all endure to be made by the unoriginate and
unmitigated Essence of God, as ye say? for it follows either that, if He could
endure it, all could endure it, or, it being endurable by none, it was not
endurable by the Word, for you say that He is one of originate things. And
again, if because originate nature could not endure to be God's own handiwork,
there arose need of a mediator[4], it must follow, that, the Word being
originate and a creature, there is need of medium in His framing also, since
He too is of that originate nature which endures not to be made of God, but
needs a medium. But if some being as a medium be found for Him, then again a
fresh mediator is needed for that second, and thus tracing back and following
out, we shall invent a vast crowd of accumulating mediators; and thus it will
be impossible that the creation should subsist, as ever wanting a mediator,
and that medium not coming into being without another mediator; for all of
them will be of that originate nature which endures not to be made of God
alone, as ye say. How abundant is that folly, which obliges them to hold that
what has already come into being, admits not of coming! Or perhaps they opine
that they have not even come to be, as still seeking their mediator; for, on
the ground of their so irreligious and futile notions, what is would not have
subsistence, for want of the medium.

27. But again they allege this:--'Behold, through Moses too did He lead
the people from Egypt, and through him He gave the Law, yet he was a man; so
that it is possible for like to be brought into being by like.' They should
veil their face when they say this, to save their much shame. For Moses was
not sent to frame the world, nor to call into being things which were not, or
to fashion men like himself, but only to be the minister of words to the
people, and to King Pharaoh. And this is a very different thing, for to
minister is of things originate as of servants, but to frame and to create is
of God alone, and of His proper Word and His Wisdom. Wherefore, in the matter
of framing, we shall find none but God's Word; for 'all things are made in
Wisdom,' and 'without the Word was made not one thing.' But as regards
ministrations there are, not one only, but man}' out of their whole number,
whomever the Lord will send. For there are many Archangels, many Thrones, and
Authorities, and Dominions, thousands of thousands, and myriads of myriads,
standing before Him[1], minis-


tering and ready to be sent. And many Prophets, and twelve Apostles, and Paul.
And Moses himself was not alone, but Aaron with him, and next other seventy
were filled with the Holy Ghost. And Moses was succeeded by Joshua the son of
Nun, and he by the Judges, and they not by one, but by a number of Kings. If
then the Son were a creature and one of things originate, there must have been
many such sons, that God might have many such ministers, just as there is a
multitude of those others. But if this is not to be seen, but while the
creatures are many, the Word is one, any one will collect from this, that the
Son differs from all, and is not on a level with the creatures, but proper to
the Father. Hence there are not many Words, but one only Word of the one
Father, and one Image of the one God[2]. 'But behold,' they say, 'there is
one sun only[3], and one earth.' Let them maintain, senseless as they are,
that there is one water and one fire, and then they may be told that
everything that is brought to be, is one in its own essence; but for the
ministry and service committed to it, by itself it is not adequate nor
sufficient alone. For God said, 'Let there be lights in the firmament of
heaven, to give light upon the earth and to divide the day from the night; and
let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years.' And then he
says, 'And God made two great lights, the greater light to rule the day, and
the lesser light to rule the night He made the stars also. And God set them in
the firmament of the heaven, to give light upon the earth, and to rule over
the day and over the night[4].'

28. Behold there are many lights, and not the sun only, nor the moon only,
but each is one in essence, and yet the service of all is one and common; and
what each lacks, is supplied by the other, and the office of lighting is
performed by all[5]. Thus the sun has authority to shine throughout the day
and no more; and the moon through the night; and the stars together with them
accomplish the seasons and years, and become for signs, each according to the
need that calls for it. Thus too the earth is not for all things, but for the
fruits only, and to be a ground to tread on for the living things that inhabit
it. And the firmament is to divide between waters and waters, and to be a
place to set the stars in. So also fire and water, with other things, have
been brought into being to be the constituent parts of bodies; and in short no
one thing is alone, but all things that are made, as if members of each other,
make up as it were one body, namely, the world. If then they thus conceive of
the Son, let all men throw stones[6] at them, considering the Word to be a
part of this universe, and a part insufficient without the rest for the
service committed to Him. But if this be manifestly irreligious, let them
acknowledge that the Word is not in the number of things originate, but the
sole and proper Word of the Father, and their Framer. 'But,' say they, 'though
He is a creature and of things originate; yet as from a master and artificer
has He[7] learned to frame, and thus ministered[8] to God who taught Him.' For
thus the Sophist Asterius, on the strength of having learned to deny the Lord,
has dared to write, not observing the absurdity which follows. For if framing
be a thing to be taught, let 'them beware lest they say that God Himself be a
Framer not by nature but by science, so as to admit of His losing the power.
Besides, if the Wisdom of God attained to frame by teaching, how is He still
Wisdom, when He needs to learn? and what was He before He learned? For it was
not Wisdom, if it needed teaching; it was surely but some empty thing, and not
essential Wisdom[9], but from advancement it had the name of Wisdom, and will
be only so long Wisdom as it can keep what it has learned. For what has
accrued not by any nature, but from learning, admits of being one time
unlearned. But to speak thus of the Word of God, is not the part of Christians
but of Greeks.

29. For if the power of framing accrues to anyone from teaching, these
insensate men are ascribing jealousy and weakness[1] to God;__ jealousy, in
that He has not taught many how to frame, so that there may be around Him, as
Archangels and Angels many, so framers many; and weakness, in that He could
not make by Himself, but needed a fellow-worker, or under-worker; and that,
though it has been already shewn that created nature admits of being made by
God alone, since they consider the Son to be of such a nature and so made. But
God is deficient in nothing: perish the thought! for He has said Himself, 'I
am full[2].' Nor did the Word become Framer of all from teaching; but being
the Image and Wisdom of the Father, He does the things of the Father. Nor hath
He made the Son for the making of things created; for behold, though the Son
exists, still[3] the Father is seen to work, as the Lord Himself says, 'My
Father worketh hitherto and I work[4].' If


however, as you say, the Son came into being for the purpose of making the
things after Him, and yet the Father is seen to work even after the Son, you
must hold even in this light the making of such a Son to be superfluous.
Besides, why, when He would create us, does He seek for a mediator at all, as
if His will did not suffice to constitute whatever seemed good to Him? Yet the
Scriptures say, 'He hath done whatsoever pleased Hires[5],' and 'Who hath
resisted His will[6]?' And if His mere will[7] is sufficient for the framing
of all things, you make the office of a mediator superfluous; for your
instance of Moses, and the sun and the moon has been shewn not to hold. And
here again is an argument to silence you. You say that God, willing the
creation of originated nature, and deliberating concerning it, designs and
creates the Son, that through Him He may frame us; now, if so, consider how
great an irreligion[8] you have dared to utter.

