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Author Topic: Saint Justin Martyr and Subordinationism  (Read 2423 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: September 21, 2012, 08:49:19 PM »

What do you all think of the accusation (for lack of a better word) of subordinationism in the writings of Saint Justin Martyr? On the one hand, He does affirm that our Lord Jesus Christ is God and that He is the "LORD [YHWH] of Hosts", but on the other hand some have read subordinationism into St. Justin's other words.

He also refers to Christ as being the "first-begotten Word of God, even God." Would it be safe to assume that by "first-begotten" he means that Christ is the heir of all creation, having the position of preeminence in the universe, rather than saying that He is a created being? What are your thoughts? Am I not being specific enough?

+Thanks and forgive me if this question sounds foolish
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« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2012, 10:33:28 PM »

How is this different from Colossians 1:15?
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« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2012, 10:46:58 PM »

Trinity wasn't carefully defined yet at that point so St. Justin had to work out with what he had. Just about every Saint have some theological flaws.
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« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2012, 10:50:17 PM »

How is this different from Colossians 1:15?
Which is what I figured. I was just wondering if St. Justin used the same Greek word with the same intent. Plus, that was not the only passage of St. Justin which I had in mind.

Here's a post from CAF which addresses a similar issue:

Quote
I found this on Wikipedia (I've added bold text myself to highlight points):

Doctrine of the logos

Justin's use of the idea of the logos has always attracted attention. It is probably too much to assume a direct connection with Philo in this particular. The idea of the Logos was widely familiar to educated men, and the designation of the Son of God as the Logos was not new to Christian theology. The significance is clear, however, of the manner in which Justin identifies the historical Christ with the rational force operative in the universe, which leads up to the claim of all truth and virtue for the Christians and to the demonstration of the adoration of Christ, which aroused so much opposition, as the only reasonable attitude. It is mainly for this justification of the worship of Christ that Justin employs the Logos-idea, though where he explicitly deals with the divinity of the Redeemer and his relation to the Father, he makes use of the Old Testament, not of the Logos-idea, which thus can not be said to form an essential part of his Christology.

On the other hand, Justin sees the Logos as a separate being from God and subordinate to him:

"For next to God, we worship and love the Logos who is out of the unbegotten and ineffable God, since also He became man for our sakes, that, becoming a partaker of our sufferings, He might also bring us healing" (Second Apology, 13).

"There is, and that there is said to be, another God and Lord subject to the Maker of all things who is also called an Angel, because He announces to men whatsoever the Maker of all things, above whom there is no other God, wishes to announce to them.... I shall endeavour to persuade you, that He who is said to have appeared to Abraham, and to Jacob, and to Moses, and who is called God, is distinct from Him who made all things, I mean numerically, not in will. (Dialogue with Trypho, 56).

Justin speaks of the divine Logos as "another God" beside the Father, qualified by the gloss: ‘other, I mean, in number, not in will’. Justin actually finds fault with the view of hellenized Jews who held that the divine Logos is no more distinct from God than sunlight is from the sun and suggested, instead, that the Logos is more like a torch lit from another. He wanted to do justice to the independence of the Logos.

The importance which he attaches to the evidence of prophecy shows his estimate of the Old Testament Scriptures, which are to Christians absolutely the word of God, spoken by the Holy Ghost, and confirmed by the fulfillment of the prophecies. Not less divine, however, is the teaching of the apostles, which is read in the assembly every Lord's Day—though he can not use this in his "Dialogue" as he uses the Old Testament. The word of the apostles is the teaching of the Divine Logos, and reproduces the sayings of Christ authentically. As a rule he uses the synoptic Gospels – Matthew, Mark, and Luke – but has a few unmistakable references to John. He quotes the Book of Revelation as inspired because prophetic, naming its author. The opposition of Marcion prepares us for an attitude toward the Pauline epistles corresponding to that of the later Church. Distinct references are found to Romans, 1 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Colossians, and 2 Thessalonians, and possible ones to Philippians, Titus, and 1 Timothy. It seems likely that he also knew Hebrews and 1 John. The apologetic character of Justin's habit of thought appears again in the Acts of his martyrdom (ASB, Apr., ii. 108 sqq.; Thierry Ruinart, Acta martyrum, Regensburg, 1859, 105 sqq.), the genuineness of which is attested by internal evidence.

http://forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=193855
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« Reply #4 on: September 22, 2012, 01:28:51 AM »

What do you all think of the accusation (for lack of a better word) of subordinationism in the writings of Saint Justin Martyr?

