Athanasius to Bishop Serapion concerning the Holy Spirit Epistle 1

1. YOUR SACRED Kindness’s letter was delivered to me in the desert. Though the persecution directed against us was indeed bitter, and a great search made by those who sought to slay us, yet ‘the Father of mercies and God of all comfort” used even this to comfort us. As I remembered your Kindness and all my friends, I imagined that you were with me at that moment. I was indeed very glad to have your letter. But when I read it, I began again to be despondent because of those who once before set themselves to make war against the truth. You write, beloved and truly longed for,’ yourself also in distress, that certain persons, having forsaken the Arians on account of their blasphemy against the Son of God, yet oppose the Holy Spirit, saying that He is not only a creature, but actually one of the ministering spirits, and differs from the angels only in degree. In this they pretend to be fighting against the Arians; in reality they are controverting the holy faith. For as the Arians in denying the Son deny also the Father, so also these men in speaking evil of the Holy Spirit speak evil also of the Son. The two parties have divided between them the offensive against the truth; so that, with the one opposing the Son and the other the Spirit, they both maintain the same blasphemy against the holy Triad. As I regarded these things and reflected deeply upon them, I grew despondent because the devil had got another chance to make game of those who are acting his folly; and I had decided to keep silence at this juncture. But because of your Holiness’s entreaty, and on account of the spirit of innovation and the diabolical impetuosity displayed by these people, I write this letter in brief, though I am scarce able to do this much; only that you, making these facts your excuse, may supply what it lacks in the light of your own understanding, and the argument against this unholy heresy may be complete.

2. To the Arians indeed this way of thinking is not strange. Having once denied the Word of God, they natur- ally say the same evil things against his Spirit. Therefore it is not necessary to say anything more in reply to them ; what has previously been said against them is sufficient. But it is right that, in some way (as they themselves would say !) we should make a careful reply to those who have been deceived about the Spirit. We might well wonder at their folly, inasmuch as they will not have the Son of God to be a creature — indeed, their views on this are quite sound! How then have they endured so much as to hear the Spirit of the Son called a creature ? Because of the oneness of the Word with the Father, they will not have the Son belong to things originated, but rightly regard him as Creator of things that are made. Why then do they say that the Holy Spirit is a creature, who has the same oneness with the Son as the Son with the Father? Why have they not understood that, just as by not dividing the Son from the Father they ensure that God is one, so by dividing the Spirit from the Word they no longer ensure that the Godhead in the Triad is one, for they tear it asunder, and mix with it a nature foreign to it and of a different kind, and put it on a level with the creatures? On this showing, once again the Triad is no longer one but is compounded of two differing natures ; for the Spirit, as they have imagined, is essentially different. What doctrine of God is this, which compounds him out of creator and creature? Either he is not a Triad, but a dyad, with the creature left over. Or, if he be Triad — as indeed he is! — then how do they class the Spirit who belongs to the Triad with the creatures which come after the Triad? For this, once more, is to divide and dissolve the Triad. There- fore, while thinking falsely of the Holy Spirit, they do not think truly even of the Son. For if they thought correctly of the Word, they would think soundly of the Spirit also, who proceeds from the Father, and, belonging to the Son, is from him given to the disciples and all who believe in him. Nor, erring thus, do they so much as keep sound their faith in the Father. 15 For those who ‘resist the Spirit’, as the great martyr Stephen said, deny also the Son. 16 But those who deny the Son have not the Father.

3. Where then do you find excuse for such audacity, so that you do not fear that which was spoken by the Lord, ‘Whosoever shall blaspheme against the Holy Spirit hath no forgiveness, neither in this present age nor in the age to come’? The Arians, having misunderstood the incarnate presence of the Word and the things which were said in consequence thereof, took from them an excuse for their heresy and were condemned as enemies of God and as speaking things which are in truth idle and earthly. But whence were you deceived? From whom did you hear * such error? In what way did you fall into it? ‘We read’, they say, ‘in the prophet Amos, where God says: “I am he that establisheth thunder and createth spirit and declareth unto men his Christ, that maketh dawn and mist, that ascendeth unto the high places of the earth. The Lord God omnipotent is his name”. Hence we believed the Arians when they said that the Holy Spirit is a creature.’ So you read the passage in Amos. But that which is spoken in Proverbs, ‘The Lord created me as a beginning of his ways for his works’ — did you not read that? Or did you read it? You explain 9 this passage in accordance with the truth, so that you do not call the Word a creature. But the passage in the prophet you do not explain. Simply hearing the word ‘spirit’, you supposed that the Holy Spirit is called a creature. Although in Pro- verbs it is clearly Wisdom who says ‘created’, yet you do well enough. You explain the text so as not to put the Artificer Wisdom among the creatures. But the text in the prophet gives no indication of the Holy Spirit; it only speaks of spirit. Why then, although there is in Scripture a great difference in the use of the word ‘spirit’, and although the text can properly be interpreted 10 in an orthodox sense, do you — either out of love of contention or because you have been poisoned by the Arian serpent’s 11 sting — suppose that it is the Holy Spirit who is referred to in Amos ? Only that you may not forget to regard him as a creature!

4. Tell us, then, is there any passage in the divine Scrip- ture where the Holy Spirit is found simply referred to as ‘spirit’ without the addition of ‘of God’, or ‘of the Father’, or ‘my’, or ‘of Christ’ himself, and ‘of the Son’, or ‘from me’ (that is, from God), or with the article so that he is called not simply ‘spirit’ but ‘the Spirit’, or the very term ‘Holy Spirit’ or ‘Paraclete’ or ‘of Truth’ (that is, of the Son who says, ‘I am the Truth’), — that, just because you heard the word ‘spirit’, you take it to be the Holy Spirit ? Leave out of account for the moment cases in which people who have already received the Holy Spirit are mentioned again, and places where the readers, having previously learned of him, are not ignorant of whom they are hearing when he is referred to again, by way of repetition and reminder, merely as ‘the Spirit*. In these cases too it is generally used with the article. To sum up, unless the article is present or the above-mentioned addition, it cannot refer to the Holy Spirit. Take, for example, what Paul writes to the Galatians, ‘This only would I learn from you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law or by the hearing of faith?’ What had they received but the Holy Spirit who is given to those who be- lieve and are being born again ‘through the laver of re- generation’? When he wrote to the Thessalonians, ‘Quench not the Spirit’, he was speaking to those who themselves knew what they had received ; lest through lack of care they should quench the grace of the Spirit which had been kindled within them. When, in the Gospels, the evangelists, for the sake of the flesh he took, use human terms of the Saviour and say, ‘Jesus, full of Spirit, returned from the Jordan’, and, ‘Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness’, it has the same sense. For Luke has already said: ‘But when all the people had been baptized, and Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended in a bodily form, as a dove, upon him.’ This made it clear that, in the mention of ‘the Spirit’, the Holy Spirit was intended. So likewise where the Holy Spirit is with men, even if he is mentioned without addition to his name, there is no doubt that it is the Holy Spirit who is intended; especially when it has the article.

5 . But do you answer the question which has been put to you whether anywhere in the divine Scripture you have found the Holy Spirit called simply ‘spirit’, without the above-mentioned addition and apart from the qualification we have recorded. You cannot answer it! For you will not find it so in Scripture. But it is written in Genesis, ‘And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.’ And a little later, ‘My Spirit shall not abide among these men, for they are flesh.’ In Numbers, Moses says to the son of Nun, ‘Be not jealous for me. Would that all the Lord’s people were prophets, when the Lord bestows his Spirit upon them !’ In Judges it is said of Gothoniel: ‘And the Spirit of the Lord came upon him and he judged Israel.’ And again: ‘The Spirit of the Lord came upon Jephthah.’ And con- cerning Samson: ‘The child grew’, it says, ‘and the Lord blessed him, and the Spirit of the Lord began to accompany him,’ 7 and, ‘The Spirit of the Lord came upon him might- ily.’ David sings: ‘Take not thy Holy Spirit from me’; and again, in the one hundred and forty-second Psalm: ‘Thy good Spirit shall lead me in a plain country, for thy name’s sake, O Lord.’ In Isaiah it is written: ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because the Lord hath anointed me.’ And before this it was said : ‘Woe to you, rebellious child- ren ! Thus saith the Lord : You took counsel, but not from me, and made covenants, but not through my Spirit, to add sins to sins.’ And again: ‘Hear these things. From the beginning, I have not spoken in secret. When it was, I was there. And now the Lord hath sent me, and his Spirit.’ A little later he speaks thus: ‘And this is my covenant with them, saith the Lord, My Spirit which is upon thee’; and again in what follows he adds: ‘Neither envoy nor angel, but the Lord himself saved them, because he loved them and had mercy on them ; he himself redeemed them and took them up and exalted them all the days of the age. But they were disobedient and provoked his Holy Spirit, and he was turned to enmity toward them.’ And Ezekiel speaks thus: ‘And the Spirit took me up and brought me to the land of the Chaldaeans, to the Captivity, in a vision, by the Spirit of God.’ In Daniel: ‘God raised up the Holy Spirit of a young man whose name was Daniel, and he cried with a loud voice, I am clear from the blood of this woman.’ Micah says: ‘The house of Jacob provoked the Spirit of the Lord’ ; and by Joel, God says : ‘And it shall be after these things that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh.’ Again, through Zechariah the voice of God says: ‘But receive my words and my commandments which I charge by my Spirit to my servants the prophets’; and when the prophet rebukes the people a little farther on, he says: ‘They make their hearts disobedient, lest they should hear my law and the words which the Lord of hosts has sent by his Spirit in the hands of the prophets of old.’ These few examples we have collected and set down from the Old Testament.