30. First, the Son appears rather to have been for us brought to be, than
we for Him; for we were not created for Him, but He is made for us[9]; so that
He owes thanks to us, not we to Him, as the woman to the man. 'For the man,'
says Scripture, 'was not created for the woman, but the woman for the man.'
Therefore, as 'the man is the image and glory of God, and the woman the glory
of the man[10],' so we are made God's image and to His glory; but the Son is
our image, and exists for our glory. And we were brought into being that we
might be; but God's Word was made, as you must hold, not that He might be[1];
but as an instrument for our need, so that not we from Him, but He is
constituted from our need. Are not men who even conceive such thoughts, more
than insensate? For if for us the Word was made, He has not precedence[3] of
us with God; for He did not take counsel about us having Him within Him, but
having us in Himself, counselled, as they say, concerning His own Word. But if
so, perchance the Father had not even a will for the Son at all; for not as
having a will for Him, did He create Him, but with a will for us, He formed
Him for our sake; for He designed Him after designing us so that, according
to these irreligious men, henceforth the Son, who was made as an instrument,
is superfluous, now that they are made for whom He was created. But if the Son
alone was made by God alone, because He could endure it, but we, because we
could not, were made by the Word, why does He not first take counsel about the
Word, who could endure His making, instead of taking counsel about us? or why
does He not make more of Him who was strong, than of us who were weak? or why
making Him first, does He not counsel about Him first? or why counselling
about us first, does He not make us first, His will being sufficient for the
constitution of all things? But He creates Him first, yet counsels first about
us; and He wills us before the Mediator; and when He wills to create us, and
counsels about us, He calls us creatures; but Him, whom He frames for us, He
calls Son and proper Heir. But we, for whose sake He made Him, ought rather to
be called sons; or certainly He, who is His Son, is rather the object of His
previous thoughts and of His will, for whom He makes all us. Such the
sickness, such the vomit[4] of the heretics.




Contrast between the Father's operations immediately and naturally in the Son,
instrumentally by the creatures; Scripture terms illustrative of this.
Explanation of these illustrations; which should be interpreted by the
doctrine of the Church; perverse sense put on them by the Arians, refutted.
Mystery of Divine Generation. Contrast between God's Word and man's word drawn
out at length. Asterius betrayed into holding two Unoriginates; his
inconsistency. Baptism how by the Son as well as by the Father. On the Baptism
of heretics. Why Asian worse than oilier heresies,

31. BUT the sentiment of Truth[1] in this matter must not be hidden, but
must have high utterance. For the Word of God was not made for us, but rather
we for Him, and 'in Him all things were created[2].' Nor for that we were
weak, was He strong and made by the Father alone, that He might frame us by
means of Him as an instrument; perish the thought! it is not so. For though it
had seemed good to God not to make things originate, still had the Word been
no less with God, and the Father in Him. At the same time, things originate
could not without the Word be brought to be; hence they were made through
Him,--and reasonably. For since the Word is the Son of God by nature proper to
His essence, and is from Him, and in Him[3], as He said Himself, the creatures
could not have come to be, except through Him. For as the light enlightens all
things by its radiance, and without its radiance nothing would be illuminated,
so also the Father, as by


a hand[4], in the Word wrought all things, and without Him makes nothing. For
instance, God said, as Moses relates, 'Let there be light,' and 'Let the
waters be gathered together,' and 'let the dry land appear,' and 'Let Us make
man s;' as also Holy David in the Psalm, 'He spake and they were made; He
commanded and they were created 6.' And He spoke[7], not that, as in the case
of men, some under-worker might hear, and learning the will of Him who spoke
might go away and do it; for this is what is proper to creatures, but it is
unseemly so to think or speak of the Word. For the Word of God is Framer and
Maker, and He is the Father's Will s. Hence it is that divine Scripture says
not that one heard and answered, as to the manner or nature of the things
which He wished made; but God only said, 'Let it become,' and he adds, 'And it
became;' for what He thought good and counselled, that forthwith the Word
began to do and to finish. For when God commands others, whether the Angels,
or converses with Moses, or commands Abraham, then the hearer answers; and the
one says, 'Whereby shall I know[9]?' and the other, 'Send some one else[10];'
and again, 'If they ask me, what is His Name, what shall I say to them"?' and
the Angel said to Zacharias, 'Thus saith the Lord[12];' and he asked the Lord,
'O Lord of hosts, how long wilt Thou not have mercy on Jerusalem?' and waits
to hear good words and comfortable. For each of these has the Mediator[13]
Word, and the Wisdom of God which makes known the will of the Father. But when
that Word Himself works and creates, then there is no questioning and answer,
for the Father is in Him and the Word in the Father; but it suffices to will,
and the work is done; so that the word 'He said' is a token of the will for
our sake, and 'It was so,' denotes the work which is done through the Word and
the Wisdom, in which Wisdom also is the Will of the Father. And 'God said' is
explained in 'the Word,' for, he says, 'Thou hast made all things in Wisdom;'
and 'By the Word of the Lord were the heavens made fast;' and 'There is one
Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by Him[1].'

32. It is plain from this that the Arians are not fighting with us about
their heresy; but while they pretend us, their real fight is against the
Godhead Itself. For if the voice were ours which says, 'This it My Son[2],'
small were our complaint of them; but if it is the Father's voice, and the
disciples heard it, and the Son too says of Himself, 'Before all the mountains
He begat me[3],' are they not fighting against God, as the giants[4] in story,
having their tongue, as the Psalmist says, a sharp sword[5] for irreligion?
For they neither feared the voice of the Father, nor reverenced the Saviour's
words, nor trusted the Saints, one of whom writes, 'Who being the Brightness
of His glory and the Expression of His subsistence,' and 'Christ the power 'of
God and the Wisdom of God[6];' and another says in the Psalm, 'With Thee is
the well of life, and in Thy Light shall we see light,' and 'Thou madest all
things in Wisdom[7];' and the Prophets say, 'And the Word of the Lord came to
me[8];' and John, 'In the beginning was the Word;' and Luke, 'As they
delivered them unto us which from the beginning were eye-witnesses and
ministers of the Word[9];' and as David again says, 'He sent His Word and
healed them[10].' All these passages proscribe in every light the Arian
heresy, and signify the eternity of the Word, and that He is not foreign but
proper to the Father's Essence. For when saw any one light without radiance?
or who dares to say that the expression can be different from the subsistence?
or has not a man himself lost his mind[11] who even entertains the thought
that God was ever without Reason and without Wisdom? For such illustrations
and such images has Scripture proposed, that, considering the inability of
human nature to comprehend God, we might be able to form ideas even from these
however poorly and dimly, and as far as is attainable[12]. And as the creation


abundant matter for the knowledge of the being of a God and a Providence ('
for by the greatness and beauty of the creatures proportionably the Maker of
them is seen[13]'), and we learn from them without asking for voices, but
hearing the Scriptures we believe, and surveying the very order and the
harmony of all things, we acknowledge that He is Maker and Lord and God of
all, and apprehend His marvellous Providence and governance over all things;
so in like manner about the Son's Godhead, what has been above said is
sufficient, and it becomes superfluous, or rather it is very mad to dispute
about it, or to ask in an heretical way, How can the Son be from eternity? or
how can He be from the Father's Essence, yet not a part? since what is said to
be of another, is a part of him; and what 'is divided, is not whole.

