Monday, September 10, 2012

CONSTANTINE & PLATO & THE INFLUENCE ON THE NICENE CREED

What on earth was Constantine thinking -- when he proposed the idea of the Son being: Ltn., ( consubstantialem ) or Gk., ( ὁμοούσιον ) from Gk., ( ὁμός ) homós “...same...” and Gk., ( οὐσία ) ousía “...being...” as the Father?

I'll tell you what he was thinking!

PLATO!

GREEK TEXT: “...∆ιὸ χρὴ τοῖς δυνατοῖς ἐγχειρεῖν καὶ τοῖς κατὰ τὴν ἡμετέραν φύσιν. τὸ γάρ τοι πιθανὸν τῶν ἐν τοῖς διαλόγοις γινομένων ζητήσεων ἀπάγει τὸ πλεῖστον ἡμῶν ἀπὸ τῆς τῶν ὄντων ἀληθείας, ὃ δὴ καὶ πολλοῖς τῶν φιλοσόφων συμβέβηκεν ἀδολεσχοῦσι περὶ τοὺς λόγους καὶ τὴν τῆς φύσεως τῶν ὄντων ἐξέτασιν. ὁσάκις γὰρ ἂν τὸ μέγεθος τῶν πραγμάτων τῆς ἐξετάσεως αὐτῶν ἐπικρατήσῃ, διαστρόφοις τισὶ μεθόδοις τὸ ἀληθὲς ἀποκρύπτονται· συμβαίνει δὴ αὐτοῖς ἐναντία δοξάζειν καὶ μάχεσθαι τοῖς ἀλλήλων δόγμασι, καὶ ταῦτα σοφοῖς εἶναι προσποιουμένοις. ὅθεν στάσεις τε δήμων καὶ δυναστευόντων χαλεπαὶ κρίσεις οἰομένων τὸ πατρῷον ἔθος διαφθείρεσθαι· καὶ αὐτῶν ἐκείνων ὄλεθρος πολλάκις ἐπηκολούθησε. Σωκράτης γὰρ ὑπὸ διαλεκτικῆς ἐπαρθεὶς καὶ τοὺς χείρονας λόγους βελτίους ποιῶν, καὶ παίζων παρ' ἕκαστα περὶ τοὺς ἀντιλογικοὺς λόγους, ὑπὸ τῆς τῶν ὁμοφύλων τε καὶ πολιτῶν βασκανίας ἀνῄρηται. οὐ μὴν ἀλλὰ καὶ Πυθαγόρας σωφροσύνην ἀσκεῖν προσποιούμενος ἐξαιρέτως καὶ σιωπὴν καταψευσάμενος ἑάλω· τὰ γὰρ ὑπὸ τῶν προφητῶν πάλαι ποτὲ προλεχθέντα, ἐπιδημήσας τῇ Αἰγύπτῳ, ὡς ἴδιά γε αὐτῷ ὑπὸ θεοῦ ἀναπετασθέντα τοῖς Ἰταλιώταις προηγόρευεν. [9.3] αὐτός τε ὁ ὑπὲρ πάντας τοὺς ἄλλους ἠπιώτατος Πλάτων, καὶ τὰς διανοίας τῶν ἀνθρώπων πρῶτος ἀπὸ τῶν αἰσθήσεων ἐπὶ τὰ νοητὰ καὶ ἀεὶ ὡσαύτως ἔχοντα ἐθίσας ἀνακύψαι ἀναβλέψαι τ' ἐπὶ τὰ μετάρσια διδάξας, πρῶτον μὲν θεὸν ὑφηγήσατο τὸν ὑπὲρ τὴν οὐσίαν, καλῶς ποιῶν, ὑπέταξε δὲ τούτῳ καὶ δεύτερον, καὶ δύο οὐσίας τῷ ἀριθμῷ διεῖλε, μιᾶς οὔσης τῆς ἀμφοτέρων τελειότητος, τῆς τε οὐσίας τοῦ δευτέρου θεοῦ τὴν ὕπαρξιν ἐχούσης ἐκ τοῦ πρώτου· αὐτὸς γάρ ἐστιν ὁ δημιουργὸς καὶ διοικητὴς τῶν ὅλων δηλονότι ὑπεραναβεβηκώς, ὁ δὲ μετ' ἐκεῖνον ταῖς ἐκείνου προστάξεσιν ὑπουργήσας τὴν αἰτίαν τῆς τῶν πάντων συστάσεως εἰς ἐκεῖνον ἀναπέμπει. [9.4] εἷς ἂν οὖν εἴη κατὰ τὸν ἀκριβῆ λόγον ὁ τὴν πάντων ἐπιμέλειαν ποιούμενος προνοούμενός