As a result of the solution of the two questions put respecting the entity of the Logos, it has been proved to be eternal and caused, as being born of God; and it has been distinguished on the one hand from the uncaused being of God, and on the other hand from the created and temporal being of finite creatures. We now take as subjects of logical reflection these two attributes of the substance of the Logos, nativity and eternity, in order to ascertain which precedes in logical thought and which follows; which is conceived as a cause and principle, and which as a consequence.
By reflecting in accordance with reason, we observe that nativity is the prime and essential attribute of the substance of the Logos, and that eternity follows from it as a direct and natural consequence. Since the being of the Logos is born of God, it is necessarily also eternal. If, on the other hand, it were not born of God, but created out of nothing, it would not be eternal, but temporal. The created being of creatures has time as a natural consequence, whereas the born being of the Logos that is of God has eternity, or co-eternity with the being of God, as a direct and natural consequence. For this reason, if we abstract eternity from the substance of the Logos, we must also abstract it at the same time from the substance of God; for if we should say, according to the blasphemous utterance of Arius, that “there was a time when the Logos was not,” it would necessarily follow that there was a time when God was not the Father of the Logos; that He became a Father in the course of time, without having been such previously; and that He has temporal being, instead of being that is eternal and ever the same. Therefore, the abstraction or denial qf the eternity of the Logos necessarily implies the abstraction or denial of the eternity of God. Accordingly, if God is eternal, it necessarily follows that the Son born of Him is co-eternal.
It is therefore evident that nativity, or the state of being born, is the prime and essential attribute of the substance, or person, of the Logos, while eternity follows as a direct and natural consequence thereof. So the eternity is vouched by the nativity thus: The being of the Logos is eternal because it is born of God; and if it were not born, it would not be eternal: it is, however, acknowledged to be born; therefore it is eternal, and co-eternal with the Generator. But, just as nativity vouches eternity as its natural cause, so does eternity in turn vouch nativity as its direct and natural consequence, thus: The being of the Logos is born because it is eternal, and if it were not eternal, it would not be born. But it is acknowledged to be eternal; it is therefore born of God.
We must nevertheless distinguish the causation of the consequence by the principle itself from the causality of the principle as shown by the consequence itself; for the consequence is caused existentially and demonstratively at the same time by its own principle and cause, whereas the principle and cause can be only demonstratively attested by its own consequence, but not also existentially. The existence of a son is existentially and demonstratively attested by the existence of his father, because a father is the cause of the existence of his son; and, if the father exists, his son necessarily exists also, whose existence is attested at the same time and proved by the existence of the father. But the existence of a father is attested only demonstratively by the existence of a son, not also existentially. When I say, “There exists a father, because there exists a son born of him,” I am merely saying that the existence of the son verifies and proves the existence of the father; but not also that he produces it, or that he is the cause of its existence. Therefore, the existential causation attested by the principle is a different thing from the demonstrative causation attested by the consequence. The causation of eternity as attested by nativity is called existential and demonstrative, because eternity is shown to be a direct and natural consequence of nativity, and he that confesses the nativity necessarily confesses the eternity along with it; while the converse attestation of nativity by eternity is called only demonstrative, because the being of the consequence – that is, its existence - proves the being of the principle from which it originates, but does not also prove it existentially.
In other words: principle and consequence, cause and effect, are to be conceived as necessarily and inseparably connected in thought; for neither can the principle exist without the consequence on account of which it is characterized as a principle, nor can the consequence exist without the cause on account of which it has existence. Because of this rational bond that exists between principles and consequences, causes and effects, the admission or assumption of the principle implies necessarily the admission also and assumption of the consequence; while the denial of the principle is a denial also of the consequence. Conversely, the admission or the denial of the consequence implies by logical necessity also the admission or the denial of its principle. According to this logical law, the two attributes of the substance of the Logos, nativity and eternity, since they are related to each other in the rational relation of principle and consequence, of cause and effect, can also on this very account mutually attest their causes and prove themselves together. If nativity be assumed, eternity follows as a natural and direct consequence thereof; and its cause is attested existentially and can be proved by its admitted principle. If eternity be assumed, nativity must be assumed along with it as its cause; and the existence of the nativity can be demonstrated by the admitted existence of the eternity. From this logical law and the logical reflection pursued in accordance with it, we can educe logical and exceedingly illuminating inferences, such as the following:
He that accepts a certain principle as self-evident and admitted, but denies the consequence that grows out of it, violates reason and contradicts truth and himself. Likewise, he that admits the self-evident consequence, but denies and rejects the principle proved by it, violates reason and contradicts his own admission. And he that denies every principle and consequence voluntarily blinds the natural eyes of his intellect and does not care to see; he chooses darkness and avoids the light, and goes to perdition.
We see these violations of reason, and in general cognition and judgment contrary to right reason in the heretics among Christians, and in all who disbelieve in the word of God. As an example let us take the heresy of Arius first, and consider the violations of reason and the contradictions of this founder of a heresy and his followers.
Arius admitted the validity and authenticity of the holy Scriptures, and by means thereof attempted to construct and justify his heresy. The Scriptures in many passages ascribe to the substance of the Logos nativity and eternity. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God . . . And we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father. . . . The only-begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him. . . . God, who at sundry times and in divers manners, spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the ages; who being a refulgence of his glory, and the express image of his substance, and upholding all things by the word of his power . . . .”
Although, then, the Scriptures clearly ascribe to the substance of the Logos divine nativity, or the attribute of being begotten of God, together with eternity or co-eternity, Arius, who admits and acknowledges their validity and testimony, first denies the eternity, saying, contrary to the testimony of Scripture, that “there was a time when He was not.” Afterward he denies even the divine nativity, saying, “He was made out of non-beings.” But what is produced “out of non-beings” is created, and not begotten of God. In denying the sonship of the Son and His eternity, he denied in consequence his sameness of essence [usually called “consubstantiality” in English] and His equality with His Father, and converted the God-equal Logos and Creator of creatures into a creature and product of creation, and turned the Christian religion again into creature-worship and idolatry; because instead of God and equally with God he worshiped the first creature and product of God. By thus violating reason and thinking insanely, and contradicting himself as well as the truth of the testimony of Scripture, Arius presumed himself to be upholding the truth and called the champion of the truth, Alexander, a heretic!
How can this perversity of Arius, his blindness, and his aberration from the truth, be explained? It is explained by the following words of the divine Paul: “And even as they did not care to have full knowledge of God, God gave them over to a reprobate mind to do things that are improper” (Rom. 1: 28). Thus we see that Arius and his like were given over to a reprobate mind, that of the Devil, to think and do things improper, because they did not care to have full knowledge of God by listening to His voice and by doing what is pleasing in His eyes. God is known by what He says and does, by His words and by His works. Therefore, those who do not care to have full knowledge of God through hearing His words and seeing His works, are misled by the Devil; or, as Paul says, “they are given over to a reprobate mind to do things improper” to the rational and moral nature of man. To this reprobate mind are given over all who disbelieve in the words of the holy Scriptures, and on this account they violate reason and stray away from knowledge of the truth; and in becoming fools they think themselves wise and scientists in their eyes.
These are the logical inferences to be educed from the solution of the two questions concerning the entity of the Logos, and from logical reflection over them; by which the violations of reason and fallacies of the enemies of the truth are still more clearly exposed.
Click HERE for Part 4