Part 01 – The Trinity Doctrine
Part 02 – Who is the Most High God?
Part 03 – Who and what is Jesus?
Part 04 – The true meaning of ‘God’
Part 05 – Supporting the Trinity
Part 06 – Pre-Nicene writings
Part 07 – Development of the Trinity
Part 08 – Why challenge the Trinity
Part 09 – Trinity Doctrine conclusion
Part 10 – An Apostasy
Part 11 – 100 indisputable proof verses
Part 12 – What is your confession?
Part 13 – The Roman Catholic faith
Part 14 – Trinity Doctrine resources
Aside from the books of the bible, we also have writings that date just after the last biblical books. These writings were written by the following generations after the original apostles, but prior to Nicea. They show us that even these Christians believed that there is one God the Father and one Lord Jesus, his son. Of course these men were not perfect but their teachings are interesting in that they do not teach a Trinity, although some things were written that were later used to support the development of the Trinity Doctrine.
These writings also mention that Christ/Logos came forth from God and was the first of God’s works. If these writers truly taught the Trinity Doctrine as known today, then their quotes below would be in contradiction of this and would show that they were indeed confused people. On the contrary, these writers affirmed the scriptures including most scriptures that Trinitarians use, and they do not teach the Trinity, but rightly say that the Father is the one true God.
For the sake of time, you may wish to just skim read their writings or read the bolded part of their writings.
Clement (ca 85 A.D)
Clement acknowledges that there is One Almighty God and one Christ. He taught that the creator of the universe is the Father.
“The church of God which sojourns at Rome, to the church of God sojourning at Corinth, to those who are called and sanctified by the will of God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Grace to you, and peace, be multiplied, from Almighty God through Jesus Christ.
For Christ is of those who are humble, and not of those who Lord over his flock. Our Lord Jesus Christ, the sceptre of the majesty of God, did not come in pomp of pride or arrogance, although He might have done so, but in a humble state. (16).
Let us look steadfastly to the Father and Creator of the universe. (19).
All these the great Creator and Lord of all has appointed to exist in peace and harmony, while He does good to all, but most abundantly to us who have fled for safety to His compassions through Jesus Christ our Lord, to Whom be glory and Majesty for ever and ever. Amen. (20)
Called by His will in Christ Jesus, we are not justified out of ourselves, nor by our own wisdom, or understanding, or godliness, or works which we have worked out of holiness of heart, but by that faith through which, from the beginning, Almighty God has justified all men, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. (32).
How blessed and marvellous, beloved, are the gifts of God….The Creator and Father of all worlds ages, the Most Holy, alone knows their amount and their beauty. (35).
Christ therefore was sent forth by God, and the apostles by Christ (42).
Have we not one God and one Christ? Is there not one Spirit of grace poured out upon us? (46).
May God, who sees everything, and Who is the Ruler of all spirits and the Lord of all flesh, Who chose our Lord Jesus Christ and us through Him to be a peculiar people, grant to every soul that calls upon His glorious and holy Name, faith, fear, peace, patience, longsuffering, self-control, purity, and sobriety, to the well pleasing of His Name, through our High Priest and Protector, Jesus Christ, through whom be to Him glory, and Majesty, and power, and honour, both now and for evermore. Amen. (58).
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you, and with all everywhere that are the called of God through him, through whom be to Him glory, honour, power, Majesty, and eternal dominion, from everlasting to everlasting. Amen. (59).”
Hermas (ca. 100 A.D)
Hermas acknowledged one God who created all things by his powerful word and great wisdom.
“First, believe that there is one God who created and framed all things, and made all things out of nothing. (Commands, 1).
The God of powers, who by his invisible mighty power and great wisdom has created the world, and by His glorious counsel has beautified his creation, and by his powerful word has fixed the heavens and laid the foundations of the earth upon the waters. (Visions, 1, 3)”
Polycarp taught that God Almighty is the Father and his son is Jesus Christ.
To the Philippians
Polycarp and the elders with him. To the Church of God sojourning in Philippi. Mercy and peace from God Almighty and Jesus Christ our Saviour be multiplied to you.
Now may God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the eternal priest himself, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, build you up in faith and truth… to all under heaven who shall believe in our Lord Jesus Christ and in his Father who raised him from the dead. (12).
The Martyrdom of Polycarp (The Church of Smyrna)
They did not nail him then, but simply bound him. And he, placing his hands behind him, and being bound like a distinguished ram out of a great flock for sacrifice, and prepared to be an acceptable burnt-offering unto God, looked up to heaven, and said, “O Lord God Almighty, the Father of your beloved and blessed Son Jesus Christ, by whom we have received the knowledge of You, the God of angels and powers, and of every creature, and of the whole race of the righteous who live before You, I give You thanks that You have counted me, worthy of this day and this hour, that I should have a part in the number of Your martyrs, in the cup of Your Christ. (14).
