Athanasius Contra Apollinarium

1.5 . But let no one venture to think of the Godhead of the Word, that in the same sense as it is from God, so too are we, as the most impious Arians venture to say, or that at any rate it is so in reference to the exhibition of the flesh, and to that form of the servant, that is, of the “protoplast” Adam, which He assumed who was in the form of God (as) God. Now generally, among things made, the term “uncreated” is applied to that never yet existed, because it has not come into being. Are you then, while you hold that flesh never did “come into being” at all in the Word, actually intending to make a negation under a well-sounding phrase, so as not to acknowledge anything that which is “uncreated?” For it is only the being of the Godhead which is thought of as uncreate: so that to call the uncreated being “passible,” and the passible “uncreate,” is impious. for to think that it is not by means of the union of the nature of manhood, which has been made, belongs to the Word, but that it is coeternal, and is made equal to the nature of God by identity of nature, is impious. For the Lord exhibited flesh and blood, and bones, and a soul in pain and agitation and distress. Now one cannot say that these things are natural to Godhead: but they came to belong to Godhead by nature, when it pleased the Word to undergo human birth, and to reconstitute Himself, (as) in image of newness, that handy-work of His own which had been disorganised by sin, and corruption and death. Therefore He effected on earth the condemnation of sin, and on a tree the abolition of the curse, and in the sepulchre the redemption of corruption, and in Hades, the dissolution of death: having visited every place, that He might effect the salvation of the whole man, , exhibiting Himself a form resembling our own. For what need was there for God to be born of a woman, for the Maker of the ages to increase in stature and have His years numbered, or again to have experience of the cross, or the sepulchre, or Hades, to which we all had become subject, unless He was seeking us, giving us life through His form which was like our own, and inviting us to imitate and resemble a perfect image? And how would imitation of perfection be possible, if there had not preexisted the perfection which knows no defect? as the Apostle says, Having put off the old man and put on the new man, which according to God has been created in holiness and righteousness of truth.


Who then taught you to say “uncreated?” “If there a nature “becomes uncreate” by means of change, then it may become also invisible and immortal, not after death, but as being incapable of death. How then was it that the Lord died, if it was uncreatedly that the Uncreate One sojourned on earth? or how did Ne become visible and tangible, as it is written, That which we have seen and our hands have handled? How is it, then, that you say what is not written—what is not lawful even to think of? For you will furnish all heretics with an opinion like to that most impious one of him who was once called Rhetorius, whose impiety it is fearful to mention. Either, then, deny the Divine Scriptures, or, if you acknowledge them, do not think of uttering, beside what is in Scripture, other words of incurable deceit. But you say again, “We do not worship a creature.” O unthinking men! why do ye not take account of this, that the Lord’s Body, though it was made, receives that worship which is not due to what is created? For it has become the body of the uncreated Word; for it is to Him whose body it has become that you address the worship. Therefore it is both worshipped as of right, and worshipped as Divine, for the Word to whom the body belongs, is God, since, when the women approached the Lord, He said, by way of hindering them, Touch me not, for I an not yet ascended to My Father: indicating that an ascension was necessary, and that such ascension would be one. Nevertheless, they approached, and took hold of His feet, and worshipped Him. They took hold of feet, they worshipped God. It was feet of bones and flesh that were handling, but feet that were God’s; it was God that they worshiped. And elsewhere the Lord said, Handle Me and see, for a spirit has not flesh and bones, as ye see Me have; and yet He Himself was Spirit, for God is Spirit. And when saying that He had them, and exhibiting them, how was it that He said, A spirit has not flesh and bones, as ye see Me,—He saith not “being,” but—”having,”—if it were not to teach us, that the nature of Spirit is ineffable, while this handling relates to a body like ours, which He acquired for Himself from the Virgin not by a form of operation, but by natural birth, that His body might both be natural, and also by way of nature inseparable from the Godhead of the Word? For this also did the Death take place; the body was undergoing it by was of nature, but the Word permitting it by His will, and in the exercise of a right delivering His own Body to death that He might suffer for us naturally, and rise again for us Divinely. And the whole transaction of His Nativity and Death looks to the object seeking and recovering us.


