Notes from Abrose on the Doctrine of the Trinity

Ambrose’ discussing John 8 and referencing Matthew 22:42-46 where Jesus said:

    “What do you think about the Messiah? Whose son is he?”
    “The son of David,” they replied.
    He said to them, “How is it then that David, speaking by the Spirit, calls him ‘Lord’? For he says, “‘The Lord said to my Lord:

      “Sit at my right hand
      until I put your enemies
      under your feet.”’

    If then David calls him ‘Lord,’ how can he be his son?” No one could say a word in reply, and from that day on no one dared to ask him any more questions.”

NPNF 2-10 – Ambrose, Selected Works

103. By one question the Lord has shut out both Sabellians and Photinians and Arians. For when He said that the Lord spoke to the Lord, Sabellius is set aside, who will have it that the same Person is both Father and Son. Photinus is set aside, who thinks of Him merely as man; for none could be Lord of David the King, but He Who is God, for it is written: “Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve.”  Would the prophet who ruled under the Law act contrary to the Law? Arius is set aside, who hears that the Son sits on the right hand of the Father; so that if he argues from human ways, he refutes himself, and makes the poison of his blasphemous arguments to flow back upon himself. For in interpreting the inequality of the Father and the Son by the analogy of human habits (wandering from the truth in either case), he puts Him first Whom he makes little of, confessing Him to be the First, Whom he hears to be at the right hand. The Manichæan also is set aside, for he does not deny that He is the Son of David according to the flesh, Who, at the cry of the blind men, “Jesus, Thou Son of David, have mercy on us,” was pleased at their faith and stood and healed them. But He does deny that this refers to His eternity, if He is called Son of David alone by those who are false.

104. For “Son of God” is against Ebion, “Son of David,” is against the Manichees; “Son of God” is against Photinus, “Son of David” is against Marcion;  “Son of God” is against Paul of Samosata, “Son of David” is against Valentinus; “Son of God” is against Arius and Sabellius, the inheritors of heathen errors. “Lord of David” is against the Jews, who beholding the Son of God in the flesh, in impious madness believed Him to be only man.

105. But in the faith of the Church one and the same is both Son of God the Father and Son of David. For the mystery of the Incarnation of God is the salvation of the whole of creation, according to that which is written: “That without God He should taste death for every man;” that is, that every creature might be redeemed without any suffering at the price of the blood of the Lord’s Divinity, as it stands elsewhere: “Every creature shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption.”

106. It is one thing to be named Son according to the divine Substance, it is another thing to be so called according to the adoption of human flesh. For, according to the divine Generation, the Son is equal to God the Father; and, according to the adoption of a body, He is a servant to God the Father. “For,” it says, “He took upon Him the form of a servant.” The Son is, however, one and the same. On the other hand, according to His glory, He is Lord to the holy patriarch David, but his Son in the line of actual descent, not abandoning aught of His own, but acquiring for Himself the rights that go with the adoption into our race.

42 “What do you think about the Messiah? Whose son is he?”

“The son of David,” they replied.

43 He said to them, “How is it then that David, speaking by the Spirit, calls him ‘Lord’? For he says,

44 “‘The Lord said to my Lord:
    “Sit at my right hand
until I put your enemies
    under your feet.”’[a]

45 If then David calls him ‘Lord,’ how can he be his son?” 46 No one could say a word in reply, and from that day on no one dared to ask him any more questions.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *