Cover

I. Introduction


Lost in the darkness I fade from the light
Faith of my father, my brother, my maker and Saviour
Help me make it through the night

Blood on my conscience
And murder in mind
Out of the gloom
I rise up from my tomb
Into impending doom
Now my body is my shrine

The blood runs free
The rain turns red
Give me the wine you keep the bread
The voices echo in my head
Is god alive or is god dead?
Is god dead?

Rivers of evil
Run through dying land
Swimming in sorrow
They kill steal and borrow there is no tomorrow
For the sinners will be damned
Ashes to ashes you cannot exhume my soul

Who do you trust
When corruption and lust
Creed of all the unjust leaves you empty and unwhole
When will this nightmare be over?
Tell me when can I empty my head?
Will someone tell me the answer
Is god really dead?
IS GOD REALLY DEAD?

To safeguard my philosophy
Until my dying breath
I transfer from reality
Into a living dead
I empathize with enemies until the time is right
When god and Satan at my side from darkness will come light

I watch the rain as it turns red
Give me more wine, I don't need bread
These riddles that live in my head
I don't believe that god is dead
God is dead

[Solo]

Nowhere to run
Nowhere to hide...
Wondering if we will meet again on the other side
Do you believe a word
What the good book said?
Or is it just a holy fairy tale and god is dead?
GOD IS DEAD
God is dead
GOD IS DEAD
God is dead
RIGHT

[Solo]

But still the voices in my head are telling me that god is dead
The blood pours down the rain turns red
I don't believe that god is dead
God is dead
GOD IS DEAD
God is dead

 

(Black Sabbath, God is Dead?: http://www.darklyrics.com/lyrics/blacksabbath/13.html#2)

 

A closer look leads to an interesting read:

 

God Is Dead?,’ the lead single from Black Sabbath’s forthcoming reunion project ’13,’ includes some of Ozzy Osbourne’s most probing — and topical — lyrics to date. He drills deep into questions about God’s place in the order of things as troubled times give way to terror attacks in the name of religion.

 

Osbourne, in a talk with the BCC’s Zane Lowe, says the idea sprung from the cover of a magazine that announced, “God Is Dead.”

 

I suddenly thought about 9/11 and all these terrorist things and religion and how many people have died in the name of religion,” Osbourne said. “When you think about the tragedy that’s happened throughout time, it just came in my head. You’d think by now that their God would have stopped people dying in the name of, so I just starting thinking that people must be thinking, ‘Where is God? God is dead’ — and it just hit me.”

 

Black Sabbath released the track, part of its first full-length album project with Osbourne since 1978, last week — just as the nation was coming to terms with another senseless attack, this time at the Boston Marathon. That only served to add another layer of chilling resonance to lyrics like these: “Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide / Wondering if we will meet again on the other side / Do you believe a word of what the good book says / Or is it just a holy fairy tale / And God is dead?”

 

It’s notable that both in those lines, and in the song’s title itself, Osbourne offers only the question, rather than the kind of definitive statement found within the cover story which inspired him.

 

At the end of the thing,” Osbourne says, “there’s still a bit of hope — because there I sing that I don’t believe that God is dead. It’s just a question of when you see so many dreadful people killing each other with bombs, and blowing the tube trains up and the World Trade Center.”

 

Steve Schlicht commented on May 8, 2013: God isn't dead. God simply does not exist - as is readily comprehended by the sheer lack of evidence for any of them as promoted by the assorted religious adherents. The real hope is found in understanding that while we humans are certainly culpable for and capable of horrible atrocities in this world - we are also fully culpable for and capable of great love, joy, protection, caring, compassion, justice and empathy for others that not only helps us endure tragedy and despair...but to prevail over all of it – together” (http://ultimateclassicrock.com/black-sabbath-god-is-dead-lyrics-uncovered/).

 

Isn´t that a very deep and honest answer transcending usual nonsense we hear all day long from the media? Yeah, Schlicht is right: God does not exist. To exist means in Latin “to step forward” – from what should God step or come forward, if He is the source of all that is? Existence is only a term fitting in categories of BEING: something is and can be. Thus it has nothing to do with the Source or Ground of Being. God does not EXIST – it is better to say: God happens. Strange enough, God can´t be described in terms of BEING, and at the same time He is somehow interwoven with it. Nikolaus Cusanus has a notion for such strangeness: coincidentia oppositorum, meaning coincidence of opposites – God means that which matters, or as Paul Tillich said, has to do with ultimate concern. Again – I find it better to say: God happens.

 

With Jesus of Nazareth the oddly God, both near and far, is said to have appeared in human flesh, an epiphany of the human kind under human restrictions. And here the story about the man of Galilee did start and has not come to an end yet. What is it that attracted countless humans throughout time, space and whatever conditions? This book is trying to provide a tiny answer to that heavy question.

 

By the way, if you watch the song video (see here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uMa2ga8gqEw) you will see that Ozzy must have known the “Zeitgeist” documentary (see here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OrHeg77LF4Y) proving his deeper interest in the case of God and Jesus. My subject in this book is not Ozzy Osbourne (though I always loved to listen to him), nor the Zeitgeist movie (which is indeed an amazing film everybody should watch with discernment). If Ozzy Osbourne has time to look deeper when it comes to God and Jesus, we should also take our time to watch and dig and uncover hidden treasures, and there are many waiting for discovery. The case of Jesus is one of them. Here is the reason I publish this book being a collection of many different views and approaches encountering Jesus of Nazareth, and it schould be a good cross section of all those countless writings about the man from Galilee. As you read above – not even people like Ozzy Osbourne were able to leave the case well alone.

 

And please do not miss having a look here for further readings: http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/jesus/gerdluedemann.html.

 

Black Sabbath´s latest album “13” (see here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VWa3mPQLWHg) has deeply moved my soul as I could listen to incredibly mature “crazy ramshackle men" I know from times I was a teenager. The book contains twelve segments, and the reader may forgive me I decided to use one song a time in front of each such part. I simply did it for love and inspiration without having any “dark” or odd agenda. The stuff is more than remarkable, I guess… but you might sense for yourself! And do not forget to read the lines of Black Sabbath´s song After Forever (http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/blacksabbath/afterforever.html), it is amazing...

 

II. Famous Christian Creeds

I wish somebody would empty my head
I am so sorry for the things that I’ve said
This hopeless feeling that’s living inside
I’m just a lonely soul who’s trying to find
Some peace of mind

I ain’t no hero who’s gonna save you
I just say “hi” as I’m passing right through
I ain’t that crazy, I’m only here for the ride
So please forgive me while I’m trying to find
Some peace of mind

Read in between the lines
Truth that is neither black nor white
Black nor white
Just give me something real
Broken man still searching for the light
In the night

Caught In the middle as the front line falls
It looks like I don’t stand a chance
If only I could turn my life around
Or is this just the circumstance

 

(Black Sabbath, Peace of Mind: http://www.darklyrics.com/lyrics/blacksabbath/13.html#10)

 

Apostle´s Creed

 

Nicene Creed

 

The Anathemas of the Second Council of Constantinople (553 AD)

 

The Statement of Faith of the Third Council of Constantinople – (681 AD, Sixth Ecumenical)

 

 

Apostle´s Creed

I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth. 

 

And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; he descended into hell; the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead. 

 

I believe in the Holy Ghost; the holy catholic Church; the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting. AMEN.

 

Latin Text (ca. A.D. 700) 

Credo in Deum Patrem omnipotentem; Creatorem coeli et terrae. 

 

Et in Jesum Christum, Filium ejus unicum, Dominum nostrum; qui conceptus est de Spiritu Sancto, natus ex Maria virgine; passus sub Pontio Pilato, crucifixus, mortuus, et sepultus; descendit ad inferna; tertia die resurrexit a mortuis; ascendit ad coelos; sedet ad dexteram Dei Patris omnipotentis; inde venturus (est) judicare vivos et mortuos. 

 

Credo in Spiritum Sanctum; sanctam ecclesiam catholicam; sanctorum communionem; remissionem peccatorum; carnis resurrectionem; vitam oeternam. Amen.

 

Greek Text 

Πιστεύω εις Θεον Πατερα, παντοκράτορα, ποιητην ουρανου και γης.

 

Και (εις) `Ιησουν Χριστον, υίον αυτου τον μονογενη, τον κύριον ήμων, τον συλληφθέντα εκ πνεύματοσ άγίου, γεννηθέντα εκ Μαρίας της παρθένου, παθόντα επι Ποντίου Πιλάτου, σταυρωθέντα, θανόντα, και ταφέντα, κατελθόντα εις τα κατώτατα, τη Τρίτη `ημέρα `αναστάντα `απο των νεκρων, `ανελθόντα εις τους ουρανούς, καθεζόμενον εν δεξια θεου πατρος παντο δυνάμου, εκειθεν ερχόμενον κρϊναι ζωντας και νεκρούς. 

 

Πιστεύω εις το Πνυμα το `Αγιον, αγίαν καθολικην εκκλησίαν, αγίων κοινωνίαν, άφεσιν αμαρτιων, σαρκος ανάστασιν, ξωήν αιώνιον. Αμήν. 

 

Full text: http://www.creeds.net/ancient/apostles.htm

Nicene Creed

We believe in one God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.

 

And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, Very God of Very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father by whom all things were made; who for us men, and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary, and was made man, and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate. He suffered and was buried, and the third day he rose again according to the Scriptures, and ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of the Father. And he shall come again with glory to judge both the quick and the dead, whose kingdom shall have no end.

 

And we believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of Life, who proceedeth from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified, who spoke by the prophets. And we believe one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins. And we look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.