How then can you any longer be deemed faithful, or Christians, who neither keep close to the words of Scripture, nor believe in what took place, but venture to define what is beyond nature? Is it a small thing for you to enter into a contest with men, but how do ye enter on a contest with God? For if those who disbelieved the prophets were condemned, how much more those who do not put faith in the Master Himself? For how is it that you dare to think or to speak in a different way of the things which He Himself willed and was pleased to do, for the putting away of sin and death? If we confess Him, He will also confess us; if we deny Him, He will also deny us, if we believe not, yet He abideth faithful, for He cannot deny Himself. For what means this extreme and wild extravagance of yours, to say what is not in Scripture, and to think what is alien from religion? For you attempt to call flesh coessential with the Godhead, not considering the impiety with which you involve yourselves is thus doubled. For it has come into your mind to say this, so that you should either deny the flesh, or blaspheme the Godhead, saying, in your words, “We say that He who was born of Mary is coessential with the Father.”  But this phrase of yours, which you deemed reverential, shall be shown to be either superfluous or foolish. For who among the faithful will not admit that God the Word, who came among us, and proceeded as Man from the Holy Virgin Mary, being coessential with the Father, became man of the seed of Abraham, whose son also he is regarded to have been, and that the coessential Word of God became, according to the flesh, Son of David? Therefore also do prophets and apostles and evangelists reckon Christ in genealogy, according to the flesh, as the seed of David. How can you without a blush assert that the flesh, which is genealogically described as of David’s seed, to be coessential with the Word? or, on the other hand, as we have said, you say this foolishly, not according that what is coessential has indeed identity of nature, but exhibits its own perfection in itself. For as the Son, who is confessedly coessential with the Father, is confessed to be perfect in regard to the Perfect One—as is the Holy Spirit: for the Trinity is coessential:—you then will assign perfection also to the “coessential flesh,” in addition to the perfection of the Word, and on your theory a Quaternity instead of a Trinity will be proclaimed. And what is to be said of an impious notion?


But you say the flesh became coessential with the Word. How did it become coessential? tell me. “It became the Word, and even became the Spirit” But if that which is not by nature Godhead became in fact Godhead by conversion, why do you blame the Arians, who put forward the same notion as to the Word? And yet Scripture Says, The Word became flesh, not, The Flesh became Word. But is said , The Word became flesh, because the flesh became that of the Word, and not of some man; that is, God became Man; and it is said, He ‘became flesh,’ lest you should pass by the name of flesh. If then you are not content with the natural union, apart from all confusion between the Word and flesh that became His own, and with the statement that God became Man; in that case, you neither hear not wish to believe, since you are not content when you hear that which is above all the praise that we can think of, a Body of God, according to him who says, Who will transform the body of our humiliation, that it may become conformed to the body of His glory; which is an indication of the age to come: and further it is called “the body of His glory.” And the Lord also says, When the Son of Man shall come; He means that Son of God, who became Son of Man, being both Judge of living and dead, and King, and Sovereign, and very God. But you wish to proscribe the word ‘body,’ or any application of the term ‘man’ for Christ. How can you go on reading the Divine Scriptures, when Matthew writes, the book of the generation of Jesus Christ, Son of David, Son of Abraham, and John, In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” Now if you mean to consider ‘Word,’ and ‘God’ and Son of ‘David,’ as separately existing, you will have to speak of two words: but if, being taught by the Divine Scriptures, you believe that the Word, being God, became Son of Man, you will know that Christ is one, the selfsame, both God and Man: that the twofold aspect of the announcement of His coming might involve a convincing proof alike of the Passion and the impassibility, as when the Apostle says, The Man Christ Jesus, who fave Himself a ransom for all, God blessed for ever. And writing to Timothy, he says, Remember Jesus Christ, of the seed of David, who was raised from the dead. And the same Apostle says again, We announce His death, until He come.


