A Treatise Of Novatian Concerning The Trinity by Novatian
Chapter XXII. Argument--That the Same Divine Majesty is in Christ, He Once More Asserts by Other Scriptures.
But why, although we appear to hasten to another branch of the argument, should we pass over that passage in the apostle: |Who, although He was in the form of God, did not think it robbery that He should be equal with God; but emptied Himself, taking up the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men; and found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, becoming obedient even unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore also God hath highly exalted Him, and hath given Him a name which is above every name; that in the name of Jesus every knee should be bent, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and every tongue should confess that Jesus is Lord, in the glory of God the Father?| |Who, although He was in the form of God,| he says. If Christ had been only man, He would have been spoken of as in |the image| of God, not |in the form| of God. For we know that man was made after the image or likeness, not after the form, of God. Who then is that angel who, as we have said, was made in the form of God? But neither do we read of the form of God in angels, except because this one is chief and royal above all -- the Son of God, the Word of God, the imitator of all His Father's works, in that He Himself worketh even as His Father. He is -- as we have declared -- in the form of God the Father. And He is reasonably affirmed to be in the form of God, in that He Himself, being above all things, and having the divine power over every creature, is also God after the example of the Father. Yet He obtained this from His own Father, that He should be both God of all and should be Lord, and be begotten and made known from Himself as God in the form of God the Father. He then, although He was in the form of God, thought it not robbery that He should be equal with God. For although He remembered that He was God from God the Father, He never either compared or associated Himself with God the Father, mindful that He was from His Father, and that He possessed that very thing that He is, because the Father had given it Him. Thence, finally, both before the assumption of the flesh, and moreover after the assumption of the body, besides, after the resurrection itself, He yielded all obedience to the Father, and still yields it as ever. Whence it is proved that He thought that the claim of a certain divinity would be robbery, to wit, that of equalling Himself with God the Father; but, on the other hand, obedient and subject to all His rule and will, He even was contented to take on Him the form of a servant -- that is, to become man; and the substance of flesh and body which, as it came to Him from the bondage of His forefathers' sins according to His manhood, He undertook by being born, at which time moreover He emptied Himself, in that He did not refuse to take upon Him the frailty incident to humanity. Because if He had been born man only, He would not have been emptied in respect of this; for man, being born, is increased, not emptied. For in beginning to be that which He could not possess, so long as He did not exist, as we have said, He is not emptied, but is rather increased and enriched. But if Christ is emptied in being born, in taking the form of a servant, how is He man only? Of whom it could more truly have been said that He was enriched, not emptied, at the time that He was born, except because the authority of the divine Word, reposing for awhile in taking upon itself humanity, and not exercising itself with its real strength, casts itself down, and puts itself off for the time, in bearing the humanity which it has undertaken? It empties itself in descending to injuries and reproaches, in bearing abominations, in experiencing things unworthy; and yet of this humility there is present at once an eminent reward. For He has |received a name which is above every name,| which assuredly we understand to be none other than the name of God. For since it belongs to God alone to be above all things, it follows that the name which is that God's who is above all things, is above every name; which name by consequence is certainly His who, although He was |in the form of God, thought it not robbery for Him to be equal with God.| For neither, if Christ were not God, would every knee bend itself in His name, |of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;| nor would things visible and invisible, even every creature of all things, be subjected or be placed under man, when they might remember that they were before man. Whence, since Christ is said to be in the form of God, and since it is shown that for His nativity according to the flesh He emptied Himself; and since it is declared that He received from the Father that name which is above every name; and since it is shown that in His name |every knee of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth, bend and bow| themselves; and this very thing is asserted to be a furtherance of the glory of God the Father; consequently He is not man only, from the fact that He became obedient to the Father, even to death, yea, the death of the cross; but, moreover, from the proclamation by these higher matters of the divinity of Christ, Christ Jesus is shown to be Lord and God, which the heretics will not have.