τε αὐτῶν θεὸς λόγῳ κατακοσμήσας τὰ πάντα· ὁ δὲ λόγος αὐτὸς θεὸς ὢν αὐτὸς τυγχάνει καὶ θεοῦ παῖς· ποῖον γὰρ ἄν τις ἄλλο ὄνομα αὐτῷ περιτιθεὶς παρὰ τὴν προσηγορίαν τοῦ παιδὸς οὐκ ἂν τὰ μέγιστα ἐξαμαρτάνοι; ὁ γάρ τοι τῶν πάντων πατὴρ καὶ τοῦ ἰδίου λόγου δικαίως ἂν πατὴρ νομίζοιτο. [9.5] μέχρι μὲν οὖν τούτου Πλάτων σώφρων ἦν· ἐν δὲ τοῖς ἑξῆς εὑρίσκεται διαμαρτάνων τῆς ἀληθείας, πλῆθός τε θεῶν εἰσάγων καὶ ἑκάστοις ἐπιτιθεὶς μορφάς, ὅπερ καὶ παραίτιον ἐγένετο τῆς μείζο νος πλάνης παρὰ τοῖς ἀλογίστοις τῶν ἀνθρώπων, πρὸς μὲν τὴν πρόνοιαν τοῦ ὑψίστου θεοῦ μὴ ἀφορώντων, τὰς δ' εἰκόνας αὐτῶν ἀνθρωπείοις τε καὶ ἑτέρων ζώων τύποις μεταμορφουμένας σεβόντων. συμβέβηκε δὲ μεγίστην τινὰ μεγάλου τ' ἐπαίνου ἀξίαν φύσιν τε καὶ παιδείαν τοιοῖσδέ τισι μεμιγμένην πταίσμασιν ἀκαθάρτως τε καὶ μὴ εἰλικρινῶς ἔχειν. [9.6] δοκεῖ δέ μοι ὁ αὐτὸς ἐπιλαμβανόμενος ἑαυτοῦ διορθοῦν τὸ ἁμάρτημα, ἐν οἷς φανερῶς διαβεβαιοῦται τὸν θεὸν ἡμῖν ἐμπνεῦσαι τὸν ἑαυτοῦ λόγον, τὸ πνεῦμα τοῦ θεοῦ σαφῶς δηλῶν λογικὴν ψυχὴν ὑπάρχειν, διϊστῶν δὲ τὰ πάντα εἰς δύο εἴδη, νοητόν τε καὶ αἰσθητόν, τὸ μὲν.... τὸ δὲ συγκείμενον ἐκ σώματος ἁρμογῆς καὶ τὸ μὲν νῷ καταληπτόν, τὸ δὲ δόξῃ μετ' αἰσθήσεως δοξαστόν· ὥστε τὸ μὲν τοῦ ἁγίου πνεύματος μετέχον, ἅτε δὴ ἀσύνθετον καὶ ἄλυτον, αἰώνιόν τε εἶναι καὶ τὴν ἀίδιον ζωὴν λελογχέναι, τὸ δὲ αἰσθητόν, πάντη διαλυόμενον καθ' ὃν καὶ συνέστη λόγον, ἄμοιρον εἶναι τῆς ἀιδίου ζωῆς. [9.7] θαυμαστῶς δὲ καὶ ἐν τοῖς ἑξῆς διδάσκει, τοὺς μὲν εὖ βιώσαντας, ψυχὰς δηλαδὴ τῶν ὁσίων τε καὶ ἀγαθῶν ἀνδρῶν μετὰ τὴν ἀπὸ τοῦ σώματος ἀναχώρησιν ἐν τοῖς καλλίστοις τοῦ οὐρανοῦ καθιεροῦσθαι. ἀλλὰ καὶ βιωφελῶς· τίς γὰρ οὐκ ἂν πεισθεὶς αὐτῷ καὶ τὴν εὐτυχίαν ταύτην προσδοκήσας, τὸν ἄριστον βίον, δικαιοσύνην καὶ σωφροσύνην, ἀσκήσει, τὴν δὲ κακίαν ἀποστραφήσεται; ἀκολούθως δὲ τούτοις ἐπήνεγκεν τὰς τῶν πονηρῶν ψυχὰς Ἀχέροντός τε καὶ Πυριφλεγέθοντος ῥεύμασι ναυαγίων τρόπον φερομένας πλανᾶσθαι...” - (Chapter 9, Pin.9 θʹ. “Περὶ τῶν φιλοσόφων, οἳ διὰ τὸ πάντα βούλεσθαι εἰδέναι καὶ περὶ τὰς δόξας ἐσφάλησαν, καὶ κινδύνοις ἔνιοι προσωμίλησαν, καὶ περὶ τῶν Πλάτωνος δογμάτων,” Constantini imperatoris oratio ad coetum sanctorum 1.t Βασιλέως Κωνσταντίνου λόγος ὃν ἔγραψε τῷ τῶν ἁγίων συλλόγῳ. MPG.)