If, then, on the strength of your acknowledging “the coessential” you take away the name of the flesh, and the application of the name “Man” to Christ, either you no longer “announce His death until He come,” and then you nullify the Scriptures: or else, announcing, in your view, the death of Him who is coessential with the Father and the Holy Spirit, without acknowledging that Christ suffered in the flesh, you will say that the Godhead of the Father and of the Holy Spirit is itself capable of death; and then you have become more impious than all the heretics. For it was the death of the flesh which became that of the coessential Word. For it was not the Father nor the Holy Spirit that wore the flesh, as those who hold the impiety of Valentinus imagine: but “the Word became flesh.” Wherefore we, in confessing Christ to be God and Man, do not say this for the sake of making a division, God forbid! but on the contrary, according to the Scriptures, to the end that, since Passion and Death have taken place, and are being “announced until He come,” we may confess the Passion and Death to have taken place in regard to the flesh of the Word, but may believe the Word Himself to be unchangeable and unalterable. Therefore it is He who suffered and who did not suffer; being impassable and unchangeable and unalterable in the Divine nature, but having suffered in flesh, as Peter said, and willed to taste of death; because He became a Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ, who gave Himself a ransom for all, and again ‘because He became Mediator between God and men.’ Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one.


Wherefore they are in error who say that the Son who suffered is one, and He that suffered not is another. For beside the Word there is no other that underwent death and the Passion: but the impassible and incorporeal Word Himself endured to be born in the flesh of man, and fulfilled all things, that He might have something to offer us. And He is said to have become superior to the Angels: it was not the Word Himself, the Maker of the Angels, that became their superior, as if He had ever been inferior; but that, “form of a servant,” which the Word Himself made His own by natural birth, rose up as superior out of the generation of the protoplast, and brought us into intimacy with itself, as has been said, when we became fellow-citizens with the saints, and members of the household of God; and it became by nature God’s own flesh, not as being coessential with the Godhead of the Word, as if it were coeternal, but as having become His own by nature, and inseparable by virtue of the union, while it was from the seed of David and of Abraham and of Adam from whom we are descended. But if the flesh is “coessential with the Word” and coeternal, you will next have to say, in consequence, that all the creatures are coeternal with the God who created all things. And how will you continue to be Christians, if you entangle yourselves in such knots as these? For that which is coessential, impassible and incapable of death, does not admit of union with what is “coessential” in regard to “hypostasis,” but in regard to “nature;” whereas in regard to “hypostasis” it exhibits its own perfection. So that, by that invention of yours, which you consider pious, you either deny the flesh derived from the Virgin Mother of God, or you blaspheme the Godhead. But if your confession of the Son and of the Holy Spirit as coessential with the Father has reference to the flesh that suffered, why do you continue to blame us, as if we spoke of a Quaternity instead of a Trinity, while you yourselves, even against your will, confess a Quaternity instead of a Trinity, by saying that the flesh is coessential with the Trinity? Your faith, therefore, is vain: for you are of the same mind with the impious Arians, while you misinterpret the text, The Word became flesh. Now the Word became flesh, not that the Word might no long be Word, but that the Word might always be Word, and at the same time, the Word might have flesh, in which He accepted the Passion and death in His human form, having gone as far as to the sepulchre and Hades; and in which also God the Word effected the resurrection from the dead, having made “exhibition” of flesh and blood and soul through flesh that was His own and inseparable from him, as it is written, “from the seed of David.” For wherein did Marcion’s statement differ from yours? Did he not say that the body appeared in heaven, in likeness of man, but not in reality? What else did Manichaeus say? Did he not speak of it as Divine in form, as the body which had a mere resemblance to ours, but was foreign to that human flesh of which he impiously asserts sin to be the nature, not the operation? Such is the character of the impiety.


