Theodore of Mopsuestia:Commentary on the Nicene Creed


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Mingana eventually immigrated to England, where he spent 17 years in Manchester to continue his work on Oriental Studies. Back Mesopotamia Egypt Anatolia. Back Persian and Iranian Studies. Back What Is the Antioch Bible? You have no items in your shopping cart. Previous product Commentary of Theodore of M Next product Common Heritage, Divided Co Be the first to review this product. It is such an idea that we must have of God, and it is such a faith that we ought to possess concerning God the Father. It is impossible to understand how He is truly a Father if He were not a Father by nature.

He is eternally a Father because His nature, in which He is a Father, is eternal. When we call Him Creator we mean that He created everything in wisdom as it is said: God is creator in the sense that when He wished, the creatures came fully into existence, and He was in no need of time or any other intervening thing between His wish and the coming into existence of His creatures. Immediately after He wishes to create a thing, it comes into existence from nothing.

It is in this kind of profession of faith and with this meaning that our blessed Fathers gave us the belief in one God, Father and Creator, whom we have tried to explain to your love in a long teaching, which you should keep without modification, so that you should flee from the iniquitous opinions of the heretics, while your faith is sound, by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ to whom, in conjunction with His Father and the Holy Spirit, be glory and honour for ever and ever.

Here ends the second chapter. I believe that from what has been said you have learnt sufficiently which are the things that those whose solicitude is the fear of God have to understand and utter concerning God the Father. Let us now quote and examine also the words uttered by our blessed Fathers in the profession of faith concerning the Son: It was right that after their doctrine concerning the Father they should teach concerning the Son according to the teaching of our Lord, while preserving the order and the sequence of their words.

As when speaking of the Father they not only said "Father" according to the teaching of our Lord, but added, in one God the Father and the Creator of all things, and first placed the name of God in the profession of faith by saying that He is one in order to refute the error of polytheism, and then added, the Father and the Creator of all things —so also they acted concerning the Son: In this they clearly followed the preaching of the blessed Paul, who when teaching against idols and erroneous creeds said in refutation of the error of polytheism: Because we know that the Divine nature of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Spirit is one, when he desired to teach us this faith in a succinct manner he said: By the addition of the person of the Father he showed us the Son also, as after this he said: We do not say that the Father is one God in the sense that the Son is not God, nor that the Son is one Lord in the sense that the Father is not Lord, because it is known and evident that any one who is truly God is also truly Lord, and any one who is truly Lord is also truly God, and any one who is not truly God is not truly Lord: He who possesses these true attributes is alone called Lord and God in truth, and there is no other thing outside this nature which may be called Lord and God in truth.

He who says "one God" shows also that there is one Lord, and he who says "there is but one Lord" confesses also that there is but one God. He Paul first said: In order to include in their sentence the human nature which was assumed for our salvation they said: In one Lord Jesus Christ. This name is that of the man whom God put on, as the angel said: In this same way our blessed Fathers who assembled in that wonderful Council of the Catholic Church [of Nicea] first spoke, like Paul, of Divine nature while coupling with it a word which denotes the form of humanity which He took upon Him 60 and said: It is thus that they wished to teach mankind when they spoke of the Divine nature of the Son.

His humanity, in which 37 is Divine nature, is also made known and proclaimed in it, according to the saying of the blessed Paul: Our Fathers rightly thought not to overlook the humanity of our Lord which possesses such an ineffable union with Divine nature, but added: By whom are all things , 63 as the evangelist said: It is this man who was said by the angel that he would be called Jesus, who was anointed with the Holy Ghost in whom He was perfected and justified, as the blessed Paul testifies.

The " Only Begotten Son ," the "first-born" of all creatures. With these two words they alluded to the two natures, and by the difference between the words they made us understand the difference between the natures. From the fact also that they referred both words to the one person 66 of the Son they showed us the close union between the two natures.

They did not make use of these words out of their own head but they took them from the teaching of Holy Writ. The blessed Paul said: He said "God over all" in order to indicate the Divine nature which is higher than all, and which is the Lord. He used both words of one person in order to teach the close union of the two natures, and in order to make manifest the majesty and the honour that came to the man who was assumed by God who put Him on.

In this same way they said also: The Only Begotten Son, the first-born of all creatures. Because they were on the point of enlightening us concerning the two natures: It is clear that they do not speak of one nature when they say: The Only Begotten Son, the first-born of all creatures, because the two expressions cannot be said of one nature, as there is a great difference between an only son and a first-born.