Only Modalists accuse St. Justin of being a Subordinationist, IMO. That's because Modalists hate any reference to the monarchy of the Father, or reference to the Father as "God" proper, and label it Arianism or Subordinationism. In this they find themselves unable to reconcile their belief with the Scriptures or the early Fathers.

Subordinationism, however, has to do with Christ's essential properties being inferior to the Father, not his relational status as begotten of the Father. Early Christians called the Father "Theos" proper, that is, God. They called the Logos of God, from God, begotten of God, "Theos" in the sense of Divine (which is often mistranslated "a God").

"The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all."

He also refers to Christ as being the "first-begotten Word of God, even God." Would it be safe to assume that by "first-begotten" he means that Christ is the heir of all creation, having the position of preeminence in the universe, rather than saying that He is a created being?

"He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together." -Epistle to the Colossians

Seems pretty Orthodox to me.
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« Reply #5 on: December 29, 2012, 02:38:14 PM »

Did St. Justin Martyr believe Christ was created? He quotes Proverbs 8:22 on several occasions and applies the "Wisdom" mentioned therein to the person of Christ:

“And now I shall again recite the words which I have spoken in proof of this point. When Scripture says, ‘The Lord rained fire from the Lord out of heaven,’ the prophetic word indicates that there were two in number: One upon the earth, who, it says, descended to behold the cry of Sodom; Another in heaven, who also is Lord of the Lord on earth, as He is Father and God; the cause of His power and of His being Lord and God. Again, when the Scripture records that God said in the beginning, ‘Behold, Adam has become like one of Us,’2456 this phrase, ‘like one of Us,’ is also indicative of number; and the words do not admit of a figurative meaning, as the sophists endeavour to affix on them, who are able neither to tell nor to understand the truth. And it is written in the book of Wisdom: ‘If I should tell you daily events, I would be mindful to enumerate them from the beginning. The Lord created me the beginning of His ways for His works. From everlasting He established me in the beginning, before He formed the earth, and before He made the depths, and before the springs of waters came forth, before the mountains were settled; He begets me before all the hills.’ ”2457 When I repeated these words, I added: “You perceive, my hearers, if you bestow attention, that the Scripture has declared that this Offspring was begotten by the Father before all things created; and that which is begotten is numerically distinct from that which begets, any one will admit.”

http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf01.viii.iv.cxxix.html?scrBook=Prov&scrCh=8&scrV=22#viii.iv.cxxix-p3.1

Nor is He a mere man, by whom and in whom all things were made; for “all things were made by Him.”1196 “When He made the heaven, I was present with Him; and I was there with Him, forming [the world along with Him], and He rejoiced in me daily.”1197 And how could a mere man be addressed in such words as these: “Sit Thou at My right hand?”1198 And how, again, could such an one declare: “Before Abraham was, I am?”1199 And, “Glorify Me with Thy glory which I had before the world was?”1200 What man could ever say, “I came down from heaven, not to do Mine own will, but the will of Him that sent Me?”1201 And of what man could it be said, “He was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world: He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not. He came unto His own, and His own received Him not?”1202 How could such a one be a mere man, receiving the beginning of His existence from Mary, and not rather God the Word, and the only-begotten Son? For “in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God,1203 and the Word was God.”1204 And in another place, “The Lord created Me, the beginning of His ways, for His ways, for His works. Before the world did He found Me, and before all the hills did He beget Me.”1205

http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf01.v.xiv.vi.html?scrBook=Prov&scrCh=8&scrV=22#v.xiv.vi-p11.1
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« Reply #6 on: December 29, 2012, 02:43:10 PM »

Severian, here is the passage in question in multiple translations:

http://bible.cc/proverbs/8-22.htm

And in the Hebrew:

http://biblos.com/proverbs/8-22.htm

This looks like an issue of translation into English.
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« Reply #7 on: December 29, 2012, 02:48:04 PM »

