Early Church Evidence For the Trinity
A survey of what the early church actually taught

By Greg Thornberg
 
Some of the greatest opponents to the biblical view of Christ's are Jehovah's Witnesses.  One of their claims is that the divine nature of Christ and the Trinity Doctrine are not found in Scripture. Further, they also claim that the early church did not hold such views of Christ. Below is a quote from one of their publications claiming to quote the early church leaders (pre-325 A.D.) on the nature of Christ.  Below that are proofs that Jehovah's Witnesses are lying.
 
You read and decide.

 

Argument:

The ideas expressed in Trinitarian doctrine were “unkown throughout Biblical times and for several centuries thereafter.”

 

The JW Claim
    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 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."
    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 not 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."
    Summing up the historical evidence, Alvan Lamson says in The Church of the First Three Centuries:  "The modern popular doctrine of the Trinity...derives no support from the language of Justin [Martyr]: and this observation may be extended to all the ante-Nicene Father; that is, to all Christian writers for three centuries after the birth of Christ.  It is true, they speak of the Father, Son and...holy Spirit, but not as co-equal, not as one numerical essence, not as Three in One, in any sense now admitted by Trinitarians.  The very reverse is the fact."
    Thus, The testimony of the Bible and of history makes clear that the Trinity was unknown throughout Biblical times and for several centuries thereafter.

(Quote From:  Should You Believe in the Trinity? p. 7)

Response:

The historical assertions and quotations offered by the Witness are entirely false.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now I have proved at length that Christ is called God.
Justin Martyr

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Word of Wisdom, who is Himself this God begotten of the Father of all things...
Justin Martyr

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For the former gave them a temporary inheritance, seeing he was neither Christ who is God...
Justin Martyr

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

...Christ being Lord, and God the Son of God...
Justin Martyr

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

He was the beginning; "and the Word was God," of course, for that which is begotten of God is God.
Irenaeus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

God, then, was made man, and the Lord did Himself save us, giving us the token of the Virgin.
Irenaeus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

...since He [the Word] 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...”
Irenaeus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

...He that is made equal to the Lord of the universe; because He was His Son...
Clement of Alexandria

 

 

Getting to the Truth
In what seems to be an impossibly insurmountable pile of evidence, the Witness leaves almost anyone unfamiliar with the early Church with the impression that Trinitarian beliefs didn't arise until much later in the Church's history.  The argument is this: if the early Church, that is, those directly taught by the apostles and others who knew them, if these did not teach Christ and the Holy Spirit as being God, true Christians should not believe in this doctrine.  It could, in fact, lead us to this very conclusion if it were not for the fact that (1) the historical assertions of the Witness about the early Church teachings are entirely false and (2) one can draw from Scripture the very doctrines preserved within the Trinitarian doctrine itself. Below are several dozens of quotes (over 100) from the very Church fathers the Witness claims to have contrary teachings.  What we find is that these early believers are not subtly in agreement with Trinitarian teaching, but most explicitly so.
 
Our Approach Versus the Witness Approach

It is suspicious from the beginning that the Should You Believe in the Trinity brochure completely lacks footnotes. How is anyone to check on these resources if they do not know from where they are?  In our presentation of the early church, we have provided both quotes and the entire writings of those early leaders mentioned by the Witness. In this way, not only is the reader able to read individual quotes, but they may also view these quotes within their actual context so as to ensure the reader that we have conducted this research with complete thoroughness and accuracy. 

 

While the claims made by the Witness are so spectacular that one may be tempted to believe them, I am certain that you will take no other view than the response you are about to read. So what did each of these early Church leaders have to say?

Justin Martyr
According to the Witness

      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."

What does Justin Martyr really say about Jesus?  Within his writings we find several references in near Nicene Council format.  Christ is affirmed to be God[1] but a person separate from the Father.[2] And this not just once or twice, but in several places.  One need only read Justin Martyr's Dialogue with Trypho to read nearly two dozen such assertions about the nature of Christ.  It could possibly be argued that the primary thesis of this letter is proof of Christ's deity.  The following is an large list of quotes but well worth the reading for anyone wishing to know the depth of evidence stacked against the Witnesses on this point.

