Debate with Maximinus
1. Augustine and Maximinus met together in Hippo Regius, with many present, both clerics and lay persons.†1
Maximinus said, “I did not come to this city in order to stage a debate with Your Holiness. Rather, I am here, sent by Count Segisvult†2 with a view to peace. In fact, though I had been challenged by him, I responded as well as I could to Heraclius,†3 a priest who was holding a discussion with me under friendly conditions, but he became so angry that he summoned you to face me. Since Your Holiness has deigned to do yourself this injury,†4 if you ask questions, I will answer on the points where I can. If you say something reasonable, I shall have to agree. If you produce from the divine scriptures something that we all share, we shall have to listen. But those words which are not found in the scriptures are under no circumstance accepted by us, especially since the Lord warns us, saying, In vain they worship me, teaching human commandments and precepts” (Mt 15:9).†5
2. Augustine said, “If I wanted to reply to all these items, I too would seem to be trying to avoid the point at issue. Hence, in order that we may quickly come to the point, state for me your faith concerning the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.”
Maximinus answered, “If you ask for my faith, I hold that faith which was not only stated, but was also ratified at Ariminum†6 by the signatures of three hundred and thirty bishops.”†7
3. Augustine said, “I have already said this, but I repeat it, because you have refused to answer: State for me your faith concerning the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.”
Maximinus answered, “Since I have not refused to answer, why am I accused by Your Holiness as though I made no response.”
4. Augustine said, “I said that you refused to answer, because when I asked you to tell me your faith concerning the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit—and I ask this now too—you did not tell me your faith, but mentioned the Council of Ariminum. I want to know your faith, what you believe, what you think concerning the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. If you are willing, I will listen to what you say. Do not send me to those writings. They are not now at hand, nor I am bound by their authority. State what you believe concerning the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.”
Maximinus answered, “I wanted the decree of the Council of Ariminum to be present, not to excuse myself, but to show the authority of those fathers who
handed on to us in accord with the divine scriptures the faith which they learned from the divine scriptures.†8 But have it your way, since with the heart it is believed unto justice, but with the lips confession is made unto salvation (Rom 10:10). We are, indeed, instructed and prepared to make answer to everyone who demands an account of the faith and hope which is in us.†9 Moreover, the Lord Jesus himself says, He who shall have confessed me before men, I will confess him before my Father who is in heaven, and he who shall have denied me before men, I will deny him before my Father who is in heaven (Mt 10:32-33). This is the danger I fear, though I am not unaware of the imperial laws.†10 Still, I have been taught by the command of the Savior, who warned us with the words, Do not fear those who kill the body, but cannot kill the soul (Mt 10:28). My reply is clear: I believe that there is one God the Father who has received life from no one and that there is one Son who has received from the Father his being and his life so that he exists and that there is one Holy Spirit, the Paraclete, who enlightens and sanctifies our souls. I state this on the basis of the scriptures. At your bidding, I will follow up with testimonies. If Your Holiness finds fault on some point, I will make answer on those points on which I am thought to be at fault.”
5. Augustine said, “It bothers me that you state that the Holy Spirit enlightens us by himself, as if Christ did not enlighten us.†11 I want, first of all, to hear what you think on this point.”
Maximinus answered, “We acknowledge one author, God the Father, from whom all enlightenment comes down by stages.†12 Even Paul, the apostle, bears witness concerning himself in the Acts of the Apostles. There he says, Thus God has commanded us, and adds among other things, I have made you the light of the nations (Acts 13:47). If the apostle was made the light of the nations insofar as he was their teacher, how much more is the Holy Spirit the light of the nations, since he enlightened the apostle? In him the apostle spoke, according to the words of the apostle himself, that no one can say that Jesus is Lord except in the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 12:3). Certainly the Holy Spirit enlightens, for he enlightened the apostle. But the Holy Spirit received this from Christ, according to the testimony of Christ himself. Christ says in the gospel, I have many things to tell you, but you cannot bear them now. But when the Spirit of truth shall have come, he will lead you to all the truth. He will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he will hear, and he will make known to you what is to come. He will glorify me, because he will receive from what is mine and will make it known to you (Jn 16:12-14). Hence, the Holy Spirit has received from Christ, according to the testimony of Christ. Beyond all doubt, Christ himself confesses that my teaching is not mine, but comes from the Father who sent me (Jn 7:16) and I speak what I have seen and heard with my Father (Jn 8:38). Hence, if Christ in teaching enlightens us, the Father who has sent him enlightens us. If
the Holy Spirit enlightens us, the enlightenment stems from the author who is the source of goodness. From him the blessed apostle and all the saints as well have obtained this. They enlighten the believers, but this enlightenment stems from the one author. And for that reason, the prophet said, The Lord is my enlightenment and my salvation; whom shall I fear?” (Ps 26:1).
6. Augustine said, “I do not deny that the Holy Spirit enlightens, but does Christ also enlighten by himself and does the Father enlighten by himself or do they enlighten only through the Holy Spirit? This is in brief what I have asked and what I now ask.”
Maximinus answered, “I believe that Your Holiness is aware that the blessed apostle Paul said, But when the kindness and humanity of the Savior our God appeared, he saved us, not because of the works of justice which we have done, but according to his mercy through the bath of regeneration and of renewal by the Holy Spirit whom he poured out upon us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior (Ti 3:4-6). In accord with this rule, I say and profess that the Holy Spirit enlightens us through the Son.†13 As we said above, he poured out the Holy Spirit upon us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior. Now I have given my response: if Paul enlightens, this enlightenment stems from the author, God the Father, and if the Holy Spirit enlightens, the enlightenment stems from the author, and if Christ enlightens, the enlightenment stems from the author. Instructed by this teaching of Christ, I continue, as Christ himself says, My sheep hear my voice and follow me, and I give eternal life to them. They will not perish forever, and no one will take them from my hand. What my Father has given to me is greater than all, and no one can take that from the hand of my Father. Again he speaks as follows, The Father and I are one (Jn 10:27-30). Hence, for defending and enlightening the sheep, the Father and the Son are one, of one heart and one soul, in accord with the account which you have heard, for no one can take from my hand the sheep which the Father has given me, and this holds for the hand of the Father as well.”†14
7. Augustine said, “You say things that are important, but not for the topic at hand. You have not answered my question, though you have spoken at length. If you want to set aside the point of dispute between us and recite the whole gospel, how many days will suffice, how much time will we need? Tell me in a few words what I have asked you: Does Christ enlighten by himself or only enlighten through the Holy Spirit? Not only have you refused to answer this question, but unless my hearing has deceived me, you said rather that the Holy Spirit enlightens through Christ.”†15
Maximinus answered, “It is not proper in a matter of religion, especially when we are talking about God, to make false accusations. I have given a response, and if what we have said is not enough, we will add testimonies that the Holy Spirit is poured out upon all believers through Jesus Christ. We read that blessed Peter spoke in this way, God has raised up this Jesus, and we are all witnesses of this. Therefore, exalted at the right hand of God, after he had received the promise of the Holy Spirit from the Father, he poured out this gift that you now see and hear (Acts 2:32-33). I said that everything which the Holy Spirit suggests to us he has obtained from Christ. Go back to the testimonies I gave before, and you will find that to be the case.”†16
8. Augustine said, “When you try to prove what I do not deny, you use up valuable time on needless matters. I do not deny that the Holy Spirit was poured out upon believers through Christ. There is no point in your trying with so much delay to prove by testimonies what I admit. This is what I said; this is what I asked for; I say it again: Does Christ enlighten through the Holy Spirit or does the Holy Spirit enlighten through Christ? You said before that the Holy Spirit enlightens through Christ. If you do not remember, let your words be read from the proceedings. Let it be noted that we ordered them to be read, and I will prove that you said what I am after.”
Maximinus answered, “The proof was needed, if you were not satisfied. Now you have followed the testimonies I offered or the argument I gave so that you have it too. Since this question is at an end, raise another on which I may reply to you. After all, you have already declared that you were satisfied on this question.”
9. Augustine said, “Did you say that the Holy Spirit enlightens through Christ, or did you not say this? I ask you to be so kind as to give me in a few words one answer or the other. Did you say it, or not?”
Maximinus replied, “I have professed the Holy Spirit according to the teaching of the Savior. If he enlightens, he has received this from Christ; if he teaches, he has received this from Christ. Everything whatsoever that the Holy Spirit does, he has obtained from the only-begotten God,†17 and if the testimonies are insufficient, I will add to them.”
10. Augustine said, “Lest he say that we are falsely accusing him, let his words be read from a little before.”
Antony, the notary, read the passage: “I say and profess that the Holy Spirit enlightens us through the Son. As we said above, he poured out the Holy Spirit upon us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior.”†18
After it had been read, Maximinus answered, “It seems that you yourself would prefer to delay so that we do not get back to the main point. Rather, you want to detain us with arguments on one question for the whole day. We repeat that the Holy Spirit has been poured out through the Son, and we have produced as witnesses not only blessed Paul, but also Peter, the first of the apostles. Our stated position maintains that the Holy Spirit received from Christ in accord with the preceding testimony, He will glorify me, because he will receive from what is mine and will make it known to you (Jn 16:14). I am compelled to say the same thing again: if the Holy Spirit enlightens, or teaches, or instructs, he has obtained it all from Christ, because through Christ all things were made, and without him nothing was made (Jn 1:3).†19 Christ says that he obtained all these things from his Father, and he lives on account of the Father, and every tongue confesses that Jesus Christ is Lord in the glory of God the Father (Phil 2:11). And†20 Christ is the head of every man, while the man is head of the woman, but God is the head of Christ (1 Cor 11:3). The Holy Spirit was subject to the Son, and the Son was subject to the Father as the beloved, as the obedient, as the good Son born of the good Father. The Father did not beget a son opposed to him; he begot one who also cried out and said, I always do those things which are pleasing to the Father” (Jn 8:29).
11. Augustine said, “If Christ enlightens through the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit enlightens through Christ, their power is equal.†21 But read me the passage in which the Holy Spirit was subject to Christ, as you said a little before.†22 What you claim the Lord said of the Holy Spirit, He will receive from what is mine, was said that way, because the Son received from the Father and everything which belongs to the Father without a doubt belongs to the Son. After all, when he said this, he added, For this reason, I said, he will receive from what is mine, because all the things which the Father has are mine (Jn 16:15.14). State then what I have asked, and prove by testimonies that the Holy Spirit was subject to Christ. Instead, we read that he says, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,†23 because he has anointed me†24 to bring the good news to the poor (Lk 4:18). If he said that the Holy Spirit was upon him, how can you say that the Holy Spirit was subject to Christ? Christ said that the Holy Spirit was upon him, not because he is above the Word of God, who is God, but because he is above the man, because the Word became flesh. When scripture says, The Word became flesh (Jn 1:14), it means the same thing as that the Word became man.†25 After all, all flesh will see the salvation of God (Is 40:5) means the same thing as that every human being will see it. And, In the Law no flesh is justified (Rom 3:20) means the same thing as that no human being is justified. Because, then, the Word became flesh and because he emptied himself, taking the form of the servant (Phil 2:7), he said in the form of the servant, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me. The power is equal, the substance is one, the divinity is the same. Hence, we worship the Trinity, because the Father is not the Son and the Son is not the Father and the Holy Spirit is neither the Father nor the Son, but we still worship one God, because the ineffable and lofty union of the Trinity†26 reveals that there is one God, one Lord. Thus scripture said, Hear, O Israel, the Lord is your God, the Lord is one (Dt 6:4). Why do you want to make two gods and two lords for us? You say that the Father is Lord and the Father is God; you say that Christ is Lord and Christ is God. I ask you whether both of them together are one. You answer that they are two gods.†27 All that remains for you is to make temples and idols for them.”
Maximinus answered, “The authors of religion never resort to false accusations. You asked for testimonies in order that I might show by testimonies what I have professed, and you yourself have professed three that are the same and equal, the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. And, though you professed that the three are equal, you now turn around and produce the testimony of the divine scriptures that pertains not to their equality, but to the singleness of the omnipotent God, that there is one author of all things.†28 You take precedence by your age and have greater authority; hence, go first and show by testimonies that there are three equals, three omnipotents, three unbegottens, three invisibles, three incomprehensibles. Then we would have to yield to these testimonies. But if you cannot give an account of this from the divine scriptures, then I must produce testimonies to the extent that you want for everything I have said in the foregoing: either that the Father alone receives his life from no one or that the Son†29 has received his life from the Father, as I have professed, or what I have said of the Holy Spirit.”
