Saturday, January 02, 2010

Arianism is Consistent with Scripture?

Phoebadius (d. @ 392): Knowing, therefore, this unity of substance in the Father and in the Son, on the authority, not only of the prophets, but also of the gospels, how canst thou say that the Homoüsion is not found in scripture? Latin text: Cum ergo hanc unitatem substantiae in Patre et Filio non solum prophetica, sed et evangelica auctoritate cognoscas; quomodo dicis in Scripturis divinis ὁμοιούσιον non inveniri? S. Phoebadius, De Fide Orthodoxa, Contra Arianos, Alias De Filii Divinitate et Consubstantialitate, Tractatus, Caput V, PL 20:41.

Sometimes the opponents of sola scriptura end up taking their position to absurd lengths. Consider the following statement from Roman Catholic Bryan Cross:
The term 'refute' means "shown an argument to be unsound". The bishops did not 'refute' Arianism; they condemned it, by defining the Faith by way of an extra-biblical term: homoousious. They were unable, by Scripture alone, to refute Arianism. The Arians could affirm every single verse of Scripture. That's precisely why the bishops had to require affirmation of the term homoousious. So if the bishops had no authority by way of apostolic succession, then their requirement of affirming homoousious would have had no more authority than its denial by the Arians. Scripture alone was insufficient to resolve the dispute, precisely because both sides could affirm every verse in Scripture. And since sola scriptura denies the transfer of authority by way of apostolic succession, therefore the Council of Nicea and the Creed, given sola scriptura, only have authority if you agree with its interpretation of Scripture.
Mr. Cross' zeal for his church has placed him out of touch with history. The fathers themselves believed that they refuted Arianism from Scripture:
If then, as you say, 'the Son is from nothing,' and 'was not before His generation,' He, of course, as well as others, must be called Son andGod and Wisdom only by participation; for thus all other creatures consist, and by sanctification are glorified. You have to tell us then, of what He is partaker. All other things partake of the Spirit, but He, according to you, of what is He partaker? Of the Spirit? Nay, rather the Spirit Himself takes from the Son, as He Himself says; and it is not reasonable to say that the latter is sanctified by the former. Therefore it is the Father that He partakes; for this only remains to say. But this, which is participated, what is it or whence? If it be something external provided by the Father, He will not now be partaker of the Father, but of what is external to Him; and no longer will He be even second after the Father, since He has before Him this other; nor can He be called Son of the Father, but of that, as partaking which He has been called Son and God. And if this be unseemly and irreligious, when the Father says, 'This is My Beloved Son Matthew 3:17,' and when the Son says that God is His own Father, it follows that what is partaken is not external, but from the essence of the Father. And as to this again, if it be other than the essence of the Son, an equal extravagance will meet us; there being in that case something between this that is from the Father and the essence of the Son, whatever that be.

...

This is of itself a sufficient refutation of the Arian heresy; however, its heterodoxy will appear also from the following:— If God be Maker and Creator, and create His works through the Son, and we cannot regard things which come to be, except as being through the Word, is it not blasphemous, God being Maker, to say, that His Framing Word and His Wisdom once was not? It is the same as saying, that God is not Maker, if He had not His proper Framing Word which is from Him, but that that by which He frames, accrues to Him from without , and is alien from Him, and unlike in essence.
- Athanasius, Discourse 1 Against the Arians, Sections 15 and 17

And again:
24. But He had not been thus worshipped, nor been thus spoken of, were He a creature merely. But now since He is not a creature, but the proper offspring of the Essence of that God who is worshipped, and His Son by nature, therefore He is worshipped and is believed to be God, and is Lord of armies, and in authority, and Almighty, as the Father is; for He has said Himself, 'All things that the Father has, are Mine [John 16:15].' For it is proper to the Son, to have the things of the Father, and to be such that the Father is seen in Him, and that through Him all things were made, and that the salvation of all comes to pass and consists in Him. And here it were well to ask them also this question , for a still clearer refutation of their heresy—Wherefore, when all things are creatures, and all are brought into consistence from nothing, and the Son Himself, according to you, is creature and work, and once was not, wherefore has He made 'all things through Him' alone, 'and without Him was made not one thing [John 1:3]?' or why is it, when 'all things' are spoken of, that no one thinks the Son is signified in the number, but only things originate; whereas when Scripture speaks of the Word, it does not understand Him as being in the number of 'all,' but places Him with the Father, as Him in whom Providence and salvation for 'all' are wrought and effected by the Father, though all things surely might at the same command have come to be, at which He was brought into being by God alone? For God is not wearied by commanding, nor is His strength unequal to the making of all things, that He should alone create the only Son, and need His ministry and aid for the framing of the rest. For He lets nothing stand over, which He wills to be done; but He willed only, and all things subsisted, and no one 'has resisted His will [Romans 9:19].' Why then were not all things brought into being by God alone at that same command, at which the Son came into being? Or let them tell us, why did all things through Him come to be, who was Himself but originate? How void of reason! However, they say concerning Him, that 'God willing to create originate nature, when He saw that it could not endure the untempered hand of the Father, and to be created by Him, makes and creates first and alone one only, and calls Him Son and Word, that, through Him as a medium, all things might thereupon be brought to be.' This they not only have said, but they have dared to put it into writing, namely, Eusebius, Arius, and Asterius who sacrificed.

