Being A Response to the Misinformation of Muhammadan Polemicists
It is becoming quite popular among Islamic dawagandists to claim that the Christians of the first four centuries did not worship the Holy Spirit as God, since this was something only agreed upon in the year 381 AD at the council of Constantinople. This was supposedly the time when the church officially decided to make or declare that the Holy Spirit is God, the third Person of the Trinity, and therefore co-equal to the Father and the Son. As the following Islamic website puts it:
Early on, Christians did not call the Holy Spirit “God”, nor did they worship or pray to the Holy Spirit. When did Christian theologians first insist on this same fully divine status for the Holy Spirit? The first such official statement is the creed of Constantinople in 381 CE. This creed attributed a number of things to the Holy Spirit, such as a divine title, ‘Lord’, and supreme worship equal to that rendered to the Father and the Son. Thus, the Holy Spirit was officially voted as the third Person of the Trinity. The Catholic Church admits:
The apostolic faith concerning the Spirit was announced by the second ecumenical council at Constantinople (381)  (Did the Early Church Fathers Believe in the Trinity? http://www.manyprophetsonemessage.com/2017/08/31/did-the-early-church-fathers-believe-in-the-trinity/)
It is clear from such statements that these Muhammadans have not read the primary sources for themselves, but are simply parroting the misinformation found in secondary and third sources, where they simple repeat the assertions made by anti-Trinitarian groups without ever bothering to verify the accuracy of those claims.
I have, therefore, decided to refute this gross lie and shameful misinformation by citing the words of some of the greatest Christian scholars, theologians and/or apologists of the first four centuries to show that all true believers bore witness to the fact that the Holy Spirit is God Almighty, co-eternal with the Father and the Son, and worthy of all praise and worship.
In the quotations that are to follow, the readers will not only see that the fathers for the first four hundred years worshiped the Holy Spirit as God Almighty, but that they also proclaim that Jesus Christ is God Almighty as well, even going so far as to describe him as very God of/from very God. The citations will further show how these great scholars and martyrs of the Church emphatically testified that God is an eternal Trinity, in which all three divine Persons are equal in substance.
“… in Christ Jesus our Lord; by whom, and with whom, be glory and power to the Father, WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT, for evermore! Amen.” (The Martyrdom of Ignatius http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0123.htm; bold, capital and italicized emphasis ours)
“We wish you, brethren, all happiness, while you walk according to the doctrine of the Gospel of Jesus Christ; with whom be glory to God the Father AND THE HOLY SPIRIT, for the salvation of His holy elect, after whose example the blessed Polycarp suffered, following in whose steps may we too be found in the kingdom of Jesus Christ!…
“And I again, Pionius, wrote them from the previously written copy, having carefully searched into them, and the blessed Polycarp having manifested them to me through a revelation, even as I shall show in what follows. I have collected these things, when they had almost faded away through the lapse of time, that the Lord Jesus Christ may also gather me along with His elect into His heavenly kingdom, to whom, with the Father AND THE HOLY SPIRIT, be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” (The Martyrdom of Polycarp http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0102.htm; bold, capital and italicized emphasis ours)
Chapter 6. Charge of atheism refuted
Hence are we called atheists. And we confess that we are atheists, so far as gods of this sort are concerned, but not with respect to the most true God, the Father of righteousness and temperance and the other virtues, who is free from all impurity. But both Him, and the Son (who came forth from Him and taught us these things, and the host of the other good angels who follow and are made like to Him), AND THE PROPHETIC SPIRIT, we worship and adore, knowing them in reason and truth, and declaring without grudging to every one who wishes to learn, as we have been taught…
Chapter 13. Christians serve God rationally
What sober-minded man, then, will not acknowledge that we are not atheists, worshipping as we do the Maker of this universe, and declaring, as we have been taught, that He has no need of streams of blood and libations and incense; whom we praise to the utmost of our power by the exercise of prayer and thanksgiving for all things wherewith we are supplied, as we have been taught that the only honour that is worthy of Him is not to consume by fire what He has brought into being for our sustenance, but to use it for ourselves and those who need, and with gratitude to Him to offer thanks by invocations and hymns for our creation, and for all the means of health, and for the various qualities of the different kinds of things, and for the changes of the seasons; and to present before Him petitions for our existing again in incorruption through faith in Him. Our teacher of these things is Jesus Christ, who also was born for this purpose, and was crucified under Pontius Pilate, procurator of Judæa, in the times of Tiberius Cæsar; and that WE REASONABLY WORSHIP HIM, having learned that He is the Son of the true God Himself, and holding Him in the second place, AND THE PROPHETIC SPIRIT in the third, we will prove. For they proclaim our madness to consist in this, that we give to a crucified man a place second to the unchangeable and eternal God, the Creator of all; for they do not discern the mystery that is herein, to which, as we make it plain to you, we pray you to give heed. (Justin Martyr, First Apology http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0126.htm; bold, capital and italicized emphasis ours)
