The Historical Evidence For Jesus

Written By Thomas Perez. January 16, 2018 at 7:47 PM. Copyright 2019.

There is more evidence in antiquity for Jesus than there is for Alexander the Great.

The Question

The question pertaining to the authenticity of Jesus’ existence in history is still a topic of discussion today among the laymen. However, the topic is no longer considered an issue of debate among historical, religious and secular scholars; they insist that the evidence is there, and is more empirical than that of Alexander the Great. For example, our earliest sources for Alexander come from Arian and Plutarch four hundred years after Alexander’s death. And yet Greco-Roman historians still regard these records as fairly trustworthy accounts concerning Alexander. We even have the legends of Alexander that didn’t arise until centuries later. But when one views the overwhelming evidence regarding the historical Jesus, he or she can pick from a variety of sources to provide documented proof as to Jesus’ historical persona. Personally, I can not believe people are still refuting this today.

However, knowing that He existed, is not the same as combining what you may or may not believe about this historical figure of antiquity. If we believe the overwhelming documentation from religious and secular sources regarding the authenticity of Jesus’ existence, then we must, if we care to, ask ourselves some basic simple questions. “Who was Jesus?” “Was He a prophet?” “Was He a good moral teacher?” “Was Jesus only a man?” “Or was He something bigger?” “Was Jesus the Messiah?” Was He the Son of God?” “Was He God incarnate?” Well, the answer to all of these questions are pretty simple and straightforward. Besides the obvious that is written in the Scriptures about Jesus’ historical validity, various non-Biblical and secular sources are in collaborative agreement with the New Testament (N.T.) concerning the historical Jesus.

SECTION 1. Non Biblical and Secular Evidence

When we look into the following non-Biblical evidence, it is clear that Jesus was an actual human figure of antiquity. Jesus is not a compilation of pagan myths as the Zeitgeist movement/Jesus Seminar indicates and alleges. Jesus is not one of many saviours. Jesus did not become divine by the authority of the 1st universal council of 325AD headed under Emperor Constantine the Great. Jesus is not an astrological myth handed down to us from ancient pagan beliefs. Advocates to these beliefs come from the curious teachings of Acharya Sanning – aka – D.M. Murdock, and the more recently Tom Harpur, author of the book; ‘The Pagan Christ,’ the Zeitgeist movement/Jesus Seminar, Reza Aslen; author of the book ‘Zealot,’ Joseph Campbell and the book/movie; ‘The DiVinci Code’ by Dan Brown. Most of them get all their ideologies from Murdock; who in turn got it from Kersey Graves. Moreover, the History and National Geographic channels are full of the same non sequitur elements of argumentations that contains no merit at all. Jesus’ divinity is proven not only in the Scriptures but also by the testimony of many early Church fathers in the 1st cent – well before 325AD. Their testimonials are located in Section 2 of this article.

The Following Non-Biblical and Secular Sources Are As Follows;

A. Extra-Biblical Sources (Christian)

B. Secular Sources (Documentary)

C. Secular Sources (Commentary)

D. Jewish Sources (Non-Christian)

I will not quote the sources here in this article because they can be found in a another article here;

The Hidden God/The Jesus Evidence

But I will say this; we must remember, non-Christian sources are important as they had nothing to gain by their admissions. On the other hand, the Christian witnesses had everything to lose – many paying for their testimony with their lives. Here are the extra Biblical and seculars, sources. Again, I repeat, all quotations in full can be found in the link article above.

A. Christian Extra Biblical Source Evidence 

1. Ignatius, the Bishop of Antioch in Syria. 110AD.

2. Clement of Rome. ? – 98AD.

3. Quadratus of Athens. 126AD.

4. Aristides the Athenian. 126AD.

5. Polycarp of Smyrna. 112-118AD. Martyred 160AD.

6. Justin Martyr. 110-165AD. Martyred 165AD.

7. Irenaeus 177AD.

8. Hegesippus. 110-180AD.

B. Secular Sources – Documentary Evidence

1. Cornelius Tacitus. 55-120AD.

2. Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus. 69-130AD.