Severian, here is the passage in question in multiple translations:

http://bible.cc/proverbs/8-22.htm

And in the Hebrew:

http://biblos.com/proverbs/8-22.htm

This looks like an issue of translation into English.
I'm pretty sure St. Justin used the Septuagint, not the Hebrew Masoretic. What does the Greek say?
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« Reply #8 on: December 29, 2012, 02:48:54 PM »

What is this? Do I have to quote St. Athanasius the Apostolic to a Copt?  Shocked

De Decretis 3:13-14

Quote
13. Therefore let them tell us, from what teacher or by what tradition they derived these notions concerning the Saviour? "We have read," they will say, "in the Proverbs, 'The Lord created me a beginning of His ways unto His works ;'" this Eusebius and his fellows used to insist on , and you write me word, that the present men also, though overthrown and confuted by an abundance of arguments, still were putting about in every quarter this passage, and saying that the Son was one of the creatures, and reckoning Him with things originated. But they seem to me to have a wrong understanding of this passage also; for it has a religious and very orthodox sense, which had they understood, they would not have blasphemed the Lord of glory. For on comparing what has been above stated with this passage, they will find a great difference between them. For what man of right understanding does not perceive, that what are created and made are external to the maker; but the Son, as the foregoing argument has shown, exists not externally, but from the Father who begot Him? For man too both builds a house and begets a son, and no one would reverse things, and say that the house or the ship were begotten by the builder , but the son was created and made by him; nor again that the house was an image of the maker, but the son unlike him who begot him; but rather he will confess that the son is an image of the father, but the house a work of art, unless his mind be disordered, and he beside himself. Plainly, divine Scripture, which knows better than any the nature of everything, says through Moses, of the creatures, 'In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth;' but of the Son it introduces not another, but the Father Himself saying, 'I have begotten You from the womb before the morning star ;' and again, 'You are My Son, this day have I begotten You. ' And the Lord says of Himself in the Proverbs, 'Before all the hills He begets me ;' and concerning things originated and created John speaks, 'All things were made by Him ;' but preaching of the Lord, he says, 'The Only-begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He declared Him. ' If then son, therefore not creature; if creature, not son; for great is the difference between them, and son and creature cannot be the same, unless His essence be considered to be at once from God, and external to God.

14. 'Has then the passage no meaning?' for this, like a swarm of gnats, they are droning about us. No surely, it is not without meaning, but has a very apposite one; for it is true to say that the Son was created too, but this took place when He became man; for creation belongs to man. And any one may find this sense duly given in the divine oracles, who, instead of accounting their study a secondary matter, investigates the time and characters , and the object, and thus studies and ponders what he reads. Now as to the season spoken of, he will find for certain that, whereas the Lord always is, at length in fullness of the ages He became man; and whereas He is Son of God, He became Son of man also. And as to the object he will understand, that, wishing to annul our death, He took on Himself a body from the Virgin Mary; that by offering this unto the Father a sacrifice for all, He might deliver us all, who by fear of death were all our life through subject to bondage. And as to the character, it is indeed the Saviour's, but is said of Him when He took a body and said, 'The Lord created me a beginning of His ways unto His works ' For as it properly belongs to God's Son to be everlasting. and in the Father's bosom, so on His becoming man, the words befitted Him, 'The Lord created me.' For then it is said of Him, as also that He hungered, and thirsted, and asked where Lazarus lay, and suffered, and rose again. And as, when we hear of Him as Lord and God and true Light, we understand Him as being from the Father, so on hearing, 'The Lord created,' and 'Servant,' and 'He suffered,' we shall justly ascribe this, not to the Godhead, for it is irrelevant, but we must interpret it by that flesh which He bore for our sakes: for to it these things are proper, and this flesh was none other's than the Word's. And if we wish to know the object attained by this, we shall find it to be as follows: that the Word was made flesh in order to offer up this body for all, and that we partaking of His Spirit, might be deified , a gift which we could not otherwise have gained than by His clothing Himself in our created body , for hence we derive our name of "men of God" and "men in Christ." But as we, by receiving the Spirit, do not lose our own proper substance, so the Lord, when made man for us, and bearing a body, was no less God; for He was not lessened by the envelopment of the body, but rather deified it and rendered it immortal.
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« Reply #9 on: December 29, 2012, 02:49:37 PM »

I'm pretty sure St. Justin used the Septuagint, not the Hebrew Masoretic. What does the Greek say?
Oh come on severian! Tongue

Hold on.