33. These are the evil sophistries of the heterodox; yet, though we have
already shewn their shallowness, the exact sense of these passages themselves
and the force of these illustrations will serve to shew the baseless nature of
their loathsome tenet. For we see that reason is ever, and is from him and
proper to his essence, whose reason it is, and does not admit a before and an
after. So again we see that the radiance from the sun is proper to it, and the
sun's essence is not divided or impaired; but its essence is whole and its
radiance perfect and whole[1], yet without impairing the essence of light, but
as a true offspring from it. We understand in like manner that the Son is
begotten not from without but from the Father, and while the Father remains
whole, the Expression of His Subsistence is ever, and preserves the Father's
likeness and unvarying Image, so that he who sees Him, sees in Him the
Subsistence too, of which He is the Expression. And from the operation of the
Expression we understand the true Godhead of the Subsistence, as the Saviour
Himself teaches when He says, 'The Father who dwelleth in Me, He doeth the
works[2] which I do; and 'I and the Father are one,' and 'I in the Father and
the Father in Me[3].' Therefore let this Christ--opposing heresy attempt first
to divide[4] the examples found in things originate, and say, 'Once the sun
was without his radiance,' or, 'Radiance is not proper to the essence of
light,' or 'It is indeed proper, but it is a part of light by division; and
then let it divide Reason, and pronounce that it is foreign to mind, or that
once it was not, or that it was not proper to its essence, or that it is by
division a part of mind. And so of His Expression and the Light and the Power,
let it do violence to these as in the case of Reason and Radiance; and instead
let it imagine what it will s. But if such extravagance be impossible for
them, are they not greatly beside themselves, presumptuously intruding into
what is higher than things originate and their own nature, and essaying

34. For if in the case of these originate and irrational things offsprings
are found which are not parts of the essences from which they are, nor subsist
with passion, nor impair the essences of their originals, are they not mad
again in seeking and conjecturing parts and passions in the instance of the
immaterial and true God, and ascribing divisions to Him who is beyond passion
and change, thereby to perplex the ears of the simple[1] and to pervert them
from the Truth? for who hears of a son but conceives of that which is proper
to the father's essence? who heard, in his first catechising[2], that God has
a Son and has made all things by His proper Word, but understood it in that
sense in which we now mean it? who on the rise of this odious heresy of the
Arians, was not at once startled at what he heard, as strange[3], and a second
sowing, besides that Word which had been sown from the beginning? For what is
sown in every soul from the beginning is that God has a Son, the Word, the
Wisdom, the Power, that is, His Image and Radiance; from which it at once
follows that He is always; that He is from the Father; that He is like; that
He is the eternal offspring of His essence; and there is no idea involved in
these of creature or work. But when the man who is an enemy, while men slept,
made a second sowing[4], of 'He is a creature,' and 'There was once when He
was not,' and 'How can it be?' thenceforth the wicked heresy of Christ's
enemies rose as tares, and forthwith, as bereft of every


right thought, they meddle[5] like robbers, and venture to say, 'How can the
Son always exist with the Father?' for men come of men and are sons, after a
time; and the father is thirty years old, when the son begins to be, being
begotten; and in short of every son of man, it is true that he was not before
his generation. And again they whisper, 'How can the Son be Word, or the Word
be God's Image? for the word of men is composed of syllables[6], and only
signifies the speaker's will, and then is over[7] and is lost.'

35. They then afresh, as if forgetting the proofs which have been already
urged against them, 'pierce themselves through[1] 'with these bonds of
irreligion, and thus argue. But the word of truth[2] confutes them as
follows:--if they were disputing concerning any man, then let them exercise
reason in this human way, both concerning His Word and His Son; but if of God
who created man, no longer let them entertain human thoughts, but others which
are above human nature. For such as he that besets, such of necessity is the
offspring; and such as is the Word's Father, such must be also His Word. Now
man, begotten in time, in time[3] also himself besets the child; and whereas
from nothing he came to be, therefore his word[4] also is over and continues
not. But God is not as man, as Scripture has said; but is existing and is
ever; therefore also His Word is existings and is everlastingly with the
Father, as radiance of light. And man's word is composed of syllables, and
neither lives nor operates anything, but is only significant of the speaker's
intention, and does but go forth and go by, no more to appear, since it was
not at all before it was spoken; wherefore the word of man neither lives nor
operates anything, nor in short is man. And this happens to it, as I said
before, because man who besets it, has his nature out of nothing. But God's
Word is not merely pronounced, as one may say, nor a sound of accents, nor by
His Son is meant His command[6]; but as radiance of light, so is He perfect
offspring from perfect[7]. Hence He is God also, as being God's Image; for
'the Word was God[8]' says Scripture. And man's words avail not for operation;
hence man works not by means of words but of hands, for they have being, and
man's word subsists not. But the 'Word of God,' as the Apostle says, 'is
living and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the
dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a
discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any
creature that is not manifest in His sight; but all things are naked and
opened unto the eyes of Him with whom we have to do[9]' He is then Framer of
all, 'and without Him was made not one thing[10],' nor can anything be made
without Him.

36. Nor must we ask why the Word of God is not such as our word,
considering God is not such as we, as has been before said; nor again is it
right to seek how the word is from God, or how He is God's radiance, or how
God besets, and what is the manner of His besetting[1]. For a man must be
beside himself to venture on such points; since a thing ineffable and proper
to God's nature, and known to Him alone and to the Son, this he demands to be
explained in words. It is all one as if they sought where God is, and how God
is, and of what nature the Father is. But as to ask such questions is
irreligious, and argues an ignorance of God, so it is not holy to venture such
questions concerning the generation of the Son of God, nor to measure God and
His Wisdom by our own nature and infirmity. Nor is a person at liberty on that
account to swerve in his thoughts from the truth, nor, if any one is perplexed
in such inquiries, ought he to disbelieve what is written. For it is better in
perplexity to be silent and believe, than to disbelieve on account of the
perplexity: for he who is perplexed may in some way obtain mercy[2], because,
though he has questioned, he has yet kept quiet; but when a man is led by his
perplexity into forming for himself doctrines which beseem not, and utters
what is unworthy of God, such daring recurs a sentence without mercy. For in
such perplexities divine Scripture is able to afford him some relief, so as to
take rightly what is written, and to dwell upon our word as an illustration;
that as it is proper to us and is from us, and not a work external to us, so
also God's Word is proper to Him and from Him, and is not a work; and yet is
not like the word


of man, or else we must suppose God to be man. For observe, many and various
are men's words which pass away day by day; because those that come before
others continue not, but vanish. Now this happens because their authors are
men, and have seasons which pass away, and ideas which are successive; and
what strikes them first and second, that they utter; so that they have many
words, and yet after them all nothing at all remaining; for the speaker
ceases, and his word forthwith is spent. But God's Word is one and the same,
and, as it is written, 'The Word of God endureth for ever[3],' not changed,
not before or after other, but existing the same always. For it was fitting,
whereas God is One, that His Image should be One also, and His Word One and
One His Wisdom[4].

37. Wherefore I am in wonder how, whereas God is One, these men introduce,
after their private notions, many images and wisdoms and words[5], and say
that the Father's proper and natural Word is other than the Son, by whom He
even made the Son[6] and that He who is really Son is but notionally[7] called
Word, as vine, and way, and door, and tree of life; and that He is called
Wisdom also in name, the proper and true Wisdom of the Father, which coexist
ingenerately[8] with Him, being other than the Son, by which He even made the
Son, and named Him Wisdom as partaking of it. This they have not confined to
words, but Arius composed in his Thalia, and the Sophist Asterius wrote, what
we have stated above, as follows: 'Blessed Paul said not that he preached
Christ, the Power of God or the Wisdom of God, but without the addition of the
article, 'God's power' and 'God's wisdom[9],' thus preaching that the proper
Power of God Himself which is natural to Him, and co-existent in Him
ingenerately, is something besides, generative indeed of Christ, and creative
of the whole world, concerning which he teaches in his Epistle to the Romans
thus,--'The invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly
seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal Power and
Godhead[10].' For as no one would say that the Godhead there mentioned was
Christ, but the Father Himself, so, as I think, 'His eternal Power and Godhead
also is not the Only Begotten Son, but the Father who begat Him[11].' And he
teaches that there is another power and wisdom of God, manifested through
Christ. And shortly after the same Asterius says, 'However His eternal power
and wisdom, which truth argues to be without beginning and ingenerate, the
same must surely be one. For there are many wisdoms which are one by one
created by Him, of whom Christ is the first-born and only-begotten; all
however equally depend on their Possessor. And all the powers are rightly
called His who created and uses them:--as the Prophet says that the locust,
which came to be a divine punishment of human sins, was called by God Himself
not only a power, but a great power; and blessed David in most of the Psalms
invites, not the Angels alone, but the Powers to praise God.'