3. Thallus. ?-52AD.

4. Pliny the Younger. 63-113AD.

C. Secular Sources – Commentary Evidence

1. Celsus. ?-178AD.

2. Lucian of Samosata. 120-180AD.

3. Mara Bar-Serapion. Post 70AD.

D. Jewish Sources – Non-Christian Evidence

1. Flavius Josephus. 37-100AD.

Altogether we have 16 non-Biblical sources verifying the historical Jesus as a fact. When we add this to the 27 Books of the N.T., we have a total number of 43 sources. That is a lot when compared to Alexander the Great, who only has 2. Moreover, when we couple the grand total of 43 sources with all the Messianic prophecies of the Old Testament (O.T.) concerning Messiah’s 1st advent, we have a grand total of 108 sources. That is 65 direct O.T. prophecies fulfilled, plus our other 43 sources verifying the O.T. prophecies of Messiah’s first advent with the historical Jesus of the N.T. See article link above for all Messianic prophecies. However, many would argue and conclude that this synergistic approach, with reference to making connections and interpolations from the O.T. with the N.T. historical Jesus, is nothing more than a concocted idea by the Apostles or early Orthodox Church fathers as a means to vindicate their perception of Jesus from a condemned criminal to divine mission of sacrifice.

OK, that sounds like a reasonable argument. But at this point, those who are counter acting along the lines of this type of argumentation do at least admit that Jesus actually existed. Since it is a foregone conclusion that Jesus existed, individuals who had doubted His very existence in antiquity to begin with, must now destroy His divinity; some how, some way. In order to do this they must find loopholes. OK, that too is understandable. But the loopholes that they cling to are superficial. One of the definitions for superficial is “appearing to be true or real only until examined more closely.” (Google Dictionary).

These loopholes are often based upon contradictional presuppositions. For example, one loophole will cite that it was the Apostles attempt to connect any Messianic O.T. prophecy with Jesus to make Him look legit, as in the real “McCoy.” The other loophole is a contradiction to the first. This 2nd loophole claims that the N.T. was written in the 2nd cent instead of the 1st. And as such, it was the emerging Orthodox Church and their early Church father’s that penned it, with its teachings of Jesus’ divinity, and not the Apostles.

Skeptics like Bart Ehrman think Jesus’ disciples couldn’t have known Greek, much less written any of the N.T. Books in Greek. In Forged, he writes: “We know for certain of only two (1st century) authors in Palestine who produced literary works (in Greek)…Josephus…and a man named Justus (p 73). He even says “it is highly probable that [Peter] could not write at all” (p.75).

Others, like Mark Chancey, in Greco-Roman Culture and the Galilee of Jesus, assert there’s no evidence that most Jews in Galilee knew Greek (p 124). Additionally, Catherine Hezser suggests, “in some rural towns and settlements the literacy rate will have been below one percent and some villages may not have even had one single individual who could read” (Jewish Literacy in Roman Palestine, p 35).

And while skeptics believe the Scribes, Pharisees and the priesthood knew how to read and write, they claim the Apostles could not; much less write the Books of the N.T. in Greek since they only spoke Aramaic.

The first argumentation has no basis in fact. The Apostles were not illiterate, as we will find out below. Similarly, skeptics also claim illiteracy and itinerancy with regards to Jesus. And as an alleged itinerant teacher, He had no solid foundation with regards to education. In other words, with reference to the Apostles, anything written about Him could not be from the Apostles because they were illiterate. And anything supposedly said by Jesus are fabrications, since He too was illiterate; hence His quotations of the O.T. with regards to Himself are fictitious. This can not be further from the truth. In Jesus’ day they had houses of study. They were called Bet ha Midrash.

The Bet ha Midrash (House of study) “in Judaism go back at least to the 2nd Century BC, when Simon Ben Sira asked people to dwell in my Bet ha Midrash. They were the community center where Jewish culture and learning were preserved and disseminated. Attendance at a Better ha Midrash was ameritorious act, and he who goes from the synagogue after prayer to study at the Bet ha Midrash is considered worthy of entering synagogues and battei ha midrash (pl) in the world to come. It was often merged with the synagogue, but a distinction was maintained between the function of prayer and the function of study”

Oxford dictionary of world religions; page 138.

Moreover; when we couple this fact with the geneologies of Jesus, we will find a family of kings, and priests steeming from Juda and Levi. One might be inclined to even say that Jesus, as well as someone else from His immediate family, could have taken up the matel of Synagogue Rabbi or Temple priest. So, ingnorant and illiterate, Jesus and His family was not. Probably witnessing temple corruption keep them away from such lofty positions. But who can blame them, eh?