Papias (ca. 110-130 A.D)
Papias taught clearly how God will redeem creation back to himself. He said Christ reigns by God’s will and will conquer all God’s enemies. Even Jesus Christ himself will be subject to God, so God may be in all.
The presbyters, the disciples of the apostles, say that this is the gradation and arrangement of those who are saved, and that they advance through steps of this nature, and that, moreover, they ascend through the Spirit to the Son, and through the Son to the Father, and that in due time the Son will yield up his work to the Father, even as it is said by the apostle, “For he must reign until he has put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.” For in the times of the Kingdom the righteous man who is on the earth shall forget to die. “But when He says all things are put under him, it is manifest that He is excepted Who did put all things under him. And when all things shall be subjected to him, then shall the Son also himself be subject to Him, Who put all things under him, that God may be all in all.” (Fragments of the Exposition of the Oracles of the Lord, 5).
The presbyters, the disciples of the apostles, say that this is the gradation and arrangement of those who are saved, and that they advance through steps of this nature, and that, moreover, they ascend through the Spirit to the Son, and through the Son to the Father, and that in due time the Son will yield up his work to the Father, even as it is said by the apostle, “For he must reign until he has put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.” For in the times of the Kingdom the righteous man who is on the earth shall forget to die. “But when [the Father] says all things are put under him, it is manifest that [the Father] is excepted Who did put all things under him. And when all things shall be subjected to him, then shall the Son also himself be subject to [the Father], Who put all things under him, that God [the Father] may be all in all.”
Aristides (ca. 125 A.D)
Aristides taught that Christians worship only God, but through God’s Spirit and his son.
Now the Christians trace their origin from the Lord Jesus Christ. And He is acknowledged by the Holy Spirit to be the son of the Most High God, who came down from heaven for the salvation of men.(Apology 15).
All the nations on the earth have found the truth. For they know God, the Creator and Fashioner of all things through the only-begotten son and the Holy Spirit, and beside Him they worship no other God. (Apology 15).
Justin Martyr (ca. 150 A.D)
Justin Martyr taught that the Son came forth from God, that the son was begotten from the unbegotten God who is the Father. He said that Jesus is the true son of God and holds second place after God himself.
For not only among the Greeks did the Word prevail to condemn these things through Socrates, but also among the barbarians were they condemned by the Word Himself, who took shape, and became man, and was called Jesus Christ, and in obedience to him, we not only deny that those who did such things as these are gods, but assert that they are wicked and ungodly demons, whose actions will not bear comparison with those even of men desirous of virtue. (5).
And that you will not succeed is declared by the Word, than whom, after God who begat him, we know there is no ruler more kingly and righteous. For as all shrink from succeeding to the poverty or sufferings or obscurity of their fathers, so whatever the Word forbids us to choose, the sensible man will not choose. That all these things should come to pass, I say, our Teacher foretold, he who is both Son and Apostle of God the Father of all and the Ruler, Jesus Christ, from whom also we have the name of Christians. (12).
And when we say also that the Word, who is the firstborn of God, was brought forth without sexual union, and that he, Jesus Christ, our Teacher, was crucified and died, and rose again, and ascended into heaven… (21).
Jesus Christ is the only proper Son who has been begotten by God, being His Word and first-begotten. (23).
For what is called by the Divine Spirit through the prophet “his robe,” are those men who believe in him in whom abides the seed of God, the Word. And what is spoken of as “the blood of the grape,” signifies that he who should appear would have blood, though not of the seed of man, but of the power of God. And the first power after God the Father and Lord of all is the Word, who is also the Son; and of Him we will, in what follows, relate how He took flesh and became man. (32).
We have been taught that Christ is the firstborn of God (46).
We believe in a crucified man, that he is the firstbegotten of the unbegotten God, and himself will pass judgment on the whole human race, unless we had found testimonies concerning him heralded before he came and was born as man. (53).
But to the Father of all, who is unbegotten, there is no name given. For by whatever name He be called, He has as His elder the person who gives Him the name. But these words, Father, and God, and Creator, and Lord, and Master, are not names, but appellations derived from His good deeds and functions. 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; this name itself also containing an unknown significance; as also the appellation “God” is not a name, but an opinion implanted in the nature of men of a thing that can hardly be explained. (6).
For next to God, we worship and love the Word who is out of the unbegotten and ineffable God, since also He became man for our sakes, that, becoming a partaker of our sufferings, He might also bring us healing. (13).
And God, the Father of the cosmos, who is the perfect intelligence, the truth. And the Word, being His Son, came to us, having put on flesh, revealing both himself and the Father, giving to us in himself resurrection from the dead, and eternal life afterwards. And this is Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord. (On the Resurrection, 1).