38. Now are they not worthy of all hatred for merely uttering this? for
if, as they hold, He is Son, not because He is begotten of the Father and
proper to His Essence, but that He is called Word only because of things
rational[1], and Wisdom because of things gifted with wisdom, and Power
because of things gifted with power, surely He must be named a Son because of
those who are made sons: and perhaps because there are things existing, He has
even His existence[2], in our notions only[3]. And then after all what is He?
for He is none of these Himself, if they are but His names[4]: and He has but
a semblance of being, and is decorated with these names


from us. Rather this is some recklessness of the devil, or worse, if they are
not unwilling that they should truly subsist themselves, but think that God's
Word is but in name. Is not this portentous, to say that Wisdom coexists with
the Father, yet not to say that this. is the Christ, but that there are many
created powers and wisdoms, of which one is the Lord whom they go on to
compare to the caterpillar and locust? and are they not profligate, who, when
they hear us say that the Word coexists with the Father, forthwith murmur out,
'Are you not speaking of two Unoriginates?' yet in speaking themselves of 'His
Unoriginate Wisdom,' do not see that they have already incurred themselves the
charge which they so rashly urge against us[5]? Moreover, what folly is there
in that thought of theirs, that the Unoriginate Wisdom coexisting with God is
God Himself! for what-coexists does not coexist with itself, but with some one
else, as the Evangelists say of the Lord, that He was together with His
disciples; for He was not together with Himself, but with His
disciples;--unless indeed they would say that God is of a compound nature,
having wisdom a constituent or complement of His Essence, un-originate as well
as Himself[6], which moreover they pretend to be the framer of the world, that
so they may deprive the Son of the framing of it. For there is nothing they
would not maintain, sooner than hold the truth concerning the Lord.

39. For where at all have they found in divine Scripture, or from whom
have they heard, that there is another Word and another Wisdom besides this
Son, that they should frame to themselves such a doctrine? True, indeed, it is
written, 'Are not My words like fire, and like a hammer that breaketh the rock
in pieces[1]?' and in the Proverbs, 'I will make known My words unto you[2];'
but these are precepts and commands, which God has spoken to the saints
through His proper and only true Word, concerning which the Psalmist said, 'I
have refrained my feet from every evil way, that I may keep Thy words[3].'
Such words accordingly the Saviour signifies to be distinct from Himself, when
He says in His own person, 'The words which I have spoken unto you[4].' For
certainly such words are not off-springs or sons, nor are there so many words
that frame the world, nor so many images of the One God, nor so many who have
become men for us, nor as if from many such there were one who has become
flesh, as John says; but as being the only Word of God was He preached by
John, 'The Word was made flesh,' and 'all things were made by Himself.'
Wherefore of Him alone, our Lord Jesus Christ, and of His oneness with the
Father, are written and set forth the testimonies, both of the Father
signifying that the Son is One, and of the saints, aware of this and saying
that the Word is One, and that He is Only-Begotten. And His works also are set
forth; for all things, visible and invisible, have been brought to be through
Him, and 'without Him was made not one 'thing[6].' But concerning another or
any one else they have not a thought, nor frame to themselves words or
wisdoms, of which neither name nor deed are signified by Scripture, but are
named by these only. For it is their invention and Christ-opposing surmise,
and they make the most[7] of the name of the Word and the Wisdom; and framing
to themselves others, they deny the true Word of God, and the real and only
Wisdom of the Father, and thereby, miserable men, rival the Manichees. For
they too, when they behold the works of God, deny Him the only and true God,
and frame to themselves another, whom they can shew neither by work, nor in
any testimony drawn from the divine oracles.

40. Therefore, if neither in the divine oracles is found another wisdom
besides this Son, nor from the fathers[1] have we heard of any such, yet they
have confessed and written of the Wisdom coexisting with the Father
unoriginately, proper to Him, and the Framer of the world, this must be the
Son who even according to them is eternally coexistent with the Father. For He
is Framer of all, as it is written, 'In Wisdom hast Thou made them ally[2].'
Nay, Asterius himself, as if forgetting what he wrote before, afterwards, in
Caiaphas's[3] fashion, involuntarily, when urging the Greeks, instead of
naming many wisdoms, or the caterpillar, confesses but one, in these
words;--'God the 'Word is one, but many are the


things rational; and one is the essence and nature of Wisdom, but many are the
things wise and beautiful.' And soon afterwards he says again:--'Who are they
whom they honour with the title of God's children? for they will not say that
they too are words, nor maintain that there are many wisdoms. For it is not
possible, whereas the Word is one, and Wisdom has been set forth as one, to
dispense to the multitude of children the Essence of the Word, and to bestow
on them the appellation of Wisdom.' It is not then at all wonderful, that the
Arians should battle with the truth, when they have collisions with their own
principles and conflict with each other, at one time saying that there are
many wisdoms, at another maintaining one; at one time classing wisdom with the
caterpillar, at another saying that it coexists with the Father and is proper
to Him; now that the Father alone is unoriginate, and then again that His
Wisdom and His Power are unoriginate also. And they battle with us for saying
that the Word of God is ever, yet forget their own doctrines, and say
themselves that Wisdom coexists with God unoriginately[4]. So dizzied[5] are
they in all these matters, denying the true Wisdom, and inventing one which is
not, as the Manichees who make to themselves another God, after denying Him
that is.

41. But let the other heresies and the Manichees also know that the Father
of the Christ is One, and is Lord and Maker of the creation through His proper
Word. And let the Ariomaniacs know in particular, that the Word of God is One,
being the only Son proper and genuine from His Essence, and having with His
Father the oneness of Godhead indivisible, as we said many times, being taught
it by the Saviour Himself. Since, were it not so, wherefore through Him does
the Father create, and in Him reveal Himself to whom He will, and illuminate
them? or why too in the baptismal consecration is the Son named together with
the Father? For if they say that the Father is not all-sufficient, then their
answer is irreligious[6], but if He be, for this it is right to say, what is
the need of the Son for framing the worlds, or for the holy laver? For what
fellowship is there between creature and Creator? or why is a thing made
classed with the Maker in the consecration of all of us? or why, as you hold,
is faith in one Creator and in one creature delivered to us? for if it was
that we might be joined to the Godhead, what need of the creature? but if that
we might be united to the Son a creature, superfluous, according to you, is
this naming of the Son in Baptism, for God who made Him a Son is able to make
us sons also. Besides, if the Son be a creature, the nature of rational
creatures being one, no help will come to creatures from a creature[7], since
all[8] need grace from God. We said a few words just now on the fitness that
all things should be made by Him; but since the course of the discussion has
led us also to mention holy Baptism, it is necessary to state, as I think and
believe, that the Son is named with the Father, not as if the Father were not
all-sufficient, not without meaning, and by accident; but, since He is God's
Word and own Wisdom, and being His Radiance, is ever with the Father,
therefore it is impossible, if the Father bestows grace, that He should not
give it in the Son, for the Son is in the Father as the radiance in the light.
For, not as if in need, but as a Father in His own Wisdom hath God rounded the
earth, and made all things in the Word which is from Him, and in the Son
confirms the Holy Laver. For where the Father is, there is the Son, and where
the light, there the radiance; and as what the Father worketh, He worketh
through the Son[9], and the Lord Himself says, 'What I see the Father do, that
do I also;' so also when baptism is given, whom the Father baptizes, him the
Son baptizes; and whom the Son baptizes, he is consecrated in the Holy
Ghost[10]. And again as when the sun shines, one might say that the radiance
illuminates, for the light is one and indivisible, nor can be detached, so
where the Father is or is named, there plainly is the Son also; and is the
Father named in Baptism? then must the Son be named with Him[11].


