Early church fathers, their writings: Goshen
Watchtower & Anti-Nicene Fathers
THE WATCHTOWER AND THE ANTE-NICENE CHURCH FATHERS
by Michael J. Partyka
From the Watchtower web pages listed above, we find the following quotes which will then be compared with the actual quotes of the Ante-Nicene Fathers afterwards! At the end of this review, Mr. Partyka will give a summary report on his findings comparing what is written by the Watchtower, and what was actually written by the Anti-Nicene Fathers themselves.
The Watchtower writes:
Jesus himself said: “Eternal life is this: to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” So our entire future hinges on our knowing the true nature of God, and that means getting to the root of the Trinity controversy.
Various Trinitarian concepts exist. But generally the Trinity teaching is that in the Godhead there are three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; yet, together they are but one God. The doctrine says that the three are coequal, almighty, and uncreated, having existed eternally in the Godhead.
If the Trinity is true, it is degrading to Jesus to say that he was never equal to God as part of a Godhead. But if the Trinity is false, it is degrading to Almighty God to call anyone his equal. If the Trinity is false, it dishonors God to say, “We worship one God in Trinity.”
The ante-Nicene Fathers were acknowledged to have been leading religious teachers in the early centuries after Christ's birth. What they taught is of interest.
Justin Martyr, who died about 165 C.E., called the prehuman Jesus a created angel who is “other than the God who made all things.” He said that Jesus was inferior to God and “never did anything except what the Creator…willed him to do and say.”
Irenaeus, who died about 200 C.E., said that the prehuman Jesus had a separate existence from God and was inferior to him. He showed that Jesus is not equal to the “One true and only God,” who is “supreme over all, and besides whom there is no other.”
Clement of Alexandria, who died about 215 C.E., called Jesus in his prehuman existence “a creature” but called God “the uncreated and imperishable and only true God.” He said that the Son “is next to the only omnipotent Father” but not equal to him.
Tertullian, who died about 230 C.E., taught the supremacy of God. He observed: “The Father is different from the Son (another), as he is greater; as he who begets is different from him who is begotten; he who sends, different from him who is sent.” He also said: “There was a time when the Son was not….Before all things, God was alone.” (The word “tri'as” appears in its Latin form of “trinitas” in Tertullian. While these words do translate to “Trinity,” this is no proof in itself that Tertullian taught the doctrine of the Trinity.)
Hippolytus, who died about 235 C.E., said that God is “the one God, the first and the only One, the Maker and Lord of all,” who “had nothing co-eval [of equal age] with him….But he was One, alone by himself; who, willing it, called into being what had no being before,” such as the created prehuman Jesus.
Origen, who died about 250 C.E., said that “the Father and Son are two substances…two things as to their essence,” and that “compared with the Father, [the Son] is a very small light.”
The testimony of history makes clear that the Trinity was unknown for several centuries after biblical times. Thus, those who believe in the Trinity are not “holding God in accurate knowledge.”
Soon, when God brings this present wicked system of things to its end, Trinitarian Christendom will be called to account. And she will be judged adversely for her God-dishonoring actions and doctrines. By honoring God as supreme and worshiping him on his terms, Jehovah's Witnesses can avoid the judgment that he will soon bring on apostate Christendom.
So says the Watchtower
Bible and Tract Society, the official organization of the Jehovah's Witnesses. Jehovah's Witnesses subscribe to Arianism
, a belief that Jesus Christ is not fully God (as the doctrine of the Trinity maintains) but is rather a created being, made of a different substance from that of the eternal, uncreated substance of God the Father.
While hopping around the Watchtower's official web site looking for articles supporting their rejection of the cross as a Christian symbol - Jehovah's Witnesses believe that Jesus was put to death on an upright torture stake, not a t-shaped cross - I stumbled across a series of pages (including the ones linked above) explaining the Jehovah's Witnesses' rejection of the Trinity. When I got to page three, I recall blinking several times furiously, because I literally couldn't believe what I was seeing: The Watchtower was actually quoting the early ante-Nicene Church Fathers, from Justin Martyr all the way to Origen, in an attempt to disprove that early Christians ever subscribed to the doctrine of the Trinity. Their final conclusion, as you can see for yourself, is an incredibly bold statement: “The testimony of history makes clear that the Trinity was unknown for several centuries after biblical times.”