First Apology of Justin Martyr

SEE THIS IN ITS CONTEXT
And when we say also that the Word, who is the first-birth of God...
SEE THIS IN ITS CONTEXT
And hear again how Isaiah in express words foretold that He should be born of a virgin; for he spoke thus: "Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bring forth a son, and they shall say for His name, 'God with us.' "
SEE THIS IN ITS CONTEXT
...the Father of the universe has a Son; who also, being the first-begotten Word of God, is even God.
SEE THIS IN ITS CONTEXT
And of old He [Jesus] appeared in the shape of fire and in the likeness of an angel to Moses...[and] 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"...

Second Apology of Justin Martyr

SEE THIS IN ITS CONTEXT
"...we worship and love the Word who is from the unbegotten and ineffable God" (Emphasis added)

Justin Martyr Dialogue with Trypho

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I shall come to these proofs which you seek in the fitting place; but now you will 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...
 
SEE THIS IN ITS CONTEXT
"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. Sing ye to our God, sing ye: sing to our King, sing ye; for God is King of all the earth: sing with understanding. God has ruled over the nations. God sits upon His holy throne. The rulers of the nations were assembled along with the God of Abraham, for the strong ones of God are greatly exalted on the earth.'
 
SEE THIS IN ITS CONTEXT
For when you say that this Christ existed as God before the ages, then that He submitted to be born and become man, yet that He is not man of man, this [assertion] appears to me to be not merely paradoxical, but also foolish.

SEE THIS IN ITS CONTEXT
I shall endeavour 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. [Note: At this point we can see that Trinitarian doctrine was not just a Nicene concept but that here we also see Justin Martyr affirming the same teachings.  That is, that there is another person called God separate from the God who is the Father.  There could hardly be anything true about the Witnesses claim that prior to the Council of Nicea "there had been nothing even remotely approaching such a mentality or perspective." (Should You Believe in the Trinity, p. 7)]

SEE THIS IN ITS CONTEXT
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. A scepter of equity is the scepter of Thy kingdom: Thou hast loved righteousness and hated iniquity: therefore God, even Thy God, hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness above Thy fellows. ' If, therefore, you assert that the Holy Spirit calls some other one God and Lord, besides the Father of all things and His Christ, answer me; for I undertake to prove to you from Scriptures themselves, that He whom the Scripture calls Lord is not one of the two angels that went to Sodom, but He who was with them, and is called God, that appeared to Abraham.
 
SEE THIS IN ITS CONTEXT
It is again written by Moses, my brethren, that He who is called God and appeared to the patriarchs is called both Angel and Lord, in order that from this you may understand Him to be minister to the Father of all things...
[Note: Again, Justin Martyr is referring to another "who is called God" that is separate from God as "minister to the Father of all things."  It is a most Trinitarian statement.]


SEE THIS IN ITS CONTEXT
Permit me, further, to show you from the book of Exodus how this same One, who is both Angel, and God, and Lord, and man, and who appeared in human form to Abraham and Isaac, appeared in a flame of fire from the bush, and conversed with Moses.

SEE THIS IN ITS CONTEXT
...an angel and God were together in the vision seen by Moses, yet, as has already been proved to you by the passages previously quoted, it will not be the Creator of all things that is the God that said to Moses that He was the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, but it will be He who has been proved to you to have appeared to Abraham, ministering to the will of the Maker of all things, and likewise carrying into execution His counsel in the judgment of Sodom; so that, even though it be as you say, that there were two--an angel and God--he who has but the smallest intelligence will not venture to assert that the Maker and Father of all things, having left all supercelestial matters, was visible on a little portion of the earth.
 
SEE THIS IN ITS CONTEXT
The Word of Wisdom, who is Himself this God begotten of the Father of all things...
 
SEE THIS IN ITS CONTEXT
Therefore these words testify explicitly that He is witnessed to by Him who established these things, as deserving to be worshipped, as God and as Christ.
 
