Hilary - the Councils 16

V. “It any one hearing the words "formed" or "created" it and "begat me"

spoken by the same lips11 , refuses to understand this begat me of likeness of essence, but says that begat me and formed me are the same: as if to deny that the perfect Son of God was here signified as Son under two different expressions, as Wisdom has given Us to piously understand, and asserts that formed me and begat me only imply formation and not sonship: let him be anathema.”

11 (Pr 8,22,

17 17. Those who say that the Son of God is only a creature or formation are opposed on the fact that they say they have read The Lord formed or created me, which seems to imply formation or creation; hot they omit the following sentence, which is the key to the first, and from the first wrest authority for their impious statement that the Son is a creature, because Wisdom has said that she was created. But if she were created, how could she be also born? For all birth, of whatever kind, attains its own nature from the nature that begets it: but creation takes its beginning from the power of the Creator, the Creator being able to form a creature from nothing. So Wisdom, who said that she was created, does in the next sentence say that she was also begotten, using the word creation of the act of the changeless nature of her Parent, which nature, unlike the manner and wont of human parturition, without any detriment or change of self created from itself what it begat. Similarly a Creator has no need of passion or intercourse or parturition. And that which is created out of nothing begins to exist at a definite moment. And He who creates makes His object through His mere power, and creation is the work of might, not the birth of a nature from a nature that besets it. But because the Son of God was not begotten after the manner of corporeal childbearing, but was born perfect God of perfect God; therefore Wisdom says that she was created, excluding in her manner of birth every kind of corporeal process.

18 18. Moreover, to shew that she possesses a nature that was born and not created, Wisdom has added that she was begotten, that by declaring that she was created and also begotten, she might completely explain her birth. By speaking of creation she implies that the nature of the Father is changeless, and she also shews that the substance of her nature begotten of God the Father is genuine and real. And so her words about creation and generation have explained the perfection of her birth: the former that the Father is changeless, the latter the reality of her own nature. The two things combined become one, and that one is both in perfection: for the Son being born of God without any change in God, is so born of the Father as to be created; and the Father, who is changeless in Himself and the Son’s Father by nature, so forms the Son as to beget Him. Therefore the heresy which has dared to aver that the Son of God is a creature is condemned because while the first statement shews the impossible perfection of the divinity, the second, which asserts His natural generation, crushes the impious opinion that He was created out of nothing.

VI. “And if any one grant the Son only a likeness of activity, but rob Him of the likeness of essence

which is the corner-stone of our faith, in spite of the fact that the Son Himself reveals His essential likeness with the Father in the words, For as the Father hath life in Himself, so also hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself12 , as well as His likeness in activity by teaching us that What things soever the Father doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise13 , such a man robs himself of the knowledge of eternal life which is in the Father and the Son, and let him be anathema.”

12 (Jn 5,26,
13 Jn 5,19.

19 19. The heretics when beset by authoritative passages in Scripture are wont only to grant that the Son is like the Father in might while they deprive Him of similarity of nature. This is foolish and impious, for they do not understand that similar might can only be the result of a similar nature. For a lower nature can never attain to the might of a higher and more powerful nature. What will the men who make these assertions say about the omnipotence of God the Father, if the might of a lower nature is made equal to His own? For they cannot deny that the Son’s power is the same, seeing that He has said What things soever the Father doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.

No, a similarity of nature follows on a similarity of might when He says, As the Father hath life in Himself, so also hath He given to the Son to have lift in Himself. In life is implied nature and essence; this, Christ teaches, has been given Him to have as the Father hath. Therefore similarity of life contains similarity of might: for there cannot be similarity of life where the nature is dissimilar. So it is necessary that similarity of essence follows on similarity of might: for as what the Father does, the Son does also, so the life that the Father has He has given to the Son to have likewise. Therefore we condemn the rash and impious statements of those who confess a similarity of might but have dared to preach a dissimilarity of nature, since it is the chief ground of our hope to confess that in the Father and the Son there is an identical divine substance.

