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1,1 Again, some have been called Anomoeans. These are of recent origin. Their founder was a deacon named Aetius, who was advanced because of his foolishness by George of Alexandria. George was the bishop of the Arians and Melitians at once and, as I have already indicated, was paraded through the city on a camel during the reign of Julian. (2) And first he was surrounded by the Greeks and badly mistreated, and was paraded, as I said, and beaten with cudgels, but was then dragged through almost the whole town, and this is how he died. After his death he was burned, reduced to ashes together with the bones of many domestic and wild ani- mals, and then scattered to the four winds by the pagans, and this was the last of him.
1,3 Should one say of a man who died like that, “Well, he became a martyr by undergoing these sufferings at the hands of the pagans?” Indeed, if his ordeal had been for the truth’s sake, and the pagans had done this to him from envy and because of his confession of Christ, he would truly have ranked as a martyr, and no minor one. (4) The confession of Christ, however, was not the reason for his death. It was the great violence he had inflicted on the city and people during his so-called episcopate, if you please, sometimes by robbing people of their patrimony, <sometimes by levying unjust taxes>.
1,5 And not to inform on the man—for he did a number of things to the Alexandrians. For example, he expropriated the entire nitre tax; and he thought of a way of controlling the papyrus and reed marshes and the salt marshes, and getting them for himself. (6) He overlooked no shameful way of making money by many methods, even small things. For instance, he thought of limiting the number of biers for the bodies of the dying, and without his appointed officials no dead man’s body, especially not strangers’ bodies, could be carried out for burial. This was not for hospitality’s sake, but, as I said, to support himself. (7) For if anyone buried a body on his own, he ran a risk. In this way George made a profit on every corpse that was buried. And I pass over the other things the man got for himself through luxuries <and in other dreadful ways>, and by cruelty.
1,8 Thus because of all this the Alexandrians who cherished anger against him, the pagans most of all, inflicted this end on him. But my reason for saying how the Alexandrians destroyed him like this as soon as they heard of Constantius’ death, is simply because of Aetius, whom George made a deacon.
2,1 They say that even by worldly standards Aetius was uneducated until his manhood. (2) But he stooped to attending the lectures of an Aristotelian philosopher and sophist at Alexandria and learning their dialectic, if you please, for no other purpose than to give a figurative representation of the divine Word. <But> he devoted full time to the project, getting up at dawn and keeping at it till evening, I mean at discussing and defining God via a sort of geometry and in figures of speech, and at teaching and perfecting his doctrine. (3) As an Arian of the deepest dye and a holder of Arius’ insane doctrine, he became the more destructive by devoting his time to these things, and sharpening his tongue each day against the Son of God and the Holy Spirit.
2,4 He was accused by certain persons, however, and denounced to Constantius, and was banished to the Taurus. Here he amplified and disclosed all of his wicked doctrine by teaching it openly, <for> after hardening himself by further shamelessness, he disgorged his heresy in full. (5) For he dared to say that the Son is unlike the Father, and not the same as the Father in Godhead.
And not that we rely on the likeness. Beyond the likeness, we know that the Son is the same as the Father, and the Father’s equal, in Godhead, and not different at all. (6) Many things can be likened to God, but they are not the same as he, <or> his equals, in Godhead. For example, man is in God’s image and likeness, but is not the same as God in the sense of equality. (7) And the kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed—though <a grain> is not identical with the kingdom and has no part of it—and like leaven, and ten virgins, and a householder in point of like- ness, but not identical.
2,8 But as the Son is like the Father—and more than “like” him, because he is the same as the Father and his equal—my concern is not merely to prove his likeness, but <his> sameness and equality as God of God, Son of the Father, and not different from <his> essence, but begotten of him. And the same with the Holy Spirit. (9) But this fine heretic Aetius didn’t even think he should regard the Son as worthy of likeness to the Father. Now I agree that I myself do not really enter upon the demonstration of the faith and the honoring of the Trinity if I rely solely on the likeness. (10) Silver is like tin too, gold is like bronze and lead like iron, and precious stones are imitated by glass; and likeness does not show nature, but resemblance.
3,1 But here I, as to the scripture which confesses the Son to be the “image of the invisible God”—having carefully inquired the meaning of the sacred scripture from the divine Gift who told the Pharisees, “Ye understand neither the scriptures nor the power of God,”—I understand this doctrine in a dual sense, and explain it by taking the answer to the expression’s meaning from a man. (2) We speak of a man’s image, and <there is one image that is like him and> one that is not like him. One image is made like him with paint, but the other is made by the identity of his essence with his begetter’s. As compared with his father the newborn son represents his kind, but in the end he is found to be his likeness <by his> sameness and co-essentiality with him, and his resemblance to him. (3) And we believe in the only-begotten Son of God who is the same as the Father’s Godhead and rank, and his equal because of the true image, and because of the likeness which admits of no variation but is indistinguishable, as becomes a son who is truly and co-essentially begotten of a father. And so with the Holy Spirit, because of his procession from the Father— even though he is not begotten, because the Son is an only-begotten.
3,4 But from his wish to offer further resistance to the confession of the truth, Aetius tries not even to confess the Son’s likeness to the Father. (5) For the other Arians, who took their cue from Lucian and Origen and were companions of a sophist named Asterius who lapsed in the persecution under Maximian, <did not disclose the whole of their heresy about the Son>. (6) For some <said> that he is a <creature>, and it has been explained in my earlier Sects that each of them declared the Son of God a creature, and taught that the Holy Spirit is the creature of a creature, while some said that even though they declared him a creature, the Son of God is like the Father. (7) But this man exposed the whole of their deception, and of his own impiety, by <displaying> with full clarity the harshness and arrogance of their doctrine of the Lord. And the truth is that the strictness of the argument of this Aetius, who is also called the “Different,” can be used very justly against those who covertly introduce the notion of the Son’s creaturehood.
3,8 For whatever is created is unlike its creator, even though it be made like him by grace. And however one tries to decorate this with various sorts of paint, the creator is unlike the creature—unless the representation of him is a copy and likeness which is in imitation only of his appearance. (9) And as his argument would have prevailed against those Arians who regard the Son of God and the Holy Spirit as creatures, so even later, after his excommunication by those same Arians—I mean Eudoxius, Menophilus and the others—he confounded them before the emperor and said, (10) “As they believe, I believe—as they all do! But what is honest in me, they hide, and what I say openly <and> acknowledge, all these say the same, but conceal themselves.” And the emperor at that time was not opposed to the Arian fabrication, but considered it orthodox, if you please! But since he declined to confess the Son of God a creature, the emperor was annoyed and, as I have already said, sent <him> into exile.
4,1 That was the origin of the sect, and from the one proposition the man was inspired to a great production of evils, and dealt fearful wounds to his own soul, and his converts’. (2) For he was so deluded—he and his disciples—as to say, “I understand God perfectly in this way, and under- stand and know him so well that I don’t know myself any better than I know God!”
4,3 But I have heard as many things about him, the fearful way in which the devil contrived, through him, to destroy the souls of the people he had caught. (4) Indeed, they take no account of holiness of life, (4) Indeed, they take no account of holiness of life, fasts, God’s commandments, or any of God’s other ordinances for men’s salvation, but only say glibly that they <have> it all through one text. (5) It is as though someone had lightened ship and completely jettisoned the whole cargo, but had kept just one article of the ship’s freight, a jar or some other thing, to get himself across the whole sea and ensure his safety with one implement. But if he was wrong, and did not get what he expected from the implement he kept, he would drown afterwards, and thus lose the whole business and his life as well. (6) Thus both Aetius and his Anomoeans cite the Lord’s words in the Gospel and repeat the expression without properly grasping the meaning, and they are wrong. (7) For when someone falls in with them and reminds them of the commandments, they claim that, as the text is worded, there is nothing else that God requires of us but simply to know him. This is what Christ meant, they say, by saying, “Grant them, Father, to have life in themselves. And this is life, that they may know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.”
4,8 Indeed, some people have told me what they distinctly heard him say when certain persons were charged with having been caught in a sexual offense, and were found guilty by them. He was not annoyed at this and even made an idle jest and said that something like this is not important; it is a physical need and the way of meeting it. (9) “When we itch by our ear,” he said—I myself am embarrassed to repeat what <the> filthy man told them—“we take a feather or straw,” he said, “and scratch our ear, and get rid of the itching by our ear. This too happens naturally,” he said, “and if someone does it he doesn’t commit a sin.”
5,1 Aetius made as many such remarks, and all his teachings are lax and wicked, so that what he is may be seen from his works themselves. But the Lord’s words have made this abundantly clear to us, (2) as he said, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?” Thus the utter impudence of his stupidity is exposed in the second phrase and the first. (3) [We are shown] how he opened his mouth in impudence against his Master and was not ashamed to blaspheme his Lord, and the wise will test him by the fruits of his licentiousness and laxity, and not harvest his fruit. There is no cutting of a cluster from thorns, making holiness appear even from false doctrine.
5,4 But this is what I have heard of the events of his life. However, there are many words which, as I said, he dared to say in consequence of the madness of his rebellion against the Lord, and I shall give a few examples, and make the replies to them myself which the Lord gives me in refutation. (5) Here are the nonsense of “Different’s” faith, and these are the “likenesses” of the words he quotes from scripture. They do not mean what he thinks, but he takes them that way although they mean something else.
6,1 He says at the very outset, “The Ingenerate cannot be like the Generate. Indeed, they differ in name; the one is ‘ingenerate,’ the other, ‘generate.’ ” (2) But this is perfectly silly and has simply driven the man insane. If, to avoid losing the true view of Christ, we are to require an engenderer of the Ingenerate, there will no longer be one Father, or <one> father of a Father; we will need an infinite number of fathers’ fathers. And there will [no longer] be one God, who is forever, has nothing before him, and endures and abides forever, of whom the only-begotten true Son is begot- ten and is, and of whom is his Holy Spirit. The gods we need will be many, and the whole will turn out to be imposture, not truth.
6,3 But we must know that, as the fact is, there is one God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom is the Holy Spirit who “proceeds from the Father and receives of the Son.” (4) And this is the one Godhead— one God, one Lord, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The Son is not identical with the Father and neither is the Holy Spirit, but the Father is a father, the Son, a son, and the Holy Spirit, a holy spirit [They are] three Perfects, one Godhead, one God, one Lord, as I have ascribed this praise to God many times, in every Sect.
6,5 Now since God is one, and no one can suppose that there is another God besides the one, the Father is wondrously both ingenerate and uncreated; and God’s only-begotten Son, <who> is begotten of him, is not unlike him in any way. He is the same as and perfectly equal to the Father in rank, even though he is generate and the Father ingenerate. (6) For if the Father has begotten any Son of himself, it is impossible that [the Son] not be the Father’s equal, and not be like him. Whatever begets, begets its like—and not only its like, but its equal in sameness. (7) A man begets a man, and God begets God. The man begets through sexual intercourse, but God has begotten an Only-begotten alone, in an ineffable manner. [He has not done this] by overflow, contraction or expansion; the Father, who is spirit, has begotten the Son of himself without beginning and not in time, altogether his like and equal. As the holy Gospel says, “The Jews sought to kill him, because he had not only broken the Sabbath, but said that he was the Son of God, making himself equal with God.”
6,8 How can the Son not be like the Father and entirely his equal when he has life in himself, and says, “As the Father raiseth the dead, even so the Son raiseth the dead,” and, “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father?” (9) He cannot be different when he identifies the Father through himself and says, “He that knoweth me, knoweth the Father,” and, “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father,” meaning that he is not different from the Father. And the Father means the Son <when he says>, “Let us make man in our image and after our likeness.” (10) If the Son were not like the Father, how could man be made in [their] image and likeness? The Father did not say, “Let us make man in my image” or in” your image,” but, “in our image.” (11) By saying, “our,” he indicated the equality with the Father that is in the Son—and not only his likeness, but his sameness in all ways, without any difference.
7,1 But as I have already said, how can he not be the Father’s equal and like the Father, he who says, “I am in the Father and the Father in me?” (2) For not only does he say this himself in the Gospel. Isaiah, prophesy- ing in the Holy Spirit, knew that the Son is in the Father and is not other than, or different from the Father, (3) as the verse which implies this says in Hebrew: “phthoou saareim, ouiabo goi sadik, somer emmourteim, iesro samoch, thesaar salom salom, shi bak batoou betou baadonai ada oth, chi baia adonai sor olemeim.” (4) In Aquila’s version it says, “Open the gates, let the righteous nation enter that keepeth faith, the creation firmly established, the keeping of peace, for in him have they trusted. Trust ye in the Lord forever, for in the Lord is the Lord who established the ages.” (5) In the Septuagint’s it says, “Open the gates, let <a righteous nation> enter that preserveth truth, and layeth claim to truth and keepeth peace. For in thee have they trusted forever, O Lord, God the great, the eternal.” (6) The reader should note that in the Septuagint “God” stands in the place of “the Lord,” and “the great” in place of “in the Lord.”
7,7 And how much is there to say about this? I am afraid of prolong- ing my treatment of these words to a burdensome length. Everything in the sacred scripture is clear, to those who will approach God’s word with pious reason, and not harbor the devil’s work within them and turn their steps to the pits of death—as this unfortunate man and his converts have attacked the truth more vigorously than any who have become blasphemers of God and his faith before them.
7,8 <I have shown> that the Son cannot be unlike the Father, but have said that I do not rely on this either. The Son is not only “like,” but equal, the same in Godhead, the same in eternity and power. And yet we do not say, “tautoousion,” or the expression that some use might be compared with Sabellius. (9) We say that he is the same in Godhead, essence and power, and in all ways the equal of the Father and his Holy Spirit And we say “homoousion” as the holy faith teaches, so that the perfections are clearly indicated by “homo;” for the Son is the perfect Son of a perfect father, and the Holy Spirit is perfect as well.
8,1 These people will be detected by a first, a second, and a third piece of evidence. If it is admitted that a <Son> has been begotten by him at all, it will be admitted that the Son must be like his Begetter. (2) It is plain that Aetius calls him by the name, “Offspring,” but holds and believes him <to be> a creature, though he is called a “Son” by grace—as the surveyor of the realms of the heavens, divider of the indivisible, and measurer of our salvation in Christ, has seen fit to call him. (3) But the argument of all these people who covertly introduce the doctrine of the creaturehood of Christ falls flat, as Aetius’ will. (4) For I shall say to him with perfect jus- tice, “Tell me, Mister, what can you say of the Son of God? Do you call him a creature, or an offspring? If you say he is a creature, stop hiding your outrage with plausible-sounding language by terming him the Father’s Offspring! (5) Nothing that is created, is ‘begotten’; and if it is begotten, it is not created. Never mind even saying ‘begotten!’ You have no business pronouncing the words of the truth even with one expression. Tell us your whole scheme so that we may learn who you are and escape your plot, you fisher for souls, you schemer against those who trust you! (6) Come on, do you worship the Son of God, or don’t you?”
“Yes,” says Aetius, “I worship him.”
“Do you worship him as God, or not?”
“Yes,” he says, “I worship him as God.”
“Then what kind of a God can be creature, as you say he is, and still be worshiped?”
8,7 For suppose that God, who is fit to be worshiped, made the one creature and consented that he be worshiped, but their creator did not want any of the others worshiped and instead censured the worshipers of a creature, teaching them by Law, “Thou shalt not make to thyself any likeness, and thou shalt not worship it, neither in heaven, nor in earth, nor in the waters.” (8) And the apostle says, “They worshiped the creature more than the creator, and were made fools.” Why did God forbid the worship of all creatures, < but consent that this one be worshiped? > Is there “respect of persons with God,” then? Never! (9) By the fact that this One is worshiped, God has shown, in every way, that the One who is worshiped is different from the creature and that the creature which is worshiped is different from the Lord, who is fit for worship—the Son of God, begotten of the Father. For because he is begotten of him, he is like him and is his Son. He is therefore fit for the worship of all: “Through him God made all things, and without him was not anything made.” (10) For by him, and by the Holy Spirit who “proceeds from the Father and receives of the Son,” God made and established all things. “By the Word of the Lord were the heavens established, and all the host of them by the Spirit of his mouth.”
8,11 When the Only-begotten, as I mentioned above, said, “that they may know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent,” he distinguished himself from creation, as the apostle says, “one God, of whom are all things, and we through him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.” (12) And you see how he showed that there is one God, the Father, but one Lord, the Son begotten of him. And he didn’t say, “one God, and one Lord together with all God’s creatures,” but, “one Lord, through whom are all things.” But if there is one Lord through whom are all things, he is not one of them all, but the maker of all, the creator of all created things.
