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resorted to the expedient of teaching the similarity of the nature or essence of the Son to that of the Father (the Homoiousians) instead of the difference, and thus attempted to approxiinate to the church doctrine.
3. THE FUNDAMENTAL DOCTRINE OF ARIUS, AND ITS RE
FUTATION BY ATHANASIUS. Athanasius does not specially examine the various modifi. cations of Arianism in bis controversial writings, but discusses the system itself in its ultimate principles, as an aggregate of errors. The contest was not confined to a single department of theological science, but involved speculative philosophy, exegesis, doctrines, and ethics. The manifold and abundant materials before us cannot be satisfactorily exhibited in their true relations to each other, unless they are previously arranged according to some system. In the opinions of Arius a discrimination must be made between bis fundamental doctrine and the inferences which he deduced from it. We propose to exhibit primarily the mode in which Athanasius assailed the former by arguments derived from various sources; we may then observe his mode of dealing with the inferences of Arius; and, lastly, listen to the appeal which, in reference to the entire Arian system, he makes to the established doctrine of the church.
The leading proposition of Arius, which comprehends in itself all the details of his system, is the following: The Father alone is God, and the Son is his creature; the latter is distinguished from all other creatures by three circumstances: the Son, as a creature, is morally perfect; he is exalted to divine glory, and through him all other created objects were made. Of the significance and importance of this propo. sition, the parties were fully aware at the commencement of the contest.
It assumes a prominent position in the epistles of Arius given above. Athanasius expressly says (c. Ar. 2. 19) that Arius had maintained against Alexander that the Son is a creature; he traces the other two propositions which Arius
maintained against Alexander — first, that the Son was produced froin nothing, and that at one time he did not exist - to the fundamental principle that he belongs to the class or kind of creatures (c. Ar. 1. 19). When Athanasius further quotes (c. Ar. 1. 5) the entire heresy of Arius, as exhib. ited in the Thulia of the latter, he asserts that Arius denies the Son of God, and counts him among other creatures; he describes the whole tendency of Arianism when he says. (c. Ar. 1. 22) that it separated the Son from the Father, and held the former to be like a creature. It was at this point that the combatants made their most vigorous efforts; while the Arians labored chiefly to inaintain this position, it was assailed by Athanasius in the following manner.
The entire Christian doctrine of the Trinity, Athanasius proceeds to say, must be abandoned, if the Son of God is a creature, as such did not exist at one time, and was produced from nothing. For if he is a creature, the 'Triad itself is of the nature of a creature, belongs to time, is dissimilar in itself, and subject to change; hence, the Triad must be still further capable of an infinite accretion, and, conversely, of a decrease also, even to a monad (c. Ar. 1. 17). The Arians have, however, in reality, two Gods — a created and an uncreated God; and, on account of such a plurality, as well as of the creature-like nature of that which they worship, they must be regarded as pagans (c. Ar. 3. 16). The doctrine of Arius, further, destroys the whole Christian doctrine re. specting man's salvation. For, if the Son is a creature, man must continue, even after the Son finished his work on earth, in a state of separation from God; for, how can one creature restore other creatures to communion with God, since all are alike needy and helpless in themselves? If the Son is a creature, and, as such, had been made the Son of God, then God the Father would have sent us vo Mediator, but could have at once converted us also into his sons. But if, on the other hand, our help comes through the Son alonc, if we receive the adoption through hiin, he cannot be simpiy a creature, for as such he could not have been capable of
aiding us (c. Ar. 2. 67 - 70. 41). But, as the Arians allege, God had himself created the Son immediately, and all other objects through him, that is, mediately. What an absurd explanation! Had God, perhaps, grown weary of the work of creating? Or did he deem it beneath his dignity to give existence to the other creatures ? Surely that God who led Jacob to Egypt and “ spake unto Moses face to face" (Gen. xxxiii. 11), is not a haughty God.' Who then shall dare to discriminate between the works of creation which God himself made and those which the Son made? He, the one God, creates alike that which is great and that which is small, in his Logos, the Son (de Decr. 7). He still preserves the whole world by his protecting care, provides for the fowls of the air, does not forget the sparrow upon the house-top, and cares even for the lilies and the grass of the field; so that the whole world protests against the declaration that it is unworthy of God to occupy himself with the world (c. Ar. 2. 25). But it would be unworthy of God to allege that he needed a mediator in producing a creature, for he would then resemble the carpenter who cannot proceed in his work without the instrumentality of his axe or his saw (c. Ar. 2. 26). But they now pretend that the other creatures could not have endured the direct operation of the mighty hand of God. · But we ask : How then could the Son have been created without a similar intervention? The creation of him would, by a parity of reasoning, have also required a mediator, and ultimately no creature could have come into existence (de Decr. 8). Further, if the Son was created only on account of the other creatures, he really owes his existence to us; and now that we do exist, his own continued existence has become unnecessary; indeed, we would occupy a higher rank than his own is, for the means are always subordinate to the end (c. Ar. 2. 30). If, however, the priority of his creation elevates him to a higher rank than our own, Adam, the head of our race, must have essentially differed from us; but such a view would be contrary to the whole tenor of the scriptures (de Decr. 9). But the Arians
attempt to secure themselves by borrowing from the Greeks the term ảyévntos, and hope to be able by its aid to ant the Son among creatures. But they do not seem to be aware that the Greeks applied this term alike to the absolute and sovereign Good, and also to the voûs 'which proceeds from him, and, indeed, likewise to the fuxń which proceeds from the vous (de Decr. 28). For they inquire : êv TÒ ảyévntov û dúo;' When any one who is unacquainted with their craftiness, replies, ev tò ảyévntov, they suddenly spit out their poison, and quickly retort: " Then it follows that the Son belongs to the class of the creatures, and we are correct in saying that he did not exist before he began to be.” For they confound all things together for the purpose of separating the Logos from the Father, and counting the former among creatures.