25. Is not this a full proof of that irreligion, with which they have drugged themselves with much madness, till they blush not to be intoxicate against the truth? For if they shall assign the toil of making all things as the reason why God made the Son only, the whole creation will cry out against them as saying unworthy things of God; and Isaiah too who has said in Scripture, 'The Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, faints not, neither is weary: there is no searching of His understanding [Isaiah 40:28].' And if God made the Son alone, as not deigning to make the rest, but committed them to the Son as an assistant, this on the other hand is unworthy of God, for in Him there is no pride. Nay the Lord reproves the thought, when He says, 'Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing?' and 'one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father which is in heaven.' And again, 'Take no thought for your life, what you shall eat, nor yet for your body, what you shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air, for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet yourheavenly Father feeds them; are you not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought, can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: and yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore if God so clothe the grass of the field which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?' If then it be not unworthy of God to exercise His Providence, even down to things so small, a hair of the head, and a sparrow, and the grass of the field, also it was not unworthy of Him to make them. For what things are the subjects of HisProvidence, of those He is Maker through His proper Word. Nay a worse absurdity lies before the men who thus speak; for they distinguish between the creatures and the framing; and consider the latter the work of the Father, the creatures the work of the Son; whereas either all things must be brought to be by the Father with the Son, or if all that is originate comes to be through the Son, we must not call Him one of the originated things.
- Athanasius, Discourse 2 Against the Arians, Sections 24 and 25

Another father wrote of the Arians:
The religious perspicuity of the ancient Scriptures caused them no shame, nor did the consentient doctrine of our colleagues concerning Christ keep in check their audacity against Him.
- Alexander of Alexandria, Epistle 1 (to Alexander of Constantinople), Section 10

And again:
4. Now concerning their blasphemous assertion who say that the Son does not perfectly know the Father, we need not wonder: for having once purposed in their mind to wage war against Christ, they impugn also these words of His, "As the Father knows Me, even so know I the Father." [John 10:15] Wherefore, if the Father only in part knows the Son, then it is evident that the Son does not perfectly know the Father. But if it be wicked thus to speak, and if the Father perfectly knows the Son, it is plain that, even as the Father knows His own Word, so also the Word knows His own Father, of whom He is the Word.

5. By saying these things, and by unfolding the divine Scriptures, we have often refuted them. But they, chameleon-like, changing their sentiments, endeavour to claim for themselves that saying: "When the wicked comes, then comes contempt." Proverbs 18:3 Before them, indeed, many heresies existed, which, having dared more than was right, have fallen into madness. But these by all their words have attempted to do away with the Godhead of Christ, have made those seem righteous, since they have come nearer to Antichrist. Wherefore they have been excommunicated and anathematized by the Church. And indeed, although we grieve at the destruction of these men, especially that after having once learned the doctrine of the Church, they have now gone back; yet we do not wonder at it; for this very thing Hymenaeus and Philetus suffered,[2 Timothy 2:17] and before them Judas, who, though he followed the Saviour, afterwards became a traitor and an apostate. Moreover, concerning these very men, warnings are not wanting to us, for the Lord foretold: "Take heed that you be not deceived: for many shall come in My name, saying, I am Christ; and the tithe draws near: go not therefore after them." [Luke 21:8] Paul, too, having learned these things from the Saviour, wrote, "In the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils which turn away from the truth." [1 Timothy 4:1]
- Alexander of Alexandria, Epistle 2 (General Epistle), Section 4

Of course Alexander was Athanasius' predecessor in Alexandria, and one of the bishops at the Nicaean council - the one that brought Athanasius to that council. He was the bishop who was also the bishop over Arius (or would have been: Arius was a priest in Alexandria, and Alexander was the bishop - however Arius had been excommunicated by a predecessor bishop of Alexander). So perhaps, even though this should be the best evidence on the subject, I should mention some more remote bishop, such as Augustine:
Wherefore—to being now to answer the adversaries of our faith, respecting those things also, which are neither said as they are thought, nor thought as they really are:— among the many things which the Arians are wont to dispute against the Catholic faith, they seem chiefly to set forth this, as their most crafty device, namely, that whatsoever is said or understood of God, is said not according to accident, but according to substance, and therefore, to be unbegotten belongs to the Father according to substance, and to be begotten belongs to the Son according to substance; but to be unbegotten and to be begotten are different; therefore the substance of the Father and that of the Son are different. To whom we reply, If whatever is spoken of God is spoken according to substance, then that which is said, "I and the Father are one," is spoken according to substance. Therefore there is one substance of the Father and the Son. Or if this is not said according to substance, then something is said of God not according to substance, and therefore we are no longer compelled to understand unbegotten and begotten according to substance. It is also said of the Son, "He thought it not robbery to be equal with God." We ask, equal according to what? For if He is not said to be equal according to substance, then they admit that something may be said of God not according to substance. Let them admit, then, that unbegotten and begotten are not spoken according to substance. And if they do not admit this, on the ground that they will have all things to be spoken of God according to substance, then the Son is equal to the Father according to substance.
- Augustine, On the Trinity, Book 5, Chapter 3/Section 4

In fact, it is absurd to suggest that the Arian bishops and priests lacked apostolic succession in the sense of a chain of ordination back to the apostles. In fact, the primary sense in which they lacked apostolic succession was in the succession of doctrine: they did not follow the apostolic teachings handed down in Scripture.

But here's a challenge to Mr. Cross: find even one Christian (non-Arian, if Roman Catholics are calling Arians Christians these days) from Arius' birth until 100 years after Nicaea that says that the Arians "could affirm every single verse of Scripture" or couldn't be refuted from Scripture alone. More positively, the challenge is to find some writer in that time period who appealed to apostolic succession, as such, to refute the Arians: who said that the orthodox clergy had apostolic succession but the Arian clergy did not. I think Mr. Cross will be hard pressed to meet such a challenge.