9,1 But since he through whom are all things is the Son, begotten of the Father and the Father’s offspring, then, as befits the creator of all things, he is unlike them all. (2) Since God the Father, of whom are all things, [is called] “one,” and the “Lord Jesus by whom are all things” [is called] “one,” the text just mentioned has clearly shown that the Son is of the Father, since it is tied together by the “one” and the “one,” and by “of whom” and “by whom.” But by saying, “by whom are all things,” it has declared won- derfully well that the Son “by whom are all things” cannot be one of the rest, showing that there is a Father, and there is a Son—the only-begotten Lord—of the One who is the Father.
9,3 But the apostle was saying these things by the Holy Spirit’s inspiration; he therefore did not need to give any proof of the Spirit. This was not because the Spirit is not glorified with the Father and the Son, or to designate him as one of all the things created through the Son. (4) It was enough that the Spirit was included with the Father and the Son in the Son’s sure confession, “Go baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” So when the apostle spoke—or rather, when the Holy Spirit spoke in him—he said nothing about himself. The knowledge of him was clear, and undisputed by the Jews; but it was treasured up [rather than published], so that the Holy Spirit would not be the one to commend himself. (5) But the apostle was inspired by the Holy Spirit and spoke of the Father and the Son, to show that the Holy Trinity is eternal, and never ceases to be.
But don’t be surprised if you hear, “one God, of whom are all things, and one Lord, by whom are all things.” (6) By calling the Son, “Lord,” the apostle by no means denied his Lordship and Godhead. And by saying, “one God, of whom are all things,” he did not deny God’s Godhead and Lordship. “Lord” goes together with “God” and “God” with “Lord,” and this will make no difference to the tidings which God has truly proclaimed to us through the apostles, for our salvation.
9,7 But by a clumsy construction of God’s oracles this Different and his followers have turned the way of the truth <to falsehood>. In the end, through distracting their minds with debate and verbal arguments, they have turned their backs on the truth and been deprived of the heavenly realms. (8) For—if they are willing to pay attention to “the light of the Gospel”—every word will convict them. Though the Only-begotten surely came in the flesh, he nowhere says, “The Father who created me hath sent me.” Nor did the Father ever say, in the Gospel or the Old Testament, “I have created the Son for you.” [We read], “The Father hath sent me,” “I came forth from the Father and am come,” and, “He who is in the bosom of the Father,” and, “The Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (9) And there is much that we can learn about our salvation, and not be carried away with this devil’s tricky teaching.
9,10 For, consumed with envy at man’s glory, the devil is out to destroy mankind, and has devised various schemes. The first was through ignorance, the second through idolatry, another time it was through vice—but now, at length, it is through the error and imposture of the sects, to turn man away from the heavens by every possible method.
10,1 How much my poor mind will find to say to you, Different! It is quite true that you are “Different”; you have made your way of life and your thinking different from those who have the understanding of God and hold the faith of the truth. (2) You have not become different from other people by your progress in goodness; you have become different from the sons of God’s church by abandoning the way of the truth. By taking as your excuse the Son of God who is like his Father and calling him “different from” the Father, you have become “different” and been awarded this title, since you are no longer like those who are to be saved in God.
10,3 But now then, not to waste my time in investigating him, let me refute him from the things he said himself to certain persons in a dialectical communication. (4) For it seems that he gave some indication of his mistakes in argument in his treatise itself—which contains not one word of faith which is wholly innocent and pure faith, and ordered in the Holy and meek Spirit. (5) First, I set down in full the work which seems to be his, which has come into my possession, to use it against him for the rest of the refutation of his treatise. The work is as follows:
The Treatise of “The Different” Aetius
11,1 During the time of my persecution by the Temporists some of them, among many other things, appropriated a brief treatise concerning the Ingenerate God and the Generate which I had composed with particular effort, corrupted it with insertions and omissions and issued it, after altering the sequence of the argument. It fell into my hands afterwards because one of the virtuous brought it to me, (2) and I have been obliged, like a father, to correct the treatise again and send it to you, all you male and female champions of piety, to show you that the brief discourse accords with the sense of the holy scriptures. With its help you will be able, with brief counter- arguments, to put a stop to the impudence of everyone—these Temporists most of all—who tries to contradict you about the Ingenerate God and the Generate.
11,3 For the ready comprehension and the clarity of my arguments I have separated objection from objection and solution from solution in the form of short paragraphs, and have begun with the Ingenerate God,
12,1 Whether it is possible for the Ingenerate God to make a generate thing ingenerate:
2. If the Ingenerate God transcends every cause, he therefore must also transcend origination. But if he [indeed] transcends every cause he plainly transcends origination also. For he neither received his existence from another nature nor provided himself with existence.
3. But if, not from the inadequacy of his nature but because of his transcendence of every cause, he did not provide himself with existence, how can anyone concede that there is no difference of essence between the nature that is provided with existence and the nature that provides it, when such a nature [as the first] does not admit of origination?
4. If God remains forever ingenerate and his Offspring forever an Off-spring the heresy of the homoousion and the homoeousion will be brought to an end. The essential incomparability [of the two] remains, since either nature remains endlessly in the rank proper to its nature.
5. If God is ingenerate in essence, the Generate was not produced by a separation of essence, but God gave it being by virtue of his authority. For no pious reason can allow that the same essence can be both generate and ingenerate.
6. If the Ingenerate was generated, what is there to prevent the Generate from having become ingenerate? For on the contrary, every nature is urged <away from> that which is not natural to it toward that which is.
7. If God is not wholly ingenerate, there is nothing to prevent his having generated as an essence. But since God is wholly ingenerate, there was no separation of his essence for the purpose of generation, but he brought an Offspring into existence by his authority.
8. If the Ingenerate God is wholly generative, the Offspring was not generated as an essence, since God’s essence is wholly generative and not generated. But if God’s essence has been transformed and is called an Offspring, God’s essence is not unalterable, since the transformation brought about the formation of the Son. But if God’s essence is both unalterable and above generation, talk of “sonship” will admittedly be a mere verbal ascription.
9. If the Offspring was in the Ingenerate God in germ, he was “brought to maturity,” after his generation, as we might say, by receiving accretions from without. Therefore the Son is not “mature” because of the causes of his generation, but because of the accretions he received. For things which receive accretions genetically, in the sense of being constituted by them, are characteristically termed “mature” in a distinctive way.
10. If the Offspring was full grown in the Ingenerate, it is an Offspring by virtue of properties which were in the Ingenerate, and not by virtue of those with which the Ingenerate generated it. [But this cannot be], for there can be no generacy in ingenerate essence; the <same> thing can<not> both be and not be. An offspring is not ingenerate, and if it were ingenerate it would not be an offspring, for to say that God is not homogeneous is to offer him sheer blasphemy and insult.
11. If Almighty God, whose nature is ingenerate, knows that his nature is not generate, but the Son, whose nature is generate, knows that he is what he is, how can the homoousion not be a lie? For the one knows himself to be ingenerate, but the other, generate.
12. If ingeneracy does not represent the reality of God but the incomparable name is of human invention, God owes the inventors thanks for their invention of the concept of ingeneracy, since in his essence he does not have the superiority the name implies.
13. If ingeneracy is only something external observers observe to be God’s, the observers are better than the One observed, for they have given him a name which is better than his nature.
14. If ingeneracy is not susceptible of generation, this is what we maintain. But if it is susceptible of generation, the sufferings of generation must be superior to the real nature of God.
15. If the Offspring is unchangeable by nature because of its Begetter, then the Ingenerate is an unchangeable essence, not because of its will, but because of its essential rank.
16. If “ingeneracy” is indicative of essence, it may properly be contrasted with the essence of the Offspring. But if “ingeneracy” means nothing, all the more must “Offspring” mean nothing.
But how <could> nothing be contrasted with nothing? If the expression, “ingenerate,” is contrasted with the expression, “generate,” but silence succeeds the expression, the hope of Christians may well begin and end [there], since it rests in a particular expression, and not in natures which are such as the meaning of their names imply.
17. If the term, “ingenerate,” as against the term, “offspring “ contributes nothing toward superiority of essence, the Son, who is [therefore] surpassed only verbally, will know that those who have termed him, “Son,” are his betters, and not He who is termed his “God and Father.”
18. If the ingenerate essence is superior, and innately superior, it is ingenerate essence per se. For it is not superior to generation deliberately, because it so wills, but because this is its nature. Since ingenerate nature per se is God, it allows no reasoning to think of generation in connection with it and resists all examination and reasoning on the part of generate beings.
19. If “ingenerate,” when applied to God, connotes privation but “ingenerate” must be nothing, what reasoning can take away nothing from a non-existent thing? But if it means something that is, who can separate God from being, that is, i.e., separate him from himself ?
20. If the “privations” of states are the removals of them, “ingenerate” as applied to God is either the privation of a state, or a state of privation. But if “ingenerate” is the privation of a state, how can something God does not have be counted as one of his attributes? If “ingenerate” is a state, however, a generate essence must be assumed to precede it, so that it may acquire the [new] state and be called, “ingenerate.” If, however, the generate essence partook of an ingenerate essence [to begin with], it has been deprived of its generation by undergoing the loss of a state.
Generacy must then be an essence but ingeneracy a state. But if “offspring” implies a coming to be, it is plain that the word means a state, whether the Offspring is made out of some essence, or whether it is what it is called, an “Offspring.”
21. If “ingeneracy” is a state and “generacy” is a state, the essences are prior to the states; but even though the states are secondary to the essences, they are more important.
Now if ingeneracy is the cause of generacy and means that there is an offspring which implies the cause of its own being, “offspring” denotes an essence, not a state. <On the other hand>, since ingeneracy implies nothing besides itself, how can the ingenerate nature be not an essence, but a state?
22. If every essence is ingenerate like Almighty God’s, how can one say that one essence is subject to vicissitudes while another is not? But if the one essence remains above quantity and quality and, in a word, all sorts of change because of its classification as ingenerate, while the other is subject to vicissitudes <and yet> is admitted to have something unchangeable in its essence, we ought to attribute the characteristics of these essences to chance, or, as is at any rate logical, call the active essence ingenerate, but the essence which is changed, generate?
23. If the ingenerate nature is the cause of the nature that has come to be, and yet “ingenerate” is nothing, how can nothing be the cause of a thing that has come to be’?
24. If “ingenerate” is a privation but a privation is the loss of a state, and if a “loss” is completely destroyed or changed to something else, how can the essence of God be named for a changing or vanishing state by the title, “ingenerate?”
25. If “ingenerate” denotes privation, which is not an attribute of God, why do we say that God is ingenerate but not generate?
26. If, as applied to God, “ingenerate” is a mere name, but the mere expression elevates the being of God over against all generate things, then the human expression is worth more than the being of the Almighty, since it has embellished God the Almighty with incomparable superiority.
27. If there is a cause to correspond with everything generate but the ingenerate nature has no cause, “ingenerate” does not denote a cause but means an entity.
28. If whatever is made, is made by something, but ingenerate being is made neither by itself nor by something else, “ingenerate” must denote essence.
29. If the ingenerate being is implicitly indicated to be the cause of the Off-spring’s existence and, in contrast with every [other] cause, is invariable, it is incomparable essence in itself and its matchlessness is not implied for any reason external to itself but because, being ingenerate, it is incomparable and matchless in itself.
30. If the Almighty surpasses every nature, he surpasses it because of his ingeneracy, and this is the reason for the permanence of generate things. But if “ingenerate” does not denote an essence, how will the nature of generate things be preserved?
31. If no invisible thing preexists itself in germ, but each remains in the nature allotted to it, how can the Ingenerate God, who is free from any category, sometimes see his own essence in the Offspring as second- ary but sometimes see it in ingeneracy as prior, on the principle of “first and second.”
32. If God retains an ingenerate nature, there can be no question of his knowing himself as [both] originated and unoriginated. If, on the other hand, we grant that his essence continues to be ingenerate and generate, he does not know his own essence, since his head is in a whirl from origination and non-origination. But if the Generate too partakes of ingenerate nature and yet remains without cessation in his generate nature, he knows himself in the nature in which he continues to remain, but plainly does not know his participation in ingeneracy; for he cannot possibly be aware of himself as both of ingenerate and of generate essence.
If, however, the Generate is contemptible because of his proneness to change, then unchangeable essence is a natural rank, since the essence of the Ingenerate admittedly transcends every cause.
33. If the Ingenerate transcends all cause, but there are many ingener- ates they will [all] be exactly alike in nature. For without being endowed with some quality common [to all], while yet having some quality of its own— [a condition not possible in ingenerate being]—one ingenerate nature would not make, while another was made.
34. If every essence is ingenerate, one will not differ from another in self-determination. How, then, can we say that one [such] being is changed and another causes change, when we will not allow God to bring them into being from an essence that has no [prior] existence?
35. If every essence is ingenerate, every one is exactly alike. But the doing and suffering of an essence that is exactly like [all the others] must be attributed to chance. However, if there are many ingenerates which are exactly alike, there can be no enumeration of their ways of differing from one another. For there could be no enumerations of their differences, either in general or in some respect, since every difference which implies classification is already excluded from an ingenerate nature.
36. If “ingenerate” and “God” are exact parallels and mean the same thing, the Ingenerate begot an Ingenerate. But if “ingenerate” means one thing while “God” means something else, there is nothing strange in God’s begetting God, since one of the two receives being from ingenerate essence. But if, as is the case, that which is before God is nothing, “ingenerate” and “God” do mean the same, for “Offspring” does not admit of ingeneracy. Thus the Offspring does not allow himself to be mentioned in the same breath with his God and Father.
12,37 May the true God, who is ingenerate in himself and for this reason is alone addressed as “the only true God” by his messenger, Jesus Christ, who truly came into being before the ages and is truly a generate entity, preserve you, men and women, from impiety, safe and sound from impiety in Christ Jesus our Savior, through whom be all glory to our God and Father, both now and forever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.
The end of Aetius’ treatise
13,1 And this, as I said, is the beginning of my refutation of his corrupt passages, part of which have come into my possession. (For they say that, in all, he composed 300 other paragraphs like these, filled with impiety.) (2) But I publish the treatise here for scholarship’s sake, if you like, as though a snake’s body were decaying and rotting, and a good man had gathered up the bones of the carcass of the snake whose treachery might do harm to somebody. Aetius boasts of having put this treachery into writ- ing for “certain persons,” and his treatise begins as follows. (3) But <by> God’s inspiration let me prepare a preventative antidote because of it, for those who would like to be cured of his poison, by culling out the medicines of the words of the sacred scripture, from the beginning [of the treatise] until its end. I shall place my refutations next to each passage in these paragraphs of syllogistic reasoning, as follows:
14,1 During my persecution by the Temporists some of them, among many other things, appropriated a brief treatise I had composed with particular effort on the subject of the Ingenerate God and the Generate, corrupted it with insertions and omissions, and issued it after altering the sequence of the argument. It fell into my hands afterwards because one of the virtuous brought it to me, (2) and I have been obliged, like a father, to correct the treatise again and send it to you, all you male and female champions of piety, to show you that the brief discourse accords with the sense of the holy scriptures. With its help you will be able, with brief counter-arguments, to put a stop to the impudence of everyone—these Temporists most of all—who tries to contradict you about the Ingenerate God and the Generate.
14,3 For the ready comprehension and the clarity of my arguments I have separated objection from objection and solution from solution in the form of short paragraphs, and have begun with the Ingenerate God.
15,1 Whether you think they are lengthy, or indeed, brief, I shall give the refutation of the exact words of your pompous dialectic and uselessly laborious syllogisms, without either omitting or repeating the endless number of the passages. (2) And in the first place, you wrote to the “male and female champions” of your connection [in the words I have given] above, and said that certain ‘Temporists” had appropriated the portion of your treatise that was then in your hands, <and had corrupted> it. But <going by> your expression which we find here, <one> would sooner convict you and your disciples—not to say, your dupes—of bearing this name.
15,3 For God’s holy faith, which was there from the beginning and yet never grows old, is always in existence. Its foundation has been established and it has its Master, who is not in time. Hence it is not temporal; it is forever, shares the citizenship of the angels, and adorns the saints in every generation. (4) No, you’re the temporist! You have been fed on imposture and become vain in mind, and mix your fodder indiscriminately with the flock’s thorny pasturage. For none of the ancients held your views, Aetius—you who write against the “temporal,” but are “temporal” yourself, and of no ancient origin. (5) But at the very beginning of your introduction, when you said you had written the little book, you startled the world in the terribly brilliant introduction to your work by saying, “Ingenerate and Generate God”—excuse my making fun of your use of the terms of such a lengthy coinage of new names.
16,1 For what Christian, in possession of God’s saving message, would desert this–would be inspired by your mythological fiction to come, leaving the eternal God and his eternal Spirit, hear from you about a “generate God,” and make a fool of himself by learning to “worship the creature more than the creator, who is blessed forever. Amen?” (2) We have no created God, no manufactured God, but One who is uncreated and unoriginate, begotten of the Father without beginning and not in time. (3) For even though you play games with “generate” and choose to make “generate” a synonym [for “begotten”], I shall not accept your expression even if you mean no less by it than “begotten of the Father.” “Men do not gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles,” and a correct statement is not to be expected from a man who is in error. The Lord silenced the demons too, when they confessed that he was Christ.
But you claim that your dinky little book is in accordance with the sense of the sacred scriptures. (4) Tell me, which sacred scripture ever taught the worship of a created God? As to God’s being “ingenerate,” we can all see that. (5) But even this is not in the sacred scripture in so many words; we fitly think and say this with piety on the basis of correct and godly reasoning and our understanding of God itself.
16,6 But you say that you arranged your propositions as a short, simple statement in the form of short paragraphs, so that the male and female champions, as you call them—(dupes, actually)—will know how to answer everyone. (7) Therefore, though I am nobody, stupid, and not important but worth far less than many in God’s holy church, I <shall take up> those remarks which you think are weighty and clever, and which you have worked up as a reply to important people—or rather, as your shout against the truth—and, as I said, give the refutation of this incoherent, completely worthless nonsense of yours.
17,1 And this will do as my modest response to your prologue. But [next] I shall insert your propositions, one after another, and beside each statement and proposition put the answers to and refutations of your syllogistic arguments, so that God’s servants and true champions, reading this and learning the whole of your absurdity, can laugh at it, saying “The haughtiness of thine heart” has made this for you. (2) “For thou didst say in thine heart, I shall ascend to heaven, and above the stars of heaven will I set my throne. I shall sit on a lofty mountain; upon the lofty mountains of the north will I ascend above the clouds and be like unto the Most High. But now shalt thou descend to hades, to the foundations of the earth,” and so on
18,1 And this is the beginning of Aetius’ propositions:
1. Whether it is possible for the Ingenerate God to make a generate thing ingenerate:
Refutation. First, it is impious to begin with to think of impossibility in connection with God, or the only < impossibility > is what is unsuitable to his Godhead—and this, not because he cannot do it, but because evil is unsuitable to the God for whom nothing is impossible. It is impossible for his mighty divine goodness, and for him who is good, because doing evil is impossible [to him].
18,2 And otherwise, if God regards the <making> of the ingenerate generate as a good work, but lacks the power to bring something that was going on well to a good conclusion, this must be a defect of power for God, who wants to do the better thing, but cannot. (3) But if the ingenerate is good, but the generate was well made in its own order, then, since the order of the generate is a good order which stems from a good God, and which God regards as good, God would not make a thing ingenerate which had been well generated. He would be satisfied with its being good in its own way.
18,4 Therefore, since the order of a good thing is not unchanged because it cannot be changed, but because it is good that it be as it is, the ingenerate God is good. And the things he makes are good in their own order, without taking the name of “ingenerate.”
For God did not make created “gods,” so that one could be equated with the other and remove the opposition between “greater” and “lesser” by the title, [“god”]. (5) If the one is an ingenerate God and the other a generate God, since their natures have nothing in common the generate God cannot by his nature share <in> the rank of the name [of God], except by a kindly intended misuse of the word—and then only if the well endowed God grants this to the lesser God by participation.
18,6 But the lesser God would never call himself by the greater God’s name, but knows that he is entirely ineligible to have the natural rank and title. Someone ought to tell you, “The Word was God,” Aetius—not, “The Word became God.” If indeed the Word “became” anything, how will he get < the > title of nobility by nature, or how will he be made equal to God’s rank? Or how can the phrase, “was God,” be got rid of ? The time implied by “was” does not allow for the slightest distinction [between Gods].
18,7 But let me inform you that the God who has no beginning, the ingenerate God, begot, of himself, a God like himself—and not only like him, but in every way equal to him. (8) And he did not create him. Otherwise, since the creature had been unlike [his creator], he would have made the name “God” inapplicable because of the extent of the difference [between the two]. For the begetter cannot beget an offspring which is unlike him and not his equal, and the begotten cannot be unlike his begetter. (9) Here, then, <pious reason> will comprehend the fact of [the Son’s] sameness [as the Father] from the Gospel’s text, “All that the Father hath are mine.” In other words: “The Father is God; I am God. The Father is life; I am life.” And everything else that fits the Father <fits> the Son and the Holy Spirit in one Godhead, with no distinction between the persons of the Trinity. (10) For we are plainly assured of the perfect knowledge that the subsistent Word <has been begotten> of the Father without beginning and not in time, and that the subsistent Holy Spirit <proceeds from> the Father and <receives of> the Son.
19,1 2. If the Ingenerate God transcends every cause, he therefore must also transcend origination. But if he [indeed] transcends every cause he plainly transcends origination also. For he neither received his existence from another nature nor provided himself with existence.
19,2 Refutation. If the ingenerate God transcends every cause, and yet the One whom he generated was generated unworthily of him and not his equal, yet still retains the Father’s transcendent name, the Off-spring disgraces his Begetter by having the dignity of a name different from creatures, but not doing honor to his Maker as creatures do. (3) For the things outside of him win glory for their Maker without being their Maker’s equals or having his name, but by being made as servants to their Maker’s glory, so that the superiority, even to them, of Him <who> is superior to the things that have been made glorious may be observed, proportionately, from the glorious creatures. (4) If, however, the one who is not yet given their name but who has equal rank by co-essentiality with the superior Being from birth, is [still of] a different kind than the superior Being <because of> the difference between them, he will even reduce the Superior Being’s rank, since the Offspring’s relation to the Superior is changed. (5) The Offspring is therefore not understood by faith to be the like offspring of a like parent and equal offspring of an equal parent, on the analogy of a physical offspring, but as God of God, light of light, and the subsistent Word of the Father. The unchanging glory of the Superior is thus preserved, in that the Superior <is> not his own cause, but generates from himself the equal of his pure and incomprehensible essence—co-essentially generates the real and subsistent divine Offspring. This is not a lifeless image, but replicates the Father’s kind—as, to assign equality with the Begetter to the Offspring, the sacred scripture says, “image of the invisible God.”
19,6 And lest it be supposed that there is a difference between image and identity, the Father himself, to provide for the restoration of our life, said, “Let us make man in our image and after our likeness” before this last text (i.e., Col 1:15). He did not distinguish himself from the Son, but used a dual and equivocal expression, “Let us make man,” to mean two, himself and the Son—or, indeed, I would also say the Holy Spirit. (7) And <by using the words, “in image and in likeness”> of the image’s exactitude, and saying besides with two words that [the Son] is not <unlike> [the Father], he said that there is one image. But with “our” he declared that it is the image of two persons, and that the man who is being made, is not being made in the image of the one but in the likeness of the two, and is being made an exact image. This makes it entirely clear that the superiority of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit remains identical and unvarying.
19,8 For neither the Father, the Son nor the Holy Spirit has taken anything from another nature, or given another nature participation in his nature and rank. Nor did the Only-begotten and the Holy Spirit originate from the Father by an alteration of his nature, nor by division of it nor emanation from it. He has declared to us, plainly and consistently, that, as the ingenerate and uncreated nature was always superior, so a superior Offspring and Holy Spirit were always of him.
20,1 3. But if, not from the inadequacy of his nature but because of his transcendence of every cause, he did not provide himself with existence, how can anyone concede that there is no difference of essence between the nature that provides existence and the nature that is provided with existence, when such a nature [as the first] does not admit of origination?
20,2 Refutation. You should look up, Aetius, realize your pitiable condition, and put a stop to the worse than impiety of your rash notion, <or> no one will suppose that I have not caught your madness and been over-awed by such temerity, but [rather] am giving godly counsel to you and myself. (3) For by supposing that, in the essentials and the things becoming to God, God is unlike and not the equal of the Son he has begotten, and by <seeing fit> <to preach> with extreme imposture that <the> Son <is “of ” him> by some holy act of creation, you are preaching, if anything, that God is like the Son in the most unsuitable ways, which do not become his Godhead.
20,4 In the first place, to think of God with such profoundly stupid irreverence is the fruit of impiety, or rather, of a diseased mind. (5) By saying that <he> is [either] his own cause, or else that he <provided> himself with existence, you, in your search and quest for the origin of God, have entangled yourself in two wicked opinions: that is, either he always provided himself with existence or he exists by chance. And when I contemplate your wicked piece of reasoning I am frightened and shake with fear. (6) Stop it! Let’s stop it! It is enough for us and our piety to understand and believe that the everlasting God was always God!
Indeed, you said, as though you had bestowed a great honor on God— though in this too you speak and reason foolishly—that God neither provides himself with existence nor <is his own cause>. On your premises, then, if the preservation of the faith depends upon words and arguments, <the divine nature would appear> to be in a category similar to that of inferior beings and wretched bodies. (7) No creature, from bugs to man, from men to angels, is its own cause or has provided itself with existence. (8) No created thing has provided its own being; each has received the inception of its existence from the only Being who [truly] is. So since you have been <foiled> and beaten by the arguments you thought you could use, stop your unnatural effort to measure yourself against One higher than you! For you will be thwarted in every way since, even though he derives his rank from the Father <by> begetting—or by generation if you will—the Only-begotten is equal to and like the Father. (9) He will be no different from his equality with the Father because of this, just as he will be no different from his likeness because created things cannot provide themselves with being—in the same way that He who is their superior and in all ways perfect did not have his origin from anything before him. (10) For he did not begin to be, either. He was always and is always, even though he remains as he is and does not provide himself with being. We have no need of synonymous expressions, but of the consideration <which> genuinely <makes for> piety.
20,11 And otherwise, since you have said, “And if, not from the inadequacy of his nature but because of his transcendence of every cause, he did not provide himself with existence,” learn for your own part that the Son’s name cannot come from inadequacy, because he has the special fitness for it of co-essentiality with his Begetter. (12) For as transcendence of every cause is most becoming to the Father, so the same one Godhead is becoming to the only <Son> of the only Father, with the only Holy Spirit—a Godhead which, not because of its inadequacy, but because of its transcendence of each and every thing <that has been made> from nothing, cannot admit of a cause. For there is one Godhead, which is enumerated by one name, “Trinity,” and is proclaimed by candidates for baptism in their one profession of the names of “Father, Son and Holy Spirit,” in the words that truthfully express the equivalence of the naming of a “Father,” a “Son,” and a “Holy Spirit.”
20,13 But again, you said, “how can one concede that there is no difference of essence between the nature that provides existence and the nature that exists, when such a nature [as the first] does not admit of origination?” And you neither understand, nor have understood, how you have deprived yourself of knowledge of God’s truth, because you are not taught the truth by the Holy Spirit, but are trying to penetrate the heavens by the wisdom of this world, which has been made foolish. (14) You will accordingly hear that [this wisdom] has been brought to naught for you: “The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise that they are vain.”
20,15 For He who begot the subsistent Word begot him equal to him- self and not different from his Godhead because of the difference between him and the Offspring, but <in all ways like himself.> For it would be entirely inappropriate for us to suppose that the Begetter himself has begotten the Offspring unworthily of himself, unequal to him, and inferior to the Begetter. (16) Scripture has said that all things were made through the Son, the subsistent Word, so as not to count him as a creature, but as the Father’s like and equal in <everything>, as befits the name, “Father”— forever <like> Him Who Is, not strange to him but his legitimate Son, as a Son begotten of him with the same essence.
21,1 4. If God remains forever ingenerate and his Offspring forever an Offspring the heresy of the homoousion and the homoeousion will be brought to an end. The essential incomparability [of the two] remains, since either nature remains endlessly in the rank proper to the nature.
21,2 Refutation. If God remains endlessly and ceaselessly in his ingenerate nature, as you have said, but the nature of God is eternal and in ceaseless possession of its rank, not because of something else but because it is God in his very essence and eternity in its very essence, then, if you call the Offspring “endless,” he must surely be co-essential with God. For you have turned round and granted the Son the title on convincing natural grounds. (3) For you will grant, and will be forced to admit, that “endless” means entirely boundless and unlimited. Very well, how can he not be co-essential [with the Father]?
Since you have seen fit to mock the truth and tried to insult it with an heretical name, <you will be> defeated by the very words you have used. (4) For you will either admit that the essence you have blasphemously termed different [from the Father’s] <has> an end—or, once you have declared him “endless,” you will be obliged to teach the entire unalterability of his rank and the indistinguishability of the rank of the endless [Son from that of the endless Father]. The truth will not allow that the Son has an end for, because the scripture says, “Of his kingdom there shall be no end,” he rules forever with the Father and the Holy Spirit.
Whatever has a beginning will also have an end, at the pleasure of Him who provided the thing that had a beginning with being. This is admissible in all cases, but inadmissible in the case of the Son. (5) For he is forever of the God Who Is and with the God who is, and never ceases to be. Therefore he was, and will be, co-essential with the Father, an only Son of an only Father, and in no way different in essence but is as the ranks of the names imply, of a Godhead which remains identical [with the Father’s], which has no amalgamation or beginning, which does not provide itself with being, and which admits of no unlikeness in itself. It is forever and never ceases to be, and is becoming to itself, for it is forever and ceaselessly in the rank of the Father of a Son, and of the Son of a Father, and of a Holy Spirit with a Father and a Son. For the Trinity cannot be compared with itself, since it admits of no distinction in rank.
22,1 5. If God is ingenerate in essence, the Generate was not produced by a separation of essence, but God gave it being by virtue of his authority. For no pious reason can allow that the same essence is both generate and ingenerate.
22,2 Refutation. You have come forward many times with your “ingen- erate and generate,” Mister, and brayed out God’s name, and yet buried your notion of him underneath all sorts of lawlessness. For that name is an object of longing to one who is in doubt about it, and the resolution of his doubts is a consolation to the doubter, < but > if his doubts are not resolved, <he is ashamed> even to say it. (3) And since you have no God you are <not> too proud to say this name if only to mouth it, for you have never received it in the fear of him, in faith and hope, and in love for him. (4) Otherwise it would have been enough for you to say this once, and not go beyond the allowable limit for repetition. The Savior’s pronouncement about you is plain, By their fruits ye shall know them”; for you are dressed in a sheep’s fleece, but inside it you are a disguised predator, like a wolf.
22,5 For if you were born of the Holy Spirit and a disciple of the apostles and prophets, you ought to go <looking> all the way from the Genesis of the World to the Times of Esther in the twenty-seven books of the Old Testament, which are counted as twenty-two—and in the four holy Gospels, the holy apostle’s fourteen Epistles, the General Epistles of James, Peter, John and Jude and the Acts of the Apostles before their time together with their Acts during it, the Revelation of John, and the Wisdoms, I mean Solomon’s and Sirach’s—and, in a word, in all the sacred scriptures, and realize that you have come to us with a name, “ingenerate,” which scripture never mentions. It is not inappropriate for God but an orthodox term for him, but it is nowhere to be found in the sacred scripture, since no one <but> a madman would ever conceive of God as being generate.
22,6 But neither did they need to say that only the Father is the “ingenerate God” because his Son is generate, to avoid giving the impression that ingeneracy applies not only to the Father, but also to the Son and the Holy Spirit. Right-mindedness and the Holy Spirit teach all the sons of the truth of themselves not to be unclear about this, but to have the knowledge of God which is requisite, and which in itself belongs to < right > reasoning with regard to piety. (7) But if Anomoeans <say that> <“ingenerate” is the proper name for God>, since he is ingenerate—and I too agree— <I shall reply that this term is not inappropriate>, but that they have no scriptural support for the use of the word. Piety knows of itself, by <correct> reasoning, that this <expression> is accurate. For why will there be a difference of essence <between the Ingenerate> and the Generate, if the latter really has the name because of his begetting, in some natural and ineffable sense—in a sense appropriate to God, and to the Son begot- ten of him without beginning and not in time, in reality and not in some accommodated sense of the word? (8) I therefore deny that his essence is created, or that it is different [from the Father’s] because of being a created thing, but [maintain] that it is really begotten, and not different from its Begetter.
It thus remains not created and not made, but begotten of the very essence of God, and unaffected by time. For his true Begetter was not affected by time, so as to give being to an essence affected by time. For as is the Offspring, so is the Begetter; as is the Begetter, so is the Begotten.
23,1 6. If the Ingenerate was generated, what is there to prevent the Generate from having become ingenerate? For on the contrary, every nature is urged <away from> that which is not natural to it toward that which is.
23,2 Refutation. If the Ingenerate made <the Generate>, and did not beget him, [then], since the name [of either one] is restricted to the one identity and neither is comparable with the other because of the real opposition of their meaning, the meaning of their relationship is the difference between the one and the other. For neither has anything in common with the other save only by the authority of the superior nature, <which is> the cause of all it has created.
