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What Did Athenagoras of Athens Teach?

Not a lot is known about Athenagoras except what is found in his writings and quoted by later writers.  It is estimated that he was born around 133AD and died around 190AD.  His writings are dated to around 176AD.  Oddly he is not recorded in the writings of Eusebius but none the less is noted by other church historians.  From his writings we can determine what it is he understood from the Apostles teachings; and his writings are extensive.  His known writings mainly focus on why Christianity is superior to pagan religions and a very lengthy argument for bodily resurrection.  His writings also contain a very detailed explanation of The Trinity before the term 'the trinity' was applied.


Key Teachings
  • God's Eternal Existence 
  • God's Perfection and Goodness
  • God's absolute Sovereignty
  • Monotheism
  • Authority of scripture 
  • The Trinity
  • Jesus the Son of God
  • Deity of Jesus
  • Bodily Resurrection 
  • 'Traditional' Marriage
  • Homosexuality is sin
  • Abortion is sin 
Read his writings here

Sample Quotes

A PLEA FOR THE CHRISTIANS
CH1-9:  that the Deity is uncreated and eternal... our doctrine acknowledges one God, the Maker of this universe, who is Himself uncreated (for that which is does not come to be, but that which is not) but has made all things by the Logos which is from Him... He is God who has framed all things by the Logos, and holds them in being by His Spirit... we have for witnesses of the things we apprehend and believe, prophets, men who have pronounced concerning God and the things of God, guided by the Spirit of God... since the voices of the prophets confirm our arguments... their minds by the impulses of the Divine Spirit, uttered the things with which they were inspired, the Spirit making use of them as a flute-player breathes into a flute

CH10-27 : therefore, seeing that we acknowledge one God, uncreated, eternal, invisible, impassible, incomprehensible, illimitable, who is apprehended by the understanding only and the reason, who is encompassed by light, and beauty, and spirit, and power ineffable, by whom the universe has been created through His Logos, and set in order, and is kept in being... 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... of Him and by Him were all things made, the Father and the Son being one... the Son being in the Father and the Father in the Son, in oneness and power of spirit...  The Holy Spirit Himself also, which operates in the prophets, we assert to be an effluence of God, flowing from Him... 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... the oneness of the Son with the Father, what the communion of the Father with the Son, what is the Spirit, what is the unity of these three, the Spirit, the Son, the Father, and their distinction in unity... God, being perfectly good, is eternally doing good

CH33-35.  you would find many among us, both men and women, growing old unmarried, in hope of living in closer communion with God. But if the remaining in virginity and in the state of an eunuch brings nearer to God... that a person should either remain as he was born, or be content with one marriage; for a second marriage is only a specious adultery... in the beginning God made one man and one woman, and dissolving the strictest union of flesh with flesh... those who have set up a market for fornication and established infamous resorts for the young for every kind of vile pleasure,--who do not abstain even from males, males with males committing shocking abominations, outraging all the noblest and comeliest bodies in all sorts of ways, so dishonouring the fair workmanship of God... when we say that those women who use drugs to bring on abortion commit murder, and will have to give an account to God s for the abortion, on what principle should we commit murder? For it does not belong to the same person to regard the very foetus in the womb as a created being, and therefore an object of God's care, and when it has passed into life, to kill it; and not to expose an infant, because those who expose them are chargeable with child-murder, and on the other hand, when it has been reared to destroy it.

CH36 - : that it is not our belief alone that bodies will rise again, but that many philosophers also hold the same view

ON THE RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD
CH2 - that it is either impossible for God, or contrary to His will, to unite and gather together again bodies that are dead, or even entirely dissolved into their elements, so as to constitute the same persons
CH3 - His power is sufficient for the raising of dead bodies, is shown by the creation of these same bodies... He made at their first formation the bodies of men, and their original elements, He will, when they are dissolved, in whatever manner that may take place, raise them again with equal ease:
 

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