Fragments of a letter of Eusebius of Caesarea to Euphration of Balanea

The Fourth Century Website is back up! And from them, we examine the next letter in the Arian series. It is a letter from Eusebius of Caesarea to a fellow Arian:

(1.) A letter of Eusebius of Pamphylia to Euphration, which begins:  I confess to my lord by every grace….  And it continues later:

For we do not say that the Son is coexisting with the Father, but instead that the Father existed before the Son.  For if they coexisted, how could the Father be a father, and the Son be a son?  Or how could one indeed be the first, and the other second?  And how could one be unbegotten and the other begotten?   For the two, if they are equal, likewise exist mutually and are honored equally, one must conclude that either they are both unbegotten or both begotten, as I have said, but it is clear that neither of these is true.  For they are neither both unbegotten nor both begotten.  For one is indeed the first and best and leads to/precedes the second, both in order and in honor, so that he is the occasion for the second’s existing and for his existing in this particular way.

Why is it, the learned Church Historian, who is hailed by many, given this honor – especially when he, standing on the shoulders of Origen, denied the absolute deity of Christ? Of course, the particular doctrine of Eusebius focused a reality upon each title, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Doctrine is not seen, discussed, nor developed in a vacuum – and I have to wonder if development, even in language, would have been necessary if Arius had never been asked a question.

(2.) For the Son of God himself, who quite clearly knows all things, knows that he is different from, less, and inferior to the Father, and with full piety also teaches us this when he says, “The Father who sent me is greater than me” .

Except that as Marcellus would point out – the Reality of the Incarnation is different than the reality of pre-existence. The Father is greater than the Incarnated Son, having sent forth His Logos to tabernacle with men.

(3.)  But he teaches that that one is alone true when he says, “that they may know you, the only true God” , not as if one only is God, but that one is the (only) true God, with the very necessary addition of true.  For also he himself is Son of God, but not true, as God is.  For there is but one true God, the one before whom nothing existed.  But if the Son himself is true, it is simply as an image of the true God, and he is God, for “and the Word was God” , but not as the only true God.

Yet, in 1st John 5:20 we read the same phrase as applied to Christ. For both Origen and the (semi-) Arians monotheism was defended by having God the Father as absolute, or one true God. Yet, while Christ spoke to the Father calling Him in heaven the one true God, John was able to say that to the ascended Christ.

(4.) For daring to divide the Word of God and to name the Word as another God, differing in essence and power from the Father, he has departed into as great a blasphemy, as is easily discerned from those very terms he uses.  The following is an exact quote from his writings:

But surely the image and the one whose image it is are not considered one, but they are two Beings and two Things and two Powers, similarly with other titles .

A ‘Marcellian’ must have written the first, in italics, citing the Logoi of Justin, Origen, in which once the Logos was developed apart from the supercelestial God, there was of a necessity of several Logoi – one from the Father and one of the Father. The phrase ‘another God’ is direct from Justin’s works in describing the meeting at Mamri.

(5.) He writes as follows, wishing to show the savior as only a man, as the great unspoken mystery unveiled to us by the apostle:

For more clearly also the divine Apostle transmits to us the unspoken and mystical theology when he calls and cries out, “There is one God;” then after saying one God he continues to describe another, “One mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” .

How strange this talk of ‘another God’ must have sounded in the hears of the miahypostatics.

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