But this is not the whole story. Besides all these motives, the really decisive issue, its meaning and permanent significance, is the answer to the question, “How is salvation possible, in a world of darkness and mortality?” This alone was the question. This was the question, as we have seen already in the Apostolic Fathers. It was the question ever since, and it was the question in the period of the great Trinitarian and Christological struggles.
Athanasius, the great foe of Arius, formulates that it is possible only under one condition, namely Jesus “was made man that we :might become God.” But this was possible only if the Logos is eternal, if it is really God who has appeared to us, as God is Father only because He is the Father of the Son. Therefore He is without beginning. Eternally the Father has the Son. The Son is Son eternally, as the Son of the Father. And the Father is Father eternally, because He is the Father of the Son.
Only if they are co-eternal can Jesus, in whom the Logos is present, give us eternity. He can make us like God, which always means, make us immortal, and give us eternal knowledge, the knowledge of eternal life. Not even the highest of all created spirits can give us a real salvation. He is less than God, but we are separated from God, we are dependent on God and must return to him So God Himself must save us.
Now this is the religious motive behind the Alexandrian trend in theology. Therefore the West and their allies in the East could not accept the theology of the Alexandrian presbyter Arius. According to him, only God the Father is by Himself and without beginning. The Logos, i. e. , the pre-existent Christ, is a creature. He is one of the creatures He is created out of nothing, and there was a time when He was not. You remember the famous saying of Origen: there was no time in which He was not Against this, the left -wing Origenistic theology says there was a time in which He was not. This time was before our temporal existence, but it was not eternity; the Logos is not eternal. The power of God who works in Jesus is not the eternal Divine power itself but a limited reduced hierarchy. This Logos is strange to the Divine nature, unsimilar in every respect to the Father’s essence. This Logos can neither see nor know the Father completely and exactly. He becomes God only in the way in which every saint can become deified. This deification happened as it happens in every saint, through his freedom. He had the freedom to turn away from God, but he didn’t. This Logos, therefore, is a half-Divine power. This half- Divine power is the soul of Jesus, and it becomes the anxiety and suffering of Jesus …