Well, speaking as somebody who's actually read all or most of the extant writings of every single one of the ante-Nicene Church Fathers cited, I can tell you with absolute certainty that these ante-Nicene writers knew the doctrine of the Trinity - or at least some of its key tenets - very well. In fact, some of the very first apologetic defenses of the Trinity were written by these same Church Fathers!
So, not being one to let deliberate misinformation go by, I decided to take a look back through all I'd read before of the Fathers and see if I could find two things: (1) the source texts for the “anti-Trinity” quotes which the Watchtower used on its web site to support its anti-Trinity position, and (2) any evidence, preferably from the same texts used by the Watchtower, which would show each Church Father's support for the doctrine of the Trinity, or at least his support for that critical tenet of the Trinity doctrine which says that Jesus Christ is of the same substance as the Father (i.e., that Jesus is truly God).
Before getting into the material from the Fathers, however, I think it wise to say a little bit about the doctrine of the Trinity itself.
The Watchtower's basic definition of the Trinity doctrine is correct: “In the Godhead there are three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; yet, together they are but one God. The doctrine says that the three are coequal, almighty, and uncreated, having existed eternally in the Godhead.”
However, the Watchtower's presentation and interpretation of the Church Fathers' quotes communicate to the reader a couple of implicit misunderstandings about the Trinity doctrine and about the language of the Fathers. It's extremely important to clear up these misunderstandings before diving into the writings of the Fathers, lest we enter into our study with false impressions.
First, whenever the Watchtower finds evidence in the Fathers suggesting that Jesus is inferior or subordinate to God, they take this as proof that Jesus is therefore not coequal with the Father. On the surface, this conclusion seems appropriate - after all, how can one be inferior to another and yet be equal to him? But let's rephrase the question properly - how can one equal be inferior to another? Answer: Easily! Consider the common, everyday relationship between employer and employee. Both are human beings, so employer and employee are equal in respect to their basic nature. However, the employee is under the authority of the employer, which makes the employee inferior to the employer by way of position. This same distinction exists within the Godhead: The three persons of the Godhead are equal according to nature, but when it comes to position, God the Father is superior to God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.
Phil. 2:6-7 Although from the beginning He had the nature of God He did not reckon His equality with God a treasure to be tightly grasped. Nay, He stripped Himself of His glory, and took on Him the nature of a bondservant by becoming a man like other men. (WNT)
So, it must be understood when reading the Fathers that whenever the Church Fathers refer to Jesus as being inferior or subordinate to God, they are speaking in terms of position only, not of nature. This squares just fine with the doctrine of the Trinity, which only maintains that God the Father and Jesus are equal in nature.
Second, whenever the Watchtower finds a Church Father speaking of Jesus as a “creature,” the Watchtower immediately claims such a reference as a proof text for Jesus' being a created entity rather than an eternal person of the Godhead. Likewise, there are some rare instances, such as the quote from Origen about the Father and Son's being “two substances” or “two essences,” in which the Fathers seem to clearly indicate a created nature for Jesus rather than a full sharing in the eternal, uncreated substance of the Godhead. In these cases I must remind the reader that the Council of Nicea, in which Christendom made its definitive stand against Arianism, was still 100 to 200 years away at the time of the Ante-Nicene Fathers' writings. Consequently, the language of the Fathers was not always primed for battle against the claims of Arianism, for Arianism had yet to make the scene. In those days, the prevalent heresies dealt more with the issue of whether Christ was truly man, not whether he was truly God, and thus the language of the Fathers can get a bit “loose” at times concerning the deity of Christ. This is why the quotes of the Fathers must be taken in context with the whole of their writings, lest we take a couple of choice quotes from one particular missal here or there and mistakenly base our whole conception of a particular Father's views on that one unfortunate selection.
With all this in mind, I have tried to provide as much information as I could from each of the Fathers cited by the Watchtower, along with the appropriate citations in case the reader would like to go back and look for himself or herself at the original texts.
One last note before diving in: I would like to say that I believe the Watchtower has gotten it right with regard to how high the stakes are in this matter. As they have appropriately put it, “Our entire future hinges on our knowing the true nature of God, and that means getting to the root of the Trinity controversy. If the Trinity is true, it is degrading to Jesus to say that he was never equal to God as part of a Godhead. But if the Trinity is false, it is degrading to Almighty God to call anyone his equal. If the Trinity is false, it dishonors God to say, `We worship one God in Trinity.'”