12. Augustine said, “You have not said what I asked that you be so kind as to say, namely, by what testimony you would prove that the Holy Spirit was subject to Christ. I am, nonetheless, going to answer the questions that you have set forth. We do not say that there are three omnipotents, just as we do not say there are three gods. If someone asks us about them singly: Is the Father God? We say that he is God. Is the Son God? We say that he is God. Is the Holy Spirit God? We say that he is God. But when someone asks us about all of them: Are they three gods? We appeal to the divine scriptures which say, Hear, O Israel, the Lord is your God, the Lord is one (Dt 6:4). In†30 that divine commandment we learn that the same Trinity is one God. In the same way, if someone asks about each of them: Is the Father omnipotent? We answer that he is omnipotent. Is the Son omnipotent? We make the same answer about him. Is the Holy Spirit omnipotent? We do not deny that he is omnipotent. But we do not say that there are three omnipotents, just as we do not say that there are three gods. Rather, as those three are one God, so those three are one omnipotent, and the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit are one invisible God. You have no grounds for thinking that we are trapped by arithmetic, since the power of the divinity goes beyond even the meaning of number.†31 After all, the souls of many humans were somehow melted together by the reception of the Holy Spirit and the fire of charity, and they became one soul. As the apostle states, They had one soul and one heart (Acts 4:32). The charity of the Holy Spirit made so many hearts, so many thousands of hearts, one heart. The Holy Spirit called so many thousands of souls one soul, because he made them one soul. How much more do we call the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit one God, since they always cling to one another inseparably and with ineffable charity?”
Maximinus answered, “You said that they are the same and equal, a point you were not able to show by testimonies, and for this reason you turned to another topic. We do not disbelieve, but know with certain faith that all the faithful had one heart and soul. That is not against, but rather in accord with our religion. If, beyond any doubt, all the faithful had one heart and soul, why should we not say that the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit are one in agreement, in harmony, in charity, in unanimity?†32 After all, what did the Son do that did not please the Father? What did the Father command and the Son not obey? When did the Holy Spirit command anything contrary to Christ or the Father? From the statement of the Savior that says, The Father and I are one (Jn 10:30), it is clear that they are one in harmony and agreement.
“As you yourself have professed, the Father is the Father and was never the Son; the Son is the Son and always remains the Son; and the Holy Spirit is the Holy Spirit. We profess that this Holy Spirit is also what we read, that this Holy Spirit is so great and so good that even the angels desire to gaze upon him.†33 This Holy Spirit is so great that he is everywhere able to hear the prayers of all and act as an advocate.†34 I offer blessed Paul as a witness to this. He says, We do not know what we should ask for in a fitting manner, but the Spirit himself pleads on our behalf with indescribable groans (Rom 8:26). I believe what I read, namely, that the Holy Spirit pleads on our behalf with indescribable groans. And so, instructed by this teaching, I say that the Holy Spirit was subject to the extent that he pleads on our behalf with groans.
“I profess one God, not that the three are one; rather, there is one God, incomparable, immense, infinite, unborn, and invisible.†35 The Son himself prayed to him and prays to him. With him the Holy Spirit also acts as an advocate. After all, the Son prays to the Father, though you usually apply all these testimonies that we read in the gospel to the body.†36 Our goal is to show by searching the divine scriptures that, even now while he is seated at the right hand of the Father, he intercedes for us. For that reason, I said that he prayed and he prays, because even now he intercedes for us, as the apostle says, Who will make accusations against God’s chosen ones? God who justifies? Who is it who will condemn them? Christ who has died, and what is more, who rose, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes on our behalf? (Rom 8:33-34). Likewise, when he was with his disciples, Christ promised that he would make requests in that way. He said, If you love me, keep my commandments, and I will ask the Father and he will give you another advocate that he may be with you forever, the Spirit of Truth, whom this world cannot receive, because it does not see him or know him. But you see him and know†37 him, because he remains with you and is in you (Jn 14:15-17). If these testimonies are sufficient, fine; if they are not,†38 I will add as many as you want.”
13. Augustine said, “You should not prove to us what we admit. In doing so, you merely waste valuable time, as I said before. We know that the Son of God is the Son of God; we know that he does not come from himself, but is begotten by the Father, though the Father is unbegotten, comes from no one, and has received life from no one. We know that the Son has received life from the Father, but not in such a way that he was once without life and then received it. The Father gave him life by begetting life; by begetting him as life, he gave him life. He reveals his equality, when he says, As the Father has life in himself, so he gave it to the Son that he has life in himself (Jn 5:26). The Father has life in himself; the Son has life in himself equal to the life of the Father. Still, the Son did not receive life from himself, because he was not born from himself, but born from the Father. The Father gave by begetting; the Son did not first exist without life and then the Father gave him life, as we were once sinners without life and then received life through pardon and grace. He received life from the Father, because he was born from the Father as life.
“So too, you could only say that the Holy Spirit was subject to the Son, because he pleads on our behalf with groans. That perfect holiness is, to your mind, always filled with groans and never ceases to groan. Imagine the eternal unhappiness! Understand the figure of speech, and you will avoid such irreverence. Scripture says, He pleads with groans, so that we might understand that he makes us to plead with groans. After all, he is with us and, by pouring charity into us, he makes us plead with groans.†39 Moreover, in one passage the apostle speaks of the Holy Spirit as crying out, “Abba, Father” (Gal 4:6), and in another he says, In him we cry out, “Abba, Father” (Rom 8:15). He explained the meaning of the Holy Spirit’s crying out, “Abba, Father,” when he said, In him we cry out. Thus, what does crying out mean but: making us cry out.
“I will give another example of this sort of figure of speech. Does not God foreknow all future events? Who will be insane enough to say that he does not? Still, the apostle says, But now knowing God, even known by God (Gal 4:9). If God comes to know them now, he did not know them, he did not choose them, he did not predestine them before the creation of the world. He said, But now knowing God, even known by God, so that they would understand that God brought about in them a knowledge of him. Knowing God. What does knowing God mean? Do not credit it to yourself, do not be proud. You have been known by God. What does You have been known by God mean? God has made you know himself; God has granted that you know him. What do the words of the Lord, Now I know, mean? The Lord said to Abraham, Now I know that you fear the Lord (Gn 22:12). When Abraham brought his son for the sacrifice, God said to him, Now I know. Is this what God’s foreknowledge amounts to? Did he come to know at that moment when he said, Now I know? What does, Now I know, mean? It means: Now I have made you know.
“If you recognized these figures of speech like a man learned in the divine books, you would not ascribe unhappiness to the Holy Spirit on account of those groans with which he is said to plead. What does it mean always to groan but always to be unhappy? Thus we groan because we are unhappy. And thanks be to the Holy Spirit, because he makes us groan for love of the eternal world; for this reason, he was said to groan. He makes us cry out, and for this reason, he was said to cry out. He makes us to know God, and for this reason scripture said, Even known by God. God made Abraham know, and for this reason he said, Now I know.”
Maximinus answered, “You yourself are caught doing what you blamed in us. It is certain, as the divine scripture warns us, that with much talking you will not escape sin, but that you will be wise, if you spare your lips.†40 Even if one produces testimonies from the divine scriptures all day long, it will not be truly†41 counted against one as wordiness. But if one uses some literary skill or cleverness†42 of mind and makes up words which the holy scriptures do not contain, they are both idle and superfluous.†43
“Having brought you to this rule, I am satisfied if you profess that the Father is the Father because he is unborn, because he has received life from no one, and that the Son received life from the Father, and that the Holy Spirit is the Holy Spirit. But in saying one God, you would do well if, in confessing the one God, you would not say that the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit are one God, thus going against your position.†44
“We worship one God, unborn, unmade, invisible, who has not come down to human contacts and human flesh.†45 The Son is not a small, but a great God, as blessed Paul says, Awaiting the blessed hope and coming of the glory of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ (Ti 2:13). This great God, Christ, says, I ascend to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God (Jn 20:17).†46 By his own subjection he acknowledged that there is one God. This is the one God, then, as we have already shown by testimonies, whom Christ and the Holy Spirit adore and every creature venerates and worships.†47 This is the reason we profess one God. It is not that a union or mixture of the Son with the Father—and certainly not a union or mixture of the Holy Spirit with the Father and the Son—makes one God.†48 Rather, he alone is the one perfect God who, as you go on to say,†49 received life from no one and who granted to the Son his revelation, that he has life in himself.†50 We say they are united in charity and in harmony.
“As we have already explained above,†51 the Father is other than and is not the Son; the Son himself taught us this when he said, If I bear witness to myself, my witness is not true; there is another who bears witness concerning me. And lest some presume to think that he said another, referring to John the Baptist or perhaps the apostle Peter or Paul, he went on to say, You consulted John, and he bore witness to the truth. But I do not accept testimony from any human being. Rather I say this that you might be saved. He says, He was a lamp burning and giving light, and you were willing to rejoice in its light for a time. But I have testimony greater than John’s. The works which the Father gave me to do, the works which I do, bear witness that the Father has sent me. And the Father who has sent me himself bears witness concerning me (Jn 5:31-37). Who is so foolish as not to understand that one bears witness about another, the Father about the Son?
“The Father, of course, said, This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased; hear him (Mt 17:5). I read beloved, and I believe that it is the Father who loves and the Son who is loved. I hear that Christ is the Only-Begotten, and I do not doubt that one has been begotten by the other. Paul cries out firstborn, saying, He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. And I profess in accord with the statement of the divine scriptures that the Son is firstborn, not unborn, and that in him were created all the things which are in the heavens and which are on the earth, those visible and those invisible, whether Thrones or Dominations or Principalities or Powers; all things were made through him and were created in him, and all things were established in him (Col 1:15-17). This Son of God is the only-begotten God, since he is before all.†52 He says, I speak what I have seen with my Father (Jn 8:38).
“This Son also says in the holy gospel the words that you attribute to the flesh,†53 If you loved me, you would surely be glad, because I go to the Father, because the Father is greater than I (Jn 14:28). When we read these words, we believe and profess according to the apostle that all things have been made subject to him as to a great God.†54 This great God whom the Father begot as such, as you yourself go on to say,†55 certainly admitted that the Father is greater, and he acknowledged him as the one God in whose embrace John the Evangelist describes him as being.†56
“Hear†57 him as he cries out, speaking of the invisibility of the omnipotent God, that no one has ever seen God; the only-begotten Son who is in the embrace of the Father has revealed him (Jn 1:18). Instructed by this, Paul cries out and says, The blessed and alone powerful, the King of kings and the Lord of lords, who alone has immortality and dwells in inaccessible light. No human has seen or can see him; to him be honor and power forever. Amen (1 Tm 6:15-16). Again he says of him, To God who alone is wise, through Jesus Christ, to him be glory forever. Amen (Rom 16:27). And so, we speak of one God, because there is one God above all, unborn, unmade, as we went on to say.†58 But if you do not believe Paul when he calls the Son born, the firstborn of all creation, at least believe the Son when he speaks to Pilate who asked him, Are you then a king? Christ says, For this was I born (Jn 18:37). I read born; I profess what I read. I read firstborn; I do not disbelieve.†59 I read only-begotten; even if I am tortured on the rack, I will not say otherwise. I profess what the holy scriptures teach us.
“But you say that the Father and the Son are one; call the Father only-begotten, call him firstborn. Say of the Son what belongs to the Father; call the Son unbegotten,†60 call him unborn, say that no one has ever seen him or can see him. Go on to say of the Holy Spirit the sort of things we read of the Father in order to show that the Holy Spirit is equal to the Father. Say that, please; let me be your disciple. Go on to say concerning the Son that he is unborn, that he is without origin. If he is equal to the Father, he is surely the same as he is; if he is the same as the Father, then he is surely unborn; if he is unborn, then certainly no human has seen him.†61 Produce the testimonies, and instruct me, teach me, and you will have me as your disciple.”
14. Augustine said, “You said that you worshipped one God, as far as I could tell from what you said. It follows that either you do not worship Christ or you do not worship one God, but two. You also said of the Father that he did not come down to human contacts and to human flesh. Perhaps you do not know, but when one says ‘contact,’ that implies some contamination.†62 Hence, you implied that Christ came down to human contamination. Thus, you have professed that Christ was defiled by human flesh. But I say—indeed, the Catholic faith which I hold with the Church of Christ says—that our Lord Jesus Christ became flesh in such a way that he suffered no contamination from the human race and from human flesh. He came to cleanse, not to be soiled. Hence, he took up a human soul and human flesh without any harmful contamination, and he deigned to save both of them, that is, both the human soul and human flesh, in himself.†63
“Since you are not willing, as far as I can see, to yield to the truth concerning his invisibility, I ask that you think of Christ as visible in his flesh and as man. Insofar as the Word is God with God, he too is invisible. Christ is the wisdom of God. Even human wisdom is invisible. Will the wisdom of God, then, be visible? In what pertains to that nature in which he is equal to the Father, he is equally God, equally omnipotent, equally invisible, equally immortal. You also said, insofar as I could tell, that we should interpret the words of the apostle, Who alone has immortality (1 Tm 6:16), so that we understand the Father alone in that statement. Do you mean, then, that the Word of God is mortal? The wisdom of God is, according to you, not immortal! Do you not understand that the Son could in no sense have died if he had not taken from us human flesh? Finally, the flesh died in him; he himself did not die insofar as he is God, in the divinity in which he is equal to the Father.†64 He said to human beings, Do not fear those who kill the body and then have nothing they can do (Lk 12:4), because the soul cannot die. Can the Word of God die? Can the Wisdom of God die? Could the Only-Begotten die, if he had not assumed flesh? But he did assume flesh in becoming man. Just as he knew that he was equal when he said, The Father and I are one (Jn 10:30), so he knew that he was inferior, because the Word became flesh and dwelled among us (Jn 1:14).†65 He did not think it robbery to be equal to God. It was his nature, not robbery. He did not take it by theft; he was born such. Nonetheless, he emptied himself, taking the form of the servant. You have acknowledged him as equal; now begin to acknowledge him as lesser: taking the form of the servant, having come to be in the likeness of men and found in appearance as a man (Phil 2:6-7). Recognize the form in comparison with which the Father is greater; distinguish the saving history of the assumed man from the divinity that remains immortal, and you will not be mistaken in the words which you love so much to say, but refuse to understand.