23,3 But since there is another term between “maker” and “made,” and between “creator” and “creature”—a term close to “ingenerate” but a long way from “created”—you cannot confuse all this, Aetius, and deliberately do away with the Son’s share in the perfect name, which reflects the true relation of the eternal, uncreated Son to the Father. (4) <For> an ingenerate, uncreated being can never become a creature, and change back from creaturehood and return to its ingeneracy once more, even though you construct a million Aristotelian syllogisms for us, abandoning the simple, pure heavenly teaching of the Holy Spirit.
24,1 7. If God is not wholly ingenerate, there is nothing to prevent his having generated as an essence. But since God is wholly ingenerate, there was no separation of his essence for the purpose of generation, but he brought an Offspring into existence by his authority.
24,2 Refutation. God is both wholly ingenerate and wholly uncreated, and so is the Son he has begotten, and so is his Holy Spirit <whom> you belittle, you carnal and natural Aetius who are spiritually discerned! (For the Holy Spirit has his distinctive character [from God] in a way peculiar to himself, and is not like the many things which have been created of him, through him, and because of him.)
24,3 And so [the Son] will have nothing in common with all things, nor can any creature share his rank. For all things are transitory and pass away; and he leaves every logical argument behind him, <defeated> by the word of instruction from the sacred scripture, “No man knoweth the Son save the Father, neither knoweth any man the Father save the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him.” (4) But the Son reveals him through the Holy Spirit—not to those who argue about him, but to those who truly and fully believe in him. For even though you come with a million silly arguments, you pitiable object as I regard you, you can neither “find out his judgments” nor “search out his ways,” as the scripture says.
25,1 8. If the Ingenerate God is wholly generative, the Offspring was not generated as an essence, since God’s essence is wholly generative and not generated. But if God’s essence has been transformed and called an Offspring God’s essence is not unalterable, since the transformation brought about the formation of the Son. But if God’s essence is both unalterable and above generation, talk of “sonship” will admittedly be a mere verbal ascription.
25,2 Refutation. Not only you, Aetius, but every “heretic” should “be avoided after one admonition,” as the holy and wise commandment directs. For you stand “self-condemned,” inviting your own destruction and not compelled to this by anyone else. (3) Who can pity one who is “evil to himself and good to no one?” But for my part, lest you think in your self-<conceit> that the evils you have propagated in the world are important objections [to the truth], I myself shall go patiently on grubbing up your thorny roots with “the two-edged sword, the word of Christ,” by the sound, full and true confession of faith before God.
25,4 For glory to the merciful <God> who has found what sort you are—you who occupy the place of Judas, who was counted as one of the disciples but cut off from them, not by Christ’s intent but because he had learned the denial of the Lord from Satan. (5) And what need is there to say anything more to you, since you are entirely different from Christians—from prophets, apostles, evangelists, martyrs and all the saints who are prepared to convict you at the day of judgment? For they endured the rack until death, they were scourged, torn, consigned to the beasts, fire, and death by the sword, rather than deny that he is God’s Son and truly begotten of him.
25,6 For the Father is the Begetter of a sole Only-begotten, and of no one else after the One. And he is the Pourer forth of a Holy Spirit and of no other spirit. But he is the creator and the maker of all that he has made and continues to make. (7) Therefore, since many Sons are certainly not begotten and many Spirits do not proceed from him, and since the same Godhead remains forever and is glorified in a Trinity and is never augmented, diminished, or supposed not to exist, the rank is not limited to a mere name in the case of the Offspring. (8) [If it were], he would have many brothers like himself after him—as in the text, “I have begotten sons and exalted them,” and, “who hath begotten the drops of dew,” and, “of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,” and, “Have we not all one Father?” and, “my son Jacob,” and, “my firstborn Israel.” (9) These are all “sons” by a mere verbal locution, by analogy, because they have progressed from non-existence to existence, and are not [sons] essentially in the true sense of the word, but are merely <in locution> and by grace. Therefore they have been created by the One who is not called Son by grace or merely in name, but <is truly the Son. [They are] created by the One, through the One, with him who proceeds from the One and receives of the Other.
26,1 9. If the Offspring was in the Ingenerate God in germ, he was “brought to maturity,” after his generation, as we might say, by receiving accretions from without. Therefore the Son is not “mature” because of the causes of his generation, but because of the accretions he received. For things which receive accretions genetically, in the sense of being constituted by them, are characteristically termed “mature” in a distinctive way.
26,2 Refutation. If it had not been agreed that the Begetter is incorporeal, your entire performance might be worth staging. You scare no one else by staging it, however, but confuse your own mind [and deprive it] of the true confession of faith. (3) God, who is perfect in himself, begot of himself a perfect Son; he did not, contrary to nature, beget someone else. For the Son is not unsuited to his Begetter, and has no need to acquire anything from without. For, after the essence of God, there is nothing greater than God, which could share with God if he needed acquisition to come to maturity. (4) For He who is forever the incorporeal God has begotten the Incorporeal, by generation, to be with him forever; the Perfect has forever begotten the Perfect—God, who is spirit, begetting the subsistent Word, who is also spirit.
26,5 But what you say is silliness, Aetius, you treader on <the heights>, who get your ideas of God from syllogisms and out of your own logic-chopping head. For to the God who made all things from nothing and can do everything perfect at once, who needs no further benefaction and who governs these things by his decree, you are assigning the name of an essence that is subject to growth, and <a Word in need of extra divinity, and are not even putting him> on a level with his creatures. (6) For he made them perfectly at the beginning, and decreed by a wise ordinance that the things that would spring from them would have no need to acquire anything. Those are the things in which successive generations have been and will be born—heaven, for example, the earth, water, air, the sun, the moon, the stars, and creatures which have been born from the waters—up to man himself. (7) God did not make heaven imperfect, or the earth in any way imperfect. He made the earth perfect and heaven perfect, though it was “invisible and chaos” because of the order he was to impose on it. But he made water and the original light at the same time, making all things through the true Light, the uncreated and life-giving. (8) But then he made the things that have grown from the earth, and the firmament before that—not half-finished, but he made all things in their perfection. For <he says>, “Let the earth put forth herbage of pasture, sowing seed in its likeness upon the earth, and fruit-bearing trees whose seed is in them in their likeness upon the earth.”
26,9 And you see that the things God had made full grown needed no additional endowment at the moment of their creation; they were “adult,” as it were, and perfect at once, by God’s decree. (10) But the things which were bestowed on man to be his subjects and were with him in germ for him to rule, were not entrusted to him full grown. For man always knew the Benefactor who bestows being on all, but who is over all, and who provides each created thing’s benefactions for the sustenance of those who are of service to him.
26,11 God gave man the earth with the potential for growth, laying it out before him like a floor, as it were, and entrusting it to him as a womb, so that man could borrow the seeds produced by the plants which God had made perfect, and which were sown in the earth with spontaneous wisdom as a tree can do, [and the seeds] of other produce—borrow them from the mature plants in bits as small as a pebble (12) and sow this produce, and await what would be given for their increase < by > the perfect God. The crops man sowed would thus be increased from without, and man would not be unaware of the Provider of the bounty, think him- self the creator, and be deprived of the truth.
26,13 For even though Noah planted a vineyard, scripture does not call him planter; he “was made an husbandman.” There is a difference between God who bestows the original gifts on things that are to be, and man who has received being from God, to whom God’s husbandry is entrusted. The one is meant to tend the gifts needed for growth to maturity, but the other to provide the maturity, by his gift of his creatures and of things that grow to maturity. (14) And so with beasts and birds; so with domestic animals, reptiles and sea creatures. In the beginning they were all made full grown by the God who commanded it, but by the will of his wisdom they now need a gift [from him in order to grow]. This is intended for the mental benefit of man who rules on earth, so that <he> will recognize as God and Lord the God above all, the Provider of the seed-bearing plants and the gift of their growth.
26,15 For this reason God has left the heavenly bodies, which are not sown by human hands and which neither beget nor are begotten, in a full grown state. For they—the sun, moon and stars, for example—did not spur the human mind on to treachery and the pride of vainglory. (16) Not even the moon alters its appearance because it is born, wanes or waxes, but to mark and usher in the seasons, which God has regulated by the luminaries. (17) If God made corporeal things full grown at the outset when he chose, although they cause other things to decay, and they themselves decay, why should he beget the One he has begotten of himself—One [begotten] of one, the true God who is forever with the true God by generation—in need of any benefaction?
26,18 All right, Aetius, stop bringing me your worthless Aristotelian syllogisms! I have had enough of them and am not to be cheated of our Lord’s true teaching, which says, “I came forth from the Father and am come.” The saying is not meant loosely, but gives indication of the essence of God’s perfection and dignity.
27,1 10. If the Offspring was full grown in the Ingenerate, it is an Off-spring by virtue of properties which were in the Ingenerate, and not by virtue of those by which the Ingenerate generated it. [But this cannot be], for there can be no generacy in ingenerate essence; the same thing can<not> both be and not be. An offspring is not ingenerate, and if it were ingenerate it would not be an offspring, for to say that God is not homogeneous is to offer him sheer blasphemy and insult.
27,2 Refutation. In his desire to understand God through logical terminology of human devising Aetius introduces opposition, and <falsely> tries, with words, to mutilate the sure hope of the plain faith. He contrasts unlike with unlike, and sets expression against expression to force them to mean the impossible, the unlikeness <of the Son> to the Father.
For he himself will be out-argued by the very arguments he has taught the world. (3) He says, “If the Offspring were full grown in the Ingenerate, it must be an Offspring by virtue of the properties within the Ingenerate, and not by virtue of those with which the Ingenerate generated it. [But this cannot be], for there can be no generacy in an ingenerate essence. The < same > thing can< not > both be and not be. An offspring is not ingenerate, and if it were ingenerate it could not be an offspring, for to say that God is not homogeneous is to offer him insult and blasphemy.” This means that the ground gained by the words is exposed to attack on all sides, for the Son cannot be unlike the Father, or unequal to his perfect Godhead.
27,4 For if he will insist on saying this, but turns <the> words he uses against each other and keeps saying that “ingenerate” and “generate” are opposites, he should learn from this <to contrast> the created and the uncreated. For the one cannot share the rank of the other, which is fit<ness> for any sort of worship. (5) If a thing that is unlike [God] is fit for any worship, since it is the equal of something [else that is] unlike [God] there will no longer be any sense in distinguishing the one thing from all of them. The unlike <being> cannot be compared, in the position of its rank, with the One, even though this one thing out of all the unlike things has greater glory; the unlikeness of <all> of them to the One has nothing in common with the One. (6) And the end result will be that the sun, the moon, the stars, the earth, and further things inferior to these, will be objects of worship—but no longer the One, with the One Spirit, that is, one Trinity, one Godhead, one Worship.
27,7 And so, if we must draw this inference for this reason, it will truly be the correct one. For the one Word is not like all the words, nor is the one Son the same as everything that is called a son by analogy; for he is not one of them all, but the one through whom they all were made. (8) The thing which Aetius himself at the outset termed impossible, and an insult to God and sheer blasphemy—because, as he said, there is <no> non-homogeneity in God—is not part of the difference [between the Son and the Father], but part of [the Son’s] equality with the Father. And since the Godhead is not divided but is eternal perfection there are three Perfects, one Godhead. (9) But, if anything, the doctrine of unlike- ness was confirmed for us as a proof of the true faith, so that we will neither hold with, nor believe those who, by a rash preconception, have been unworthily <carried away> with the opinion of the pagans, who everyone knows worship the whole creation—which is unlike the Father who is worshiped in the Son, and the Son who is worshiped in the Father with the Holy Spirit, to whom be glory forever. Amen.
28,1 11. If Almighty God, whose nature is ingenerate, knows that his nature is not generate, but the Son, whose nature is generate, knows that he is what he is, how can the homoousion not be a lie? For the one knows himself to be ingenerate, but the other, to be generate.
28,2 Refutation. As a discriminator and surveyor who deals with the nature of God, Aetius, a human being who wants to know things that are beyond human nature, has said and declared that he knows—as a conclusion, not from scripture but from the arguments of the notions of mortals—that “Almighty God, who is of an ingenerate nature, knows that he is not of a generate nature.” (3) But never yet, from the very beginning of his treatise, does he say even by implication that the Only-begotten is a Son, as the original Arians did. (4) From the impudent remarks he keeps making, sons of the truth, observe at every point that he would like the Son to be entirely different from the Father, and to have no part at all in the divine nature. For there is no point <in his saying> that <God> knows he is ingenerate, and that he knows that he is not of a generate nature, and it is said <merely> <so as not> to call the Son a Son, even in name.
28,5 But his argument will be demolished. The Father is ingenerate and, because his nature is appropriate to him, has generated the Only-begotten eternally, <and is a Father> by his generation of the Only-begotten as his one and only [Son], and his issuance of the Spirit. [The Holy Spirit is] an only Spirit who <co-exists>, in addition to the Only-begotten, with the only Begetter; and who co-exists with the Son who is begotten without beginning. The Father is spirit and begets spirit; he is not a body which can be divided physically, and which decays, grows, and can be cut. (6) Therefore, in the cases of all other things that beget and are begotten, they may have need of each other for many reasons, but here the rank of the One who is with the One, is not like all the others.
28,7 Therefore the Begotten himself, who has been uniquely begotten of him who has awesomely begotten him—just as he has been generated by the Ingenerate—is fit for his Begetter. He <therefore> begets no further sons himself—I mean, not of his essence—so that, because <the Son> begets no one else of his essence and the Father is not begotten, the full glory of their rank may be preserved in both ways, in the single unity of the rank of Godhead: a perfect Father, a perfect Son, and a perfect Holy Spirit. (8) And thus the sacred scripture knows that the homoousion is no lie, and neither is the pious reason that has devoutly learned to glorify and worship the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit by receiving the grace [for this] from God.
29,1 12. If ingeneracy does not represent the reality of God but the incomparable name is of human invention, God owes the inventors thanks for their invention of the concept of ingeneracy, since in his essence he does not have the superiority the name implies.
29,2 Refutation. I too, as I say to address Aetius, <confess the doctrine of> ingeneracy, and do not deny it even though it is not in sacred scripture; it is an orthodox idea. But in saying “ingenerate” I acknowledge that the Father is indeed ingenerate and do not deny that the Son is generate, although I do say that he is not created. Nor, if I declare that the Son is generate, can I deny that he has his being from God the Father. For the Father begot him by an act of generation, and did not create him.
29,3 For as you purposely pervert yourself—it can’t be anything else—by thinking all crosswise about the “Generate and Ingenerate,” you yourself must hear the words, “The thoughts of man are inclined to evil continually from his youth,” with regard to human arguments, contradictory syllogisms and worthless human thought. (4) < But > I shall say for my part that, far sooner, it is inappropriate for the uncreated God to create creatures, and for the unmade God to make them. For if, as Aetius says, it is not proper that the ingenerate God beget, then it is inadmissible that the uncreated God create, and that the God who has not been made, make the things which are to be. (5) But since created things, and the greater part of their existing visible substance, are there to see, but do not befit the uncreated God <in the sense of> being his creatures, it will be desirable, in the end, that there be one uncreated God, and another who is created and, correspondingly, able to create. Otherwise the Incomparable will be cited for the change of created things, and, instead of what Aetius thinks of as suitable, will be regarded as unsuitable. (6) However, since the created God with the <power> to create is not self-generating but was created, another God will be required to be his creator, and another will therefore be invented. And there will be much idle talk about abysmal error, for our intellects will no longer be sound, but will be instances of the saying, “The servants of God were made fools, and from knowledge, every man was made foolish.”
29,7 For no one “liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself.” Nor will one learn to know anything but God, who has revealed his true faith to us < and said >, “This is my beloved Son, hear ye him”—and his Begotten, who has revealed his Father to us and said, “I came forth from the Father, and am come.” (8) And God did not get his incomparability from a human name, nor will the rank of the true, subsistent divine Word, begotten of the Father without beginning <and> co-essentially, be impaired because of God’s incomparability. For neither of them is indebted to human inventions for the names. (9) The Godhead receives no new rank, and no addition. The Godhead itself, of its fullness, provides for all—a fullness ever the same and never lessened, but ever bearing in its own essence the rank of its name, power and essence.
30,1 13. If ingeneracy is only something external observers observe to be God’s, the observers are better than the One observed, for they have given him a name which is better than his nature.
30,2 Refutation. True it is that no one is better than God—say I to Aetius, the inventor of all this. How can anyone be better than God, when all things have received their being from God? (3) But since God is the cause of his creatures, rational and non-rational, visible and invisible, he himself is better than all, even if his rational creatures are of a mind right as to orthodoxy, so as to give partial, [not full], honor to That which is better than they. (If everything put together, and innumerably more, which has been thought to apply to God’s praise, could compass the fullness of his glory, the Better <Being> would always be beyond the conception of its inferiors—even if they reach out with all their might, and beyond their might, towards the ascription of praise to their Better. For he is “better,” not [merely] in word, but in power, name and word.)
