St Gregory the Theologian and the One God (part 2)

Eclectic Orthodoxy

When St Gregory arrived in Constantinople in the fall of 379 he immediately addressed the question of the unity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and staked out the Nicene position against his Neo-Arian opponents (Oration 20). Why does the assertion of the full divinity of the Son and Spirit not result either in three ontologically distinct beings (Arianism) or in three Gods (tritheism)? Because, answers the Theologian, the unbegotten Father is the “cause of the divinity that we recognize in the Son and Spirit” (20.6). Gregory agrees with Arius and Eunomius that the Son and Spirit originate from the Father, but he denies that this implies that they are therefore creatures, substantially dissimilar to the Father. The Father generates the eternal existence of the Son and Spirit and bestows upon them his essential reality and being. The unity of the Godhead is preserved because the Son…

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