 

Latin Text – Forma Recepta Ecclesiae Orientalis. A.D. 381

Credimus in unum Deum Patrem omnipotentem; factorem coeli et terrae, visibilium. 

 

Et in unum Dominum Jesum Christum, Filium Dei [unigenitum], natum ex Patre ante omnia saecula [Lumen de Lumine], Deum verum de Deo vero, natum [genitum], non factum, consubstantialem Patri; per quem omni facta sunt; qui propter nos homines et [propter] salutem nostram descendit de coelis et incarnatus est de Spiritu Sancto ex Maria virginine et humanatus [homo factus] est; et crucifixus est pro nobis sub Pontio Pilato [passus] et sepultus est; et resurrexit tertia die [secundum scripturas]; ascendit in coelum [coelos], sedet ad dexteram Patris; interum venturus, cum gloria, judicare vivos et mortuos; cujus regni non erit finis. 

 

Et in Spritum Sanctam, Dominum et vivificantem [vivificatorem], ex Patre procedentem, cum Patre et Filio adorandum et conglorificandum, qui locutus est per sanctos prophetas. Et unam, sanctam, catholicam et apostolicam ecclesiam. Confitemur unum baptisma in remissionem peccatorum. Expectamus resurrectionem mortuorum et vitam futuri saeculi. Amen.

 

Greek Text – Received Text of the Greek Church

Πιστεύομεν εις ένα Θεον Πατερα παντοκράτορα, ποιητην ουρανου και γης, ορατων τε πάντων και αορατων. 

 

Και εις ένα κύριον Ιησουν Χριστον, τον υιον του θεοθ τον μονογενη, τον ει του πατρος γεννηθέν τα προ πάντων των αιώνων, φως εκ φωτος, θεον αληθινον εκ θεου αληθινου, γεννηθέντα, ου ποιηθέντα, ομοουσιον τωι πατρί· δι’ ου τα παντα εγένετο· τον δι’ ημας τους αιθρώποους και δια την ημετέραν σωτηρίαν κατελθοντα εκ των ουρανων και σαρκωθέντα εκ πνεύματος αγίου και Μαρίας της παρθένου και ενανθρωπήσαντα, σταυρωθέντα τε υπερ ημων επι Ποντίου Πιλάτου, και παθοντα και ταφέντα, και ανασταντα τηι τρίτηι ημέπαι κατα τας γραφάς, και ανελθόντα εις τους ουρανούς, και καθεζόμενον εκ δεξιων του πατρός, και πάλιν ερχόμενον μετα δόξης κριναι ζωντας και νεκρούς· ου της βασιλείας ουκ έσται τέλος. 

 

Και εις το Πνευμα το Άγιον, το κύριον, (και) το ζωοποιόν, το εκ του πατρος εκπορευόμενον, το συν πατρι και υιωι συν προσκυνούμενον και συνδοξαζόμενον, το λαλησαν δια των προφητων· εις μίαν, αγίαν, καθολικην και αποστολικην εκκλησίαω· ομολογουμεν εν βάπτισμα εις άφεσιν αμαρτιων· προσδοκωμεν ανάστασιν νεκρων, και ζωην του μελλοντος αιώωος.  Αμήν.

 

Full text: http://www.creeds.net/ancient/nicene.htm

The Anathemas of the Second Council of Constantinople (553 AD)

The Second Council of Constantinople was called to resolve certain questions that were raised by the Definition of Chalcedon, the most important of which had to do with the unity of the two natures, God and man, is Jesus Christ. The Second Council of Constantinople confirmed the Definition of Chalcedon, while emphasizing that Jesus Christ does not just embody God the Son, He is God the Son.

I. If anyone does not confess that the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit are one nature or essence, one power or authority, worshipped as a trinity of the same essence, one deity in three hypostases or persons, let him be anathema. For there is one God and Father, of whom are all things, and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and one Holy Spirit, in whom are all things.

II. If anyone does not confess that God the Word was twice begotten, the first before all time from the Father, non- temporal and bodiless, the other in the last days when he came down from the heavens and was incarnate by the holy, glorious, God-bearer, ever-virgin Mary, and born of her, let him be anathema.

III. If anyone says that God the Word who performed miracles is one and Christ who suffered is another, or says that God the Word was together with Christ who came from woman, or that the Word was in him as one person is in another, but is not one and the same, our Lord Jesus Christ, the Word of God, incarnate and become human, and that the wonders and the suffering which he voluntarily endured in flesh were not of the same person, let him be anathema.

IV. If anyone says that the union of the Word of God with man was only according to grace or function or dignity or equality of honor or authority or relation or effect or power or according to his good pleasure, as though God the Word was pleased with man, or approved of him, as the raving Theodosius says; or that the union exists according to similarity of name, by which the Nestorians call God the Word Jesus and Christ, designating the man separately as Christ and as Son, speaking thus clearly of two persons, but when it comes to his honor, dignity, and worship, pretend to say that there is one person, one Son and one Christ, by a single designation; and if he does not acknowledge, as the holy Fathers have taught, that the union of God is made with the flesh animated by a reasonable and intelligent soul, and that such union is according to synthesis or hypostasis, and that therefore there is only one person, the Lord Jesus Christ one of the holy Trinity – let him be anathema. As the word “union” has many meanings, the followers of the impiety of Apollinaris and Eutyches, assuming the disappearance of the natures, affirm a union by confusion. On the other hand the followers of Theodore and of Nestorius rejoicing in the division of the natures, introduce only a union of relation. But the holy Church of God, rejecting equally the impiety of both heresies, recognizes the union of God the Word with the flesh according to synthesis, that is according to hypostasis. For in the mystery of Christ the union according to synthesis preserves the two natures which have combined without confusion and without separation.

V. If anyone understands the expression – one hypostasis of our Lord Jesus Christ – so that it means the union of many hypostases, and if he attempts thus to introduce into the mystery of Christ two hypostases, or two persons, and, after having introduced two persons, speaks of one person according to dignity, honor or worship, as Theodore and Nestorius insanely have written; and if anyone slanders the holy synod of Chalcedon, as though it had used this expression in this impious sense, and does not confess that the Word of God is united with the flesh hypostatically, and that therefore there is but one hypostasis or one person, and that the holy synod of Chalcedon has professed in this sense the one hypostasis of our Lord Jesus Christ; let him be anathema. For the Holy Trinity, when God the Word was incarnate, was not increased by the addition of a person or hypostasis.

VI. If anyone says that the holy, glorious, and ever-virgin Mary is called God-bearer by misuse of language and not truly, or by analogy, believing that only a mere man was born of her and that God the Word was not incarnate of her, but that the incarnation of God the Word resulted only from the fact that he united himself to that man who was born of her; if anyone slanders the Holy Synod of Chalcedon as though it had asserted the Virgin to be God-bearer according to the impious sense of Theodore; or if anyone shall call her manbearer or Christbearer, as if Christ were not God, and shall not confess that she is truly God-bearer, because God the Word who before all time was begotten of the Father was in these last days incarnate of her, and if anyone shall not confess that in this pious sense the holy Synod of Chalcedon confessed her to be God-bearer: let him be anathema.

VII. If anyone using the expression, “in two natures,” does not confess that our one Lord Jesus Christ is made known in the deity and in the manhood, in order to indicate by that expression a difference of the natures of which the ineffable union took place without confusion, a union in which neither the nature of the Word has changed into that of the flesh, nor that of the flesh into that of the Word (for each remained what it was by nature, even when the union by hypostasis had taken place); but shall take the expression with regard to the mystery of Christ in a sense so as to divide the parties, let him be anathema. Or if anyone recognizing the number of natures in the same our one Lord Jesus Christ, God the Word incarnate, does not take in contemplation only the difference of the natures which compose him, which difference is not destroyed by the union between them – for one is composed of the two and the two are in one – but shall make use of the number two to divide the natures or to make of them persons properly so called, let him be anathema.

VIII. If anyone confesses that the union took place out of two natures or speaks of the one incarnate nature of God the Word and does not understand those expressions as the holy Fathers have taught, that out of the divine and human natures, when union by hypostasis took place, one Christ was formed; but from these expressions tries to introduce one nature or essence of the Godhead and manhood of Christ; let him be anathema. For in saying that the only-begotten Word was united by hypostasis personally we do not mean that there was a mutual confusion of natures, but rather we understand that the Word was united to the flesh, each nature remaining what it was. Therefore there is one Christ, God and man, of the same essence with the Father as touching his Godhead, and of the same essence with us as touching his manhood. Therefore the Church of God equally rejects and anathematizes those who divide or cut apart or who introduce confusion into the mystery of the divine dispensation of Christ.

IX. If anyone says that Christ ought to be worshipped in his two natures, in the sense that he introduces two adorations, the one peculiar to God the Word and the other peculiar to the man; or if anyone by destroying the flesh, or by confusing the Godhead and the humanity, or by contriving one nature or essence of those which were united and so worships Christ, and does not with one adoration worship God the Word incarnate with his own flesh, as the Church of God has received from the beginning; let him be anathema.

X. If anyone does not confess that our Lord Jesus Christ who was crucified in the flesh is true God and the Lord of Glory and one of the Holy Trinity; let him be anathema.

XI. If anyone does not anathematize Arius, Eunomius, Macedonius, Apollinaris, Nestorius, Eutyches and Origen, together with their impious, godless writings, and all the other heretics already condemned and anathematized by the holy catholic and apostolic Church, and by the aforementioned four Holy Synods and all those who have held and hold or who in their godlessness persist in holding to the end the same opinion as those heretics just mentioned; let him be anathema.