6. But inquire also about the contents of the Gospels and the writings of the Apostles, and you will hear how there also, inasmuch as there is a great difference between spirits, the Holy Spirit is not particularized simply as ‘spirit’, but by the addition we have mentioned above. As already stated, when our Lord was baptized in human fashion because of the flesh he was wearing, the Holy Spirit is said to have descended upon him. In giving him to his disciples he said : ‘ Receive the Holy Spirit’ l ; and he taught them : “The Paraclete, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things.’ And a little later, concerning the same : ‘When the Paraclete is come, whom I shall send unto you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceedeth from the Father, he shall bear witness of me.’ * Again : ‘For it is not you that speak, but the Spirit of your Father that speaketh in you’; and a little farther on: ‘But if I, by the Spirit of God, cast out devils, then is the kingdom of God come upon you.’ And in him perfecting all our knowledge of God and the initiation whereby he joined us to himself and, through himself, to the Father, he charged the disciples: ‘Go ye and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.’ When he promised to send him to them, ‘he charged them not to depart from Jerusalem’; and, after a few days, ‘when the day of Pentecost was now come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven the sound as of the rushing of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sit- ting. And there appeared unto them tongues parting asunder, like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.’ Hence also, through the laying on of the Apostles’ hands, the Holy Spirit was given to those who were being born again. One Agabus prophesied by him, saying: ‘Thus saith the Holy Spirit.’ Paul said: ‘. . . in the which the Holy Spirit hath made you bishops to feed the Church of God which he purchased with his own blood.’ When the eunuch was baptized, ‘the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip’. And Peter wrote: ‘Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls. Concerning which salvation the prophets sought and examined diligently, who prophesied of the grace which should come unto us, searching what time or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did point unto, when he testified beforehand of the sufferings of Christ and the glories which should follow them.’ And John wrote: ‘Hereby know we that we abide in him and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.’

Paul writes to the Romans: ‘But ye are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you. But if any man hath not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwelleth in you, he that raised up Christ Jesus from the dead shall quicken also your mortal bodies through His Spirit that dwelleth in you.’ To the Corinthians: ‘For the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For who knoweth the things of man save the spirit of the man which is in him ? And so the things of God none knoweth save the Spirit of God. But we received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God ; that we might see the things that are freely given us by God.’ And a little later: ‘Know ye not that ye are a temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?’ And again: ‘But ye were washed, but ye were sanctified, but ye were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.’ And again: ‘But all these worketh the one and the same Spirit, dividing to each severally, even as he will.’ And again: ‘Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.’ See how he writes to the Galatians also: ‘That the blessing of Abraham might come in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.’ And again : ‘Because ye are sons, God sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant but a son ; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.’ To the Ephesians he speaks thus: ‘And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, in whom ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.’ And once more: ‘Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.’ To the Philippians he writes very confidently: ‘What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretence or in truth, Christ is proclaimed; and therein I rejoice, yea, and will rejoice. For I know that this shall turn to my salvation, through your supplication and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, according to my earnest expectation and hope, that in nothing shall I be put to shame.’ 28 And again : ‘For we are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God, and glory in Christ Jesus.’ To the Thessalonians he testifies: ‘Therefore he that rejecteth rejecteth not man but God who giveth his Holy Spirit unto you.’ And to the Hebrews thus : ‘ . . . the Holy Spirit signi- fying that the way unto the holy place hath not yet been made manifest, while the first tabernacle is yet standing.’ And again: ‘Of how much sorer punishment, think you, shall he be judged worthy who hath trodden under foot the Son of God and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?’ Again : ‘For if the blood of bulls and of goats and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling them that have been defiled sanctify unto the cleanness of the flesh: how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish unto God, cleanse our conscience from dead works?’ To the Thessalonians: ‘Then shall be revealed the lawless one, whom the Lord Jesus shall slay with the Spirit of his mouth and bring to naught by the manifestation of his glory.’

7. See how the Holy Spirit is denoted in all divine Scripture! Did you, then, notice anything of this kind in the prophet? The ‘spirit’ of which the prophet is now speak- ing has not even the article, to give you an excuse. But out of sheer audacity you have invented ‘tropes’ for yourselves and identified the spirit which is said to be created with the Holy Spirit himself; though even from students of language you could have learned of the difference between spirits. For Scripture speaks of the spirit of man, as David in the Psalm: ‘I communed with my heart and was troubled in my spirit.’ Baruch says in prayer: ‘The soul in anguish, the spirit of the troubled, crieth unto thee.’ And in the Song of the Three Children: ‘Bless the Lord, ye spirits and souls of the righteous.’ The Apostle writes: ‘The Spirit himself beareth witness with our spirit that we are children of God; and if children, then heirs.’ And again: ‘No man knoweth the things of man save the spirit of the man which is in him.’ In the Epistle to the Thessalonians he prays: ‘May your spirit and soul and body be preserved entire, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.’ It speaks too of spirits of the wind, as in Genesis: ‘And God made a spirit to pass over the earth, and the waters assuaged.’ And of Jonah: ‘And the Lord aroused a spirit upon the sea, and a great wave rose in the sea, and the ship was in danger of being broken.’ And in the one hundred and sixth Psalm it is written : ‘He spoke, and a spirit of storm arose, and its waves were lifted up.’ And in the one hundred and forty- eighth Psalm: ‘Praise the Lord from the earth, ye dragons and all deeps, fire, hail, snow, ice, spirit of storm, fulfilling his word.’ And in Ezekiel, in the Lament for Tyre: ‘In the heart of the sea, in much water, thy rowers have brought thee; the spirit of the south wind hath broken thee.’

8. Read the sacred Scriptures, and you will find ‘spirit’ used of the meaning which is in the divine words, as Paul writes: ‘Who also made us sufficient ministers of a new covenant, not of letter but of spirit; for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.’ For that which is expressed is inscribed by letter, but the meaning which is in it is called spirit. Thus too, ‘the law is spiritual’; so that, as he says again, we may serve not ‘in oldness of letter’ but ‘in newness of spirit’. The same writer says, when giving thanks: ‘So then I myself with the mind serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin. There is therefore now no condemna- tion to them that are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus made me free from the law of sin.’ Philip, desiring to turn the Ethiopian from the letter to the spirit, said: ‘Understandest thou what thou readest?’ Such a spirit Caleb is, in Numbers, declared to have had, when God says: ‘But my servant Caleb, because he had another spirit in him and he followed me, him will I bring into the land whereunto he went.’ For he pleased God, because he spoke with a different mind from the rest. Such a heart God enjoined his people to keep, when he said through Ezekiel: ‘Make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit.’ In view of these facts, and as we have demonstrated so great a difference between spirits, you would have done better, upon hearing of ‘created spirit’, had you thought of one of the foregoing. Such a spirit was that of which it is written in Isaiah: ‘Syria is confederate with Ephraim, and his heart was moved and the heart of his people, as in a forest a tree is shaken by the wind.’ 9 Such too was the spirit which the Lord ‘aroused upon the sea’, because of Jonah. For the spirits of the wind do follow the thunder, as with the rain that fell against Ahab, when it is written : ‘And it came to pass in a little while that the heavens grew black with clouds and wind.’

