16. Meaning of "Beginning." (1) in Space.
"In the beginning was the Word." It is not only the Greeks who consider
the word "beginning" to have many meanings. Let any one collect the Scripture
passages in which the word occurs, and with a view to an accurate interpretation
of it note what it stands for in each passage, and he will find that the
word has many meanings in sacred discourse also. We speak of a beginning
in reference to a transition. Here it has to do with a road and with length.
This appears in the saying: "The beginning of a good way is to do justice."
For since the good way is long, there have first to be considered in reference
to it the question connected with action, and this side is presented in
the words "to do justice; "the contemplative side comes up for consideration
afterwards. In the latter the end of it comes to rest at last in the so-called
restoration of all things, since no enemy is left them to fight against,
if that be true which is said: "For He must reign until He have placed
His enemies under His feet. But the last enemy to be destroyed is death."
For then but one activity will be left for those who have come to God on
account of His word which is with Him, that, namely, of knowing God, so
that, being found by the knowledge of the Father, they may all be His Son,
as now no one but the Son knows the Father. For should any one enquire
carefully at what time those are to know the Father to whom He who knows
the Father reveals Him, and should he consider how a man now sees only
through a glass and in a riddle, never having learned to know as he ought
to know, he would be justified in saying that no one, no apostle even,
and no prophet had known the Father, but when he became one with Him as
a son and a father are one. And if any one says that it is a digression
which has led us to this point, our consideration of that one meaning of
the word beginning, we must show that the digression is necessary and useful
for the end we have in view. For if we speak of a beginning in the case
of a transition, and of a way and its length, and if we are told that the
beginning of a good way is to do justice, then it concerns us to know in
what manner every good way has for its beginning to do justice, and how
after such beginning it arrives at contemplation, and in what manner it
thus arrives at contemplation.
17. (2) in Time. The Beginning of Creation.
Again, there is a beginning in a matter of origin, as might appear in
the saying:70 "In the beginning God made the heaven and the earth." This
meaning, however, appears more plainly in the Book of Job in the passage:71
"This is the beginning of God's creation, made for His angels to mock at."
One would suppose that the heavens and the earth were made first, of all
that was made at the creation of the world. But the second passage suggests
a better view, namely, that as many beings were framed with a body, the
first made of these was the creature called dragon, but called in another
passage72 the great whale (leviathan) which the Lord tamed. We must ask
about this; whether, when the saints were living a blessed life apart from
matter and from any body, the dragon, falling from the pure life, became
fit to be bound in matter and in a body, so that the Lord could say, speaking
through storm and clouds, "This is the beginning of the creation of God,
made for His angels to mock at." It is possible, however, that the dragon
is not positively the beginning of the creation of the Lord, but that there
were many creatures made with a body for the angels to mock at, and that
the dragon was the first of these, while others could subsist in a body
without such reproach. But it is not so. For the soul of the sun is placed
in a body, and the whole creation, of which the Apostle says:73 "The whole
creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now," and perhaps
the following is about the same: "The creation was made subject to vanity,
not willingly, but on account of Him who subjected it for hope; "so that
bodies might be in vanity, and doing the things of the body, as he who
is in the body must.74 ... One who is in the body does the things of the
body, though unwillingly. Wherefore the creation was made subject to vanity,
not willingly, but he who does unwillingly the things of the body does
what he does for the sake of hope, as if we should say that Paul desired
to remain in the flesh, not willingly, but on account of hope. For though
he thought it better75 to be dissolved and to be with Christ, it was not
unreasonable that he should wish to remain in the flesh for the sake of
the benefit to others and of advancement in the things hoped for, not only
by him, but also by those benefited by him. This meaning of the term" beginning,"
as of origin, will serve us also in the passage in which Wisdom speaks
in the Proverbs.76 "God," we read, "created me the beginning of His ways,
for His works." Here the term could be interpreted as in the first application
we spoke of, that of a way: "The Lord," it says, "created me the beginning
of His ways." One might assert, and with reason, that God Himself is the
beginning of all things, and might go on to say, as is plain, that the
Father is the beginning of the Son; and the demiurge the beginning of the
works of the demiurge, and that God in a word is the beginning of all that
exists. This view is supported by our: "In the beginning was the Word."
In the Word one may see the Son, and because He is in the Father He may
be said to be in the beginning.
18. (3) of Substance.
In the third place a beginning may be that out of which a thing comes,
the underlying matter from which things are formed. This, however, is the
view of those who hold matter itself to be uncreated, a view which we believers
cannot share, since we believe God to have made the things that are out
of the things which are not, as the mother of the seven martyrs in the
Maccabees teaches,77 and as the angel of repentance in the Shepherd inculcated.78
19. (4) of Type and Copy.
In addition to these meanings there is that in which we speak of an
arche,79 according to form; thus if the first-born of every creature80
is the image of the invisible God, then the Father is his arche. In the
same way Christ is the arche of those who are made according to the image
of God. For if men are according to the image, but the image according
to the Father; in the first case the Father is the arche of Christ, and
in the other Christ is the arche of men, and men are made, not according
to that of which he is the image, but according to the image. With this
example our passage will agree: "In the arche was the Word."
20. (5) of Elements and What is Formed from Them.
There is also an arche in a matter of learning, as when we say that
the letters are the arche of grammar. The Apostle accordingly says:81 "When
by reason of the time you ought to be teachers, you have need again that
some one teach you what are the elements of the arche of the oracles of
God." Now the arche spoken of in connection with learning is twofold; first
in respect of its nature, secondly in its relation to us; as we might say
of Christ, that by nature His arche is deity, but that in relation to us
who cannot, for its very greatness, command the whole truth about Him,
His arche is His manhood, as He is preached to babes, "Jesus Christ and
Him crucified." In this view, then, Christ is the arche of learning in
His own nature, because He is the wisdom and power of God; but for us,
the Word was made flesh, that He might tabernacle among us who could only
thus at first receive Him. And perhaps this is the reason why He is not
only the firstborn of all creation, but is also designated the man, Adam.
For Paul says He is Adam:82 "The last Adam was made a life-giving spirit."
21. (6) of Design and Execution.
Again we speak of the arche of an action, in which there is a design
which appears after the beginning. It may be considered whether wisdom
is to be regarded as the arche of the works of God because it is in this
way the principle of them.
22. The Word Was in the Beginning, I.e., in Wisdom, Which Contained
All Things in Idea, Before They Existed. Christ's Character as Wisdom is
Prior to His Other Characters.
So many meanings occur to us at once of the word arche. We have now
to ask which of them we should adopt for our text, "In the beginning was
the Word." It is plain that we may at once dismiss the meaning which connects
it with transition or with a road and its length. Nor, it is pretty plain,
will the meaning connected with an origin serve our purpose. One might,
however, think of the sense in which it points to the author, to that which
brings about the effect, if, as we read,83 "God commanded and they were
created." For Christ is, in a manner, the demiurge, to whom the Father
says, "Let there be light," and "Let there be a firmament." But Christ
is demiurge as a beginning (arche), inasmuch as He is wisdom. It is in
virtue of His being wisdom that He is called arche. For Wisdom says in
Solomon:84 "God created me the beginning of His ways, for His works," so
that the Word might be in an arche, namely, in wisdom. Considered in relation
to the structure of contemplation and thoughts about the whole of things,
it is regarded as wisdom; but in relation to that side of the objects of
thought, in which reasonable beings apprehend them, it is considered as
the Word. And there is no wonder, since, as we have said before, the Saviour
is many good things, if He comprises in Himself thoughts of the first order,
and of the second, and of the third. This is what John suggested when he
said about the Word:85 "That which was made was life in Him." Life then
came in the Word. And on the one side the Word is no other than the Christ,
the Word, He who was with the Father, by whom all things were made; while,
on the other side, the Life is no other than the Son of God, who says:86
"I am the way and the truth and the life." As, then, life came into being
in the Word, so the Word in the arche. Consider, however, if we are at
liberty to take this meaning of arche for our text: "In the beginning was
the Word," so as to obtain the meaning that all things came into being
according to wisdom and according to the models of the system which are
present in his thoughts. For I consider that as a house or a ship is built
and fashioned in accordance with the sketches of the builder or designer,
the house or the ship having their beginning (arche) in the sketches and
reckonings in his mind, so all things came into being in accordance with
the designs of what was to be, clearly laid down by God in wisdom. And
we should add that having created, so to speak, ensouled87 wisdom, He left
her to hand over, from the types which were in her, to things existing
and to matter, the actual emergence of them, their moulding and their forms.88
But I consider, if it be permitted to say this, that the beginning (arche)
of real existence was theSon of God, saying:89 "I am the beginning and
the end, the A and the W, the first and the last." We must, however, remember
that He is not the arche in respect of every name which is applied to Him.
