Thursday, January 17, 2013
St John of Damascus- n the orthodox Faith Chp 8-2
Chapter 8. Concerning the Holy Trinity. con't
In treating, then, of the generation of the Son, it is an act of impiety to say that time comes into play and that the existence of the Son is of later origin than the Father. For we hold that it is from Him, that is, from the Father's nature, that the Son is generated. And unless we grant that the Son co-existed from the beginning with the Father, by Whom He was begotten, we introduce change into the Father's subsistence, because, not being the Father, He subsequently became the Father.
For the creation, even though it originated later, is nevertheless not derived from the essence of God, but is brought into existence out of nothing by His will and power, and change does not touch God's nature.
For generation means that the begetter produces out of his essence offspring similar in essence. But creation and making mean that the creator and maker produces from that which is external, and not out of his own essence, a creation of an absolutely dissimilar nature.
Wherefore in God, Who alone is passionless and unalterable, and immutable, and ever so continues, both begetting and creating are passionless.
For being by nature passionless and not liable to flux, since He is simple and uncompounded, He is not subject to passion or flux either in begetting or in creating, nor has He need of any co-operation.
But generation in Him is without beginning and everlasting, being the work of nature and producing out of His own essence, that the Begetter may not undergo change, and that He may not be God first and God last, nor receive any accession: while creation in the case of God , being the work of will, is not co-eternal with God. For it is not natural that that which is brought into existence out of nothing should be co-eternal with what is without beginning and everlasting.
There is this difference in fact between man's making and God's. Man can bring nothing into existence out of nothing , but all that he makes requires pre-existing matter for its basis , and he does not create it by will only, but thinks out first what it is to be and pictures it in his mind, and only then fashions it with his hands, undergoing labor and trouble , and often missing the mark and failing to produce to his satisfaction that after which he strives.
But God, through the exercise of will alone, has brought all things into existence out of nothing.
Now there is the same difference between God and man in begetting and generating. For in God, Who is without time and beginning, passionless, not liable to flux, incorporeal, alone and without end, generation is without time and beginning, passionless and not liable to flux, nor dependent on the union of two : nor has His own incomprehensible generation beginning or end.
And it is without beginning because He is immutable: without flux because He is passionless and incorporeal: independent of the union of two again because He is incorporeal but also because He is the one and only God, and stands in need of no co-operation: and without end or cessation because He is without beginning, or time, or end, and ever continues the same.
For that which has no beginning has no end: but that which through grace is endless is assuredly not without beginning, as, witness, the angels.
Accordingly the everlasting God generates His own Word, which is perfect, without beginning and without end, that God, Whose nature and existence are above time, may not engender in time.
But with man clearly it is otherwise, for generation is with him a matter of sex, and destruction and flux and increase and body clothe him round about, and he possesses a nature which is male or female. For the male requires the assistance of the female. But may He, Who surpasses all, and transcends all thought and comprehension, be gracious to us.
The holy catholic and apostolic Church, then, teaches the existence at once of a Father: and of His Only-begotten Son, born of Him without time and flux and passion, in a manner incomprehensible and perceived by the God of the universe alone: just as we recognize the existence at once of fire and the light which proceeds from it: for there is not first fire and thereafter light, but they exist together.
And just as light is ever the product of fire, and ever is in it and at no time is separate from it, so in like manner also the Son is begotten of the Father and is never in any way separate from Him, but ever is in Him.
But whereas the light which is produced from fire without separation, and abides ever in it, has no proper subsistence of its own distinct from that of fire (for it is a natural quality of fire), the Only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father without separation and difference and ever abiding in Him, has a proper subsistence of its own distinct from that of the Father.
St John of Damascus
Posted by Maria_Dorfman at 5:30 PM