Parallel Scriptural Interpretations in Sabellius and Irenaeus

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Parallel Scriptural Interpretations in Sabellius and Irenaeus

Post by Secret Alias »

I want to start a thread to see whether Novatian's identification of ''Sabellian' scriptural interpretations match Irenaeus's beyond this one:
AH 3.20.4 And that it is from that region which is towards the south of the inheritance of Judah that the Son of God shall come, who is God, and who was from Bethlehem, where the Lord was born [and] will send out His praise through all the earth, thus(7) says the prophet Habakkuk: "God shall come from the south *Deus ab Africo", and the Holy One from Mount, Effrem (et sanctus de monte Effrem). His power covered the heavens over, and the earth is full of His praise. Before His face shall go forth the Word, and His feet shall advance in the plains." Thus he indicates in clear terms that He is God, and that His advent was [to take place] in Bethlehem (Manifeste significans, quoniam Deus,’et quoniam in Bethleem adventus ejus) and from Mount Effrem, which is towards the south of the inheritance (et ex monte Effrem, qui est secundum Africum haereditatis,, and that [He is] man. For he says, "His feet shall advance in the plains:" and this is an indication proper to man (et quoniam homo. Progredientur enim, inquit, in campis pedes ejus : hoc autem signum proprium hominis)

Novatian Trinity 12 He says by Habakkuk the prophet: God shall come from the south, and the Holy One from the dark and dense mountain. Whom do they wish to represent as coming from the south? If they say that it is the Almighty God the Father, then God the Father comes from a place, from which place, moreover, He is thus excluded, and He is bounded within the straitnesses of some abode; and thus by such as these, as we have said, the sacrilegious heresy of Sabellius is embodied. Since Christ is believed to be not the Son, but the Father; since by them He is asserted to be in strictness a bare man, in a new manner, by those, again, Christ is proved to be God the Father Almighty. But if in Bethlehem, the region of which local division looks towards the southern portion of heaven, Christ is born, who by the Scriptures is also said to be God, this God is rightly described as coming from the south, because He was foreseen as about to come from Bethlehem. Let them, then, choose of the two alternatives, the one that they prefer, that He who came from the south is the Son, or the Father; for God is said to be about to come from the south. If the Son, why do they shrink from calling Him Christ and God? For the Scripture says that God shall come. If the Father, why do they shrink from being associated with the boldness of Sabellius, who says that Christ is the Father? Unless because, whether they call Him Father or Son, from his heresy, however unwillingly, they must needs withdraw if they are accustomed to say that Christ is merely man; when compelled by the facts themselves, they are on the eve of exalting Him as God, whether in wishing to call Him Father or in wishing to call Him Son.

Quem volunt isti ab Africo venire ? Per Abacuc prophetam ait: Deus ab Africo ueniet et sanctus de monte opaco et condenso. Quem uolunt isti ab Africo uenire? Si uenisse aiunt omnipotentem Deum Patrem, ergo de loco Deus Pater uenit, ex quo etiam loco cluditur et intra sedis alicuius angustias continetur. Et iam per istos, ut diximus, Sabelliana haeresis sacrilega corporatur, siquidem Christus non Filius, sed Pater creditur, et nouo more, dum ab istis destricte homo nudus asseritur, per eos rursum Christus Pater Deus omnipotens comprobatur. 8. At si in Bethlehem, cuius metaturae regio ad meridianam respicit plagam caeli, Christus nascitur, qui per scripturas et Deus dicitur, merito Deus hic ab Africo uenire describitur, quia a Bethlehem uenturus esse praeuidebatur. 9. Eligant ergo ex duobus, quid uelint, hunc qui ab Africo uenit Filium esse an Patrem; Deus enim dicitur ab Africo uenturus. Si Filium, quid dubitant Christum et Deum dicere? Deum enim scriptura dicit esse uenturum. Si Patrem, quid dubitant cum Sabellii temeritate misceri, qui Christum Patrem dicit? Nisi quoniam siue illum Patrem, siue Filium dixerint, ab haeresi sua inuiti licet desciscant necesse est qui Christum hominem tantummodo solent dicere, dum illum rebus ipsis coacti Deum incipiunt promere, siue dum illum Patrem, siue dum illum Filium uoluerint nuncupare.
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Re: Parallel Scriptural Interpretations in Sabellius and Irenaeus

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It would be argued that because Irenaeus accepts certain features of the Logos-based understanding of Justin that he 'can't be Sabellius.' But what do we really know about Sabellius? I think this is what might have offended members of Justin's tradition - that Irenaeus just took over or appropriated a tradition which originally believed in two gods, two powers and engaged in changed everything. Irenaeus took what Justin originally said and 'edited out' all overt references to two powers pretended to 'defend' Justin and champion his legacy and then make all these explicit statements to the effect that only power was active in the burning bush and various places where clearly two powers are meant. That would be really offensive to members of the original tradition. That might also explain why 'Sabellianism' became such an offensive heresy. For on some level Justin was still a 'monotheist.' I don't think he imagined there existed a 'divine household' where 'household' meant something like the dysfunctional household of a post-modern American sitcom. The heavenly household wasn't Married With Children. It was a collection of 'distinct' and clashing personalities like a pagan Olympus. It's only when Irenaeus clearly changed what Justin said about two powers that caused the accusation that Irenaeus himself had all these stupid and unworkable opinions and so on and so on. In other words, all context was removed from the attacks.
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Re: Parallel Scriptural Interpretations in Sabellius and Irenaeus

Post by schillingklaus »

Sabellius was a modalist or patripassianist.
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Re: Parallel Scriptural Interpretations in Sabellius and Irenaeus

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Well, but ...

To continue from what I wrote in another post. We all come from our backgrounds. My mother was a holocaust survivor. My father was a fifteen year old German boy who was thrown into the German army in the last week of the war and spent 5 years in Siberia. That almost set me on a course between the two extremes of modern European culture/thought. I don't believe in simply 'categories.' There are some people that just open a summary of the opinions of the Church Fathers and quote what you quoted. They also summarize what Irenaeus says and say 'they aren't the same.' The same thing can be done with respect to Justin and Marcion - Irenaeus says Justin opposed Marcion, the texts of Justin say he opposed Marcion etc. But there is a lot that unites Justin and Marcion once you get past the INTERPRETATION of Justin by Irenaeus and more important the evidence that Justin's works were heavily interpolated (chapters 76 - 120 in the Dialogue for instance).

In the case of Sabellius we don't have any original works of 'Sabellius.' We don't even have detailed descriptions of what he actually wrote. Instead we have mostly scriptural references which he used to show that there was One god when the text plainly refers to two. Take the example just cited above. The passage makes it seem as if there are two powers. The classic example in the Pentateuch is the SInai theophany where the ancient Israelites SEE one god on Sinai and HEAR another god in heaven (especially in the original text of Exodus preserved by the Samaritans and the Qumran community as opposed to the Masoretic text which altered the explicit formula by removing passages common to Exodus and Deuteronomy from the Book of Exodus).