“I profess, as you say, that the Father is unborn and that the Son is born.†66 But they are not of a different nature and substance, just because the one was not born and the other was born. If he was born, he is the Son; if he is the Son, he is the true Son, because he is the Only-Begotten. We too are called sons, but we are surely not all only-begotten sons, are we? He is the only-begotten Son in another way; he is a son by nature; we are by grace. He is the Only-Begotten, born of the Father; he is the same as the Father in nature, in substance. One who says that he has another nature, because he was born, denies that he is a true son. But we have the words of scripture, That we may be in his true Son Jesus Christ; he is true God and eternal life (1 Jn 5:20). Why is he true God? Because he is the true Son of God.
“He gave animals the power to generate the same kind of beings that they are; thus a human being generates a human being, a dog a dog. Does God not generate God? If, then, he has the same substance, why do you say that he is inferior? Is it perhaps because, when a human parent generates a child, even though a human generates a human, an adult parent generates a younger child? Let us wait, then, for Christ to grow up, just as humans generated by other humans grow up. But if Christ is what he is from his birth—which is not in time, but from eternity—and is still inferior, the human condition is better, for a human being can grow up and at some point come to the age of the parent and to the strength of the parent. How can he be a true son, though he never does this?†67
“We acknowledge the Son as so great a God that we say that he is equal to the Father. Therefore, it was pointless for you to want to prove to us with testimonies and many words what we firmly profess. He said, My God and your God (Jn 20:17), in view of the human form in which he was. But in light of the words of John, In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God (Jn 1:1), the Father is not the God of God, but he is the God of Christ, because Christ became man. Thus he explained in the Psalms why the Father is his God: From the womb of my mother you are my God (Ps 21:11). When he said that he was his God from the womb of his mother, he showed that the Father is God for the Son, because the Son is man, and in that respect the Father is greater than the Son. Hence, he said, My God and your God. For this reason, we should not be surprised at the subjection which, as man, he shows to the Father, since, as scripture says, he was subject even to his parents.†68 Scripture says of him, You have made him a little less than the angels (Ps 8:6).
“I would like you to show us by some testimonies from the scriptures where we can read that the Father is adored by the Holy Spirit. Although you do not offer testimonies, I admit that the Son adores the Father, because as man he adores God.†69 I readily admit this was said of him as man, though you do not find this either in scripture. But I specifically ask you to read to us the passage or to mention a divine testimony where the Father was adored by the Holy Spirit. Perhaps there is one, but it escapes my mind. If you find one, I will answer how it should be interpreted, just as I answered concerning the groans in terms of the customary expression of the scriptures.†70
“You said that the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit are not one God by reason of that ineffable union;†71 do you want to know the force of that union? It is certainly clear, not from our expressions, but from the words of God, that the human spirit is distinct from the Spirit, the Lord.†72 Hence, it says, The Lord is Spirit (2 Cor 3:17), that is, he is not a body, and yet the apostle says, He who clings to a prostitute is one body; but he who clings to the Lord is one spirit (1 Cor 6:16-17). If, then, this clinging of different spiritual natures—for man’s spirit is different from God’s—makes one spirit, are you unwilling to admit that the Son clings to the Father to such an extent that there is one God? Admit this also of the Holy Spirit, for he is God.
“If the Holy Spirit were not God, we would not be his temple. The apostle has written, Do you not know that you are the temple of God and the Spirit of God dwells in you? (1 Cor 3:16). And again, Do you not know that your bodies are the temple in your midst of the Holy Spirit which you have from God? (1 Cor 6:19). If we made a temple to some holy and excellent angel out of wood and stone, would we not be condemned by the truth of Christ and by the Church of God, because we paid to a creature that worship that we owe to the one God alone? If, then, it would be sacrilegious for us to make a temple to any creature, how can he fail to be the true God to whom we do not make a temple, but whose temple we ourselves are?
“I have given my answer above regarding the sense in which Christ said, As the Father has life in himself, so he gave it to the Son that he has life in himself (Jn 5:26).†73 You say†74 that the Father and the Son were made one by harmony and charity.†75 When you have shown me that things of a different substance are said to be one, then I will think about what I ought to respond. We read, He who plants and he who waters are one (1 Cor 3:8), but both were human beings; they were of the same, not a different, substance. Likewise, we read where Christ says, That they may be one, as we also are one (Jn 17:11). He did not say, ‘That we and they may be one,’ but That they may be one in their nature and in their substance, united and joined together somehow in harmonious equality, as the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit are one on account of the same undivided nature. After all, ‘they are one (unum)’†76 is not the same as ‘he is one (unus).’ When we say, ‘they are one,’ even if we do not say, ‘one of a certain kind,’ we understand one substance. When we say, ‘is one,’ of two different substances, we have to ask ‘one what?’ For example, body and soul are different substances, but one man. The human spirit and the spirit of God are different substances. Still when it clings to the Lord, it is one spirit (1 Cor 6:17); it added spirit, and did not say: ‘They are one.’ But where it says, ‘They are one,’ it signifies one substance.†77 You do not accept this, and you dare to say that you hold that Christ is the true Son of God.
“The Father is not greater because he bore witness to the Son. After all, the prophets too bore witness to the Son. He who bears witness is distinct from him to whom witness is given, because the Father is the Father and the Son is the Son—not that they are not one or are not one God, when clinging and joined together, as they always are. You say that there is a difference between the Father and the Son, because the Father loves and the Son is loved, as if you could deny that the Son also loves the Father.†78 If each of them loves the other, why do you deny that they have one nature? The explanation I gave why the Father was said to be greater is that scripture said this on account of the form of the servant.†79
“I say the same thing about his invisibility. The Son was said to be visible because of the same form of the servant. But the divine substance of the Father or of the Son or of the Holy Spirit is utterly invisible. When the divinity was manifested to the patriarchs, it revealed itself as visible through a creature that was subject to it. Through its own nature it was invisible to the point that Moses said to him, when he was speaking to him face to face, If I have found favor before you, show me yourself clearly (Ex 33:13). He wanted to see him as God is seen with the eyes of the heart. After all, blessed are the clean of heart, for they shall see God (Mt 5:8). Moses wanted to see him to whom he said, Show me yourself clearly, in the way that even the invisible reality of God is seen through those things that have been made. The apostle speaks this way, His invisible reality, having been understood, is seen through those things that have been made, even his everlasting power and divinity (Rom 1:20). Look, though the invisible reality of God is seen by understanding, it is still called invisible.†80 All things were made through Christ, both the visible and the invisible. Can we believe that he is visible?
“For the same reason, you say that we should understand the words of the apostle, God who alone is wise (Rom 16:27), as applying to the Father alone.†81 Hence, God the Father alone is the wise God, and the very Wisdom of God, which is Christ, is not wise, though the apostle said of him, Christ the power of God and wisdom of God (1 Cor 1:24)! It only remains for you to say—for what limit is there to your daring?—that the Wisdom of God is not wise. You say that the Father is unmade, as if the Son were made, though all things were made through him.†82 Acknowledge, then, that the Son was made, but in the form of the servant. In the form of God he was so far from being made that all things were made through him. After all, if he was made, not all things, but only the other things, were made through him. Hence, I do not call the Son unbegotten, but the Father the begetter and the Son the begotten. Still, the Father begot what he is; otherwise, the Son is not a true son, if he is not what the Father is, just as we said above concerning the offspring of animals.†83 For true children are substantially the same as their parents.
“Why do you demand that I show you that the Holy Spirit is equal to the Father,†84 as though you have shown that the Father is greater than the Holy Spirit, as you were able to show concerning the Son on account of the form of the servant? We know that the Father was said to be greater than the Son because the Son was in the form of the servant, and the Son is still in the human form which he took up into heaven. For this reason scripture says of him that even now he intercedes on our behalf (Rom 8:34). This same immortal form will last forever in the kingdom. Thus scripture said, Then even the Son will be subject to him who has subjected all things to him (1 Cor 15:28).
“Scripture never said that the Father was greater than the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit took no creature into the unity of his person, although he too deigned to show himself visibly through a creature subject to him, whether through the form of a dove or through fiery tongues.†85 Scripture never said that the Holy Spirit adored the Father and never said that he was less than the Father. But you say of the Son, ‘If he is equal to the Father, he is surely the same as he is,’†86 that is, because the Son is not unbegotten, he does not seem to be the same as the Father. You could just as well say that Adam did not beget a human being, because Adam himself was not begotten, but made by God. But if Adam could exist†87 without having been born and could still generate what he was, why do you refuse to admit that God could generate God equal to himself? I think that I have answered you on every point. But if you do not want to be a disciple, do not be so wordy.”
15, 1. Maximinus said, “As a man protected by the power of princes, you speak not a word with the fear of God. I have waited many hours; you have explained your point of view. With God as our help, we will answer each point. After all, we are protected not by mere talk, but by the testimonies of the divine scriptures. But just as we were patient while Your Holiness gave your explanation, now be as patient as you were wordy, and we will give our answer to each of your claims, just as you answered what you wanted to ours.†88
15, 2. “We worship Christ as the God of every creature. For he is adored and worshipped, not only by human nature, but also by all the heavenly powers. Listen to blessed Paul as he cries out, Have this attitude in you which was also in Christ Jesus. Since he was in the form of God, he did not think it robbery to be equal to God, but emptied himself, taking the form of the servant, having come to be in the likeness of men and found in appearance as a man. He humbled himself, having become obedient even to death, death upon the cross. For this reason God has exalted him and has given him the name that is above every name. You thought, in any case, that you should slip that passage into your discourse, though you knew that it was opposed to what you profess, though you knew the passage would refute you.†89 Paul goes on to say that every knee is bent to Christ. After he had said, He gave him the name that is above every name, he adds, so that at the name of Jesus every knee is bent, of those in heaven, on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is the Lord in the glory of God the Father (Phil 2:5-11). In saying, so that at the name of Jesus every knee is bent, of those in heaven, on earth and under the earth, he includes everything. There is nothing in heaven that does not bend the knee to Christ; there is nothing remaining on earth that does not bend the knee to Christ; there is nothing under the earth that does not bend the knee to Christ. And the Father gave him this. Those who read can test whether I made this point on my own authority and with many words, as you charge, or whether I have answered with the authority of the divine scriptures.†90
15, 3. “You say that the Holy Spirit is equal to the Son.†91 Provide the scripture passages in which the Holy Spirit is adored, in which those beings in heaven and on earth and under the earth bend their knee to him. We have learned that God the Father is to be adored from the exclamation of blessed Paul, Therefore, I bend my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom all fatherhood in the heavens and on earth has its name (Eph 3:14-15). By the authority of the holy scriptures we adore the Father; likewise, taught by these divine scriptures we worship and adore Christ as God. Do the scriptures anywhere say that the Holy Spirit should be adored? If the Father bore witness to him to that effect, if the Son did so, if he himself has made such claims concerning himself, read it from the scriptures against what we have said.†92
15, 4. “Paul also goes on to say in another passage that Christ is at the right hand of God and that he makes intercession on our behalf.†93 He says, Seek the things that are above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God (Col 3:1). He writes to the Hebrews as follows, After he accomplished the purification from sins, he took his seat at the right hand of the greatness on high (Heb 1:3). In any case, the Holy Spirit had also foretold this through the prophet, when he said, The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand” (Ps 109:1). The Son himself claimed this in the gospel.†94 Moreover, to that official who questioned him, saying, Tell us whether you are the Christ, the Son of the blessed God, he said, I am, or at least, You say it, and Soon you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the power of God (Mk 14:61-62 and Mt 26:63-64).†95
15, 5. “We properly honor the Holy Spirit as teacher, as guide,†96 as enlightener, as sanctifier. We worship Christ as creator; we adore the Father with sincere devotion as author, and we proclaim everywhere to all that he is the one author. Your false accusations stem from instruction in the art of philosophy. I do not believe that you have failed to read†97 what the apostle says, though Christ was certainly not a sinner, he committed sin for us,†98 that we might be made the justice of God in him (2 Cor 5:21). Perhaps these words of scripture have not come to your attention, Cursed is everyone who hangs on the tree (Dt 21:23). When he interpreted this, the blessed apostle Paul said, He became a curse for us so that the blessing upon the nations might be brought to fulfillment (Gal 3:13). And, of course, these words escaped your attention, where Paul himself says, The first man, Adam, was earthly from the earth; the second man, the Lord, as heavenly, came from heaven (1 Cor 15:47). And so, Christ has assumed a man, as you yourself have explained.†99 For that reason, we said that he came down to earthly contacts.†100 We are not unaware of the passage where we read, He committed no sin, nor was guile found on his lips. When he was cursed, he did not curse in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but he entrusted himself to him who judges justly (1 Pt 2:22-23).†101 Nor are we unaware of what John the Baptist said, Behold the Lamb of God; behold him who takes away the sin of the world (Jn 1:29). We agree with what you go on to say. After all, we should not oppose everything and fail to praise what you say well. What you go on to say is quite correct. Christ came rather to cleanse us from sins and iniquities and not to be soiled, as you went on to say.†102 It is certain that, in accord with that blessed substance of his divinity which he had before creation of the world, before the ages, before time, before days, before months, before years, before anything existed,†103 before any thought, he was born from the Father†104 as God in that blessed nature.†105
15, 6. “In the case of God you should use a worthy comparison. I am, of course, displeased and pained at heart over what you go on to say, namely, that a human being generates a human being, a dog a dog. You should not use so foul a comparison for such greatness.†106
15, 7. “Who does not know that God begot God, that the Lord begot the Lord, that the King begot the King, that the Creator begot the Creator, that the Good begot the Good, that the Wise begot the Wise, that the Merciful begot the Merciful, and that the Powerful begot the Powerful? In generating the Son, the Father took nothing away from the Son. He is not envious, but as the source of goodness he begot this great good.†107 All of creation bears witness to his goodness, in accord with your statement, which I highly praise.†108 You drew from the divine scriptures the words, From the creation of the world his invisible reality, having been understood, is seen through those things that have been made, even his everlasting power and divinity (Rom 1:20).†109
15, 8. “I say nothing in opposition to what has been well said, but simply add my agreement. I say that from the greatness of their beauty their Creator is known and worshipped. In my opinion, we have given a response to these points, for blessed Paul again continues as follows, Since Christ removed from our midst the charge which was against us, nailing it to the cross, and stripping himself of the flesh, he boldly made an example of the powers and principalities, triumphing over them in himself (Col 2:14-15). If, as a man not trained in the liberal arts and rhetoric, I have committed any fault in speaking, you ought to have looked to the meaning and, without focusing on the fault in our speech, refrained from leveling an accusation against us.†110 Heaven forbid, heaven forbid! The only-begotten God is God of all creation, clean, unstained, holy, secure, without any impurity. After all, one who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him (Jn 5:23).