It is not possible that an only son and a first-born should denote the same man. A first-born is the one who has many brothers while an only son is the one who has no brothers. So great is the difference between an only son and a firstborn that it may be compared with the difference that nature places between the one who is alone and the one who is in company of others.

We call an only son one who has no other brothers at all while we call a first-born one who clearly has other brothers. This the Sacred Book teaches us also without ambiguity. In wishing to speak of an only son it says: The sentence, "We beheld His glory, the glory as of an only begotten of the Father" shows that He alone is of the nature of the Father by birth, and He alone is a Son.

In using the word "bosom" it conveys to us a union that never ceases, as it is unbecoming to understand this word to refer to a corporeal bosom of God. Inasmuch as they call eye "sight" and ear "hearing," so also they call a union that never ceases "bosom," as it is said: As to the expression "the first-born of all the creatures," we 39 understand it in the sense in which it is said: In another passage He is called "first-born of all the creatures. No one is called first-born if he has no other brothers because of whom he is called and is a first-born, so the expression "the first-born of all creatures" means that He was the first to be renewed by His resurrection from the dead; and He changed into a new and wonderful life, and He renewed also all the creatures and brought them to a new and a higher creation.

It is indeed said: Old things are passed away, and all things are become new through our Lord Jesus Christ. He is rightly called the first-born of all the creatures, because He was first renewed, and then He renewed the creatures, while He is higher in honour than all of them. This is how we understand the difference between the two names. Our Fathers, who took their wisdom from Holy Writ, referred this difference to one person and said: In the Only Begotten Son, the first-born of all creatures, in order to show us, as I said previously, the close union of the two natures.

It is with justice, therefore, that they first said, "an only Son" and then, "the first-born. In this way and by the change in the terms that they used, they made manifest to us the two natures and 40 differences, and also the unity of sonship arising out of the closeness of the union of the natures, which was effected by the will of God. In this they kept also the right order of things as they taught first concerning Divine nature which by its grace came down to us and put on humanity, and then concerning that humanity which was assumed through grace, and afterwards they gave the true doctrine for the refutation of the heretics who strove to twist the truth.

In their teaching they began later to speak of Divine nature about which they had already spoken at the beginning of the profession of faith: Who was bom before all the worlds, and not made. It is clear that they said these words concerning Divine nature, although the word "only Son" was sufficient to teach the true doctrine concerning the Son to all non-contentious.

The expression "only Son" denotes all these things, and even more, because those who are called sons of God are numerous, while this one is alone the only Son. It is, indeed written: They were called sons by grace because they became near to God and members of the household, 78 and because of this membership of the household they deserved by grace to be called by this name.

He was not called a Son, because He, like others, became by grace worthy of the adoption of sons, but because He was born of the very nature of the Father He was called and He is a Son. Although these things are clear and evident in the Sacred Books, and although it is patent to every one that no one can be called an only son except the one who is truly of the same nature as his father, the unholy and erroneous opinion of the heretics remained for some time without rectification. Of all those who had received the knowledge of Christ, Arius was the first to dare and to say impiously that the Son was a creature 79 and was made from nothing: This compelled our blessed Fathers to assemble from all regions and hold a holy Synod in the town of Nicea in the district of Bithynia, and to write this profession of faith in order to uphold the true faith, to confute the wickedness of Arius, to refute those who sprang up later and who are called by the name of their deceiver Eunomius, and to overthrow those heresies which arose out of erroneous opinions.

Although the question was clear and evident to all from the law of nature, from common consent and from the teaching of the Sacred Books, they added and said: Born and not made. They used words suitable to the belief in the Son, as if they had said: There is no created thing that is before the worlds, as the one who is before the worlds is the one who is alone from eternity.

As the Father is from eternity so also the Son who is from Him is from eternity. He did not come into existence after a time nor was He born later, but He was born eternally before all the worlds from the one who is from eternity, and He is with Him from eternity as the evangelist said: He is from eternity, and did not come into existence later, but He was in the beginning before everything.

Symbol of Faith in Greek - Το Σύμβολον της Πίστεως

He who comes into existence later is called "the last," and the last is not the first; and he who is not the first was not in the beginning. If, therefore, He was in the beginning, He was also the first, as there is nothing that precedes the beginning. If He is the first He is not the last, and if He is not the last He did not come into existence later.

In the beginning He was, 81 and He was in the beginning from God, that is to say He was from eternity and before all the worlds with God. And to show that He was with God, and not from outside, as something foreign and not from the very nature of Divinity, the blessed evangelist called Him "Word," because a word belongs to 42 a man and is from a man; and since it is possible that the being who was with Him was from another he made use of this illustration so that the hearers should not doubt that He was from eternity from the one who is eternally from eternity.