“… for we acknowledge also a Son of God. Nor let any one think it ridiculous that God should have a Son. For though the poets, in their fictions, represent the gods as no better than men, our mode of thinking is not the same as theirs, concerning either God the Father or the Son. But the Son of God is the Logos of the Father, in idea and in operation; for after the pattern of Him and by Him were all things made, the Father and the Son being one. And, the Son being in the Father and the Father in the Son, in oneness and power of spirit, the understanding and reason (νοῦς καὶ λόγος) of the Father is the Son of God. But if, in your surpassing intelligence, it occurs to you to inquire what is meant by the Son, I will state briefly that He is the first product of the Father, not as having been brought into existence (for from the beginning, God, who is the eternal mind [νοῦς], had the Logos in Himself, being from eternity instinct with Logos [λογικός]); but inasmuch as He came forth to be the idea and energizing power of all material things, which lay like a nature without attributes, and an inactive earth, the grosser particles being mixed up with the lighter. The prophetic Spirit also agrees with our statements. The Lord, it says, made me, the beginning of His ways to His works. Proverbs 8:22 The Holy Spirit Himself also, which operates in the prophets, we assert to be an effluence of God, flowing from Him, and returning back again like a beam of the sun. Who, then, would not be astonished to hear men who speak of God the Father, and of God the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and who declare both THEIR POWER IN UNION and their distinction in order, called atheists?…” (Athenagoras, A Plea for the Christians, Chapter 10. The Christians Worship the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0205.htm; bold, capital and underline emphasis ours)
- The rule of truth which we hold, is, that there is one God Almighty, who made all things by His Word, and fashioned and formed, out of that which had no existence, all things which exist. Thus says the Scripture, to that effect By the Word of the Lord were the heavens established, and all the might of them, by the spirit of His mouth. And again, All things were made by Him, and without Him was nothing made. John 1:3 There is no exception or deduction stated; but the Father made all things by Him, whether visible or invisible, objects of sense or of intelligence, temporal, on account of a certain character given them, or eternal; and these eternal things He did not make by angels, or by any powers separated from His Ennœa. For God needs none of all these things, but is He who, by His Word AND SPIRIT, makes, and disposes, and governs all things, and commands all things into existence— He who formed the world (for the world is of all) — He who fashioned man — He [who] is the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, above whom there is no other God, nor initial principle, nor power, nor pleroma — He is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, as we shall prove… (Irenaeus, Against Heresies, Book 1, Chapter 22 http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0103122.htm; bold, capital and underline emphasis ours)
- Truly, then, the Scripture declared, which says, First of all believe that there is one God, who has established all things, and completed them, and having caused that from what had no being, all things should come into existence: He who contains all things, and is Himself contained by no one. Rightly also has Malachi said among the prophets: Is it not one God who has established us? Have we not all one Father?Malachi 2:10 In accordance with this, too, does the apostle say, There is one God, the Father, who is above all, and in us all. Ephesians 4:6 Likewise does the Lord also say: All things are delivered to Me by My Father; Matthew 11:27 manifestly by Him who made all things; for He did not deliver to Him the things of another, but His own. But in all things[it is implied that] nothing has been kept back [from Him], and for this reason the same person is the Judge of the living and the dead; having the key of David: He shall open, and no man shall shut: He shall shut, and no man shall open. Revelation 3:7 For no one was able, either in heaven or in earth, or under the earth, to open the book of the Father, or to behold Him, with the exception of the Lamb who was slain, and who redeemed us with His own blood, receiving power over all things from the same God who made all things by the Word, and adorned them by [His] Wisdom, when the Word was made flesh; that even as the Word of God had the sovereignty in the heavens, so also might He have the sovereignty in earth, inasmuch as [He was] a righteous man, who did no sin, neither was there found guile in His mouth; 1 Peter 2:23 and that He might have the pre-eminence over those things which are under the earth, He Himself being made the first-begotten of the dead; Colossians 1:18 and that all things, as I have already said, might behold their King; and that the paternal light might meet with and rest upon the flesh of our Lord, and come to us from His resplendent flesh, and that thus man might attain to immortality, having been invested with the paternal light.
