Many heretical groups (Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, Christadelphians, United Church of God/Armstrongites and others) along with Muslims make the assertion that the Early Church Fathers had no belief in the Trinity and that this was only validated at the Council of Nicea in 325 A.D. However, to discover the truth of this, one only needs to read the actual writings of the Fathers and other documents prior to Nicea to validate what is true or false. We will thus discover what the Fathers and other documents actually believed regarding this concept and whether or not it is an early Christian doctrine.
ST POLYCARP (Direct disciple of the Apostle John, c70-160A.D)
St. Polycarp, direct disciple of St. John, the Apostle
“For this cause, yea and for all things, I praise Thee, I bless Thee, I glorify Thee, through the eternal and heavenly High-priest, Jesus Christ, Thy beloved Son, through whom with Him and the Holy Spirit be glory both now [and ever] and for the ages to come. Amen.” (Martyrdom of Polycarp 14:3) Clearly Polycarp prayed to the Father, the Son (Jesus Christ) and the Holy Spirit before being martyred.
ST IGNATIUS OF ANTIOCH (d.117A.D)
St. Ignatius of Antioch, friend of St. Polycarp and a disciple of St. John the Apostle also.
St. Ignatius of Antioch, friend of St. Polycarp and a disciple of St. John the Apostle also.
“We have also a Physician the Lord our God, Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son and Word, before time began, but who afterwards became also man, of Mary the virgin.” (Letter to the Ephesians.) “By the will of the Father and of Jesus Christ our God.”(Letter to the Ephesians) “Ignatius, who is also Theophorus, unto her that hath found mercy in the bountifulness of the Father Most High and of Jesus Christ His only Son; to the church that is beloved and enlightened through the will of Him who willed all things that are, by faith and love towards Jesus Christ our God; even unto her that hath the presidency in the country of the region of the Romans…”(Letter to the Romans 1)
“Nothing visible is good. For our God Jesus Christ, being in the Father, is the more plainly visible. The Work is not of persuasiveness, but Christianity is a thing of might, whensoever it is hated by the world.” (Letter to the Romans) “I give glory to Jesus Christ the God who bestowed such wisdom upon you.”(Letter to the Smyraeans)
“Jesus Christ . . . was with the Father before the beginning of time, and in the end was revealed. . . . Jesus Christ . . . came forth from one Father and is with and has gone to one [Father]. . .. [T]here is one God, who has manifested himself by Jesus Christ his Son, who is his eternal Word, not proceeding forth from silence, and who in all things pleased him that sent him.”(Letter to the Magnesians 6-8). “Ignatius, also called Theophorus, to the Church at Ephesus in Asia . . . predestined from eternity for a glory that is lasting and unchanging, united and chosen through true suffering by the will of the Father and Jesus Christ our God.” (Letter to the Ephesians 1).
“For our God, Jesus Christ, was conceived by Mary in accord with God’s plan: of the seed of David, it is true, but also of the Holy Spirit.” (Letter to the Ephesians, 18:2). “To the Church beloved and enlightened after the love of Jesus Christ, our God, by the will of him that has willed everything which is” (Letter to the Romans 1) “There is then one God and Father, and not two or three; One who is; and there is no other besides Him, the only true [God]. For “the Lord thy God,” saith [the Scripture], “is one Lord.” And again, “Hath not one God created us? Have we not all one Father? And there is also one Son, God the Word. For “the only-begotten Son,” saith [the Scripture], “who is in the bosom of the Father.” And again, “One Lord Jesus Christ.” And in another place, “What is His name, or what His Son’s name, that we may know? ” And there is also one Paraclete. For “there is also,” saith [the Scripture], “one Spirit,” since “we have been called in one hope of our calling.” And again, “We have drunk of one Spirit,” with what follows. And it is manifest that all these gifts [possessed by believers] “worketh one and the self-same Spirit.” There are not then either three Fathers, or three Sons, or three Paracletes, but one Father, and one Son, and one Paraclete. Wherefore also the Lord, when He sent forth the apostles to make disciples of all nations, commanded them to “baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost,” not unto one [person] having three names, nor into three [persons] who became incarnate, but into three possessed of equal honour.” (Letter to the Philadelphians 2). [Note: St. Ignatius bothers to explain clearly what the Trinity really is in concept. He already preempted today’s heretics. Note he also quotes Proverbs 30:4 as it is found in the Hebrew Bible and not in the Septuagint!] “I therefore, yet not I, but the love of Jesus Christ, entreat you that ye use Christian nourishment only, and abstain from herbage of a different kind; I mean heresy. For those [that are given to this] mix up Jesus Christ with their own poison, speaking things which are unworthy of credit, like those who administer a deadly drug in sweet wine, which he who is ignorant of does greedily take, with a fatal pleasure leading to his own death. I therefore, yet not I, out the love of Jesus Christ, “entreat you that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind, and in the same judgment.” For there are some vain talkers and deceivers, not Christians, but Christ-betrayers, bearing about the name of Christ in deceit, and “corrupting the word” of the Gospel; while they intermix the poison of their deceit with their persuasive talk, as if they mingled aconite with sweet wine, that so he who drinks, being deceived in his taste by the very great sweetness of the draught, may incautiously meet with his death. One of the ancients gives us this advice, “Let no man be called good who mixes good with evil.” For they speak of Christ, not that they may preach Christ, but that they may reject Christ; and they speak of the law, not that they may establish the law, but that they may proclaim things contrary to it. For they alienate Christ from the Father, and the law from Christ. They also calumniate His being born of the Virgin; they are ashamed of His cross; they deny His passion; and they do not believe His resurrection. They introduce God as a Being unknown; they suppose Christ to be unbegotten; and as to the Spirit, they do not admit that He exists. Some of them say that the Son is a mere man, and that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are but the same person, and that the creation is the work of God, not by Christ, but by some other strange power.” (The Epistle of Ignatius to the Trallians, Chap. VI-“Abstain from the Poison of Heretics”) [Note again, that Ignatius has preempted the heretics that deny Christ’s passion, His Deity as well as His crucifixion and resurrection. Note also the heretics deny the Trinity too. Muslim heretics are already preempted 500 years in advance!] “But our Physician is the only true God, the unbegotten and unapproachable, the Lord of all, the Father and Begetter of the onl begotten Son. We have also as a Physician the Lord our God, Jesus the Christ, the only egotten Son and Word, before time began, but who afterwards became also man, of Mary the virgin. For “the Word was made flesh.” Being incorporeal, He was in the body; being impassible, He was in a passible body; being immortal, He was in a mortal body; being life, He became subject to corruption, that He might free our souls from death and corruption, and heal them, and might restore them to health, when they were diseased with ungodliness and wicked lusts.” (The Epistle of Ignatius to the Ephesians, Chap. VII. See also Chap. XV; XVIII; XIX; The Epistle of Ignatius to the Magnesians, chap.VI; The Epistle of Ignatius to the Trallians, Chap. X; The Epistle of Ignatius to the Romans (Introduction); The Epistle of Ignatius to the Philadelphians, Chap. IV; VI; The Epistle of Ignatius to the Smyrnaeans, Chap. I; III; V) “For Moses, the faithful servant of God, when he said, “The Lord thy God is one Lord,” and thus proclaimed that there was only one God, did yet forthwith confess also our Lord [Jesus] when he said, “The Lord [Jesus] rained upon Sodom and Gomorrah fire and brimstone from the Lord.” And again [he confessed a second time our Lord Jesus by saying], “And God said, Let Us make man after our image: and so God made man, after the image of God made He him.”” (The Epistle of Ignatius to the Antiochians, Chapter II.—The True Doctrine Respecting God and Christ.)