Full text: http://www.creeds.net/ancient/2Constantinople.htm

The Statement of Faith of the Third Council of Constantinople – (681 AD, Sixth Ecumenical)

We also proclaim two natural willings or wills in him and two natural operations, without separation, without change, without partition, without confusion, according to the teaching of the holy Fathers – and two natural wills not contrary to each other, God forbid, as the impious heretics have said they would be, but his human will following, and not resisting or opposing, but rather subject to his divine and all-powerful will. For it was proper for the will of the flesh to be moved naturally, yet to be subject to the divine will, according to the all-wise Athanasius. For as his flesh is called and is the flesh of God the Word, so also the natural will of his flesh is called and is God the Word’s own will, as he himself says: “I came down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of the Father who sent me,” calling the will of the flesh his own, as also the flesh had become his own. For in the same manner that his all-holy and spotless ensouled flesh, though divinized, was not destroyed, but remained in its own law and principle also his human will, divinized, was not destroyed, but rather preserved, as Gregory the divine says: “His will, as conceived of in his character as the Saviour, is not contrary to God, being wholly divinized.” We also glorify two natural operations in the same our Lord Jesus Christ, our true God, without separation, without change, without partition, without confusion, that is, a divine operation and a human operation, as the divine preacher Leo most clearly says: “For each form does what is proper to it, in communion with the other; the Word, that is, performing what belongs to the Word, and the flesh carrying out what belongs to the flesh.” We will not therefore grant the existence of one natural operation of God and the creature, lest we should either raise up into the divine nature what is created, or bring down the preeminence of the divine nature into the place suitable for things that are made. For we recognize the wonders and the sufferings as of one and the same person], according to the difference of the natures of which he is and in which he has his being, as the eloquent Cyril said. Preserving therefore in every way the unconfused and undivided, we set forth the whole confession in brief; believing our Lord Jesus Christ, our true God, to be one of the holy Trinity even after the taking of flesh, we declare that his two natures shine forth in his one hypostasis, in which he displayed both the wonders and the sufferings through the whole course of his dispensation, not in phantasm but truly, the difference of nature being recognized in the same one hypostasis by the fact that each nature wills and works what is proper to it, in communion with the other. On this principle we glorify two natural wills and operations combining with each other for the salvation of the human race.

 

Full text: http://www.creeds.net/ancient/later_creeds.htm

III. Famous Old Church Figures


He’s just a loner.
He never says hello.
A friend to no one.
He’s got no place to go.

He don’t look happy.
He looks through furtive eyes.
He ain’t got nothing.
No one to sympathize.

All right now

He hides himself away.
His secret’s not revealed.
As life just passes by
He keeps himself concealed.

A solitary man.
An enigmatic child.
A riddle never solved.
A prisoner exiled.

All right now

I wonder if the loner can assimilate.
A lifeless lived alone plays devil’s advocate.

Come on now

Has he ever tried to be happy?
Reached out from inside
Someone on who he can depend.

It’s getting too late to recover.
He won’t stand a chance
And into his own hell he’ll descend.

Don’t descend.
Don’t descend.
Don’t descend.
Don’t descend.

No understanding of things we already know.
He has to live his life and just learn how to let go.

All right yeah

Communication’s an impossibility.
His own best friend but he’s his own worst enemy.
The secrets of his past locked deep inside his head.
I wonder if he will be happy when he’s dead.

Come on in

 

(Black Sabbath, Loner: http://www.darklyrics.com/lyrics/blacksabbath/13.html#3)

 

Exegetic Commentary, Gospel According To John Of Our Holy Father Cyril, Archbishop of Alexandria

 

Origen: Jesus Christ

 

Augustine: Jesus Christ the Mediator between God and Man

 

Tertullian: On the Flesh of Christ

Exegetic Commentary, Gospel According To John Of Our Holy Father Cyril, Archbishop of Alexandria

BOOK I.

[Introduction]

 

Exact of a truth, and God-taught is the mind of the holy Evangelists, from the splendour of their power to behold, as from some lofty mountain-spur and watch-peak, on all sides observing what is of profit to the hearers, and tracking with intent zeal whatever may seem to be of profit to those who thirst after the truth of the Divine dogmas and with good purpose search after the mind that is hidden in the Divine Scriptures. For not in those who search too curiously, and take pleasure in the many-tangled wiles of reasonings, rather than rejoice in the truth, does the Spirit make His revelation, since neither does He enter into a malicious soul, nor otherwise does He suffer His precious 'pearls to be rolled at the feet of swine. But with exceeding pleasure does He have fellowship with simpler minds, as having a more guileless motion, and shunning superfluous subtleties, whereto specially pertains the meeting with sudden fear, and from too great turning aside unto the right hand to err from the straight and royal road. For he that walketh simply walketh surely, as saith Solomon.

 

But while the holy Evangelists have a marvellous exactness in writing (for it is not they that speak, as the Saviour saith, but the Spirit of the Father which is in them): reasonably may one grant that the Book of John has been composed beyond all marvel, looking both to the supereminence of his thoughts, the keenness of his intellect, and the constant and |8 close-succeeding cumulation of conceptions. For course-fellows are they one with, another in the exposition of the Divine dogmas, and loosing as it were from the starting line they course charioteers to one goal. But a diverse fashion of speech is wrought out by them, and they appear to me to resemble persons, who are ordered to come together unto one city, but care not to approach it by one and the same beaten road. Thus one may see the other Evangelists with great exactness giving the account of our Saviour's genealogy in the Flesh, and bringing down step by step those from Abraham unto Joseph, or again carrying up those from Joseph to Adam. But we find the blessed John not caring to be over-studious about these, but with a most fervent and fire-full motion of intellect endeavouring to lay hold of those very things that are above human mind, and daring to explain the unspeakable and unutterable Generation of God the Word. For he knew that the glory of God hideth speech, and greater than our idea and utterance is the God-befitting dignity, and hard to utter and most difficult of unfolding are the properties of the Divine Nature.

 

But since it was necessary in some sort to mete out heaven with the span, and to suffer the scant measures of human nature to approach to what is by all unattainable and hard to be explained, that the approach might not be opened out for those who teach otherwise to come against the more simple, in that no voice of the saints who have been eyewitnesses and ministers of the word held in check their ill-surmisings, keen comes he to the very essence of the Divine dogmas, crying aloud, In the beginning was the Word, and the Word, was with God and the Word was God: the Same was in the beginning with God.

 

But I think that those who are engaged on the Holy Scriptures ought to admit all writings that are honest and good and free from harm. For thus collecting together the varied thoughts of many and bringing them together into one scope and understanding, they will mount up to a good measure of knowledge, and imitating the bee, wise workwoman, will compact the sweet honeycomb of the Spirit. 

 

Some then of those of most research, say that after our Saviour's Cross and Ascension into Heaven, certain false shepherds and false teachers falling like wild beasts on the Saviour's flocks terrified them not a little, speaking out of their own heart, as it is written, and not out of the mouth of the Lord; yea rather, not merely out of their own heart, but out of the teachings of their own father, I mean the devil. For if no one can call Jesus Anathema, save in Beelzebub, how is not what we say of them clearly true? What things then are they which these men belched forth against their own head? They ignorantly and impiously affirmed that the Only-Begotten Word of God, the Eternal Light, in Whom we both move and are, was then first called into being, when He was born Man of the Holy Virgin, and taking this our common fashion, shewed Himself upon earth, as it is written, and conversed with men. On those then who are thus disposed, and who dare to slander the ineffable and eternal Generation of the Son, the word of the Prophet comes heavily, saying thus: But draw near hither, ye sons of the sorceress, the seed of the adulteress and the whore, against whom do ye sport yourselves? against whom make ye a wide mouth and draw out the tongue? not bringing forth good things out of a good heart, but spueing forth the venom of the blood-defiled dragon, of whom saith the Psalmist unto the one God That is over all: Thou brakest the heads of the dragons in the waters.

 

But since there was no slight disturbance in regard to these things amongst them that had believed, and the ill of the scandal thereof was consuming like a plague the souls of the simpler (for some drawn away from the true doctrines by their prattle imagined that the Word was then barely called to the beginning of Being, when He became Man), those of the believers who were wiser being assembled and met together, came to the Disciple of the Saviour (I mean this John) and declared the disease that was pressing upon the brethren, and unfolded to him the prattle of them that teach otherwise, and besought that he would both strenuously assist themselves with the illumination through the Spirit, and stretch forth a saving hand to those who were already within the devil's meshes.

 

The disciple grieving then over them that were lost and corrupted in mind, and at the same time thinking it most unnatural to take no forethought for those that should succeed and come after, betakes himself to making the book: and the more human side, the genealogy of the legal and natural Birth according to the flesh, he left to the other Evangelists to tell at fuller length; himself with extreme ardour and courage of soul springs upon the prattle of those who are introducing such things, saying, IN THE BEGINNING WAS THE WORD. 

 

CHAPTER I. That Everlasting and before the ages is the Only-Begotten.

 

What do they say to this [namely, In the beginning was the Word] who introduce to us the Son, as one new and of late, that so He may no longer be believed to be even God at all. For, says the Divine Scripture, there shall no new God be in thee. How then is He not new, if He were begotten in the last times? How did He not speak falsely when He said to the Jews, Verily I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am? For plain is it and confessed by all, that many ages after the blessed Abraham was Christ born of the Holy Virgin. How at all will the words was in the beginning remain and come to anything, if the Only-Begotten came into being at the close of the ages? See I pray by the following arguments too how great absurdity, this cutting short the Eternal Being of the Son, and imagining that He came into being in the last times, yields.