Okay. I would note, however, that the meaning of the original Hebrew is rather relevant, as many Church Fathers were familiar with the Hebrew and/or were drawing from traditions that originally utilized the Hebrew.

"The Septuagint translates the 'qanah' of Proverbs 8:22 with 'ktizo,' which the seventy also sometimes use as a translation for the Hebrew 'bara,' 'create.' Many of the early church writers quote this verse from the Septuagint. The Greek word 'ktizo' can also mean 'found, ordain, or establish.' It's used, for example, of the founding of a city: "of a city, to found, plant, build, Od., Hdt." (Liddell and Scott, Intermediate Greek-English Lexicon.) It can also mean 'made.' Though in the NT 'ktizo' and related words usually refer to creation, the meaning of 'ordain' is still Biblical: "Submit yourselves to every ordinance ['ktisis'] of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme;..." (1 Peter 2:13). Do the early church writers who quote this passage from the Septuagint understand it to mean that the Son, whom they identify with Wisdom, was 'created,' that is to say brought into being from non-being? Or do they understand it to mean He was ordained the beginning ('arche,' origin or principle) of creation, as Brenton translates it: "The Lord made me the beginning of his ways for his works. He established me before time was in the beginning, before he made the earth:..." (Brenton Septuagint, Proverbs 8:22-23). Given what these writers say about the eternity of the Son, I would think the latter."
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« Reply #10 on: December 29, 2012, 02:51:21 PM »

ἔκτισέν, from κτίζω - to make.
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« Reply #11 on: December 29, 2012, 03:07:07 PM »

Thank you both for the info. I was just reading this thread on TheologyWeb.com where a JW argues that St. Clement of Alexandria called Christ a creature. On that thread, a very interesting discussion ensued, and what particularly caught my eye was the discussion on how early Patristic writers (including St. Justin, Origen, and others) interpreted Proverbs 8:22. The info on that thread is what caused me to resurrect this one. If anyone is interested in viewing said thread, send me a PM and I'll give you a link.
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« Reply #12 on: December 29, 2012, 03:50:36 PM »

TheologyWeb.com
O lord, another place for me to lose my time. Tongue
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« Reply #13 on: December 29, 2012, 03:58:56 PM »

TheologyWeb.com
O lord, another place for me to lose my time. Tongue

Don't go! It's far below our dignity to spend time debating theology and Church Fathers on the internet!
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« Reply #14 on: December 29, 2012, 04:00:40 PM »

TheologyWeb.com
O lord, another place for me to lose my time. Tongue

Don't go! It's far below our dignity to spend time debating theology and Church Fathers on the internet!
What a whacked out place.

They have an "animal husbandry" forum.
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« Reply #15 on: December 29, 2012, 04:10:19 PM »

TheologyWeb.com
O lord, another place for me to lose my time. Tongue

Don't go! It's far below our dignity to spend time debating theology and Church Fathers on the internet!

They have an "animal husbandry" forum.

How curious. I think I'll skip this forum.
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« Reply #16 on: December 29, 2012, 08:27:37 PM »

What do you all think of the accusation (for lack of a better word) of subordinationism in the writings of Saint Justin Martyr? On the one hand, He does affirm that our Lord Jesus Christ is God and that He is the "LORD [YHWH] of Hosts", but on the other hand some have read subordinationism into St. Justin's other words.

He also refers to Christ as being the "first-begotten Word of God, even God." Would it be safe to assume that by "first-begotten" he means that Christ is the heir of all creation, having the position of preeminence in the universe, rather than saying that He is a created being? What are your thoughts? Am I not being specific enough?

+Thanks and forgive me if this question sounds foolish

Do you have a link to the quote in question? It's been a while since I last read Saint Justine Martyre. But either way, there is a difference between a subordinationist who believes Jesus is God/Divine vs a subordinationist who believes he was a creature(Arianism).