For how can He be the beginning in respect of His being life, when life
came in the Word, and the Word is manifestly the arche of life? It is also
tolerably evident that He cannot be the arche in respect of His being the
first-born from the dead. And if we go through all His titles carefully
we find that He is the arche only in respect of His being wisdom. Not even
as the Word is He the arche, for the Word was in the arche. And so one
might venture to say that wisdom is anterior to all the thoughts that are
expressed in the titles of the first-born of every creature. Now God is
altogether one and simple; but our Saviour, for many reasons, since God90
set Him forth a propitiation and a first fruits of the whole creation,
is made many things, or perhaps all these things; the whole creation, so
far as capable of redemption, stands in need of Him.91 And, hence, He is
made the light of men, because men, being darkened by wickedness, need
the light that shines in darkness, and is not overtaken by the darkness;
had not men been in darkness, He would not have become the light of men.
The same thing may be observed in respect of His being the first-born of
the dead. For supposing the woman had not been deceived, and Adam had not
fallen, and man created for incorruption had obtained it, then He would
not have descended into the grave, nor would He have died, there being
no sin, nor would His love of men have required that He should die, and
if He had not died, He could not have been the first-born of the dead.
We may also ask whether He would ever have become a shepherd, had man not
been thrown together with the beasts which are devoid of reason, and made
like to them. For if God saves man and beasts, He saves those beasts which
He does save, by giving them a shepherd, since they cannot have a king.
Thus if we collect the titles of Jesus, the question arises which of them
were conferred on Him later, and would never have assumed such importance
if the saints had begun and had also persevered in blessedness. Perhaps
Wisdom would be the only remaining one, or perhaps the Word would remain
too, or perhaps the Life, or perhaps the Truth, not the others, which He
took for our sake. And happy indeed are those who in their need for the
Son of God have yet become such persons as not to need Him in His character
as a physician healing the sick, nor in that of a shepherd, nor in that
of redemption, but only in His characters as wisdom, as the word and righteousness,
or if there be any other title suitable for those who are so perfect as
to receive Him in His fairest characters. So much for the phrase "In the
23. The Title "Word" Is to Be Interpreted by the Same Method as the
Other Titles of Christ. The Word of God is Not a Mere Attribute of God,
But a Separate Person. What is Meant When He is Called the Word.
Let us consider, however, a little more carefully what is the Word which
is in the beginning. I am often led to wonder when I consider the things
that are said about Christ, even by those who are in earnest in their belief
in Him. Though there is a countless number of names which can be applied
to our Saviour, they omit the most of them, and if they should remember
them, they declare that these titles are not to be understood in their
proper sense, but tropically. But when they come to the title Logos (Word),
and repeat that Christ alone is the Word of God, they are not consistent,
and do not, as in the case of the other titles, search out what is behind
the meaning of the term "Word." I wonder at the stupidity of the general
run of Christians in this matter. I do not mince matters; it is nothing
but stupidity. The Son of God says in one passage, "I am the light of the
world," and in another, "I am the resurrection," and again, "I am the way
and the truth and the life." It is also written, "I am the door," and we
have the saying, "I am the good shepherd," and when the woman of Samaria
says, "We know the Messiah is coming, who is called Christ; when He comes,
He will tell us all things," Jesus answers, "I that speak unto thee am
He." Again, when He washed the disciples' feet, He declared Himself in
these words92 to be their Master and Lord: "You call Me Master and Lord,
and you say well, for so I am." He also distinctly announces Himself as
the Son of God, when He says,93 "He whom the Father sanctified and sent
unto the world, to Him do you say, Thou blasphemest, because I said, I
am the Son of God? "and94 "Father, the hour is come; glorify Thy Son, that
the Son also may glorify Thee." We also find Him declaring Himself to be
a king, as when He answers Pilate's question,95 "Art Thou the King of the
Jews? "by saying, "My kingdom is not of this world; if My kingdom were
of this world, then would My servants fight, that I should not be delivered
to the Jews, but now is My kingdom not from hence." We have also read the
words,96 "I am the true vine and My Father is the husbandman," and again,
"I am the vine, ye are the branches." Add to these testimonies also the
saying,97 "I am the bread of life, that came down from heaven and giveth
life to the world." These texts will suffice for the present, which we
have picked up out of the storehouse of the Gospels, and in all of which
He claims to be the Son of God. But in the Apocalypse of John, too, He
says,98 "I am the first and the last, and the living One, and I was dead.
Behold, I am alive for evermore." And again,99 "I am the A and the W, and
the first and the last, the beginning and the end." The careful student
of the sacred books, moreover, may gather not a few similar passages from
the prophets, as where He calls Himself100 a chosen shaft, and a servant
of God,101 and a light of the Gentiles.102 Isaiah also says,103 "From my
mother's womb hath He called me by my name, and He made my mouth as a sharp
sword, and under the shadow of His hand did He hide me, and He said to
me, Thou art My servant, O Israel, and in thee will I be glorified." And
a little farther on: "And my God shall be my strength, and He said to me,
This is a great thing for thee to be called My servant, to set up the tribes
of Jacob and to turn again the diaspora of Israel. Behold I have set thee
for a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation to the
end of the earth." And in Jeremiah too104 He likens Himself to a lamb,
as thus: "I was as a gentle lamb that is led to the slaughter." These and
other similar sayings He applies to Himself. In addition to these one might
collect in the Gospels and the Apostles and in the prophets a countless
number of titles which are applied to the Son of God, as the writers of
the Gospels set forth their own views of what He is, or the Apostles extol
Him out of what they had learned, or the prophets proclaim in advance His
coining advent and announce the things concerning Him under various names.
Thus John calls Him the Lamb of God, saying,105 "Behold the Lamb of God
which taketh away the sins of the world," and in these words he declares
Him as a man,106 "This is He about whom I said, that there cometh after
me a man who is there before me; for He was before me." And in his Catholic
Epistle John says that He is a Paraclete for our souls with the Father,
as thus:107 "And if any one sin, we have a Paraclete with the Father, Jesus
Christ the righteous," and he adds that He is a propitiation for our sins,
and similarly Paul says He is a propitiation:108 "Whom God set forth as
a propitiation through faith in His blood, on account of forgiveness of
the forepast sins, in the forbearance of God." According to Paul, too,
He is declared to be the wisdom and the power of God, as in the Epistle
to the Corinthians:109 "Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God."
It is added that He is also sanctification and redemption: "He was made
to us of God," he says, "wisdom and righteousness and sanctification and
redemption." But he also teaches us, writing to the Hebrews, that Christ
is a High-Priest:110 "Having, therefore, a great High-Priest, who has passed
through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession."
And the prophets have other names for Him besides these. Jacob in his blessing
of his sons111 says, "Judah, thy brethren shall extol thee; thy hands are
on the necks of thine enemies. A lion's whelp is Judah, from a shoot, my
son, art thou sprung up; thou hast lain down and slept as a lion; who shall
awaken him? "We cannot now linger over these phrases, to show that what
is said of Judah applies to Christ. What may be quoted against this view,
viz., "A ruler shall not part from Judah nor a leader from his loins, until
He come for whom it is reserved; "this can better be cleared up on another
occasion . But Isaiah knows Christ to be spoken of under the names of Jacob
and Israel, when he says,112 "Jacob is my servant, I will help Him; Israel
is my elect, my soul hath accepted Him. He shall declare judgment to the
Gentiles. He shall not strive nor cry, neither shall any one hear His voice
on the streets. A bruised rod shall He not break. and smoking flax shall
He not quench, till He bring forth judgment from victory, and in His name
shall the nations hope." That it is Christ about whom such prophecies are
made, Matthew shows in his Gospel, where he quotes from memory and says:113
"That the saying might be fulfilled, He shall not strive nor cry," etc.
