« Prev He expounds the passage of the Gospel, “The… Next »

§13. He expounds the passage of the Gospel, “The Father judgeth no man,” and further speaks of the assumption of man with body and soul wrought by the Lord, of the transgression of Adam, and of death and the resurrection of the dead.

Next he says, “He legislates by the command of the Eternal God.” Who is the eternal God? and who is He that ministers to Him in the giving of the Law? Thus much is plain to all, that through Moses God appointed the Law to those that received it. Now inasmuch as Eunomius himself acknowledges that it was the only-begotten God Who held converse with Moses, how is it that the assertion before us puts the Lord of all in the place of Moses, and ascribes the character of the eternal God to the Father alone, so as, by thus contrasting Him with the Eternal, to make out the only-begotten God, the Maker of the Worlds, to be not Eternal? Our studious friend with his excellent memory seems to have forgotten that Paul uses all these terms concerning himself, announcing among men the proclamation of the Gospel by the command of God432432    Cf. Rom. xvi. 26. Thus what the Apostle asserts of himself, that Eunomius is not ashamed to ascribe to the Lord of the prophets and apostles, in order to place the Master on the same level with Paul, His own servant. But why should I lengthen out my argument by confuting in detail each of these assertions, where the too unsuspicious reader of Eunomius’ writings may think that their author is saying what Holy Scripture allows him to say, while one who is able to unravel each statement critically will find them one and all infected with heretical knavery. For the Churchman and the heretic alike affirm that “the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son433433    S. John v. 22,” but to this assertion they severally attach different meanings. By the same words the Churchman understands supreme authority, the other maintains subservience and subjection.

