Epiphanius Against all Heresies 65

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Against Paul the Samosatian

1,1 Their successor is Paul, called the Samosatian, who was born after Navatus and Origen. (Origen is at last counted as a heretic because of the deliberate arrogance with which he exalted himself against the truth, through his boastful nonsense and the idea of this that was instigated by the devil. (2) He must be mourned as one who has indeed come to grief “through envy of the devil” and fallen from a height; for the saying, “The fascination of evil obscures what is good, and the roving of desire perverteth the innocent mind,” applies exactly to him.)

1,3 Now this Paul the Samosatian whom it has occurred to me to discuss, whose name I mentioned at the start and whose sect I am <now> describing, was from Samosata, which is off towards Mesopotamia and the Euphrates. (4) He was made bishop of the holy catholic church at Antioch at this time, during the reigns of the emperors Aurelian and Probus. But he grew proud and was deprived of the truth, and revived the sect of Artemon who had headed it many years before, but which had been snuffed out.

1,5 Paul claims that God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, is one God, but that God’s Word and Spirit are always in him, just as a man’s own word is in his heart. (6) The Son of God is not an entity but is within God himself—just what Sabellius, Navatus, Noetus and others have said. Still, Paul does not say the same as they, but something different. (7) The Word came, dwelt in Jesus who was a man, <and after doing his work ascended to the Father again>. (8) And therefore, Paul says, God is one. The Father is not a father, the Son is not a son, and the Holy Spirit is not a holy spirit, but there is one God, the Father, and his Son in him like a word in a man. (9) Paul supposedly finds his heresy in the following texts: the words of Moses, “The Lord is thy God, the Lord is one.” (10) But he does not claim, as Noetus did, that the Father suffered. He says, “The Word came, acted alone,9 and returned to the Father.” And there is a great deal of absurdity in this teaching.

2,1 But let’s see whether the deluded man’s own words can be proved. For he reminds us that Christ said, “I am in the Father and the Father in me.” (2) Now we ourselves say that the divine Word is of the Father, and is with him eternally and begotten of him, but we do not speak of the Father without a subsistent Word. (3) On the contrary, the Father’s Word is the only-begotten Son, the divine Word, as he says, “Whosoever shall confess me, him will I confess before my Father.” And by saying, “me” before “my Father,” he showed that the Father is truly subsistent, <and that the Son is truly subsistent also>.

2,4 These people, with their covert introduction of Judaism, have nothing more to say than the Jews do. They must be termed neo-Jews, and Samosatians, nothing but an alleged [Christianity] in name <and> supposition. (5) By denying the God [begotten] of God, the only-begotten Son and the Word, they have become like those who denied him when he was here—God’s murderers, the murderers of the Lord, and the deniers of God. Actually, however, <they are neither Christians nor Jews>, since they do not have circumcision or keep the Sabbath, but <hold> Jewish <views> on everything else.

3,1 Now we too, in fact, maintain that there are not two Gods or Godheads, but one Godhead. For since we say that there are not two Fathers, two Sons or two Holy Spirits, but a Father, a Son and a Holy Spirit, <we speak of> one Godhead <and> one glory. (2) Paul, however, does not call the Father the only God because he is the source [of the Trinity]. When he <says that he> is the only God, he is doing his best to deny the divinity and reality of the Son and the Holy Spirit. He holds instead that the Father is one God who has begotten no Son, (3) so that there are the two Imperfects, a Father and a Son—the Father who has not begotten a Son, and the Word of the living God and true Wisdom who is not the fruit [of the Father].

3,4 For they believe that the Word is like the word in a human heart, and the sort of wisdom everyone has in his human soul if God has given him understanding. They therefore say that God, together with his Word, is one Person, just as a man and his word are one. As I said, they believe no more than the Jews do but are blind to the truth, and deaf to the divine word and the message of eternal life.

3,5 For they do not respect the Gospel’s true saying, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.” (6) For if the Word was in the beginning and the Word was with God, his existence is not just as an utterance but as an entity. And if the Word was with God, the One he was with is not the Word—for the One he was with is not a word. For if God [merely] has a word in his heart, and if he does not have a Word he has begotten, how can “was,” and “The Word was God,” mean anything? (7) A man’s word is not a man with a man, for it is neither alive nor subsistent. It is only a movement of a living, subsistent heart, and not an entity. It is spoken, and is at once no longer existent, although it stays said. (8) But <this is not the case with> God’s Word, as the Holy Spirit says by the mouth of the prophet, “Thy word endureth forever.” And in agreement with this the evangelist says—confessing that God has been made manifest and come, but not including the Father in the incarnation of the Word—(9) “The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.” And he didn’t say, ‘The Word-and-Father was made flesh.” And he also says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God”—not, The Word was in God.”