David also is called Christ, as where Ezekiel in his prophecy to the shepherds
adds as from the mouth of God:114 "I will raise up David my servant, who
shall be their shepherd." For it is not the patriarch David who is to rise
and be the shepherd of the saints, but Christ. Isaiah also called Christ
the rod and the flower:115 "There shall come forth a rod out of the root
of Jesse, and a flower shall spring out of tits root, and the spirit of
God shall rest upon Him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit
of counsel slid of might, the spirit of knowledge and of godliness, and
He shall be full of the spirit of the fear of the Lord." And in the Psalms
our Lord is called the stone, as follows:116 "The stone which the builders
rejected is made the head of the comer. It is from the Lord, and it is
wonderful in our eyes." And the Gospel shows, as also does Luke in the
Acts, that the stone is no other than Christ; the Gospel as follows:117
"Have ye never read, the stone which the builders rejected is made the
head of the corner. Whosoever falls on this stone shall be broken, but
on whomsoever it shall fall, it will scatter him as dust." And Luke writes
in Acts:118 "This is the stone, which was set at naught of you the builders,
which has become the head of the corner." And one of the names applied
to the Saviour is that which He Himself does not utter, but which John
records;-the Word who was in the beginning with God, God the Word. And
it is worth our while to fix our attention for a moment on those scholars
who omit consideration of most of the great names we have mentioned and
regard this as the most important one. As to the former titles, they look
for any account of them that any one may offer, but in the case of this
one they proceed differently and ask, What is the Son of God when called
the Word? The passage they employ most is that in the Psalms,119 "My heart
hath produced a good Word; "and they imagine the Son of God to be the utterance
of the Father deposited, as it were, in syllables, and accordingly they
do not allow Him, if we examine them farther, any independent hypostasis,
nor are they clear about His essence. I do not mean that they confuse its
qualities, but the fact of His having an essence of His own. For no one
can understand how that which is said to be "Word" can be a Son. And such
an animated Word, not being a separate entity from the Father, and accordingly
as it, having no subsistence. is not a Son, or if he is a Son, let them
say that God the Word is a separate being and has an essence of His own.
We insist, therefore, that as in the case of each of the titles spoken
of above we turn from the title to the concept it suggests slid apply it
and demonstrate how the Son of God is suitably described by it, the same
course must be followed when we find Him called the Word. What caprice
it is, in all these cases, not to stand upon the term employed, but to
enquire in what sense Christ is to be understood to be the door, and in
what way the vine, and why He is the way; but in the one case of His being
called the Word, to follow a different course. To add to the authority,
therefore, of what we have to say on the question, how the Son of God is
the Word, we must begin with those names of which we spoke first as being
applied to Him. This, we cannot deny, will seem to some to be superfluous
and a digression, but the thoughtful reader will not think it useless to
ask as to the concepts for which the titles are used; to observe these
matters will clear the way for what is coming. And once we have entered
upon the theology concerning the Saviour, as we seek with what diligence
we can and find the various things that are taught about Him, we shall
necessarily understand more about Him not only in His character as the
Word, but in His other characters also.
24. Christ as Light; How He, and How His Disciples are the Light of
He said, then, that He was the light of the world; and we have to examine,
along with this title, those which are parallel to it; and, indeed, are
thought by some to be not merely parallel, but identical with it. He is
the true light, and the light of the Gentiles. In the opening of the Gospel
now before us He is the light of men: "That which was made,"120 it says,
"was life in Him, and the life was the light of men; and the light shines
in darkness, and the darkness did not overtake it." A little further on,
in the same passage, He is called the true light:121 "The true light, which
lightens every man, was coming into the world." In Isaiah, He is the light
of the Gentiles, as we said before. "Behold,122 I have set Thee for a light
of the Gentiles, that Thou shouldest be for salvation to the end of the
earth." Now the sensible light of the world is the sun, and after it comes
very worthily the moon, and the same title may be applied to the stars;
but those lights of the world are said in Moses to have come into existence
on the fourth day, and as they shed light on the things on the earth, they
are not the true light. But the Saviour shines on creatures which have
intellect and sovereign reason, that their minds may behold their proper
objects of vision, and so he is the light of the intellectual world, that
is to say, of the reasonable souls which are in the sensible world, and
if there be any beings beyond these in the world from which He declares
Himself to be our Saviour. He is, indeed, the most determining and distinguished
part of that world, and, as we may say, the sun who makes the great day
of the Lord. In view of this day He says to those who partake of His light,
"Work123 while it is day; the night cometh when no man can work. As long
as I am in the world, I am the light of the world." Then He says to His
disciples,124 "Ye are the light of the world," and "Let your light shine
before men." Thus we see the Church, the bride, to present an analogy to
the moon and stars, and the disciples have a light, which is their own
or borrowed from the true sun, so that they are able to illuminate those
who have no command of any spring of light in themselves. We may say that
Paul and Peter are the light of the world, and that those of their disciples
who are enlightened themselves, but are not able to enlighten others, are
the world of which the Apostles were the light. But the Saviour, being
the light of the world, illuminates not bodies, but by His incorporeal
power the incorporeal intellect, to the end that each of us, enlightened
as by the sun, may be able to discern the rest of the things of the mind.
And as when the sun is shining the moon and the stars lose their power
of giving light, so those who are irradiated by Christ and receive His
beams have no need of the ministering apostles and prophets-we must have
courage to declare this truth-nor of the angels; I will add that they have
no need even of the greater powers when they are disciples of that first-born
light. To those who do not receive the solar beams of Christ. the ministering
saints do afford an illumination much less than the former; this illumination
is as much as those persons can receive, and it completely fills them.
Christ, again, the light of the world, is the true light as distinguished
from the light of sense; nothing that is sensible is true. Yet though the
sensible is other than the true, it does not follow that the sensible is
false, for the sensible may have an analogy with the intellectual, and
not everything that is not true can correctly be called false. Now I ask
whether the light of the world is the same thing with the light of men,
and I conceive that a higher power of light is intended by the former phrase
than by the latter, for the world in one sense is not only men. Paul shows
that the world is something more than men when he writes to the Corinthians
in his first Epistle:125 "We are made a spectacle unto the world, and to
angels, and to men." In one sense, too, it may be considered,126 the world
is the creation which is being delivered from the bondage of corruption
into the liberty of the glory of the children of God, whose earnest expectation
is waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God. We also draw attention
to the comparison which may be drawn between the statement, "I am the light
of the world," and the words addressed to the disciples, "Ye are the light
of the world." Some suppose that the genuine disciples of Jesus are greater
than other creatures, some seeking the reason of this ill the natural growth
of these disciples, others inferring it from their harder struggle. For
those beings which are in flesh and blood have greater labours and a life
more full of dangers than those which are in an ethereal body, and the
lights of heaven might not, if they had put on bodies of earth, have accomplished
this life of ours free from danger and from error. Those who incline to
this argument may appeal to those texts of Scripture which say the most
exalted things about men, and to the fact that the Gospel is addressed
directly to men; not so much is said about the creation, or, as we understand
it, about the world. We read,127 "As I and Thou are one, that they also
may be one in Us," and128 "Where I am, there will also My servant be."
These sayings, plainly, are about men; while about the creation it is said
that it is delivered from the bondage of corruption into the liberty of
the glory of the children of God. It might be added that not even when
it is delivered will it take part in the glory of the sons of God. Nor
will those who hold this view forget that the first-born of every creature,
honouring man above all else, became man, and that it was not any of the
constellations existing in the sky, but one of another order, appointed
for this purpose and in the service of the knowledge of Jesus, that was
made to be the Star of the East, whether it was like the other stars or
perchance better than they, to be the sign of Him who is the most excellent
of all. And if the boasting of the saints is in their tribulations, since129
"tribulation worketh patience, and patience probation, and probation hope,
and hope maketh not ashamed," then the afflicted creation cannot have the
like patience with man, nor the like probation, nor the like hope, but
another degree of these, since130 "the creation was made subject to vanity,
not willingly, but on account of Him who subjected it. for hope." Now he
who shrinks from conferring such great attributes on man will turn to another
direction and say that the creature being subjected to vanity groans and
suffers greater affliction than those who groan in this tabernacle, for
has she not suffered for the utmost extent of time in her service of vanity-nay,
many times as long as man? For why does she do this not willingly, but
that it is against her nature to be subject to vanity, and not to have
the best arrangement of her life, that which she shall receive when she
is set free, when the world is destroyed and released even from the vanity
of bodies. Here, however, we may appear to be stretching too far, and aiming
at more than the question now before us requires. We may return, therefore,
to the point from which we set out, and ask for what reason the Saviour
is called the light of the world, the true light, and the light of men.
