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The begotten-not-made distinction in the eastern pro-Nicenes

  • NATHAN A. JACOBS (a1)

Abstract

The Nicene–Constantinopolitan profession that the Son of God is begotten, not made, presents the tension that the Son is caused by God but not created. This claim was a point of controversy in the semi-Arian and Eunomian/Anomean disputes of the fourth century. The latter argued that unoriginateness is central to divinity. Hence, the Son, being originate, cannot be of the same nature as the Father. Some philosophers of religion today echo this same conclusion. In this article, I show, contrary to both ancient and modern critics of the begotten-not-made distinction, that the Eastern fathers offer clear differences between begetting and creating, which clarify why the distinction is cogent and necessary within their metaphysics.

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