Athanasius on Eternal Generation and Christ as Firstborn (Prototokos)

IMG_2271-0.JPG“For the Father and the Son were not generated from some pre-existing origin, that we may account Them brothers, but the Father is the Origin of the Son and begat Him; and the Father is Father, and not born the Son of any; and the Son is Son, and not brother. Further, if He is called the eternal offspring of the Father, He is rightly so called. For never was the essence of the Father imperfect, that what is proper to it should be added afterwards; nor, as man from man, has the Son been begotten, so as to be later than His Father’s existence, but He is God’s offspring, and as being proper Son of God, who is ever, He exists eternally. For, whereas it is proper to men to beget in time, from the imperfection of their nature, God’s offspring is eternal, for His nature is ever perfect. If then He is not a Son, but a work made out of nothing, they have but to prove it; and then they are at liberty, as if imagining about a creature, to cry out, ‘There was once when He was not;’ for things which are originated were not, and have come to be. But if He is Son, as the Father says, and the Scriptures proclaim, and ‘Son’ is nothing else than what is generated from the Father; and what is generated from the Father is His Word, and Wisdom, and Radiance;” – Athanasius, in Philip Schaff, The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers Second Series, vol. IV

…when the Son is called First-born, this is done not for the sake of ranking Him with the creation, but to prove the framing and adoption of all things through the Son. For as the Father is First, so also is He both First, as Image of the First, and because the First is in Him, and also Offspring from the Father, in whom the whole creation is created and adopted into sonship. – Athanasius: Select Works and Letters (Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, 1997), 314-315.

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