Book IV.

Book IV.Book IV.

Chapter I.

Concerning what followed the Resurrection.

After Christ was risen from the dead He laid aside all His passions, I mean His corruption orhunger or thirst or sleep or weariness or such like. For, although He did taste food after theresurrection(1) , yet He did not do so becauseit was a law of His nature (for He felt no hunger), but in the way of economy, in order that He mightconvince us of the reality of the resurrection, and that it was one and the same flesh which sufferedand rose again(2) . But He laid aside none ofthe divisions of His nature, neither body nor spirit, but possesses both the body and the soulintelligent and reasonable, volitional and energetic, and in this wise He sits at the right hand ofthe Father, using His will both as God and as man in behalf of our salvation, energising in Hisdivine capacity to provide for and maintain and govern all things, and remembering in His humancapacity the time He spent on earth, while all the time He both sees and knows that He is adored byall rational creation. For His Holy Spirit knows that He is one in substance with God the Word, andshares as Spirit of God and not simply as Spirit the worship accorded to Him. Moreover, His ascentfrom earth to heaven, and again, His descent from heaven to earth, are manifestations of the energiesof His circumscribed body. For He shall so come again to you, saith he, in like manner as ye haveseen Him go into Heaven(3) .

Chapter II.

Concerning the sitting at the right hand of the Father.

We hold, moreover, that Christ sits in the body at the right hand of God the Father, but wedo not hold that the right hand of the Father is actual place. For how could He that isuncircumscribed have a right hand limited by place? Right hands and left hands belong to what iscircumscribed. But we understand the right hand of the Father to be the glory and honour of theGodhead in which the Son of God, who existed as God before the ages, and is of like essence to theFather, and in the end became flesh, has a seat in the body, His flesh sharing in the glory. For Healong with His flesh is adored with one adoration by all creation(4) .

Chapter III.

In reply to those who say(5)"If Christ has two natures, either ye do service to the creature in worshipping created nature, or yesay that there is one nature to be worshipped, and another not to be worshipped."

Along with the Father and the Holy Spirit we worship the Son of God, Who was incorporealbefore He took on humanity, and now in His own person is incarnate and has become man though stillbeing also God. His flesh, then, in its own nature(6) , if one were to make subtle mental distinctionsbetween what is seen and what is thought, is not deserving of worship since it is created. But as itis united with God the Word, it is worshipped on account of Him and in Him. For just as the kingdeserves homage alike when un-robed and when robed, and just as the purple robe, considered simply asa purple robe, is trampled upon and tossed about, but after becoming the royal dress receives allhonour and glory, and whoever dishonours it is generally condemned to death: and again, just as woodin itself(7) is not of such a nature that itcannot be touched, but becomes so when fire is applied to it, and it becomes charcoal, and yet thisis not because of its own nature, but because of the fire united to it, and the nature of the wood isnot such as cannot be touched, but rather the charcoal or burning wood: so also the flesh, in its ownnature, is not to be worshipped, but is worshipped in the incarnate God Word, not because of itself,but because of its union in subsistence with God the Word. And we do not say that we worship mereflesh, but God's flesh, that is, God incarnate.

Chapter IV.

Why it was the Son of God, and not the Father or the Spirit, that became man: and what havingbecame man He achieved.

The Father is Father(8) and notSon(9) : the Son is Son and not Father: theHoly Spirit is Spirit and not Father or Son. For the individuality(10) is unchangeable. How, indeed, could individualitycontinue to exist at all if it were ever changing and altering? Wherefore the Son of God became Sonof Man in order that His individuality might endure. For since He was the Son of God, He became Sonof Man, being made flesh of the holy Virgin and not losing the individuality of Sonship(11) .

Further, the Son of God became man, in order that He might again bestow on man that favour for thesake of which He created him. For He created him after His own image, endowed with intellect andfree-will, and after His own likeness, that is to say, perfect in all virtue so far as it is possiblefor man's nature to attain perfection. For the following properties are, so to speak, marks of thedivine nature: viz. absence of care and distraction and guile, goodness, wisdom, justice, freedomfrom all vice. So then, after He had placed man in communion with Himself (for having made him forincorruption(12) , He led him up throughcommunion wills Himself to incorruption), and when moreover, through the transgression of the commandwe had confused and obliterated the marks of the divine image, and had become evil, we were strippedof our communion with God (for what communion hath light with darkness(13) ?): and having been shut out from life we becamesubject to the corruption of death: yea, since He gave us to share in the better part, and we did notkeep it secure, He shares in the inferior part, I mean our own nature, in order that through Himselfand in Himself He might renew that which was made after His image and likeness, and might teach us,too, the conduct of a virtuous life, making through Himself the way thither easy for us, and might bythe communication of life deliver us from corruption, becoming Himself the firstfruits of ourresurrection, and might renovate the useless and worn vessel calling us to the knowledge of God thatHe might redeem us from the tyranny of the devil, and might strengthen and teach us how to overthrowthe tyrant through patience and humility(14).