4,1 And lest people ill-advisedly alter the words of life and light to their own disadvantage and harm, and suppose—“From his youth the heart of man is bent on the pursuit” of one sort of “evil” or another. (2) Sup- pose they begin to argue, “As you say yourself, John didn’t say, ‘The Word was in God,’ but ‘The Word was with God.’ Therefore the Word is not of the Father’s essence but outside of God.” [If they say this] the truth turns around to set her sons straight and confound the ideas that are unfaithful to her, (3) and the Only-begotten himself says, “I came forth from the Father and am come—and again, “I am in the Father and the Father in me.”

4,4 But for our understanding of the proof, the One <who speaks> of the Son in the prophets stoops to human weakness—not <by> bearing physical burdens but <by> providing understandable words—and <proves> in terms familiar to us that the Son is truly begotten of him, God of God, very God of very God, not outside of him but of his essence. (5) And so he says in David, “Before the morning star have I begotten thee from the womb,” as the Seventy rendered it. And in the words of the other versions—Aquila: “The dew of thy youth is of the womb of the morning”; Symmachus: “As in the dewy dawn is thy youth”; Theodotion: “From the womb, from the dawn of thy youth”; the fifth version: “From the womb, from the dawn is thy dew in thy youth”; the sixth: “From the womb they seek thee, dew of thy vigor.” (6) But in the Hebrew it is merem messaar laktal ieldecheth, which plainly and unambiguously means, “From the womb before the morning star have I begotten thee.” For merem is “<from> the womb,” and messaar means, “before the earliest dawn,” or in other words, “before the morning star.” Laktal is “and before the dew”; ieldecheth is “child,” or in other words, “I have begotten thee.” (7) And so you are to learn from the verse that the subsistent divine Word was actually begotten of the Father, without beginning and not in time, before anything existed.

4,8 For by the star he did not mean just the morning star—though indeed there are many stars and the sun and moon, and they were made on the fourth day of creation. (And the sea, the trees and their fruit had been created earlier—and the firmament and earth and heaven, and the angels, who were created together with these. (9) For if angels had not been created together with heaven and earth, God would not have told Job, “When the stars were brought forth, all the angels praised me aloud.”) (10) And so < he wrote* >, “before the morning star,” meaning, “before anything was in existence and had been created.” For the Word was always with the Father: “Through him all things were made, and with- out him was not anything made.”

5,1 But someone might say, “You’ve shown that the angels were before the stars, but you’ve said they were created together with heaven and earth. Tell us, how have you proved this? Weren’t they, surely, created before heaven and earth? For scripture nowhere indicates the time of the angels’ creation. (2) And that you have shown that they were before the stars, <is perfectly plain>. For if they weren’t, how could they sing God’s praises for the creation of the stars?

5,3 I cannot give the answer to any question from my own reasonings, but I can from the text of the scriptures. (4) The word of God makes it perfectly clear that the angels were not created after the stars, and that they were not created before heaven and earth; for the statement that there were no creatures before heaven and earth is plainly a firm one. For “God made the heaven and the earth in the beginning,” because this is the beginning of <the> creation and <there are> no created things before it.

5,5 And so, as I have indicated, the word in a man cannot be called a man, but a man’s word. But if the Word of God is God, it is not a word with no subsistence but a subsistent divine Word, begotten of God without beginning and not in time: (6) for “The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of an only-begotten of a Father, full of grace and truth.” John testified to him and cried out, “This is he of whom I said unto you, He that cometh after me is preferred before me, for he was before me.” “He came into the world, that through him the world might be saved.” “He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.”

5,7 Do you see that the Word is only-begotten? Do you see that he came into the world among men, yet with the full “glory of the only-begotten of a Father?” It is not as though the Father is a Word, or that he has appeared as a Father in combination with a Word, like a man appearing with his word, < where > his word cannot even appear in the absence of the word’s speaker.

5,8 Now then, whom should I believe? With whom should I agree? From whose teachings am I to receive life? From the holy, inspired evangelists, who have said that the Word was sent from the Father? Or from these disciples of Paul the Samosatian, who claim that God is combined with the Word and the Word with God, and declare that there is one Person—[the person] of the Father including the Word and the person of the Word including the Father? (9) If there is [only] one Person, how can the one send and the other be sent? For the prophet says, “He shall send forth his Word and melt them; he shall breathe forth his Spirit, and the waters shall flow”—and again, “I came forth from the Father and am come,” and, “I live, and the Father that sent me liveth in me.”

