Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Early Church Fathers on John 1:3-4

Jason (my self-made nemesis) has insisted that my view of the way John 1:3-4 was understood by the pre-Nicenes is wrong. He has adduced no textual evidence to support his conclusion but he has been critical of the note I posted from the Catholic NAB and I do not believe he has replied to the quote I posted from Clement of Alexandria concerning John 1:3-4. Now I present more quotes from the pre-Nicenes on this subject:

"Understand now for me the mystery of the truth, granting pardon if I shrink from advancing further in the treatment of it, by announcing this alone: 'All things were made by Him, and without Him was not even one thing.'" (Clement of Alexandria, Stromata 6.11)

"But it is said Providence, from above, from what is of prime importance, as from the head, reaches to all, 'as the ointment,' it is said, 'which descends to Aaron's beard, and to the skirt of his garment'(that is, of the great High Priest, 'by whom all things were made, and without whom not even one thing was made' not to the ornament of the body; for Philosophy is outside of the People, like raiment." (Stromata 6.17)

"Ruling, then, over himself and what belongs to him, and possessing a sure grasp, of divine science, he makes a genuine approach to the truth. For the knowledge and apprehension of intellectual objects must necessarily be called certain scientific knowledge, whose function in reference to divine things is to consider what is the First Cause, and what that 'by whom all things were made, and without whom nothing was made'" (Stromata 7.3)

“ 'And God said, Let there be light, and there was light.' Immediately there appears the Word, 'that true light, which lighteth man on his coming into the world,' and through Him also came light upon the world. From that moment God willed creation to be effected in the Word, Christ being present and ministering unto Him: and so God created. And God said, 'Let there be a firmament . . . and God made the firmament;' and God also said, 'Let there be lights (in the firmament); and so God made a greater and a lesser light.' But all the rest of the created things did He in like manner make, who made the former ones—I mean the Word of God, 'through whom all things were made, and without whom nothing was made.' Now if He too is God, according to John, (who says,) 'The Word was God,' then you have two Beings—One that commands that the thing be made, and the Other that executes the order and creates." (Tertullian, Adversus Praxean 12).

"Let him who is inclined to entertain this suspicion hear the undoubted declaration of Scripture pronouncing, 'In wisdom hast Thou made them all,' and the teaching of the Gospel, that 'by Him were all things made, and without Him nothing was made;'" (Origen, De Principiis I.2)

"John also, who lived after him, said, 'That which was in the Logos was life, and the life was the light of men;'" (Contra Celsum 6.5)

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