That's what strikes me as so odd about Justin. Justin says the Jews altered 'the scriptures' to deny there was this second God. The quintessential 'proof' of this assertion is the middle of the Book of Exodus. This is the classic demonstration of two powers which makes its way into the Jewish commentaries on Exodus. He doesn't or at least it hasn't survived. Why is this? Because it was erased. People will say that's a crazy conclusion. But no it is not. Even Segal hints at Justin being the kind of person the Jewish sources are citing. But the end result is that we have to start thinking of our existing sources as kind of 'watered down' spokesmen which don't give us the full picture. If we heard Justin say THE JEWS ALTERED THE SCRIPTURES and THE SCRIPTURE THEY ALTERED WAS EXODUS and specifically THE DIVINE THEOPHANY ON SINAI PROVES THAT THERE ARE TWO POWERS Justin is at a point of no return. He can't be 'brought back' to orthodoxy. He's a fucking heretic plain and simple.

So that's why the existing texts were left in the shape they are now found. There is 'some idea' that there are two powers. There is even some mention of their being 'two gods.' There is even a sense that the Son is acting without the Father (one god without the other). But the underlying architecture is all gone. The notion that one power is merciful, the other punitive GONE. The notion that one power is an old man, the other a youth GONE (even though Christian sources speak of Son and Father it is never or rarely connected back to the ideas of the 'Jewish heretics' that Daniel knows this in chapter 7 in depth and detail that we see in the Jewish commentaries). In short, someone cleared out the idea that Jews and Christians were enemies of one another, the Christians 'allied' in some sense with contemporary Samaritans, in order to facilitate this false history that Jews 'always' believed only in one God. This was done in a haphazard manner. But it was carried out.

It was carried out by Irenaeus. Irenaeus was the one who took Justin's ideas, quoted them or referenced them at least but tossed in a stick of dynamite to blow up any distinction between 'the one god' and the other god. So the burning bush for Irenaeus IS LIKE Justin. He speaks of 'the Logos' being there. But Irenaeus sees it as Logos + Father there TOGETHER as ONE GOD. That doesn't prove that Irenaeus was distinct from Sabellius. It only underscores that the cursory references to Sabellius in the existing sources are entirely superficial. We're only getting a superficial reference to what this tradition associated with the name 'Sabellius' believed rather than THE ACTUAL BELIEFS OF THE PERSON. Of course I have to find more references where Sabellius and Irenaeus 'agree.' But that's my suspicion. The bottom line is that we don't have good evidence on any of the heresies only HERESAY on the HERESIES.
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Re: Parallel Scriptural Interpretations in Sabellius and Irenaeus

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I tell you what I get from On the Trinity - it would appear that Novatian has before him Book Three of Irenaeus's Against Heresies. Let's take the points in order. He references passages in the Pentateuch where Man appeared:
The same rule of truth teaches us to believe, after the Father, also on the Son of God, Christ Jesus, the Lord our God, but the Son of God— of that God who is both one and alone, to wit the Founder of all things, as already has been expressed above. For this Jesus Christ, I will once more say, the Son of this God, we read of as having been promised in the Old Testament, and we observe to be manifested in the New, fulfilling the shadows and figures of all the sacraments, with the presence of the truth embodied. For as well the ancient prophecies as the Gospels testify Him to be the son of Abraham and the son of David. Genesis itself anticipates Him, when it says: To you will I give it, and to your seed. Genesis 17:8 He is spoken of when it shows how a man wrestled with Jacob; He too, when it says: There shall not fail a prince from Judah, nor a leader from between his thighs, until He shall come to whom it has been promised; and He shall be the expectation of the nations. Genesis 49:10 He is spoken of by Moses when he says: Provide another whom you may send. Exodus 4:13 He is again spoken of by the same, when he testifies, saying: A Prophet will God raise up to you from your brethren; listen to Him as if to me. Deuteronomy 18:15 It is He, too, that he speaks of when he says: You shall see your life hanging in doubt night and day, and you shall not believe Him. Deuteronomy 28:66 Him, too, Isaiah alludes to: There shall go forth a rod from the root of Jesse, and a flower shall grow up from his root. Isaiah 11:1 The same also when he says: Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son. Isaiah 7:13 Him he refers to when he enumerates the healings that were to proceed from Him, saying: Then shall the eyes of the blind be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall hear: then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb shall be eloquent. Isaiah 35:3-6 Him also, when he sets forth the virtue of patience, saying: His voice shall not be heard in the streets; a bruised reed shall He not destroy, and the smoking flax shall He not quench. Isaiah 13:2-3 Him, too, when he described His Gospel: And I will ordain for you an everlasting covenant, even the sure mercies of David. Isaiah 55:3 Him, too, when he foretells that the nations should believe in Him: Behold, I have given Him for a Chief and a Commander to the nations. Nations that knew not You shall call upon You, and peoples that knew You not shall flee unto You. Isaiah 55:4-5 It is the same that he refers to when, concerning His passion, he exclaims, saying: As a sheep He is led to the slaughter; and as a lamb before his shearer is dumb, so He opened not His mouth in His humility. Isaiah 53:7 Him, moreover, when he described the blows and stripes of His scourgings: By His bruises we were healed. Isaiah 53:5 Or His humiliation: And we saw Him, and He had neither form nor comeliness, a man in suffering, and who knows how to bear infirmity. Isaiah 53:2 Or that the people would not believe in Him: All day long I have spread out my hands unto a people that believes not. Isaiah 65:2 Or that He would rise again from the dead: And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, and one who shall rise to reign over the nations; on Him shall the nations hope, and His rest shall be honour. Isaiah 11:10 Or when he speaks of the time of the resurrection: We shall find Him, as it were, prepared in the morning. Hosea 6:3 Or that He should sit at the right hand of the Father: The Lord said to my Lord, Sit at my right hand, until I shall place Your enemies as the stool of Your feet. Or when He is set forth as possessor of all things: Ask of me, and I will give You the heathen for Your inheritance, and the boundaries of the earth for Your possession. Or when He is shown as Judge of all: O God, give the King Your judgment, and Your righteousness to the King's Son. And I shall not in this place pursue the subject further: the things which are announced of Christ are known to all heretics, but are even better known to those who hold the truth.
Many of these are referenced in AH 3. Then he mentions the Marcionites:
But of this I remind you, that Christ was not to be expected in the Gospel in any other wise than as He was promised before by the Creator, in the Scriptures of the Old Testament; especially as the things that were predicted of Him were fulfilled, and those things that were fulfilled had been predicted. As with reason I might truly and constantly say to that fanciful — I know not what — of those heretics who reject the authority of the Old Testament, as to a Christ feigned and colored up from old wives' fables: Who are you? Whence are you? By whom are you sent? Wherefore have you now chosen to come? Why such as you are? Or how have you been able to come? Or wherefore have you not gone to your own, except that you have proved that you have none of your own, by coming to those of another? What have you to do with the Creator's world? What have you to do with the Creator's man? What have you to do with the image of a body from which you take away the hope of resurrection? Why do you come to another man's servant, and do you desire to solicit another man's son? Why do you strive to take me away from the Lord? Why do you compel me to blaspheme, and to be impious to my Father? Or what shall I gain from you in the resurrection, if I do not receive myself when I lose my body? If you wish to save, you should have made a man to whom to give salvation. If you desire to snatch from sin, you should have granted to me previously that I should not fall into sin. But what approbation of law do you carry about with you? What testimony of the prophetic word have you? Or what substantial good can I promise myself from you, when I see that you have come in a phantasm and not in a bodily substance? What, then, have you to do with the form of a body, if you hate a body? Nay, you will be refitted as to the hatred of bearing about the substance of a body, since you have been willing even to take up its form. For you ought to have hated the imitation of a body, if you hated the reality; because, if you are something else, you ought to have come as something else, lest you should be called the Son of the Creator if you had even the likeness of flesh and body. Assuredly, if you hated being born because you hated 'the Creator's marriage-union,' you ought to refuse even the likeness of a man who is born by the 'marriage of the Creator.'
Then he references the other heretics that Irenaeus spends a lot of time discussing in AH 3:
Neither, therefore, do we acknowledge that that is a Christ of the heretics who was — as it is said — in appearance and not in reality; for of those things which he did, he could have done nothing real, if he himself was a phantasm, and not reality.