VII. “And if any one professing that he believes that there is a Father and a Son,

says that the Father is Father of an essence unlike Himself but of similar activity; for speaking profane and novel words against the essence of the Son and nullifying His true divine Sonship, let him be anathema.”

20 20. By confused and involved expressions the heretics very frequently elude the truth and secure the ears of the unwary by the mere sound of common words, such as the titles Father and Son, which they do not truthfully utter to express a natural and genuine community of essence: for they are aware that God is called the Father of all creation, and remember that all the saints are named sons of God. In like manner they declare that the relationship between the Father and the Son resembles that between the Father and the universe, so that the names Father and Son are rather titular than real. For the names are titular if the Persons have a distinct nature of a different essence, since no reality can be attached to the name of father unless it be based on the nature of his offspring. So the Father cannot be called Father of an alien substance unlike His own, for a perfect birth manifests no diversity between itself and the original substance. Therefore we repudiate all the impious assertions that the Father is Father of a Son begotten of Himself and yet not of His own nature. We shall not call God Father for having a creature like Him in might and activity, but for begetting a nature of an essence not unlike or alien to Himself: for a natural birth does not admit of any dissimilarity with the Father’s nature. Therefore those are anathema who assert that the Father is Father of a nature unlike Himself, so that something other than God is born of God, and who suppose that the essence of the Father degenerated in begetting the Son. For so far as in them lies they destroy the very birthless and changeless essence of the Father by daring to attribute to Him in the birth of His Only-begotten an alteration and degeneration of His natural essence.

VIII. “And if any one understanding that the Son is like in essence to Him whose Son He is admitted to be,

says that the Son is the same as the Father, or part of the Father, or that it is through an emanation or any such passion as is necessary for the procreation of corporeal children that the incorporeal Son draws His life from the incorporeal Father: let him be anathema.”

21 21. We have always to beware of the vices of particular perversions, and countenance no opportunity for delusion. For many heretics say that the Son is like the Father in divinity in order to support the theory that in virtue of this similarity the Son is the same Person as the Father: for this undivided similarity appears to countenance a belief in a single monad. For what does not differ in kind seems to retain identity of nature.

22 22. But birth does not countenance this vain imagination; for such identity without differentiation excludes birth. For what is born has a father who caused its birth. Nor because the divinity of Him who is being born is inseparable from that of Him who begets, are the Begetter and the Begotten the same Person; while on the other hand He who is born and He who begets cannot be unlike. He is therefore anathema who shall proclaim a similarity of nature in the Father and the Son in order to abolish the personal meaning of the word Son: for while through mutual likeness one differs in no respect from the other, yet this very likeness, which does not admit of bare union, confesses both the Father and the Son because the Son is the changeless likeness of the Father. For the Son is not part of the Father so that He who is born and He who begets can be called one Person. Nor is He an emanation so that by a continual flow of a corporeal uninterrupted stream the flow is itself kept in its source, the source being identical with the flow in virtue of the successive and unbroken continuity. But the birth is perfect, and remains alike in nature; not taking its beginning materially from a corporeal conception and bearing, but as an incorporeal Son drawing His existence from an incorporeal Father according to the likeness which belongs to an identical nature.

IX. “And if any one, because the Father is never admitted to be the Son and the Son is never admitted to be the Father,

when he says that the Son is other than the Father (because the Father is one Person and the Son another, inasmuch as it is said, There is another that beareth witness of Me, even the father who sent Me14 ), does in anxiety for the distinct personal qualities of the Father and the Son which in the Church must be piously understood to exist, fear that the Son and the Father may sometimes be admitted to be the same Person, and therefore denies that the Son is like in essence to the Father: let him be anathema.”

