Category Archives: Marcellus of Ancyra

When did the split between East and West really happen?

Christogram (labarum) with Jesus Prayer in Rom...
Christogram (labarum) with Jesus Prayer in Romanian. Jesus Prayer in Romanian Doamne Iisuse Hristoase, Fiul lui Dumnezeu, miluieste-ma pe mine pacatosul. English translation Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner. This image appears on the cover of all editions of Romanian translation of Philokalia Français : Christogramme entouré de la Prière de Jésus en roumain (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Allan “I’ll be a Duke fan regardless of how awful they are until the day I die” Bevere points out another blogger’s post regarding the theological showdown in the Fourth Century. I’m just going to meme this and say it happened not just in the Fourth Century, but in 343 in the city of Sophia, Bulgaria, formerly known as Serdica. This council was called to remedy the continued war between those who were supporting a more reconciling station with Arius (the East) and those who sought to maintain the Apostolic tradition as handed down by the only begotten, but not made Son of God (the West).

Athanasius and Marcellus of Ancyra stood there, accused of blasphemy, murder, and treason. The Bishop of Rome, Julius I, defended them through his representatives. After all, he had shield them for some time now. But the Eastern bishops, being the sniveling little sots and sons of Arius that they were, refused to allow these two mighty men of God to take their place rightfully as Bishops, even though they were recognized and sponsored by the Pope. The Eastern bishops soon abandoned the council as they would abandon God the Father and the God the Son, to separate them as if one was lesser than the other. The Western Bishops attended to their duty and established a most forthright and beautiful creed, it was, to unite the one true Church. It reads:

We declare those men excommunicate from the Catholic Church who say that Christ is God, but not the true God; that He is the Son, but not the true Son; and that He is both begotten and made; for such persons acknowledge that they understand by the term ‘begotten,’ that which has been made; and because, although the Son of God existed before all ages, they attribute to Him, who exists not in time but before all time, a beginning and an end. Valens and Ursacius have, like two vipers brought forth by an asp, proceeded from the Arian heresy. For they boastingly declare themselves to be undoubted Christians, and yet affirm that the Word and the Holy Ghost were both crucified and slain, and that they died and rose again; and they pertinaciously maintain, like the heretics, that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost are of diverse and distinct essences. We have been taught, and we hold the catholic and apostolic tradition and faith and confession which teach, that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost have one essence, which is termed substance by the heretics. If it is asked, ‘What is the essence of the Son?’ we confess, that it is that which is acknowledged to be that of the Father alone; for the Father has never been, nor could ever be, without the Son, nor the Son without the Father. It is most absurd to affirm that the Father ever existed without the Son, for that this could never be so has been testified by the Son Himself, who said, ‘I am in the Father, and the Father in Me;’ and ‘I and My Father are one.’ None of us denies that He was begotten; but we say that He was begotten before all things, whether visible or invisible; and that He is the Creator of archangels and angels, and of the world, and of the human race. It is written, ‘Wisdom which is the worker of all things taught me,’ and again, ‘All things were made by Him.’ He could not have existed always if He had had a beginning, for the everlasting Word has no beginning, and God will never have an end. We do not say that the Father is Son, nor that the Son is Father; but that the Father is Father, and the Son of the Father Son. We confess that the Son is Power of the Father. We confess that the Word is Word of God the Father, and that beside Him there is no other. We believe the Word to be the true God, and Wisdom and Power. We affirm that He is truly the Son, yet not in the way in which others are said to be sons: for they are either gods by reason of their regeneration, or are called sons of God on account of their merit, and not on account of their being of one essence, as is the case with the Father and the Son. We confess an Only-begotten and a Firstborn; but that the Word is only-begotten, who ever was and is in the Father. We use the word firstborn with respect to His human nature. But He is superior (to man) in the new creation (of the Resurrection), inasmuch as He is the Firstborn from the dead. We confess that God is; we confess the divinity of the Father and of the Son to be one. No one denies that the Father is greater than the Son: not on account of another essence, nor yet on account of their difference, but simply from the very name of the Father being greater than that of the Son. The words uttered by our Lord, ‘I and My Father are one,’ are by those men explained as referring to the concord and harmony which prevail between the Father and the Son; but this is a blasphemous and perverse interpretation. We, as Catholics, unanimously condemned this foolish and lamentable opinion: for just as mortal men on a difference having arisen between them quarrel and afterwards are reconciled, so do such interpreters say that disputes and dissension are liable to arise between God the Father Almighty and His Son; a supposition which is altogether absurd and untenable. But we believe and maintain that those holy words, ‘I and My Father are one,’ point out the oneness of essence which is one and the same in the Father and in the Son. We also believe that the Son reigns with the Father, that His reign has neither beginning nor end, and that it is not bounded by time, nor can ever cease: for that which always exists never begins to be, and can never cease. We believe in and we receive the Holy Ghost the Comforter, whom the Lord both promised and sent. We believe in It as sent. It was not the Holy Ghost who suffered, but the manhood with which He clothed Himself; which He took from the Virgin Mary, which being man was capable of suffering; for man is mortal, whereas God is immortal. We believe that on the third day He rose, the man in God, not God in the man; and that He brought as a gift to His Father the manhood which He had delivered from sin and corruption. We believe that, at a meet and fixed time, He Himself will judge all men and all their deeds. So great is the ignorance and mental darkness of those whom we have mentioned, that they are unable to see the light of truth. They cannot comprehend the meaning of the words: ‘that they may be one in us.’ It is obvious why the word ‘one’ was used; it was because the apostles received the Holy Spirit of God, and yet there were none amongst them who were the Spirit, neither was there any one of them who was Word, Wisdom, Power, or Only-begotten. ‘As Thou,’ He said, ‘and I are one, that they, may be one in us.’ These holy words, ‘that they may be one in us,’ are strictly accurate: for the Lord did not say, ‘one in the same way that I and the Father are one,’ but He said, ‘that the disciples, being knit together and united, may be one in faith and in confession, and so in the grace and piety of God the Father, and by the indulgence and love of our Lord Jesus Christ, may be able to become one.’

