Wednesday, January 17, 2007

"He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation; for in him all things were created."
Col 1: 15-16a

Two observations:
1) This is a passage that Arius made use of to claim that the Son was a created being, that is, that the Son is not the eternal God. The difficulty revolves around the term 'born' (here tokos). My contention here, as I have suggested in other passages involving birth, is that the biblical idea of birth is different than ours. We see birth as the beginning of something that didn't exist before. Biblical passages regarding birth see it more as a change of status, a separation that is a beginning, not of a new ontological item, but of a new stage. The eternal begetting of the Son is His eternal differentiation from the Father, as it were. Jesus' birth as a man similarly does not mark the beginning of the idea of God becoming man, which seems rather to have been part of the willing of creation from all eternity. The Son of God is born as God, now not only as the Son of God, but as a man as well.

2) The refrain throughout this hymn in Colossians "all things" (seven times in vv. 15-20, according to the Greek) surely emphasizes that the Son is not a 'thing', is not part of the panta, all the 'things' created through Him. Surely, as we profess each Sunday, He is 'begotten, not made'.

P.S. I hadn't been blogging so much this past week because I have been at work adding new bits to our website. I encourage you to visit and check out our new chant and new table reading selections, as well as the very neat podcasts of the monks' homilies.

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