Now we saw that He is called the true light with reference to the sensible
light of the world, and that the light of the world is the same thing as
the light of men, or that we may at least enquire whether they are the
same. This discussion is not superfluous. Some students do not take anything
at all out of the statement that the Saviour is the Word; and it is important
for us to assure ourselves that we are not chargeable with caprice in fixing
our attention on that notion. If it admits of being taken in a metaphorical
sense we ought not to take it literally.131 When we apply the mystical
and allegorical method to the expression "light of the world" and the many
analogous terms mentioned above, we should surely do so with this expression
25. Christ as the Resurrection.
Now He is called the light of men and the true light and the light of
the word, because He brightens and irradiates the higher parts of men,
or, in a word, of all reasonable beings. And similarly it is from and because
of the energy with which He causes the old deadness to be put aside and
that which is par excellence life to be put on, so that those who have
truly received Him rise again from the dead, that He is called the resurrection.
And this He does not only at the moment at which a man says,132 "We are
buried with Christ through baptism and have risen again with Him," but
much rather when a man, having laid off all about him that belongs to death,
walks in the newness of life which belongs to Him, the Son, while here.
We always133 "carry about in our body the dying of the Lord Jesus," and
thus we reap the vast advantage, "that the life of the Lord Jesus might
be made manifest in our bodies."
26. Christ as the Way.
But that progress too, which is in wisdom and which is found by those
who seek their salvation in it to do for them what they require both in
respect of exposition of truth in the divine word and in respect of conduct
according to true righteousness, it lets us understand how Christ is the
way. In this way we have to take nothing with us,134 neither wallet nor
coat; we must travel without even a stick, nor must we have shoes on our
feet. For this road is itself sufficient for all the supplies of our journey;
and every one who walks on it wants nothing. He is clad with a garment
which is fit for one who is setting out in response to an invitation to
a wedding; and on this road he cannot meet anything that can annoy him.
"No one," Solomon says,135 "can find out the way of a serpent upon a rock."
I would add, or that of any other beast. Hence there is no need of a staff
on this road, on which there is no trace of any hostile creature, and the
hardness of which, whence also it is called rock (petra), makes it incapable
of harbouring anything hurtful.
27. Christ as the Truth.
Further, the Only-begotten is the truth, because He embraces in Himself
according to the Father's will the whole reason of all things, and that
with perfect clearness, and being the truth communicates to each creature
in proportion to its worthiness. And should any one enquire whether all
that the Father knows, according to the depth of His riches and His wisdom
and His knowledge, is known to our Saviour also, and should he, imagining
that he will thereby glorify the Father, show that some things known to
the Father are unknown to the Son, although He might have had an equal
share of the apprehensions of the unbegotten God, we must remind him that
it is from His being the truth that He is Saviour, and add that if He is
the truth complete, then there is nothing true which He does not know;
truth must not limp for the want of the things which, according to those
persons, are known to the Father only. Or else let it be shown that some
things are known to which the name of truth does not apply, but which are
above the truth.
28. Christ as Life.
It is clear also that the principle of that life which is pure and unmixed
with any other element, resides in Him who is the first-born of all creation,
taking from which those who have a share in Christ live the life which
is true life, while all those who are thought to live apart from this,
as they have not the true light, have not the true life either.
29. Christ as the Door and as the Shepherd.
But as one cannot be in the Father or with the Father except by ascending
from below upwards and coming first to the divinity of the Son, through
which one may be led by the hand and brought to the blessedness of the
Father Himself, so the Saviour has the inscription "The Door." And as He
is a lover of men, and approves the impulse of human souls to better things,
even of those who do not hasten to reason (the Logos), but like sheep have
a weakness and gentleness apart from all accuracy and reason, so He is
the Shepherd. For the Lord saves men and beasts,136 and Israel and Juda
are sowed with the seed not of men only but also of beasts.137
30. Christ as Anointed (Christ) and as King.
In addition to these titles we must consider at the outset of our work
that of Christ, and we must also consider that of King, and compare these
two so as to find out the difference between them. Now it is said in the
forty-fourth Psalm,138 "Thou hast loved righteousness and hated iniquity,
whence Thou art anointed (Christ) above Thy fellows." His loving righteousness
and hating iniquity were thus added claims in Him; His anointing was not
contemporary with His being nor inherited by Him from the first. Anointing
is a symbol of entering on the kingship, and sometimes also on the priesthood;
and must we therefore conclude that the kingship of the Son of God is not
inherited nor congenital to Him? But how is it conceivable that the First-born
of all creation was not a king and became a king afterwards because He
loved righteousness, when, moreover, He Himself was righteousness? We cannot
fail to see that it is as a man that He is Christ, in respect of His soul,
which was human and liable to be troubled and sore vexed, but that He is
conceived as king in respect of the divine in Him. I find support for this
in the seventy-first Psalm,139 which says, "Give the king Thy judgment,
O God, and Thy righteousness to the king's Son, to judge Thy people in
righteousness and Thy poor in judgment." This Psalm, though addressed to
Solomon, is evidently a prophecy of Christ, and it is worth while to ask
to what king the prophecy desires judgment to be given by God, and to what
king's Son, and what king's righteousness is spoken of. I conceive, then,
that what is called the King is the leading nature of the First-born of
all creation, to which judgment is given on account of its eminence; and
that the man whom He assumed, formed and moulded by that nature, according
to righteousness, is the King's Son. I am the more led to think that this
is so, because the two beings are here brought together in one sentence,
and are spoken of as if they were not two but one. For the Saviour made
both one,140 that is, He made them according to the prototype of the two
which had been made one in Himself before all things. The two I refer to
human nature, since each man's soul is mixed with the Holy Spirit, and
each of those who are saved is thus made spiritual. Now as there are some
to whom Christ is a shepherd, as we said before, because of their meek
and composed nature, though they are less guided by reason; so there are
those to whom He is a king, those, namely, who are led in their approach
to religion rather by the reasonable part of their nature. And among those
who are under a king there are differences; some experience his rule in
a more mystic and hidden and more divine way, others in a less perfect
fashion. I should say that those who, led by reason, apart from all agencies
of sense, have beheld incorporeal things, the things which Paul speaks
of as "invisible," or "not seen," that they are ruled by the leading nature
of the Only-begotten, but that those who have only advanced as far as the
reason which is conversant with sensible things, and on account of these
glorify their Maker, that these also are governed by the Word, by Christ.
No offence need be taken at our distinguishing these notions in the Saviour;
we draw the same distinctions in His substance.
31. Christ as Teacher and Master.
It is plain to all how our Lord is a teacher and an interpreter for
those who are striving towards godliness, and on the other hand a master
of those servants who have the spirit of bondage to fear,141 who make progress
and hasten towards wisdom, and are found worthy to possess it. For142 "the
servant knoweth not what the master wills," since he is no longer his master,
but has become his friend. The Lord Himself teaches this, for He says to
hearers who were still servants:143 "You call Me Master and Lord, and you
say well, for so I am," but in another passage,144 "I call you no longer
servants, for the servant knoweth not what is the will of his master, but
I call you friends," because145 "you have continued with Me in all My temptations."
They, then, who live according to fear, which God exacts from those who
are not good servants, as we read in Malachi,146 "If I am a Master, where
is My fear? "are servants of a master who is called their Saviour.
32. Christ as Son.
None of these testimonies, however, sets forth distinctly the Saviour's
exalted birth; but when the words are addressed to Him, "Thou art My Son,
this day have I begotten Thee,"147 this is spoken to Him by God, with whom
all time is to-day, for there is no evening with God, as I consider, and
there is no morning, nothing but time that stretches out, along with His
unbeginning and unseen life. The day is to-day with Him in which the Son
was begotten, and thus the beginning of His birth is not found, as neither
is the day of it.
