Chapter XXI. -- Texts Explained; Sixthly, Proverbs viii.22, Continued. Our Lord not said in Scripture to be created,' or the works to be begotten.' In the beginning' means in the case of the works from the beginning.' Scripture passages explained. We are made by God first, begotten next; creatures by nature, sons by grace. Christ begotten first, made or created afterwards. Sense of First-born of the dead;' of First-born among many brethren;' of First-born of all creation,' contrasted with Only-begotten.' Further interpretation of beginning of ways,' and for the works.' Why a creature could not redeem; why redemption was necessary at all. Texts which contrast the Word and the works.
57. For had He been a creature, He had not said, He begets me,' for the creatures are from without, and are works of the Maker; but the Offspring is not from without nor a work, but from the Father, and proper to His Essence. Wherefore they are creatures; this God's Word and Only-begotten Son. For instance, Moses did not say of the creation, In the beginning He begat,' nor In the beginning was,' but In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth .' Nor did David say in the Psalm, Thy hands have |begotten me,|' but made me and fashioned me ,' everywhere applying the word made' to the creatures. But to the Son contrariwise; for he has not said I made,' but I begat ,' and He begets me,' and My heart uttered a good Word .' And in the instance of the creation, In the beginning He made;' but in the instance of the Son, In the beginning was the Word .' And there is this difference, that the creatures are made upon the beginning, and have a beginning of existence connected with an interval; wherefore also what is said of them, In the beginning He made,' is as much as saying of them, From the beginning He made:' -- as the Lord, knowing that which He had made, taught, when He silenced the Pharisees, with the words, He which made them from the beginning, made them male and female ;' for from some beginning, when they were not yet, were originate things brought into being and created. This too the Holy Spirit has signified in the Psalms, saying, Thou, Lord, at the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth ;' and again, O think upon Thy congregation which Thou hast purchased from the beginning ;' now it is plain that what takes place at the beginning, has a beginning of creation, and that from some beginning God purchased His congregation. And that In the beginning He made,' from his saying made,' means began to make,' Moses himself shews by saying, after the completion of all things, And God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because that in it He had rested from all His work which God began to make .' Therefore the creatures began to be made; but the Word of God, not having beginning of being, certainly did not begin to be, nor begin to come to be, but was ever. And the works have their beginning in their making, and their beginning precedes their coming to be; but the Word, not being of things which come to be, rather comes to be Himself the Framer of those which have a beginning. And the being of things originate is measured by their becoming , and from some beginning does God begin to make them through the Word, that it may be known that they were not before their origination; but the Word has His being, in no other beginning than the Father, whom they allow to be without beginning, so that He too exists without beginning in the Father, being His Offspring, not His creature.
58. Thus does divine Scripture recognise the difference between the Offspring and things made, and shew that the Offspring is a Son, not begun from any beginning, but eternal; but that the thing made, as an external work of the Maker, began to come into being. John therefore delivering divine doctrine about the Son, and knowing the difference of the phrases, said not, In the beginning has become' or been made,' but In the beginning was the Word;' that we might understand Offspring' by was,' and not account of Him by intervals, but believe the Son always and eternally to exist. And with these proofs, how, O Arians, misunderstanding the passage in Deuteronomy, did you venture a fresh act of irreligion against the Lord, saying that He is a work,' or creature,' or indeed offspring?' for offspring and work you take to mean the same thing; but here too you shall be shewn to be as unlearned as you are irreligious. Your first passage is this, Is not He thy Father that bought thee? did He not make thee and create thee ?' And shortly after in the same Song he says, God that begat thee thou didst desert, and forgattest God that nourished thee .' Now the meaning conveyed in these passages is very remarkable; for he says not first He begat,' lest that term should be taken as indiscriminate with He made,' and these men should have a pretence for saying, Moses tells us indeed that God said from the beginning, |Let Us make man ,|' but he soon after says himself, God that begat thee thou didst desert,' as if the terms were indifferent; for offspring and work are the same. But after the words bought' and made,' he has added last of all begat,' that the sentence might carry its own interpretation; for in the word made' he accurately denotes what belongs to men by nature, to be works and things made; but in the word begat' he shews God's lovingkindness exercised towards men after He had created them. And since they have proved ungrateful upon this, thereupon Moses reproaches them, saying first, Do ye thus requite the Lord?' and then adds, Is not He thy Father that bought thee? Did He not make thee and create thee ?' And next he says, They sacrificed unto devils, not to God, to gods whom they knew not. New gods and strange came up, whom your fathers knew not; the God that begat thee thou didst desert .'
