Monday, September 05, 2005

Three Phases of Logos Development in Hippolytus

The Logos is an emergent, dynamic entity in Hippolytus’ system. He posits three progressive stages for the Logos that eventually becomes the perfect Son of God.[1] Initially, God exclusively subsists as one person in solitariness.[2] Nevertheless, the deity is not alone in the strictest sense because within his eternal being resides the logov endiaqetov, which is analogous to human ratiocination: “In the first phase, then, the Logos (endiaqetov) was eternally in the Father, but impersonally as divine intelligence and wisdom.”[3] Wisdom, power and counsel reside in God alongside the Logos.[4]

In the second stage, in the context of creating the world, God generates the Logos from his own substance (ousia) and becomes a Father by making the Word his Son (logov proforikov).[5] Hippolytus, as does Tertullian, in this manner associates his doctrine of Christ with cosmology and soteriology.[6] Although God becomes a Father to the Son in the second phase, Hippolytus maintains, the Son’s gradual development is not complete until he assumes human flesh.

In the third phase, the Word comes to be enfleshed, at that point he emerges the perfect Son of God.[7] Moreover, the generation of the Son is a consequence of God’s free decision to produce the Son in Heilsgeschichte.[8] Yet, Fortman and Lonergan hold that the temporal and volitional generation of the Son does not impugn his deity since a norm of divinity is supposedly exemplification of the divine substance and not eternal existence per se.

[1] See Bethune Baker.

[2] Refutatio 10.29; Contra Noetum 10.

[3] Fortman, Triune God, 118. Cf. Kelly, Early Christian Doctrines, 111.

[4] Contra Noetum 10.

[5] Contra Noetum 10; Refutatio X.33 De Chr. Et Antichr. 26 Hom. In theoph. 2.7). Seeberg, History of Doctrines, 127. See Bethune Baker, Studer 71, Grillmeier, Daniélou. O’Collins, Tripersonal God. See also Frend. He “shares the nature (ousia) of God” in contrast to all creatures (Seeberg, History, 1.128). See Contra Noet 14.

[6] John A. McGuckin, Westminster Handbook to Patristic Theology, 164.

[7] Hubert Cunliffe-Jones, History of Christian Doctrine, 58.

[8] Fortman, Triune God, 118, Studer, Trinity and Incarnation, 71.

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