14 (Jn 5,32,

23 23. It was said unto the apostles of the Lord, Be ye wise as serpents, and harmless as doves15 . Christ therefore wished there to be in us the nature of different creatures: but in such a sort that the harmlessness of the dove might temper the serpent’s wisdom, and the wisdom of the serpent might instruct the harmlessness of the dove, and that so wisdom might be made harmless and harmlessness wise. This precept has been observed in the exposition of this creed. For the former sentence of which we have spoken guarded against the teaching of a unity of person under the cloak of an essential likeness, and against the denial of the Son’s birth as the result of an identity of nature, lest we should understand God to be a single monad because one Person does not differ in kind from the other. In the next sentence, by harmless and apostolic wisdom we have again taken refuge in that wisdom of the serpent to which we are bidden to be conformed no less than to the harmlessness of the dove, lest perchance through a repudiation of the unity of persons on the ground that the Father is one Person and the Son another, a preaching of the dissimilarity of their natures should again take us unawares, and test on the ground that He who sent and He who was sent are two Persons (for the Sent and the Sender cannot be one Person) they should be considered to have divided and dissimilar natures, though He who is born and He who begets Him cannot be of a different essence. So we preserve in Father and in Son the likeness of an identical nature through an essential birth: yet the similarity of nature does not injure personality by making the Sent and the Sender to be but one. Nor do we do away with the similarity of nature by admitting distinct personal qualities, for it is impossible that the one God should be called Son and Father to Himself. So then the truth as to the birth supports the similarity of essence and the similarity of essence does not undermine the personal reality of the birth. Nor again does a profession of belief in the Begetter and the Begotten exclude a similarity of essence; for while the Begetter and the Begotten cannot be one Person, He who is born and He who begets cannot be of a different nature.

15 (
Mt 10,16,

X. “And if any one admits that God became Father of the Only-begotten Son at any point in times

and not that the Only-begotten Son came into existence without passion beyond all times and beyond all human calculation: for contravening the teaching of the Gospel which scorned any interval of times between the being of the Father and the Son and faithfully has instructed us that In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God16 , let him be anathema.”

16 Jn 1,1.

24 24. It is a pious saying that the Father is not limited by times: for the true meaning of the name of Father which He bore before times began surpasses comprehension. Although religion teaches us to ascribe to Him this name of Father through which comes the impassible origin of the Son, yet He is not bound in time, for the eternal and infinite God cannot be understood as having become a Father in time, and according to the teaching of the Gospel the Only-begotten God the Word is recognized even in the beginning rather to be with God than to be born.

XI. “And if any one says that the Father is older in times than His Only-begotten Son, and that the Son is younger than the Father: let him be anathema”

25 25. The essential likeness conformed to the Father’s essence in kind is also taught to be identical in time: lest He who is the image of God, who is the Word, who is God with God in the beginning, who is like the Father, by the insertion of times between Himself and the Father should not have in Himself in perfection that which is both image, and Word, and God. For if He be proclaimed to be younger in time, He has lost the truth of the image and likeness: for that is no longer likeness which is found to be dissimilar in times. For that very fact that God is Father prevents there being any times in which He was not Father: consequently there can be no times in the Son’s existence in which He was not Son. Wherefore we must neither call the Father older than the Son nor the Son younger than the Father: for the true meaning of neither name can exist without the other.

XII. “And if any one attributes the timeless substance

26 (i.e. Person) of the Only-begotten Son derived from the Father to the unborn essence of God, as though calling the Father Son: let him be anathema17 .”

17 Substantia is in this passage used as the equivalent of Person. The word was used by Tertullian in the sense of oujsiva, and this early Latin use of the word is the use which eventually prevailed. The meaning of the word in Hilary is influenced by its philological equivalent in Greek. At the beginning of the fourth century uJpovstasi" was used in the same sense as oujsiva. The latter word meant ‘reality,0’ the former word ‘the basis of existence.0’ Athanasius, however, began the practice of restricting uJpovstasi" to the divine Persons. Hilary consequently here uses substantia in this new sense of the word u’povstasi". The Alexandrine Council of 362 sanctioned as allowable the use of  in the sense of Person, and by the end of the century the old usage practically disappeared.