SEE THIS IN ITS CONTEXT
And you remember from other words also spoken by David, and which I have mentioned before, how it is declared that He would come forth from the highest heavens, and again return to the same places, in order that you may recognize Him as God coming forth from above, and man living among men; and [how it is declared] that He will again appear, and they who pierced Him shall see Him, and shall bewail Him. [The words] are these: 'The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth His handiwork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge: They are not speeches or words whose voices are heard. Their sound has gone out through all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world. In the sun has he set his habitation; and he, like a bridegroom going forth from his chamber, will rejoice as a giant to run his race: from the highest heaven is his going forth, and he returns to the highest heaven, and there is not one who shall be hidden from his heat.' [italics added]

SEE THIS IN ITS CONTEXT
Do you think that any other one is said to be worthy of worship and called Lord and God in the Scriptures, except the Maker of all, and Christ, who by so many Scriptures was proved to you to have become man?

SEE THIS IN ITS CONTEXT
And since they are compelled, they agree that some Scriptures which we mention to them, and which expressly prove that Christ was to suffer, to be worshipped, and [to be called] God, and which I have already recited to you, do refer indeed to Christ...

SEE THIS IN ITS CONTEXT
And I wish you to observe, that they have altogether taken away many Scriptures from the translations effected by those seventy elders who were with Ptolemy, and by which this very man who was crucified is proved to have been set forth expressly as God, and man, and as being crucified, and as dying...

SEE THIS IN ITS CONTEXT
Now no one of your people has ever been said to have reigned as God and Lord among the nations, with the exception of Him only who was crucified, of whom also the Holy Spirit affirms in the same Psalm that He was raised again, and freed from [the grave], declaring that there is none like Him among the gods of the nations: for they are idols of demons.

SEE THIS IN ITS CONTEXT
Moreover, in the book of Exodus we have also perceived that the name of God Himself which, He says, was not revealed to Abraham or to Jacob, was Jesus, and was declared mysteriously through Moses.

SEE THIS IN ITS CONTEXT
If, then, we know that God revealed Himself in so many forms to Abraham, and to Jacob, and to Moses, how are we at a loss, and do not believe that, according to the will of the Father of all things, it was possible for Him to be born man of the Virgin, especially after we have such Scriptures, from which it can be plainly perceived that He became so according to the will of the Father?

SEE THIS IN ITS CONTEXT
And David predicted that He would be born from the womb before sun and moon, according to the Father 's will, and made Him known, being Christ, as God strong and to be worshipped.

SEE THIS IN ITS CONTEXT
With his rod the same Jacob boasts that he had crossed the river. He said he had seen a ladder, and the Scripture has declared that God stood above it. But that this was not the Father, we have proved from the Scriptures. And Jacob, having poured oil on a stone in the same place, is testified to by the very God who appeared to him, that he had anointed a pillar to the God who appeared to him. And that the stone symbolically proclaimed Christ, we have also proved by many Scriptures...

SEE THIS IN ITS CONTEXT
For the former gave them a temporary inheritance, seeing he was neither Christ who is God, nor the Son of God; but the latter, after the holy resurrection, shall give us the eternal possession.

SEE THIS IN ITS CONTEXT
...so I proceed now to show that the revelation made among your people in Babylon in the days of Jesus (Joshua) the priest, was an announcement of the things to be accomplished by our Priest, who is God, and Christ the Son of God the Father of all.

SEE THIS IN ITS CONTEXT
Now I have proved at length that Christ is called God.

SEE THIS IN ITS CONTEXT
And that Christ would act so when He became man was foretold by the mystery of Jacob 's wrestling with Him who appeared to him, in that He ministered to the will of the Father, yet nevertheless is God, in that He is the first-begotten of all creatures.