Tatian (165 A.D)
Tatian taught that the Word that sprang forth from God and became the first begotten work of the Father. He says that the son is an imitation (image) of the Father.
God was in the beginning, but the beginning, we have been taught, is the power of the Word. For the Lord of the universe, who is Himself the necessary basis of all being, inasmuch as no creature was yet in existence, was alone, but inasmuch as He was all powerful, Himself the necessary ground of things visible and invisible, with Him were all things; with Him, by Word-power, the Word himself also, who was in Him, subsists. And by His simple will the Word sprang forth, and the Word, not coming forth in vain, became the firstbegotten work of the Father . Him [the Word] we know to be the Beginning of the world (cf. Rev. 3:14). But He came into being by participation, not by cutting off, for what is cut off is separated from the original substance, but that which comes by participation, making its choice of function, does not render him deficient from whom it is taken. For just as from one torch many fires are lighted, but the light of the first torch is not lessened by the kindling of many torches, so the Word, coming forth from the Word-Power of the Father, has not divested of the Word-Power Him who begat Him. I myself, for instance, speak [words], and you hear, yet, certainly, I who converse do not become destitute of my word, by the transmission of speech, but by the utterance of my voice I endeavour to reduce to order the unarranged matter in your minds. And as the Word begotten in the beginning, begat in turn our world, having first created for himself the necessary matter, so also I, in imitation of the Word, being begotten again, and having become possessed of the truth, am trying to reduce to order the confused matter which is kindred with myself. For matter is not, like God, without beginning, nor, as having no beginning, is of equal power with God, it is begotten, and not produced by any other being, but brought into existence by the Framer of all things alone (Address to the Greeks, 5).
For the heavenly Word, Spirit emanating from the Father and a Word of the Word-Power, in imitation of the Father who begat him made man an image of immortality, so that, as incorruption is with God, in like manner, man, sharing in a part of God, might have the immortal principle also. The Word, too, before the creation of men, was the Framer of angels. (Address to the Greeks, 7).
Theophilus of Antioch (ca. 175 A.D)
Theophilus taught that the word and wisdom that resided in God was emitted in the beginning and became the helper with God when God made all things. He acknowledges that the Wisdom written by Solomon is the same Word that came from God.
And He is without beginning, since He is unbegotten; and He is unchangeable, because He is immortal. And he is called God… He is Lord, because He rules over the universe, Father, because He is before all things, Fashioner and Maker, because He is Creator and Maker of the cosmos, the Highest, because of His being above all, and Almighty, because He Himself rules and embraces all. For the heights of heaven, and the depths of the abysses, and the ends of the earth, are in His hand, and there is no place of His rest. For the heavens are His work, the earth is His creation, the sea is His handiwork; man is His formation and His image; sun, moon, and stars are His elements, made for signs, and seasons, and days, and years, that they may serve and be servants to humanity, and all things God has made out of things that were not into things that are, in order that through His works His greatness may be known and understood. (4).
God made all things out of nothing, for nothing was coexisting with God, but He being His own place, and wanting nothing, and existing before the ages, willed to make man by whom He might be known, for him, therefore, He prepared the world. For he that is created is also needy, but He that is uncreated stands in need of nothing. God, then, having His own Word internal within His own bosom, begat him, emitting him along with His own wisdom before all things. He had this Word as a helper in the things that were created by Him, and by him He made all things. He [the Word] is called “the Beginning” [arche],1 because he rules, and is Lord of all things fashioned by him. He, then, being Spirit of God, and arche, and wisdom, and Power of The Highest, came down upon the prophets, and through them spoke of the creation of the world and of all other things. For the prophets were not when the world came into existence, but the wisdom of God which was in him, and His holy Word which was always present with him. Wherein he speaks thus by the prophet Solomon: “When He prepared the heavens I was there, and when He appointed the foundations of the earth I was by Him as one brought up with Him.” And Moses, who lived many years before Solomon, or, rather, the Word of God by Him as by an instrument, says, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” First he named the “Beginning,” and “creation,” then he brought in God, for not lightly and on slight occasion is it right to name God. For the divine wisdom foreknew that some would trifle and name a multitude of gods that do not exist. In order, therefore, that the Living God might be known by His works, and so that by His Word, God created the heavens and the earth, and all that is therein, he [Moses] said, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Then having spoken of their creation, he [Moses] explains to us: “And the earth was without form, and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep, and the Spirit of God moved upon the water.” This, Holy Scripture teaches at the outset, to show that matter, from which God made and fashioned the world, was in some manner created, being produced by God. (10).
Irenaeus (ca. 185 A.D)
Irenaeus taught that the Father is the only God and the only creator who commanded all into existence. He claims that this is what Christ taught and that we should distinguish those who are termed gods, from Him who is truly God.
