Return of the Prodigal Son by Pompeo Batoni - 1773

Evolution for the Catholic Student

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Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Fathers Speak: The Trinity

The Fathers Speak: 
The Trinity

                The Fathers of the Church are some of our greatest apologetic tools.  We are blessed with many writings by Christians from the earliest centuries.  We can use them to show people that Catholic teachings were universal to Christianity from the time of the Apostles on.
          Most Christians believe in the Trinity.  In fact, for many people belief in the Trinity and Incarnation determines whether they will acknowledge someone as Christian.  However, there are a few groups (Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, Oneness Pentecostals) who profess to follow Jesus but deny the Trinity.  The following are just a few of the many quotes by Christians before the Council of Nicea that testify to belief in the Trinity.  Some deal specifically with the divinity of Christ, which many non-Trinitarians deny.

          “The Father of all has a Son, who is both the first-born Word of God and is God” – St. Justin Martyr – c. AD 150
          “What can not be said of anyone else, that He is Himself in His own right God and Lord and eternal King and Only-begotten and Incarnate Word, proclaimed as such by all the Prophets and by the Apostles and by the Spirit Himself, may be seen by all who have attained to even a small portion of the truth.” – St. Irenaeus c. AD 180

          “All are One – through unity of substance of course!...for the Unity is distributed in a Trinity.  Placed in order, the Three are Father, Son, and Spirit” – Tertullian c. AD 215

          “Although He was God, He took flesh; and having been made man, He remained what He was, God” – Origen c. AD 220
          Not everything taught by some of these men, notably Tertullian and Origen, was embraced by the Church, but history recounts their writings on the Trinity as orthodox and representative of the teachings of the Church in their day.