No doubt, Marcellus himself, the sainted man of God and loyal soldier of Christ, drafted most of this himself. Blessed be he.

If only we could replace Basil with Marcellus.

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Marcellus of Ancyra wins in the Apostle’s Creed

If you remember, from a long time ago… I have a deep admiration for Marcellus of Ancrya. He was a fighter for Western Christology, something later corrupted, as everything usually is, by the East. Plus, he believed in a type of universal reconciliation, but then again, in those days, who didn’t, right? In his defense of the proper terminology in defining the relationship between the Father and the Son, and oddly enough, he insisted only on Scriptural terminology.

Anyway… as I was praying with the Apostle’s Creed this morning, I prayed the United Methodist version, but honestly, it was missing Marcellus’ key phrase which is preserved in the Roman Missal:

I believe in God,
the Father almighty,
Creator of heaven and earth,
and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died and was buried;
he descended into hell;
on the third day he rose again from the dead;
he ascended into heaven,
and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty;
from there he will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and life everlasting. Amen

Sure, Marcellus is really the cause of the East-West split, and yes, he is eternally trashed in the Nicene-Constantinople Creed, but in the Apostle’s Creed, for many, many Christians, Marcellus wins…

God Wins Chapter 2 – Still no questions, because God is Transcendent

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In truth, I almost entitled this post ‘Mark Galli is not a Theologian, Good, Bad, or Otherwise’ but I am trying not to appear to attack Galli personally. I want to focus just on his message, but in equal truth, his theology is part Reformed, at least in quotations, and part ineptness. First, he opens the chapter up with the scene in Pilate’s hall, on the even of the Crucifixion, with Pilate asking Jesus Christ questions – which Jesus answered. In doing this, Galli tries to offer commentary, but the commentary is often of a less than academic variety but markedly more of the journalist variety, and of course, I mean no offense to my journalistic friends; however, the sentences are short, the statements less than meaningful, and often childish. At least you expected that from Bell, but not from a man in Galli’s position. Again, though, his focus in on questions, something he obviously doesn’t like or believe to be theologically palatable.

