The Dedication Council of Antioch of AD 341

Reading only the green blocks should provide a good overview of this article.

In the year 341, approximately 90 bishops of the Eastern Church met in a Council of Antioch and produced four documents. The second is the most important. It is known as the Dedication Creed because the Council met to celebrate the dedication of a new church built by Emperor Constantius.

This article quotes mainly from the recent writings of three world-class Catholic scholars, specializing in the fourth-century Arian Controversy, R.P.C. Hanson1The Search for the Christian Doctrine of God – The Arian Controversy 318-381, 1987, Rowan Williams2Arius: Heresy and Tradition, 2002/1987, and Lewis Ayres3Nicaea and its legacy, 2004.

Extracts from the Dedication Creed

Hanson4Hanson RPC, The Search for the Christian Doctrine of God: The Arian Controversy, 318-381. 1988 provides the entire Creed (see below). The important parts are as follows:

“We believe in one God Father Almighty,
artificer and maker and designer of the universe;

And in one Lord Jesus Christ his only-begotten Son, God,
Through whom are all things,
Who was begotten from the Father before the Ages,
God from God … Lord from Lord …
Unchanging and unaltering,
Exact image of the Godhead and the substance and will and power and glory of the Father,
First-born of all creation, who was in the beginning with God, God the Word according to the text in the Gospel [‘and the Word was God’, by whom all things were made, and in whom all things exist;]

And in the Holy Spirit

They are three in hypostasis but one in agreement.”

The Creed condemns all who say that:

      • “Either time or occasion or age exists or did exist before the Son was begotten”
      • “The Son is a creature like one of the creatures” (Hanson, p. 286)

Purpose of the Council

The Eastern church previously exiled Athanasius and Marcellus but, in the preceding year (340), the Western church declared both men orthodox and innocent. The main purpose of the Dedication Council was to discuss this.

The Council met to discuss the decisions of the Council of Rome of the previous year (340), and the letter written to the Eusebians by Julius, Bishop of Rome, earlier in 341, after that council:

“There can be little doubt that this Council of Antioch was conceived by those who organized it as an answer to Julius’ Council of Rome and the letter which he wrote to the Eusebian party after it.” (Hanson, p. 285)

The council was “an immediate response” to “Julius’ letter to ‘those around Eusebius’.” (Ayres, p. 117)

That Council of Rome had vindicated Athanasius and Marcellus. Both were previously condemned at councils of the Eastern Church; Athanasius in 335 for violence against the Melitians in his see and Marcellus for Sabellianism. Their vindication caused significant tension between the East and West. That tension was heightened by the letter that Julius, the bishop of Rome, wrote to the Eastern Church. In that letter, he accused the East of Arianism, meaning, being followers of Arius’ already discredited theology.

Like Nicaea, an Eastern Council

Both the Nicene Council of 325 and the Dedication Councils were essentially councils of the Eastern Church.

The Dedication Council consisted exclusively of bishops from the Eastern part of the Empire:

The Dedication Creed “represents the nearest approach we can make to discovering the views of the ordinary educated Eastern bishop.” (Hanson, p. 290-1) 5“They constituted a widespread point of view, but we can hardly call them a party.” (Hanson, p. 291)

Similarly, the vast majority of the bishops attending Nicaea were from the East:

“Very few Western bishops took the trouble to attend the Council (of Nicaea). The Eastern Church was always the pioneer and leader in theological movements in the early Church. … The Westerners at the Council represented a tiny minority.” (Hanson, p. 170)

The delegates at Nicaea were “drawn almost entirely from the eastern half of the empire” (Ayres, p. 19).

But a Different Creed

Although the two meetings were only 16 years apart and represented the same constituencies, there are significant differences between the Nicene and Dedication Creeds:

No Mention of Homoousios

While homoousios is regarded as the key term in the Nicene Creed, the Dedication Creed does not use it at all. The reason is that the term homoousios disappeared from the Controversy soon after Nicaea and was not mentioned by anybody for more than 20 years.

One difference is that, while Nicaea describes the Son using the terms ousia and homoousios, and while these terms are viewed today as a crucial part of that Creed, these terms are absent from the Dedication Creed. The reason is that, soon after Nicaea, these terms fell out of the Controversy. For more than twenty years, nobody mentioned it; not even Athanasius:

“What is conventionally regarded as the key-word in the Creed homoousion, falls completely out of the controversy very shortly after the Council of Nicaea and is not heard of for over twenty years.” (Hanson Lecture)

“Even Athanasius for about twenty years after Nicaea is strangely silent about this adjective (homoousios) which had been formally adopted into the creed of the Church in 325.” (Hanson, p. 58-59)

“During the years 326–50 the term homoousios is rarely if ever mentioned.” (Ayres, p. 431) (Read more)

The Nicene Creed and the term homoousios were only brought back into the Controversy in the 350s by Athanasius:

“Athanasius’ decision to make Nicaea and homoousios central to his theology has its origins in the shifting climate of the 350s.” (Ayres, p. 144)

“He began to use it first in the De Deeretis … in 356 or 357.” (Hanson, p. 438)

The Dedication Council of 341 and the Council of Serdica of 343 were both held during the 20 of more years when nobody mentioned the term homoousios. For that reason, these councils do not defend or attack the term. It simply was not an issue.

Anti-Sabellian

But the main difference between the two creeds is that, while the Nicene Creed is open to a Sabellian reading, the main purpose of the Dedication Creed is to oppose Sabellianism.

Eminent recent scholars confirm the pro-Sabellian nature of the Nicene Creed:

RPC Hanson: “If we are to take the creed N at its face value, the [Sabellian] theology of Eustathius and Marcellus was the theology which triumphed at Nicaea. That creed admits the possibility of only one ousia and one hypostasis. This was the hallmark of the theology of these two men.” (Hanson, p. 235)

Lewis Ayres: After Nicaea, the Creed was associated “with the theology of Marcellus of Ancyra. … The language of that creed seemed to offer no prophylactic (prevention) against Marcellan doctrine, and increasingly came to be seen as implying such doctrine.” (Ayres, p. 96, 97)

Manlio Simonetti6La Crisi Ariana nel IV secolo (1975): “Simonetti estimates the Nicene Council as a temporary alliance for the defeat of Arianism between the tradition of Alexandria led by Alexander and ‘Asiatic’ circles (i.e. Eustathius, Marcellus) whose thought was at the opposite pole to that of Arius. … Alexander … accepted virtual Sabellianism in order to ensure the defeat of Arianism. … The ‘Asiatics’ … were able to include in N a hint of opposition to the three hypostases theory.” (Hanson, p. 171)

The following indicates the pro-Sabellian tendency of the Nicene Creed:

Before Nicaea, the term homoousios was preferred only by Sabellians. (See here) Sabellius himself, the Libyan Sabellians, Dionysius of Rome, and Paul of Samosata used it to say that Father and Son are one single Person. 7“The word homoousios, at its first appearance in the middle of the third century, was therefore clearly connected with the theology of a Sabellian or monarchian tendency.” (P.F. Beatrice) In the year 268, about 70 years before the Dedication Council, another council in the same city (Antioch) had already condemned both the Sabellianism of Paul of Samosata and the term homoousios.

