Ante-Nicene Fathers/Volume V/Novatian/A Treatise of Novatian Concerning the Trinity/Part 20

Chapter XX.[1] Argument.—It is Proved from the Scriptures that Christ Was Called an Angel. But Yet It is Shown from Other Parts of Holy Scripture that He is God Also.

But if some heretic, obstinately struggling against the truth, should persist in all these instances either in understanding that Christ was properly an angel, or should contend that He must be so understood, he must in this respect also be subdued by the force of truth. For if, since all heavenly things, earthly things, and things under the earth, are subjected to Christ, even the angels themselves, with all other creatures, as many as are subjected to Christ, are called gods,[2] rightly also Christ is God. And if any angel at all subjected to Christ can be called God, and this, if it be said, is also professed without blasphemy, certainly much more can this be fitting for Christ, Himself the Son of God, for Him to be pronounced God. For if an angel who is subjected to Christ is exalted as God, much more, and more consistently, shall Christ, to whom all angels are subjected, be said to be God. For it is not suitable to nature, that what is conceded to the lesser should be denied to the greater. Thus, if an angel be inferior to Christ, and yet an angel is called god, rather by consequence is Christ said to be God, who is discovered to be both greater and better, not than one, but than all angels. And if “God standeth in the assembly of the gods, and in the midst God distinguisheth between the gods,”[3] and Christ stood at various times in the synagogue, then Christ stood in the synagogue as God,—judging, to wit, between the gods, to whom He says, “How long do ye accept the persons of men?”  That is to say, consequently, charging the men of the synagogue with not practising just judgments. Further, if they who are reproved and blamed seem even for any reason to attain this name without blasphemy, that they should be called gods, assuredly much more shall He be esteemed God, who not only is said to have stood as God in the synagogue of the gods, but moreover is revealed by the same authority of the reading as distinguishing and judging between gods. But even if they who “fall like one of the princes” are still called gods, much rather shall He be said to be God, who not only does not fall like one of the princes, but even overcomes both the author and prince of wickedness himself. And what in the world is the reason, that although they say that this name was given even to Moses, since it is said, “I have made thee as a god to Pharaoh,”[4] it should be denied to Christ, who is declared to be ordained[5] not to Pharaoh only, but to every creature, as both Lord and God? And in the former case indeed this name is given with reserve, in the latter lavishly; in the former by measure, in the latter above all kind of measure:  “For,” it is said, “the Father giveth not to the Son by measure, for the Father loveth the Son.”[6] In the former for the time, in the latter without reference to time;[7]for He received the power of the divine name, both above all things and for all time. But if he who has received the power of one man, in respect to this limited power given him, still without hesitation attains that name of God, how much more shall He who has power over Moses himself as well be believed to have attained the authority of that name?


  1. According to Pamelius, ch. xv.
  2. [Ps. xcvii. 7; John x. 36; Hippol., p. 153, supra.]
  3. Ps. lxxxii. 1, 2, etc.
  4. Ex. vii. 1.
  5. [The full meaning of which only comes out in the Gospel and in 2 Pet. i. 4. The lie of Gen. iii. 5, is made true in Christ.]
  6. John iii. 34, 35.
  7. [Rev. xi. 15.]