Neque igitur eum haereticorum agnoscimus Christum, qui in imagine, ut dicitur, fuit et non in ueritate, <ne> nihil uerum eorum quae gessit fecerit, si ipse phantasma et non ueritas fuit
We have to remember that when Josephus describes the angel Man in his encounter with Jacob he describes him as a 'phantasma.' So it's not a heretical pre-occupation but a pre-existent Jewish understanding. Then the rest of Irenaeus's discussion of the heresies in AH 3:
Nor him who wore nothing of our body in himself, seeing he received nothing from Mary; neither did he come to us, since he appeared as a vision, not in our substance.

neque eum qui nihil in se nostri corporis gessit, dum ex Maria nihil accepit, ne non nobis uenerit, dum non in nostra substantia uisus apparuit
Nor do we acknowledge that to be Christ who chose an ethereal or starry flesh, as some heretics have pretended. Nor can we perceive any salvation of ours in him, if in him we do not even recognise the substance of our body; nor, in short, any other who may have worn any other kind of fabulous body of heretical device.

neque illum qui aetheream siue sideream, ut alii uoluerunt haeretici, induit carnem, ne nullam in illo nostram intellegamus salutem, si non etiam nostri corporis cognoscamus soliditatem, nec ullum omnino alterum, qui quoduis aliud ex figmento haereticorum gesserit corpus fabularum.
For all such fables as these are confuted as well by the nativity as by the death itself of our Lord. For John says: The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us; so that, reasonably, our body should be in Him, because indeed the Word took on Him our flesh. And for this reason blood flowed forth from His hands and feet, and from His very side, so that He might be proved to be a sharer in our body by dying according to the laws of our dissolution. And that He was raised again in the same bodily substance in which He died, is proved by the wounds of that very body, and thus He showed the laws of our resurrection in His flesh, in that He restored the same body in His resurrection which He had from us. For a law of resurrection is established, in that Christ is raised up in the substance of the body as an example for the rest; because, when it is written that flesh and blood do not inherit the kingdom of God, it is not the substance of the flesh that is condemned, which was built up by the divine hands that it should not perish, but only the guilt of the flesh is rightly rebuked, which by the voluntary daring of man rebelled against the claims of divine law. Because in baptism and in the dissolution of death the flesh is raised up and returns to salvation, by being recalled to the condition of innocency when the mortality of guilt is put away.
Then in chapter 11 he writes:
But lest, from the fact of asserting that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Creator, was manifested in the substance of the true body, we should seem either to have given assent to other heretics, who in this place maintain that He is man only and alone, and therefore desire to prove that He was a man bare and solitary (hominem illum nudum et solitarium); and lest we should seem to have afforded them any ground for objecting, we do not so express doctrine concerning the substance of His body, as to say that He is only and alone man, but so as to maintain, by the association of the divinity of the Word in that very materiality, that He was also God according to the Scriptures.
Compare this with Irenaeus 3.19:
But again, those who assert that He was a naked man, begotten by Joseph ((Rursus autem ‘qui nude tantum hominem eum dicunt ex Joseph generatum), remaining in the bondage of the old disobedience, are in a state of death (perseverantes in servitute pristinae inobedientiae moriuntur) having been not as yet joined to the Word of God the Father (nondum commixti Verbo Dei Patris), nor receiving liberty through the Son (neque per Filium percipientes libertatem)
Again I am not asserting that Sabellius is accusing Irenaeus of being one who sees Christ as naked only that he picks up on the argument made in AH 3.
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Re: Parallel Scriptural Interpretations in Sabellius and Irenaeus