33. Christ the True Vine, and as Bread.
To what we have said must be added how the Son is the true vine. Those
will have no difficulty in apprehending this who understand, in a manner
worthy of the prophetic grace, the saying:148 "Wine maketh glad the heart
of man." For if the heart be the intellectual part, and what rejoices it
is the Word most pleasant of all to drink which takes us off human things,
makes us feel ourselves inspired, and intoxicates us with an intoxication
which is not irrational but divine, that, I conceive, with which Joseph
made his brethren merry,149 then it is very clear how He who brings wine
thus to rejoice the heart of man is the true vine. He is the true vine,
because the grapes He bears are the truth, the disciples are His branches,
and they, also, bring forth the truth as their fruit. It is somewhat difficult
to show the difference between the vine and bread, for He says, not only
that He is the vine, but that He is the bread of life. May it be that as
bread nourishes and makes strong, and is said to strengthen the heart of
man, but wine, on the contrary, pleases and rejoices and melts him, so
ethical studies, bringing life to him who learns them and reduces them
to practice, are the bread of life, but cannot properly be called the fruit
of the vine, while secret and mystical speculations, rejoicing the heart
and causing those to feel inspired who take them in, delighting in the
Lord, and who desire not only to be nourished but to be made happy, are
called the juice of the true vine, because they flow from it.
34. Christ as the First and the Last; He is Also What Lies Between These.
Further, we have to ask in what sense He is called in the Apocalypse
the First and the Last, and how, in His character as the First, He is not
the same as the Alpha and the beginning, while in His character as the
Last He is not the same as the Omega and the end. It appears to me, then,
that the reasonable beings which exist are characterized by many forms,
and that some of them are the first, some the second, some the third, and
so on to the last. To pronounce exactly, however, which is the first, what
kind of a being the second is, which may truly be designated third, and
to carry this out to the end of the series, this is not a task for man,
but transcends our nature. We shall yet venture, such as we are, to stand
still a little at this point, and to make some observations on the matter.
There are some gods of whom God is god, as we hear in prophecy,150 "Thank
ye the God of gods," and151 "The God of gods hath spoken, and called the
earth." Now God, according to the Gospel,152 "is not the God of the dead
but of the living." Those gods, then, are living of whom God is god. The
Apostle, too, writing to the Corinthians, says:153 "As there are gods many
and lords many," and so we have spoken of these gods as really existing.
Now there are, besides the gods of whom God is god, certain others, who
are called thrones, and others called dominions, lordships, also, and powers
in addition to these. The phrase,154 "above every name that is named, not
only in this world, but also in that which is to come," leads us to believe
that there are yet others besides these which are less familiar to us;
one kind of these the Hebrews called Sabai, from which Sabaoth was formed,
who is their ruler, and is none other than God. Add to all these the reasonable
being who is mortal, man. Now the God of all things made first in honour
some race of reasonable beings; this I consider to be those who are called
gods, and the second order, let us say, for the present, are the thrones,
and the third, undoubtedly, the dominions. And thus we come down in order
to the last reasonable race, which, perhaps, cannot be any other than man.
The Saviour accordingly became, in a diviner way than Paul, all things
to all, that He might either gain all or perfect them; it is clear that
to men He became a man, and to the angels an angel. As for His becoming
man no believer has any doubt, but as to His becoming an angel, we shall
find reason for believing it was so, if we observe carefully the appearances
and the words of the angels, in some of which the powers of the angels
seem to belong to Him. In several passages angels speak in such a way as
to suggest this, as when155 "the angel of the Lord appeared in a flame
of fire. And he said. I am the God of Abraham and of Isaac and of Jacob."
But Isaiah also says:156 "His name is called Angel of Great Counsel." The
Saviour, then, is the first and the last, not that He is not what lies
between, but the extremities are named to show that He became all things.
Consider, however, whether the last is man, or the things said to be under
the earth, of which are the demons, all of them or some. We must ask, too,
about those things which the Saviour became which He speaks of through
the prophet David,157 "And I became as a man without any to help him, free
among the dead." His birth from the Virgin and His life so admirably lived
showed Him to be more than man, and it was the same among the dead. He
was the only free person there, and His soul was not left in hell. Thus,
then, He is the first and the last. Again, if there be letters of God,
as such there are, by reading which the saints may say they have read what
is written on the tablets of heaven, these letters, by which heavenly things
are to be read, are the notions, divided into small parts, into A and so
on to W, the Son of God. Again, He is the beginning and the end, but He
is this not in all His aspects equally. For He is the beginning, as the
Proverbs teach us, inasmuch as He is wisdom; it is written: "The Lord rounded
Me in the beginning of His ways. for His works." In the respect of His
being the Logos He is not the beginning. "The Word was in the beginning."
Thus in His aspects one comes first and is the beginning, and there is
a second after the beginning, and a third, and so on to the end, as if
He had said, I am the beginning. inasmuch as I am wisdom, and the second,
perhaps, inasmuch as I am invisible, and the third in that I am life, for
"what was made was life in Him." One who was qualified to examine and to
discern the sense of Scripture might, no doubt, find many members of the
series; I cannot say if he could find them all. "The beginning and the
end" is a phrase we usually apply to a thing that is a completed unity;
the beginning of a house is its foundation and the end the parapet. We
cannot but think of this figure. since Christ is the stone which is the
head of the corner, to the great unity of the body of the saved. For Christ
the only-begotten Son is all and in all, He is as the beginning in the
man He assumed, He is present as the end in the last of the saints, and
He is also in those between, or else He is present as the beginning in
Adam, as the end in His life on earth, according to the saying: "The last
Adam was made a quickening spirit." This saying harmonizes well with the
interpretation we have given of the first and the last.
35. Christ as the Living and the Dead.
In what has been said about the first and the last, and about the beginning
and the end, we have referred these words at one point to the different
forms of reasonable beings, at another to the different conceptions of
the Son of God. Thus we have gained a distinction between the first and
the beginning, and between the last and the end, and also the distinctive
meaning of A and W. It is not hard to see why he is called158 "the Living
and the Dead," and after being dead He that is alive for evermore. For
since we were not helped by His original life, sunk as we were in sin,
He came down into our deadness in order that, He having died to sin, we,159
bearing about in our body the dying of Jesus. might then receive that life
of His which is for evermore. For those who always carry about in their
body the dying of Jesus shall obtain the life of Jesus also, manifested
in their bodies.
36. Christ as a Sword.
The texts of the New Testament, which we have discussed, are things
said by Himself about Himself. Isaiah, however, He said160 that His mouth
had been set by His Father as a sharp sword, and that He was hidden under
the shadow of His hand, made like to a chosen shaft and kept close in the
Father's quiver, called His servant by the God of all things, and Israel,
and Light of the Gentiles. The mouth of the Son of God is a sharp sword,
for161 "The word of God is living, and active, and sharper than any two-edged
sword, and piercing to the dividing of soul and spirit, of both joints
and marrow, and quick to discern the thoughts and intents of the heart."
And indeed He came not to bring peace on the earth, that is, to corporeal
and sensible things, but a sword, and to cut through, if I may say so,
the disastrous friendship of soul and body, so that the soul, committing
herself to the spirit which was against the flesh, may enter into friendship
with God. Hence, according to the prophetic word, He made His mouth as
a sword, as a sharp sword. Can any one behold so many wounded by the divine
love, like her in the Song of Songs, who complained that she was wounded:162
"I am wounded with love," and find the dart that wounded so many souls
for the love of God, in any but Him who said, "He hath made Me as a chosen
37. Christ as a Servant, as the Lamb of God, and as the Man Whom John
Did Not Know.
Again, let any one consider how Jesus was to His disciples, not as He
who sits at meat, but as He who serves, and how though the Son of God He
took on Him the form of a servant for the sake of the freedom of those
who were enslaved in sin, and he will be at no loss to account for the
Father's saying to Him:163 "Thou art My servant," and a little further
on: "It is a great thing that thou shouldst be called My servant." For
we do not hesitate to say that the goodness of Christ appears in a greater
and more divine light, and more according to the image of the Father, because164
"He humbled Himself, becoming obedient unto death, even the death of the
cross," than if He had judged it a thing to be grasped to be equal with
God, and had shrunk from becoming a servant for the salvation of the world.