He finally turns to tackling some of the issues raised in Love Wins,  or so he leads us to believe. So far, we have had to read Alcorn’s forward, Galli’s introduction and chapter 1 without much , rather any, real issues with Love Wins raised. Galli writes, “Unfortunately, this preliminary work is not done in Love Wins. We are met with an onslaught of questions, most of which are not answered” and “It does not communicate the gravity, the thickness, the mystery of God.” Therefore I am ready to hear what Galli has to say about both things – the lack of theological preparedness found in Love Wins and how this might contribute the things of God which Galli enumerates. I have to agree with Galli at this point, that Bell has prepared somewhat of a theological treatise on universal reconciliation, but some of the early Church writers did, as George MacDonald did, as Karl Barth did, as William Willimon has done, and N.T. Wright paints, and as Von Balthasar published. But, in comparing those men to Rob Bell, the latter is lacking in comparison to the former in that the latter, Bell, didn’t set out to write a theological treatise, but in his role as Pastor, provide a pastoral letter to an issue which has raised it’s head from time to time – just who gets to tell her to go to hell.

From here, with the promise of some measure of theological interact, Galli proceeds to picture God as Creator, Lord and Lawgiver, yet continues to commit the error of placing God as so far removed from us, that we need a second God [Platonism, cough, The One and the Logos, cough, cough] to help us get to the first while positioning God as a wrathful father, just the image which Bell attempted to correct. (Here, I think that Galli takes his theology from Justin and the Greeks, but I may be wrong, and instead, Galli is just parsing theological information and trying to coherently rehearse Trinitarian dogma). He starts his introduction to God in Genesis with what we “think is the beginning.” He notes that God is first seen as Creator, with God as a “transcendent authority.” I beg to differ with Galli, especially if you read Genesis 2 and 3 which has God far removed from the idea of transcendence, certainly not a Hebrew thought, to a God who was present with humanity, in daily conversation with them, and even further, we examine the ideal government, in which God spoke directly to Israel and was indeed their king before the Fall occurred (here, I am relating the story establishment of the Royal Dynasty). This is not the only place in which Galli posits God as so far from us, and yet, he never actually seeks to resolve this fully, except by creating the same issue of the Philosophers. This transcendent God (which might explain Galli’s aversion to questioning God) is then shown to be one who “sent Jesus to the cross to die for our sins, to settle the score between us and God.” It is difficult for me to believe in this image of God as the legitimate one, or rather the more biblical one, as it puts Christ in the middle between God and His Creation, not in the matter of love, but of fear. Even Galli notes that this image doesn’t prompt us to love God. He goes on to draw an image of the relationship between God and humanity with an allegory of a boss and an employee. He notes then that this is the way we think of God when we see him as Creation, Lord, and Lawmaker and yet, his allegories are poor, his own image of God undeveloped by Scripture, and seemingly fully self-reliant.

YHWH/ Elohim the Creator-God of Israel & Judah is a relational God; being covenantal is intrinsic to this God’s very being. God in Genesis 1 spoke directly to the people of His creation. In Genesis 2, God specially crafted Creation for Humanity who in Genesis 3 is seen in daily conversation with God and this is not to mention the other times in the Old Testament in which God is seen as ‘with us.’ Further, his notion of God as Lord gets lost in this section and I suspect, combined with Lawgiver. But, this image which is presented is one of a wrathful God who obviously abandoned his creation but now is jealous, sends His Son to death and allows His Son to act an intermediary, fending off the wrath of the Father. To maintain this view of God the Father, one has to almost completely upend the entirety of the Hebrew Bible in which prophet after prophet goes to the Judeans & Israelites to beg them to return to God before it is too late, as well as the promises that after a period of punishment, or hell, if you will, they would be returned because the Love of God wins, even in Babylon, in exile, in torment.