Those who stand on the wrong side of the Trinity controversy will indeed “be called to account” and “will be judged adversely for her God-dishonoring actions and doctrines.” We must all strive to “avoid the judgment that God will soon bring on apostates.” It is with this warning in mind that I have prepared this collection of quotations.
Justin Martyr, who died about 165 C.E., called the prehuman Jesus a created angel who is “other than the God who made all things.” He said that Jesus was inferior to God and “never did anything except what the Creator…willed him to do and say.
“Moses, then, the blessed and faithful servant of God, declares that He who appeared to Abraham under the oak in Mamre is God, sent with the two angels in His company to judge Sodom by Another who remains ever in the supercelestial places, invisible to all men, holding personal intercourse with none, whom we believe to be Maker and Father of all things; for he speaks thus: `God appeared to him under the oak in Mamre….'…. I shall attempt to persuade you, since you have understood the Scriptures, [of the truth] of what I say, that there is, and that there is said to be, another God and Lord subject to the Maker of all things; who is also called an Angel, because He announces to men whatsoever the Maker of all things - above whom there is no other God - wishes to announce to them….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.…The Scripture just quoted by me will make this plain to you. It is thus: `The sun was risen on the earth, and Lot entered into Segor (Zoar); and the Lord rained on Sodom sulphur and fire from the Lord out of heaven, and overthrew these cities and all the neighbourhood.'…He is the Lord who received commission from the Lord who [remains] in the heavens, i.e., the Maker of all things, to inflict upon Sodom and Gomorrah the [judgments] which the Scripture describes in these terms: `The Lord rained down upon Sodom and Gomorrah sulphur and fire from the Lord out of heaven.'” (Dialogue with Trypho, Chapter 56)
Further Quotations from Justin Martyr:
“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…is Himself this God begotten of the Father of all things, and Word, and Wisdom, and Power, and the Glory of the Begetter....” (Dialogue with Trypho, Chapter 61)
“…this Offspring, which was truly brought forth from the Father, was with the Father before all the creatures, and the Father communed with Him; even as the Scripture by Solomon has made clear, that He whom Solomon calls Wisdom, was begotten as a Beginning before all His creatures and as Offspring by God….He [is] God, Son of the only, unbegotten, unutterable God.” (Dialogue with Trypho, Chapter 62)
“…you must not imagine that the unbegotten God Himself came down or went up from any place. For the ineffable Father and Lord of all neither has come to any place, nor walks, nor sleeps, nor rises up, but remains in His own place, wherever that is, quick to behold and quick to hear, having neither eyes nor ears, but being of indescribable might; and He sees all things, and knows all things, and none of us escapes His observation; and He is not moved or confined to a spot in the whole world, for He existed before the world was made. How, then, could He talk with any one, or be seen by any one, or appear on the smallest portion of the earth…? Therefore neither Abraham, nor Isaac, nor Jacob, nor any other man, saw the Father and ineffable Lord of all, and also of Christ, but [saw] Him who was according to His will His Son, being God, and the Angel because He ministered to His will; whom also it pleased Him to be born man by the Virgin; who also was fire when He conversed with Moses from the bush. Since, unless we thus comprehend the Scriptures, it must follow that the Father and Lord of all had not been in heaven when what Moses wrote took place: `And the Lord rained upon Sodom fire and brimstone from the Lord out of heaven;' and again, when it is thus said by David: `Lift up your gates, ye rulers; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting gates; and the King of glory shall enter;' and again, when He says: `The Lord says to my Lord, Sit at My right hand, till I make Thine enemies Thy footstool.'” (Dialogue with Trypho, Chapter 127)
“Christ [is] Lord, and God the Son of God,…appearing formerly in power as Man, and Angel, and in the glory of fire as at the bush….they call Him the Word, because He carries tidings from the Father to men: but maintain that this power is indivisible and inseparable from the Father, just as they say that the light of the sun on earth is indivisible and inseparable from the sun in the heavens; as when it sinks, the light sinks along with it; so the Father, when He chooses, say they, causes His power to spring forth, and when He chooses, He makes it return to Himself….And that this power which the prophetic word calls God, as has been also amply demonstrated, and Angel, is not numbered [as different] in name only like the light of the sun but is indeed something numerically distinct, I have discussed briefly in what has gone before; when I asserted that this power was begotten from the Father, by His power and will, but not by abscission, as if the essence of the Father were divided; as all other things partitioned and divided are not the same after as before they were divided: and, for the sake of example, I took the case of fires kindled from a fire, which we see to be distinct from it, and yet that from which many can be kindled is by no means made less, but remains the same.” (Dialogue with Trypho, Chapter 128)