When it comes to the Apostles, they followed Jesus, like “white on rice.” And that meant going to synagogue and temple worship whenever Jesus did; hence exposing themselves to His teachings there and in private – likely spoken in Aramaic, but quoted in Koine Greek. Moreover, the Mishnah and Dead Sea Scrolls indicate some Jews taught their children to read. The Mishnah also tells us that they even encouraged their children, both male and female, to learn Greek. The Mishnah also records instructions telling parents not to teach their children Greek anymore – this of course came after the Roman war.

Another interesting fact that skeptics seem to always overlook is something called “The Septuagint.” The mere fact that the Septuagint even exists is a testament to the Jewish symbiotic and collaborative effort to keep Jewish tradition alive through the Greek language, since Hebrew had almost virtually became extinct – often replaced by Greek, Aramaic and Latin.

Septuagint (from the Latin: septuāgintā literally “seventy,” often abbreviated as LXX and sometimes called the Greek Old Testament) is the earliest extant Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures from the original Hebrew. (1) It is estimated that the first five books of the Old Testament, known as the Torah or Pentateuch were translated in the mid-3rd century BC and the remaining texts were translated in the 2nd century BC. (2) Considered the primary Greek translation of the Old Testament, it is quoted a number of times in the N.T., (3)(4) particularly in the Pauline epistles, (5) by the Apostolic fathers and later by the Greek Church fathers.

(1). Septuagint Merriam-Webster. Retrieved April 7, 2018.

(2). “Septuagint”. Encyclopedia Britannica. June 15, 2017. Retrieved April 7, 2018.

(3). Nicole, Roger – New Testament Use of the Old Testament Revelation and the Bible, ed. Carl. F.H. Henry (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1958), pp. 137-151. The frequent use of the LXX, it must also be noted, did not impose upon the New Testament authors the obligation to quote always in accordance with this version.

(4). “The quotations from the Old Testament found in the New are in the main taken from the Septuagint; and even where the citation is indirect the influence of this version is clearly seen.” “Bible Translations – The Septuagint”. Jewish Retrieved10 February 2012.

(5). “His quotations from Scripture, which are all taken, directly or from memory, from the Greek version, betray no familiarity with the original Hebrew text. Nor is there any indication in Paul’s writings or arguments that he had received the rabbinical training ascribed to him by Christian writers” “Paul, the Apostle of the Heathen”. Jewish Retrieved10 February 2012.

Pre-Christian Jews like Philo and Josephus considered the Septuagint on equal standing with the Hebrew text. Manuscripts of the Septuagint have been found among the Qumran Scrolls in the Dead Sea, and were thought to have been in use among Jews at the time. (1)(2).

(1). Jennifer M. Dines, The Septuagint, Michael A. Knibb, Ed., London: T&T Clark, 2004.

(2). Alexander Zvielli, Jerusalem Post, June 2009, pp. 37

The Early Christian Church used the Greek texts (1) since Greek was a lingua franca of the Roman Empire at the time, and the language of the Greco-Roman Church (Aramaic was the language of Syriac Christianity). The Septuagint seems to have been a major source for the Apostles, but it is not the only one. St. Jerome offered, for example, Matt 2:15 and 2:23, John 19:37, John 7:38, 1 Cor 2:9 (2) as examples not found in the Septuagint, but in Hebrew texts. The New Testament writers, when citing the Jewish scriptures, or when quoting Jesus doing so, freely used the Greek translation, implying that Jesus, his Apostles and their followers considered it reliable. (3)(4)

(1). “The translation, which shows at times a peculiar ignorance of Hebrew usage, was evidently made from a codex which differed widely in places from the text crystallized by the Masorah. Two things, however, rendered the Septuagint unwelcome in the long run to the Jews. Its divergence from the accepted text (afterward called the Masoretic) was too evident; and it therefore could not serve as a basis for theological discussion or for homiletic interpretation. This distrust was accentuated by the fact that it had been adopted as Sacred Scripture by the new faith [Christianity]. In the course of time it came to be the canonical Greek Bible. It became part of the Bible of the Christian Church.” “Bible Translations – The Septuagint”. Jewish Retrieved 10 February 2012.

(2). St. Jerome, Apology Book II.