While the Arians accuse the Nicene Fathers of having employed expressions which do not occur in the scriptures, they are themselves guilty of the same fault, without however understanding the several significations of the expression which they borrow from the Greeks. For åyévntov signifies, first, that which is possible (tò undémw pièv yevóuevov, Evvápevov dè yevéolai), as, e. g. wood which bas not yet become (been made into) a vessel, but can become å vessel ; it, secondly, designates that which is impossible (tò uýte γενόμενον, μήτε δυνάμενον γενέσθαι ποτέ), as, e.g. a triangle cannot become a square, nor an even become an uneven number; it designates, thirdly, that which exists, but which proceeds from nothing else (το υπάρχον μέν, μη γενηθέν δε έκ τινος, μη δε όλως έχον εαυτού τινα πατέρα), as indeed the sophist Asterius, who belongs to their party, says: it is tò un TolnSév, årl'àcì ởv. In which sense shall we, then, receive the word ? If áyévntov designates, in the sense of Asterius, that which is no ereature, but always is, then the Son must likewise be called úyévntos. But if the Arians take it in the sense of
· Voigt here rejects the reading of some manuscripts, åyévntov, unbegotten, on the ground that the course of the argument and the antithesis to yevntós (from γίγνομαι, που γεννάω) require the reading given above in the text.
that which exists, which is not born of another, and has no father (κατά το υπάρχον μέν, μήτε δε γεννηθέν έκ τινος μήτε έχoν εαυτου πατέρα), then we answer that the Father alone is úyévntos, meaning, at the same time, not that the Son is γενητός, but that he is a γέννημα. For the word γενητός, which may be applied to all creatures, does not describe the Son as the image of the Father, which he really is, since the Logos is like the Father who begat him. Precisely as the terms “ Almighty,” “ Lord of hosts,” refer to the relation of God to his creatures, and not to his relation to the Son, so, too, the word ủyévntos refers to his relation to the creatures, whereas in reference to the Son, God is called the Father. The term Father is far exalted in sense above that of ảyévn. Tos, as the Son himself is exalted above all creatures. Whatever use the pagans may make of the word, our Lord has taught us to pray, not Θεέ αγένητε, but Πάτερ ημών, and commanded us to baptize, not in the name of the ủyévntos and the yévntos — the Creator and the creature, but in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Iloly Ghost. Hence all the Arian arguments, as Athanasius says, which are derived from the word úyévntos are absurd and frivolous (c. Ar. 1. 30 – 31; de Decr. 28 - 31).
The Arians were conscious that if the Son is merely a creature, God the Father, in view of liis spiritual nature, cannot be said to need the existence of the Sov. Arius accordingly, while appealing for support to Dionysius of Alexandria, asserted that, in addition to the Son, God possessed in himself a Logos, viewed as reason, wisdom, and power, and that the Son, like the world, had received existence through this Logos. The latter was without beginning, and consequently did not come into existence in time, whereas Christ, although he was the first-born, and the only-begotten, belonged to the class of the numerous wisdoms (cógiai) and powers which this Logos bad called irito being. Athanasius replies thus: The scriptures speak of only one Logos of God, through whom all things were inade, and who was made (éyéveto, became) Nesh (John i. 3,