324 The council (a) had testified, by its horrified and spontaneous rejection of it, that Arianism was a novelty subversive of the Christian faith as they had received it from their fathers. They had (b) banished it from the Church by an inexorable test, which even the leading supporters of Arius had been induced to subscribe. In the years immediately following, we find (c) a large majority of the Eastern bishops, especially of Syria and Asia Minor, the very regions whence the numerical strength of the council was drawn, in full reaction against the council; first against the leaders of the victorious party, eventually and for nearly a whole generation against the symbol itself; the final victory of the latter in the East being the result of the slow growth of conviction, a growth independent of the authority of the council which it eventually was led to recognise. To understand this paradox of history, which determines the whole story of the life of Athanasius as bishop, it is necessary to estimate at some length the theological and ecclesiastical situation at the close of the council: this will best be done by examining each point in turn (a) the novelty of Arianism, (b) the omoousion as a theological formula, (c) the materials for reaction.
(a) ‘Arianism was a new doctrine in the Church’ (Harnack, p. 218); but it claimed to be no novelty. And it was successful for a long time in gaining ‘conservative’ patronage. Its novelty, as observed above, is sufficiently shewn by its reception at the Council of Nicaea. But no novelty springs into existence without antecedents. What were the antecedents of Arianism? How does it stand related to the history within the Church of the momentous question, ‘What think ye of Christ?’
In examining such a question, two methods are possible. We may take as our point of departure the formulated dogma say of Nicaea, and examine in the light of it variations in theological statements in preceding periods, to shew that they do not warrant us in regarding the dogma as an innovation. That is the dogmatic method. Or we may take our start from the beginning, and trace the history of doctrine in the order of cause and effect, so as to detect the divergence and convergence of streams of influence, and arrive at an answer to the question, How came men to think and speak as they did? That is the historical method. Both methods have their recommendations, and either has been ably applied to the problem before us. In electing the latter I choose the more difficult road; but I do so with the conviction, firstly, that the former has tended (and especially in the ablest hands) to obscure our perception of the actual facts, secondly, that the saving faith of Christ has everything to gain from a method which appeals directly to our sense of historical truth, and satisfies, not merely overawes, the mind.
Let us then go back to ‘the beginning of the Gospel.’ Taking the synoptic gospels as our primary evidence, we ask, what did Christ our Lord teach about Himself? We do not find formal definitions of doctrine concerning His Person. Doubtless it may seem that such a definition on His part would have saved infinite dispute and searchings of heart in the history of the Church. But recognising in Him the unique and supreme Revealer of the Father, it is not for us to say what He should have taught; we must accept His method of teaching as that which Divine Wisdom chose as the best, and its sequel in history as the way in which God willed man to learn. We find then in the materials which we possess for the history of His Life and Teaching fully enough to explain the belief of His disciples (see (below) in His Divinity). Firstly, there is no serious doubt as to His claim to be the Messiah. (The confession of Peter in all four Gospels, Mt 16,16 Mc 8,29 Lc 9,27 Jn 6,69 ‘Son of Man,’ Da 7,13 Da 9,24, &c).. In this character He is King in the kingdom of Heaven (Mt 25,31–36, Mc 8,38), and revises the Law with full authority (). It may be added that whatever this claim conveyed to the Jews of His own time (see Stanton’s Jewish and Christian Messiah) it is impossible to combine in one idea the Old Testament traits of the Coming One if we stop short of the identification of the Messiah with the God of Israel (see (Delitzsch, Psalms, vol. 1,pp. 94, 95, last English ed).). Secondly, Christ enjoys and confers the full authority of God (Mt 10,40 Lc 10,16 cf. also Mt 24,35 Mc 13,31 Lc 21,33), gives and promises the Holy Spirit (‘the Spirit of the Father,’ see Mt 10,17, &c.; Lc 12,12, and especially Lc 21,15, egw gar dwsw, &c)., and apparently sends the prophets and holy men of old (cf Mt 23,34, egw apostellw with Lc 11,49)). Thirdly, the foundation of all this is laid in a passage preserved by the first and third gospels, in which He claims the unqualified possession of the mind of the Father (Lc 10,22 Mt 11,27), ‘No man knoweth [who] the Son [is], save the Father, neither knoweth any man [who] the Father [is] save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will (boulhtai) reveal Him.’ Observe the reciprocity of knowledge between the Son and the Father. This claim is a decisive instantia foederis between the Synoptics and the Fourth Gospel, e.g. Jn 16,15 Jn 14,9, &c). Fourthly, we observe the claim made by Him throughout the synoptic record to absolute confidence, absolute faith, obedience, self-surrender, such as no frail man is justified in claiming from another; the absence of any trace in the mind of the ‘meek and lowly’ one of that consciousness of sin, that need of reconciliation with God, which is to us an indispensable condition of the religious temper, and the starting-point of Christian faith (contrast Is 6,5).
We now turn to the Apostles. Here a few brief remarks must suffice. (A suggestive summary in Sanday, ‘What the first Christians thought about Christ,’ Oxford House Papers, First Series.) That S. Paul’s summary of the Gospel (1Co 15,3 sqq.) is given by him as common ground between himself and the older Apostles follows strictly from the fact that the verb used (parelabon) links the facts of Redemption (v. 1, 4) with the personal experiences of the original disciples (5 sqq.). In fact it is not in dispute that the original Jewish nucleus of the Apostolic Church preached Jesus as the Messiah, and His death as the ground of forgiveness of sins (Pfleiderer, Urchrist. p. 20; Ac 11,36, Ac 11,38 Ac 3,26 Ac 4,12, &c.; the ‘Hebraic colouring’ of these early chapters is very characteristic and important). The question is, however, how much this implied as to the Divine Personality of the Saviour; how far the belief of the Apostles and their contemporaries was uniform and explicit on this point. Important light is thrown on this question by the controversy which divided S. Paul from the mass of Jewish Christians with respect to the observance of the Law. Our primary source of knowledge here is Galatians, ch. 2,We there learn that while S. Paul regarded this question as involving the whole essence of the Gospel, and resisted every attempt to impose circumcision on Gentile Christians, the older Apostles conceded the one point regarded as central, and, while reserving the obligation of the Law on those born under it (which S. Paul never directly assailed, 1Co 7,18) recognised the Gospel of the uncircumcision as legitimate. This concession, as the event proved, conceded everything; if the ‘gospel of the uncircumcision’ was sufficient for salvation, circumcision became a national, not a religious principle. Now this whole question was fundamentally a question about Christ. Men who believed, or were willing to grant, that the Law uttered from Sinai by the awful voice of the Most High Himself was no longer the supreme revelation of God, the one divinely ordained covenant of righteousness, certainly believed that some revelation of God different in kind (for no revelation of God to man could surpass the degree of Ex 33,11) had taken place, an unique revelation of God in man. The revelation of God in Christ, not the revelation of God to Moses, was the one fact in the world’s history; Sinai was dwarfed in comparison of Calvary. But it must be observed that while the older Apostles, by the very recognition of the gospel of the uncircumcision, went thus far with S. Paul, S. Paul realised as a central principle what to others lay at the circumference. What to the one was a result of their belief in Christ was to him the starting-point, from which logical conclusions were seen to follow, practical applications made in every direction. At the same time S. Paul taught nothing about Christ that was not implied in the belief of the older Apostles, or that they would not have felt impelled by their own religious position to accept. In fact it was their fundamental union in the implicit belief of the divinity of the Lord that made possible any agreement between S. Paul and the Jewish Apostles as to the gospel of the uncircumcision.18
The apostles of the circumcision, however, stood between S. Paul and the zealot mass of Jewish Christians (Ac 21,20), many of whom were far from acquiescing in the recognition of S. Paul’s Gospel. On the same principle that we have used to determine the belief of the Stuloi with regard to Christ, we must needs recognise that where the gospel of the uncircumcision was still assailed or disparaged, the Divinity of Christ was apprehended faintly, or not at all.
The name of the ‘Ebionite’ sect testifies to its continuity with a section of the Jerusalem Church (see (Lightfoot’s Galatians, S. Paul and the Three). It should be observed, however, firstly that between the clear-sighted Apostle of the Gentiles and the straitest of the zealots, there lay every conceivable gradation of intermediate positions (Loofs, Leitf. §11. 2, 3); secondly, that while emancipation from legalism in the Apostolic Church implied what has been said above, a belief in the divinity of Jesus was in itself compatible with strict Jewish observance.
The divinity of Christ then was firmly held by S. Paul (the most remarkable passage is Rm 10,9, Rm 10,11, Rm 10,13, where Khsoun AEhsoun = auton = Kurion = twty
Jl 2,32), and his belief was held by him in common with the Jewish Apostles, although with a clearer illumination as to its consequences. That this belief was absolutely universal in the Church is not to be maintained, the elimination of Ebionism was only gradual (Justin, Dial. xlviii). ad fin.); but that it, and not Ebionism, represented the common belief of the Apostles and New Testament writers is not to be doubted.
