Thursday, January 17, 2013

St John of Damascus -On the Orthodox Faith Chpt 8-3

Chapter 8 Cont..

The terms, 'Word' and 'effulgence,' then, are used because He is begotten of the Father without the union of two, or passion, or time, or flux, or separation: and the terms 'Son' and 'impress of the Father's subsistence,' because He is perfect and has subsistence and is in all respects similar to the Father, save that the Father is not begotten: and the term 'Only-begotten' because He alone was begotten alone of the Father alone.

For no other generation is like to the generation of the Son of God, since no other is Son of God. For though the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father, yet this is not generative in character but processional.

This is a different mode of existence, alike incomprehensible and unknown, just as is the generation of the Son. Wherefore all the qualities the Father has are the Son’s, save that the Father is unbegotten , and this exception involves no difference in essence nor dignity , but only a different mode of coming into existence.

We have an analogy in Adam, who was not begotten (for God Himself molded him), and Seth, who was begotten (for he is Adam's son), and Eve, who proceeded out of Adam's rib (for she was not begotten). These do not differ from each other in nature, for they are human beings: but they differ in the mode of coming into existence.

For one must recognise that the word ἀγένητον with only one 'ν ' signifies uncreated or not having been made, while ἀγέννητον written with double 'ν ' means unbegotten.

According to the first, significance essence differs from essence: for one essence is uncreated, or ἀγένητον with one 'ν,' and another is created or γενητή . But in the second significance there is no difference between essence and essence.

For the first subsistence of all kinds of living creatures is ἀγέννητος but not ἀγένητος . For they were created by the Creator, being brought into being by His Word, but they were not begotten, for there was no pre-existing form like themselves from which they might have been born.

So then in the first sense of the word, the three absolutely divine subsistences of the Holy Godhead agree: for they exist as one in essence and uncreated.

But with the second signification it is quite otherwise. For the Father alone is ungenerated, no other subsistence having given Him being. And the Son alone is generated, for He was begotten of the Father's essence without beginning and without time. And only the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father's essence, not having been generated but simply proceeding. (John 15:26) For this is the doctrine of Holy Scripture. But the nature of the generation and the procession is quite beyond comprehension.

Likewise we believe also in one Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of Life: Who proceeds from the Father and rests in the Son: the object of equal adoration and glorification with the Father and Son, since He is co-essential and co-eternal: the Spirit of God, direct, authoritative, the fountain of wisdom, and life, and holiness: God existing and addressed along with Father and Son: uncreated, full, creative, all-ruling, all-effecting, all-powerful, of infinite power, Lord of all creation and not under any lord :deifying, not deified: filling, not filled: shared in, not sharing in: sanctifying, not sanctified: the intercessor, receiving the supplications of all: in all things like to the Father and Son: proceeding from the Father and communicated through the Son, and participated in by all creation, through Himself creating, and investing with essence and sanctifying, and maintaining the universe: having subsistence, existing in its own proper and peculiar subsistence, inseparable and indivisible from Father and Son, and possessing all the qualities that the Father and Son possess, save that of not being begotten or born.

For the Father is without cause and unborn: for He is derived from nothing, but derives from Himself His being, nor does He derive a single quality from another.

Rather He is Himself the beginning and cause of the existence of all things in a definite and natural manner. But the Son is derived from the Father after the manner of generation, and the Holy Spirit likewise is derived from the Father, yet not after the manner of generation, but after that of procession.

And we have learned that there is a difference between generation and procession, but the nature of that difference we in no wise understand. Further, the generation of the Son from the Father and the procession of the Holy Spirit are simultaneous.

St John of Damascus

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