26. The above definition when it denied that the idea of time could be applied to the birth of the Son seemed to have given an occasion for heresy (we saw that it would be monstrous if the Father were limited by time, but that He would be so limited if the Son were subjected to time), so that by the help of this repudiation of time, the Father who is unborn might under the appellation of Son be proclaimed as both Father and Son in a single and unique Person. For in excluding times from the Son’s birth it seemed to countenance the opinion that there was no birth, so that He whose birth is not in times might be considered not to have been born at all. Wherefore, lest at the suggestion of this denial of times the heresy of the unity of Persons should insinuate itself, that impiety is condemned which dares to refer the timeless birth to the unique and singular Person of the unborn essence. For it is one thing to be outside times and another to be unborn; the first admits of birth (though outside time), the other, so far as it is, is the one sole author froth eternity of its being what it is.

27 27. We have reviewed, beloved brethren, all the definitions of faith made by the Eastern bishops which they formulated in their assembly against the recently emerging heresy. And we, as far as we have been able, have adapted the wording of our exposition to express their meaning, following their diction rather than desiring to be thought the originators of new phrases. In these words they decree the principles of their conscience and a long maintained doctrine against a new and profane impiety. Those who compiled this heresy at Sirmium, or accepted it after its compilation, they have thereby compelled to confess their ignorance and to sign such decrees. There the Son is the perfect image of the Father: there under the qualities of an identical essence, the Person of the Son is not annihilated and confounded with the Father: there the Son is declared to be image of the Father in virtue of a real likeness, and does not differ in substance from the Father, whose image He is: there on account of the life which the Father has and the life which the Son has received, the Father can have nothing different in substance (this being implied in life) from that which the Son received to have: there the begotten Son is not a creature, but is a Person undistinguished from the Father’s nature: there, just as an identical might belongs to the Father and the Son, so their essence admits of no difference: there the Father by begetting the Son in no wise degenerates from Himself in Him through any difference of nature: there, though the likeness of nature is the same in each, the proper qualities which mark this likeness are repugnant to a confusion of Persons, so that there is not one subsisting Person who is called both Father and Son: there, though it is piously affirmed that there is both a Father who sends and a Son who is sent, yet no distinction in essence is drawn between the Father and the Son, the Sent and the Sender: there the truth of God’s Fatherhood is not bound by limits of times: there the Son is not later in time: there beyond all time is a perfect birth which refutes the error that the Son could not be born).

28 28. Here, beloved brethren, is the entire creed which was published by some Easterns, few in proportion to the whole number of bishops, and which first saw light at the very times when you repelled the introduction of this heresy. The reason for its promulgation was the fact that they were bidden to say nothing of the ojmoouvsion. But even in former times, through the urgency of these numerous causes, it was necessary at different occasions to compose other creeds, the character of which will be understood from their wording. For when you are frilly aware of the results, it will be easier for us to bring to a full consummation, such as religion and unity demand, the argument in which we are interested.

An exposition of the faith of the Church made at the Council held an the occasion of the Dedication of the church at Antioch

by ninety-seven bishops there present, because of suspicions felt as to the orthodoxy of a certain bishop18 .

18 The Council at Antioch of 341, generally known as the Dedicaiton Council, assembled for the dedicaiton of the great cathedral church which had been commenced there by the imperor Constantine, who did not live to see its completion. Four creeds were then drawn up, if we reckon a document which was drawn up at Antioch by a continuation of the Council in the following year. The second, and most important, of these creeds became the creed of the Semi-Nicene party. Capable of a wholly orthodox interpretation, it was insufficient ofitself to repel Arianism, but not insufficient to be used as an auxiliary means of opposing it. Hilary throughout ssumes that it is not to be interpreted in an Arian sense, and uses it as an intrduction to Nicene theology.

29 29. “We believe in accordance with evangelical and apostolic tradition in one God the Father Almighty, the Creator, Maker and Disposer of all things that are, and from whom are all things.