Indeed, the word of the soul, the rational character of which is accomplished in itself, is with it and in it by nature, and it is through it that this same soul is known to be rational. And it comes out of the soul, and is seen from it and in it, and is always with it and known through it. In this same way the Son is from the Father like the word is from the soul. The word, however, is seen as something different from the soul, and is the personality 82 of the soul, because not having its own personality it is seen in the soul. In order that, by following this illustration, we may not believe that the Son has no personality 82 or that He was alien to the nature of the Father he quickly added: Born of Him before all the worlds.

In this they wished to convey that from eternity and before all the worlds He was in the beginning from Him and with Him. Their words did not stop here but to complete the doctrine of truth, to warn the children of faith and to overthrow the error of the heretics, they added the sentence: We should be in need of many words if we intended to comment fully upon all things said by our blessed Fathers concerning the Divinity 43 of the Only Begotten.

In order, however, to lighten to you the burden of the many things that are said to you we shall utter them little by little so that you may better be able to hear and to learn them. With your permission, therefore, we shall put an end here to the things that were said to-day, and keep the things that follow in the credo to another day, and for all of them let us praise the Father, the Only Begotten Son and the Holy Spirit, now, always, and for ever and ever.

Yesterday we endeavoured to interpret to your love, according to our ability and in a succinct manner, the things said by our blessed Fathers concerning the Divinity of the Only Begotten, while we kept the remainder of them for another day. In our commentary we reached, as you remember, the sentence in which it is said: Born of His Father before all the worlds, and not made, and there we ended our speech.

If you wish, let us now begin by the grace of our Lord with this sentence. We were stating that in saying: Born of His Father before all the worlds they showed us that He is a Son truly and not figuratively only, as the heretics pretend that He is a Son only in a borrowed name like those who were called sons by grace. This is the reason why they added: Born of His Father before all the worlds. And He is from the nature of the Father and eternally from Him and with Him. It is not possible for us to imagine that there is anything between God the Father and God the Son, as God is high above everything.

He who is above everything is also above the time and from eternity. As it is not possible to imagine that either times or worlds precede God, so there is nothing before the Son as He also is God, because He is born of His Father before everything, and is eternal, born of the One who is eternal. For a perfect faith to those who have the good-will of religion this name of "Only Begotten" would have been sufficient, and they would have agreed to say that He was a true Son.

Our Fathers , however, added to it the sentence: Both phrases demonstrate how the Only Begotten is the Son of God, and it is with justice that they added for the refutation of the haters of truth: We confess that He is the Only Begotten, the Son of God, born of the Father before all the worlds, and that He is consubstantial with the Father; and we completely reject the opinion held by the ungodly people who said that the Son of God is created.

He is indeed born of God and He is not made, and He is of the same nature as God and not a creature. The natural law teaches us also these things, because we call sons those who are born of us; as to creatures they are made outside us while they were not. Likewise we understand that there are many creatures of God, but the Son is One whom we also call Only Begotten.

The Son is one alone, and He is eternally from Him; as to creatures they are many and exceed all numbering, and are composed of many natures which came into existence later according to the will of their Maker, both individually and collectively. He knew that diversity was useful to the creature because it is created, and some parts of it came into existence earlier, some later and some others later still; parts of it came into existence at the same time, and parts after many others. Since all the created things were to come into existence it was justifiable that some should come earlier and some later.

As there is a beginning to the existence of all created things, those which came into existence later are like those which came into existence earlier. As to the Son, because He did not come into existence to His Father later but was in the beginning from Him and was from eternity with Him, is alone Son. It was not possible that the one 45 who was similar to the one who is from eternity should have come into existence later, nor was it possible that the one who has a beginning should have been similar to the one who is from eternity.

Indeed there is a great difference between one who is from eternity and one who began his existence later; the difference is so great that the two cannot exist concomitantly. What possible relation can exist between one who is eternal and another who was at one time nonexistent and began his existence later? It is well known that the one who is eternal and the one whose existence has a beginning are greatly separated from each other, and the gulf found between them is unbridgeable.

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The one who is eternal has no limits, while the one whose existence has a beginning, his very existence is limited, and the one the beginning of whose existence is limited, the time that elapsed before he came into existence is also limited. It is not possible to limit and define the chasm that exists between the one who is from eternity and the one who began to exist at a time when he was not.