In the Nicene Creed, as stated, one of the anathemas seems to say that the Father and Son are a single hypostasis, which is the hallmark of Sabellianism.

After Nicaea, the Sabellians claimed the Nicene Creed as support for their theology. (See here)

This is not to say that the Nicene Creed is clearly Sabellian, but at the least, it can be said that it does not exclude Sabellianism. Elsewhere, Hanson describes it as “a drawn battle:

“It is going too far to say that N is a clearly Sabellian document. … It is exceeding the evidence to represent the Council as a total victory for the anti-Origenist opponents of the doctrine of three hypostases. It was more like a drawn battle.” (Hanson, p. 172)

Note that Hanson above associates Sabellianism with one-hypostasis theology. Sabellianism is one form of one-hypostasis theology, which is the teaching that the Father, Son, and Spirit are a single Person with a single Mind. Monarchianism and Modalism are other one-hypostasis theologies. The main dividing line in the fourth-century Controversy was between one- and three-hypostasis theologies.

In contrast to Nicaea, the main purpose of the Dedication Creed is to oppose Sabellinism:”

The Dedication Creed’s “chief bête noire [the thing that it particularly dislikes] is Sabellianism, the denial of a distinction between the three within the Godhead.” (Hanson, p. 287)

The Dedication creed is “strongly anti-Sabellian.” (Hanson, p. 287)

“The creed has a clear anti-Sabellian and anti-Marcellan thrust.” (Ayres, p. 119)

In contrast to the single hypostasis of Sabellianism, the Dedication Creed explicitly asserts that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are “three in hypostasis but one in agreement (συμφωνία)” (Ayres, p. 118) “One in agreement” indicates the existence of three distinct ‘Minds’.

Why these creeds differ

The Nicene Creed

The Nicene Creed is pro-Sabellian because Emperor Constantine took Alexander’s part in his dispute with Arius and because Alexander joined forces with the Sabellians. Consequently, the Sabellians were able to influence the wording of the Creed significantly.

The Nicene Creed is pro-Sabellian because “Constantine took part in the Council of Nicaea and ensured that it reached the kind of conclusion which he thought best.” (Hanson, p. 850)

“The Origenists had considerable reservation about homoousios and the other phrases containing the term ousios (substance), but the emperor exerted considerable influence. Consequently, the statement was approved.” (Erickson)

The emperor took Alexander’s part in his dispute with Arius. 8“Constantine had taken Alexander’s part.” (Ayres, p. 89) However, at Nicaea, Alexander joined forces with the Sabellians Eustathius and Marcellus against the Eusebians. 9“Eustathius and Marcellus … certainly met at Nicaea. and no doubt were there able to join forces with Alexander of Alexandria and Ossius.” (Hanson, p. 234) 10“Marcellus, Eustathius and Alexander were able to make common cause against the Eusebians.” (Ayres, p. 69) (Both Eustathius and Marcellus were later exiled for Sabellianism. 11“Marcellus of Ancyra had produced a theology … which could quite properly be called Sabellian.” (Hanson, p. ix) Marcellus of Ancyra “cannot be acquitted of Sabellianism” (Hanson’s Lecture). 12Eustathius attended the Nicene Council (Hanson, p. 208) but was deposed soon after Nicaea (“in 330 or 331”) (Hanson, p. 210) “primarily for the heresy of Sabellianism” (Hanson, p. 211).) Consequently, the Sabellians were able to influence the wording of the Creed significantly.

The Dedication Creed

The Dedication Creed is strongly anti-Sabellian because the main threat was the Sabellian (one hypostasis = one Person) theology of the Western Church. This is indicated by its vindication of Marcellus and Athanasius, who both maintained one-hypostasis theologies, and its explicitly declared belief in a single hypostasis. 

This can be illustrated as follows:

Firstly, the Council of Rome vindicated Marcellus, the leading Sabellian:

“That Julius and later the Westerners at Sardica should have declared him (Marcellus) orthodox was bound to appear to the Eastern theologians to be a condoning of Sabellianism.” (Hanson Lecture)

Secondly, the Council of Rome also vindicated Athanasius, who also maintained a single hypostasis. In his theology, the Son is “in” the Father as the Father’s only Wisdom and Word:

In the Father we have the Son: this is a summary of Athanasius’ theology.” (Hanson, p. 426)

“Athanasius’ argument speaks not of two realities engaged in a common activity, but develops his most basic sense that the Son is intrinsic to the Father’s being.” (Ayres, p. 114)

“The Son is in the Father ontologically.” (Hanson, p. 428)

Athanasius, therefore, taught that Father, Son, and Spirit are one single hypostasis (a single Person):

The “clear inference from his (Athanasius’) usage” is that “there is only one hypostasis in God.” (Ayres, p. 48)

“Athanasius’ most basic language and analogies for describing the relationship between Father and Son primarily present the two as intrinsic aspects of one reality or person.” (Ayres, p. 46)

“The fragments of Eustathius that survive present a doctrine that is close to Marcellus, and to Alexander and Athanasius. Eustathius insists there is only one hypostasis.“ (Ayres, p. 69) (Read more)

Thirdly, at the failed Council of Serdica in 343, the Western delegates explicitly formulated a one-hypostasis manifesto. (See here) 13Hanson refers to “the apparent Sabellianism of N [the Nicene Creed], and the insensitiveness of the Western Church to the threat to orthodoxy which this tendency represented.” (Hanson, p. 290-1)

Anti-Arian

Following Athanasius, the West accused the East of following Arius. But the Easterners did not follow Arius. Arius had no followers. Indeed, the Dedication Creed explicitly condemns some of Arius’ more extreme statements.