ST. IRENAEUS OF LYONS (c.170 A.D, a direct disciple of Polycarp)
St. Irenaeus of Lyons, direct disciple of St. Polycarp
“..so that He indeed who made all things can alone, together with His Word, properly be termed God and Lord: but the things which have been made cannot have this term applied to them, neither should they justly assume that appellation which belongs to the Creator.” (Against Heresies, Book III, ch. 8, section 3) “But the Son, eternally co-existing with the Father, from of old, yea, from the beginning, always reveals the Father to Angels, Archangels, Powers, Virtues…” (Against Heresies, Book II, ch. 30, section 9) “Christ Jesus is our Lord, and God, and Savior, and King.” (Against Heresies, Book I, ch. 10, section 1) “For I have shown from the scriptures, that no one of the sons of Adam is as to everything, and absolutely, called God, or named Lord. But that He is Himself in His own right, beyond all men who ever lived, God, and Lord, and King Eternal, and the Incarnate Word, proclaimed by all the prophets, the apostles, and by the Spirit Himself, may be seen by all who have attained to even a small portion of the truth. Now, the scriptures would not have testified these things of Him, if, like others, He had been a mere man.” (Against Heresies, chapter xix.2) “For the Church, although dispersed throughout the whole world even to the ends of the Earth, has received from the apostles and from their disciples the faith in one God, Father Almighty, the creator of heaven and Earth and sea and all that is in them; and in one Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who became flesh for our salvation; and in the Holy Spirit, who announced through the prophets the dispensations and the comings, and the birth from a Virgin, and the passion, and the Resurrection from the dead, and the bodily Ascension into heaven of the beloved Christ Jesus our Lord, and his coming from heaven in the glory of the Father to re-establish all things; and the raising up again of all flesh of all humanity, in order that to Jesus Christ our Lord and God and Savior and King, in accord with the approval of the invisible Father, every knee shall bend of those in heaven and on Earth and under the earth . . .”(Against Heresies 1:10:1) “[The Gnostics] transfer the generation of the uttered word of men to the eternal Word of God, attributing to him a beginning of utterance and a coming into being . . . In what manner, then, would the word of God–indeed, the great God himself, since he is the Word–differ from the word of men?” (Against Heresies 2:13:8) “Nevertheless, what cannot be said of anyone else who ever lived, that he is himself in his own right God and Lord . . . may be seen by all who have attained to even a small portion of the truth.” (Against Heresies, 3:19:1) “It was not angels, therefore, who made us, nor who formed us, neither had angels power to make an image of God, nor any one else, except the Word of the Lord, nor any Power remotely distant from the Father of all things. For God did not stand in need of these [beings], in order to the accomplishing of what He had Himself determined with Himself beforehand should be done, as if He did not possess His own hands. For with Him were always present the Word and Wisdom, the Son and the Spirit, by whom and in whom, freely and spontaneously, He made all things, to whom also He speaks, saying, “Let Us make man after Our image and likeness; ” [Gen. 1:26]” (Against Heresies 4:20:1) [Note St. Irenaeus’ explanation of Genesis 1:26. Clearly, he understood this to be the Trinity at work in creation of the world!]. “[Quoting John 1:1] ..and the Word was God,’ of course, for that which is begotten of God is God.” (Against Heresies, Book I, ch. 8, section 5) “And again when the Son speaks to Moses, He says, ‘I am come down to deliver this people,’ (Exodus 3:8 – the burning bush). For it is He who descended and ascended for the salvation of men.” (Against Heresies, Book III, ch. 6, section 2) “For I have shown from the Scriptures, that no one of the sons of Adam is as to everything, and absolutely, called God, or named Lord. But that He is Himself in His own right, beyond all men who ever lived, God, and Lord, and King Eternal, and the Incarnate Word, proclaimed by all the prophets, the apostles, and by the Spirit Himself,…Now, the Scriptures would not have testified these things of Him, if, like others, He had been a mere man.” (Against Heresies, Book III, ch. 19, section 2) “God, then, was made man, and the Lord did Himself save us, giving us the token of the Virgin.” (Against Heresies, Book III, ch. 21, section 1)
“Christ Himself, therefore, together with the Father, is the God of the living, who spake to Moses, and who was also manifested to the fathers.” (Against Heresies, Book IV, ch. 5, section 2) “And for this reason all spake with Christ when He was present [upon earth], and they named Him God.”(Against Heresies, Book IV, ch.6, section 6) “God formed man…it was not angels, therefore, who made us…neither had angels power to make an image of God.” (Against Heresies, Book IV, ch. 20, section 1) “Wherefore the prophets, receiving the prophetic gift from the same Word, announced His advent according to the flesh, by which the blending and communion of God and man took place according to the good pleasure of the Father, the Word of God foretelling from the beginning that God should be seen by men, and hold converse with them upon earth.”(Against Heresies, Book IV, ch. 20, section 4) “The Word, that is, the Son, was always with the Father.” (Against Heresies, Book IV, ch. 20, section 3) “Christ Jesus, the Son of God, because of His surpassing love for His creation, condescended to be born of the virgin.” (Against Heresies, Book III, ch. 4, section 2) “Therefore neither would the Lord, nor the Holy Spirit, nor the apostles, have ever named as God, definitely and absolutely, him who was not God, unless he were truly God; nor would they have named any one in his own person Lord, except God the Father ruling over all, and His Son who has received dominion from His Father over all creation, as this passage has it: “The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit Thou at my right hand, until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool.” Here the [Scripture] represents to us the Father addressing the Son; He who gave Him the inheritance of the heathen, and subjected to Him all His enemies. Since, therefore, the Father is truly Lord, and the Son truly Lord, the Holy Spirit has fitly designated them by the title of Lord. And again, referring to the destruction of the Sodomites, the Scripture says, “Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah fire and brimstone from the LORD out of heaven.” For it here points out that the Son, who had also been talking with Abraham, had received power to judge the Sodomites for their wickedness. And this [text following] does declare the same truth: “Thy throne, O God; is for ever and ever; the scepter of Thy kingdom is a right scepter. Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity: therefore God, Thy God, hath anointed Thee.” For the Spirit designates both [of them] by the name, of God — both Him who is anointed as Son, and Him who does anoint, that is, the Father.” (Against Heresies, Book III, Chapter 6) [Notice the Old Testament Scriptures quoted: Psalm 110:1; Genesis 19:24; Psalm 45:6, 7. Irenaeus clearly understood Christ to be the God of the Old Testament as is the Father and the Holy Spirit].
Aristides of Athens (c140 A.D. A Bishop)
St. Aristides of Athens
“Christians trace their origin to the Lord Jesus Christ. He that came down from heaven in the Holy Spirit for the salvation of men is confessed to be the Son of the Most High God. He was born of a holy Virgin without seed of man, and took flesh without defilement; and He appeared among men so that He might recall them from the ERROR OF POLYTHEISM…they who continue to observe the righteousness which was preached by His disciples are called Christians. These are they who, above every people of the earth, have found the truth; for they acknowledge GOD, the Creator and Maker of all things, IN the only-begotten SON and IN the HOLY SPIRIT. Other than HIM, no god do they worship. They have the commandments of the Lord Jesus Christ impressed upon their hearts….”(Apology 15; Jurgens, p. 49) [Clearly, the early Christians worshipped God as the Trinity, not the other gods.]
St. Justin Martyr (c100-165 A.D. An early Christian apologist and martyr)
St. Justin Martyr, a direct disciple of St. Irenaeus of Lyons
“Well, we do indeed proclaim ourselves atheists in respect to those whom you call gods, but not in regard to the MOST TRUE GOD, the Father of righteousness and temperance and the other virtues….On the contrary, we reverence and worship Him AND THE SON who came forth from Him and taught us these things…AND THE PROPHETIC SPIRIT…”
“…they are led by us to a place where there is water; and there they are reborn in the same kind of rebirth in which we ourselves were reborn: in the name of GOD, the Lord and Father of all, AND of our Savior, Jesus Christ, AND of the Holy Spirit, they receive the washing with water….”