“And in one Lord Jesus Christ, His Only-begotten Son, God through whom are all things, who was begotten of the Father, God of God, whole God of whole God, One of One perfect God of perfect God, King of King, Lord of Lord, the Word, the Wisdom, the Life, true Light, true Way, the Resurrection the Shepherd, the Gate, unable to change or alter, the unvarying image of the essence and might and glory of the Godhead, the first-born of all creation, who always was in the beginning with God, the Word of God, according to what is said in the Gospel, and the Word was God, through whom all things were made, and in whom all things subsist, who in the last days came down from above, and was born of a virgin according to the Scriptures, and was made the Lamb19 , the Mediator between God and man, the Apostle of our faith, and leader of life. For He said, I came down from heaven, not to do Mine own will, but the will of Him that sent me20 . Who suffered and rose again for us on the third day, and ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of the Father, and is to come again with glory to judge the quick and the dead.

“And in the Holy Ghost, who was given to them that believe, to comfort, sanctify and perfect, even as our Lord Jesus Christ ordained His disciples, saying, Go ye, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost21 , manifestly, that is, of a Father who is truly Father, and clearly of a Son who is truly Son, and a Holy Ghost who is truly a Holy Ghost, these words not being set forth idly and without meaning, but carefully signifying the Person, and order, and glory of each of those who are named, to teach us that they are three Persons, but in agreement one.

19 Lamb is Hilary’s mistake for Man. He doubtless read the original in a Greek manuscript which had the word  written in its abbreviated form , lamb. The Latin word used by Hilary as a substitute for Apostle is , for which word it seems impossible to account.
20 (
Jn 6,28,
21 (Mt 28,19,

30 30. “Having therefore held this faith from the beginning, anti being resolved to hold it to the end in the sight of God and Christ, we say anathema to every heretical and perverted sect, and if any man teaches contrary to the wholesome and right faith of the Scriptures, saying that there is or was time, or space, or age before the Son was begotten, let him be anathema. And if any one say that the Son is a formation like one of the things that are formed, or a birth resembling other births, or a creature like the creatures, and not as the divine Scriptures have affirmed in each passage aforesaid, or teaches or proclaims as the Gospel anything else than what we have received: let him be anathema. For all those things which were written in the divine Scriptures by Prophets and by Apostles we believe and follow truly and with fear.”

31 31. Perhaps this creed has not spoken expressly enough of the identical similarity of the Father and the Son, especially in concluding that the names Father, Son and Holy Ghost referred to the Person and order and glory of each of those who are named to teach us that they are three Persons, but in agreement one.

32 32. But in the first place we must remember that the bishops did not assemble at Antioch to oppose the heresy which has dared to declare that the substance of the Son is unlike that of the Father, but to oppose that which, in spite of the Council of Nicaea, presumed to attribute the three names to the Father. Of this we will treat in its proper place. I recollect that at the beginning of my argument I besought the patience anti forbearance of my readers and hearers until the completion of my letter, lest any one should rashly rise to judge me before he was acquainted with the entire argument. I ask it again. This assembly of the saints wished to strike a blow at that impiety which by a mere counting of names evades the truth as to the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost; which represents that there is no personal cause for each name, and by a false use of these names makes the triple nomenclature imply only one Person, so that the Father alone could be also called both Holy Ghost and Son. Consequently they declared there were three substances, meaning three subsistent Persons, and not thereby introducing any dissimilarity of essence to separate the substance of Father and Son. For the words to teach us that they are three in substance, but in agreement one, are free from objection, because as the Spirit is also named, and He is the Paraclete, it is more fitting that a unity of agreement should be asserted than a unity of essence based on likeness of substance.