9. ‘But’, say they, ‘since the text makes mention of Christ, to be consistent we must take the spirit it speaks of to be none other than the Holy Spirit.’ So you observed that the Holy Spirit is named together with Christ ! But when did you find him distinguished in nature and separated from the Son, that, while you say that Christ is not a creature, you say that the Holy Spirit is a creature? It is absurd to name together things which are by nature unlike. For what community or what likeness is there between creature and Creator? At this rate you will number and join together with the Son, as well as with the Spirit, the creatures originated through his agency. It would therefore be satisfactory, as we have said, to understand what is written of the spirit of the winds. But since you plead the fact that Christ is mentioned in the text, we shall have to look at the passage carefully, lest haply we find a more suitable interpretation of this spirit which is said to be created. What is meant by ‘declare unto men his Christ’ but that he himself becomes man ? It is equivalent to the saying, ‘Behold a virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel’, and the other references to his coming. But if it is .the incarnate presence of the Word that is declared, what spirit must we understand to be created, but the spirit of man which is recreated and renewed ? For this God promised by Ezekiel, saying : ‘A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you ; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh, and I will put my Spirit within you.’ When has this been fulfilled, save when the Lord came and renewed all things by grace? See how in this text too 10 the distinction between spirits is made clear. Our spirit is renewed; but the Holy Spirit is not simply spirit, but God says it is his Spirit, whereby ours is renewed. As the Psalmist says in the one hundred and third Psalm: ‘Thou shalt take away their spirit, and they shall die and return to their dust. Thou shalt put forth thy Spirit, and they shall be created, and thou shalt renew the face of the earth.’ But if it is by the Spirit of God that we are renewed, then the spirit here said to be created is not the Holy Spirit but our spirit. And if, because all things come into being through the Word, you think correctly that the Son is not a creature: then is it not blas- phemy for you to say that the Spirit is a creature, in whom the Father, through the Word, perfects and renews all things? And if, because of the simple statement that spirit is created, they have imagined that this means the Holy-Spirit, let them know that the Holy Spirit is not created, but that it is our spint which is renewed in him. Of this spirit David also prayed in the Psalm: ‘Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.’ Here he is said to create it, but aforetime, as Zechariah says, he formed it: ‘Stretching forth the heavens and laying the foundations of the earth, and forming the spirit of man with- in him.’ For when that which he formed aforetime had fallen he remade it, coming himself in the creature, when the Word became flesh; so that, in the words of the Apostle, ‘He might create in himself of the twain one new man, who after God had been created in righteousness and holiness of truth’. For it was not as if another man had been created, other than he who from the beginning was made in God’s image. But he was counselling them to receive the mind that was remade and renewed in Christ; as is once more made clear through Ezekiel, when he says: ‘Make your- selves a new heart and a new spirit. For why will ye die, O house of Israel ? For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord God.’

10. Accordingly, if created spirit bears this meaning, we can appropriately take the thunder which is established to be the sure word and unshakable law of the Spirit. It was of this word that our Lord wished James and John to be ministers when he called them Boanerges, which is, Sons of thunder. Wherefore John cries aloud, veritably from heaven: ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.’ For aforetime the law had ‘a shadow of good things to come’. But when Christ was declared to men, and came saying, ‘I that speak unto thee am he’, then, in the words of Paul’: ‘his voice shook the earth, as he promised of old, Yet once more will I make to tremble not the earth only, but also the heaven. And this word, Yet once more, signifies the removing of the things that are shaken, that the things which are not shaken may remain. Wherefore, receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, we have grace whereby we offer service well pleasing to God.’ But that kingdom which he calls unshak- able, David in the Psalms declares to be established. ‘The Lord reigneth, he hath clothed himself with majesty. The Lord hath clothed and girded himself with strength. He hath also established the world, that it shall not be shaken.’ 8 So then this text in the prophet signifies the coming of the Saviour, whereby we are renewed and the law of the Spirit remains unshaken.

But these Tropici, true to their name, having made a compact with the Arians and portioned out with them the blasphemy against the Godhead, so that these may call the Son a creature and those the Spirit — the Tropici, in their own words, have dared to devise for themselves tropes and to pervert also the saying of the Apostle which he blamelessly wrote to Timothy, saying: ‘I charge thee 10 in the sight of God and Christ Jesus and the elect angels that thou observe these things without prejudice, doing nothing by partiality.’ But they say that, because he mentions God and Christ and then the angels, the Spirit must be counted with the angels, and belong himself to their category, and be an angel greater than the others. This discovery first proceeded from the impiety of Valentinus, and they have not been able to conceal the fact that they are expressing his sentiments. For he said that, when the Paraclete was sent, his contemporaries among the angels were sent with him. Yet they have not realized that, by reducing the Spirit to the level of the angels, they are ranking the angels with the Triad. For if, as they say, after the Father and the Son come the angels, then clearly the angels belong to the Triad and are no longer ‘ministering spirits sent forth to do service’, nor are they sanctified, but rather themselves sanctify others.

11. What is this mighty folly of theirs? Once again, where in the Scriptures have they found the Spirit referred to as an angel? I am obliged to repeat what I have said before. He is called Paraclete, Spirit of adoption, Spirit of sanctification, Spirit of God, and Spirit of Christ; but never angel or archangel, or ministering spirit, as are the angels. Rather he is himself ministered unto with the Son by Gabriel when he says to Mary, ‘The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee, and the Power of the Highest shall overshadow thee.’ But if the Scriptures do not speak of the Spirit as an angel, what excuse have they for so great and absurd an audacity? For even Valentinus, who implanted this evil-mindedness in them, called him Paraclete and them angels; though at the same time he very foolishly ranks the Spirit as coeval with the angels. ‘But see,’ they say, ‘it is written in the prophet Zechariah, “These things saith the angel that spake j within me”. Clearly, he means that the Spirit who spake within him was an angel.’ They would not say this if they gave heed to their reading. For Zechariah himself, upon seeing the vision of the candlestick, says: ‘And the angel that spake within me answered and said, Knowest thou not what these things be? And I said, No, my lord. Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel, Not by great might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord Almighty.’ It is therefore clear that the angel who spoke to the prophet was not the Holy Spirit but an angel, while the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of the Almighty, to whom an angel ministers, who is in- separable from the Godhead and might of the Word.

But as they make the words of the Apostle the basis of their plea, because after Christ he mentions the elect angels, let them tell us which of all these ‘ is the one who is ranked with the Triad. They do not all amount to one ! Which of them is he who descended to the Jordan in the form of a dove? For ‘thousand thousand’ and ‘ten thousand times ten thousand’ are they that minister. Why, again, when the heavens were opened, is it not written, ‘One of the elect angels came down’, but, ‘the Holy Spirit’? Why did the Lord himself, when conversing with the disciples concerning the End, 9 distinguish them by saying, ‘The Son of Man shall send forth his angels’? And before this it says : ‘The angels ministered unto him.’ He himself says again : ‘The angels shall come forth.’ But in giving the Spirit to the disciples, he said: ‘Receive ye the Holy Spirit.’ And, when sending them out, he said: ‘Go ye and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.’ He did not rank an angel with the Godhead; nor was it by a creature that he linked us to himself and to the Father, but by the Holy Spirit. And when he promised him, he did not say that he would send an angel, but ‘the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father’, and from him receives and gives.

12. Moses too knew that the angels are creatures and that the Holy Spirit is united with the Son and the Father. For when God said to him, ‘Depart, go up hence, thou and thy people which thou hast led up out of the land of Egypt, unto the land of which I sware unto Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob, saying, To your seed will I give it. And I will send my angel before thy face, and he will drive out the Canaan- ites’, he refused him, saying: ‘If thou goest not with us thyself, carry me not up hence.’ For he did not desire a creature to lead the people, lest they should learn to worship the creature beyond God who created all things. So, of course, he refused the angel, and besought God himself to lead them. But after God had given him a promise, saying to him, ‘I will do this thing also that thou hast spoken; for thou hast found grace in my sight, and I know thee beyond all men’, it is written in Isaiah : ‘He that raised up from the earth the shepherd of the sheep, where is he that put the Holy Spirit in the midst of them, that led up Moses by his right hand?’ And a little farther on he says: ‘The Spirit came down from the Lord and led them. So didst thou lead thy people to make thyself a glorious name.’ Who cannot from these things perceive the truth? When God promised to lead them, lo ! he promises no longer to send an angel, but the Spirit who is above the angels, and he leads the people. He shows that the Spirit does not belong to the creatures nor is he an angel, but is above the creation, united to the Godhead of the Father. For it was God himself who, through the Word, in the Spirit, led the people. Hence through all Scripture he says: ‘I brought you up out of the land of Egypt. You are witnesses if there was a strange God among you but me.’ The saints also say to God, ‘Thou leddest thy people like a flock’, and, ‘He led them in hope, and they did not fear’. To him also they offer up the hymn which says: ‘To him who led his people through the wilderness, for his mercy endureth for ever.’ And the mighty Moses unceasingly declares: ‘The Lord your God who goeth before you.’ Thus the Spirit of God is neither angel nor creature, but belongs to his Godhead. For when the Spirit was with the people, God, through the Son in the Spirit, was with them.

