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that the Father created all things, not by, but with the Word and Spirit; or collectively, the Father, the Word, and the Spirit created; which phrases are nowhere to be found in Scripture. Besides, the expressions to be of the Father, and to be by the Son, do not denote the same kind of efficient cause. If it be not the same cause, neither is it a joint cause; and if not a joint cause, certainly the Father, of whom are all things, must be the principal cause, rather than the Son by whom are all things; for the Father is not only he of whom, but also from whom, and for whom, and through whom, and on account of whom are all things, as has been proved above, inasmuch as he comprehends within himself all lesser causes; whereas the Son is only he by whom are all things ;* wherefore he is the less principal cause. Hence it is often said that the Father created the world by the Son,tbut never, in the same sense, that the Son created the world by the Father. It is however sometimes attempted to be proved from Rev. iii. 14. that the Son was the joint, or even the principal cause of the creation with the Father; the beginning of the creation of God;' where the word beginning is interpreted
*For an answer to this assertion, and indeed with reference to the whole of this chapter, see Waterland's Second Sermon in defence of the Divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ, where he proves that Christ is properly Creator.
He Heaven of Heavens and all the Powers therein
As by his Word, the mighty Father made
All things, ev'n thee; and all the Spirits of Heaven
By him created in their bright degrees. V. 835.
in an active sense, on the authority of Aristotle.* But in the first place, the Hebrew language, whence the expression is taken, nowhere admits of this sense, but rather requires a contrary usage, as Gen. xlix. 3. 'Reuben, thou art....the beginning of my strength.' Secondly, there are two passages in St. Paul referring to Christ himself, which clearly prove that the word beginning is here used in a passive signification. Col. i. 15, 18. the first born of every creature,.... the beginning, the first born from the dead,'-where the position of the Greek accent,† and the passive verbal лρшτóτоxos, show that the Son of God was the first born of every creature precisely in the same sense as the Son of Man was the first born of Mary, лo̟tóToxos, Matt. i. 25. The other passage is Rom. viii. 29. 'first born among many brethren ;' that is, in a passive signification. Lastly, it should be remarked, that he is not called simply the beginning of the creation,' but of the creation of God;' which can mean nothing else than the first of those things which God created; how therefore can he be himself God? Nor can we admit the reason devised by some of the Fathers for his being called, Col. i. 15. the first born of every creature,'-namely, because it is said v. 16. 'by him all things were created.' For had St.
*See Aristotle's Metaphys. iv. 1. Milton alludes to the same interpretation in his logical work. 'Hinc causa proprie dicta, principium quoque nominatur a Cic. I. de Nat. Deorum, sed frequentius apud Græcos.' Artis Logicæ plenior Institutio, &c. Prose Works, VI. 205.
In allusion to the opinion of Isidore Pelusiota, Erasmus, and others (with whom Michaelis agrees, Annotat. ad Paraphr. ad Col. i. 15.) that it should not be read πρωτότοκος, primogenitus, but πρωτοτόκος, primus genitor.
Justin Martyr, Athenagoras, Tertullian (contra Marcionem, lib. v.) Novatian. See also Athanasius, Orat. ii. contra Arianos.
Paul intended to convey the meaning supposed, he would have said, who was before every creature,' (which is what these Fathers contend the words signify, though not without violence to the language) not, who was the first born of every creature,' an expression which clearly has a superlative, and at the same time to a certain extent partitive sense, in so far as production may be considered as a kind of generation and creation; but by no means in so far as the title of first born among men may be here applied to Christ, seeing that he is termed first born, not only in respect of dignity, but also of time. v. 16. for by him were all things created that are in heaven.’
Nor is the passage in Prov. viii. 22, 23. of more weight, even if it be admitted that the chapter in general is to be understood with reference to Christ: 'Jehovah possessed me in the beginning of his way before his works of old: I was set up from everlasting."* For that which was 'possessed' and 'set up,' could not be the primary cause. Even a creature, however, is called the beginning of the ways of God, Job xl. 19. he (behemoth) is the chief (principium) of the ways of God.' As to the eighth chapter of Proverbs, it appears to me that it is not the son of God who is there introduced as the speaker, but a poetical personification of wisdom, as in Job xxviii. 20-27. 'whence then cometh wisdom ?-then did he see it.'
Another argument is brought from Isai. xlv. 12, 23. 'I have made the earth....unto me every knee shall bow.' It is contended that this is spoken of Christ,
*See Waterland's Seventh Sermon on Christ's Divinity, &c. Werks, Vol. II. 144.
on the authority of St. Paul, Rom. xiv. 10, 11. we shall all stand before the judgement seat of Christ: for it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee Ishall bow to me.' But it is evident from the parallel passage Philipp. ii. 9-11. that this is said of God the Father, by whose gift the Son has received that judgement seat and all judgement, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow....to the glory of God the Father;' or, which means the same thing, 'every tongue shall confess to God.'
And Spirit. Gen. i. 2. the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters; that is, his divine power, rather than any person, as has been already shown in the sixth chapter, on the Holy Spirit. For if it were a person, why is the Spirit named, to the exclusion of the Son, by whom we so often read that the world was created? unless indeed that Spirit were Christ, to whom, as has been before proved, the name of Spirit is sometimes given in the Old Testament. However this may be, and even if it should be admitted to have been a person, it seems at all events to have been only a subordinate minister: God is first described as creating the heaven and the earth; the
*Spiritus Dei incubabat. The word incubabat properly signifies brooded, as a bird over her eggs; and the beauty of the original image, which is not retained in our authorized translation, has been twice preserved with great effect in the Paradise Lost.
.. Thou from the first
Wast present, and with mighty wings outspread
On the wat❜ry calm
Spirit is only represented as moving upon the face of the waters already created. So Job xxvi. 13. by his Spirit he hath garnished the heavens,' Psal. xxxiii. 6. by the word of Jehovah were the heavens made, and all the host of them by the breath (spiritu) of his mouth.' Now the person of the Spirit does not seem to have proceeded more from the mouth of God than from that of Christ, who shall consume that wicked one with the spirit of his mouth,' 2 Thess. ii. 8. compared with Isai. xi. 4. ' the rod of his mouth.'
By his will. Psal. cxxxv. 6. 'whatsoever Jehovah pleased, that did he in heaven and earth.' Rev. iv. 11. for thy pleasure they are and were created.' For the manifestation of the glory of his power and goodness. Gen. i. 31. God saw every thing that he had made, and behold, it was very good.' See also 1 Tim. iv. 4. Psal. xix. 1. the heavens declare the glory of God.' Prov. xvi. 4. 'Jehovah hath made all things for himself.' Acts xiv. 15. 'that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God which made heaven and earth and the sea, and all things that are therein.' xvii. 24. God that made the world and all things therein.' Rom. i. 20. 'for his eternal power and Godhead are clearly seen.'
Thus far it has appeared that God the Father is the primary and efficient cause of all things. With regard to the original matter of the universe, however, there has been much difference of opinion.* Most
*The object of the next pages is to prove that the world was not created out of nothing. An intimation of this opinion occurs incidentally in Paradise Lost.