30,4 But the praise of the Better by the inferiors will not distinguish between Incomparable and Incomparable. It knows the superiority through ingeneracy that is inherent in the Father, and the superiority that has been begotten of him. (5) Therefore the right mind God has granted men confesses <the> homoousion. [It confesses this] to avoid inventing the unlikeness of the Son to the Father, and so dividing the superior, pure Perfection of Him through whom it knows [the Son] to have been truly begotten in an incomparable manner by his Begetter who, because of his superiority, is beyond any conception.
31,1 14. If ingeneracy is not susceptible of generation, this is what we maintain. But if it is susceptible of generation, the sufferings of generation must be superior to the real nature of God.
31,2 Refutation. To speak of any sufferings in God at all is the height of impiety. The Godhead is entirely immune to suffering, and very far above anything that occurs in our conflicting notions, <and> Aetius’ argument will be completely defeated. For whatever takes place in us accompanied by suffering, exists in God without suffering. (3) For in us, willing is partly suffering—I do not mean the will to be godly, but the will to do something beyond our nature, because we cannot do what our will would like—say a man’s will to fly, soar in the air, view the veins of the abyss, know the depths of the earth, and things of this sort.
But whatever in me involves suffering, is in existence without suffering in God. (4) For this reason God can do all he wills; for his nature does not conflict with his will, while our nature conflicts with as many desires as we have to reach out towards the impossible.
31,5 And because I have said that God does what he will, let no one by any means say that he does the unsuitable. Not at all! God wills those things that he does, proportionately to his rank, with his will not in conflict with his capability, or his capability contrary to his will. But <God does not do the unsuitable>, not because he cannot, but because he will not.
31,6 And otherwise. But come to think of it, after this freedom from suffering that exists in God, and after <the nature> in us and in other creatures that is subject to suffering, we must admit that there is, in fact, still another “suffering”; and after the second kind, a third kind can also be distinguished. (7) We beget and are begotten with suffering, since our nature, and that of the other creatures which are begotten and beget, can be divided and drained, can expand and contract, can be burdened and lightened, and all the other things which are subject to suffering for such a reason.
But none of these were in God in his begetting of the Son. (8) If there were one such thing in God—in accordance with <the> doctrine which serves <them> as an excuse for repudiating the “Offspring”—I must reply to them, as the representative of the other side, that there is a second suffering, suffering in creating, and that we suffer in begetting and being begotten. (9) God, however, whom you conceive of as a creator and not a begetter and whom, as an argument against us, you accuse of suffering in begetting, in order to deny the legitimacy of the Son but consign suffering in creation to oblivion—(but this is not a form of suffering in God, heaven forbid! <God is entirely impassible>. (10) We neither attribute suffering to God by the confession that he is the creator of all, nor, again, do we conceive of <another kind of> suffering in connection with him by confessing that he has begotten the true Son, truly without beginning and not in time.)
We therefore know that his nature is incomprehensible and not subject to suffering. (11) Hence we confess him both as impassible begetter and as impassible creator. For he begot the Only-begotten without suffering, sent the Holy Spirit forth from himself without being divided, and created what has been and is being created without being afflicted by ills or suffering. And he does what he will, in keeping with his Godhead, without reflecting first in order to determine by consideration whether the thing to be done ought to be done or willing to do a thing and, because of suffering, lacking the power to gratify will with performance. (12) He possesses at once will, deed, the begetting of the Only-begotten, and the creation of all things, for the divine nature and rank is far beyond the conception of Aetius’ logic, and the logic of all humanity. God is superior to all invention, and gives way to no suffering but is far beyond all sufferings and any conception.
32,1 15. If the Offspring is unchangeable by nature because of its Begetter, then the Ingenerate is an unchangeable essence, not because of his will, but because of its essential rank.
32,2 Refutation. How long has this man been coming to me with the same thing to say, and never going beyond its content? From beginning to end he has described exactly the same things, and nothing else, about the same things. He has revealed no mysteries to me, (3) and has not taught me God as he professes to; nor faith, working with which the apostles, with a sound confession of the truth, raised the dead, cleansed lepers and <performed> all the other acts of good concord, by which they gave examples of the real working [of miracles]. Instead he expounds useless, boastful syllogisms which do not go beyond their repetition, but are just that and nothing else. Please, then, none of you readers blame me if I attack the same points myself, since I am obliged to reply to his repetition.
32,4 For the Offspring is unchangeable as it befits Godhead to be, and the Begetter is unchangeable as, correspondingly, it befits his unchangeable nature that he be. The Begetter continues forever to have the Son he has begotten, and allows his creatures no expectation of knowing the Father without the Son, and of ever knowing the Begotten without the Father, and his perfect Spirit who proceeds from the Father and receives of the Son. (5) And this befits the rank of God’s essence—not to need any additional rank but to have it eternally in its proper identity.
33,1 16. If “ingeneracy” is indicative of essence, it may properly be contrasted with the essence of the Offspring. But if “ingeneracy” means nothing, all the more must “Offspring” mean nothing.
But how <could> nothing be contrasted with nothing? If the expression, “ingenerate,” is contrasted with the expression, “generate” but silence succeeds the expression, the hope of Christians may well begin and end [there] since it rests in a particular expression, not in natures which are such as the meaning of their names implies.
33,2 Refutation. After learning to stupefy the minds of the simple, why do these people love to anticipate the points against themselves! Aetius, who has his hope merely in an expression and not in truth, has impu- dently come forward to pin it on me, although it does not embarrass him to confess that the Son of God and God the Father <differ> in a mere word. And yet I, of all people, confess that the Father is real, the Son is real, and the Holy Spirit is real; for nothing else can be compared with the Trinity.
33,3 And therefore the homoousion is truly the stay of my confession, and not as an expression that can be canceled by use and disuse, like Aetius’ opinion of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. (4) There is actually a true Father, and actually a true Son and Holy Spirit, however many worthless syllogisms Aetius sows broadcast. As the sacred scripture says of such people, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,” and, ‘The Lord knoweth the thoughts of man, that they are vain,” and so on.
34,1 17. If the term, “ingenerate,” as against the term, “offspring” contributes nothing toward superiority of essence, the Son, who is [therefore] surpassed only verbally, will know that those who have termed him “Son” are his betters, not He who is termed his “God and Father.”
34,2 Refutation, No matter how much play-acting Aetius does for me, no pious reason can allow that those who have received being from Him Who Is are better <than the Son>. For he himself agrees that they have been made through him. (3) For those who have been vouchsafed his kindness, <and> are privileged to be called Christians because they truly know him and have been taught, not by flesh and blood but by the Father, and who are therefore rightly called blessed—like him (i.e., Peter) who recognized the Son of God, with the addition of “living” [to “God”]—have not learned to call him “Offspring,” as a verbal expression, but as a “true Son begotten of a true Father.” Nor are they spiritually discerned, <as> He who is spirit and only-begotten <discerns> the soulish Aetius as incapable of receiving the things of the Spirit.
34,4 <For> even though he says, “I go unto my Father and your Father, unto my God and your God,” <the Son remains above the beings which have been created through him>. (5) Neither of these names can be equated with names of other sorts; the truth abides forever, and each order which is needed in the Son of God truly teaches it clearly. (6) For “my Father and your Father” cannot apply to them in the fleshly sense; how can God, who did not assume flesh, be the Father of flesh? And “my God and your God” cannot apply to the Son’s divine nature and the disciples’ adoption as sons. (7) With <the words>, “my God and your God,” he who tells the truth in all things for our <salvation> was mysteriously assuring the disciples of his human nature. When he said, “my God and your God,” he <meant God’s natural> relationship to him by the “my”— and at the same time his relationship to us “which, in my kindness,” <he says>, “I allowed you to make your own by my coming,” as the scripture says, “He gave them power to become sons of God.”
34,8 Thus he himself took the form of a servant when he came among them, and partook of something recent in latter days (i.e., Christ’s human nature), though what was ancient (i.e., Christ’s divine nature) remained as it was and did not change in order to be mixed [with anything new]. The sons of men were changed to incorruption by participation in God, but not united with him in co-essentiality; and he who took the form of a servant indicated his recency by the word, “took,” but did not undergo a change, as is shown by “being in the form of God.” (9) Since these things are so, and are wisely confessed, with full knowledge, by those whom God has taught, neither “my God and your God” nor “my Father and your Father” will express any difference from the rightful common possession of the pure divine essence, <or> from the transcendence of the Father’s union with the Son, and the Son’s, and likewise the Holy Spirit’s, with the Father.
35,1. If the ingenerate essence is superior, and innately superior, it is ingenerate essence per se. For it is not superior to generation deliberately because it so wills, but because this is its nature. Since ingenerate nature per se is God, it allows no reasoning to think of generation in connection with it, and resists all examination and reasoning on the part of generate beings.
35,2 Refutation. Aetius has involved me with the same bothers and, as I said, got me to repeat myself even frequently, because of his repetition, from beginning to end, of the same remarks about the same things. (3) The faith which saves every faithful person has never consisted of the speculation of human reasoning; human ideas are fallible, and cannot attain to the boundlessness of the essence of God. (4) Indeed, the whole of our salvation, the life-giving mystery of Christ, is “to the Jews a stumbling block, to Greeks foolishness. But to us who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.”
35,5 Well then, wouldn’t one class Aetius with the Jews because of the stumbling block of his syllogisms, but <regard> him as Greek because, in his own would-be wisdom, he considers God’s truth foolishness? (6) For though the creator and artificer of all <is> one and is greater than all creation and handiwork, this does not mean that, because he is greater than his creatures, he does not make and create his creatures; he is not envious of his own goodness. For he is possessed of absolute goodness in his own right, and this is greater than all. He is not the victim of emotions, and it was not from envy or jealousy that he made what is out of what is not.
35,7 For he did not intend the things which he made, but which are inferior to his incomparable Godhead, to his own disadvantage, <making> his creatures <to his own harm>. He made them for his glory to manifest his own generous Godhead, for he is absolute goodness and self-existence and imparts being to all the beings he has created from non-being because he wills them—each creature in proportion—to share the gift of each thing. (8) To the luminaries he has granted light, to the sky the beauties of orderly arrangement, and portions of excellence to the earth and the rest, in accordance with his will. And on the angels themselves, and on other holy hosts, he has bestowed the gift of immortality; and on man he has bestowed the dignity of his image, and the gracious gift of life, knowledge and rationality. (9) And it was not only after hesitation, as one might say, that this came to him, by consent, or after a wait or a change of mind or on reflection, but of his absolute goodness. For his nature, in his absolute goodness, is to have, to make, and to complete all things in a way that is becoming to himself.
35,10 Thus, as God procured nothing unbecoming his goodness <in> this, but glory and the knowledge of an awesome bounty, so there is no additional glory for his Godhead when he becomes known and perceived by his creatures. (11) The Godhead is never in need of an addition of glory. <It is> absolute glory, absolute excellence, absolute wonder and absolute praise, because the Father begot a Son though he himself was not begotten, <and the Son was begotten> to be with the Father as an eternal Well- spring of an everlasting Wellspring—stemming from him as Wellspring of Wellspring, God of God and light of light, with no beginning, not in time, but truly having a Father, while at the same time the Father truly has a Son not unbecoming to his Father, and without prejudice to the Father’s incomparability. (12) For he is not a physical contraction but a subsistent Word, a Son of a Father, spirit of spirit and God of God. He excludes every speculation of logic, but is for the salvation of the faithful and of all that are made, through him and by him, by the Father, and who believe and know, and do not regard the power of God as foolishness—and do not regard the wisdom of God as foolishness, since it transcends all examination and all reasoning, particularly mortal men’s, as Aetius himself has unwillingly admitted.
36,1 19. If “ingenerate,” when applied to God, connotes privation but “ingenerate” must be nothing, what reasoning can take away nothing from a non-existent thing? But if it means something that is, who can separate God from being, that is, separate him from himself ?
36,2 Refutation. Aetius tells me the things the pagan controversialists say about “privation” as though he were discussing this with reference to the knowledge of God and <for a profitable purpose>, but without knowing, to start with, the cases in which “privation” is understood by the pagans. (3) Dialectic does not agree that “privation” can be spoken of with regard to everything, but only with regard to those things which possess something by nature. For, [Aetius to the] contrary, one speaks of “privation” <in the cases of> things which admit of the cessation the things they have by nature; one does not say it of things which do not.
36,4 Thus one cannot say “blind” of a stone. A person who is sighted by nature and then loses his sight, is called blind. But surely if a bird, a man, or <any> beast whose nature is to see—when it is deprived of sight, it is called “blind” in the sense of a privation. (5) Similarly we cannot say “even-tempered” of <a stone>, or “harmless” or “ungrudging;” this is not a stone’s nature. But of a man, or a beast with an irritable nature, one would speak of privation when it is not angry—but never in the case of things which cannot be angry.
36,6 I must apply this to God too, as though I were directing the argument at Aetius and cross-examining him. “Tell me, Aetius, do you know that God cannot be compared with all the things that are not of the same essence as his? Or would you even dare to count him as one of them all? (7) And if you would count him < with > all the things that are not of his essence, but which he has made from nothing through the Son who is begotten of his essence—[with all things, that is], with the sole exception of him (i.e., the Son) and the Holy Spirit, who is of the essence of the incomparable Father and his only-begotten Son—[if that is what you think of him], your confession of faith must be absurd in the extreme. (8) How can He by whom all things have been made from nothing, still be one of all things? This is impossible, and not even you would say it.
“But since he cannot possibly be like, or the same as, the beings which were made by him from nothing, he cannot possibly suffer like the beings which are unlike him—for whose emergence from non-being he is responsible, and all of whose qualities result from the privation of their opposites. (9) For some of them are sighted, not of themselves— (for they do not have being of themselves, but by the generous grace of its Giver)—and suffering may <be caused> in these by the privation of things which they had by the gift of the Giver. He, [meanwhile], is impas- sible and has his being from no one, and cannot be deprived, <like> the creatures which are made from nothing.
36,10 “Thus, if neither the Son, the Father nor the Holy Spirit is the same as they, but the Son is different from them and is not called by the same name, but has a special, incomparable name because <he is> absolute good and the Son of Absolute Good—[if all this is so], what can he have to do with privation <when> there are <no> opposites in <his nature>?” (11) There is no need for Aetius’ argument to tell me about privation, for it is not by the privation which is characteristic of creatures that the ingenerate God and his generate Son have their superior rank, but because of its natural and special appropriateness in itself to their being and Godhead.
So with God’s freedom from anger. This is not because he is <not> angry, but because he is absolute freedom from anger. And the reason he is “ingenerate” is his absolute <in>generacy, even if the Son is generated from the Ingenerate. For talk of privation in the sense intended by the person suggesting [it] has no relevance to Him who is not comparable to the other beings. (12) For neither can the others be equated with the Generate, nor does the Ingenerate impart co-essentiality [with himself ] to creatures. This is not because impossibility is an attribute of the Mighty [God], but because, due to the unique nature of the one God, and his only-begotten Son with the Holy Spirit, impossibilities do not apply to the Mighty [God].
37,1 20. If the “privations” of states are the removals of them, “ingenerate” as applied to God is either the privation of a state, or a state of privation. But if “ingenerate” is the privation of a state, how can something God does not have be counted as one of his attributes’? If “ingenerate” is a state, however, a generate essence must be assumed to precede it, so that it may acquire [a new] state and be called “ingenerate.” If, however, the generate essence partook of an ingenerate essence [to begin with], it has been deprived of its generation by sustaining the loss of a state.
Generacy must then be an essence but ingeneracy a state. But if “offspring” implies a coming to be it is plain that the word means a state, whether the Offspring is made out of some essence, or whether it is what it is called, an “Offspring.”
37,2 Refutation. By already fighting fiercely, on the subject of privation, on the side of those who are strange to the faith, Aetius too has armed himself against the faith with the same weapons as they. But he says nothing that is based on the faith, and has not remembered what was said to those who say foolish things of their own invention and do not hold the Head of the faith—as the word says in refutation of them, “I said in my astonishment, All men are liars,” after “I am deeply humbled.”
37,3 Now, however, he again spends his time on the same things, and cites the rubbish of the terms, “privation” and “state,” and the reasonings of shaky human speculation. And though he is spiritually discerned he takes no trouble to restrain the special onslaught of an <idea which stems> from human villainy, because of which he <undertakes> to say what he pleases about God. (4) Moreover, he once more obliges me to dwell on the same things myself although I have discussed the topic of privation at length, and to spend my time in refutations of him. And the previous refutation should be enough since, being equally weighty and the same as his syllogistic argument, it can used against each one.
37,5 But we must not leave a hard-mouthed horse unbridled, whether it is galloping toward a ditch or has already been checked in its career. Nor may we give way to a man who is saying the same things against the faith, and not reply to him. So I shall speak again <to the question of> (6) “If the privations of states are the removals of them, ‘ingeneracy,’ as applied to God is either the privation of a state or a state of privation” and, “If it is the privation of a state, how can something God does not have be counted as one of his attributes?”
