Wisdom of the Fathers
Partakers of God
Athanasius, Letter to Serapion 24
24. Further it is through the Spirit that we are all said to be partakers of God. For it says, "Know you not that you are a Temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone destroys the temple of God, God shall destroy him; 'or the temple of God is holy, which temple you are. "[1 Cor 3:16-17] If the Holy Spirit were a creature, we should have no participation of God in him. If indeed we were joined to a creature, we should be strangers to the divine nature inasmuch as we did not partake therein. But, as it is, the fact of our being called partakers of Christ and partakers of God shows that the unction and seal that is in us belongs, not to the nature of things originate, but to the nature of the Son who, through the Spirit who is in him, joins us to the Father. This John taught us, as is said above, when he wrote, "Hereby we know that we abide in God and he in us, when he has given us of his Spirit." [1 Jn 4:13] But if, by participation in the Spirit, we are made "sharers in the divine nature," we would be mad to say that the Spirit has a created nature and not the nature of God. For it is on this account that those in whom he is are made divine. If he makes humans divine, it is not to be doubted that his nature is of God. Yet more clearly, for the destruction of this heresy, the Psalmist sings, as we have said before, in the one hundred and third psalm, "You shall take away the Spirit, and they lall die and return to their dust. You shall put forth your Spirit, and they shall be created, and you shall renew the face of the earth." [Ps 104:29-30] And Paul wrote to Titus, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, which he poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ...." [Tit 3:5-6] But if the Father, through the Word, in the Holy Spirit, creates and renews all things, what likeness or kinship is there between the Creator and the creatures? How could he possibly be a creature, in whom all things are created? Such evil speech leads on to blasphemy against the Son; so that those who say the Spirit is a creature say also that the Word is a creature, through whom all things are created. The Spirit is said to be, and is, the image of the Son. For, "Whom he foreknew, he also foreordained to be conformed to the image of his Son." If then they admit that the Son is not a creature, neither may his image be a creature. For as is the image, so also must he be whose image it is. Hence the Word is justly and fitly confessed not to be a creature, because he is the image of the Father. He therefore who counts the Spirit with the creatures will surely count the Son among them also, and thereby will speak evil of the Father as well, by speaking evil against his image.