Thursday, April 06, 2006
Chapter II.—Extracts from the Thalia of Arius. Arius maintains that God became a Father, and the Son was not always; the Son out of nothing; once He was not; He was not before his generation; He was created; named Wisdom and Word after God’s attributes; made that He might make us; one out of many powers of God; alterable; exalted on God’s foreknowledge of what He was to be; not very God; but called so as others by participation; foreign in essence from the Father; does not know or see the Father; does not know Himself.
5. Now the commencement of Arius’s Thalia...runs thus:—
‘According to faith of God’s elect, God’s prudent ones,
Holy children, rightly dividing, God’s Holy Spirit receiving,
Have I learned this from the partakers of wisdom,
Accomplished, divinely taught, and wise in all things.
Along their track, have I been walking, with like opinions.
I the very famous, the much suffering for God’s glory;
And taught of God, I have acquired wisdom and knowledge.’
And the [doctrines] which he utters in it...are such as these1839:—‘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 309origination,’ 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 this too is an idea proper to their [theology], as shewn in other works of theirs, that there are many powers; one of which is God’s own by nature and eternal; but that Christ, on the other hand, is not the true power of God...The [other powers] are many and are like the Son, and of them David speaks in the Psalms, when he says, ‘The Lord of hosts’ or ‘powers1841.’ 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-known1842, did God bring it to pass that He being such, should come to be.’
6. Moreover he [writes], 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 comprehension1843, 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 alien1844, and without participation of each other1845;’ 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. These are portions of Arius’s [doctrines] as they occur in that...composition.
de Syn. §15. [where the metre of the Thalia is discussed in a note.]
de Syn. §18; Joel ii. 25.
de Syn. 26, note 7, de Decr. 6, note 8.
Vid. de Syn. 15, note 6. κατάληψις was originally a Stoic word, and even when considered perfect, was, properly speaking, attributable only to an imperfect being. For it is used in contrast to the Platonic doctrine of ἴδεαι, to express the hold of things obtained by the mind through the senses; it being a Stoical maxim, nihil esse in intellectu quod non fuerit in sensu. In this sense it is also used by the Fathers, to mean real and certain knowledge after inquiry, though it is also ascribed to Almighty God. As to the position of Arius, since we are told in Scripture that none ‘knoweth the things of a man save the spirit of man which is in him,’ if κατάληψις be an exact and complete knowledge of the object of contemplation, to deny that the Son comprehended the Father, was to deny that He was in the Father, i.e. the doctrine of the περιχώρησις, de Syn. 15, ἀνεπιμικτοί, or to maintain that He was a distinct, and therefore a created, being. On the other hand Scripture asserts that, as the Holy Spirit which is in God, ‘searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God,’ so the Son, as being ‘in the bosom of the Father,’ alone ‘hath declared Him.’ vid. Clement. Strom. v. 12. And thus Athan. speaking of Mark xiii. 32, ’If the Son is in the Father and the Father in the Son, and the Father knows the day and the hour, it is plain that the Son too, being in the Father, and knowing the things in the Father, Himself also knows the day and the hour.” Orat. iii. 44.
de Decr. 25, note 2.
de Syn. 15.
Ep. Encycl. 6; Epiph. Hær. 73. 1.
Ib. 15. lxx.
de Decr. 27, note 1.
Ib. 3, note 1, §1, note 3.
And so Vigilius of the heresies about the Incarnation, Etiamsi in erroris eorum destructionem nulli conderentur libri, hoc ipsum solum, quod hæretici sunt pronunciati, orthodoxorum securitati sufficeret. contr. Eutych. i. p. 494.