5,10 Now how can the One who has been sent be sent, and appear in flesh? “No man hath seen God at any time; the only-begotten God, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.” And he says, “the only-begotten God.” The Word is begotten of the Father but the Father was not begotten—hence, “only-begotten God.”

6,1 For the safety of our souls the divine knowledge proclaimed its own truth beforehand, because of its precognition. It knew the Samosatian’s nonsense, the Arians’ heresy, the villainy of the Anomoeans, the fall of the Manichaeans, and the mischief of the rest of the sects. (2) And therefore the divine message makes us certain of every expression. It does not call the Father “only-begotten”; how can One who has never been begotten be “only-begotten?” But it calls the Son “only-begotten,” to avoid the supposi- tion that the Son is a Father, and the comparison of the divine Word with a word in a human heart.

6,3 For if he is called a “Word,” he is so called for this purpose: to keep it from being supposed that he is different from the essence of God the Father. And because of the expressions, “only-begotten, full of grace and truth,” he cannot be a word without subsistence, but must be an entity. (4) And you see how much there is to make our salvation sure. “No man hath seen God at any time” is a statement of the Father’s invisibility and Godhead; but < “only-begotten God” > affirms the manifestation of his Godhead through the flesh.

6,5 But how many other texts, and more, might one select in our support and to counter the Samosatian’s stupidity? If the Word was in the Father like the word in a human heart, why did he come here and become visible in his own person? (6) To describe himself to his disciples he says, “He that seen me hath seen the Father.” And he didn’t say, “I am the Father”; “me” means that <he himself is an entity in the Father>. (7) And he didn’t say, “I am he,” but, “I am come in my Father’s name, and it is he that beareth witness of me.”

6,8 And again, he says of the Holy Spirit, “< I will pray the Father > and he shall send you another Advocate.” See how <he says>, “he shall send,” “another,” <and> “I,” to show that the Father is an entity, < the Son is an entity >, and the Holy Spirit is an entity. (9) For besides saying, “He shall glorify me,” of the Holy Spirit, he [also] < says >, “He shall receive of mine.” And what is he talking about? The Spirit who proceeds from the Father and receives of “me.”

6,10 Moreover, he says, “Two testimonies of men will be established, and I bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me beareth witness of me.” (11) But how many other texts of the kind, and more than these, < can one find* >? Look here! He says, “I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. (12) Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight. All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son save the Father: neither knoweth any man the Father save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.” “Thou hast revealed them unto babes” and, “All things are delivered unto me of my Father” are said to uproot the strange doctrine which has been invented by these people.

7,1 But see what men’s perennial opponent, the devil, has spawned in them, as though by the diabolic inspiration of their speech. (2) For because of the holy Gospels’ plain statement of the their teaching, the flunkies of the sect of Jews are ashamed of this and, not to seem entirely at odds with the true knowledge of the Gospel, supposedly defend them- selves against these charges. (3) They say, “Jesus was a man, and yet God’s Word inspired him from on high, and the man says these things about himself. The Father together with the Son is one God, but the man makes his own person known below, and in this sense there are two persons.”

7,4 Now how can a man be God, you stupidest man in the world, with your mind turned away from the heavenly doctrine? How can someone who says, “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father,” be a mere man, as you claim? (5) If the man is like the Father, the Father is not different from the man. If, however, the divine Word, who is perfect and has become perfect man, is God begotten of the Father on high, then he is speaking clearly and correctly of himself when he says, “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father.” (6) And the Jews say the same of him. “Not only did they seek to kill him,” says the scripture, “because he did these things, but because he said he was the Son of God, claiming equality with God.” (7) For once more, in saying, “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father,” he is claiming that God the Father is his equal. Now a man is not equal to God or like God; but < the One who > is truly begotten of God the Father is God the only-begotten Son.

7,8 For Paul says of him, “who being in the form of God thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant.” (9) <By> “He was in the form <of God>,” <Paul gave indication of> his Godhead; but as to the form of the servant, he made it clear that this was something added to him, and did not say that this had ever been <native> to him.

7,10 Our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ, the divine Word, often communicates with us even in a human way, and frequently speaks in terms of human experience, (11) but not when he says, “I came forth from my Father and am come”; this cannot be the utterance of human nature. (12) When, however, he rightly testifies, “If I bear record of myself my record is not true,” this is meant to show his humanity. When, on the other hand, he testifies of his Godhead, Though I bear record of myself, yet my record is true,” this is to show that his divine nature is true divine nature, and his human nature true human nature.