There is a difference, for some in the protestant west will charge the Nicene Creed as subordinationist.
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« Reply #17 on: December 29, 2012, 08:32:47 PM »

What do you all think of the accusation (for lack of a better word) of subordinationism in the writings of Saint Justin Martyr? On the one hand, He does affirm that our Lord Jesus Christ is God and that He is the "LORD [YHWH] of Hosts", but on the other hand some have read subordinationism into St. Justin's other words.

He also refers to Christ as being the "first-begotten Word of God, even God." Would it be safe to assume that by "first-begotten" he means that Christ is the heir of all creation, having the position of preeminence in the universe, rather than saying that He is a created being? What are your thoughts? Am I not being specific enough?

+Thanks and forgive me if this question sounds foolish

Do you have a link to the quote in question? It's been a while since I last read Saint Justine Martyre. But either way, there is a difference between a subordinationist who believes Jesus is God/Divine vs a subordinationist who believes he was a creature(Arianism).

There is a difference, for some in the protestant west will charge the Nicene Creed as subordinationist.
He says:

"The Father of the universe has a Son, who also being the first begotten Word of God, is even God." (St. Justin Martyr, First Apology, chapter 63)

http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0126.htm
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« Reply #18 on: December 29, 2012, 08:35:44 PM »

Is there any examples?
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« Reply #19 on: December 29, 2012, 08:39:30 PM »

Did St. Justin Martyr believe Christ was created? He quotes Proverbs 8:22 on several occasions and applies the "Wisdom" mentioned therein to the person of Christ:

“And now I shall again recite the words which I have spoken in proof of this point. When Scripture says, ‘The Lord rained fire from the Lord out of heaven,’ the prophetic word indicates that there were two in number: One upon the earth, who, it says, descended to behold the cry of Sodom; Another in heaven, who also is Lord of the Lord on earth, as He is Father and God; the cause of His power and of His being Lord and God. Again, when the Scripture records that God said in the beginning, ‘Behold, Adam has become like one of Us,’2456 this phrase, ‘like one of Us,’ is also indicative of number; and the words do not admit of a figurative meaning, as the sophists endeavour to affix on them, who are able neither to tell nor to understand the truth. And it is written in the book of Wisdom: ‘If I should tell you daily events, I would be mindful to enumerate them from the beginning. The Lord created me the beginning of His ways for His works. From everlasting He established me in the beginning, before He formed the earth, and before He made the depths, and before the springs of waters came forth, before the mountains were settled; He begets me before all the hills.’ ”2457 When I repeated these words, I added: “You perceive, my hearers, if you bestow attention, that the Scripture has declared that this Offspring was begotten by the Father before all things created; and that which is begotten is numerically distinct from that which begets, any one will admit.”

http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf01.viii.iv.cxxix.html?scrBook=Prov&scrCh=8&scrV=22#viii.iv.cxxix-p3.1

Nor is He a mere man, by whom and in whom all things were made; for “all things were made by Him.”1196 “When He made the heaven, I was present with Him; and I was there with Him, forming [the world along with Him], and He rejoiced in me daily.”1197 And how could a mere man be addressed in such words as these: “Sit Thou at My right hand?”1198 And how, again, could such an one declare: “Before Abraham was, I am?”1199 And, “Glorify Me with Thy glory which I had before the world was?”1200 What man could ever say, “I came down from heaven, not to do Mine own will, but the will of Him that sent Me?”1201 And of what man could it be said, “He was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world: He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not. He came unto His own, and His own received Him not?”1202 How could such a one be a mere man, receiving the beginning of His existence from Mary, and not rather God the Word, and the only-begotten Son? For “in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God,1203 and the Word was God.”1204 And in another place, “The Lord created Me, the beginning of His ways, for His ways, for His works. Before the world did He found Me, and before all the hills did He beget Me.”1205

http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf01.v.xiv.vi.html?scrBook=Prov&scrCh=8&scrV=22#v.xiv.vi-p11.1

Oh, ok, yeah, I remember this now. This was in his dialogue with Trypho the Jew.