59. For God not only created them to be men, but called them to be sons, as having begotten them. For the term begat' is here as elsewhere expressive of a Son, as He says by the Prophet, I begat sons and exalted them;' and generally, when Scripture wishes to signify a son, it does so, not by the term created,' but undoubtedly by that of begat.' And this John seems to say, He gave to them power to become children of God, even to them that believe on His Name; which were begotten not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God .' And here too the cautious distinction is well kept up, for first he says become,' because they are not called sons by nature but by adoption; then he says were begotten,' because they too had received at any rate the name of son. But the People, as says the Prophet, despised' their Benefactor. But this is God's kindness to man, that of whom He is Maker, of them according to grace He afterwards becomes Father also; becomes, that is, when men, His creatures, receive into their hearts, as the Apostle says, the Spirit of His Son, crying, Abba, Father .' And these are they who, having received the Word, gained power from Him to become sons of God; for they could not become sons, being by nature creatures, otherwise than by receiving the Spirit of the natural and true Son. Wherefore, that this might be, The Word became flesh,' that He might make man capable of Godhead. This same meaning may be gained also from the Prophet Malachi, who says, Hath not One God created us? Have we not all one Father ?' for first he puts created,' next Father,' to shew, as the other writers, that from the beginning we were creatures by nature, and God is our Creator through the Word; but afterwards we were made sons, and thenceforward God the Creator becomes our Father also. Therefore Father' is proper to the Son; and not creature,' but Son' is proper to the Father. Accordingly this passage also proves, that we are not sons by nature, but the Son who is in us ; and again, that God is not our Father by nature, but of that Word in us, in whom and because of whom we cry, Abba, Father .' And so in like manner, the Father calls them sons in whomsoever He sees His own Son, and says, I begat;' since begetting is significant of a Son, and making is indicative of the works. And thus it is that we are not begotten first, but made; for it is written, Let Us make man ;' but afterwards, on receiving the grace of the Spirit, we are said thenceforth to be begotten also; just as the great Moses in his Song with an apposite meaning says first He bought,' and afterwards He begat;' lest, hearing He begat,' they might forget their own original nature; but that they might know that from the beginning they are creatures, but when according to grace they are said to be begotten, as sons, still no less than before are men works according to nature.
60. And that creature and offspring are not the same, but differ from each other in nature and the signification of the words, the Lord Himself shews even in the Proverbs. For having said, The Lord created me a beginning of His ways;' He has added, But before all the hills He begat me.' If then the Word were by nature and in His Essence a creature, and there were no difference between offspring and creature, He would not have added, He begat me,' but had been satisfied with He created,' as if that term implied He begat;' but, as it is, after saying, He created me a beginning of His ways for His works,' He has added, not simply begat me,' but with the connection of the conjunction But,' as guarding thereby the term created,' when he says, But before all the hills He begat me.' For begat me' succeeding in such close connection to created me,' makes the meaning one, and shews that created' is said with an object , but that begat me' is prior to created me.' For as, if He had said the reverse, The Lord begat me,' and went on, But before the hills He created me,' created' would certainly precede begat,' so having said first created,' and then added But before all the hills He begat me,' He necessarily shews that begat' preceded created.' For in saying, Before all He begat me,' He intimates that He is other than all things; it having been shewn to be true in an earlier part of this book, that no one creature was made before another, but all things originate subsisted at once together upon one and the same command . Therefore neither do the words which follow created,' also follow begat me;' but in the case of created' is added beginning of ways,' but of begat me,' He says not, He begat me as a beginning,' but before all He begat me.' But He who is before all is not a beginning of all, but is other than all ; but if other than all (in which all' the beginning of all is included), it follows that He is other than the creatures; and it becomes a clear point, that the Word, being other than all things and before all, afterwards is created a beginning of the ways for works,' because He became man, that, as the Apostle has said, He who is the Beginning' and First-born from the dead, in all things might have the preeminence .'