37,7 And if <you pretend> to think of God in this way or that way, Aetius, and guess at “states” with regard to God, you will be deprived of your mind. No matter how many ideas about God enter your head to be stored away there—except just to believe him, marvel at him, and glorify him with all your heart!—you will be exposed as unable to out-argue God, his Son or his Holy Spirit, so that God will convict you, and you will be made a liar, as the scripture says. (8) There are states, wants and shaky ideas in us, since that is our nature and essence. But we can also speak of the nature and essence of God; and because we hear of God’s nature and ours, and God’s essence and ours, this does not mean that we are to compare the incomparable God with our nature. (9) And so with all that you say about God, Aetius. The Godhead is per se transcendent, incomparable, perfect in itself, with no need of anything; for it is absolute perception and absolute will.
37,10 Thus God has not been deprived of his <own> essence by incomparably begetting an incomparable only-begotten Son, nor <has he deprived the Offspring>, whom he has begotten of him as the only Offspring of an only Father, of his rank—nor the Holy Spirit. For the Off- spring has no equality of nature, rank, or anything else with other beings. (11) God has not deprived himself of his incomparable Godhead in state or essence. Nor, as I said, has his Offspring been deprived of his Father’s rank and his equality with the Father, (12) since it, like his Holy Spirit, cannot be compared with anything at all.
In fact, it is a perfect Trinity: the Father perfect, the Son perfect, the Holy Spirit perfect. It is not an identity and does not differ from itself or have any subordination. (13) Otherwise what had been distinguished would remove the Offspring’s incomparability, and what had been altered would cause a deprivation of [its] being, for it would either be called [an Offspring] in appearance and not in truth, or else it would be named by a mere word in passing, and not really exist. At any rate, this is the way your idea is meant, Aetius, for it tries to exclude him from the definition of faith, (14) “He that cometh unto God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that seek him.” And this cannot apply to the Father alone, “for he that hath not the Son hath not the Father;” and if one speaks of the Son, he cannot do so “without the Holy Spirit.”
37,15 For the Father is truly “true God,” as the Son, who knows the Father, testifies. And the Son, who is known and witnessed to by the Father, is “true light.” And the Spirit, who is not different [from God] but proceeds from the Father and receives of the Son, is the “Spirit of truth.” (16) But these truths put an end to all the syllogistic story-telling of your words, Aetius, and I cannot be told to become a disciple of your master Aristotle, and abandon <the teaching> of the fishermen who, though “<un>learned and ignorant men,” were enlightened in the Spirit of God, and by God’s power were heralds of the truth as it was vouchsafed them. For the kingdom of heaven is not in syllogistic speech and boastful talk, but in power and truth. (17) Indeed I have heard enough, from the beginning, of your argument about the privation of states and accidents, and that generate essence does and doesn’t assume ingeneracy, and that it sustains the loss of a state with a state, and the involvement of generate essence with a state which is, however, ingenerate; and the passing mention of an “offspring,” though this means “only in the state [of being an offspring]” and, because it has been remodeled from some essence or other, indicate<s> a state, even though, as you have said, it is called an offspring. (18) For your sick fancy says <the> same things on the same subjects, and never utters the last of its repetitions.
38,1 21. If “ingeneracy” is a state and “generacy” is a state, the essences are prior to the states; but even though the states are secondary to the essences, they are more important.
Now if ingeneracy is the cause of generacy and means that there is an offspring which implies the cause of its own being, “offspring” denotes an essence, not a state. < On the other hand >, since ingeneracy implies nothing besides itself, how can the ingenerate nature be not an essence, but a state?
38,2 Refutation. As you see, friends of the truth, Aetius is once more attempting to form an argument that distinguishes states in God, and states after God. And he puts some of them first, and others second. (3) But it is not right to assume firsts of God, or speak of seconds. God has all things at once and needs no additions. This is why pious reason does not allow the Offspring to be conceived of as born at some time. (4) <Nothing new> co-exists with God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit—that is, with the Trinity that Is. And so the God Who Is, is called the Father Who Is, and the Son Who Is is with Him Who Is, begotten with- out beginning and not in time. As the scripture says, “With thee is the well of life,” and, “in thy light shall we see light”; and “he who is in the bosom of the Father”; and “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was God.” And it says likewise of the Holy Spirit, “My Spirit is in the midst of you.” (5) And you see that there is nothing new in the Trinity. Therefore there is neither essence before state, nor state before essence.
38,6 And even if you make us say “state” of God, Aetius, we do not mean the precarious states, subject to change, which are in all the things that have non-essential states; and we do not mean anything in God that is more honorable [than He], or of later origin [than He]. We mean every- thing that, for his glory, is suitable to his rank; one glory and one honor to the one Godhead, “that they may honor the Son as they honor the Father,” (7) and not blaspheme the Holy Spirit—because of the threat that does not forgive their sin either here or in the world to come. Nothing different [from this] can fitly be understood, worshiped or glorified in connection with the Trinity. We speak of, and truly glorify a Father in the Father, a Son in the Son, and a < Holy Spirit > in the Holy Spirit, just as the true faith fitly < requires > that we accord worshipful reverence to the one Trinity, and know its rank. (8) And the Ingenerate does not need the Generate to contribute to its essence, making the Generate the cause of its essence < because > Generate denotes < an essence >. And the essence of the Begotten neither is, nor is called, a state of the Unbegotten.
38,9 For the Trinity is in need of nothing and receives no increment. Though the Trinity was always itself and no creature, this does not mean that it was by random chance, or for the honor of an additional title or an increase in dignity, that the Father thought of creating heaven, earth and all things visible and invisible through the Son, and stablishing the whole host of those very creatures of his by his Spirit—to gain the additional tribute of being called Creator and Artificer from the creation of the creatures and the making of creation, <and> of being perceived as Father besides, by the Son through whom and by whom the creatures had been made, and by the Holy Spirit in whom what was stablished had been stablished. (10) For God did not make his handiwork because he was changed from state to state and altered in his nature and essence, < or > as though by reflection and a changeable <mind>. He had eternal creativity and perfection in himself and needs no increment of glory. (11) And as no creature may conceive of an additional state in God and suppose that this is required by God’s dignity, essence and glory, so Aetius, who wants to out-argue God about “ingenerate,” “generate,” and his argument about God’s state and essence, will be stopped short. For it is agreed that all created things genuinely exist, and have not been contrived as an addition of glory to a God who needs none—just as we may not say that the Only-begotten and his Holy Spirit are the same as God’s creatures, for this is not acceptable.
38,12 But since Aetius, with his chatter about high things and his impu- dent reaching towards the heavens, has come to me with syllogisms but draws his analogies from the creatures below, it will be found that he himself <has accomplished> nothing <worthwhile> with his logical arguments. For the wisdom of men passes away, and men’s syllogisms are buried [with them]; “His spirit shall come forth and turn him to his dust.” (13) For all human argumentations are transitory and humankind will pass away, together with the artful reasoning about the faith of Aetius <and persons like himself>. But as the scripture says, the faith, hope and the love which he has despised abide.
39,1 22. If every essence is ingenerate like Almighty God’s, how can one say that one essence is subject to vicissitudes while another is not? But if the one essence remains above quantity and quality and, in a word, all sorts of change because of its classification as ingenerate, while the other is subject to vicissitudes <and yet> is admitted to have something unchangeable in its essence, we ought to attribute the characteristics of these essences to chance, or, as is at any rate logical, call the active essence ingenerate but the essence which is changed, generate.
39,2 Refutation. I deny that every being is unbegotten, or that every being is begotten of God. The God who has begotten the Son who has been begotten of him, and who has sent his Holy Spirit forth from himself, did not beget all beings. He begot One, who is therefore only-begotten; and he sent one Spirit forth from himself, who is therefore a Holy Spirit. But he created all beings through the One, and stablished them in the One, and some of them beget after their creation and are begotten, while some have been created, but neither beget nor are begotten.
39,3 But the uncreated being of the Trinity is far different from the beings that have been created, and not begotten, by the Trinity. (4) And so the Trinity is impassible and changeless, but all things after the Trinity <are> subject to suffering—unless the Impassible should grant impassibility by virtue of immortality, granting this as a generous gift to whom it will. They, however, do not have impassibility by virtue of an incorporeal nature, but by the generosity of the good and impassible God.
39,5 For not even the Only-begotten procures suffering in the flesh for his Godhead—although it is believed, by a true confession that stems from the true faith, that he suffered in the flesh although he was the impassible divine Word. But in his impassibility he remained the same, with no change or alteration of nature. (6) Therefore, since he was wis- dom and impassible God, and knew that by suffering he would save those who are subject to the pain of death, he did not send “a messenger or an angel,” or <anyone> further like the prophets before him, but came himself as Lord, assumed passibility and truly suffered, though his divine nature remained impassible.
39,7 For the incarnation did not weaken the power of his Godhead. We find him in his Godhead doing the works of God, and not prevented by flesh. He rebukes the wind, storm and sea, calls Lazarus by his sovereign authority, and does innumerable other things and more. (8) But he also allowed the flesh such things as were suitable—allowed the devil to tempt him, for example, men to strike him, the authorities to arrest him—so that the Impassible would suffer in his passible nature, but remain impassible in his proper Godhead. (9) For he is not different from the impassible God, but does all things willingly in accordance with his awesome mystery—just as the Father contains all things, who is God with the Only-begotten himself and his Holy Spirit, one forever perfect Trinity and one impassible Godhead. He is one God and one sovereignty, for the same God contains all.
39,10 And his containing of all things does not make him passible, although the things he contains are subject to suffering. For God is within all and without all, not mingled with any. (11) And though God is every- where, is without all things and contains all things, and all things are moved within him, they will not bring suffering on the impassible God— just as, <though> he has begotten the Only-begotten, or < because > the Only-begotten has been begotten, or though God’s Holy Spirit has been sent forth, this will not bring suffering on the Holy Trinity. (12) For neither is the Holy Spirit passible, even though he descended to the Jordan in the form of a dove. Nor is the Only-begotten passible, even though he was baptized and touched by John; nor the Father, even though he cried from heaven in a voice audible to men, “This is my beloved Son; hear ye him.” (13) The Son, then, is immutable. And the Father is unbegotten, while the Son is begotten <but> impassible. And the Holy Spirit, who came forth, is also <impassible>. But all other things are creatures. The Holy Trinity, <however>, retains its quantity and uncreated name, with no change in the Supreme Being and no liability to suffering on the part of the Begotten, for neither does the Begetter suffer.
For the Offspring is not corporeal, but spirit [begotten] of spirit and Son of Father. (14) And the Spirit is likewise “of him,” Spirit of the Father, Spirit of Christ, not created, not begotten, not their kinsman, not their ancestor, not their scion. For the incomparable being of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit surpasses all conception and all understanding, to speak not only of men, but of angels. (15) Neither the Only-begotten, nor his Father, nor his Holy Spirit underwent any change because the Only-begotten suffered in the flesh despite his impassibility, his Holy Spirit <descended> in the form of a dove, and the Father impassibly uttered a cry from heaven in the hearing of men. (16) Just so the angels when they were created, and the heavens, the earth and all things, underwent no change and suffering at the hands of their maker. The whole is an awesome mystery as the scripture says, “O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God!”
40,1 23. If the ingenerate nature is the cause of the nature that has come to be, and yet “ingenerate” is nothing, how can nothing be the cause of a thing that has come to be’?
40,2 Refutation. The ingenerate nature has a <causal> relationship in a different sense—not in the sense in which it is causally related to all things—to its only-begotten Offspring and the Holy Spirit who proceeds from it. But it is not causally related to them in the way in which that which exists is causally related to that which does not. For the Begotten is not begotten of nothing, and neither the Begetter nor the Holy Spirit who proceeds from him are non-existents—on the contrary, the Existent is the cause of the rest. (3) Therefore the holy Trinity co-exists in its own eternal glory, forever in an existence proportionate to each name for its rank. For the things which have been made from nothing, have been made by the Trinity, and not by anything external to it.
Therefore not even the Father is the cause of created things by himself, but the Father, Son and Holy Spirit made all things. (4) If the Son were different [from the Father], as though he <had been made> from nothing by a cause, he would have come forth along with everything else, and would himself have been the same <as they>. And God would have not been the cause by generation of the Son who had been brought forth, but would have been his cause by creation. And it could not be admissible that the one be called an offspring and the others creatures, but all should be called offspring along with him, or he should be called a creature like all the rest. And nothing would be exceptional (5) since, in that they were created from nothing, the One would be equivalent to all. I should say that not just angels would be equal to their maker and only-begotten creator, but men and cattle, and everything else that is infinitely inferior to his nature and rank.
40,6 <However>, He Who Is <forever> co-exists with Him Who Is Truly Begotten of him, though not in time—not [made] from nothing, but [begotten] of him. (7) And his Holy Spirit, which is in being, does not differ from his essence, and is not provided to God as though for his assistance, which is what Aetius says.
41,1 24. If “ingenerate’’ is a privation but a privation is the loss of a state, and if a “loss” is completely destroyed or changed to something else, how can the essence of God be named after a changing or vanishing state by the title of “ingenerate?”
41,2 Refutation. If the opinion of God which is to be derived from your syllogisms has been provided for God’s glory only in your time—as your words above suggest—I too shall direct the same sort of remarks to you with God’s permission, and address you myself. For since none of the ancient apostles or prophets in the Old and New Testaments held this opinion, you are asserting your superiority to God himself, and your unshakeability. (3) According to what you say, only in your time did the Godhead acquire this syllogistic subtlety of yours for its creed—this speaking about the privation of the ingenerate and generate, about the complete loss of a state and its change, and the naming of God with a word for the divine essence.
41,4 Since God is the creator of all things after his Only-begotten and Holy Spirit, there cannot be any privation of things which are not his attributes. Nor has the affirmation of attributes been acquired, so that his later creations add something better to God, and his purity can be conceived of through its ability to be deprived of that in favor of this as well as through its changelessness. (5) The Godhead, however, is forever the same, and though it is wholly glory, and wholly incomprehensible by all its creatures, it is glorified by all, in accordance with the capacity of those who exert themselves in its praise. By the angels it is glorified in the tongue of angels, which the apostle declares to be preferable to men’s. <But by men> it is glorified in the tongue of men, which is of an inferior capacity; <by the other creatures>, in accordance with their still more inferior ability. (6) And God’s glory has by no means been lessened or changed because God < is glorified > in each creature proportionately to <its ability>. It is unchangeable in itself, while all creation, in addition to its endless exertion of itself in praise, suffers deprivation; but the Supreme Being forever surpasses all understanding, and is neither changed, altered nor improved by the things everyone says are permitted to it. For the same Godhead is superior, incomparable and glorified.
42,4 If you worship the Father only in name, you have given him the honor deceitfully. And if you worship the Son while recognizing that he is unlike the Father, you have introduced confusion into the worship by honoring unlike equally with unlike. (5) If, however, you deny the Son worship from the prejudice of your unbelief, you will be reproved by all for failing to recognize Him who is rightly worshiped by all, and who is equal [to the Father]. “For all the angels of God shall worship him,” and Mary and all his disciples worshiped him when he had risen gloriously in the flesh. (6) For they knew that he does not have the title of “born” or “created” <but> is begotten of the Father; and they worship him as the real God [begotten of] the real God, and worship the Holy Spirit, who is of him.
42,7 For they know that he differs in essence from creatures; he is not born or created, but begotten of the Father. And so, Aetius, after laboring over everything, spending a great deal of time, and introducing strange terms, <in the end you too> will worship him. (8) “For we must all stand before the judgment seat,” and “every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord”—Jesus Christ, who is not different from God but “to the glory of God the Father,” as scripture says and as we believe.
43,1 26. If, as applied to God, “ingenerate” is a mere name, but the mere expression elevates the being of God over against all generate things, then the human expression is worth more than the being of the Almighty, since it is has embellished God the Almighty with incomparable superiority.
43,2 Refutation. “Ingeneracy” is not a mere name when applied to God, and does not have any relationship of essence with created things. Thus “created things” is not a mere name either. But since another name in between “ingenerate” and “created” is needed, and this name is “Son”— <generate> and yet not created—which name shall we make the exception (i.e., exceptional in being a “mere” name, though the other two names represent reality)?
43,3 And if we grant that, [as Aetius says], created things are related [to the Son], then, since neither of the things we are mentioning (i.e., “creatures” and “Son”) is spoken of with a mere name, (4) mere naming is not allowable in the case of the Generate and Son, just as mere naming is not allowable in the case of the Ingenerate and Creator, and in the case of created things. Aetius’ senseless quibble will therefore show confusion in his reasoning, since, because created <nature> exists in reality and not <by> the mere naming of it, created beings cannot be equated with the name of “Son.” For the Son himself does not permit the naming of “Son” to be the naming of a mere name.