Ultimately, Mr. Cross' claim is absurd. There is abundant refutation of Arianism in Scripture. While the theological terms we use serve a valuable purpose, we affirm the use of the term ὁμοούσιος because it is being used in a Scriptural sense (not in the prior Gnostic sense). We accept the Nicaean council because it agrees with the Word of God, not because its bishops were any more or less in a chain of ordination with the apostles than the bishops at the Arian councils. The Scriptures are our rule of faith, as was the case in the time of the early church.

Orth.— Do not, I beg you, bring in human reason. I shall yield to scripture alone.

Eran.— You shall receive no argument unconfirmed by Holy Scripture, and if you bring me any solution of the question deduced from Holy Scripture I will receive it, and will in no wise gainsay it.
- Theodoret of Cyrrhus, Dialogue 1

-TurretinFan

UPDATE: I neglected to link to the source for the quotation above (here's the link). One of the folks commenting there demonstrated that the Arians are wrong from Scripture, and Bryan responded (among other things): "The Arians were able to affirm all the verses that you cite. In addition, Scripture itself does not specify which verses are the hermeneutical standard for interpreting other verses." (link)

FURTHER UPDATE: (from David King)

Alexander of Alexandria (d. 328), the spiritual mentor of Athanasius, testified of the Arian heretics in a letter to Alexander of Constantinople: They are not ashamed to oppose the godly clearness of the ancient scriptures. NPNF2: Vol. III, Theodoret’s Ecclesiastical History, Book 1, Chapter 3, or the translation of this phrase as the letter is preserved in ANF: Vol. VI, Epistle to Alexander, Bishop of the City of Constantinople, §10, “The religious perspicuity of the ancient Scriptures caused them no shame . . .” Greek text: Οὐ κατήδεσεν αὐτοὺς ἡ τῶν ἀρχαίων Γραφῶν φιλόθεος σαφήνεια . . . Theodoreti Ecclesiasticae Historiae, Liber I, Caput III, PG 82:904.

Dionysius of Alexandria (c. 200-265): “Even if I did not find this expression (i.e., ὁμοούσιον) in the Scriptures, yet collecting from the actual Scriptures their general sense, I knew that, being Son and Word, He could not be outside the Essence of the Father.” Athanasius quoting him in NPNF2: Vol. IV, De sententia Dionysii (Defence of Dionysius), §20. Greek text: Eἰ καὶ μὴ τὴν λέξιν ταύτην εὗρον ἐν ταῖς γραφαῖς, ἀλλ' ἐξ αὐτῶν τῶν γραφῶν τὸν νοῦν συναγαγών, ἔγνων ὅτι υἱὸς ὢν καὶ λόγος οὐ ξένος ἂν εἴη τῆς οὐσίας τοῦ πατρός. Cf. De sententia Dionysii, §20, PG 25:509.

Athanasius (297-373): But here too the Bishops, beholding their craftiness, collected from the Scriptures the figures of brightness, of the river and the well, and of the relation of the express Image to the Subsistence, and the texts, ‘in thy light shall we see light,’ and ‘I and the Father are one.’ And lastly they wrote more plainly, and concisely, that the Son was coessential with the Father; for all the above passages signify this. NPNF2: Vol. IV, Synodal Letter to the Bishops of Africa, §6. Greek text: Ἀλλὰ καὶ ἐνταῦθα οἱ ἐπίσκοποι, θεωρήσαντες ἐκείνων τὸ δόλιον συνήγαγον ἐκ τῶν γραφῶν τὸ ἀπαύγασμα τήν τε πηγὴν καὶ τὸν ποταμὸν καὶ τὸν χαρακτῆρα πρὸς τὴν ὑπόστασιν καὶ τὸ »ἐν τῷ φωτί σου ὀψόμεθα φῶς« καὶ τὸ »ἐγὼ καὶ ὁ πατὴρ ἕν ἐσμεν.« Καὶ λευκότερον λοιπὸν καὶ συντόμως ἔγραψαν ὁμοούσιον τῷ πατρὶ τὸν υἱόν· τὰ γὰρ προειρημένα πάντα ταύτην ἔχει τὴν σημασίαν. In Epistolam Ad Afros Episcopos Monitum, §6, PG 26:1040.

Phoebadius (d. @ 392): Knowing, therefore, this unity of substance in the Father and in the Son, on the authority, not only of the prophets, but also of the gospels, how canst thou say that the Homoüsion is not found in scripture? Latin text: Cum ergo hanc unitatem substantiae in Patre et Filio non solum prophetica, sed et evangelica auctoritate cognoscas; quomodo dicis in Scripturis divinis ὁμοιούσιον non inveniri? S. Phoebadius, De Fide Orthodoxa, Contra Arianos, Alias De Filii Divinitate et Consubstantialitate, Tractatus, Caput V, PL 20:41.

Augustine (354-430): In opposition also to the impiety of Arian heretics, they coined the new term, Patris Homousios; but there was nothing new signified by such a name; for what is called Homousios is just this: “I and my Father are one,” to wit, of one and the same substance. NPNF1: Vol. VII, Tractates on John, Tractate 97, §4.

Hilary of Poitiers (c 315-67): I do not know the word ὁμοιούσιον, or understand it, unless it confesses a similarity of essence. I call the God of heaven and earth to witness, that when I had heard neither word, my belief was always such that I should have interpreted ὁμοιούσιον by ὁμοούσιον. That is, I believed that nothing could be similar according to nature unless it was of the same nature. Though long ago regenerate in baptism, and for some time a bishop, I never heard of the Nicene creed until I was going into exile, but the Gospels and Epistles suggested to me the meaning of ὁμοούσιον and ὁμοιούσιον. Our desire is sacred. Let us not condemn the fathers, let us not encourage heretics, lest while we drive one heresy away, we nurture another. After the Council of Nicaea our fathers interpreted the due meaning of ὁμοούσιον with scrupulous care; the books are extant, the facts are fresh in men’s minds: if anything has to be added to the interpretation, let us consult together. Between us we can thoroughly establish the faith, so that what has been well settled need not be disturbed, and what has been misunderstood may be removed. NPNF2: Vol. IX, On the Councils or the Faith of the Easterns, §91.

