Monday, December 29, 2014

ANF 5: Hippolytus X

Ante-Nicene Fathers Volume 5

HippolytusThe Refutation of All Heresies

In Book X, Hippolytus gives us a recap of the philosophers and heresies he's covered. Most interesting he gives us a quick summary of "the Doctrine of the Truth."

What we need to be especially clear about is that
The truth has not taken its principles from the wisdom of the Greeks, nor borrowed its doctrines, as secret mysteries, from the tenets of the Egyptians, which, albeit silly, are regarded amongst them with religious veneration as worthy of reliance. Nor has it been formed out of the fallacies which enunciate the incoherent... curiosity of the Chaldeans. Nor does the truth owe its existence to astonishment, through the operations of demons, for the irrational frenzy of the Babylonians. But its definition is constituted after the manner in which every true definition is.. as simple and unadorned. A definition such as this, provided it is made manifest, will of itself refute error.
This is opposed to the errors of the philosophers and heretics, who either start with one (false) idea and derive a system from that, or start with multiple limited observations and try to tie their system back into one (also false) idea. Or they steal from others who have done these things and wrap these false ideas up in Christian language.
Again, Hippolytus surveys the various heresies he has discussed, which we need not get into again. (Admittedly, there may be some new ones here--I didn't do a side-by-side of previous books.)

Instead, we should ask where the truth is found? It comes only from God, who existed from Eternity past and as Creator of all that exists is Sovereign and Lord. What that means for physics and the nature of external reality, Hippolytus says we should see his other work Concerning the Substance of the Universe. Which is unfortunate for us, since it is lost.
All we need to note here is that when God had the idea of creation, the Logos (Christ) acted and created:
The Logos alone of this God is from God himself; wherefore also the Logos is God, being the substance of God. Now the world was made from nothing; wherefore it is not God; as also because this world admits of dissolution whenever the Creator so wishes it. But God, who created it, did not, nor does not, make evil. He makes what is glorious and excellent; for He who makes it is good.... Evil had no existence from the beginning, but came into being subsequently [by the actions of creatures.]
Despite our sin, God did not leave us alone and instead spoke to the world first through Moses and the Law, then through the Prophets. Finally He spoke through the Logos, the Word Himself "so that we could see Him with our own eyes." In Christ, we see what man should have been and can be through grace.
And so we must resist heresy and pursue a life of holiness as laid out in Scripture, lived by Christ, and empowered by our regeneration and forgiveness through Christ.

No comments:

Post a Comment