13. ‘But granting this,’ they say, ‘why did the Apostle after Christ make mention not of the Holy Spirit but of the elect angels?’ In like manner we might ask them : Why was it not archangels or cherubim or seraphim or dominions or thrones or some other, but only elect angels that Paul men- tioned? Because he makes no mention of them, are the angels archangels, or are there only angels, and no seraphim or cherubim or archangels or dominions or thrones or principalities or any other ? But this is to put the Apostle to the question, why he wrote thus and not thus, and to be ignorant of the divine Scriptures, and therefore to err in judgement of the truth. For behold ! it is written in Isaiah : ‘Come ye near unto me, and hear ye these things. From the beginning I have not spoken in secret; where it was, there was I. And now the Lord hath sent me, and his Spirit.’ And in Haggai: ‘Yet now be strong, O Zerubbabel, saith the Lord; and be strong, O Joshua, son of Josedech, the High Priest, saith the Lord; and be strong all ye people of the land, saith the Lord, and work; for I am with you, saith the Lord of hosts . . . and my Spirit abode among you.’ In both these prophets mention is made only of the Lord and the Spirit. What will they say about this? Because Paul, after mentioning Christ, passed over the Spirit and made mention of the elect angels, they, for this reason, rank the Spirit among the angels. But when they read these prophecies, they must, to be consistent, speak yet more rashly concern- ing him who is passed over. If they are going to say that the Lord is the Son, what will they say about the Father? If they say he is the Father, what will they say about the Son? The blasphemy which, according to them, must follow, does not even bear thinking about. For either they must say of the one passed over that he does not exist, or they must number him among the creatures.

14 . What will they say if they hear also the Lord saying : ‘There was in a certain place a judge who feared not God and regarded not man’? Because, after God, he spoke of man, is the Son that man whom the unjust judge did not regard? Or because after God he spoke of man, does the Son take third place, after man, and the Holy Spirit fourth? What if they hear the Apostle saying once again in the same epistle: ‘I charge thee in the sight of God who quickeneth all things, and of Jesus Christ who before Pontius Pilate witnessed the good confession, that thou keep the com- mandment without spot, without reproach’ ? Because he here says nothing about angels and Spirit, are they in doubt concerning the Spirit, whether he exists, and concerning the angels, whether they exist? Yes, they are in doubt, until practice has made them perfect in this evil-speaking against the Spirit ! If they hear Scripture saying in the book of Exodus, ‘And the people feared the Lord, and believed in God and in Moses, his servant’, are they going to include Moses with God and think only of Moses, and not of the Son, as coming after God ? What if they hear also the patri- arch Jacob blessing Joseph and saying: ‘The God who hath nourished me from my youth unto this day, the angel who hath delivered me from all evil, bless these lads’? Because after God he mentions an angel, is the angel before the Son, or is the Son included among the angels? Yes! Once again, they will think so, for their heart is corrupted ! But the Apostolic faith is not thus, nor can a Christian endure these things for a moment. For the holy and blessed Triad is indivisible and one in itself. When mention is made of the Father, there is included also his Word, and the Spirit who is in the Son. If the Son is named, the Father is in the Son, and the Spirit is not outside the Word. For there is from the Father one grace which is fulfilled through the Son in the Holy Spirit; and there is one divine nature, and one God ‘who is over all and through all and in all’. Thus Paul also, when he said, ‘I charge thee before God and Jesus Christ’, realized that the Spirit had not been divided from the Son, but was himself in Christ, as the Son is in the Father. But with them he appropriately introduced the elect angels; so that the disciple to whom he was speaking a charge should obey his teacher’s injunctions, inasmuch as the guardians were there to witness what was said. For the disciple knew, not only that what is spoken from God is said through Christ in the Spirit, but also that the angels minister to our affairs, overseeing the deeds of each one. Or perhaps he here invokes angels to witness, because of those who always look upon ‘the face of the Father who is in heaven’, for the sake of the little ones in the Church; that the disciple, recognizing the people’s guardians, should not neglect the injunctions of the Apostle.

15. Such, it seems to me, is the meaning of the divine oracles; and it refutes the evil which these irrational men speak against the Spirit. But they, persevering in their antagonism to the truth, as you write, speak again, no longer out of the Scriptures — they find nothing there — but proclaiming out of the abundance of their own heart: ‘If he is not a creature nor one of the angels, but proceeds from the Father, then he is himself also a son, and he and the I Word are two brothers. And if he is a brother, how is the Word only begotten? How is it then that they are not equal, but the one is named after the Father, and the other after the Son? How, if he is from the Father, is he not also sad to be begotten or called son, but just Holy Spirit? But if the Spirit is of the Son, then the Father is the Spirit’s grandfather.’ Thus the wretches make mock, like busy- bodies desiring to ‘search the deep things of God’ which ‘no one knows but the Spirit of God’, against whom they speak evil. We ought therefore to answer them no more, but, in accordance with the Apostle’s precept, after the warning they have had from what has been said already, to shun them as heretics; or else to ask them questions on a level with those they ask, and to demand an answer from them such as they demand from us. u Let them tell us then: whether the Father is from a Father; whether another has been begotten with him, so that they are brothers from the one father; what are the names of these; who is the father and the grandfather of this father; and who are their ancestors. But they will say there are none. How then, let them tell us, is he a Father who is not himself begotten of a father? Or how could he have a Son who was not first begotten a son? I know the interrogation is impious. But when they make mock of such things, it is right to make mock of them, that even from such absurd and impious interrogation they may be able to perceive their own folly. For it is not so. God forbid ! Nor is it fitting to ask such questions about the Godhead. For God is not as man, that we should dare to ask human questions about him.

16. We ought therefore, as I said before, to be silent on these matters and to disregard these people. But lest our silence should furnish an excuse for their effrontery, let them listen. Just as we cannot ascribe a father to the Father, so neither can we ascribe a brother to the Son. Other than the Father, as we have written already, there is no God; there is no other Son than the Son, for he is only begotten. Hence the Father, being One and Only, is Father of a Son who is One and Only, and in the Godhead alone the term ‘Father’ and the term ‘Son’ keep to their meaning and are ever thus. For with men, if a man is called a father, he is, notwithstanding, another man’s son; and if he is called a son, he is, notwithstanding, another man’s father. So that with men the names ‘father’ and ‘son’ are not kept to their strict meaning. Abraham, for example, being Nahor’s son, is Isaac’s father; and Isaac, being Abraham’s son, is Jacob’s father. And so it is by the nature of men. For they are parts of one another; and each, when he is begotten, receives a part of his father, that he may himself become father of another. But with the Godhead it is not so. For God is not as man, nor is his nature divided. Hence he does not, by division of himself, beget a son, so that he may himself become father to another ; for he himself is not from a father. Nor is the Son a part of the Father. Hence he does not beget as he himself has been begotten, but is whole image and radiance of the whole. And in the Godhead alone, the Father is a father in the strict sense, and the Son a son in the strict sense; and of these it holds good that the Father is ever Father and the Son ever Son. As the Father could never be son, so neither could the Son be a father. As the Father will never cease to be Only Father, so the Son will never cease to be Only Son. By all accounts then, it is madness to envisage a brother to the Son, or to ascribe to the Father the name of grandfather. For the Spirit is not given the name of son in the Scriptures, lest he be taken for a brother; nor son of the Son, lest the Father be thought to be a grandfather. But the Son is called Son of the Father, and the Spirit of the Father is called Spirit of the Son.  Thus the Godhead of the Holy Triad and faith therein u is one.