43,5 But since the non-existent is not real, and the Son is not called “only-begotten” as a mere name, he is united with the Father’s glory and is not to be mixed in with the category of creatures. (6) For the God-head has no need of elevation, as though it did not exist. Nor does it need exaltation, even though, by some ignorant people, it is not exalted. And the being of the Godhead is not constituted by anyone’s verbal locution. (7) No expression, of men or other creatures, can boast of winning glory as though for a God who needs it, or of embellishing God almighty, the God whom we worship, the God who is the master, creator and artificer of the expression. (8) For it does not suppose that it surpasses him in glory and is the beautifier of its own creator. Otherwise it would regard itself as worshipful, and certainly not worship Him who is to be worshiped. And your treatise, Aetius, starts a useless argument against all this to no purpose.
44,1 27. If there is a cause to correspond with everything generate but the ingenerate nature has no cause, “ingenerate” does not denote a cause but means an entity.
44,2 Refutation. Everything generate indeed has a cause, and I do not admit this as though I have learned it from you. The faith of the truth foresees, confesses at the outset, and teaches that God has no cause at all, and that he is uncompounded and entirely unequaled.
44,3 I myself, therefore, do not worship anything that is inferior to the essence of God himself, since it is proper to accord divine honor only to the Absolute—to the ingenerate Father, the Son [begotten] of him, and the Holy Spirit [who proceeds] from the Father and through the Only-begotten, since nothing in the Trinity is created and falls within the province of causation. (4) For nothing in the Trinity is made from nothing, like other things, which fall within the province of causation and have causes.
And so, since the Trinity is without such a cause, it has inerrantly taught that it alone can be worshiped; for it alone is without a cause. (5) But all other things must be categorized as caused. For they are things which have been made and created, while the Father is uncreated, and he has a Son who is begotten of him but not created, and a Holy Spirit who pro- ceeds from him and yet is not his handiwork.
44,6 Since this is the case the Son, who is worshiped, has not inherited128 the suffering of his cause even though, in the Father, he has a Begetter. And neither has the Holy Spirit. And other things, the creatures, cannot be the cause of any inheritance without suffering [themselves], since they are created by the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. (7) But the Only- begotten—and his Holy Spirit—can plainly be the cause of inheritance without suffering [themselves], for the Son is not a creature but an off- spring and, since he has been begotten, will not inherit the causation of suffering. Neither will the Holy Spirit, since he proceeds from the Father. (8) For neither can the Father be classed as one who suffers in causing things because he has begotten [the Son], has sent the Holy Spirit forth from himself, and has created all the rest after the Son and the Spirit— though surely, all other things suffer in creating and begetting. (9) Therefore the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are uncaused; but the Trinity is the cause of all things, for it creates and fashions them jointly, mean- while knowing that nothing within it is created or fashioned.
45,1 28. If whatever is made, is made by something, but ingenerate being is made neither by itself nor by something else, “ingenerate” must denote essence.
45,2 Refutation. To appear to be the inventor of a dialectical argument Aetius has come at me with this too, as though he were telling me something new and unheard of. There is simply no need for him to prove this particular thing. It is not in dispute, <its> perennial <obviousness is not in contradiction> to the truth, and it is confessed in the catholic church. (3) For “<If> whatever is made, is made by something else, but ingenerate being is made neither by itself nor by something else, ‘ingenerate’ must denote an essence.” (4) What is more cogent than this? For Aetius has turned round and selected the term, “essence,” which <is> regularly <rejected> by the Anomoeans themselves and the Arians, since he is plainly compelled by the truth to acknowledge it.
45,5 Ingeneracy, then, is an essence, and has generated the Only- begotten without defilement and without suffering, not in time and with- out beginning, not from non-existence but from itself. It has also sent the Holy Spirit forth, from itself and not from non-being. Therefore the holy Trinity is plainly declared co-essential by the orthodox teaching in the catholic church. But no created thing can be so termed, since neither by nature nor in divine majesty is it like the Only-begotten and the Holy Spirit. (6) Such things are created from nothing and cannot be worshiped, but the Trinity is eternal—the Father a perfect Father, the Son a perfect Son begotten of the Father, and the Spirit a perfect Spirit, proceeding from the Father and receiving of the Son. (7) And everything in the sacred scripture and the holy faith is crystal clear to us, and nothing is tortuous, contradictory or knotty.
46,1 29. If the ingenerate being is implicitly indicated to be the cause of the Offspring’s existence and, in contrast with every [other] cause, is invariable, it is incomparable essence in itself [and] its matchlessness is not implied for any reason external to itself but because, being ingenerate, it is incomparable and matchless in itself.
46,2 Refutation. Aetius attacks the same points many times, as I myself have said many times, and merely burdens me and nothing more. In the present instance I have had to add to my burden and repeat the same points to the same people, since Aetius has seen fit to do this. (3) For if the ingenerate being that begot is implied by the being of < the > offspring, the Begetter will not differ in rank from the Begotten <because of> begetting him. For he begot him of himself as an essence—spirit of spirit, and not body of body. Therefore the Begetter is implied to be incomparably well suited to the Begotten, and the Begotten to the Begetter. (4) For the Godhead needs no increment, or it would be called Father at one time but not at another. And neither can the Son be found <released> from the heavenly bond (i.e., of the Trinity) by not being a Son at one time, but being a Son now. Thus God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit is of the same essence and not of different essences.129 (5) For God is neither a kinsman nor a late arrival, but <a co-essential Trinity>, with the name, “Father,” ineffably well suited to the Son who is co-essential with him; and his Holy Spirit, who proceeds from the Father through the Son and <receives> what is the Son’s, suitable to the Father and the Son.
46,6 Incomparability with all the creatures which are inferior to the Trinity and which have been created by the Trinity itself, is therefore characteristic of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. But the Trinity is not incomparable with itself, for it is uncreated, ingenerate and matchless. (7) Hence nothing can be equated with the Father, and nothing which has been made from non-existence and not begotten [by him] can be worshiped together with him. For he never said, “Sit thou on my right hand,” to a creature. Nor, surely, did the Unbegotten say of any creature, “He that hath seen me, hath seen the Father,” “I am in the Father and the Father in me,” and, “No man knoweth the Father save the Son, and the Son save the Father, and he to whom the Son will reveal him.” (8) But he reveals him through the Holy Spirit, who knows, teaches and proclaims what is the Son’s in the world “and searcheth all things, even the deep things of God.”
46,9 This is why Christ said, “He that honoreth not the Son as he hono- reth the Father, the wrath of God abideth on him.” And he didn’t say, “He that honoreth not angels as he honoreth the Father,”—or, in turn, “He that honoreth the Son as well (as the Father)”—but, “He that honoreth not the Son as he honoreth the Father.” And to show that the incomparability and matchlessness of the Trinity is in the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, he likewise said, “It shall not be forgiven him that blasphemeth the Spirit, neither here nor in the world to come.”
47,1 30. If the Almighty surpasses every nature, he surpasses it because of his ingeneracy, and this is the very reason for the permanence of generate things. But if “ingenerate” does not denote an essence, how will the nature of the generate things be preserved?
47,2 Refutation. It is fitting to state and confess, and so hold fast to the doctrine that the Almighty, from whom the only-begotten divine Word and his Holy Spirit have inexpressibly come forth to us, surpasses all nature. (3) And therefore we surely do not acknowledge a creature as God, or we would be made fools of. But we glorify the Trinity which surpasses every nature, the Son with the Father, and the Holy Spirit, because of its ingeneracy and uncreatedness. (4) For since the Only-begotten and the Holy Spirit are not of another nature but are God of God and light of light, the Only-begotten too will be called, “Almighty,” together with the Almighty Father, as the sacred scripture plainly says. (5) For the Only-Begotten’s rank is not different from the Father’s, as the holy apostle expressly testifies in the Holy Spirit when he says of the children of Israel, “of whom are the worship and the covenant and whose are the fathers, of whom according to the flesh is Christ, God above all, blessed for evermore, Amen.”
47,6 Therefore the Only-begotten is also fit for worship and is God, the Holy Spirit is the divine Spirit, and there is no other God after the holy Trinity. (7) Instead the Father is almighty and so is his only-begotten Child, Jesus Christ, who is fit for the Father’s rank and is called the Father of the world to come. And he is also fit for his Holy Spirit, and the Trinity is forever manifest and known in its uncreatedness. (8) Because of this Trinity there is causation in all created things, and this is indicative of the perfect and incomparable essence—Father in Son, Son in Father with the Holy Spirit—which has eternal permanence in itself. For created things owe their preservation to this Trinity.
48,1 31. If no invisible thing preexists itself in germ, but each remains in the nature allotted to it, how can the Ingenerate God, who is free from any category, sometimes see his own essence in the Offspring as secondary but sometimes see it in ingeneracy as prior, on the principle of “first and second?”
48,2 Refutation. Aetius should give me warning of his questions in advance and put them clearly—especially this expression < he introduces >, (i.e., “in germ”) which is reprehensible and in no way akin to his illustrations, since neither of the beings he has named can be equated with the other. For he has come to me with the names of many invisible beings.
48,3 There are the spiritual invisible beasts, I mean the Seraphim and Cherubim, as well as angels, which are “spirits,” and certain others of which it is true that nothing about them is “in germ.”
48,4 For no one would say that invisible things are bodies, for they neither beget nor are begotten. Plainly, they were created in accordance with the will of the everlasting Godhead. Each creature has been assigned whatever virtue He Who Is has allotted it in the excellence of his generous lovingkindness, and each has received its allotted portion and abides by it. (5) And God is independent of all cause, contains all things, and does not have his Son—or his Holy Spirit—with hesitation, or regretfully after a lapse of time.
He has a Son in a way that befits the eternal possession of a Son begotten—and only-begotten—with the Father always within him; and he also has the Holy Spirit who is of the Father and receives of the Son, and has him everlastingly.
48,6 For the abundance of the everlasting Godhead does not depend on a lack of glory or the addition of glory. But while no creature is ever- lasting, when did the Trinity see itself with its abundance lessened, and see this at one time, but at another time see itself with an increase of essence, as though it needed it—and at still another time see itself with a further increase of glory or abundance after the creation of its creatures? (7) And in sum, <the nonsense> of those who choose to bring forward and advance the speculations of human reasoning against the truth and make them public, will do no harm. The rank of God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, surpasses all the understanding of angels and greater beings, let alone man’s.
For human reasonings of are of no value, and men’s thoughts are mortal because they skewer themselves on syllogisms and disputations. (8) Thus others have been condemned by their own arguments, and <have drawn inferences> from some quibbling speculation, some, about the origin of evil, others about the devil’s origin or why he was made, others about God’s purpose in creating man such that he would sin, others about God’s reason for accusing man later after making him like that. (9) [All this] to learn, after ringing the changes on all their arguments, that they are mortal, and to ascribe majesty and knowledge to the < God who is glorified* > in the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, that is, to the one Trinity—(10) after asking and receiving the knowledge of the true faith from him—and not to try to overstep their bounds. Instead they will learn to desist from blind reasoning, and not talk cleverly with their wagging tongues and foolish arguments, but be circumspect at the wise command of the holy and divine scripture which says “not to think more highly than they ought to think, but to think soberly.”
49,1 32. If God retains an ingenerate nature, there can be no question of his knowing himself as [both] originated and unoriginated. If, on the other hand, we grant that his essence continues to be ingenerate and generate, he does not know his own essence, since his head is in a whirl from origination and non-origination. But if the Generate too partakes of ingenerate nature and yet remains without cessation in his generate nature, he knows himself in the nature in which he continues to remain, but plainly does not know his participation in ingeneracy; for he cannot possibly be aware of himself as both of ingenerate and generate essence.
If, however, the Generate is contemptible because of its proneness to change, then unchangeable essence is a natural rank, since the essence of the Ingenerate admittedly transcends every cause.
49,2 Refutation. There is no doubt that God retains an ingenerate nature since he has created and made all things from nothing—the Father <who> begot from himself a Son who is co-essential with him and fit for his eternity, and [produced] the Holy Spirit who came forth from him with the suitability for co-essentiality with him. (3) And although the Trinity created all things, visible and invisible, from nothing, this does not mean that that which corresponds with God’s rank, the eternity of Him Who Is, is denied by the recent origin of the name of the creatures. (4) But the supreme essence on high is denied to the creatures, since it is not co-essential with them, but called them out of non-being into being.
Thus the Son, who has not been begotten of non-being but of Him Who Is, may properly be contemplated together [with God], for [God’s] essence neither stretched nor shrank [in begetting him]. The Father, who is spirit, truly begot his Son as spirit, and produced the Holy Spirit from himself— and is neither unknowing of himself, nor aware of a shrinkage, a broad- ening or a division of his essence. (5) It makes no sense that God should not know all these [latter] things <of himself>, just as it is unaccountable that <the Son and the Spirit>—that is, the Holy Spirit <that searches the depths of God>—should not know the Godhead.
And the Ingenerate does not fail to share co-essentiality with his Off-spring, nor the Generate to be eternal with the Father. (6) For the Father knows the Son and the Son knows the Father, since the Trinity remains endlessly uncreated and the Only-begotten is endless, for he is begotten of Him Who forever Is, and in his own perfect nature, himself truly Is. (7) He therefore knows himself. And neither is the Son ignorant of the ingenerate essence of the Father, nor the Ingenerate of the essence of the Son, for the only-begotten divine Word is worthy of credence when he says, “No man knoweth the Father save the Son, and the Son save the Father.”
49,8 Therefore never mind the pronouncement of this great Aetius, “He cannot possibly have knowledge of himself both as of ingenerate and as of generate essence.” (9) The Only-begotten has already delivered his verdict in the form that follows, by saying that he and no one else knows the Father—(though at the same time he allows for the inclusion of the Holy Spirit, as he says elsewhere, ‘The Spirit of the Father shall teach you.” But if the Spirit is the Spirit of the Father, he is not ignorant of the Father either.) (10) But by saying, “No man knoweth the Father save the Son,” <the Son showed in the same breath> that he always knows the Father—showing his own matchlessness, and the Father’s and the Holy Spirit’s matchlessness, in comparison with all other beings, which are not eternal but have been made.
49,11 But if he has already <said> that he always knows the Father, it is no use for Aetius to come tiptoeing in with his worthless teachings. For it is clear to everyone that he plainly thinks in human terms, and is condemned as fleshly and soulish by Him who knows himself, the Father and his Holy Spirit. (12) The Godhead, then, is exempt from all causation—not only the Father, but the Son and the Holy Spirit as well, since all are agreed that the Godhead of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit transcends every cause.
50,1 33. If the Ingenerate transcends all cause but there are many ingen- erates, they will [all] be exactly alike in nature. For without being endowed with some quality common [to all] while yet having some quality of its own— [a condition not possible in ingenerate being]—one ingenerate nature would not make, while another was made.
50,2 Refutation. Of course the Unbegotten transcends all cause, since the Ingenerate is one and is an object of worship, but the object of worship is different from the worshipers. (3) But the Trinity is an object of worship because it is a unity and a Trinity enumerated in one name, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. And it includes nothing different from itself, but the Father has fittingly begotten, and not created, a Son. (4) For the Offspring is forever of the Begetter—as is the Holy Spirit who has come forth from him—since the Offspring is the <Son> of Him Who Is. The Trinity, then, exists in one uncreated unity, while all that has been created from nothing is caused by the Trinity itself. (5) The one Trinity is therefore one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, containing nothing different from itself: uncreated, unbegotten, unfashioned, a Trinity which is not made but makes, which includes the name of no creature but creates, which is one and not many. (6) And although they are many, all things are caused by it but are not enumerated with it.
Thus no share of the incomparable essence is allotted to any other nature. (7) There is therefore no created nature in the essence of God; God’s essence is creative of all that cannot participate by co-essentiality in the incomparable—in the one essence of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. To one who has received the knowledge of the truth it is plain that the divine nature reveals this to him, <since> it alone is worshiped and not created things, just as it alone, and not created things, baptizes in its own name.
51,1 34. If every essence is ingenerate, one will not differ from another in self-determination. How, then, can we say that one [such] being is changed and another causes change, when we will not allow God to bring them into being from an essence that has no [prior] existence!
51,2 Refutation. Every opponent of the truth has gathered an amazing number of trivial sayings and expected to fall upon people, get them upset, remove them from the way of life, and ruin them. Aetius expects to overawe the simple here although he is not really saying anything with this proposition. For he says what he says unnecessarily, and has employed the term, <“ingenerate”>, at this time, from his usual habit of trotting it out for no good reason.