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Continuing in chapter 11 of Novatian's Trinity:
For there is a great risk of saying that the Saviour of the human race was only man; that the Lord of all, and the Chief of the world, to whom all things were delivered, and all things were granted by His Father, by whom all things were ordained, all things were created, all things were arranged, the King of all ages and times, the Prince of all the angels, before whom there is none but the Father, was only man, and denying to Him divine authority in these things. For this contempt of the heretics will recoil also upon God the Father, if God the Father could not beget God the Son.
I see the sentence in red as an addition from Novatian. He starts with Irenaeus's argument against those who see Jesus as a mere man without divine Logos and then says "not only this, but there are those (Irenaeus) who refuse to put distance between Father and Son. This leads to a more general argument of Irenaeus being like the very heretics he describes in AH 3:
But, moreover, no blindness of the heretics shall prescribe to the truth. Nor, because they maintain one thing in Christ and, do not maintain another, they see one side of Christ and do not see another, shall there be taken away from us that which they do not see for the sake of that which they do. For they regard the weaknesses in Him as if they were a man's weaknesses, but they do not count the powers as if they were a God's powers. They keep in mind the infirmities of the flesh, they exclude the powers of the divinity; when if this argument from the infirmities of Christ is of avail to the result of proving Him to be man from His infirmities, the argument of divinity in Him gathered from His powers avails to the result also of asserting Him to be God from His works. For if His sufferings show in Him human frailty, why may not His works assert in Him divine power? For if this should not avail to assert Him to be God from His powers, neither can His sufferings avail to show Him to be man also from them. For whatever principle be adopted on one or the other side, will be found to be maintained. For there will be a risk that He should not be shown to be man from His sufferings, if He could not also be approved as God by His powers. We must not then lean to one side and evade the other side, because any one who should exclude one portion of the truth will never hold the perfect truth. For Scripture as much announces Christ as also God, as it announces God Himself as man. It has as much described Jesus Christ to be man, as moreover it has also described Christ the Lord to be God. Because it does not set forth Him to be the Son of God only, but also the Son of man; nor does it only say, the Son of man, but it has also been accustomed to speak of Him as the Son of God. So that being of both, He is both, lest if He should be one only, He could not be the other. For as nature itself has prescribed that he must be believed to be a man who is of man, so the same nature prescribes also that He must be believed to be God who is of God; but if he should not also be God when be is of God, no more should he be man although he should be of man. And thus both doctrines would be endangered in one and the other way, by one being convicted to have lost belief in the other. Let them, therefore, who read that Jesus Christ the Son of man is man, read also that this same Jesus is called also God and the Son of God. For in the manner that as man He is of Abraham, so also as God He is before Abraham himself. And in the same manner as He is as man the Son of David, so as God He is proclaimed David's Lord. And in the same manner as He was made as man under the law, Galatians 4:4 so as God He is declared to be Lord of the Sabbath. And in the same manner as He suffers, as man, the condemnation, so as God He is found to have all judgment of the quick and dead. And in the same manner as He is born as man subsequent to the world, so as God He is manifested to have been before the world. And in the same way as He was begotten as man of the seed of David, so also the world is said to have been ordained by Him as God. And in the same way as He was as man after many, so as God He was before all. And in the same manner as He was as man inferior to others, so as God He was greater than all. And in the same manner as He ascended as man into heaven, so as God He had first descended thence. And in the same manner as He goes as man to the Father, so as the Son in obedience to the Father He shall descend thence. So if imperfections in Him prove human frailty, majesties in Him affirm divine power. For the risk is, in reading of both, to believe not both, but one of the two. Wherefore as both are read of in Christ, let both be believed; that so finally the faith may be true, being also complete. For if of two principles one gives way in the faith, and the other, and that indeed which is of least importance, be taken up for belief, the rule of truth is thrown into confusion; and that boldness will not confer salvation, but instead of salvation will effect a great risk of death from the overthrow of the faith.
This is a further qualification or 'fleshing out' of Irenaeus repackaging of Justin's Man understanding. But it clearly has Irenaeus's text in AH 3 in mind. Already someone else noticed a reference to Irenaeus in what follows in chapter 12:
Why, then, should we hesitate to say what Scripture does not shrink from declaring? Why shall the truth of faith hesitate in that wherein the authority of Scripture has never hesitated? For, behold, Hosea the prophet says in the person of the Father: I will not now save them by bow, nor by horses, nor by horsemen; but I will save them by the Lord their God. Hosea 1:7 If God says that He saves by God, still God does not save except by Christ. Why, then, should man hesitate to call Christ God, when he observes that He is declared to be God by the Father according to the Scriptures? Yea, if God the Father does not save except by God, no one can be saved by God the Father unless he shall have confessed Christ to be God, in whom and by whom the Father promises that He will give him salvation: so that, reasonably, whoever acknowledges Him to be God, may find salvation in Christ God; whoever does not acknowledge Him to be God, would lose salvation which he could not find elsewhere than in Christ God.
This is the author making his own argument from scripture. Clearly God is referring to someone else, another god. Then he proceeds to say:
For in the same way as Isaiah says, Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and you shall call His name Emmanuel, which is, interpreted, God with us; Isaiah 7:14 so Christ Himself says, Lo, I am with you, even to the consummation of the world. Matthew 28:20 Therefore He is God with us; yea, and much rather, He is in us. Christ is with us, therefore it is He whose name is God with us, because He also is with us; or is He not with us? How then does He say that He is with us? He, then, is with us. But because He is with us He was called Emmanuel, that is, God with us. God, therefore, because He is with us, was called God with us, The same prophet says: Be strengthened, you relaxed hands, and you feeble knees; be consoled, you that are cowardly in heart; be strong; fear not. Lo, our God shall return judgment; He Himself shall come, and shall save you: then shall the eyes of the blind be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall hear; then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb shall be eloquent. Since the prophet says that at God's advent these should be the signs which come to pass; let men acknowledge either that Christ is the Son of God, at whose advent and by whom these wonders of healings were performed; or, overcome by the truth of Christ's divinity, let them rush into the other heresy, and refusing to confess Christ to be the Son of God, and God, let them declare Him to be the Father. For, being bound by the words of the prophets, they can no longer deny Christ to be God. What, then, do they reply when those signs are said to be about to take place on the advent of God, which were manifested on the advent of Christ? In what way do they receive Christ as God? For now they cannot deny Him to be God. As God the Father, or as God the Son? If as the Son, why do they deny that the Son of God is God? If as the Father, why do they not follow those who appear to maintain blasphemies of that kind? Unless because in this contest against them concerning the truth, this is in the meantime sufficient for us, that, being convinced in any kind of way, they should confess Christ to be God, seeing they have even wished to deny that He is God. He says by Habakkuk the prophet: God shall come from the south, and the Holy One from the dark and dense mountain. Whom do they wish to represent as coming from the south? If they say that it is the Almighty God the Father, then God the Father comes from a place, from which place, moreover, He is thus excluded, and He is bounded within the straitnesses of some abode; and thus by such as these, as we have said, the sacrilegious heresy of Sabellius is embodied. Since Christ is believed to be not the Son, but the Father; since by them He is asserted to be in strictness a bare man, in a new manner, by those, again, Christ is proved to be God the Father Almighty. But if in Bethlehem, the region of which local division looks towards the southern portion of heaven, Christ is born, who by the Scriptures is also said to be God, this God is rightly described as coming from the south, because He was foreseen as about to come from Bethlehem. Let them, then, choose of the two alternatives, the one that they prefer, that He who came from the south is the Son, or the Father; for God is said to be about to come from the south. If the Son, why do they shrink from calling Him Christ and God? For the Scripture says that God shall come. If the Father, why do they shrink from being associated with the boldness of Sabellius, who says that Christ is the Father? Unless because, whether they call Him Father or Son, from his heresy, however unwillingly, they must needs withdraw if they are accustomed to say that Christ is merely man; when compelled by the facts themselves, they are on the eve of exalting Him as God, whether in wishing to call Him Father or in wishing to call Him Son.
This is clearly a reference to the following section from AH 3:
And that it was not a mere man who died for us, Isaiah says: "And the holy Lord remembered His dead Israel, who had slept in the land of sepulture; and He came down to preach His salvation to them, that He might save them." And Amos the prophet declares the same: "He will turn again, and will have compassion upon us: He will destroy our iniquities, and will cast our sins into the depths of the sea." And again, specifying the place of His advent, he says: "The Lord hath spoken from Zion, and He has uttered His voice from Jerusalem." And that it is from that region which is towards the south of the inheritance of Judah that the Son of God shall come, who is God, and who was from Bethlehem, where the Lord was born [and] will send out His praise through all the earth, thus(7) says the prophet Habakkuk: "God shall come from the south, and the Holy One from Mount, Effrem. His power covered the heavens over, and the earth is full of His praise. Before His face shall go forth the Word, and His feet shall advance in the plains. Thus he indicates in clear terms that He is God, and that His advent was [to take place] in Bethlehem, and from Mount Effrem, which is towards the south of the inheritance, and that [He is] man. For he says, "His feet shall advance in the plains:" and this is an indication proper to man. God, then, was made man, and the Lord did Himself save us, giving us the token of the Virgin. But not as some allege, among those now presuming to expound the Scripture, [thus:] "Behold, a young woman shall conceive, and bring forth a son," as Theodotion the Ephesian has interpreted, and Aquila of Pontus, both Jewish proselytes. The Ebionites, following these, assert that He was begotten by Joseph ... For the one and the same Spirit of God, who proclaimed by the prophets what and of what sort the advent of the Lord should be, did by these elders give a just interpretation of what had been truly prophesied; and He did Himself, by the apostles, announce that the fulness of the times of the adoption had arrived, that the kingdom of heaven had drawn nigh, and that He was dwelling within those that believe on Him who was born Emmanuel of the Virgin.
The two passages back to back makes it impossible that Novatian is referring to anyone but Irenaeus and AH 3.19 in particular.
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Re: Parallel Scriptural Interpretations in Sabellius and Irenaeus