17. For this reason too, it is madness to call him a creature. If he were a creature, he would not be ranked with the Triad. For the whole Triad is one God. It is enough to know that the Spirit is not a creature, nor is he numbered with the things that are made. For nothing foreign is mixed with the Triad; it is indivisible and consistent. These things are sufficient for the faithful. Thus far human know- ledge goes. Here the cherubim spread the covering of their wings. He who seeks and would inquire into what lies beyond these things disobeys him who said: ‘Be not wise in many things, lest thou be confounded.’ For the things that have been handed down by faith ought not to be measured by human wisdom, but by the hearing of faith. What speech shall be able worthily to interpret the things that surpass originated nature? Or what hearing is able to understand things it is not lawful for men either to hear or to utter ? For that is how Paul spoke of what he heard ; but of God himself, ‘How are his ways past tracing out !’, and, ‘Who hath known the mind of the Lord and who hath been his counsellor?’ Abraham was not a busybody, nor did he question him who spoke, but believed and ‘it was counted to him for righteousness’. Thus Moses was called ‘a faithful servant’. But if the disciples of Arius, because wisdom will not enter their deceitful hearts, are not able intelligently to believe in the indivisible and holy Triad, let them not on that account pervert the truth as well, neither let them say that what they cannot understand cannot be true. They have put themselves in an absurd position. Because they cannot understand how the holy Triad is indivisible, the Arians make the Son one with the creation, and the Tropici, for their part, number the Spirit with the creatures. It would be better for them either to say nothing at all in their incomprehension, the Arians not ranking the Son with the creatures nor the Tropici the Spirit; or else to acknowledge what is written, and join the Son to the Father and not divide the Spirit from the Son — so that the Holy Triad may still be rightly characterized as indivisible and of one nature. Having learned these truths, they ought not to be so bold as to ask doubting, how these things could be; lest, even if he whom they question be at a loss for words, of their own accord they think out false notions for themselves. For all created beings, and especially we who are men, find it im- possible to speak adequately concerning the things that are ineffable. All the more presumptuous, then, if, when we cannot speak, we devise for these subjects strange forms of expression other than those in the Scriptures. Above all is this present attempt madness, both on the part of him who asks and of him who so much as thinks of answering. For he who asked such questions even about originated things would not be regarded as of sound mind.

18. Let them presume to tell us, as they have a glib answer to everything, how the heavens were formed, and from what material, and what is their composition; and likewise of the sun and each of the stars. Small wonder if we expose their folly by referring to the things above us, when we do not understand the ‘how’ of the nature of the trees here below, of ‘the gathering together of the waters’, and of the fashioning and forming of living things. But they could not tell us. For even Solomon, who had a far greater share of wisdom than any, saw that it was impossible for men to find out about these things, and said: ‘He hath set eternity within their heart, yet so that man cannot find out the work that God hath done from the beginning even to the end.’ Because they cannot find out, do they admit that these things do not exist? Yes, they will admit it, for their understanding is corrupted. Wherefore we might reasonably ask them: ‘You who are without sense and in all things reckless, why do you not the rather cease your impertinent inquiries about the holy Triad, and only believe that it exists? You have the Apostle as your teacher for this, when he says: “It is necessary first to believe on God that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that seek after him.” He did not say, “how he is,” but only, “that he is”.’ But if they are not overwhelmed by this, let them say how the Father is, that so they may learn how his Word is. But it is absurd, they will say, to ask such questions about the Father. Let them hear, then, that it is also absurd to ask them concerning his Word.

19. Since, therefore, such an attempt is futile madness, nay, more than madness!, let no one ask such questions any more, or else let him learn only that which is in the Scriptures. For the illustrations they contain which bear upon this subject are sufficient and suitable. The Father is called fountain and light: ‘They have forsaken me,’ it says, ‘the fountain of living water’; and again in Baruch, ‘Why, O Israel, art thou in the land of thine enemies? Thou hast forsaken the fountain of wisdom’; and, according to John: ‘Our God is light.’ But the Son, in contrast with the fountain, is called river: ‘The river of God is full of water.’ In contrast with the light, he is called radiance — as Paul says: ‘Who, being the radiance of his glory and the image of his essence.’ As then the Father is light and the Son is his radiance — we must not shrink from saying the same things about them many times — we may see in the Son the Spirit also by whom we are enlightened. ‘That he may give you’, it says, ‘the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your heart enlightened’. But when we are enlightened by the Spirit, it is Christ who in him enlightens us. For it says: ‘There was the true light which lighteth every man coming into the world.’ Again, as the Father is fountain and the Son is called river, we are said to drink of the Spirit. For it is written: ‘We are all made to drink of one Spirit.’ But when we are made to drink of the Spirit, we drink of Christ. For ‘they drank of a spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ’. Again, as Christ is true Son, so we, when we receive the Spirit, are made sons. ‘For you have not received’, it says, ‘the spirit of bondage again to fear; but you have received the Spirit of adoption.’ But if by the Spirit we are made sons, it is clear that it is in Christ we are called children of God. For: ‘So many as received him, to them gave he the power to become children of God.’ Then, as the Father, in Paul’s words, is the ‘only wise’, the Son is his Wisdom: ‘Christ the Power of God and the Wisdom of God.’ But as the Son is Wisdom, so we, receiving the Spirit of Wisdom, have the Son and are made wise in him. For thus it is written in the one hundred and forty-fifth psalm: ‘The Lord looseth the prisoners, the Lord maketh wise the blind.’ When the Holy Spirit is given to us (‘Receive the Holy Spirit,’ said the Saviour), God is in us; for so John wrote: ‘If we love one another, God abideth in us ; hereby know we that we abide in him and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.’ But when God is in us, the Son also is in us. For the Son himself said: ‘The Father and I will come and make our abode with him.’ Furthermore, as the Son is life — for he says ‘I am the life’ — we are said to be quickened by the Spirit. For it says: ‘He that raised up Christ Jesus from the dead shall quicken also your mortal bodies, through his Spirit that dwelleth in you.’ But when we are quickened by the Spirit, Christ himself is said to live in us; for it says: ‘I have been crucified with Christ. I live, and yet no longer I, but Christ liveth in me.’ Again, the Son declared that the Father worked the works that he did — for he says: ‘The Father abiding in me doeth his works. Believe me, that I am in the Father and the Father in me; or else believe me for his works’ sake.’ So Paul declared that the works he worked by the power of the Spirit were the works of Christ: ‘For I will not dare to speak of any things save those which Christ wrought through me, for the obedience of the Gentiles, by word and deed, in the power of signs and wonders, in the power of the Holy Spirit.’

20. But if there is such co-ordination and unity within the holy Triad, who can separate either the Son from the Father, or the Spirit from the Son or from the Father himself? Who would be so audacious as to say that the Triad is unlike itself and diverse in nature, or that the Son is in essence foreign from the Father, or the Spirit alien from the Son? But how are these things? If one should make inquiry and ask again : How, when the Spirit is in us, the Son is said to be in us ? How, when the Son is in us, the Father is said to be in us? Or how, when it is truly a Triad, the Triad is described as one? Or why, when the One is in us, the Triad is said to be in us? — let him first divide the radiance from the light, or wisdom from the wise, or let him tell how these things are. But if this is not to be done, much more is it the audacity of madmen to make such inquiries concerning God. For tradition, as we have said, does not declare the Godhead to us by demonstration in words, but by faith and by a pious and reverent use of reason. For if Paul proclaimed the saving Gospel of the Cross, ‘not in words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power’; and if in Paradise he heard ‘unspeakable words which it is not lawful for a man to utter’: who can declare the holy Triad itself? Nevertheless, we can meet this difficulty, primarily by faith and then by using the illustrations mentioned above, I mean the image and the radiance, fountain and river, essence and expression. As the Son is in the Spirit as in his own image, so also the Father is in the Son. For divine Scripture, by way of relieving the impossibility of explaining and apprehending these matters in words, has given us illustrations of this kind; that it may be lawful, because of the unbelief of presumptuous men, to speak more plainly, and to speak without danger, and to think legitimately, and to believe that there is one sanctification, which is derived from the Father, through the Son, in the Holy Spirit.

