Is God The Father Fons Deitatis?

This phrase refers to God the Father as the “origin and cause” of the Son’s Being within the Godhead, as God. It represents the “Θεὸν ἐκ Θεοῦ”, of the Nicene Creed of AD 325. Literally it reads, “God out of God”, which makes the Father as the “source” from Who the “essential character” of the Son is derived. The Father alone is seen as “unoriginated”, and the Son as “originated” from the Father.

In His book, The Oecumenical Documents of the Faith, Dr T Herbert Bindley, deals with the language used in the formation of the Nicene Creed, on the phrase, “Θεὸν ἐκ Θεοῦ, these words, as we have seen, were taken from the Creed of Caesarea. The preposition (ἐκ) denotes origin and derivation from the Father as Fons Deitatis. The absolute possession of life from another is the essential character of Sonship; John v.26; comp. viii.42, xvi.28” (page 30)

The Creed of Caesarea was drawn up by the Church historian, Eusebius, who was infulenced by the heretic, Origen (F J Foakes Jackson; The History of the Christian Church, p. 168). Amongst the heresies of Origen, he taught that God the Father “eternally generated” the substance of the Son. Eusebius himself was pro Arius, another heretic, and also infulenced by the theology of Origen, as we can see in another phrase in his “Creed”, “πρὸ πάντων τῶν αἰώνων ἐκ τοῦ θεοῦ πατρὸς γεγεννημένον (begotten out of God the Father before all ages)”. “γεγεννημένον”, is from “γεννάω”, which is also used for “generation”. “The eternal generation of the Son from the will of the Father was, with Origen, the communication of a divine but secondary substance” (Schaff's History of the Church). This heresy was also taken up by some of the Orthodox Church fathers, “Alexander, bishop of Alexandria, made earnest of the Origenistic doctrine of the eternal generation of the Son (which was afterwards taught by Athanasius and the Nicene creed, but in a deeper sense, as denoting the generation of a person of the same substance from the substance of the Father, and not of a person of different substance from the will of the Father), and deduced from it the homo-ousia or consubstantiality of the Son with the Father” (Schaff). The Nicene Creed adopted some of the heretical language of the Creed of Caesarea. “γεννηθέντα ἐκ τοῦ Πατρὸς μονογενῆ. τουτέστιν ἐκ τῆς οὐσίας τοῦ Πατρος. Θεὸν ἐκ Θεοῦ” (begotten out of the Father, only-begotten, that is, out of the substance of the Father, God out of God)” etc.

It is clear, that the Christology of Origen is “Subordinationism”, which teaches that the Father alone is God absolute, and the Son and Holy Spirit are “Secondaries”, and can be called, “god”, or “divine”. Of which we are told;

“But on the other hand he distinguishes the essence of the Son from that of the Father; speaks of a difference of substance (ἑτερότης τῆς οὐσίας,or τοῦ ὑποκειμενου which the advocates of his orthodoxy, probably without reason, take as merely opposing the Patripassian conception of the ὁμουσία); and makes the Son decidedly inferior to the Father, calling him, with reference to Joh 1:1 merely θεός without the article, that is God in a relative sense (Deus de Deo), also δεύτερος θεός, but the Father God in the absolute sense, ὁ θεός (Deus per se), or αὐτόθεος, also the fountain and root of the divinity (πηγή, ῥίζα τῆς θεότητος)” (James Strong and John McClintock; The Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature)

Origen is wrong on the Greek grammar of John 1:1, which has more to do with his theology, than his knowledge of the Greek language.

When John writes, “καὶ θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος”, he does not mean that “ὁ λόγος”, is a “secondary god”, as suggested by Origen, and the Jehovah's Witnesses do. We have seen that the use and non use of the Greek article, does not denote a different meaning for “θεος”. What we have is a simple sentence structure. “Every sentence must contain two parts, a subject and a predicate. The subject is that of which something is stated. The predicate is that which is stated of the subject…A predicate noun or adjective seldom has the article” (William Goodwin, Greek Grammar, sec. 890, 956, pp.196, 208)

“General rule, The subject has the article, while the predicate is without it” (William Jelf, A Grammar of the Greek Language, sec. 460, p.120). In John 1:1, the “subject” is no doubt, “The Word”, as it is about Him. The “predicate” in this last sentence, is “θεος”, which is a statement about the “subject”. John is here stating, that “The Word”, is “God”, as much as “The God”, besides (πρὸς) Whom He is. In John 8:54, Jesus says to the Jews, “εστιν ο πατηρ μου ο δοξαζων με ον υμεις λεγετε οτι θεος υμων εστιν”, which is literally, “it is My Father Who Glorifies Me, Who you say that God your He is”. Here, “ο πατηρ μου (My Father)” is the subject, and “θεος”, is the predicate. It is never translated as “god”, or “a god”. So why different in John 1:1, where the grammatical construction is the same?

