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ANF03. Latin Christianity: Its Founder, Tertullian
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Chapter V.—The Evolution of the Son or Word of God from the Father by a Divine Procession. Illustrated by the Operation of the Human Thought and Consciousness.

But since they will have the Two to be but One, so that the Father shall be deemed to be the same as the Son, it is only right that the whole question respecting the Son should be examined, as to whether He exists, and who He is and the mode of His existence. Thus shall the truth itself78037803    Res ipsa. secure its own sanction78047804    Formam, or shape. from the Scriptures, and the interpretations which guard78057805    Patrocinantibus. them. There are some who allege that even Genesis opens thus in Hebrew: “In the beginning God made for Himself a Son.”78067806    See St. Jerome’s Quæstt. Hebr. in Genesim, ii. 507. As there is no ground for this, I am led to other arguments derived from God’s own dispensation,78077807    “Dispositio” means “mutual relations in the Godhead.” See Bp. Bull’s Def. Fid. Nicen., Oxford translation, p. 516. in which He existed before the creation of the world, up to the generation of the Son. For before all things God was alone—being in Himself and for Himself universe, and space, and all things. Moreover, He was alone, because there was nothing external to Him but Himself.  Yet even not then was He alone; for He had with Him that which He possessed in Himself, that is to say, His own Reason. For God is rational, and Reason was first in Him; and so all things were from Himself.  This Reason is His own Thought (or Consciousness)78087808    Sensus ipsius. which the Greeks call λόγος, by which term we also designate Word or Discourse78097809    Sermonem. [He always calls the Logos not Verbum, but Sermo, in this treatise. A masculine word was better to exhibit our author’s thought. So Erasmus translates Logos in his N. Testament, on which see Kaye, p. 516.] and therefore it is now usual with our people, owing to the mere simple interpretation of the term, to say that the Word78107810    Sermonen. was in the beginning with God; although it would be more suitable to regard Reason as the more ancient; because God had not Word78117811    Sermonalis. from the beginning, but He had Reason78127812    Rationalis. even before the beginning; because also Word itself consists of Reason, which it thus proves to have been the prior existence as being its own substance.78137813    i.e., “Reason is manifestly prior to the Word, which it dictates” (Bp. Kaye, p. 501). Not that this distinction is of any practical moment. For although God had not yet sent out His Word,78147814    Sermonem. He still had Him within Himself, both in company with and included within His very Reason, as He silently planned and arranged within Himself everything which He was afterwards about to utter78157815    Dicturus. Another reading is “daturus,” about to give. through His Word. Now, whilst He was thus planning and arranging with His own Reason, He was actually causing that to become Word which He was dealing with in the way of Word or Discourse.78167816    Sermone. And that you may the more readily understand this, consider first of all, from your own self, who are made “in the image and likeness of God,”78177817    Gen. i. 26. for what purpose it is that you also possess reason in yourself, who are a rational creature, as being not only made by a rational Artificer, but actually animated out of His substance. Observe, then, that when you are silently conversing with yourself, this very process is carried on within you by your reason, which meets you with a word at every movement of your thought, at every impulse of your conception. Whatever you think, there is a word; whatever you conceive, there is reason.  You must needs speak it in your mind; and while you are speaking, you admit speech as an interlocutor with you, involved in which there is this very reason, whereby, while in thought you are holding converse with your word, you are (by reciprocal action) producing thought by means of that converse with your word. Thus, in a certain sense, the word is a second person within you, through which in thinking you utter speech, and through which also, (by reciprocity of process,) in uttering speech you generate thought. The word is itself a different thing from yourself. Now how much more fully is all this transacted in God, whose image and likeness even you are regarded as being, inasmuch as He has reason within Himself even while He is silent, and involved in that Reason His Word! I may therefore without rashness first lay this down (as a fixed principle) that even then before the creation of the universe God was not alone, since He had within Himself both Reason, and, inherent in Reason, His Word, which He made second to Himself by agitating it within Himself.


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