 

But this same word of the Evangelist shall be proposed again for a finer test:

 

In the Beginning was the Word.

 

Than the beginning is there nothing older, if it have, retained to itself, the definition of the beginning (for a beginning of beginning there cannot be); or it will wholly depart from being in truth a beginning, if something else be imagined before it and arise before it. Otherwise, if anything can precede what is truly beginning, our language respecting it will go off to infinity, another beginning ever cropping up before, and making second the one under investigation.

 

There will then be no beginning of beginning, according to exact and true reasoning, but the account of itwill recede unto the long-extended and incomprehensive. And since its ever-backward flight has no terminus, and reaches up to the limit of the ages, the Son will be found to have been not made in time, but rather invisibly existing with the Father: for in the beginning was He. But if He was in the beginning, what mind, tell me, can over-leap the force of the was? When will the was stay as at its terminus, seeing that it ever runs before the pursuing reasoning, and springs forward before the conception that follows it?

 

Astonishment-stricken whereat the Prophet Isaiah says, Who shall declare His generation? for His Life is lifted from the earth. For verily lifted from the earth is the tale of the generation of the Only-Begotten, that is, it is above all understanding of those who are on the earth and above all reason, so as to be in short inexplicable. But if it is above our mind and speech, how will He be originate, seeing that our understanding is not powerless to clearly define both as to time and manner things originate?

 

To look in another way at the same, In the Beginning was the Word.

 

It is not possible to take beginning, understood in any way of time, of the Only-Begotten, seeing that He is before all time and hath His Being before the ages, and, yet more, the Divine Nature, shuns the limit of a terminus. For It will be ever the same, according to what is sung in the Psalms, But Thou art the Same and Thy years shall have no end. From what beginning then measured in respect of time and dimension will the Son proceed, Who endureth not to hasten to any terminus, in that He is God by Nature, and therefore crieth, I am the Life? For no beginning will ever be conceived of by itself that does not look to its own end, since beginning is so called in reference to end, end again in reference to beginning. But the beginning we are pointing to in this instance is that relating to time and dimension. Hence, since the Son is elder than the ages themselves, He will be free of any generation in time; and He ever was in the Father as in a Source, according to that which He Himself said, I came forth from the Father and am come. The Father then being considered as the Source, the Word was in Him, being His Wisdom and Power and Express Image and Radiance and Likeness. And if there was no time when the Father was without Word and Wisdom and Express Image and Radiance, needs is it to confess too that the Son Who is all these to the Everlasting Father, is Everlasting. For how at all is He Express Image, how Exact Likeness, except He be plainly formed after that Beauty, Whose Likeness He also is?

 

Nor is it any objection to conceive of the Son being in the Father as in a Source: for the word source here only means the "whence." But the Son is in the Father, and of the Father, not as made externally, nor in time, but being in the Essence of the Father and flashing forth from Him, as from the sun its radiance, or as from fire its innate heat. For in such examples, one may see one thing generated of another, but yet ever co-existing and inseparable, so that one cannot exist of itself apart from the other, and yet preserve the true condition of its own nature. For how can there be sun which has not radiance, or how radiance without sun being within to irradiate it? how fire, if it have not heat? whence heat, save from fire, or from some other thing not removed from the essential quality of fire? As then in these, the in-existence of the things that are of them does not take away their co-existence, but indicates the things generated ever keeping pace with their generators and possessed of one nature so to speak with them, so too is it with the Son. For even if He be conceived and said to be in the Father and of the Father, He will not come before us as alien and strange and a Being second to Him, but as in Him and co-existing ever, and shining forth from Him, according to the ineffable mode of the Divine generation.

 

But that God the Father is spoken of by the saints too as the Beginning of the Son in the sense only of "whence," hear the Psalmist through the Holy Ghost foretelling the second Appearance of our Saviour and saying as to the Son: With Thee the Beginning in the Day of Thy Power in the beauty of Thy Saints. For the day of the Son's Power is that whereon He shall judge the world and render to every one according to his works. Yerily shall He then come, Himself in the Father, and having in Himself the Father, the so to say unbeginning Beginning of His Nature in regard only to the "whence," by reason of His Being of the Father.

 

In the Beginning was the Word.

 

Unto many and various ideas does our discourse respecting the here signified beginning diversify itself, on all sides zealous to capture things that tend to profit, and after the manner of a hound, tracking the true apprehension of the Divine dogmas, and exactitude in the mysteries. For search, saith the Saviour, the Holy Scriptures, for in them ye think ye have eternal life, and they are they which testify of Me. The Blessed Evangelist, then, seems here to name the Father Ἀρχὴ 1, that is the Power over all, that the Divine Nature Which is over all may be shewn, having under Its feet every thing which is originate, and borne above those things which are by It called into being.

 

In this Ἀρχὴ then that is above all and over all was the Word, not, with all things, under Its feet, but apart from all things, in It by Nature as Its Co-Eternal Fruit, having the Nature of Him Who begat Him as it were a place the most ancient of all. Wherefore He Begotten Free of Free Father, will with Him possess the Sovereignty over all. What then now too will be the nature of the argument in this, it is meet to see.

 

Hazardful have certain, as we said above, asserted that the Word of God was then first called into being, when taking the Temple that is of the Holy Virgin He became Man for us. What then will be the consequence, if the Son's Nature be thus, or originate and made and of like nature with all things else, to which birth out of not being, and the name and fact of servitude, are rightfully and truly predicated? For what of things that are made can with impunity escape servitude under the God That is Lord of all? what does not stoop under the sovereignty and power and lordship that is over all, which Solomon himself too signifies to us when he says, For the throne of Sovereignty is established with righteousness? For ready and exceeding prepared unto righteousness is the Throne of the Sovereignty, that I mean which is over all. And what throne that is of which we are now speaking, hear God saying by one of the Saints, The Heaven is My Throne. Ready therefore unto righteousness is the Heaven, that is, the holy spirits in the heavens.

 

Since then one must needs confess that the Son is with the rest of the creatures subject to God the Father, as having the position of a servant, and together with the rest falling under the authority of the Ἀρχὴ,if He be according to them late in Birth and one of those who have been made in time:----of necessity does the Blessed Evangelist spring with energy on those who teach otherwise, and withdraw the Son from all bondage. And he shews that He is of the Essence that is Free and Sovereign over all, and declares that He is in Him by Nature saying, In the beginning was the Word.

 

But to the word Ἀρχὴhe fitly annexes the was, that He may be thought of as not only of renown, but also before the ages. For the word was is here put, carrying on the idea of the thinker to some deep and incomprehensible Generation, the Ineffable Generation that is outside of time. For that was, spoken indefinitely, at what point will it rest, its nature being ever to push forward before the pursuing mind, and whatever point of rest any might suppose that it has, that it makes the starting point of its further course? The Word was then in the Ἀρχὴ, that is in Sovereignty over all things, and possessing the dignity of Lord, as being by Nature from It. But if this be true, how is He any longer originate or made? And where the was wholly is, how will the "was not" come in, or what place will it have at all as regards the Son?

 

Full text: http://www.tertullian.org/fathers/cyril_on_john_01_book1.htm

 

Origen: Jesus Christ

Origen, in his writings and preaching, concentrates on Christ. His heart is abundantly flamed with the love of Christ, as he finds in Him all his needs.

 

1. Origen believes that the souls of men had fallen from their heavenly rank, and instead of their freedom they are unable to be restored to their origin without Christ.

 

2. Christ in His infinite love stretches His hands for the whole of mankind for their eternal glorification.

 

3. In His love He paid His precious blood to the devil who enslaves us, as a cost of our freedom.

 

4. As the Savior of the world he is the High Priest who offers His life as the unique Victim and Sacrifice.

 

5. Our Lord Jesus Christ is the Heavenly Groom who works for His spiritual marriage with our souls as His own bride.

 

6. He is the true heavenly and unique Teacher and Physician who heals our souls from the darkness of ignorance and corruption, granting Himself as the Truth, the Medicine, and the Righteousness.

 

7. He satisfies all our needs, asking us to receive Him as the heavenly Kingdom, heavenly Bread, the spiritual Jordan, the hidden Treasure, the divine Way, the Door, the Truth, the Rock, the Resurrection, the Beginning and the End etc.

 

8. Men of God of the Old Testament were joyfully waiting for the Messiah (Christ). Origen finds our Lord Jesus Christ everywhere, and the entire Old Testament speaks of Him only.

 

CHRIST AS A LOVER OF MANKIND

 

Origen believes that our Lord Jesus Christ is the Savior of all rational creatures, especially mankind. He believes in the restoration of all these creatures, even the devil and his evil angels.

 

Christ who loved men, even while they were sinners and enemies, and sacrificed Himself on their behalf, enter in a personal relationship with the soul of man. Therefore Origen attributes Christ to himself as his own, calling Him "my Jesus."

 

The Apostle (St. Paul) declares what is written about Adam and Eve thus: This is a great mystery in Christ and in the Church (Eph. 5:32); He so loved her that He gave Himself for her, while she was yet undutiful, even as he says: When as yet we were ungodly according to the time, Christ died for us (Gal. 2:20); and again: When as yet we were sinners, Christ died for us (Rom. 5:6).

 

But if my Jesus is said to be taken up "in glory," I see God’s graciousness.

 

THE DIVINITY OF CHRIST

 

Origen saw that the Person of the Word was not reduced to a role or an office. The Son is a Hypostasis, Living Wisdom. He is verily and substantially God, and therefore of necessity co-eternal and co-equal with the Father.

