Peter Leithart quoted this on his blog:
“‘Begotten and not created’ makes exactly that distinction between two ways of being originated from God, the lack of which enabled the subordinationist glissando from God himself, who is unoriginated, to us, who are originated, through the Son, who is a bit of each. On the contrary, we are ‘created,’ the Son is ‘begotten,’ and these are just two different things. Nobody claimed to know exactly what ‘begotten’ meant in this connection, and yet a tremendous assertion is made: there is a way of being begun, of receiving one’s being, which is proper to Godhead itself. To be God is not only to give being, it is also to receive being. And there went the rest of Plato.”
Here I go again. If no-one knows what begotten means in this connection it is a meaningless assertion, exactly like Lewis Carrol’s nonsense verse.
‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves did gyre and gimble in the wabe.
Then the quote informs us that the Second Person received his being from the Father, but within the Godhead. So begotten means begotten after all.
The Fathers taught that the essence of the Second Person is unbegotten, and that it is the Personhood that is begotten. He received his identity from the Father, but without a beginning, so that there was no time that the Second Person did not exist as such.
Where is that written again?
Why not stick to the Biblical data and assert that the Lord Jesus was the eternal Word prior to his incarnation, one God with the Father, and refrain from speculation about the unbegottenness of substance as opposed to the begetting of Person?
That way we still stick it to the Arians without opening a can of worms about subordinationism within the ontological Trinity. Do not go beyond what is written.
Doctor Leithart says that the Lord is both originated and unoriginated, and explains this in terms of the divine person only. My explanation satisfies me much more, but then it would, wouldn’t it? The Lord is entirely unoriginated regarding his divinity, and entirely originated regarding his humanity.
Simple and uncomplicated, and most of all, Biblical.