Epiphanius of Salamis (310/320-403): Even though the expression is not in the sacred scriptures—indeed, it is plainly implicit in the Law, the Apostles and the Prophets, for ‘By two or three witnesses shall every word be established’—all the same, it is permissible for us to employ a useful expression for piety’s sake, to safeguard the holy faith. Frank Williams, trans., The Panarion of Epiphanius of Salamis: Book II and III (Sects 47-80, De Fide), Against the Arian Nuts, 69.72,5 (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1994), p. 391.

Epiphanius of Salamis (310/320-403): It is plain that the term, “being,” does not appear in the Old and the New Testaments, but the sense of it is to be found everywhere. Frank Williams, trans., The Panarion of Epiphanius of Salamis: Book II and III (Sects 47-80, De Fide), Against the Arian Nuts, 73.12,1 (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1994), p. 447.

Gregory of Nazianzus (329/330-389): Again, where do you get your Unbegotten and Unoriginate, those two citadels of your position, or we our Immortal? Show me these in so many words, or we shall either set them aside, or erase them as not contained in Scripture; and you are slain by your own principle, the names you rely on being overthrown, and therewith the wall of refuge in which you trusted. Is it not evident that they are due to passages which imply them, though the words do not actually occur? NPNF2: Vol. VII, Oration V, On the Holy Spirit, §22.

Athanasius (297-373): Since, therefore, such an attempt is futile madness, nay, more than madness!, let no one ask such questions any more, or else let him learn only that which is in the Scriptures. For the illustrations they contain which bear upon this subject are sufficient and suitable. C. R. B. Shapland, trans., The Letters of Athanasius Concerning the Holy Spirit, Ad Serapion 1.19 (New York: The Philosophical Library, 1951), p. 108. Greek text: Περιττῆς τοιγαροῦν καὶ πλέον μανίας οὔσης τῆς τοιαύτης ἐπιχειρήσεως, μηκέτι τοιαῦτά τις ἐρω τάτω, ἢ μόνον τὰ ἐν ταῖς Γραφαῖς μανθανέτω. Αὐτάρκη γὰρ καὶ ἱκανὰ τὰ ἐν ταύταις κείμενα περὶ τούτου παραδείγματα. Ad Serapionem 1.19, PG 26:573.

Augustine (354-430): In opposition also to the impiety of Arian heretics, they coined the new term, Patris Homousios; but there was nothing new signified by such a name; for what is called Homousios is just this: “I and my Father are one,” to wit, of one and the same substance. NPNF1: Vol. VII, Tractates on John, Tractate 97, §4.

Augustine (354-430): What does “homoousios” mean, I ask, but The Father and I are one (Jn. 10:30)? I should not, however, introduce the Council of Nicea to prejudice the case in my favor, nor should you introduce the Council of Ariminum that way. I am not bound by the authority of Ariminum, and you are not bound by that of Nicea. By the authority of the scriptures that are not the property of anyone, but the common witness for both of us, let position do battle with position, case with case, reason with reason. See WSA, Answer to Maximinus, Part I, Vol. 18, ed. John Rotelle, O.S.A., trans. Roland J. Teske, S.J. (New York: New City Press, 1995), p. 282.

53 comments:

steve said...

i) Of course, Bryan is equivocating. To affirm a passage of Scripture is not merely to affirming the bare wording of the passage, but to affirm the sense of the words and the intent of the author. The Arians affirmed the words while disaffirming their intended sense.

ii) Moreover, if Bryan thinks you can affirm a passage even though you disregard verbal sense or authorial intent, then Arians would just as well affirm the Nicene Creed or the Athanasian Creed.

They would "affirm" it according to the meaning which they place on the words.

iii) If Bryan sense the intent of the creedal framers is authoritative, a Protestant can same the same thing for the intent of the Bible writers.

So, at every level, Bryan's objection cuts both ways.

Turretinfan said...

Well said, Steve.

beowulf2k8 said...

You believe that Jesus made wine for drunks to get them more drunk, TF?

Turretinfan said...

Jesus made water into wine. Though they don't explain his purpose, it served (first of all) a practical purpose of assisting a wedding that had run out of wine, and (secondarily) an apologetic purpose of showing his power.

-TurretinFan

Godismyjudge said...

Steve,

You disagree with TF, no? I.E. you do not believe that the Nicene Creed (as intended by the authors of that creed) can be found in scripture, right?

God be with you,
Dan

Turretinfan said...

It wouldn't be the only time that Steve and I disagreed. But we both agree that Scripture, not the Nicaean council, is our rule of faith.

-TurretinFan

steve said...

Dan,

What, exactly, are you referring to? I agree with the Nicene creed regarding the consubstantiality of the Father and the Son.

Godismyjudge said...

Steve,

While your rejection of 'eternal generation' or 'eternal procession' conflicts more directly with other aspects of the Nicene creed, it also conflicts with the consubstantiality of the Father and the Son. For example:

"Consubstantiality" describes the relationship among the Divine persons of the Christian Trinity and connotes that God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are "of one being" in that the Son is "generated" ("born" or "begotten") "before all ages" or "eternally" of the Father's own being, from which the Spirit also eternally "proceeds."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consubstantiality

But you have rejected the connotation.