 

ETERNAL SON OF GOD

 

In the previous chapter we noticed that Origen states that the generation of the Son is eternal and also continuous; the Father is begetting the Son at each instant, just as light is always emitting its radiance. By eternity and continuity Origen expresses eternity conceived as a unique instant which cannot be expressed by human language.

 

There never can have been a time when He was not. For when was that God, whom John calls the Light, destitute of the radiance of His proper glory, so that a man may dare to ascribe a beginning of existence to the Son... Let a man, who ventures to say there was a time when the Son was not, consider that this is all one with saying there was a time when Wisdom was not, the Word was not, the Life was not.

 

None of these testimonies, however, sets forth distinctly the Savior’s exalted birth; but when the words are addressed to Him, "You are My Son, this day have I begotten You" (Ps. 2:7; Mark 1:11; Heb. 1:5), this is spoken to Him by God, with whom all time is to-day, for there is no evening with God, as I consider, and there is no morning, nothing but time that stretches out, along with His unbeginning and unseen life. The day is to-day with Him in which the Son was begotten, and thus the beginning of His birth is not found, as neither is the day of it.

 

Wherefore we recognize that God was always the Father of his Only-begotten Son, who was born indeed of Him and draws His being from Him, but is yet without any beginning, not only of that kind which can be distinguished by periods of time, but even of that other kind which the mind alone is wont to contemplate in itself and to perceive, if I may so say, with the bare intellect and reason...

 

John, however, uses yet more exalted and wonderful language in the beginning of his gospel, when by an appropriate declaration he defines the Word to be God; "And the Word was God, and He was in the beginning with God" John 1:1, 2). Let him who assigns a beginning to the Word of God or the Wisdom of God beware lest he utters impiety against the unbegotten Father Himself, in denying that He was always a Father and that He begets the Word and possessed wisdom in all previous times or ages or whatever else they may be called...

 

This is an eternal and everlasting beginning, as brightness is begotten from light. For he does not become Son in an external way through the adoption of the Spirit, but is Son by nature.

 

Now, as we said above, the wisdom of God has her subsistence nowhere else but in Him who is the beginning of all things, from Whom also she took her birth. And because He Himself, who alone is a Son by nature, is this Wisdom, He is on this account also called the "Only-Begotten".

 

ETERNAL WISDOM OF GOD

 

But since the Wisdom of God, which is His Only-begotten Son, is in all respects unalterable and unchangeable, and since every good quality in Him is essential and can never be changed or altered, His glory is on that account described as pure and sincere...

 

Now God’s Wisdom is the Brightness of that Light, not only in so far as it is light, but in so far as it is everlasting Light. His Wisdom is therefore an everlasting Brightness, enduring eternally. If this point is fully understood, it is a clear proof that the Son’s existence springs from the Father Himself, yet not in time, nor from any other beginning except, as we have said, from God Himself.

 

Now Christ is Wisdom-as-a-whole, and the capacity for wisdom achieved by each of the wise is actually a partaking in Christ... .

 

HIS DIVINITY IS NOT LIMITED BY A PLACE

 

In his "De Principiis" Origen assures Christ’s divinity and that His divinity is not limited by a place:

 

But perhaps someone will say that through those who are participants (cf. Heb. 3:14) in God’s Word or His Wisdom or truth or life the Word and Wisdom appears Himself to be in a place. The answer must be given that there is no doubt that Christ insofar as He is Logos and Wisdom and all the rest was in Paul, because of which he said, "Or do you desire proof that Christ is speaking in me?" (2 Cor. 13:3). And again, "But it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me" (Gal. 2:20). Then, therefore, since He was in Paul, who will doubt that He was likewise in Peter, in John, and in each one of the saints, and not only in those on earth but also in those in the heavens? For it is absurd to say that Christ was in Peter and Paul, but not in Michael the Archangel and in Gabriel. From this it is clearly discovered that the divinity of the Son of God was not confined to any place, since He is not so much in one as not to be in another. Rather, since He is not confined in any place because of the majesty of His incorporeal nature, He is further understood not to be absent from any place...

 

He is not present in a similar way in every one. And He is present more fully and more clearly and, if I may put it this way, more openly in the archangels than in holy men. This is evident from the fact that when the saints arrive at the highest perfection, they are said to be made "like angels" or "equal" to angels according to the view of the Gospel (cf. Mt. 22:30; Luke. 20:36). It follows that Christ is made present in different ones to the degree that the reckoning of what they deserve permits...

 

And David points out the mystery of the entire Trinity in the creation of everything when he says, "By the Word of the Lord the heavens were made, and all their power by the Spirit of His mouth" (Ps. 33:6).

 

And John the Baptist points to some such conclusion when in Jesus’ corporeal absence he said to the crowds, "Among you stands One whom you do not know, even He who comes after me, the thong of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie" (John. 1:26-27). John could not have said He stood in the midst of those among whom He was not corporeally present, about Him who was absent, so far as His corporeal presence was concerned. Thus, it is clear that the Son of God is both wholly present in the body and wholly present everywhere.

 

THE INCARNATION

 

THE INCARNATION AND CHRIST’S DIVINITY

 

Origen insists on the fact that "having become man, he remained what he was, God." Jesus’kenosis did not put an end to his divine character.

 

Then again: Christ Jesus, He who came to earth, was begotten of the Father before every created thing. And after He had ministered to the Father in the foundation of all things, for "all things were made through Him" (John 1:3), in these last times He emptied Himself and was made Man, was made flesh, although He was God; and being made man, He still remained what He was, namely, God. He took to Himself a body like our body, differing in this alone, that it was born of a virgin and of the Holy Spirit. And this Jesus Christ was born and suffered in truth and not merely in appearance, and truly died our common death. Moreover He truly rose from the dead, and after the resurrection... He was then taken up into heaven.

 

Hear also Paul say, "You are God’s field, God’s building,"(1 Cor. 3.9.) What then is that "sanctuary" which has "not been made by the hand of man," but prepared by the hands of God? Hear Wisdom saying, "She has built a house for herself."(Prov. 9.1.) I think, however, that this is understood more correctly of the Lord’s incarnation. For "it was not made by the hand of men," that is the temple of flesh is not built in the virgin by human work, but, as Daniel had prophesied, "A stone cut without hands separated and became a great mountain."(Dan. 2.34-35.) That is the "sanctuary" of the flesh which was taken up and "cut" from the mountain of human nature and the substance of flesh "without hands," that is, apart from the work of men.

 

Joseph C. McLelland, under the title "God: Changeless Yet Lively" deals with Origen’s view on the incarnation of the Logos. He writes,

 

For Origen, the question is approached in terms of the Platonic doctrine of model and image, and of the place of the Incarnate Word in this kind of universe.

 

He faces a profound difficulty in all this, because he is opposing those (Stoics, Epicurus, even Aristotle) who have filled the world "with a doctrine that abolishes providence, or limits it, or introduces a corruptible first principle which is corporeal, "while the doctrine of the Jews and Christians which preserves the unchangeable and unalterable nature of God has been regarded as irreverent, since it is not in agreement with those who hold impious opinions about God..."

 

The incarnate Word participates in the relative and temporary nature of the world into which He comes. The truth of the Gospel consists in apprehending a gracious divine-human reality, to be sure, but there follows recognition of the merely symbolic nature of the human element and ascension to the divine reality above it...

 

The question of the divine descent in incarnation is therefore decisive for the entire theology of Origen. Celsus had brought the objection "that we affirm that God Himself will come down to men. And he thinks it follows from this that He leaves his throne." But Celsus, replies Origen, does not know the power of God, for He both fills all things and maintains all things in their being. If God is said to descend, or if the Word "comes to us," this does not mean that He moves from one place to another or leaves His throne. There is no "changing" or "leaving" involved. "Even supposing that we do say that He leaves one place and fills another, we would not mean this in a spatial sense." In what sense would we mean it? In an existential sense, for the "change" is to be understood as taking place in us: "anyone who has received the coming of the Word of God into his own soul changes from bad to good, from licentiousness to self-control, and from superstition to piety." One scholar has concluded that for Origen, "The earthly life of Christ was a grand symbolic drama, a divine mystery-play for the enlightenment of humanity."

 

Origen refers to his former reply, and adds, "While remaining unchanged in essence, He comes down in His providence and care over human affairs." He distinguishes this doctrine from that of Epicurus and the Stoics, for they have missed "the true conception of God’s nature, as being entirely incorruptible, simple, uncompounded, and indivisible." So also Christ was in the he form of God but emptied Himself, that men might be able to receive Him. "But he underwent no change from good to bad." When the Word assumed a human body and a human soul, He remained "Word in essence," suffering "nothing of the experience of the body or the soul." His descent is to the low level of those who cannot behold the divine radiance; He "becomes as it were flesh, and is spoken of in physical terms, until he who has accepted him in this form is gradually lifted up by the Word and can look even upon, so to speak, his absolute form."

 

There are different forms corresponding to the different kinds of receivers - "whether he is a beginner, or has made a little progress, or is considerably advanced, or has nearly attained to virtue already, or has in fact attained it." A favorite illustration in this respect is the Transfiguration story. The people down below could not receive the truer form in which he showed himself to the chosen few on the mountain. The former saw only the mortal nature (Origen quotes Isaiah 53, "he had no form or beauty"), while the disciples attained to the immortal Logos. Yet Origen does not wish to suggest that the human form is an appearance only-"he does not mislead or tell lies. Although he will not say that the incarnate form partakes of an absolute character, he is not saying the opposite, in the Gnostic manner of reducing the incarnation to an appearance of relative value--a sort of theophany. He wishes to maintain its truth as preparatory rather than normative. Again it is pedagogy which is operative: the divine Logos assumes humanity in relation to our present fallen state, for we "could only thus at first receive Him".

