The Doctrine of the eternal generation
in opposition to the hellenistic logos doctrine in the early church
Jung S. Rhee
Nowadays, the need of "theological
contextualization" is increasingly emphasized among western
missiologists and Third-World theologians. Though it is rarely
attempted, its most intensive model is found in the Pre-Nicene
formulation of the Christian theology. The validity and necessity
of theological contextualization may be correctly answered from a
theological reflection on the Pre-Nicene developments of
theology. However, Adolf Harnack one-sidedly called it
"hellenization" or "secularization". No
doubt, he is an outdated theologian to our contemporary
missiologists or theologians of culture, who regard theological
contextualization a two-way encounter and inter-adjustment
between two cultures behind theology. Nevertheless, Harnack is
right to point out that theological contextualization is not
simply a matter of cultural transformation but a theological
intercourse. Therefore, he "lamented" this attempt of
The union of the Christian religion with a definite historical phase of human knowledge and culture may be lamented in the interest of the Christian religion, which was thereby secularized, and in the interest of the development of culture which was thereby retarded(?).1
The main thrust of hellenization, according to Harnack, was the introduction of the Greek Logos philosophy into Christian Christology, which produced the purely philosophical "Logos Christology."2 The adoption of the Logos Christology was the symbol of hellenization.3
In this connection, we are confronted
with a provocative theory that the doctrine of the eternal
generation is a product of this Hellenistic Logos Christology and
therefore an alien dogma. With a definite thesis that the
earliest form of the Christian Logos doctrine was without doubt
that of Gnosticism,"4 which is generally known as
a religious formulation of Platonic philosophy, Martin Werner,
the professor of systematic theology in the University of Berne,
concluded that the doctrine of eternal generation is completely
Hellenistic, Gnostic, and therefore alien:
In the concept of the generation of the Son was involved all manner of problems which lay completely beyond the purview of the Apostolic Primitive-Christian doctrine. Moreover, the fact was implied therein that the adoption of the Gnostic concept of generation signified the beginning of a new development in the Christological doctrine of the Church.5
Previously, this theory was held by
Benjamin Warfield of Princeton in his series article entitled
"Tertullian and the Beginnings of the Doctrine of the
Trinity"(1905-6). Though he honored Tertullian as "the
father of the Nicene theology,"6 and "the
real father of the Christian doctrine of the Trinity,"7
Warfield regretted Tertullian's belief in the eternal generation
of the Son, with an understanding that "Tertullian, however,
still lived and moved and had his being under the spell of the
However, the belief in the eternal generation of the Son has been held from the very beginning of Christianity. The so-called "Apostolic Fathers" or "Sub-Apostolic Fathers," who represent the faith of the early church approximately during A.D. 70-150, have founded "the Church's unconscious theology."9 In their writings, the Logos Christology or Hellenistic influence is not seen yet.10 To be sure, their most favorite title of Jesus Christ was the "Lord" or "Son of God", not "Logos" or "Word."11
Without exception, they believed in
Jesus Christ as the only-begotten Son of God before the world was
created. Though they did not formulate the doctrine of the
eternal generation, their belief in it is doubtless, as seen in
the following explicit statements:
He, being begotten by the Father before the beginning of time, was God the Word, the only-begotten Son, and remains the same for ever.12
The Son of God is born before all His creation, so, is counselor to His Father in His creation.13
Therefore, we may conclude that the
Apostolic Fathers and their churches, without any alien
influence, believed in the eternal generation of the Son.
Definitely speaking, the generation of the Son is pre-creational,
i.e., "before all His creation." However, in their
system of thought, "pre-creational" practically meant
"eternal", for time was believed to be created with the
creation of the world and therefore "before all His
creation" was simply understood as "beyond time,"
"above all time," "no time," and
"eternal."14 And, their understanding of
generation was, no doubt, a real and metaphysical derivation.
This genuine, pure, and biblical conception of the eternal
generation, however, was destined to pass through the stormy
period of the Apologists.
In the difficult situation of religious persecution and additional intellectual criticisms, a group called "Apologists" attempted a theological contextualization both for the apologetic and missionary purposes. Dated A.D. 150-200, the Apologists are called "the Church's first theologians."15 Most of all, "The Apologists were," as J. N. D. Kelly pointedly described them, "the first to try to frame an intellectually satisfying explanation of the relation of Christ to God the Father."16 However, they are fairly criticized for systematically introducing an alien doctrine of ""Logos"" into Christology, in order to satisfy the Hellenistic minds. Though the name of Jesus Christ as the ""Logos" or ""Word" has a biblical origin, it is certainly not a major and dominant one in the Scripture. Accordingly, the origin of the Logos Christology from the Prologue of the Fourth Gospel is generally denied.17 Rather, it is assumed to be from Philo's doctrine of the Logos or the Hellenistic philosophy of religion.18 Justin, Tertullian, and Origen altogether attributed its origin to Philo, but, as Harnack fundamentally pointed out, ""the Logos doctrine is Greek philosophy in nuce."19
The most devastating effect of this Greek philosophy upon the doctrine of Christ was made by the subsequent introduction of the Stoic technical distinction between the immanent Word(Logos endiathetos) and the uttered or expressed Word(Logos prophorikos).20 Being "ardent monotheists,"21 the Apologists maintained that there is only one God from eternity. However, just as a man has his reason, God has His Reason(Logos), which they identified with Christ. According to them, the Logos endiathetos, as He existed eternally in God, was simply the divine reason without personal existence. With a view to the creation of the world, however, God generated the Logos out of His own Being and thus gave Him personal existence, i.e., Logos prophorikos.22 Therefore, while the origination of the Logos within God is eternal, the generation of the Logos, and so His eligibility for the title "Son," is pre-creational but not eternal.23
Because the Stoic doctrine of the
impersonal Logos and the Christian doctrine of the personal Son
are incompatible, some scholars totally invalidate the
Apologists' Christology.24 Though it may be right if
they attempted a kind of syncretistic Christology, it was not the
case for the Apologists, as Louis Berkhof correctly explains:
"It should be noted particularly that the Logos of the
Apologists, in distinction from the philosophical Logos, had an
independent personality."25 Against the cynical
charge of the contemporary Stoics that the immanent or uttered
Word [Reason] of God cannot be a personal "Son,"
Athenagoras reproached: "Let no one count it absurd that God
should have a Son!"26 So did Tatian, a disciple