Julius, the bishop of Rome, accused the Easterners of following Arius’ already discredited theology. The Dedication Council denied this.14“We have not been followers of Arius.” (Ayres, p. 117-8) “We have rather approached him as investigators and judges of his belief than followed him.’” (Hanson, p. 285)

The Easterners did not follow Arius. Arius did not leave a school of followers.15“Arius’ own theology is of little importance in understanding the major debates of the rest of the century (after Nicaea).” (Ayres, p. 56-57)16“The views of Arius were such as … to bring into unavoidable prominence a doctrinal crisis which had gradually been gathering. … He was the spark that started the explosion. But in himself he was of no great significance.” (Hanson, p. xvii) (Read More.)

Consequently:

“’Arianism’ as a coherent system, founded by a single great figure and sustained by his disciples, is a fantasy … based on the polemic of Nicene writers, above all Athanasius.” (Rowan Williams, p. 82)17Williams, Rowan, Arius: Heresy and Tradition (Revised ed.). Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. (2002)

Perhaps in response to Julius’ accusation, the Dedication Creed explicitly anathematizes some key aspects of Arius’ theology.18It “deliberately excludes the kind of Arianism professed by Arius and among his followers by Eusebius of Nicomedia/Constantinople.” (Hanson, p. 290) It “does anathematize doctrines associated … with Arius.” (Ayres, p. 120) For example, the Creed anathematizes all who say: “that either time or occasion or age exists or did exist before the Son was begotten” (Hanson, p. 286)19“True-blue Arians would have found it impossible to accept the statement that the Son is ‘the exact image of the substance (ousia) … of the Godhead of the Father’” (Hanson, p. 287) The following is an good summary of the Dedication Creed:

It “represents the nearest approach we can make to discovering the views of the ordinary educated Eastern bishop who was no admirer of the extreme views of Arius but who had been shocked and disturbed by the apparent Sabellianism of N [the Nicene Creed], and the insensitiveness of the Western Church to the threat to orthodoxy which this tendency represented.” (Hanson, p. 290-1)

Other Teachings

Subordinate

The Dedication Creed claims that the Son is subordinate to the Father. However, this was not a concession to Arius’ theology because, at the time, all theologians, even Athanasius, regarded the Son as subordinate to the Father.
      • It says “that the names of the Three signify the particular order and glory of each.” (Hanson, p. 287)
      • The Father alone is described as “Almighty.”
      • The Son is the Father’s agent in creation. The Father is “maker and designer of the universe” but the Son is the One “through whom are all things” and “by whom all things were made.”
      • In contrast to the Father as the “one God,” the Son is the “one Lord.”

But subordination was to be expected because it was orthodoxy at the time.

”Almost everybody in the East at that period would have agreed that there was a subordination of some sort within the Trinity.” (Hanson, p. 287)

“Indeed, until Athanasius began writing, every single theologian, East and West, had postulated some form of Subordinationism.” 20RPC Hanson, “The Achievement of Orthodoxy in the Fourth Century AD” in Rowan Williams, ed., The Making of Orthodoxy (New York, NY: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1989) p. 153. (Read More)

In other words, the subordination in the Creed is not a concession to Arius’ theology.

Image of the Father’s substance

While the Nicene Creed says that the Son is the same substance as the Father (homoousios), the Dedication Creed creates a bit more distance by claiming He is the image of the Father’s substance. 

The Creed says that “the Son is ‘the exact Image of the Godhead, the ousia and the will and the power and the glory of the Father’.” (Hanson, p. 288) In contrast to the Nicene Creed, which says that the Son is of the same ousia as the Father (homoousios), the phrase “exact image of the … ousia … of the Father” means that the Son is distinct from the substance of the Father. Later in the fourth century, in the mid-50s, after Athanasius had re-introduced the term homoousios into the Controversy, “image of the Father’s substance” became the catchphrase of the Homoiousians (meaning ‘similar substance’).

The Son is God.

The Creed regards the Son both as subordinate and as “God” (theos). However, the term theos in the Bible and in the 4th century was not equivalent to the modern word “God.”

For example, it describes the Son as “God from God.” While we use the term “God” only for the Almighty, there were many theoi in ancient Greek:

“It must be understood that in the fourth century the word ‘God’ (theos, deus) had not acquired the significance which in our twentieth-century world it has acquired … viz. the one and sole true God. The word could apply to many gradations of divinity.” (Hanson, p. 456)

This “reminds us of the variety of ways in which the term ‘God’ could be deployed at this point.” (Ayres, p. 124) Read More

The Fourth Creed

To serve as a means of reconciliation, the fourth creed uses mainly Biblical language, avoiding all Nicene and Sabellian terms derived from Greek philosophy.

The Fourth Creed of Antioch “was intended to function as a reconciling formula obnoxious to nobody and capable of being accepted by all.” (Hanson, p. 291) This creed “was destined to be used for nearly fifteen years as the basis for all other creeds which were designed to be ecumenical.” (Hanson, p. 292)

It condemns both Marcellus and Arius. “It has a special clause inserted against Marcellus” (Hanson, p. 292) and ends with an anathema against Arius: “But those who say that the Son is from non-existence or of a different hypostasis, and not from God, and that there was once a time or age when he did not exist, these the holy Catholic Church recognizes as alien’.” (Hanson, p. 292)

But otherwise, it leaves out all contentious issues, such as the words ousia and homoousios, and does not even address the crucial aspect of the number of hypostases in God. “it makes no attempt to establish the distinctness of the ‘Persons’ in an anti-Sabellian manner.” (Hanson, p. 292)

FULL DEDICATION CREED

Hanson gives the Dedication Creed as follows:

“Following the evangelical and apostolic tradition, we believe in one God Father Almighty, artificer and maker and designer of the universe:

And in one Lord Jesus Christ his only-begotten Son, God,
through whom are all things,
who was begotten from the Father before the Ages,
God from God, whole from whole, sole from sole, perfect from perfect, King from King, Lord from Lord, living Wisdom, true Light, Way, Truth, unchanging and unaltering,
exact image of the Godhead and the substance and will and power and glory of the Father, first-born of all creation, who was in the beginning with God, God the Word according to the text in the Gospel [quotation of Jn I: 1, 3 arid Col 1: 17]

who at the end of the days came down from above and was born of a virgin, according to the Scriptures, and became man, mediator between God and men, the apostle of our faith, author of life, as the text runs [quotation of Jn 6:38], who suffered for us and rose again the third day and ascended into heaven and is seated on the right hand of the father and is coming again with glory and power to judge the living and the dead:

And in the Holy Spirit, who is given to those who believe for comfort and sanctification and perfection, just as our Lord Jesus Christ commanded his disciples, saying [quotation of Matt 28:19], obviously (in the name) of the Father who is really Father and the Son who is really Son and the Holy Spirit who is really Holy Spirit, because the names are not given lightly or idly, but signify exactly the particular hypostasis and order and glory of each of those who are named, so that they are three in hypostasis but one in agreement.