He was simply quoting Scripture when he said """"The Lord created me the beginning of His ways for His works. From everlasting He established me in the beginning, before He formed the earth, and before He made the depths,............"""""


But if you look at his interpretation you will see a slight difference, for he says """When I repeated these words, I added: “You perceive, my hearers, if you bestow attention, that the Scripture has declared that this Offspring was begotten by the Father before all things created;""""


It looks as if in his interpretation, he is trying to say that God begetted Him before all created things. So yeah, I think he was simply quoting Scripture when he said that. But when we look at his interpretation. He doesn't say that.

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« Reply #20 on: December 29, 2012, 08:47:06 PM »

Is there any examples?
OK, here are a few quotes from various authors arguing that some of the ante-Nicene Fathers held to a form of Subordinationism:

Quote
Accordingly, when Clement says here that "the Logos coming forth was the cause of creation," he means thereby that the Logos, after having been in God from eternity, was generated as a distinct personal being to create the world. [page 208]

It is undoubtedly with reference to this "coming forth" of the Logos prior to the creation of the world that Clement speaks of the Logos as he "firstborn" (PRWTOTOKOS) and of wisdom, which he identifies with the Logos, as the "firstcreated" (PRWTOKSTOS). [page 209]
-Harry Wolfson "Philosophy of the Church Fathers"

Quote
"In each case [where Justin refers theos to Christ,] theos not ho theos [i.e., "not the God"]. J[ustin] reserves the latter ["the God"] for the Supreme God, except in lvi. 10, where the article [anaphorically] marks the God of which the narrative is speaking, and so in lx. 3." Page 122.
And on page 124: "Observe that throughout this chapter J[ustin] is insisting, (a) that the Angel is not the Supreme God, (b) and yet is called God."
-A. Lukyn Williams, D. D., in his "Justin Martyr: The Dialogue with Trypho. Translation, Introduction, and Notes"

Quote
He is associated with the Father when it is said, "Let us make man in our own image" (Gen. i. 26).' It was the Logos who appeared in the theophanies of the Old Testament. Nevertheless, Justin does not fully succeed in taking Christ out of the category of creatures. He is begotten, or assumes a personal form of being, by an act of God's will. He was generated from the Father" by his power and will." [Dial. 128] The Logos is another" in number," but not in "mind (or will)." There is a personal distinction, but this is not eternal, and it springs from' an act of God's will, anterior to the creation of the world. To the Son is assigned the second place in relation to the eternal God.i Moreover, while the" unbegotten God" does not move, nor is he contained in any place, the Logos enters into the limits of place and time.
-G.P. Fischer D.D. in "History of Christian Dogma," page 63-64.

Quote
The Logos, impersonal in God from the beginning, becomes personal prior to the creation, "God begot of Himself a beginning, before all creatures, a certain reasonable Power, which is called by the Holy Ghost, Glory of the Lord, at other times Son, Wisdom, Angel, God, Lord, and Logos."[63-1] ... It was the Logos who appeared in the theophanies of the Old Testament. Nevertheless, Justin does not fully succeed in taking Christ out of the category of creatures. He is begotten, or assumes a personal form of being, by an act of God's will. He was generated from the Father" by his power and will." [64-1] The Logos is another" in number," but not in "mind (or will)" [64-2].There is a personal distinction, but this is not eternal, and it springs from' an act of God's will, anterior to the creation of the world.[64-3] -- 63-1 Dial. 61; 63-2 ibid 105; 64-1 Dial 128; 64-2 Cf. Dial. 56, 62, 128, 129; 64-3 Apol II.6
-G.P. Fischer D.D. in "History of Christian Doctrine," page 63-64

What are your thoughts?
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« Reply #21 on: December 29, 2012, 08:48:02 PM »

What do you all think of the accusation (for lack of a better word) of subordinationism in the writings of Saint Justin Martyr? On the one hand, He does affirm that our Lord Jesus Christ is God and that He is the "LORD [YHWH] of Hosts", but on the other hand some have read subordinationism into St. Justin's other words.

He also refers to Christ as being the "first-begotten Word of God, even God." Would it be safe to assume that by "first-begotten" he means that Christ is the heir of all creation, having the position of preeminence in the universe, rather than saying that He is a created being? What are your thoughts? Am I not being specific enough?