For the sake of argument, let us suppose that John should have written, “καὶ ὁ θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος”. Had John written this, then he would have meant that “ὁ λόγος”, was identical to “τὸν θεόν”, in the previous sentence. Grammatically, however, he had just written, “καὶ ὁ λόγος ἦν πρὸς τὸν θεόν”, where the use of the preposition, “πρὸς”, is clear that two distinct Persons are meant. It becomes a contradiction, and confusing, if he wrote, “καὶ ὁ θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος”.

One of the verses used to “prove” that God the Father is “Fons Deitatis”, as we have seen, is John 5:26, which is spoken by Jesus Christ, about Himself.

“ὥσπερ γὰρ ὁ πατὴρ ἔχει ζωὴν ἐν ἑαυτῷ, οὕτως καὶ τῷ υἱῷ ἔδωκεν ζωὴν ἔχειν ἐν ἑαυτῷ”

“For just as the Father has Life in Himself, in this way even to the Son He gave Life to have in Himself” (literal translation)

Jesus says that the Father, “ἔχει ζωὴν ἐν ἑαυτῷ”, “possesses life in Himself”; and then goes on to say, that He also, “ζωὴν ἔχειν ἐν ἑαυτῷ”, “possesses life in Himself”. “ὥσπερ” says that this is in exactly the same way. The Amplified Bible says what the Greek does, “is self-existent…Son to have life in Himself and be self-existent”. The Greek grammarian, Dr Samuel Green, says on the use of “ζωὴν”, here, “a title of Christ, as the source of life, John v.26” (Handbook to the Grammar of the Greek Testament, p. 444). Jesus is very clear in what He is saying. EXACTLY AS the Father possesses life in Himself, and is self-existent, and the source of life; so too I possess life in Myself, and am self-existent, and the source of life. There is no distinction between the Father and Himself, as Almighty God.

In both places, “ἔχει” and “ἔχειν”, are in the “present continuance tense”, used for the “Eternal Life” that is in the Father and in Jesus Christ. In 1 John 1:1, Jesus Christ is called, “τοῦ λόγου τῆς ζωῆς (the Word of the Life)”, and in verse 2, “καὶ ἡ ζωὴ ἐφανερώθη (and the Life was Manifested). John goes on to say of Jesus, “τὴν ζωὴν τὴν αἰώνιον ἥτις ἦν πρὸς τὸν πατέρα”, that is, “the Life the Eternal Who was with the Father”. It does not say, “ἥτις ἦν ἐξ τὸν πατέρα”, “Who was out of the Father”, where the Greek preposition, “ἐξ” would have been used. By using “πρὸς”, it is clear that Jesus Christ, Who is here “The Eternal Life”, is “from the side of, near”, which shows a clear distinction, and not dependence. In John 1:1, John says of Jesus Christ, Who is “the Word (ὁ λόγος)”, Who is, “πρὸς τὸν θεόν (with the God)”, same Greek preposition as in 1 John 1:2, showing distinction. John then goes on to say, “καὶ θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος”, which according to the Greek grammar of this passage, in its context, can only read, “and the Word was God”, in exactly the same sense the Father is God. This is clear from verse 18 in the oldest and best textual evidence, “θεὸν οὐδεὶς ἑώρακεν πώποτε μονογενὴς θεὸς (God no one has seen at any time the Unique God)”, where both uses of “θεὸς”, do not have the Greek article (τὸν, ὁ), with the same meaning, Two distinct Persons, Who are equally GOD. In verse 4, it says of Jesus, that, “ἐν αὐτῷ ζωὴ ἦν (in Him was Life)”, where the Greek preposition “ἐν” means “in His Person”, as the “source of life”.

In Acts 3:15, Peter says of Jesus Christ, “τὸν δὲ Ἀρχηγὸν τῆς ζωῆς ἀπεκτείνατε”, literally, “but the Source of life you killed”. The noun “ἀρχηγός”, has the meanings, “a first cause, originator, founder”. In Hebrews 2:10, Jesus is called “the author of their salvation (ASV); and “the source of their salvation (CSB). In Hebrews 12:2, “Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, (NAS); “Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith (CSB).