Setting such a connotation aside, I don't see how you can consistently affirm consubstatntiatlity and reject eternal procession. The idea that the Father and Son share an essence that is numerically one and simple (i.e. not just two things with identical properties) seems in conflict with the idea that three persons can have that essence of themselves.

So what do you make of passages like Eph 1:3?

God be with you,
Dan

Turretinfan said...

I'll permit Steve to respond here, if he feels the impulse, but I'd rather not turn this comment box into a discussion of how Steve's views agree or don't with Nicaea. That's pretty far from the topic.

Godismyjudge said...

Dear TF,

I am supprised you overlook the connection with the topic at hand, but will respect your wishes.

God be with you,
Dan

Lothair Of Lorraine said...

TF:

Again, you spent a lot of time, like dtking, in arguing from the 'traditions of men' and can't actually label Arianism as naturally irrational or as categorically erroneous. It took general councils to settle the dispute, not mere exegesis. You are reading back into the Scriptures a well devloped dogma, rather than letting them speak for themselves.

I really don't think you have disposed of anyhting, but definitely worked up a sweat while trying.

Also, Steve said, 'If Bryan [sic] sense [of] the intent of the creedal framers is authoritative, a Protestant can same [sic] the same thing for the intent of the Bible writers'.

Steve, tell me a little more of what you are trying to say in III. Do you mean that the 'sense of Bryan is authoritative' or the 'sense of the creedal framers is authoritative'. Your syntax can be read more than one way.

Turretinfan said...

Thanks for your contribution to the discussion, LOL.

-TurretinFan

Lothair Of Lorraine said...

TF:

You use an awful lot of patrisitc evidence to make your case, but, I suspect you would be slow to accept such an argument for the perpetual virginity of Mary or her absolute purity from sin, right? In fact, one of your citations here makes use of Epiphanius of Salamis. Guess what? He was quite fond of the Virgin and defended her perpetual virginity. So, as Epiphanius of Salamis said to the antidicomarianites, 'quit being such a quarrelsome fellow' and accept the perpetual virginity of Mary.

Turretinfan said...

That would be the same Epiphanius of Salamis that testified that no one knows the end of Mary, right? So you want me to believe him on the perpetual virginity (an historical opinion he never elevated to dogma, much less made an essential doctrine) but you want me to disagree with him on the historical question of Mary's end, and you want me to disagree with him on the rule of faith?

Doesn't that seem like an odd request?

-TurretinFan

lojahw said...

Lothair of Lorraine said:

It took general councils to settle the [Arian] dispute, not mere exegesis. You are reading back into the Scriptures a well devloped dogma, rather than letting them speak for themselves.

Lothair, have you ever looked closely at the Arian heresy and how it is utterly incompatible with the teaching of Scripture?

E.g., the Arian claim that “the Word [is] alien and unlike in all things to the Father's essence and propriety” and “there was once when he was not.”

It illogical to claim that this statement is consistent with:

“We beheld His [the Word’s] glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14)

And "I am the LORD, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another, Nor My praise to graven images.” (Isaiah 42:9).

And: “the Word was God” and “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” and “He existed in the form of God” and “He is the radiance of His [God’s] glory and the exact representation of His nature” and “All things came into being by Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.” “The LORD your God is one!” and “in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” and “I will not share My glory with another.” It is undeniably logically inconsistent to say that the “only-begotten God” who shared God’s “glory before the world was,” who was worshiped, etc., is “alien and unlike in all things to the Father’s essence,” rather than of the same nature (homoousios) as the Father.

Blessings.

lojahw said...

People who deny that Scripture cannot refute Arianism haven't really looked carefully at the problem. What I posted above is just the tip of the iceberg...

Blessings.

lojahw said...

Please excuse the wording mistake above:

People who say that Scripture cannot refute Arianism haven't really looked carefully at the problem. What I posted above is just the tip of the iceberg...

Blessings.

Lothair Of Lorraine said...

Logahw:

You used some of the very verses that the Arians would, esp Isaiah 42:9. After all, since God will not share himsef with another, it can rationally be argued that Jesus could not share in the divine essence any more than you or I. I am not saying that they are right, just that 'disposing' of the case for Arianism isn't so easy without 'man made traditions'.

John 1:1 is also ambiguous. After all, the Logos is 'at' the beginning, not 'before' the beginning. So, when God created the universe in Gen 1, he also created the Logos. Dan Wallace has pointed out the Greek syntax and grammar has been shaped over the years for Christological reasons so the language has been effected by theology rather than letting theology be shaped by the language.

John 1:14 doesn't settle it either. The Logos is the 'only begotten' and 'full of grace and truth'. I agree, but that tells us nothing of the sequence of generation/origin of the Logos or when the procession of the Spirit took palce. It can be argued that the Father is eternal, created the Son and both created the Spirit at some unknown time in the ancient past.

Lothair Of Lorraine said...

TF:

Regarding the Bishop of Salamis, all you have shown us is that there is even greater reason to doubt his every opinion and don't forget, he is your source here, not mine.

You actually ran away from the question. I wasn't defending the dogma surrounding Mary's Assumption HERE, just pointing out that Epiphanius believed in her perpetual virginity, not just the divinity of Jesus.

I want you to be consistent with your sources, that's all.

Epiphanius didn't known the end of Mary, which says nothing about her end or how it happened.

Turretinfan said...

LOL:

As to your comments to lojahw, your comments accusing Scripture of ambiguity are the arguments of heretics, not the orthodox.

You wrote: "Regarding the Bishop of Salamis, all you have shown us is that there is even greater reason to doubt his every opinion and don't forget, he is your source here, not mine."

He certainly isn't yours. None of the fathers are. That's part of the point.

You wrote: "You actually ran away from the question."

Ran away, eh?

