If such terms, implying such divergences, can be applied to these statements of Justin’s belief in the Incarnation, what words of human language could be got to express his flat denial of the truth held in common by him and by St. John, if he had been an unbeliever? If Justin, with most other persons, considers that being “in the flesh” is the characteristic difference between men and spirits such as the angels, and expresses himself accordingly by saying that the Word “became man,” what sense is there in saying that he “is opposed to the spirit of the Fourth Gospel,” in which we have the Word not only as the “Son of Man,” but possessing all the sinless weaknesses of human nature, so that He is weary, and weeps, and groans, and is troubled in spirit?
And now we will make, if the reader will allow, a supposition analogous to some which the author of “Supernatural Religion” has made in pages 360 and following of his first volume. We will suppose that all the ecclesiastical literature, inspired and uninspired, previous to the Council of Nice, had been blotted out utterly, and the Four Gospels alone preserved. And we will suppose some critic taking upon himself to argue that the Gospel of St. John was written after the Nicene Creed. On the principles and mode of argument of the author of “Supernatural Religion,” he would actually be able to prove his absurdity, for he would be able to allege that the doctrine and terminology of the Fathers of the first General Council was “opposed to” that of the Fourth Gospel; and so they could not possibly have acknowledged its authority if they had even “seen” it. For he (the critic) would allege that the words of St. John respecting the Incarnation are not adopted by the Creed which the Nicene Fathers put forth; instead of inserting into the Creed the words [Greek: ho logos sarx egeneto], which, the critic would urge, they must have done if they would successfully oppose foes who appealed to the letter of Scripture, they used other terms, as the participles [Greek: sarkothenta] and [Greek: enanthropesanta]. [91:1] Again, the supposed critic would urge, they applied to our Lord the phrase [Greek: gennethenta pro panton ton aionon], a phrase “so markedly different and indeed opposed to that of the Fourth Gospel,” as the author of “Supernatural Religion” urges with respect to [Greek: gennema pro panton ton poiematon], and [Greek: apo tou Patros ton holon gennetheis.] Again, the critic would urge that instead of calling the Son “God” absolutely, as in the sentence “the Word was God,” they confess Him only as [Greek: Theos ek Theou], and this because He is [Greek: gennetheis], and so he would say, with the author of “Supernatural Religion,” “This is a totally different view from that of the Fourth Gospel, which in so emphatic a manner enunciates the doctrine, ’In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and God was the Word;’” and so our supposed critic will exclaim, “See