“Although the Jews were always of the opinion that it was the Father of all who had spoken to Moses, IT WAS IN FACT THE SON OF GOD, who is called both Angel and Apostle, who spoke to him; they are, therefore, justly accused by both the PROPHETIC SPIRIT AND BY CHRIST HIMSELF of knowing neither the Father nor the Son. They who assert that the Son is the Father are proved to know neither the Father, nor that the Father of all has a Son, who is both the first-born Word of God AND IS GOD [John 1:1].”
“…but since Jesus Christ our Savior was made incarnate by the word of God and had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so too, as we have been taught, the food which has been made into the Eucharist by the Eucharistic prayer set down by Him, and by the change of which our blood and flesh is nourished, is both the flesh and the blood of that incarnated Jesus.”
“For everything that has been given to our use, we praise the Creator of all THROUGH HIS SON JESUS CHRIST AND THROUGH THE HOLY SPIRIT.”(First Apology 6, 61, 63, 66, 67; Jurgens, p. 51, 54-55)
“To the Father of all, who is unbegotten, no name is given; for anyone who has been given a name has received the name from someone older than himself. Father and God and Creator and Lord and Master are not names but appellations derived form His beneficences and works. His Son, who alone is properly called Son, who was BOTH WITH HIM AND WAS BEGOTTEN BY HIM BEFORE ANYTHING WAS CREATED, when in the beginning the Father created and put everything in order through Him — He is called Christ, from His being anointed….”(Second Apology 6; Jurgens, p. 57)
“…it is inescapable that this is the Christ of God…that He pre-existed as the Son of the Creator of all things, BEING GOD, and that He was born a man by the Virgin.“(Dialogue with Trypho 48; Jurgens, p. 60) “The Father of the universe has a Son, who also being the first begotten Word of God, is even God.” (Justin Martyr, First Apology, ch 63) “Christ is called both God and Lord of hosts.” (Dialogue with Trypho, ch, 36) “Moreover, in the diapsalm of the forty-sixth Psalm, reference is thus made to Christ: ‘God went up with a shout, the Lord with the sound of a trumpet.” (Dialogue with Trypho, ch 37) “[Quoting both Hebrews 1:8 and Psalm 45:6, 7] Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever.” (Dialogue with Trypho, ch 56) “Therefore these words testify explicitly that He [Christ] is witnessed to by Him who established these things, as deserving to be worshipped, as God and as Christ.” (Dialogue with Trypho, ch. 63) “But if you knew, Trypho,” continued I, “who He is that is called at one time the Angel of great counsel, and a Man by Ezekiel, and like the Son of man by Daniel, and a Child by Isaiah, and Christ and God to be worshipped by David, and Christ and a Stone by many, and Wisdom by Solomon, and Joseph and Judah and a Star by Moses, and the East by Zechariah, and the Suffering One and Jacob and Israel by Isaiah again, and a Rod, and Flower, and Corner Stone, and Son of God, you would not have blasphemed Him who has now come, and been born, and suffered, and ascended to heaven; who shall also come again, and then your twelve tribes shall mourn. For if you had understood what has been written by the prophets, you would not have denied that He was God, Son of the only, unbegotten, unutterable God. For Moses says somewhere in Exodus the following: `The Lord spake to Moses, and said to him, I am the Lord, and I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, being their God; and my name I revealed not to them, and I established my covenant with them.’ And thus again he says, `A man wrestled with Jacob,’ and asserts it was God; narrating that Jacob said, `I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.‘” (Dialogue of Justin with Trypho, A Jew, Chap. CXXVI [See also The First Apology of Justin, Chap. XIII; XXII; LXIII; Dialogue of Justin with Trypho, A Jew, Chap. XXXVI; XLVIII; LVI; LIX; LXI; C; CV; CXXV; CXXVIII) “We will prove that we worship him reasonably; for we have learned that he is the Son of the true God Himself, that he holds a second place, and the Spirit of prophecy a third. For this they accuse us of madness, saying that we attribute to a crucified man a place second to the unchangeable and eternal God, the Creator of all things; but they are ignorant of the Mystery which lies therein” (First Apology 13:5-6). “But both Him, and the Son (who came forth from Him and taught us these things, and the host of the other good angels who follow and are made like to Him), and the prophetic Spirit, we worship and adore.” (Justin Martyr, First Apology, ch 6) [Clearly Father, Son and Holy Spirit are worshipped as the True God alone!] “God begot before all creatures a Beginning, who was a certain rational power from himself and whom the Holy Spirit calls . . . sometimes the Son, . . . sometimes Lord and Word … We see things happen similarly among ourselves, for whenever we utter some word, we beget a word, yet not by any cutting off, which would diminish the word in us when we utter it. We see a similar occurrence when one fire enkindles another. It is not diminished through the enkindling of the other, but remains as it was” (Dialogue with Trypho the Jew 61). “God speaks in the creation of man with the very same design, in the following words: ‘Let us make man after our image and likeness‘ . . . I shall quote again the words narrated by Moses himself, from which we can indisputably learn that [God] conversed with someone numerically distinct from himself and also a rational being. . . . But this Offspring who was truly brought forth from the Father, was with the Father before all the creatures, and the Father communed with him” (Dialogue with Trypho the Jew 62). “HOW GOD APPEARED TO MOSES. And all the Jews even now teach that the nameless God spake to Moses; whence the Spirit of prophecy, accusing them by Isaiah the prophet mentioned above, said “The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master’s crib; but Israel doth not know Me, and My people do not understand.” And Jesus the Christ, because the Jews knew not what the Father was, and what the Son, in like manner accused them; and Himself said, “No one knoweth the Father, but the Son; nor the Son, but the Father, and they to whom the Son revealeth Him.” Now the Word of God is His Son, as we have before said. And He is called Angel and Apostle; for He declares whatever we ought to know, and is sent forth to declare whatever is revealed; as our Lord Himself says, “He that heareth Me, heareth Him that sent Me.” From the writings of Moses also this will be manifest; for thus it is written in them, “And the Angel of God spake to Moses, in a flame of fire out of the bush, and said, I am that I am, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob, the God of thy fathers; go down into Egypt, and bring forth My people.” And if you wish to learn what follows, you can do so from the same writings; for it is impossible to relate the whole here. But so much is written for the sake of proving that Jesus the Christ is the Son of God and His Apostle, being of old the Word, and appearing sometimes in the form of fire, and sometimes in the likeness of angels; but now, by the will of God, having become man for the human race, He endured all the sufferings which the devils instigated the senseless Jews to inflict upon Him; who, though they have it expressly affirmed in the writings of Moses, “And the angel of God spake to Moses in a flame of fire in a bush, and said, I am that I am, the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob,” yet maintain that He who said this was the Father and Creator of the universe. Whence also the Spirit of prophecy rebukes them, and says, “Israel doth not know Me, my people have not understood Me.” And again, Jesus, as we have already shown, while He was with them, said, “No one knoweth the Father, but the Son; nor the Son but the Father, and those to whom the Son will reveal Him.” The Jews, accordingly, being throughout of opinion that it was the Father of the universe who spake to Moses, though He who spake to him was indeed the Son of God, who is called both Angel and Apostle, are justly charged, both by the Spirit of prophecy and by Christ Himself, with knowing neither the Father nor the Son. For they who affirm that the Son is the Father, are proved neither to have become acquainted with the Father, nor to know that the Father of the universe has a Son; who also, being the first-begotten Word of God, is even God. And of old He appeared in the shape of fire and in the likeness of an angel to Moses and to the other prophets; but now in the times of your reign, having, as we before said, become Man by a virgin, according to the counsel of the Father, for the salvation of those who believe on Him, He endured both to be set at nought and to suffer, that by dying and rising again He might conquer death. And that which was said out of the bush to Moses, “I am that I am, the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, and the God of your fathers,” this signified that they, even though dead, are let in existence, and are men belonging to Christ Himself. For they were the first of all men to busy themselves in the search after God; Abraham being the father of Isaac, and Isaac of Jacob, as Moses wrote.” (First Apology, ch 63) “It is not on this ground solely,” I said, “that it must be admitted absolutely that some other one is called Lord by the Holy Spirit besides Him who is considered Maker of all things; not solely [for what is said] by Moses, but also [for what is said] by David. For there is written by him: ‘The Lord says to my Lord, Sit on My right hand, until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool,’ as I have already quoted. And again, in other words: ‘Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever.“ (Dialog of Justin with Trypho, a Jew, ch 56) “Then I replied, “Reverting to the Scriptures, I shall endeavor to persuade you, that He who is said to have appeared to Abraham, and to Jacob, and to Moses, and who is called God, is distinct from Him who made all things, — numerically, I mean, not [distinct] in will. For I affirm that He has never at any time done anything which He who made the world — above whom there is no other God — has not wished Him both to do and to engage Himself with.“ (Dialog of Justin with Trypho, a Jew, ch 56) [Jesus Christ clearly identified as God alongside the Father, and acknowledged as such by the Patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob!]