42. Therefore, when He made His promise to the saints, He thus spoke; 'I
and the Father will come, and make Our abode in him;' and again, 'that, as I
and Thou are One, so they may be one in Us.' And the grace given is one, given
from the Father in the Son, as Paul writes in every Epistle, 'Grace unto you,
and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ(1).' For the light
must be with the ray, and the radiance must be contemplated together with its
own light. Whence the Jews, as denying the Son as well as they, have not the
Father either; for, as having left the 'Fountain of Wisdom(2),' as Baruch
reproaches them, they put from them the Wisdom springing from it, our Lord
Jesus Christ (for 'Christ,' says the Apostle, is 'God's power and God's
wisdom(3)),' when they said, 'We have no king but C'sar 4.' The Jews then have
the penal award of their denial; for their' city as well as their reasoning
came to nought. And these too hazard the fulness of the mystery, I mean
Baptism; for if the consecration is given to us into the Name of Father and
Son, and they do not confess a true Father, because they deny what is from Him
and like His Essence, and deny also the true Son, and name another of their
own framing as created out of nothing, is not the rite administered by them
altogether empty and unprofitable, making a show, but in reality being no help
towards religion? For the Arians do not baptize into Father and Son, but into
Creator and creature, and into Maker and work(5). And as a creature is other
than the Son, so the Baptism, which is supposed to be given by them, is other
than the truth, though they pretend to name the Name of the Father and the
Son, because of the words of Scripture, For not he who simply says, 'O Lord,'
gives Baptism; but he who with the Name has also the right faith(6). On this
account therefore our Saviour also did not simply command to baptize, but
first says, 'Teach;' then thus: 'Baptize into the Name of Father, and Son, and
Holy Ghost;' that the right faith might follow upon learning, and together
with faith might come the consecration of Baptism.

43. There are many other heresies too, which use the words only, but not
in a right sense, as I have said, nor with sound faith(1), and in consequence
the water which they administer is unprofitable, as deficient in piety, so
that he who is sprinkled(2) by them is rather polluted(3) by irreligion than
redeemed. So Gentiles also, though the name of God is on their lips, incur the
charge of Atheism(4), because they know not the real and very God, the Father
of our Lord Jesus Christ. So Manichees and Phrygians(5), and the disciples of
the Samosatene, though using the Names, nevertheless are heretics, and the
Arians follow in the same course, though they read the words of Scripture, and
use the Names, yet they too mock those who receive the rite from them, being
more irreligious than the other heresies, and advancing beyond them, and
making them seem innocent by their own recklessness of speech. For these other
heresies lie against the truth in some certain respect, either erring
concerning the Lord's Body, as if He did not take flesh of Mary, or as if He
has not died at all, nor become man, but only appeared, and was not truly, and
seemed to have a body when He had not, and seemed to have the shape of man, as
visions in a dream; but the Arians are without disguise irreligious against
the Father Himself. For hearing from the Scriptures that His Godhead is
represented in the Son as in an image, they blaspheme, saying, that it is a
creature, and everywhere concerning that Image, they carry about(6) with them
the phrase, 'He was not,' as mud in a wallet(7), and spit it forth as serpents
s their venom. Then, whereas their doctrine is nauseous to all men, forthwith,
as a support against its fall, they prop up the heresy with human(9)
patronage, that the simple, at the sight or even by the fear may overlook the
mischief of their perversity. Right indeed is it to pity their dupes; well is
it to weep over them, for that they sacrifice their own interest for that
immediate phantasy which pleasures furnish, and forfeit their future hope. In
thinking to be baptized into the name of one who exists not, they will receive
nothing; and ranking themselves with a creature, from the creation they will
have no help, and believing in one unlike(10) and foreign to the Father in
essence, to the


Father they will not be joined, not having His own Son by nature, who is from
Him, who is in the Father, and in whom the Father is, as He Himself has said;
but being led astray by them, the wretched men henceforth remain destitute and
stripped of the Godhead. For this phantasy of earthly goods will not follow
them upon their death; nor when they see the Lord whom they have denied,
sitting on His Father's throne, and judging quick and dead, will they be able
to call to their help any one of those who have now deceived them; for they
shall see them also at the judgment-seat, repenting for their deeds of sin and



viii. 22.

Proverbs are of a figurative nature, and must be interpreted as such. We must
interpret them, and in particular this passage, by the Regula Fidei. 'He
created me' not equivalent to 'I am a creature.' Wisdom a creature so far
forth as Its human body. Again, if He is a creature, it is as 'a beginning of
ways,' an office which, though not an attribute, is a consequence, of a higher
and divine nature. And it is 'for the works,' which implied the works existed,
and therefore much more He, before He was created. Also 'the Lord' not the
Father 'created' Him, which implies the creation was that of a servant.

44. We have gone through thus much before the passage in the Proverbs,
resisting the insensate fables which their hearts have invented, that they may
know that the Son of God ought not to be called a creature, and may learn
lightly to read what admits in truth of a right(1) explanation. For it is
written, 'The Lord created me a beginning of His ways, for His works(2);'
since, however, these are proverbs, and it is expressed in the way of
proverbs, we must not expound them nakedly in their first sense, but we must
inquire into the person, and thus religiously put the sense on it. For what is
said in proverbs, is not said plainly, but is put forth latently(3), as the
Lord Himself has taught us in the Gospel according to John, saying, 'These
things have I spoken unto you in proverbs, but the time cometh when I shall no
more speak unto you in proverbs, but openly(4).' Therefore it is necessary to
unfold the senses of what is said, and to seek it as something hidden, and not
nakedly to expound as if the meaning were spoken 'plainly,' lest by a false
interpretation we wander from the truth. If then what is written be about
Angel, or any other of things originate, as concerning one of us who are
works, let it be said, 'created me;' but if it be the Wisdom of God, in whom
all things originate have been framed, that speaks concerning Itself, what
ought we to understand but that 'He created' means nothing contrary to 'He
begat?' Nor, as forgetting that It is Creator and Framer, or ignorant of the
difference between the Creator and the creatures, does It number Itself among
the creatures; but It signifies a certain sense, as in proverbs, not
'plainly,' but latent; which It inspired the saints to use in prophecy, while
soon after It doth Itself give the meaning of 'He created' in other but
parallel expressions, saying, 'Wisdom made herself a house(6).' Now it is
plain that our body is Wisdom's house(7), which It took on Itself to become
man; hence consistently does John say, 'The Word was made flesh(8);' and by
Solomon Wisdom says of Itself with cautious exactness(9), not 'I am a
creature,' but only 'The Lord created me a beginning of His ways for His
works(10),' yet not 'created me that I might have being,' nor 'because I have
a creature's beginning and origin.'