Furthermore, the whole system of Justin, the most important Apologist, rests upon the basic fact that Jesus Christ is the "only proper Son of God."28 Upon this designation and its implications, all the other titles, even "Logos," evidently depend.29 That is, he personally believed in the second "Person" of the Trinity, the Son of God, while the "Logos," one of many Jesus' titles, was employed simply to apologetically explain His divinity to the Hellenistic souls. Therefore, the personhood and ontological distinction of the Son[Logos] was without question to Justin.30 So, Justin argued that the Son[Logos) was not only in name distinct from the Father but was "numerically distinct too."31 He continues: "the Scripture has declared that this offspring was begotten by the Father before all things created and that which is begotten is numerically distinct from that which begets."32 There, he listed several biblical proof texts which reveal that the Father did commune and take counsel with Someone Else, whom Justin identified as the Son. Even Jean Danielou, who critically understood Justin and the Apologists as under the influence of the "Middle Platonism" of Atticus or Albinus, regarded the Apologists' affirmation of the Son's personal distinction as "what is peculiar to the Apologists" and differs from the Middle Platonist philosophers or from Philo.33 Moreover, Justin reproached a contemporary view that the Father, when He wills, causes a power to proceed from Himself but He also recalls at pleasure, as the sun sets the sunlight is withdrawn, by employing the analogy of fire"34: "just as we see also happening in the case of a fire, which is not lessened when it has kindled (another), but remains the same; and that which has been kindled by it likewise appears to exist by Itself, not diminishing that from which it was kindled."35
Thus, the Son of God is a distinct Person and His generation is an actual derivation. His generation is singular, peculiar and ineffable above ordinary human birth.36 In an exclusive sense, Christ is the pre-eminent, unique "Son", and the term "Son" obviously implies, to Justin, "derivation or generation from a higher and more original Being, that so, from the Father."37 That Justin believed in the actual and metaphysical generation of the Son is evldently shown in his naive but natural understanding that the generation implies a "beginning"38 and that the generation was not of necessity, nor automatic, but absolutely only by the free volition of the Father.39
To be sure, their childlike belief in
the actual generation of the Son was very difficult to hold in
their contemporary intellectual atmosphere. According to the
Greek "Logos" doctrine, it was inconceivable and
contradictory that the Logos has a beginning or a product of free
volition.40 This fact witnesses that the Apologists
did not found their belief in the eternal generation upon the
Greek "Logos" doctrine, but primarily upon the
Scriptural "Son of God" doctrine. Therefore, Harnack, a
severe critic to contextualization, could answer the question why
"The Gnostic specualtions were repudiated, whereas those of
the Apologists were accepted [by the churches]," as follows:
The answers to these questions appear paradoxical. The theses of the Apologists finally overcame all scruples in ecclesiastical circles and were accepted by the Graeco-Roman world, because they made Christianity rational without taking from, or adding to, its traditional historic material.41
Nevertheless, we may not deny that their
careless introduction of the Stoic distinction between Logos
endiathetos and prophorikos resulted in the
unnecessary confusion and distortion of the eternal generation
doctrine. Though it was partially successful in defending the
divinity and homoousia of the Logos,42 it
opened a way for a very philosophical and impersonal concept of
the Son and His generation, as developed later in the theories of
ceaseless generation, psychological analogy, or economic
It was Irenaeus of Lyon(130-200) who
criticized and rejected this twofold stage theory as dangerous.43
Weary of the hellenistic speculations, Irenaeus preferred the
practical, religious, and biblical form of theology. So, John
Lawson praised him: "The significance of Irenaeus is that he
prefigured the preference. In his own day, and in his own way, he
based himself firmly upon the God of the Bible, that is, upon the
God of religious experience."44 Most of all, his
criticism of the philosophical speculations focused on eternal
If anyone asks us, "How was the Son produced from the Father?", we reply no one understands that production or generation or calling or revelation or whatever term anyone applies to his begetting, which in truth indescribable....Only the Father knows who begot him, and the Son who was begotten....And it is not our duty to indulge in conjecture and make guesses about infinite things which concern God. The knowledge of such matters is to be left to God.45
However, it does not mean that Irenaeus
rejected the doctrine of the eternal generation.46 He
rejected only arbitrary speculations free from the revealed
facts, not the "substance of faith" which he strongly
maintained more than any other contemporaries.47 What
he rejected is clear in the following passage:
For we have learnt from Scripture that God is the first source of all. But whence or how he emitted material substance the Scriptures have not revealed.48
That is the "whence or how....(which) the Scriptures have not revealed." On the other hand, as far as the Scriptures reveal, Irenaeus did not yield even an iota.
His belief in the generation of the Son from the Father as a revealed fact is unshakable, but he does not think that how the Son was generated from the Father was revealed anywhere in the Scriptures. Therefore, his criticism of the speculative "how" was focused upon the psychological analogy, which is a product of the Greek Logos doctrine but later became very popular through the promotion of Augustine. Irenaeus ridiculed the Gnostic attempt to use the psychological analogy in the explanation of the trinitarian mystery: "they transfer the generation of a human 'word-expressed' to the eternal Word of God."49 This alien analogy based on the twofold stage theory was even contradictory to him. For he argues that it is impossible for Sige(silence) and Logos(speech) to co-exist in the same body of emanations.50
Moreover, his answer to the
"whence" is very definite. As seen in the following
passage, Irenaeus clearly indicates that this generation was
the Son, eternally co-existing with the Father, from of old, yea, from the beginning, always reveals the Father....51
Harnack found the most important clue to
understand Irenaeus in his "strong emphasis laid on
'always'," but wrongly understood the "always" as
implying "always as far as He reveals the Father," that
is, "always as far as the world to which He reveals
exists."52 Though his "recapitulation
theory" was based on his belief that Christ is the center
and the object of the whole human history,53 Irenaeus
rejected the Gnostic idea that the Son was generated only for the
world just before the creation. Bertrand de Margerie's view that
Irenaeus held the generation of the Son "independent of and
'anterior' to creation"54 is doubtlessly correct,
as seen in his quotation of Irenaeus:
Not only before Adam but before all creation, the Word was glorifying the Father, dwelling in him, and was himself being glorified by the Father.55
Therefore, it is hardly understandable that Irenaeus advocated "economic Trinitarianism."56 Rather, it was "the target of his attack," because it limited the Son within the "economy" of the world under the influence of Gnostic dualism.57 As "the theologian who summed up the thought of the second century,"58 Irenaeus made a significant contribution to the doctrine of the eternal generation by transcending the twofold stage theory and non-eternal generation of the Greek Logos doctrine held by the Apologists. To him, it was clear that the Scriptures teach the eternal generation of the Son.