His next two sections do not hold much theological promise either. First, he examines God as Agent. As I am not completely unfamiliar with Trinitarian Doctrine, I would rather reserve ‘Agent’ for Christ, not God the Father which Galli seems to do as a means to undermine Bell’s understanding of the Gospel. While he calls Bell’s view (p72, Love Wins), ‘good’ he notes that it is not the ‘best’ news which the bible proclaims. He writes that Bell’s Gospel pictures God only as an Agent which he defines as, “Someone who accomplishes something for us, as well as something that God does to us.” Here, Galli seems to take on the notion that a life in God means, in part, participating in the renewal of the world through service to others but doesn’t necessarily condemn this point of view, just says that it is not all. I’m not sure Bell would disagree, actually, or any preacher or theologian; therefore, I am unsure of Galli’s point, except that he is against the idea that a life with God is about “experience and doing.” Perhaps Galli hasn’t read much of the Wesleyan theologians. (I note that in this section, Galli starts to take on the Evangelical Church in the U.S., but again, never goes beyond saying what is ‘not right’.) Interesting enough, in just a short space, Galli condemns Bell’s statement of “May you experience this vast, expansive, infinite, indestructible love” (198, Love Wins), more than likely because Galli is questioning the use of experience, but praises the words of Jesus who prays to the Father in John 17 with the words, “May they experience such perfect unity…” I am led to believe that since questioning is often times a vital part of experiencing, that Galli deems both equally invalid as a Christian witness or discipline, and for that, I pity. I pity him not just for his refusal to experience God in questioning, but in seeing God as so transcendent that He is “ultimately only over there.”

As I noted earlier, Galli seems to lack the finer qualities of the usual Trinitarian theologian. I don’t want to spend too much time on this because it is only essential in noting the hypocrisy of citing Bell’s lack of theological preparedness when one’s own understanding of certain theological elements are deft. He cites ‘theologians’ in saying that the Son and the Father are two “persons” but one being. While this may be the somewhat an official stance, Galli goes on to show that he misunderstands the ‘theologians’ especially in using the language of the union between God the Father and Jesus to apply to humanity and Jesus.

Galli relies on American-Christian language of citing the ‘personal relationship with Jesus’ which is only a fairly recent phenomena and is unbiblical, if excluded from any notion of community, which it usually is in Evangelical circles. While Galli wishes to set aside corporate salvation, he might have done better to spend some time exploring what the theologians have written regarding corporation salvation in relationship to God. He goes on with saying that God was “not merely being kind to us in Christ” (which I’ve tried to locate in Love Wins, but couldn’t. As this is a book which is supposed to take on that book, I would expect more direct quotes) but that God has indeed saved us for reasons known to Him. Of course, Bell would agree with that, I think, which sort of acts like a sub-plot to Love Wins, in that God’s reasons are for the renewal of Creation. Both Bell and Galli would agree that our sin has caused a separation so the point of this conversation thus far has been rather muted.

Galli uses Scripture, but to what end? So does Bell. Interesting enough, both Galli and Bell quote Colossians 1.15-22, which reads,

Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation, for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see– such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through him and for him. He existed before anything else, and he holds all creation together.

Christ is also the head of the church, which is his body. He is the beginning, supreme over all who rise from the dead. So he is first in everything. For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ, and through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross. This includes you who were once far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions.

Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault. (Col 1:15-22 NLT)

Galli, however, only reports, “now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body.” Galli’s individualism allows him to read Colossians 1 and privatize that writer’s concept of salvation for himself, while failing to note that the Apostle’s epistle actually includes all of creation. In this passage, we read of the hope in which God has reconciled all things, the entire world as some translations put it, to himself through Christ, and not just you, which really points to me me me as the individual person.