But taking this as proved, we do not find an equally clear answer to the question In what sense is Christ God? The synoptic record makes no explicit reference to the pre-existence of Christ: but the witness of Jn and descent of the Spirit () at His baptism, coupled with the Virginal Birth (Mt., Lk)., and with the traits of the synoptic portrait of Christ as collected above, if they do not compel us to assert, yet forbid us to deny the presence of this doctrine to the minds of the Evangelists. In the Pauline (including Hebrews) and Johannine writings the doctrine is strongly marked, and in the latter (Jn 1,1 Jn 1,14 Jn 1,18, monogenh" Qeo") Jesus Christ is expressly identified with the creative Word (Palestinian Memra, rather than Alexandrian or from Philo; see also Ap 19,13), and the Word with God. Moreover such passages as Ph 2,6 sqq., 2Co 13,14 (the Apostolic benediction), &c., &c., are significant of the impression left upon the mind of the infant Churches as they started upon their history no longer under the personal guidance of the Apostles of the Lord.
Jesus Christ was God, was one with the Father and with the Spirit: that was enough for the faith, the love, the conduct of the primitive Church. The Church was nothing so little as a society of theologians; monotheists and worshippers of Christ by the same instinct, to analyse their faith as an intellectual problem was far from their thoughts: God Himself (and there is but one God) had suffered for them (Ign. Rm vi.; Tat). Gr. 13; Melito Fr. 7), God’s sufferings were before their eyes (Clem. R. I. II. 1), they desired the drink of God, even His blood (Ign. Rm 7,, Ac 20,28); if enthusiastic devotion gave way for a moment to reflexion ‘we must think of Jesus Christ as of God’ (‘Clem. R.’ II. 1).
The ‘Apostolic fathers’ are not theological in their aim or method. The earliest seat of theological reflexion in the primitive Church appears to have been Asia Minor, or rather Western Asia from Antioch to the Aegean. From this region proceed the Ignatian letters, which stand alone among the literature of their day in theological depth and reflexion. Their theology ‘is wonderfully mature in spite of its immaturity, full of reflexions, and yet at the same time full of intuitive originality’ (Loofs, p. 61). The central idea is that of the renovation of man (Ep 20), now under the power of Satan and Death (ib 3,19), which are undone (katalusi") in Christ, the risen Saviour (Smyrn. 3), who is ‘our true Life,’ and endows us with immortality (Smyrn. 4, Magn. 6, Ep 17). This is by virtue of His Divinity (Ep 19, Smyrn. 4) in union with His perfect Manhood. He is the only utterance of God (logo" apo sigh" proelqwn, Magn. 8), the ‘unlying mouth by which the Father spake’ (Rm 8). ‘God come (genomeno") in the flesh,’ ‘our God’ (Ep 7,18). His flesh partaken mystically in the Eucharist unites our nature to His, is the ‘medicine of incorruption’ (Ep 20, Smyrn. 7, cf). Trall. 1). Ignatius does not distinguish the relation of the divine to the human in Christ: he is content to insist on both: ‘one Physician, of flesh and of spirit, begotten and unbegotten’ (Ep 7). Nor does he clearly conceive the relation of the Eternal Son to the Father. He is unbegotten (as God) and begotten (as man): from eternity with the Father (Magn. 6): through Him the One God manifested himself. The theological depth of Ignatius was perhaps in part called forth by the danger to the churches from the Docetic heretics, representative of a Judaic (Philad. 5, Magn. 8–10) syncretism which had long had a hold in Asia Minor (1Jn and Lightfoot Coloss.,p. 73, 81 sqq.). To this he opposes what is evidently a creed (Trall. 9), with emphasis on the reality (alhqw") of all the facts of Redemption comprised in it.
It was in fact the controversies of the second century that produced a theology in the Catholic Church,—that in a sense produced the Catholic Church itself. The idea of the Church as distinct from and embracing the Churches is a New Testament idea (Ep 5,25, cf. 1Co 15,9, &c)., and the name ‘Catholic’ occurs at the beginning of the second century (Lightfoot’s note on Ign). Smyrn. 8); but the Gnostic and Montanist controversies compelled the Churches which held fast to the paradosi" of the Apostles to close their ranks (episcopal federation) and to reflect upon their creed. The Baptismal Creed (Rm 10,9 Ac 8,37, Text. Rec., cf. ) began to serve as a tessera or passport of right belief, and as a regularire standard, a ‘rule of faith.’ The ‘limits of the Christian Church’ began to be more clearly defined (Stanton, ubi supr. p. 167).
Another influence which during the same period led to a gradual formation of theology was the necessity of defending the Church against heathenism. If the Gnostics were ‘the first Christian theologians’ (Harnack), the Apologists (120–200) are more directly important for our present enquiry. The usual title of Justin ‘Philosopher and Martyr’ is significant of his position and typical of the class of writers to which he belongs. On the one hand the Apologists are philosophers rather than theologians. Christianity is ‘the only true philosophy’ (Justin); its doctrines are found piecemeal among the philosophers (logo" spermatiko"), who are so far Christians, just as the Christians are the true philosophers (Justin and Minuc. Felix). But the Logos, who is imparted fragmentarily to the philosophers, is revealed in His entire divine Personality in Christ (so Justin beyond the others, Apol. 2,8, Apol. 2,10). In the doctrine of God, their thought is coloured by the eclectic Platonism of the age before Plotinus. God, the Father of all things, is Creator, Lord, Master, and as such known to man, but in Himself Unoriginate (agenhto"), ineffable, mysterious (arrhto"), without a name, One and alone, incapable of Incarnation (for references to Justin and to Plato, D.C.B. 3,572). His ‘goodness’ is metaphysical perfection, or beneficence to man, His ‘righteousness’ that of Moral Governor of the Universe (contrast the deeper sense of St. Paul, Rm 3,21, &c).. But the abstractness of the conception of God gives way to personal vividness in the doctrine of the ‘visible God’ (Tert). Prax. 15 sq)., the Logos (the subject of the O. T. ‘theophanies’ according to the Apologists) who was ‘with’ the Father before all things (Just). Dial. 62), but was ‘begotten’ or projected (problhqei") by the will of the Father (ib 128) as God from God, as a flame from fire. He is, like the Father, ineffable (Xpisto", Just. Apol. 2,6), yet is the aggelo", uphreth" of the Father. In particular He is the Father’s minister in Creation: to create He proceeded from the Father, a doctrine expressly deduced from Pr 8,22 (Dial. 61, 129). Before this He was the logo" endiaqeto", after it the logo" proforiko", the Word uttered (Ps 45,1 LXX; this distinction is not in Justin, but is found Theophil). ad Autol. 2,10, 22: it is the most marked trace of philosophic [Stoic] influence on the Apologists). The Apologists, then, conceive of Christian theology as philosophers. Especially the Person of the Saviour is regarded by them from the cosmological, not the soteriological view-point. From the latter, as we have seen, St. Paul starts; and his view gradually embraces the distant horizon of the former (1Co 8,6 Col 1,15); from the soteriological side also (directly) he reaches the divinity of Christ (, as above). Here, as we shall see, Athanasius meets the Arians substantially by St. Paul’s method. But the Apologists, under the influence of their philosophy rather than of their religion, start from the cosmological aspect of the problem. They engraft upon an Apostolic (Johannine) title of the Saviour an Alexandrine group of associations: they go far towards transmuting the Word of St. Jn to the Logos of Philo and the Eclectics. Hence their view of His Divinity and of his relation to the Father is embarrassed. His eternity and His generation are felt to be hardly compatible: His distinct Personality is maintained at the expense of His true Divinity. He is God, and not the One God; He can manifest Himself (Theophanies) in a way the One God cannot; He is an intermediary between God and the world. The question has become philosophical rather than directly religious, and philosophy cannot solve it. But on the other hand, Justin was no Arian. If he was Philosopher, he was also Martyr. The Apologists are deeply saturated with Christian piety and personal enthusiastic devotion to Christ. Justin in particular introduces us, as no other so early writer, into the life, the worship, the simple faith of the Primitive Church, and we can trace in him influences of the deeper theology of Asia Minor (Loofs, p. 72 sq. but see more fully the noble article on Justin in D.C.B. vol. iii).. But our concern is with their influence on the analysis of the object of faith; and here we see that unconsciously they have severed the Incarnate Son from the Eternal Father: not God (d ontw" qeo") but a subordinate divine being is revealed in Christ: the Logos, to adopt the words of Ignatius, is no longer a true breach of the Divine Silence.
