This section, cited from J. N. D. Kelly's Early Christian Doctrines, reminds us that heretics cite the Scriptures to develop their aberrant theology, just as the orthodox do to develop their understanding of the true apostolic teaching. Moreover, the Arians used language very similar to the orthodox Trinitarian formula. They were so persuasive that they even, for a time, won many to their side. Later Kelly cites Jerome's lament that "the whole world groaned and marvelled to find itself Arian."

Arius could speak of the holy Triad, in speciously Origenistic language, as consisting of three Persons . . .. But the Three he envisages are entirely different beings, not sharing in any way the same nature or essence [Ep. ad Alex.; Athanasius, c. Ar. I.6]. This was the conclusion he deduced, by the exercise of his ruthless dialectic, from his analysis of the concept of agenneto, which literally meant 'ingenerate' (being generate, the Word was admittedly not agennetos in this sense), but which in current philosophical parlance had come to mean the same as agenetos, i.e. 'unoriginated', or 'self-existent', the attribute of transcendent deity. In addition, however, the Arians amassed a formidable array of Scriptural texts in support of their theses. Chief among these were passages suggesting that the Son was a creature, such as Prov. 8, 22 (LXX: 'The Lord created me etc.'), Acts 2, 36 ('God has made Him Lord and Christ'), Rom. 8, 29 ('the first-born among many'), Col. 1, 15 ('the first-born of all creation'), Hebr. 3, 2 ("who was faithful to Him Who made him'), etc.


(London: Adam & Charles Black, 1960), 229-30.