“The evangelist bears witness that the Word became flesh and dwelled among us. He says, And we have seen his glory, the glory as if of the Only-Begotten by the Father, full of grace and of truth (Jn 1:14). The Old Testament had sung†111 of him even before, saying, He will wash his mantle in wine and his cloak in the blood of the grape (Gn 49:11). I believe what I read, for the Word was made flesh and dwelled among us. Again, I read that blessed Paul said, He who transformed our lowly body to become conformed to the image of his glorious body (Phil 3:21). I believe that Christ, God born of the Father before all ages, built for himself, according to Solomon, a perfect†112 home. We read, Wisdom has built a home for itself (Prv 9:1), and he took this home in place of a temple.
15, 9. “You yourself have explained the sense in which he is visible and the sense in which he is invisible.†113 In my opinion, Your Holiness has not just recently heard this objection. After all, in the rest of your argument that followed, you used the comparison with the soul. You showed that there is a pious and just reason for us to believe and know that, if the human soul located in a body cannot be seen by bodily eyes, the Creator of the soul is far less able to be seen by bodily eyes. If the angels are invisible in accord with the substance of their nature, how much more invisible is the creator of the angels who made them so great and so good: Angels, Archangels, Thrones, Dominations, Principalities, Powers, Cherubim and Seraphim? As we read in the gospel, he said that in comparison to their multitude the whole human race was one sheep, when he said, Having left the ninety-nine in the mountains, he came to seek the one that was lost. Later he added, Thus there will be more joy in heaven over the one sinner who does penance than over ninety-nine just ones who have no need of penance (Lk 15:4.7). Who are those who have no need of penance but those heavenly powers who have nothing in common with human nature? We should consider the power of the only-begotten God, and in him we should marvel at the greatness of the omnipotence of God the Father.†114 He has begotten a Son so great and so good, so powerful, so wise, so full, who has made such good and such great heavenly powers.†115
“I do not want to be found guilty of the wordiness of which you have already accused us. And yet I wish that would happen so that we could†116 say, We have become fools for the sake of Christ, and We have become like the refuse of this world (1 Cor 4:10.13) and whatever else Your Holiness might want to judge us to be. We know him who said, Because of you I have borne insults all the day (Ps 68:8). Paul stirs us by his example, when he says, Be imitators of me, as I also am of Christ (1 Cor 4:16). And Peter said, Christ has suffered for us, leaving us an example that we might follow his footsteps (1 Pt 2:21).
“According to the substance of his divinity, the Son is seen neither by the angels nor by the heavenly powers. For an archangel can see an angel,†117 and an angel can see and penetrate our spiritual souls. That means, of course, that the greater can see and penetrate the inferior. The Savior said to the man who boasted that he was rich, Fool, this night your soul will be demanded of you†118 (Lk 12:20). In accord with this statement of the Savior, it is the function of an angel to present the soul before the sight of the Lord. But a soul cannot see or reveal an angel. In this order ascend higher, and you will find that God the Father alone is invisible, because he does not have a superior who can see him. He is so great that he is infinite; he can be neither limited by words nor grasped by the mind. Not only the human tongue, but also all the heavenly powers joined together speak as they can of his greatness; still they do not explain it as it is. He is the fullness of everything that can be said.
“The Son alone worthily honors and praises him to the extent that he has obtained incomparably more from his Father. The four gospels bear witness that he honors and praises and glorifies his Father. Nonetheless, I will save time by leaving aside all those passages which you usually attribute to the flesh,†119 and I will now produce testimonies where he adores his Father in heaven. Does not Paul speak as follows to the Hebrews, For Christ, the representation of the truth, has entered, not into temples made by hand; rather, he now appears in heaven before the face of God on our behalf? (Heb 9:24).†120 He says this after Christ’s return to heaven. Afterwards he spoke from heaven, saying, Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? (Acts 9:4). Later the Holy Spirit said, Set aside for me Barnabas and Paul for the work of ministry to which I have called them (Acts 13:2). Once he had been called, Paul said, Jesus, the representation of the truth, has entered, not into temples made by hand; rather, he now appears in heaven before the face of God on our behalf.
“Your Holiness suggested that we answer whether the Son sees the Father. We read in the gospel, Not that anyone has seen the Father, but he who has come from God has seen the Father (Jn 6:46). Hence, he saw the Father, but he saw the incomprehensible. But the Father, who holds and keeps the Son in his embrace, sees him according to the testimony I previously produced, that No one has ever seen God; the only-begotten Son who is in the embrace of the Father has revealed him (Jn 1:18). The Father sees the Son as the Son; the Son sees the Father as the immense Father.
“Your Holiness has declared that human wisdom is invisible. In my opinion, the words of Isaiah suffice, when he says, Is it a slight thing for you to do battle with men? How then will you do battle with God? (Is 7:13). It is certainly not a slight thing to do battle with men, since however wise anyone is, he has someone wiser who sees him. Is his wisdom, then, not seen in his action? Is it not tested in his disciples? Hence, human wisdom is not invisible; it can be comprehended, seen and grasped.†121
“Moreover, it is proper and a mark of order that you employ worthy comparisons. After all, you are speaking of God, of that immensity, to which, even if one draws a comparison as great as possible in terms of human thought or even in accord with the authority of the divine scriptures, one finds that the comparison is inadequate in every respect to him who is incomparable.
15, 10. “In accord with the testimonies that I have produced, I say that the Father alone is the one God, not one along with a second and a third, but that he alone is the one God. If he alone is not the one God, he is a part.†122 I deny, after all, that the one God is composed of parts; rather, his nature is unbegotten, simple power. The Son before all ages is himself begotten†123 as power. The apostle spoke of this power of the Son, When you and my spirit are gathered together with the power of the Lord Jesus (1 Cor 5:4). I state and profess what the holy gospels teach us. I state and profess that the Holy Spirit is also power in his proper character. The Lord bore witness concerning him, when he said to his disciples, Remain in the city of Jerusalem, until you are clothed from on high with power (Lk 24:49).
15, 11. “If you claim that the Son is invisible, because he cannot be looked upon by human eyes, why do you not claim that the heavenly powers are also equally invisible, since they too cannot be seen by human sight? I have offered a testimony without any interpretation of my words, when I said, The blessed and alone powerful, the King of kings and the Lord of lords (1 Tm 6:15).†124 If I have cited the scripture, I should not to be blamed. But if you are looking for the meaning of the scripture, I will add an explanation.
15, 12. “The apostle says, The blessed and alone powerful, the King of kings. He calls the Father alone powerful, not because the Son is not powerful. Listen to the Holy Spirit crying out and bearing testimony to the Son, Lift up the gates, you†125 princes; be raised up, eternal gates, and the king of glory will enter. He continues, Who is this king of glory? Listen to the answer, The Lord strong and powerful (Ps 23:7-8). How can he fail to be powerful, when every creature proclaims his power?
15, 13. “How can he fail to be wise, when the Holy Spirit cries out in praise of his wisdom and says, How magnificent are your works, O Lord! You have made all things in wisdom (Ps 103:24). Since all things were made through Christ, the Holy Spirit undoubtedly praises him when he says, You have made all things in wisdom. Since that is so, we must ask how blessed Paul can say, The blessed and alone powerful. In my opinion, he calls him alone powerful, because he is alone incomparable in power. In awe before his incomparability, the prophet said, O God, who is like you? (Ps 82:2). Do you want to know that he alone is powerful? Look at the Son and admire the power of the Son. Recognize in the Son that the Father is alone powerful, because he has begotten one so powerful. In his immense power the Father begot the powerful creator.†126 In his power that he received from the Father, the Son did not create the creator, but established creation. He says, All things have been handed over to me by my Father (Mt 11:27). In awe of this power of God the Father, Paul said, The blessed and alone powerful. Job was a powerful and true man. We read, That man was a true and just worshipper of God, and in further describing his region, it says that he was powerful and great among all those in the East (Jb 1:1.3). How then can the Father alone be powerful? It says alone, because no one is comparable to him, because he alone has such greatness, such might, such power.
“In the same way, the blessed apostle Paul proclaims that the Father alone is wise, when he says, God who alone is wise (Rom 16:27). But we must look for an explanation of why he alone is wise, since Christ is also wise. You have already cited Christ the power of God and wisdom of God (1 Cor 1:24). We too have given testimonies that he created all things in wisdom. But the Father alone is truly wise. We believe the scriptures, and we venerate the divine scriptures. We do not want a single particle of a letter to perish, for we fear the threat that is stated in these divine scriptures, Woe to those who take away or add! (Dt 4:2). Do you want to know how great is the wisdom of the Father? Look at the Son, and you will see the wisdom of the Father. For this reason Christ himself said, One who has seen me has also seen the Father (Jn 14:9). That is, in me he sees his wisdom; he praises his might; he glorifies the Father who, one and alone, has begotten me, one and alone, so great and so good before all ages. He did not look for material out of which to make him, nor did he take someone as an assistant. Rather, in the way he knew, he begot the Son by his power and his wisdom.†127 We do not profess, as you say when you falsely accuse us, that, just as the rest of creation was made from nothing, so the Son was made from nothing like a creature. Listen to the authority of statement of the Synod; for our fathers in Ariminum said this among other things, ‘If anyone says that the Son is from nothing and not from God the Father, let him be anathema.’†128 If you want, I will offer testimonies. For the blessed apostle John speaks as follows, One who loves the Father also loves him who was born from him (1 Jn 5:1).
15, 14. “I am amazed, my friend. You say that the Holy Spirit has the same substance as the Father.†129 If the Son has the same substance as the Father and the Holy Spirit also has the same substance as the Father, why is the one a son and the other not a son? What else can you say, since he has the same substance, since, as you say, he is equal to the Son? Why has he not been made the heir to all things? Why is he not a son as well? Why does he not have the same title as Christ, the firstborn of all creation? (Col 1:15). If he is equal, there is no longer just one only-begotten, since he has another besides himself who has been begotten—and begotten, moreover, from the same substance of the Father from which you say that the Son has come.
“This is painful to hear, for you do not compare that great magnificence to the nobility of the soul, but to the fragility of the body. Flesh is, of course, born from the body, a bodily offspring. But the soul is not born from a soul. If, then, our soul generates without corruption and passion, not experiencing any lessening or any defilement, but lawfully in accordance with God-given rights generates an offspring, in wisdom giving its consent to the body,†130 it itself remains whole. How much more will the omnipotent God do so?†131 I said just before that words fail us in every human comparison with God,†132 though we try to put it as best we can. How much more incorruptibly has the incorruptible God the Father begotten the Son? He has, however, begotten him. Note my carefulness, for I have the testimonies of the holy scriptures, Who will tell of his generation? (Is 53:8). He begot as he willed, as one with power,†133 taking nothing away; he begot one with power without any envy entering in.