(3). H. B. Swete, An Introduction to the Old Testament in Greek, revised by R.R. Ottley, 1914; reprint, Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson, 1989.

(4). “The quotations from the Old Testament found in the New are in the main taken from the Septuagint; and even where the citation is indirect the influence of this version is clearly seen” “Bible Translations – The Septuagint” Jewish Retrieved 10 February 2012.

Even though Jews fell out of favor with the Septuagint by the 2nd cent AD due to its Christological messages like Isaiah 7:14 being rendered as “a virgin shall conceive” as opposed to the later new Jewish texts which renders it as “a woman shall conceive;” validates the fact that many non-Jewish Christians spoke and read Greek. Moreover, most, if not all, of these early non-Jewish Christians could not read Hebrew. The association of the Septuagint with a rival religion may have rendered it suspect in the eyes of the newer generation of Jews and Jewish scholars; therefore warranting a new text: the Hebrew/Aramaic Targum manuscripts later compiled by the Masoretes and authoritative Aramaic translations, such as those of Onkelos and Rabbi Jonathan Ben Uziel. (1)(2)

(1). Ernst Würthwein, The Text of the Old Testament, trans. Errol F. Rhodes, Grand Rapids, Mich.: Wm. Eerdmans, 1995.

(2). Greek-speaking Judaism (see also Hellenistic Judaism), survived, however, on a smaller scale into the medieval period. Cf. Natalio Fernández Marcos, The Septuagint in Context: Introduction to the Greek Bible, Leiden: Brill, 2000.

Mikel Del Rosario; M.A., Th.M – had some interesting things to say on the topic with reference to the Apostles…

“Zebedee (the father of James and John). He owned a fishing fleet and hired employees to work for him. That doesn’t sound like he was an illiterate peasant. It’s not a stretch to think his kids could probably read and write, too. Also, consider Peter. His large home was discovered and excavated in 2011. Someone with a place like this was probably not an illiterate peasant! What about Matthew, the tax-collector? He had to be able to read since he worked with tax documents. Beyond this, he was probably bilingual since he worked with Romans and Jews from all over the diaspora. Not only were these disciples not illiterate peasants, but at least those who were fishermen, craftsmen, and tax-collectors probably knew Greek, too!” “Whether or not you’re Jewish, you would’ve picked up some Greek from living near native Greek speakers. Since people called Jesus’ area “Galilee of the Gentiles” (Matt 4:15), there were probably Gentiles there interacting with Jews.” “Also, Nazareth was close to a major Roman trade route. A sign written in Greek, called “The Nazareth Inscription,” was discovered here. It warns people not to rob graves. But why would it be written in Greek if no one could read Greek in Nazareth?”

“The Jewish text of the Hebrew Bible used today is the Masoretic Text (MT for short). When the Dead Sea Scrolls were finally examined, it turned out that there was not one, but three different families of Biblical traditions in the time of Jesus. One of them closely matched the Masoretic Text, one closely matched the Septuagint and one seems to have connections with the Samaritan Torah.”

“Among other things, this of course shows that the Septuagint quoted by the New Testament has great value since it was based upon a Hebrew text that was at least as old as the base Hebrew text of what will one day become – the Masoretic Text.” “…I believe that the entire New Testament was written in Koine Judeo-Greek.”

Furthermore, it would have been literally impossible for the writers of the N.T. to fabricate the life of Jesus and connect Him to the O.T. by pure memory of the Scriptures alone, since they did not have access to the Septuagint or any Hebrew scroll lying around their personal belongings. Pure memory was only one of 4 methods used, but it was used in identifying their thoughts and learnings with Jesus. With this in mind, It is clearly obvious that everything written in the N.T. by the Apostles came about through 4 different methods. The 1st method came from being exposed to Jesus’ teachings as He went about speaking in Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek and Latin. The 2nd method utilized their memories – their memories of what was said and done by Jesus. The 3rd method utilized the memory of the Septuagint (the Jewish encyclopedia admits this, as cited above). And finally the 4th method utilized what became known as inspiration – as they were moved by the Holy Spirit (the N.T., a source document admits this).

So no, it isn’t true that all the Jews in Galilee were illiterate.