45. For in this passage, not as signifying the Essence of His Godhead, nor
His own everlasting and genuine generation from the Father, has the Word
spoken by Solomon, but on the other hand His manhood and Economy towards us.
And, as I said before, He has not said 'I am a creature,' or 'I became a
creature,' but only 'He created(1).' For the creatures, having a created
essence, are


originate, and are said to be created, and of course the creature is created:
but this mere term 'He created' does not necessarily signify the essence or
the generation, but indicates something else as coming to pass in Him of whom
it speaks, and not simply that He who is said to be created, is at once in His
Nature and Essence a creature'. And this difference divine Scripture
recognises, saying concerning the creatures, 'The earth is full of Thy
creation,' and 'the creation itself groaneth together and travaileth
together(3);' and in the Apocalypse it says, 'And the third part of the
creatures in the sea died which had life;' as also Paul says, 'Every creature
of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it be received with
thanksgiving(4);' and in the book of Wisdom it is written, 'Having ordained
man through Thy wisdom, that he should have dominion over the creatures which
Thou hast made(5).' And these, being creatures, are also said to be created,
as we may further hear from the Lord, who says, 'He who created them, made
them male and female(6);' and from Moses in the Song, who writes, 'Ask now of
the days that are past, which were before thee since the day that God created
man upon the earth, and from the one side of heaven unto the other(7).' And
Paul in Colossians, 'Who is the Image of the Invisible God, the Firstborn of
every creature, for in Him were all things created that are in heaven, and
that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or
dominions, or principalities, or powers; all things were created through Him,
and for Him, and He is before all(8).'

46. That to be called creatures, then, and to be created beIongs to things
which have by nature a created essence, these passages are sufficient to
remind us, though Scripture is full of the like; on the other hand that the
single word 'He created' does not simply denote the essence and mode of
generation, David shews in the Psalm, 'This shall be written for another
generation, and the people that is created shall praise the Lord(1);' and
again, 'Create in me a clean heart, O God(2);' and Paul in Ephesians says,
'Having abolished the law of commandments contained in ordinances, for to
create in Himself of two one new man(3); and again, 'Put ye on the new man,
which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness(4).' For neither
David spoke of any people created in essence, nor prayed to have another heart
than that he had, but meant renovation according to God and renewal; nor did
Paul signify two persons created in essence in the Lord, nor again did he
counsel us to put on any other man; but he called the life according to virtue
the 'man after God,' and by the 'created' in Christ he meant the two people
who are renewed in Him. Such too is the language of the book of Jeremiah; 'The
Lord created a new salvation for a planting, in which salvation men shall walk
to and fro(5);' and in thus speaking, he does not mean any essence of a
creature, but prophesies of the renewal of salvation among men, which has
taken place in Christ for us. Such then being the difference between 'the
creatures' and the single word 'He created,' if you find anywhere in divine
Scripture the Lord called 'creature,' produce it and fight; but if it is
nowhere written that He is a creature, only He Himself says about Himself in
the Proverbs, 'The Lord created me,' shame upon you, both on the ground of the
distinction aforesaid and for that the diction is like that of proverbs; and
accordingly let 'He created' be understood, not of His being a creature, but
of that human nature which became His, for to this belongs creation. Indeed is
it not evidently unfair in you, when David and Paul say 'He created,' then
indeed not to understand it of the essence and the generation, but the
renewal; yet, when the Lord says 'He created' to number His essence with the
creatures? and again when Scripture says, 'Wisdom built her an house, she set
it upon seven pillars(6), to understand 'house'


allegorically, but to take 'He created' as it stands, and to fasten on it the
idea of creature? and neither His being Framer of all has had any weight with
you, nor have you feared His being the sole and proper Offspring of the
Father, but recklessly, as if you had enlisted against Him, do ye fight, and
think less of Him than of men.

47. For the very passage proves that it is only an invention of your own
to call the Lord creature For the Lord, knowing His own Essence to be the
Only-begotten Wisdom and Offspring of the Father, and other than things
originate and natural creatures, says in love to man, 'The Lord created me a
beginning of His ways,' as if to say, 'My Father hath prepared for Me a body,
and has created Me for men in behalf of their salvation.' For, as when John
says, 'The Word was made flesh(1), we do not conceive the whole Word Himself
to be flesh(2), but to have put on flesh and become man, and on hearing,
'Christ hath become a curse for us,' and 'He hath made Him sin for us who knew
no sin(3),' we do not simply conceive this, that whole Christ has become curse
and sin, but that He has taken on Him the curse which lay against us (as the
Apostle has said, 'Has redeemed us from the curse,' and 'has carried,' as
Isaiah has said, 'our sins,' and as Peter has written, 'has borne them in the
body on the wood 4); so, if it is said in the Proverbs 'He created,' we must
not conceive that the whole Word is in nature a creature, but that He put on
the created body s and that God created Him for our sakes, preparing for Him
the created body, as it is written, for us, that in Him we might be capable of
being renewed and deified. What then deceived you, O senseless, to call the
Creator a creature? or whence did you purchase for you this new thought, to
parade it(6)? For the Proverbs say 'He created,' but they call not the Son
creature, but Offspring; and, according to the distinction in Scripture
aforesaid of 'He created' and 'creature,' they acknowledge, what is by nature
proper to the Son, that He is the Only-begotten Wisdom and Framer of the
creatures, and when they say 'He created,' they say it not in respect of His
Essence, but signify that He was becoming a beginning of many ways; so that
'He created' is in contrast to 'Offspring,' and His being called the
'Beginning of ways(7)' to His being the Only-begotten Word.

48. For if He is Offspring, how call ye Him creature? for no one says that
He begets what He creates, nor calls His proper offspring creatures; and
again, if He is Only-begotten, how becomes He 'beginning of the ways?' for of
necessity, if He was created a beginning of all things, He is no longer alone,
as having those who came into being after Him. For Reuben, when he became a
beginning of the children(1), was not only-begotten, but in time indeed first,
but in nature and relationship one among those who came after him. Therefore
if the Word also is 'a beginning of the ways,' He must be such as the ways
are, and the ways must be such as the Word, though in point of time He be
created first of them. For the beginning or initiative of a city is such as
the other parts of the city are, and the members too being joined to it, make
the city whole and one, as the many members of one body; nor does one part of
it make, and another come to be, and is subject to the former, but all the
city equally has its government and constitution from its maker. If then the
Lord is in such sense created as a 'beginning' of all things, it would follow
that He and all other things together make up the unity of the creation, and
He neither differs from all others, though He become the 'beginning' of all,
nor is He Lord of them, though older in point of time; but He has the same
manner of framing and the same Lord as the rest. Nay, if He be a creature, as
you hold, how can He be created sole and first at all, so as to be beginning
of all? when it is plain from what has been said, that among the creatures not
any is of a constant(2) nature and of prior formation, but each has its
origination with all the rest, however it may excel others in glory. For as to
the separate stars or the great lights, not this appeared first, and that
second, but in one day and by the same command, they were all called into
being. And such was the original formation of the quadrupeds, and of birds,
and fishes, and cattle, and plants; thus too has the race


made after God's Image come to be, namely men; for though Adam only was formed
out of earth, yet in him was involved the succession of the whole race.