Since we hold this belief, and have held it from the beginning to the end, before God and Christ we condemn every form of heretical unorthodoxy.

And if anybody teaches contrary to the sound, right faith of the Scriptures, alleging that either time or occasion or age exists or did exist before the Son was begotten, let him be anathema.

And if anyone alleges that the Son is a creature like one of the creatures or a product like one of the products, or something made like one of the things that are made, and not as the Holy Scriptures have handed down concerning the subjects which have been treated one after another,

or if anyone teaches or preaches anything apart from what we have laid down, let him be anathema. for we believe and follow everything that has been delivered from the Holy Scriptures by the prophets and apostles truly and reverently.”


OTHER ARTICLES

FOOTNOTES

  • 1
    The Search for the Christian Doctrine of God – The Arian Controversy 318-381, 1987
  • 2
    Arius: Heresy and Tradition, 2002/1987
  • 3
    Nicaea and its legacy, 2004
  • 4
    Hanson RPC, The Search for the Christian Doctrine of God: The Arian Controversy, 318-381. 1988
  • 5
    “They constituted a widespread point of view, but we can hardly call them a party.” (Hanson, p. 291)
  • 6
    La Crisi Ariana nel IV secolo (1975)
  • 7
    “The word homoousios, at its first appearance in the middle of the third century, was therefore clearly connected with the theology of a Sabellian or monarchian tendency.” (P.F. Beatrice)
  • 8
    “Constantine had taken Alexander’s part.” (Ayres, p. 89)
  • 9
    “Eustathius and Marcellus … certainly met at Nicaea. and no doubt were there able to join forces with Alexander of Alexandria and Ossius.” (Hanson, p. 234)
  • 10
    “Marcellus, Eustathius and Alexander were able to make common cause against the Eusebians.” (Ayres, p. 69)
  • 11
    “Marcellus of Ancyra had produced a theology … which could quite properly be called Sabellian.” (Hanson, p. ix) Marcellus of Ancyra “cannot be acquitted of Sabellianism” (Hanson’s Lecture).
  • 12
    Eustathius attended the Nicene Council (Hanson, p. 208) but was deposed soon after Nicaea (“in 330 or 331”) (Hanson, p. 210) “primarily for the heresy of Sabellianism” (Hanson, p. 211).
  • 13
    Hanson refers to “the apparent Sabellianism of N [the Nicene Creed], and the insensitiveness of the Western Church to the threat to orthodoxy which this tendency represented.” (Hanson, p. 290-1)
  • 14
    “We have not been followers of Arius.” (Ayres, p. 117-8) “We have rather approached him as investigators and judges of his belief than followed him.’” (Hanson, p. 285)
  • 15
    “Arius’ own theology is of little importance in understanding the major debates of the rest of the century (after Nicaea).” (Ayres, p. 56-57)
  • 16
    “The views of Arius were such as … to bring into unavoidable prominence a doctrinal crisis which had gradually been gathering. … He was the spark that started the explosion. But in himself he was of no great significance.” (Hanson, p. xvii)
  • 17
    Williams, Rowan, Arius: Heresy and Tradition (Revised ed.). Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. (2002)
  • 18
    It “deliberately excludes the kind of Arianism professed by Arius and among his followers by Eusebius of Nicomedia/Constantinople.” (Hanson, p. 290) It “does anathematize doctrines associated … with Arius.” (Ayres, p. 120)
  • 19
    “True-blue Arians would have found it impossible to accept the statement that the Son is ‘the exact image of the substance (ousia) … of the Godhead of the Father’” (Hanson, p. 287)
  • 20
    RPC Hanson, “The Achievement of Orthodoxy in the Fourth Century AD” in Rowan Williams, ed., The Making of Orthodoxy (New York, NY: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1989) p. 153.

The doctrine of the Trinity deviates from the Nicene Creed.

This article series quotes extensively from leading scholars. Since not all readers are interested in detail, the green blocks summarize the longer sections. 

PURPOSE

The church adopted the Trinity doctrine at the conclusion of the fourth-century ‘Arian’ Controversy. However, discoveries of ancient documents and research over the past century have revealed that the traditional account of how and why the church accepted that doctrine is grossly inaccurate. Different articles in this series discuss different critical errors in the traditional narrative.

The current article addresses the false belief that the Trinity doctrine is consistent with the Nicene Creed of 325. For example, while the Creed uses hypostasis and ousia as synonyms, the Doctrine uses these terms for contrasting concepts; Person and Being. And while the Creed asserts that the Father and Son are a single hypostasis, the Doctrine proclaims three hypostases.

The New Terms in the Nicene Creed

To describe the Son of God, the Nicene Creed of 325 uses the terms hypostasis and ousia in three statements:

      • The Son is begotten “of the ousia of the Father,”
      • Father and Son are “homoousios,” meaning ‘same ousia’, and 
      • The Son is not “of another hypostasis or ousia.” (Ayres, p. 93)

These terms were not used in any previous Christian creed. A pro-Alexander pre-meeting was held in Antioch just a few months earlier and not even the draft creed produced at that meeting used these terms. (Ayres, p. 92)

The Anathema …

This article focuses on the third instance, one of the Creed’s anathemas. Early Church Texts translates it as:

“But as for those … who assert that the Son of God is of a different hypostasis or substance [ousia] … these the Catholic and apostolic Church anathematizes.”

With the double negative removed, it says that the Son is of the same hypostasis and ousia as the Father. This seems to deviate from the Trinity doctrine in two ways:

Uses Hypostasis and Ousia as Synonyms.

Firstly, while the traditional Trinity doctrine makes a distinction between the terms ousia and hypostasis, saying that God is one ousia (one Being) existing in three hypostases (three Persons); the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the Anathema seems to use ousia and hypostasis as synonyms.