SECTION 2. Affirmation of the Divinity of Jesus Before 325AD

Polycarp (AD 69–155) was the bishop at the church in Smyrna. Irenaeus tells us Polycarp was a disciple of John the Apostle. In his Letter to the Philippians he says,

“Now may the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the eternal high priest himself, the Son of God Jesus Christ, build you up in faith and truth…and to us with you, and to all those under heaven who will yet believe in our Lord and God Jesus Christ and in his Father who raised him from the dead.”

Ignatius (AD 50–117) was the bishop at the church in Antioch and also a disciple of John the Apostle. He wrote a series of letters to various churches on his way to Rome, where he was to be martyred. He writes,

“Ignatius, who is also Theophorus, unto her which hath been blessed in greatness through the plentitude of God the Father; which hath been foreordained before the ages to be for ever unto abiding and unchangeable glory, united and elect in a true passion, by the will of the Father and of Jesus Christ our God; even unto the church which is in Ephesus [of Asia], worthy of all felicitation: abundant greeting in Christ Jesus and in blameless joy.”

“Being as you are imitators of God, once you took on new life through the blood of God you completed perfectly the task so natural to you.”

“There is only one physician, who is both flesh and spirit, born and unborn, God in man, true life in death, both from Mary and from God, first subject to suffering and then beyond it, Jesus Christ our Lord.”

“For our God, Jesus the Christ, was conceived by Mary according to God’s plan, both from the seed of David and of the Holy Spirit.”

“Consequently all magic and every kind of spell were dissolved, the ignorance so characteristic of wickedness vanished, and the ancient kingdom was abolished when God appeared in human form to bring the newness of eternal life.”

For our God Jesus Christ is more visible now that he is in the Father.”

“I glorify Jesus Christ, the God who made you so wise, for I observed that you are established in an unshakable faith, having been nailed, as it were, to the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ.”

“Wait expectantly for the one who is above time: the Eternal, the Invisible, who for our sake became visible; the Intangible, the Unsuffering, who for our sake suffered, who for our sake endured in every way.”

Justin Martyr (AD 100–165) was an Christian apologist of the second century.

“And that Christ being Lord, and God the Son of God, and appearing formerly in power as Man, and Angel, and in the glory of fire as at the bush, so also was manifested at the judgment executed on Sodom, has been demonstrated fully by what has been said.”

“Permit me first to recount the prophecies, which I wish to do in order to prove that Christ is called both God and Lord of hosts.”

“Therefore these words testify explicitly that He [Jesus] is witnessed to by Him [the Father] who established these things, as deserving to be worshipped, as God and as Christ.”

“The Father of the universe has a Son; who also, being the first-begotten Word of God, is even God. And of old He appeared in the shape of fire and in the likeness of an angel to Moses and to the other prophets; but now in the times of your reign, having, as we before said, become Man by a virgin.”

“For if you had understood what has been written by the prophets, you would not have denied that He was God, Son of the only, unbegotten, unutterable God.”

Melito of Sardis (died c. AD 180) was the bishop of the church in Sardis.

“He that hung up the earth in space was Himself hanged up; He that fixed the heavens was fixed with nails; He that bore up the earth was born up on a tree; the Lord of all was subjected to ignominy in a naked body – God put to death! …In order that He might not be seen, the luminaries turned away, and the day became darkened – because they slew God, who hung naked on the tree…This is He who made the heaven and the earth, and in the beginning, together with the Father, fashioned man; who was announced by means of the law and the prophets; who put on a bodily form in the Virgin; who was hanged upon the tree; who was buried in the earth; who rose from the place of the dead, and ascended to the height of heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of the Father.”

Irenaeus of Lyons (AD 130–202) was bishop of Lugdunum in Gaul, which is now Lyons, France. Irenaeus was born in Smyrna in Asia Minor, where he studied under bishop Polycarp, who in turn had been a disciple of John the Apostle.

“For I have shown from the Scriptures, that no one of the sons of Adam is as to everything, and absolutely, called God, or named Lord. But that He is Himself in His own right, beyond all men who ever lived, God, and Lord, and King Eternal, and the Incarnate Word, proclaimed by all the prophets, the apostles, and by the Spirit Himself, may be seen by all who have attained to even a small portion of the truth. Now, the Scriptures would not have testified these things of Him, if, like others, He had been a mere man…He is the holy Lord, the Wonderful, the Counselor, the Beautiful in appearance, and the Mighty God, coming on the clouds as the Judge of all men;—all these things did the Scriptures prophesy of Him.”