SEE THIS IN ITS CONTEXT
"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 blasphemer 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 spoke 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.' And it is recorded that he called the place where He wrestled with him, appeared to and blessed him, the Face of God (Peniel). And Moses says that God appeared also to Abraham near the oak in Mature, when he was sitting at the door of his tent at mid-day. Then he goes on to say: 'And he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, three men stood before him; and when he saw them, he ran to meet them. ' a After a little, one of them promises a son to Abraham: 'Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall. I of a surety bear a child, and I am old? Is anything impossible with God? At the time appointed I will return, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son. And they went away from Abraham. ' Again he speaks of them thus: 'And the men rose up from thence, and looked toward Sodom. ' Then to Abraham He who was and is again speaks: 'I will not hide from Abraham, my servant, what I intend to do. '" And what follows in the writings of Moses I quoted and explained; "from which I have demonstrated," I said, "that He who is described as God appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, and the other patriarchs, was appointed under the authority of the Father and Lord, and ministers to His will." Then I went on to say what I had not said before: "And so, when the people desired to eat flesh, and Moses had lost faith in Him, who also there is called the Angel, and who promised that God would give them to satiety, He who is both God and the Angel, sent by the Father, is described as saying and doing these things. For thus the Scripture says: 'And the Lord said to Moses Will the Lord 's hand not be sufficient? thou shall know now whether my word shall conceal thee or not. ' And again, in other words, it thus says: 'But the Lord spoke unto me, Thou shalt not go over this Jordan: the Lord thy God, who goeth before thy face, He shall cut off the nations.'
[These statements at least 150 years before the Nicean Creed, confirm many of the same assertions made by the fourth century Church:  (1) Jesus is God (e.g., "Christ and God to be worshipped", "...is both God and the Angel", etc.), (2) separate from the Father (e.g., "He who is both God and the Angel, sent by the Father...")]


SEE THIS IN ITS CONTEXT
These and other such sayings are recorded by the lawgiver and by the prophets; and I suppose that I have stated sufficiently, that wherever God says, 'God went up from Abraham, ' or, 'The Lord spake to Moses, ' and 'The Lord came down to behold the tower which the sons of men had built, ' or when 'God shut Noah into the ark, ' you must not imagine that the unbegotten God Himself came down or went up from any place.

SEE THIS IN ITS CONTEXT
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.

SEE THIS IN ITS CONTEXT
And that Christ being Lord, and God the Son of God, and appearing formerly in power as Man, and Angel, and in the glory of fire as at the bush, so also was manifested at the judgment executed on Sodom, has been demonstrated fully by what has been said.


Irenaeus
What does the Witness say about Irenaeus?

    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."

Again, the Jehovah Witness is wrong. Nowhere does Irenaeus leave us with the understanding that "the prehuman Jesus...was inferior" to God (notice that the Witness offers no quote to that effect).  The truth is that Irenaeus calls Christ God several times throughout his writings.  Below are quotes

Irenaeus, Against Heresies, Book I

SEE THIS IN ITS CONTEXT
He was the beginning; "and the Word was God," of course, for that which is begotten of God is God.
 
SEE THIS IN ITS CONTEXT
...to Christ Jesus, our Lord, and God, and Saviour, and King, according to the will of the invisible Father, "every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth, and that every tongue should confess" to Him...


Irenaeus, Against Heresies, Book II

SEE THIS IN ITS CONTEXT
For thou, O man, art not an uncreated being, nor didst thou always co-exist with God, as did His own Word...

SEE THIS IN ITS CONTEXT
But the Son, eternally co-existing with the Father, from of old, yea, from the beginning...


Irenaeus, Against Heresies, Book III

SEE THIS IN ITS CONTEXT
Since, therefore, the Father is truly Lord, and the Son truly Lord, the Holy Spirit has fitly designated them by the title of Lord.

SEE THIS IN ITS CONTEXT
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.

SEE THIS IN ITS CONTEXT
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."

SEE THIS IN ITS CONTEXT
...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."

SEE THIS IN ITS CONTEXT
...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.

SEE THIS IN ITS CONTEXT
...the prophets and the apostles confessing the Father and the Son; but naming no other as God

SEE THIS IN ITS CONTEXT
...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."

SEE THIS IN ITS CONTEXT
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.

SEE THIS IN ITS CONTEXT
Thus the apostles did not change God, but preached to the people that Christ was Jesus the crucified One, whom the same God that had sent the prophets, being God Himself, raised up, and gave in Him salvation to men.

SEE THIS IN ITS CONTEXT
He who suffered under Pontius Pilate, the same is Lord of all, and King, and God, and Judge, receiving power from Him who is the God of all...