Galli moves on with a section entitled, “Life in God” which he seemingly opens with the continued thought from Colossians 1. Galli sees that we are now in the very being of God. He notes that the meaning of this has taken the whole of Christian history to examine, but the ironic part of this is that the explanations were all started by questions brought on by the radical change made through the Spirit as experienced by the followers of Christ. He adds, “We cannot neatly separate who God is from what he does for us, for it is the very nature of God to pour out his love to others.” Here, Galli is arguing along the lines of Karl Rahner which is detrimental to his ability to deal objectively with Bell’s (among others) theology. Is God what God does? We could take this to a different conclusion, such as God is Retribution. If God is always Retribution, and such a notion of justice always requires Punishment, then God is always the Executioner which excludes Love and Mercy. I note that this is often the way we view sinners, such as homosexuals, in that we cannot separate their actions from their persons. Imagine again that this is carried further, in that we are sinners, defined by our actions, and thus unable to change. If God is defined by His actions, he is thus unable to change and the image of God becomes more human, feeble, and weak. This small bit of real theology which pokes through Galli’s writing here would destroy God’s ontological αναλλοίωτος because then God would be unable to change according the dispensation of the times. Yet, in that single word we find the issue of economy. I draw the clearest understanding of the nature of the Godhead from Marcellus of Ancyra and his notion of the Economic Trinity. In that, we find that ontologically speaking, God will not change (the Immanent Trinity, and yet, economically, God is allowed to change His methods if not nature for a space of our time. I note that even Galli truly doesn’t believe what he writes in the above quote because he notes that is Creator, Lord and Lawgiver in different roles which require an economic change. Instead, at some points, while Galli paints a picture of a God so transcendent, unchanging, and above nature & history, he simultaneously comes close to the pantheist model. It may be that if Galli where to re-examine the notion of an economic nature of God, then he may find that the paradoxes of Scripture are ironed out which allows for the hope of a universal restoration.

Bell and Galli would be agreement, however, that the nature of God involves Love, but I suspect that while Galli quotes Jonathan Edwards, Bell would again quote the Apostle Paul who spoke of the reconciliation of the entire world while I might add the doctrine of irresistible Grace. If God is doing the reconciliation of the entire world, then who can rightly resist Him? Galli has failed, thus far, to separate himself from what Bell is saying, but continues to separate himself from the way Christians the world and time over had lived, but experiencing God in Christ, by questioning theological standards and indeed each other, by doing. Galli wants to make the point about questioning, and yet, he fails to note that when he uses the doctrine of the Trinity, or the catechisms, or the whole of Christian history he is often relying upon the fruited results of someone who experienced something and who questions what it was and what it means.

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An Exposition of Faith: A New English Translation (Chapter 2 Begins)

I am starting the translation of chapter 2 for the Marcellian document, Exposition of Faith, and I am running into some problems – as to be expected from a novice. Any help would be appreciated.

2.1 Πιστεομεν μοως ες τ πνεμα τ γιον, τ πντα ρευνν “κα τ βθη το θεο,” ναθεματζοντες τ παρ τοτο φρονοντα δγματα.

2.2 οτε γρ υοπτορα φρονομεν ς ο Σαβλλιοι λγοντες μονοοσιον κα οχ μοοσιον κα ν τοτ ναιροντες τ εναι υἱόν.

2.3 οτε τ παθητν σμα φρεσε δι τν το παντς κσμου σωτηραν, νατθεμεν τ πατρ.

2.1 Credimus similiter in Spiritum sanctum, qui omnia scrutatur etiam profunda Dei. Dogmatius nutem omnibus quae his contraria fuerint, anathema dicimus.

2.2 Neque enim Filio Patrem agnoscimus qui unius sit substantiae, non vero consubstantialius, ut volont Seblliani, qui hoc pacto Filium pentius tollunt.

2.3 Neque etiam patibile corpus, quod propter totius mundi salutem gestavit, attribuimus Patri.

2.1 We believe also in the Spirit, the Holy (Hebrews 10.5), the searcher of all things, even the depths of God (1st Corinthians 2.10). Cursed is he who is against this doctrine.