What possible resemblance and relation can exist between two beings so widely separated from each other? And because the Son is from eternity, and from a Father who is from eternity, no other son like Him came into existence later. He remained Son alone because He is from eternity from one who is from eternity. It was fitting that such a one should be alone the Son from the Father. In this way our Fathers warned us concerning the knowledge of the Son, and wrote to us the true doctrine to the effect that when we believe in the Only Begotten Son we should understand that He is from the Father.

They taught us also to flee from the impiety of the heretics and reject their contention that the Son is made, as this is very remote from the truth. The Son should not be thought of as a made being nor as a creature, but we ought to profess concerning Father and Son what is congruous to both of them, namely that the Son is from the nature of the Father and is not a being made by the Father and created outside Him from nothing. Our blessed Fathers taught us these and added something that fits the sequence of the sentence: True God of true God.

Commentary of Theodore of Mopsuestia on the Nicene Creed

Indeed what else were we justified in thinking of the one who is from God and not from outside Him but from the very nature of the Father, except that He was what God is by nature, that is to say a true God? In this they followed the teaching of the Gospel in which it is said: They added to the sentence, "God from God" that of, "True from true" because of the wickedness of those who wish to show contention and insolence even concerning heavenly 85 things.

The sentence which they used does not differ from that found in the Gospel, as it is clear that the one who says, "God with God" says also "A true one with a true one. Men are called gods, but are not assumed to be gods by nature: God is not only called God by name, but He is in reality by nature that which is implied by His name; and God the Word who is with Him is not only called God figuratively, but is also God by nature; and he who is God by nature what else can he be except true God?

What is there truer than nature, and how is it possible that the one who is God by nature should not be so in truth? If He is not God by nature, He is neither God in truth. Indeed this name "god" is either applied to demons, who falsely and insolently dare to call themselves by it in their arrogance, or to men who are called so by God's gracious permission as an honour.

As to the Son He is God by nature like the Father.

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By the power of our Lord Jesus Christ we begin to write the exposition of the faith of the three hundred and eighteen (Fathers) composed by Mar Theodore the. Introduction to his translation of Theodore of Mopsuestia on the Nicene Creed.

Although the heretics dare to call the Only Begotten, "Son of God" in a different sense, yet since He is God by nature it is evident that He is also God in truth, as there is nothing truer than the one who is what he is by nature. It is indeed evident that the one who is God by nature is also God in truth. And there is nothing truer than 47 a true one— and this contrary to the new wisdom of the heretics— when each of them is a true God by nature.

Indeed they say that God the Father is God by nature and that God the Son is also God by nature, but they refuse to admit that the Son is God in truth, in spite of the fact that they admit that He is God by nature, and in this they introduce a new law to us in their innovations to the effect that He is a true God but not like God His Father. If each one of them is God by nature, how is it possible for us to understand that one of them is higher and the other lower while both of them are assumed to have an identical nature?

It is impossible to find an addition or a diminution in the one whom the Sacred Books and those who followed their doctrine teach us that He is God by nature. Our blessed Fathers also followed the Books and warned us against the unholy opinion and the ineptitude of the heretics, in saying: The Books had already stated that He was "God," and they our Fathers added prudently the word "true" so that we might believe that the Son is a true God like the Father, because like the Father He is a true God by nature.

And as the Father was confessed as God for the confutation of the error of the multiplicity of gods—who were falsely called gods by the peoples of the earth—so also is the case with the Son of God, because we believe that God the Father and God the Son are one God, inasmuch as the Divine nature of the Father and of the Son is one. To this our blessed Fathers added that the Son was "consubstantial" with His Father, a word that confirms the faith of the children of faith and rebukes the unbelievers. Although this is not explicitly written in Holy Writ yet its meaning is found therein.

They explained here by means of a clear word the meaning of that which they had previously stated, because the sentence: Consubstantial with the Father is not different from that of: They did not wish to insinuate by this sentence "Consubstantial with the Father any other thing than that the being who, as previously stated by them, was God and born of His Father before all the worlds and not made— is God. Indeed, if He is born of Him before all the worlds and is not made, and if He is not a creature but a true Son of His Father, it is evident that He is from Him and not from outside Him, and that He is born of the nature of the Father and consubstantial with Him; and if He is true God of true God, it is 48 evident that He is consubstantial with Him, 87 because any one who is truly God in nature is consubstantial with one who is truly God in nature.

The meaning of the sentence "consubstantial with His Father" is clearly found in the Book. This is also the meaning of the sentence: He made clear in this sentence that which He had implicitly insinuated in the meaning of the preceding words which He had uttered; it is as if He had said, "my power is identical with that of my Father and higher than all like His power, and no man can prevail against me even as no man can prevail against my Father, because my Father and I are one, and have one power and one dominion that is higher than all.