Now, it is clear that the early churches
of the first two centuries had unanimously believed in the
eternal generation of the Son. The groundless charge that it is
an alien dogma arose out of a fundamental misunderstanding of
what Christianity is or a superficial knowledge of the early
church faith. Rather, this unique Christian belief had been
maintained in opposition to the surrounding philosophical
alien influences to convert it to their own pagan idea of
impersonal Logos emanation. Because the most important cause of
early Christianity in establishing a new religion was the belief
that Jesus Christ is God in the way of his being "the only
begotten Son" of God, the Son's generation in the realm of
God was as real as our human birth. For this belief, they were
persecuted even to be martyred in alien ridicule to this childish
belief that God generated a personal son. The only variance in
this belief was "when" the Son was generated. Due to
their strongly real and metaphysical understanding of generation
in the imagery of human birth, they tended to put a time gap
between the existence of the Father and the Son. However, they
unanimously believed in the pre-existence of Jesus and His
generation "independent and anterior" to creation in
opposition to the Gnostic connection of the Demiurge with
creation. Their belief in the eternal generation of the Son might
be "a foolishness to the Greeks and a stumbling block to the
Jews," but it was real, true, and good to our early
ancestors of faith that the Father generated the Son in the world
of the Creator, i.e., eternity.
In the beginning of the third century,59 a more sophisticated and scholastic discussion on the biblical description of "the only begotten Son" arose, bringing questions concerning the simple and real belief of their ancestors. It opened the way for the enormous subsequent philosophical complication of the Trinitarian and Christological discussions and finally for the triumph of the Logos Christology in the West. As far as the doctrine of the eternal generation is concerned, two contemporary theologians of this time--Tertullian and Origen--made a crucially damaging philosophical distortion of this biblical and apostolic doctrine, the impact of which is seen throughout church history up to the present day.
Tertullian(160-225) is called "the
founder of Latin Theology," "the father of the Nicene
Theology," or "the father of the Christian doctrine of
the Trinity."60 First of all, his attack on
philosophical Christianity is praised for setting an ongoing
restraint on the philosophizing tendency of theology. He
preferred "Christian foolishness" to the philosopher's
wisdom, and totally denied any need of assistance from
What indeed has Athens to do with Jerusalem? What has the Academy to do with the Church?....Away with all attempts to produce a Stoic, Platonic, and dialectic Christianity! We want no speculation after possessing Christ Jesus, no inquisition after receiving the gospel!61
Therefore, it is embarrassing to know that, as a matter of fact, he was heavily influenced by Greek philosophies.62 As Warfield correctly pointed out, "Tertullian, now, was the heir of this whole Logos construction."63
Due to his acceptance of the twofold
stage theory of the Logos philosophy, Tertullian denied the
"eternal" generation of the Son.64 Contradictory
to his own thesis that "if the Son is God, and God is
eternal, then the Son also is eternal,"65 he
surprisingly held the Arian thesis that "there was a time
before which the Son was not." Though the existence of the
Logos as the divine reason without personal distinction is
eternal,66 His Sonship with a personal distinction
begins from a definite moment. In the refutation of Hermogenes,
he argued that God has not always been the Father, because there
was a time when the Son was not.:
He has not always been Father....For He could not have been the Father previous to the Son....There was, however, a time when....the Son did not exist with Him.67
Furthermore, he contended that the
moment of generation is not an indefinite "before
creation" but a definite moment of "just before the
creation" or "in the very beginning of the
At that point therefore Word also itself receives its manifestation and equipment, namely sound and voice, when God says, "Let there be light"(Gen. 1.3). This is the complete nativity of the Word, when it comes forth from God...thereafter causing Him to be His Father by proceeding from whom He became Son.68
Regarding Tertullian's acceptance of the creation-related generation, Jean Danielou generously understood that it was simply because "Tertullian belongs to a theological world in which the begetting of the Son was linked to the creation of the universe."69 But, this seems doubtful when we recall the consistent resistance of the early church to the Gnostic religious system in the first two centuries when the Gnostic influence was greatest. Rather, it was because Tertullian personally depended too much on Greek philosophy. Platonic dualism, as elaborated in the Gnostic cosmogony, could conceive of a generation of the Logos only in relation with the creation of the material world. It was definitely a syncretistic concession to Gnostic religion and Greek philosophy.
Regrettably, Tertullian corrupted the biblical and apostolic doctrine of the eternal generation of the Son in three aspects. First, he introduced a theological tendency to limit the existence and meaning of God only within the relationship with our world. If there is no world, there could be no triune God. This world-centered theology which Tertullian theologically justified has appeared again and again throughout the history of theology. This pagan view had a destructive impact on the doctrine of the eternal generation, for it rejects the generation of the "personal" Son and most of all its "eternity."
Secondly, he attempted a strictly logical theology and advocated rationalism in Christianity. No doubt, it is illogical to insist that the begotten Son has no beginning or that the Son is as eternal as the Father. So, he concluded that "there was a time before which the Son was not"--the thesis which was adopted later by Arius. However, his mistake was to apply the human and temporal logic to the divine and eternal (a-temporal) realm.
Thirdly, he promoted the materialistic view of God under the influence of pagan religion and Greek philosophy.70 In the Platonic system of a dualistic distinction between form and matter, whatever is generated must be of matter. And, if the Son who is generated is of matter, the Father who generates cannot be a pure Form. This Greek speculation created "a more embarrassing formula"71 that "the Father is the whole substance, while the Son is a derivation and portion of the whole (derivatio totius et portio)."72 According to this formula, the Son is only a "portion" of the Father, and the Father is the "whole" which can be divided into several portions. This conception of God totally betrays the spirituality and simplicity of the divine substance. As a result, Tertullian subscribed to the cosmogonic and materialistic generation of the Son. The idea of derivation is present, but not that of eternity. It was even more than a throwback to the Apologist's conception.
However, we may not deny Tertullian's contribution to the doctrine of the Trinity in some aspects; For example, Tertullian overcame the impersonal and modalistic pitfalls of the Logos Christology and psychological analogy. His assertive formula that the Logos is alius non aliud(another person not another thing)73 or that God is unum non unus(one reality, not one person)74 emphasizes the personhood of the Son. His treatise Against Praxeas, which is regarded as "the most important contribution to the doctrine of the Trinity in the Ante-Nicene period,"75 is a ground-breaking criticism of Praxean modalism. Moreover, he tried to avoid the psychological analogy implanted in the Logos Christology, and rather employed three sets of cosmological analogy: root-branch-fruit, source-river-rivulet, sun-ray-tip.76 Therefore, Warfield's thesis that Tertullian achieved "a rather distinct advance towards the conception of an immanent Trinity"77 is agreeable, though he created a mixed form of economic and immanent trinitarianism due to his two incompatible sources of theology. Most of all, his greatest contribution lies in the creation of a new trinitarian language.78 He is regarded as the first who significantly used the terms "trinitas" and "persona".79 Moreover, the Nicene and Athanasian creeds borrowed from him his formulas, such as "Trinitas, tres personae, una substantia," "Deum de Deo, lumen de lumine," and the like.80
Nevertheless, his contribution did not
exceed his detraction. The Church's effort to confess the
biblical and apostolic doctrine of the eternal generation of the
Son in the fourth century had to pass through a long and
difficult phase mostly due to the complication of Tertullian,
Origen, and their more rationalistic follower Arius. B. B.
