2.13.1 One of Arius’s mercenary philosophers, admired much more than all the others, fiercely contended for Arius against our bishops for many days. So each day a large audience gathered to hear the war of words. The crowd of those who gathered grew larger as the philosopher poured forth the ungodly blasphemies of Arius against the holy council’s statements. He said about the Son of God, “He did not always exist” [ἦν ποτε ὅτε οὐκ ἦν], and, “He is a creature, a product from what did not exist, and of a different essence and substance.”

2.13.2 He staunchly supported the abominable doctrine of Arius; his words were like a blizzard as he ranted against the Son of God and derided that company of holy priests, for the enemy of mankind’s salvation was speaking in him and through him.

2.13.3 But our bishops, fighting for truth, fearlessly employed proper and fitting arguments for apostolic doctrine against the philosopher. They thus imitated the great prophet and king David, who said, “I was prepared and was not deterred” [LXX Psalm 118:60, Psalm 119:60],1 for they destroyed all the philosopher’s crafty premises with God’s Word just as flax is consumed by fire.

2.13.4 Nevertheless, trusting in his devilish skill with words, the philosopher kept shooting his arrows at the truth the bishops proclaimed. He easily addressed all the arguments brought against him very well, so he thought. He vigorously tried to resolve the issues which had been raised. Although he seemed to vindicate himself by these arguments, slipping free like an eel by presenting his superior thoughts, he got caught by his own words and fell with them.

2.13.5 Yet he kept arguing against the peaceful council, deluded in his frenzy, in the hope of overcoming the invincible power of Christ’s invincible Spirit in them.

2.13.6 But God, “who catches the wise in their craftiness” [Job 5:13; 1 Corinthians 3:19], wanted to show that “his rule resides not in word but in power” [1 Corinthians 4:20], so through one of his servants there he not only forcibly silenced the evil demon speaking in the philosopher but also drove it out.

2.13.7 There was a man among the holy confessors present at the council who was simple in nature, like hardly any of the other saints, who knew nothing “except Jesus Christ and him crucified” [1 Corinthians 2:2] in the flesh, according to the Scriptures. He was together with the bishops and saw that the philosopher was belittling our holy bishops and boasting about his fallacious argumentation. So he asked the bishops, as priests of God, to grant him the floor to speak to the philosopher.

2.13.8 Our holy bishops, seeing the man’s simplicity and lack of education, tried to dissuade him from joining the debate lest he become a laughingstock for the wretched enemies of truth.

2.13.9 Refusing to be deterred, he approached the philosopher and said to him, “In the name of Jesus Christ, God the Word, who always exists with the Father, listen to true doctrine, philosopher!” The philosopher replied, “Speak.” The saint said to him, “There is one God, who created the heavens, the earth, the sea, and all that is in them. He also formed man from earth and brought everything into existence by his Word and by the Holy Spirit.

2.13.10 Because we know this Word as the Son of God, philosopher, we worship him, confident that he took on flesh from a virgin to redeem us, was born, and became man. Through the suffering of his flesh on the cross and through his death, he freed us from eternal damnation. Through his resurrection, he obtained eternal life for us. We have the hope, now that he has ascended to the heavens, that he will come again and judge all our deeds. Do you believe this, philosopher?”

2.13.11 The philosopher, as if he had no experience in debate, became speechless. He remained silent like a dumb or mute man. He could only say to him with a very weak voice, “I, too, think this is true; I disagree with nothing you said.”

2.13.12 The old man said to him, “If you believe this is true, philosopher, get up and follow me. Let’s hurry to the church, where you will receive the seal of this faith.”2

2.13.13 The philosopher, directing his whole self towards true devotion to the God of all, got up and followed the old man. Looking back, he addressed his disciples and all who had gathered in the audience: “Gentlemen, listen. While I was zealous for arguments, I set my arguments against others and refuted opponents with artful speech.

2.13.14 But when, instead of arguments, divine power emerged from the mouth of my adversary, my arguments could no longer withstand the power, for man cannot resist God. Therefore, if any of you can understand, as I have come to understand, then he will trust in Christ and should follow this old man, through whom God has spoken.”

2.13.15 So the philosopher came to his senses, was enlightened, and became a Christian. He rejoiced that he had been defeated by the old man. When the philosopher was baptized, was accepted into the church of God, rested, and exulted in the mighty works of God, the council rejoiced.


Next Chapter – 2.14 The refutation of another philosopher named Phaedo, who also argued on behalf of Arius, who fought against God, and on behalf of the blasphemy Arius invented

Previous Chapter – 2.12 Why it is necessary to think and believe that the three persons of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are one, inseparable, indescribable deity

Click here to read Book 1 in its entirety.


Created by RR 7-11-21

  1. The LXX differs slightly in meaning from the MT, which has, “I have hastened and have not delayed to keep your commands.”
  2. Sc. baptism.

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