But if the Word of the Father who descended is the same also that ascended, he, namely, the only-begotten Son of the Only God, who, according to the good pleasure of the Father, became flesh for the sake of men. (Book I, 9).
Those, furthermore, who say that the world was formed by angels, or by any other maker of it, contrary to the will of Him who is the Supreme Father, do err first of all in this very matter, that they maintain that angels formed such and so mighty a creation, contrary to the will of the Most High God….the Supreme God…the Supremacy of God, not to stand in need of other means for the creation of those things which are called 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 pertaining to our world by His Word. David also conveys the same truth, “For He spoke, and they were made, He commanded, and they were created.” Whom, therefore, shall we believe as to the creation of the world? These heretics who have been mentioned that babble so foolishly and inconsistently on the subject, or the disciples of the Lord, and Moses, who was both a faithful servant of God and a prophet? He at first writes about the formation of the world in these words, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth,” and all other things in order, but neither gods nor angels. Now, that this God is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Paul the apostle also has declared, “There is One God, the Father, who is above all, and through all, and in all. (Book II, 2).
Beyond the primary Father, therefore, that is, the God who is over all… (Book II, 8).
These [Apostles] have all declared to us that there is One God, Creator of heaven and earth, announced by the law and the prophets and one Christ the Son of God. If any one do not acknowledge these truths, he despises the companions of the Lord, and more, he despises Christ himself the Lord, and he even despises also the Father, and stands self-condemned, resisting and opposing his own salvation, as is the case with all heretics. (Book III, 1).
‘Wherefore I do also call upon You, LORD God of Abraham, and God of Isaac, and God of Jacob and Israel [YAHWEH], who is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the God who, through the abundance of Your mercy, have favored us, that we should know You, who has made heaven and earth, who rules over all, who is the Only and the True God, above whom there is no other God, do grant, by our Lord Jesus Christ, the governing power of the Holy Spirit, to every reader of this book to know You, that You Alone are God, to be strengthened in You, and to avoid every heretical, and godless, and impious teaching.’ And the Apostle Paul also, saying, “For though you have served them which are no gods, you now know God, or rather, are known of God,” has made a separation between those that were not and Him who is God. And again, speaking of Antichrist, he says, “who opposes and exalt himself above all that is called , or that is worshipped.” He points out here those who are called gods, by such as know not God, that is, idols. For the Father of all is called “God”, and is so, and Antichrist shall be lifted up, not above Him, but above those which are indeed called gods, but are not. And Paul himself says that this is true, “We know that an idol is nothing, and that there is no other God but One. For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, yet to us there is but One God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we through Him, and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.” For he has made a distinction, and separated those which are indeed called gods, but which are none, from the One God the Father, from whom are all things, and, he has confessed in the most decided manner in his own person, one Lord Jesus Christ. But in this, “whether in heaven or in earth,” he does not speak of the formers of the world, as these [others] expound it, but his meaning is similar to that of Moses, when it is said, “You shall not make fro yourself any image of God, of whatsoever things are in heaven above, whatsoever in the earth beneath, and whatsoever in the waters under the earth.” And he does then explain what is meant by the things in heaven, “Else when,” he says, “looking towards heaven, and observing the sun, and the moon, and the stars, and all the ornament of heaven, falling into error, thou might worship and serve them.” And Moses himself, being a man of God, was indeed given as a god before Pharaoh; but he is not properly termed Lord, nor is called “God” by the prophets, but is spoken of by the Spirit as “Moses, the faithful minister and servant of God,” which also he was. (Book III, 6; see Exodus 7:1).
The disciple of the Lord therefore desiring to put an end to all such doctrines, and to establish the rule of truth in the Church, that there is One Almighty God, who made all things by His Word, both visible and invisible, showing at the same time, that by the Word, through whom God made the creation, He also bestowed salvation on the men included in the creation, thus began his teaching in the Gospel: “[Irenaeus quotes John 1:1-3].” He who in these last times gifted upon humanity, by His Son, the blessing of food and the favour of drink, the incomprehensible [the Father] by means of the comprehensible [the Son], and the invisible [the Father] by the visible [the Son], since there is no one beyond Him, but he exists in the bosom of the Father. For “no man,” he says, “has seen God at any time,” except that, “the only-begotten Son of God, which is in the bosom of the Father, expresses him.” For he, the Son who is in His bosom, declares to all the Father who is invisible. Wherefore they know Him to whom the Son reveals Him, and again, the Father, by means of the Son, gives knowledge of His Son to those who love Him…. This, then, are the first principles of the Gospel: that there is One God, the Maker of this universe, He who was also announced by the prophets, and who by Moses set forth the dispensation of the law which proclaim the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and ignore any other God or Father except Him. (Irenaeus, Against Heresies, Book III, 11).