SEE THIS IN ITS CONTEXT
For when it has been manifestly declared, that 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

SEE THIS IN ITS CONTEXT
And again, writing to the Romans about Israel, he says: "Whose are the fathers, and from whom is Christ according to the flesh, who is God over all, blessed for ever." [Note: This is Romans 9:5.  The NWT translation reads, "...Christ [sprang] according to the flesh: God, who is over all, [be] blessed forever."  However, some modern Christian translations, such as NIV, read, "Christ, who is God over all, forever praised!"  This reading from Irenaeus is significant because it affirms that the NWT translation is incorrect.]

SEE THIS IN ITS CONTEXT
For He fulfils the bountiful and comprehensive will of His Father, inasmuch as He is Himself the Saviour of those who are saved, and the Lord of those who are under authority, and the God of all those things which have been formed, the only-begotten of the Father, Christ who was announced, and the Word of God, who became incarnate when the fullness of time had come, at which the Son of God had to become the Son of man.

SEE THIS IN ITS CONTEXT
He caused man (human nature) to cleave to and to become, one with God. For unless man had overcome the enemy of man, the enemy would not have been legitimately vanquished. And again: unless it had been God who had freely given salvation, we could never have possessed it securely. And unless man had been joined to God, he could never have become a partaker of incorruptibility.

SEE THIS IN ITS CONTEXT
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...

SEE THIS IN ITS CONTEXT
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.

SEE THIS IN ITS CONTEXT
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...

SEE THIS IN ITS CONTEXT
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.

SEE THIS IN ITS CONTEXT
God, then, was made man, and the Lord did Himself save us, giving us the token of the Virgin.

SEE THIS IN ITS CONTEXT
Carefully, then, has the Holy Ghost pointed out, by what has been said, His birth from a virgin, and His essence, that He is God (for the name Emmanuel indicates this).


Irenaeus, Against Heresies, Book IV

SEE THIS IN ITS CONTEXT
Now man is a mixed organization of soul and flesh, who was formed after the likeness of God, and moulded by His hands, that is, by the Son and Holy Spirit, to whom also He said, "Let Us make man."

SEE THIS IN ITS CONTEXT
...for the Father is the invisible of the Son, but the Son the visible of the Father. And for this reason all spake with Christ when He was present [upon earth], and they named Him God.

SEE THIS IN ITS CONTEXT
He, therefore, who was known, was not a different being from Him who declared "No man knoweth the Father," but one and the same, the Father making all things subject to Him; while He received testimony from all that He was very man, and that He was very God

SEE THIS IN ITS CONTEXT
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...

SEE THIS IN ITS CONTEXT
The only-begotten God, which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared [Him];" [This reading supports the consensus of modern translations such as NIV which accept monogenhV qeoV ("only-begotten God") as the original text.]


Irenaeus, Against Heresies, Book V

SEE THIS IN ITS CONTEXT
...since He [the Word] 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.
 

Irenaeus, Fragments

SEE THIS IN ITS CONTEXT
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.

SEE THIS IN ITS CONTEXT
...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.

SEE THIS IN ITS CONTEXT
He is the First-begotten, after a transcendent manner, the Creator of man; All in all; Patriarch among the patriarchs; Law in the law; the Priest among priests; among kings Prime Leader; the Prophet among the prophets; the Angel among angels; the Man among men; Son in the Father; God in God; King to all eternity.

SEE THIS IN ITS CONTEXT
He is the Salvation of the lost, the Light to those dwelling in darkness, and Redemption to those who have been born; the Shepherd of the saved, and the Bridegroom of the Church; the Charioteer of the cherubim, the Leader of the angelic host; God of God; Jesus Christ our Saviour.

 

Clement of Alexandria
The Witness claims

   Clement of Alexandria, who died about 215 C.E., 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."

The Witness' assertions that Clement never calls the Son equal to the Father is wrong.  In his Exhortation to the Heathen, Clement writes, "...He that is made equal to the Lord of the universe; because He was His Son..."[3] As with other ante-Nicene fathers, we find in several places where Clement refers to Jesus as God. Here is Clement

Clement of Alexandria, Exhortation to the Heathen

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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

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Believe Him who is man and God; believe, O man. Believe, O man, the living God, who suffered and is adored. Believe, ye slaves, Him who died; believe, all ye of human kind, Him who alone is God of all men.