CONSTANTINE 1ST (circa. 272-337 C.E.): “...We ought, therefore, to aim at objects which are within our power, and exceed not the capacities of our nature. For the persuasive influence of argument has a tendency to draw most of us away from the truth of things, which has happened to many philosophers, who have employed themselves in reasoning, and the study of natural science, and who, as often as the magnitude of the subject surpasses their powers of investigation, adopt various devices for obscuring the truth. Hence their diversities of judgment, and contentious opposition to each others' doctrines, and this notwithstanding their pretensions to wisdom. Hence, too, popular commotions have arisen, and severe sentences, passed by those in power, apprehensive of the overthrow of hereditary institutions, have proved destructive to many of the disputants themselves. Socrates, for example, elated by his skill in argumentation, indulging his power of making the worse appear the better reason, and playing continually with the subtleties of controversy, fell a victim to the slander of his own countrymen and fellow-citizens. Pythagoras, too, who laid special claim to the virtues of silence and self-control, was convicted of falsehood. For he declared to the Italians that the doctrines which he had received during his travels in Egypt, and which had long before been divulged by the priests of that nation, were a personal revelation to himself from God. LASTLY, PLATO HIMSELF, THE GENTLEST AND MOST REFINED OF ALL, WHO FIRST ESSAYED TO DRAW MEN'S THOUGHTS FROM SENSIBLE TO INTELLECTUAL AND ETERNAL OBJECTS, AND TAUGHT THEM TO ASPIRE TO SUBLIMER SPECULATIONS, IN THE FIRST PLACE DECLARED, [Gk., ( καλῶς ποιῶν )] WITH TRUTH, A GOD EXALTED ABOVE [GK., ( τὴν οὐσίαν )] EVERY ESSENCE, BUT TO HIM HE ADDED ALSO [Gk., ( δεύτερον )] A SECOND, DISTINGUISHING THEM [Gk., ( δύο οὐσίας )] NUMERICALLY AS TWO, THOUGH [Gk., ( μιᾶς οὔσης τῆς ἀμφοτέρων τελειότητος )] BOTH POSSESSING ONE PERFECTION, AND [Gk., ( τῆς τε οὐσίας τοῦ δευτέρου θεοῦ τὴν ὕπαρξιν ἐχούσης ἐκ τοῦ πρώτου )] tHE BEING OF THE SECOND DEITY PROCEEDING FROM THE FIRST. For he is the creator and controller of the universe, and evidently supreme: while the second, as the obedient agent of his commands, refers the origin of all creation to him as the cause.[Gk., ( εἷς ἂν οὖν εἴη κατὰ τὸν ἀκριβῆ λόγον )] IN ACCORDANCE, THEREFORE, WITH THE SOUNDEST REASON, WE MAY SAY that there is one Being whose care and providence are over all things, even [Gk., ( θεὸς λόγῳ )] God the Word, who has ordered all things; but [Gk., ( ὁ δὲ λόγος αὐτὸς θεὸς ὢν )] the Word being God himself [Gk., ( αὐτὸς τυγχάνει καὶ θεοῦ παῖς )] is also the Son of God. For by what name can we designate him except by this title [Gk., ( τοῦ παιδὸς )] of the Son, without falling into the most grievous error? For the Father of all things is properly considered the Father of his own Word. [Gk., ( μέχρι μὲν οὖν τούτου Πλάτων σώφρων ἦν· ἐν δὲ τοῖς ἑξῆς εὑρίσκεται διαμαρτάνων τῆς ἀληθείας )] THUS FAR, THEN, PLATO'S SENTIMENTS WERE SOUND; BUT IN WHAT FOLLOWS HE APPEARS TO HAVE WANDERED FROM THE TRUTH, in that he introduces a plurality of gods, to each of whom he assigns specific forms. And this has given occasion to still greater error among the unthinking portion of mankind, who pay no regard to the providence of the Supreme God, but worship images of their own devising, made in the likeness of men or other living beings. Hence it appears that the transcendent nature and admirable learning of this philosopher, tinged as they were with such errors as these, were by no means free from impurity and alloy. And yet he seems to me to retract, and correct his own words, when he-plainly declares that a rational soul is the breath of God, and divides all things into two classes, intellectual and sensible: [the one simple, the other] consisting of bodily structure; the one comprehended by the intellect alone, the other estimated by the judgment and the senses. The former class, therefore, which partakes of the divine spirit, and is uncompounded and immaterial, is eternal, and inherits everlasting life; but the latter, being entirely resolved into the elements of which it is composed, has no share in everlasting life. He farther teaches the admirable doctrine, that those who have passed a life of virtue, that is, the spirits of good and holy men, are enshrined, after their separation from the body, in the fairest mansions of heaven. A doctrine not merely to be admired, but profitable too. For who can believe in such a statement, and aspire to such a happy lot, without desiring to practice righteousness and temperance, and to turn aside from vice? Consistently with this doctrine he represents the spirits of the wicked as tossed like wreckage on the streams of Acheron and Pyriphlegethon...” - (CHAPTER IX, “Of the Philosophers, who fell into Mistaken Notions, and Same of them into Danger, by their Desire of Universal Knowledge. -- Also of the Doctrines of Plato.” Quoted in Eusebius of CaesareaThe Oration of the Emperor Constantine Which He Addressed "To the Assembly of the Saints.” Excerpted from Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Series Two, Volume 1, Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace American Edition, 1890.)

