Tuesday, January 13, 2015

ANF 5: Hippolytus Against Beron and Helix

Ante-Nicene Fathers Volume 5

Hippolytus: Works and Fragments II.--Dogmatical and Historical: Against Beron and Helix

This work exists only in fragments, a the introductory note says, "of a discourse, alphabetically divided, on the Divine nature and the Incarnation against the heretics Beron and Helix." Despite its fragmentary nature, this little piece is worth reading for the tantalizing snippets it offers. For example:
Between God the Maker of all things and that which is made, between the infinite and the finite, between infinitude and finitude, there can be no kind of comparison, since these differ from each other not in mere comparison (or relatively), but absolutely in essence. And yet at the same time there has been effected a certain inexpressible and irrefragable union of the two into one substance, which entirely passes the understanding of anything that is made.
The Incarnation preserves the unique Divinity of God, and yet simultaneously unites it with the finitude and humanity of man:
He remained, therefore, also, after His incarnation, according to nature, God infinite, and more, having the activity proper and suitable to Himself, an activity growing out of His divinity essentially, and manifested through His perfectly holy flesh by wondrous acts economically, to the intent that He might be believed in as God, while working out of Himself by the flesh, which by nature is weak, the salvation of the universe.
 In the Incarnation we can, with the Apostles, meditate on the fullness of God and the fullness of man simultaneously. And yet Beron has been teaching that in becoming man, Divinity was subsumed into humanity, until it no longer had the aspects of divinity. Instead, as Christians we maintain that all God did as a human He did through His Divinity, and all that He did (after the Incarnation) with His Divinity in the Son He did as a human. The two are united and yet separate in a way that is mysterious and expressible only through confession, not through rational comprehension.

These fragments are worth your the time it takes to slowly read through them.

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