Saturday, January 19, 2013

St John of Damascus Chpt 8 Final on the orthodox faith

And this may be perceived throughout the whole of creation, but in the case of the holy and super-essential and incomprehensible Trinity, far removed from everything, it is quite the reverse.

For there the community and unity are observed in fact, through the co-eternity of the subsistences, and through their having the same essence and energy and will and concord of mind, and then being identical in authority and power and goodness— I do not say similar but identical— and then movement by one impulse.

For there is one essence, one goodness, one power, one will, one energy, one authority, one and the same, I repeat, not three resembling each other. But the three subsistences have one and the same movement. For each one of them is related as closely to the other as to itself: that is to say that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are one in all respects, save those of not being begotten, of birth and of procession.

But it is by thought that the difference is perceived. For we recognize one God: but only in the attributes of Fatherhood, Sonship, and Procession, both in respect of cause and effect and perfection of subsistence, that is, manner of existence, do we perceive difference.

For with reference to the uncircumscribed Deity we cannot speak of separation in space, as we can in our own case. For the subsistences dwell in one another, in no wise confused but cleaving together, according to the word of the Lord, I am in the father, and the father in Me (John 14:11): nor can one admit difference in will or judgment or energy or power or anything else whatsoever which may produce actual and absolute separation in our case.

Wherefore we do not speak of three Gods, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, but rather of one God, the holy Trinity, the Son and Spirit being referred to one cause , and not compounded or coalesced according to the synæresis of Sabellius.

For, as we said, they are made one not so as to commingle, but so as to cleave to each other, and they have their being in each other without any coalescence or commingling. Nor do the Son and the Spirit stand apart, nor are they sundered in essence according to the diæresis of Arias.

For the Deity is undivided among things divided, to put it concisely: and it is just like three suns cleaving to each other without separation and giving out light mingled and conjoined into one.

When, then, we turn our eyes to the Divinity, and the first cause and the sovereignty and the oneness and sameness, so to speak, of the movement and will of the Divinity, and the identity in essence and power and energy and lordship, what is seen by us is unity.

But when we look to those things in which the Divinity is, or, to put it more accurately, which are the Divinity, and those things which are in it through the first cause without time or distinction in glory or separation, that is to say, the subsistences of the Son and the Spirit, it seems to us a Trinity that we adore.

The Father is one Father, and without beginning, that is, without cause: for He is not derived from anything.

The Son is one Son, but not without beginning, that is, not without cause: for He is derived from the Father.

But if you eliminate the idea of a beginning from time, He is also without beginning: for the creator of times cannot be subject to time.

The Holy Spirit is one Spirit, going forth from the Father, not in the manner of Sonship but of procession; so that neither has the Father lost His property of being unbegotten because He has begotten, nor has the Son lost His property of being begotten because He was begotten of that which was unbegotten (for how could that be so?), nor does the Spirit change either into the Father or into the Son because He has proceeded and is God.

For a property is quite constant. For how could a property persist if it were variable, moveable, and could change into something else?

For if the Father is the Son, He is not strictly the Father: for there is strictly one Father. And if the Son is the Father, He is not strictly the Son: for there is strictly one Son and one Holy Spirit.

Further, it should be understood that we do not speak of the Father as derived from any one, but we speak of Him as the Father of the Son. And we do not speak of the Son as Cause or Father, but we speak of Him both as from the Father, and as the Son of the Father. And we speak likewise of the Holy Spirit as from the Father, and call Him the Spirit of the Father. And we do not speak of the Spirit as from the Son : but yet we call Him the Spirit of the Son.

For if any one has not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His (Romans 8:9), says the divine apostle. And we confess that He is manifested and imparted to us through the Son. For He breathed upon His Disciples, says he, and said, Receive the Holy Spirit. (John 20:29)

It is just the same as in the case of the sun from which come both the ray and the radiance (for the sun itself is the source of both the ray and the radiance), and it is through the ray that the radiance is imparted to us, and it is the radiance itself by which we are lightened and in which we participate.

Further we do not speak of the Son of the Spirit, or of the Son as derived from the Spirit.

St John of Damascus

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