“He received testimony from all that He was very man, and that He was very God, from the Father, from the Spirit, from angels, from the creation itself, from men, from apostate spirits and demons.”

Christ Jesus [is] our Lord, and God, and Savior, and King, according to the will of the invisible Father.”

Christ Himself, therefore, together with the Father, is the God of the living, who spoke to Moses, and who was also manifested to the fathers.”

“Carefully, then, has the Holy Ghost pointed out, by what has been said, His birth from a virgin, and His essence, that He is God (for the name Emmanuel indicates this). And He shows that He is a man…. [W]e should not understand that He is a mere man only, nor, on the other hand, from the name Emmanuel, should suspect Him to be God without flesh.”

Clement of Alexandria (AD 150–215) was another early church father. He wrote around AD 200. He writes,

“This Word, then, the Christ, the cause of both our being at first (for He was in God) and of our well-being, this very Word has now appeared as man, He alone being both, both God and man – the Author of all blessings to us; by whom we, being taught to live well, are sent on our way to life eternal…The Word, who in the beginning bestowed on us life as Creator when He formed us, taught us to live well when He appeared as our Teacher that as God He might afterwards conduct us to the life which never ends.”

“For it was not without divine care that so great a work was accomplished in so brief a space by the Lord, who, though despised as to appearance, was in reality adored, the expiator of sin, the Savior, the clement, the Divine Word, He that is truly most manifest Deity, He that is made equal to the Lord of the universe; because He was His Son, and the Word was in God.”

Tertullian (AD 150–225) was an early Christian apologist. He said,

“For God alone is without sin; and the only man without sin is Christ, since Christ is also God.”

“Thus Christ is Spirit of Spirit, and God of God, as light of light is kindled…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.”

“Bear always in mind that this is the rule of faith which I profess; by it I testify that the Father, and the Son, and the Spirit are inseparable from each other, and so will you know in what sense this is said. Now, observe, my assertion is that the Father is one, and the Son one, and the Spirit one, and that they are distinct from each other. This statement is taken in a wrong sense by every uneducated as well as every perversely disposed person, as if it predicated a diversity, in such a sense as to imply a separation among the Father, and the Son, and the Spirit. I am, moreover, obliged to say this, when they contend for the identity of the Father and Son and Spirit, that it is not by way of diversity that the Son differs from the Father, but by distribution: it is not by division that He is different, but by distinction; because the Father is not the same as the Son, since they differ one from the other in the mode of their being. For the Father is the entire substance, but the Son is a derivation and portion of the whole, as He Himself acknowledges: “My Father is greater than I.” In the Psalm His inferiority is described as being “a little lower than the angels.” Thus the Father is distinct from the Son, being greater than the Son, inasmuch as He who begets is one, and He who is begotten is another; He, too, who sends is one, and He who is sent is another; and He, again, who makes is one, and He through whom the thing is made is another. Happily the Lord Himself employs this expression of the person of the Paraclete, so as to signify not a division or severance, but a disposition (of mutual relations in the Godhead); for He says, “I will pray the Father, and He shall send you another Comforter…even the Spirit of truth,” thus making the Paraclete distinct from Himself, even as we say that the Son is also distinct from the Father; so that He showed a third degree in the Paraclete, as we believe the second degree is in the Son, by reason of the order observed in the Economy. Besides, does not the very fact that they have the distinct names of Father and Son amount to a declaration that they are distinct in personality?”

“As if in this way also one were not All, in that All are of One, by unity (that is) 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.”

Hippolytus of Rome (AD 170–235) was a third-century theologian. He was a disciple of Irenaeus, who was a disciple of Polycarp, who was a disciple of John. He writes,

“The Logos alone of this God is from God himself; wherefore also the Logos is God, being the substance of God.”

“For, lo, the Only-begotten entered, a soul among souls, God the Word with a (human) soul. For His body lay in the tomb, not emptied of divinity; but as, while in Hades, He was in essential being with His Father, so was He also in the body and in Hades. For the Son is not contained in space, just as the Father; and He comprehends all things in Himself.”

“For all, the righteous and the unrighteous alike, shall be brought before God the Word.”