“.. even so here, the Scripture, in announcing that the Angel of the Lord appeared to Moses, and in afterwards declaring him to be Lord and God, speaks of the same One, whom it declares by the many testimonies already quoted to be minister to God, who is above the world, above whom there is no other [God].” (Dialog of Justin with Trypho, a Jew, ch 60) [Jesus Christ acknowledged as the Angel of the Lord that is also called God and Lord as shown throughout the Old Testament.] “I shall give you another testimony, my friends,” said I, “from the Scriptures, that God begat before all creatures a Beginning, [who was] a certain rational power [proceeding] from Himself, who is called by the Holy Spirit, now the Glory of the Lord, now the Son, again Wisdom, again an Angel, then God, and then Lord and Logos; and on another occasion He calls Himself Captain, when He appeared in human form to Joshua the son of Nave (Nun). For He can be called by all those names, since He ministers to the Father’s will, and since He was begotten of the Father by an act of will; just as we see happening among ourselves: for when we give out some word, we beget the word; yet not by abscission, so as to lessen the word [which remains] in us, when we give it out: and just as we see also happening in the case of a fire, which is not lessened when it has kindled [another], but remains the same; and that which has been kindled by it likewise appears to exist by itself, not diminishing that from which it was kindled. The Word of Wisdom, who is Himself this God begotten of the Father of all things, and Word, and Wisdom, and Power, and the Glory of the Begetter, …“ (Dialog of Justin with Trypho, a Jew, ch 60) [Christ clearly identified as God in the Old Testament and giving various appearances in the Old Testament by many titles]
St. Melito of Sardis (c180 A.D. Bishop)
St. Melito of Sardis
St. Melito of Sardis
“It is no way necessary in dealing with persons of intelligence to adduce the actions of Christ after his baptism as proof that his soul and his body, his human nature, were like ours, real and not phantasmal. The activities of Christ after his baptism, and especially his miracles, gave indication and assurance to the world of the deity hidden in his flesh. Being God and likewise perfect man, he gave positive indications of his two natures: of his deity, by the miracles during the three years following after his baptism, of his humanity, in the thirty years which came before his baptism, during which, by reason of his condition according to the flesh, he concealed the signs of his deity, although he was the true God existing before the ages” (Fragment in Anastasius of Sinai’s The Guide 13).
Mathetes (c.160 A.D.)
“[The Father] sent the Word that he might be manifested to the world . . . This is he who was from the beginning, who appeared as if new, and was found old . . . This is he who, being from everlasting, is today called the Son” (Letter to Diognetus 11)
Tatian the Syrian (c.170 A.D)
Tatian the Syrian
“We are not playing the fool, you Greeks, nor do we talk nonsense, when we report that God was born in the form of a man” (Address to the Greeks 21).
Athenagoras (c177 A.D.)
Athenagoras of Athens
“The Son of God is the Word of the Father in thought and actuality. By him and through him all things were made, the Father and the Son being one. Since the Son is in the Father and the Father is in the Son by the unity and power of the Spirit, the Mind and Word of the Father is the Son of God. And if, in your exceedingly great wisdom, it occurs to you to inquire what is meant by `the Son,’ I will tell you briefly: He is the first- begotten of the Father, not as having been produced, for from the beginning God had the Word in himself, God being eternal mind and eternally rational, but as coming forth to be the model and energizing force of all material things” (Plea for the Christians 10:2-4). [The Son is co-eternal with the Father, and is begotten not created. This is well before the use of the phrase in the Nicene Creed: “The Son, very God of very God,…who is begotten not made”!] Theophilus of Antioch (c.180 A.D)
Theophilus of Antioch
“On the fourth day the luminaries were made; because God, who possesses foreknowledge, knew the follies of the vain philosophers, that they were going to say, that the things which grow on the earth are produced from the heavenly bodies, so as to exclude God. In order, therefore, that the truth might be obvious, the plants and seeds were produced prior to the heavenly bodies, for what is posterior cannot produce that which is prior. And these contain the pattern and type of a great mystery. For the sun is a type of God, and the moon of man. And as the sun far surpasses the moon in power and glory, so far does God surpass man. And as the sun remains ever full, never becoming less, so does God always abide perfect, being full of all power, and understanding, and wisdom, and immortality, and all good. But the moon wanes monthly, and in a manner dies, being a type of man; then it is born again, and is crescent, for a pattern of the future resurrection. In like manner also the three days which were before the luminaries, are types of the Trinity,. of God, and His Word, and His wisdom.” And the fourth is the type of man, who needs light, that so there may be God, the Word, wisdom, man. Wherefore also on the fourth day the lights were made. The disposition of the stars, too, contains a type of the arrangement and order of the righteous and pious, and of those who keep the law and commandments of God. For the brilliant and bright stars are an imitation of the prophets, and therefore they remain fixed, not declining, nor passing from place to place. And those which hold the second place in brightness, are types of the people of the righteous. And those, again, which change their position, and flee from place to place, which also are cared planets, they too are a type of the men who have wandered from God, abandoning His law and commandments.” (Theophilus of Antioch Chapter XV. – Of the Fourth Day, To Autolycus 2:15) [Notice how Theophilus uses the word “Trinity” well before even the Nicene Creed came into existence! Notice how he points out that creation is a reflection of the Trinity.] “And what else is this voice, but the Word of God, which also is His Son, not as poets and writers of myths tell of the sons of gods begotten of intercourse, but, as truth recounts, the Word WHICH ALWAYS EXISTS internally in the heart of God? FOR BEFORE ANYTHING WAS CREATED, He had this Counsellor, being His own Mind and Thought; and when God wished to create what He had decided upon, He begot this uttered Word, the First-born of all creation, not emptying Himself of the Word, but having begotten the Word, and conversing ALWAYS WITH His Word.