As the Son is an only-begotten offspring, so also the Spirit, being given and sent from the Son, is himself one and not many, nor one from among many, but Only Spirit. As the Son, the living Word, is one, so must the vital activity and gift whereby he sanctifies and enlightens be one perfect and complete; which is said to proceed from the Father, because it is from the Word, who is confessed to be from the Father, that it shines forth and is sent and is given. The Son is sent from the Father; for he says, ‘God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son.’ The Son sends the Spirit; ‘If I go away,’ he says, ‘I will send the Paraclete.’ The Son glorifies the Father, saying: ‘Father, I have glorified thee.’ The Spirit glorifies the Son; for he says: ‘He shall glorify me.’ The Son says: ‘The things I heard from the Father speak I unto the world.’ the Spirit takes of the Son; ‘He shall take of mine,’ he says, ‘and shall declare it unto you.’ The Son came in the name of the Father. ‘The Holy Spirit,’ says the Son, ‘whom the Father will send in my name.’

21. But if, in regard to order and nature, the Spirit bears the same relation to the Son as the Son to the Father, will not he who calls the Spirit a creature necessarily hold the same to be true also of the Son? For if the Spirit is a creature of the Son, it will be consistent for them to say that the Word is a creature of the Father. By holding such opinions the Arians have fallen into the Judaism of Caiaphas. But if those who say such things about the Spirit claim that they do not hold the opinions of Arius, let them avoid his words and keep from impiety toward the Spirit. For as the Son, who is in the Father and the Father in him, is not a creature but pertains to the essence of the Father (for this you also profess to say); so also it is not lawful to rank with the creatures the Spirit who is in the Son, and the Son in him, nor to divide him from the Word and reduce the Triad to imperfection. As regards the sayings both of the Prophet and the Apostle, by perverting whose meaning these men have deceived themselves, these considerations are sufficient to refute the evil speech to which the ignorance of the Tropici gives rise. But finally let us look, one by one, at the references to the Holy Spirit in the divine Scriptures, and, like good bankers, let us judge whether he has anything in common with the creatures, or whether he pertains to God; that we may call him either a creature or else other than the crea- tures, pertaining to and one with the Godhead which is in the unoriginated Triad. Perhaps they may be put to shame when they realize how far the blasphemous words they have devised are out of harmony with the divine oracles.

22. The creatures came from nothing, having a beginning from which they came into being. For, ‘In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth’ and all that is in them. The Holy Spirit is said to be from God. For no one, it says, ‘knoweth the things of man save the spirit of the man which is in him. Even so, the things of God none knoweth save the Spirit of God. But we received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God.’ What kinship could there be, judging by the above, between the Spirit and the creatures? For the creatures were not; but God has being, and the Spirit is from him. That which is from God could not be from that which is not, nor could it be a creature; lest, by their judgement, he also from whom the Spirit is should be considered a creature. Who will endure such fools? For they say also in their hearts that ‘there is no God’. For if, as no one knows the things of man save the spirit within him, so no one knows the things of God save the Spirit who is in him: would it not be evil speech to call the Spirit who is in God a creature, him who searches even the deep things of God? For from this the speaker will learn to say that the spirit of man is outside the man himself, and that the Word of God, who is in the Father, is a creature.

Again, the Spirit is, and is called, Spirit of holiness and renewal. For Paul writes: ‘Declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection of the dead; even Jesus Christ our Lord.’ Again he says: ‘But ye were sanctified, but ye were justified in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.’ And when writing to Titus, he said: ‘But when the kindness of God our Saviour and his love toward men appeared, not by works done in righteousness which we did ourselves, but according to his mercy he saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit which he poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Saviour, that being justified by his grace, we might be made heirs, according to the hope of eternal life.’ But the creatures are sanctified and renewed. ‘Thou shalt send forth thy Spirit, and they shall be created, and thou shalt renew the face of the earth.’ And Paul says: ‘It is impossible for those who were once enlightened and tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Spirit. . . .’

23. He, therefore, who is not sanctified by another, nor a partaker of sanctification, but who is himself partaken, and in whom all the creatures are sanctified, how can he be one from among all things or pertain to those who partake of him ? For those who say this must say that the Son, through whom all things came to be, is one from among all things.

He is called a quickening Spirit. For it says: ‘He that raised up Christ from the dead shall quicken also your mortal bodies through his Spirit that dwelleth in you.’ The Lord is the very life, and ‘author of life’, as Peter put it. And as the Lord said himself: ‘The water that I shall give him shall become in him a well of water springing up into eternal life. . . . But this spake he concerning the Spirit which they that believed in him were to receive.’ But the creatures, as has been said, are quickened through him. He that does not partake of life, but who is himself partaken and quickens the creatures, what kinship can he have with things orig- inated ? How can he belong to the creatures which in him are quickened from the Word ?

The Spirit is called unction and he is seal. For John writes : ‘As for you, the unction which ye received of him abideth in you, and you need not that anyone teach you, but his unction’ — his Spirit — ‘teacheth you concerning all things.’ In the prophet Isaiah it is written : ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because the Lord hath anointed me.’ Paul says: ‘In whom having also believed, ye were sealed unto the day of redemption.’ But the creatures are by him sealed and anointed and instructed in all things. But if the Spirit is the unction and seal with which the Word anoints and seals all things, what likeness or propriety could the unction and the seal have to the things that are anointed and sealed ? Thus by this consideration also he could not belong to the ‘all things’. The seal could not be from among the things that are sealed, nor the unction from among the things that are anointed; it pertains to the Word who anoints and seals. For the unction has the fragrance and odour of him who anoints; and those who are anointed say, when they receive thereof: ‘We are the fragrance of Christ.’ The seal has the form of Christ who seals, and those who are sealed partake of it, being conformed to it; as the Apostle says: ‘My little children, for whom I am again in travail until Christ be formed in you.’ Being thus sealed, we are duly made, as Peter put it, ‘sharers in the divine nature’; and thus all creation partakes of the Word in the Spirit.

24. Further it is through the Spirit that we are all said to be partakers of God. For it says: ‘Know ye not that ye are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man destroyeth the temple of God, him shall God destroy ; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.’ If the Holy Spirit were a creature, we should have no participation of God in him. If indeed we were joined to a creature, we should be strangers to the divine nature inasmuch as we did not partake therein. But, as it is, the fact of our being called partakers of Christ and partakers of God shows that the unction and seal that is in us belongs, not to the nature of things originate, but to the nature of the Son who, through the Spirit who is in him, joins us to the Father. This John taught us, as is said above, when he wrote: ‘Hereby know we that we abide in God and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.’ But if, by participation in the Spirit, we are made ‘sharers in the divine nature’, we should be mad to say that the Spirit has a created nature and not the nature of God. For it is on this account that those in whom he is are made divine. If he makes men divine, it is not to be doubted that his nature is of God.

Yet more clearly, for the destruction of this heresy, the Psalmist sings, as we have said before, in the one hundred and third psalm: ‘Thou shalt take away thy Spirit, and they shall die and return to their dust. Thou shalt put forth thy Spirit, and they shall be created, and thou shalt renew the face of the earth.’ And Paul wrote to Titus: ‘Through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, which he poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ ‘

But if the Father, through the Word, in the Holy Spirit, creates and renews all things, what likeness or kinship is there between the Creator and the creatures? How could he possibly be a creature, in whom all things are created? Such evil speech leads on to blasphemy against the Son ; so that those who say the Spirit is a creature say also that the Word is a creature, through whom all things are created.

The Spirit is said to be, and is, the image of the Son. For ‘Whom he foreknew, he also foreordained to be conformed to the image of his Son’. If then they admit that the Son is not a creature, neither may his image be a creature.

For as is the image, so also must he be whose image it is. Hence the Word is justly and fitly confessed not to be a creature, because he is the image of the Father. He therefore who numbers the Spirit with the creatures will surely number the Son among them also, and thereby will speak evil of the Father as well, by speaking evil against his image.

