« PreviousContinue »
66 and natural that notion must be allowed to be, which “ so many could not forbear expressing clearly and dis“ tinctly; even frequently when, at the same time, they “ were about to affirm, and endeavouring to prove, some" thing not very consistent with it.” But we shall have more of this matter in the following Queries.
Query XII. Whether the Creator of all things was not himself un
created; and therefore could not be šĘ Oủx öytwy, made out of nothing ?
THIS and the four following Queries, “ are,” you say, " all, at most, but arguments, ad ignorantiam, or verecun“ diam, (p. 59.) to put us upon determining things, on “ either side, not clearly revealed.” To say the truth, you seem here to be very much perplexed; and therefore have reason to complain: and I am not to expect any very clear and distinct answers. You admit (p. 60.) that " the Creator of all things must be himself uncreated.” Well then; the Son is Creator of all things; therefore he is uncreated. The premises are both your own; the conclusion mine : and, one might think, it should be yours too. But you are, it seems, very loth to come into it; and discover a strong inclination to elude and evade it, if it were any way possible for you to do it. Let us see what you can say; “ If the Scripture-sense be the true " and only proper sense of the word creature, (to wit, the “ visible and invisible worlds brought into being by the “ power of the Abyos; or Son of God, in subordination to " the will and power of the Father,) then it is manifest 56 that the Abyos, who, thus created them, must (whatever 6 is the nature of his own production or generation) be, “ in this way of speaking, uncreated.” This is something mysterious. It is however very plain that you are straining hard for some odd, peculiar sense of the word creature, or created; which is to be called the Scripturesense; and if this does not relieve you, all is lost.
You give us the “Scripture Doctrine” of the creation; expressing both the creation itself, and the Person by whom it was wrought: and that whole doctrine, though set forth in many words, you call the “ Scripture-sense" of that one word, creature, or created. As if I should say, the Scripture-account of the ark is, that it was made by Noah; therefore the “Scripture-sense” of the word ark, implies the making of it by Noah. Or, the Scriptureaccount of the temple is, that it was built by Solomon; therefore the Scripture-sense of the word temple, supposes it to be something made by Solomon: and if there were ever so many temples besides that one, yet they could not properly be called temples, unless built by Solomon. This is just as good as your pretence, that creating does not signify simply creating; but creating by the Móyos. Give me leave to ask, whether the Jews, who kept their Sabbath in memory of the creation, and undoubtedly took their notion of it from Scripture, under-, stood the word constantly in your sense, as created by the Aóyos? If they did, that is a point I may make some use of another time: if they did not, then the “Scrip“ture-sense” of the word creature, before the coming of the Messiah, was something different from what you have given us. I shall only add, that your pretended sense of the word creature, or created, does not seem to have prevailed so early as St. John's time. He tells us, all things were made by him, that is, by the Abyos; and “ without “him was not any thing made that was made.” Might he not better have said, in short, all things were created, neither was there any thing but what was created? It was perfectly needless, if your pretence be true, to insert, by him; because, in the “Scripture-sense” of the word, it was implied, and the addition of it only renders it tau
You go on to say, “it is, I think, for this reason, that " the Scriptures never say that he is created.” Ingenuously confessed; and therefore I hope you will not presume, either to say, or to believe, that he is created. As
to the reason you assign for it, it is mere fancy and fiction: I hope, out of pure reverence to the sacred Writ, you will bethink yourself of some better. You add, on the other hand, that the Scriptures “never say that he is 66 uncreated;" forgetting what you had acknowledged, in the same page, viz. “ that the Creator of all things “ must be himself uncreated, is an unavoidable conse“ quence in reason;" and that the Móyos had created all things you admit, immediately after, as delivered in Scripture. Wherefore, if Scripture, by unavoidable consequence, does say, that he is uncreated; I hope Scripture does say it. The Scriptures, every where, carefully keep up the distinction between Creator and creature; and never confound both in one. They tell us not of any creature of the Father's, which is not a creature of the Son's also. They say, that “all things were made by him ;” and to be more expressive and emphatical, “ without him was 6 not any thing made that was made.” How can this be, if he himself was made? “ Si ipse factus est, non per 6 illum sunt omnia facta, sed cætera;" saith St. Austin.