“When Scripture says, `The Lord rained fire from the Lord out of heaven,' the prophetic word indicates that there were two in number: One upon the earth, who, it says, descended to behold the cry of Sodom; Another in heaven, who also is Lord of the Lord on earth, as He is Father and God; the cause of His power and of His being Lord and God. Again, when the Scripture records that God said in the beginning, `Behold, Adam has become like one of Us,' this phrase, `like one of Us,' is also indicative of number; and the words do not admit of a figurative meaning, as the sophists endeavour to affix on them, who are able neither to tell nor to understand the truth. And it is written in the book of Wisdom: `If I should tell you daily events, I would be mindful to enumerate them from the beginning. The Lord created me the beginning of His ways for His works. From everlasting He established me in the beginning, before He formed the earth, and before He made the depths, and before the springs of waters came forth, before the mountains were settled; He begets me before all the hills.'…the Scripture has declared that this Offspring was begotten by the Father before all things created; and that which is begotten is numerically distinct from that which begets, any one will admit.” (Dialogue with Trypho, Chapter 129)
Irenaeus, who died about 200 C.E., said that the prehuman Jesus had a separate existence from God and was inferior to him. He showed that Jesus is not equal to the “One true and only God,” who is “supreme over all, and besides whom there is no other.”
“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 sceptre of Thy kingdom is a right sceptre. 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
. And again: `God stood in the congregation of the gods, He judges among the gods.' He [here] refers to the Father and the Son, and those who have received the adoption; but these are the Church. For she is the synagogue of God, which God-that is, the Son Himself - has gathered by Himself. Of whom He again speaks: `The God of gods, the Lord hath spoken, and hath called the earth.' Who is meant by God? He of whom He has said, "God shall come openly, our God, and shall not keep silence;' that is, the Son
, who came manifested to men who said, `I have openly appeared to those who seek Me not.' But of what gods [does he speak]? [Of those] to whom He says, `I have said, Ye are gods, and all sons of the Most High.' To those, no doubt, who have received the grace of the `adoption, by which we cry, Abba Father.' Wherefore, as I have already stated, no other is named as God, or is called Lord, except Him who is God and Lord of all, who also said to Moses, `I AM That I AM
. And thus shalt thou say to the children of Israel: He who is, hath sent me unto you;' and His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who makes those that believe in His name the sons of God. And again, when the Son speaks to Moses, He says, `I am come down to deliver this people
.' For it is He who descended and ascended for the salvation of men. Therefore God has been declared through the Son, who is in the Father, and has the Father in Himself - He who is
, the Father bearing witness to the Son, and the Son announcing the Father.…
Wherefore I do also call upon thee, Lord God of Abraham, and God of Isaac, and God of Jacob and Israel, who art the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the God who, through the abundance of Thy mercy, hast had a favour towards us, that we should know Thee, who hast made heaven and earth, who rulest over all, who art the only and the true God, above whom there is none other God; grant, by our Lord Jesus Christ, the governing power of the Holy Spirit; give to every reader of this book to know Thee, that Thou art God alone, to be strengthened in Thee, and to avoid every heretical, and godless, and impious doctrine….it is clearly proved that neither the prophets nor the apostles did ever name another God, or call [him] Lord, except the true and only God….not one of created and subject things, shall ever be compared to the Word of God, by whom all things were made, who is our Lord Jesus Christ
. For that all things, whether Angels, or Archangels, or Thrones, or Dominions, were both established and created by Him who is God over all, through His Word, John has thus pointed out. For when he had spoken of the Word of God as having been in the Father, he added, `All things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made.' David also, when he had enumerated [His] praises, subjoins by name all things whatsoever I have mentioned, both the heavens and all the powers therein: `For He commanded, and they were created; He spake, and they were made.' Whom, therefore, did He command? The Word, no doubt, `by whom,' he says, `the heavens were established, and all their power by the breath of His mouth.' But that He did Himself make all things freely, and as He pleased, again David says, `But our God is in the heavens above, and in the earth; He hath made all things whatsoever He pleased.' But the things established are distinct from Him who has established them, and what have been made from Him who has made them. For He is Himself uncreated, both without beginning and end, and lacking nothing. He is Himself sufficient for Himself; and still further, He grants to all others this very thing, existence; but the things which have been made by Him have received a beginning. But whatever things had a beginning, and are liable to dissolution, and are subject to and stand in need of Him who made them, must necessarily in all respects have a different term [applied to them], even by those who have but a moderate capacity for discerning such things; 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.
