Default Feature Image for Post

Another look at Church History: Trinity

The Word “Trinity” is not found in the Bible but its Truth is.

Check these out:

Ignatius of Antioch, A.D. 110

Our God, Jesus Christ, was, according to the appointment of God, conceived in the womb by Mary, of the seed of David, but by the Holy Spirit. (Letter to the Ephesians 18)

Ignatius … to the church of God the Most High Father and his beloved Son, Jesus Christ, … I glorify God, even Jesus Christ, who has given you such wisdom … (Letter to the Smyrneans intro-ch. 1)

Anonymous, Letter to Diognetus, A.D. 80 – 130

This is he who was from the beginning, who appeared as if new, and was found old, and yet who is ever born afresh in the hearts of the saints. This is he who, being from everlasting, is today called the Son. (Letter to Diognetus 11)

Justin Martyr, c. A.D. 150

“No one knows the Father but the Son, nor the Son but the Father, and those to whom the Son will reveal him” [Matt. 21:27]. The Jews, accordingly, being are throughout of the opinion that it was the Father of the universe who spoke to Moses [in the burning bush], though the One who spoke to him was the Son of God. … They are justly charged, both by the Spirit of Prophecy and by Christ himself, with knowing neither the Father nor the Son. Those who affirm that the Son is the Father are proven neither to be acquainted with the Father nor to know that the Father has a Son. The Son, being the first-begotten Word of God, is God. Of old he appeared in the shape of and in the likeness of an angel to Moses and other prophets, but now in the time of your reign [i.e., during the Roman empire] … he became man by a virgin … for the salvation of those who believe in him. (First Apology 63).

There is then brought to the president of the brethren [I think this refers to whoever is presiding at a meeting, but no one knows for certain] bread and a cup of wine mixed with water. He takes them, gives praise and glory to the Father of the universe through the name of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and offers thanks at considerable length for our being counted worthy to receive these things at his hands. (First Apology 65)

Leningrad Codex of the Hebrew Scriptures
Leningrad Codex
For all things with which we are supplied, we bless the Maker of all through his Son Jesus Christ and through the Holy Spirit. (First Apology 67)

But to the Father of all, who is unbegotten, there is no name given. .. And His Son, who alone is properly called Son, the Word who also was with him and was begotten before the works, when at first He created and arranged all things by Him, is called Christ, in reference to His being anointed and God’s ordering all things through him. (Second Apology 6)

Our Saviour Jesus Christ … being the Word of God, inseparable from Him in power, having assumed [the form of] man, who had been made in the image and likeness of God, restored to us the knowledge of the religion of our ancient forefathers. (Hortatory Address to the Greeks 38)

Permit me first to recount the prophecies, which I wish to do in order to prove that Christ is called both God and Lord of hosts and Jacob in parable by the Holy Spirit. (Dialogue with Trypho 36)

Jesus is not created but is the Creator.

Hermas, A.D. 161

The Son of God is older than all his creatures, so that he was a fellow councilor with the Father in his work of creation. (Shepherd of Hermas III:9:12)

Tatian, c. A.D. 165

God was in the beginning, but the beginning, we have been taught, is the power of the Logos. For the Lord of the universe … since no creature was yet in existence, was alone. But, since he is all power, himself the necessary ground of things visible and invisible, with him were all things. With him, by Logos-power, the Logos Himself … subsists. By His simple will the Logos springs forth; and the Logos … becomes the first-begotten work of the Father.
Him we know to be the beginning of the world. But He came into being by participation, not by abscission [cutting off]. For what is cut off is separated from the original substance, but that which comes by participation … does not render him deficient from whom it is taken.

Theophilus, A.D. 168

You will say … to me: “You said that God cannot to be contained in one place; how do you now say that he walked in Paradise?”
Hear what I say: The God and Father of all truly cannot be contained, and is not found, in a place … but his Word, through whom he made all things, being his power and his wisdom, assuming the person of the Father and Lord of all, went to the garden in the person of God and conversed with Adam.
For the divine writing itself teaches us that Adam said that he had heard the voice. What else is this voice but the Word of God, who is also his Son? [He is] not [a son] in the way the poets and writers of myths speak of sons of gods begotten from intercourse, but as truth expounds, the Word, who always exists, residing within the heart of God. For before anything came into being [God] had him as a counselor, being his own mind and thought.
But when God wished to make all that he determined, he begot this Word, uttered, the firstborn of all creation, not himself being emptied of the Word [or Reason], but having begotten Reason, and always conversing with his Reason.
And this is what the holy writings teach us, as well as all the Spirit-bearing men, one of whom, John, says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God” [Jn. 1:1], showing that at first God was alone, and the Word in him. Then he says, “The Word was God; all things came into existence through him, and apart from him not one thing came into existence.”
The Word, then, being God, and being naturally produced from God, then whenever the Father of the universe wills, he sends him anywhere, and he is both heard and seen, being sent by Him, and is found in a place. (To Autolycus II:22)

Athenagoras, c. A.D. 177

We acknowledge … a Son of God. Don’t let anyone think it ridiculous that God should have a Son. … The Son of God is the Logos of the Father … He is the first product of the Father, not as though he was being brought into existence, for from the beginning God, who is the eternal Mind, had the Logos in himself. (A Plea for the Christians 10)

We acknowledge a God, and a Son, his Logos, and a Holy Spirit, united in essence—the Father, the Son, the Spirit—because the Son is the Intelligence, Reason, and Wisdom of the Father, and the Spirit an effluence, as light from fire. (A Plea for the Christians 24)