“This is what the Holy Scriptures teach us, as do all the inspired men, one of whom, John, says, ‘In beginning was the Word, and the Word was WITH God’ [John 1:1], showing that at first God was alone, AND the Word was IN Him. Then he says, ‘And the Word was God; all things were made through Him, and WITHOUT HIM was made NOTHING‘ [1:3]. The Word, then, BEING GOD and being GENERATED FROM [ambiguous term here] God, is sent to any place at the will of the Father of the universe; and when He comes, having been sent by Him and being found in place, He is both heard and seen.”(To Autolycus 2:10; 2:15; 2:22; Jurgens, p. 75-76)
Clement of Alexandria (c.190A.D)
Clement of Alexandria
“There was then, a Word importing an unbeginning eternity; as also the Word itself, that is, the Son of God, who being, by equality of substance, one with the Father, is eternal and uncreated.” (Fragments, Part I, section III) “that so great a work was accomplished in so brief a space by the Lord, who, though despised as to appearance, was in reality adored, the expiator of sin, the Saviour, the clement, the Divine Word, He that is truly most manifest Deity, He that is made equal to the Lord of the universe; because He was His Son, and the Word was in God, not disbelieved in by all when He was first preached, nor altogether unknown when, assuming the character of man, and fashioning Himself in flesh, He enacted the drama of human salvation: for He was a true champion and a fellow-champion with [ie. God among creatures, not that Jesus is classed as a creature] the creature.” (Exhortations, Chap 10) “I understand nothing else than the Holy Trinity to be meant; for the third is the Holy Spirit, and the Son is the second, by whom all things were made according to the will of the Father.“ (Stromata, Book V, ch. 14) [Again, notice the word “Trinity” is again made reference to and clearly defined. This is well before Nicea!]
“‘For both are one — that is, God. For He has said, “In the beginning the Word was in God, and the Word was God.” (The Instructor, Book 1, ch 8) “Despised as to appearance but in reality adored, [Jesus is] the Expiator, the Savior, the Soother, the Divine Word, he that is quite evidently true God, he that is put on a level with the Lord of the universe because he was his Son.” (Exhortation to the Greeks, 10:110:1). “The Word, then, the Christ, is the cause both of our ancient beginning, for life was in God, and of our well-being. And now this same Word has appeared as man. He alone is both God and man, and the source of all our good things” (Exhortation to the Greeks 1:7:1).
“Now, O you, my children, our Instructor is like His Father God, whose son He is, sinless, blameless, and with a soul devoid of passion; God in the form of man, stainless, the minister of His Father’s will, the Word who is God, who is in the Father, who is at the Father’s right hand, and with the form of God is God.“ (Instructor, Book I, ch. 2) “His Son Jesus, the Word of God, is our Instructor…. He is God and Creator.” (Instructor, Book I, ch. 11)
“This is the New Song, the manifestation of the Word that was in the beginning, and before the beginning. The Savior, who existed before, has in recent days appeared. He, who is in Him that truly is, has appeared; for the Word, who “was with God,” and by whom all things were created, has appeared as our Teacher. The Word, who in the beginning bestowed on us life as Creator when He formed us, taught us to live well when He appeared as our Teacher; that as God He might afterwards conduct us to the life which never ends.“ (Exhortation To The Heathen, ch 2) “This Word, then, the Christ, the cause of both our being at first (for He was in God) and of our well-being, this very Word has now appeared as man, He alone being both, both God and man” (Exhortation To The Heathen, ch 2) “For it was not without divine care that so great a work was accomplished in so brief a space by the Lord, who, though despised as to appearance, was in reality adored, the expiator of sin, the Savior, the clement, the Divine Word, He that is truly most manifest Deity, He that is made equal to the Lord of the universe; because He was His Son, and the Word was in God, not disbelieved in by all when He was first preached, nor altogether unknown when, assuming the character of man, and fashioning Himself in flesh” (Exhortation To The Heathen, ch 10) “Now, O you, my children, our Instructor is like His Father God, whose son He is, sinless, blameless, and with a soul devoid of passion; God in the form of man, stainless, the minister of His Father’s will, the Word who is God, who is in the Father, who is at the Father’s right hand, and with the form of God is God.“ (The Instructor, Book 1, ch 2)
ST. HIPPOLYTUS OF ROME (C. 200 A.D., Disciple of St. Ireneaus of Lyons)
St. Hippolytus of Rome, direct disciple of St. Irenaeus of Lyons
“For who will not say that there is one God? Yet he will not on that account deny the economy (i.e., the number and disposition of persons in the Trinity).” (Against The Heresy Of One Noetus)
“As far as regards the power, therefore, God is one. But as far as regards the economy there is a threefold manifestation, as shall be proved afterwards when we give account of the true doctrine” (Against The Heresy Of One Noetus) “Let us look next at the apostle’s word: “Whose are the fathers, of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever.” (Romans 9:5) This word declares the mystery of the truth rightly and clearly. He who is over all is God; for thus He speaks boldly, “All things are delivered unto me of my Father.” He who is over all, God blessed, has been born; and having been made man, He is (yet) God for ever. For to this effect John also has said, “Which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.” (Revelation 1:8) And well has he [John] named Christ the Almighty. For in this he has said only what Christ testifies of Himself. For Christ gave this testimony, and said, “All things are delivered unto me of my Father;” and Christ rules all things, and has been appointed“ (Against The Heresy Of One Noetus 6)
“For Christ is the God above all, and He has arranged to wash away sin from human beings, rendering regenerate the old man. And God called man His likeness from the beginning, and has evinced in a figure His love towards thee. And provided thou obeyest His solemn injunctions, and becomest a faithful follower of Him who is good, thou shall resemble Him, inasmuch as thou shall have honour conferred upon thee by Him. For the Deity, (by condescension,) does not diminish ought of the divinity of His divine perfection; having made thee even God unto His glory” (Elucidations, Ch. 30, Author’s Concluding Address)
“She hath mingled her wine” in the bowl, by which is meant, that the Saviour, uniting his Godhead, like pure wine, with the flesh in the Virgin, was born of her at once God and man without confusion of the one in the other. “And she hath furnished her table:” that denotes the promised knowledge of the Holy Trinity.” (Hippolytus on Prov 9:1, fragment, “Wisdom hath builded her house.”) “But there is also that which is more honourable than all–the fact that Christ, the Maker of all, came down as the rain, and was known as a spring, and diffused Himself as a river, and was baptized in the Jordan.” (Discourse On The Holy Theophany)
[Applying Rev 1:8 to Christ] “He who is over all, God blessed, has been born, and having been made man. He is God forever. For to this effect John also has said, ‘Which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.’ And well has he named Christ the Almighty.“ (Against Noetus, Part 6) “Beside Him there was nothing; but He [God], while existing alone, yet existed in plurality.” (Against Noetus, Part 10) [The best definition of the Trinity clearly given by St. Hippolytus!] “Let us believe then, dear brethren, according to the tradition of the apostles, that God the Word came down from heaven,… He now, coming forth into the world, was manifested as God in a body, coming forth too as a perfect man..” (Against Noetus, Part 17) [Clearly, Apostolic tradition and teaching believes in the Deity of Christ and the Trinity!]
“The Logos is God, being the substance of God.” (Refutation of all Heresies, Book X, ch 29) “For Christ is the God above all…” (Refutation of all Heresies, Book X, ch 30)
“The Word alone of this God is from God himself, wherefore also the Word is God, being the Being of God. Now the world was made from nothing, wherefore it is not God” (Refutation of All Heresies 10:29). “Therefore, this sole and universal God, by reflecting, first brought forth the Word–not a word as in speech, but as a mental word, the reason for everything. . . . The Word was the cause of those things which came into existence, carrying out in himself the will of him by whom he was begotten. . . . Only [God’s] Word is from himself and is therefore also God, becoming the substance of God” … “For Christ is the God over all, who has arranged to wash away sin from mankind, rendering the old man new“ (Refutation of All Heresies 10:33,34).
