Ante-Nicene Fathers/Volume V/Novatian/A Treatise of Novatian Concerning the Trinity/Part 26

Chapter XXVI.[1]  Argument.—Moreover, Against the Sabellians He Proves that the Father is One, the Son Another.

But from this occasion of Christ being proved from the sacred authority of the divine writings not man only, but God also, other heretics, breaking forth, contrive to impair the religious position in Christ; by this very fact wishing to show that Christ is God the Father, in that He is asserted to be not man only, but also is declared to be God. For thus say they, If it is asserted that God is one, and Christ is God, then say they, If the Father and Christ be one God, Christ will be called the Father. Wherein they are proved to be in error, not knowing Christ, but following the sound of a name; for they are not willing that He should be the second person after the Father, but the Father Himself. And since these things are easily answered, few words shall be said. For who does not acknowledge that the person of the Son is second after the Father, when he reads that it was said by the Father, consequently to the Son, “Let us make man in our image and our likeness;”[2] and that after this it was related, “And God made man, in the image of God made He him?” Or when he holds in his hands: “The Lord rained upon Sodom and Gomorrha fire and brimstone from the Lord from heaven?”[3] Or when he reads (as having been said) to Christ: “Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten Thee. Ask of me, and I will give Thee the heathens for Thine inheritance, and the ends of the earth for Thy possession?”[4] Or when also that beloved writer says: “The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit Thou on my right hand, until I shall make Thine enemies the stool of Thy feet?”[5] Or when, unfolding the prophecies of Isaiah, he finds it written thus: “Thus saith the Lord to Christ my Lord?”[6] Or when he reads: “I came not down from heaven to do mine own will, but the will of Him that sent me?”[7] Or when he finds it written: “Because He who sent me is greater than I?”[8] Or when he considers the passage: “I go to my Father, and your Father; to my God, and your God?”[9] Or when he finds it placed side by side with others: “Moreover, in your law it is written that the witness of two is true. I bear witness of myself, and the Father who sent me beareth witness of me?”[10] Or when the voice from heaven is: “I have both glorified Him, and I will glorify Him again?”[11] Or when by Peter it is answered and said: “Thou art the Son of the living God?”[12] Or when by the Lord Himself the sacrament of this revelation is approved, and He says:  “Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood hath not revealed this to thee, but my Father which is in heaven?”[13] Or when by Christ Himself it is expressed: “Father, glorify me with that glory with which I was with Thee before the world was made?”[14] Or when it was said by the same: “Father, I knew that Thou hearest me always; but on account of those who stand around I said it, that they may believe that Thou hast sent me?”[15] Or when the definition of the rule is established by Christ Himself, and it is said: “And this is life eternal, that they should know Thee, the only and true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent. I have glorified Thee upon the earth, I have finished the work which Thou gavest me?”[16] Or when, moreover, by the same it is asserted and said: “All things are delivered to me by my Father?”[17] Or when the session at the right hand of the Father is proved both by apostles and prophets?  And I should have enough to do were I to endeavour to gather together all the passages[18] whatever on this side; since the divine Scripture, not so much of the Old as also of the New Testament, everywhere shows Him to be born of the Father, by whom all things were made, and without whom nothing was made, who always has obeyed and obeys the Father; that He always has power over all things, but as delivered, as granted, as by the Father Himself permitted to Him. And what can be so evident proof that this is not the Father, but the Son; as that He is set forth as being obedient to God the Father, unless, if He be believed to be the Father, Christ may be said to be subjected to another God the Father?


  1. According to Pamelius, ch. xxi.
  2. Gen. i. 26.
  3. Gen. xix. 24.
  4. Ps. ii. 7, 8.
  5. Ps. cx. 1.
  6. Isa. xlv. 1. Some transcriber has written Κυρίῳ for Κύρῳ, “the Lord” for “Cyrus,” and the mistake has been followed by the author.
  7. John vi. 38.
  8. John xiv. 28.
  9. John xx. 17.
  10. John viii. 17, 18.
  11. John xii. 20.
  12. Matt. xvi. 16.
  13. Matt. xvi. 17.
  14. John xvii. 5.
  15. John xi. 12.
  16. John xvii. 3, 4.
  17. Luke x. 22.
  18. [Cap. xxi. p. 632, supra.]