This, therefore, having been clearly demonstrated here (and it shall yet be so still more clearly), that neither the prophets, nor the apostles, nor the Lord Christ in His own person, did acknowledge any other Lord or God, but the God and Lord supreme: the prophets and the apostles confessing the Father and the Son; but naming no other as God, and confessing no other as Lord: and the Lord Himself handing down to His disciples, that He, the Father, is the only God and Lord, who alone is God and ruler of all - it is incumbent on us to follow, if we are their disciples indeed, their testimonies to this effect….they who were the preachers of the truth and the apostles of liberty termed no one else God, or named him Lord, except the only true God the Father, and His Word, who has the pre-eminence in all things
….” (Against Heresies
“Impious indeed, beyond all impiety, are these men, who assert that the Maker of heaven and earth, the only God Almighty, besides whom there is no God, was produced by means of a defect….” (Against Heresies 1:16:3)
Further Quotations from Irenaeus:
“God stands in need of nothing…He created and made all things by His Word, while He neither required angels to assist Him in the production of those things which are made, nor of any power greatly inferior to Himself….But He Himself in Himself, after a fashion which we can neither describe nor conceive, predestinating all things, formed them as He pleased, bestowing harmony on all things, and assigning them their own place, and the beginning of their creation. In this way He conferred on spiritual things a spiritual and invisible nature, on super-celestial things a celestial, on angels an angelical, on animals an animal, on beings that swim a nature suited to the water, and on those that live on the land one fitted for the land - on all, in short, a nature suitable to the character of the life assigned them - while He formed all things that were made by His Word that never wearies. For this is a peculiarity of the pre-eminence of God, not to stand in need of other instruments for the creation of those things which are summoned into existence. His own Word is both suitable and sufficient for the formation of all things, even as John, the disciple of the Lord, declares regarding Him: `All things were made by Him, and without Him was nothing made.' Now, among the `all things' our world must be embraced. It too, therefore, was made by His Word, as Scripture tells us in the book of Genesis that He made all things connected with our world by His Word. David also expresses the same truth [when he says] `For He spake, and they were made; He commanded, and they were created.'…Moses…narrated the formation of the world in these words: `In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth,' and all other things in succession; but neither gods nor angels [had any share in the work].'” (Against Heresies 2:2:4-5)
“Matthew says that the Magi, coming from the east, exclaimed, `For we have seen His star in the east, and are come to worship Him;' and that, having been led by the star into the house of Jacob to Emmanuel, they showed, by these gifts which they offered, who it was that was worshipped; myrrh, because it was He who should die and be buried for the mortal human met; gold, because He was a King, `of whose kingdom is no end;' and frankincense, because He was God, who also `was made known in Judea,' and was `declared to those who sought Him not.'” (Against Heresies 3:9:2)
“…the Word of God - who is the Saviour of all, and the ruler of heaven and earth, who is Jesus, as I have already pointed out, who did also take upon Him flesh, and was anointed by the Spirit from the Father - was made Jesus Christ….For inasmuch as the Word of God was man from the root of Jesse, and son of Abraham, in this respect did the Spirit of God rest upon Him, and anoint Him to preach the Gospel to the lowly. But inasmuch as He was God, He did not judge according to glory, nor reprove after the manner of speech.” (Against Heresies 3:9:3)
“Thus, then, was the Word of God made man, as also Moses says: `God, true are His works.' But if, not having been made flesh, He did appear as if flesh, His work was not a true one. But what He did appear, that He also was: God recapitulated in Himself the ancient formation of man, that He might kill sin, deprive death of its power, and vivify man; and therefore His works are true.” (Against Heresies 3:28:7)
“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. But that He had, beyond all others, in Himself that pre-eminent birth which is from the Most High Father, and also experienced that pre-eminent generation which is from the Virgin, the divine Scriptures do in both respects testify of Him: also, that He was a man without comeliness, and liable to suffering; that He sat upon the foal of an ass; that He received for drink, vinegar and gall; that He was despised among the people, and humbled Himself even to death and that He is the holy Lord, the Wonderful, the Counsellor, the Beautiful in appearance, and the Mighty God, coming on the clouds as the Judge of all men - all these things did the Scriptures prophesy of Him. For as He became man in order to undergo temptation, so also was He the Word that He might be glorified; the Word remaining quiescent, that He might be capable of being tempted, dishonoured, crucified, and of suffering death, but the human nature being swallowed up in it (the divine), when it conquered, and endured [without yielding], and performed acts of kindness, and rose again, and was received up [into heaven]. He therefore, the Son of God, our Lord, being the Word of the Father, and the Son of man, since He had a generation as to His human nature from Mary - who was descended from mankind, and who was herself a human being - was made the Son of man. Wherefore also the Lord Himself gave us a sign, in the depth below, and in the height above, which man did not ask for, because he never expected that a virgin could conceive, or that it was possible that one remaining a virgin could bring forth a son, and that what was thus born should be `God with us.'