“Some others are secretly introducing another doctrine, who have become disciples of one Noetus, who was a native of Smyrna, (and) lived not very long ago. This person was greatly puffed up and inflated with pride, being inspired by the conceit of a strange spirit. He alleged that Christ was the Father Himself, and that the Father Himself was born, and suffered, and died. Ye see what pride of heart and what a strange inflated spirit had insinuated themselves into him. Froth his other actions, then, the proof is already given us that he spoke not with a pure spirit; for he who blasphemes against the Holy Ghost is cast out from the holy inheritance. He alleged that he was himself Moses, and that Aaron was his brother. When the blessed presbyters heard this, they summoned him before the Church, and examined him. But he denied at first that he held such opinions. Afterwards, however, taking shelter among some, and having gathered round him some others who had embraced the same error, he wished thereafter to uphold his dogma openly as correct. And the blessed presbyters called him again before them, and examined him. But he stood out against them, saying, “What evil, then, am I doing in glorifying Christ?” And the presbyters replied to him, “We too know in truth one God; we know Christ; we know that the Son suffered even as He suffered, and died even as He died, and rose again on the third day, and is at the right hand of the Father, and cometh to judge the living and the dead. And these things which we have learned we allege.” Then, after examining him, they expelled him from the Church. And he was carried to such a pitch of pride, that he established a school. 2. Now they [Noetus] seek to exhibit the foundation for their dogma by citing the word in the law, “I am the God of your fathers: ye shall have no other gods beside me;” and again in another passage, “I am the first,” He saith, “and the last; and beside me there is none other.” Thus they say they prove that God is one. And then they answer in this manner: “If therefore I acknowledge Christ to be God, He is the Father Himself, if He is indeed God; and Christ suffered, being Himself God; and consequently the Father suffered, for He was the Father Himself.” But the case stands not thus; for the Scriptures do not set forth the matter in this manner. But they make use also of other testimonies, and say, Thus it is written: “This is our God, and there shall none other be accounted of in comparison of Him. He hath found out all the way of knowledge, and hath given it unto Jacob His servant (son), and to Israel His beloved. Afterward did He show Himself upon earth, and conversed with men.” You see, then, he says, that this is God, who is the only One, and who afterwards did show Himself, and con-versed with men.” And in another place he says, “Egypt hath laboured; and the merchandise of Ethiopia and the Sabeans, men of stature, shall come over unto thee, (and they shall be slaves to thee); and they shall come after thee bound with manacles, and they shall fall down unto thee, because God is in thee; and they shall make supplication unto thee: and there is no God beside thee. For Thou art God, and we knew not; God of Israel, the Saviour.” Do you see, he says, how the Scriptures proclaim one God? And as this is clearly exhibited, and these passages are testimonies to it, I am under necessity, he says, since one is acknowledged, to make this One the subject of suffering. For Christ was God, and suffered on account of us, being Himself the Father, that He might be able also to save us. And we cannot express ourselves otherwise, he says; for the apostle also acknowledges one God, when he says, “Whose are the fathers, (and) of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever.” … “8. In this way, then, they choose to set forth these things, and they make use only of one class of passages; just in the same one-sided manner that Theodotus employed when he sought to prove that Christ was a mere man. But neither has the one party nor the other understood the matter rightly, as the Scriptures themselves confute their senselessness, and attest the truth. See, brethren, what a rash and audacious dogma they have introduced, when they say without shame, the Father is Himself Christ, Himself the Son, Himself was born, Himself suffered, Himself raised Himself. But it is not so. The Scriptures speak what is right; but Noetus is of a different mind from them. Yet, though Noetus does not understand the truth, the Scriptures are not at once to be repudiated. For who will not say that there is one God? Yet he will not on that account deny the economy (i.e., the number and disposition of persons in the Trinity). The proper way, therefore, to deal with the question is first of all to refute the interpretation put upon these passages by these men, and then to explain their real meaning. For it is right, in the first place, to expound the truth that the Father is one God, “of whom is every family,” “by whom are all things, of whom are all things, and we in Him.” (Against The Heresy Of One Noetus)
[Clearly, St. Hippolytus was refuting heretics in his day who denied the Trinity, either by confusing the Father with the Son and the Holy Spirit, as was the case with Noetus, or denying Christ’s deity altogether, calling Him mere man. The Blessed Father was refuting all false notions held and defended the orthodox notion].
“Many other passages, or rather all of them, attest the truth. A man, therefore, even though he will it not, is compelled to acknowledge God the Father Almighty, and Christ Jesus the Son of God, who, being God, became man, to whom also the Father made all things subject, Himself excepted, and the Holy Spirit; and that these, therefore, are three. But if he desires to learn how it is shown still that there is one God, let him know that His power is one. As far as regards the power, therefore, God is one. But as far as regards the economy there is a threefold manifestation, as shall be proved afterwards when we give account of the true doctrine. In these things, however, which are thus set forth by us, we are at one. For there is one God in whom we must believe, but unoriginated, impassible, immortal, doing all things as He wills, in the way He wills, and when He wills. What, then, will this Noetus, who knows nothing of the truth, dare to say to these things? And now, as Noetus has been confuted, let us turn to the exhibition of the truth itself, that we may establish the truth, against which all these mighty heresies have arisen without being able to state anything to the purpose.” (Against The Heresy Of One Noetus)
[Again, refuting Noetus for his heresy of denying the Trinity, whilst defining it clearly again]
TERTULLIAN (C.200 A.D., CHRISTIAN APOLOGIST)
Tertullian, Christian apologist
“Never did any angel descend for the purpose of being crucified, of tasting death, and of rising again from the dead.” (The Flesh of Christ, ch 6) [This disproves the Watchtower/Jehovah’s Witness teaching that the Lord Jesus Christ was Michael the Archangel created before the foundation of the world. See also Hebrews 1:5, 6 which also clearly refute this false notion. Tertullian disproves the heretics clearly.]
“All the Scriptures give clear proof of the Trinity, and it is from these that our principle is deduced…the distinction of the Trinity is quite clearly displayed.” (Against Praxeas, ch 11)
[Clearly Tertullian believed the Trinity. He even used the word clearly. This is well before Nicea!]
“The origins of both his substances display him as man and as God: from the one, born, and from the other, not born” (The Flesh of Christ, 5:6-7). “[God speaks in the plural ‘Let us make man in our image’] because already there was attached to Him his Son, a second person, his own Word, and a third, the Spirit in the Word….one substance in three coherent persons. He was at once the Father, the Son, and the Spirit.“ (Against Praxeas, ch 12)
“Thus the connection of the Father in the Son, and of the Son in the Paraclete, produces three coherent Persons, who are yet distinct One from Another. These Three are, one essence, not one Person, as it is said, ‘I and my Father are One’ [John 10:30], in respect of unity of Being not singularity of number” (Against Praxeas, 25) “As if in this way also one were not All, in that All are of One, by unity (that is) of substance; while the mystery of the dispensation is still guarded, which distributes the Unity into a Trinity, placing in their order the three Persons — the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost: three, however, not in condition, but in degree; not in substance, but in form; not in power, but in aspect; yet of one substance, and of one condition, and of one power, inasmuch as He is one God, from whom these degrees and forms and aspects are reckoned, under the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” (Against Praxeas) “So too, that which has come forth out of God is at once God and the Son of God; and the two are one…. In his birth he is God and man united.” (Apology, ch 21)
“There is one only God, but under the following dispensation, or oikonomia, as it is called, that this one only God has also a Son, His Word, who proceeded from Himself, by whom all things were made, and without whom nothing was made. Him we believe to have been sent by the Father into the Virgin, and to have been born of her — being both Man and God, the Son of Man and the Son of God, and to have been called by the name of Jesus Christ; we believe Him to have suffered, died, and been buried, according to the Scriptures, and, after He had been raised again by the Father and taken back to heaven, to be sitting at the right hand of the Father, and that He will come to judge the quick and the dead; who sent also from heaven from the Father, according to His own promise, the Holy Ghost, the Paraclete, the sanctifier of the faith of those who believe in the Father, and in the Son, and in the Holy Ghost. That this rule of faith has come down to us from the beginning of the gospel, even before any of the older heretics.” (Against Praxeas, ch 2)
“That there are two Gods and two Lords, however, is a statement which we will never allow to issue from our mouth; not as if the Father and the Son were not God, nor the Spirit God, and each of them God; but formerly two were spoken of as Gods and two as Lords, so that when Christ would come, he might both be acknowledged as God and be called Lord, because he is the Son of him who is both God and Lord” (Against Praxeas 13:6)
“The Spirit is God, and the Word is God, because proceeding from God, but yet is not actually the very same as He from whom He proceeds..” (Against Praxeas, ch 26)
“He will be God, and the Word – the Son of God. We see plainly the twofold state, which is not confounded, but conjoined in One Person – Jesus, God and Man..” (Against Praxeas, ch 27)
“God alone is without sin. The only man who is without sin is Christ; for Christ is also God” (The Soul 41:3)
“ And at the same time the mystery of the oikonomia is safeguarded, for the unity is distributed in a Trinity. Placed in order, the Three are the Father, Son, and Spirit. They are three, however, not in condition, but in degree; not in Being, but in form; not in power, but in kind; of one Being, however, and one condition and one power, because he is one God of whom degrees and forms and kinds are taken into account in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit“ (Against Praxeas 2).