That both the apostles and their disciples thus taught as the Church preaches, and thus teaching were perfected, wherefore also they were called away to that which is perfect, Stephen teaching these truths, when he was yet on earth, saw the glory of God, and Jesus on His right hand, and exclaimed, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.” These words he said, and was stoned, and thus did he fulfil the perfect doctrine, imitating in every respect the leader of martyrdom, and praying for those who were slaying him, in these words, “Lord, lay not this sin to their charge.” Thus were they perfected who knew the One and the same God, who from beginning to end was present with mankind in the various administrations… It is evident, therefore, that they did not relinquish the truth, but with all boldness preached to the Jews and Greeks. To the Jews, indeed, that the Jesus who was crucified by them was the Son of God, the judge of the living and dead, and that he has received from his Father an eternal kingdom in Israel, as I have pointed out; but to the Greeks they preached One God, who made all things, and His Son Jesus Christ. (Book III, 12).
And again, the angel said, when the good news to Mary, “He shall he great, and shall be called the Son of The Highest, and the Lord shall give unto him the throne of his father David,” acknowledging that he who is the Son of The Highest, the same is himself also the Son of David. And David, knowing by the Spirit the administration of the advent of this person, by which He is supreme over all the living and dead, confessed him as Lord, sitting on the right hand of The Most High Father. (Book III, 16).
We do then pray that these men may not remain in the pit which they themselves have dug, but separate themselves from a mother of this nature, and depart from Bythus, and stand away from the abyss, and relinquish the shadow; and that they, being converted to the Church of God, may be lawfully begotten, and that Christ may be formed in them, and that they may know the Framer and Maker of this universe, the Only true God and Lord of all. We pray for these things on their behalf, loving them better than they seem to love themselves. For our love, inasmuch as it is true, is salutary to them, if they will but receive it. It may be compared to a severe remedy, removing the proud and festering flesh of a wound, for it puts an end to their pride and haughtiness. Wherefore it shall not weary us, to endeavour with all our might to stretch out the hand unto them. Over and above what has been already stated, I have referred to the following book, to adduce the words of the Lord, if, by persuading some among them, through means of the very instruction of Christ, I may succeed in persuading them to abandon such error, and to cease from blaspheming their Creator, who is both God alone, and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen. (Book III, 25).
Since, therefore, this is sure and established, that no other God or Lord was announced by the Spirit, except Him who, as God, rules over all, together with His Word, and those who receive the Spirit of sonship, that is, those who believe in the One and true God, and in Jesus Christ the Son of God, and likewise that the apostles did themselves term no one else as “God”, or name as Lord, and what is much more significant, that our Lord, who did also command us to confess no one as Father, except Him who is in the heavens, who is the One God and the one Father…Now to whom is it not clear, that if the Lord had known many fathers and gods, He would not have taught His disciples to know One God, and to call Him Alone Father. But He did the rather distinguish those who by word merely are termed gods, from Him who is truly God, that they should not err as to his doctrine, nor understand one for another. And if He did indeed teach us to call one Being Father and God, while he does from time to time himself confess other fathers and gods in the same sense, then he will appear to enjoin a different course upon His disciples from what He follows Himself. Such conduct, however, does not befit the good teacher, but a misleading and devious one. The apostles, too, according to these men’s showing, are proved to be transgressors of the commandment, since they confess the Creator as God, and Lord, and Father, as I have shown, if He is not Alone God and Father, Jesus, therefore, will be to them the author and teacher of such transgression, inasmuch as He commanded that One Being should be called Father, thus imposing upon them the necessity of confessing the Creator as their Father, as has been pointed out. (Book IV, 1).
Indeed, then, the Scripture declared, which says, “First of all believe that there is One God, who has established all things, and finished them, and having caused that from what had no being, all things should come into existence.” He who contains all things, and is Himself contained by no one. Rightly also has Malachi said among the prophets, “Is it not One God who established us? Have we not all one Father?” Corresponding to this, too, does the apostle say, “There is One God, the Father, who is above all, and in us all.” (Book IV, 20).
After this fashion also did a presbyter, a disciple of the apostles, reason with respect to the two covenants, proving that both were truly from the One and the same God. For that there was no other God besides Him who made and fashioned us, and that the discourse of those men has no foundation who affirm that this world of ours was made either by angels, or by any other power whatsoever, or by another God. For if a man be once moved away from the Creator of all things, and if he grant that this creation to which we belong was formed by any other or through any other, he must of necessity fall into much inconsistency, and many contradictions of this sort to which he will furnish no explanations which can be regarded as either probable or true. And, for this reason, those who introduce other doctrines hide from us the opinion which they themselves hold respecting God, because they are aware of the untenable, and absurd nature of their doctrine, and are afraid lest, should they be vanquished, they should have some difficulty in making good their escape. But if any one believes in One God, who also made all things by the Word, as Moses likewise said, “God said, Let there be light: and there was light;” and as we read in the Gospel, “All things were made by Him, and without Him was nothing made,” and the Apostle Paul in like manner, “There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father, who is above all, and through all, and in us all.”… (Book IV, 32).