61. Such then being the difference between created' and begat me,' and between beginning of ways' and before all,' God, being first Creator, next, as has been said, becomes Father of men, because of His Word dwelling in them. But in the case of the Word the reverse; for God, being His Father by nature, becomes afterwards both His Creator and Maker, when the Word puts on that flesh which was created and made, and becomes man. For, as men, receiving the Spirit of the Son, become children through Him, so the Word of God, when He Himself puts on the flesh of man, then is said both to be created and to have been made. If then we are by nature sons, then is He by nature creature and work; but if we become sons by adoption and grace, then has the Word also, when in grace towards us He became man, said, The Lord created me.' And in the next place, when He put on a created nature and became like us in body, reasonably was He therefore called both our Brother and First-born .' For though it was after us that He was made man for us, and our brother by similitude of body, still He is therefore called and is the First-born' of us, because, all men being lost, according to the transgression of Adam, His flesh before all others was saved and liberated, as being the Word's body ; and henceforth we, becoming incorporate with It, are saved after Its pattern. For in It the Lord becomes our guide to the Kingdom of Heaven and to His own Father, saying, I am the way' and the door ,' and through Me all must enter.' Whence also is He said to be First-born from the dead ,' not that He died before us, for we had died first; but because having undergone death for us and abolished it, He was the first to rise, as man, for our sakes raising His own Body. Henceforth He having risen, we too from Him and because of Him rise in due course from the dead.
62. But if He is also called First-born of the creation ,' still this is not as if He were levelled to the creatures, and only first of them in point of time (for how should that be, since He is Only-begotten?'), but it is because of the Word's condescension to the creatures, according to which He has become the Brother' of many.' For the term Only-begotten' is used where there are no brethren, but First-born ' because of brethren. Accordingly it is nowhere written in the Scriptures, the first-born of God,' nor the creature of God;' but Only-begotten' and Son' and Word' and Wisdom,' refer to Him as proper to the Father . Thus, We have seen His glory, the glory as of the Only-begotten of the Father ;' and God sent His Only-begotten Son ;' and O Lord, Thy Word endureth for ever ;' and In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God;' and Christ the Power of God and the Wisdom of God ;' and This is My beloved Son;' and Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God .' But first-born' implied the descent to the creation ; for of it has He been called first-born; and He created' implies His grace towards the works, for for them is He created. If then He is Only-begotten, as indeed He is, First-born' needs some explanation; but if He be really First-born, then He is not Only-begotten . For the same cannot be both Only-begotten and First-born, except in different relations; -- that is, Only-begotten, because of His generation from the Father, as has been said; and First-born, because of His condescension to the creation and His making the many His brethren. Certainly, those two terms being inconsistent with each other, one should say that the attribute of being Only-begotten has justly the preference in the instance of the Word, in that there is no other Word, or other Wisdom, but He alone is very Son of the Father. Moreover , as was before said, not in connection with any reason, but absolutely it is said of Him, The Only-begotten Son which is in the bosom of the Father ;' but the word First-born' has again the creation as a reason in connection with it, which Paul proceeds to say, for in Him all things were created .' But if all the creatures were created in Him, He is other than the creatures, and is not a creature, but the Creator of the creatures.