Indeed they did not know the Divine nature that was dwelling in Him, but knew only that which was visible in Him, and wished to stone Him like a man making use of blasphemous words. To the same effect is the sentence: In this way their mutual equality shows also the unity of their nature, and the consubstantiality of the Son with the Father.

This is likewise the meaning of the sentence: If this is so then the Son is consubstantial with the Father. In spite of the fact that all these things are manifestly evident in the Sacred Books, those who incline towards evil, to the condemnation of their souls, and are not upright, dared to say that the nature of the Son is different from that of the Father, a saying which also implies that He is not a Son. It is known that he who is truly a son is of the same nature as his father.

Our blessed Fathers were well advised, therefore, to make use of this expression the meaning of which was implicitly found in many words of the Sacred Books, in order to warn the faithful of their time and to rebuke the heretics; and they wished also to make it known in condensed words. If the blessed Paul did not hesitate to quote in his teaching sentences that were used by Greek philosophers, such as: As in the section of the faith which deals with the Father, after the word "Father" they added "Creator of all things," so also in the section which deals with the Son, after stating that He was born of the Father and was consubstantial with Him, they rightly added that He was the creator of all things, because a true Son 50 who is consubstantial with His Father is also a true creator like Him.

In this same way the blessed John the evangelist, after having said "in the beginning He was with God, and He was God" 97 added: In this same way after our blessed Fathers had said that the Son was from the Father, that He was true God from true God and that He was consubstantial with His Father, they added: By whom the worlds were made and all things were created.

And since the worlds were made by Him, He is the creator of all creatures, and He is before all the worlds, because He is from eternity and did not begin to exist later, but was in the beginning and is the creator of all the worlds, as the blessed Paul said: Our blessed Fathers also after saying like him: In this way they taught us the divinity of the Only Begotten while stating something which was in harmony with the Sacred Books; and gave also encouragement to those who are zealous in their religion, and confuted those who deny the divinity of the Only Begotten.

As to us we have explained to your love the meaning of the profession of faith in a succinct manner, according to our ability. If you wish it let the measure of the things which we said suffice for our teaching of to-day, and let us praise the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit for ever and ever. I know that you remember what we spoke to your love concerning the divinity of the Only Begotten, and how our blessed Fathers after their teaching about the Father came to the words written in the Sacred Books concerning the Son, and taught us both about the divinity of the Son and the form of man which He assumed for our 51 salvation.

And in one Lord Jesus Christ, in order to make manifest the Divine nature and the human nature they added: The Only Begotten Son, the first-born of all creatures, and they further instructed us concerning Divine nature and the form of man which was put on for our salvation so that little by little they might teach us everything with accuracy. They first taught us how to believe in the divinity of the Only Begotten by saying that the Only Begotten Son was consubstantial with the Father, and not a Son with only an assumed name like other men who are so by grace and not by nature, but that He was a true Son from the Father; that He was an only Son, because He alone was born of the nature of His Father; that He did not become Son or was called so later, but that He was in the beginning, before all the worlds and eternally from His Father, and was not made.

The reason why the Son of God should not be called a creature of God, is that He did not come into existence from nothing according to the law of all created beings, but He is eternally from His Father, "a true God of true God, and consubstantial with His Father," because He is a true Son and is by nature what the one who begat Him is. Our fathers taught us these things with accuracy concerning the divinity of the Only Begotten, and fixed the profession of faith in our souls while removing from us the contention of the ungodly who dare to assert that the Son of God, who was born eternally from His Father before all the worlds, is made and created.

After having shaken from our mind all the falsehood of the error of the heretics, they began to speak of the Incarnation of our Lord which took place for our salvation, in saying: Who for us children of men and for our salvation came down from heaven, was incarnate and became a man. It is with justice that they first used the sentence "for us children of men and for our salvation.

Since they took pains to teach us concerning His humanity, it is with justice that before everything they set forth the reason for which Divine nature humbled itself to the extent of taking upon itself the form of a servant for us and of its caring for our salvation. It is with justice, therefore, that our Fathers, in beginning their teaching concerning the Economy of His humanity, formed the starting-point of their discourse from this purpose: For us children of men and for our salvation.

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Consubstantial with the Father is not different from that of: As He is not like us He is not a Father like us, because He did not receive the power of becoming a Father in time. A being who is created by another cannot by any means create another being from nothing, or be called God with justice, but the one who created him is God by necessity. As to us we have explained to your love the meaning of the profession of faith in a succinct manner, according to our ability. The very name Father shows this without further addition.