Irenaeus, A.D. 183 – 186

Learn then, foolish men [i.e., the gnostics], that Jesus who suffered for us, and who dwelt among us, is himself the Word of God. … He, the only-begotten Son of the only God, who, according to the good pleasure of the Father, became flesh for the sake of men. (Against Heresies I:9:3)

[The Gospel] according to John relates [Jesus Christ’s] original, effectual, and glorious generation from the Father, thus declaring, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” [John 1:1]. (Against Heresies III:11:8)

How is Christ the end of the Law if he is not also the final cause of it? For he who has brought in the end himself also made the beginning. And it is he who says to Moses, “I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt, and I have come down to deliver them” [Ex. 3:7-8]. It was customary from the beginning for the Word of God to ascend and descend for the purpose of saving those who were in affliction. (Against Heresies IV:12:4)

Clement of Alexandria, c. A.D. 190

Though despised as to appearance, [Jesus] was in reality adored, the expiator of sin, the Savior, the clement, the Divine Word; he that is truly most apparently Deity. He is made equal to the Lord of the universe because he was his Son, and the Word was in God. (Exhortation to the Heathen 10)

The Lord is the hierophant [interpreter of sacred mysteries] and seals while illuminating him who is initiated. He presents to the Father him who believes to be kept safe for ever. Such are the reveries of my mysteries. If it is your wish, be also initiated, and you shall join the choir along with angels around the unbegotten and indestructible and the only true God, the Word of God, raising the hymn with us. This Jesus, who is eternal, the one great High Priest of the one God, and of His Father, prays for and exhorts men. (Exhortation to the Heathen 12)

Hippolytus, c. AD 225

These things then, brothers, are declared by the Scriptures. And the blessed John, in the testimony of his Gospel, gives us an account of this economy [the “order” or “plan”] and acknowledges this Word as God, when he says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” [Jn. 1:1]. If, then, the Word was with God, and was also God, what follows? Would one say that he speaks of two Gods? I shall not indeed speak of two Gods, but of one; of two Persons however, and of a third economy, viz., the grace of the Holy Spirit. For the Father indeed is One, but there are two Persons, because there is also the Son; and then there is the third, the Holy Spirit. The Father decrees, the Word executes, and the Son is revealed, through whom the Father is believed on. The economy of harmony is led back to one God; for God is One. It is the Father who commands, and the Son who obeys, and the Holy Spirit who gives understanding: the Father who is above all, and the Son who is through all, and the Holy Spirit who is in all. And we cannot otherwise think of one God, but by believing in truth in Father and Son and Holy Spirit. … The FatherÕs Word, therefore, knowing the economy and the will of the Father, to wit, that the Father seeks to be worshipped in none other way than this, gave this charge to the disciples after He rose from the dead: “Go, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” [Matt. 28:19]. And by this He showed, that whosoever omitted any one of these, failed in glorifying God perfectly. For it is through this Trinity that the Father is glorified. For the Father willed, the Son did, the Spirit manifested. (“Against the Heresy of One Noetus.” par. 14. In Ante-Nicene Fathers. Vol. V. American Ed. Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1885.)

Eusebius, c. A.D. 325

Whoever then defines the Son as made of things that are not, and as a creature produced from nothing pre-existing, forgets that while he concedes the name of Son, he denies him to be a Son in reality. For he that is made of nothing, cannot truly be the Son of God, any more than the other things which have been made; but the true Son of God, forasmuch as he is begotten of the Father, is properly denominated the only-begotten and beloved of the Father. For this reason also, he himself is God;… (cited in Ecclesiastical History of Socrates Scholasticus II:21)

Athanasius, A.D. 325 – 370

We believe in one Unbegotten God, Father Almighty, maker of all things both visible and invisible, that hath His being from Himself. And in one Only-begotten Word, Wisdom, Son, begotten of the Father without beginning and eternally … We believe, likewise, also in the Holy Spirit that searcheth all things, even the deep things of God … But just as a river, produced from a well, is not separate, and yet there are in fact two visible objects and two names. For neither is the Father the Son, nor the Son the Father. For the Father is Father of the Son, and the Son, Son of the Father. For like as the well is not a river, nor the river a well, but both are one and the same water which is conveyed in a channel from the well to the river, so the FatherÕs deity passes into the Son without flow and without division. For the Lord says, ‘I came out from the Father and am come’ (Joh. xvi. 28). But He is ever with the Father, for He is in the bosom of the Father, nor was ever the bosom of the Father void of the deity of the Son. … But we do not regard God the Creator of all, the Son of God, as a creature, or thing made, or as made out of nothing, for He is truly existent from Him who exists, alone existing from Him who alone exists, in as much as the like glory and power was eternally and conjointly begotten of the Father. (“Statement of Faith” 1-2. Found in Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers. Series 2, Vol. 204.)

‘If “through him all things were made” [Jn. 1:3], and he too is a creature, he would be the creator of himself! And how can what is being created create? Or he that is creating be created?’ (Synodal Letter to the Bishops of Africa 4)

“No Christian can have a doubtful mind on the point that our faith is not in the creature, but in one God, Father Almighty, Maker of all things visible and invisible; and in one Lord, Jesus Christ, his only-begotten Son, and in one Holy Spirit; one God, known in the holy and perfect Trinity, baptized into which, and in it united to deity, we believe that we have also inherited the kingdom of the heavens, in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Synodal Letter to the Bishops of Africa 11)

Similar Posts