63. Not then because He was from the Father was He called First-born,' but because in Him the creation came to be; and as before the creation He was the Son, through whom was the creation, so also before He was called the First-born of the whole creation, not the less was the Word Himself with God and the Word was God. But this also not understanding, these irreligious men go about saying, If He is First-born of all creation, it is plain that He too is one of the creation.' Senseless men! if He is simply First-born of the whole creation,' then He is other than the whole creation; for he says not, He is First-born above the rest of the creatures,' lest He be reckoned to be as one of the creatures, but it is written, of the whole creation,' that He may appear other than the creation . Reuben, for instance, is not said to be first-born of all the children of Jacob , but of Jacob himself and his brethren; lest he should be thought to be some other beside the children of Jacob. Nay, even concerning the Lord Himself the Apostle says not, that He may become First-born of all,' lest He be thought to bear a body other than ours, but among many brethren ,' because of the likeness of the flesh. If then the Word also were one of the creatures, Scripture would have said of Him also that He was First-born of other creatures; but in fact, the saints saying that He is First-born of the whole creation ,' the Son of God is plainly shewn to be other than the whole creation and not a creature. For if He is a creature, He will be First-born of Himself. How then is it possible, O Arians, for Him to be before and after Himself? next, if He is a creature, and the whole creation through Him came to be, and in Him consists, how can He both create the creation and be one of the things which consist in Him? Since then such a notion is in itself unseemly, it is proved against them by the truth, that He is called First-born among many brethren' because of the relationship of the flesh, and First-born from the dead,' because the resurrection of the dead is from Him and after Him; and First-born of the whole creation,' because of the Father's love to man, which brought it to pass that in His Word not only all things consist ,' but the creation itself, of which the Apostle speaks, waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God, shall be delivered' one time from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God .' Of this creation thus delivered, the Lord will be First-born, both of it and of all those who are made children, that by His being called first, those that come after Him may abide , as depending on the Word as a beginning .
64. And I think that the irreligious men themselves will be shamed from such a thought; for if the case stands not as we have said, but they will rule it that He is First-born of the whole creation' as in essence -- a creature among creatures, let them reflect that they will be conceiving Him as brother and fellow of the things without reason and life. For of the whole creation these also are parts; and the First-born' must be first indeed in point of time but only thus, and in kind and similitude must be the same with all. How then can they say this without exceeding all measures of irreligion? or who will endure them, if this is their language? or who can but hate them even imagining such things? For it is evident to all, that neither for Himself, as being a creature, nor as having any connection according to essence with the whole creation, has He been called First-born' of it: but because the Word, when at the beginning He framed the creatures, condescended to things originate, that it might be possible for them to come to be. For they could not have endured His nature, which was untempered splendour, even that of the Father, unless condescending by the Father's love for man He had supported them and taken hold of them and brought them into existence ; and next, because, by this condescension of the Word, the creation too is made a son through Him, that He might be in all respects First-born' of it, as has been said, both in creating, and also in being brought for the sake of all into this very world. For so it is written, When He bringeth the First-born into the world, He saith, Let all the Angels of God worship Him .' Let Christ's enemies hear and tear themselves to pieces, because His coming into the world is what makes Him called First-born' of all; and thus the Son is the Father's Only-begotten,' because He alone is from Him, and He is the First-born of creation,' because of this adoption of all as sons . And as He is First-born among brethren and rose from the dead the first fruits of them that slept ;' so, since it became Him in all things to have the preeminence ,' therefore He is created a beginning of ways,' that we, walking along it and entering through Him who says, I am the Way' and the Door,' and partaking of the knowledge of the Father, may also hear the words, Blessed are the undefiled in the Way,' and Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God .'
65. And thus since the truth declares that the Word is not by nature a creature, it is fitting now to say, in what sense He is beginning of ways.' For when the first way, which was through Adam, was lost, and in place of paradise we deviated unto death, and heard the words, Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return,' therefore the Word of God, who loves man, puts on Him created flesh at the Father's will , that whereas the first man had made it dead through the transgression, He Himself might quicken it in the blood of His own body , and might open for us a way new and living,' as the Apostle says, through the veil, that is to say, His flesh ;' which he signifies elsewhere thus, Wherefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creation; old things are passed away, behold all things are become new .' But if a new creation has come to pass, some one must be first of this creation; now a man, made of earth only, such as we are become from the transgression, he could not be. For in the first creation, men had become unfaithful, and through them that first creation had been lost; and there was need of some one else to renew the first creation, and preserve the new which had come to be. Therefore from love to man none other than the Lord, the beginning' of the new creation, is created as the Way,' and consistently says, The Lord created me a beginning of ways for His works;' that man might walk no longer according to that first creation, but there being as it were a beginning of a new creation, and with the Christ a beginning of its ways,' we might follow Him henceforth, who says to us, I am the Way:' -- as the blessed Apostle teaches in Colossians, saying, He is the Head of the body, the Church, who is the Beginning, the First-born from the dead, that in all things He might have the preeminence.'
