|Orthodox Outlet for Dogmatic Enquiries||About God|
Is only the Father named “Yahve”?
The difference between the terms
“Father” and “Creator”
There is a huge difference between the terms “Father” and “Creator”; those who have attempted to formulate various excuses by confusing these two entirely different terms (as we shall demonstrate below), have once again managed to expose themselves with their improvisations.
1. The argument regarding the Father’s unchanging status
We have repeatedly stressed in many of our articles that the Son is WITHOUT A BEGINNING, just like the Father, as opposed to the heretic Arianist assertions, which maintain that there was a time that the Son supposedly did not exist; that He was created by, and not born of the Father’s essence. And we have shown this, with a plethora of data and evidence. Among the arguments that we have used to prove the correctness of the Christian position, (i.e., that the Son, as the “beginning-less” Creator of Time itself, cannot possibly have His own beginning within Time), we also presented the argument pertaining to the Father’s “unchanging status”. The argument in favor of the Father’s unchanging status is as follows:
"Given that the Father exists BEYOND TIME, and since changeability (like every kind of change) presupposes the existence of Time, then He must be UNCHANGEABLE; no change whatsoever can exist in Him. He is forever the same, without any change. So, if we assumed that the Son DID have His beginning in Time –as certain heretic groups assert– then, we would necessarily have to accept that God is CHANGEABLE; it would imply that there was a time when God was NOT the Father of His Son Jesus Christ. But, when “Paternity” is the characteristic of the Timeless Father’s hypostasis, we are obliged to accept that the Son is also timeless, and that He was born “timelessly” of the Father, i.e., without having His beginning in the space of Time. Because, woe betide if the Son were a creation, and the Paternal hypostasis depended on something created, existing within Time. It would mean that the Father also exists within Time and that He too would be changeable, and therefore would in no way be God.”
2. The Arianists’ counter-argument
Despite its gravity, Arianism’s heretics make one last attempt to slip away from this overwhelming argument. And they do it, not by giving an answer to the quandary: “How can the Father have a creation for a Son, and still depend on it, albeit unchangeable Himself?”; instead, they pose their own question, in the belief that it will save them from the impasse that their heretical theory regarding a “created Son” is leading them into.
Thus, the heretics say:
"There must surely be some sort of logical error in this Orthodox argument regarding the changeability of the Father; because, if the Father were to lose His unchangeability during the creation of the Son – on account of BEING MADE a Father by a creation - then how is it, that He didn’t lose His unchangeability when HE BECAME CREATOR, forming other creatures within Time?”
This is a very shrewd (but also very naïve and improvised) argument that the Arianists put forth, NOT FOR THE PURPOSE OF REPLYING to the question that we posed regarding the Son, but rather so that they might point out to us that: "You are also faced with the same problem on the issue of Creation, so, you shouldn’t use this argument”!
What escapes them however is that there are numerous parameters in this issue. And this is precisely what we are going to analyze presently, in order to demonstrate one more time how opportunist and makeshift the Arianist deceit is.
3. Observations on the Arianist argument
Let us first make a few observations on their above argument:
1. We can see that their attempt is not to give a reply to this paradox of their faith – which annuls the Godhood of the Father – but instead, it strives to point out the weak points in Christians! This is quite reminiscent of Adam and Eve, who, after sinning, chose to put the blame on someone else instead of apologizing; Adam blamed Eve, while Eve blamed he serpent. And this clearly shows their IMPENITENCE on one hand, as well as their irresponsible attitude as supposed seekers of the truth.
2. We can also see their risky improvisations, when they confuse two entirely different meanings, i.e., between that which is created and that which is born of God’s own nature.
3. We notice that they haven’t grasped the notion that “Time” is also a creation of God, when they assert the God “was not a Maker before He created”.
In the framework of these three observations, we will proceed to respond to the Arianist counter-argument, to show that –regardless how improvised and absurd their assertions may be – we will not be satisfied with giving any kind of loose reply, nor do we intend to say “you are also wrong, therefore everything is OK”; but, being people of the truth, we present our REPLY, with logic and responsibility, but also with words of knowledge and truth.