Scholars confirm that the Anathema seems to use ousia and hypostases as synonyms.

        • Ayres refers to “the seeming equation of ousia and hypostasis. (Ayres, p. 88)
        • R.P.C. Hanson says the Nicene Creed “apparently (but not quite certainly) identifies hypostasis and ousia.” (Hanson, p. 188)

In contrast, the Doctrine makes a distinction between the two terms. For example, the following is one possible definition of the Doctrine:

“The champions of the Nicene faith … developed a doctrine of God as a Trinity, as one substance or ousia who existed as three hypostases, three distinct realities or entities (I refrain from using the misleading word’ Person’), three ways of being or modes of existing as God.” (Hanson Lecture)

Says that Father and Son are One Person.

A second difference between the Anathema and the Trinity doctrine is that, while the Anathema seems to say that Father and Son are a single hypostasis, the Doctrine says they are three hypostases. 

Scholars confirm that the Anathema seems to teach a single hypostasis:

“The production of N … must have been deeply disturbing for many who could not seriously be described as Arian in sympathy but could not believe that God had only one hypostasis, as the creed apparently professed.” (Hanson, p. 274)

“That creed admits the possibility of only one ousia and one hypostasis.” (Hanson, p. 235)

A hypostasis is something that exists distinctly. When used for intelligent beings, it is often translated as ‘person’.

Purpose of this article

Therefore, the purpose of this article is to determine whether the Anathema:

    • Uses ousia and hypostasis as synonyms and 
    • Describes Father and Son as a single hypostasis.

Both the translation of the Anathema above and the definition of the Trinity doctrine quoted above explain ousia as ‘substance’. Today, we generally understand ‘substance’ as “the real physical matter of which a person or thing consists.” However, the purpose of the current article is to determine whether that was how the compilers of the Nicene Creed understood the term.

AUTHORS

This article is largely based on the following recent writings of world-class catholic scholars who are regarded as specialists in the fourth-century Arian Controversy:

Hanson – A 1981 lecture by R.P.C. Hanson on the Arian Controversy.

Hanson, Bishop RPC
The Search for the Christian Doctrine of God –

The Arian Controversy 318-381, 1987

Williams, Archbishop Rowan
Arius: Heresy and Tradition, 2002/1987

Ayres, Lewis
Nicaea and its legacy, 2004

Ayres is a Professor of Catholic and Historical Theology

Anatolios, Khaled,
Retrieving Nicaea, 2011
Ebook edition

BEFORE NICAEA

Etymologically, they are synonyms.

In the earliest uses of these words known to scholars today, ousia and hypostasis were synonyms. 

Etymologically (i.e., relating to the origin and historical development of words and their meanings), hypostasis and ousia are direct cognates (See – Ousía and hypostasis from the philosophers to the councils). That means they have the same linguistic derivation, just like the English father, the German Vater and the Latin pater are cognates. In other words, originally, hypostasis and ousia had the same meaning.

Philosophy: Synonyms for Fundamental Reality

The compilers of the Nicene Creed borrowed these terms from Greek philosophy and that philosophy used these terms as synonyms for the fundamental reality that supports all else.

The authors of the Nicene Creed derived these terms from Greek philosophy. For example, Hanson refers to “the new terms borrowed from the pagan philosophy of the day.” (Hanson, p. 846)1Hypostasis … became a key-word in Platonism.” (Hanson, p. 182) In Greek Philosophy:

Hypostasis is the underlying state or underlying substance and is the fundamental reality that supports all else.” (Wikipedia)

Note that both the terms hypostasis and ousia (substance) appear in this definition. In philosophy, a hypostasis was also a substance. Ancient Greek philosophers used these terms as synonyms for the primary, fundamental kind of being, in contrast to the objects in the sensible world which are mere shadows. In a Christian context, we might refer to “the fundamental reality” or Ultimate Reality as ‘God’.

Only one instance in the Bible

The compilers of the Creed did not obtain these terms from the Bible. The Bible never refers to God’s ousia and only once to God’s hypostasis. In that one instance, it is not clear whether hypostasis refers to God’s nature or His entire ‘Person’ (hypostasis). 

The word hypostasis “occurs five times in the New Testament.” (Hanson, p. 182) Four instances do NOT refer to God and are translated as ‘confidence’ and ‘assurance’ (2 Cor 9:4; 11:17; Heb 3:14; 11:1). The only instance where the term hypostasis describes God is Hebrews 1:3. 2“The only strictly theological use (of the word hypostasis) is that of Hebrews 1:3, where the Son is described as ‘the impression of the nature’ [hypostasis] of God.” (Hanson, p. 182) 3“The word also occurs twenty times in the LXX (the ancient Greek translation of the Old Testament), but only one of them can be regarded as theologically significant. … At Wisdom 16:21 the writer speaks of God’s hypostasis, meaning his nature; and no doubt this is why Hebrews uses the term ‘impression of his nature’.” (Hanson, p. 182) In Hebrews 1:3, “the Son is described as the impression [exact image] of the Father’s hypostasis.” (Hanson, p. 187, 182) This is variously translated (BibleHub):

      • The exact representation of his being (NIV);
      • The exact imprint of his nature (ESV);
      • The express image of his person (King James & New King James);
      • The exact representation of His nature (NASB);
      • The very image of his substance (ASV);
      • The exact likeness of God’s own being (Good News)
      • The exact likeness of his being (ISV)
      • The very imprint of his being (New American)
      • The exact imprint of God’s very being (NRSV)

The three instances in red translate hypostasis as a characteristic or aspect of God but most versions translate it as referring to God as a distinct Individual or Person, meaning that the Son is the exact image of the Person of God, rather than of an aspect of God.

Hypostasis also occurs twenty times in the LXX (the ancient Greek translation of the Old Testament), but only one instance uses this term to describe God. “At Wisdom 16:21 the writer speaks of God’s hypostasis … and no doubt this is why Hebrews uses the term ‘impression of his nature’.” (Hanson, p. 182)

Since the Bible never refers to God’s ousia and only once refers to His hypostasis, the use of the terms ousia and hypostasis in the Nicene Creed was not based on the Bible:

“The pro-Nicenes are at their worst, their most grotesque, when they try to show that the new terms borrowed from the pagan philosophy of the day were really to be found in Scripture.” (Hanson, p. 846)

Origen: Synonyms for distinct Individual

Origen wrote at the beginning of the third century. He used these terms as synonyms. While ousia is today often understood as “substance,” Origen used both terms for the Persons of the Trinity as distinct Individuals, as opposed to their substance.

