Chapter 4 God of God, Light of Light Footnotes 1-24

TheTrinitarian Faith

In the second chapter we were concerned with the Father/Son relation. It is exclusively from within that relation that we are given access to know God as he is in Himself, for it is only in the Son, the only Begotten Son, the one Word of God incarnate, that God has revealed himself to us so that we may know him strictly in accordance with his divine nature. And here we found that godliness and precision, theology and science, go together, in a realist approach to God’s self-revelation to us in Jesus Christ within time and space and in the radical change of mind it calls forth from us.

In the third chapter we discussed the fact that it is only from within the Father/Son relation that we are to understand the creation as the work of God the Father. God the Creator is to be understood in terms of God the Father, and not the other way round, for it is in and through the Son that all things were created. What the Father does, the Son does, and what the Son does, the Father does. Both the almighty Creatorship of God and the nature of the creation are therefore to be understood from the perspective of Jesus Christ. Thus the Christian doctrine of creation and its radicalisation of contingency rest on the doctrine of the incarnation. It is as we think out together the doctrines of the incarnation and the creation that we find the whole structure of our understanding of God, Christ and the world being transformed.

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1. The words ‘God of God’, or ‘God from God’, in the original Nicene Creed were omitted in its Constantinopolitan form as redundant.

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2. See Justin Martyr, Dial. c Tryph., 47-48, Irenaeus, adv. haer., 1.22.1 (1.26.2), vol 1 pp. 212f; 3.11.10 (3.11.7), vol 2, p. 45; 3.15.1f (3.15.1), vol. 2 pp.78; 4.52.1f (4.33.4), pp.259f; 5.1.3 (5.1.3), pp.316f; Hippolytus, Ref. hear., 7.22f; 9.13ff; Origen De princ., 4.1.22;Con. Cel., 2.1, 5.61, 65; Minicius, Dial. Oct., 36; Tertullian, De praescr. 33; Eusebius, Hist Eccl., 3.27; 4.22; Hilary, De Trin., 1.26; 2.4 7.3, 7; 8.40De syn., 38f, 50; Epiphanius, haer., 29f; Jerome, Ep., 112, 13 (Probably typos); Cf Ignatius, Philad., 8; magn., 8ff.

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3. Ignatius, Eph., 7, 18-20; Trall., 9; Smyrn., 1-3, 5, 7; Magn., 11; Justin De Res., 2; Irenaeus, Adv haer., 1.16.2, (1.23.3) vol 1, p. 193f; 3.17.5f, (3.16.5f) vol. 2, pp. 86ff; 4.55.2ff (4.33.12ff) p. 266ff; 5.1.2 (5.1.2), pp.315f; Hippolytus Ref. haer 8.8-11; 10.16; Clement Alex., Strom., 7.17; Eusebius, Hist. eccl., 6.12; Theodoret, haer., 5.11Ep. 82. See also Tertullian, De carne Christi, passim.

4. 1John 2.22 Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son.

1John 4.2f  By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world. 

2John 7 For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist.

5. Athanasius was evidently aware of this dialectic, but reckoned that the Nicene Creed was a bulwark against them all – c.f Con Ar., 1.8; 2.12, 14De dec., 12, 32De syn., 45Ad Afr., 11. See also Evagrius/Basil (N/A), Ep., 8.3; and Basil Ep., 125.1.

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6. Cf. the Athanasian stress on Christ as ‘whole man and God together (ὅλον αὐτόν ἄνθρωπόν τε καί θεόν ὁμοῦ)’, Con Ar., 4.35, which was at one antidocetic and anti-ebionite. Thus also Con. Ar., 3.41: ‘He was true God in the flesh, and true flesh in the Word.’

7. Origen, De princ.,  praef.; 1.2.1ff; 2.6.2f, etc. Cf Ignatius; ‘There is one Physician, of flesh and of Spirit, generate and ingenerate, God in man, true life in death, of Mary and of God, first passible and then impassible, Jesus Christ our Lord.’ Eph 7.2 – cited by Athanasius, De syn., 47.