It is therefore the One and the same God the Father who has prepared good things with Himself for those who desire His fellowship, and who remain in subjection to Him. (Book IV, 40).
And therefore 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, and the Spirit is in us all, and he is the living water, that 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.” (Book V, 18).
Therefore then does the Lord plainly show that it was the true Lord and the One God who had been set forth by the Law for Him whom the law proclaimed as “God”, the same did Christ point out as the Father, whom also it compels the disciples of Christ, alone to serve. (Book V, 22).
Clement of Alexandria (ca. 200)
Clement taught us that the begotten son of God is the second cause and that God himself is the only one Almighty.
The nature of the Son, which is nearest to Him who is alone the Almighty One, is the most perfect, and most holy, and most powerful, and most noble, and most kingly, and most esteemed. This is the highest excellence, which orders all things in accordance with the Father’s will. (Stromata, Book VII, 2).
Those, then, who choose to belong to him, are those who are perfected through faith. He, the Son, is, by the will of the Almighty Father, the cause of all good things….being, then, the Father’s power (Stromata, Book VII, 2).
The Son is the power of God, as being the Father’s most ancient Word before the making of all things. (Stromata, Book VII, 2).
Now the energy of the Lord has a relationship to the Almighty, and the Son is, so to speak, an energy of the Father. (Stromata, Book VII, 2).
The One Only Almighty, Good God from eternity to eternity saving by His Son. (Stromata, Book VII, 2).
He is the true only-begotten, the express image of the glory of the Universal King and Almighty Father…. [the only-begotten] the Second Cause. (Stromata, Book VII, 3; Clement shortly after refers to the Father as the “First Cause”).
This is the true athlete: the one who in the great stadium, the fair world, is crowned for the true victory over all the passions. For He who prescribes the contest is the Almighty God, and He who awards the prize is the only-begotten Son of God. (Stromata, Book VII, 17).
Origen taught that some deny that the logos has a distinct nature of his own and yet others deny the divinity of the son. He taught both these precepts as error which history (after Origen) shows us are actually what Athanasius and Arius argued about of which Constantine the Emperor favoured Athanasius doctrine. This doctrine lead to the formation of the Trinity. Origen himself said that God is also God of himself and no other, and that the son drew his divinity from God and not of himself (the son). He goes on to say that we can be gods by receiving from God his divine nature, and that the son and us are images of the prototype (true God). He then says that the son is the archetypal image.
“We next notice John’s use of the article [“the”] in these sentences. He does not write without care in this respect, nor is he unfamiliar with the niceties of the Greek tongue. In some cases he uses the article [“the”], and in some he omits it. He adds the article [“the”] to logos, but to the name of theos he adds it sometimes only. He uses the article [“the”], when the name of theos refers to the uncreated cause of all things, and omits it when the logos is named theos. Does the same difference which we observe between theos with the article [“the], and theos without it, prevail also between logos with it and without it? We must enquire into this. As God who is over all is theos with the article [“the”] not without it, so also “the” logos is the source of that logos (reason} which dwells in every reasonable creature; the logos which is in each creature is not, like the former called par excellence “the” logos. Now there are many who are sincerely concerned about religion, and who fall here into great perplexity. They are afraid that they may be proclaiming two theos (gods), and their fear drives them into doctrines which are false and wicked. Either they deny that the Son has a distinct nature of His own besides that of the Father, and make Him whom they call the Son to be theos all but the name, or they deny the divinity of the Son, giving Him a separate existence of His own, and making His sphere of essence fall outside that of the Father, so that they are separable from each other. To such persons we have to say that God on the one hand is autotheos (God of Himself); and so the Saviour says in His prayer to the Father, “That they may know You the only true God; “but that all beyond the autotheos (God) is made theos by participation in His divinity, and is not to be called simply “the” theos but rather theos. And thus the first-born of all creation, who is the first to be with God, and to attract to Himself divinity, is a being of more exalted rank than the other theos (gods) beside Him, of whom “the” theos is “the” theos, as it is written, “The God of gods, the Lord, hath spoken and called the earth.” It was by the offices of the first-born that they became (gods), for He drew from God in generous measure that they should be made theos gods, and He communicated it to them according to His own bounty. The true God, then, is ho theos (“the god”), and those who are formed after Him are (gods), images, as it were, of Him the prototype. But the archetypal image, again, of all these images is the ho logos (“the word”) of ho theos (“the god”) , who was in the beginning, and who by being with “the” theos (“God”) is at all times theos (“god”), not possessing that of Himself, but by His being with the Father, and not continuing to be theos, if we should think of this, except by remaining always in uninterrupted contemplation of the depths of the Father. (Origen’s Commentary on the Gospel of John, Book II, 2)
Tertullian (early 200’s)
Tertullian taught much the same as those before him, but took their thinking further and appeared to teach something that looks like an early development of the Trinity Doctrine. He talks of light from light and God from God, but this is clearly in a nature sense, in that the Word is theos by nature because it came from God who is the Theos/God. This God from God idea if not understood as talking of nature would certainly start to look like the Trinity to those who don’t understand the Greek word ‘theos’, as qualitatively speaking, and make it mean God himself rather than the Word or Son who possesses God’s nature and is theos by reason of that.