+Thanks and forgive me if this question sounds foolish

Do you have a link to the quote in question? It's been a while since I last read Saint Justine Martyre. But either way, there is a difference between a subordinationist who believes Jesus is God/Divine vs a subordinationist who believes he was a creature(Arianism).

There is a difference, for some in the protestant west will charge the Nicene Creed as subordinationist.
He says:

"The Father of the universe has a Son, who also being the first begotten Word of God, is even God." (St. Justin Martyr, First Apology, chapter 63)

http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0126.htm

It's been a while, but from what I can recall from memory is that the pre-nicene world believed the LOGOS to be co-eternal with God.

They made a distinction back in those days that we don't make today. Back then, they would call the Word(LOGOS) """Son""" only after He was sent to create all things. Meaning, when The Logos was Begotten or generated """Externally""", this is when they added the word """SON""" to the Logos. And so it was like an added name to the same Identity.


In modern times, we use the word """SON""" for both Internal begetting/Generation (Hidden in the Father's Bossom before the time of Creation) as well as external begetting/Generation (Being sent by the Father to Create all things).

.

Ok, I'm reading the link now.
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« Reply #22 on: December 29, 2012, 08:53:28 PM »

^OK, thanks for the info. Would it be against the rules if I linked the thread on TheologyWeb.com that I mentioned earlier?

But, I still have one more question:
Quote
They made a distinction back in those days that we don't make today. Back then, they would call the Word(LOGOS) """Son""" only after He was sent to create all things. Meaning, when The Logos was Begotten or generated """Externally""", this is when they added the word """SON""" to the Logos. And so it was like an added name to the same Identity.
Wouldn't this jeopardize the belief in Christ's eternal Divine Sonship to God the Father?
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« Reply #23 on: December 29, 2012, 08:56:19 PM »

Is there any examples?
OK, here are a few quotes from various authors arguing that some of the ante-Nicene Fathers held to a form of Subordinationism:

Quote
Accordingly, when Clement says here that "the Logos coming forth was the cause of creation," he means thereby that the Logos, after having been in God from eternity, was generated as a distinct personal being to create the world. [page 208]

It is undoubtedly with reference to this "coming forth" of the Logos prior to the creation of the world that Clement speaks of the Logos as he "firstborn" (PRWTOTOKOS) and of wisdom, which he identifies with the Logos, as the "firstcreated" (PRWTOKSTOS). [page 209]
-Harry Wolfson "Philosophy of the Church Fathers"

Quote
"In each case [where Justin refers theos to Christ,] theos not ho theos [i.e., "not the God"]. J[ustin] reserves the latter ["the God"] for the Supreme God, except in lvi. 10, where the article [anaphorically] marks the God of which the narrative is speaking, and so in lx. 3." Page 122.
And on page 124: "Observe that throughout this chapter J[ustin] is insisting, (a) that the Angel is not the Supreme God, (b) and yet is called God."
-A. Lukyn Williams, D. D., in his "Justin Martyr: The Dialogue with Trypho. Translation, Introduction, and Notes"

Quote
He is associated with the Father when it is said, "Let us make man in our own image" (Gen. i. 26).' It was the Logos who appeared in the theophanies of the Old Testament. Nevertheless, Justin does not fully succeed in taking Christ out of the category of creatures. He is begotten, or assumes a personal form of being, by an act of God's will. He was generated from the Father" by his power and will." [Dial. 128] The Logos is another" in number," but not in "mind (or will)." There is a personal distinction, but this is not eternal, and it springs from' an act of God's will, anterior to the creation of the world. To the Son is assigned the second place in relation to the eternal God.i Moreover, while the" unbegotten God" does not move, nor is he contained in any place, the Logos enters into the limits of place and time.
-G.P. Fischer D.D. in "History of Christian Dogma," page 63-64.