- I have also largely demonstrated, that the Word, namely the Son, was always with the Father; and that Wisdom also, which is the Spirit, was present with Him, ANTERIOR TO ALL CREATION, He declares by Solomon: God by Wisdom founded the earth, and by understanding has He established the heaven. By His knowledge the depths burst forth, and the clouds dropped down the dew.Proverbs 3:19-20 And again: The Lord created me the beginning of His ways in His work: He set me up from everlasting, in the beginning, before He made the earth, before He established the depths, and before the fountains of waters gushed forth; before the mountains were made strong, and before all the hills, He brought me forth.And again: When He prepared the heaven, I was with Him, and when He established the fountains of the deep; when He made the foundations of the earth strong, I was with Him preparing [them]. I was He in whom He rejoiced, and throughout all time I was daily glad before His face, when He rejoiced at the completion of the world, and was delighted in the sons of men. Proverbs 8:27-31. (Ibid., Book 4, Chapter 20 http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0103420.htm; bold, capital and underline emphasis ours)
“… From all which we learn that the person of the Holy Spirit was of such authority and dignity, that saving baptism was not complete except by the authority of the most excellent Trinity of them all, i.e., by the naming of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and by joining to the unbegotten God the Father, and to His only-begotten Son, the name also of the Holy Spirit. Who, then, is not amazed at the exceeding majesty of the Holy Spirit, when he hears that he who speaks a word against the Son of man may hope for forgiveness; but that he who is guilty of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit has not forgiveness, either in the present world or in that which is to come!… But up to the present time we have been able to find no statement in holy Scripture in which the Holy Spirit could be said to be made or created, not even in the way in which we have shown above that the divine wisdom is spoken of by Solomon, or in which those expressions which we have discussed are to be understood of the life, or the word, or the other appellations of the Son of God. The Spirit of God, therefore, which was borne upon the waters, as is written in the beginning of the creation of the world, is, I am of opinion, no other than the Holy Spirit, so far as I can understand; as indeed we have shown in our exposition of the passages themselves, not according to the historical, but according to the spiritual method of interpretation… We must understand, therefore, that as the Son, who alone knows the Father, reveals Him to whom He will, so the Holy Spirit, who alone searches the deep things of God, reveals God to whom He will: For the Spirit blows where He lists. We are not, however, to suppose that the Spirit derives His knowledge through revelation from the Son. For if the Holy Spirit knows the Father through the Son’s revelation, He passes from a state of ignorance into one of knowledge; but it is alike impious and foolish to confess the Holy Spirit, and yet to ascribe to Him ignorance. For even although something else existed before the Holy Spirit, it was not by progressive advancement that He came to be the Holy Spirit; as if any one should venture to say, that at the time when He was not yet the Holy Spirit He was ignorant of the Father, but that after He had received knowledge He was made the Holy Spirit. For if this were the case, the Holy Spirit would never be reckoned in the Unity of the Trinity, i.e., along with the unchangeable Father and His Son, unless He had always been the Holy Spirit. When we use, indeed, such terms as always or was, or any other designation of time, they are not to be taken absolutely, but with due allowance; for while the significations of these words relate to time, and those subjects of which we speak are spoken of by a stretch of language as existing in time, they nevertheless surpass in their real nature all conception of the finite understanding.” (Origen, De Principiis, Book 1, Chapter 3. On the Holy Spirit, 2-4, http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/04121.htm; bold and underline emphasis ours)
