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Section 2 — ¶10 [30] – 10 [32]

10 [30] And this examination, according to our own strength, of the texts which have been set is sufficient for us. Well then, let us immediately advance in argument towards those who resist the Holy Spirit, demolishing every elevation of the intellect (dianoia) raised up against the knowledge (gnosis) of God. You say that the Holy Spirit is a creature. Every creature is a servant of him who created it. For he says: ‘All things whatsoever are your servants.’ If then it is a servant, then it has its holiness [as something] acquired. But everything which has its holiness acquired is not unreceptive of evil. But the Holy Spirit, being holy according to substance, is called ‘fountain of sanctification’. Therefore the Holy Spirit is not a creature. If, then, it is not a creature, it is of the same substance (homoousios) as God[1]. Tell me, how do you call ‘servant’ him who through baptism has freed you from servitude? For he says: ‘The Law of the Spirit of Life has freed me from the Law of sin.’ [31] But you will not at any time dare to say that its substance is mutable, having in view the nature of the opposed power, which has fallen from Heaven as a bolt of lightning and which has fallen from real life because it had its holiness [as something] acquired, change following on the bad intention. Therefore, falling from the Monad and throwing off the angelic rank, from the manner[2] it was called Devil (diabolos[3]), its prior and blessed habit being extinguished and this opposed power being ignited. [32] Next, if one says that the Holy Spirit is a creature, then he introduces the idea that its nature is finite. How then will this stand: ‘The Spirit of the Lord filled the world (oikoumene);’ and ‘Where will I go from your Spirit?’[4] But he does not even confess that its nature is simple, as it seems. For he calls him ‘one’ in number. Everything which is one in number is not simple, as I said. If, then, the Holy Spirit is not simple, it was constituted from substance plus sanctification. But such a thing is composite. But who is so mindless as to say that the Holy Spirit is composite and not simple and, according to the reason (logos) of simplicity, of the same substance (homoousios) as the Father and the Son?

[1] It should be recalled here that in the usage of the author, and most Orthodox writers, ‘God’ refers in the first instance to the Father rather than to the substance of the Godhead. Cf. the Nicene Creed: ‘I believe in one God, the Father…’

[2] I.e. from its behaviour.

[3] The original meaning of diabolos is ‘slanderer’. From there the word took on the meaning of ‘enemy’. From there it took on the meaning of ‘Satan’ or ‘Devil’.

[4] Up to here, this presentation of argumentation for the divinity of the Holy Spirit clearly belongs to Layer 1. From here to the end of ¶10 [32], we have a passage whose classification depends on our understanding the level of philosophical development Evagrius had before he left Constantinople. The next paragraphs, ¶11 [33] to ¶11 [35], however, seem clearly to belong to Layer 3, although not so clearly as other Layer 3 passages that we have seen.


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