…” (Against Heresies 3:19:2-3)
“And that it is from that region which is towards the south of the inheritance of Judah that the Son of God shall come, who is God
, and who was from Bethlehem, where the Lord was born [and] will send out His praise through all the earth, thus says the prophet Habakkuk: `God shall come from the south, and the Holy One from Mount, Effrem. His power covered the heavens over, and the earth is full of His praise. Before His face shall go forth the Word, and His feet shall advance in the plains.' Thus he indicates in clear terms that He is God, and that His advent was [to take place] in Bethlehem
, and from Mount Effrem, which is towards the south of the inheritance, and that [He is] man. For he says, `His feet shall advance in the plains,' and this is an indication proper to man. God, then, was made man
, and the Lord did Himself save us, giving us the token of the Virgin.” (Against Heresies 3:20:4)
“…He received testimony from all that He was very man, and that He was very God, from the Father, from the Spirit, from angels, from the creation itself, from men, from apostate spirits and demons, from the enemy, and last of all, from death itself.” (Against Heresies 4:6:7)
“For the Son, who is the Word of God, arranged these things beforehand from the beginning, the Father being in no want of angels, in order that He might call the creation into being, and form man, for whom also the creation was made; nor, again, standing in need of any instrumentality for the framing of created things, or for the ordering of those things which had reference to man; while, [at the same time, ] He has a vast and unspeakable number of servants. For His offspring and His similitude do minister to Him in every respect; that is, the Son and the Holy Spirit, the Word and Wisdom; whom all the angels serve, and to whom they are subject.” (Against Heresies 4:7:4)
“For the true God did confess the commandment of the law as the word of God, and called no one else God besides His own Father.” (Against Heresies 4:9:3)
“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….'” (Against Heresies 4:20:1)
“I have also largely demonstrated, that the Word, namely the Son, was always with the Father
; and that Wisdom also, which is the Spirit
, was present with Him
, anterior to all creation, He declares by Solomon: `God by Wisdom founded the earth, and by understanding hath He established the heaven. By His knowledge the depths burst forth, and the clouds dropped down the dew.' And again: `The Lord created me the beginning of His ways in His work: He set me up from everlasting, in the beginning, before He made the earth, before He established the depths, and before the fountains of waters gushed forth; before the mountains were made strong, and before all the hills, He brought me forth.' And again: `When He prepared the heaven, I was with Him, and when He established the fountains of the deep; when He made the foundations of the earth strong, I was with Him preparing [them]. I was He in whom He rejoiced, and throughout all time I was daily glad before His face, when He rejoiced at the completion of the world, and was delighted in the sons of men.' There is therefore one God, who by the Word and Wisdom created and arranged all things….” (Against Heresies 4:20:3-4)
“Now this is His Word, our Lord Jesus Christ, who in the last times was made a man among men, that He might join the end to the beginning, that is, man to God. 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, should confer with them, and should be present with His own creation, saving it, and becoming capable of being perceived by it and freeing us from the hands of all that hate us, that is, from every spirit of wickedness; and causing us to serve Him in holiness and righteousness all our days, in order that man, having embraced the Spirit of God, might pass into the glory of the Father….” (Against Heresies 4:20:4)
“…the Lord thus has redeemed us through His own blood, giving His soul for our souls, and His flesh for our flesh, and has also poured out the Spirit of the Father for the union and communion of God and man, imparting indeed God to men by means of the Spirit, and, on the other hand, attaching man to God by His own incarnation, and bestowing upon us at His coming immortality durably and truly, by means of communion with God….” (Against Heresies 5:1:1)
