St. Ambrose – Bk 3 – Chapter 5

images (2)Passages brought forward from Scripture to show that made does not always mean the same as created; whence it is concluded that the letter of Holy Writ should not be made the ground of captious arguments, after the manner of the Jews, who, however, are shown to be not so bad as the heretics, and thus the principle already set forth is confirmed anew.

35. At the same time, becoming does not always imply creation; for we read: Lord, You have become our refuge, and You have become my salvation. Plainly, here is no statement of the fact or purpose of a creation, but God is said to have become my refuge and have turned to my salvation, even as the Apostlehas said: Who became for us 1 Corinthians 1:30 Wisdom from God, and Righteousness, and Sanctification, and Redemption, that is, that Christ was made for us, of the Father, not created. Again, the writer has explained in the sequel in what sense he says that Christ was made Wisdom for us: But we preach the Wisdom of God in doctrine of mystery, which Wisdom is hidden, foreordained by God before the existence of the world for our glory, and which none of the princes of this world knew, for had they known they would never have crucified the Lord of glory. When the mystery of the Passion is set forth, surely there is no speaking of an eternal process of generation.

36. The Lord’s Cross, then, is my wisdom; the Lord’s Death my redemption; for we are redeemed with His precious blood, as the Apostle Peter has said.1 Peter 1:19 With His blood, then, as man, the Lord redeemed us, Who also, as God, has forgiven sins. Mark 2:8-12

37. Let us not, therefore, lay snares as it were in words, and eagerly seek out entanglements therein; let us not, because misbelievers make out the written word to mean that it means not, set forth only what this letter bears on the face of it, instead of the underlying sense. This way went the Jews to destruction, despising the deep-hidden meaning, and following only after the bare form of the word, for the letter kills, but the Spirit makes alive. 2 Corinthians 3:6

38. And yet, of these two grievous impieties, to ascribe to the Godhead what is true only of manhood is perchance more detestable than to attribute to spiritwhat belongs only to letter. The Jews feared to believe in manhood taken up into God, and therefore have lost the grace of redemption, because they reject that on which salvation depends; the Arians degrade the majesty of Godhead to the weakness of humanity. Detestable as are the Jews, who crucified the Lord’s flesh, more detestable still do I hold them who have believed that the Godhead of Christ was nailed to the Cross. So one who ofttimes had dealings with Jews said:Avoid a heretic, after once reproving him Titus 3:10

39. Nor, again, are these men careful to avoid doing dishonour to the Father, in their impious application of the fact, that Christ was made Wisdom for us, to His incomprehensible generation, that transcends all limits and divisions of time; for, leaving it out of account that dishonour done to the Son is an insult to theFather, they do even carry their blasphemy in assault upon the Father, of Whom it is written: Let God be made truthful, but every man a liar. Romans 3:4 If indeed they think that the Son is spoken of, they do not foreclose against His generation, but in that they rest on the authority of this text they do confess that which they reject, namely, that Christ is God, and true God.

40. It would be a lengthy matter were I to pass in review each several place where we read of His being made, not indeed by nature, but by way of gracious dispensation. Moses, for example, says: You are made my Helper and Protector, to save me; Exodus 15:2 and David: Be unto me for a God of salvation, and an house of refuge, that You may save me; and Isaiah: He has become an Helper for every city that is lowly. Isaiah 25:4 Of a surety the holy men say not to God: You have been created, but By Your grace You are made a Protector and Helper unto us.

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