But careful study of the words of Holy Scripture shows that there is not that meaning in them which these Photinians have supposed. For when Solomon says: The abysses as yet were not, and I (Wisdom) was already conceived (Prov. viii, 24), he sufficiently shows that this generation took place before all corporeal things. And though an endeavour has been to wrest away these and other testimonies by saying that they are to be understood of predestination, in the sense that before the creation of the world it was arranged that the Son of God should be born of the Virgin Mary, not that her Son existed before the world; nevertheless the words which follow show that He was before Mary not only in predestination, but really. For it follows: When he weighed the foundations of the earth, I was with him arranging all things: but if He had existed in predestination only, He could have done nothing. This conclusion may be drawn also from the Evangelist John: for, that none might take as referring to predestination the words, In the beginning was the Word, he adds: All things were made by him, and without him was made nothing: which could not be true, had He not real existence before the world was. Likewise from the texts John iii, 13: vi, 38, it appears that He had real existence ere He descended from heaven. Besides, whereas according to the above-mentioned position, a man by the merit of His life was advanced to be God, the Apostle contrariwise declares that, being God, He was made man: Being in the form of God, he thought it no robbery, etc. (Phil. ii, 6.)
Again, among the rest who had the grace of God, Moses had it abundantly, of whom it is said: The Lord spoke to Moses face to face, as a man is wont to speak to his friend (Exod. xxxiii, 11). If then Jesus Christ were only called 'Son of God' by reason of the grace of adoption, as is the, case with other Saints, Moses might be called 'Son of God' on the same title as Christ, allowing all the while that Christ was endowed with more abundant grace: for among the rest of the saints one is filled with greater grace than another, and still they are all called 'Sons of God.' But Moses is not called 'Son' on the same title as Christ: for the Apostle distinguishes Christ from Moses as the son from the servant: Moses indeed was faithful in his house as a servant: but Christ as the Son in his own house (Heb. iii, 5).
The like argument may be gathered from many other places of Scripture, where Christ is styled 'Son of God' in a singular manner above others, as at His baptism, This is my beloved Son (Matt. iii, 17); or where He is called 'the Only-begotten,' -- The Only-begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared (John i, 18): for were He Son in a general way, as others are, He could not be called 'Only-begotten': sometimes too He is designated as 'First-born,' to show that there is a derivation of sonship from Him to others: To be made conformable to the image of his Son, that he may be the first-born among many brethren (Rom. viii, 29): God hath sent his Son, that we might receive the adoption of sons (Gal. iv, 4: which texts show that He, by the likeness of whose Sonship others are called sons, is Son Himself after another way than they.
Furthermore, in the Holy Scriptures some works are set down as so peculiarly proper to God as to be never attributable to any one else, e.g., the sanctification of souls and the forgiveness of sins: for it is said, I am the Lord who sanctify you (Levit. xx, 8): I am he who blot out thy sins for mine own sake (Isai. xliii, 25). Yet both these works Scripture attributes to Christ, Heb. ii, 11: xiii, 12. He declared of Himself that He had the power of forgiving sins, and proved His assertion by a miracle (Matt. ix, 1-8); and the angel foretold of Him that He should save his people from their sins (Matt. i, 21). Christ therefore as sanctifier and forgiver of sins is not called 'God' in the same sense as others are called 'gods,' who are sanctified and whose sins are forgiven, but as one having the power and nature Godhead.
As for those testimonies of Scripture whereby the Photinians endeavoured to show that Christ is not God by nature, they do not serve their purpose: for we confess in Christ the Son of God after the Incarnation two natures, a human and a divine: hence there are predicated of Him at once attributes proper to God, by reason of His divine nature, and attributes seeming to involve some defect, or shortcoming, by reason of His human nature. Thus His saying, All power is given to me, does not mean that He then received the power as a new thing to Him, but that the power, which, the Son of God had enjoyed from all eternity, had now begun to appear in the same Son made man, by the victory which He had gained over death by rising again.* Hereby it is also clear that Peter's saying (Acts ii, 36) of God having made him [Jesus] Lord and Christ, is to be referred to the Son in His human nature, in which He began to have in time what in His nature He had from eternity.*
Nor does the Apostle (Rom. i, 3) say absolutely that the Son was 'made,' but that He was made of the seed of David according to the flesh by the assumption of human nature. Hence the following words, predestinated Son of God, apply to the Son in His human nature: for that union of human nature with the Son of God, which made it possible man to be called Son of God, was not due to any human merits, but to the grace of God predestinating.*
4.3 : That the Son of God is God
4.5 : Rejection of the Opinion of Sabellius concerning the Son of God