The point to take note of in the section above is this paragraph:

GREEK TEXT: “...πρῶτον μὲν θεὸν ὑφηγήσατο τὸν ὑπὲρ τὴν οὐσίαν, καλῶς ποιῶν, ὑπέταξε δὲ τούτῳ καὶ δεύτερον, καὶ δύο οὐσίας τῷ ἀριθμῷ διεῖλε, μιᾶς οὔσης τῆς ἀμφοτέρων τελειότητος, τῆς τε οὐσίας τοῦ δευτέρου θεοῦ τὴν ὕπαρξιν ἐχούσης ἐκ τοῦ πρώτου...” - (Chapter 9:3, Pin.9 θʹ. “Περὶ τῶν φιλοσόφων, οἳ διὰ τὸ πάντα βούλεσθαι εἰδέναι καὶ περὶ τὰς δόξας ἐσφάλησαν, καὶ κινδύνοις ἔνιοι προσωμίλησαν, καὶ περὶ τῶν Πλάτωνος δογμάτων,” Constantini imperatoris oratio ad coetum sanctorum 1.t Βασιλέως Κωνσταντίνου λόγος ὃν ἔγραψε τῷ τῶν ἁγίων συλλόγῳ. MPG.)

CONSTANTINE 1ST (circa. 272-337 C.E.): “...First he indicates a god that is above, ([this] He has done well), but he subordinates to this one a second, he also distinguishes [these] two beings numerically, [though] the both of them are ( one completely perfect essence ), and the second god takes part in the substance of -- and also – originates from out of the First...” - (CHAPTER IX, “The Oration of the Emperor Constantine Which He Addressed To the Assembly of the Saints.” translated by Matt13weedhacker 6/9/12.)