“I have said: It is not proper for religious persons to make false accusations.†134 I profess the Word of God, the Word of God, not mortal, not corruptible. Scripture cries out concerning the body he assumed for our salvation, My flesh will rest in hope, that is, in the hope of resurrection, because you will not leave my soul in the underworld and you will not permit your holy one to see corruption (Ps 15:9-10). If he who is called the holy one is the Son of God, he has not seen corruption, because he rose from the dead on the third day. How much more does the divinity that assumed the body remain incorruptible! Why do you say what you do not understand? If I have not given you an answer on all these points, I shall rightly be judged to lack understanding; still, it is not the mark of religion to attack someone unjustly.
“I not merely claim that the wisdom of the Son of God is immortal, but I also will prove that the wisdom of the saints of God is immortal. If they, that is, their bodies, are called back to immortality, how much more will that living wisdom of theirs, which flourishes in all believers until the end of the world, remain immortal? Though I have in this long discourse passed over any discussion of the immortality of the omnipotent God, of whom the blessed apostle Paul spoke, Who alone has immortality (1 Tm 6:16), I will repeat the text and offer an interpretation with God’s help and grace. He is described as alone having immortality just as he is described as alone powerful and alone wise.†135 What spiritual person does not know that the human soul is immortal? After all, we have the statement of the Lord saying, Do not fear those who kill the body, but cannot kill the soul (Mt 10:28), for it is immortal. Since, then, the soul is immortal, we see that the heavenly powers are much more immortal. The Savior said, He who keeps my word will not see death forever (Jn 8:51). If one who keeps the word of Christ will not see death forever, how much more immortal is he according to the power of his divinity, whose word has such force? We have already given an explanation of the words, Who alone has immortality. The Son has immortality, but receives it from the Father. All the heavenly powers have immortality, but they receive it through the Son, because all things are through him. But the Father alone truly has immortality, since he has not obtained it from someone else, since he has no father, since he has no origin.
“The Son, however, as you went on to say, was begotten from the Father. You often claim that the Son is equal to the Father, although the only-begotten God always and everywhere proclaims the Father as his author, and from him, as I said just before, he professed that he obtained life. He said, Just as the Father has life in himself, so he gave it to the Son that he has life in himself (Jn 5:26). See, then, how he also received immortality and incorruptibility and inaccessibility along with life from the Father. The Father has life in himself and does not receive it from another. Thus he is truly the blessed and alone powerful. Who has emptied himself? (Phil 2:7). The Father or the Son? Who pleased whom? Who was more anxious to please than he who said, I always do those things which are pleasing to him? (Jn 8:29). Who is it who, when he came to the tomb of Lazarus, said, Father, I thank you, because you have heard me. I know that you always hear me, but I said this because of those who are present so that they may believe that you sent me (Jn 11:41-42). When his disciples asked him about the eyes of the man born blind, Who sinned? This man or his parents? who was it who answered, Neither this man nor his parents sinned. Rather it was that the works of God might be made manifest in him. I must do the works of him who sent me? (Jn 9:2-4). This is, of course, the beloved Son of the Father who, when he took bread, did not first break it, but first looked up to heaven and thanked his Father. Then he broke it and distributed it. So too, in his passion, or rather just before his passion, as the evangelist reports,†136 The Lord Jesus, on the night on which he was betrayed, took bread and, giving thanks, broke it (1 Cor 11:23-24).
“In order not to overwhelm you with eloquent discourse and abundant testimonies, by producing very many,†137 I will finish up quickly. This is the Son who proclaimed that nothing happened without the permission of the Father, not even the death of a sparrow. He said, Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them falls to the earth apart from the will of the Father (Mt 10:29). He, of course, spoke of the power he received from the Father, I have the power to lay down my life, and I have the power to take it up again. After all, I have this command from my Father (Jn 10:18). If this is what the gospels report, let us hold what we read. But if they say something else, or I have left something out in forgetfulness, I ask to be corrected. I am not the sort of person who will not accept correction, especially since blessed Paul commanded that a bishop be docile.†138 But one is docile who learns every day and makes progress by teaching what is better. We do not reject something better, if it is offered; we are ready for everything, even though we are treated unjustly. Nonetheless, in order not to be an obstacle to the truth, we do not complain of our injuries, but proclaim the glory of God.
15, 15. “The words of the apostle are certain: Since he was in the form of God. Who denies that the Son is in the form of God? We have already, I think, amply explained that he is God, that he is Lord, that he is King.†139 Because he did not think it robbery to be equal to God, the blessed apostle Paul has taught that he did not steal it, nor do we say that he stole it.†140 But we preach with all our might that he emptied himself, having become obedient to the Father even to death, death upon the cross (Phil 2:6-8). We are called sons by grace; we were not born such by nature. Hence, the Son is the only-begotten, because the Son was born what he is according to the nature of his divinity. You should apply the term ‘brother’ to the Holy Spirit, since you claim that he is on a par with and equal to the Son and profess that he is equally of the substance of the Father. And if that is the case, then the Son is not the only-begotten, since there is another of the same substance.†141
“We have not admitted a nature in God, the unborn Father.†142 We believe Christ’s words, God is spirit (Jn 4:24). The Son was born, as we said; we too profess the true Son and do not deny that he is like the Father, as we have also been taught by the scriptures.†143 Since we are accused of holding different natures, know what it is that we say, namely, that the Father who is spirit begot a spirit†144 before all ages, that God begot God, and everything else that was said above.†145 The true and unborn Father begot the true Son. But when the Lord says in the gospel, That they may know you the only true God and Jesus Christ whom you have sent (Jn 17:3), he says that the Father is alone true, as he is alone good, alone powerful, and alone wise.
“In my opinion, not even the devil has dared to say that the Father did not beget a perfect Son before all else.†146 For he did not beget one in the process of becoming perfect.†147 You have accepted the comparison with a human being. If human beings could generate an offspring that was perfect at the start, they would not generate a child that would eventually with the increase of years fulfill the parents’ desire. But the Father, who is truly blessed and alone powerful, begot the Son such as he is now and remains forever, not in the process of becoming perfect, but perfect.†148 He received his perfection, of course, from his Father from whom he also obtained life.
“The Savior made the statement, By the words of two or three witnesses every statement will be confirmed (Mt 18:16). You have produced the testimony of the apostle, Since he was in the form of God, he did not think it robbery, and you have interpreted it according to your judgment. We, in my opinion, have answered you squarely. It will be up to the judgment of our listeners which of the two they choose. Either let them approve, in accord with the rest of the passage, the Son who obeys the Father, who emptied himself, taking the form of the servant, to whom the Father gave, as we said, the name that is above every name, or let them approve your interpretation, if anyone understands it.
15, 16. “I ascend to my God and your God (Jn 20:17). You claim, as I think you say, that the Lord said this on account of the form of the servant which he assumed. If he humbled himself while he was in a human body, still, after he had conquered death and triumphed over the devil, he continued to use this sort of language.†149 It was after the resurrection when he said, I ascend to my Father and your Father. Then the humility of the flesh was no longer needed, as you say, on account of the Jews, but the entire rule of the faith was handed on. In the same way, in another passage after his resurrection, when his disciples were gathered on Mount Olivet, he said, All power in heaven and on earth has been given me. Go, therefore, teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you (Mt 28:18-20).
“If the Son said this for the sake of humility and not of truth, why did the apostle dare to repeat the same thing and say, The God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory? (Eph 1:17). Or why did he say, The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ knows, he who is blessed forever? (2 Cor 11:31). Why did he say, So that, united in one voice, you may honor the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ? (Rom 15:6). Why does he add to this and say, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ? (2 Cor 1:3). Why did even the Holy Spirit say to the Son before the Incarnation, Hence, God, your God, has anointed you? (Ps 44:8).
“Although you will want to argue the point, you will not be able to prove that it was his body that was anointed. We read that he was baptized,†150 but not that he was anointed in the body. From that passage where it says, Hence, God, your God, anointed you with the oil of gladness before your companions (Ps 44:8), we are shown that the oil of gladness refers by the word ‘oil’ to that joy of which Solomon spoke, I was the one with whom he was delighted every day. I rejoiced before his face always, when he rejoiced over the world he had made and rejoiced over the sons of men (Prv 8:30-31). We read in the Book of Genesis that God the Father, as it says, saw all the works of the Son, and behold, they were all very good (Gn 1:31). Praising the work of the Son, he was glad and rejoiced in the Son, and the Son rejoiced equally in the sight of his Father, when the will of the Father had been accomplished. All divinely inspired scripture is useful for teaching (2 Tm 3:16). For that reason, not one least letter or one particle of a letter will pass away (Mt 5:18). The Lord said, Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away (Mt 24:35).
15, 17. “It is agreed that the Son was in the beginning and was with the Father and was God, and he was in the beginning with God as the firstborn of all creation, and all things were made through him, and without him nothing has been made.†151 That cannot be interpreted as referring to the Holy Spirit. You will not find words reported in the divine scriptures to support the claim that he is equal to the Son. If the Son was in the beginning, the Father was before the beginning and without beginning, insofar as he is unbegotten and unborn. The Son, however, was in the beginning as the firstborn of all creation.†152 He was before all creation, before anything was, and he was with God and he was God, and he was in the beginning with God.
15, 18. “What if you should hear the Father saying, The beginning with you, in the day of your power, in the splendors of the saints, from the womb I begot you before the morning star (Ps 109:3)? You profess that he was born from the womb of his mother according to the flesh—something even the Jews believe. Why do you not produce those testimonies that show his birth in the beginning, just as you instructed us by the previous testimony? He regarded himself as indebted to his Father on account of the body in which he emptied himself. He who, though he was rich, became poor for our sake (2 Cor 8:9), as the apostle says. It is much more necessary that, as the beloved Son, he always offers to his Father the reverence and service he owes to him who has begotten one so great and so good.
“You did very well, when you said that he was subject even to his parents on account of the form of the servant.†153 We find that he was subject to the parents he created, for all things were made through him, and we know that the Son was begotten by the Father, not after some time, but before all time. And if he was subject to his parents, as the authority of divine scripture proclaims more clearly than light, how much the more was he subject to his Father who begot him as one so great and so good! In accord with this the apostle Paul says, When all things have been subjected to the Son, then even the Son will be subject to him who has subjected all things to him (1 Cor 15:28). You want us to say that we profess that all things will be subject to the body, or rather to the saving history that he assumed on our behalf, that the body will be subject to the Father, not the Son the only-begotten God.†154 For we know and believe that the Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son that all might honor the Son, just as they also honor the Father (Jn 5:22-23). We profess this, because in the resurrection when all things will be subject to the Son, when all will honor and venerate and adore him, then the Son will certainly not exalt himself. Rather, he will be found subject to the Father along with all the things that are subject to him so that he may say, Come, blessed of my Father, take possession of the kingdom prepared for you from the beginning of the world (Mt 25:34).
15, 19. “We have already mentioned the passage that you seem to have, in your judgment, taken as favoring your side. Still, the words of the apostle remain, that we do not know how to ask in a fitting manner, but the Spirit himself pleads on our behalf with indescribable groans. You thought you prevailed against our argument, when you said, ‘Hence, the Holy Spirit is so unhappy that he groans?’†155 We do not say that the Holy Spirit is unhappy. Rather, the passage reveals the glory of the Holy Spirit. After all, he does not groan on his own behalf. Listen to the passage,†156 for he groans on behalf of the saints (Rom 8:26-27). Nor does the Son plead and make intercession on his own behalf, but on our behalf, as I have already shown in the foregoing.†157 He who is faithful in a small matter is found faithful also in the greater (Lk 16:10).
15, 20. “Nor can anyone claim that the Father and the Son are one except in the way in which you yourself and we can prove by the very examples you used. If, as you say, the apostle affirms, He who clings to the Lord is one spirit (1 Cor 6:17), there is, of course, one spirit in agreement, fulfilling the will of God, according to the teaching of the Savior. He also taught us to pray this way so that among the rest of our prayers we say, Thy will be done on earth as in heaven (Mt 6:10). We are, of course, earth. Just as, then, the will of God is done in the heavenly beings, may it be also accomplished in us who make this prayer, and may we fulfill it with our actions so that we become one spirit with God when we want what God wants.
“When the Son himself was near to his passion, he cried out this same prayer to his Father, saying, Abba, Father, let this cup pass from me, but not as I want, but as you want (Mk 14:36). By saying, Not as I want, but as you want, he showed that his will was truly subject to his Father. For the sake of doing his will, he came down from heaven, as he says, I came down from heaven, not to do my will, but to do the will of him who sent me (Jn 6:38). Hence, the will of the Son is in agreement and harmony with the will of the Father. To the extent that the Son as God is greater than every creature, to that extent he is found to be more in agreement with the will of the Father and clings the more to his Father. I mean that, as the beloved Son, he clings to his Father in love and affection and unity and agreement and harmony. We ought to accept all the things that are brought forth from the holy scriptures with full veneration. The divine scripture has not come as a source of our instruction so that we might correct it. How I wish that we may prove to be worthy disciples of the scriptures!