It was also fitting on their part to place the words "for our salvation" after the words "for us children of men," in order that they might show the aim of His coming, which was not only for the "children of men" but also "for their salvation. He came down not in the sense that He moved from place to place.

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  • ECF: Theodore of Mopsuestia: Commentary on the Nicene Creed.
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  • The Pathway To Discipleship.
  • Mingana, Theodore of Mopsuestia on the Nicene Creed. Woodbroke Studies 5.
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We are not to think that Divine nature which is everywhere moves from place to place; because this Divine nature has no body, it cannot be circumscribed in a place.. He who is not circumscribed is everywhere, and He who is everywhere it is not possible for us to think of Him that He moves from place to place.

To this the blessed John bears witness when he says: He came unto His own and His own received Him not. Indeed, how can we say that a man came to a place where he was? He, therefore, said "He was in the world" in order to show that He is everywhere; and he added: Likewise the blessed David said: He called the condescension of God the "coming down" of God, in the sense that He who was so much above all condescended to deliver them from their tribulations. It is in this sense that God the Word, the only Son of God, is said to have come down for our salvation, because He is eternally from His Father, is always with Him, and is above all as He is the cause of everything.

For our salvation He condescended to come down to such a humility as to take upon Him the form of a servant and be in it so that through it He might grant us the delight of His abundant gift. It is with justice, therefore, that our blessed Fathers said: Who for us children of men and for our salvation came down from heaven. They called the Economy of His humanity a "coming down from heaven," at which the blessed David was awe-struck and said: Who for us children of men and for our salvation came down from heaven: And what did [man] do that He humbled Himself to such an extent for him as to become like him, and to take upon Him the form of a servant, and to be a man for our salvation, and to make Himself manifest to all, and to assume upon Himself all that which belonged to the nature of that man, and to be exercised in all human faculties?

And He perfected him by His power, so that He did not remove from him the bodily death which he received according to the law of his nature,—but while He was with him He delivered him by act of grace from real death and from the corruption of the grave, and raised him from the dead, and made him worthy of a high honour concerning which he said: It is with justice, therefore, that our blessed Fathers said that He was incarnate and became a man, so that for the sake of our salvation He might act according to all this Economy whereby He was believed to be a mere man by those who were unaware of the Godhead which was dwelling in Him and who only saw that which was visible.

Indeed the Jews said to Him: When the Book said: He was incarnate and became a man in order to show that He was a man, as the blessed Paul testifies, and that He fulfilled this Economy for the salvation of all. It is with justice then that our blessed Fathers made use of this word in the profession of faith for the refutation of the error of the heretics, while conforming with the true belief of the Church.

And on account of the numerous schisms that had taken place among men concerning that ineffable Economy and concerning the man whom our Lord assumed, they rightly made use of the sentence: He was incarnate and became a man. The Marcionites and the Manicheans together with the followers of Valentinus and the rest of the heretics who were affected with 55 a like malady, say that our Lord did not assume any of our natures either of the body or the soul, but that He was a phantasm that struck the eyes of men like the form of the visions which the prophets saw and the apparition seen by Abraham of three men of whom none had a corporeal nature but who were only in appearance men who performed human acts, walked, talked, were washed, ate and drank.

They say that in this same way our Lord did not assume any body but that He was only in appearance a man who performed and felt everything according to the requirements of men, while the one who was seen had no human nature but was only seen in appearance to be so, and that in reality He felt nothing but only the onlookers believed that He was feeling.

The partisans of Arius and Eunomius, however, say that He assumed a body but not a soul, and that the nature of the Godhead took the place of the soul. They lowered the Divine nature of the Only Begotten to the extent that from the greatness of its nature it moved and performed the acts of the soul and imprisoned itself in the body and did everything for its sustenance. Lo, if the Godhead had replaced the soul He would not have been hungry or thirsty, nor would He have tired or been in need of food.

All these things befall the body because of its weakness, as the soul is not able to satisfy its wants, but does for it only those things that belong to itself according to the nature given to it by God.

  • Teen Girl From Mars 2: Sarah And Her Friends!
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The soul is in need of a body which is perfect in everything that deals with its sustenance, and if something is missing in it, not only this same soul is unable to help it but will itself be overcome by the weakness of the body, and will be compelled to leave it against its own will. If, therefore, the Godhead was performing the acts of the soul, it would also by necessity have performed the acts of the body. Only in this way could be right the opinion of the misleading heretics who deny that He assumed a body and was only seen in the same way as the angels were seen in the Old Testament , and was a man in appearance only while He did not possess any qualities of human nature.

