2.14.1 The philosopher’s inquiry addressed to the holy synod concerning the phrase, “Let us make man”: “‘God said, “Let us make man in our image and likeness”’ [Genesis 1:26]. If this means what the wording might suggest, someone might be misled so as to assert that God has a human form. But we know that God is simple and formless. Therefore, tell me, what do these terms mean? God does not have a human form, does he?”

2.14.2 The holy fathers’ answer through Eustathius, bishop of Antioch: “You are correct, philosopher. Rather, when God says, ‘Let them rule all the earth,’ and ‘Let them exercise dominion over it and everything in it,’1 this is the meaning—making man lord, in God’s image, to rule all the earth.

2.14.3 For just as God rules all the earth and everything in it, so he also appointed man as the second ruler of all the earth and everything in it. This, I say, is what it means that man was made ‘in God’s image and likeness.’”

2.14.4 Another response of the holy fathers through the same Bishop Eustathius concerning the same question: “‘God said, “Let us make man in our image and likeness.”’ We must investigate to whom he said this, philosopher. By saying, ‘God said, “Let us make man in our image and likeness,”’ he raised a question for us to consider. To whom did he say, ‘Let us make’? After the words, ‘God said, “Let us make man,’” it says, ‘God made man; in the image of God he made him; male and female he made them’ [Genesis 1:27].

2.14.5 Therefore, ‘let us make’ indicates that there is a person [πρόσωπον] who is co-craftsman and thus introduces someone of equal status. Just as the Father, who said, ‘Let us make man,’ is God, so the one to whom he said, ‘Let us make,’ is God also. So the two persons, both he who said, ‘Let us make man in our image and likeness,’ and he who made man, have one divine essence.

2.14.6 The phrase, ‘Let us make,’ expresses the steadfastness2 and immutability of the Father and the Son’s divine nature. The image of God is simple and not composite, being fire by nature.”3

2.14.7 The unanimous answer of the holy fathers: “The essence [οὐσία] of the Holy Trinity is ‘unapproachable light’ [1 Timothy 6:16] and an ‘unbearable’4 nature. This is the meaning of the phrase, ‘Let us make.’”


Next Chapter – 2.15 The philosopher’s counter-argument on behalf of Arius

Previous Chapter – 2.13 One of the philosophers on Arius’s side speaks out very strongly against that holy synod of the apostolic priests of God

Click here to read Book 1 in its entirety.


Created by RR 7-11-21

  1. Cf. Genesis 1:28-29.
  2. Some manuscripts have “absolute holiness.”
  3. The reference is not clear. Perhaps the author is thinking of Deuteronomy 4:24.
  4. LXX Odes 12:5.

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