We must now glance at the important period of developed Catholicism marked especially by the names of Irenaeus, Tertullian, and Clement, the period of a consolidated organisation, a (relatively) fixed Canon of the New Testament, and a catholic rule of faith (see (above, and Lumby, Creeds, ch. i.; Heurtley, Harmonia Symbolica, i.—viii).. The problem of the period which now begins (180—250) was that of Monarchianism; the Divinity of Christ must be reconciled with the Unity of God. Monarchianism is in itself the expression of the truth common to all monotheism, that the arch or Originative Principle is strictly and Personally One and one only (in contrast to the plurality of arcikai utostasei", see Newman, Arians p. 112 note). No Christian deliberately maintains the contrary. The Apologists, as we have seen, tended to emphasise the distinction of Father and Son; but this tendency makes of necessity in the direction of ‘subordination;’ and any distinction of ‘Persons’ or Hypostases in the Godhead involves to a Monotheist some subordination, in order to save the principle of the Divine Monarchia.’ The Monarchian denied any subordination or distinction of hypostases within the Godhead. This tendency we have now to follow up. We do not meet with it as a problem in Irenaes. (He ‘is said to have written against it,’ Newman, Ar. , p. 117, citing Dodw). in Iren.) This scholar of pupils of Apostles stands in the lines of the Asiatic theology. He is the successor of Iguatius and Polycarp. We find him, in sharp contrast to the Apologists, giving full expression to the revelation of God in Jesus (the ‘Son is the Measure of the Father, for He contains Him’), and the union of man with God in the Saviour, as the carrying out of the original destiny of man, by the destruction of sin, which had for the time frustrated it (III. 18,p. 211, Deus antiquam hominis plasmationem in se recapitulans). Hence the ‘deification’ of man’s nature by union with Christ (a remarkable point of contact with Athanasius, see note on de Incar. 54. 3); incorruption is attained to by the knowledge of God (Jn 17,3) through faith (IV. xx).; we cannot comprehend God, but we learn to know Him by His Love (ib).. At the same time we trace the influence of the Apologists here and there in his Christology (III. 6, 19, and the explanation of the ‘Theophanies,’ iv. 20). But in his younger contemporary Tertullian, the reaction of Monarchianism makes itself felt. He is himself one of the Apologists, and at the same time under Asiatic influences. The two trains of influence converge in the name Trinitas, which he is the first to use (tria" first in the Asiatic Apologist Theophilus). In combating the Monarchian Praxeas (see (below) he carries subordinationism very far (cf). Hermog. 3. ‘fuit tempus cum Ei filius non fuit’), he distinguishes the Word as ‘rationalis deus’ from eternity, and ‘sermonalis’ not from eternity (cf. again, Theophilus, supra). The Generation of the Son is a trobolh (also ‘eructare’ from Ps 45,1), but the divine ‘Substance’ remains the same (river and fountain, sun and ray, Prax. 8, 9). He aims at reconciling ‘subordination’ with the ‘Monarchia,’ (ib 4). In the Incarnate Christ he distinguishes the divine and human as accurately as Leo the Great (ib 27,29). In spite of inconsistencies such as were inevitable in his strange individuality (Stoic, philosopher, lawyer, Apologist, ‘Asiatic’ theologian, Catholic, Montanist) we see in Tertullian the starting-point of Latin Theology (but see also Harnack 2,287 note).
We must now examine more closely the history of Monarchian tendencies, and firstly in Rome. The sub-Apostolic Church, simply holding the Divinity of Christ and the Unity of God, used language (see (above) which may be called ‘naively Monarchian.’ This holds good even of Asiatic theology, as we find it in its earlier stage. The baptismal creed (as we find it in the primitive basis of the Apostles’ Creed) does not solve the problem thus presented to Christian reflexion. Monarchianism attempted the solution in two ways). Either the One God was simply identified with the Christ of the Gospels and the Creeds, the Incarnation being a mode of the Divine manifestation (Father as Creator, Son as Redeemer, Spirit as Sanctifier, or the like): ‘Modalism’ or Modalistic Monarchianism (including Patripassianism, Sabellianism, and later on the theology of Marcellus); or (this being felt incompatible with the constant personal distinction of Christ from the Father) a special effluence, influence, or power of the one God was conceived of as residing in the man Jesus Christ, who was accordingly Son of God by adoption, God by assimilation: ‘dynamic’ Monarchianism or Adoptionism (‘Son’ and ‘Spirit’ not so much modes of the Divine self-realisation as of the Divine Action). This letter, the echo but not the direct survival of Ebionism, was later on the doctrine of Photinus; we shall find it exemplified in Paul of Samosata; but our present concern is with its introduction at Rome by the two Theodoti, the elder of whom (a tanner from Byzantium) was excommunicated by Bishop Victor, while the younger, a student of the Peripatetic philosophy and grammatical interpreter of Scripture, taught there in the time of Zephyrinus. A later representative of this school, Artemon, claimed that its opinions were those of the Roman bishops down to Victor (Eus. H.E. 5,28). This statement cannot be accepted seriously; but it appears to be founded on a real reminiscence of an epoch in the action and teachings of the Roman bishops at the time. It must be remembered that the two forms of Monarchianism—modalism and adoptionism—are, while very subtly distinguished in their essential principle, violently opposed in their appearance to the popular apprehension. Their doctrine of God is one, at least in its strict unitarianism; but while to the Modalist Christ is the one God, to the Adoptionist He is essentially and exclusively man14 In the one case His Personality is divine, in the other human. Now there is clear proof of a strong Modalist tendency15 in the Roman Church at this time; this would manifest itself in especial zeal against the doctrine of such men as Theodotus the younger, and give some colour to the tale of Artemon. Both Tertullian and Hippolytus complain bitterly of the ignorance of those responsible for the ascendancy which this teaching acquired in Rome (Zefurinon anora idiwhn kai aeiron twn ekklhsiastikwn prwn, Hipp. ‘idiotes quisque aut perversus,’ ‘simplices, ne dicam imprudentes et idiotoe.’ Tert).. The utterances of Zephyrinus support this: ‘I believe in one God, Jesus Christ’ (Hipp., see above on the language of the sub-Apost. Church). The Monarchian influences were strengthened by the arrival of fresh teachers from Asia (Cleomenes and Epigonus, see note 2) and began to arouse lively opposition. This was headed by Hippolytus, the most learned of the Roman presbytery, and eventually bishop16 in opposition to Callistus, the successor of Zephyrinus. The theology of Hippolytus was not unlike that of Tertullian, and was hotly charged by Callistus with ‘Ditheism.’ The position of Callistus himself, like that of his predecessor, was one of compromise between the two forms of Monarchianism, but somewhat more developed. A distinction was made between ‘Christ’ (the divine) and Jesus (the human); the latter suffered actually, the former indirectly (‘filius patitur, pater vero compatitur.’ (Tert)). ton Iiatera sumteon?enai tw niw, Hipp.; it is clear that under ‘Praxeas’ Tertullian is combating also the modified Praxeanism of Callistus. See adv. Prax. 27, 29; Hipp. 9,7); not without reason does Hippolytus charge Callistus with combining the errors of Sabellius with those of Theodotus. The compromise of Callistus was only partially successful. On the one hand the strictly modalist Sabellius, who from about 215 takes the place of Cleomenes at the head of Roman Monarchianism (his doctrine of the uiopatwr, of the Trinity as successive proswpa, ‘aspects,’ of the One God, pure modalism as defined above) scorned compromise (he constantly reproached Callistus with having changed his front, Hipp.)was excommunicated, and became the head of a sect. And the fierce opposition of Hippolytus failed to command the support of more than a limited circle of enthusiastic admirers, or to maintain itself after his death. On the other hand (the process is quite in obscurity: see Harnack 1P 620) the theology of Hippolytus and Tertullian eventually gained the day). Novatian, whose ‘grande volumen’ (Jer). on the Trinity represents the theology of Rome about 250 a.d., simply ‘epitomises Tertullian,’ and that in explanation of the Rule of Faith. As to the Generation of the Son, he drops the ‘quando Ipse [Pater] voluit’ of Tertullian, but like him combines a (modified) ‘subordination’ with the ‘communio substantiae’—in other words the omoousion. Monarchianism was condemned in the West; its further history belongs to the East (under the name of Sabellianism first in Libya: see pp. 173, sqq.). But the hold which it maintained upon the Roman Church for about a generation (190—220) left its mark. Rome condemned Origen, the ally of Hippolytus; Rome was invoked against Dionysius of Alexandria; (Rome and) the West formulated the omoouoion at Nicaea; Rome received Marcellus; Rome rejected the trei" upostasei" and supported the Eustathians at Antioch; it was with Rome rather than with the prevalent theology of the East that Athanasius felt himself one. (Cf. also Harnack, Dg. 1P 622 sqq.) Monarchianism was too little in harmony with the New Testament, or with the traditional convictions of the Churches, to live as a formulated theology. The ‘naive modalism’ of the ‘simplices quae major semper pars credentium est’ (Tert). was corrected as soon as the attempt was made to give it formal expression17 . But the attempt to do so was a valuable challenge to the conception of God involved in the system of the Apologists. To their abstract, transcendent, philosophical first Principle, Monarchianism opposed a living, self-revealing, redeeming God, made known in Christ. This was a great gain. But it was obtained at the expense of the divine immutability. A God who passed through phases or modes, now Father, now Son, now Spirit, a God who could suffer, was not the God of the Christians. There is some justice in Tertullian’s scoff at their ‘Deum versipellem.’