25. The Spirit, therefore, is distinct from the creatures, and is shown rather to be proper to the Son and not alien from God. As for that wise question of theirs, ‘If the Spirit is from God, why is he not himself called son?’, already, in what precedes, we have shown it rash and presumptuous, and we show it not less so now. Even though he is not called Son in the Scriptures, but Spirit of God, he is said to be in God himself and from God himself, as the Apostle wrote. And if the Son, because he is of the Father, is proper to his essence, it must be that the Spirit, who is said to be from God, is in essence proper to the Son. And so, as the Lord is Son, the Spirit is called Spirit of sonship. Again, as the Son is Wisdom and Truth, the Spirit is described as Spirit of Wisdom and Truth. Again the Son is the Power of God and Lord of Glory, and the Spirit is called Spirit of Power and of Glory. So Scripture refers to each of them. Paul wrote to the Corinthians: ‘Had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.’ and, else- where: ‘For ye received not the Spirit of bondage again to fear, but ye received the Spirit of adoption. ‘ Again: ‘God sent forth the Spirit of his Son into our hearts crying, Abba Father.’ Peter wrote: ‘If ye are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are ye; because the Spirit of glory and of power resteth upon you.’ The Lord called the Spirit ‘Spirit of truth’ and ‘Paraclete’ ; whence he shows that the Triad is in him complete. In him the Word makes glorious the creation, and, by bestowing upon it divine life and sonship, draws it to the Father. But that which joins creation to the Word cannot belong to the creatures; and that which bestows sonship upon the creation could not be alien from the Son. For we should have otherwise to seek another spirit,’ so that by him this Spirit might be joined to the Word. But that would be absurd. The Spirit, therefore, does not belong to things originated; he pertains to the Godhead of the Father, and in him the Word makes things originated divine. But he in whom creation is made divine cannot be outside the Godhead of the Father.

26. That the Spirit is above the creation, distinct in nature from things originated, and proper to the Godhead, can be seen from the following consideration also. The Holy Spirit is incapable of change and alteration. For it says, ‘The Holy Spirit of discipline will flee deceit and will start away from thoughts that are without understanding.’ and Peter says: ‘In the incorruptibility of the meek and quiet Spirit.’ Again, in Wisdom: ‘Thine incorruptible Spirit is in all things.’ And if ‘none knoweth the things of God save the Spirit of God which is in him’, and, as James said, in God ‘there is no variation nor shadow that is cast by turning’ — the Holy Spirit, being in God, must be incapable of change, variation, and corruption. But the nature of things originated and of things created is capable of change, inasmuch as it is outside the essence of God, and came into existence from that which is not. For it says: ‘Every man is a liar,’ and, ‘All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.’ ‘And angels which kept not their own principality, but left their proper habitation, he hath kept in everlasting bonds under darkness unto the judgement of the great day.’ In Job: ‘If he putteth no trust in his holy angels . . . and against his angels he imputeth evil . . . and the stars are not pure in his sight.’ Paul writes: ‘Know ye not that we shall judge angels? How much more things that pertain to this life ?’ We have heard too that the devil, who was ‘between the cherubim’, and was ‘the seal of the likeness’, fell ‘as light- ning from heaven’. But if, while creatures are by nature capable of change, and such things are written about angels, the Spirit is the same and unalterable; if he shares the immutability of the Son, with him abiding ever unchange- able — what likeness can there be between the unchangeable and the things that change ? It will be clear that he is not a creature, nor does he belong in essence to the angels, for they are changeable, but he is the image of the Word and pertains to the Father. Again, the Spirit of the Lord fills the universe. Thus David sings: ‘Whither shall I go from thy Spirit?’ Again, in Wisdom it is written : ‘Thine incorruptible Spirit is in all things.’ But things originated are all in places apportioned to them : sun, moon, and stars in the firmament, clouds in the air. For men he has ‘set the bounds of the peoples’. The angels are ‘sent forth’ 18 for ministries. ‘And the angels came to stand before the face of the Lord,’ as it is written in Job. And Jacob the patriarch dreamed : ‘And behold ! a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven ; and the angels of God ascended and descended upon it.’ But if the Spirit fills all things, and in the Word is present in the midst of all things ; and if the angels, being his inferiors, are circumscribed, and where they are sent forth, there are they present: it is not to be doubted that the Spirit does not belong to things originated, nor is he an angel at all, as you say, but by nature is above the angels.

27. From what follows, also, we may see how the Holy Spirit is partaken and does not partake. (We must not mind repeating ourselves.) For, ‘It is impossible’, it says, ‘for those who were once enlightened and tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and tasted the good Word of God. . . .’ The angels and the other creatures partake of the Spirit himself; hence they can fall away from him whom they partake. But the Spirit is always the same; he does not belong to those who partake, but all things partake of him. But if he is always the same and always partaken ; and if the creatures partake of him — the Holy Spirit can neither be an angel nor a creature of any kind, but proper to the Word. And being given by the Word, he is partaken by the creatures. For they would have to say that the Son is a creature, of whom we are all made partakers in the Spirit. Again, the Holy Spirit is one, but the creatures are many. For the angels are ‘thousand thousand’ and ‘ten thousand times ten thousand’, and there are many lights and thrones and lordships and heavens and cherubim and seraphim and many archangels. In a word, creatures are not one but, tak- ing all together, many and diverse. But if the Holy Spirit is one, and the creatures many and angels many — what like- ness can there be between the Spirit and things originate? It is obvious that the Spirit does not belong to the many nor is he an angel. But because he is one, and, still more, because he is proper to the Word who is one, he is proper to God who is one, and one in essence with him. These sayings concerning the Holy Spirit, by themselves alone, show that in nature and essence he has nothing in common with or proper to creatures, but is distinct from things originate, proper to, and not alien from, the Godhead and essence of the Son; in virtue of which essence and nature he is of the Holy Triad, and puts their stupidity to shame.

28. But, beyond these sayings, let us look at the very tradition, teaching, and faith of the Catholic Church from the beginning, which the Lord gave, the Apostles preached, and the Fathers kept. Upon this the Church is founded, and he who should fall away from it would not be a Christian, and should no longer be so called. There is, then, a Triad, holy and complete, confessed to be God in Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, having nothing foreign or external mixed with it, not composed of one that creates and one that is originated, but all creative; and it is consistent and in nature indivisible, and its activity is one. The Father does all things through the Word in the Holy Spirit. Thus the unity of the holy Triad is preserved. Thus one God is preached in the Church, ‘who is over all, and through all, and in all’ — ‘over all’, as Father, as beginning, as fountain; ‘through all’, through the Word; ‘in all’, in the Holy Spirit. It is a Triad not only in name and form of speech, but in truth and actuality. For as the Father is he that is, so also his Word is one that is and God over all. And the Holy Spirit is not without actual existence, but exists and has true being. Less than these (Persons) the Catholic Church does not hold, lest she sink to the level of the modern Jews, imitators of Caiaphas, and to the level of Sabellius. Nor does she add to them by speculation, lest she be carried into the polytheism of the heathen. And that they may know this to be the faith of the Church, let them learn how the Lord, when sending forth the Apostles, ordered them to lay this foundation for the Church, saying: ‘Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.’ The Apostles went, and thus they taught; and this is the preaching that extends to the whole Church which is under heaven.

29. Since then the Church has this foundation of faith, let these men tell us once again and let them make answer, Is God triad or dyad? If he is dyad, then you are welcome to count the Spirit with the creatures. In that case, however, the faith which you hold is not in one God, ‘Who is over all, and through all, and in all’. If you divide and alienate the Spirit from the Godhead, you have not that which is ‘in all’ ; and, if you think like this, the rite of initiation which you reckon to perform is not entirely into the Godhead. For with the Godhead there is mixed a creature; and, like the Arians and the heathen, you too confess creation to be divine together with God who made it through his own Word. If this is your attitude, what hope have you? Who will unite you to God, if you have not the Spirit of God, but the spirit which belongs to creation ? How rash and careless on your part to reduce the Father and his Word to the level of creatures, and yet to set the creatures on a level with God! For that is what you are doing when you imagine the Spirit as a creature and rank him with the Triad. What madness too on your part to impute injustice to God, in that not all angels nor all creatures, but one from among them, is numbered with God and his Word ! For if, as you say, the Spirit were at once an angel and a creature and ranked with the Triad, then it would be necessary not for one, but for all the angels that have been created to be ranked with the Godhead, and for there to be no longer a Triad but an unnumbered multitude therein. So that the initiation therein, which, to repeat, appears to be yours, is divided this way and that; and, by reason of its variegation, is without guarantee. Such are your rites and those of the Arians, who dispute about the Godhead and serve creatures before the God who created all things.

