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radiance, so the Father's substance is unchangeable, though the Son be its Image?”
Some notice of the θελήσει γεννηθέν, or voluntary generation, will suitably follow the discussion of the consubstantial; though the subject does not closely concern theology. It has been already observed that the tendency of the heresies of the first age was towards materialism and fatalism. As it was the object of Revelation to destroy all theories which interfered with the belief of the Divine Omniscience and active Sovereignty, so the Church seconded this design by receiving and promulgating the doctrine of the “He that is,” or the Divine "Being” or “ Essence," as a symbol of His essential distinction from the perishable world in which He acts. But when the word substance or essence itself was taken by the Gnostics and Manichees in a material sense, the error was again introduced by the very term which was intended to witness against it. According to the Oriental Theory, the emanations from the Deity were eternal with Himself, and were considered as the result, not of His will and personal energy, but of the necessary laws to which His nature was subjected; a doctrine which was but fatalism in another shape. The Eclectics honourably distinguished themselves in withstanding this blasphemous, or rather atheistical tenet. Plotinus declares, that “God's substance and His will are the same; and if so, as He willed, so He is ; so that it is not a more certain truth that, as is His substance or nature, so is His will and action, than, as His will and action, so is His substance.” Origen had preceded them in their opposition to the same school. Speaking of the simplicity and perfection of the Divine Essence, he says, “God does not even participate in substance, rather He is partaken; by those, namely, who have the Spirit of God. And our Saviour does not share in holiness, but, being holiness itself, is shared by the holy.” The meaning of this doctrine is clear ;—to protest, in the manner of Athanasius, in a passage lately cited, against the notion that the substance of God is something distinct from God Himself, and not God viewed as self-existent, the one immaterial, intelligent, all-perfect Spirit; but the risk of it lay in its tendency to destroy the doctrine of His individual and real existence (which the Catholic use of substance symbolized), and to introduce in its stead the notion that a quality or mode of acting was the governing principle of nature; in other words, Pantheism. This is an error of which Origen of course cannot be accused; but it is in its measure chargeable on the Platonic Masters, and is countenanced even by their mode of speaking of the Supreme Being, as not substantial, but above the notion of substance."
7 Athan. de Decr. Nic. 25.
The controversy did not terminate in the subject of Theism, but was pursued by the heretical party into questions of Christian Theology. The Manichees considered the Son and Spirit as necessary emanations from the Father; erring, first, in their classing those Divine Persons with intelligences confessedly imperfect and sul servient; next, in introducing a sort of materialism into their notion of the Deity. The Eclectics on the other hand, maintained, by a strong figure, that the Eternal Son originated from the Father at His own will; meaning thereby, that the everlasting mystery, which constitutes the relation between Father and Son, has no physical or material conditions, and is such as becomes Him who is altogether Mind, and bound by no laws, but those established by His own perfection as a first cause. Thus Iamblichus calls the Son self-begotten'.
8 Únepovolos. Cudw. Intell. Syst. iv. § 23. Petav. vi. 8, § 19, ibid. t. i. ii, 6, § 9.
The discussion seems hardly to have entered farther into the Ante-Nicene Church, than is implied in the above notice of it: though some suppose that Justin and others referred the divine gennesis or generation to the will of God. However, it is easy to see that the ground was prepared for the introduction of a subtle and irreverent question, whenever the theologizing Sophists should choose to raise it. Accordingly, it was one of the first and principal interrogations put to the Catholics by their Arian opponents, whether the generation of the Son was voluntary or not on the part of the Father; their dilemma being, that Almighty God was subject to laws external to Himself, if it were not voluntary, and that, if on the other hand it was voluntary, the Son was in the number of things created. But of this more in the next Section.
9 ajtóyovos. [Vide Ath. Tr. p. 514, o.]
The Word as internal or external to the Father; λόγος ενδιάθετος and προφορικός :-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 προφοpukós, 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
[Vide Ath. Tr. p. 113, z.]
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
3 Col. i. 15. Rev. ii. 14. Vide also Gen. i. 3. Heb. xi. 3. Eccl. xxiv. 3-9.
4 mpoélevois, 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.]
5 [Vide Ath. Tr. p. 485, f.]