8. R V Sellers, Two Ancient Christologies, 1940, p. 29

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9. Athanasius, De syn., 5De Dec., 5; Ad Ser., 1.28Ad Afr., 1Fest Ep., 2.4-7, etc. Cf also Alexander of Alexandria, Ep., 1.12-13; Theodoret, Hist Eccl., 1.3

10. Athanasius Con.Ar., 3.35. The biblical allusions are to Is. 1.22 Your silver is base thy hucksters mix the wine with water (LXX); and 1John 4:3 and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world.

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11. See the epistles preserved by Theodoret, Hist Eccl., 1.3; and by Athanasius, De decr., 35 (Might be de Syn 35); Socrates, Hist. eccl., 1.6; Gelasius Ecc. hist., 2.3 (N/A).  Consult Vlasios Pheidos, ‘Alexander of Alexandria and his two Encyclical Epistles’, in Ἀντίδωρον Πνευματικόν, Athens, 1981 (N/A). Cf. the earlier teaching of Dionysius of Alexandria discussed by Athanasius, De sent Dion.

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12. Cf. the creed cited by Epiphanius shortly before the Council of Constantinople. Anc., 118.

13. This distinction involved rejection of the Sebellian notion of a Son-Father (υἱοπάτωρ) – Athanasius, De syn., 16De sent. Dion., 5ffCon. Ar., 3.4, 36; 4.1ffAd Ant., 3-6, 11Con. Ar., 4.2

14. ‘The word ὀμοούσιος is a compound adjective deriving from ὀμοῦ (meaning ‘together’, ‘in solidarity’) and οὐσία (being).’ The Incarnation, Ecumenical studies in the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed1981, p. 6 (ed. by T. F. Torrance).

15. Athanasius, De decr., 7, 18fDe syn. 12, 35Con. Ar., 1.9ffAd Afr., 4-9Ad Ser., 2.2-5

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16. Athansius Ad episc., 13De decr., 1fDe syn., 3Con Ar., 1.7; Basil Ep., 52.2 etc.

17. See the citations from Arius’ Thalia in Athanasius De syn., 15-16Con. Ar., 1.5ffDe decr., 16Ad Episc., 12; Arius’ letters to Alexander, in Athanasius, De syn., 16, and to Eusebius, in Epiphanius, Haer., 69.6. Cf. also the first encyclical letter of Alexander on the Arian heresy, Theodoret, Hist eccl., 1.3; and Socrates, Hist eccl., 1.6.

18. Athanasius Con. Ar., 1.5-6De syn., 15.

19. Athanasius, ibid., and cf. also Ad episc., 12

20. See Athanasius, Con. Ar., 2.19, and De syn., 16, for this citation from Arius’ letter to Alexander.

21. Athanasius, Con. Ar., 2.24-26, 30, De decr., 8, 24

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22. Epiphanius, Anc. 33; Theodoret, Haer., 5.11. Cf. Eustathius, De an adv Ar., MPG, 18.689BAthanasius, Ad Ant., 7 Gregory Naz., Ep., 101MPG, 37, 174A; Gregory Nyssa., Con Eun., Jaeger, II, p.365 (N/A). Athanasius, Con. Apol., 1.15, 2.3, 17; Theodoret, Ep., 103(?); See also the evidence adduced V. Pheidas from the Colluthian schism, Τὸ κολλουθιανὸν Σχίσμα καὶ Ἀρχαὶ τοῦ Ἁρειανισμοῦ, 1973.

23. See the interpretations of these Nicene clauses by Athanasius, De decr., 6ffCon Ar., 1.9ffDe syn., 41ff.

24. Athanasius, Con Ar., 1.1-29, 34; 2.22ff, 33; 3.1ff, 65f, 4.1ffDe syn., 41-54De decr., 24, 27; Basil, Ep., 52.2; Hilary, De syn., 25.