“… Moreover, nothing in the Trinity can be called greater or less, since the fountain of divinity alone contains all things by His word and reason, and by the Spirit of His mouth sanctifies all things which are worthy of sanctification, as it is written in the Psalm: By the word of the Lord were the heavens strengthened, and all their power by the Spirit of His mouth. There is also a special working of God the Father, besides that by which He bestowed upon all things the gift of natural life. There is also a special ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ to those upon whom he confers by nature the gift of reason, by means of which they are enabled to be rightly what they are. There is also another grace of the Holy Spirit, which is bestowed upon the deserving, through the ministry of Christ and the working of the Father, in proportion to the merits of those who are rendered capable of receiving it. This is most clearly pointed out by the Apostle Paul, when demonstrating that the power of the Trinity is one and the same, in the words, There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit; there are diversities of administrations, but the same Lord; and there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God who works all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. From which it most clearly follows that there is no difference in the Trinity, but that which is called the gift of the Spirit is made known through the Son, and operated by God the Father. But all these works that one and the self-same Spirit, dividing to every one severally as He will… Having made these declarations regarding the Unity of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, let us return to the order in which we began the discussion. (Ibid., 7-8 http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/04121.htm; bold and underline emphasis ours)
“… How, then, can it be asserted that there once was a time when He was not the Son? For that is nothing else than to say that there was once a time when He was not the Truth, nor the Wisdom, nor the Life, although in all these He is judged to be the perfect essence of God the Father; for these things cannot be severed from Him, or even be separated from His essence. And although these qualities are said to be many in understanding, yet in their nature and essence they are one, and in them is the fullness of divinity. Now this expression which we employ — that there never was a time when He did not exist — is to be understood with an allowance. For these very words when or never have a meaning that relates to time, whereas the statements made regarding Father, Son, AND HOLY SPIRIT are to be understood AS TRANSCENDING ALL TIME, ALL AGES, AND ALL ETERNITY. For it is the Trinity alone which exceeds the comprehension not only of temporal but even of eternal intelligence; while other things which are not included in it are to be measured by times and ages. This Son of God, then, in respect of the Word being God, which was in the beginning with God, no one will logically suppose to be contained in any place… After these points, now, we proved to the best of our power in the preceding pages that all things which exist were made by God, and that there was nothing which was not made, save the nature of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit…” (Ibid., Book 4, 28, 35 http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/04124.htm; bold, capital and underline emphasis ours)
The Conclusion of the Entire Treatise.
- In accordance with all these things, the: form, moreover, and rule being received from the elders who have lived before us, we also, with a voice in accordance with them, will both acquit ourselves of thanks to you, and of the letter which we are now writing. And to God the Father, and His Son our Lord Jesus Christ, WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT, be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. (Dionysius the Great, Miscellaneous writings http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0612.htm; bold and capital emphasis ours)
Chapter 2. The Catholic Doctrine of the Trinity and Unity, Sometimes Called the Divine Economy, or Dispensation of the Personal Relations of the Godhead
In the course of time, then, the Father forsooth was born, and the Father suffered, God Himself, the Lord Almighty, whom in their preaching they declare to be Jesus Christ. We, however, as we indeed always have done (and more especially since we have been better instructed by the Paraclete, who leads men indeed into all truth), believe that there is one only God, but under the following dispensation, or οἰκονομία, as it is called, that this one only God has also a Son, His Word, WHO PROCEEDED FROM HIMSELF, by whom all things were made, and without whom nothing was made. Him we believe to have been sent by the Father into the Virgin, and to have been born of her — BEING BOTH MAN AND GOD, the Son of Man AND THE SON OF GOD, and to have been called by the name of Jesus Christ; we believe Him to have suffered, died, and been buried, according to the Scriptures, and, after He had been raised again by the Father and taken back to heaven, to be sitting at