Sacred Texts  Christianity  Early Church Fathers  Index  Previous  Next 

31. He Ascended into Heaven, and Sitteth on the Right Hand of the Father: from Thence He Shall Come to Judge the Quick and the Dead. These clauses follow with suitable brevity at the end of this part of the Creed which treats of the Son. What is said is plain, but the question is how and in what sense it is to be understood. For to “ascend,” and to “sit,” and to “come,” unless you understand the words in accordance with the dignity of the divine nature, appear to point to something of human weakness. For having consummated what was to be done on earth, and having recalled souls from the captivity of hell, He is spoken of as ascending up to heaven, as the Prophet had foretold, “Ascending up on high He led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men,” 3375 those gifts, namely, which Peter, in the Acts of the Apostles, spoke of concerning the Holy Ghost, “Being therefore by the right hand of God exalted, He hath shed forth this gift which ye do see and hear.” 3376 He gave the gift of the Holy Ghost to men, because the captives, whom the devil had before carried into hell through sin, Christ by His resurrection from death recalled to heaven. He ascended therefore into heaven, not where God the Word had not been before, for He was always in heaven, and abode in the Father, but where the Word made flesh had not been seated before. Lastly, since this entrance within the gates of heaven seemed new to its ministers and princes, they say to one another, on seeing the nature of flesh penetrating into the secret recesses of heaven, as David full of the Holy Ghost, declares, “Lift up your gates, ye princes, and be ye lift up ye everlasting gates, and the King of glory shall enter in. Who is the King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle.” 3377 Which words are spoken not with reference to the power of the divine nature, but with reference to the novelty of flesh ascending to the right hand of God. The same David says elsewhere, “God hath ascended jubilantly, and the Lord with the sound of the trumpet.” 3378 For conquerors are wont to return from battle with the sound of the trumpet. Of Him also it is said, “Who buildeth up His ascent in heaven.” 3379 And again, “Who hath ascended above the cherubims, flying upon the wings of the winds.” 3380



Ps. lxviii. 18


Acts ii. 33


Ps. xxiv. 7, LXX.


Ps. xlviii. 5


Ps. lxxxix. 2


Ps. xviii. 10

Next: Section 32