30. Such absurdities meet you if you say God is dyad. But if he is triad, as indeed he is; and if the Triad has been shown to be indivisible and consistent — then its holiness must be one, and its eternity one, and its immutable nature. For as the faith in the Triad, which has been delivered to us, joins us to God; and as he who takes anything away from the Triad, and is baptized in the name of the Father alone, or in the name of the Son alone, or in the Father and the Son without the Holy Spirit, receives nothing, but remains ineffective and uninitiated, both himself and he who is supposed to initiate him (for the rite of initiation is in the Triad); so he who divides the Son from the Father, or who reduces the Spirit to the level of the creatures, has neither the Son nor the Father, but is without God, worse than an unbeliever, and anything rather than a Christian. And justly so. For as baptism, which is given in Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, is one; and as there is one faith in the Triad (as the Apostle said); so the holy Triad, being identical with itself and united within itself, has in it nothing which belongs to things originate. This is the indivisible unity of the Triad; and faith therein is one. But if, from the new discovery you Tropici have made, it is not so; if you have dreamed dreams of calling the Holy Spirit a creature — then you no longer have one faith and one baptism, but two, one in the Father and the Son, another in an angel who is a creature. There is no security or truth left you. For what communion can there be between that which is originate and that which creates? What unity between the lower creatures and the Word who created them? Knowing this, the blessed Paul does not divide the Triad as you do ; but, teaching its unity, when he wrote to the Corinthians concerning things spiritual, he finds the source of all things in one God, the Father, saying: ‘There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are diversities of ministrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of workings, but the same God who worketh all things in all.’ The gifts which the Spirit divides to each are bestowed from the Father through the Word. For all things that are of the Father are of the Son also ; therefore those things which are given from the Son in the Spirit are gifts of the Father. And when the Spirit is in us, the Word also, who gives the Spirit, is in us, and in the Word is the Father. So it is as it is said: ‘We will come, I and the Father, and make our abode with him.’ For where the light is, there is also the radiance; and where the radiance is, there also is its activity and lambent grace. This again the Apostle teaches, when he wrote to the Corinthians, in the second letter as well, saying: ‘The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.’ For this grace and gift that is given is given in the Triad, from the Father, through the Son, in the Holy Spirit. As the grace given is from the Father through the Son, so we can have no communion in the gift except in the Floly Spirit. For it is when we partake of him that we have the love of the Father and the grace of the Son and the communion of the Spirit himself.

31. This consideration also shows that the activity of the Triad is one. The Apostle does not mean that the things which are given are given differently and separately by each Person, but that what is given is given in the Triad, and that all are from the one God. Him therefore who is no creature but is one with the Son as the Son is one with the Father, who is glorified with the Father and the Son, who is confessed as God with the Word, who is active in the works which the Father works through the Son — is not the man who calls him a creature guilty of a direct impiety against the Son himself? For there is nothing that is not originated and actuated through the Word in the Spirit. Thus it is sung in the Psalms: ‘By the Word of the Lord the heavens were established, and all their might by the Spirit of his mouth.’ and in the one hundred and forty-seventh Psalm: ‘He shall send out his Word and shall melt them; he shall breathe his Spirit and the waters shall flow.’ We were justified, as the Apostle says : ‘in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.’ For the Spirit is indivisible from the Word. So when Christ says, ‘We will come, the Father and I’, the Spirit comes with them and shall dwell in us not otherwise than as the Son; as Paul writes to the Ephesians: ‘That he would grant you according to the riches of his glory, that ye may be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inward man, that Christ may dwell . . .’ But if the Son is in us, the Father also is in us; as the Son says: ‘I am in the Father, and the Father in me.’ Therefore, when the Word is in the prophets, they prophesy in the Holy Spirit. When Scripture says ‘The Word of the Lord came’ to this particular prophet, it shows that he prophesied in the Holy Spirit. In Zechariah it is written: ‘But receive my words and my commandments which I charge by my Spirit to my servants the prophets’; and, when the prophet rebuked the people a little farther on, he said: ‘They made their hearts disobedient, lest they should hear my law and the words which the Lord of hosts has sent by his Spirit by the hands of the prophets of old.’ Peter in Acts said: ‘Brethren, it was needful that the Scripture should be fulfilled which the Holy Spirit spake before.’ And the Apostles cried aloud together, ‘O Lord, thou that didst make the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that in them is, who by the Holy Spirit, by the mouth of our father David thy servant, didst say …” And Paul, when he was in Rome, spoke boldly to the Jews who came to him: ‘Well spake the Holy Spirit by Isaiah the prophet unto your fathers.’ And in writing to Timothy: ‘The Spirit saith expressly that in later times some shall fall away from the sound faith, giving heed to spirits of seduc- tion.’ Thus when the Spirit is said to be in anyone, it means that the Word is in him, bestowing the Spirit. When the prophecy was being fulfilled, ‘I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh’, Paul said: ‘According to the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ unto me.’ And to the Corinthians he wrote, ‘If ye seek a proof of Christ that speaketh in me’. . . . But if he who spoke in him was Christ, then clearly the Spirit that spoke in him was Christ’s. For when Christ was speaking in him, he said once again in Acts: ‘Now, behold, I go bound in the Spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there, save that the Holy Spirit testifieth to me in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me.’

Hence, if the saints say, ‘Thus saith the Lord’, they speak not otherwise than in the Holy Spirit. And if they speak in the Holy Spirit, they speak the things of the Spirit in Christ. When Agabus says in Acts, ‘Thus saith the Holy Spirit’, it is not otherwise than by the Word coming to him that the Spirit too bestows upon him the power to speak and to testify to the things that were waiting for Paul at Jerusalem. So when the Spirit once again testified to Paul, Christ, as aforesaid, was speaking in him, so that the testimony which came from the Spirit belonged to the Word. So too when the Word visited the holy Virgin Mary, the Spirit came to her with him, and the Word in the Spirit moulded the body and conformed it to himself; desiring to join and present all creation to the Father through himself, and in it ‘to reconcile all things . . . having made peace . . . whether things in the heavens or things upon the earth’.

32. The divine Scriptures, then, consistently show that the Holy Spirit is not a creature, but is proper to the Word and to the Godhead of the Father. Thus the teaching of the saints joins in establishing the holy and indivisible Triad; and the Catholic Church has one faith, even this. But the irrational and fabulous invention of the Tropici conflicts with the Scriptures and concurs with the unreason of the Arian madmen. It is natural for them to pretend in this way, to deceive the simple. But, thanks be to God!, as you write, they have not succeeded in covering themselves by their pretended controversy with the Arians. They have indeed incurred their hatred, because they only call the Spirit a creature and not the Son as well ; and by all men they have been condemned, because they are in truth fighting against the Spirit, and are not far from dead, being destitute and void of the Spirit. In the words of the blessed Apostle, being ‘natural men’, they could not receive the things of the Spirit of God, because these things were spiritually judged. But those who mind the things that belong to truth judge all things, but are themselves judged of no man. For they have within them the Lord who in the Spirit reveals to them himself, and through himself the Father.

33. Dwelling as I do in a desert place, yet, because of their effrontery who have turned away from the truth, I have not heeded those who will be glad to laugh at the feebleness and inadequacy of my exposition. But, having written briefly, I send it to your Piety, with many entreaties, that, when you read it, in part you will amend it, and, where it is feebly written, you will excuse it. In accordance with the Apostolic faith delivered to us by tradition from the Fathers, I have delivered the tradition, without inventing anything extraneous to it. What I learned, that have I inscribed conformably with the holy Scriptures; for it also conforms with those passages from the holy Scriptures which we have cited above by way of proof. It is no extraneous invention, but the Lord Jesus Christ himself, in his own Person, taught the woman of Samaria and us through her the perfection of the holy Triad, which is one Godhead indivisible. It is the Truth himself who bears witness, when he says to her: ‘Believe me, woman . . . the hour cometh and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in Spirit and in truth; for such doth the Father seek to be his worshippers. God is a Spirit, and they that worship him must worship in Spirit and in truth.’ From this passage it is clear that the Truth is the Lord himself; as he says, ‘I am the truth’, concerning whom the prophet David prayed, saying: ‘Send out thy light and thy truth.’ True worshippers, therefore, worship the Father, but in Spirit and Truth, confessing the Son and in him the Spirit. For the Spirit is inseparable from the Son, as the Son is inseparable from the Father. The Truth himself bears witness when he says, ‘I will send you the Paraclete, the Spirit of truth which pro- ceedeth from the Father, whom the world cannot receive’, that is, those who deny that he is from the Father in the Son. Therefore we ought, after the pattern of true worshippers, to confess and side with the Truth. And if after these things they still have neither the will to learn nor the power to under- stand, let them at least cease from evil speaking. Let them not divide the Triad, lest they be divided from life. Let them not number the Holy Spirit with the creatures, lest, like the Pharisees of old, who ascribed to Beelzeboul the works of the Spirit, they for like presumption incur with these men the punishment which is without hope of pardon both here and hereafter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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