Therefore he who is religious ought not to employ such devices as these, but to say that the Word who before the ages was coessential with the Father did in the last times, from the Holy Virgin Mother of God, restore that which was formed and made in Adam’s likeness, making it His own by union: and thus He who was God before the ages appeared as man, the Christ. And we are members of Christ, as it is written, from His flesh and from His bones. What then is the meaning of all these contentious inventions of yours, in that you employ human wisdom to make definitions beyond the scope of human thought, saying, “Instead of the inward man which belongs to us there is in Christ a heavenly mind?” O what an unhallowed opinion, what weak and unbecoming words of men who do not understand in the first place this fact, that “Christ” is not spoken of in one way only, but by that one name itself is exhibited an indication of two things, Godhead and Manhood! Therefore “Christ” is called Man, and “Christ” is called God, and “Christ” is God and Man, and “Christ” is one. Vain then is your sophism, whereby you attempt to contemplate something else in Him beside “Christ.” For those in an improper sense called “Christs” may perhaps be contemplated as such from your point of view, but He who is by nature the only real Christ will not be described by human reasoning, as you, who have become presumptuous, dare to describe Him. For neither prophet, nor apostle nor any of the evangelists, has uttered these things which you who have become shameless in mind undertake to say. For if Christ is another than the “heavenly mind” that has come to exist in Him, and the “mind” is perfect, then on your own shewing there are two (perfects) and you are convinced of holding that opinion which you seem to denounce. As for a “heavenly mind,” even the prophets had it, for they spoke of things heavenly, and things future as if present. But why do you so much as think of saying this, as if the existence of an inward man in Christ were not a thing acknowledged? Why then will you say of the soul, that they body and soul are the outward man, as one might say of the blood and the flesh? But as the body and the blood, being visible, do not escape handling and also wounding, you have to prove to us that the soul do not escape these things, inasmuch as it is also visible. Or, if you cannot prove this, the conclusion is plain, that the soul is neither seen, nor killed by man, like the body, as the Lord said. Be convinced, then, that the soul is our inward man, as is shewn by the original formation, and made manifest by the subsequent dissolution, this also being shewn not only in our case, but also in the death of Christ itself, when the body went (only) as far as the sepulchre, but the soul went on to Hades: and since the interval which separates these places was great, and the sepulchre admitted the presence of the body, it was there that the body was present, while the incorporeal presence was admitted to Hades.


When you hold these sentiments, you become accusers of the Maker of nature. When God at the beginning formed Adam, did He make sin innate in him? If so, what need was there then of a commandment? And how was it that He condemned man after he sinned? And how was it also that Adam did not know good and evil before his transgression? Him, whom God formed for incorruption, and as an image of His own eternity, He made with a nature sinless and will free to choose: but through the devil’s envy cam death into the world, after he had found out the device of producing transgression. And, thus, from disobedience to God’s commandment, man became receptive of the seed sown by the enemy, and thenceforward sin was active in man’s nature, in the direction of every appetite: not that the devil fashioned a nature in him, God forbid! for the devil could not be a make of nature, as Manicheans impiously think: but he out of a transgression produced a perversion of nature, and thus it was that death reigned over all men. For this purpose then, it is said, the Son of God came that He might destroy the works of the devil. What sort of works of the devil did the Son of God destroy? Because after God had made a nature in a sinless state, the devil perverted it into transgressing His commandment, and finding out deadly sin, therefore did God the Word restore for Himself this nature in a state which it was incapable f being perverted by the devil and of finding out sin: But if the ruler of the world found in Christ not a single things that was his, much more did Christ abandon to the ruler of this world nothing of His own handy-work. Or this was another reason for his finding nothing in Him,-because Christ exhibited the principle newness in it perfection, that he might accomplish in perfection the salvation of the whole man, of reasonable soul and body, the resurrection also might be perfect, In vain, then, do Arians use sophistry, suggesting that the Saviour assumed flesh only, and impiously referring to the impassable Godhead the notion of suffering. And in vain do you also, from the form with which He was invested, that is, which was “instrumental,” and (that) “in place of the inward man that is in us, there was in Christ a heavenly mind.” And how then was He in pain, and in heaviness, and praying? And it is written, He was troubled in spirit. Now these things do not belong to a flesh without a mind, nor to an unchangeable Godhead, but to a soul possessing thought, feeling pain, and trouble, and in heaviness, and intellectually sensible of suffering.


But if, then, you do not choose to think thus of this matter, there are three possible conceptions, unreality, and blasphemy, and reality; and which will you choose? For if you suppose that what was said in mere appearance, then what took place must also be deemed unreal. And if it was really said, but the soul of the Lord had become altogether estranged from its own thought, in that it possessed God the Word as a Mind, then to think that the Unchangeable was changed so as to feel pain, and heaviness, and trouble, is impious: and if the Gospels do say that Jesus was troubled in spirit, yet the Lord indicates His “mind” in the words, My soul is troubled. Now if the Lord indicates a thought of His own soul, He does so in order to sympathise with our soul, that so we also may at the same time consider the Passion to have been His, and confess Him to be impassible. For as He redeemed us by the blood of His flesh, so too by the thought of His soul, He “exhibits” His victory in our behalf, saying, I have overcome the world; and, in another place, To Him Who giveth us the victory. But as the blood will not be thought by religious persons, as is thought by the unbelievers, to be common, but to be effectual for salvation, so also what is called thought is not beset with human weakness, but exhibits the nature of God. And so Christ will be called perfect God and perfect Man: not as if the Divine “perfection” had been converted into human perfection, which is an impious notion, nor as if we acknowledged two “perfections” separate from each other, which is alien to true religion; nor again by way of “advance” in virtue, and an accession of righteousness, God forbid! but but by way of an unfailing existence, so that the two should be one, perfect in all things, the selfsame God and Man. For on this account also did the Lord say, Now is my soul troubled and in in pain. The word “now” means, for He was mentioning what existed not as if it were present, as if what took place was spoken of in mere appearance, for all things took place by nature and in reality.


