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De Moor VIII:9: The Efficient Cause of Creation, Part 4

The Act of Creation is common to the Trinity: we have already produced passages proving this, and have vindicated it at length, Chapter V, § 13, 15, 21, 26. In which, when all things are said to have been made By the Son, By will not denote an Instrument, but the Principal Cause; but the Order of Operation among the divine Persons, following the Order of subsistence, will be indicated, by which Order of Operation the Father works all thing By the Son, yet with the Son’s Independence preserved no less than the Father’s: in which manner, α. not only is the Preposition διὰ/through/by used quite frequently of the Principal Efficient Cause, not an instrumental, when it is treated either of God in general, or even of God the Father Himself, Romans 11:36;[1] 1 Corinthians 1:9;[2] but also, β. the nature of the subject matter requires this; since Creation does not admit an Instrument, as we saw in § 7, 8. To this is able to be compared, what CHRYSOSTOM has on Hebrews 2:10,[3]Περὶ τοῦ Πατρὸς ἐνταῦθα λέγει. ὁρᾷς πῶς πάλιν τὸ, δι᾽ οὗ, αὐτῷ ἁρμόζει· οὐκ ἂν τοῦτο ἐποίησεν, εἴγε ἐλαττώσεως ἦν, καὶ τῷ Υἱῷ μόνον προσῆκον, he speaks here concerning the Father: You see again how the through Him is applicable to Him: he would not have done this, if it had been an expression of inferiority, and was only befitting the Son. This is to be observed against the Arians, who, as mentioned in § 7, were maintaining that in Creation the Son is contemplated as the Instrument of the Father: compare ARNOLDI’S Refutationem Catecheseos Racovianæ, § I-IX, pages 328-331, on chapter I de Cognitione Personæ Christi, questions 88, 89, pages 116-118. What our AUTHOR has concerning the Arians, here defended by Socinus, with the altogether different hypothesis of the latter not withstanding; has regard to Socinus’ denial of the existence of the Son of God before His birth from the Virgin Mary, whom the Arians were considering the first Creature; and also to the twisting of some passages concerning the first Creation, like John 1:3; etc., to a certain ineffectual Renewal of the World through the Gospel; see Chapter V, § 22, Chapter VIII, § 2.

Nevertheless, Economically this First External Word is attributed, even in the Apostles’ Creed, to the First Person of the Father, 1 Corinthians 8:6, in which the Father is regarded as the first principium of the work, as it were, of whom are all things; who nevertheless at the same time is considered to have brought the same into light through our Lord Jesus Christ. Although the Creation is common to the Trinity, yet it is certainly not able to be denied that the same is quite frequently emphatically attributed to the Father, or God, when God the Father is understood ὑποστατικῶς/hypostatically, described periphrastically from this work, where in context He is distinguished from God the Son, for example, in Acts 4:24 compared with verse 27; Acts 17:24-26 compared with verse 31; 2 Corinthians 4:6. To which it is added, that, just as the Father is the first Person of the Trinity, so Creation is the first work, whereby God manifested Himself outside His own Essence. And these things appear to have furnished the occasion to the Authors of the Apostles’ Creed, since in a brief Confession of Faith they were wishing to commemorate with the divine Persons the especially eminent Works of God, to be embraced by faith first of all, in such a way that to each Person they were joining some Work for the sake of aiding memory; and since the work of Redemption in its Procuration was undoubtedly to be assigned to the Son κατ᾽ ἐξοχὴν, pre-eminently; with the result, I say, that they were celebrating the Father by name as the Creator of Heaven and Earth, yet in which they did not at all wish the other Persons to be excluded. It is neither necessary nor seemly for us tiresomely to traduce this their arrangement. Especially since another reason is additionally added to the reasons just now set forth; namely, that thus they assert the same God, who is the Creator of the heavens and the earth, is also the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ; against many Heretics, who were propounding as dogma two Principia against themselves, and were calling God, the Creator and Lawgiver, evil and cruel, diverse from the good God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which sort of things were related concerning Cerdon, Marcion, and others: see AUGUSTINE, de Hæresbius, chapters XXI, XXII; and DANÆUS’ notas on the place cited, in his Opusculis, pages 939b, 941a: compare also Historiam Symboli Apostolici, chapter II.

[1] Romans 11:36: “For of him, and through him (δι᾽ αὐτοῦ), and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.” [2] 1 Corinthians 1:9: “God is faithful, by whom (δι᾽ οὗ) ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.” [3] Hebrews 2:10: “For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom (δι᾽ οὗ) are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.”

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Dr. Dilday
Dr. Dilday
Sep 23, 2023
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