Indeed the Godhead was able to accomplish everything so that the eyes which were seeing believed that they were seeing a real man, in the same way as the angels were, by the will of God, seen by Abraham. If, however, Divine nature was sufficient for all these things, human nature which was in need of the grace of salvation from God should not have been assumed, as according to the opinion of the heretics this same Godhead would have satisfied the requirements of human nature, and in this case it would have been superfluous to assume a body at all as the Godhead was able to perform all its acts.

This, however, was not the will of God, who indeed wished to put on and raise the fallen man who is composed of a body and of an immortal and rational soul, so that "as by one man sin entered the world, and death by sin, so also the free gift and the grace of God by the righteousness of one man might abound unto many. Therefore it was necessary that He should assume not only the body but also the immortal and rational soul; and not only the death of the body had to cease but also that of the soul, which is sin.

Since according to the sentence of the blessed Paul sin entered the world through man, and death entered through sin, it was necessary that sin which was the cause of death should have first been abolished, and then the abolition of death would have followed by itself. If sin were not abolished we would have by necessity remained in mortality, and we would have sinned in our mutability; and when we sin, we are under punishment, and consequently the power of death will by necessity remain.

It was, therefore, necessary that sin should have first been abolished, as after its abolition there would be no entry for death. It is indeed clear that the strength of the sin has its origin in the will of the soul. In the case of Adam also it was his soul which first accepted the advice of error and not his body, because it was not his body that Satan persuaded to yield to him, to forsake God and to believe that his Helper was a deceiver, in his desire for higher things; and in following the advice of Satan he transgressed the commandment of God and chose for himself those things which were contrary to the commandment of God.

It was not his body that had to know these things but his soul which, on the promise of higher things, yielded and accepted the advice of the deceiver and lost the good things that it possessed. It was, therefore, necessary that Christ should assume not only the body but also the soul. The enemy of the soul had to be removed first and then for the sake of it that of the body, because if death is from sin and the same death is the corruption of the body, sin would have first to be abolished and the abolition of death would follow by itself.

It would be possible to save the body from death and corruption if we first made the soul immutable and delivered it from the passions of sin, so that by acquiring immutability we would also obtain deliverance from sin. The abolition of death would then be effected by the abolition of sin, and after the abolition of death it would be possible that our body should remain without dissolution and corruption. If the soul had only sinned in those things that befall it from the passions of the body, it would perhaps have been sufficient for our Lord to have assumed only the body in order to deliver the soul from sin.

Many, however, and of different kinds are the iniquities and sins that are born of the soul. The first sin through which it shows its association with Satan is that of pride, about which the Apostle said: The one, therefore, who possesses the uncorporeal Devil in his evil thought, feels passion in his soul; and consequently it is clearly evident that the soul was greatly in need to be delivered from sins and be saved also from the passions of the body which overcome it by the power that the latter adequately possesses.

The blessed Paul bears witness to our words when he counts the evils to which men were drawn, to which they degraded themselves and from which Christ came into the world to deliver them; he says thus: Indeed wickedness, maliciousness, envy, debate, deceit and malignity, together with pride, boasting, invention of evil things, disobedience to parents, 58 non-understanding, covenant-breaking, and unmercifulness—all these are clearly from the soul.

It is with justice, therefore, that our Lord assumed the soul so that it should be first delivered from sin and be transferred to immutability by the grace of God through which it overcomes also the passions of the body. When sin is abolished from every place and has no more entry into the soul which has become immutable, every kind of condemnation will rightly be abolished and death also will perish. The body will thus remain immune from death because it has received participation in immortality. The blessed Paul confirms this in saying: He said that all the sentence of death, together with all condemnation, has been removed to those who believed in Christ, because they became alien to the way of mortality and received the Spirit and immortality, and with it they assumed immutability and became completely free from sin and mortality.

It is, therefore, great madness not to believe that Christ assumed the soul; and he would even be madder who would say that He did not assume human mind, because such a one would imply that He either did not assume the soul or that He did assume the soul not of man but an irrational one akin to that of animals and beasts. Human soul differs only from that of animals in the fact that the latter has no distinct person of the soul except in the material composition of the animal, and so it has no separate existence, and is not believed to survive after the death of the animal.

This is the reason why what is called the soul of the animal, which is said to reside in its blood, perishes when the blood is shed; and it is the soul that was believed to reside in the person and in the movements of the animal 59 before its death. The soul of men, however, is not like this, but it resides in its own person and is much higher than the body, as the body is mortal and acquires its life from the soul and dies and perishes whenever the soul happens to leave it.