“While keeping to this demurrer always, there must, nevertheless, be place for reviewing for the sake of the instruction and protection of various persons. Otherwise it might seem that each perverse opinion is not examined but simply prejudged and condemned. This is especially so in the case of the present heresy [Sabellianism], which considers itself to have the pure truth when it supposes that one cannot believe in the one only God in any way other than by saying that Father, Son, and Spirit are the selfsame person. As if one were not all . . . through the unity of substance“ (Against Praxeas 2:3-4)
[Heresy of Sabellianism that denies the Trinity and teaches that Father, Son and Holy Spirit are the one Person. Tertullian refutes this and supports orthodox teaching].
“Keep always in mind the rule of faith which I profess and by which I bear witness that the Father and the Son and the Spirit are inseparable from each other, and then you will understand what is meant by it. Observe now that I say the Father is other [distinct], the Son is other, and the Spirit is other. This statement is wrongly understood by every uneducated or perversely disposed individual, as if it meant diversity and implied by that diversity a separation of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit“ (Against Praxeas, 9)
[Explaining the unity and distinction of Persons in the Trinity against the heretics]
“When God says, ‘Let there be light’ [Gen. 1:3], this is the perfect nativity of the Word, while he is proceeding from God. . . . Thus, the Father makes him equal to himself, and the Son, by proceeding from him, was made the first-begotten, since he was begotten before all things, and the only-begotten, because he alone was begotten of God, in a manner peculiar to himself, from the womb of his own heart, to which even the Father himself gives witness: ‘My heart has poured forth my finest Word‘ [Ps. 45:1] (Against Praxeas 7:1). “… it is not by division that He is different, but by distinction; because the Father is not the same as the Son, since they differ one from the other in the mode of their being. For the Father is the entire substance, but the Son is a derivation and portion of the whole, as He Himself acknowledges: “My Father is greater than I.” In the Psalm His inferiority is described as being “a little lower than the angels.” Thus the Father is distinct from the Son, being greater than the Son, inasmuch as He who begets is one, and He who is begotten is another; He, too, who sends is one, and He who is sent is another” (Against Praxeas, by Tertullian)
[Explaining the supposed ‘inferiority’ of the Son to the Father. Tertullian points out that it is only in degree rather than substance that this greater and lesser exist]
“For before all things God was alone — being in Himself and for Himself universe, and space, and all things. Moreover, He was alone, because there was nothing external to Him but Himself. Yet even not then was He alone; for He had with Him that which He possessed in Himself, that is to say, His own Reason. For God is rational, and Reason was first in Him; and so all things were from Himself. This Reason is His own Thought (or Consciousness) which the Greeks call , by which term we also designate Word or Discourse and therefore it is now usual with our people, owing to the mere simple interpretation of the term, to say that the Word was in the beginning with God;” (Against Praxeas, by Tertullian)
[Explaining how God is before all time and yet He has the Word and Reason/Logos, which is what Christ is. He is expounding on John 1:1-3, making it clear that God is Triune before all creation].
“If the number of the Trinity also offends you, as if it were not connected in the simple Unity, I ask you how it is possible for a Being who is merely and absolutely One and Singular, to speak in plural phrase, saying, “Let us make man in our own image, and after our own likeness; ” whereas He ought to have said, “Let me make man in my own image, and after my own likeness,” as being a unique and singular Being? In the following passage, however, “Behold the man is become as one of us,” He is either deceiving or amusing us in speaking plurally, if He is One only and singular. Or was it to the angels that He spoke, as the Jews interpret the passage, because these also acknowledge not the Son? Or was it because He was at once the Father, the Son, and the Spirit, that He spoke to Himself in plural terms, making Himself plural on that very account? Nay, it was because He had already His Son close at His side, as a second Person, His own Word, and a third Person also, the Spirit in the Word, that He purposely adopted the plural phrase, “Let us make; “and, “in our image; “and, “become as one of us.“ (Tertullian, Against Praxeas, Chapter XII) [Clearly, Tertullian believed in the uni-plurality of the Trinity!]
CYPRIAN OF CARTHAGE (c. 250 A.D, a Bishop and Apologist)
St. Cyprian of Carthage
St. Cyprian of Carthage
“One who denies that Christ is God cannot become his temple [of the Holy Spirit] . . . ” (Letters 73:12)
“He cannot have God for his Father who does not have the Church for his Mother. If anyone outside the ark of Noah was able to escape, then perhaps someone outside the pale of the Church may escape…. The Lord says, ‘THE FATHER AND I ARE ONE‘ [John 10:30] and again, it is written of the FATHER, SON, AND HOLY SPIRIT, ‘AND THE THREE ARE ONE.’ [I John 5:7-8]…. Does anyone believe that in the Church THIS UNITY which proceeds from the DIVINE STABILITY and which is welded together after the heavenly patterns, can be divided, and can be separated by the parting asunder of opposing wills? Whoever holds not fast to this UNITY holds not to the law of God; neither does he keep faith WITH THE FATHER AND THE SON, nor does he have life and salvation.” (Unity of the Catholic Church 6) “If Christ Jesus, OUR LORD AND GOD, is Himself the High Priest of God the Father; and if He offered Himself as a sacrifice to the Father; and if He commanded that this be done in commemoration of Himself — then certainly the priest, who imitates that which Christ did, truly functions in place of Christ.” (Letters 63:14) “If someone could be baptized by heretics, he could certainly receive also the remission of sins. If he were to receive the remission of sins, he would be sanctified. If he were sanctified, he would be made a temple of God. If he were made a temple of God — now I ask you:
“Of what God? Of the Creator? But that is not possible, because he does not believe in Him. Of Christ? One who denies that CHRIST IS GOD cannot become His temple. Of the Holy Spirit? SINCE THE THREE ARE ONE, how were it possible for the Holy Spirit to be reconciled to him that is an enemy of either the Son or of the Father?”