The third great name associated with the end of the second century, that of Clement, is important to us chiefly as that of the teacher of Origen, whose influence we must now attempt to estimate. Origen (185—254) was the first theologian in the full sense of the term; the first, that is, to erect upon the basis of the rule of faith (Preface to de Princ.) a complete theological system, synthesising revealed religion with a theory of the Universe, of God, of man, which should take into account the entire range of truth and knowledge, of faith and philosophy. And in this sense for the Eastern Church he was the last theologian as well. In the case of Origen the Vincentian epigram, absolvuntur magistri condemnantur discipuli (too often applicable in the history of doctrine) is reversed. In a modified form his theology from the first took possession of the Eastern Church; in the Cappadocian fathers it took out a new lease of power, in spite of many vicissitudes it conquered opposing forces (the sixth general council crushed the party who had prevailed at the fifth); Jn of Damascus, in whom the Eastern Church says its last word, depends upon the Origenist theology of Basil and the Gregories. But this theology was Origenism with a difference. What was the Origenism of Origen? To condense into the compass of our present purpose the many-sidedness of Origen is a hopeless task. The reader will turn to the fifth and sixth of Bigg’s Bampton Lectures for the best recent presentation; to Newman’s Arians (I. §3), especially the ‘apology’ at the end); to Harnack (ed. 1, pp. 510—556) and Loofs (§28); Shedd (vol. 1,288—305, should be read before Bigg and corrected by him) and Dorner; to the sections in Bull (Defens. 2,9, 3,3) and Petavius (who in Trin. I. 4,pursues with fluent malignity ‘omnigenis errorum portentis infamem scriptorem’); to the Origeniana of Huet and the dissertations of the standard editors; to the article Origenist Controversies , and to the comprehensive, exact, and sympathetic article Origen in the Dictionary of Christian Biography. The fundamental works of Origen for our purpose are the de Principiis, the contra Celsum, and the de Oratione; but the exegetical works are necessary to fill out and correct first impressions.
The general position of Origen with regard to the Person of Christ is akin to that of Hippolytus and Tertullian. It is to some extent determined by opposition to Gnosticism and to Monarchianism. His visit to Rome (Eus). H. E., 6,14) coincided with the battle of Hippolytus against Zephyrinus and his destined successor: on practical as well as on doctrinal points he was at one with Hippolytus. His doctrine of God is reached by the soteriological rather than the cosmological method. God is known to us in the Incarnate Word; ‘his point of view is moral, not …pseudo-metaphysical.’ The impassibility of the abstract philosophical idea of God is broken into by ‘the passion of Love’ (Bigg, p. 158). In opposition to the perfection of God lies the material world, conditioned by evil, the result of the exercise of will. This cause of evil is antecedent to the genesis of the material universe, the katabolhkosmou; materiality is the penalty and measure of evil. (This part of Origen’s doctrine is markedly Platonic. Plotinus, we read, refused to observe his own birthday; in like manner Origen quaintly notes that only wicked men are recorded in Scripture to have kept their birthdays; Bigg, 203, note; cf. Harnack, p. 523, note). The soul (yuch as if from yuxesqai) has in a previous state ‘waxed cold,’ i.e. lost its original integrity, and in this condition enters the body, i.e. ‘is subjected to vanity’ in common with the rest of the creature, and needs redemption (qualify this by Bigg, pp. 202 sqq., on Origen’s belief in Original Sin). To meet this need the Word takes a Soul (but one that has never swerved from Him in its pre-existent state: on this antinomy Bigg, 190, note, 199) and mediante Anima, or rather mediante hac substantia animae (Prin. II. vi). unites the nature of God and of Man in One. (On the union of the two natures in the qeanqrwpo", in Ezek. 3,3, he is as precise as Tertullian: we find the Hypostatic Union and Communicatio Idiomatum formally explicit; Bigg, 190). The Word ‘deifies’ Human Nature, first His Own, then in others as well (Cels. 3,28, ina genhttui qeia: he does not use qeopoiesqai; the thought is subtly but really different from that which we found in Irenaeus: see Harnack, p. 551), by that perfect apprehension of Him oper hn prin genhtai sarx, of which faith in the Incarnate is the earliest but not the final stage (applying 2Co 5,16 cf. the Commentary on the Song of Songs).
What account then does Origen give of the beginning and the end of the great Drama of existence? He starts from the end, which is the more clearly revealed; ‘God shall be all in all.’ But ‘the end must be like the beginning;’ One is the end of all, One is the beginning. From 1Co 15, he works back to Rm 8.: the one is his key to the eternity after, the other, to the eternity before (Bigg pp. 193 sq.). Into this scheme he brings creation, evil, the history of Revelation, the Church and its life, the final consummation of all things. The Universe is eternal: God is prior to it in conception, yet He was never other than Creator. But in the history of the Universe the material world which we know is but a small episode. It began, and will end. It began with the estrangement of Will from God, will end with its reconciliation: God, from Whom is the beginning of all, ‘will be all in all.’ (For Origen’s eschatology see Bigg, 228—234). From this point of view we must approach the two-sided Christology of Origen. To him the two sides were aspects of the same thing: but if the subtle presupposition as to God and the Universe is withdrawn, they become alternative and inconsistent Christologies, as we shall see to have actually happened. As God is eternally Creator, so He is eternally Father (Bigg, 160, note). The Son proceeds from Him not as a part of His Essence, but as the Ray from the Light; it cannot be rightly or piously said that He had a beginning, hn ote ouk hn (cf). De Princ. 1,2, iv. 28, and infr. p. 168); He is begotten from the Essence of the Father, He is of the same essence (omoousio") (Fragm. 3 in Heb., but see Bigg, p. 179), there is no unlikeness whatever between the Son and the Father (Princ. 1,2, 12). He was begotten ek ton qelhmato" tou Patro" (but to Origen the qelhma was inherent in the Divine Nature, cf. Bigg. 161, Harnack, p. 534 against Shedd, p. 301, note) not by probolh or emanation (Princ. iv. 28, 1,2. 4), as though the Son’s generation were something that took place once for all, instead of existing continuously. The Father is in the Son, the Son in the Father: there is ‘coinherence.’ On the other hand, the Word is God derivatively not absolutely, `O logo" hn pro" ton Qeon, kai Q eo" hn o Logo". The Son is Qeo", the Father alone o Qeo". He is of one ousia with the Father as compared with the creatures; but as contrasted with the Father, Who may be regarded as epekeina ousia"18 , and Who alone is autoqeo", autoagaqo", alhqino" qeo", the Son is o detuero" qeo" (Cels. 5,39, cf. Philo’s deutereuwn qeo"). As the Son of God, He is contrasted with all gentha; as contrasted with the Ingenerate Father, He stands at the head of the series of gennhta; He is metaxu th" tou agen[n]htou kai th" twn yenhtwn fusew"19 . He even explains the Unity of the Father and the Son as moral (duo th upostasei pragmata en de th omovoia kai th tautothti tou boulhmato", Cels. viii. 12). The Son takes His place even in the cosmic process from Unity to Unity through Plurality, ‘God is in every respect One and Simple, but the Saviour by reason of the Many becomes Many’ (on Jn 1,22, cf. Index to this vol., s.v. Christ). The Spirit is subordinated to the Son, the Son to the Father (elattwn para ton patera o uio" …eti de htton to pneuma to agion; Princ. I. 3, 5 Gk)., while to the Spirit are subordinated created spirits, whose goodness is relative in comparison with God, and the fall of some of whom led to the creation of matter (see (above). Unlike the Son and the Spirit they are mutable in will, subject to prokoph, capable of embodiment even if in themselves immaterial.
