“It was recognised by Athanasius and the Nicene fathers that they could not but make use of human images and analogies in seeking to express their understanding of the relation of the Son to the Father, for that is how divine revelation has been mediated to us, in and through human language. Taken by themselves these images and analogies are unsatisfactory and they may not be pressed, but they are nevertheless employed by divine revelation with an admirable exactness in being made to point beyond their creaturely content to what God discloses of his own inner divine relations. This means that we must interpret images and analogies according to the sense given them by the Scriptures and within the whole scope and framework of the biblical narrative and message. It was in this way, according to Athanasius, that the fathers of Nicaea brought the biblical image or paradigm to light (φῶς) and radiance (ἀπαύγασμα) to help them elucidate the relation of Christ as Son and Word to God the Father.”
27. Cf. C. Stead, Divine Substance, 1977, pp. 26 & 229.
28. Athanasius, De Decr., 12. cf. 20. Also Ad Episc., 2; ‘The Son is continuously co-eternal with the Father.’ This understanding of Fatherhood and Sonship as eternally subsisting relations in the Godhead was strongly held by Gregory Nazianzen, also in respect of the Holy Spirit, in his ‘Theological Orations’ Or., 29.16 & 20; 31.9. Cf. Basil, (or his brother) on ‘a certain communion indissoluble and continuous’ between Father, Son and Holy Spirit – Ep., 38.4; and Gregory Nyss., Con Eun., 1.33; 8.5; 9.2; Or. cat., 1
29. Athanasius, In ill. om., 3; ‘One must use a poor analogy taken from tangible and familiar objects to put our thoughts into words, for it is presumptuous to intrude into the incomprehensible nature.’
30. Athanasius, In ill. om., 3-5. For Athanasius’ concept of biblical images and analogies as παραδείγματα see De decr., 12; Con Ar., 1.20; 2.30; 3.3, 10; De syn., 42; Ad Ser., 1.19f, etc; Refer Theol. in Reconstr., pp. 31ff.
31. See further my account of the hermeneutics of Athanasius, Reality and Evangelical Theology, 1982, pp. 100ff.
32. Athanasius De decr., 21-24
36. Consult the illuminating discussion of Jaroslav Pelikan, The Light of the World. A basic Image of Early Christian Thought, 1962, pp. 55ff
38. Athanasius De syn., 41
39. See Basil’s Ep., 125.1, in which he claimed that the Nicene term ὑπόστασις and οὐσία were not just identical, for had they expressed one and the same meaning there would have been no need for both. Basil, himself, however, was to develop the distinction between them by arguing that οὐσία has the same relation to ὑπόστασις as the common to the particular’, Ep., 214. See also Ep., 236.6; Gregory/Basil Ep., 38.1ff, etc, Cf. Athanasius Con Ar., 3.65; 4.33; Ad Afr., 4ff, 8.
41. Athanasius, Con Ari., 1.11f, 34, 46ff, 60; 2.12, 14, 18, 20, 53f, 56, 59, 61, 82; 3.1f, 5f, 9, 19, 22, 24f, 27, 33; 4.4; De decr., 22, 30; De syn., 34, 48f; Ad Afr., 4; Ad Ser., 1.28; 2.2; In Ill. om., 4. See also Gregory Naz., Or., 30.18.
45. Athanasius Con Ar., 1.21, 26, 40; 2.17, 22, 33; 3.10f, 14, 26, 67; De syn., 26, 38, 41, 47-54; De decr., 20, 23; Ad episc., 17; Hilary de syn., 89; Evagrius/Basil, Ep, 8.3; 9.3. Cf. Epiphanius haer., 73.22; and Cyril of Jerusalem, Cat., 4.7; 11.4, 18
47. According to Athanasius, this relation of ‘wholeness’ between the Son and the Father was also implied by the analogy of light and radiance, Con Ar., 2.33, 35; cf. De inc., 17; Con Ar., 3.6. The analogy was also found to imply the coinherence of the Son and the Father, De decr., 25.
51. Cf. Archbishop Methodius, “The Homoousion,” op. cit., pp. 1-15