“Therefore, by remitting sins, He did indeed heal man, while He also manifested Himself who He was. For if no one can forgive sins but God alone, while the Lord remitted them and healed men, it is plain that He was Himself the Word of God made the Son of man, receiving from the Father the power of remission of sins; since He was man, and since He was God, in order that since as man He suffered for us, so as God He might have compassion on us, and forgive us our debts, in which we were made debtors to God our Creator.” (Against Heresies 5:17:3)
“And thus one God the Father is declared, who is above all, and through all, and in all. The Father is indeed above all, and He is the Head of Christ; but the Word is through all things, and is Himself the Head of the Church; while the Spirit is in us all, and He is the living water, which the Lord grants to those who rightly believe in Him, and love Him, and who know that `there is one Father, who is above all, and through all, and in us all.' And to these things does John also, the disciple of the Lord, bear witness, when he speaks thus in the Gospel: `In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. This was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him, and without Him was nothing made.' And then he said of the Word Himself: `He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not. To His own things He came, and His own people received Him not. However, as many as did receive Him, to these gave He power to become the sons of God, to those that believe in His name.' And again, showing the dispensation with regard to His human nature, John said: `And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.' And in continuation he says, `And we beheld His glory, the glory as of the Only-begotten by the Father, full of grace and truth.' He thus plainly points out to those willing to hear, that is, to those having ears, that there is one God, the Father over all, and one Word of God, who is through all, by whom all things have been made; and that this world belongs to Him, and was made by Him, according to the Father's will, and not by angels….For the Creator of the world is truly the Word of God: and this is our Lord, who in the last times was made man, existing in this world, and who in an invisible manner contains all things created, and is inherent in the entire creation, since the Word of God governs and arranges all things; and therefore He came to His own in a visible manner, and was made flesh, and hung upon the tree, that He might sum up all things in Himself….For it is He who has power from the Father over all things, since He is the Word of God, and very man, communicating with invisible beings after the manner of the intellect, and appointing a law observable to the outward senses, that all things should continue each in its own order; and He reigns manifestly over things visible and pertaining to men; and brings in just judgment and worthy upon all; as David also, clearly pointing to this, says, `Our God shall openly come, and will not keep silence.'” (Against Heresies 5:18:2-3)
“The sacred books acknowledge with regard to Christ, that as He is the Son of man, so is the same Being not a [mere] man; and as He is flesh, so is He also spirit, and the Word of God, and God.” (Fragment 52)
“With regard to Christ, the law and the prophets and the evangelists have proclaimed that He was born of a virgin, that He suffered upon a beam of wood, and that He appeared from the dead; that He also ascended to the heavens, and was glorified by the Father, and is the Eternal King; that He is the perfect Intelligence, the Word of God, who was begotten before the light; that He was the Founder of the universe, along with it (light), and the Maker of man; that He is All in all: Patriarch among the patriarchs; Law in the laws; Chief Priest among priests; Ruler among kings; the Prophet among prophets; the Angel among angels; the Man among men; Son in the Father; God in God; King to all eternity. For it is He who sailed [in the ark] along with Noah, and who guided Abraham; who was bound along with Isaac, and was a Wanderer with Jacob; the Shepherd of those who are saved, and the Bridegroom of the Church; the Chief also of the cherubim, the Prince of the angelic powers; God of God; Son of the Father; Jesus Christ; King for ever and ever. Amen.” (Fragment 53)
“Hither the prophets…were made heralds of the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, announcing that…He would be, according to the flesh, son of David…while, according to the Spirit, Son of God, being at first with the Father, born before all creation….” (On the Apostolic Preaching 1:2:30)
“…He is the Word of God Almighty, who invisibly pervades the whole creation, and encompasses its length, breadth, height, and depth - for by the Word of God everything is administered….” (On the Apostolic Preaching 1:3:31)
“Therefore, the Father is Lord and the Son is Lord, and the Father is God and the Son is God, since he who is born of God is God, and in this way, according to His being and power and essence, one God is demonstrated: but according to the economy of our salvation, there is both Father and Son….” (On the Apostolic Preaching 2:1:47)
“…the Son, as He is God, receives from the Father, that is, from God, the throne of the everlasting kingdom….” (On the Apostolic Preaching 2:1:47)
“…He is…confessed and believed to be the Son of God and King…for when He was raised, then He was glorified as God.” (On the Apostolic Preaching 2:2:61)