The above slender sketch of the leading thoughts of Origen will suffice to show how intimately his doctrine of the Person of Christ hangs together with his philosophy of Religion and Nature. That philosophy is the philosophy of his age, and must be judged relatively. His deeply religious, candid, piercing spirit embodies the highest effort of the Christian intellect conditioned by the categories of the best thought of his age. Everywhere, while evading no difficulty, his strenuous speculative search is steadied by ethical and religious instinct. As against Valentinian and the Platonists, with both of whom he is in close affinity, he inexorably insists on the self-consciousness and moral nature of God, on human freewill. As against all contemporary non-Christian thought his system is pure monism. Yet the problem of evil, in which he merges the anti-thesis of matter and spirit, brings with it a necessary dualism, a dualism, however, which belongs but to a moment in the limitless eternity of God’s all-in-allness before and after. Is he then a pantheist? No, for to him God is Love (in Ez 6,6), and the rational creature is to be made divine and united to God by the reconciliation of Will and by conscious apprehension of Him. The idea of Will is the pivot of Origen’s system, the centripetal force which forbids it to follow the pantheistic line which it yet undoubtedly touches. The ‘moral’ unity of the Father and the Son (see (above, tautoth" boulhmato" and ek tou qelhmato") is Unity in that very respect in which the Creator stands over against the self-determining rational creature. Yet the immutability, the Oneness of God, must be reconciled with the plurality, the mutability of the creature; here the Logos mediates; dia ta polla ginetai polla: but this must be from eternity:—accordingly creation is eternal too. Here we see that the cosmological idea has prevailed over the religious, the Logos of Origen is still in important particulars the Logos of the Apologists, of Philo and the philosophers. The difference lies in His co-eternity, upon which Origen insists without wavering. The resemblance lies in the intermediate20 position ascribed to Him between the agennto", (o Qeo"), and the genhta; He is, as Hypostasis, subordinate to the Father.
Now it is evident that the mere intellectual apprehension of a system which combines so many opposite tendencies, which touches every variety of the theological thought of the age (even modalism, for to Origen the Father is the Monva", the autoqeo", while yet He is no abstraction but a God who exists in moral activity, supra) and subtly harmonises them all, must have involved no ordinary philosophical power. When we add to this fact the further consideration that precisely the fundamental ideas of Origen were those which called forth the liveliest opposition and were gradually dropped by his followers, we can easily understand that in the next generation Origenism was no longer either the system of Origen, or a single system at all.
In one direction it could lend itself to no compromise; in spite of the justice done by Origen to the fundamental ideas both of modalism and of emanative adoptionism (cf. Harnack, pp. 548, note, and 586), to Monarchianism in either form he is diametrically opposed. The hypostatic distinctness of Son and Spirit is once for all made good for the theology of Eastern Christendom. We see his disciples exterminate Monarchianism in the East. On the left wing Dionysius refutes the Sabellians of Libya, on the right Gregory Thaumaturgus, Firmilian, and their brethren, after a long struggle, oust the adoptionist Paul from the See of Antioch. But its influence on the existing Catholic theology, however great (and in the East it was very great), inevitably made its way in the face of opposition, and at the cost of its original subtle consistency. The principal opposition came from Asia Minor, where the traditions of theological thought (see (above, on Ignatius and Irenaeus, below on Marcellus) were not in sympathy21 with Origen. We cannot demonstrate the existence of a continuous theological school in Asia; but Methodius (270–300) certainly speaks with the voice of Ignatius and Irenaeus. He deals with Origen much as Irenaeus dealt with the Gnostics, defending against him the current sense of the regula fidei, and especially the literal meaning of Scripture, the origination of the soul along with the body, the resurrection of the body in the material sense, and generally opposing realism to the spiritualism of Origen. But in thus opposing Origen, Methodius is not uninfluenced by him (see (Socr. vi. 13). He, too, is a student of Plato (with ‘little of his style or spirit’); his ‘realism’ is ‘speculative.’ He no longer defends the Asiatic Chiliasm, his doctrine of the Logos is coloured by Origen as that of Irenaeus was by the Apologists). The legacy of Methodius and of his Origenist contemporaries to the Eastern Church was a modified Origenism, that is a theology systematised on the intellectual basis of the Platonic philosophy, but expurgated by the standard of the regula fidei. This result was a compromise, and was at first attended with great confusion. Origen’s immediate following seized some one side, some another of his system; some were more, some less influenced by the ‘orthodox’ reaction against his teaching. We may distinguish an Origenist ‘right’ and an Origenist ‘left.’ If the Origenist view of the Universe was given up, the coeternity of the Son and Spirit with the Father was less firmly grasped. Origen had, if we may use the expression, ‘levelled up.’ The Son was mediator between the Ingenerate God and the created, but eternal Universe. If the latter was not eternal, and if at the same time the Word stood in some essential correlation to the creative energy of God, Origen’s system no longer implied the strict coeternity of the Word. Accordingly we find Dionysius (see (below, p. 173) sqq). uncertain on this point, and on the essential relation of the Son to the Father. More cautious in this respect, but tenacious of other startling features of Origen, were Pierius and Theognostus, who presided over the Catechetical School at the end of the century22 .
On the other hand, very many of Origen’s pupils, especially among the bishops, started from the other side of Origen’s teaching, and held tenaciously to the coeternity of the Son, while they abandoned the Origenist ‘paradoxes’ with regard to the Universe, matter, pre-existence, and restitution. Typical of this class is Gregory Thaumaturgus, also Peter the martyr bishop of Alexandria, who expressly opposed many of Origen’s positions (though hardly with the violence ascribed to him in certain supposed fragments in Routh, Rell. iv. 81) and Alexander himself. It was this ‘wing’ of the Origenist following that, in combination with the opposition represented by Methodius, bequeathed to the generation contemporary with Nicaea its average theological tone. The coeternity of the Son with the Father was not (as a rule) questioned, but the essential relation of the Logos to the Creation involved a strong subordination of the Son to the Father, and by consequence of the Spirit to the Son. Monarchianism was the heresy most dreaded, the theology of the Church was based on the philosophical categories of Plato applied to the explanation and systematisation of the rule of faith. This was very far from Arianism. It lacked the logical definiteness of that system on the one hand, it rested on the other hand on a different conception of God; the hypostatic subordination of the Son was insisted upon, but His true Sonship as of one Nature with the Father, was held fast. In the slow process of time this neo-Asiatic theology found its way partly to the Nicene formula, partly to the illogical acceptance of it with regard to the Son, with refusal to apply it to the Spirit (Macedonius). To the men who thought thus, the blunt assertion that the Son was a creature, not coeternal, alien to the Essence of the Father, was a novelty, and wholly abhorrent. Arius drew a sharper line than they had been accustomed to draw between God and the creature; so did Athanasius. But Arius drew his line without flinching between the Father and the Son. This to the instinct of any Origenist was as revolting as it would have been to the clear mind and Biblical sympathy of Origen himself. In theological and philosophical principles alike Arius was opposed even to the tempered Origenism of the Nicene age. The latter was at the furthest remove from Monarchianism, Arianism was in its essential core Monarchian; the common theology borrowed its philosophical principles and method from the Platonists, Arius from Aristotle. To anticipate, Arianism and (so-called) semi-Arianism have in reality very little in common except the historical fact of common action for a time. Arianism guarded the transcendence of the divine nature (at the expense of revelation and redemption) in a way that ‘semi-Arianism,’ admitting as it did inherent inequality in the Godhead, did not. They therefore tended in opposite directions; Arianism to Anomoeanism, ‘semi-Arianism’ to the Nicene faith; their source was different. ‘Aristotle made men Arians,’ says Newman with truth, ‘Plato, semi-Arians’ (Arians , p. 335, note): but to say this is to allow that if Arianism goes back to Lucian and so to Paul of Samosata, semi-Arianism is a fragment from the wreck of Origen.
