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From Eranistes 2
Eran.—Therefore the Lord Jesus is God only.
Orth.—You hear that the divine Word was made man, and do you call him God only?
Eran.—Since He became man without being changed, but remained just what He was
before, we must call Him just what He was.
Orth.—The divine Word was and is and will be immutable. But when He had taken
man’s nature He became man. It behoves us therefore to confess both natures,
both that which took, and that which was taken.
From Eranistes 3
Orth.—Well; in the story of Abraham you were not content with the letter, but
unfolded it and made the meaning clear. In precisely the same manner examine the
meaning of the words of the Apostle. You will then see that it was by no means
the divine nature which was not withheld, but the flesh nailed to the Cross. And
it is easy to perceive the truth even in the type. Do you regard Abraham’s
sacrifice as a type of the oblation offered on behalf of the world?
Eran.—Not at all, nor yet can I make words spoken rhetorically in the churches a
rule of faith.
Orth.—You ought by all means to follow teachers of the Church, but, since you
improperly oppose yourself to these, hear the Saviour Himself when addressing
the Jews; “Your Father Abraham rejoiced to see my day and he saw it and was
glad.” Note that the Lord calls His passion “a day.”
Eran.—I accept the Lord’s testimony and do not doubt the type.
Orth.—Now compare the type with the reality and you will see the impassibility
of the Godhead even in the type. Both in the former and in the latter there is a
Father; both in the former and the latter a well beloved Son, each bearing the
material for the sacrifice. The one bore the wood, the other the cross upon his
shoulders. It is said that the top of the hill was dignified by the sacrifice of
both. There is a correspondence moreover between the number of days and nights
and the resurrection which followed, for after Isaac had been slain by his
father’s willing heart, on the third day after the bountiful God had ordered the
deed to be done, he rose to new life at the voice of Him who loves mankind. A
lamb was seen caught in a thicket, furnishing an image of the cross, and slain
instead of the lad. Now if this is a type of the reality, and in the type the
only begotten Son did not undergo sacrifice, but a lamb was substituted and laid
upon the altar and completed the mystery of the oblation, why then in the
reality do you hesitate to assign the passion to the flesh, and to proclaim the
impassibility of the Godhead?
Eran.—In your observations upon this type you represent Isaac as living again at
the divine command. There is nothing therefore unseemly if, fitting the reality
to the type, we declare that God the Word suffered and came to life again.
Orth.—I have said again and again that it is quite impossible for the type to
match the archetypal reality in every respect, and this may also be easily
understood in the present instance. Isaac and the lamb, as touching the
difference of their natures, suit the image, but as touching the separation of
their divided persons they do so no longer. We preach so close an union of
Godhead and of manhood as to understand one person undivided, and to acknowledge
the same to be both God and man, visible and invisible, circumscribed and
uncircumscribed, and we apply to one of the persons all the attributes which are
indicative alike of Godhead and of manhood. Now since the lamb, an unreasoning
being, and not gifted with the divine image, could not possibly prefigure the
restoration to life, the two divide between them the type of the mystery of the
œconomy, and while one furnishes the image of death, the other supplies that of
the resurrection. We find precisely the same thing in the Mosaic sacrifices, for
in them too may be seen a type outlined in anticipation of the passion of
From Eranistes 3
Orth.—You say that the divine nature came down from heaven and that in
consequence of the union it was called the Son of man. Thus it behoves us to say
that the flesh was nailed to the tree, but to hold that the divine nature even
on the cross and in the tomb was inseparable from this flesh, though from it it
derived no sense of suffering, since the divine nature is naturally incapable of
undergoing both suffering and death and its substance is immortal and impassible.
It is in this sense that the crucified is styled Lord of Glory, by attribution
of the title of the impassible nature to the passible, since, as we know, a body
is described as belonging to this latter.
Now let us examine the matter thus. The words of the divine Apostle are “Had
they known it they would not have crucified the Lord of Glory.” They crucified
the nature which they knew, not that of which they were wholly ignorant: had
they known that of which they were ignorant they would not have crucified that
which they knew: they crucified the human because they were ignorant of the
divine. Have you forgotten their own words. “For a good work we stone thee not
but for blasphemy, and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.”
These words are a plain proof that they recognised the nature they saw, while of
the invisible they were wholly ignorant: had they known that nature they would
not have crucified the Lord of glory.
Eran.—That is very probable, but the exposition of the faith laid down by the
Fathers in council at Nicæa says that the only begotten Himself, very God, of
one substance with the Father, suffered and was crucified.
Orth.—You seem to forget what we have agreed on again and again.
Eran.—What do you mean?
Orth.—I mean that after the union the holy Scripture applies to one person terms
both of exaltation and of humiliation. But possibly you are also ignorant that
the illustrious Fathers first mentioned His taking flesh and being made man, and
then afterwards added that He suffered and was crucified, and thus spoke of the
passion after they had set forth the nature capable of passion.
Eran.—The Fathers said that the Son of God, Light of Light, of the substance of
the Father, suffered and was crucified.
Orth.—I have observed more than once that both the Divine and the human are
ascribed to the one Person. It is in accordance with this position that the
thrice blessed Fathers, after teaching how we should believe in the Father, and
then passing on to the person of the Son, did not immediately add “and in the
Son of God,” although it would have very naturally followed that after defining
what touches God the Father they should straightway have introduced the name of
Son. But their object was to give us at one and the same time instruction on the
theology and on the œconomy, lest there should be supposed to be any distinction
between the Person of the Godhead and the Person of the Manhood. On this account
they added to their statement concerning the Father that we must believe also in
our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Now after the incarnation God the Word is
called Christ, for this name includes alike all that is proper to the Godhead
and to the manhood. We recognise nevertheless that some properties belong to the
one nature and some to the others, and this may at once be understood from the
actual terms of the Creed. For tell me: to what do you apply the phrase “of the
substance of the Father”? to the Godhead, or to the nature that was fashioned of
the seed of David?