Origen of Alexandria 184-253 taught that the relationship between the Father and the Son was one of an ‘eternal begetting’ but Arius 256-336 argued that ‘the Logos had a beginning and that the Son, therefore, was not eternal, the Logos being the highest of the Created Order‘ (quoted from Wikipedia).
An answer to a question posed by Peter Turner lists current denominations who appear to follow this teaching or have views that appear to be similar, but it is the original response of Arius, or Eusebius, which interests me, regarding what, to me, is an insurmountable obstacle to their claims.
In Hebrews 7:3, the writer states that Melchisedec is portrayed as having no ‘beginning of days’.
The translation ‘made like unto the Son of God’ is incorrect, the word ἀφομοιόω, aphomoiow, being used (not ποιέω, poieo, the word meaning ‘make’ or ‘do) which denotes (see Thayer) the ‘rendering of a likeness‘, or (BDAG) ‘becoming like‘, or (Liddel&Scott) ‘likened or portrayed like’. The only time the word is used in scripture, it cannot be suggested that this is an act of creation and cannot be suggested that ‘Melchisedec is made in the way the Son of God is made’. The words simply do not convey that meaning.
Rather, the opposite, for Melchisedec is a ‘likeness’ a ‘representation’ and one of the features of that representative likeness is this : that the Genesis narrative states no past history. He has no genealogy in scripture. He appears to have no origin, no parentage, no . . . . beginning of days.
And the writer applies this feature of Melchisedec to Jesus Christ. Clearly the likeness is not a likeness of his earthly path, the ‘days of his flesh’, for we know that Gabriel announced, to the virgin, the event of her becoming great with child. And we know the angelic host appeared and glorified God when the babe was born and placed in swaddling clothes in a manger.
Did we have accurate historical records we could exactly place the time of his birth to the very hour, so this cannot be the meaning of the writer to the Hebrews. The representative likeness of a feature of having ‘no beginning of days’ must relate to the Son of God’s existence before coming into the world ; before being ‘manifest in flesh’, 1 Timothy 3:16 (TR/KJV).
If no ‘beginning of days’ then no possibility of calling this one ‘created’. For if there be anything other than God himself in existence, time must have begun and days (of whatever shape or form) can be counted. He was - before there was such a thing as 'a day'.
In the beginning . . . was the Logos. He was there, when it all began, John 1:1.
This same truth is expressed by John the apostle who writes (I John 1:2) of ‘the life, the eternal’ (see the literal Greek, for example Young’s Literal Translation) which was ‘with the Father‘ and was - then - ‘manifested'. Again, whether one suggests ‘everlasting’ as a translation of αἰών, aion Strong 165 or the more usual rendering ‘eternal’, makes no difference. Looking backward in time, ‘everlasting’ sees no beginning.
Thus ‘the life the eternal’ being ‘with the Father’ (and there being nothing else in view) then that life must be the life of the Son : prior to manifestation. And this life had no beginning, whether one understands that ‘eternity’ is another thing altogether than ‘time’ or whether one views the past as ‘everlasting’.
How did Arius and Eusebius counter this argument (having no beginning of days) and how did they attempt to translate Hebrews 7:3 ? Is there any reliable record ?