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5. The Word as internal or external to the Father; Róyos évoládetos and zpodopikós !:-One theory there was, adopted by several of the early Fathers, which led them to speak of the Son's generation or birth as resulting from the Father's will, and yet did not interfere with His consubstantiality. Of the two titles ascribed in Scripture to our Lord, that of the “ Word” expresses with peculiar force His co-eternity in the One Almighty Father. On the other hand, the title “Son” has more distinct reference to His derivation and ministrative office. A distinction resembling this had already been applied by the Stoics to the Platonic Logos, which they represented under two aspects, the ενδιάθετος and προφοpirós, that is, the internal Thought and Purpose of God, and its external Manifestation, as if in words spoken. The terms were received among Catholics; the “Endiathetic” standing for the Word, as hid from everlasting in the bosom of the Father, while the “Prophoric” was the Son sent forth into the world, in apparent separation from God, with His Father's name and attributes upon Him, and His Father's will to perform'. This contrast is acknowledged by Athanasius, Gregory Nyssen, Cyril, and other Post-Nicene writers; nor can it be confuted, being scriptural in its doctrine, and merely expressed in philosophical language, found ready for the purpose. But further, this change of state in the Eternal Word, from repose to energetic manifestation, as it took place at the creation, was called by them a gennesis : and here too, no blame attaches to them, for the expression is used in Scripture in different senses, one of which appears to be the very signification which they put on it, the mission of the Word to make and govern all things. Such is the text in St. Paul, that He is “the image of the Invisible God, the First-born of every creature;” such is His title in St. John as “the Beginning of the creation of God 3." This gennesis or generation was called also the “going-forth,” or “condescension," of the Son, which may scripturally be ascribed to the will of the all-bountiful Father. However, there were some early writers who seem to interpret the gennesis in this meaning exclusively, ascribing the title of “Son” to our Lord only after the date of His mission or economy, and considering that of the “ Word” as His peculiar appellation during the previous eternity. Nay, if we carry off their expressions hastily or perversely, as some theologians have done, we shall perhaps conclude that they conceived that God existed in One Person before the "going-forth," and then, if it may be said, by a change in His nature began to exist in a Second Person; as if an attribute (the Internal Word, “ Endiathetic,”) had come into substantive being, as “ Prophoric.” The Fathers, who have laid themselves open to
1 [Vide Ath. Tr. p. 113, z.] 3 Burton, Bampt. Lect., note 91. Petav. vi. 1-3.
3 Col. i. 15. Rev. iii. 14. Vide also Gen. i. 3. Heb. xi. 3. Eccl. xxiv. 3—9.
4 tpoé evois, ouykatáßaois, Bull, Defens. iii. 9. [Other writers support him in this view, as Maranus, in Just. Tryph. 61, and in his work Divin. Jes. Christi, lib. iv. c. 6. Vide contr. the Author's Translation of St. Athanasius, p. 272; and Dissertat. Theolog. 4.7
5 [Vide Ath. Tr. p. 485, f.]
this charge, are Athenagoras, Tatian, Theophilus, Hippolytus, and Novatian, as mentioned in the first Chapter.
Now that they did not mean what a superficial reader might lay to their charge, may be argued, first, from the
arallel language of the Post-Nicenes, as mentioned above, whose orthodoxy no one questions. Next, from the extreme absurdity, not to speak of the impiety, of the doctrine imputed to them; as if, with a more than Gnostic extravagance, they conceived that any change or extension could take place in that Individual Essence, which is without parts or passions, or that the divine generation could be an event in time, instead of being considered a mere expression of the eternal relation of the Father towards the Sono. Indeed, the very absurdity of the literal sense of the words, in whatever degree they so expressed themselves, was the mischief to be apprehended fro n them. The reader, trying a rhetorical description by too rigid a rule, would attempt to elicit sense by imputing a heresy, and would conclude that they meant by the External or Prophoric Word a created being, made in the beginning of all things as the visible emblem of the Internal or Endiathetic, and the instrument of God's purposes towards His creation. This is in fact the Arian doctrine, which doubtless availed itself in its defence of the declarations of incautious piety; or rather we bave evidence of the fact, that it did so avail itself, in the letter of Arius to Alexander, and from the anathema of the Nicene Creed directed against such as said that “the Son was not before His gennesis.”
* [' ούτε αρχήν έχει η ακατάληπτος αυτού γέννησις ούτε τέλος, ανάρχως, åkatanaúotws, &c. Damasc. F. O. p. 8. Vide Ath. Tr. p. 201, b and c; also p. 284, e.]
Lastly, the orthodoxy of the five writers in question is ascertained by a careful examination of the passages, which give ground for the accusation. Two of these shall here be quoted without comment. Theophilus then says, “God, having His own Word in His womb, begat Him together with His Wisdom” (that is, His Spirit), “uttering them prior to the universe.” “He had this Word as the Minister of His works, and did all things through Him. ... The prophets were not in existence when the world was made; but the Wisdom of God, which is in Him, and His holy Word, who is ever present with Him ?." Elsewhere he speaks of “the Word, eternally seated in the heart of God %;" “for,” he presently adds, “before any thing was made, He possessed this Counseller, as being His mind and pro. vidence. And, when He purposed to make all that He had deliberated on, He begat this Word as external to Him, being the First-born antecedent to the whole creation; not, however, Himself losing the Word” (that is, the Internal), “but begetting it, and yet everlastingly communing with it."
In like manner Hippolytus in his answer to Noetus:“God was alone, and there was no being coeval with Him, when He willed to create the world. ... Not that
He was destitute of reason (the Logos), wisdom or counsel. They are all in Him, He was all. At the time and in the manner He willed, He manifested His Word [Logos], . . through whom He made all things. .. Moreover He placed over them His Word, whom He begat as His Counseller and Instrument; whom He had within Him, invisible to creation, till He manifested Him, uttering the Word, and begetting Light from Light. . . . And so Another stood by Him, not as if there were two Gods, but as though Light from Light, or a ray from the Sun”.”
And thus closes our survey of Catholic Ante-Nicene theology.
i Vide Bull, Defens. iïi. 7, 8.