2.2 Niether, for the Son-Father, of which Sabellius speaks, acknowledges the monoousian but not the homoousian, and he destroys the Son’s existence.

2.3 Neither, the suffering body, by which he saved all the world, given by the Father.

I am not happy with the beginning of verse 2 and 3. The ‘οτε γρ’ and ‘οτε τ‘ is throwing me. Please, help! I am thinking that the author intends to state that those that, like Sabellius, deny the Consubstantiality of the Father and Son, referring to think the Son is a ‘nickname’ (patripassianism) are accursed as well, as are those that destroy the notion that Christ had a body.

Marcellus’ problem for a long time had been that he was unfairly categorized a Sabellian by his opponants – unfair because Marcellus never denied the disctinction in time of the Incarnation and never professed that the Son was realy the Father, but with a different name. It is only natural that along with other heresies, the author places Sabellius.

Creed of the Council of Sardica – One Hypostasis or Three?

As many of you know, I have recently taken an interest in the study of 4th Century Christianity. In looking at the final development of the Trinity, the Council of Sardica had to be denied as valid by Athanasius:

And prohibit even the reading or publication of the paper, much talked of by some, as having been drawn up concerning the Faith at the synod of Sardica. For the synod made no definition of the kind. For whereas some demanded, on the ground that the Nicene synod was defective, the drafting of a creed, and in their haste even attempted it, the holy synod assembled in Sardica was indignant, and decreed that no statement of faith should be drafted, but that they should be content with the Faith confessed by the fathers at Nicæa, inasmuch as it lacked nothing but was full of piety, and that it was undesirable for a second creed to be promulged, lest that drafted at Nicæa should be deemed imperfect, and a pretext be given to those who were often wishing to draft and define a creed. So that if a man propound the above or any other paper, stop them, and persuade them rather to keep the peace. For in such men we perceive no motive save only contentiousness. For as to those whom some were blaming for speaking of three Subsistences (hypostasis) on the ground that the phrase is unscriptural and therefore suspicious, we thought it right indeed to require nothing beyond the confession of Nicæa, but on account of the contention we made enquiry of them, whether they meant, like the Arian madmen, subsistences foreign and strange, and alien in essence from one another, and that each Subsistence was divided apart by itself, as is the case with creatures in general and in particular with those begotten of men, or like different substances, such as gold, silver, or brass;—or whether, like other heretics, they meant three Beginnings and three Gods, by speaking of three Subsistences.

This was the same Council that had declared both Athanasius and Marcellus free from heresy. I have to wonder if those declarations were seen as equally invalid.

We have to notice that the Council was strict on it’s use of theological terms, not even allowing for ousia to be used. Marcellus would later comment that it was the gnostic Valens which had first used the plurality of natures:

Now with the heresy of the Ariomaniacs, which has corrupted the Church of God…These then teach three hypostases, just as Valentinus the heresiarch first invented in the book entitled by him ‘On the Three Natures’. For he was the first to invent three hypostases and three persons of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and he is discovered to have filched this from Hermes and Plato. [7]

Before the Creed can be found the anathemas against the Eusebians who believed in three hypostases.

We declare that those are to be excommunicated from the Catholic Church who say that Christ is God, but not the true God; that he is the Son, but not the true Son; and that he is both begotten and unbegotten for such persons understand the term ‘begotten’ to signify, they say, that which has been made. And although the Son of God existed before all ages, they attribute to him a beginning and an end, and yet admit that he existed before all time.

The Creed can be found in Theodoret’s Ecclesiastical History, here:

“Valens and Ursacius have, like two vipers brought forth by an asp, proceeded from the Arian heresy. For they boastingly declare themselves to be most undoubted Christians, and yet they affirm that the Word and the Holy Ghost were both crucified and slain, and that they died and rose again; and they pertinaciously maintain, like the heretics, that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost are of diverse and distinct hypostases.