In John 11:25, Jesus says of Himself, “Ἐγώ εἰμι ἡ ἀνάστασις καὶ ἡ ζωή”, “I AM The Resurrection and The Life”. In 14:6, “Ἐγώ εἰμι ἡ ὁδὸς καὶ ἡ ἀλήθεια καὶ ἡ ζωή (I AM The Way and The Truth and The Life”. Again, in Revelation chapter one, were we read of Jesus Christ Appearing to the Apostle John, and says to him, “ἐγώ εἰμι ὁ πρῶτος καὶ ὁ ἔσχατος, καὶ ὁ ζῶν (present active indicative)” (verses 17, 18), which is literally, “I Am The First and The Last, and The Ever-Living One”. Dr Joseph Thayer, the Unitarian Greek scholar, has this to say, “ὁ πρῶτος καί ὁ ἔσχατος, i. e. the eternal One, Rev 1:17; Rev 2:8; Rev 22:13” (Greek Lexicon on πρῶτος). In the Book of Isaiah, we read of Yahweh, Who says, “´ánî ri´šôn wa´ánî ´ahárôn ûmibbal`äday ´ên ´élöhîm (I The First and I The Last, and beside Me no god)”. The Greek Old Testament (LXX) reads, “ἐγὼ πρῶτος καὶ ἐγὼ μετὰ ταῦτα”, literally, “I am the first, and I am hereafter”. In Exodus 3:14, where the Speaker is “Mal'ak Yehovah” (verse 2), “The Messenger of Yahweh”, or “The One sent by Yahweh”, Who says to Moses when asked about His Name, “Ἐγώ εἰμι ὁ ὤν”, “I AM The Eternal One”, which is what Jesus says in Revelation 1:18, “ὁ ζῶν”, “The Ever-Living One”.

John 5:26, cannot be taken on its own, as it connects with verse 27, where Jesus goes on to say, “καὶ ἐξουσίαν ἔδωκεν αὐτῷ κρίσιν ποιεῖν, ὅτι υἱὸς ἀνθρώπου ἐστίν”, which is, “and Authority He appointed Him, to execute Judgement, because the Son of Man He is”. The same verb, “ἔδωκεν”, which is in verse 26, is also in verse 27. In verse 22 Jesus says, “For the Father judges no one, but has appointed all judgment to the Son” (NKJV). Where the word “committed” is the Greek word, “δέδωκεν”, which is from “δίδωμι”.

“δίδωμι”, does not only have the meaning, “to give something to someone, which they never had before”. In Mark 4:25, Jesus says, “For whoever has, to him more shall be given (δοθησεται, from δίδωμι)”. In John 17:24, Jesus says, “Then they may see My glory, which You have given (δέδωκάς, from δίδωμι) Me”. In verse 5 we read, “Now, Father, glorify Me in Your presence with that glory I had (εἶχον, imperfect, “I have always had”) with (παρὰ, “together with You”) You before the world existed”. The verb also has the meanings, “to appoint, to grant, to allow, to assign, to hand over, deliver up”, etc.

If Jesus’ “Life” is “derived” from the Father, which would indeed make Him “δεύτερος-θεός”, then it would have been impossible for Jesus to have said what He does, in verse 23, “that all may Honor the Son, just as they Honor the Father. Whoever does not Honor the Son does not Honor the Father who sent Him”. Can someone Who is “inferior” to God the Father, make such a claim? If we do not “Honor” Jesus Christ, we do not “Honor”, the Father, Who sent Him. The use of the conjunction, “οτι (because)”, gives the reason for what is said in verses 26-27, “He is the Son of Man”. Jesus Christ, The Son of Man, while on earth, Acted in complete agreement with the Father in everything that He did, which is what Jesus Himself says in John 5:19, “So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise”. These words are in response to what Jesus had told the Jews, that, “My Father is working until now, and I am working” (ver 17), which enraged the Jews, who then even more wanted to murder Jesus, “because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God (ἴσον ἑαυτὸν ποιῶν τῷ θεῷ)” (18). The Jews clearly understood Jesus as saying that He was GOD, and equal to GOD The Father.

As the Father “appointed” Jesus Christ as “Heir of all things” (Hebrews 1:2); and had “appointed” Jesus Christ as The Judge of all. Likewise, He has “appointed” the Son as “the giver of life”. This is all true of the Incarnate Son, and has nothing to do with the eternal relationship between the Father and Jesus Christ, as is clear in passages like John 1:18, which is seen in the words, “ὁ ὢν εἰς τὸν κόλπον τοῦ πατρὸς”, literally, “Who is eternally in the Bosom of the Father”. This verse shows the absolute equality and distinction of Persons, of the Father and Jesus Christ.

The other two verses mentioned by Bindley, John 8:42, and 16:28, have no bearing on language of the Nicene Creed.

