Arius was Not a Bible Guy

Rowan Williams provides a translation of Arius’ Thalia in his classic Arius: Heresy and Tradition, in which Arius said:

For him it is impossible to search out the mysteries of the Father, who exists in himself (eph’ heautou); For the Son does not [even] know his own substance, Since, being a son, he came into actual subsistence (hupērxen alethōs) by a father’s will (thelēsei potros). What scheme of thought (logos), then, could admit the idea that he who has his being from the [a?] Father (ton ek patros onta) Should know by comprehension (en katalepsei) the one who gave him birth? For clearly the one who has a beginning (to archēn echon) is in no way [in a position] to encompass in thought or lay hold upon the one without beginning as he is [in himself] (hōs estin).

Arius: Heresy and Tradition, 103.

Apparently, Arius must have been unfamiliar with Matthew’s Gospel. Jesus is there quoted as saying, “All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him” (Matt 11:27).



7 thoughts on “Arius was Not a Bible Guy

  1. Wow, I read the name Arius as Arminius at first. I was beyond shocked! I seriously need to get more sleep.

  2. A. H. Leitch’s comments in “The Zondervan Encyclopedia of the Bible” are most appropriate:
    There may be reasons why the deity of Christ might be controverted, but such reasons cannot be drawn from any serious acceptance of Scripture (2:92, deity of Christ).

  3. Hmmm…. This is really weak.

    First, we do not have any idea what Arius actually taught. Looking to Athansius for anything would be like looking into the sewer to find the sun.

    Second, the Matt text is taken completely without so many references that controvert the assumed meaning. The fact is simple – there were DEFINITELY things that Jesus did not know – BUT He did know what He needed to know. I assume I do not need to provide texts….
    May we all be so blessed.

  4. The use of A.H. Leitch’s comments simple lead us down the road of darkness – and not light.

    There are, in fact, fundamental reasons, squarely based on the very first sermon of the Apostolic age that would lead us to a correct understanding of “Jesus of Nazareth, a M-A-N, attested to by God….”

    I continue to remain at loss as to why this elementary level of reading is beyond the grasp of so many many who are literate…. Well, okay, I know why… but agenda based reading is so sad….

  5. Matthew: Ha!

    Marc: Amen! The doctrine of the Trinity is derived first and foremost from exegesis.

    Greg: Nonsense. We have a pretty good idea what Arius taught. And your point about the incarnate Son’s limited knowledge is irrelevant. Matthew records Jesus as saying that he alone knows the Father. It doesn’t really matter if there are things he didn’t know. We know that he did know the Father. Arius, on the other hand, says the opposite.

    Also, I’m at a loss for why you think calling Jesus a man attested to by God is somehow contrary to anything that orthodox believers in the Trinity and the deity of Christ believe? We believe the Bible’s description of Jesus as both God (the Son) and man.

  6. 1. Peter Pett (Luke 10:22): Note that the Father’s knowledge of the Son is equated with the Son’s knowledge of the Father. That Jesus had the same knowledge of the Father that the Father had of Him puts Him at the same level of omniscience as the Father. Such a conclusion is unavoidable. There is therefore here a full revelation of His Godhead.
    2. Robert Jamieson, Andrew Robert Fausset and David Brown (Matthew 11:27): A higher claim to equality with the Father cannot be conceived. Either, then, we have here one of the most revolting assumptions ever uttered, or the proper Divinity of Christ should to Christians be beyond dispute.

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