You wrote: "I wasn't defending the dogma surrounding Mary's Assumption HERE, just pointing out that Epiphanius believed in her perpetual virginity, not just the divinity of Jesus."

I wasn't defending the non-assumption of Mary, either.

You wrote: "I want you to be consistent with your sources, that's all."

No you don't. That was part of my point about Epiphanius.

You wrote: "Epiphanius didn't known the end of Mary, which says nothing about her end or how it happened."

He didn't just say that he didn't know, but that no one knew it. What it says is that (at least in his part of the world) no one held the view of Mary that your church makes an essential dogma.

Similarly, no one among the orthodox held your view that the Scriptures are ambiguous as to the divinity of Jesus.

See the consistency?

The point, of course, in both cases is the historical point. And, of course, we accept the historical fact that people of Epiphanius' era began to believe that Mary had remained a virgin. We let the fathers be the fathers.

-TurretinFan

lojahw said...

Lothair, You distort the passages you mention and you brush aside Scripture passages you couldn’t reconcile with the heresy in view.

Isaiah 42:9 doesn’t say “God will not share himself with another,” but that He will not share “His glory with another.” The authors of Scripture repeatedly tell us that God shared his glory with Jesus.

Your claim that John 1:1 is ambiguous ignores the clause: “and the Word was God.” Since God is immutable (passages you conveniently ignored), the Father was always Father, and the Son was always the “only begotten God.”

Note: modern-day Arians say that John 1:1 should be translated, “And the Word was a god.” Aside from all of the other arguments to the contrary,

1) this is inconsistent with their own translation of John 1:6, 12, 13, 18;

2) leaving out the article with ‘theos’ avoids Sabellianism, which claims the Father and the Word are interchangeable, while placing the predicate nominative ‘theos’ first, together with verse 3 (“apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being”) avoids Arianism. The Word is distinguishable from God and yet the Word was God, of the same Divine nature as the Father.

3) ‘a God’ would be considered blasphemy by John’s Jewish readers.

4) Also, ‘en’ (was) in John 1:1 has a different meaning than ‘egeneto’ (became) in John 1:14. The Word was God but became flesh.

The premise that Scripture cannot sufficiently answer the question, "Who is Jesus?" belittles the Word of God.

Blessings.

Lothair Of Lorraine said...

TF said: As to your comments to lojahw, your comments accusing Scripture of ambiguity are the arguments of heretics, not the orthodox.

A: Actually, no, Arainism/Calvinism are the heresy. The authority of the Church has put both on the 'naughty list'.

TF:He certainly isn't yours. None of the fathers are. That's part of the point.

A: Actually, the bishop is one of MY fathers, but he was YOUR source in the article. You are making these good men into proto-calvinists. I have told you before to stop that.

TF:I wasn't defending the non-assumption of Mary, either.

A: Still running way? But you WERE cherry picking a few citations from one of my Church Fathers while ignoring what the man said on the topic of Mary's perpetual virginity. Tactics I would expect from a Mormon or a Muslim.

TF:He didn't just say that he didn't know, but that no one knew it

A:So now Epipanius is the uber historian who gets to declare dogma? Stop it. You make me chuckle.

TF:Similarly, no one among the orthodox held your view that the Scriptures are ambiguous as to the divinity of Jesus.

A: Not among the orthodox, but the Arians did and they didn't just make it up. By the way, you are a calvinist and have no claim to orthodoxy in theology or ecclesiology.


I still don't see the consistency in your reliance on Epiphanius, but you put up a good fight. The weakness in your case isn't all your fault.

Lothair Of Lorraine said...

logahw:

The Arians would have no problem with most of what you said. They believed that the Logos was god, but it took the Council of Nice to make the theological case clear. The Greek in Jhn 1:1 says that 'in the beginning...[Ἐν ἀρχῇ] not 'BEFORE the beginning' [πριν ἀρχῇ]. Arians would read the passage in the light of Gen 1:1 [εν αρχη] and see the Logos coming into existence at the same moment that everything else did.

I think you might be mistaking Gnosticism with Arianism.

Lothair Of Lorraine said...

TF Said: Similarly, no one among the orthodox held your view that the Scriptures are ambiguous as to the divinity of Jesus.


A: Really? Aren't you the one who quoted Erasmus on the very topic you are now claiming was unambiguous to all the orthodox? Please refresh my memory.

Turretinfan said...

"A: Really? Aren't you the one who quoted Erasmus on the very topic you are now claiming was unambiguous to all the orthodox? Please refresh my memory."

Yes, really. Even Erasmus (who I would hardly view as orthodox) didn't claim that the Scriptures were ambiguous on the subject.

"So now Epipanius is the uber historian who gets to declare dogma? Stop it. You make me chuckle."

Undoubtedly, a theory in which he is an ignorant bumpkin unaware of the universal view of the early church regarding the end of Mary is more to your liking.

"But you WERE cherry picking a few citations from one of my Church Fathers while ignoring what the man said on the topic of Mary's perpetual virginity."

We've already demonstrated above that he's not your father. And the fact that we don't mention his teaching on other subjects can hardly be said by a rational person to be "ignoring" them.

I had written: "Similarly, no one among the orthodox held your view that the Scriptures are ambiguous as to the divinity of Jesus."

You responded: "Not among the orthodox, but the Arians did and they didn't just make it up."

That pretty much sums up to me which side of the discussion you are on.

-TurretinFan

Lothair Of Lorraine said...

TF: He certainly isn't yours [i.e Epiphanius]. None of the fathers are. That's part of the point.'