15, 21. “I accept the words you brought forth, Do you not know that you are the temple of God and the Spirit of God dwells in you? (1 Cor 3:16). God does not dwell in a human being that the Holy Spirit has not first sanctified and cleansed. So too, it was said to Mary, the blessed virgin, The Holy Spirit will come over you, that is, to sanctify and cleanse. Then it continues, And the power of the most high will overshadow you (Lk 1:35). You yourself have already said that Christ is the power of the most high. The truth is not obtained by argumentation, but is proved by certain testimonies.†158 For this reason you ought to produce testimonies that the Holy Spirit is God, that he is Lord, that he is King, that he is the Creator, that he is the Maker, that he is seated with the Father and the Son, that he is adored, if not by heavenly beings, at least by earthly ones. Perhaps, if I may say so, you are going to show that he is adored at least by those beneath the earth.
“We say these things, not to take anything away from the Holy Spirit. After all, it is the Holy Spirit, as we have said above, without whom no one can say that Jesus is Lord (1 Cor 12:3). It is in the Holy Spirit that we cry out, ‘Abba, Father’ (Rom 8:15). It is the great and good Holy Spirit upon whom even the angels desire to gaze (1 Pt 1:12). He is so good and so powerful that everywhere in all creation, whether in the east or in the west, in the north or in the south, no one can say that Jesus is Lord except in the Holy Spirit. His nature is such that he is present everywhere to all who call upon God in the truth.†159 He is so good and so great that, wherever anyone is baptized, whether in the east or in the west or wherever, the Holy Spirit is present there at the same time. See how great is the power of the Holy Spirit. If anyone takes anything away from the Holy Spirit, he certainly takes it away from the only-begotten God, through whom all things were made, and without him nothing has been made (Jn 1:3), just as one who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him (Jn 5:23).
15, 22. “You claim that Christ, our Savior, did not say, ‘that we and they may be one,’ but ‘That they may be one in their nature and their substance, united and joined together in harmonious equality,†160 as the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit are one on account of the same undivided nature.’†161 I quote the passage again, and the readers can see for themselves what Christ said. He says in the gospel, praying to his Father for his disciples, Father, make them one, as we also are one, as I in you and you in me, that they may also be one in us, that this world may know that you have sent me and have loved them as you have loved me (Jn 17:21-23). I believe what I read; he speaks of love, not of substance. It is certain, however, that the Savior said, He who hears my commandments and keeps them is the one who loves me. But he who loves me is loved by my Father, and I will love him, and we will come and make our abode with him (Jn 14:21.23). If that great loftiness and majesty of the Father and of the Son is received within the one humble dwelling of our mind, how much more certain is it that the Son is and will undoubtedly be in the Father. He is there as the Son, as an other than the Father, though the Father and the Son are, as you have explained,†162 one in harmony (unum), not one in number (unus).†163 The first ‘one’ pertains to harmony; the second to the singular number.
“You also brought forth the testimony of blessed Paul which we gladly accepted, for it is a solid form of truth that is brought forth even by its opponents. You cited Paul’s words, I have planted, Apollo watered, but God has given the increase. Therefore, neither is he who plants something nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. He who plants and he who waters are one; each, however, will receive his reward according to his labor (1 Cor 3:6-8).†164 Notice, then, that, though they are one in harmony, nonetheless, each will receive his reward according to his labor. Look, then, at what the Lord says, The Father and I are one (Jn 10:30), which we believe and accept with certain faith. He who says, ‘I,’ is the Son; in saying, ‘the Father,’ he indicates that the Father is another. He says, ‘one in harmony (unum),’ not one in number (unus). I have often said that one (unum) pertains to harmony. How could the Father and the Son not be one, when the Son cries out, I always do those things which are pleasing to the Father (Jn 8:29)? He would not be one with the Father, if on occasion he acted in opposition to the Father. Even the apostles are one in this sense with the Father and the Son, insofar as in all things they aim at the will of God the Father and are themselves found to be subject to the one God the Father in imitation of the Son.†165 We do not read that the Savior prayed only for the apostles that they might be one, but also for those who would believe through their word. He said, I do not ask for these alone, but for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may be one, just as you, Father, in me and I in you, that they may be one in us, that this world may know that you have sent me and have loved them just as you have loved me. He speaks of love, as we said, not of divinity. Who does not know that Paul is Paul and that Apollo is Apollo, though Paul himself says, I have labored more than all these; not I, but the grace of God with me (1 Cor 15:10)? He who labors the more, gains the more. But they are one in agreement, in harmony, in love, when they do what God wants.
15, 23. “You say that God is one. Show me whether the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit are one God or whether we should call the Father alone God, whose Son, Christ, is our God. Are you urging us to profess one God the way the Jews do? From the subjection of the Son, are we not shown, as the Christian faith holds, that there is one God whose Son is our God, as we have said? Believe Paul that the Father and the Son are not a single one (unus), as he proclaims in nearly every letter. He says, Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ (Rom 1:7; 1 Cor 1:3; 2 Cor 1:2; Gal 1:3 and Eph 1:2). He also says, One is God the Father, from whom are all things, and we are in him,
and one is the Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and we are in him†166 (1 Cor 8:6). This is the one whom we Christians preach as the one God, and the Son proclaims that he is good, when he says, No one is good save the one God (Mk 10:18). It is not that Christ is not good, for he says, I am the good shepherd (Jn 10:11). It is not that the Holy Spirit is not good; hear the prophet as he cries out, Your good Spirit will lead me in the right path (Ps 142:10). Hear too the witness of the Savior who says, A good man brings forth good things from the treasure of his heart (Lk 6:45). Moreover, every creature of God is very good. If a creature is good, if man is good, if the Holy Spirit is good, if Christ is good, we must investigate how there is one who is good. The Savior, of course, said, No one is good save the one God, because he is the source of goodness and has received his goodness from no one. Christ has received his goodness from his Father so that he is good, and every good creature of God has received through Christ its goodness. But whether it is the Son or those who were made through him, each has drawn his goodness from that one source of goodness in accord with the measure of his faith. But the Father has received his goodness from no one. Thus Christ says, No one is good save the one. In that way, then, there is one God, because there is one who is incomparable, because there is one who is immense, as we have already stated.†167
15, 24. “We do not deny that the Son loves the Father, for we read the scripture, So that this world may know that I love the Father, and I do just as he has commanded me (Jn 14:31). It is clear that the Son is loved and loves and that he carries out the commandment of the Father, as he says. Thus they are one, in accord with his words, The Father and I are one (Jn 10:30). Insofar as he says, He who has seen me has also seen the Father (Jn 14:9), we must believe with certain faith that he who sees the Son sees and understands the Father through the Son.
15, 25. “You professed that the Father is greater on account of the form of the servant.†168 That strikes me as quite foolish. We know that you also said that he was made less than the angels in the form of the servant.†169 You have not sufficiently proclaimed†170 the glory of God in professing that the Father is greater than the form of the servant. Even the angels are greater than the form of the servant. Christ did not come to teach us that the Father is greater than the form of the servant. Rather, the Truth came to us to teach and instruct us that the Father is greater than the Son and greater than this Son who is the great God. We glorify the Father and profess that he is greater than the great God; we proclaim that he is higher than the high God. Is this the honor we owe to God that the Father is greater than the servant form?
15, 26. “You say that the divinity showed itself to the Patriarchs, and just before that you said that the divinity was invisible.†171 The Father, who is invisible, surely did not show himself. Otherwise, if we say that the Father was seen, we make a liar of the apostle, who says, No human being has seen him or can see him (1 Tm 6:16). Moreover, we find ourselves not only in opposition to the New Testament, but we are equally in opposition to the Old Testament as well. After all, Moses speaks this way too, No one can see God and live (Ex 33:20).
“This same Moses wrote in the Book of Genesis that from that first man up to the incarnation it was always the Son who was seen. If you demand testimonies, you have, of course, the passage in which the Father speaks to the Son, Let us make man to our image and likeness. There follows, And God made man (Gn 1:26-27). Which God made him if not the Son? You yourself have explained this in your treatises.†172 This Son, then, who is the prophet of his Father, also said, It is not good that man be alone; let us make a helper for him like him (Gn 2:18). This Son appeared to Adam in accord with what we read that Adam said, I heard your voice as you walked in paradise, and I hid myself because I was naked. You certainly have what God said to him, And who told you that you were naked unless you have eaten from that tree about which I commanded you that you not eat? (Gn 3:10-11). This God was seen by Abraham;†173 if you are willing to believe, the only-begotten God himself declared in the gospel that the Son was seen by Abraham. He said, Abraham, your father, rejoiced to see my day, and he saw it and he was glad (Jn 8:56). This Son was also seen by Jacob in the form in which he was to come, that is, in the form of a man; he is found to have wrestled with Jacob as a foreshadowing of what was to come. Jacob said, I have seen the Lord face to face, and my life has been preserved, and the name of this place was called The Vision of God. The God, who wrestled with Jacob, foreshadowing what we see fulfilled in the passion of Christ, attested to this. He said to Jacob, Your name will no longer be called Jacob, but your name will be Israel (Gn 32:28), that is, one who sees God. We prove that he was seen in the New Testament as well. The apostles said of him, And we have seen his glory, the glory as if of the Only-Begotten by the Father (Jn 1:14). But, if you claim, as you try to do, that the Father was seen, all the scriptures are for you†174 filled with lies. Paul proclaims that the Father is invisible,†175 and in the gospel the Lord affirms it.†176
“You often make the accusation against us that we boldly and presumptuously say things that we should not say. That will be up to the judgment of the reader to test. After all, we do not speak to obtain praise from someone,†177 but out of the desire to strengthen the brotherhood we have.†178 Perhaps you wanted to challenge us to make an answer so that those you have observed to belong to us might agree, as I said, with what you profess. For this reason, I had to answer you on account of the fear of God. It was not only by your words that you tried to take from me the discipleship of these men; you also gave me your treatise†179 to which I had to answer those things which you have professed concerning the invisibility of the omnipotent God. Though†180 with another intention, still in your own words, you stated that the Holy Spirit was seen in the form of a dove as well as in the form of fire and†181 that the Son was seen in the form of man, but that the Father was seen neither in the form of a dove nor in the form of a man. He never turned himself into any forms and is never changed. Scripture says of him, I am who I am, and I have not changed (Ex 3:14 and Mal 3:6). The Son who, of course, had already been established in the form of God has, as you have stated, taken the form of the servant, but the Father has not. Likewise, the Holy Spirit took the form of the dove, but the Father did not. Acknowledge, then, that there is one who is invisible; there is one who is incomprehensible and immense. I pray and desire to be a disciple of the divine scriptures; I believe that Your Holiness recalls that I earlier gave the response that, if you produced the evidence that the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit have one power, one substance, one deity, one majesty, one glory, that, if you state this from the divine scriptures, if you produce any passage of scripture, we are eager to be found disciples of the divine scriptures.”†182
“I, Maximinus, bishop, have signed this.”†183
After the debate with both parties present, Augustine dictated the following words, “You said that, as a man protected by the power of princes, I say not a word with the fear of God.†184 Those to whom God gives understanding see clearly enough who speaks with the fear of God: whether it is he who obediently hears the Lord saying, Hear, O Israel, the Lord is your God, the Lord is one (Dt 6:4), which we hear in obedience and preach with faith, or whether it is he who refuses to understand it this way and argues that there are two lords, two gods and, by introducing two gods and two lords, shows that he does not fear the one Lord God who says, Hear, O Israel, the Lord is your God, the Lord is one.
“You know that your verbose speech has taken up the time in which we might have replied and that there does not remain enough of the day for us even to reread what you have said. You should realize that all those things that you brought forth to prove that the Son of God is God and the great God, that he was born from the Father, that he is distinct from the Father, because the Father is not the Son, have involved long delays in which you wasted the time we needed, as if you had to prove to us what we admit is true. We do not say that the Father is the Son or that he who is the Holy Spirit in the Trinity is the Father or the Son. Each of the three are distinct, but all together they are the one Lord God. We have not said that there are two lord gods, one great and the other greater, one good and the other better, one wise and the other wiser, one merciful and the other more merciful, one powerful and the other more powerful, one invisible and the other more invisible, one true and the other more true, and whatever else you have shown that you think in order to persuade us to hold two lord gods. If we had said this, God himself would refute us with the words I mentioned, Hear, O Israel, the Lord is your God, the Lord is one.
“It is as if he should say to us, Men and women, how long will you be heavy of heart? Why do you love vanity and go after a lie? (Ps 4:3). Why do you make two lord gods? Why do you not listen to me as I cry out, Hear, O Israel, the Lord is your God, the Lord is one? Instead, you cry out against me, “The lords are our gods, the lords are two.” Would you do this if you wanted to be Israel? After all, this name is translated as one who sees God. I beg you, pardon me, if you do not want to be Israel. I want to be Israel; I want to be counted among those who are permitted to see God. We thank him who makes us see now in a mirror in a dark manner, but then face to face, as the apostle says (1 Cor 13:12). We see by his gift, even though we still see in a mirror in a dark manner; we see, nonetheless, how these two things are not contradictory: that the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit are distinct and that these three together are still one Lord God.