4. God’s creation within Time
We shall begin with the notion of God’s creation “within Time”. The fact that the Arianists do not comprehend the concept of “Time” at all, becomes apparent when they regard that the Son and Logos of God – through Whom THEY TOO CONFESS that the Father created EVERYTHING (including Time) – could possibly have His beginning …. within Time!! How is it ever possible, for the Son to have a temporal beginning, when they themselves confess that He was the One Who created Time? (John 1:3, Hebrews 1:2)
However, it must be stressed that Time itself – being a creation – also has a beginning! So, “when” did God create Time? “In the beginning”, of course. Ever since “Time” has been in existence, there has been a temporal “beginning”, and ever since a temporal “beginning” has existed, “Time” has existed! And it would be absurd, for one to state that Time existed “before” the beginning of Creation (since Creation acquired its existence with Time); just as it would be equally absurd for one to state that God wasn’t a Creator BEFORE Time was in existence! Because, if Creation indeed commenced simultaneously with Time and Space, ever since Time began, then God is the Creator, and there could never have been a period of Time during which God was not a Creator!!! This alone bears witness to the improvisation and the hilarity of the heretic Arianist argument, when they speak of God’s “changeability” (that supposedly took place within Time), when He….“became” Creator. This kind of “change” of course never took place, given that even at the “beginning of Time”, the Father was Time’s Creator, through the Son, in the Holy Spirit.
Nevertheless, even though we have proved how makeshift their thoughts are, we do not simply wish to rebut an argument, but to penetrate deeper into the truth, and even … to help them express themselves (since they are obviously not in a position to correctly formulate a thought). Because, despite the fact that their statement is entirely absurd, they could at least have expressed it differently, in order to make some sense out of it. The correct way to have expressed their question, given the above clarifications regarding Time, would have been as follows:
"How could the Father be dependent on His Son, in order to become a “Father”, if His Son were a creation, and yet, not be dependent on creation, in order to become “Creator”?
We shall give our reply to this question, in the next point..
5. The difference between “Paternity” and “Making”
It is in this point that the essence of our answer lies. The Son, being a Son, is of course OF THE SAME ESSENCE AS THE FATHER. In the opposite case, when something is constructed, it is NOT of the same essence as the constructor. A table is not of the same essence as the carpenter. Neither is a house of the same essence as the builder. From this initial approach, we understand how it is not possible to use the terms “father” and “maker” as though they both have the same value and significance. The term “father” is QUALITATIVELY SUPERIOR to the term “maker”.
So, how do we use these two words in our everyday lives?
Let’s take an architect as an example. From the moment that he graduates from his studies and acquires his diploma, HE IS AN ARCHITECT! Even if he hasn’t constructed any buildings as yet! The same applies in the case of a Civil Engineer; he “IS” a Civil Engineer, from the moment that he acquires his diploma. He doesn’t “become” one, only when he constructs a building. And of course this applies to each and every construction sector. From the moment that one has the necessary qualifications to create something, he is acknowledged as a CRAFTSMAN, even BEFORE he actually creates anything.
But – what about the term “father”? Does the same logic apply?
Of course not!! In order for someone to be recognized as “father”, it is not enough for him to “potentially” have the qualifications necessary to become a father. He has to ACTUALLY GIVE BIRTH TO AN OFFSPRING, FROM HIS OWN ESSENCE! Otherwise, anyone having the potential to be a father could be called “father”! There you have the difference between giving birth from your essence and creating something outside of your essence. Thus, the response to the Arianist argument has already begun to become apparent.
And now, on the matter of God. This is precisely where the difference lies; the Son is of the same essence as the Father. And any birth of the Son “within Time” would alter the Paternal status “within Time”!!! It would mean that the Father is changeable “within Time” and that He “becomes” a father, as though He weren’t one “before”!! It would mean that the “Father” is dependent on something temporal, therefore created. And of course He could not be called “Father” without having a Son.
When it comes to created things however, which are NOT of His essence, we can no longer speak of a “pre-eternal” (timeless) birth, but a construction “within Time”. And as we saw in the preceding examples, in order for someone to be called “craftsman”, he doesn’t need to have constructed something, because the POTENTIAL alone to construct it, renders him a MAKER. Thus, NOTHING alters in God when creating “within Time”, because He TIMELESSLY possessed the potential to create. He was potentially “Creator”, pre-eternally. But the term “potentially” here applies only to the status of a “Maker”, whereas the status of “Father” presupposes birth as something PRE-ETERNALLY ACTUAL, and not something potential.
And so, having responded to this Arianist heretic counter-argument, not only do the heretics’ ignorance and improvisations become apparent one more time, but also the absurdity of their man-made dogmas that consist of words of the human intellect, and not words of Divine Revelation and Wisdom, as delivered uniquely to the saints of the Christian Church.
Text: G. K.
Translation by A. N.
Article published in English on: 27-11-2006.
Last update: 27-11-2006.