For example:

He “used hypostasis and ousia freely as interchangeable terms to describe the Son’s distinct reality within the Godhead.” (Hanson, p. 185) “He can say … that the Son is ‘different in ousia’ from the Father, meaning that he is a distinct entity from the Father.” (Hanson, p. 66-67)

“For Origen the words hypostasis … and ousia are … synonyms for … distinct individual entity.” (Hanson, p. 66-67)

While Origen wrote that the Son is “separate in hypostasis or ousia from the Father” (Hanson, p. 66-67), the Nicene Creed states the exact opposite and condemns those who say that He “is of a different hypostasis or substance.”

The vast majority of the delegates to Nicaea were from the Eastern church and were followers of Origen, implying that they used these terms in the same way.

For example:

At Nicaea, “around 250–300 attended, drawn almost entirely from the eastern half of the empire.” (Ayres, p. 19)

“The great majority of the Eastern clergy [at Nicaea] were ultimately disciples of Origen.” (Bible.ca, quoting W.H.C. Frend)

This implies that most delegates to Nicaea regarded these terms as synonyms for the ‘Person’ of God.

Williams refers to “the respectable pre-Nicene usage of ousia for primary (individual) substance.” (Williams, p. 164)

WHEN THE CONTROVERSY BEGAN

Used differently by different people

When the Controversy began, considerable confusion existed as different people used these terms differently.

Hanson discusses how several ancient theologians used these terms. Did they use these terms to describe the Father and Son as Individuals (Persons) or their substance?

      • “Eusebius of Nicomedia” used ousia to mean Person. He said, “there are two ousiai and two facts.” (Hanson, p. 185)
      • “Eusebius of Caesarea … uses ousia to mean substance.” (Hanson, p. 185)
      • “Alexander of Alexandria … does not use the word ousia, but instead uses hypostasis for both ‘Person’ and ‘substance’.” (Hanson, p. 186)
      • Arius used hypostasis for Person. He “spoke readily of the hypostases of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.” (Hanson, p. 186)
      • Asterius, a leading anti-Nicene, “said that there were three hypostases.” In other words, he used hypostasis for ‘Person’. “But he also described the Son as ‘the exact image of the ousia and counsel and glory and power’ of the Father.” In other words, he used ousia for substance. “Once again we find a writer who clearly did not confuse ousia and hypostasis.” (Hanson, p. 187) What Hanson means is that Asterius made a distinction between the two terms and used them as we use them today.

Therefore, considerable confusion existed.

“Considerable confusion existed about the use of the terms hypostasis and ousia at the period when the Arian Controversy broke out.” (Hanson, p. 181)

“Several alternative ways of treating these terms were prevalent.” (Hanson, p. 184)

“That continuing terminological confusion is reflected in the seeming equation of ousia and hypostasis [in the Nicene Creed].” (Ayres, p. 98)

Synonyms for many

Although different people used these terms differently, many used these terms as synonyms.

For example:

“For many people at the beginning of the fourth century the word hypostasis and the word ousia had pretty well the same meaning.” (Hanson, p. 181)

Importantly, Athanasius, the paragon of the West, also used these terms as synonyms: “Clearly for him hypostasis and ousia were still synonymous.” (Hanson, 440)

“For at least the first half of the period 318-381, and in some cases considerably later, ousia and hypostasis are used as virtual synonyms.” (Hanson, p. 183)

MEANING CHANGED

Much later in the Century

The fourth century was a search for orthodoxy; not the defense of orthodoxy. The outcome of that Controversy, the Trinity doctrine, did not yet exist when the Nicene Creed was formulated. As a key part of that search for the doctrine of God, theologians changed the meanings of the terms ousia and hypostasis.

As confirmation that the Nicene Creed does not teach the Trinity doctrine, Lewis Ayres explains that ‘pro-Nicene theology’, which is what we today understand as the Trinity doctrine, was developed later in that century and differs from the theology of the Nicene Creed:

“By ‘pro-Nicene’ I mean those theologies, appearing from the 360s to the 380s … of how the Nicene creed should be understood. … These theologies build closely on and adapt themes found earlier in the century, but none is identical with any original ‘Nicene’ theology apparent in the 320s or 330s.” (Ayres, p. 6)

Consistent with the idea that theology evolved over the fourth century, the meanings of these two terms changed over that period:

“It is only much later in the century that the two are more clearly distinguished by some.” (Ayres, p. 98)

“When at last the confusion was cleared up and these two distinct meanings were permanently attached to these words,” hypostasis and ousia respectively meant “’person’ and ‘substance’.” (Hanson, p. 181)

By the Cappadocians

Some of the ‘Arians’ were the first to distinguish between hypostasis and ousia but the Cappadiocian fathers were the first pro-Nicenes to make that distinction. Based on their authority, the distinction became accepted in the Trinitarian church.

The Cappadocian fathers are traditionally credited for being the first to make a clear distinction between ousia and hypostasis:

“The first person to propose a difference in the meanings of hypostasis and ousía … was Basil of Caesarea.”4Johannes, “Ousía and hypostasis from the philosophers to the councils”

“Basil’s most distinguished contribution towards the resolving of the dispute about the Christian doctrine of God was in his clarification of the vocabulary.” (Hanson, p. 690)

Basil “is often identified” with the “distinction between a unitary shared nature at one level, and the personal distinctions of Father, Son, and Spirit at another.” (Ayres, p. 190-191)

In reality, some of the Eusebians, the so-called Arians, right at the beginning of the Controversy, already made a distinction between hypostasis and ousia and used ousia for ‘substance’; the material a Being consists of:

Arius used hypostasis for ‘Person’. For example, he “spoke readily of the hypostases of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. And he said that the hypostases of Father, Son and Holy Spirit “were different in kind and in rank.” (Hanson, p. 187) But he used ousia for “substance.“ He wrote, for example, “The Logos is alien and unlike in all respects to the Father’s ousia.” (Hanson, p. 186) “It seems likely that he was one of the few during this period who did not confuse the two.” (Hanson, p. 187)

Asterius, another leading ‘Arian’, “clearly did not confuse ousia and hypostasis.” He used hypostasis for ‘Person’. For example, he “said that there were three hypostases” and “certainly taught that the Father and the Son were distinct and different in their hypostases.” But he used ousia for ‘substance’. For example, “he also described the Son as ‘the exact image of the ousia and counsel and glory and power’ of the Father.” (Hanson, p. 187)

What we can say is that the Cappadocians were the first pro-Nicenes to make that distinction. While Basil was a three-hypostasis theologian (see here), Athanasius and the earlier pro-Nicene theologians believed in one hypostasis (see here) and did not need a distinction between hypostasis and ousia.