The worship of demons then has ceased: creation has been sanctified by the divine blood: altarsand temples of idols have been overthrown, the knowledge of God has been implanted in men's minds,the co-essential Trinity, the uncreate divinity, one true God, Creator and Lord of all receives men'sservice: virtues are cultivated, the hope of resurrection has been granted through the resurrectionof Christ, the demons shudder at those men who of old were under their subjection. And the marvel,indeed, is that all this has been successfully brought about through His cross and passion and death.Throughout all the earth the Gospel of the knowledge of God has been preached; no wars or weapons orarmies being used to rout the enemy, but only a few, naked, poor, illiterate, persecuted andtormented men, who with their lives in their hands, preached Him Who was crucified in the flesh anddied, and who became victors over the wise and powerful. For the omnipotent power of the Crossaccompanied them. Death itself, which once was maws chiefest terror, has been overthrown, and nowthat which was once the object of hate and loathing is preferred to life. These are the achievementsof Christ's presence: these are the tokens of His power. For it was not one people that He saved, aswhen through Moses He divided the sea and delivered Israel out of Egypt and the bondage ofPharaoh(15) ; nay, rather He rescued allmankind from the corruption of death and the bitter tyranny of sin: not leading them by force tovirtue, not overwhelming them with earth or burning them with fire, or ordering the sinners to bestoned, but persuading men by gentleness and long-suffering to choose virtue and vie with oneanother, and find pleasure in the struggle to attain it. For, formerly, it was sinners who werepersecuted, and yet they clung all the closer to sin, and sin was looked upon by them as their God:but now for the sake of piety and virtue men choose persecutions and crucifixions and death.

Hail! O Christ, the Word and Wisdom and Power of God, and God omnipotent! What can we helplessones give Thee in return for all these good gifts? For all are Thine, and Thou askest naught from ussave our salvation, Thou Who Thyself art the Giver of this, and yet art grateful to those who receiveit, through Thy unspeakable goodness. Thanks be to Thee Who gave us life, and granted us the grace ofa happy life, and restored us to that, when we had gone astray, through Thy unspeakablecondescension.

Chapter V.

In reply to those who ask if Christ's subsistence is create or uncreate.

The subsistence(16) of God the Wordbefore the Incarnation was simple and uncompound, and incorporeal and uncreate: but after it becameflesh, it became also the subsistence of the flesh, and became compounded of divinity which it alwayspossessed, and of flesh which it had assumed: and it bears the properties of the two natures, beingmade known in two natures: so that the one same subsistence is both uncreate in divinity and createin humanity, visible and invisible. For otherwise we are compelled either to divide the one Christand speak of two subsistences, or to deny the distinction between the natures and thus introducechange and confusion.

Chapter VI.

Concerning the question, when Christ was called.

The mind was not united with God the Word, as some falsely assert(17) , before the Incarnation by the Virgin and fromthat time called Christ. That is the absurd nonsense of Origen(18) who lays down the doctrine of the priority of theexistence of souls. But we hold that the Son and Word of God became Christ after He had dwelt in thewomb of His holy ever-virgin Mother, and became flesh without change, and that the flesh was anointedwith divinity. For this is the anointing of humanity, as Gregory the Theologian says(19) . And here are the words of the most holy Cyrilof Alexandria which he wrote to the Emperor Theodosius(20) : "For I indeed hold that one ought to give thename Jesus Christ neither to the Word that is of God if He is without humanity, nor yet to the templeborn of woman if it is not united with the Word. For the Word that is of God is understood to beChrist when united with humanity in ineffable manner in the union of the oeconomy(21) ." And again, he writes to the Empressesthus(22) : "Some hold that the name `Christ'is rightly given to the Word that is begotten of God the Father, to Him alone, and regardedseparately by Himself. But we have not been taught so to think and speak. For when the Word becameflesh, then it was, we say, that He was called Christ Jesus. For since He was anointed with the oilof gladness, that is the Spirit, by Him Who is God and Father, He is for this reason(23) called Christ. But that the anointing was an actthat concerned Him as man could be doubted by no one who is accustomed to think rightly." Moreover,the celebrated Athanasius says this in his discourse "Concerning the Saving Manifestation:" "The GodWho was before the sojourn in the flesh was not man, but God in God, being invisible and withoutpassion, but when He became man, He received in addition the name of Christ because of the flesh,since, indeed, passion and death follow in the train of this name."