33 33. Further the whole of the above statement has drawn no distinction whatever between the essence and nature of the Father and the Son. For when it is said, God of God, whole God of whole God, there is no room for doubting that whole God is born of whole God. For the nature of God who is of God admits of no difference, and as whole God of whole God He is in all in which the Father is). One of One excludes the passions of a human birth and conception, so that since He is One of One, He comes from no other source, nor is different nor alien, for He is One of One, perfect God of perfect God. Except in having a cause of its origin His birth does not differ from the birthless nature since the perfection of both Persons is the same). King of King. A power that is expressed by one and the same title allows no dissimilarity of power). Lord of Lord. In ‘Lord’ also the lordship is equal: there can be no difference where domination is confessed of both without diversity. But plainest of all is the statement appended after several others unable to change or alter, the unvarying image of the Godhead and essence and might and glory. For as God of God, whole God of whole God, One of One, perfect God of perfect God, King of King and Lord of Lord, since in all that glory and nature of Godhead in which the Father ever abides, the Son born of Him also subsists; He derives this also from the Father’s substance that He is unable to change. For in His birth that nature from which He is born is not changed; but the Son has maintained a changeless essence since His origin is in a changeless nature. For though He is an image, yet the image cannot alter, since in Him was born the image of the Father’s essence, and there could not be in Him a change of nature caused by any unlikeness to the Father’s essence from which He was begotten. Now when we are taught that He was brought into being as the first of all creation, and He is Himself said to have always been in the beginning with God as God the Word, the fact that He was brought into being shews that He was born, and the fact that He always was, shews that He is not separated from the Father by time. Therefore this Council by dividing the three substances, which it did to exclude a monad God with a threefold title, did not introduce any separation of substance between the Father and the Son. The whole exposition of faith makes no distinction between Father and Son, the Unborn and the Only-begotten, in time, or name, or essence, or dignity, or domination. But our common conscience demands that we should gain a knowledge of the other creeds of the same Eastern bishops, composed at different times and places, that by the study of many confessions we may understand the sincerity of their faith.

The Creed according to the Council of the East.

34 34. “We, the holy synod met in Sardica from different provinces of the East, namely, Thebais, Egypt, Palestine, Arabia, Phoenicia, Coele Syria, Mesopotamia, Cilicia, Cappadocia, Pontus, Paphlagonia, Galatia, Bithynia and Hellespont, from Asia, namely, the two provinces of Phrygia, Pisidia, the islands of the Cyclades, Pamphylia, Caria, Lydia, from Europe, namely, Thrace, Haemimontus22 , Moesia, and the two provinces of Pannonia, have set forth this creed.

22 Mount Haemus is the mountain range which at this period formed the boundary between the provinces of Thracia and Moesia Inferior. Haeminontus was grouped with Moesia Inferior under the Vicarius of Thrace.

“We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Creator and Maker of all things, from whom all fatherhood in heaven and earth is named:

“And we believe in His Only-begotten Son our Lord Jesus Christ, who before all ages was begotten of the Father, God of God, Light of Light, through whom were made all things which are in heaven and earth, visible and invisible: who is the Word and Wisdom and Might and Life and true Light: and who in the last days for our sake was incarnate, and Was born of the holy Virgin, who was crucified and dead and buried, And rose from the dead on the third day, And was received into heaven, And sitteth on the right hand of the Father, And shall come to judge the quick and the dead and to give to every man according to his works: Whose kingdom remaineth without end for ever and ever. For He sitteth on the right hand of the Father not only in this age, but also in the age to come.

“We believe also in the Holy Ghost, that is, the Paraclete, whom according to His promise He sent to His apostles after His return into the heavens to teach them and to bring all things to their remembrance, through whom also the souls of them that believe sincerely in Him are sanctified.

“But those who say that the Son of God is sprung from things non-existent or from another substance and not from God, and that there was a time or age when He was not, the holy Catholic Church holds them as aliens. Likewise also those who say that there are three Gods, or that Christ is not God and that before the ages He was neither Christ nor Son of God, or that He Himself is the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost, or that the Son is incapable of birth; or that the Father begat the Son without purpose or will: the holy Catholic Church anathematizes.”