“I have done the best I could to make you see this as well, but you have preferred to resist, because you did not want to be Israel. If perhaps you still cannot see this, believe and you will see it. These things are seen by understanding, not by looking with the eyes of the flesh. You certainly know that the prophet said, Unless you shall believe, you will not understand (Is 7:9). You hear, The Lord is your God, the Lord is one. Do not make the Father and the Son two gods. You hear, Do you not know that your bodies are the temple in your midst of the Holy Spirit which you have from God? In the same†185 passage you hear, Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? (1 Cor 6:19.15). When you hear these words, do not deny that the Holy Spirit is God; do not make the members of the Creator the temple of a creature. First, believe that these three are and are three in their individual persons and that they are, nonetheless, not, taken together, three lord gods, but one Lord God. Then, the Lord God will grant understanding to you who believe and pray that you may deserve also to see, that is, to understand what you believe.†186
“Now consider carefully all the things that you have said in your long discourse, and you will see that they all stem from this error by which you make two lord gods in opposition to the clear words of the Lord God who says, Hear, O Israel, the Lord is your God, the Lord is one, and deny the Holy Spirit is God, though you cannot deny his holy temple. Meanwhile, let this suffice as a warning to you subsequent to the debate in which we were both present and spoke one after the other. If the Lord is willing—for it would take a long time and you are in a hurry to depart—I will, with as much clarity as I can, set our discussion before the eyes of those who want to read it. And I will show, whether you like it or not, that you have tried to prove by true divine testimonies your own false teachings.”
In a different hand: “I, Augustine, bishop, have signed this.”
Again, in another hand: “Maximinus. If I do not reply to every thing, once you have completed this book and sent it to me, I will then deserve to be blamed.”
The acts are completed. I have collected them.†187
†1 The debate occurred in 427 or 428. In his Life of Augustine 17, Possidius tells us that Maximinus came to Africa with the Goths. Maximinus mentions that he was sent to Hippo by Count Segisvult who came to Africa against Boniface during the consulate of Hierius and Arduber, that is, in 427, according to Prosper’s Epitoma chronicae.
†2 Comite Segisvulto. The earlier editions: comite regis multa. In some manuscripts: comite Fegisvulto, but in others more correctly: comite Segisvulto.
†3 Augustine had appointed the priest, Heraclius, to take over some of the episcopal administration and to succeed him upon his death. It was probably this same Heraclius who first debated Maximinus and who summoned Augustine to his assistance; see Vita sancti Aurelii Augustini ex ejus potissimum scriptis concinnata VIII, vi, 3.
†4 Manuscripts: sibi injuriam facere; editions: mihi injuriam facere.
†5 Maximinus’ refusal to use terms not found in scripture bears in particular upon the terms used by the Council of Nicaea (325): “from the substance of the Father” and “of the same substance (homoousios).” See below 13; 15, 13; and 15, 21 for further examples of Maximinus’ insistence upon scripture alone.
†6 Mss: Arimino; Migne: Arimini.
†7 The Council of Ariminum was convoked in 359 by the Arian Emperor Constantius. The Western bishops met at Ariminum (modern Rimini, in northeastern Italy), while the Eastern bishops met at Seleucia. It was of Ariminum that Saint Jerome wrote that “the world groaned and was astonished to find itself Arian” (Dialogus contra Luciferianos 19).
†8 For Maximinus the authority of the fathers at Ariminum is derived from the fact that they handed on the faith contained in the scriptures and in the way it is found in the scriptures.
†9 See 1 Pt 3:15.
†10 Arianism had been outlawed by imperial decree, but survived, especially among the barbarian tribes, so that it was reintroduced to Italy and Africa with the invasion of the Goths.
†11 The Arian position attributed different external operations to different persons of the Trinity. Thus the Son was the creator of this world, and the Holy Spirit was the enlightener of souls. This doctrine, of course, implies an inequality among the persons.
†12 Here we see operative one of the basic principles of Arian thought, namely, that everything derivative is less than that from which it is derived. Though Augustine’s question might seem tangential, it provokes from Maximinus a clear statement of the subordination of the Son to the Father and of the Holy Spirit to the Son.
†13 The sense of the preposition “through” shifts during this discussion. Here the preposition seems to mean that the Holy Spirit enlightens us in virtue of the light received from the Son. Above it seems to have meant that the Son uses the Holy Spirit as a means of enlightening us.
†14 According to Maximinus, the union of the Father and the Son is a dynamic or moral unity, not a unity of substance.
†15 See above, the preceding paragraph.
†16 See above, 5.
†17 “The only-begotten God” is one of the favorite titles for Christ among the Homoian Arians. The fact that the Holy Spirit has received from Christ whatever he has indicates for Maximinus the inferiority of the Holy Spirit to the only-begotten God.
†18 See above, 6.
†19 Maximinus’ words imply that the Holy Spirit has been “made,” that is, that he is a creature. Throughout this part of the debate Maximinus appeals implicitly to the principle that to have received something from another entails being inferior to that other.
†20 Et quia; manuscripts: Quid est et quia.
†21 Here we have the point that Augustine has been seeking to establish. Maximinus’ claim, however, that the Spirit is subject to the Son starts him off on another line of argumentation.
†22 See above, the previous paragraph.
†23 Augustine appeals to the force of the preposition “upon” or “above” (super) to show that the Spirit is not inferior to the Son.
― 222 ―
†24 The editions add: misit me, which is missing from the manuscripts and from Answer to An Arian Sermon XXII, 18.
†25 Arian doctrine denied the presence of a human soul in Christ, a view which seemed to derive support from a literal reading of Jn 1:14. Hence, Augustine points out that the scriptural uses of “flesh” where it is synonymous with “man” or “human being.”
†26 Trinitatis; some manuscripts: Trinitas.
†27 Maximinus admits that the Son is God, but by having made the Son inferior to the Father, he winds up with two gods—a position that runs counter to Dt 6:4, as Augustine points out again and again.
†28 Maximinus does not accept the equality of the three, namely, of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, and understands the singleness of the omnipotent God as referring to the Father, the one author of all else.
†29 Sive Filium; manuscripts: sive Filius.
†30 Et in; editions: Et ex.
†31 Augustine’s statement might seem to imply that God’s power extends to principles of arithmetic, though he is merely arguing that, if the charity of the Holy Spirit could make many human beings one, then the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit can, a fortiori, be one God, given their love for one another. Augustine’s argument, on the other hand, is not entirely felicitous, since the analogy with the unity of the faithful implies that the unity of the three persons is a merely moral unity—the sort of unity of the three persons that the Arians readily admitted; see M. Simonetti, “S. Agostino et gli Ariani,” 70.
†32 Maximinus picks up Augustine’s argument in the previous paragraph and takes him to imply that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are merely a moral unity, not one in substance.
†33 See 1 Pt 1:12.
†34 Et advocatione fungi; manuscripts: et advocationem fungi.
†35 Maximinus holds that the Father is the one God and characterizes him by the series of negative attributes; he rejects the view that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are the one God.
†36 Maximinus implies that Christ does not have a human soul when he understands Augustine as attributing Christ’s prayer to his body.
†37 Cognoscitis; Louvain edition: cognoscetis.
†38 Si sufficiunt haec, bene est: si quominus; Amerbach, Erasmus and manuscripts: Si sufficiunt? si quo non.
†39 The Arian position takes such a text in its literal sense in order to show that the Spirit is subordinate to the Father and Son. Augustine appeals to the figure of metonomy to avoid the interpretation which would make the Holy Spirit literally groan. In accord with this figure what properly belongs to the effect is attributed to the cause. In the same way, we call a day happy day because it makes us happy.
†40 See Prv 10:19.
†41 Revera; some manuscripts: res vera.
†42 Expressione; Louvain: expositione.
†43 Maximinus’ position is not merely that one does well to cite scripture, but that one does wrong in using human skills to formulate idle and superfluous words, that is, those not found in scripture. See Mt 12:36. The prime examples of such words would, of course, be those used by the Council of Nicaea.
†44 As Maximinus sees it, one cannot maintain both that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are three and that they are one God. For him, the one God is the Father, while the Son is a lesser God and the Holy Spirit not God at all.
†45 Maximinus uses “contagium” in the plural; it can mean “contact” in a neutral sense or “infection” and “pollution”—that is, contact in a pejorative sense. Later, Augustine points out that the word carries a pejorative connotation and implies some contamination; see below 14. Hanson finds at the core of the Arian view the belief that the one God cannot himself create or come into contact with the world; thus, there is needed a lesser God who can create and become incarnate. See Hanson, The Search for the Christian Doctrine of God, 100-106.
†46 Jn 20:17 in which Jesus calls the Father his God was one of the Arian trump cards to prove that the Father is the God of the Son.
― 223 ―
†47 According to Maximinus, the Son and the Holy Spirit adore the one God, the Father. Though the Son is a great God and the only-begotten God, he reveals his inferiority to the Father by adoring the Father. So too, Maximinus claims that the Holy Spirit adores the Father.
†48 Maximinus indicates what he takes as the Nicene position regarding the oneness of God, namely, that the one God is a union or mixture of the three.
†49 See above, 13.
†50 Maximinus speaks of the Son as the exemplum of the Father. That is, the Son is the expression or revelation of the Father. As the Arians held that a lesser God was needed for creation, so they held such a God was needed for revelation.
†51 See above, 12.
†52 Though the Son is the Only-Begotten and the only-begotten God, his being born from the Father entails for Maximinus his being less than the Father.
†53 Once again Maximinus reveals that he thinks of Christ in the Word-flesh (Verbum-caro) scheme to the point that he does not admit a human soul in him.
†54 See 1 Cor 15:28.
†55 See above, at the beginning of this section.
†56 Later Augustine goes after Maximinus for understanding the Son’s being in the Father’s embrace or bosom in a carnal, that is, bodily sense. See Answer to Maximinus II, 9, 2.
†57 Audi utique; manuscripts: Audivi utique.
†58 See above, 13.
†59 Discredo with Amerbach, Erasmus and manuscripts; Louvain: discrepo.
†60 The Migne text reads: only-begotten (unigenitum), though the sense requires unbegotten (ingenitum), which Maximinus above contrasts with only-begotten.
†61 The Arian position argues that, if the Son is equal to the Father, one can say of the Son whatever one says of the Father. Thus, if the Father is unbegotten, the Son too is unbegotten. Or, if the Son is born, then the Father is born. In The Trinity Augustine distinguished between absolute and relative predicates and insisted that whatever is said of one person non-relatively is said of each of the other persons; see The Trinity VI, 2, 3. Augustine also points out that “begotten” is a relative term; hence, its negative is also relative; see The Trinity V, 7, 8. The Arian objection goes back to the Greek in which “unbegotten: agennetos” and “unmade: agenetos” were used interchangeably prior to the Arian controversy.
†62 See above, 13. Later Maximinus complains that Augustine should not have attacked him so harshly because of his ignorance of the connotation of the word; see below, 15, 8. Augustine’s correction of his usage, however, does not seem particularly harsh. Furthermore, in using “contacts: contagia,” Maximinus has departed from the language of scripture and thus has violated his own rule, while revealing the need for human knowledge to provide a hermeneutic for the meaning of scripture.
†63 In Sermon 237, 4, Augustine insists, “He who created the whole redeemed the whole; the Word assumed the whole and liberated the whole. In him was the mind and intellect of a man; in him a soul giving life to the flesh; in him true and integral flesh; only sin was not in him.”
†64 Hanson argues that at the heart of the Arian position is the claim that God himself truly suffered and died for us and not merely the human flesh that the Word assumed. See Hanson, The Search for the Christian Doctrine of God, 121-122.
†65 In The Trinity II, 1, 2, Augustine speaks of the “canonical rule” by which “one understands that the Son of God is equal to the Father in accord with the form of God in which he exists and less than the Father in accord with the form of the servant that he has received….” See Jaroslav Pelikan, “Canonica regula: The Trinitarian Hermeneutics of Augustine,” Collectanea Augustiniana. Augustine: The Second Founder of the Faith. Ed. by Joseph A. Schnaubelt, O.S.A. and Frederick Van Fleteren (New York: Peter Lang, 1990), 327-341. Augustine cannot, of course, appeal to such a rule against Maximinus; he does, however, argue that all those passages in which the Son is described as less than or inferior to the Father are to be interpreted as referring to the assumed humanity.
†66 See above, 13.
†67 See Sermon 139, 3, where Augustine argues that, if the Son is not of the same substance as the Father, then the Father has given birth to a monster, just as much as if a human mother gave birth to a non-human being.
― 224 ―
†68 See Lk 2:51.
†69 Quoniam homo adorat Deum, with the manuscripts. The editions: quoniam hic adorat Deum.