49. And from the visible creation, we clearly discern that His invisible
things also, 'being perceived by the things that are made(3),' are not
independent of each other; for it was not first one and then another, but all
at once were constituted after their kind. For the Apostle did not number
individually, so as to say 'whether Angel, or Throne, or Dominion, or
Authority,' but he mentions together all according to their kind, 'whether
Angels, or Archangels, or Principalities(4):' for in this way is the
origination of the creatures. If then, as I have said, the Word were creature
He must have been brought into being, not first of them, but with all the
other Powers, though in glory He excel the rest ever so much. For so we find
it to be in their case, that at once they came to be, with neither first nor
second, and they differ from each other in glory, some on the right of the
throne, some all around, and some on the left, but one and all praising and
standing in service before the Lords. Therefore if the Word be creature He
would not be first or beginning of the rest yet if He be before all, as indeed
He is, and is Himself alone First and Son, it does not follow that He is
beginning of all things as to His Essence(6), for what is the beginning of all
is in the number of all. And if He is not such a beginning, then neither is He
a creature, but it is very plain that He differs in essence and nature from
the creatures, and is other than they, and is Likeness and Image of the sole
and true God, being Himself sole also. Hence He is not classed with creatures
in Scripture, but David rebukes those who dare even to think of Him as such,
saying, 'Who among the gods is like unto the Lord(7)?' and 'Who is like unto
the Lord among the sons of God?' and Baruch, 'This is our God, and another
shall not be reckoned wills Him(8).' For the One creates, and the rest are
created; and the One is the own Word and Wisdom of the Father's Essence, and
through this Word things which came to be, which before existed not, were

50. Your famous assertion then, that the Son is a creature, is not true,
but is your fantasy only; nay Solomon convicts you of having many times
slandered him. For he has not called Him creature, but God's Offspring and
Wisdom, saying, 'God in Wisdom established the earth,' and 'Wisdom built her
an house(1).' And the very passage in question proves your irreligious spirit;
for it is written, 'The Lord created me a beginning of His ways for His
works.' Therefore if He is before all things, yet says 'He created me' (not
'that I might make the works,' but) 'for the works,' unless 'He created'
relates to something later than Himself, He will seem later than the works,
finding them on His creation already in existence before Him, for the sake of
which He is also brought into being. And if so, how is He before all things
notwithstanding? and how were all things made through Him and consist in Him?
for behold, you say that the works consisted before Him, for which He is
created and sent. But it is not so; perish the thought! false is the
supposition of the heretics. For the Word of God is not creature but Creator;
and says in the manner of proverbs, 'He created me' when He put on created
flesh. And something besides may be understood from the passage itself; for,
being Son and having God for His Father, for He is His proper Offspring, yet
here He names the Father Lord; not that He was servant, but because He took
the servant's form. For it became Him, on the one hand being the Word from the
Father, to call God Father: for this is proper to son towards father; on the
other, having come to finish the work, and taken a servant's form, to name the
Father Lord. And this difference He Himself has taught by an apt distinction,
saying in the Gospels, 'I thank Thee, O Father,' and then, 'Lord of heaven and
earth(2).' For He calls God His Father, but of the creatures He names Him
Lord; as shewing clearly from these words, that, when He put on the
creature(3), then it was He called the Father Lord. For in the prayer of David
the Holy. Spirit marks the same distinction, saying in the Psalms, 'Give Thy
strength unto Thy Child, and help the Son of Thine handmaid(4).' For the
natural and true child of God is one, and the sons of the handmaid, that is,
of the nature of things originate, are other. Wherefore the One, as Son, has
the Father's might; but the rest are in need of salvation.

51. (But if, because He was called child,


they idly talk, let them know that both Isaac was named Abraham's child, and
the son of the Shunamite was called young child.) Reasonably then, we being
servants, when He became as we, He too calls the Father Lord, as we do; and
this He has so done from love to man, that we too, being servants by nature,
and receiving the Spirit of the Son, might have confidence to call Him by
grace Father, who is by nature our Lord. But as we, in calling the Lord
Father, do not deny our servitude by nature (for we are His works, and it is
'He that hath made us, and not we ourselves(1)'), so when the Son, on taking
the servant's form, says, 'The Lord created me a beginning of His ways,' let
them not deny the eternity of His Godhead, and that 'in the beginning was the
Word,' and 'all things were made by Him,' and 'in Him all things were



viii. 22 CONTINUED.

Our Lord is said to be created 'for the works,' i.e. with a particular
purpose, which no mere creatures are ever said to be. Parallel of Isai. xlix.
5, &c. When His manhood is spoken of, a reason for it is added; not so when
His Divine Nature; Texts in proof.

51 (continued). FOR the passage in the Proverbs, as I have said before,
signifies, not the Essence, but the manhood of the Word; for if He says that
He was created 'for the works,' He shews His intention of signifying, not His
Essence, but the Economy which took place 'for His works,' which comes second
to being. For things which are in formation and creation are made specially
that they may be and exist(3), and next they have to do whatever the Word bids
them, as may be seen in the case of all things. For Adam was created, not that
He might work, but that first he might be man; for it was after this that he
received the command to work. And Noah was created, not because of the ark,
but that first he might exist and be a man; for after this he received
commandment to prepare the ark. And the like will be found in every case on
inquiring into it; -- thus the great Moses first was made a man, and next was
entrusted with the government of the people. Therefore here too we must
suppose the like; for thou seest, that the Word is not created into existence,
but, 'In the beginning was the Word,' and He is afterwards sent 'for the
works" and the Economy towards them. For before the works were made, the Son
was ever, nor was there yet need that He should be created; but when the works
were created and need arose afterwards of the Economy for their restoration,
then it was that the Word took upon Himself this condescension and
assimilation to the works; which He has shewn us by the word 'He created.' And
through the Prophet Isaiah willing to signify the like, He says again: 'And
now thus saith the Lord, who formed me from the womb to be His servant, to
gather together Jacob unto Him and Israel, I shall be brought together and be
glorified before the Lord(4).'

52. See here too, He is formed, not into existence, but in order to gather
together the tribes, which were in existence before He was formed. For as in
the former passage stands 'He created,' so in this 'He formed;' and as there
'for the works,' so here 'to gather together;' so that in every point of view
it appears that 'He created' and 'He formed' are said after 'the Word was.'
For as before His forming the tribes existed, for whose sake He was formed, so
does it appear that the works exist, for which He was created. And when 'in
the beginning was the Word,' not yet were the works, as I have said before;
but when the works were made and the need required, then 'He created' was
said; and as if some son, when the servants were lost, and in the hands of the
enemy by their own carelessness, and need was urgent, were sent by his father
to succour and recover them, and on setting out were to put over him the like
dress(1) with them, and should fashion himself as they, test the capturers,
recognising him(2) as the master, should take to flight and prevent his
descending to those who were hidden under the earth by them; and then were any
one to inquire of him, why he did so, were to make answer, 'My Father thus
formed and prepared me for his works,' while in thus speaking, he neither
implies that he is a servant nor one of the works, nor speaks of the beginning
of His origination, but of the subsequent charge given him over the works,--in
the same way the Lord also, having put over Him our flesh, and 'being found in
fashion as a man, if He were questioned by those who saw Him thus and
marvelled, would say, 'The Lord created Me the beginning of His ways for His
works,' and 'He formed Me to gather together Israel.' This again the Spirit(3)
foretells in the Psalms, saying, 'Thou didst set Him over the works of Thine
hands(4);' which elsewhere the Lord signified of Himself, 'I am set as King by
Him upon His


holy hill of Sion(5).' And as, when He shone(6) in the body upon Sion, He had
not His beginning of existence or of reign, but being God's Word and
everlasting King, He vouchsafed that His kingdom should shine in a human way
in Sion, that redeeming them and us from the sin which reigned in them, He
might bring them under His Father's Kingdom, so, on being set 'for the works,'
He is not set for things which did not yet exist, but for such as already were
and needed restoration.