35 35. In the exposition of this creed, concise but complete definitions have been employed. For in condemning those who said that the Son sprang from things non-existent, it attributed to Him a source which had no beginning but continues perpetually. And lest this source from which He drew His permanent birth should be understood to be any other substance than that of God, it also declares to be blasphemers those who said that the Son was born of some other substance and not of God. And so since He does not draw His subsistence from nothing, or spring from any other source than God, it cannot be doubted that He was born with those qualities which are God’s; since the Only-begotten essence of the Son is generated neither from things which are non-existent nor from any other substance than the birthless and eternal substance of the Father. But the creed also rejects intervals of times or ages: on the assumption that He who does not differ in nature cannot be separable by time.

36 36. On every side, where anxiety might be felt, approach is barred to the arguments of heretics lest it should be declared that there is any difference in the Son. For those are anathematized who say that there are three Gods: because according to God’s true nature His substance does not admit a number of applications of the title, except as it is given to individual men and angels in recognition of their merit, though the substance of their nature and that of God is different. In that sense there are consequently many gods. Furthermore in the nature of God, God is one, yet in such a way that the Son also is God, because in Him there is not a different nature: and since He is God of God, both must be God, and since there is no difference of kind between them there is no distinction in their essence. A number of titular Gods is rejected; because there is no diversity in the quality of the divine nature. Since therefore he is anathema who says there are many Gods and he is anathema who denies that the Son is God; it is fully shewn that the fact that each has one and the same name arises from the real character of the similar substance in each: since in confessing the Unborn God the Father, and the Only-begotten God the Son, with no dissimilarity of essence between them, each is called God, yet God must be believed and be declared to be one. So by the diligent and watchful care of the bishops the creed guards the similarity of the nature begotten and the nature begetting, confirming it by the application of one name.

37 37. Yet to prevent the declaration of one God seeming to affirm that God is a solitary monad without offspring of His own, it immediately condemns the rash suggestion that because God is one, therefore God the Father is one and solitary, having in Himself the name of Father and of Son: since in the Father who begets and the Son who comes to birth one God must be declared to exist on account of the substance of their nature being similar in each. The faith of the saints knows nothing of the Son being incapable of birth: because the nature of the Son only draws its existence from birth. But the nature of the birth is in Him so perfect that He who was born of the substance of God is born also of His purpose and will. For from His will and purpose, not from the process of a corporeal nature, springs the absolute perfection of the essence of God born from the essence of God. It follows that we should now consider that creed which was compiled not long ago when Photinus was deposed from the episcopate.A copy of the creed composed at Sirmium by the Easterns to offense Photinus.

38 38. “We believe in one God the Father Almighty, the Creator and Maker, from whom every fatherhood in heaven and in earth is named.

“And in His only Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the Father before all ages, God of God, Light of Light through whom all things were made in heaven and in earth, visible and invisible. Who is the Word and Wisdom and Might and Life and true Light: who in the last days for our sake took a body, And was born of the holy Virgin, And was crucified, And was dead and buried: who also rose from the dead on the third day, And ascended into heaven, And sitteth on the right hand of the Father, And shall come at the end of the world to judge the quick and the dead; whose kingdom continueth without end and remaineth for perpetual ages. For He shall be sitting at the right hand of the Father not only in this age, but also in the age to come.

“And in the Holy Ghost, that is, the Paraclete, whom according to His promise He sent to the apostles after He ascended into heaven to teach them and to remind them of all things, through whom also are sanctified the souls of those who believe sincerely in Him.

I. “But those who say that the Son is sprung from things non-existent, or from another substance and not from God, and that there was a time or age when He was not, the holy Catholic Church regards as aliens.

II. “If any man says that the Father and the Son are two Gods: let him be anathema.

III. “And if any man says that God is one, but does not confess that Christ, God the Son of God, ministered to the Father in the creation of all things: let him be anathema.

IV. “And if any man dares to say that the Unborn God, or a part of Him, was born of Mary: let him be anathema.

V. “And if any man say that the Son born of Mary was, before born of Mary, Son only according to foreknowledge or predestination, and denies that He was born of the Father before the ages and was with God, and that all things were made through Him: let him be anathema.

VI. “If any man says that the substance of God is expanded and contracted: let him be anathema.

VII. “If any man says that the expanded substance of God makes the Son; or names Son His supposed expanded substance: let him be anathema.