I will bold pertinent parts of his writing that show that God is the Father. But I will also put in orange that which looks like something leaning toward the Trinity Doctrine. Of course it is possible that his writing may have been tampered with by Trinitarians as we see has happened in some biblical manuscripts, such as the .
The object of our worship is the One God, He who by His commanding Word, His arranging Wisdom, His Mighty Power, brought forth out of nothing the entire substance of our world, with all its array of elements, bodies, spirits, for the glory of His majesty, whence also the Greeks have given it the name of kosmos. (Apology, 17).
Christ… the Power of God, and the Spirit of God, as the Word, the Reason, the Wisdom, and the Son of God. (Apology, 23).
We have already declared that God made the world, and all which it contains, by His Word, and Reason, and Power. It is abundantly plain that your philosophers, too, regard the Logos, that is, the Word and Reason, as the Creator of the universe…And we, in like manner, hold that the Word, and Reason, and Power, by which we have said God made all, have spirit as their proper and essential substratum, in which the Word has inbeing to give forth utterances, and reason abides to dispose and arrange, and power is over all to execute. We have been taught that he proceeds forth from God, and in that procession he is generated [ begotten], so that he is the Son of God, and is called “God” from unity of substance with God. For God, too, is Spirit. Even when the ray is shot from the sun, it is still part of the parent mass, the sun will still be in the ray, because it is a ray of the sun–there is no division of substance, but merely an extension. Thus Christ is spirit of the Spirit, and god of the God, as light of Light is kindled. The material matrix remains entire and unimpaired, though you derive from it any number of shoots possessed of its qualities; 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 the Spirit and God of the God, He is made second in manner of existence, in position, not in nature, and He did not withdraw from the original source, but went forth. 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. Apology, 21).
These all start with the same principles of the faith, so far as relates to the One Only God the Creator and His Christ. (Against Marcion, IV, 2).
Therefore Christ belonged to John, and John to Christ, while both belonged to the Creator. (Against Marcion, IV, 11).
For it was he who used to speak in the prophets, the Word, the Creator’s Son. (Against Marcion, IV, 13).
We, however, as we indeed always have done and more especially since we have been better instructed by the Paraclete [the Comforter], who leads men indeed into all truth, believe that there is One God Alone, but under the following dispensation, or oikonomia, as it is called, that this One God Alone also has a Son, His Word, who proceeded from Himself, by whom all things were made, and without whom nothing was made. Him we believe to have been sent by the Father into the virgin, and to have been born of her, being both human and deity, the Son of Man and the Son of God, and to have been called by the name of Jesus Christ, we believe him to have suffered, died, and been buried, according to the Scriptures, and, after He had been raised again by the Father and taken back to heaven, to be sitting at the right hand of the Father, and that he will come to judge the living and the dead, who sent also from heaven from the Father, according to his own promise, the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete, the sanctifier of the faith of those who believe in the Father, and in the Son, and in the Holy Spirit. That this rule of faith has come down to us from the beginning of the gospel…. All are of One, by unity of substance, while the mystery of the dispensation is still kept, which distributes the unity into a trinity, placing in their order the three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit: three, however, not in condition, but in degree, not in substance, but in form, not in power, but in aspect, yet of one substance, and of one condition, and of one power, inasmuch as He is one God, from whom these degrees and forms and aspects are reckoned, under the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. (Against Praxeas, 2).
For before all things God was Alone, being in Himself and for Himself universe, and space, and all things. Moreover, He was Alone, because there was nothing external to Him but Himself. Yet even not then was He Alone, for He had with Him that which He possessed in Himself, that is to say, His own Reason. For God is rational, and Reason was first in Him, and so all things were from Himself. This Reason is His own Thought (or Consciousness) which the Greeks call Logos, by which term we also designate Word…that even then before the creation of the universe God was not alone, since He had within Himself both Reason, and, inherent in Reason, His Word, which He made second to Himself by arousing it within Himself. (Against Praxeas, 6).