Warfield's remark on the reason for Tertullian's failure is to
But it happened to him, as it has happened to many besides him, that the process of pouring so much new wine into old bottles had an unhappy effect upon the bottles. This great adherent of the Logos speculation became the prime instrument of its destruction.81
In contrast with Tertullian,
Origen(185-254) presented a far more orthodox formulation in the
doctrine of the eternal generation of the Son. First, he rejected
the Arian thesis, which Tertullian adopted, that there was a time
when the Son was not. His pioneering formulation "that there
never was a time when the Son was not",82
was "an anticipatory negation of a basic Arian
principle."83 It is strange, however, that this
orthodox conclusion was made by his rather unorthodox reasoning.
His adherence to Logos Philosophy made him view the Son as the
Reason or Wisdom of God the Father. In this structure, therefore,
he simply could not conceive of the idea of God without His
Reason or Wisdom. So, he argued as follows.
And who that is capable of entertaining reverential thought or feeling regarding God, can suppose or believe that God the Father ever existed, even for a moment of time, without having generated this Wisdom? For in that case he must say either that God was unable to generate Wisdom before He produced her, so that He afterwards called into being her who formerly did not exist, or that He possessed the power indeed, but--what cannot be said of God without impiety--was unwilling to use it; both of which suppositions, it is patent to all, are alike absurd and impious. for they amount to this, either that God advanced from a condition of inability to one of ability, or that, although possessed of the power, He concealed it, and delayed the generation of Wisdom.84
To strengthen his argument of
co-existence of Father and Son, Origen employed the
John tells us that "God is light" and Paul calls the Son "the radiance" of eternal light. Therefore, as light can never be without radiance, how can it be said that there was a time when the Son was not? For that is as much as to say that there was a time when Truth was not, when Wisdom was not, when life was not.85
The immutability of God was another reinforcing factor for this affirmation, because God could not become a Father in a definite moment of time, before which He was not a Father. To him, it meant the change of the divine nature.86
Second, he rejected the twofold stage theory which the Apologists had developed in the apologetic adoption of the Logos doctrine. Traditionally, it was held that the Son is eternal but first as the impersonal logos of God and then a personality was given to it later. However, Origen was correct to think that the impersonal Wisdom of God the Father is but an organ of God and therefore until the Son began to exist with a distinct personal identity there was no Son. Twofold stage theory, therefore, was frankly a denial of the eternal Son, which Origen could not harmonize with the belief in the eternal Father. Origen's abrogation of the twofold stage theory with the emphasis on the distinct personhood of three Persons in the Trinity is heroic and revolutionary.87 With his sharp observation, he concluded that a denial of the Son's distinct personhood logically resulted in the denial of the Son.88 Formally, Origen marks the end of the Logos doctrine as applied to the doctrine of the Son's generation.
Third, he rejected Tertullian's
materialistic view of divine essence that the Son is a portion of
the Father. With the use of psychological analogy, he reproached
the materialist understandlng of divine essence and generation of
And we must be careful not to fall into the absurdities of those who picture to themselves certain emanations, so as to divide the divine nature into parts, and who divide God the Father as far as they can, since....is not only the height of impiety, but a mark of the greatest folly, it being most remote from any intelligent conception that there should be any physical division of any incorporeal nature. Rather, as an act of the will proceeds from the understanding; and neither cuts off any part nor is seperated or divided from it, so after some such fashion is the Father to be supposed as having begotten the Son.89
The spirituality of the divine nature and therefore the spiritual generation of the Son was emphatically and correctively advocated, but it is noteworthy that it was done as the logical deduction of his doctrine of God.
According to Edmund J. Fortman, Origen believed in the "God of Platonism," rather than the God of the Scripture.90 Origen scholar Eugene De Faye totally agrees with him: "Of all the influences which contributed to form his doctrine of God, the most apparent--and at the same time the most profound--was Plato and Platonism."91 This is an almost unanimous judgment.92 The Platonic nature of Origen's theology is the key understanding his strange and alien doctrines. An embarrassing idea in his doctrine of God is that God is limited. Harnack listed four limitations in the God of Origen,93 of which the most disturbing contention is that God is limited "by logic." His personal conviction that God cannot do what is "contrary to nature, since then God could not possibly be God"94 reflects his deep commitment to the scientific theology as well as his philosophical education in Alexandria. Middle Platonism was fashionable at his time in Alexandria,95 and Plotinus, the founder of Neo-Platonism, was a fellow-student of Origen in the Alexandrian philosophical school.96 Though Origen was a Christian from birth, his soul was enraptured with Platonic philosophy througout his entire life. So, even Porphyry, "the disciple and biographer of Plotinus, and a stern critic of Christianity" commented that "though Origen lived as a Christian, he thought as a Greek."97
His Platonic philosophy did not affect
only a limited area of his theological system, because he was the
pioneer in developing "systematic theology."98
The main structure of his systematic theology was the theology of
the Logos.99 However, the concept of the Logos in the
Apologists and Origen is very different, as De Faye explains as
Previous to his time, the Logos had been identified with the Lord....But this Logos, adopted by the early Christians, is not exactly the Logos of the philosophers, it is a convenient term which enables them to enhance the divinity of Jesus Christ. It must not be regarded as anything more. This Logos has a meaning which is rather mystical and religious than cosmological or metaphysical. The Logos as Origen understands it is the true Logos of philosophical tradition, of which it possesses all characteristics.100
In Origen's system, there are three eternal beings: God, Logos, and logikoi. To Origen, God is limited to God the Father who is absolutely trancendental from matter and therefore could not have any direct relations with the material world.101 His Platonic mind could not acknowledge the biblical idea that the purely spiritual God could relate with the material world. Besides, logikoi are rational beings including human souls. Logos, as he understood, is a unique category of Being between two incompatible beings, i.e., God and logikoi. The Son belongs to this middle category of being. The necessity of this Logos link is Platonic, for Platonism understood that the Absolute is the Simple but the world is multiple and therefore there is need for a linking being who is simple on one side and multiple on the other side,102 though the multiplicity of the Logos was their main concern. That is the Platonic concept of epinoiai(aspects). Origen employed this Platonic doctrine of epinoiai to emphasize the categorical difference between the Father and the Son. The various Christological titles which appear in the Scriptures, Origen insisted, are epinoiai of the Logos.103 However, it is inconsistent not to apply the same principle to the multiple titles of God the Father in the Scriptures and call them also epinoiai of God. Now, it is clear that Origen's ontological structure is the hierarchical view of the world which was borrowed from Platonic world view.