Since then the Lord became man by nature, and not by a fiction, it is not possible for you to raise an objection with regard to ‘sin,’ either natural or actual, as in the Maker. For in our nature the strife of invention (of sin) and the introduction of the (evil) seed sown, are still going on, through our weakness; but the Incarnation of the Lord, having taken place in connection with the nature of God, involved an incapacity for those ways of acting which go on in us in consequence of our “old man,” and on this account we are taught to put off the old man, and put on the new. And in this consist the marvel—that the Lord became Man, and yet apart from sin: for He became wholly a new Man to exhibit what He could do. And all things that He will by (His) nature, and arranged, He took upon Himself, whatever things He willed, that is, the birth from a woman, increase of stature, numbering of years, labour, and hunger and thirst, and sleep, and pain, and death, and resurrection. Therefore also into the place where man’s body underwent corruption did Jesus introduce His own body; and where the human soul was held fast in death, there did Christ exhibit the human soul as His own, that He who could not be held fast in death might at the same time be present in Man, and unloose the grasp of death as God: that where corruption was sown, there incorruption might spring up, and where death reigned in the form of a human soul, the Immortal One might be present and exhibit immortality, and so make us partakers of His own incorruption and immortality, by the hope of resurrection from the dead: so that the corruptible might put on incorruption, and this mortal might put on immortality; that as by one man sin entered the world, and death by sin, even so by one Man Jesus Christ might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life, as it is written. What then do you mean by saying, “Instead of the inward man that is in us, there is in Christ a heavenly Mind?” Do you grant that having separated the outward and inward into two, He thus exhibited in Himself both in sepulchre and in Hades? But it was not possible to pay one thing as a ransom in exchange for a different thing, on the contrary, He gave body for body, and soul for soul, and a perfect existence for the whole man: this is Christ’s exchange, which the Jews, the foes of life, insulted at the crucifixion, as they passed by and shook their heads. For neither did Hades endure the approach of a Godhead unveiled; this is attested by both the prophets and the apostles.


For therefore also did the anointing take place; not as if God needed an anointing, nor again as if the anointing took place without God, but that God both applied the anointing, and received it in the body which was receptive of it. It is plain then that the Word did not become Christ apart from human flesh, by dividing Himself into a “show” of flesh or a “likeness” of soul; but remaining what He was, He took the form of a servant, that form not being devoid of real existence openly manifested by means of Passion, and resurrection, and the whole economy, as has been written and made clear. Tell us then, how you suppose “God” to have come into being at Nazareth: for all heretics are wont to say this, as Paul of Samosata acknowledges “God” from the Virgin, “God” seen as from Nazareth and has having from thence had the beginning of His existence and received the beginning of His Kingship: and he acknowledges in Him a Word “operating” from heaven, and a Wisdom, and that He existed in predestination before the ages, but was manifested in actual being from Nazareth, so that, as he says, the “God over all” might be one, the Father. Such is his impious theory. And Marcion and Manichaeus say that God has come among us through the Virgin, and come forth intangibly and as being incapable of communication with human nature, which had fallen into sin, and was subject to the ruler of wickedness: for that if Christ had taken this nature in Himself, He would both be subject to the ruler of wickedness, and would not be free from sin: but that He exhibited from Himself at His pleasure as flesh of His own “like to ours,” which was seen as having come from heaven, and which passed into the heavens, and was whole Godhead. Valentinius, again, speaks of suffering as common to the Trinity, imagining the flesh to be a part of the Godhead. And Arius acknowledges flesh alone, in order to a concealment of the Godhead, and says that instead of the inward man which is in us, that is, the soul, the Word came into exist in the flesh:—for he dares to ascribe to the Godhead the idea of suffering and resurrection from Hades. And Sabellius expressed the opinions of Paul of Samosata and his followers: for, dreading the division invented by Arius, he fell into the error which destroys (the personal distinctions.) Now to whom do you attach yourselves, or whom do you mean to assist? Or are you as the saying is, “of a mixed race?” For by disbelieving the “union,” you have come to terms with all the above named heretics: and by denying the “completeness,” you have gone the length of destroying, while professing to dread “division.” Now as those who divide are mad, and those who abate are in error, so those who destroy are lost: for the Economy took place, and the truth was manifested, and grace was attested as real.


