Ante-Nicene Fathers/Volume V/Novatian/A Treatise of Novatian Concerning the Trinity/Part 14

Chapter XIV. Argument.—The Author Prosecutes the Same Argument.

And yet the heretic still shrinks from urging that Christ is God, whom he perceives to be proved God by so many words as well as facts. If Christ is only man, how, when He came into this world, did He come unto His own, since a man could have made no world? If Christ was only man, how is the world said to have been made by Him, when the world was not by man, but man was ordained after the world? If Christ was only man, how was it that Christ was not only of the seed of David; but He was the Word made flesh and dwelt among us? For although the Protoplast was not born of seed, yet neither was the Protoplast formed of the conjunction of the Word and the flesh. For He is not the Word made flesh, nor dwelt in us. If Christ was only man, how does He “who cometh from heaven testify what He hath seen and heard,”[1] when it is plain that man cannot come from heaven, because he cannot be born there? If Christ be only man, how are “visible things and invisible, thrones, powers, and dominions,” said to be created by Him and in Him; when the heavenly powers could not have been made by man, since they must needs have been prior to man? If Christ is only man, how is He present wherever He is called upon; when it is not the nature of man, but of God, that it can be present in every place? If Christ is only man, why is a man invoked in prayers as a Mediator, when the invocation of a man to afford salvation is condemned as ineffectual? If Christ is only man, why is hope rested upon Him, when hope in man is declared to be accursed? If Christ is only man, why may not Christ be denied without destruction of the soul, when it is said that a sin committed against man may be forgiven? If Christ is only man, how comes John the Baptist to testify and say, “He who cometh after me has become before me, because He was prior to me;”[2] when, if Christ were only man, being born after John, He could not be before John, unless because He preceded him, in that He is God? If Christ is only man, how is it that “what things the Father doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise,”[3] when man cannot do works like to the heavenly operations of God? If Christ is only man, how is it that “even as the Father hath life in Himself, so hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself,”[4] when man cannot have life in him after the example of God the Father, because he is not glorious in eternity, but made with the materials of mortality? If Christ is only man, how does He say, “I am the bread of eternal life which came down from heaven,”[5] when man can neither be the bread of life, he himself being mortal, nor could he have come down from heaven, since no perishable material is established in heaven? If Christ is only man, how does He say that “no man hath seen God at any time, save He which is of God; He hath seen God?”[6] Because if Christ is only man, He could not see God, because no man has seen God; but if, being of God, He has seen God, He wishes it to be understood that He is more than man, in that He has seen God. If Christ is only man, why does He say, “What if ye shall see the Son of man ascending thither where He was before?”[7] But He ascended into heaven, therefore He was there, in that He returned thither where He was before. But if He was sent from heaven by the Father, He certainly is not man only; for man, as we have said, could not come from heaven. Therefore as man He was not there before, but ascended thither where He was not. But the Word of God descended which was there,—the Word of God, I say, and God by whom all things were made, and without whom nothing was made. It was not therefore man that thus came thence from heaven, but the Word of God; that is, God descended thence.


  1. John iii. 31.
  2. John i. 15.
  3. John v. 19.
  4. John v. 26.
  5. John vi. 51.
  6. John vi. 46.
  7. John vi. 62.