 

JESUS CHRIST BECAME TRUE MAN

 

Origen does not deny the reality of Christ’s body, it had genuine need of sustenance. His life, His Passion were in no sense fantastic. Origen believes that so real was Jesus’ body that we cannot accept in the literal sense the story of His being carried up into a mountain by the tempter.

 

Now this body (of the demon) is by nature a fine substance and thin like air, and on this account most people think and speak of it as incorporeal; but the Savior had a body which was solid and capable of being handled..

 

Origen is facing the deep mystery of the "composite nature" of Christ. He grants that the Logos intentionally assumed a body no different from human flesh, "so he assumed with the body also its pains and grieves." Yet he knows that His passion and death are at the heart of divine love and salvation - he can speak of the "benefit" of Christ’s death , and can argue from the reality of his agonies to the reality of his resurrection.

 

Origen, who gave the Greek Christology the scientific terms, physis, hypostasis, ousia, homousios, theonthropos, is the first to use the designation God-man (theonthropos)), to affirm Jesus’ humanity against the Gnostics. He also affirmed the unity of Christ’s nature. He stated that "Christ" though designated by a name which connotes His divinity, human attributes can be predicated of Him and vice versa. He says:

 

The Son of God, through whom all things were created was named Jesus Christ and the Son of man. For the Son of God also is said to have died-in reference, namely, to that nature which could admit of death; and He is called the Son of man, who is announced as about to come in the glory of God the Father, with the holy angels. And for this reason, throughout the whole of Scripture, not only is the divine nature spoken of in human words, but the human nature is adored by appellations of divine dignity.

 

After the Incarnation the soul and body of Jesus become one with the Word of God.

 

THE SHAPE OF HIS BODY

 

Origen believes that our Lord Jesus Christ had a true body which had its shape like all men, and was seen by all who surrounded Him, at the same time His body changed in accordance with the capacity of those who saw it, and because of this its appearances could be beneficial and fitting to the needs of each viewer. At one time it might be said "He had no form nor beauty," and at another He might appear to the chosen three transfigured in glory... To those who are still at the foot of the mountain and not yet prepared to ascend, the Word "has no form nor beauty". His form to such people is dishonored and deficient in comparison with those who by following Him have received power to go with Him even as He climbs the high mountain, He has a more divine form.

 

Not only did He possess two forms, one in which He was seen by all, another into which He was transformed before His disciples on the mountain - but that He used to appear to every individual in a form corresponding to his worth.

 

The Word appears in different forms in accordance with each man’s capacity. For some He has no form nor beauty; for others He is blooming with beauty. By those who are [still] "ascending" through lofty works and thus making for the "high mountain" of wisdom, He is conceived in His simpler form and known in carnal terms. But by the perfect He is conceived in His divinity, and their knowledge enables them to see Him in the form of God.

 

"And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him" (Luke 4:20)... How much I desire that in our congregation... the eyes of the soul, and not of the body, of the catechumens and believers, men, women and children, be fixed on Jesus. for beholding Him makes His light reflect and your faces become more bright.

 

CHRIST HAS A HUMAN SOUL

 

Charles Bigg states:

 

He is the first to speak at large of the Human Soul of Jesus. Like other souls, it is eternal and eternally united with the Word. From the first it received Him wholly, and clove to Him inseparably. It was like in all things to all other human souls, free as they; but the perfection of love, the singleness of worthiness, bound it so closely to the Godhead, that the union of the two may be compared to a mass of iron glowing for ever with a white heat. He who should touch the iron would feel not the iron but the fire. Hence in scripture we commonly find the titles proper to the Humanity of our Lord transferred to His Divinity and the Humanity of our Lord transferred to His Divinity and conversely. It is the communicatio Idiomatum. The Flesh of Jesus was pure from all birth stain, from all defilement of every kind. It was real flesh.

 

In his work "De Principiis," Origen assured that Christ has a human soul.

 

Therefore, when the Son of God wished to appear to men and live among men for the salvation of the human race, He took not only a human body, as some suppose, but also a soul, and one like our souls in its nature, but like Himself in purpose and power, and such as could fulfill without turning all the wishes and dispensations of the Word and Wisdom.

 

Origen believes in the pre-existence of the soul of Christ, like all other rational creatures, Henri Crouzel says.

 

So the Christ-man exists in the pre-existence, long before the incarnation, and has quite a history before that event. He is the Bridegroom of the pre-existent Church formed of the totality of rational creatures.

 

THE PURPOSES OF THE INCARNATION

 

Benjamin Drewery gives a summary of Origen’s view on the purposes of the incarnation, saying;

 

Christ became like men that they might become like Him: He made available all good things-teaching the way to God, warning of judgment, exemplifying the good life, converting, reforming, purging from evil, gladdening His followers, sowing the seed of God’s word, opening the kingdom of God to all the world, to unworthy as well as worthy, even if not to the unwilling.

 

1. To join us with Himself

 

Consider, then, how the Son will be able to be elevated in His flesh to the possession of those goods that already belong to Him by reason of His divinity; for those who are in the world, since they belong to the Father, can be considered to belong, in a certain way, to the Son, the sharer in the Father’s purposes. How, then, can He receive from the Father the order to demand that the nations be given to Him for an inheritance and that His possessions should extend to the ends of the earth? The reason is that man, to avoid serving God, has risen in futile revolt against God; and the Father, who is the Creator of all beings, in His wish to redeem mankind has sent into this world the Logos, His Only-begotten Son, to the end that the Son might be made flesh and go forth, without changing His divine nature, to preach deliverance to the captives and to give sight to the blind. Therefore we say that the Son receives His kingdom and is recognized as being established as the heir. But, although we can say this because of the human nature which He has assumed, we must be on our guard so as not to misunderstand the inner structure of the mystery of the Trinity.

 

When Jesus is among the multitudes He is outside His house,(Matt. 13:1) for the multitudes are outside the house. This work issues through His love towards men, for He leaves the house and goes far to those who are unable to come to Him.

 

2. To renew our nature

 

Nothing good has happened among men without the working of the divine Word.

 

The Lord became man to resurrect our fallen human nature, and to change it from earth unto heaven.

 

It says, "a consecrated linen tunic will be put on" (Lev. 16.4). Flax thread comes from the earth; therefore, it is "a sanctified linen tunic" that Christ, the true high priest, puts on when he takes up the nature of an earthly body; for it is said about the body that "it is earth and it will go into the earth.." (Cf. Gen. 3:19.) Therefore, my Lord and Savior, wanting to resurrect that which had gone "into the earth," took an earthly body that he might carry it raised up from the earth to heaven.

 

In the Epistle to the Hebrews, St. Paul clearly explains the difference between the animal sacrifice and Christ’s Sacrifice, for the first one was repeated because of its weakness and failure to renew the depth of human nature, but the last One was offered once only for it still has the power to renew our interior man. Origen says that Jesus Christ as a Priest and Victim at the same time did not offer animal’s blood that consumes but His own Blood that gives life, resurrection and immortality. He always changes believers from mortality into immortality, redeeming their nature to participate in His life and to bear His likeness.

 

Discoursing in bodily form and giving Himself out as flesh, He summons to Himself those who are flesh, in order that He may first of all transform them into the likeness of the Word who has been made flesh, and after that He was before He became flesh.

 

The Son of His kindness generously imparted deification to others ... who are transformed through Him into gods, as images of the prototype .. the word is the archetype of the many images.

 

In his Commentary on John, Origen states that the word "Jordan" means "their going down." Christ, our Savior, is the Jordan, in Him we descend to be purified. In other words, the Logos descended by His incarnation and became man, so that we may descend and gain Him as our purification.

 

When, therefore, we consider these great and marvelous truths about the nature of the Son of God, we are lost in the deepest amazement that such a being, towering high above all, should have "emptied himself" of his majestic condition and become man and dwelt among men, a fact which is evidenced by the "grace poured upon his lips" and by the witness which the heavenly Father bore him, and confirmed by the signs and wonders and mighty deeds which He did. And before that personal appearance which He manifested in the body, He sent the prophets as heralds and messengers of His coming; while after His ascension into the heavens He caused the holy apostles, unlearned and ignorant men from the ranks of tax-gatherers or fishermen but filled with His divine power, to travel through-out the world, in order to gather together out of every nation and all races a people composed of devout believers in Him...

 

When, therefore, we see in Him some things so human that they appear in no way to differ from the common frailty of mortals, and some things so divine that they are appropriate to nothing else but the primal and ineffable nature of deity, the human understanding with its narrow limits is baffled, and struck with amazement at so mighty a wonder and knows not which way to turn, what to hold to, or whither to betake itself. If it thinks of God, it sees a man; if it thinks of a man, it beholds One returning from the dead with spoils after vanquishing the kingdom of death.

