Monday, December 06, 2004



Arius, a 4th century Alexandrian priest, is my favorite theologian. Athanasius, who led a smear campaign against Arius, quoted the following excerpts from Arius' Thalia:

`God was not always a Father;' but `once God was alone, and not yet a Father, but afterwards He became a Father.' `The Son was not always;' for, whereas all things were made out of nothing, and all existing creatures and works were made, so the Word of God Himself was `made out of nothing,' and `once He was not,' and `He was not before His origination,' but He as others `had an origin of creation.' `For God,' he says, `was alone, and the Word as yet was not, nor the Wisdom. Then, wishing to form us, thereupon He made a certain one, and named Him Word and Wisdom and Son, that He might form us by means of Him.' Accordingly, he says that there are two wisdoms, first, the attribute co-existent with God, and next, that in this wisdom the Son was originated, and was only named Wisdom and Word as partaking of it. `For Wisdom,' saith he, `by the will of the wise God, had its existence in Wisdom.' In like manner, he says, that there is another Word in God besides the Son, and that the Son again, as partaking of it, is named Word and Son according to grace...And by nature, as all others, so the Word Himself is alterable, and remains good by His own free will, while He chooseth; when, however, He wills, He can alter as we can, as being of an alterable nature. For `therefore,' saith he, `as foreknowing that He would be good, did God by anticipation bestow on Him this glory, which afterwards, as man, He attained from virtue. Thus in consequence of His works fore-known22 , did God bring it to pass that He being such, should come to be.'

Moreover he has dared to say, that `the Word is not the very God;' `though He is called God, yet He is not very God,' but `by participation of grace, He, as others, is God only in name.' And, whereas all beings are foreign and different from God in essence, so too is `the Word alien and unlike in all things to the Father's essence and propriety,' but belongs to things originated and created, and is one of these. Afterwards...he has stated in his Thalia, that `even to the Son the Father is invisible,' and `the Word cannot perfectly and exactly either see or know His own Father;' but even what He knows and what He sees, He knows and sees `in proportion to His own measure,' as we also know according to our own power. For the Son, too, he says, not only knows not the Father exactly, for He fails in comprehension23 , but `He knows not even His own essence;'-and that `the essences of the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost, are separate in nature, and estranged, and disconnected, and alien24 , and without participation of each other25 ;' and, in his own words, `utterly unlike from each other in essence and glory, unto infinity.' Thus as to `likeness of glory and essence,' he says that the Word is entirely diverse from both the Father and the Holy Ghost. With such words hath [he] spoken; maintaining that the Son is distinct by Himself, and in no respect partaker of the Father.

More thoughts later...


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