THE INCARNATION OF JESUS CHRIST, LORD OF ALL

The Following is excerpted from Tertullian (c. 160 – c. 220 AD) [i].

“ … God made the world, and all which it contains, by His Word, and Reason, and Power. It is abundantly plain that [even] your [Greek] philosophers, too, regard the Logos—that is, the Word and Reason—as the Creator of the universe  [ii] … Cleanthes ascribes all this to spirit, which he maintains pervades 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 substance, in which the Word has in being 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; so that He is the Son of God, and is called God from unity of substance with God.  For God, too, is a 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 [iii].  Thus Christ is Spirit of Spirit, and God of 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 Spirit and God of God, He is made a 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. The flesh formed by the Spirit is nourished, grows up to manhood, speaks, teaches, works, and is the Christ. Receive meanwhile this fable, if you choose to call it so—it is like some of your own—while we go on to show how Christ’s claims are proved, and who the parties are with you by whom such fables have been set a going to overthrow the truth…

CITATIONS AND NOTES:

[i] http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf03.iv.iii.xxi.html

[ii] Tertullian is mocking the Greek philosophers for observing the obvious.

[iii] Not to be misinterpreted as Modalism, a heretical belief espoused by some Pentecostals that the Heavenly Father, Resurrected Son and Holy Spirit are different modes or aspects of one God.  Tertullian espoused strong orthodox Trinitarian views.

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