This alien world view brought together several strange doctrines to the world of Christian theology. First, it is the only reason for the existence of the Logos to link God with the world. That is, the Logos exists because the world exists, and vice versa. The existence and destiny of the two beings are inseparable. This idea of a cosmogonic Logos demands a theological choice, i.e., either both are eternal, or both are non-eternal. The preceding Logos theologians preferred the latter, but Origen chose the former and insisted that both the Logos and the world(logikoi) are eternal.104
It was no doubt, a fundamental challenge
to the biblical doctrine of the creation of the world. If the
world was created, it can not be eternal. To avoid this
contradiction, Origen invented the idea of continuous or
ceaseless creation. He tried to justify his idea by claiming the
divine attribute of immutability as follows:
....there was no time when they did not exist. If there were such a time....it would follow that the unchangeable and unalterable God would be altered and changed. For if he made everything later on, it is clear that he would change from not-making to making.105
Also, he referred to the omnipotence of
God with a misunderstanding of the nature of divine attribute:
God cannot be called "omnipotent" unless there exist those over whom He may exercise His power; and therefore, that God may be shown to be almighty, it is recessary that all things should exist....But if there never was a time when He was not omnipotent, of necessity those things by which He receives that title must also exist.106
Neither the eternity of the world nor the exclusively cosmogonic Logos has originated from the Scriptures. Rather, it is "the characteristic influence of Middle Platonism."107 As A. Lieske correctly pointed out, "The cosmological significance of the Logos is the most serious threat to the mystery of the divine sonship within the Trinity, and the most powerful counterflow of Neo-Platonist thought against trinitarian speculation."108
Second, the Logos is inferior to God and superior to the world. In the hierarchical system of Origen's world, the Logos belongs to a lower status than God. That is, the Logos or the Son is not God in the strict sense. Therefore, for Origen the doctrine of God is exclusively the doctrine of God the Father, since the Son and the Spirit are "gods" only by participation.109 Origen clearly distinguished categories: "The Father, then, is proclaimed as the one true God; but besides the true God there are many who become gods by participation in God."110 So, he called only God the Father "the God(ho theos)" and "true God(alethinos theos)," while he called the Son one of "gods(theoi) or simply "god(theos)" without the definite article, or even "secondary God(theos deuteros)."111 Accordingly, J. N. D Kelly warns "not to attribute to Origen any doctrine of consubstantiality between Father and Son,"112 even though Origen is "the first to use the word homoousios."113 Rather, Origen inspired the development of the doctrine of three hypostases114 and the subordinationist tradition.115 In Origen's "thoroughgoing subordinationism", we see how seriously Platonism damaged the traditional doctrine of the Trinity.116
However, the problem is far deeper than a simple subordinationism. Carl F. H. Henry's reproach that "Origen reduced Christ to creatureliness,"117 is certainly not unjust. Though the Son belongs to the intermediate category, he is far closer to the lower category of creatures than God, because both are commonly not God but a lower beings of multiplicity. Therefore, Danielou is correct to say that "If the Son and the Spirit transcend all logikoi, they are themselves transcended to a still greater extent by the Father."118 It is even more true when we remind ourselves of the fact that Origen upgraded the world by granting it co-eternity with God. Historically, it is arguable because his successor and disciple Theognostus(fl. 250-80) and Thaumaturgus(d. c. 270) called the Son "a creature"(ktisma).119 Also, later Arius claimed that Origen's teaching on the Son "involved the constituent doctrine of his own scheme, namely, that the Son is finite and created."120 Though Origen himself did not definitely call the Son "a creature," his theological system naturally developed in this direction. Moreover, he was fond of calling the Son "the first-born of all creatures"(Col 1.15). Therefore, we may conclude with Kelly that he made "a conscious concession" to the idea of the Son as a creature though the highest one.121
Third, he created the doctrine of the
ceaseless generation of the Son.122 He himself
severely criticized the "impiety" of using a creaturely
analogy to explain the divine generation of the Son and denied
any human possibility to apprehend "how" the Father
generated the Son.123 However, his own theological
system could not control his piety. So, he attempted to explain
the "how" of divine generation by employing the
creaturely analogy of light:
Thus human thought cannot apprehend how the unbegotten God becomes the Father of the only-begotten Son. For it is an eternal and ceaseless generation as radiance is generated from light.124
Even though light or the human mind seems to be less than creaturely, we may not insist that there is no analogy from nature or creatures.
The idea of ceaseless generation was a totally new idea to the early church. The co-eternity of God, Logos, and the world could not be compatible with the traditional belief in the generation or creation at once, because such an idea produces a time-gap between God and Logos or the world by which co-eternity of those three is destroyed. So he insisted that "the Father did not generate the Son and then send him away after the generation, but generates him continually."125 The God of Origen is totally dependent on and responsive to the world and co-eternal with the world, and this is very similar with the God of our contemporary Process Theology.126 God is in the constant process of development, together with the world. Therefore, a continuous renewal of God demands a continuous process of generation of the Being who processes the relationship with the constantly developing world. The idea of God the Son who was generated eternally before and does not change his nature eternally is possible only in His independence from the world without necessarily excluding the concept of personal relationship. Therefore, Joseph Trigg's conclusion that "Platonic categories also enables Origen to arrive at a formula, 'eternal[ceaseless] generation'"127 is correct.