66. For if, as has been said, because of the resurrection from the dead He is called a beginning, and then a resurrection took place when He, bearing our flesh, had given Himself to death for us, it is evident that His words, He created me a beginning of ways,' is indicative not of His essence , but of His bodily presence. For to the body death was proper ; and in like manner to the bodily presence are the words proper, The Lord created me a beginning of His ways.' For since the Saviour was thus created according to the flesh, and had become a beginning of things new created, and had our first fruits, viz. that human flesh which He took to Himself, therefore after Him, as is fit, is created also the people to come, David saying, Let this be written for another generation, and the people that shall be created shall praise the Lord .' And again in the twenty-first Psalm, The generation to come shall declare unto the Lord, and they shall declare His righteousness, unto a people that shall be born whom the Lord made .' For we shall no more hear, In the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die ,' but Where I am, there ye' shall be also;' so that we may say, We are His workmanship, created unto good works .' And again, since God's work, that is, man, though created perfect, has become wanting through the transgression, and dead by sin, and it was unbecoming that the work of God should remain imperfect (wherefore all the saints were praying concerning this, for instance in the hundred and thirty-seventh Psalm, saying, Lord, Thou shalt requite for me; despise not then the works of Thine hands '); therefore the perfect Word of God puts around Him an imperfect body, and is said to be created for the works;' that, paying the debt in our stead, He might, by Himself, perfect what was wanting to man. Now immortality was wanting to him, and the way to paradise. This then is what the Saviour says, I glorified Thee on the earth, I perfected the work which Thou hast given Me to do ;' and again, The works which the Father hath given Me to perfect, the same works that I do, bear witness of Me;' but the works ' He here says that the Father had given Him to perfect, are those for which He is created, saying in the Proverbs, The Lord created me a beginning of His ways, for His works;' for it is all one to say, The Father hath given me the works,' and The Lord created me for the works.'
67. When then received He the works to perfect, O God's enemies? for from this also He created' will be understood. If ye say, At the beginning when He brought them into being out of what was not,' it is an untruth; for they were not yet made; whereas He appears to speak as taking what was already in being. Nor is it pious to refer to the time which preceded the Word's becoming flesh, lest His coming should thereupon seem superfluous, since for the sake of these works that coming took place. Therefore it remains for us to say that when He has become man, then He took the works. For then He perfected them, by healing our wounds and vouchsafing to us the resurrection from the dead. But if, when the Word became flesh, then were given to Him the works, plainly when He became man, then also is He created for the works. Not of His essence then is He created' indicative, as has many times been said, but of His bodily generation. For then, because the works were become imperfect and mutilated from the transgression, He is said in respect to the body to be created; that by perfecting them and making them whole, He might present the Church unto the Father, as the Apostle says, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but holy and without blemish .' Mankind then is perfected in Him and restored, as it was made at the beginning, nay, with greater grace. For, on rising from the dead, we shall no longer fear death, but shall ever reign in Christ in the heavens. And this has been done, since the own Word of God Himself, who is from the Father, has put on the flesh, and become man. For if, being a creature, He had become man, man had remained just what he was, not joined to God; for how had a work been joined to the Creator by a work ? or what succour had come from like to like, when one as well as other needed it ? And how, were the Word a creature, had He power to undo God's sentence, and to remit sin, whereas it is written in the Prophets, that this is God's doing? For who is a God like unto Thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by transgression ?' For whereas God has said, Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return ,' men have become mortal; how then could things originate undo sin? but the Lord is He who has undone it, as He says Himself, Unless the Son shall make you free ;' and the Son, who made free, has shewn in truth that He is no creature, nor one of things originate, but the proper Word and Image of the Father's Essence, who at the beginning sentenced, and alone remitteth sins. For since it is said in the Word, Dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return,' suitably through the Word Himself and in Him the freedom and the undoing of the condemnation has come to pass.