“Jesus said to them, "If God were your Father, you would love Me, because I came from God and I am here. For I didn't come on My own, but He sent Me” (John 8:42)

“For the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me and have believed that I came from God. I came from the Father and have come into the world. Again, I am leaving the world and going to the Father” (John 16:27-28)

In the first passage, we have, “ἐγὼ γὰρ ἐκ τοῦ θεοῦ ἐξῆλθον (for I out of God came forth)”, which is actually reference to Jesus’ Deity, as, “ἐκ τοῦ θεοῦ” here refers to the “Godhead”. Jesus does not say, “ἐγὼ γὰρ ἐκ τοῦ πατρός ἐξῆλθον”. Though “ἐκ τοῦ θεοῦ” is in the language of the Creeds, yet their application is different, as they sought to show from this the “eternal generation”, which is not what it says.

In the passage in chapter 16, the word “from”, is in the Greek, “παρα”, which denotes “nearness”, and not “origin”. In verse 28, the words, “and going to the Father”, are in the Greek, “καὶ πορεύομαι πρὸς τὸν πατέρα (and going to be with the Father)”. Interesting, that some textual evidence, including the Codex Vacatinus, reads, “ἐξῆλθον ἐκ τοῦ πατρὸς (came out of the Father). No doubt this change was made to reflect the teaching of “eternal generation”.

Another verse that has been referred to, that is supposed to teach that the Father is the “source” of the Son’s Life, is John 6:57

“Just as (ὥσπερ, as in 5:26) the living Father sent Me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on Me will live because of Me”

Here Jesus uses, “ὁ ζῶν Πατὴρ” (the Living Father), as He said of Himself in Revelation 1:18, “ὁ ζῶν (the Living One), in both places we have the use of the continued, present. Jesus says that He Lives, “διὰ τὸν Πατέρα”, that is with the accusative in the Greek, “the ground” (ratio), i.e, “because the Father Lives”; and not with the genitive, as “the means of”, Jesus’ Life. His Life is essentially one with the Father. He also says in John 14:10, 11, “Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me?... Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me”. And, as we have seen, “The Father and I We are one thing” (10:30). As both the Father and Jesus Christ are equally essentially GOD, it is impossible for their “Lives” to be independent of one another, as their Lives are One and the same.

Psalm 2:7 is also used by some, for this teaching of the Father “eternally begetting” the Son, in the Godhead.

“I will tell of the decree: The LORD said to me, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you”

The words, “ἐγὼ σήμερον γεγέννηκά σε (today I have begotten you)”, has nothing to do with “eternal generation” of Jesus Christ from the Father. But, rather is a Prophecy of the Conception of Jesus Christ in the womb of the Virgin Mary (Matthew 1:16, ἐξ ἧς ἐγεννήθη, “out of you [fiminine singular] is conceived”). We have in this Prophecy in the 2nd Pslam, a definite time, “TODAY”, which is fulfilled in the Birth of Jesus Christ, as is very clear in Acts 13:33.

“God has fulfilled this for us their children, in that He has Raised up Jesus. As it is also written in the second Psalm: 'You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.'”

This “raised up” (αναστησας), is not as in the KJV, which reads, “raised up Jesus again”, where there is no Greek word for “again”, and does not refer to the Resurrection, which is seen in verse 34, “Since He raised Him from the dead, never to return to decay, He has spoken in this way, I will grant you the faithful covenant blessings made to David”. Rather, as in another Prophecy of the Coming Messiah, in Deuteronomy 18:15, “The LORD your God will Raise up (ἀναστήσει) for you a Prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren. Him you shall hear”, Acts 13:33, speaks of the First Coming of Jesus Christ. Which is also seen in Acts 3:22, “For Moses truly said to the fathers, 'The LORD your God will Raise up (ἀναστήσει) for you a Prophet like me from your brethren. Him you shall hear in all things, whatever He says to you”. And also in Acts 7:33, “This is the Moses who said to the Israelites, ‘God will Raise up (ἀναστήσει) for you a prophet like me from your brothers”. Hebrews 1:5-6 is conclusive that this Psalm is speaking of the First Coming of Jesus Christ.

“For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son? And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship Him”

“γεγέννηκά” (Begotten) refers to the First Coming”, and “πρωτότοκον” (First-Born), to the Second Coming, “πάλιν”, “again, once more”.

The fact that the Bible speaks of Jesus Christ as “Yahweh”, as it does of the Father and Holy Spirit. Which, according to the Hebrew, means;

“he one bringing into being, life-giver, giver of existence, creator, he who brings to pass, he one who is: i.e. the absolute and unchangeable one, the existing, ever living, as self-consistent and unchangeable” (Brown, Driver, Briggs, Hebrew Lexicon). And, “The meaning would, therefore, be "He who is self-existing, self-sufficient," or, more concretely, "He who lives"” (The Jewish Encyclopaedia)

It is impossible that any Person in the Trinity/Godhead, can be the “source” of the Other, as they are equally “the existing, ever living”, and “uncreated”.