Later, Origen's teaching was condemned
as heretical at the Second Council of Constantinople(553). But,
Origen did not lose his influence. He is even called "the
most important and influential alongside of Augustine."128
He made a great influence on the East, and is known as "the
greatest and most influential theologian of the East."129
Most of all, his creative idea of ceaseless generation had
"an immense influence on later trinitarian theology."130
With a fervent love of Platonic philosophy, he
"distorted" the biblical and traditional doctrine of
the eternal generation of the Son by confusing the concept of
eternity, and as a result the doctrine of the Trinity was
considerably damaged. In fact, almost every problematic theology
of the Trinity has its origin in Origen, i.e., economic
trinitarianism, psychological analogy--of which Origen is
supposed to be the first advocate--and, most of all, ceaseless
generation of the Son. Though his Platonic idea of ceaseless
generation was rejected by the Nicene Council which emphatically
confessed the generation of the Son "before all
worlds," the Origenic ghost has been nurtured both by
Augustine's psychological analogy and Eastern mysticism, and
since the rise of humanism it has been gaining in popularity not
only among the modern liberals but also among some evangelical
1 Adolf Harnack, History of Dogma, 7 vols., tr. Neil Buchanan (London: Williams & Norgate, 1896), 2: 14. Moreover, different from our contemporaries, he perceived the "contextualization" as a momentary event, not a gradual process, when he says that "This hellenizing of ecclesiastical Christianity, by which we do not mean the Gospel, was not a gradual process, for the truth rather is that it was already accomplished the moment that the reflective Greek confronted the new religion which he had accepted," p. 7.
2 Ibid., p. 10. "...introducing into the doctrine of faith a philosophically formulated dogma, viz., that the Son of God is the Logos, and in having it made the articulus constitutivus ecclesiae. The effects of this undertaking can never be too highly estimated, for the Logos doctrine is Greek philosophy in nuce."
3 Ibid., p. 13. "Wherever the Logos Christology had been adopted the future of Christian Hellenism was certain. At the beginning of the fourth century there was no community in Christendom which, apart from the Logos doctrine, possessed a purely...ecclesiastical dogma."
4 Martin Werner, The Formation of Christian Dogma: A Historical Study of its problem, tr. S. G. F. Brandon (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1957), p. 225.
5 Ibid, p. 224.
6 Benjamin Breckinridge Warfield, Studies In Tertullian and Augustine (New York: Oxford University Press, 1930), p. 100.
7 Ibid., p. 107.
8 Ibid., Especially, he complained Tertulian's metaphysical and pre-creational understanding of eternal generation, for, as shown earlier, Warfield prefers its metaphorical and ceaseless understanding. Therefore, he continues: "he did not even perceive, as did Origen, that the notion of prolations before time must give way to the higher conception of eternal[ceaseless] generation and procession."
9 Kelly, Early Christian Doctrine, p. 90.
10 Berkhof, The History of Christian Doctrine, p. 39.
11 Fortman, The Triune God, pp. 37-43.
12 Ignatius, Epistle To the Magnesians, 6.
13 Hermas, The Shepherd, Similitudes, 9.12.2.
14 Ignatius, The Epistle To Polycarp, 3.
15 Fortman, The Triune God, p. 44.
16 Kelly, Early Christian Doctrines, p. 95.
17 V. A. Spence Little, The Christology of the Apologists (London: Duckworth, 1934), p. 80, "almost valueless...futile"; Werner, The Formation of Christian Dogma, p. 225. "by no means"
19 Harnack, History of Dogma, 2: 10.
20 Kelly, Early Christian Doctrines, p. 96.
21 Ibid., p. 95.
22 Berkof, The History of Christian Doctrines, p. 58.
23 Fortman, The Triune God, p. 50; Kelly, Early Christian Doctrines, p.
100 "There are two points in the Apologists' teaching which because of their far-reaching importance, must be heavily underlined, viz., (a) that for all of them the descrlption 'God the Father' connoted, not the first person of the Holy Trinity, but the one Godhead considered as author of whatever exists; and (b) that they all, Athenagoras included, dated the generation of the Logos, and so His eligibility for the title 'son', not from His origination within the being of the Godhead, but from His emission or putting forth for the purposes of creation, revelation and redemption. Unless these points are firmly grasped, and their significance appreciated, a completely distorted view of the Apolotists' theology is liable to result."
24 Werner, The Formation of Christian Dogma, p. 230. "His identification with the Logos could, therefore, by virtue of the Stoic doctrine of the Logos endiathetos and prophorikos, lead to the Son and his generation from God being reduced to a mere spiritual relation, namely, to that of the divine Mind in its operation in the world. Moreover, where in this connection the analogy of the human mind was expressly cited as conceiving of ideas and bringing them to effective expression in the spoken word, it remained questionable whether this could be really applicable to a 'Son' and his generation."; Eusebius of Caesarea, Marcellus, i. 4. 7. To Marcellus of Ancyra (d. c. 374), it was absolutely senseless to speak of the Logos as of a begotten Son before time.
25Berkhof, The History of Christian Doctrines, p. 58; Little, The Christology of the Apologists, pp. 120-121. "For the 'event,' if rightly so called, is said to have taken place 'before things created'-before time and not in sequence of time. Therefore, practically speaking, it 'happened' in eternity... 'begotten absolutely before all creatures.' But it is incorrect to interpret the 'before' in these passages as equal to 'just before,' ...But since it refers to an 'event' prior to time itself, to apply it a temporal meaning rigidly, can lead only to confusion of thought."
26Athenagoras, Supplication, 10.
27Tatian, Orations To the Greeks, 5. 1.
28 Little, The Christology of the Apologists, p. 95.
29 Ibid., p. 104.
30 Ibid., p. 116. "Philo's Logos, in respect to Personality, is anomalous, being sometimes truly personal, while at other times merely a metaphysical abstraction. But Justin hesitates in no such uncertainty for he is entirely convinced that Logos, the Pre-existent Son, is also Jesus Christ who was incarnate as Man among men."
31 Justin, Dialogue with Trypho, 128.
32 Ibid., 129.
33 Jean Danielou, A History of Early Christian Doctrine Before The Council of Nicaea. Volume Two: Gospel Message and Hellenistic Culture, tr. John Austin Baker (Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1973), p. 351.
34 John Kaye, The First Apology of Justin Martyr (London: Griffith Farran Browne & Co. Ltd.), pp. 50-51; Kelly, Early Christian Doctrines, pp. 97-98.
35 Justin, Dialogue with Trypho, 61.
36 Justin, The First Apology, 51; Justin, Dialogue with Trypho, 54.
37 Little, The Christology of the Apologists, p. 101.
38 Ibid., p. 108. "That the Logos, in some sense, began to be is the universal Christian belief in the second century. But the theory of the "eternal [ceaseless] generation" of the Logos gains no notice at all in our Apologists. On the other hand, these writers are unanimous in ascribing to the divine Logos a "generation," that is a "beginning" in a definite sense."
39 Ibid., pp. 114-115. "The Christian Logos is not an emanation, resulting from pure metaphysical necessity, but the determinate result or product of the operation of the Will of the Eternal Father. The generation of the Logos was therefore, not of necessity; nor was it fortuitous, nor automatic, but absolutely only by the free volition of the Father."