But again you say, “If Christ is man, He must be a part of the world: and a part of the world cannot save the world.” What a fallacious notion! what a blasphemous absurdity! For let them say from what Scripture comes this dictum, or sophism of the devil, since the Prophet says, A brother redeems not, a man shall redeem; and elsewhere, And a man was born of her, and the Most High Himself founded her. How then can it be that Christ, who became man, did not save the world? when it is plain indeed that the nature in which sin was generated is the nature in which the abundance of grace has taken place. Now what is the abundance of grace? It consists in this, that the Word, remaining God, became Man, in order that having become Man, He might be believed to be God: as Christ, being Man, is God, because being God, He became Man, and in the form of Man saves those who believe. For if though shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in thy heart that God raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. Now God is incapable of being put to death, nor does He need resurrection, but He raises from the dead. Wherefore it became necessary that God should have something which He could offer up for us, either in death or in life: so that it is just because the Word became man, that He save us.


When then, passing by the Holy Scriptures, and the manifestation of the truth, do you say, “If He was not of His own will seen as a man, but took human existence and became man, then He was combined with a man, then also the Lord of glory, who was crucified, must be a man.” If then you listen to Peter when he says, This Jesus, whom ye crucified, hath God made Christ and Lord, to what do you refer the “making?” If to the Godhead of the Word, why do you still blame the Arians, when you think as they do? if to that form of a servant which existed in the Word, why do you contradict yourselves? But this is not your belief, for you say again, “If the nature which had sinned did not sin when it came to exist in God, it must needs have been constrained, by necessity, but what is constrained by necessity is under duress.” Tell us then: if the condition of not sinning is produced by necessity, then to sin is according to nature, therefore you must grant that the Maker of nature is a producer of sin. But if such a statement is blasphemous, and sinning happens by virtue of necessity, it is clear that not to sin is according to nature. Therefore it is not by necessity, but by nature and power, that the form of the servant which was seen in the Godhead of the Word exhibits its sinlessness, having broken through the barrier of necessity, and the law of sin, and having led away the captive the tyrannical author of captivity, as the prophet says, Thou art gone up on high. Thou has led captivity captive. For the Word putting forward the form of a servant against the enemy, won the victory through that which had once been defeated. Therefore also Jesus went completely through every form of temptation, because He assumed all those things that had had experience of temptation, and by them won the victory in men’s behalf, saying, Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world. For it was not with the Godhead, which knew not, that the devil engaged in warfare, for he would not have ventured on this; (therefore he said, If Thou art the Son of God; but with man, whom he had long before been able to seduce, and from that time had directed against all men the operations of wickedness. And since Adam’s soul was detained under the sentence of death, and was continually crying out to its Lord, and those who had been well-pleasing to God, and had been justified by the natural law, were detained with Adam, and were mourning and crying out with him, God, taking pity on man who He had made, was pleased through the revelation of a mystery to work out a new salvation for the race of men, and to effect the overthrow of the enemy, who through envy had deceived them, and to exhibit an incalculable exaltation of man by his union and communion with the Most High in nature and truth.


But if it was the Word who suffered this, then what became of His unchangeableness and unalterableness? And why was the Word, when seen without a veil in Hades, accounted as man in death? And why did the Lord say to the Jews, “I will raise it up,” and not, ” I will rise again from Hades?” for if the Word, on becoming dead, was in need of someone to raise Him from death, the victory will not belong to Him, but to the person who raised Him up. And again, why did He utter through the Prophets predictions about His soul? Why did the Lord, when He came, say, in fulfilment of the promise, I lay down my soul for My sheep, soul which the Holy Scriptures clearly represent as being a spirit? and the Lord moreover spoke of the body as being killed by men who yet were not able to kill the soul, because it was a spirit. It was the spirit in which Jesus was troubled: it was the “spirit” that departed from the body on the cross. And by this means the body became dead, and its dissolution took place, while God the Word remained unchangeably both with the body and with the soul, and with Himself who was in the bosom of the Father, so as to exhibit unchangeableness. And in that form which is ours, and which belonged to Him, He there depicted death which is ours, in order that in it He might also arrange the resurrection which should take place on our behalf: by exhibiting His soul in returning from Hades, and His body from the sepulchre, that in death He might overthrow death by the exhibition of a soul, and in the grave might abolish corruption by the burial of a body: exhibiting immortality and incorruption from Hades and from the grave; having traversed our path in that form which is ours, and unloosed that hold which pressed heavily upon us. And therein lay the wonder: for in this the grace was bestowed. But you, who acknowledge flesh only, are unable to prove either the condemnation of sin, or the overthrow of death, or the completion of the resurrection, or the unchangeableness of the Word; because you have gone outside the Holy Scriptures, uttering the sophisms of Arians, although the mention of a “soul” occurs plainly in Holy Scriptures, and the economy was fulfilled with an exhibition of all that could fulfil and complete it.


But some heretics, while they acknowledge Him who was seen, disbelieve in His Godhead: and others, acknowledging Him as God, deny His Nativity in the flesh: and other acknowledging His flesh as well as Godhead, deny the presence of His soul, and have become like to the frenzied children of the Arians, who fasten together knotty and crooked presuppositions in order that by dint of these may raise doubts, and get hold of simple people, while they themselves are in doubt about the faith. In like manner also they have learned to say, “Who is He that was born of Mary? is He God or Man? and they if anyone says, “Man,” he may be led to disbelieve in His Godhead, and agree with those heretics who have disbelieved in it: or, if he says, “God,” he will deny His Nativity in the flesh, and be led away with those heretics who deny it. And then again they ask, “Who is He that suffered? is He God or Man?” so that if one answers “God,” he may utter a blasphemous word, like the impious Arians; and if he says “Man,” he may be speaking according to Jewish sentiments. Therefore the Holy Scripture affirm the Word to be ineffably God from the Father, and to have Himself become man from the Virgin in the last times: that neither “God” may be disbelieved, nor the birth in the flesh be denied. But when there is the name “flesh,” there is orderly form of our whole constitution, but without sin. And they connect the Passion with the name of man, and do not go any further, as it is written in the Holy Scriptures: but conceiving the Godhead of the Word, they acknowledge its unchangeableness and ineffableness. Therefore, the “Word” is spoken of as Divine, but the “Man” is the subject of a genealogy; in order that the selfsame might naturally and truly appear in both aspects: as “God,” in reference to the eternity of the Godhead and to the Authorship of creation; as “Man,” in reference to His birth from a woman, and His increase in stature: “God,” in connection with His life-giving operations, and as might in wonderful works: “Man,” in connection with His feelings corresponding to our own, and His participation in our infirmities; “God the Word,” in the exhibition of His immortality and incorruption and unchangeableness: “Man,” as His being nailed to the Cross, and in the flowing of blood, and the burial of His body, and the descent into Hades, and the resurrection from the dead. Thus was Christ raised from the dead, and being God, He raises up the dead.


Foolish are those who attribute the Passion to His Godhead, or who disbelieve the Incarnation, or who call the one “two,” or who attempt to make a precise description of “His flesh,” and venture to say, “how much,” or “how,” beyond the Scriptures. For by such notions have the minds of the heretics lost their footing. Marcion lapsed through excess of blasphemy; Manichaeus was perverted by his opinion about sin; Valentinus was led astray by a pretence of knowledge; Paul of Samosata, and he who was called Photinus, and their followers, fell away by their disbelief in the Godhead; Arius blasphemed through madness; and you, who employ the same sophisms, say what is not written in Scripture, and pervert the unstable, But it is enough to believe in what has been written, and what has taken place (as Paul says, Like to us in all things, without sin, and Peter, since Christ then suffered for us in flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind; and not push speculations further, and so reject the truth.