The Trinity Delusion An examination of the doctrine of the Trinity

Tatian

(ca. 165 A.D.)


Tatian was a disciple of Justin Martyr and his writings below reflect Justin's thought. After Justin was martyred, Tatian is said to have turned to a form Gnosticism.

God was in the beginning, but the beginning, we have been taught, is the power of the Word. For the Lord of the universe, who is Himself the necessary basis of all being, inasmuch as no creature was yet in existence, was alone, but inasmuch as He was all powerful, Himself the necessary ground of things visible and invisible, with Him were all things; with Him, by Word-power, the Word himself also, who was in Him, subsists. And by His simple will the Word sprang forth, and the Word, not coming forth in vain, became the firstbegotten work of the Father. Him [the Word] we know to be the Beginning of the world (cf. Rev. 3:14). But He came into being by participation, not by cutting off, for what is cut off is separated from the original substance, but that which comes by participation, making its choice of function, does not render him deficient from whom it is taken. For just as from one torch many fires are lighted, but the light of the first torch is not lessened by the kindling of many torches, so the Word, coming forth from the Word-Power of the Father has not divested of the Word-Power Him who begat Him. I myself, for instance, speak [words], and you hear, yet, certainly, I who converse do not become destitute of my word, by the transmission of speech, but by the utterance of my voice I endeavour to reduce to order the unarranged matter in your minds. And as the Word begotten in the beginning, begat in turn our world, having first created for himself the necessary matter, so also I, in imitation of the Word, being begotten again, and having become possessed of the truth, am trying to reduce to order the confused matter which is kindred with myself. For matter is not, like God, without beginning, nor, as having no beginning, is of equal power with God, it is begotten, and not produced by any other being, but brought into existence by the Framer of all things alone (Address to the Greeks, 5).

For the heavenly Word, Spirit emanating from the Father and a Word of the Word-Power, in imitation of the Father who begat him made man an image of immortality, so that, as incorruption is with God, in like manner, man, sharing in a part of God, might have the immortal principle also. The Word, too, before the creation of men, was the Framer of angels. (Address to the Greeks, 7).

We do not act as fools, O Greeks, nor utter idle tales, when we announce that God was born in the form of a man. (Address to the Greeks 21.).

Last Update: January 23, 2011
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