the right hand of the Father, and that He will come to judge the quick and the dead; who sent also from heaven from the Father, according to His own promise, the Holy Ghost, the Paraclete, the sanctifier of the faith of those who believe in the Father, and in the Son, and in the Holy Ghost. That this rule of faith has come down to us from the beginning of the gospel, even before any of the older heretics, much more before Praxeas, a pretender of yesterday, will be apparent both from the lateness of date which marks all heresies, and also from the absolutely novel character of our new-fangled Praxeas… especially in the case of this heresy, which supposes itself to possess the pure truth, in thinking that one cannot believe in One Only God in any other way than by saying that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost are the very selfsame Person. As if in this way also one were not All, in that All are of One, BY UNITY OF SUBSTANCE; while the mystery of the dispensation is still guarded, which distributes the Unity into a Trinity, placing in their order the three Persons— the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost: three, however, not in condition, but in degree; not in substance, but in form; not in power, but in aspect; YET OF ONE SUBSTANCE, and of one condition, and of one power, inasmuch as He is one God, from whom these degrees and forms and aspects are reckoned, under the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. How they are susceptible of number without division, will be shown as our treatise proceeds. Tertullian, Against Praxeus http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0317.htm; bold and capital emphasis ours)
Chapter 13. The Force of Sundry Passages of Scripture Illustrated in Relation to the Plurality of Persons and Unity of Substance. There is No Polytheism Here, Since the Unity is Insisted on as a Remedy Against Polytheism
Well then, you reply, if He was God who spoke, and He was also God who created, at this rate, one God spoke and another created; (and thus) two Gods are declared. If you are so venturesome and harsh, reflect a while; and that you may think the better and more deliberately, listen to the psalm in which Two are described as God: Your throne, O God, is for ever and ever; the sceptre of Your kingdom is a sceptre of righteousness. You have loved righteousness, and hated iniquity: therefore God, even Your God, has anointed You or made You His Christ. Now, since He here speaks to God, and affirms that God is anointed by God, He must have affirmed that Two are God, by reason of the sceptre’s royal power. Accordingly, Isaiah also says to the Person of Christ: The Sabæans, men of stature, shall pass over to You; and they shall follow after You, bound in fetters; and they shall worship You, because God is in You: for You are our God, yet we knew it not; You are the God of Israel. For here too, by saying, God is in You, and You are God, he sets forth Two who were God: (in the former expression in You, he means) in Christ, AND (in the other he means) THE HOLY GHOST. That is a still grander statement which you will find expressly made in the Gospel: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:1 There was One who was, and there was another with whom He was. But I find in Scripture the name Lord also applied to them Both: The Lord said to my Lord, Sit on my right hand. And Isaiah says this: Lord, who has believed our report, and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? Isaiah 53:1 Now he would most certainly have said Your Arm, if he had not wished us to understand that the Father is Lord, and the Son also is Lord. A much more ancient testimony we have also in Genesis: Then the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrha brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven. Genesis 19:24 Now, either deny that this is Scripture; or else (let me ask) what sort of man you are, that you do not think words ought to be taken and understood in the sense in which they are written, especially when they are not expressed in allegories and parables, but in determinate and simple declarations? If, indeed, you follow those who did not at the time endure the Lord when showing Himself to be the Son of God, because they would not believe Him to be the Lord, then (I ask you) call to mind along with them the passage where it is written, I have said, You are gods, and you are children of the Most High; and again, God stands in the congregation of gods; in order that, if the Scripture has not been afraid to designate as gods human beings, who have become sons of God by faith, you may be sure that the same Scripture has with greater propriety conferred the name of the Lord on the true and one only Son of God.
