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Section 2 — ¶5 [16] – 5 [18]

5 [16] And again: ‘My Father is greater than I. For the ungrateful creatures, the brood of the Evil One, also make use of this saying. I, then, even from this expression have believed the Son to be shown to be of the same substance (homoousios) as the Father. For I have known comparisons properly to be made in reference to the same nature. For we say that one angel is greater than another and that one man is more just than another and that one bird is faster than another. If, then, comparisons occur in reference to things of the same kind, and the Father is said to be greater than the Son, then the Son is of the same substance (homoousios) as the Father.[1] [17] There is also another meaning embedded in the saying. For why is it strange if he confessed the Father to be greater than himself, being the Word and having become flesh, at which time he was seen to be lesser than the angels in glory and [lesser] than men in comeliness? For he says: ‘He lowered him somewhat lower than the angels.’ And again: ‘Him who was lowered somewhat lower than the angels.’ And: ‘We saw him and he did not have comeliness or beauty, but his comeliness was wanting more than all men.’ [18] He bore with these things on account of his great love for mankind concerning his creature, so that he recover the lost sheep, and so that he combine that which was saved; and so that he lead healthy again to his familiar homeland him who descended from Jerusalem to Jericho and for that reason fell into the hands of robbers. Or does the heretic also despise the manger, by means of which he[2], being irrational, was nourished by the Word; or hold out the poverty, since the son of the carpenter could not afford a cradle? On account of this the Son is less than the Father, because for you he has become dead, so that he might set you free from death and make you a participant in heavenly life. Just as one might make a charge against the doctor that, stooping over the wounds so that he might heal the affected, he also enjoys the foul smell.[3]

[1] To here, this paragraph belongs, in our opinion, to Layer 2.

[2] I.e. the heretic, although not so much because he is heretical as because before he was baptized, he was irrational.

[3] ¶5 [17] – [18] seem to belong to Layer 3, although the doctrine at first sight does not seem to be terribly advanced. However, we have discussed in the Introduction, there are echoes of the doctrine of the Kephalaia Gnostica in this passage.


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