 

Let us look at the words of the Gospel now before us. "Jordan" means "their going down." The name "Jared" is etymologically akin to it, if I may say so; it also yields the meaning "going down;" for Jared was born to Maleleel, as it is written in the Book of Enoch - if any one cares to accept that book as sacred-in the days when the sons of God came down to the daughters of men. Under this descent some have supposed that there is an enigmatical reference to the descent of souls into bodies, taking the phrase "daughters of men" as a tropical expression of this earthly tabernacle. Should this be so, what river will "their going down" be, to which one must come to be purified, a river going down, not with its own descent, but "theirs," that, namely, of men, what but our Savior who separates those who received their lots from Moses from those who obtained their own portions through Jesus (Joshua)? His current, flowing in the descending stream, makes glad, as we find in the Psalms, (55:4) the city of God, not the visible Jerusalem - for it has no river beside it - but the blameless Church of God, built on the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, Christ Jesus our Lord being the chief corner-stone. Under the Jordan, accordingly, we have to understand the Word of God who became flesh and tabernacle among us. Jesus who gives us as our inheritance the humanity which He assumed, for that is the head corner-stone, which being taken up into the deity of the Son of God, is washed by being so assumed, and then receives into itself the pure and guileless dove of the Spirit, bound to it and no longer able to fly away from it. ("for the falling and the rising of many" Luke 2:34.): "The first blessing is that he who stands in sin should fall and die in sin: the second that he should rise and live in righteousness. Faith in Christ graciously bestows both these blessings.

 

The sojourning of the Savior with us, which made available to us all good things.

 

If we have risen with Christ, who is righteousness, and we walk in newness of life, and live according to righteousness, Christ has risen for us, that we might be justified... Christ, then, justifies only those who have undertaken a new life, on the model of His Resurrection, and cast off the old clothing of... unrighteousness as that which leads to death.

 

3. To grant man victory over sin, the evil world, and the devil

 

Jesus the Son of God, my Lord, may grant and order me to tread beneath my feet the "spirit of fornication", to tread on the neck of the spirit of wrath and anger, the demon of avarice (etc.)...

 

Just as the Father "alone has immortality" (1 Tim. 6:16) our Lord having, for love of us, taken on Himself the burden of death on our behalf - by the same showing to the Father alone belong the words "in Him there is no darkness" - Christ having, for man’s benefit, taken on Himself our darkness, that by His power He might bring our death to naught and disperse the darkness in our souls.

 

Before the advent of our Lord and Savior all the demons reigned in men’s minds and bodies, in undisturbed possession of their spirits. But when the grace and mercy of our Savior God appeared on earth to teach us how each man’s spirit should regain the liberty and image of God in which it was created...

 

Who is this if not Jesus Christ, by whose stripes we who believe in Him were healed, when he "put off the principalities and powers" among us, and made a show of them "openly" upon the Cross? (Col. 2:15) .

 

We have fallen under the power of our enemies - namely, the "ruler of this age" and his subordinate evil powers; hence we required redemption, through the One who buys us back from our state of alienation from Him. Hence our Savior gave His own blood as a "ransom" for us... "Forgiveness of sins" follows redemption, and is indeed impossible before a man has been redeemed. First we must be redeemed from the power of the one who has taken us prisoner and holds us in his sway: freed from him-beyond the reach of his hands, so to speak-we may thus be able profitably to receive the forgiveness of sins, and healed from the wounds of sin to do the works of piety and the other virtues.

 

4. To grant man victory on death

 

For everyone who is with Jesus is beyond the power of death.

 

He once rose from the dead and so utterly convinced His disciples of the truth of His resurrection that they showed all men through their sufferings that their gaze is fixed on life eternal and the resurrection which has been exemplified to them in word and deed, and so can mock at all the hardships of this life.

 

5. To grant us the true effective Knowledge "Gnosis"

 

Origen says that the Logos is our Teacher, Law-giver and Model. He teaches us not only through words, but also by granting us to associate with Him, thus we lose our deadliness and irrationality, and become divinely possessed and rational. He also is the pattern of the perfect life, the exemplar of true virtue into whose likeness Christians are transformed, thereby being enabled to participate in the divine nature.

 

Within the divinity of the Word is power not only to help and cure those who are sick,... but to show to the pure in body and mind "the revelation of the mystery"...

 

The divine Word was sent as a doctor to sinners, but as a teacher of divine mysteries to the already pure and sinless.

 

With the light of the Word we banish the darkness of impious doctrines... Because the Word has opened the eyes of our soul, we see the difference between light and darkness, and choose in every way to stand in the light.

 

6. To convert the "lost sheep of the house of Israel" and then, because of their unbelief, to take away "the kingdom of God" from the former, Jewish, husbandmen and give it to "other husbandmen."

 

7. He registers as the Head of our race

 

Just as through having Adam as the first example , the head, of our natural mode of birth, we are all said to have in this respect one body, even so do we register Christ as our head through the divine regeneration, which has become a pattern for us, of His death and resurrection.

 

CONTINUITY OF THE GOODNESS OF JESUS

 

The goodness of Jesus toward men was not confined to the days of His incarnation; even to this day the power of Jesus is working for the conversion and moral growth of those who believe in God through Him.

 

INCARNATION AND ANGELS

 

Origen believes that the mediatorship of the Logos lasts not only in the Church as a whole and in every member of her, but also in the angels and powers . Thus the Logos gradually unifies all with Himself, without violating the freedom of rational beings.

 

Origen believes that through God’s goodness to men He became a man, and to angels appears as an angel so that all feel that He belongs to them.

 

The Savior accordingly became, in a diviner way than Paul, all things to all, that He might either gain all or perfect them; it is clear that to men He became a man, and to the angels an angel. As for His becoming man no believer has any doubt, but as to His becoming an angel, we shall find reason for believing it was so, if we observe carefully the appearances and the words of the angels, in some of which the powers of the angels seem to belong to Him.

 

THE TWO ADVENTS OF CHRIST

 

Origen suggests that the two visits of our Lord Jesus Christ to Cana of Galilee symbolize His two advents.

 

In the first, after washing, He gladdens us who make our lives with Him, giving us to drink of what by His power is wine... For in reality before Jesus the Scripture was water, but since He came it has become wine to us.

 

In the second (advent), He relieves from fever at the time of the judgment with which He has been entrusted by God, freeing from fever and completely healing the nobleman’s son...

 

Thus at the first coming those who receive Him are gladdened; at the second those who were not willing before to drink of His wine are freed from all disease and the fiery darts of the enemy (Eph. 6:16).

 

"For the Son of Man has come already, but not in His glory" (Origen quotes Isa. 53 2-5). He had to come in this way, that He might "bear our sins" and suffer "on our behalf;" for it was not fitting that the Christ in glory should "bear our sins" and suffer "for us."

 

But He is coming again in glory after this preliminary preparing of His disciples through that appearing of His which had no "form nor comeliness". He became like them that they might become like Him, "conformed to the image" (Rom. 8:29) of His glory: since at His first coming He became conformed to "the body of our humiliation" (Phil. 3:21) when He "emptied Himself and took the form of a servant", He restores men to the form of God and makes them like unto it.

 

It was not the aim of His first advent to judge mankind before He had taught them and shown them the things they should do; nor did He come to punish the bad and save the good, but to sow in His own wonderful way the seed of His word by a certain divine power among the whole human race.

 

Full text: http://www.copticchurch.net/topics/patrology/schoolofalex2/chapter09.html

Augustine: Jesus Christ the Mediator between God and Man

One Mediator between God and Man

 

The Man Jesus Christ by St. Augustine of Hippo

 

Early Church Father and Doctor of the Church

 

Saint Augustine, early Church father and Doctor of the ChurchThis excerpt from the Confessions of Saint Augustine (Lib 10, 43, 68-70: CSEL 33, 278-280) reflects on the unfathomable gulf separating the immortal, transcendent God from sinful creatures, and how this gulf has been bridged by the one and only Mediator between God and man, the man Jesus Christ who died for us all. It is used in the Roman Office of Readings for Friday of the 16th week in Ordinary Time with the accompanying biblical reading taken from 2 Cor 5:1-21. The Lord Jesus Christ is here praised as the victor and victim, priest and sacrifice, in whom is hid all treasures of the wisdom and knowledge of God.

 

In your unfathomable mercy you first gave the humble certain pointers to the true Mediator, and then sent him, so that by his example they might learn even a humility like his. This Mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus, appeared to stand between mortal sinners and the God who is immortal and just: like us he was mortal, but like God he was just. Now the wage due to justice is life and peace; and so, through the justice whereby he was one with God, he broke the power of death over malefactors and by that act rendered them just, using that very mortality which he had himself chosen to share with them.

 

How you loved us, O good Father, who spared not even your only Son, but gave him up for us evil-doers! How you loved us, for whose sake he who deemed it no robbery to be your equal was made subservient even to the point of dying on the cross! Alone of all, he was free among the dead, for he had power to lay down his life and power to retrieve it. For our sake he stood to you as both victor and victim, and victor because victim; for us he stood to you as priest and sacrifice, and priest because sacrifice, making us your children instead of your servants by being born of you in order to serve us.

 

There is good reason for my solid hope in him, because you will heal all my infirmities through him who sits at your right hand and intercedes for us. Were it not so, I should despair; for many and grave are those infirmities, many and grave; but wider-reaching is your healing power. We might have despaired of ourselves, thinking your Word remote from any conjunction with mankind, had he not become flesh and made his dwelling among us. Filled with terror by my sins and my load of misery, I had been turning over in my mind a plan to flee into solitude; but you forbade me, and strengthened me by your words: To this end Christ died for all, that they who are alive might live not for themselves but for him who died for them.

 

See, then, Lord: I cast my care upon you so that I may live, and I will contemplate the wonders you have revealed. You know how stupid and weak I am: teach me and heal me. Your only Son, in whom are hidden all treasures of wisdom and knowledge, has redeemed me with his blood. Let not the proud disparage me, for I am mindful of my ransom. I eat it, I drink it, I dispense it to others, and as a poor man I long to be filled with it among those who are fed and feasted. And then, let those who seek him praise the Lord.