†70 See above, 13.
†71 See above, 13.
†72 Spiritum Dominum, with the manuscripts. The editions: Spiritum Dei.
†73 See above, 13.
†74 Quia dicis. Louvain: qua dicit.
†75 See above, 13.
†76 The manuscripts add: et aliud unum sumus.
†77 For Augustine “they are one (unum)” indicates a substantial unity, while “they are one (unus)” indicates a unity that may or may not be substantial and that needs to be specified.
†78 See above, 13.
†79 See above, 14.
†80 In The Literal Meaning of Genesis XII, 6, 15-7, 16, Augustine distinguishes three kinds of vision: intellectual, spiritual, and corporeal, that is, with the mind, with the imagination, and with bodily eyes. Though God is invisible to the eyes of the body, he can be seen through the eyes of the mind by the mediation of creatures.
†81 See above, 13.
†82 See above, 13.
†83 See above, 14.
†84 See above, 13.
†85 See Mt 3:16 and Acts 2:3. Though the Holy Spirit appeared in the forms of fire and of the dove, the dove or the fire is called the Spirit only because they are signs of the Spirit. Augustine points out that “we cannot say that the Holy Spirit is both God and dove or both God and fire, as we say that the Son is both God and man” (The Trinity II, 6, 11). For the forms of the dove and of the fire were not assumed into the unity of the person of the Holy Spirit in the way Christ’s humanity was assumed.
†86 See above, 13.
†87 Esse, missing in Erasmus.
†88 Augustine has, as Maximinus points out, been the first to resort to a lengthy discourse. From this point on, Maximinus speaks without interruption and uses up the remaining time, thus forcing Augustine to write the two books against Maximinus in order to have the last word.
†89 Maximinus takes this passage as opposed to Augustine’s view. The fact that the Father has exalted the Son and given him the name above every name entails for Maximinus that the Son is inferior to the Father. Maximinus ignores Augustine’s attempt to distinguish what is said of Christ in accord with the form of God from what is said of him in accord with the form of the servant. For Maximinus’ interpretation of he did not think it robbery, see below, 15, 15.
†90 Maximinus offers this as proof that the Holy Spirit adores the Father and is, therefore, less than the Father. If everything, apart from the Father, bends its knee to Christ, then the Holy Spirit too bends his knee to Christ and thus to the Father.
†91 See above, 12.
†92 Augustine’s claim that the Holy Spirit is God is not found in scripture with anything like the clarity with which the divinity of Christ is found there. Maximinus demands Scriptural evidence that the Holy Spirit is adored as Christ was adored.
†93 See Rom 8:34.
†94 See Mt 22:44.
†95 In Answer to Maximinus II, 4, Augustine asks Maximinus the point of this passage. Maximinus’ point seems to be that, while Christ is seated at the right hand of the Father, the Holy Spirit is not.
†96 Ducatorem; Louvain: ductorem.
†97 Non puto te minus legisse with Erasmus, Lyons, and Venice: Louvain: Nam puto te legisse.
†98 Maximinus’ text seems to say that Christ committed sin. Augustine certainly takes this to be Maximinus’ intent, though he could have interpreted even Maximinus’ text in a more orthodox sense. See Answer to Maximinus I, 2, where Augustine calls him on this point.
― 225 ―
†99 See above, 14.
†100 See above, 13.
†101 Juste with Erasmus and the better manuscripts; Amerbach and Louvain: se judicanti injuste.
†102 See above, 14.
†103 Antequam quidquam esset; manuscripts: ante ut quidquid esset.
†104 Natus a Patre est; most manuscripts: tantus a Patre est; Corbei: tantum. As Simonetti has pointed out, none of these expressions admits that the Son is coeternal with the Father; they merely assert his priority to all creatures; see “Arianesimo Latino,” 710.
†105 Maximinus here ascribes to the Son the substance and nature of divinity. On the other hand, he does not want to admit that the Son has the same substance and nature as the Father. Thus, he leaves himself open to Augustine’s claim that he has introduced a second God.
†106 See above, 14.
†107 Augustine will turn this argument back on Maximinus, insisting that the Father would have been envious or grudging, if he could generate a Son who was his equal and did not. See Answer to Maximinus II, 7. For Augustine’s use of the Platonic theme that the good is without envy, see O. du Roy, L’intelligence de la foi en la Trinité selon saint Augustin: Genèse de sa théologie trinitaire jusqu’en 391 (Paris: Etudes Augustiniennes, 1966), 474-475.
†108 All of creation bears witness to the goodness of the Son, who is, after all, the God of all creation. Thus, Maximinus interprets Rom 1:20 as referring to the Son’s invisible reality.
†109 See above, 14.
†110 Maximinus is referring to Augustine’s claim that he had misused “contagium” in referring to the incarnation. Here Maximinus pleads ignorance of the liberal arts and rhetoric; elsewhere he prides himself on having kept himself free from philosophy.
†111 Praecinuerat; older editions: praecanuerat.
†112 Perfectam; Amerbach, Erasmus and manuscripts: prophetam.
†113 See above, 14.
†114 Omnipotentiae, omitted by some manuscripts. Others, as well as Amerbach and Erasmus: omnipotentis.
†115 The Arian subordination of the Son to the Father is seen in the claim that the Father has begotten the Son, while the Son has created the heavenly powers.
†116 Possimus with Erasmus, Lyons, Venice and Louvain.
†117 Angelum; manuscripts: archangelum.
†118 A te omitted by Amerbach, Erasmus, and the manuscripts.
†119 Once again, Maximinus understands the texts which Augustine interprets as referring to the form of the servant that the Son assumed to refer to the flesh, thus implying the absence of a human soul in Christ.
†120 In the Latin text that Maximinus uses, “representation of the truth” must be in apposition to Christ, though in the Greek and the Vulgate the expression is contrasted with the “temples made by hand,” that is, he entered not into a temple made by hand, but into the representation of the true temple.
†121 Maximinus argues that human wisdom is seen in its effects; so too, the wisdom of Christ should be visible in creation.
†122 Note that for Maximinus to say that there is one God and that the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit are that one God implies that the three are parts of the one God. As Augustine points out, especially in Answer to Maximinus II, 10, 2-3, Maximinus thinks of God in bodily terms. Maximinus’ innocence of any philosophy leaves him without any concept of incorporeal or spiritual reality. One can be a good Christian, albeit a “little one” in the faith, without such a concept, but then one must believe without understanding. On the “little ones,” see my, “A Decisive Admonition for Augustine?” Augustinian Studies 19 (1988), 85-92.
†123 Genitus; others genita.
†124 See above, 13.
†125 Following the editions with vestras instead of vestri.
†126 Creatorem omitted by Louvain.
― 226 ―
†127 In saying that the Father begot the Son in the way the Father knew, Maximinus implies that only the Father has such knowledge and that, since we lack that knowledge, we should not attempt to specify the nature of such generation.
†128 For the canons of the Council of Ariminum, see Jerome, Dialogus contra Luciferianos 18.
†129 See above, 14.
†130 Generat filium, sapientia consensum accomodans corpori. Amerbach: filium sapientiam. Louvain: et sapientia. See Answer to Maximinus II, 14, 4. Erasmus: generatum filium, sapientium consensu. Lyons and Venice: generat filium sapientium consensu; others: et sapientiam consensum. The BAC translation follows the text in Erasmus, while retaining the Latin of Migne.
†131 Aside from the difficulties of establishing the text, Maximinus’ talk about the soul generating is quite vague; he may be thinking of the soul as generating wisdom or good works. Augustine later takes him literally as though he meant that one soul generates another, though he says here that the soul is not born from a soul. See Answer to Maximinus II, 14, 4.
†132 See above, 15, 9.
†133 Genuit ut voluit, ut potens; many manuscripts: Generat ut voluit, voluit ut potens.
†134 See above, 7.
†135 That is, the Father is alone immortal, because he is incomparable in his immortality, just as he is incomparable in his power and wisdom; see above, 15, 13. Or, as Maximinus says just below, the Father is alone immortal, because he has received his immortality from no one.
†136 See Mt 26:26.
†137 Ut jam non obtundam eloquentia sermonis vel copia testimoniorum proferens plurima, with some manuscripts. Other manuscripts: ut sancti non obtundam… proferens plurima. Amerbach and Erasmus: ut sanctum non obtundam eloquentia… proferens plurima. Louvain: ut jam non ob tantam eloquentiam sermonis, vel copiam testimoniorum proferam plurima.
†138 See 1 Tm 3:2.
†139 See above, 15, 7.
†140 Maximinus seems to interpret Paul as saying that Christ did not think that he should steal equality with God; see Answer to Maximinus II, 15, 1, where Augustine argues against such an interpretation.
†141 Maximinus uses the Nicene expression “of the same substance,” but takes the Holy Spirit’s being of the same substance as the Son to imply that the Holy Spirit is another son, that is, a brother of Christ.
†142 Accepimus. Lyons, Venice, Louvain: accipimus. Maximinus has no problem in speaking of the nature of the Son who is born (natus). The Father, however, is unborn (innatus), and for that reason, it seems, the Father does not have a nature.
†143 That the Son is like the Father according to the scriptures is one of the hallmarks of Homoian Arianism.
†144 Louvain: Spiritum filium genuit.
†145 See above, 15, 7.
†146 Ante omnia; Louvain: ante omnia saecula.
†147 Maximinus holds that the Father begot a perfect or completely developed Son, not a Son who would grow to his full or complete stature. He was not, however, willing to admit that the Son was equal to the Father.
†148 Both Maximinus and Augustine hold the view that parents would generate, if they could, an adult rather than an infant that has to grow into adulthood—a view of infancy and childhood that surely strikes us as very odd.
†149 Isto utitur sermone. Manuscripts: istos utitur sermones.
†150 See Mt 3:16.
†151 See Jn 1:1-3.
†152 See Col 1:15. Maximinus seems to understand “the beginning” as the beginning of creation; thus the Father alone is before the beginning and without beginning.
†153 See Lk 2:51 and above, 14.
†154 Again Maximinus seems to exclude from Christ a human soul. As Maximinus sees it, Christ’s subjection to the Father means either that the body is subject to the Father or that the
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only-begotten God is subject to the Father. He takes the former to be the Nicene position, which entails the absurd consequence that all else is subject to Christ’s body.
†155 See above, 13.
†156 Sed audi lectionem, with most mss; others: sed aut dilectione; the editions: sed pro dilectione.
†157 See above, 12.
†158 Once again Maximinus rejects any role for rational argumentation and insists that scriptural proofs are alone acceptable.
†159 See Ps 144:18.
†160 Concordi aequalitate. Some manuscripts: concordia, aequalitate; others concordiae aequalitate.
†161 See above, 14.
†162 Ut ipse exposuisti; Erasmus, Lyons and Louvain: quod quidem exposuisti. Venice: quod quid est exposuisti.
†163 Literally: “one (unum), not one (unus).” It is difficult to translate the neuter (unum) and masculine (unus) of “one” in different ways so as to convey the basis for the disagreement. “One nature, but not one person” would be acceptable to Augustine, but not to Maximinus. “One in harmony, not one in number” seems to indicate what Maximinus understands.
†164 See above, 14.
†165 See Sermon 140, 4, where Augustine accuses Maximinus of blasphemy for saying that the apostles are one (unum) with the Father and the Son.
†166 In ipso with manuscripts. Editions: per ipsum.
†167 See above, 12.
†168 See above, 14.
†169 See above, 14.
†170 Profusus es; Erasmus, Lyons and Venice: provectus es.
†171 See above, 14.
†172 See below, in this section, where Maximinus refers to a treatise that Augustine gave him on the invisibility of God. It is not clear to which treatises Maximinus is referring. Augustine never interprets God made man in the sense that it was the Son who made man, though he does understand the plural in Let us make and the singular in God made as referring to the three persons and the one God; see The Literal Meaning of Genesis III, 19, 29.
†173 See Gn 18:1.
†174 Apud vos; editions: apud nos.
†175 See 1 Tm 6:16.
†176 See Jn 1:18.
†177 The manuscripts: ut a tuis laudem consequamur.
†178 Nobiscum; Amerbach and Erasmus: vobiscum.
†179 Neither Augustine nor Maximinus indicate to which treatise Maximinus is referring. One possibility is the second book of The Trinity where Augustine deals with the missions of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, though nowhere does Augustine say that the Son and the Holy Spirit were changed into the forms in which they appeared.
†180 Louvain adds occupatus.
†181 See Mt 3:16 and Acts 2:3.
†182 See above, 11.
†183 Subscripsi; Louvain: subscripsit.
†184 See above, 15, 1.
†185 Eodem; manuscripts: alio.
†186 In accord with the Old Latin version of Is 7:9 (“Unless you believe, you will not understand”), Augustine insists upon the need to believe first in order that one may deserve to understand what he has believed.
†187 Louvain: Antonius vera Gesta contuli. Amerbach and Erasmus have culpa explicaberis. Antonius Gesta contuli. Corbei: Explicata Gesta contuli. All manuscripts lack the name: Antonius.