“Let us believe then, dear brethren, according to the tradition of the apostles, that God the Word came down from heaven, (and entered) into the holy Virgin Mary, in order that, taking the flesh from her, and assuming also a human, by which I mean a rational soul, and becoming thus all that man is with the exception of sin, He might save fallen man, and confer immortality on men who believe on His name…He now, coming forth into the world, was manifested as God in a body, coming forth too as a perfect man. For it was not in mere appearance or by conversion, but in truth, that He became man. Thus then, too, though demonstrated as God, He does not refuse the conditions proper to Him as man, since He hungers and toils and thirsts in weariness, and flees in fear, and prays in trouble. And He who as God has a sleepless nature, slumbers on a pillow.”

Origen (AD 185–254) was another early Christian theologian. He writes,

“Jesus Christ…in the last times, divesting Himself (of His glory), became a man, and was incarnate although God, and while made a man remained the God which He was.”

“Seeing God the Father is invisible and inseparable from the Son, the Son is not generated from Him by “prolation,” as some suppose. For if the Son be a “prolation” of the Father (the term “prolation” being used to signify such a generation as that of animals or men usually is), then, of necessity, both He who “prolated” and He who was “prolated” are corporeal. For we do not say, as the heretics suppose, that some part of the substance of God was converted into the Son, or that the Son was procreated by the Father out of things non-existent, i.e., beyond His own substance, so that there once was a time when He did not exist…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.”

“For we who say that the visible world is under the government to Him who created all things, do thereby declare that the Son is not mightier than the Father, but inferior to Him. And this belief we ground on the saying of Jesus Himself, “The Father who sent Me is greater than I.” And none of us is so insane as to affirm that the Son of man is Lord over God. But when we regard the Savior as God the Word, and Wisdom, and Righteousness, and Truth, we certainly do say that He has dominion over all things which have been subjected to Him in this capacity, but not that His dominion extends over the God and Father who is Ruler over all.”

“Wherefore we have always held that God is the Father of His only-begotten Son, who was born indeed of Him, and derives from Him what He is, but without any beginning, not only such as may be measured by any divisions of time, but even that which the mind alone can contemplate within itself, or behold, so to speak, with the naked powers of the understanding.”

“But it is monstrous and unlawful to compare God the Father, in the generation of His only-begotten Son, and in the substance of the same, to any man or other living thing engaged in such an act; for we must of necessity hold that there is something exceptional and worthy of God which does not admit of any comparison at all, not merely in things, but which cannot even be conceived by thought or discovered by perception, so that a human mind should be able to apprehend how the unbegotten God is made the Father of the only-begotten Son. Because His generation is as eternal and everlasting as the brilliancy which is produced from the sun. For it is not by receiving the breath of life that He is made a Son, by any outward act, but by His own nature.

“And that you may understand that the omnipotence of Father and Son is one and the same, as God and the Lord are one and the same with the Father, listen to the manner in which John speaks in the Apocalypse: “Thus saith the Lord God, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.” For who else was “He which is to come” than Christ? And as no one ought to be offended, seeing God is the Father, that the Savior is also God; so also, since the Father is called omnipotent, no one ought to be offended that the Son of God is also called omnipotent.


For further information concerning various and spurious ms-conceptions about Christianity, Jesus and the divinity of Jesus Christ see the following articles written by yours truly…

Putting Bart Ehrman to the Test: Where Did the New Testament Come From?

Part 1: Exposing the Errors of ‘Zealot’

Part 1: On Jesus and Krishna: Answering Acharya Sanning, Tom Harpur, the DiVinci Code and the Zeitgeist Movement on the So Called Pagan Christ

Part 2: On Buddha, Salivahana and Zoraster: Answering Acharya Sanning, Tom Harpur, the DiVinci Code and the Zeitgeist Movement on the So Called Pagan Christ

Part 3: On Ra, Horus and Osiris: Answering Acharya Sanning, Tom Harpur, the DiVinci Code and the Zeitgeist Movement on the So Called Pagan Christ

How to Prove That Jesus Christ is God Almighty

Part 1: How to Answer Those Who Deny That Jesus Christ Is God Almighty

Part 2: How to Answer Those Who Deny That Jesus Christ Is God Almighty

Part 3: How to Answer Those Who Deny That Jesus Christ Is God Almighty

How to Prove the Holy Spirit is a Person and God Almighty