The Origenist bishops of Syria and Asia Minor had in the years 269–272, after several efforts, succeeded in deposing Paul of Samosata from the See of Antioch. This remarkable man was the ablest pre-Nicene representative of Adoptionist Monarchianism. The Man Jesus was inhabited by the ‘Word,’ i.e. by an impersonal power of God, distinct from the Logo" or reason (wisdom) inherent in God as an attribute, which descended upon him at His Baptism. His union with God, a union of Will, was unswerving, and by virtue of it He overcame the sin of mankind, worked miracles, and entered on a condition of Deification. He is God ek prokoph" (Lc 2,52) by virtue of progress in perfection. That is in brief the system of Paul, and we cannot wonder at his deposition. For the striking points of contact with Arianism (two ‘Wisdoms,’ two ‘Words,’ prokoph: cf). Orat. c. Ar. 1,5, &c). we have to account23 . The theology of Arius is a compromise between the Origenist doctrine of the Person of Christ and the pure Monarchian Adoptionism of Paul of Samosata; or rather it engrafts the former upon the latter as the foundation principle, seriously modifying each to suit the necessity of combining the two. This compromise was not due to Arius himself but to his teacher, Lucian the Martyr. A native himself of Samosata, he stood in some relation of attachment (not clearly defineable) to Paul. Under him, he was at the head of a critical, exegetical, and theological school at Antioch. Upon the deposition of Paul he appears not so much to have been formally excommunicated as to have refused to acquiesce in the new order of things. Under Domnus and his two successors, he was in a state of suspended communion24 ; but eventually was reconciled with the bishop (Cyril?) and died as a martyr at Nicomedia, Jan. 7, 312. The latter fact, his ascetic life, and his learning secured him widespread honour in the Church; his pupils formed a compact and enthusiastic brotherhood, and filled many of the most influential Sees after the persecution. That such a man should be involved in the reproach of having given birth to Arianism is an unwelcome result of history, but one not to be evaded25 . The history of the Lucianic compromise and its result in the Lucianic type of theology, are both matters of inference rather than of direct knowledge. As to the first, whatever evidence there is connects Lucian’s original position with Paul. His reconciliation with Bishop Cyril must have involved a reapproachment to the formula of the bishops who deposed Paul,—a thoroughly Origenist document. We may therefore suppose that the identification of Christ with the Logos, or cosmic divine principle, was adopted by him from Origenist sources. But he could not bring himself to admit that He was thus essentially identified with God the eternal; he held fast to the idea of prokoph as the path by which the Lord attained to Divinity; he distinguished the Word or Son who was Christ from the immanent impersonal Reason or Wisdom of God, as an offspring of the Father’s Will, an idea which he may have derived straight from Origen, with whom of course it had a different sense. For to Origen Will was the very essence of God; Lucian fell back upon an arid philosophical Monotheism, upon an abstract God fenced about with negations (Harnack 226 , 195, note) and remote from the Universe. It was counted a departure from Lucian’s principles if a pupil held that the Son was the ‘perfect Image of the Father’s Essence’ (Philost. 2,15); Origen’s formula, ‘distinct in hypostasis, but one in will,’ was apparently exploited in a Samosatene sense to express the relation of the Son to the Father). The only two points in fact in which Lucian appears to have modified the system of Paul were, firstly in hypostatising the Logos, which to Paul was an impersonal divine power, secondly in abandoning Paul’s purely human doctrine of the historical Christ. To Lucian, the Logos assumed a body (or rather ’Deus sapientiam suam misit in hunc mundum carne vestitam, ubi infra, p. 6), but itself took the place of a soul27 ; hence all the tapeinai lexei" of the Gospels applied to the Logos as such, and the inferiority and essential difference of the Son from the Father rigidly followed.
The above account of Lucian is based on that of Harnack, Dogmg. ii. 184, sqq. It is at once in harmony with all our somewhat scanty data (Alexander, Epiphanius, Philostorgius, and the fragment of his last confession of faith preserved by Rufin. in Eus). H. E. 9,9, Routh, Rell. iv. pp. 5–7, from which Harnack rightly starts) and is the only one which accounts for the phenomena of the rise of Arianism. We find a number of leading Churchmen in agreement with Arius, but in no way dependent on him. They are Eusebius of Nicomedia, Maris, Theognis, Athanasius of Anazarba, Menophantus; all Lucianists. The first Arian writer, Asterius (see (below), is a Lucianist. (The Egyptian bishops Secundus and Theonas cannot be put down to any school; we do not know their history; but they are distinguished from the Lucianists by Philost. 2,3). It has been urged that, although Arius brought away heresy from the school of Lucian, yet he was not the only one that did so. True; but then the heresy was all of the same kind (list of pupils of Lucian in Philost. 2,14, 3,15). Aetius, the founder of logical ultra-Arianism and teacher of Eunomius, was taught the exegesis of the New Testament by the Lucianists Athanasius of Anazarba and Antony of Tarsus, of the Old by the Lucianist Leontius. This fairly covers the area of Arianism proper. But it may be noted that some Origenists of the ‘left wing,’ whose theology emphasized the subordination, and vacillated as to the eternity of the Son, would find little to shock them in Arianism (Eusebius of Caesarea, Paulinus of Tyre), while on the other hand there are traces of a Lucianist ‘right wing,’ men like Asterius, who while essentially Arian, made concessions to the ‘conservative’ position chiefly by emphasising the cosmic mediation of the Word and His ‘exact likeness’ to the Father28 . The Theology of the Eastern Church was suffering from the effort to assimilate the Origenist theology: it could not do so without eliminating the underlying and unifying idea of Origenism; this done, the overwhelming influence of the great teacher remained, while dissonant fragments of his system, vaguely comprehended in many cases, permeated some here, some there29 . Meanwhile the school of Lucian had a method and a system; they knew their own minds, and relied on reason and exegesis. This was the secret of their power. Had Arius never existed, Arianism must have tried its strength under such conditions. But the age was ready for Arius; and Arius was ready. The system of Arius was in effect that of Lucian: its formulation appears to have been as much the work of Asterius as of Arius himself. (Cf. p. 155, §8, o de Ar. metagraya" dedwke toi" idioi". The extant writings of Arius are his letters to Eus. Nic. and to Alexander, preserved by Theodoret and Epiph). Haer. 69, and the extracts from the ‘Thalia’ in Ath., pp. 308–311, 457, 458; also the ‘confession’ in Socr. 1,26, Soz. 2,27. Cf. also references to his dicta in Ath. pp. 185, 229, &c). Arius started from the idea of God and the predicate ‘Son.’ God is above all things uncreated, or unoriginate, agen[n]hto", (the ambiguity of the derivatives of gennasqai and genesqa; are a very important element in the controversy. See p. 475, note 5, and Lightfoot, Ignat. 2,p. 90 sqq.) Everything else is created, genhton. The name ‘Son’ implies an act of procreation. Therefore, before such act, there was no Son, nor was God properly speaking a Father. The Son is not coeternal with Him. He was originated by the Father’s will, as indeed were all things. He is, then, twn genhtwn, He came into being from non-existence (ex ouk ontwn), and before that did not exist (ouk hn prin genhtai). But His relation to God differs from that of the Universe generally. Created nature cannot bear the awful touch of bare Deity. God therefore created the Son that He in turn might be the agent in the Creation of the Universe—‘created Him as the beginning of His ways,’ (Pr 8,22, LXX).. This being so, the nature of the Son was in the essential point of agennhsia unlike that of the Father; (xeno" tou uiou kat ousian o Pathr oti anarco"): their substances (upostasei") are anepimiktoi,—have nothing in common. The Son therefore does not possess the fundamental property of sonship, identity of nature with the Father. He is a Son by Adoption, not by Nature; He has advanced by moral probation to be Son, even to be monogenh" qeo" (Jn 1,14). He is not the eternal Logo", reason, of God, but a Word (and God has spoken many): but yet He is the Word by grace; is no longer, what He is by nature, subject to change. He cannot know the Father, much less make Him known to others. Lastly, He dwells in flesh, not in full human nature (see (above, p. 28,and note 2). The doctrine of Arius as to the Holy Spirit is not recorded, but probably He was placed between the Son and the other ktismata (yet see Harnack 2,199, note 2).
Arian Literature. Beside the above-mentioned letters and fragments of Arius, our early Arian documents are scanty. Very important is the letter of Eus. Nic. to Paulinus, referred to above, (1), pp. xvi., xviii., other fragments of letters, p. 458 sq. The writings30 of Asterius, if preserved, would have been an invaluable source of information31 . Asterius seems to have written before the Nicene Council; he may have modified his language in later treatises. He was replied to by Marcellus in a work which brought him into controversy (336) with Eusebius of Caesarea. With the creeds and Arian literature after the death of Constantine we are not at present concerned.
Arianism was a novelty. Yet it combines in an inconsistent whole elements of almost every previous attempt to formulate the doctrine of the Person of Christ. Its sharpest antithesis was Modalism: yet with the modalist Arius maintained the strict personal unity of the Godhead. With dynamic monarchianism it held the adoptionist principle in addition; but it personified the Word and sacrificed the entire humanity of Christ. In this latter respect it sided with the Docetae, most Gnostics, and Manichaeans, to all of whom it yet opposes a sharply-cut doctrine of creation and of the transcendence of God. With Origen and the Apologists before him it made much of the cosmic mediation of the Word in contrast to the redemptive work of Jesus; with the Apologists, though not with Origen, it enthroned in the highest place the God of the Philosophers: but against both alike it drew a sharp broad line between the Creator and the Universe, and drew it between the Father and the Son. Least of all is Arianism in sympathy with the theology of Asia,—that of Ignatius, Irenaeus, Methodius, founded upon the Joannine tradition. The profound Ignatian idea of Christ as the Logo" apo sigh" proelqwn is in impressive contrast with the shallow challenge of the Thalia, ‘Many words hath God spoken, which of these was manifested in the flesh?’