 

Full text: http://www.crossroadsinitiative.com/library_article/968/Jesus_Christ_the_Mediator_between_God_and_Man_Augustine.html

Tertullian: On the Flesh of Christ

This was written by our author in confutation of certain heretics who denied the reality of Christ’s flesh, or at least its identity with human flesh—fearing that, if they admitted the reality of Christ’s flesh, they must also admit his resurrection in the flesh; and, consequently, the resurrection of the human body after death.

 

[Translated by Dr. Holmes.]

 

Chapter I.—The General Purport of This Work. The Heretics, Marcion, Apelles, and Valentinus, Wishing to Impugn the Doctrine of the Resurrection, Deprive Christ of All Capacity for Such a Change by Denying His Flesh.

 

They who are so anxious to shake that belief in the resurrection which was firmly settled[2] before the appearance of our modern Sadducees,[3] as even to deny that the expectation thereof has any relation whatever to the flesh, have great cause for besetting the flesh of Christ also with doubtful questions, as if it either had no existence at all, or possessed a nature altogether different from human flesh. For they cannot but be apprehensive that, if it be once determined that Christ’s flesh was human, a presumption would immediately arise in opposition to them, that that flesh must by all means rise again, which has already risen in Christ. Therefore we shall have to guard our belief in the resurrection[4] from the same armoury, whence they get their weapons of destruction. Let us examine our Lord’s bodily substance, for about His spiritual nature all are agreed.[5] It is His flesh that is in question. Its verity and quality are the points in dispute. Did it ever exist? whence was it derived? and of what kind was it? If we succeed in demonstrating it, we shall lay down a law for our own resurrection. Marcion, in order that he might deny the flesh of Christ, denied also His nativity, or else he denied His flesh in order that he might deny His nativity; because, of course, he was afraid that His nativity and His flesh bore mutual testimony to each other’s reality, since there is no nativity without flesh, and no flesh without nativity. As if indeed, under the prompting of that licence which is ever the same in all heresy, he too might not very well have either denied the nativity, although admitting the flesh,—like Apelles, who was first a disciple of his, and afterwards an apostate,—or, while admitting both the flesh and the nativity, have interpreted them in a different sense, as did Valentinus, who resembled Apelles both in his discipleship and desertion of Marcion. At all events, he who represented the flesh of Christ to be imaginary was equally able to pass off His nativity as a phantom; so that the virgin’s conception, and pregnancy, and child-bearing, and then the whole course[6] of her infant too, would have to be regarded as putative.[7] These facts pertaining to the nativity of Christ would escape the notice of the same eyes and the same senses as failed to grasp the full idea[8] of His flesh.

 

Chapter II.—Marcion, Who Would Blot Out the Record of Christ’s Nativity, is Rebuked for So Startling a Heresy.

 

Clearly enough is the nativity announced by Gabriel.[1] But what has he to do with the Creator’s angel?[2] The conception in the virgin’s womb is also set plainly before us. But what concern has he with the Creator’s prophet, Isaiah?[3] He[4] will not brook delay, since suddenly (without any prophetic announcement) did he bring down Christ from heaven.[5] “Away,” says he, “with that eternal plaguey taxing of Cæsar, and the scanty inn, and the squalid swaddling-clothes, and the hard stable.[6] We do not care a jot for[7] that multitude of the heavenly host which praised their Lord at night.[8] Let the shepherds take better care of their flock,[9] and let the wise men spare their legs so long a journey;[10] let them keep their gold to themselves.[11] Let Herod, too, mend his manners, so that Jeremy may not glory over him.[12] Spare also the babe from circumcision, that he may escape the pain thereof; nor let him be brought into the temple, lest he burden his parents with the expense of the offering;[13] nor let him be handed to Simeon, lest the old man be saddened at the point of death.[14] Let that old woman also hold her tongue, lest she should bewitch the child.”[15] After such a fashion as this, I suppose you have had, O Marcion, the hardihood of blotting out the original records (of the history) of Christ, that His flesh may lose the proofs of its reality. But, prithee, on what grounds (do you do this)? Show me your authority. If you are a prophet, foretell us a thing; if you are an apostle, open your message in public; if a follower of apostles,[16] side with apostles in thought; if you are only a (private) Christian, believe what has been handed down to us: if, however, you are nothing of all this, then (as I have the best reason to say) cease to live.[17] For indeed you are already dead, since you are no Christian, because you do not believe that which by being believed makes men Christian,—nay, you are the more dead, the more you are not a Christian; having fallen away, after you had been one, by rejecting[18] what you formerly believed, even as you yourself acknowledge in a certain letter of yours, and as your followers do not deny, whilst our (brethren) can prove it.[19] Rejecting, therefore, what you once believed, you have completed the act of rejection, by now no longer believing:  the fact, however, of your having ceased to believe has not made your rejection of the faith right and proper; nay, rather,[20] by your act of rejection you prove that what you believed previous to the said act was of a different character.[21] What you believed to be of a different character, had been handed down just as you believed it. Now[22] that which had been handed down was true, inasmuch as it had been transmitted by those whose duty it was to hand it down.  Therefore, when rejecting that which had been handed down, you rejected that which was true. You had no authority for what you did. However, we have already in another treatise availed ourselves more fully of these prescriptive rules against all heresies.  Our repetition of them hereafter that large (treatise) is superfluous,[23] when we ask the reason why you have formed the opinion that Christ was not born.

 

Chapter III.—Christ’s Nativity Both Possible and Becoming. The Heretical Opinion of Christ’s Apparent Flesh Deceptive and Dishonourable to God, Even on Marcion’s Principles.

 

Since[1] you think that this lay within the competency of your own arbitrary choice, you must needs have supposed that being born[2] was either impossible for God, or unbecoming to Him. With God, however, nothing is impossible but what He does not will. Let us consider, then, whether He willed to be born (for if He had the will, He also had the power, and was born). I put the argument very briefly. If God had willed not to be born, it matters not why, He would not have presented Himself in the likeness of man. Now who, when he sees a man, would deny that he had been born?  What God therefore willed not to be, He would in no wise have willed the seeming to be. When a thing is distasteful, the very notion[3] of it is scouted; because it makes no difference whether a thing exist or do not exist, if, when it does not exist, it is yet assumed to exist.  It is of course of the greatest importance that there should be nothing false (or pretended) attributed to that which really does not exist.[4] But, say you, His own consciousness (of the truth of His nature) was enough for Him.  If any supposed that He had been born, because they saw Him as a man, that was their concern.[5] Yet with how much more dignity and consistency would He have sustained the human character on the supposition that He was truly born; for if He were not born, He could not have undertaken the said character without injury to that consciousness of His which you on your side attribute to His confidence of being able to sustain, although not born, the character of having been born even against!  His own consciousness![6] Why, I want to know,[7] was it of so much importance, that Christ should, when perfectly aware what He really was, exhibit Himself as being that which He was not? You cannot express any apprehension that,[8] if He had been born and truly clothed Himself with man’s nature, He would have ceased to be God, losing what He was, while becoming what He was not. For God is in no danger of losing His own state and condition. But, say you, I deny that God was truly changed to man in such wise as to be born and endued with a body of flesh, on this ground, that a being who is without end is also of necessity incapable of change. For being changed into something else puts an end to the former state. Change, therefore, is not possible to a Being who cannot come to an end. Without doubt, the nature of things which are subject to change is regulated by this law, that they have no permanence in the state which is undergoing change in them, and that they come to an end from thus wanting permanence, whilst they lose that in the process of change which they previously were. But nothing is equal with God; His nature is different[9] from the condition of all things. If, then, the things which differ from God, and from which God differs, lose what existence they had whilst they are undergoing change, wherein will consist the difference of the Divine Being from all other things except in His possessing the contrary faculty of theirs,—in other words, that God can be changed into all conditions, and yet continue just as He is? On any other supposition, He would be on the same level with those things which, when changed, lose the existence they had before; whose equal, of course, He is not in any other respect, as He certainly is not in the changeful issues[10] of their nature. You have sometimes read and believed that the Creator’s angels have been changed into human form, and have even borne about so veritable a body, that Abraham even washed their feet,[11] and Lot was rescued from the Sodomites by their hands;[12] an angel, moreover, wrestled with a man so strenuously with his body, that the latter desired to be let loose, so tightly was he held.[13] Has it, then, been permitted to angels, which are inferior to God, after they have been changed into human bodily form,[14] nevertheless to remain angels? and will you deprive God, their superior, of this faculty, as if Christ could not continue to be God, after His real assumption of the nature of man? Or else, did those angels appear as phantoms of flesh? You will not, however, have the courage to say this; for if it be so held in your belief, that the Creator’s angels are in the same condition as Christ, then Christ will belong to the same God as those angels do, who are like Christ in their condition. If you had not purposely rejected in some instances, and corrupted in others, the Scriptures which are opposed to your opinion, you would have been confuted in this matter by the Gospel of John, when it declares that the Spirit descended in the body[15] of a dove, and sat upon the Lord.[16] When the said Spirit was in this condition, He was as truly a dove as He was also a spirit; nor did He destroy His own proper substance by the assumption of an extraneous substance. But you ask what becomes of the dove’s body, after the return of the Spirit back to heaven, and similarly in the case of the angels. Their withdrawal was effected in the same manner as their appearance had been.  If you had seen how their production out of nothing had been effected, you would have known also the process of their return to nothing. If the initial step was out of sight, so was also the final one. Still there was solidity in their bodily substance, whatever may have been the force by which the body became visible. What is written cannot but have been.

 

Chapter IV.—God’s Honour in the Incarnation of

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