We have been taught, and we hold the catholic and apostolic tradition and faith and confession which teach, that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost have one hypostasis, which is termed essence (ousia) by the heretics. If it were asked,  “What is the nature of the Son? we should confess, that it is the same as that of the Father; for the Father has never been, nor could ever be, without the Son, nor the Son without the Father. It is most absurd to affirm that the Father ever existed without the Son, for that this could never be the case has been testified by the Son himself, who said,  “I am in the Father, and the Father in me” (John xiv. 10); and “I and the Father are one”‘ (John x. 30). We cannot deny that he was begotten; but we say that he was begotten before all things, whether visible or invisible; and that he is the Creator of archangels and angels, and of the worlds, and of the human species. It is written, “The wisdom which made all things has taught me; (Wisdom 7.22)” and again, “All things were made by him” (John i.).

“As the Word is said to have always existed, it is plain that He could have had no commencement; for if he had had a beginning, he could not have always existed. God will never have an end. We do not say that the Father is the Son, nor that the Son is the Father; but that the Father is the Father, and that the Son is the Son of the Father. We confess that the Son is the Power of the Father. We confess that the Son is the Word of God the Father, and that beside him there is no other. We believe the Word to be the true God, as well as wisdom and power.

We affirm that he is truly the Son, yet not in the way in which men are said to be sons: for they are said to be the sons of God on account of their regeneration, or of their merit, and not on account of their being of one hypostasis with the Father, as is the Son. We confess that he is the only begotten Son; for he has always been and always is in the Father. He is the Firstborn with respect to human nature. He differs from those who have received the new birth, inasmuch as he is the Firstborn from the dead. We confess that there is but one God, and that the divinity of the Father and of the Son is one. No one can deny that the Father is greater than the Son: this superiority does not arise from any difference in their nature, nor indeed from any diversity existing between them, but simply from the name of the Father being greater than that of the Son.

The following words uttered by our Lord, “I and the Father are one are” by some persons explained as referring to the concord and harmony (symphonia) which prevail between the Father and the Son; but this is a blasphemous and perverse interpretation. So far as we are Catholics, we have condemned this foolish and lamentable opinion: for just as mortal men sometimes quarrel and afterwards are reconciled, so do such interpreters infer that disputes and dissension are liable to arise between God the Father Almighty and his Son; a supposition which is altogether absurd and untenable. But we believe and maintain that those holy words, “I and the Father are one point” out the oneness of the hypostasis, and the unity of the Father and of the Son. We also believe that the Son reigns with the Father, that his reign has neither beginning nor end, and that it is not bounded by time, nor subject to any contingencies: for what has always existed can never have commenced, and can never terminate.

We recognise and we receive the Holy Ghost the Comforter, whom the Lord promised to send, and whom we believe has been sent. It was not the Holy Ghost who suffered. He who suffered was the Christ, who took the nature of man, and was born of the Virgin Mary. As man, He was capable of suffering; for man is mortal, whereas God is immortal. We believe that on the third day the man rose in God, but that God did not rise in the man; and that Christ presented the human nature which he had delivered from sin and corruption as a gift to the Father. We believe that in his own appointed time, He will judge all men and all their actions. So great is the ignorance and mental darkness of those whom we have mentioned, that they are unable to see the light of truth. They cannot comprehend the meaning of the following words: ‘ that they may be one in us.’ It is obvious why the word ‘one’ was used; it was because the apostles received the Holy Spirit of God: yet there were none amongst them who were the Holy Ghost, neither was there any one of them who was the Word, the Wisdom, the Power, or the only begotten Son. “As Thou”, He said, “and I are one, so let them be one in us.” These holy words that they may be one in us are strictly accurate: for the Lord did not say, “Let them be one in the same way that I and the Father are one,” but he said, Let the disciples be united together, and be one in faith, in doctrine, in the grace of God the Father, and in the love of our Lord Christ.’ “