CONSTANTINE 1ST (circa. 272-337 C.E.): “...First he indicates a god that is above, ([this] He has done well), but He [Gk., ( ὑπέταξε )] subordinates to this one a second, he also distinguishes [these] [Gk., ( δύο οὐσίας )] two beings numerically, [though] the both of them [Gk., ( μιᾶς οὔσης τῆς ἀμφοτέρων τελειότητος )] are ( one completely perfect essence ), and the second god [Gk., ( ἐχούσης )] takes part in [Gk., ( τὴν ὕπαρξιν )] the substance of -- and also -- [Gk., ( ἐκ )] originates from out of the First...” - (CHAPTER IX, “The Oration of the Emperor Constantine Which He Addressed To the Assembly of the Saints.” translated by Matt13weedhacker 6/9/12.)

Now compare the Nicene Creed and the consubstantial formula of Gk., ( ὁμοούσιον ) from Gk., ( ὁμός ) homós “...same...” and Gk., ( οὐσία ) ousía, “...being...”:

GREEK TEXT: “...τὸν ἐκ τοῦ Πατρὸς γεννηθέντα πρὸ πάντων τῶν αἰώνων· φῶς ἐκ φωτός, Θεὸν ἀληθινὸν ἐκ Θεοῦ ἀληθινοῦ, γεννηθέντα οὐ ποιηθέντα, ὁμοούσιον τῷ Πατρί...” - (Greek Liturgical Text.)

NICENE CREED (circa. 325 C.E.): “...He originating from out of the Father, generated before all of the ages. A Light originated from out of Light, a God originated from out of God, a Genuine God originating out of Genuine God, generated not made, ( of the same - being ) as the Father...” - (Section 2, from the original un-amended Nicene Creed 325 C.E., translated by Matt13weedhacker 4/9/12.)

NICENE CREED (circa. 325 C.E.): “...He [Gk., ( ἐκ )] originating from out of the Father, generated before all of the ages. A Light [Gk., ( ἐκ )] originated from out of Light, a God [Gk., ( ἐκ )] originated from out of God, a Genuine God [Gk., ( ἐκ )] originating out of Genuine God, generated not made, [Gk., ( ὁμοούσιον )] ( of the same - being ) as the Father...” - (Section 2, from the original un-amended Nicene Creed 325 C.E., translated by Matt13weedhacker 4/9/12.)

LATIN TEXT: “...Et ex Patre natum ante ómnia sæcula. Deum de Deo, lumen de lúmine, Deum verum de Deo vero, Génitum, non factum, consubstantiálem Patri...” - (Latin Liturgical Text.)

NICENE CREED (circa. 325 C.E.): “...And naturally produced from out of the Father before all of the ages. A God out of God, a Light out of Light, a True God out of True God, generated, not made, ( of the same - substance ) as the Father...” - (Section 2, from the original un-amended Nicene Creed 325 C.E., translated by Matt13weedhacker 4/9/12.)

NICENE CREED (circa. 325 C.E.): “...And naturally produced [Ltn., ( ex )] from out of the Father before all of the ages. A God [Ltn., ( de )] out of God, a Light [Ltn., ( de )] out of Light, a True God [Ltn., ( de )] out of True God, generated, not made, [Ltn., ( consubstantiálem )] ( of the same - substance ) as the Father...” - (Section 2, from the original un-amended Nicene Creed 325 C.E., translated by Matt13weedhacker 4/9/12.)

Emperor Constantine, (as Eusebius testifies below), did indeed introduce and add the crucial formula Ltn., ( consubstantialem ) or Gk., ( ὁμοούσιον ) to the Creed himself:

GREEK TEXT: “...Ταύτης [7.] ὑφ' ἡμῶν ἐκτεθείσης τῆς πίστεως οὐδενὶ παρῆν ἀντιλογίας τόπος, ἀλλ' αὐτός τε πρῶτος ὁ θεοφιλέστατος ἡμῶν βασιλεὺς ὀρθότατα περιέχειν αὐτὴν ἐμαρτύρησεν. οὕτω τε καὶ ἑαυτὸν φρονεῖν συνωμολόγησε καὶ ταύτῃ τοὺς πάντας συγκαταθέσθαι ὑπογράφειν τε τοῖς δόγμασι καὶ συμφωνεῖν τούτοις αὐτοῖς παρεκελεύετο, ἑνὸς μόνου προσεγγραφέντος ῥήματος τοῦ ὁμοουσίου, ὃ καὶ αὐτὸς ἑρμήνευε λέγων· ὅτι μὴ κατὰ τῶν σωμάτων πάθη λέγοιτο ὁμοούσιος<ὁ υἱός>, οὔτ' οὖν κατὰ διαίρεσιν οὔτε κατά τινα ἀποτομὴν ἐκ τοῦ πατρὸς ὑποστῆναι· μηδὲ γὰρ δύνασθαι τὴν ἄυλον καὶ νοερὰν καὶ ἀσώματον φύσιν σωματικόν τι πάθος ὑφίστασθαι, θείοις δὲ καὶ ἀπορρήτοις λόγοις προσήκειν τὰ τοιαῦτα νοεῖν. καὶ ὁ μὲν σοφώτατος ἡμῶν καὶ εὐσεβέστατος βασιλεὺς τοιάδε ἐφιλοσόφει. οἱ δὲ προφάσει τῆς τοῦ ὁμοουσίου προσθήκης τήνδε τὴν γραφὴν πεποιήκασιν· [8.] [Ἡ ἐν τῇ συνόδῳ ὑπαγορευθεῖσα πίστις.] Πιστεύομεν εἰς ἕνα θεόν, πατέρα, παντοκράτορα, πάντων ὁρατῶν τε καὶ ἀοράτων ποιητήν, καὶ εἰς ἕνα κύριον Ἰησοῦν Χριστόν, τὸν υἱὸν τοῦ θεοῦ, γεννηθέντα ἐκ τοῦ πατρὸς μονογενῆ τουτέστιν ἐκ τῆς οὐσίας τοῦ πατρός, θεὸν ἐκ θεοῦ, φῶς ἐκ φωτός, θεὸν ἀληθινὸν ἐκ θεοῦ ἀληθινοῦ, γεννηθέντα οὐ ποιηθέντα, ὁμοούσιον τῷ πατρί...” - (Book 1, Chapter 11, Sections 7-8, [1.11.7-8 MPG] Quoted in Theodoret “Ecclesiastical History,” “Εὐσεβίου Καισαρέως τοῦ ἀρειανόφρονος ἐπιστολὴ πρὸς τοὺς τῆς παροικίας αὐτοῦ,” MPG.)

EUSEBIUS OF CAESAREA (circa. 260-340 C.E. ): “...When this formulary had been set forth by us, there was no room to gainsay it; BUT OUR BELOVED EMPEROR HIMSELF WAS THE FIRST TO TESTIFY THAT IT WAS MOST ORTHODOX, AND THAT HE COINCIDED IN OPINION WITH IT; AND HE EXHORTED THE OTHERS TO SIGN IT, AND TO RECEIVE ALL THE DOCTRINE IT CONTAINED, WITH THE SINGLE ADDITION OF THE ONE WORD—‘CONSUBSTANTIAL.’ HE EXPLAINED THAT THIS TERM IMPLIED no bodily condition or change[367] for that the Son did not derive His existence from the Father either by means of division or of abscission, since an immaterial, intellectual, and incorporeal nature could not be subject to any bodily condition or change[368]. These things must be understood as bearing a divine and mysterious signification. THUS REASONED OUR WISEST AND MOST RELIGIOUS EMPEROR. THE ADDITION OF THE WORD CONSUBSTANTIAL HAS GIVEN OCCASION FOR THE COMPOSITION OF THE FOLLOWING FORMULARY: — The Creed published by the Council: “‘We believe in one God, Father Almighty, Maker of all things visible and invisible. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, begotten of the Father; only-begotten, that is, of the substance of the Father, God of God, Light of Light, Very God of very God, begotten not made, being of one substance with the Father...” - (Book 1, Chapter 11, Quoted in Theodoret “Ecclesiastical History,” Translated by Blomfield Jackson. From Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Vol. 3. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1892.)
[FOOTNOTE 367]: πάθη, πάθος.
[FOOTNOTE 368]: πάθη, πάθος.

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