“Very well! You say, I shall challenge you to preach from this day forth (and that, too, on the authority of these same Scriptures) two Gods and two Lords, consistently with your views. God forbid, (is my reply). For we, who by the grace of God possess an insight into both the times and the occasions of the Sacred Writings, especially we who are followers of the Paraclete, not of human teachers, do indeed definitively declare that Two Beings are God, the Father and the Son, AND, WITH THE ADDITION OF THE HOLY SPIRIT, EVEN THREE, according to the principle of the divine economy, which introduces number, in order that the Father may not, as you perversely infer, be Himself believed to have been born and to have suffered, which it is not lawful to believe, forasmuch as it has not been so handed down. That there are, however, two Gods or two Lords, is a statement which at no time proceeds out of our mouth: not as if it were untrue that the Father is God, and the Son is God, AND THE HOLY GHOST IS GOD, and each is God; but because in earlier times Two were actually spoken of as God, and two as Lord, that when Christ should come He might be both acknowledged as God and designated as Lord, being the Son of Him who is both God and Lord. Now, if there were found in the Scriptures but one Personality of Him who is God and Lord, Christ would justly enough be inadmissible to the title of God and Lord: for (in the Scriptures) there was declared to be none other than One God and One Lord, and it must have followed that the Father should Himself seem to have come down (to earth), inasmuch as only One God and One Lord was ever read of (in the Scriptures), and His entire Economy would be involved in obscurity, which has been planned and arranged with so clear a foresight in His providential dispensation as matter for our faith. As soon, however, as Christ came, and was recognised by us as the very Being who had from the beginning caused plurality (in the Divine Economy), being the second from the Father, AND WITH THE SPIRIT THE THIRD, and Himself declaring and manifesting the Father more fully (than He had ever been before), the title of Him who is God and Lord was at once restored to the Unity (of the Divine Nature), even because the Gentiles would have to pass from the multitude of their idols to the One Only God, in order that a difference might be distinctly settled between the worshippers of One God and the votaries of polytheism.
“For it was only right that Christians should shine in the world as children of light, adoring and invoking Him who is the One God and Lord as the light of the world. Besides, if, from that perfect knowledge which assures us that the title of God and Lord is suitable both to the Father, and to the Son, AND TO THE HOLY GHOST, we were to invoke a plurality of gods and lords, we should quench our torches, and we should become less courageous to endure the martyr’s sufferings, from which an easy escape would everywhere lie open to us, as soon as we swore by a plurality of gods and lords, as sundry heretics do, who hold more gods than One. I will therefore not speak of gods at all, nor of lords, but I shall follow the apostle; so that if the Father and the Son, are alike to be invoked, I shall call the Father God, and invoke Jesus Christ as Lord. Romans 1:7 But when Christ alone (is mentioned), I shall be able to call Him God, as the same apostle says: Of whom is Christ, who is over all, God blessed forever. Romans 9:5 For I should give the name of sun even to a sunbeam, considered in itself; but if I were mentioning the sun from which the ray emanates, I certainly should at once withdraw the name of sun from the mere beam. For although I make not two suns, still I shall reckon both the sun and its ray to be as much two things and two forms of one undivided substance, as God and His Word, as the Father and the Son. (Ibid.; bold, capital and underline emphasis ours)
“There is one God, the Father of the living Word, who is His subsistent Wisdom and Power and Eternal Image: perfect Begetter of the perfect Begotten, Father of the only-begotten Son. There is one Lord, Only of the Only, GOD OF GOD, Image and Likeness of Deity, Efficient Word, Wisdom comprehensive of the constitution of all things, and Power formative of the whole creation, true Son of true Father, Invisible of Invisible, and Incorruptible of Incorruptible, and Immortal of Immortal and ETERNAL OF ETERNAL. And there is One Holy Spirit, having His subsistence from God, and being made manifest by the Son, to wit to men: Image of the Son, Perfect Image of the Perfect; Life, the Cause of the living; Holy Fount; Sanctity, the Supplier, or Leader, of Sanctification; in whom is manifested God the Father, who is above all and in all, and God the Son, who is through all. There is a perfect Trinity, in glory AND ETERNITY and sovereignty, neither divided nor estranged. Wherefore there is NOTHING either CREATED or in servitude in the Trinity; nor anything superinduced, as if at some former period it was non-existent, and at some later period it was introduced. And thus neither was the Son ever wanting to the Father, nor the Spirit to the Son; but without variation and without change, the same Trinity abides ever. (Gregory of Thaumatargus, A Declaration of Faith http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0601.htm; bold, capital and italicized emphasis ours)