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So that's the proof that there is an interconnectedness between Irenaeus and Novatian's 'Sabellius.' The next chapter we read:
And thus also John, describing the nativity of Christ, says: The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full Of grace and truth.. For, moreover, His name is called the Word of God, and not without reason. My heart has emitted a good word; which word He subsequently calls by the name of the King inferentially, I will tell my works to the King. For by Him were made all the works, and without Him was nothing made. John 1:3 Whether says the apostle they be thrones or dominations, or powers, or mights, visible things and invisible, all things subsist by Him. Colossians 1:16 Moreover, this is that word which came unto His own, and His own received Him not. For the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not. John 1:10-11 Moreover, this Word was in the beginning with God, and God was the Word. John 1:1 Who then can doubt, when in the last clause it is said, The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, that Christ, whose is the nativity, and because He was made flesh, is man; and because He is the Word of God, who can shrink from declaring without hesitation that He is God, especially when he considers the evangelical Scripture, that it has associated both of these substantial natures into one concord of the nativity of Christ? ... For He is before all things, because all things are by Him, while if He were only man, nothing would be by Him; or if all things were by Him, He would not be man only, because if He were only man, all things would not be by Him; nay, nothing would be by Him. What, then, do they reply? That nothing is by Him, so that He is man only? How then are all things by Him? Therefore He is not man only, but God also, since all things are by Him; so that we reasonably ought to understand that Christ is not man only, who is subsequent to all things, but God also, since by Him all things were made. For how can you say that He is man only, when you see Him also in the flesh, unless because when both aspects are considered, both truths are rightly believed?
This starts a long series of chapters which start with the same idea. Chapter 14 - 17:
And yet the heretic still shrinks from urging that Christ is God, whom he perceives to be proved God by so many words as well as facts.

If Christ is only man (Si homo tantummodo Christus), how, when He came into this world, did He come unto His own, since a man could have made no world?

If Christ was only man (Si homo tantummodo Christus), how is the world said to have been made by Him, when the world was not by man, but man was ordained after the world?

If Christ was only man (Si homo tantummodo Christus), how was it that Christ was not only of the seed of David; but He was the Word made flesh and dwelt among us? For although the Protoplast was not born of seed, yet neither was the Protoplast formed of the conjunction of the Word and the flesh.
For He is not the Word made flesh, nor dwelt in us.

If Christ was only man (Si homo tantummodo Christus), how does He who comes from heaven testify what He has seen and heard, John 3:31 when it is plain that man cannot come from heaven, because he cannot be born there?

If Christ be only man (Si homo tantummodo Christus), how are visible things and invisible, thrones, powers, and dominions, said to be created by Him and in Him; when the heavenly powers could not have been made by man, since they must needs have been prior to man?

If Christ is only man (Si homo tantummodo Christus), how is He present wherever He is called upon; when it is not the nature of man, but of God, that it can be present in every place?

If Christ is only man (Si homo tantummodo Christus), why is a man invoked in prayers as a Mediator, when the invocation of a man to afford salvation is condemned as ineffectual?

If Christ is only man (Si homo tantummodo Christus), why is hope rested upon Him, when hope in man is declared to be accursed?

If Christ is only man (Si homo tantummodo Christus), why may not Christ be denied without destruction of the soul, when it is said that a sin committed against man may be forgiven?

If Christ is only man (Si homo tantummodo Christus), how comes John the Baptist to testify and say, He who comes after me has become before me, because He was prior to me; John 1:15 when, if Christ were only man, being born after John, He could not be before John, unless because He preceded him, in that He is God?

If Christ is only man (Si homo tantummodo Christus), how is it that what things the Father does, these also does the Son likewise, John 5:19 when man cannot do works like to the heavenly operations of God?

If Christ is only man (Si homo tantummodo Christus), how is it that even as the Father has life in Himself, so has He given to the Son to have life in Himself, John 5:26 when man cannot have life in him after the example of God the Father, because he is not glorious in eternity, but made with the materials of mortality?

If Christ is only man (Si homo tantummodo Christus), how does He say, I am the bread of eternal life which came down from heaven, John 6:51 when man can neither be the bread of life, he himself being mortal, nor could he have come down from heaven, since no perishable material is established in heaven?

If Christ is only man (Si homo tantummodo Christus), how does He say that no man has seen God at any time, save He which is of God; He has seen God?

Because if Christ is only man (Quoniam si homo tantummodo Christus), He could not see God, because no man has seen God; but if, being of God, He has seen God, He wishes it to be understood that He is more than man, in that He has seen God.

If Christ is only man (Si homo tantummodo Christus), why does He say, What if you shall see the Son of man ascending there where He was before? But He ascended into heaven, therefore He was there, in that He returned there where He was before. But if He was sent from heaven by the Father, He certainly is not man only; for man, as we have said, could not come from heaven. Therefore as man He was not there before, but ascended there where He was not. But the Word of God descended which was there — the Word of God, I say, and God by whom all things were made, and without whom nothing was made. It was not therefore man that thus came thence from heaven, but the Word of God; that is, God descended thence.

If Christ is only man (Si homo tantummodo Christus), how is it that He says, Though I bear record of myself, yet my record is true: because I know whence I came, and whither I go; you know not whence I came, and whither I go. You judge after the flesh? Behold, also He says, that He shall return there whence He bears witness that He came before, as being sent — to wit, from heaven. He came down therefore from whence He came, in the same manner as He goes there from whence He descended.

Whence if Christ were only man (Ex quo si homo tantummodo Christus), He would not have come thence, and therefore would not depart there, because He would not have come thence. Moreover, by coming thence, whence as man He could not have come, He shows Himself to have come as God. For the Jews, ignorant and untaught in the matter of this very descent of His, made these heretics their successors, seeing that to them it is said, You know not whence I come, and whither I go: you judge after the flesh. As much they as the Jews, holding that the carnal birth of Christ was the only one, believed that Christ was nothing else than man; not considering this point, that as man could not come from heaven, so as that he might return there, He who descended thence must be God, seeing that man could not come thence.