40 Ibid., p. 108.
41 Harnack, History of Dogma, 2: 170.
42 Werner, The Formation of Christian Dogma, pp. 230-231.
43 Fortman, The Triune God, p. 104.
44 John Lawson, The Biblical Theology of Saint Irenaeus (London: The Epworth Press, 1948), p. 139. He explains the "hard choice" in the contemporary situation, between "the Deity of philosophical and scientific speculation" and "God who is a personal Being, at once gloriously transcendent and in intimate contact with the world,"(138) though the dominant tendency was the choice of the philosophical Logos theology, which was nothing other than the form of theology congenial to the speculative mind of the day, revealed serious religious weakness latent within itself."(139)
45 Irenaeus, Against Heresies, II.xxviii.6.
46 Fortman, The Triune God, pp. 103-104. "Did Irenaeus hold the eternal generation of the Son? It has been argued that he did not...But this argumentation is weak. For Irenaeus 'prefers generally the name of Son to that of Word.' He certainly speak of that generation....And he clearly enough indicates that this generation is eternal."
47 Gerard Vallee, A Study in Anti-Gnostic Polemics: Irenaeus, Hippolytus, and Epiphanius (Waterloo, Canada: Wilfrid Laurier University Press /Canadian Corporation for Studies in Religion, 1981), p. 19.
48 Irenaeus, Against Heresies, II.xxiii.6.
49 Ibid., II.xiii.8; cf. de Margerie, The Christian Trinity in History, pp. 70-71; G. L. Prestige, God in Patristic Thought (London: SPCK, 1952), p. 125.
50 Ibid., p. 124; Irenaeus, Against Heresies, II.xii.5.
51 Irenaeus, Against Heresies, II.xxx.9.
52 Harnack, History of Dogma, 2: 264-265.
53 J. T. Nielsen, Adam and Christ in the Theology of Irenaeus of Lyons
(Assen: Van Gorcum & Comp. N. V., 1968), pp. 58-61.
54 de Magerie, The Christian Trinity in History, p. 72. "In opposition to the unconscious Father of the Gnostics, Irenaeus clearly affirms the mutual eternal glorification of the Father and the Son...it is Scripture itself that obliges Irenaeus to view the mystery of the relation between the Father and the Son, independent of and 'anterior' to creation, and to consider the Trinity in its inner life and not only in its relations with the world."; Gustaf Wingren, Man and the Incarnation: A Study in the Biblical Theology of Irenaeus, tr. Ross Mackenzie (Edinburgh: Oliver & Boyd, 1959), pp. 3-5. "Our best starting-point for a full understanding of the concept of God in Irenaeus is the sovereignty of God--the absolute power of the Creator...against the Gnostic's pessimism....For a complete understanding of the theology of Irenaeus we must keep firmly in our minds from the very first the belief that God and His Son are before everything that has been created, and before any matter or any world they are."
55 Irenaeus, Against Heresies, IV. 4. 1.
56 Cf. Kelly, Early Christian Doctrine, p. 108.
57 Vallee, A Study in Anti-Gnostic Polemics, pp. 20-21.
58 Kelly, Early Christian Doctrine, p. 104.
59 cf. Williston Walker, A History of the Christian Church, 3d ed., rev. Robert T. Handy (New York: Charles Schribner's Sons, 1970), pp. 67-71. "The last decade of the second and the first two of the third century were an important epoch, therefore, in Christological discussion..."; Fortman, The Triune God, p. 114.
60 Warfield, Studies In Tertullian and Augustine, pp. 100, 107.
61 Tertullian, The Prescription of Heretics, 7.
62 Prestige, God In Patristic Thought, p. 97.
63 Warfield, Studies In Tertullian and Augustine, p. 21.
64 Fortman, The Triune God, p. 114.
65 Bernard Lonergan, The Way To Nicea: The Dialectical Development of Trinitarian Theology, tr. Conn O'Donovan (Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1976), p. 48.
66 Cf, Warfield, Studies In Tertullian and Augustine, pp. 56-61. He contended that the Logos existed from eternity with "personal distinction," even though the Logos was not then the "Son". But, it is absurdly erronous that before His generation, He had a personal distinction, The generation is the event which endows the personal identity and sonship.
67 Tertullian, Against Hermogenes, 3.
68 Tertullian, Against Praxeas, 7.
69 Jean Danielou, A History of Early Christian Doctrine Before The Council of Nicaea. Volume Three: The Origins of Latin Christianity, tr. David Smith and John Austin Baker (Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1977), pp.365- 366. He continues, "It was only after the Council of Nicaea that the theology of the Trinity was set free from all connection with cosmology, a development for which, it must be admitted, we are indebted to what was valid in the thought of monarchians such as Praxeas."
70 Fortman, The Triune God, p. 115. "His chief doctrinal defects lie in his materialistic view of the divine substance and in his acceptance of the non- eternal generation of the Son."; Lonergan, The Way To Nicea, p. 48.
71 de Margerie, The Christian Trinity in History, p. 81.
72 Tertullian, Against Praxeas, 9.
74 Ibid., 25.
75 Fortman, The Triune God, p. 1O8.
76 de Margerie, The Christian Trinity in History, p. 80. "It seems that Tertullian was the first to elaborate such a systematic, though inevitably deficient, cosmological representation of the mystery."
77 Warfield, Studies In Tertullian and Augustine, p. 83.
78 de Margerie, The Christian Trinity in History, p. 85.
79 Fortman, The Triune God, p. 112. "As the word 'triad,' with reference to the godhead, appears first in Theophilus in the East, so in the West the word 'trinity'(trinitas) first appears in Tertullian."; Ibid., p. 113. "It has been said that Tertullian is the first to use the term persona but it seems fairly certain that persona had penetrated the theological realm even before Tertullian, and it seems very probable that Hippolytus was the source from which his Latin contemporary adopted the term."
80 Ibid., p. 115.; de Margerie, The Christian Trinity in History, p. 85.
81 Warfield, Studies in Tertullian and Augustine, p. 27.
82 Origen, On First Principles, IV. i. 28.
83 Fortman, The Triune God, p. 55.
84 Origen, On First Principles, I.ii.2.
85 Ibid., IV.i.28.
86 Joseph Wilson Trigg, Origen: The Bible and Philosophy in the Third- Century Church (Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1983), pp. 96-97. "Origen found it necessary to affirm this in order to safeguard the changeless simplicity of God. There could not be a time when the Father lacked a Son, since if there had been the Father's nature would have to have changed in order to be a Father."
