CPG 3737
Author unknown
Greek Text Lietzmann, Apollinaris von Laodicea und seine Schule: Texte und Untersuchungen, 294-302.

1. Those who once turned away from the Greek error and recognized that the one and only true God of all things needed to no longer be attached to creation or deify or “serve the creation instead of the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen” (Rom 1:25). In the same way also those who have withdrawn from the Jewish unbelief and observed those things as senseless and graceless and believed in our Lord Jesus Christ and understood that he is God witnessed from all places and recognized from the authority and from the signs and divine works and the lordly dominion needed to no longer fall down at a common and mere man because of his external appearance or make a separation according to the seen form and his unseen nature or consider that he is a mere man because of the body and the bodily sufferings, even as one sufferer of those among us.

2. For these things, which are the evils of the Jews, obstruct their faith and make them fight against God. These things now also some emulate, sick with a Greek and Jewish sickness and not accepting or believing that God was wholly embodied. But they want to know with human reasonings and Greek wisdom and instead take hold of the great and incomprehensible things: How is the bodiless born? How does the one who is everywhere and surrounds everything and fill everything come and be somewhere? And because of these “how’s” and “why’s” they withdrew into unbelief and fashioned a making in place of a generation and formed a creation and an entrance in place of a procession.

3. In this way, furthermore, also in the case of the incarnation: How is God enfleshed? How is God embodied? How is the placeless joined for a little while to a body? How is the uncreated united to the created and the uncircumscribed to the circumscribed? How also is that big and unmeasured and undivided one measured? For either what is big is contracted into a small space or what is small became big or it indicates a part of the deity and not all of it, which is godless. And because of these “how’s” and “in what way’s” and “with what agreement’s” they too withdrew into unbelief. And they formed an in-dwelling in place of an incarnation, and a human energy in place of a union and composition, and two hypostases and persons in place of the one hypostasis of our Lord Jesus Christ, They even improperly and unlawfully thought of a tetrad in place of the holy Triad—improperly because they join a man to God and add a servant to the Lord and connect a created person to uncreated persons, and unlawfully because they make the one hypostasis two, introducing to the Triad a fourth hypostasis, altogether strange and foreign and the final and last and least of all the rational created things.

4. Furthermore, if you accurately consider it and want to pay attention to the matter, you will find that they are casting our Lord Jesus Christ outside the holy Triad as a servant, the worshipped as an unworshipped. Instead they worship and revere him along with everything else and subordinate him to the holy Triad, as Marcellus and Paul the Samosatean misinterpret, dragging into their own understanding the divine and apostolic word. They say, “‘For when he subjects all things to him, then also the Son himself,’ that is, the assumed man, ‘will be subject to the one who subjected all things to him, so that God,’ they say, as also before the incarnation, ‘may be in all’ (1 Cor 15:28), being bodiless and not having a body, and the assumed man with everything else and numbered with everything will approach, be subject to, and serve God. See into what senselessness the seemingly wise have fallen, into what madness and unbelief they have withdrawn to understand and fashion and mythologize things which are not so.

5. Not only were they unwilling to come to the faith, but they also sought out deceits and devised wickednesses. They fashioned foolishnesses and uneducated enquiries to the deception of many, although considering apostasy unlawful but hoping what will be will not happen. For if they expected what will be, if they believed the nearness and judgment of God, if they feared punishment, they would come to the faith, they would believe the gospels and would follow the apostles rather than human reasonings. For immediately when they went out the Apostles in harmony and in agreement preached that Christ is the Son of God. The one born in Bethlehem from the seed of David according to the flesh, who was made like men, who was crucified in place of men under Pontius Pilate, they said that he is God and he is man. They said that he is the Son of God and he is the Son of Man, that he is from heaven and he is from earth, that he is impassible and he is passible. Not another, not two persons, not hypostases, not two worships.

6. What need is there to enquire and fight over words? It is fitting to believe and revere and worship in silence. I know that he is truly God from eternity and impassible. I know that he is from the seed of David according to the flesh, a man from earth and passible. I do not ask how the same one is passible and impassible, how he is God and how he is man, so that I do not by agonizing over the “how” and seeking the manner fall from the good already set before us. For the first need is to believe and glorify and the second is to ask for understanding of these things from above and not to furnish this from below from blood and flesh but from the divine revelation and heaven. For “blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood did not reveal it to you but my Father in heaven.” And “You are Peter and on this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it” (Mt 16:17-18). Faithful is the saying and unshaken is the promise and unconquered is the church, even if the gates of hell attack, even if hell itself is moved, even if the “world powers of darkness” (Eph 6:12) in it are moved. Take courage in the one who said, “Take courage, I have conquered the world” (Jn 16:33), and I have likewise conquered by sufferings. For also its master instead conquered by suffering and saved by being crucified and gave life by dying. You see and hear that the same one is both God and man. For if he was only God, how did he suffer, how was he crucified and how did he die? For these things are foreign to God. And if he was only a man, how through sufferings did he conquer, save, and give life? These things were beyond a man. The same one both suffers and saves and through his suffering conquers. The same one is God. The same one is man. Both are as one. Each is as only.