Thus does He make him equal to Him. For by proceeding from Himself, he became His first-begotten Son, because begotten before all things, and His only-begotten also, because alone begotten of God, in a way peculiar to Himself, from the womb of His own heart…. He became also the Son of God, and was begotten when he proceeded forth from Him.… whatever, therefore, was the substance of the Word that I designate a person, I claim for it the name of Son, and while I recognize the Son, I assert his distinction as second to the Father. (Against Praxeas, 7).
For the Father is the entire substance, but the Son is a derivation and portion of the whole, as he himself confesses, “My Father is greater than I.” In the Psalm his inferiority is described as being “a little lower than the angels.” Thus the Father is distinct from the Son, being greater than the Son, inasmuch as He who begets is one, and he who is begotten is another. He, too, who sends is one, and he who is sent is another, and He, again, who makes is one, and he through whom the thing is made is another. (Against Praxeas, 9).
Hippolytus (ca. 230 A.D)
The first and Only, both Creator and Lord of all, had nothing coeval with Himself… He was One, Alone in Himself…. this Solitary and Supreme Deity, by an act of reflection, brought forth the Word first, not the Word in the sense of being expressed by voice, but as a Reason of the cosmos, conceived and residing in the Divine mind. Him alone He produced from existing things, for the Father Himself constituted existence, and the being born from Him was the cause of all things that are produced. The Word was in the Father Himself, bearing the will of his Progenitor, and not being unacquainted with the mind of the Father. For simultaneously with his procession from His Progenitor, inasmuch as he is this Progenitor’s firstborn, he has, as a voice in himself, the concepts conceived in the Father. And so it was, that when the Father ordered the world to come into existence, the Word one by one completed each object of creation, thus pleasing God…. God, who is the source of all authority, wished that the Word might render assistance in accomplishing a production of this kind…. The Word alone of this God is from God himself, wherefore also the Logos is God [that is, “deity,” in the sense of nature of substance], being the substance of God…. Now the Word of God controls all these, the first begotten child of the Father, the voice of the Dawn antecedent to the Morning Star…. This Word, the Father in the latter days sent forth, no longer to speak by a prophet, and not wishing that the Word, being obscurely proclaimed, should be made the subject of mere conjecture, but that He should be manifested, so that we could see Him with our own eyes. This Word, I say, the Father sent forth…. This Word we know to have received a body from a virgin, and to have refashioned the old man by a new creation…. This Man we know to have been made out of the compound of our humanity…. He did not protest against his Passion, but became obedient unto death, and manifested his resurrection. Now in all these acts He offered up, as the first-fruits, his own manhood, in order that you, when you are in tribulation, maybe not be disheartened, but, confessing yourself to be a man, may dwell in expectation of also receiving what the Father has granted unto this Son. (Against all Heresies, 10).
In all the above quotes from these early Christians, we can see that they certainly acknowledge that there is a Father, Son and Holy Spirit, but they teach that the Father is the true God and that the Logos that was resident inside God was brought forth/begotten to become a unique life of his own and in likeness of the God the Father. This bringing forth of the Logos equates to Jesus being the image of the invisible God and the first act/work of God outside himself. The cosmos/matter/creation came from God and through his Logos/Word/Wisdom/Son. So from the Original to the Image to us who are also images.
Some of these writers describe the Word as ‘god from God’ and ‘light from Light’, ‘spirit from Spirit’ and that the Word who is god in nature, not the God in identity, also gives deity/divine nature so that we humans can also partake of the divine nature and in doing so, we are called gods in a positive sense, not as false gods.
The Trinity Doctrine as it stands today says that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are all God and co-equal and co-eternal. So we have 3 persons, but 1 God. This absurd idea suggests that God is an essence/substance and spawns 3 personalities rather than the true God (the Father) sharing his nature with his son and with us. This Trinity Doctrine is not taught by the quotes above (and scripture) and if these writers did teach such things, then they would be in direct contradiction of their own teachings and we would have to conclude that they were very confused people indeed.
If we read these quotes with an honest heart we can with certainty say that these early Christians taught that the one true God is indeed the Father and that the Son (the Logos) who resided in God as reason and wisdom was given birth to become his own life, but is joined with God in Spirit, just as we can be. The Son the only begotten of God did not exist before being begotten, but wisdom and logos have always existed within God himself. So in addition to the one true God, we also have Jesus Christ the first work of the Father, the only begotten of God, the Wisdom of God, the Logos, the lamb of God and the the beginning of the creation of God. As it is written, “For just as from one torch many fires are lighted, but the light of the first torch is not lessened by the kindling of many torches, so the Word, coming forth from the Word-Power of the Father, has not divested of the Word-Power Him who begat Him”.