A: Let's review the life of Epiphanius, if ever so briefly. He was a priest, lived in and later founded a monastery. He intervened in a schism in which he took the side of Paulinus [Rome] against Meletius [East]. He was strongly in support of the primacy of Peter and Apostolic Succession and called both Paul and Peter 'bishop'. Looks more and more like one of mine after all. He would have placed you in the sect of Cerinthus who was a heretic responsible for the ruin of others. You aught to read his surviving works [e.g. the Panarion] rather than copy and paste a few favorable quotes.

Your fathers began writing much later and you need to do me a favor stick to John Calvin and Joseph Smith.

Turretinfan said...

LOL:

Let's see ... Epaphanius' opposition to icons drove the iconodules to challenge the authenticity of his writings against them even down to the present day. But you think that because he once sided with a Roman bishop and favored monasticism he's on your side. I see.

He would be able to worship in our churches, but not yours. His view of icons and Mary is contrary to your defined dogma - and there is nothing in Scripture (which was his rule of faith, as it is ours) that would lead him to accept your views.

BTW - suggesting that Joseph Smith is a Reformed father is almost as idiotic as suggesting that Epiphanius is rightly considered a Roman Catholic.

-TurretinFan

Turretinfan said...

Pius XII vs. Epiphanius

Lothair Of Lorraine said...

TF:

You're a hoot. No Catholic 'worships Mary'. None of us offer her cakes and libations...lol...so your taking Epiphanius out of context.

Epiphanius wasn't necessarily against devotion to Mary, just the offering of bread and wine to her. I can't glean from your quotation that he was against the appellation 'Queen of Heaven' for Mary, he was just opposed to a sacrificial cult that offered the Eucharist to her.

Pope Pius XII insitituted a feast, not an offering.

By the way, the Pontiffs have final authority on who among the fathers is to be used as a strong and orthodox source. Epiphanius was a Catholic father, just not always a very good one...

Turretinfan said...

I'm so glad your feasts are different than those of the Kollyridians. Do you really think that is the main point?

And while they offered bread, your pope has offered gold (link).

Lothair Of Lorraine said...

Our feasts commemorate a person or a date, or even an idea. To characterize them as worship of the person, date ot idea is only insightful criticism to protestors.

To call a feast of Mary 'worship' is as idiotic as calling dinner on the last Thursday in November the worship of Indians or Pilgrims.

The only place your polemics add up is in your own head. By the way, do you celebrate your mother's birthday? Do you give her, or your wife, gifts? Do you suppose that giving your wife a Valentines Day gift is equivilant to worshiping her as a goddess?

Turretinfan said...

"Our feasts commemorate a person or a date, or even an idea. To characterize them as worship of the person, date ot idea is only insightful criticism to protestors."

Would you care to try to persuade anyone that it shows no reverence for the person at all? Surely not.

"To call a feast of Mary 'worship' is as idiotic as calling dinner on the last Thursday in November the worship of Indians or Pilgrims."

Bad analogy. The Thanksgiving feast is about thanking God, not about engaging in hyper-dulia of Pilgrims and Indians.

"The only place your polemics add up is in your own head."

Now I have some insight into yours!

"By the way, do you celebrate your mother's birthday?"

Not religiously.

"Do you give her, or your wife, gifts?"

I don't attach any religious significance to those gifts.

"Do you suppose that giving your wife a Valentines Day gift is equivilant to worshiping her as a goddess?"

Let's not get me started on that holiday. But remarkably, when one gives one's wife roses, chocolates, etc. one is ordinarily not engaging in a religious act.

-TurretinFan

Lothair Of Lorraine said...

TF: 'Would you care to try to persuade anyone that it shows no reverence for the person at all? Surely not.'

Sure I revere the Blessed Virgin, and on her feast day I thank God for her generosity and obedience.

TF: 'I don't attach any religious significance to those gifts'.

A: Birthday celebrations are religious per se, no matter how secular you have made the festivities. In fact, the arguments against recognizing birthdays are almost all religious, so celebrating birthdays are inherantly a religious custom.

TF:'Bad analogy. The Thanksgiving feast is about thanking God, not about engaging in hyper-dulia of Pilgrims and Indians'.

A: Actually, the analogy is dead on. The veneration of Mary is a thanksgiving to God, so matter how tightly you clench your teeth while shaking your head in opposition.

TF: 'Let's not get me started on that holiday. But remarkably, when one gives one's wife roses, chocolates, etc. one is ordinarily not engaging in a religious act'.

A: But it is an offering to a person in the hopes of some reward or recognition of the gift. Like it or not, there is religious overtones, even in your secularized world.

lojahw said...

Lothair: Do you believe that Scripture cannot sufficiently answer the question, "Who is Jesus?"

Blessings.

Turretinfan said...

LOL:

The fact that you have to argue that birthdays are religious in order to maintain your worship (you use another name, yes and even deny that it is worship, but objectively it is worship) of Mary speaks volumes.

-TurretinFan

Lothair Of Lorraine said...

TF:

Birthdays are so religious that at least one father [Irenaeus?] wrote that only pagans celebrate their birthday. The point is, birthdays are indeed a religious celebration no matter how secular they have generally become.

How is is POSSIBLE that you can maintain that Catholics worship Mary IN SPITE of our explanations? You remind me of Muhammadans who INSIST that Christiantiy is thitheism no matter how often and effectively Trintiy is explained. You use the same responses and comments! Calvinist/Mormons and other atheists don't get to tell US what we me when we say 'veneration'.

You know, objectively, Trintiy is the worhship of three gods, you know, objectively. It doesn't matter what Christians say as long as Muhamamdans continue to insist that our theological answers dont matter, you know, objectively.

Turretinfan said...

"Birthdays are so religious that at least one father [Irenaeus?] wrote that only pagans celebrate their birthday. The point is, birthdays are indeed a religious celebration no matter how secular they have generally become."