As to the sense of the Ante-Nicene writers, in this particular, it is well known that they do implicitly and consequentially, almost every where, declare the Son to be uncreated. You may see some a testimonies referred to in the margin, where they do it also directly, and in express words. I scruple not to put Origen amongst them: his orthodoxy has been effectually defended by the incomparable Bishop Bull, in the opinion of the ablest and most impartial judges. The learned Doctor, notwithstanding, has been pleased to revive the dispute about Origen's sentiments : with what success, shall be here examined, as briefly as may be. The words of Origen,
• Athenagoras, Legat. p. 39, ed, Ox. Jgnat. ad Ephes. c. vii. p. 14. ed. Ox. Irenæus, I. ii. c. 25. p. 153. ed. Bened. Orig. contr. Cels. I. vi. p. 287. Dionys. Rom. apud Athanas. de Decret. Syn. N. p. 232. Dionysius Alexandr. apud Eund. 230, 253, 257. Theognostus - apud Eund. 230, Methodius apud Phot. p. 960. Hippolytus (probably) de Theol. et Incarn, p. 228.
which he lays hold on, are these. [1pc bútatov DÁVTWY TÕy dmucoupynuárwv, applied to the Son. Bishop Bull, like a skilful and a candid man, who did not care to set one ambiguous sentence against many plain ones, nor to make an author manifestly inconsistent, without as manifest a necessity, rendered the words, very rightly, “ancienter “ than all creatures.” The Doctor himself is forced to dadınit that the words might bear this construction: and yet e afterwards says, that “Origen expressly reckoned the “Son among the onesoupympata.” But how expressly? This can never be proved merely from the force of @perGútatov, as a superlative: unless f Eusebius expressly reckoned the Son among times and ages; or 8 Justin Martyr expressly reckoned the Pentateuch among profane histories; or the same hi Justin expressly reckoned Moses and the Prophets among the wise men of Greece: which is ridiculous. The superlative, we see, hath been used sometimes comparatively; and why not by Origen? He may, only appear to say what he really does not. There is certainly a wide difference between verbally seeming to assert, and expressly asserting; as much as between being barely capable of such a sense, and being capable of no other sense. How then will the learned Doctor be able to make good his pretensions ? He i alleges the “ whole 6 tenor of Origen's opinion;" in which he greatly mistakes : for the whole tenor of Origen, especially in that
bScript. Doctr. p. 184, 278, 282, alias 164, 245, 249.
i II avtos xeóvou xaà WŁYTwy wiórwy aresolútatos. De Laud. Constant. c. i. p. 501. Vales. ‘H xaà avrão aiówn isà Tixcritos xai xgórou warròs sò gesobúrator. Cyril. Alex. Dial. ii. de Trin. p. 446. Vid. contr. Jul. I. i. p. 18. Et Theod. ad Græc. tom. iv. p. 462, 493.
o 'Aexauorétny secāv räv ikw dev 'Isegião raly Mwüriws 'Isogíay. Paræn. c. xii. p. 70. ed. Oxon.
Η Πρεσβύτατος Μωϋσής και οι λοιποί προφήται γεγόνασι πάντων των παρ' υμίν ropar. Paræn. C. XXXV. p. 118. Mwoñs mártwr pelo 'Erauwe resolútatos: Euseb. Præp. Evang. 1. xiv. c. 3.
i Script. Doctr. p. 184, alias 164.
treatise from whence the passage is taken, is altogether contrary; as the learned well know, and Bishop Bull hath clearly shown. But the Doctor has a farther plea from a passage in k Athanasius, which he seems to be much pleased with; referring to it, once, and again, in his “ Scripture Doctrine.” The principal words are these : Τον και της κτίσεως κύριον, και πάσης υποστάσεως δημιουργόν. The Doctor thinks he has here discovered a contradistinction between της κτίσεως (he neglects κύριον) and πάσης ÚTOOTGOEWS Emuloupyóv. We are to suppose néons ÚTOO TÁCews of larger extent and signification than néons xtirews would have been : and, because Smucoupyòn goes along with it, we are to suppose that anuloúgynuce was understood, by Athanasius, in a larger sense than xtiois: lastly, we are to suppose that Athanasius is, in this instance, the best interpreter of Origen; though it does not appear from Origen's own writings, that he knew any thing of this peculiar sense of Onuroúpynud, but the contrary. The bare recital of so many suppositions, advanced without proof, or any shadow of it, might suffice for an answer. But we may observe,' ..
1. That if Athanasius, being then a young man and an orator, intended only to vary his phrase, either. to be more emphatical, or to give the better turn and cadence to a period, (and this might be all, for any thing that appears to the contrary,) then the Doctor's criticism falls to the ground.
2. If any contradistinction was intended, it should seem, that the same must hold with respect to κύριον and δημιαρyóv: the consequence whereof is, that God the Father is not κύριος so far and wide as he is δημιουργός. It will be some satisfaction to us, that if the Son be anuloúpynua, he has no Lord over him.
3. The constant use of δημιούργημα and δημιουργός, in
k Titov peóvor tives Osày đantñ, tòx xai oñs ericswe rúgsöv, nai réons usosáriws δημιουργόν. τίς δη έν έσιν έτος αλλ' ή και πανάγιος και υπερεπέκεινα πάσης γενητής ougies, 5 T8 Xalso gre. Orat. comtr. Gemt. p. 39. ed. Bened.
I Scriptr. Doctr. p. 184, alias 164.