Quote
The Logos, impersonal in God from the beginning, becomes personal prior to the creation, "God begot of Himself a beginning, before all creatures, a certain reasonable Power, which is called by the Holy Ghost, Glory of the Lord, at other times Son, Wisdom, Angel, God, Lord, and Logos."[63-1] ... It was the Logos who appeared in the theophanies of the Old Testament. Nevertheless, Justin does not fully succeed in taking Christ out of the category of creatures. He is begotten, or assumes a personal form of being, by an act of God's will. He was generated from the Father" by his power and will." [64-1] The Logos is another" in number," but not in "mind (or will)" [64-2].There is a personal distinction, but this is not eternal, and it springs from' an act of God's will, anterior to the creation of the world.[64-3] -- 63-1 Dial. 61; 63-2 ibid 105; 64-1 Dial 128; 64-2 Cf. Dial. 56, 62, 128, 129; 64-3 Apol II.6
-G.P. Fischer D.D. in "History of Christian Doctrine," page 63-64

What are your thoughts?


Then they would have to call the Nicene Creed Subordinationist as well. For they seem to have a problem with the Father as being the Source. However, if they don't have a problem with the Father as being the Source then there is no charge of subordinationism.
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« Reply #24 on: December 29, 2012, 09:07:26 PM »

^OK, thanks for the info. Would it be against the rules if I linked the thread on TheologyWeb.com that I mentioned earlier?

But, I still have one more question:
Quote
They made a distinction back in those days that we don't make today. Back then, they would call the Word(LOGOS) """Son""" only after He was sent to create all things. Meaning, when The Logos was Begotten or generated """Externally""", this is when they added the word """SON""" to the Logos. And so it was like an added name to the same Identity.
Wouldn't this jeopardize the belief in Christ's eternal Divine Sonship to God the Father?

No, it wouldn't jeopardize it for it's the same Identity. The Logos is the Son and the Son is the Logos. The pre-Nicene world just had a habit of calling the Logos "The Son" when He was sent to Create all things. However, the Identity/Person/Hypostasis was seen as Eternal. They just called the Identity/Person/Hypostasis different things at different times.

And so it wasn't a case of ex-nihilo. You know, something from nothing. No, The Logos was always Present. For He was Something from Something. The Pre-Nicene Christians saw Him as being Hidden in the Bossom of God(The Father) before the beginning. Before the time of Creation.

In modern times, we would call this "The Internal Generation/Begetting of the Son" by the Father.


Saint Athanasius also says (from what I can recall from memory) that the Son is something from something. Being of the same substance as the Father. I have to read it again in order to repeat it accurately. But yeah, there was a time in where the LOGOS/Son was hidden in the Bossom of the Father. At least in Classical christian thought.
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« Reply #25 on: December 29, 2012, 09:10:37 PM »

I forgot what the rules are in that regard, but to keep it safe, just PM me the link.


Oh, one thing to remember is that the Pre-Nicene world was pretty loose in it's language. And so the precision and regulated language that we have today just wasn't there. Well, at least not to the same degree.
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« Reply #26 on: December 29, 2012, 09:39:59 PM »

What do you all think of the accusation (for lack of a better word) of subordinationism in the writings of Saint Justin Martyr? On the one hand, He does affirm that our Lord Jesus Christ is God and that He is the "LORD [YHWH] of Hosts", but on the other hand some have read subordinationism into St. Justin's other words.

He also refers to Christ as being the "first-begotten Word of God, even God." Would it be safe to assume that by "first-begotten" he means that Christ is the heir of all creation, having the position of preeminence in the universe, rather than saying that He is a created being? What are your thoughts? Am I not being specific enough?

+Thanks and forgive me if this question sounds foolish

Do you have a link to the quote in question? It's been a while since I last read Saint Justine Martyre. But either way, there is a difference between a subordinationist who believes Jesus is God/Divine vs a subordinationist who believes he was a creature(Arianism).

There is a difference, for some in the protestant west will charge the Nicene Creed as subordinationist.
He says:

"The Father of the universe has a Son, who also being the first begotten Word of God, is even God." (St. Justin Martyr, First Apology, chapter 63)

http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0126.htm


Hmm, after reading the link I am starting to think that maybe his term of "first-begotten" is just his way of saying "Only begotten". For it seems to be his interpretation of the words "Only Begotten".

What say you?
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« Reply #27 on: December 29, 2012, 11:02:08 PM »

St. Paul uses it too, as I quoted above.
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