That's about as bright as your next comment:

"How is is POSSIBLE that you can maintain that Catholics worship Mary IN SPITE of our explanations?"

Because your self-serving explanations are wrong. The question is one of objective fact - not one of mere subjective opinion.

"You remind me of Muhammadans who INSIST that Christiantiy is thitheism no matter how often and effectively Trintiy is explained."

It's a bad comparison because objectively, the Trinity is one God.

"You use the same responses and comments!"

Not hardly.

"Calvinist/Mormons and other atheists don't get to tell US what we me when we say 'veneration'."

We're not telling you what you mean when you say what you say. We're telling you that what you are doing is objectively sinful and dishonoring not only the memory of the blessed virgin, Mary, but also to the God whose handmaid she is.

The remaining comments attempting to suggest that somehow it is improper to look past the descriptions to the objective reality because Muslims err has already been addressed above.

Lothair Of Lorraine said...

Being obstinate and inconsiderate of Catholic explanations is hardly 'objective' in any sense except to someone in love with their own words.

Theologically, Trinity is one God, but objectively it is three made into one using clever language and philosophical skill. Just ask the Muhammadans, they'll tell you that worshipping a man as if he were a god is 'objectely sinful', etc. Like the Muhamamdans, you can't objectively deal with the theology, so you create a strawman that is favorable to your argument.

Erring in favor of sectarian preferences is common to Muhamamdans, Mormons, Calvinist and Manicheans, etc., so yours are no more bothersome and boorish than thiers.

You can't adress much of what I said, so you use sophistical snivelry masquerading as higher criticism [e.g. 'That's about as bright as your next comment']in hopes of at least appearing to have put up your dukes.

Turretinfan said...

LOL:

Do you understand what the word "objective" means? Your comments above don't reflect an understanding of that term.

-TurretinFan

Lothair Of Lorraine said...

TF:

Your comments above continue to exhibit the type of sophisty that my comments above poined out you possess large amounts of.

The objective truth is that you can't actually deal with what is being said, so your provide your own irrational filter and like the Muhamamdans come to inane conclusions.

This is just comedy now.

Turretinfan said...

I didn't think you knew. Thanks for stopping by, though.

Lothair Of Lorraine said...

You you have got to just be kidding....

Turretinfan said...

Some suggestions if you want to be treated seriously:

1) Don't insist that birthdays are a religious celebration.

2) Don't insist that your labels for what you do end the matter of whether what you do is right or wrong.

Lothair Of Lorraine said...

A few suggestions if YOU want to be taken seriously:

1 - recognize that birthdays have a religious significance.

2 - understand that my INTENT in worship is far more persuasive than your sectarian apologetic directed against it. You don't get to tell me what I am doing or what I mean when I pray, go on pilgramage or pay penance. You don't have the authority to tell me if what I am doing is right or wrong, especially when it comes from a heretical worldview with no bearing on who I am. Don't you get it yet? To me, you are just another Mormon.

Turretinfan said...

Someone said: "The road to hell is paved with good intentions."

If you insist that your intentions end the inquiry, there's no way for me to help you turn from your sin.

Lothair Of Lorraine said...

TF:

Is that from the Bible? If not, then I have to say, 'sola scriptura!'

Remember?

Turretinfan said...

Despite your scoffing, I'll illustrate a Biblical basis for that maxim from Scripture:

2 Samuel 6:2-8

And David arose, and went with all the people that were with him from Baale of Judah, to bring up from thence the ark of God, whose name is called by the name of the LORD of hosts that dwelleth between the cherubims. And they set the ark of God upon a new cart, and brought it out of the house of Abinadab that was in Gibeah: and Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab, drave the new cart.

And they brought it out of the house of Abinadab which was at Gibeah, accompanying the ark of God: and Ahio went before the ark. And David and all the house of Israel played before the LORD on all manner of instruments made of fir wood, even on harps, and on psalteries, and on timbrels, and on cornets, and on cymbals.

And when they came to Nachon's threshingfloor, Uzzah put forth his hand to the ark of God, and took hold of it; for the oxen shook it. And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Uzzah; and God smote him there for his error; and there he died by the ark of God.

And David was displeased, because the LORD had made a breach upon Uzzah: and he called the name of the place Perezuzzah to this day.

Lothair Of Lorraine said...

@TF:

Not sure where it says anybody went to hell in those verses, so I'll have to contiune my scoffing.

Turretinfan said...

Yes, it just illustrates the judgment of God. It doesn't specify hell. It also doesn't use the metaphor of paving. There is lots of grist for the mill of scoffers.

Lothair Of Lorraine said...

@TF: I am not scoffing at the Scriptures, just your rather lame apologetic to support the quote you began with. You wouldn't stop scoffing at such exegetical summersaults in order to prove the importance of Mary, so why should I be so generous to you?

Turretinfan said...

Have you noticed that since you've been here you've never made a positive argument? It's always been scoffing and throwing stones?

If you don't have any arguments to offer, please feel free to scoff elsewhere.

Lothair Of Lorraine said...

@TF:

Do you notice that, like Jumbo Jim, all you manage to do is throw elbows at Catholic theology without even considering our position? Have you noticed yet that you reserve to yourself the authority so decide the very definition of 'objective truth' and lo and behold, it seems always consistent with your sectarian worldview, no matter the actual evidence?

If you don't mind, I'll keep scoffing at you.

Turretinfan said...

"Do you notice that, like Jumbo Jim, all you manage to do is throw elbows at Catholic theology without even considering our position?"

That has to be the most ignorant thing you've said yet, which is quite an accomplishment.

And yes, I do mind. If you want to scoff, go elsewhere.