If Christ is only man (Si homo tantummodo Christus), how does He say, You are from below, I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world? But therefore if every man is of this world, and Christ is for that reason in this world, is He only man? God forbid! But consider what He says: I am not of this world. Does He then speak falsely when He says of this world, if He is only man? Or if He does not speak falsely, He is not of this world; He is therefore not man only, because He is not of this world. But that it should not be a secret who He was, He declared whence He was: I, said He, am from above, that is, from heaven, whence man cannot come, for he was not made in heaven. He is God, therefore, who is from above, and therefore He is not of this world; although, moreover, in a certain manner He is of this word: wherefore Christ is not God only, but man also. As reasonably in the way in which He is not of this world according to the divinity of the Word, so He is of this world according to the frailty of the body that He has taken upon Him. For man is joined with God, and God is linked with man. But on that account this Christ here laid more stress on the one aspect of His sole divinity, because the Jewish blindness contemplated in Christ the aspect alone of the flesh; and thence in the present passage He passed over in silence the frailty of the body, which is of the world, and spoke of His divinity alone, which is not of the world: so that in proportion as they had inclined to believe Him to be only man, in that proportion Christ might draw them to consider His divinity, so as to believe Him to be God, desirous to overcome their incredulity concerning His divinity by omitting in the meantime any mention of His human condition, and by setting before them His divinity alone.

If Christ is man only (Si homo tantummodo Christus), how does He say, I proceeded forth and came from God, when it is evident that man was made by God, and did not proceed forth from Him? But in the way in which as man He proceeded not from God, thus the Word of God proceeded, of whom it is said, My heart has uttered forth a good Word; which, because it is from God, is with reason also with God. And this, too, since it was not uttered without effect, reasonably makes all things: For all things were made by Him, and without Him was nothing made. But this Word whereby all things were made (is God). And God, says he, was the Word. Therefore God proceeded from God, in that the Word which proceeded is God, who proceeded forth from God.

If Christ is only man (Si homo tantummodo Christus), how does He say, If any man shall keep my word, he shall not see death for ever? Not to see death for ever! What is this but immortality? But immortality is the associate of divinity, because both the divinity is immortal, and immortality is the fruit of divinity. For every man is mortal; and immortality cannot be from that which is mortal. Therefore from Christ, as a mortal man, immortality cannot arise. But, says He, whosoever keeps my word, shall not see death for ever; therefore the word of Christ affords immortality, and by immortality affords divinity. But although it is not possible to maintain that one who is himself mortal can make another immortal, yet this word of Christ not only sets forth, but affords immortality: certainly He is not man only who gives immortality, which if He were only man He could not give; but by giving divinity by immortality, He proves Himself to be God by offering divinity, which if He were not God He could not give.

If Christ was only man (Si homo tantummodo Christus), how did He say, Before Abraham was, I Am? For no man can be before Him from whom he himself is; nor can it be that any one should have been prior to him of whom he himself has taken his origin. And yet Christ, although He is born of Abraham, says that He is before Abraham. Either, therefore, He says what is not true, and deceives, if He was not before Abraham, seeing that He was of Abraham; or He does not deceive, if He is also God, and was before Abraham. And if this were not so, it follows that, being of Abraham, He could not be before Abraham.

If Christ was only man (Si homo tantummodo Christus), how does He say, And I know them, and my sheep follow me; and I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish? And yet, since every man is bound by the laws of mortality, and therefore is unable to keep himself for ever, much more will he be unable to keep another forever. But Christ promises to give salvation for ever, which if He does not give, He is a deceiver; if He gives, He is God. But He does not deceive, for He gives what He promises. Therefore He is God who proffers eternal salvation, which man, being unable to keep himself for ever, cannot be able to give to another.

If Christ is only man (Si homo tantummodo Christus) what is that which He says, I and the Father are one? For how can it be that I and the Father are one, if He is not both God and the Son? — who may therefore be called one, seeing that He is of Himself, being both His Son, and being born of Him, being declared to have proceeded from Him, by which He is also God; which when the Jews thought to be hateful, and believed to be blasphemous, for that He had shown Himself in these discourses to be God, and therefore rushed at once to stoning, and set to work passionately to hurl stones, He strongly refuted His adversaries by the example and witness of the Scriptures. If, said He, He called them gods to whom the words of God were given, and the Scriptures cannot be broken, you say of Him whom the Father sanctified, and sent into this world, You blaspheme, because I said, I am the Son of God. By which words He did not deny Himself to be God, but rather He confirmed the assertion that He was God. For because, undoubtedly, they are said to be gods unto whom the words of God were given, much more is He God who is found to be superior to all these. And nevertheless He refuted the calumny of blasphemy in a fitting manner with lawful tact. For He wishes that He should be thus understood to be God, as the Son of God, and He would not wish to be understood to be the Father Himself. Thus He said that He was sent, and showed them that He had manifested many good works from the Father; whence He desired that He should not be understood to be the Father, but the Son. And in the latter portion of His defense He made mention of the Son, not the Father, when He said, You say, You blaspheme, because I said, I am the Son of God. Thus, as far as pertains to the guilt of blasphemy, He calls Himself the Son, not the Father; but as pertaining to His divinity, by saying, I and the Father are one, He proved that He was the Son of God. He is God, therefore, but God in such a manner as to be the Son, not the Father.

If Christ was only man (Si homo tantummodo Christus), how is it that He Himself says, And every one that believes in me shall not die for evermore? And yet he who believes in man by himself alone and naked (hominem solitarium credit et nudum) is called accursed; but he who believes on Christ is not accursed, but is said not to die for evermore. Whence, if on the one hand He is man only, as the heretics will have it, how shall not anybody who believes in Him die eternally, since he who trusts in man is held to be accursed? Or on the other, if he is not accursed, but rather, as it is read, destined for the attainment of everlasting life, Christ is not man only, but God also, in whom he who believes both lays aside all risk of curse, and attains to the fruit of righteousness.

If Christ was only man (Si homo tantummodo Christus), how does He say that the Paraclete shall take of His, those things which He shall declare? For neither does the Paraclete receive anything from man, but the Paraclete offers knowledge to man; nor does the Paraclete learn things future from man, but instructs man concerning futurity. Therefore either the Paraclete has not received from Christ, as man, what He should declare, since man could give nothing to the Paraclete, seeing that from Him man himself ought to receive, and Christ in the present instance is both mistaken and deceives, in saying that the Paraclete shall receive from Him, being a man, the things which He may declare; or He does not deceive us — as in fact He does not — and the Paraclete has received from Christ what He may declare. But if He has received from Christ what He may declare to us, Christ is greater than the Paraclete, because the Paraclete would not receive from Christ unless He were less than Christ. But the Paraclete being less than Christ, moreover, by this very fact proves Christ to be God, from whom He has received what He declares: so that the testimony of Christ's divinity is immense, in the Paraclete being found to be in this economy less than Christ, and taking from Him what He gives to others;

seeing that if Christ were only man (Quandoquidem si homo tantummodo Christus), Christ would receive from the Paraclete what He should say, not the Paraclete receive from Christ what He should declare.

