Zephyrinus, the bishop, is described as accepting bribes for conniving at the activities of Cleomenes and then himself being seduced by these opinions. Callistus is closely associated with this move and, as Zephyrinus' successor, accused of continuing to collude with those who are deeply opposed by the author of this work. According to 'Hippolytus', no one is ignorant of the fact that Noetus claims that the Son and the Father are the same. When the Father was pleased to undergo generation, having been begotten, he himselfbecame his own Son. In this way, Noetus intended to establish God's monarchy -Father and Son are one and the same substance, not one individual produced by another. To understand the full force of this, it is important to recognise the ambiguity of the word arche in Greek - it means both 'sovereignty' and 'beginning', and in philosophy was the long-standing term used to express the 'first principle' or 'source' of all reality. This double thrust indicates the comprehensive way in which it linked notions of monotheism and creation: the one source and ruler of all is the one true God, beside whom there is no other.
'Hippolytus' accuses both Zephyrinus and Callistus of being two-faced, of alleging agreement alternately with both sides of the controversy. Zephyrinus is reported to have said: 'I know that there is one God, Jesus Christ; and except for him I do not know any other that is begotten and amenable to suffering.' On another occasion, however, he affirmed: 'The Father did not die, but the Son', though he called 'Hippolytus' and his associates 'worshippers of two gods'. Sabellius is now associated with these views, and Callistus blamed for this, while the story of Callistus' suffering for the gospel is twisted against him. No credit is given for the fact that, after the death of Zephyrinus, Callistus excommunicated Sabellius - he is still charged with favouring Sabellianism and being an impostor. Like his predecessor, Callistus regards those who support 'Hippolytus' as ditheists. Callistus is presented as teaching that the logos himself is Son and himself Father, being one indivisible spirit; the Father is not one person and the Son another, but they are one and the same, all things transcendent and immanent, being full of the divine spirit. The spirit which became incarnate in the Virgin's womb was not different from the Father. Appeal is made to scripture, specifically John 14:11 ('Do you believe that I am in the Father and the Father in me?'). Yet Callistus wanted to avoid saying that the Father suffered, claiming that the Father suffered along with the Son. So 'Hippolytus' mocks his inconsistencies, even suggesting that he is betrayed into the error of Sabellius one minute and that ofTheodotus the next. It seems that Callistus was trying to walk a tightrope, recognising the difficulties with logos theology and drawn to the monarchianism that seemed at first sight more adequately to represent scripture.
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