VIII. “If any man says that the Son of God is the internal or uttered Word of God: let him be anathema.

IX. “If any man says that the man alone born of Mary is the Son: let him be anathema.

X. “If any man though saying that God and Man was born of Mary, understands thereby the Unborn God: let him be anathema.

XI. “If any man hearing The Word was made Flesh23 thinks that the Word was transformed into Flesh, or says that He suffered change in taking Flesh: let him be anathema.

Jn 1,14.

XII. “If any man hearing that the only Son of God was crucified, says that His divinity suffered corruption, or pain, or change, or diminution, or destruction: let him be anathema.

XIII. “If any man says Let us make man24 was not spoken by the Father to the Son, but by God to Himself: let him be anathema.

24 Gn 1,26.

XIV. “If any man says that the Son did not appear to Abraham, but the Unborn God, or a part of Him: let him be anathema.

XV. “If any man says that the Son did not wrestle with Jacob as a man, but the Unborn God, or a part of Him: let him be anathema.

XVI. “If any man does not understand The Lord rained from the Lord to be spoken of the Father and the Son, but that the Father rained from Himself: let him be anathema. For the Lord the Son rained from the Lord the Father.

XVII. “If any man says that the Lord and the Lord, the Father and the Son are two Gods. because of the aforesaid words: let him be anathema. For we do not make the Son the equal or peer of the Father, but understand the Son to be subject. For He did not come down to Sodom without the Father’s will, nor rain from Himself but from the Lord, to wit by the Father’s authority; nor does He sit at the Father’s right hand by His own authority, but He hears the Father saying). Sit thou on My, right hand25 .

25 Ps 109,1.

XVIII. “If any man says that the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost are one Person: let him be anathema.

XIX. “If any man speaking of the Holy Ghost the Paraclete says that He is the Unborn God: let him be anathema.

XX. “If any man denies that, as the Lord has taught us, the Paraclete is different from the Son; for He said, And the Father shall send you another Comforter, whom I shall ask26 : let him be anathema.

26 (Jn 14,16,

XXI. “If any man says that the Holy Spirit is a part of the Father or of the Son: let him be anathema.

XXII. “If any man says that the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit are three Gods: let him be anathema.

XXIII. “If any man after the example of the Jews understands as said for the destruction of the Eternal Only-begotten God the words, I am the first God, and I am the last God, and beside Me there is no God27 , which were spoken for the destruction of idols and them that are no gods: let him be anathema.

27 Is 44,6.

XXIV. “If any man says that the Son was made by the will of God, like any object in creation: let him be anathema.

XXV. “If any man says that the Son was born against the will of the Father: let him be anathema. For the Father was not forced against His own will, or induced by any necessity of nature to beget the Son: but as soon as He willed, before time and without passion He begat Him of Himself and shewed Him forth.

XXVI. “If any man says that the Son is incapable of birth and without beginning, saying as though there were two incapable of birth and unborn and without beginning, and makes two Gods: let him be anathema. For the Head, which is the beginning of all things, is the Son; but the Head or beginning of Christ is God: for so to One who is without beginning and is the beginning of all things, we refer the whole world through Christ.

XXVII. “Once more we strengthen the understanding of Christianity by saying, If any man denies that Christ who is God and Son of God, personally existed before time began and aided the Father in the perfecting of all things; but says that only from the time that He was born of Mary did He gain the name of Christ and Son and a beginning of His deity: let him be anathema.”

39 39. The necessity of the moment urged the Council to set forth a wider and broader exposition of the creed including many intricate questions, because the heresy which Photinus was reviving was sapping our Catholic home by many secret mines. Their purpose was to oppose every form of stealthy subtle heresy by a corresponding form of pure and unsullied faith, and to have as many complete explanations of the faith as there were instances of peculiar faithlessness. Immediately after the universal and unquestioned statement of the Christian mysteries, the explanation of the faith against the heretics begins as follows.

Hilary - the Councils 16