And although the holy Scripture(24) says,Therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness(25) , it is to be observed that the holy Scriptureoften uses the past tense instead of the future, as for example here: Thereafter He was seen uponthe earth and dwelt among men(26) . For asyet God was not seen nor did He dwell among men when this was said. And here again: By the riversof Babylon, there we sat down; yea wept(27) . For as yet these things had not come topass.

Chapter VII.

In answer to those who enquire whether the holy Mother of God bore two natures, and whethertwo natures hung upon the Cross.

a0ge/nhton and genhto/n, written withone `n<\|sq_\=80#\strike\i0\b0\xapj0\sxapj0\super 28$#\/ j3./9.a4.w1.b4.f26$ and meaning uncreated and created, refer to nature: but a0ge/nnhton and ge/nhta, that is to say, unbegottenand begotten, as the double `n' indicates, refer not to nature but tosubsistence. The divine nature then is a0ge/nhtoj, that is to say,uncreate, but all things that come after the divine nature are ge/nhta,that is, created. In the divine and uncreated nature, therefore, the property of being a0ge/nnhton or unbegotten is contemplated in the Father (for He was notbegotten), that of being ge/nnhton or begotten in the Son (for He hasbeen eternally begotten of the Father), and that of procession in the Holy Spirit. Moreover of eachspecies of living creatures, the first members were a0ge/nnhta but nota0ge/nhta: for they were brought into being by their Maker, but were notthe offspring of creatures like themselves. For ge/nesij is creation,while ge/nnesij or begetting is in the case of God the origin of aco-essential Son arising from the Father alone, and in the case of bodies, the origin of aco-essential subsistence arising from the contact of male and female. And thus we perceive thatbegetting refers not to nature but to subsistence(29) . For if it did refer to nature, to= ge/nnhton and to a0ge/nnhton, i.e. theproperties of being begotten and unbegotten, could not be contemplated in one and the same nature.Accordingly the holy Mother of God bore a subsistence revealed in two natures; being begotten on theone hand, by reason of its divinity, of the Father timelessly, and, at last, on the other hand, beingincarnated of her in time and born in the flesh.

But if our interrogators should hint that He Who is begotten of the holy Mother of God is twonatures, we reply, "Yea! He is two natures: for He is in His own person God and man. And the same isto be said concerning the crucifixion and resurrection and ascension. For these refer not to naturebut to subsistence. Christ then, since He is in two natures, suffered and was crucified in the naturethat was subject to passion. For it was in the flesh and not in His divinity that He hung upon theCross. Otherwise, let them answer us, when we ask if two natures died. No, we shall say. And so twonatures Were not crucified but Christ was begotten, that is to say, the divine Word having become manwas begotten in the flesh, was crucified in the flesh, suffered in the flesh, while His divinitycontinued to be impossible."

Chapter VIII.

How the Only-begotten Son of God is called first-born.

He who is first begotten is called first-born(30) , whether he is only-begotten or the first of anumber of brothers. If then the Son of God was called first-born, but was not called Only-begotten,we could imagine that He was the first-born of creatures, as being a creature(31) . But since He is called both first-born andOnly-begotten, both senses must be preserved in His case. We say that He is first-born of allcreation(32) since both He Himself is of Godand creation is of God, but as He Himself is born alone and timelessly of the essence of God theFather, He may with reason be called Only-begotten Son, first-born and not first-created. For thecreation was not brought into being out of the essence of the Father, but by His will out ofnothing(33) . And He is called First-bornamong many brethren(34) , for although beingOnly-begotten, He was also born of a mother. Since, indeed, He participated just as we ourselves doin blood and flesh and became man, while we too through Him became sons of God, being adopted throughthe baptism, He Who is by nature Son of God became first-born amongst us who were made by adoptionand grace sons of God, and stand to Him in the relation of brothers. Wherefore He said, I ascendunto My Father and your Father(35) . Hedid not say "our Father," but "My Father," clearly in the sense of Father by nature, and "yourFather," in the sense of Father by grace. And "My God and your God(36) ." He did not say "our God," but "My God:" and ifyou distinguish with subtle thought that which is seen from that which is thought, also "your God,"as Maker and Lord.

Chapter IX.

Concerning Faith and Baptism.