Learning Our Faith From the Greek Fathers of the Church — 20170730

I would continue sharing the thoughts of St. Gregory about the mystery and wonder of the Trinity. He posed this further question: IF the Father as unbegotten and the Son as begotten are indeed distinct from one another, they are obviously not the same. How can they both be the same God? Gregory poses the question as follows: “For if to be unbegotten is the essence of God, to be begotten is not that essence; if the opposite is the case, the unbegotten is excluded. What logical argument can contradict this?”

All depends, Gregory argues, on what we mean when we say that the unbegotten and the begotten are not the same. He then certainly agrees, “the unoriginate and the created are not of the same nature.” Is such the case with the Father and the Son? “But if you say that he that begot and that which was begotten are not the same, the statement is in accurate. For it is in fact a necessary truth that they are the same. For the relation of father to child is this: that the offspring is of the same nature with the parent.” Think, Gregory coaches, of Adam. “Was he not alone the direct creature of God,” created in a unique manner by God?” Does this mean that Adam was the only human being? Hardly. Other humans “begotten” by normal procreative means are clearly also human. What is Gregory’s point? Just so neither is he who is unbegotten alone God, through he along is Father.

If so, how are terms such as unbegotten and begotten to be understood in terms of the unity of God? What are the possibilities? Well, “if the Son is the same as the Father in respect of essence,:” perhaps the Son is unbegotten. Such might be true, but only “if the essence of God consists in being unbegotten.” Scratch one possibility off the list of possible models.

I am sure if you have read the above closely, you, like me, are overwhelmed and confused. The arguments that went into the finding of sufficient words and ideas to express what we mean by God were and are highly complex. The Trinity, like the God-Man Jesus, are, of course, mysteries in which we can only place our faith and belief. The ideas of God being Three-In-One, connects us to God in a very intimate and deep way.
More to come!

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