But to what has been already said, ought to be added some notice of that position which they make a kind of foundation of their impiety in their discussions concerning the Incarnation, the position, namely, that not the whole man has been saved by Him, but only the half of man, I mean the body. Their object in such a malignant perversion of the true doctrine, is to show that the less exalted statements, which our Lord utters in His humanity, are to be thought to have issued from the Godhead Itself, that so they may show their blasphemy to have a stronger case, if it is upheld by the actual acknowledgment of the Lord. For this reason it is that Eunomius says, “He who in the last days became man did not take upon Himself the man made up of soul and body.” But, after searching through all the inspired and sacred Scripture, I do not find any such statement as this, that the Creator of all things, at the time of His ministration here on earth for man, took upon Himself flesh only without a soul. Under stress of necessity, then, looking to the object contemplated by the plan of salvation, to the doctrines of the Fathers, and to the inspired Scriptures, I will endeavour to confute the impious falsehood which is being fabricated with regard to this matter. The Lord came “to seek and to save that which was lost434434    Cf. S. Luke xix. 10.” Now it was not the body merely, but the whole man, compacted of soul and body, that was lost: indeed, if we are to speak more exactly, the soul was lost sooner than the body. For disobedience is a sin, not of the body, but of the will: and the will properly belongs to the soul, from which the whole disaster of our nature had its beginning, as the threat of God, that admits of no falsehood, testifies in the declaration that, in the day that they should eat of the forbidden fruit, death without respite would attach to the act. Now since the condemnation of man was twofold, death correspondingly effects in each part of our nature the deprivation of the twofold life that operates in him who is thus mortally stricken. For the death of the body consists in the extinction of the means of sensible perception, and in the dissolution of the body into its kindred elements: but “the soul that sinneth,” he saith, “it shall die435435    Ezek. xviii. 20..” Now sin is nothing else than 127alienation from God, Who is the true and only life. Accordingly the first man lived many hundred years after his disobedience, and yet God lied not when He said, “In the day that ye eat thereof ye shall surely die436436    Cf. Gen. ii. 17.” For by the fact of his alienation from the true life, the sentence of death was ratified against him that self-same day: and after this, at a much later time, there followed also the bodily death of Adam. He therefore Who came for this cause that He might seek and save that which was lost, (that which the shepherd in the parable calls the sheep,) both finds that which is lost, and carries home on His shoulders the whole sheep, not its skin only, that He may make the man of God complete, united to the deity in body and in soul. And thus He Who was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin, left no part of our nature which He did not take upon Himself. Now the soul is not sin though it is capable of admitting sin into it as the result of being ill-advised: and this He sanctifies by union with Himself for this end, that so the lump may be holy along with the first-fruits. Wherefore also the Angel, when informing Joseph of the destruction of the enemies of the Lord, said, “They are dead which sought the young Child’s life437437    S. Matt. ii. 20. The word ψυχήν may be rendered by either “life” or “soul.”,” (or “soul”): and the Lord says to the Jews, “Ye seek to kill Me, a man that hath told you the truth438438    S. John viii. 40. This is the only passage in which our Lord speaks of Himself by this term..” Now by “Man” is not meant the body of a man only, but that which is composed of both, soul and body. And again, He says to them, “Are ye angry at Me, because I have made a man every whit whole on the Sabbath day439439    S. John vii. 20?” And what He meant by “every whit whole,” He showed in the other Gospels, when He said to the man who was let down on a couch in the midst, “Thy sins be forgiven thee,” which is a healing of the soul, and, “Arise and walk440440    Cf. S. Luke v. 20, 23, and the parallel passages in S. Matt. ix. and S. Mark ii.,” which has regard to the body: and in the Gospel of S. John, by liberating the soul also from its own malady after He had given health to the body, where He saith, “Thou art made whole, sin no more441441    S. John v. 14,” thou, that is, who hast been cured in both, I mean in soul and in body. For so too does S. Paul speak, “for to make in Himself of twain one new man442442    Eph. ii. 15..” And so too He foretells that at the time of His Passion He would voluntarily detach His soul from His body, saying, “No man taketh” my soul “from Me, but I lay it down of Myself: I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again443443    Cf. S. John x. 17, 18. Here again the word ψυχήν is rendered in the A.V. by “life.”.” Yea, the prophet David also, according to the interpretation of the great Peter, said with foresight of Him, “Thou wilt not leave My soul in hell, neither wilt Thou suffer Thine Holy One to see corruption444444    Ps. xvi. 8. Acts ii. 27, 31.,” while the Apostle Peter thus expounds the saying, that “His soul was not left in hell, neither His flesh did see corruption.” For His Godhead, alike before taking flesh and in the flesh and after His Passion, is immutably the same, being at all times what It was by nature, and so continuing for ever. But in the suffering of His human nature the Godhead fulfilled the dispensation for our benefit by severing the soul for a season from the body, yet without being Itself separated from either of those elements to which it was once for all united, and by joining again the elements which had been thus parted, so as to give to all human nature a beginning and an example which it should follow of the resurrection from the dead, that all the corruptible may put on incorruption, and all the mortal may put on immortality, our first-fruits having been transformed to the Divine nature by its union with God, as Peter said, “This same Jesus Whom ye crucified, hath God made both Lord and Christ445445    Acts ii. 36. A further exposition of Gregory’s views on this passage will be found in Book V.;” and we might cite many passages of Scripture to support such a position, showing how the Lord, reconciling the world to Himself by the Humanity of Christ, apportioned His work of benevolence to men between His soul and His body, willing through His soul and touching them through His body. But it would be superfluous to encumber our argument by entering into every detail.

Before passing on, however, to what follows, I will further mention the one text, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up446446    S. John ii. 19.” Just as we, through soul and body, become a temple of Him Who “dwelleth in us and walketh in us447447    Cf. 2 Cor. vi. 16.,” even so the Lord terms their combination a “temple,” of which the “destruction” signifies the dissolution of the soul from the body. And if they allege the passage in the Gospel, “The Word was made flesh448448    S. John i. 14,” in order to make out that the flesh was taken into the Godhead without the soul, on the ground that the soul is not expressly mentioned along with the flesh, let them learn that it is customary for Holy Scripture to imply the whole by the part. For He that said, “Unto Thee shall all flesh come449449    Ps. lxv. 2.,” does not mean that the flesh will be presented before the Judge apart from the souls: and when we read 128in sacred History that Jacob went down into Egypt with seventy-five souls450450    Acts vii. 14. Cf. Gen. xlvi. 27, and Deut. x. 22. we understand the flesh also to be intended together with the souls. So, then, the Word, when He became flesh, took with the flesh the whole of human nature; and hence it was possible that hunger and thirst, fear and dread, desire and sleep, tears and trouble of spirit, and all such things, were in Him. For the Godhead, in its proper nature, admits no such affections, nor is the flesh by itself involved in them, if the soul is not affected co-ordinately with the body.

« Prev He expounds the passage of the Gospel, “The… Next »
VIEWNAME is workSection