68. Yet,' they say, though the Saviour were a creature, God was able to speak the word only and undo the curse.' And so another will tell them in like manner, Without His coming among us at all, God was able just to speak and undo the curse;' but we must consider what was expedient for mankind, and not what simply is possible with God . He could have destroyed, before the ark of Noah, the then transgressors; but He did it after the ark. He could too, without Moses, have spoken the word only and have brought the people out of Egypt; but it profited to do it through Moses. And God was able without the judges to save His people; but it was profitable for the people that for a season judges should be raised up to them. The Saviour too might have come among us from the beginning, or on His coming might not have been delivered to Pilate; but He came at the fulness of the ages ,' and when sought for said, I am He .' For what He does, that is profitable for men, and was not fitting in any other way; and what is profitable and fitting, for that He provides . Accordingly He came, not that He might be ministered unto, but that He might minister ,' and might work our salvation. Certainly He was able to speak the Law from heaven, but He saw that it was expedient to men for Him to speak from Sinai; and that He has done, that it might be possible for Moses to go up, and for them hearing the word near them the rather to believe. Moreover, the good reason of what He did may be seen thus; if God had but spoken, because it was in His power, and so the curse had been undone, the power had been shewn of Him who gave the word, but man had become such as Adam was before the transgression, having received grace from without , and not having it united to the body; (for he was such when he was placed in Paradise) nay, perhaps had become worse, because he had learned to transgress. Such then being his condition, had he been seduced by the serpent, there had been fresh need for God to give command and undo the curse; and thus the need had become interminable , and men had remained under guilt not less than before, as being enslaved to sin; and, ever sinning, would have ever needed one to pardon them, and had never become free, being in themselves flesh, and ever worsted by the Law because of the infirmity of the flesh.
69. Again, if the Son were a creature, man had remained mortal as before, not being joined to God; for a creature had not joined creatures to God, as seeking itself one to join it ; nor would a portion of the creation have been the creation's salvation, as needing salvation itself. To provide against this also, He sends His own Son, and He becomes Son of Man, by taking created flesh; that, since all were under sentence of death, He, being other than them all, might Himself for all offer to death His own body; and that henceforth, as if all had died through Him, the word of that sentence might be accomplished (for all died ' in Christ), and all through Him might thereupon become free from sin and from the curse which came upon it, and might truly abide for ever, risen from the dead and clothed in immortality and incorruption. For the Word being clothed in the flesh, as has many times been explained, every bite of the serpent began to be utterly staunched from out it; and whatever evil sprung from the motions of the flesh, to be cut away, and with these death also was abolished, the companion of sin, as the Lord Himself says , The prince of this world cometh, and findeth nothing in Me;' and For this end was He manifested,' as John has written, that He might destroy the works of the devil .' And these being destroyed from the flesh, we all were thus liberated by the kinship of the flesh, and for the future were joined, even we, to the Word. And being joined to God, no longer do we abide upon earth; but, as He Himself has said, where He is, there shall we be also; and henceforward we shall fear no longer the serpent, for he was brought to nought when he was assailed by the Saviour in the flesh, and heard Him say, Get thee behind Me, Satan ,' and thus he is cast out of paradise into the eternal fire. Nor shall we have to watch against woman beguiling us, for in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are as the Angels ;' and in Christ Jesus it shall be a new creation,' and neither male nor female, but all and in all Christ ;' and where Christ is, what fear, what danger can still happen?
70. But this would not have come to pass, had the Word been a creature; for with a creature, the devil, himself a creature, would have ever continued the battle, and man, being between the two, had been ever in peril of death, having none in whom and through whom he might be joined to God and delivered from all fear. Whence the truth shews us that the Word is not of things originate, but rather Himself their Framer. For therefore did He assume the body originate and human, that having renewed it as its Framer, He might deify it in Himself, and thus might introduce us all into the kingdom of heaven after His likeness. For man had not been deified if joined to a creature, or unless the Son were very God; nor had man been brought into the Father's presence, unless He had been His natural and true Word who had put on the body. And as we had not been delivered from sin and the curse, unless it had been by nature human flesh, which the Word put on (for we should have had nothing common with what was foreign), so also the man had not been deified, unless the Word who became flesh had been by nature from the Father and true and proper to Him. For therefore the union was of this kind, that He might unite what is man by nature to Him who is in the nature of the Godhead, and his salvation and deification might be sure. Therefore let those who deny that the Son is from the Father by nature and proper to His Essence, deny also that He took true human flesh of Mary Ever-Virgin ; for in neither case had it been of profit to us men, whether the Word were not true and naturally Son of God, or the flesh not true which He assumed. But surely He took true flesh, though Valentinus rave; yea the Word was by nature Very God, though Ario-maniacs rave ; and in that flesh has come to pass the beginning of our new creation, He being created man for our sake, and having made for us that new way, as has been said.