If Christ was only man (Si homo tantummodo Christus), wherefore did He lay down for us such a rule of believing as that in which He said, And this is life eternal, that they should know You, the only and true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent? Had He not wished that He also should be understood to be God, why did He add, And Jesus Christ, whom You have sent, except because He wished to be received as God also? Because if He had not wished to be understood to be God, He would have added, And the man Jesus Christ, whom You have sent; but, in fact, He neither added this, nor did Christ deliver Himself to us as than only, but associated Himself with God, as He wished to be understood by this conjunction to be God also, as He is. We must therefore believe, according to the rule prescribed, on the Lord, the one true God, and consequently on Him whom He has sent, Jesus Christ, who by no means, as we have said, would have linked Himself to the Father had He not wished to be understood to be God also: for He would have separated Himself from Him had He not wished to be understood to be God. He would have placed Himself among men only, had He known Himself to be only man; nor would He have linked Himself with God had He not known Himself to be God also. But in this case He is silent about His being man, because no one doubts His being man, and with reason links Himself to God, that He might establish the formula of His divinity for those who should believe.

If Christ was only man (Si homo tantummodo Christus), how does He say, And now glorify me with the glory which I had with You before the world was? If, before the world was, He had glory with God, and maintained His glory with the Father, He existed before the world, for He would not have had the glory unless He Himself had existed before, so as to be able to keep the glory. For no one could possess anything, unless he himself should first be in existence to keep anything. But now Christ has the glory before the foundation of the world; therefore He Himself was before the foundation of the world. For unless He were before the foundation of the world, He could not have glory before the foundation of the world, since He Himself was not in existence. But indeed man could not have glory before the foundation of the world, seeing that he was after the world; but Christ had — therefore He was before the world. Therefore He was not man only, seeing that He was before the world. He is therefore God, because He was before the world, and held His glory before the world. Neither let this be explained by predestination, since this is not so expressed, or let them add this who think so, but woe is denounced to them who add to, even as to those who take away from, that which is written. Therefore that may not be said, which may not be added. And thus, predestination being set aside, seeing it is not so laid down, Christ was in substance before the foundation of the world. For He is the Word by which all things were made, and without which nothing was made. Because even if He is said to be glorious in predestination, and that this predestination was before the foundation of the world, let order be maintained, and before Him a considerable number of men was destined to glory. For in respect of that destination, Christ will be perceived to be less than others if He is designated subsequent to them. For if this glory was in predestination, Christ received that predestination to glory last of all; for prior to Him Adam will be seen to have been predestinated, and Abel, and Enoch, and Noah, and Abraham, and many others. For since with God the order of all, both persons and things, is arranged, many will be said to have been predestinated before this predestination of Christ to glory. And on these terms Christ is discovered to be inferior to other men, although He is really found to be better and greater, and more ancient than the angels themselves. Either, then, let all these things be set on one side, that Christ's divinity may be destroyed; or if these things cannot be set aside, let His proper divinity be attributed to Christ by the heretics.
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Re: Parallel Scriptural Interpretations in Sabellius and Irenaeus

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What is at the core of this constant repetition "Si homo tantummodo Christus"? Clearly it is what I was examining earlier in the other thread - the fact that Irenaeus doesn't understand the nomen sacrum to mean 'Jesus' but 'Man.' He inherited this from Justin. Novatian uses this throughout his attack to misconstrue what 'Sabellius' aka Irenaeus understands by this title.
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Re: Parallel Scriptural Interpretations in Sabellius and Irenaeus

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The original statement in Irenaeus AH 3:
And again, in his Epistle to the Galatians, he says: "But when the fulness of time had come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption" plainly indicating one God, who did by the prophets make promise of the Son, and one Jesus Christ our Lord, who was of the seed of David according to His birth from Mary; and that Jesus Christ was appointed the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead, as being the first begotten in all the creation; the Son of God being made the Son Of man, that through Him we may receive the adoption,--humanity(6) sustaining, and receiving, and embracing the Son of God.
The commentary by Novatian against Sabellius:
But lest, from the fact of asserting that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Creator, was manifested in the substance of the true body, we should seem either to have given assent to other heretics, who in this place maintain that He is man only and alone, and therefore desire to prove that He was a naked man and solitary; and lest we should seem to have afforded them any ground for objecting, we do not so express doctrine concerning the substance of His body, as to say that He is only and alone man, but so as to maintain, by the association of the divinity of the Word in that very materiality, that He was also God according to the Scriptures. For there is a great risk of saying that the Saviour of the human race was only man; that the Lord of all, and the Chief of the world, to whom all things were delivered, and all things were granted by His Father, by whom all things were ordained, all things were created, all things were arranged, the King of all ages and times, the Prince of all the angels, before whom there is none but the Father, was only man, and denying to Him divine authority in these things. For this contempt of the heretics will recoil also upon God the Father, if God the Father could not beget God the Son. But, moreover, no blindness of the heretics shall prescribe to the truth. Nor, because they maintain one thing in Christ and, do not maintain another, they see one side of Christ and do not see another, shall there be taken away from us that which they do not see for the sake of that which they do. For they regard the weaknesses in Him as if they were a man’s weaknesses, but they do not count the powers as if they were a God’s powers. They keep in mind the infirmities of the flesh, they exclude the powers of the divinity; when if this argument from the infirmities of Christ is of avail to the result of proving Him to be man from His infirmities, the argument of divinity in Him gathered from His powers avails to the result also of asserting Him to be God from His works. For if His sufferings show in Him human frailty, why may not His works assert in Him divine power? For if this should not avail to assert Him to be God from His powers, neither can His sufferings avail to show Him to be man also from them. For whatever principle be adopted on one or the other side, will be found to be maintained.5085 For there will be a risk that He should not be shown to be man from His sufferings, if He could not also be approved as God by His powers. We must not then lean to one side and evade the other side, because any one who should exclude one portion of the truth will never hold the perfect truth. For Scripture as much announces Christ as also God, as it announces God Himself as man. It has as much described Jesus Christ to be man, as moreover it has also described Christ the Lord to be God. Because it does not set forth Him to be the Son of God only, but also the Son of man; nor does it only say, the Son of man, but it has also been accustomed to speak of Him as the Son of God. So that being of both, He is both, lest if He should be one only, He could not be the other. For as nature itself has prescribed that he must be believed to be a man who is of man, so the same nature prescribes also that He must be believed to be God who is of God; but if he should not also be God when he is of God, no more should he be man although he should be of man. And thus both doctrines would be endangered in one and the other way, by one being convicted to have lost belief in the other. Let them, therefore, who read that Jesus Christ the Son of man is man, read also that this same Jesus is called also God and the Son of God. For in the manner that as man He is of Abraham, so also as God He is before Abraham himself. And in the same manner as He is as man the “Son of David,” so as God He is proclaimed David’s Lord. And in the same manner as He was made as man “under the law,” so as God He is declared to be “Lord of the Sabbath.” And in the same manner as He suffers, as man, the condemnation, so as God He is found to have all judgment of the quick and dead. And in the same manner as He is born as man subsequent to the world, so as God He is manifested to have been before the world. And in the same way as He was begotten as man of the seed of David, so also the world is said to have been ordained by Him as God. And in the same way as He was as man after many, so as God He was before all. And in the same manner as He was as man inferior to others, so as God He was greater than all. And in the same manner as He ascended as man into heaven, so as God He had first descended thence. And in the same manner as He goes as man to the Father, so as the Son in obedience to the Father He shall descend thence. So if imperfections in Him prove human frailty, majesties in Him affirm divine power. For the risk is, in reading of both, to believe not both, but one of the two. Wherefore as both are read of in Christ, let both be believed; that so finally the faith may be true, being also complete. For if of two principles one gives way in the faith, and the other, and that indeed which is of least importance, be taken up for belief, the rule of truth is thrown into confusion; and that boldness will not confer salvation, but instead of salvation will effect a great risk of death from the overthrow of the faith.
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Secret Alias
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Re: Parallel Scriptural Interpretations in Sabellius and Irenaeus

