Before Nicaea

Peter Widdicombe

in The Fatherhood of God from Origen to Athanasius

Published in print November 2000 | ISBN: 9780199242481
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191697111 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Theological Monographs

Before Nicaea

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This chapter discusses the theological struggle of the early 4th century, a struggle centred on the tension between the affirmation of the divine attribute of ingenerateness and that of the eternal generation of the Son. The focus of the early Arian debate was on the status of the Son and the nature of his relation to the Father. It was not directly concerned with the fatherhood of God, although Alexander, and also Athanasius early on had a sense that the debate impinged on the nature of divine fatherhood. Arius does not discuss the idea of God's fatherhood, but his resolution of the tension between the two postulates of the divine ingenerateness and the eternity of the Son by the denial of the eternal generation of the Son meant that fatherhood could not be perceived as an essential attribute of God's nature. For Arius, the names Father and Son did not imply a natural continuity between the two, but rather a relational continuity created by a free act of God's will.

Keywords: God; Son; Arius; Arian debate; divine fatherhood; Father; ingenerateness; eternal generation

Chapter.  6770 words. 

Subjects: Early Christianity

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