“After the Resurrection, when the Lord sent the Apostles to the nations, He commanded them to baptize the Gentiles in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit [Matt 28:19]. How then do some say that though a Gentile be baptized beyond the pale and outside the Church, yes, even against the Church, never mind how or of whom, so long as it be done in the name of Jesus Christ, the remission of sins can follow – when CHRIST HIMSELF COMMANDS THE NATIONS TO BE BAPTIZED IN THE FULL AND UNITED TRINITY?” (Letters 73:12)
“In the Gospel according to John: “The Father judgeth nothing, but hath given all judgment unto the Son, that all may honour the Son as they honour the Father. He who honoureth not the Son, honoureth not the Father who hath sent Him.” Also in the seventy-first Psalm: “O God, give the king Thy judgment, and Thy righteousness to the king’s son, to judge Thy people in righteousness.” Also in Genesis: “And the Lord rained upon Sodom and Gomorrah sulphur, and fire from heaven from the Lord.“” (The Treatises of Cyprian, Treatise XII. Three Books of Testimonies Against the Jews. Third Book., Testimonies., 33.)
St. Dionysus of Rome (c. 262 A.D. Bishop)
St. Dionysus of Alexandria
[First discussing the heresy of Monarchianism] “Next, then, I may properly turn to those who divide and cut apart and destroy the Monarchy [of God], the most sacred proclamation of the Church of God, making of it, as it were, three powers, distinct substances, and three godheads. I have heard that some of your catechists and teachers of the divine word take the lead in this tenet. They are, so to speak, diametrically opposed to the opinion of Sabellius. For he, in his BLASPHEMY, says that the Son IS the Father, and vice versa. But they proclaim that there are in some way THREE GODS, when they divide the Sacred unity into three substances foreign to each other and completely separate.
“It is necessary, however, that the Divine Word [Jesus Christ] be UNITED WITH THE GOD OF THE UNIVERSE; AND THE HOLY SPIRIT MUST ABIDE AND DWELL IN GOD. THEREFORE THE DIVINE TRINITY must be gathered up and brought TOGETHER IN ONE, a Summit, as it were — I mean, the OMNIPOTENT GOD OF THE UNIVERSE….
[Now referring to the pre-existent form of the Arian heresy, which was before even the heretic Arius] “Nor are they less to be blamed who hold that the Son is a [created] work, and think that the Lord was MADE, as if He were ONE OF THOSE THINGS WHICH WERE TRULY MADE. The divine statements bear witness to a generation suitable and becoming to Him, BUT NOT TO ANY FASHIONING OR MAKING.
“It is BLASPHEMY, then, and not a common one BUT THE WORST, to say that THE LORD IS IN ANY WAY A [created] HANDIWORK. For if He came to be Son, then once He was not; but if, as He says Himself, He be IN the Father, and if, which you know the Divine Scripture says, Christ be Word and Wisdom and Power, and these attributes be powers of GOD, THEN HE ALWAYS EXISTED. But if the Son CAME INTO BEING, there was a time when these attributes DID NOT EXIST; and, consequently, there was a time when GOD was without them — WHICH IS UTTERLY ABSURD….”
“Neither, then, may we divide into THREE godheads the wonderful and divine Unity; nor may we disparage the dignity and exceeding majesty of the Lord by calling Him a [created] work. Rather, we must believe in GOD, the Father Almighty; and in Christ Jesus, His Son; and in the Holy Spirit; and that the WORD IS UNITED TO THE GOD OF THE UNIVERSE. ‘For,’ says He, ‘THE FATHER AND I ARE ONE‘ and ‘I AM IN THE FATHER, AND THE FATHER IN ME.’ Thus both the Divine Trinity and the sacred proclamation of the monarchy will be preserved.” (Dionysius of Rome to Dionysius of Alexandria 1-3)
OTHER EARLY DOCUMENTS TESTIFYING TO THE NATURE OF THE TRINITY AND THE DEITY OF CHRIST The Huleatt Manuscript (50 A.D): “She poured it [the perfume] over his [Jesus’] hair when he sat at the table. But, when the disciples saw it, they were indignant. . . . God, aware of this, said to them: ‘Why do you trouble this woman? She has done [a beautiful thing for me.] . . . Then one of the Twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priest and said, ‘What will you give me for my work?’ [Matt. 26:7-15]” (Huleatt fragments 1-3). [Christ clearly called God here!] Letter of Barnabas (74 A.D): “And further, my brethren, if the Lord [Jesus] endured to suffer for our soul, he being the Lord of all the world, to whom God said at the foundation of the world, ‘Let us make man after our image, and after our likeness,’ understand how it was that he endured to suffer at the hand of men“ (Letter of Barnabas 5).
Shepherd of Hermas (80 A.D): “The Son of God is older than all his creation, so that he became the Father’s adviser in his creation. Therefore also he is ancient” (The Shepherd 12). [Son of God acknowledged as Creator!]
Constitutions of the Holy Apostles : “To Him did Moses bear witness, and said: “The Lord received fire from the Lord, and rained it down.” Him did Jacob see as a man, and said: “I have seen God face to face, and my soul is preserved.” Him did Abraham entertain, and acknowledge to be the Judge, and his Lord.” (Constitutions of the Holy Apostles, Book V. XX) “the divine Scripture testifies that God said to Christ, His only-begotten, “Let us make man after our image, and after our likeness. And God made man: after the image of God made He him; male and female made He them.“(Constitutions of the Holy Apostles, Book V., VII)
The assertions by heretics and other unbelievers regarding the Fathers of the Church and other writings and documents prove clearly that belief in the Trinity and the Deity of Christ was clearly an Apostolic and orthodox doctrine. Therefore, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Muslims and all such heretics and unbelievers are bearing false witness and have damned themselves further for their unbelief and refusal to repent from denying Christ.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. Both now and forever, and unto the ages upon ages. Amen.
Δόξα Πατρὶ καὶ Υἱῷ καὶ Ἁγίῳ Πνεύματι,
καὶ νῦν καὶ ἀεὶ καὶ εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας τῶν αἰώνων. Ἀμήν. (Greek)
ل مجد ل لآب والاب ن وال روح ال قدس،
والآ ن وك ل أوان وإل ى دهر ال داهري ن . آم ين (Arabic)
פאר האב והבן ורוח הקודש ,
ו מעתה ועד עולם ואל הגילאים הגילאים . אמן . (Hebrew)
Слава Отцу и Сыну и Святому Духу, И ныне и присно и во веки веков. Аминь. (Russian)
Gloire au Père et du Fils et du Saint Esprit, Et maintenant et toujours et aux siècles des siècles. Amen. (French)
Gloria al Padre y al Hijo y Espíritu Santo, Y ahora y para siempre y por los siglos de los siglos. Amén. (Spanish)
父と子と聖霊に栄光、 そして今と永遠歳の年齢層に至る。アーメン。 (Japanese)
아버지이자 아들아및 성령이에 영광을 그리고 이제 토록및 연령대의 나이 하려. 아멘. (Korean)
Kemuliaan kepada Bapa dan Anak dan Roh Kudus, Dan sekarang dan selamanya dan sampai usia usia. Amin. (Indonesian)
اف تخار ب ه پ در و پ سر و روح ال قدس ،
و حا لا و ب رای هم ي شه و ب ه ن زد سن سن . آم ين . (Persian)
พระสิริกับพระบิดาและพระบุตรทรงการพระวิญญาณบริสุทธิ์ทรง, และตอนการตลอดกาลและจงทุกวัยที่มีอายุ อาเมน (Thai)
पऩता और ऩुत्र और ऩपित्र आत्मा की जय, और अब और हमेशा के लऱए और उम्र की उम्र के इधार. आमीन. (Hindi)
Baba ve Oğul ve Kutsal Ruh şan, Şimdi ve sonsuza dek ve yaşlanma hızı yaşlar yanına. Amin. (Turkish)
EARNESTLY CONTENDING FOR THE FAITH WHICH WAS ONCE DELIVERED UNTO THE SAINTS. (JUDE 1:3)