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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 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...

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Receive Christ, receive sight, receive thy light, "In order that you may know well both God and man."

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...thou 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.
 

Clement of Alexandria, Fragments

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For when he says, "That which was from the beginning," he touches upon the generation without beginning of the Son, who is co-existent with the Father. 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.

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...so also God the Word, incarnate, is intellectual light, sending His rays, through a body luminous and moist.

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God here assumed the "likeness" not of a man, but "of a dove,"


Clement of Alexandria, The Instructor, Book I

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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.

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The Lord ministers all good and all help, both as man and as God: as God, forgiving our sins; and as man, training us not to sin.

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For since Scripture calls the infant children lambs, it has also called Him--God the Word--who became man for our sakes, and who wished in all points to be made like to us

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Is Christ, begotten today, already perfect, or--what were most monstrous--imperfect? If the latter, there is some addition He requires yet to make. But for Him to make any addition to His knowledge is absurd, since He is God.

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But our Instructor is the holy God Jesus, the Word, who is the guide of all humanity. The loving God Himself is our Instructor.

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Then also was he named Israel, because he saw God the Lord. It was God, the Word, the Instructor, who said to him again afterwards, "Fear not to go down into Egypt."

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Nothing, then, is hated by God, nor yet by the Word. For both are one--that is, God. For He has said, "In the beginning the Word was in God, and the Word was God."

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So that from this it is clear, that one alone, true, good, just, in the image and likeness of the Father, His Son Jesus, the Word of God, is our Instructor; to whom God hath entrusted us, as an affectionate father commits his children to a worthy tutor, expressly charging us, "This is my beloved Son: hear Him." The divine Instructor is trustworthy, adorned as He is with three of the fairest ornaments--knowledge, benevolence, and authority of utterance;--with knowledge, for He is the paternal wisdom: "All Wisdom is from the Lord, and with Him for evermore;"--with authority of utterance, for He is God and Creator [emphasis added]: "For all things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made;"


Clement of Alexandria, The Instructor, Book III

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For he who has the almighty God, the Word, is in want of nothing, and never is in straits for what he needs.


Clement of Alexandria, Who is the Rich Man That Shall Be Saved?

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For our Lord and Saviour was asked pleasantly a question most appropriate for Him, -- the Life respecting life, the Saviour respecting salvation, the Teacher respecting the chief doctrines taught, the Truth respecting the true immortality, the Word respecting the word of the Father, the Perfect respecting the perfect rest, the Immortal respecting the sure immortality. He was asked respecting those things on account of which He descended, which He inculcates, which He teaches, which He offers, in order to show the essence of the Gospel, that it is the gift of eternal life. For He foresaw as God, both what He would be asked, and what each one would answer Him.

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We are therefore to love Him equally with God.

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And they rave about the carcase, which they despise as weak, being blind to the wealth within; knowing not what a "treasure in an earthen vessel" we bear, protected as it is by the power of God the Father, and the blood' of God the Son, and the dew of the Holy Spirit.

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And then thou shalt look into the bosom of the Father, whom God the only-begotten Son alone hath declared.


Clement of Alexandria, The Stromata, Book V

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No man hath seen God at any time. The only-begotten God, who is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him.


Clement of Alexandria, The Stromata, Book VI

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Thus the Lord Himself is called "Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end," "by whom all things were made, and without whom not even one thing was made." God's resting is not, then, as some conceive, that God ceased from doing. For, being good, if He should ever cease from doing good, then would He cease from being God, which it is sacrilege even to say. [The first verse Clement quotes is from Revelation 22:13, the second quote is John 1:3.  Both quotes refer to Jesus.  The "he" Clement is talking about is Jesus.]

 

Tertullian
The Witness writes

    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."