53. 'He created' then and 'He formed' and 'He set,' having the same
meaning, do not denote the beginning of His being, or of His essence as
created, but His beneficent renovation which came to pass for us. Accordingly,
though He thus speaks, yet He taught also that He Himself existed before this,
when He said, 'Before Abraham came to be, I am(1);' and 'when He prepared the
heavens, I was present with Him;' and 'I was with Him disposing things(2).'
And as He Himself was before Abraham came to be, and Israel had come into
being after Abraham, and plainly He exists first and is formed afterwards, and
His forming signifies not His beginning of being but His taking manhood,
wherein also He collects together the tribes of Israel; so, as 'being always
with the Father,' He Himself is Framer of the creation, and His works are
evidently later than Himself, and 'He created' signifies, not His beginning of
being, but the Economy which took place for the works, which He effected in
the flesh. For it became Him, being other than the works, nay rather their
Framer, to take upon Himself their renovation(3), that, whereas He is created
for us, all things may be now created in Him. For when He said 'He created,'
He forthwith added the reason, naming 'the works,' that His creation for the
works might signify His becoming man for their renovation. And this is usual
with divine Scripture(4); for when it signifies the fleshly origination of the
Son, it adds also the cause(5) for which He became man; but when he speaks or
His servants declare anything of His Godhead, all is said in simple diction,
and with an absolute sense, and without reason being added. For He is the
Father's Radiance; and as the Father is, but not for any reason, neither must
we seek the reason of that Radiance. Thus it is written, 'In the beginning was
the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God(6);' and the
wherefore it assigns not(7); but when 'the Word was made flesh(8),' then it
adds the reason why, saying, 'And dwelt among us.' And again the Apostle
saying, 'Who being in the form of Gods' has not introduced the reason, till
'He took on Him the form of a servant;' for then he continues, 'He humbled
Himself unto death, even the death of the cross(9);' for it was for this that
He both became flesh and took the form of a servant

54. And the Lord Himself has spoken many things in proverbs; but when
giving us notices about Himself, He has spoken absolutely(1); 'I in the
Father and the Father in Me,' and 'I and the Father are one,' and, 'He that
hath seen Me, hath seen the Father, and I am the Light of the world,' and, 'I
am the Truth(2);' not setting down in every case the reason, nor the
wherefore, lest He should seem second to those things for which He was made.
For that reason would needs take precedence of Him, without which not even He
Himself had come into being. Paul, for instance, 'separated an Apostle for the
Gospel, which the Lord had promised afore by the Prophets(3),' was thereby
made subordinate to the Gospel, of which he was made minister, and John, being
chosen to prepare the Lord's way, was made subordinate to the Lord; but the
Lord, not being made subordinate to any reason why He should be Word, save
only that He is the Father's Offspring and Only-begotten Wisdom, when He
becomes man, then assigns the reason why He is about to take flesh. For the
need of man preceded His becoming man, apart from which He had not put on
flesh(4). And what the need was for which He became man, He Himself thus
signifies, 'I came down from heaven, not to do Mine own will, but the will of
Him that sent Me. And this is the will of Him which hath sent Me, that of all
which He hath given Me, I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at
the last day. And this is the will of My Father, that every one which seeth
the Son and believeth on Him may have everlasting life, and I will raise him
up at the last day(5).' And again; 'I am come a light into the world, that
whosoever believeth on Me, should not abide in darkness(6).' And again he
says; 'To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that
I should bear witness unto the truth(7).' And John has written: 'For this was
manifested the Son of God, that He might destroy the works of the devil(8).'


55. To give a witness then, and for our sakes to undergo death, to raise
man up and destroy the works of the devil(1), the Saviour came, and this is
the reason of His incarnate presence. For otherwise a resurrection had not
been, unless there had been death; and how had death been, unless He had had a
mortal body? This the Apostle, learning from Him, thus sets forth, '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 bring to nought
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(2).' And,
'Since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead(3).'
And again, 'For what the Law could not do, in that it was weak through the
flesh, God, sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin,
condemned sin in the flesh; that the ordinance of the Law might be fulfilled
in us, who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit(4).' And John says,
'For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the
world through Him might be saved(5).' And again, the Saviour has spoken in His
own person, 'For judgment am I come into this world, that they who see not
might see, and that they which see might become blind(6).' Not for Himself
then, but for our salvation, and to abolish death, and to condemn sin, and to
give sight to the blind, and to raise up all from the dead, has He come; but
if not for Himself, but for us, by consequence not for Himself but for us is
He created. But if not for Himself is He created, but for us, then He is not
Himself a creature, but, as having put on our flesh, He uses such language.
And that this is the sense of the Scriptures, we may learn from the Apostle,
who says in Ephesians, 'Having broken down the middle wall of partition
between us, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, even the law of
commandments contained in ordinances, to create in Himself of twain one new
man, so making peace(7).' But if in Him the twain are created, and these are
in His body, reasonably then, bearing the twain in Himself, He is as if
Himself created; for those who were created in Himself He made one, and He was
in them, as they. And thus, the two being created in Him, He may say suitably,
'The Lord created me.' For as by receiving our infirmities, He is said to be
infirm Himself, though not Himself infirm, for He is the Power of God, and He
became sin for us and a curse, though not having sinned Himself, but because
He Himself bare our sins and our curse, so(8), by creating us in Him, let Him
say, He created me for the works,' though not Himself a creature.

56. For if, as they hold, the Essence of the Word being of created nature,
therefore He says, 'The Lord created me,' being a creature, He was not created
for us; but if He was not created for us, we are not created in Him; and, if
not created in Him, we have Him not in ourselves but externally; as, for
instance, as receiving instruction from Him as from a teacher(1). And it being
so with us, sin has not lost its reign over the flesh, being inherent and not
cast out of it. But the Apostle opposes such a doctrine a little before, when
he says, 'For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus(2);' and if in
Christ we are created, then it is not He who is created, but we in Him; and
thus the words 'He created' are for our sake. For because of our need, the
Word, though being Creator, endured words which are used of creatures; which
are not proper to Him, as being the Word, but are ours who are created in Him.
And as, since the Father is always, so is His Word, and always being, always
says 'I was daily His delight, rejoicing always before Him(3),' and 'I am in
the Father and the Father in Me(4);' so, when for our need He became man,
consistently does He use language, as ourselves, The Lord hath created Me,'
that, by His dwelling in the flesh, sin might perfectly be expelled from the
flesh, and we might have a free mind(5). For what ought He, when made


man, to say? 'In the beginning 1 was man?' this were neither suitable to Him
nor true; and as it beseemed not to say this, so it is natural and proper in
the case of man to say, 'He created' and 'He made' Him. On this account then
the reason of 'He created' is added, namely, the need of the works; and where
the reason is added, surely the reason rightly explains the lection. Thus
here, when He says 'He created,' He sets down the cause, 'the works;' on the
other hand, when He signifies absolutely the generation from the Father,
straightway He adds, 'Before all the hills He begets me(6);' but He does not
add the 'wherefore,' as in the case of 'He created,' saying, 'for the works,'
but absolutely, 'He begets me,' as in the text, 'In the beginning was the
Word(7).' For, though no works had been created, still 'the Word' of God
'was,' and 'the Word was God.' And His becoming man would not have taken
place, had not the need of men become a cause. The Son then is not a creature.