71. The Word then is neither creature nor work; for creature, thing made, work, are all one; and were He creature and thing made, He would also be work. Accordingly He has not said, He created Me a work,' nor He made Me with the works,' lest He should appear to be in nature and essence a creature; nor, He created Me to make works,' lest, on the other hand, according to the perverseness of the irreligious, He should seem as an instrument made for our sake. Nor again has He declared, He created Me before the works,' lest, as He really is before all, as an Offspring, so, if created also before the works, He should give Offspring' and He created' the same meaning. But He has said with exact discrimination , for the works;' as much as to say, The Father has made Me, into flesh, that I might be man,' which again shews that He is not a work but an offspring. For as he who comes into a house, is not part of the house, but is other than the house, so He who is created for the works, must be by nature other than the works. But if otherwise, as you hold, O Arians, the Word of God be a work, by what Hand and Wisdom did He Himself come into being? for all things that came to be, came by the Hand and Wisdom of God, who Himself says, My hand hath made all these things ;' and David says in the Psalm, And Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Thy hands ;' and again, in the hundred and forty-second Psalm, I do remember the time past, I muse upon all Thy works, yea I exercise myself in the works of Thy hands .' Therefore if by the Hand of God the works are wrought, and it is written that all things were made through the Word,' and without Him was not made one thing ,' and again, One Lord Jesus, through whom are all things ,' and in Him all things consist ,' it is very plain that the Son cannot be a work, but He is the Hand of God and the Wisdom. This knowing, the martyrs in Babylon, Ananias, Azarias, and Misael, arraign the Arian irreligion. For when they say, O all ye works of the Lord, bless ye the Lord,' they recount things in heaven, things on earth, and the whole creation, as works; but the Son they name not. For they say not, Bless, O Word, and praise, O Wisdom;' to shew that all other things are both praising and are works; but the Word is not a work nor of those that praise, but is praised with the Father and worshipped and confessed as God , being His Word and Wisdom, and of the works the Framer. This too the Spirit has declared in the Psalms with a most apposite distinction, the Word of the Lord is true, and all His works are faithful ;' as in another Psalm too He says, O Lord, how manifold are Thy works! in Wisdom hast Thou made them all .'
72. But if the Word were a work, then certainly He as others had been made in Wisdom; nor would Scripture distinguish Him from the works, nor while it named them works, preach Him as Word and own Wisdom of God. But, as it is, distinguishing Him from the works, He shews that Wisdom is Framer of the works, and not a work. This distinction Paul also observes, writing to the Hebrews, The Word of God is quick and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, reaching even to the dividing of soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart, neither is there any creature hidden before Him, but all things are naked and open unto the eyes of Him with whom is our account .' For behold he calls things originate creature;' but the Son he recognises as the Word of God, as if He were other than the creatures. And again saying, All things are naked and open to the eyes of Him with whom is our account,' he signifies that He is other than all of them. For hence it is that He judges, but each of all things originate is bound to give account to Him. And so also, when the whole creation is groaning together with us in order to be set free from the bondage of corruption, the Son is thereby shewn to be other than the creatures. For if He were creature, He too would be one of those who groan, and would need one who should bring adoption and deliverance to Himself as well as others. But if the whole creation groans together, for the sake of freedom from the bondage of corruption, whereas the Son is not of those that groan nor of those who need freedom, but He it is who gives sonship and freedom to all, saying to the Jews of His time , The servant remains not in the house for ever, but the Son remaineth for ever; if then the Son shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed ;' it is clearer than the light from these considerations also, that the Word of God is not a creature but true Son, and by nature genuine, of the Father. Concerning then The Lord hath created me a beginning of the ways,' this is sufficient, as I think, though in few words, to afford matter to the learned to frame more ample refutations of the Arian heresy.