Hence He says,165 desiring to teach us that in accepting this state of
servitude He had received a great gift from His Father: "And My God shall
be My strength. And He said to Me, It is a great thing for Thee to be called
My servant." For if He had not become a servant, He would not have raised
up the tribes of Jacob, nor have turned the heart of the diaspora of Israel,
and neither would He have become a light of the Gentiles to be for salvation
to the ends of the earth. And it is no great thing for Him to become a
servant, even if it is called a great thing by His Father, for this is
in comparison with His being called with an innocent sheep and with a lamb.
For the Lamb of God became like an innocent sheep being led to the slaughter,
that He may take away the sin of the world. He who supplies reason (logoj
to all is made like a lamb which is dumb before her shearer, that we might
be purified by His death, which is given as a sort of medicine against
the opposing power, and also against the sin of those who open their minds
to the truth. For the death of Christ reduced to impotence those powers
which war against the human race, and it set free from sin by a power beyond
our words the life of each believer. Since, then, He takes away sin until
every enemy shall be destroyed and death last of all, in order that the
whole world may be free from sin, therefore John points to Him and says:166
"Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world." It is
not said that He will take it away in the future, nor that He is at present
taking it, nor that He has taken it, but is not taking it away now. His
taking away sin is still going on, He is taking it away from every individual
in the world, till sin be taken away from the whole world, and the Saviour
deliver the kingdom prepared and completed to the Father, a kingdom in
which no sin is left at all, and which, therefore, is ready to accept the
Father as its king, and which on the other hand is waiting to receive all
God has to bestow, fully, and in every part, at that time when the saying167
is fulfilled, "That God may be all in all." Further, we hear of a man who
is said to be coming after John, who was made before him and was before
him. This is to teach us that the man also of the Son of God, the man who
was mixed with His divinity, was older than His birth from Mary. John says
he does not know this man, but must he not have known Him when he leapt
for joy when yet a babe unborn in Elisabeth's womb, as soon as the voice
of Mary's salutation sounded in the ears of the wife of Zacharias? Consider,
therefore, if the words "I know Him not" may have reference to the period
before the bodily existence. Though he did not know Him before He assumed
His body, yet he knew Him when yet in his mother's womb, and perhaps he
is here learning something new about Him beyond what was known to him before,
namely, that on whomsoever the Holy Spirit shall descend and abide on him,
that is he who is to baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire. He knew
him from his mother's womb, but not all about Him. He did not know perhaps
that this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit and with fire, when he
saw the Spirit descending and abiding on Him. Yet that He was indeed a
man, and the first man, John did not know.
38. Christ as Paraclete, as Propitiation, and as the Power of God.
But none of the names we have mentioned expresses His representation
of us with the Father, as He pleads for human nature, and makes atonement
for it; the Paraclete, and the propitiation, and the atonement. He has
the name Paraclete in the Epistle of John:168 "If any man sin, we have
a Paraclete with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." And He is said
in the same epistle to be the atonement169 for our sins. Similarly, in
the Epistle to the Romans, He is called a propitiation:170 "Whom God set
forth to be a propitiation through faith." Of this proportion there was
a type in the inmost part of the temple, the Holy of Holies, namely, the
golden mercy-seat placed upon the two cherubim. But how could He ever be
the Paraclete, and the atonement, and the propitiation without the power
of God, which makes an end of our weakness, flows over the souls of believers,
and is administered by Jesus, who indeed is prior to it and Himself the
power of God, who enables a man to say:171 "I can do all things through
Jesus Christ who strengtheneth me." Whence we know that Simon Magus, who
gave himself the title of "The power of God, which is called great," was
consigned to perdition and destruction, he and his money with him. We,
on the contrary, who confess Christ as the true power of God, believe that
we share with Him, inasmuch as He is that power, all things in which any
39. Christ as Wisdom and Sanctification and Redemption.
We must not, however, pass over in silence that He is of right the wisdom
of God, and hence is called by that name. For the wisdom of the God and
Father of all things does not apprehend His substance in mere visions,
like the phantasms of human thoughts. Whoever is able to conceive a bodiless
existence of manifold speculations which extend to the rationale of existing
things, living and, as it were, ensouled, he will see how well the Wisdom
of God which is above every creature speaks of herself, when she says:172
"God created me the beginning of His ways, for His works." By this creating
act the whole creation was enabled to exist, not being unreceptive of that
divine wisdom according to which it was brought into being; for God, according
to the prophet David,173 made all things in wisdom. But many things came
into being by the help of wisdom, which do not lay hold of that by which
they were created: and few things indeed there are which lay hold not only
of that wisdom which concerns themselves, but of that which has to do with
many things besides, namely, of Christ who is the whole of wisdom. But
each of the sages, in proportion as he embraces wisdom, partakes to that
extent of Christ, in that He is wisdom; just as every one who is greatly
gifted with power, in proportion as he has power, in that proportion also
has a share in Christ, inasmuch as He is power. The same is to be thought
about sanctification and redemption; for Jesus Himself is made sanctification
to us and redemption. Each of us is sanctified with that sanctification,
and redeemed with that redemption. Consider, moreover, if the words "to
us," added by the Apostle, have any special force. Christ, he says, "was
made to us of God, wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption."
In other passages, he speaks about Christ as being wisdom, without any
such qualification, and of His being power, saying that Christ is the power
of God and the wisdom of God, though we might have conceived that He was
not the wisdom of God or the power of God, absolutely, but only for us.
Now, in respect of wisdom and power, we have both forms of the statement,
the relative and the absolute; but in respect of sanctification and redemption,
this is not the case. Consider, therefore, since174 "He that sanctifies
and they that are sanctified are all of one," whether the Father is the
sanctification of Him who is our sanctification, as, Christ being our head,
God is His head. But Christ is our redemption because we had become prisoners
and needed ransoming. I do not enquire as to His own redemption, for though
He was tempted in all things as we are, He was without sin, and His enemies
never reduced Him to captivity.
40. Christ as Righteousness; As the Demiurge, the Agent of the Good
God, and as High-Priest.
Having expiscated the "to us" and the "absolutely"-santification and
redemption being "to us" and not absolute, wisdom and redemption both to
us and absolute-we must not omit to enquire into the position of righteousness
in the same passage. That Christ is righteousness relatively to us appears
clearly from the words: "Who was made to us of God wisdom and righteousness
and sanctification and redemption." And if we do not find Him to be righteousness
absolutely as He is the wisdom and the power of God absolutely, then we
must enquire whether to Christ Himself, as the Father is santification,
so the Father is also righteousness. There is, we know, no unrighteousness
with God;175 He is a righteous and holy Lord,176 and His judgments are
in righteousness, and being righteous, He orders all things righteously.
The heretics drew a distinction for purposes of their own between the
just and the good. They did not make the matter very clear, but they considered
that the demiurge was just, while the Father of Christ was good. That distinction
may, I think, if carefully examined, be applied to the Father and the Son;
the Son being righteousness, and having received power177 to execute judgment,
because He is the Son of Man and will judge the world in righteousness,
but the Father doing good to those who have been disciplined by the righteousness
of the Son. This is after the kingdom of the Son; then the Father will
manifest in His works His name the Good, when God becomes all in all. And
perhaps by His righteousness the Saviour prepares everything at the fit
times, and by His word, by His ordering, by His chastisements, and, if
I may use such an expression, by His spiritual healing aids, disposes all
things to receive at the end the goodness of the Father. It was from His
sense of that goodness that He answered him who addressed the Only-begotten
with the words "Good Master,"178 and said, "Why callest thou Me good? None
is good but one, God, the Father." This we have treated of elsewhere, especially
in dealing with the question of the greater than the demiurge; Christ we
have taken to be the demiurge, and the Father the greater than He. Such
great things, then, He is, the Paraclete, the atonement, the propitiation,
the sympathizer with our weaknesses, who was tempted in all human things,
as we are, without sin; and in consequence He is a great High-Priest, having
offered Himself as the sacrifice which is offered once for all, and not
for men only but for every rational creature. For without179 God He tasted
death for every one. In some copies of the Epistle to the Hebrews the words
are "by the grace of God." Now, whether He tasted death for every one without
God. He died not for men only but for all other intellectual beings too,
or whether He tasted death for every one by the grace of God, He died for
all without God, for by the grace of God He tasted death for every one.