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The original passage in Irenaeus AH 3:
On this account, therefore, the Lord Himself, who is Emmanuel from the Virgin, is the sign of our salvation, since it was the Lord Himself who saved them, because they could not be saved by their own instrumentality; and, therefore, when Paul sets forth human infirmity, he says: "For I know that there dwelleth in my flesh no good thing," showing that the "good thing" of our salvation is not from us, but from God. And again: "Wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" Then he introduces the Deliverer, [saying,] "The grace of Jesus Christ our Lord." And Isaiah declares this also, [when he says:] "Be ye strengthened, ye hands that hang down, and ye feeble knees; be ye encouraged, ye feeble-minded; be comforted, fear not: behold, our God has given judgment with retribution, and shall recompense: He will come Himself, and will save us." Here we see, that not by ourselves, but by the help of God, we must be saved. 4. Again, that it should not be a mere man who should save us, nor [one] without flesh--for the angels are without flesh--[the same prophet] announced, saying: "Neither an eider, nor angel, but the Lord Himself will save them because He loves them, and will spare them He will Himself set them free."(2) And that He should Himself become very man, visible, when He should be the Word giving salvation, Isaiah again sap: "Behold, city of Zion: thine eyes shall see our salvation."(3) And that it was not a mere man who died for us, Isaiah says: "And the holy Lord remembered His dead Israel, who had slept in the land of sepulture; and He came down to preach His salvation to them, that He might save them."(4) And Amos (Micah) the prophet declares the same: "He will turn again, and will have compassion upon us: He will destroy our iniquities, and will cast our sins into the depths of the sea."(5) And again, specifying the place of His advent, he says: "The Lord hath spoken from Zion, and He has uttered His voice from Jerusalem."(6) And that it is from that region which is towards the south of the inheritance of Judah that the Son of God shall come, who is God, and who was from Bethlehem, where the Lord was born [and] will send out His praise through all the earth, thus(7) says the prophet Habakkuk: "God shall come from the south, and the Holy One from Mount, Effrem. His power covered the heavens over, and the earth is full of His praise. Before His face shall go forth the Word, and His feet shall advance in the plains."(8) Thus he indicates in clear terms that He is God, and that His advent was [to take place] in Bethlehem, and from Mount Effrem, which is towards the south of the inheritance, and that [He is] man. For he says, "His feet shall advance in the plains:" and this is an indication proper to man.
The commentary in Novatian:
Why, then, should we hesitate to say what Scripture does not shrink from declaring? Why shall the truth of faith hesitate in that wherein the authority of Scripture has never hesitated? For, behold, Hosea the prophet says in the person of the Father: I will not now save them by bow, nor by horses, nor by horsemen; but I will save them by the Lord their God. Hosea 1:7 If God says that He saves by God, still God does not save except by Christ. Why, then, should man hesitate to call Christ God, when he observes that He is declared to be God by the Father according to the Scriptures? Yea, if God the Father does not save except by God, no one can be saved by God the Father unless he shall have confessed Christ to be God, in whom and by whom the Father promises that He will give him salvation: so that, reasonably, whoever acknowledges Him to be God, may find salvation in Christ God; whoever does not acknowledge Him to be God, would lose salvation which he could not find elsewhere than in Christ God. For in the same way as Isaiah says, Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and you shall call His name Emmanuel, which is, interpreted, God with us; Isaiah 7:14 so Christ Himself says, Lo, I am with you, even to the consummation of the world. Matthew 28:20 Therefore He is God with us; yea, and much rather, He is in us. Christ is with us, therefore it is He whose name is God with us, because He also is with us; or is He not with us? How then does He say that He is with us? He, then, is with us. But because He is with us He was called Emmanuel, that is, God with us. God, therefore, because He is with us, was called God with us, The same prophet says: Be strengthened, you relaxed hands, and you feeble knees; be consoled, you that are cowardly in heart; be strong; fear not. Lo, our God shall return judgment; He Himself shall come, and shall save you: then shall the eyes of the blind be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall hear; then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb shall be eloquent. Since the prophet says that at God's advent these should be the signs which come to pass; let men acknowledge either that Christ is the Son of God, at whose advent and by whom these wonders of healings were performed; or, overcome by the truth of Christ's divinity, let them rush into the other heresy, and refusing to confess Christ to be the Son of God, and God, let them declare Him to be the Father. For, being bound by the words of the prophets, they can no longer deny Christ to be God. What, then, do they reply when those signs are said to be about to take place on the advent of God, which were manifested on the advent of Christ? In what way do they receive Christ as God? For now they cannot deny Him to be God. As God the Father, or as God the Son? If as the Son, why do they deny that the Son of God is God? If as the Father, why do they not follow those who appear to maintain blasphemies of that kind? Unless because in this contest against them concerning the truth, this is in the meantime sufficient for us, that, being convinced in any kind of way, they should confess Christ to be God, seeing they have even wished to deny that He is God. He says by Habakkuk the prophet: God shall come from the south, and the Holy One from the dark and dense mountain. Whom do they wish to represent as coming from the south? If they say that it is the Almighty God the Father, then God the Father comes from a place, from which place, moreover, He is thus excluded, and He is bounded within the straitnesses of some abode; and thus by such as these, as we have said, the sacrilegious heresy of Sabellius is embodied. Since Christ is believed to be not the Son, but the Father; since by them He is asserted to be in strictness a bare man, in a new manner, by those, again, Christ is proved to be God the Father Almighty. But if in Bethlehem, the region of which local division looks towards the southern portion of heaven, Christ is born, who by the Scriptures is also said to be God, this God is rightly described as coming from the south, because He was foreseen as about to come from Bethlehem. Let them, then, choose of the two alternatives, the one that they prefer, that He who came from the south is the Son, or the Father; for God is said to be about to come from the south. If the Son, why do they shrink from calling Him Christ and God? For the Scripture says that God shall come. If the Father, why do they shrink from being associated with the boldness of Sabellius, who says that Christ is the Father? Unless because, whether they call Him Father or Son, from his heresy, however unwillingly, they must needs withdraw if they are accustomed to say that Christ is merely man; when compelled by the facts themselves, they are on the eve of exalting Him as God, whether in wishing to call Him Father or in wishing to call Him Son.
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