THE CREED

Uses these terms as synonyms.

The fact that, at the time, many people used the two terms as synonyms supports our conclusion above that the Anathema uses them as synonyms. That confirms that the Nicene Creed deviates from the Trinity doctrine in which the distinction between ousia and hypostases is foundational, saying that the Father, Son, and Spirit are three hypostases but one ousia.

It would furthermore mean that, in the Nicene Creed, these two terms “did not mean, and should not be translated, ‘person’ and ‘substance’, as they were used when at last … these two distinct meanings were permanently attached to these words.” (Hanson, p. 181) In other words, the translation of the Anathema as quoted above mistakenly translates ousia as ‘substance’. 

Teaches only one hypostasis.

Since the Anathema, with the double negatives removed, says that the Son is of the same hypostasis or substance as the Father, it claims that Father and Son are one single hypostasis. This deviates from the Trinity doctrine which asserts three hypostases.

Is Sabellian.

However, to say that Father and Son are a single hypostasis (a single Person) is Sabellianism.

Sabellianism was already condemned as heresy in the third century. Scholars confirm that the Anathema implies Sabellianism:

“By the standard of later orthodoxy, as achieved in the Creed of Constantinople of 381, it is a rankly heretical (i.e. Sabellian) proposition, because the Son must be of a different hypostasis (i.e. ‘Person’) from the Father.” (Hanson, p. 167)

“The Creed of Nicaea of 325 … ultimately confounded the confusion because its use of the words ousia and hypostasis was so ambiguous as to suggest that the Fathers of Nicaea had fallen into Sabellianism, a view recognized as a heresy even at that period.” (Hanson’s Lecture)

“If we are to take the creed N at its face value, the theology of Eustathius and Marcellus was the theology which triumphed at Nicaea. That creed admits the possibility of only one ousia and one hypostasis. This was the hallmark of the theology of these two men.” (Hanson, p. 235) Eustathius and Marcellus were the most famous Sabellians of the fourth century. (See here.)

Confirmed by Sabellian domination

A Sabellian statement was included in the Creed because Sabellians dominated at Nicaea through their alliance with Alexander and through the emperor’s support for Alexander.

The reader may question why the Creed would include a Sabellian statement. This is explained in the article on the meaning of the term Homoousios. (See here.) In brief:

During the Arian Controversy, theologians were divided into ‘one hypostasis’ and ‘three hypostasis’ camps. Following Origen, the Eusebians (the so-called Arians) said that Father, Son, and Spirit are three hypostases (three distinct Persons), each with his distinct ousia. In opposition to them, Sabellians said that Father, Son, and Spirit are one single hypostasis (Person).

Alexander and Athanasius, similar to the Sabellians, maintained that Father, Son, and Spirit are one single hypostasis. (See here.) For that reason, at Nicaea, they were able to join forces with the Sabellians. Emperor Constantine took Alexander’s side in his dispute with Arius. This gave the Sabellians the upper hand at Nicaea.

It is, therefore, no surprise that the Creed presents Father and Son as one single hypostasis. However:

“It is going too far to say that N is a clearly Sabellian document. … It is exceeding the evidence to represent the Council as a total victory for the anti-Origenist opponents of the doctrine of three hypostases. It was more like a drawn battle.” (Hanson, p. 172)

AGREES WITH THE ANATHEMA

However, if one goes beyond the formal wording of the Trinity doctrine to its essence, it does agree with the Anathema in two respects. Firstly, both describe the Father and the Son as a single hypostasis. Secondly, both use the terms ousia and hypostasis as synonyms.  

1. A Single Hypostasis

1a ‘Hypostases’ (Persons) are misleading.

Formally, the Doctrine confesses the Father, Son, and Spirit to be three hypostases (Persons). However, that is misleading. A hypostasis is a distinct being with a unique mind but, in the Doctrine, the Trinity is a single Being with a single mind.

The Trinity doctrine says that the Father, Son, and Spirit are “one substance or ousia who existed as three hypostases [Persons].” This leads the reader to think of three distinct Entities because, in normal English, each ‘person’ is a distinct entity with his or her own mind. A hypostasis is also defined as an “individual existence” (Hanson, p. 193) or “distinct existences” (Litfin); something that exists distinctly from other things.  

However, in the Doctrine, the Father, Son, and Spirit do not exist distinctly. They are a single Being with a single mind. For example, the leading Catholic scholar Karl Rahner (The Trinity) wrote:

“The element of consciousness … does not belong to it [the Person] in our context [the official doctrine of the {Catholic} Church].” “But there exists in God only one power, one will, only one self-presence. … Hence self-awareness is not a moment which distinguishes the divine “persons” one from the other.”

“When today we speak of person in the plural, we think almost necessarily, because of the modern meaning of the word, of several spiritual centers of activity [minds], of several subjectivities [biases, views] and liberties [freedoms]. But there are not three of these in God. … There are not three consciousnesses; rather the one consciousness subsists in a threefold way. There is only one real consciousness in God, which is shared by the Father, Son, and Spirit, by each in his own proper way.”

In other words, the Father, Son, and Spirit share one single will, consciousness, and self-awareness.

“Each Person shares the Divine will … that come from a mind. … Each Person’s self-awareness and consciousness is not inherent to that Person (by nature of that Person being that Person) but comes from the shared essence.” (Rahner) 5“We must, of course, say that Father, Son, and Spirit possess self-consciousness and that each one is aware of the other two ‘persons’. But precisely this self-consciousness … comes from the divine essence, is common as one to the divine persons.” (Rahner) 

If the traditional Trinity doctrine taught three equal Minds, that would have been Tritheism. Rahner and other Catholic scholars confirm that the term ‘Person’ is misleading:

“When today we speak of person in the plural, we think almost necessarily, because of the modern meaning of the word, of several spiritual centers of activity [minds], of several subjectivities [biases, views] and liberties [freedoms]. But there are not three of these in God. … There are not three consciousnesses; rather the one consciousness subsists in a threefold way. There is only one real consciousness in God, which is shared by the Father, Son, and Spirit, by each in his own proper way.”