As to the soul, when it goes out it remains and does not perish but lasts forever in its own person because it is immortal and is incapable of receiving any injury in its nature from men. The difference between the soul of men and the soul of animals is such that the latter is irrational and has no person, while the former is immortal and is rightly believed to be also rational.

Who is, therefore, so mad and devoid of human understanding as to assert that human soul is without knowledge and without reason, unless he wishes to be a teacher of a novel theory not found previously in the world to the effect that there exists an immortal nature which lives in an imperishable life but which is itself irrational? Such a thing is indeed impossible, because anything that is immortal in its nature and dwells in an imperishable life is also truly rational and endowed with reason.

Because of all this our blessed Fathers warned us and said: He was incarnate and became a man, so that we should believe that the one who was assumed and in whom God the Word dwelt was a complete man, perfect in everything that belongs to human nature, and composed of a mortal body and a rational soul, because it is for man and for his salvation that He came down from heaven. They rightly said that He assumed a man who resembles those from whom He was assumed, because the man whom He assumed resembles Adam who introduced sin into the world, so that He might abolish sin by one who was of the same nature.

Indeed, He put on a man resembling Adam who after having sinned received the punishment of death, so that He might eradicate sin from us and abolish death by similar means. And because when we were subjected to sin we had no hope of deliverance, the grace of God kept that man whom God put on for us free from sin, but Satan came with his deceitfulness and brought death upon Him as upon any other man, when he roused all the Jews against Him; and since He was not touched by sin which would subject Him to death, Christ our Lord received also upon Himself the death which with wickedness the tyrannical Satan brought upon Him.

He showed to God that there was no sin in Him and that it was through injustice that He was enduring the trial of death. And He effected the abolition of condemnation with ease, and He rose from the dead by the power of God and became worthy of a new and ineffable life which He generalised to all the human kind. This is the reason why our Lord said here: Our blessed Fathers said that He became incarnate so that you might understand that He assumed a complete man, who was a man not only in appearance but a man in a true human nature, and that you might believe that He assumed not only the body but the whole man who is composed of a body and of an immortal and rational soul.

It is such a man that He assumed for our salvation and it is through Him that He effected salvation for our life, because He was justified and became blameless by the power of the Holy Spirit, as the blessed 61 Paul said: We also expect to be immortal and incorruptible at the resurrection from the dead when there will be no entry for sin into us.

The blessed Paul bears witness to this in saying: O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. Indeed what is the need of the law for a nature which is freed from sin and which has no inclination towards evil. Well did the blessed Paul say after these: He who for us put on the man our Lord Jesus and transferred Him through His resurrection from the dead to a new life, and placed Him at His right hand, and gave us by His grace 62 communion with Him, when, in truth, as the blessed Paul said: Because the things said by our blessed Fathers concerning the humanity of our Lord are many let us put an end here to our teaching of to-day, and let us praise the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit now, always, and for ever and ever.

In what we have already said we have explained to your love that which was said by our blessed Fathers concerning the humanity of our Lord in the profession of faith, which they wrote and handed down to us according to the teaching of the Books. We were obliged to use many words so that you might thoroughly understand all the meaning of their sentences, and if it were possible we would have said more in order to confirm the truth and to refute the deceitful words of the heretics, but the measure of what we said was considered by us to be sufficient to all those who possess goodwill in religion, because to those who have an unwilling mind, even a long discourse will be of no avail, while to those who possess a good will a short discourse will suffice for the demonstration of the truth, when this discourse is drawn from the testimony of Holy Writ.

Let us then embark to-day, by the assistance of the grace of God, on the continuation of that which we said previously. Who for us children of men and for our salvation came down from heaven and was incarnate and became a man our blessed Fathers added: And was bom of the Virgin Mary and crucified in the days of Pontius Pilate.

They might have said many things that happened in the meantime such as He was wrapped in swaddling clothes, was laid in a manger, was under the law, was baptised and made manifest the works of the Gospel and many more things. If they had wished it they would have narrated all that the Sacred Books have taught us about Him and that 63 which was accomplished by Him for our salvation, as He fulfilled thoroughly the law of nature for us, because He was going to reform our nature, and He further observed the law of Moses so that He might pay our debt to the Lawgiver; and He was baptised so that He might give an emblem to the grace of our baptism; and He showed effectively in Himself the Economy of the Gospel to all men.

After all these He went to crucifixion and death so that He might destroy the last enemy, which is death, and make manifest the new and immortal life.