It would surely be absurd to say that He tasted death for human sins and
not for any other being besides man which had fallen into sin, as for example
for the stars. For not even the stars are clean in the eyes of God, as
we read in Job,180 "The stars are not clean in His sight," unless this
is to be regarded as a hyperbole. Hence he is a great High-Priest, since
He restores all things to His Father's kingdom, and arranges that whatever
defects exist in each part of creation shall be filled up so as to be full
of the glory of the Father. This High-Priest is called, from some other
notion of him than those we have noticed, Judas, that those who are Jews
secretly181 may take the name of Jew not froth Judah, son of Jacob, but
from Him, since they are His brethren, and praise Him for the freedom they
have attained. For it is He who sets them free, saving them from their
enemies on whose backs He lays His hand to subdue them. When He has put
under His feet the opposing power, and is alone in presence of His Father,
then He is Jacob and Israel; and thus as we are made light by Him, since
He is the light of the world, so we are made Jacob since He is called Jacob,
and Israel since He is called Israel.
41. Christ as the Rod, the Flower, the Stone.
Now He receives the kingdom from the king whom the children of Israel
appointed, beginning the monarchy not at the divine command and without
even consulting God. He therefore fights the battles of the Lord and so
prepares peace for His Son, His people, and this perhaps is the reason
why He is called David. Then He is called a rod;182 such He is to those
who need a harder and severer discipline, and have not submitted to the
love and gentleness of God. On this account, if He is a rod, He has to
"go forth; "He does not remain in Himself, but appears to go beyond His
earlier state. Going forth, then, and becoming a rod, He does not remain
a rod, but after the rod He becomes a flower that rises up, and after being
a rod He is made known as a flower to those who, by His being a rod, have
met with visitation. For "God will visit their iniquities with a red,"183
that is, Christ. But "His mercy He will not take from him," for He will
have mercy on him, for on whom the Son has mercy the Father has mercy also.
An interpretation may be given which makes Him a rod and a flower in respect
of different persons, a rod to those who have need of chastisement, a flower
to those who are being saved; but I prefer the account of the matter given
above. We must add here, however, that, perhaps, looking to the end, if
Christ is a rod to any man He is also a flower to him, while it is not
the case that he who receives Him as a flower must also know Him as a rod.
And yet as one flower is more perfect than another and plants are said
to flower, even though they bring forth no perfect fruit, so the perfect
receive that of Christ which transcends the flower. Those, on the other
hand, who have known Him as a rod will partake along with it, not in His
perfection, but in the flower which comes before the fruit. Last of all,
before we come to the word Logos, Christ was a stone,184 set at naught
by the builders but placed on the head of the corner, for the living stones
are built up as on a foundation on the other stones of the Apostles and
prophets, Christ Jesus Himself our Lord being the chief corner-stone, because
He is a part of the building made of living stones in the land of the living;
therefore He is called a stone. All this we have said to show how capricious
and baseless is the procedure of those who, when so many names are given
to Christ, take the mere appellation "the Word," without enquiring, as
in the case of His other titles, in what sense it is used; surely they
ought to ask what is meant when it is said of the Son of God that He was
the Word, and God, and that He was in the beginning with the Father, and
that all things were made by Him.
42. Of the Various Ways in Which Christ is the Logos.
As, then, from His activity in enlightening the world whose light He
is, Christ is named the Light of the World, and as from His making those
who sincerely attach themselves to Him put away their deadness and rise
again and put on newness of life, He is called the Resurrection, so from
an activity of another kind He is called Shepherd and Teacher, King and
Chosen Shaft, and Servant, and in addition to these Paraclete and Atonement
and Propitiation. And after the same fashion He is also called the Logos,185
because He takes away from us all that is irrational, and makes us truly
reasonable, so that we do all things, even to eating and drinking, to the
glory of God, and discharge by the Logos to the glory of God both the commoner
functions of life and those which belong to a more advanced stage. For
if, by having part in Him, we are raised up and enlightened, herded also
it may be and ruled over, then it is clear that we become in a divine manner
reasonable, when He drives away from us what in us is irrational and dead,
since He is the Logos (reason) and the Resurrection.Consider, however,
whether all men have in some way part in Him in His character as Logos.
On this point tile Apostle teaches us that He is to be sought not outside
the seeker, and that those find Him in themselves who set their heart on
doing so; "Say not186 in thy heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? That
is to bring Christ down; or, Who shall descend into the abyss? That is
to bring Christ up from the dead. But what saith the Scripture? The Word
is very nigh thee, in thy mouth and in thy heart," as if Christ Himself
were the same thing as the Word said to be sought after. But when the Lord
Himself says187 "If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had
sin; but now they have no cloak for their sin," the only sense we can find
in His words is that the Logos Himself says that those are not chargeable
with sin to whom He (reason) has not fully come, but that those, if they
sin, are guilty who, having had part in Him, act contrary to the ideas
by which He declares His full presence in us. Only when thus read is the
saying true: "If I had not come and spoken to them, they had not had sin."
Should the words be applied, as many are of opinion that they should, to
the visible Christ, then how is it true that those had no sin to whom He
did not come? In that case all who lived before the advent of the Saviour
will be free from sin, since Jesus, as seen in flesh, had not yet come.
And more-all those to whom He has never been preached will have no sin,
and if they have no sin, then it is clear they are not liable to judgment.
But the Logos in man, in which we have said that our whole race had part,
is spoken of in two senses; first, in that of the filling up of ideas which
takes place, prodigies excepted, in every one who passes beyond the age
of boyhood, but secondly, in that of the consummation, which takes place
only in the perfect. The words, therefore, "If I had not come and spoken
to them, they would not have had sin, but now they have no cloak for their
sin," are to be understood in the former sense; but the words,188 "All
that ever came before me are thieves and robbers, and the sheep did not
hear them," in the latter. For before the consummation of reason comes,
there is nothing in man but what is blameworthy; all is imperfect and defective,
and can by no means command the obedience of those irrational elements
in us which are tropically spoken of as sheep. And perhaps the former meaning
is to be recognized in the words "The Logos was made flesh," but the second
in "The Logos was God." We must accordingly look at what there is to be
seen in human affairs between the saying, "The Word (reason) was made flesh"
and "The Word was God." When the Word was made flesh can we say that it
was to some extent broken up and thinned out, and can we say that it recovered
from that point onward till it became again what it was at first, God the
Word, the Word with the Father; the Word whose glory John saw, the verily
only-begotten, as from the Father. But the Son may also be the Logos (Word),
because He reports the secret things of His Father who is intellect in
the same way as the Son who is called the Word. For as with us the word
is a messenger of those things which tile mind perceives, so the Word of
God, knowing the Father, since no created being can approach Him without
a guide, reveals the Father whom He knows. For no one knows the Father
save the Son,189 and he to whomsoever the Son reveals Him, and inasmuch
as He is the Word He is the Messenger of Great Counsel,190 who has the
government upon His shoulders; for He entered on His kingdom by enduring
the cross. In the Apocalypse,191 moreover, the Faithful and True (the Word),
is said to sit on a white horse, the epithets indicating, I consider, the
clearness of the voice with which the Word of truth speaks to us when He
sojourns among us. This is scarcely the place to show how the word "horse"
is often used in passages spoken for our encouragement in sacred learning.
I only cite two of these: "A horse is deceitful for safety,"192 and "Some
trust in chariots and some in horses, but we will rejoice in the name of
the Lord our God."193 Nor must we leave unnoticed a passage in the forty-fourth
Psalm,194 frequently quoted by many writers as if they understood it: "My
heart hath belched forth a good word, I speak my works to the King." Suppose
it is God the Father who speaks thus; what is His heart, that the good
word should appear in accordance with His heart? If, as these writers suppose,
the Word (Logos) needs no interpretation, then the heart is to be taken
in the natural sense too. But it is quite absurd to suppose God's heart
to be a part of Him as ours is of our body. We must remind such writers
that as when the hand of God is spoken of, and His arm and His finger,
we do not read the words literally but enquire in what sound sense we may
take them so as to be worthy of God, so His heart is to be understood of
His rational power, by which He disposes all things, and His word of that
which announces what is in this heart of His. But who is it that announces
the counsel of the Father to those of His creatures who are worthy and
who have risen above themselves, who but the Saviour? That "belched forth"
is not, perhaps, without significance; a hundred other terms might have
been employed; "My heart has produced a good word," it might have been
said, or "My heart has spoken a good word." But in belching, some wind
that was hidden makes its way out to the world, and so it may be that the
Father gives out views of truth not continuously, but as it were after
the fashion of belching, and the word has the character of the things thus
produced, and is called, therefore, the image of the invisible God. We
may enter our agreement, therefore, with the ordinary acceptation of these
words, and take them to be spoken by the Father. It is not, however, a
matter of course, that it is God Himself who announces these things. Why
should it not be a prophet? Filled with the Spirit and unable to contain
himself, he brings forth a word about his prophecy concerning Christ: "My
heart hath belched forth a good word, I speak my works to the King, my
pen is the tongue of a ready writer. Excellent in beauty is He beyond the
sons of men." Then to the Christ Himself: "Grace is poured out on Thy lips."