“The champions of the Nicene faith … developed a doctrine of God as a Trinity, as one substance or ousia who existed as three hypostases, three distinct realities or entities (I refrain from using the misleading word’ Person’), three ways of being or modes of existing as God.” (Hanson Lecture)

“By the conventions of the late fourth century, first formulated in Greek by the ‘Cappadocian Fathers’, these three constituent members of what God is came to be referred to as hypostases (‘concrete individuals’) or, more misleadingly for us moderns, as prosōpa (‘persons’).” (Anatolios, xiii) 6In contrast to the traditional Trinity doctrine, some modern theologians propose a ‘Social Trinity’ with “three Centres of Consciousness” (Hanson, p. 737), i.e., three ‘minds’, but this article only considered the standard, traditional Doctrine.

Rather than the word ‘Person’, Hanson above explains the hypostases in the Trinity doctrine as “three ways of being or modes of existing” of the same one God. This reminds us of Modalism, the name Von Harnack gave to second-century Monarchianism; the teaching that Father, Son, and Spirit are merely three names for the same Entity.

1b Origins do not make them distinct.

In the Doctrine, the only distinction between the ‘Persons’ is their origins, but that is an internal and invisible distinction within the one Being. It does not make them three ‘Persons’. So, the three-ness of God is a verbal formula without any practical implications. For us, in the Doctrine, God is only one Person.

In the Doctrine, the Father, Son, and Spirit differ only in their “relationships of origin;” the Son is begotten from the Father and the Spirit proceeds from the Father (and from the Son in Western theology). 7 For example, Karl Rahner, a leading Catholic scholar, in his book – The Trinity – says: “It follows that we must say that the Father, Son, and Spirit are identical with the one godhead and are ‘relatively’ distinct from one another. These three as distinct are constituted only by their relatedness to one another … in God everything is one except where there is relative opposition.”

However, that does not mean that they exist distinctly because, firstly, the Son did not separate from the Father when He was begotten and the Spirit also does not separate when He proceeds:

“The eternal generation of the Son occurs within the unitary and incomprehensible divine being;” “within the unitary and simple Godhead.” (Ayres, p. 236)

Secondly, that distinction is invisible to created beings:

“By the last quarter of the fourth century, halting Christian attempts … had led … to … ‘the doctrine of the Holy Trinity’: the formulated idea that the God … is Father and Son and Holy Spirit, as one reality or substance, operating outward in creation always as a unity, yet always internally differentiated by the relationships of origin that Father and Son and Holy Spirit have with one another.” (Anatolios, xiii)

Therefore, in the Doctrine, from the perspective of the created universe, the Father, Son, and Spirit are one single Being. That agrees with the Anathema.

We also see the one-ness of God reflected in how the Doctrine interprets the term homoousios. Literally, it means ‘same substance’, implying two Entities with the same kind of substance. (See here.) But the Doctrine interprets it as ‘one substance’, which depicts Father and Son God as a single Entity, which we can describe as one hypostasis or one Person.

1c Conclusion

So, despite the evolution of theology in the fourth century and despite the change in the meanings of the terms ‘ousia’ and ‘hypostasis,’ in reality, the Doctrine of the Trinity continues to explain God as the Anathema and Athanasius explained Him; a single hypostasis.

As discussed here, Athanasius believed in one hypostasis. Above we concluded that the Anathema also implies one hypostasis. In its essence, despite its formal wording, the Trinity doctrine is still one-hypostasis theology.

2. Ousia and Hypostasis as synonyms

The Doctrine does not interpret the term ousia in the Creed as ‘substance’ but as referring to the Being of God. In other words, similar to the Anathema, it interprets ‘ousia’ as an individual existence, which is what hypostasis means.

We argued above that the Anathema uses hypostasis and ousia as synonyms. 8Ayres refers to “the seeming equation of ousia and hypostasis. (Ayres, p. 88) We also noted that Athanasius used them as synonyms. 9“Clearly for him hypostasis and ousia were still synonymous.” (Hanson, 440)

The Doctrine uses the same two terms but, as already stated, by asserting three hypostases (three Persons) and one ousia (one Being), the Doctrine seems to give different meanings to the two terms. 

However, if ‘substance’ means “the real physical matter of which a person or thing consists,” note that the Doctrine does not interpret ousia as ‘substance’. It interprets it as a ‘Being’ – an individual existence, another way of saying Person or hypostasis.

In other words, similar to Athanasius and the Anathema, the Doctrine uses hypostasis and ousia as synonyms; both meaning an individual existence.


OTHER ARTICLES

FOOTNOTES

  • 1
    Hypostasis … became a key-word in Platonism.” (Hanson, p. 182)
  • 2
    “The only strictly theological use (of the word hypostasis) is that of Hebrews 1:3, where the Son is described as ‘the impression of the nature’ [hypostasis] of God.” (Hanson, p. 182)
  • 3
    “The word also occurs twenty times in the LXX (the ancient Greek translation of the Old Testament), but only one of them can be regarded as theologically significant. … At Wisdom 16:21 the writer speaks of God’s hypostasis, meaning his nature; and no doubt this is why Hebrews uses the term ‘impression of his nature’.” (Hanson, p. 182)
  • 4
    Johannes, “Ousía and hypostasis from the philosophers to the councils”
  • 5
    “We must, of course, say that Father, Son, and Spirit possess self-consciousness and that each one is aware of the other two ‘persons’. But precisely this self-consciousness … comes from the divine essence, is common as one to the divine persons.” (Rahner)
  • 6
    In contrast to the traditional Trinity doctrine, some modern theologians propose a ‘Social Trinity’ with “three Centres of Consciousness” (Hanson, p. 737), i.e., three ‘minds’, but this article only considered the standard, traditional Doctrine.
  • 7
    For example, Karl Rahner, a leading Catholic scholar, in his book – The Trinity – says: “It follows that we must say that the Father, Son, and Spirit are identical with the one godhead and are ‘relatively’ distinct from one another. These three as distinct are constituted only by their relatedness to one another … in God everything is one except where there is relative opposition.”
  • 8
    Ayres refers to “the seeming equation of ousia and hypostasis. (Ayres, p. 88)
  • 9
    “Clearly for him hypostasis and ousia were still synonymous.” (Hanson, 440)