Friday, March 28, 2008

Apocryphote of the Day: 3-27-08

To be able to speak about things exalted, we need to begin with the Father, who is the root of everything. From him, we have received grace to speak about him. He existed before anything other than himself came into being. The Father is a single one, like a number, for he is the first one and the one who is only himself. Yet he is not like a solitary individual. Otherwise, how could he be a father? For whenever there is a "father," the name "son" follows. But the single one, who alone is the Father, is like a root with a tree, branches, and fruit.

The Tripartite Tractate 51.1-20 (Valentinian, end of second century)

Comment: Note how the language and the topic of discussion is part of a dialogue among the second century church theologians about the nature of the Father and his relationship with the Son. The metaphor used is common among the theologians at this time, and is used by Tertullian in order to argue for three persona and one substantia in an oikonomia when he takes on Modalism.


Memra said...

Coincidentally, I had just made this comment on another forum:

"Tertullian then goes on to say how Christ is 'the Son of God, and is called God from unity of substance with God. For God, too, is a Spirit. Even when the ray is shot from the sun, it is still part of the parent mass; the sun will still be in the ray, because it is a ray of the sun -- there is no division of substance, but merely an extension. Thus Christ is Spirit of Spirit, and God of God, as light is kindled.' (Apology, XXI)"

The implications for the nascent faith for accepting the Logos as "pShre nouwt petSoop Hn kounF mpeFeiwt" (John 1:18, Coptic) were enormous.


R.Eagle said...


What about the Mother?

"nascent faith"??

paulf said...

If Jesus and God are the same being created at the same time, why did Jesus choose to refer to himself as God's son? Sons necessarily have to be created at a different time than their fathers. Two beings of the same age are brothers. If a tree bears fruit, the fruit has not always existed.

Richard Edmondson said...

So were the Valentinians then considered Modalists? Or at least this branch of them? I'm not sure of the difference between Modalism and Trinitarianism. The difference seems to be very subtle. Can anyone explain?