87 William G. T. Shedd, A History of Christian Doctrine, 2 vols. (Edinburgh: T. and T. Clark, 1869), II: 291-292. "Origen's great endeavor, consequently, was to defend the real personality of both the Father and the Son, the strict hypostatical character of each, against that confusion and mixture of subsistence which leaves for the mind, only a single essential Person in the Godhead."
88 Origen, Commentary on John, 11.2. "Some deny that the Son has a personality of his own distinct from the Father's; they say that when they call him Son of God, they do so in name alone."
89 Origen, On First Principles, I.ii.6.
90 Fortman, The Triune God, p. 54.
91 Eugene De Faye, Origen and His Work, tr. Fred Rothwell (New York: Columbia University Press, 1929), pp. 59ff. It is the answer to his self-raised question, "Then what is the source of this doctrine? Is it of Biblical origin?" (59).
92 Berkhof, The History of Christian Doctrines, p. 71. "...his theology bore the earmarks of Neo-Platonism."; Trigg, Origen, p. 95. "Origen...interpret the Christian faith in Platonic categories."; Danielou, Origen p. 252. "....in his system where the influence of Middle Platonism is mosj clearly discernible."; Harnack, History of Dogma, 2: 334-335. "But the science of the faith, as developed by Origen being built up with the appliances of Philo's science, bears unmistakable marks of Neoplatonism and Gnosticism."
93 Harnack, History of Dogma, 2: 350-351. "In the first place, his omnipotence is limited through his essence, for he can only do what he wills; secondly, by logic, for omnipotence cannot produce things containing an inward contradiction: God can do nothing contrary to nature, all miracles being natural in the highest sense--thirdly, by the impossibility of that which is in itself unlimited being comprehended, whence it follows that the extent of everything created must be limited--fourthly, by the impossibility of realizing an aim completely and without disturbing elements "
94 0rigen, Contra Celsum, V.23.
95 Kelly, Early Christian Doctrines, p. 127.
96 Richardson, Creeds in the Making, p. 41.
97 Ibid., pp. 41-42.
98 Congar, A History of Theology, p. 42. "Origen is the creator of the first grand synthesis of speculative theology."; Berkhof, The History of Christian Doctrines, p. 71. "His principal work, De Principiis is the first example of a positive and well-rounded system of theology."; Fortman, The Triune God, p. 54. "His greatest theological work, On First Principles, in which he tried to systematize all his doctrine, might be called the first Summa ever composed in the Church."
99 Danielou, Origen, p. 251.
100 De Faye, Origen and His Work, p. 103.
101 Ibid., pp. 55-57. "What are the essential characteristics of our theologian's doctrine of God? First of all, transcendence....the absolute spirituality....absolute transcendence."(55) "For the same reason, he is unable to accept the anthropomorphisms of the Old Testament, which he looks upon as unworthy of God. By means of allegory, he eliminates them whenever he finds them in a text of Scripture. The fact is that Origen, like many another philosopher of his day, considers that if there is introduced into God even the slightest particle of matter, He will be relegated to the domain of the multiple, the mortal, the perishable."(56)
102 Danielou, Origen, tr, Walter Mitchell (New York: Sheed and Ward, 1955), p, 257. "The essence of the reasoning used by Origen to justify his idea of the Logos as the intermediary between the first God and the spiritual cosmos is, as we have said, the argument that between absolute unity and the multiplicity of creatures there must be a being who is one yet shares in that multiplicity."
103 Trigg, Origen, pp. 97-98. "The epinoiai fall into two groups which correspond to the Son's activity in creation and in redemption. The first group, involved in creation, belong to the Son's eternal nature. The second group are the Son's response to the fall of rational creatures and provide them the means to return to union with the Father. There are four epinoiai in the first group: Wisdom, Word, Life, and Truth...most Christological titles, therefore, fall into this[second] group; a few examples are Resurrection, Good Shepherd, Way and Vine."'
104 Danielou, Origen, pp. 255-256.
105 Origen, On First Principles, I.ii.10.
107 Danielou Origen, p. 256. "It is one of the factors in his system where the influence of Middle Platonism is most clearly discernible".(252)
108 A. Lieske, Die Theologie der Logosmystik des Origenes (M座 1983), p. 186. quoted in Danielou, A History of Early Christian Doctrine Before the Council of Nicaea, 2: 381.
109 Trigg, Origen, p. 95.
110 Origen, Commentary on John, 11.3.
111 Ibid., 11.2; Origen, Contra Celsum, V.39.
112 Kelly, Early Christian Doctrines, p. 130.
113 Fortman, The Triune God, p. 56.
114 Kelly, Early Christian Doctrines, p. 134.
115 Prestige, God In Patristic Thought, p. 249. "...the subordinationist tradition derived from Origen."; de Margerie, The Christian Trinity in History, p. 93; Danielou, Origen, p. 261.
116 Kelly, Early Christian Doctrines, p. 131.
117 Carl F. H. Henry, God, Revelation, and Authority, Volume V: God Who Stands and Stays (Waco, TX: Word Books,1982), Part One, p. 200.
118 Danielou, Origen, p. 254.
119 Kelly, Early Chriatian Doctrines, pp. 132-133.
120 Cf, Shedd, A History of Christian Doctrine, 1: 290.
121 Kelly, Early Christian Doctrines, p. 130.
122 Cf. William Fairweather, Origen and Greek Patristic Theology (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1901), p. 152. He confusedly stated that the doctine of the eternal generation of the Son, which the Christian Church accepted..., was first worked out by Origen. But, we need to distinguish between the generation of the Son eternally before, which the Church accepted in the Nicene Council, and Platonic doctrine of ceaseless generation held by Origen.
123 Origen, On First Principle, I.ii.4.
125 Origen, Homily on Jeremiah, 9. 4.
126 Shedd, A History of Christian Doctrine, 1: 304. "If the system itself is followed out with rigour, it conducts a deity who is involved in a constant process of development,--a doctrine which is utterly incompatible with an immanent and eternal trinity in the Godhead."
127 Trigg, Origen, p. 96.
128 Harnack, History of Dogma, 2: 332.
129 Fortman, The Triune God, p. 54.
130 Ibid., p. 55.
A History of the Doctrine of Eternal Generation of the Son and Its Significance in the Trinitarianism: Introduction
the triumph of ontological realism and eternal generation in the nicene creed
John Calvin and Reformed Theology on the Doctrine of Eternal Generation
The Significance of the Eternal Generation Doctrine in the Contemporary Trinitarian Trends
Karl Rahner's Philosophical Understanding of the Trinity