“We speak also of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: these, however, are not names which have only supervened at some after period, but they are subsistences… But the Divine Persons are names indeed: and the names are still the persons; and the persons then signify that which is and subsists — which is the essence of God. The name also of the nature signifies subsistence; as if we should speak of the man. All (the persons) are ONE NATURE, ONE ESSENCE, one will, and are called the Holy Trinity; and these also are haines subsistent, one nature in three persons, and one genus. But the person of the Son is composite in its oneness (unita est), being one made up of two, that is, of divinity and humanity together, which two constitute one. Yet the divinity does not consequently receive any increment, but the Trinity remains as it was. Nor does anything new befall the persons even or the names, but these ARE ETERNAL AND WITHOUT TIME. No one, however, was sufficient to know these until the Son being made flesh manifested them, saying: Father, I have manifested Your name to men; glorify me also, that they may know me as Your Son. John 17:6 And on the mount the Father spoke, and said, This is my beloved Son. Matthew 3:17 And the same sent His Holy Spirit at the Jordan. And thus it was declared to us that there is AN ETERNAL TRINITY IN EQUAL HONOUR Eternal Trinity. Besides, the generation of the Son by the Father is incomprehensible and ineffable; and because it is spiritual, its investigation becomes impracticable…
“Now, if we can by no means apprehend things that are done in ourselves, how could it ever be that we should understand the mystery of the uncreated Creator, which goes beyond every mind? Assuredly, if this mystery were one that could be penetrated by man, the inspired John would by no means have affirmed this: No man has seen God at any time. John 1:18 He then, whom no man has seen at any time — whom can we reckon Him to resemble, so that thereby we should understand His generation?… Thus, then, we reason and believe that the Word is begotten by the Father, albeit we neither possess nor know the clear rationale of the fact. The Word Himself IS BEFORE EVERY CREATURE— ETERNAL FROM THE ETERNAL, like spring from spring, and light from light… But the Word of God is substantial, endowed with an exalted and enduring nature, and IS ETERNAL with Himself, and is inseparable from Him, and can never fall away, but shall remain in an everlasting union. This Word created heaven and earth, and in Him were all things made. He is the arm and the power of God, never to be separated from the Father, in virtue of an indivisible nature, and, together with the Father, HE IS WITHOUT BEGINNING. This Word took our substance of the Virgin Mary; and in so far as He is spiritual indeed, He is indivisibly equal with the Father; but in so far as He is corporeal, He is in like manner inseparably equal with us. And, again, in so far as He is spiritual, He supplies in the same equality (aequiparat) the Holy Spirit, inseparably and without limit. Neither were there two natures, but ONLY ONE NATURE OF THE HOLY TRINITY before the incarnation of the Word, the Son; and the nature of the Trinity remained one also after the incarnation of the Son. But if any one, moreover, believes that any increment has been given to the Trinity by reason of the assumption of humanity by the Word, he is an alien from us, and from the ministry of the Catholic and Apostolic Church. This is the perfect, holy, Apostolic faith of the holy God. PRAISE TO THE HOLY TRINITY for ever through the ages of the ages. Amen. (Gregory, A Fragment on the Trinity http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0606.htm; bold, capital and underline emphasis ours)
- That therefore up to the period of the Lord’s Passion, and at the time of the last destruction of Jerusalem, which happened under Vespasian, the Roman emperor, the people of Israel, rightly observing the fourteenth day of the first lunar month, celebrated on it the Passover of the law, has been briefly demonstrated. Therefore, when the holy prophets, and all, as I have said, who righteously and justly walked in the law of the Lord, together with the entire people, celebrated a typical and shadowy Passover, the Creator and Lord of every visible and invisible creature, the only-begotten Son, and the Word CO-ETERNAL WITH THE FATHER AND THE HOLY SPIRIT, and of THE SAME SUBSTANCE WITH THEM, according to His divine nature, our Lord and God, Jesus Christ, being in the end of the world born according to the flesh of our holy and glorious lady, Mother of God, and Ever-Virgin, and, of a truth, of Mary the Mother of God; and being seen upon earth, and having true and real converse as man with men, who were of the same substance with Him, according to His human nature, Himself also, with the people, in the years before His public ministry and during His public ministry, did celebrate the legal and shadowy Passover, eating the typical lamb. For I came not to destroy the law, or the prophets, but to fulfil them, the Saviour Himself said in the Gospel. (Peter of Alexandria, Fragmentshttp://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0621.htm; bold, capital and underline emphasis ours)