Throughout the controversies of the pre-Nicene age the question felt rather than seen in the background is that of the Idea of God. The question of Monotheism and Polytheism which separated Christians from heathen was not so much a question of abstract theology as of religion, not one of speculative belief, but of worship. The Gentile was prepared to recognise in the background of his pantheon the shadowy form of one supreme God, Father of gods and men, from whom all the rest derived their being. But his religion required the pantheon as well; he could not worship a philosophic supreme abstraction. The Christian on the other hand was prepared in many cases to recognise the existence of beings corresponding to the gods of the heathen (whether quoted here is open to question). But such beings he would not worship. To him, as an object of religion, there was one God. The one God of the heathen was no object of practical personal religion; the One God of the Christian was. He was the God of the Old Testament, the God who was known to His people not under philosophical categories, but in His dealings with them as a Father, Deliverer, He who would accomplish all things for them that waited on Him, the God of the Covenant. He was the God of the New Testament, God in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, manifesting His Righteousness in the Gospel of Christ to whosoever believed. In Christ the Christian learned that God is Love. Now this knowledge of God is essentially religious; it lies in a different plane from the speculative aporiai as to God’s transcendence or immanence, while yet it steadies the religious mind in the face of speculations tending either way. A God who is Love, if immanent, must yet be personal, if transcendent, must yet manifest His Love in such a way that we can know it and not merely guess it. Now as Christian instinct began to be forced to reflexion, in other words, as faith began to strive for expression in a theology32 , it could not but be that men, however personally religious, seized hold of religious problems by their speculative side. We have seen this exemplified in the influence of Platonic philosophy on the Apologists and Alexandrine Fathers. But to Origen, with all his Platonism, belongs the honour of enthroning the God of Love at the head and centre of a systematic theology. Yet the theology of the end of the third century assimilated secondary results of Origen’s system rather than his underlying idea. On the one hand was the rule of faith with the whole round of Christian life and worship, determining the religious instinct of the Church; on the other, the inability to formulate this instinct in a coherent system so long as the central problem was overlooked or inadequately dealt with. God is One, not more; yet how is the One God to be conceived of, what is His relation to the Universe of genesi" and fqora? and the Son is God, and the Spirit; how are they One, and if One how distinct? How do we avoid the relapse into a polytheism of secondary gods? What is—not the essential nature of Godhead, for all agreed that that is beyond our ken—but the prwton hmin, the essential idea for us to begin from if we are to synthesise belief and theology, pisti" and gnwsi"?
Arianism stepped in with a summary answer. God is one, numerically and absolutely. He is beyond the ken of any created intelligence. Even creation is too close a relation for Him to enter into with the world. In order to create, he must create an instrument (pp. 360) sqq)., intermediate between Himself and all else. This instrument is called Son of God, i.e. He is not coeternal (for what son was ever as old as his parent?), but the result of an act of creative will. How then is He different from other creatures? This is the weak point of the system; He is not really different, but a difference is created by investing Him with every possible attribute of glory and divinity except the possession of the incommunicable nature of deity. He is merely ‘anointed above His fellows.’ His ‘divinity’ is acquired, not original; relative, not absolute; in His character, not in His Person. Accordingly He is, as a creature, immeasurably far from the Creator; He does not know God, cannot declare God to us. The One God remains in His inaccessible remoteness from the creature. But yet Arians worshipped Christ; although not very God, He is God to us. Here we have the exact difficulty with which the Church started in her conflict with heathenism presented again unsolved. The desperate struggle, the hardly earned triumph of the Christians, had been for the sake of the essential principle of heathenism! The One God was, after all, the God of the philosophers; the idea of pagan polytheism was realised and justified in Christ33 ! To this Athanasius returns again and again (see (esp. p. 360); it is the doom of Arianism as a Christian theology.
If Arianism failed to assist the thought of the Church to a solution of the great problem of God, its failure was not less conspicuous with regard to revelation and redemption. The revelation of the Gospel stopped short in the person of Christ, did not go back to the Father. God was not in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, we have access in Christ to a created intelligence, not to the love of God to usward, not to the everlasting Arms, but to a being neither divine nor human. Sinners against heaven and before God, we must accept an assurance of reconciliation from one who does not know Him whom we have offended; the kiss of the Father has never been given to the prodigal. Men have asked how we are justified in ascribing to the infinite God the attributes which we men call good: mercy, justice, love. If Christ is God, the answer lies near; if He is the Christ of Arius, we are left in moral agnosticism. Apart from Christ, the philosophical arguments for a God have their force; they proffer to us an ennobling belief, a grand ‘perhaps; but the historical inability of Monotheism to retain a lasting hold among men apart from revelation is an impressive commentary on their compelling power. In Christ alone does God lay hold upon the soul with the assurance of His love (Rm 5, 5–8; Mt 11,28 Jn 17,3). The God of Arius has held out no hand toward us; he is a far-off abstraction, not a living nor a redeeming God.
The illogicality of Arianism has often been pointed out (Gwatkin, pp. 21 sqq. esp. p. 28); how, starting from the Sonship of Christ, it came round to a denial of His Sonship; how it started with an interest for Monotheism and landed in a vindication of polytheism; how it began from the incomprehensibility of God even to His Son, and ended (in its most pronounced form) with the assertion that the divine Nature is no mystery at all, even to us. It is an insult to the memory of Aristotle to call such shallow hasty syllogising from ill-selected and unsifted first principles by his name. Aristotle himself teaches a higher logic than this. But at this date Aristotelianism proper was extinct. It only survived in the form of ‘pure’ logic, adopted by the Platonists, but also studied for its own sake in connection with rhetoric and the art of arguing (cf. Socr. 2,35). Such an instrument might well be a cause of confusion in the hands of men who used it without regard to the conditions of the subject-matter. An illogical compromise between the theology of Paul of Samosata and of Origen, the marvel is that Arianism satisfied any one even in the age of its birth. What has been said above with regard to the conception of God in the early Church may help to explain it; the germ of ethical insight which is latent in adoptionism, and which when neglected by the Church has always made itself felt by reaction, must also receive justice; once again, its inherent intellectualism was in harmony with the dominant theology of the Eastern Church, that is with one side of Origenism. Where analogous conditions have prevailed, as for example in the England of the early eighteenth century, Arianism has tended to reappear with no one of its attendant incongruities missing.
But for all that, the doom of Arianism was uttered at Nicaea and verified in the six decades which followed. Every possible alternative formula of belief as to the Person of Christ was forced upon the mind of the early Church, was fully tried, and was found wanting. Arianism above all was fully tried and above all found lacking. The Nicene formula alone has been found to render possible the life, to satisfy the instincts of the Church of Christ. The choice lies—nothing is clearer—between that and the doctrine of Paul of Samosata. The latter, it has been said, was misunderstood, was never fairly tried. As a claimant to represent the true sense of Christianity it was I think once for all rejected when the first Apostles gave the right hand of fellowship to S. Paul (see (above, p. xxii).; its future trial must be in the form of naturalism, as a rival to Christianity, on the basis of a denial of the claim of Christ to be the One Saviour of the World, and of His Gospel to be the Absolute Religion. But Arianism, adding to all the difficulties of a supernatural Christology the spirit of the shallowest rationalism and the fundamental postulate of agnosticism, can surely count for nothing in the Armageddon of the latter days,
Spiacente a Dio ed a’ nemici suoi.
14 While yet the distinction between the ‘presence’ and ‘existence’ of God in Christ (Newman, Ar. 4. p. 123) is very delicate: both ideas are covered by ‘Dasein’. The two forms of Monarchianism are related exactly as the Catholic doctrine of the Trinity is to the Nestorian.
15 Our authorities are Hippolytus Philosophum., TertullianAgainst Praxeas, and the early fragment ‘against heresies’ printed in Tertullian’s works. The statements of Tertullian and Hippolytus agree remarkably, though obviously independent. The first (modalist) Monarchian teacher in Rome was Praxeas (Tert). from Asia, who was followed by the pupils of Noetus, also an Asiatic (Hippol)., Epigonus (Renan Marc-Aurèle 230, note, identifies ‘Praxeas’ with Epigonus; I cannot undertake to pronounce upon the point, but see Harnack, Dogmg. 11. p. 608) and Cleomenes. Praxeas arrived in Rome under Victor (or earlier, Harnack, p. 610), and combined strong opposition to Montanism, with equally strong modalism in his theology. In both respects his influence told upon the heads of the Church. Montanism was expelled, Modalism tolerated, Theodotus excommunicated; ‘Duo negotia diaboli Praxeas Romae procuravit: prophetiam expulit et haeresin intulit: Paracletum fugavit et Patrein crucifixit’. (Tert). ‘Praxeas haeresin introduxit quam Victor[inus] (perhaps a confusion with Zephyrinus) corroborate curavit’ (‘Tertullian’ adv. Haer.)