8,1 And so there are not two Gods, because there are not two Fathers. And the subsistence of the Word is not eliminated, since there is not one [mere] combination of the Son’s Godhead with the Father. For the Son is not of an essence different from the Father, but of the same essence as the Father. He cannot be of an essence different from his Begetter’s or of the identical essence; he is of the same essence as the Father.

8,2 Nor, again, do we say that he is not the same in essence as the Father; the Son is the same as the Father in Godhead and essence. And he is not of another sort than the Father, nor of a different subsistence; he is truly the Father’s Son in essence, subsistence and truth. (3) But the Father is not the Son; and the Son is not the Father, but truly a Son begotten of a Father. Thus there are not two Gods, two Sons, or two Holy Spirits; the Trinity is one Godhead, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and co-essential. (4) For when you say, “of the same essence,” < you > do not mean an identification. “Co-essential” does not indicate one [single] thing; neither does it differentiate the true Son’s essence from his lawful Father’s and, because of the co-essentiality, distinguish his nature [from the Father’s].

8,5 For sacred scripture does not proclaim two first principles, but one; it says, ‘The house of Judah shall join with the house of Israel, and they shall agree upon one first principle” (ἀρχήν) Therefore whoever preaches two first principles, preaches two Gods; and whoever denies the Word and his subsistence reveals his Judaism. (6) Marcion intimates that there are two first principles—or rather, three—in opposition to each other. But these neo-Jews, these Samosatians, do away with the subsistence of the Word, showing that they too are murderers of the Lord and deniers of our Lord’s salvation.

8,7 Thus there is one first principle and the Son [begotten] of it—its exact image, by nature the replica of his Father, and like him in every way. For he is God of God and the Son of the Father, very God of very God and light of light, one Godhead and one dignity. (8) Thus scripture says, “Let us make man in our image and after our likeness.” So as not to divide it does not say, “in thine image”; so as not to imply unlikeness and inequality it does not say, “in my image”; it says, “in our image.” And “let us make” is said to show that the Father is not strange to his creatures, nor the Only-begotten strange to creation. (9) The Father creates with the Son, and the Son, through whom all things were made, is co-creator with the Father. And since the Son is begotten of the Father there is one Son, the perfect Son of a perfect Father; and there is a perfect Father of a perfect Son, who is in the image of his Father’s perfection. [He is] “the image of the invisible God”—not the model of an image, not the image of an image, not unlike the Father, but the Father’s image, showing the exact likeness [to the Father] of his true generation from him who has no beginning and is not in time.

8,10 Thus the Son is the image of the Father. It is the same with emperors. Because the emperor has an image there are not two emperors; there is one emperor, with his image. [And] there is one God. He is not one imperfect thing, made of two parts; the Father is perfect, the Son is perfect, the Holy Spirit is perfect. (11) For < the Son does > not <say>, “I am in the Father,” as a word is in a man’s heart; we know a knowing Father with a Son, and a Son begotten of a Father. (12) The divine message <does> not <declare> that a Word entered a man for a dwelling, appeared in him after his birth, and is on high in God once more, like a word in a human heart. This is the product of demon’s madness and bears the marks of all denial of God.

9,1 <I come to a close> because I believe that these few remarks which I have made about this sect will do. Their power is not formidable, or such that it cannot be overcome by all wise persons. (2) And we have now uprooted Paul’s thorns by preaching the doctrine of the truth, have, as it were, quenched his poison, and pointed out the deadliness of it. Calling for aid on the Father with the Son—on the truly existent God and the truly subsistent Son he has begotten, and on his Holy Spirit, who subsists as a Spirit—(3) and <arming ourselves> with the salvation of the work of the incarnate Christ, we have broken the van of this assault of the neo-Jews with the sign of our victory over death, I mean the cross. Let us go on to the rest, beloved.

9,4 For there is a viper called the dryinas which is like this heresiarch. It is said that a dryinas is a viper, and that its den is very often near grass or, also, oaks. This is why it is called a dryinas—from its preference for trees, and its camouflaging of itself among the fallen leaves with the color of each leaf. (5) The beast does not have a particularly painful bite, but if it remains [undetected] it causes death. (6) In the same way this man, with his sect, pretends to belong to the faithful by bearing Christ’s name while adopting Jewish doctrine. He confesses that Christ is the Word but does not believe that he is; and he is not ashamed to make a parade of himself in many ways. (7) But now that we have trampled his seeming doctrine, which is actually imposture, with the sandal of Christ, and have scratched the victims of his bites with the healing scalpel of the Gospel and drawn the poison out of them, we shall go on to describe the rest, beloved, as I said.