7. But equally one of the wise and noble may ask as passing by in the middle of an accurate enquiry, “So the body is part of the Word, an essential part of the hypostasis of the Son in order that there is one Son of God composed of both, both being incomplete by himself and needing the body to be uncomplete? Then how is he one or how is he one hypostasis and one person? Then again, if there is one hypostasis of the Word and the flesh, how is the Son the hypostasis of God? In that case also the flesh will be consubstantial with God, which is godless. If this is so, neither will the Word be the consubstantial Son of God, which is out of place. For the Word is complete and consubstantial, forever having its own hypostasis by itself and needing nothing.”

8. Those who allege these things set down their clear knowledge that there are two hypostases of our Lord Jesus Christ and slander us and try to twist our words from everywhere into one of the places they don’t belong, as if we said that the body is an essential part of the hypostasis of the Word or that it is consubstantial to God or that it is altogether strange or foreign to the hypostasis of the Son, which they themselves say, introducing one hypostasis of the flesh, which is of the assumed man, as they say, and another of the assuming God, one person of the Son of God and another person of the Son of Man from the seed of David according to the flesh. Therefore the Son of God would not be the Son of Man because he is not consubstantial to David and the one born according to the flesh would not be the Son of God because he is not consubstantial to God.

9. But we, brothers, say that one and the same one is God because we have been persuaded by the apostles and prophets and believe the Gospel rather than focus on Greek wisdom and be disturbed by human reasonings. And distinguishing concerning our own salvation we confess one God who is both together, one hypostasis and one person, not so that the body becomes an essential part of the hypostasis, for this is godless. Since the divine is complete, unaccepting of a lowering, simple, uniform, uncomposite, it cannot be divided into parts, that is, just as God the Word is also uniform, it does not fall to a diversity of limbs and things, to both body and bodiless. For the Word is complete and wholly bodiless. For otherwise God did not become enfleshed by the Son of God taking a human body or the Lord of glory bearing the form of a servant. But the Son of God is a man and the Son of Man and the one by nature Lord is a servant according to form. So the body has not become an essential part of the divine hypostasis but the one truly complete also completed that which was incomplete, the one lacking nothing came to that which was lacking and was united to flesh, the one having need of nothing gave himself to the body which had need.

10. For none of those who are thinking well or are able to be entirely sober and understand would say that, just as the Word, being complete and hypostatic, did not need flesh to be a complete God, likewise neither did the body need the Word to be a complete and hypostatic man. But we needed a heavenly Savior, a heavenly Liberator, who would renew us by the removal of the added sin from the evil treatment and remove the terrible things from it.

11. So immediately from birth the novelty is shown and the heavenliness of the one born is manifested through the birth. He did not have his birth according to the birth of an old man from man and woman. For also it is impossible for a woman to be pregnant without a man, for God deposits the being of those born in their fathers, as also Scripture says Levi was in the loins of his father Abraham (Heb 7:10). But the Redeemer does not take the being of Adam but takes on the form from Adam (I am speaking of flesh, and I am speaking of flesh which is with a human soul) and becoming man according to what is seen, he brought into the world novelty according to what is unseen. Against this novelty there is no mountain of death, no tyranny of the devil, but a fellowship of the Word with those dead and tyrannized and a great difference according to what is immortal, according to what is free and untyrranized. The Virgin also was amazed at hearing the good news of the birth of the Savior from her. “‘For how will this be to me,’ she said, ‘since I have not known a man?’” (Lk 1:34) And she was given the good news of the divine essence of the one born from her in human form. Both the gift was heavenly and the offspring was earthly. It was a peacemaking of the earth and a becoming like to the heavens according to the joy of the angels who cried, “Glory in the highest to God and peace on earth” (Lk 2:14).

12. So as we rejoice in the birth of Christ, we rejoice not with the kind of human joy which men rejoice with at a child being born and then conclude the feast of the birth. But we rejoice at the appearance of Christ and the shining of the divine light, not with a fellowship of captivity but with a redemption according to the Apostle. But what is in addition to these? The anointing according to which the one born divinely or in the manner of men and reared divinely or in the manner of us is Christ. So the form according to the flesh is baptized in water with the Jews, and John is the one who baptizes, and the Jordan River is what washes the divine body, and the setting of the Spirit from heaven is for the cleansed body of Christ, from which this cleansing also crosses over to us according to likeness, so that we also may follow him, full of all righteousness and cleansed in him, the Lord, to whom be the glory forever. Amen.

Translated by AMJ

Last updated: 6-13-2013

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