[Notes on EpDiog §6. Due to the length of this post, my random thoughts on §7 are broken into at least two posts. The next post will be at some future point, and in it I hope to cover EpDiog 7.3-9]
In §7, the author of EpDiog moves from telling Diognetus about Christians to telling Diognetus about Jesus. This is really a fascinating little chapter — we see how Jesus was seen (in the context of a letter to convince someone else of the rightness of Christianity, anyway) by the early church. There's a lot in here.
EpDiog 7.1 starts out confirming a few things discussed earlier regarding Christians:
- Christianity isn't something conjured up by man (cf. EpDiog 5.3).
- Christianity isn't bound to the topic of “human mysteries” (again, EpDiog 5.3)
EpDiog 7.2 is a marathon verse, taking nearly 3/4 of the page in Ehrman's edition.* It is discussed below in pieces:
But the truly all-powerful God himself, creator of all and invisible, set up and established in their hearts the truth and the holy word from heaven, which cannot be comprehended by humans.
God is all-powerful, he is the creator of the seen and unseen. This all-powerful God has worked (somehow) in the hearts (the innermost part) of Christians, placing the “truth and holy word from heaven” which cannot be comprehended (ἀπερινόητον) by humans into the hearts of humans. Was this dude an Augustinian?
To do so, he did not, as one might suppose, send them one of his servants or an angel or a ruler or any of those who administer earthly activities or who are entrusted with heavenly affairs, but he sent the craftsman and maker of all things himself, ...
Wow. Just above God specifically is “creator of all and invisble” (παντοκτίστης καὶ ἀόρατος θεός) and now the one whom God sends is “the craftsman and maker of all things” (ἀλλ ̓ αὐτὸν τὸν τεχνίτην καὶ δημιουργὸν τῶν ὅλων).
Here's the fun part: τεχνίτην and δημιουργὸν are used together in Heb 11.10 and they're speaking of God: “For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer (τεχνίτης) and builder (δημιουργὸς) is God.” (cf. also Wis. 13.1). Indeed, the author of the epistle himself uses δημιουργὸς of God in EpDiog 8.6. LSJ and BDAG have abundant evidence of δημιουργὸς being used in a number of contexts, so there's not too much to read into the usage of this particular word (which, according to LSJ, has meaning ranging from craftsman to creator to a title used by magistrates). But δημιουργὸς combined with ὅλων, implying the one who made or created everything leads me to think that there is some relation between these two bits of text. I should probably do some searching on Perseus to search for where these words occur in close proximity, to see if they form some sort of stock phrase.
... by whom he created the heavens,
by whom he enclosed the sea within its own boundaries,
whose mysteries all the elements of creation guard faithfully,
from whom the sun was appointed to guard the courses that it runs during the day,
whom the moon obeys when he commands it to shine at night,
whom the stars obey by following the course of the moon,
by whom all things are set in order and arranged and put into subjection, ...
Upon reading this, I immediately have mental cross-references firing off to Col 1.15-17, “For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, ... ”. This one who was sent by God is the one by whom God did these things, these works of creation. And these things are under subjection to him.
... the heavens and the things in the heavens,
the earth and the things in the earth,
the sea and the things in the sea,
fire, air, the abyss,
creatures in the heights,
creatures in the depths,
and creatures in between—this is the one he sent to them.
Wow. And that's just verse two! Next up, EpDiog 7.3-9. In it, we see more about the one God sent — how he was sent, in what form he came, and what his task was.
* Ehrman, Bart. The Apostolic Fathers, Vol. 2 (Loeb Classical Library vol. 25). Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2003.