16 This point is still in debate. Against it, see Lightfoot, S. Clement of Rome (ed. 1890), for it, Döllinger Hipp. and Call., and Neumann, Der Röm. Staat u. d. Allg. Kirche (Leipz. 1890)).
17 But only at Aquileia was the rule of faith adapted by the insertion of impassibilis.
18 See Hewman’s note Ar. p. 186, where the additions in brackets seriously modify his statement in the text. Also cf). infr. ch. 4,§3, and Bigg, p. 179, note 2.
19 Cels.iii. 34, cf. Alexander’s mesiteuousa fusi" monogenh". But observe that the passage insisted on by Shedd, 294, etepo" kat` ousian kai upokeimenon o uio" tou patro", does not bear the sense he extracts from it). ousia here is not ‘essence’ but ‘hypostasis’.
20 The formula ktisma o uio" is ascribed to Origen by the anti-Chalcedonists of the sixth century, but is probably a ‘consequenz-macherei’ from the above; see Caspari Alte 5,N. Quellen, p. 60, note. But ktisma was sometimes applied to the Son in a vague sense, on the ground of Pr 8,22, a text not used in this way by Origen.
21 Compare the strong Origenist rejection of Chiliasm, the spiritualism of Origen as contrasted with the realism of Asia Minor, the Asiatic origin of Roman Monarchianism, of Montanism.
22 The position of Eusebius of Caesarea is at the ‘extreme left’ of the Origenist body. (‘A reflex of the unsolved problems of the Church of that time,’ Dorner). It is as though Dionysius instead of withdrawing and modifying his incriminated statements, had involved them in a haze of explanations and biblical phrases which left them where they were. But this is not so much Arianism as confusion. ‘All is hollow and empty, precarious and ambiguous. With a vast apparatus of biblical expressions and the use of every possible formula, Monotheism is indeed maintained, but practically a created subordinate God is inserted between God and mankind’ (Harnack, p. 648). See also Dorner, Lehre der Pers. Chr. Pt. 1, pp. 793—798. The language quoted by Ath. below, p. 459, was doubtless meant by Eusebius in an Origenist sense.
23 The theological genesis of Paul’s system is obscure. The theory of Newman that he was under strong Jewish influences is largely based upon the late and apparently quite erroneous tradition that his patroness Zenobia was a Jewess; see p. 296, note 9a, and Gwatkin, p. 57, and note 3. Harnack regards him as the representative of ‘archaic’ East-Syrian adoptionism such as pervades the ‘Discussion of Archelaus with Manes;’ see Routh, Rell. 5,especially pp. 178—184. But Paul would not have spoken of Mary as ‘Dei Genetrix,’ p. 128; I cannot see more in these ‘Acta’ than a naive adoptionism homologous to the ‘naive modalism’ of much early Christian language, but like it not representative of the entire view of those who use it; we must also note that the statements of ‘Archelaus’ are coloured by reaction against the docetism of ‘Manes;’ but Paul may well have taken up this naive adoptionism, and, by srict Aristotelian logic, developed it as the exclusive basis of his system. Whether Paul’s use of the idea of the Logos betrays the faintest influence of Origen is to me, at least, extremely uncertain).
24 aposunagwgo" emeinen, Alex. Alexand. in Thdt.; the objections of Gwatkin, p. 18, note, are generously meant rather than convincing: the ‘creed of Lucian’ is not usable without discrimination for Lucian’s position: see discussion by Caspari A.u.N.Q. p. 42, note.
25 It was pointed out clearly by Newman, Arians, pp. 8, 403, but with an eagerly drawn inference to the discredit of the later Antiochene School and of the genuine principles of exegesis as recognised at the present day by Protestants and Catholics alike (see (Wetzer und Welte-Kaulen, Kirchen-Lexicon, 1,953 sqq., iv. 1116, and Patrizzi as abridged in Cornel. a Lap). in Apoc. ed. Par. 1859, pp. 16,sqq. The Lucianic origin of Arianism was denied by Gwatkin in his Studies, but the denial is tacitly withdrawn in his Arian Controversy. Harnack, Dogmgesch. i???1. 598, ii2. 183 sqq. must, I think, convince any open mind of the fact. Consult his article on Lucian in Herzog???2. 8,767 (the best investigation), also Neander H.E. ii. 198, 4,108; Möller K.G. 1,226, D.C.B. 3,748; Kölling, vol. 1, pp. 27–31, who makes the mistake of taking the ‘Lucianic creed’ as his point of departure.
26 This is ascribed to Lucian by Epiph. Ancor. 33, and there is no reason whatever to doubt it. The tenet was part of the Arian system from the first, and was attacked already by Eustathius, Fragm. apud Thdt. Dial. iii., but often overlooked, e.g. even by Athanasius in his writings before 362, but see p. 352, note 5. It came to the front in the system of Eunomius, and was much discussed in the last decade of the life of S. Athan. The system of Apollinaris was different. (See pp. 570, note 1, 575, note 1).
27 This is ascribed to Lucian by Epiph. Ancor. 33, and there is no reason whatever to doubt it. The tenet was part of the Arian system from the first, and was attacked already by Eustathius, Fragm. apud Thdt. Dial. iii., but often overlooked, e.g. even by Athanasius in his writings before 362, but see p. 352, note 5. It came to the front in the system of Eunomius, and was much discussed in the last decade of the life of S. Athan. The system of Apollinaris was different. (See pp. 570, note 1, 575, note 1).
28 aparallakton eikona, which an Arian would be prepared to admit as the result of the prokoph. (See below, §6, on the Creeds of 341). I cannot regard Asterius as a ‘’semi-Arian;’ the only grounds for it are the above phrase and the statement (Lib. Syn.) that he attended the Council of 341 with the Conservative Dianius. But Asterius was as ready to compromise with conservatism as he had formerly been with heathenism, and his anxiety for a bishopric would carry him to even greater lengths in order to attend a council under influential patronage.
29 The letter of Alexander to his namesake of Byzantium in Thdt. 1,4, cannot be exempted from this generalisation
30 They appear to have comprised the Arian appeal to Scripture of which (considering the Biblical learning of Lucian and what we hear of the training of Aetius, to say nothing of the exegetical chair held by Arius at Alxa). their use must be pronounced meagre and superficial. In the O.T. they harped upon three texts, Dt 6,4 (Monotheism), Ps 45,8 (Adoptionism), and Pr 8,22, LXX. (the Word a Creature). In the N.T. they appeal for Monotheism (in their sense) to Lc 18,19 Jn 17,3; The Son a Creature, Ac 2,36 1Co 1,24 Col 1,15 He 3,2; Adoptionism, Mt 12,28; prokoph, Lc 2,52; also Mt 26,41 Ph 2,6, sq., He 1,4; The Son trepto", &c., Mc 13,32 Jn 13,31 Jn 11,34; inferior to the Father, Jn 14,48 Mt 27,46, also Mt 11,27 a, Mt 26,39 Mt 28,18 Jn 12,27, and 1Co 15,28 (cf. pp. 407, sq.). In this respect Origen is immeasurably superior.
31 They are regarded by Athan., a generation after they were written, as the representative statement of ‘the case’ for Arianism (pp. 459 sq.; 324 sqq., 361, 363, 368, &c., from which passages and Eus). c. Marcell. a fragmentary restoration might be attempted). For what is known of his history (not in D.C.B). see Gwatkin, p. 72, note; for his doctrinal position see above, p. xxviii.
32 A theology which aims at consistency most borrow a method, a philosophy, from outside the sphere of religion. The most developed system of Catholic theology, that of S. Thomas Aquinas, borrows its method from the same source as did Arius,—Aristotle).
33 This illustrates the famous paradox of Cardinal Newman (Development, ed. 1878, pp. 142–4), that the condemnation of Arian Christology left vacant a throne in heaven which the medieval Church legitimately filled with the Blessed Virgin; that the Nicene condemnation of the Arian theology is the vindication of the medieval; that ‘the rotaries of Mary do not exceed the true faith, unless the blasphemers of her Son come up to it.’ But the qestion here was one of worship, not of theology. The Arians worshipped Christ, whom they regarded as a created being: therefore, the Nicene fathers urge with one consent, they were idolaters. The idea of a created being capable of being worshipped was as Arian legacy to the Church, no doubt. But this very idea, to Athanasius and Hilary, marked them out as idolaters. It was reserved for later times ‘to find a subject for an Arian predicate’ (Mozley). The argument is an astonishing admission.