If the Father were the speaker, how could He go on after the words, "Grace
is poured out on thy lips," to say, "Therefore God hath blessed thee for
ever," and a little further on, "Therefore God, thy God, hath anointed
thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows." Some of those who wish
to make the Father the speaker may appeal to the words, "Hear, O daughter,
and behold and incline thine ear, and forget thy people and thy father."
The prophet, it may be said, could not address the Church in the words,
"Hear, O daughter." It is not difficult, however, to show that changes
of person occur frequently in the Psalms, so that these words, "Hear, O
daughter," might be from the Father, in this passage, though the Psalm
as a whole is not. To our discussion of the Word we may here add the passage,195
"By the word of the Lord were the heavens rounded, and all the power of
them by the breath of His mouth." Some refer this to the Saviour and the
Holy Spirit. The passage, however, does not necessarily imply any more
than that the heavens were founded by the reason (logos) of God, as when
we say that a house is built by the plan (logos) of the architect, or a
ship by the plan (logos) of the shipbuilder. In the same way the heavens
were founded (made solid) by the Word of God, for they are196 of a more
divine substance, which on this account is called solid;197 it has little
fluidity for the most part, nor is it easily melted like other parts of
the world, and specially the lower parts. On account of this difference
the heavens are said in a special manner to be constituted by the Word
The saying then stands, first, "In the beginning was the Logos; "we
are to place that full in our view; but the testimonies we cited from the
Proverbs led us to place wisdom first, and to think of wisdom as preceding
the Word which announces her. We must observe, then, that the Logos is
in the beginning, that is, in wisdom, always. Its being in wisdom, which
is called the beginning, does not prevent it from being with God and from
being God, and it is not simply with God, but is in the beginning, in wisdom,
with God. For he goes on: "He was in the beginning with God." He might
have said, "He was with God; "but as He was in the beginning, so He was
with God in the beginning, and "All things were made by Him," being in
the beginning, for God made nil things, as David tells us, in wisdom. And
to let us understand that the Word has His own definite place and sphere
as one who has life in Himself (and is a distinct person), we must also
speak about powers, not about power. "Thus saith the Lord of powers, (A.V.
hosts)" we frequently read; there are certain creatures, rational and divine,
which are called powers: anti of these Christ was the highest and best.
and is called not only the wisdom of God but also His power. As, then,
there are several powers of God, each of them in its own form, and the
Saviour is different from these, so also Christ, even if that which is
Logos in us is not in respect of form outside of us, will be understood
from our discussion up to this point to be the Logos, who has His being
in the beginning, in wisdom. This for the present may suffice, on the word:
"In the beginning was the Logos."
70 Gen. i. 1.
71 Job xi. 19.
72 Job iii. 8.
73 Rom. viii. 22, 20
74 The text is defective here.
75 Phil. i. 23.
76 viii. 22.
77 2 Macc. vii, 28.
78 Herm. Sim. viii.
79 We must here reproduce the Greek word, as Origen passes
to meanings of it which the English "beginning" does not cover.
80 Coloss. i. 15.
81 Heb. v. 12.
82 1 Cor. xv. 45.
83 Ps. cxlviii. 5.
84 Prov. viii. 22.
85 John i. 3, 4.
86 John xiv. 6.
87 Opp. to embodied.
88 Mr. Brooke, T. & S. I. iv. p. 15, discusses this
corrupt passage and suggests an improved text which would yield the sense,
that wisdom was to give to things and matter, " it might be rash to say
bluntly their essences, but their moulding and their forms."
89 Apoc. xxii. 13.
90 Rom. iii. 25.
91 Passage obscure and probably corrupt.
92 John xiii. 13.
93 John x. 36.
94 John xvii, 1.
95 John xviii. 33, 36.
96 John xv. 1, 5.
97 John vi. 35, 41, 33.
98 Apoc. i. 18.
99 Apoc. xxii. 13.
100 Isa. xlix. 2.
101 Isa. xlii. 1, etc.
102 Isa. xlix. 6.
103 Isa. xlix. 1, 2, 3.
104 Jerem. xi. 19.
105 John i. 29.
106 John i. 30, 31.
107 1 John ii. 1, ilasmoj
108 Rom. iii. 25, 26, ilasthrion
109 1 Cor, i. 24, 30.
110 Heb. iv. 14.
111 Gen. xlix. 10.
112 Isa. xlii. 1-4.
113 Matt. xii. 17, 19.
114 Ezek. xxxiv. 23.
115 Isa. xi. 1-3.
116 Ps, cxviii. 22, 23.
117 Matt. xxi. 42, 44.
118 Acts iv. 11.
119 Ps. xlv. 1.
120 John i. 3-5.
121 John i, 9.
122 Isa. xlix. 6.
123 John ix. 4, 5.
124 Matt. v. 14, 16.
125 1 Cor. iv. 9.
126 Rom viii. 24, 19.
127 John xvii. 21.
128 John xii. 26.
129 Rom. v. 3-5.
130 Rom. viii, 20.
131 Text corrupt. The above seems to be the meaning. Cf.
chap. 23 init. p. 306.
132 Rom. vi. 4.
133 2 Cor. iv. 10.
134 Matt. x. 10.
135 Prov. xxx. 19.
136 Ps. xxxvi. 6.
137 Jer. xxxi. 27.
138 Ps. xlv. 8.
139 Ps. lxxii. 1, 2.
140 Ephes. ii 14.
141 Rom. viii. 15.
142 John xv. 15; qelei for potei.
143 John xiii. 13.
144 John xv. 15.
145 Luke xxii. 28.
146 i. 6.
147 Mark i. 11; Ps. ii. 7; Heb. i. 5.
148 Ps. civ. 15.
149 Gen. xliii. 34.
150 Ps. cxxxvi. 2.
151 Ps. l. 1.
152 Matt. xx. 2.
153 1 Cor. viii. 5.
154 Ephes. i. 21.
155 Exod. iii. 2, 6.
156 Isa. ix. 6.
157 Ps. lxxxviii. 4, 5.
158 Apoc. i. 17, 18.
159 2 Cor. iv. 10.
160 Isa. xlix. 3.
161 Heb. iv. 12.
162 Song ii. 5.
163 Isa. xlix. 3,6.
164 Philipp. ii. 6,8.
165 Isa. xlix. 5, 6.
166 John i. 29.
167 1 Cor. v. 28.
168 John 2:1, 2.
170 ilasthrion, Rom. iii. 25.
171 Philipp. iv. 13.
172 Prov. viii. 22.
173 Ps. civ. 24.
174 Heb. ii. 11.
175 John vii. 18.
176 Apoc. xvi. 5, 7.
177 John v. 27.
178 Heb. ii. 9.
179 xwrij for xariti, a widely diffused early variant.
180 Job xxv. 5.
181 Rom. ii. 29.
182 Isa. xi. 1.
183 Ps. lxxxix. 32, 33.
184 Ps. cxviii. 22.
185 It is impossible to render by any one English word
the Greek logoj as used by Origen in the following discussion. We shall
therefore in many passages leave it untranslated.
186 Rom. x. 6 8.
187 John xv. 22.
188 John x. 8.
189 Matt. xi. 27.
190 Isa. ix. 5, 6.
191 xix. 11.
192 Ps. xxxiii. 17.
193 Ps. xx. 7.
194 Ps. xlv. 1.
195 Ps. xxxiii. 6.
196 Reading tugxanomtaj.
197 stereoj, of which the sterewma, firmament, is made.