St. Ambrose – Bk 4 – Chapter 6

Fiat voluntas tua!

Fiat voluntas tua!

The fourth kind of impossibility (§49) is now taken into consideration, and it is shown that the Son does nothing that the Father approves not, there being between Them perfect unity of will and power.

64. The Son, moreover—to consider now our fourth premiss—is not self-assertive, for He, the Divine Assessor, has done nought that is not in agreement with His Father’s Will. Further, the Father has seen the things that the Son made, and pronounced them very good; for so it is written in Genesis: And God said, Let there be light; and there was light. And God saw the light that it was good. Genesis 1:3-4

65. Now, did the Father say on that occasion, Let there be such light as I Myself have made, or Let there be light— light having as yet not existed; or did the Son ask what sort of light the Father made? Nay, the Son made light, according to His own Will, and so far in accordance with the Father’s good pleasure, that He approved. It is of new, original work by the Son that the place speaks.

66. Again, if, as Arian, expositions of the Scriptures make out, it is a discredit to the Son to have made what He saw, whereas the Scriptures present Him as having made what He [before] saw not, and to have given being to things which as yet were not, what should they say of the Father, Who praised that He had seen, as though He could not have foreseen the things that were to be made?

67. The Son, therefore, sees the Father’s work in like manner as the Father sees the Son’s, and the Father praises not the work as one would praise work of another’s doing, but recognizes it as His own, for whatsoever things the Father has done, the same does the Son, in like manner. [So was it written, that] you might understand one and the same work to be the work both of the Father and of the Son. And thus the Son does nothing save what is approved of by theFather, praised by the Father, willed by the Father, because His whole Being is of the Father; and He is not as the created being, which commits many faults,ofttimes offending the Will of its Creator, in lusting after and falling into sin. Nought, then, is of the Son’s doing, save what is pleasing to the Father, forasmuch as one Will, one Purpose, is Theirs, one true Love, one effect of action.

68. Furthermore, to prove to you that it comes of Love, that the Son can do nothing of Himself save what He has seen the Father doing, the Apostle has added to the words, Whatsoever the Father has done, the same things does the Son also, in like manner, this reason: For the Father loves the Son, and thusScripture refers the Son’s inability to do, whereof it testifies, to unity in Love that suffers no separation or disagreement.

69. But if the inseparableness of the Persons in Love rest, as it truly does, upon [identity of] nature, then surely they are also inseparable, for the same reason, inaction, and it is impossible that the work of the Son should not be in agreement with the Father’s Will, when what the Son works, the Father works also, and what the Father works, the Son works also, and what the Son speaks, the Father speaks also, as it is written: My Father, Who dwells in Me, He it is that speaks, and the works that I do He Himself does. John 14:10 For the Father appointed nought save by the exercise of His Power and Wisdom, forasmuch as He made all things wisely, as it is written: In wisdom have You made them all; and likewise, God the Word made nought without the Father’s participation.

70. Not without the Father does He work; not without His Father’s Will did He offer Himself for that most holy Passion, the Victim slain for the salvation of the whole world; not without His Father’s Will concurring did He raise the dead to life. For example, when He was at the point to raise Lazarus to life, He lifted up His eyes and said, Father, I thank You, for that You have heard Me. And I know that You always hear Me, but for the sake of the multitude that stands round I spoke, that they may believe that You have sent Me, John 11:40 in order that, though speaking agreeably to His assumed character of man, in the flesh, He might still express His oneness with the Father in will and operation, in that the Father hears all and sees all that the Son wills, and therefore also the Father sees the Son’s doings, hears the utterances of His Will, for the Son made no request, and yet said that He had been heard.

71. Again, we cannot suppose that the Father hears not all, whatsoever the Son’s will resolves; and to show that He is always heard by the Father, not as a servant, not as a prophet, but as Son, He said: And I know that Thou dost always hear Me, but for the sake of the multitude which stands round I spoke, that they may believe that You have sent Me.

72. It is for our sakes, therefore, that He renders thanks, lest we should suppose that the Father and the Son are one and the same Person, when we hear of one and the same work being wrought by the Father and the Son. Further, to show us that His rendering of thanks had not been the tribute due from one wanting in power, that, on the contrary, He, as Son of God, ever claimed for Himself the possession of divine authority, He cried, Lazarus, come forth. Here, surely, is the voice of command, not of prayer.

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