51,3 The ingeneracy of every essence is not acknowledged even by the wise themselves, or every essence would be regarded as God. (4) But since not all essences are treated as God, but one rather than all—the one God- head in Trinity—how can this fine fellow still suppose that an awe of him will overcome the sons of the truth? (5) One essence will differ from another because the Trinity creates them; but all things are created by the Trinity and it alone is self-determined, while all that it has made is determined by it. The latter sort of essence is changeable but the Trinity’s essence is changeless, though it is constantly changing the things that are changed by it, and is able to bring their essences and subsistences out of nothing. (6) For it is fitting that God should transform as he wills the ordering of <the> things he has made, and has brought into being out of non-being and nothing.
52,1 35. If every essence is ingenerate, every one is exactly alike. But the doing and suffering of an essence that is exactly like [all the others] must be attributed to chance. However, if there are many ingenerates which are exactly alike, there can be no enumeration of their ways of differing from one another. For there could be no enumerations of their differences, either in general or in some respect, since every difference which implies classification is already excluded from ingenerate nature.
52,2 Refutation. Not every essence is ingenerate. It is foolish to think <this>, and whether Aetius intends it as a declaration or as a query, both the argument and its statement belong to pagan ignorance. But plainly, Aetius intends it as a query. (3) Then let him ask the pagans this, and let them agree with him that this follows from their argument; for they give the title, “matter,” to something that is contemporaneous with God. And if Aetius agrees, let him get caught with them! The truth is that there is one Maker, which consists of one essence of a perfect Trinity, <which is>, and yet is not enumerated as an identity. But all other things are born and created, and not ingenerate.
52,4 But the Godhead is uncreated, with the Father begetting, the Son begotten, and the Holy Spirit sent forth from the Father himself and receiving of the Son, while all [other] things are created. Indistinguishability in power is properly confined to the Trinity. And all Godhead is ascribed to the Father because of the rightness and certainty of belief in one God, and the refutability of belief in many. But the rightness of the Son is fittingly reckoned in proportion to that of the Father and the Holy Spirit.
52,5 This being so, the device of the query will fail of its treacherous purpose from the start. There are not many indistinguishables; there is one Trinity in unity, and one Godhead in Trinity. (6) But all other things are separate, and their doing and suffering is not by chance. Nor can the holy Trinity suffer in doing a thing; the whole—I mean the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit—is impassible and worshipful. (7) For God made all things through a Son, but he did not make the Son—(the Son is not one of all the creatures, for he assists the Father and is worshiped together with him)—nor did he make the Holly Spirit. (The Holy Spirit is not one of the totality of God’s creatures; he strengthens the power of all, and he is worshiped.) (8) But all things are subject to the providence of the One, and each one endures, acts, suffers and <does> everything else <in accordance with the will of the One>.
Thus the one Trinity is indistinguishable from itself but the other things, <which> it has made, are different from it. (9) It alone is eternal, uncreated and unbegotten—though the Son is begotten independently of time and without beginning, but ever existent and never ceasing to be. (10) Thus for safety’s sake the word of God has taught that the Father is the head—and yet not the beginning—of the Son, because of their co- essentiality. The Holy Spirit also, who has been sent forth from the Father, is with the Father forever and has had no beginning in time.
53,1 36. If “ingenerate” and “God” are exact parallels and mean the same thing, the Ingenerate begot an Ingenerate. But if “ingenerate” means one thing while “God” means something else, there is nothing strange in God’s begetting God, since one of the two receives being from ingenerate essence. But if, as is the case, that which is before God is nothing, “ingenerate” and “God” do mean the same, for “Offspring” does not admit of ingeneracy. Thus the Offspring does not permit himself to be mentioned in the same breath with his God and Father.
53,2 Refutation. How does Aetius want me to grasp the meaning of the questions which are raised by his arguments? And if he says through arguments and syllogisms, my speculation will fail just like his. (3) For no one can ever out-argue God, nor, as the scripture says, “shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?” But by pious reasoning and the right confirmation of it one must return, by means of the holy scripture, to the teaching of the Holy Spirit.
53,4 Now since an unalterable pronouncement teaches us that those who worship a creature have been made fools, how can it not be <foolish> to take a creature for God and worship and honor it, when faith by its nature denies worship to the creature and the creature to worship. (5) Indeed, there will be no advantage in Christianity if it is in no way different from those who give divine honor to the creature. Such faith will be idolatry rather than piety.
53,6 For they too worship the sun, the moon and the heavenly bodies, heaven and earth, and the other created things. And the superiority of [certain] created things arouses no awe, and even if one creature is outweighed by the other the special character [of one creature] will not set it apart from the honor that is common to them all because of their common name (i.e., “creature”). There is One who has made both [of the creatures being compared], and has allotted each, not a difference of name but a difference of essence.
53,7 For in the case of all created things the creature’s name is “servitor,” not “free.” And if the servitor in any part [of creation] is worshiped, the worship [of it] will be no different from [the worship of] any other part, even if it is inferior. For it is the same as the most exalted part, by its kinship with the creature which has been made to be, after non-being, by Him Who Is.
53,8 “Ingenerate” is therefore a fit name for God, and “God” for the ingenerate. Thus we do not call the Offspring a product or artifact, but an offspring begotten essentially and without spot of the Father, co-essential with the Father and fit to be worshiped with him. And neither do we call the Holy Spirit, who is of him, different; he too is fit to be worshiped. (9) But the word, “God,” is not uttered in the same breath with any other being, a creature, since the creature has been made different from ingen- eracy because it has been allotted being after non-being. The Trinity, how- ever, is eternal, and “God” and “Ingenerate” are not different things.
53,10 But your admission, Aetius, that the Son has been begotten of the Father, is deceptive and not sincere. Whatever is begotten is not created, and whatever is created is not begotten. But if a begotten thing is created, it is created in a different way, as, for example, men beget men but do not create them, since they themselves have been created by God on high. Thus the things they beget have been begotten by them, but all things have been created by God.
53,11 Now since God is uncreated but has begotten—not created—a Son, he begets nothing different from his own essence. How can his Offspring be created, then, when the Father is uncreated? If he calls the Offspring a creature, it cannot be called an Offspring.
And there is a great deal to say against such an absurd speculation. (12) But it does not become even God to be without a Son at one time, and be called “Father” later, after [begetting] a Son. Nor is it becoming to the Son that there be a time before him; if there is, the time will be greater than his greatness. (13) But the perpetual possession of unfailingness and eternity, in the identity of their qualities, is becoming to the Father. And nothing was before God, this is plain. It can be shown, then, that “God” and “Ingenerate” are the same, as Aetius has said; and in somehow impli- cating these with each other Aetius accuses himself rather than proving his point. (14) For if “God” is used together with God, as it is, “ingenerate” is also an acceptable term for the “Begotten Son”; ingeneracy is implicit in God. (15) The divine Word is mentioned in the same breath with the Father because of his Godhead, uncreatedness, and joint honor with the Father, even though this is of no help to Aetius; for all creatures worship the Son, and “every tongue confesses that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father,”147 to whom be glory, the Father in the Son with the Spirit, unto the ages of ages. Amen.
54,1 Aetius’ closing valediction
37. May the true God, who is ingenerate in himself 148 and for this reason is alone addressed as “the only true God” by his messenger, Jesus Christ, who truly came into being before the ages and is truly a generate entity, preserve you, men and women, safe and sound, from impiety in Christ Jesus our Savior, through whom be all glory to our God and Father, both now and forever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.
54,2 Refutation. Even at the close of Aetius’ letter to his gang whom he addressed as “male and female champions,” he did not desist from this sort of verbal wickedness. In his valediction too he gave proof of the strangeness of his doctrine. (3) For he says, “The true self-begotten God preserve you safe and sound,” and without realizing that with one word he has destroyed all the implications of his inquiry. He spoke of the “Ingenerate God” in the propositions above, but by introducing a “self-begotten God” to us here he has made no allowance for <God’s uncausedness> and the fact that he did not make himself. For every <evil> notion forgets itself, the better to be detected.
54,4 Next he says, “he who for this reason is alone addressed as ‘the only true God.’ ” But going by what Aetius says and thinks, he is either keeping the Son from being “God,” and misrepresenting the name < because he wants > to be called a Christian, or else he believes that the Son is God but not a true one. And [in that case] he will have one true God, and one who is not true. (5) And because Aetius finds one Person below another in a descending order and assigns the Holy Spirit a still lower and inferior rank—or again, will hold that the Spirit is a lesser “God” or not count him as one of the Trinity—the pathetic object will be an entire stranger to Christians. May he be denounced in the end as a complete pagan and Sadducee, a stranger—as he is—to the Holy Spirit, and comparable to the pagans in his lot. (6) For he claims that there is one greater and one lesser God, one true God and one not true. The pagans confess that one God is supreme but call the others lesser. But the sacred scripture plainly confounds him. It says that the Father is “the true God”, and likewise says “God” of the Son150—and it says, “God is light,” of the Father, and “He was the true light” of the Son. And of the Holy Spirit it says, “the Spirit of truth.” Thus the Trinity is truly proclaimed to us in “wisdom and the depth of its riches.”
54,7 Next after this he even says, “by his messenger, Jesus Christ.” He was not ashamed to regard the Only-begotten as unworthy of the name of God, but employed the mere verbal title, just as, in the above propositions, he accorded the Son the honor of the divine name only verbally.
54,8 However, he says, “who truly came into being and is of a nature truly generate,” but says, “He will keep you from impiety.” Any loose woman attributes her behavior to others from the start. Not seeing how great his impiety has been, he believes himself pious, as madmen suppose themselves sane but the others crazy.
54,9 But here <in writing>, “in Christ Jesus,” he did not dare to acknowledge him as “our Lord,” but deceptively called him “our Savior.” (10) And he says, “through whom be all glory to <our God and> Father, now and forever and unto the ages of ages. Amen.” Even “all glory” is meant to strip the Son of honor and glory. May none of the pious, who have received the gift of the true faith from the Holy Spirit, ever acquiesce in this!
54,11 But now that I have discussed all these things that Aetius has said in thirty-six syllogistic propositions with a certain skill in debate and the inferential guesswork of human trickery, (12) I urge you to read them attentively, and you will know his earth-bound nonsense at once, Christian people, servants of Christ and sons of the truth, which has nothing to do with the teaching of the Holy Spirit. (13) Aetius did not dare to mention the word of God even in one paragraph, or any text of the Old or the New Testament—not from the Law, the Prophets, the Gospels or the Apostles. He did not dare quote a line of the patriarchs’, of the Savior himself; never one of the Father’s, not one oracle of the Holy Spirit delivered through apostles or prophets. He thus stands fully self-exposed, to the friends of the truth, as an entire stranger to God and his faith.
54,14 I believe that I have opposed his propositions, as best I can even in untrained speech, but that I have confronted him with proof from the sacred scriptures, and from pious reason itself. (15) And since I have discussed the faith clearly enough in my refutations of him I feel that this will do, so as not to create any further difficulty in reading by making additions.
54,16 But once more, <I shall mention and indicate> a few of the ideas <he introduced> in his vanity, after his foreign creed and his hatred of Christ and his Holy Spirit, and take up, and briefly state and discuss, all the <foolishness> his mouth, and his disciples’ mouths, dared to utter in his arrogant pride and inordinate blasphemy.
54,17 For with their idea of knowing God not by faith but by actual knowledge, he and his disciples were the most deluded of all. I mentioned somewhere above that they say they do not simply know God with the knowledge of faith, but as one might know anything which is visible and tangible. As one might pick up a rock or club, or a tool made of some other material, so this good chap says, “I know God as well as I know myself, and do not know myself as well as I know God.”
54,18 But in the end, talking and hearing nonsense is a deception to many, but a joke to the wise. For what person who has contracted insanity and gone mad can fail to drive others mad, particularly his followers and subjects? (19) Suppose someone demanded of him and his pupils, “Don’t tell me that you know the incomparable, incomprehensible God, whose form cannot be perceived, but who is known to his servants by faith! Describe the foundations of the earth to me, the storehouses of the abyss, the veins of the sea, the location of hades, the dimensions of the air, the form and thickness of the heavens! Tell me what the top of the heavens is, the bottom of the underworld, what is to the right, what is to the left of creation! Tell me how you yourself were made, and the number and dimensions of the innumerable things on earth!’’ (20) Then after hearing this, as some of their dupes have told me, his disciples resort to quibbling excuses and finally say deceitfully, “All these things are physical, and we cannot know them. But we know clearly what sort of God made them, how he is, what he is like, and who he is.”
54,21 But who can hear this without at once laughing at them? It is sheer foolishness to say that one knows, and has accurately described, the incomparable, ineffable Artificer. And if only Aetius would say that he knows and has described him by faith, and he and they would not venture to say that they know him by a sort of direct knowledge! But the things the incomparable God himself has made, and which, because of their innumerable <kinds>, can <only> be wondered at by those who see them, he says that he and his followers do not know. (22) And most of all, the sacred scriptures everywhere plainly declare that God is invisible, incomprehensible and beyond our understanding, but that it is known only by faith “that he is, and that he is the rewarder of them that love him.”
54,23 But when anyone with an orthodox view of God’s glory, faith, love and incomprehensibility tells them, “We know that God is incomprehensible, we know that God is invisible, ineffable, but we know that, in his invisibility and incomprehensibility, he actually is,” this exponent of the new dialectic dares <to reply> with light mockery, as though to tell a story, (24) “What are you and your faith like? Like a deaf, dumb and blind virgin who’s been violated. Everyone who knows her can see that she has, but if they ask who her seducer is, she can’t hear to know they’re asking. And she hasn’t seen her seducer because she’s blind, and can’t say who he is because she’s dumb.”
54,25 Now the reverse is true of him and his story, for as the scripture says, “His travail shall return on his own head, and he shall fall into the pit which he hath made,” and the like. (26) Aetius himself is like a man who was born blind but can speak—indeed, speaks at length—and can hear, and knows the names of white and black, hyacinth, light green, red and the various other colors, and light and dark, and has been told their names. But he surely has no knowledge of their appearance and cannot possibly describe it, because he was born blind to begin with, and does not know the variation and appearance of the qualities of the colors. (27) The reality which answers to the distinction between each of their names is experienced by visual perceptions, but never by verbal explanation to one who does not know their appearance to start with, or by handling and touch. (28) So when people who are blind from birth talk about them and know enough to contrast black with white, and green with hyacinth, purple, scarlet and the other colors, but we ask them the quality of their appearance and the color of each quality, they cannot say, and cannot learn it from us. They can only convince each other by talking, but they deceive their hearers as though they know all about the distinction, even though they are describing <the indescribable> in words and are ignorant because of their inability to comprehend it.
54,29 Even so Aetius himself, who jokes about the seduction of the deaf, dumb and blind virgin, has come to me to talk about God. In fact, going by his blasphemy, it is he who has been spoiled, and his ignorance is like blindness from birth, (30) because he talks about God but by describing <the indescribable> in words, and ends even by making his disciples shameless.
For there is nothing that they do not dare. When they are under cross- examination by someone and are hard pressed, they blaspheme the names of prophets and apostles and leave at once, turning away with the words, “The apostle said this as a man,” but sometimes, “Why quote the Old Testament to me?” (31) But this is no surprise in view of the Savior’s words, “If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more them of his household.” If they deny the Lord himself and his true glory, how much more his prophets and apostles?
54,32 But his disciples have been inspired to still further madness, as has their successor, a person miscalled Eunomius (i.e., “law-abiding”), who is still alive to be a great evil, <and introduces> another piece of impudence. For he rebaptizes persons already baptized—not only people who come to him from the orthodox and the sects, but even from the Arians. (33) He, however, rebaptizes them in the name of God the Uncreated, and in the name of the Created Son, and in the name of the Sanctifying Spirit created by the Created Son. (34) And to make it clear that it is no longer faith which their whole workshop of jugglery, theater and farce proclaims, but practically clowns’ work, some maintain that he baptizes his candidates for rebaptism upside down, with their feet on top and their heads below. (35) And while they are in this position he obliges them to swear an oath that they will not abandon the sect he has cooked up. (36) But they say that when this same Aetius had been recalled from exile after Constantius’ death by Julian on his accession to the throne, and when he was still a deacon in his sect, he was raised to the episcopate by a bishop of his sect.
54,37 This is <the> information I have <about> Aetius and his disciples, to whom some have given the name of Anomoean because he has come to an opinion still more frightful than the heresy of Arius. (38) With God’s help I have gone through his doctrines in detail as best I can, as though I had stamped on the serpent called the many-footed millipede, or wood-louse, with the foot of the truth, and crushed it with the true confession of the Only-begotten. Giving our accustomed thanks to God, beloved, and summoning his power to the aid of our weakness, let us go on to the remaining sects (39) to the best of my ability and understand- ing, and call, as I said, on our Master himself, to come to my aid in the exposure of the sects and the refutation of them, so that, by his power, I may be able to keep the promise which, despite my unimportance and mediocrity, I have made.