Bob wrote on [Ephesians] 3:3: Jesus Christ, our inseparable life, is the mind of the Father IHSOU CRISTOU TO ADIAKRITON HMEN ZHN TOU PATROS H GUWMH WS
In this passage Ignatius simply calls Jesus, the mind of God. If meant in the absolute sense, then Jesus is God in the unqualified sense. If Ignatius is being figurative, then Jesus would not be God in that sense. It seems rather hard to maintain that Ignatius was speaking figuratively because the text contains very few, if any, diagnostic indicators of symbolism or any other contextual clues to substantiate this notion.
Edgar: I think your transliteration should be GNWMH and not GUWMH. I am not being pedantic or mean but me thinks it is important that we understand Ignatius is comparing Jesus to the divine "will" of God and not to God's mind. GNWMH is at times used in Greek literature as a substitute for QELHMA. See Plutarch De def. orac. and Schoedel (page 50). Schoedel thus translates the passage: "Indeed Jesus Christ, our inseparable life, is the Father's purpose; as also the bishops appointed in every quarter, are in the purpose of Jesus Christ" (Schoedel 48).
Schoedel also points out, though he is a Trinitarian, it seems: "The theological implications of Christ as the 'purpose' of the Father are thus probably minimal" (50).
Bob: [Ephesians] 7:2-There is one only physician, of flesh and of spirit, generate and ingenerate, God in man, true life in death, Son of Mary and Son of God, first passable and then impassable, Jesus Christ our Lord EIS IATROS ESTIN SARKIKOS KAI PNEUMATIKOS GENNHTOS KAI AGENNHTOS EN ANQRWPW QEOS EN QANATW ZON ALHQINH KAI EK MARIAS KAI EK QEOU PRWTON PAQHTOS KAI TOTE APAQHS IHSOUS XRISTOS hO KURIOS HMEN.
This passage is very interesting because of its structure. It speaks of Jesus as one physician of two natures, that of flesh and of spirit. It then goes on to develop each nature. Of the flesh it diagrams Jesus as begotten, man, mortality, of Mary, first one who could suffer, Christ. Of the spirit it diagrams Jesus as unbegotten, God, true life, of God, now unable to suffer, Lord.
Edgar: Schoedel writes that the distinctions made by Ignatius above cannot apply to the "internal relations of the Godhead" but it only applies to the incarnate Christ. However, I am puzzled over how one can apply Ignatius' words to the immanent Trinity or the economic Trinity. Subsequent believers [at Nicaea] declared that the Son is begotten, not created and that the Father is unbegotten. But how does one consider Christ "unbegotten" in relation to the cosmos (humanity) that he came to save? It is no wonder that Bart Ehrman writes in The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture that theologians would later find Ignatius' formulation in Eph 7:2 "vague." It does not seem to assist the Trinitarian case at all. It therefore has no theological force.
Interestingly Cyril C. Richardson plainly writes that Christ is called hO QEOS by Ignatius and he further points out that the bishop "does not explain, he only asserts that Christ is God" (Ignatius of Antioch, page 45). But Richardson goes beyond the surface structure or prima facie meaning of Ignatius' terminology and explores "what type of picture Ignatius has in mind when he employs the signifier QEOS. His conclusion?
"Unlike Theophilus of Antioch, he has nothing to say about God as creator; His eternity and invisibility are mentioned only in Pol. 3.2, and He is never predicated with immortality, the chief attribute of the heathen 'Gods.' For Ignatius QEOS means essentially a superhuman, moral being" (45).
He adds: "There is never a hint in his writing that Christ was in any way absorbed in God or confused with Him. He always stands in a place secondary and inferior to him" (44).
Consult The Christianity of Ignatius of Antioch. New York: AMS Press, 1967.
I also recommend Brown, Milton P. The Authentic Writings of Ignatius: A Study of Linguistic Criteria. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1963 for a solid analysis of the textual issues appertaining to the Ignatian epistles and a look at how he uses QEOS.