Friday, November 14, 2014

The Fathers on Philippians 2:6

I was combing through some of my notes for patristics, and Philippians 2:5-11 is a fun passage to see them wrestle with. This is no way to suggest that all Fathers thought the same things about Jesus, but I found these to be most interesting. So here are some interesting quotes:

Epiphanius, Ancoratus 4.4:
"You see that he reveals Christ to be a man but not merely so, since he is the mediator of God and humanity... He is trueborn God by nature with respect to his Father, but with respect to humanity he is Mary's trueborn son by nature, begotten without the seed of a man."
Gregory of Nyssa, Antirrheticus Against Apollinarius:
"He did not say "having a nature like that of God," as would be said of [a man] who was made in the image of God. Rather Paul says being in the very form of God. All that is the Father's is in the Son."
Origen of Alexandria, Commentary on John 20:18:
"First one may contemplate him existing in his primary form, that of God, before he emptied himself. One will then see the Son of God not yet having come forth from him, the [incarnate] Lord not yet having proceeded from his place. But then compare the preexistent state of the Son with that which resulted from his assuming the form of a slave when he emptied himself. You will then understand how the Son of God came forth and came to us and as it were became distinguishable from the One who sent him. Yet in another way the Father did not simply let him go but is with him and is in the Son as the Son is in the Father."
Augustine, On Faith and the Creed 5:
"God who is eternally wise has with him his eternal Wisdom [the Son]. He is not in any way unequal to the Father. He is not in any respect inferior. For the apostle too says who, when he was in the form of God, thought it no robbery to be equal with God."
Lucifer of Cagliari, On Dying for the Son of God 12.16:
"It was he who was and is and always shall be in the form of the Father, the true Son, immutable and unchangeable because he is God and the all-powerful Son of the Almighty, who nonetheless deigned to lower himself for our salvation, so that he might cause us to rise even as we lay prostrate."
Ambrosiaster, Epistle to the Philippians 2.6:
"Knowing that he is in the form of God, he committed no theft .... Rightly, then, he equaled himself with God. For the one who thinks robbery is the one who makes himself equal to another whose inferior he is."
Eusebius of Vercelli, On the Trinity 3.4, 7:
"You must choose one of two paths. Either there is a single inequality in the two [divine Father and divine Son or there is a single equality in the glory of divinity itself. For no one is either greater or less than his own form...This singular equality is seen not only in the concord of their willing together. It is rather in their very deity, since the form of equality is in no way divided into parts. Where there is one equality there is no discord. Where there is one equality neither is prior to the other. Neither is posterior nor subordinate, since there is no distinction in the united equality, which is the fullness of divinity."
These can all be found in the Ancient Christian Commentary on Paul's epistle to the Philippians.


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