Tertullian is the beginning of much Nicene terminology.  Not only does he coin the term "Trinity," expressions such as "unity of substance" [4] are used. At no time does Tertullian state that the Son was created. Here is what he does say

Tertullian, The Apology

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We have been taught that He proceeds forth from God, and in that procession He is generated; so that He is the Son of God, and is called God from unity of substance with God.

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Thus Christ is Spirit of Spirit, and God of God, as light of light is kindled.

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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 this way also, as He is Spirit of Spirit and God of God, He is made a second in manner of existence--in position, not in nature; and He did not withdraw from the original source, but went forth.

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This ray of God, then, as it was always foretold in ancient times, descending into a certain virgin, and made flesh in her womb, is in His birth God and man united.

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Surely Christ, then, had a right to reveal Deity, which was in fact His own essential possession...


Tertullian, An Answer to the Jews

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Therefore God Himself will give you a sign; Behold, the virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and ye shall call his name Emmanuel" (which is, interpreted, "God with us")

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For subjoined is withal the interpretation of Emmanuel--"God with us"--in order that you may regard not the sound only of the name, but the sense too. For the Hebrew sound, which is Emmanuel, has an interpretation, which is, God with us. Inquire, then, whether this speech, "God with us" (which is Emmanuel), be commonly applied to Christ ever since Christ's light has dawned, and I think you will not deny it. For they who out of Judaism believe in Christ, ever since their believing on Him, do, whenever they shall wish to say Emmanuel, signify that God is with us: and thus it is agreed that He who was ever predicted as Emmanuel is already come, because that which Emmanuel signifies is come--that is, "God with us."


Tertullian, On Early Christian Writings

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For God alone is without sin; and the only man without sin is Christ, since Christ is also God.

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Now although Christ is God, yet, being also man, "He died according to the Scriptures," and "according to the same Scriptures was buried."


Tertullian, The Prescription Against Heretics

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Christ Jesus our Lord (may He bear with me a moment in thus expressing myself), whosoever He is, of what God soever He is the Son, of what substance soever He is man and God...

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To those who may devote their leisure in reading through these (pages), in the belief of the truth, be peace, and the grace of our God Jesus Christ for ever.


Tertullian, On the Flesh of Christ

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But answer me at once, you that murder truth: Was not God really crucified? And, having been really crucified, did He not really die? And, having indeed really died, did He not really rise again? Falsely did Paul "determine to know nothing amongst us but Jesus and Him crucified;'' falsely has he impressed upon us that He was buried; falsely inculcated that He rose again. False, therefore, is our faith also. And all that we hope for from Christ will be a phantom. O thou most infamous of men, who acquittest of all guilt the murderers of God! For nothing did Christ suffer from them, if He really suffered nothing at all.

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Otherwise Christ could not be described as being man without flesh, nor the Son of man without any human parent; just as He is not God without the Spirit of God, nor the Son of God without having God for His father. Thus the nature of the two substances displayed Him as man and God,--in one respect born, in the other unborn; in one respect fleshly in the other spiritual; in one sense weak in the other exceeding strong; in on sense dying, in the other living.

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As "the Spirit of God." however, and "the Power of the Highest," can He be regarded as lower than the angels,--He who is verily God, and the Son of God?

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Accordingly, a virgin did conceive and bear "Emmanuel, God with us." This is the new nativity; a man is born in God. And in this man God was born, taking the flesh of an ancient race...

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Forasmuch, therefore, as He is of the Spirit He is God the Spirit, and is born of God; just as He is also born of the flesh of man, being generated in the flesh as man.

Tertullian, On the Resurrection of the Flesh

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...because all things were made by the Word of God, and without Him was nothing made. [Quoting John 1:3]

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And the Word was God also, who being in the image of God, "thought it not robbery to be equal to God." [This quote demonstrates how Tertullian understood Philippians 2]

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Jesus is still sitting there at the right hand of the Father, man, yet God--the last Adam, yet the primary Word--flesh and blood, yet purer than ours...

 


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RECOMMENDED READING
JUSTIN MARTYR, DIALOGUE WITH TRYPHO
TIME PERIOD: 100-162 A.D
TERTULLIAN, AGAINST PRAXEAS
TIME PERIOD: 155-230 A.D