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Section 2 — ¶8 [27] – 9 [29]

8 [27] Again, by means of the wise Solomon in Proverbs he is created. For he says: ‘The Lord created me.’ And the beginning of the evangelical ways he is called, leading us towards the Kingdom of the Heavens—not a creation according to substance, but having become a way according to dispensation. For ‘to have become’ and ‘to be created’ make known the same thing.[1] For he has become ‘way’ and ‘door’ and ‘shepherd’ and ‘messenger (aggelos)’ and ‘sheep’ and again ‘high priest’ and ‘apostle’, other things according to other notions (kat’ allen epinoian) of the names laid down.[2] [28] What could the heretic say, again, concerning the ‘unruly’[3] God and concerning him who for our sakes has become sin? For it has been written: ‘When all things have been subjected to him, then also he the very Son will be subjected to him who has subjected all things to him.’ Do you not fear, O man, the God who is called ‘unruly’ for your sake? For your own subjection he makes his own, and in your resisting virtue he calls himself ‘unruly’. Thus, at one time he even called himself ‘persecuted’. For he says, ‘Saul, Saul why do you persecute me?’ at the time that Saul was running to Damascus wishing to bind the disciples of Christ. And again he calls himself ‘naked’ when one of the brothers is living in nakedness. For he says: ‘I was naked to you and you clothed me.’ And elsewhere, being in prison, he called himself ‘prisoner’. For he took up our infirmities and bore our sicknesses. One of our infirmities is also ‘unruliness’ and he bore this. Wherefore the Lord makes his own even those [difficult] situations which occur to us, accepting our passions (pathos) out of communion with us.[4]

9 [29] But the battlers with God also take up ‘The Son is not able to do anything by himself,’ to the destruction of those who hear. But, to me, even this saying proclaims the Son to be of the same nature as the Father. For if each one of the rational creatures is able to do something, having free will (autexousion) and the equal tendency towards the better or worse; and the Son is not able to do anything of himself; then the Son is not a creature. If he is not a creature, then he is of the same substance (homoousios) as the Father. And, again, none of the creatures is able to do as much as he wishes. But the Son, in Heaven and on earth, did all things, as many as he wanted. Therefore, the Son is not a creature. And, again, all the creatures either were constituted from opposites or are receptive of opposites.[5] But the Son is self-justice and immaterial.[6] Therefore the Son is not a creature. If then he is not this, then he is of the same substance (homoousios) as the Father.

[1] Since this identification of ‘to have become and ‘to be created’ is quite important to the understanding of Evagrius’ later works, it would be important to determine whether he learned this from Gregory or another Cappadocian before he left for Egypt. Although the paragraph has started off clearly as part of Layer 2, some of the sentences here possibly belong to Layer 3.

[2] Cf. KG VI, 20, loc. cit.: ‘Before the Movement, God was good, powerful, wise, Creator of incorporeals, Father of the logikoi, and omnipotent; after the Movement, he became Creator of bodies, Judge, Governor, Doctor, Pastor, Merciful and Long-Suffering, and even Door, Way, Lamb, High Priest, along with the other names which are said by modes. And he is Father and Principle even before the genesis of incorporeals: Father of Christ and Principle of the Holy Spirit.’ Again, it is important to know if Evagrius learned this doctrine from the Cappadocian Fathers, or whether it is something he developed after he went to Egypt.’

[3] The author is depending on the relation between ‘anhypotaktos’ (‘unruly’) and ‘hypotasso’ (‘subject [someone] to [someone else]’) in connection with the Christ, based on the passage in Hebrews.

[4] The paragraph is important for its witness to an interpretation of the subjection of Christ to the Father that is ‘non-Evagrian’. It is clearly part of Layer 2, with the possible exception of the two sentences that we remarked above where it is uncertain whether or not Evagrius learned the doctrine that he is espousing in them from the Cappadocians before he went to Egypt. We have already seen an interpretation in Passage A which indicates that Christ is ontologically subordinate to the Father on account of the ontological subordination of the Kingdom of Christ (or, of the Heavens) to the Kingdom of the Father, the former being natural contemplation and the latter being the immaterial contemplation of the Divinity. The question that would arise here: Is this evidence of two layers of discourse, separated in time, what we have called Layer 2 and Layer 3? Or is it a matter of the simultaneous presentation of an exoteric and an esoteric doctrine? But normally, someone who is presenting an exoteric and esoteric doctrine doesn’t mix the two doctrines from paragraph to paragraph in a work. Hence, we think that someone has added the more ‘advanced Evagrian’ material to a straightforward scriptural exegesis written at another time, as we discussed in the Introduction.

[5] This sentence appears to introduce a short Level 3 passage, which ends at the end of the paragraph.

[6] This is a very concise expression of the author’s ontology. Material creatures are either constituted of opposites or receptive of opposites. But the Son is self-justice, so he is neither constituted of opposites—there being no evil in him—nor receptive of opposites—since he can do no evil. Moreover, he is immaterial. Therefore he is of the same substance with the Father. The question that arises here is, what about the immaterial creature, the angel?


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