Saint Justin Martyr and Subordinationism

edited December 1969 in Faith Issues
What do you all think of the accusation (for lack of a better word) of subordinationism in the writings of Saint Justin Martyr? On the one hand, He does affirm that our Lord Jesus Christ is God and that He is the "LORD [YHWH] of Hosts", but on the other hand some have read subordinationism into St. Justin's other words.

He also refers to Christ as being the "first-begotten Word of God, even God." Would it be safe to assume that by "first-begotten" he means that Christ is the heir of all creation, having the position of preeminence in the universe, rather than saying that He is a created being? What are your thoughts? Am I not being specific enough?

+Thanks and forgive me if this question sounds foolish


  • "On the other hand, and lest we should ever be drawn away by the greatness of the works wrought to imagine that the Lord is without beginning, what saith the Self-Existent? “I live through the Father," and the power of God; “The Son hath power to do nothing of him- self.” And the self-complete Wisdom? I received “a commandment what I should say and what I should speak.” Through all these words He is guiding us to the knowledge of the Father, and referring our wonder at all that is brought into existence to Him, to the end that “through Him” we may know the Father. For the Father is not regarded from the difference of the operations, by the exhibition of a separate and peculiar energy; for whatsoever things He sees the Father doing, “these also doeth the Son likewise;” but He enjoys our wonder at all that comes to pass out of the glory which comes to Him from the Only Begotten, rejoicing in the Doer Himself as well as in the greatness of the deeds, and exalted by all who acknowledge Him as Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, “through whom are all things, and for whom are all things.” Wherefore,saiththeLord,“Allmine are thine," as though the sovereignty over created things were conferred on Him, and “Thine are mine,” as though the creating Cause came thence to Him. We are not to suppose that He used assistance in His action, or yet was entrusted with the ministry of each indi- vidual work by detailed commission, a condition distinctly menial and quite inadequate to the divine dignity. Rather was the Word full of His Father’s excellences; He shines forth from the Father, and does all things according to the likeness of Him that begat Him. For if in essence He is without variation, so also is He without variation in power. And of those whose power is equal, the operation also is in all ways equal. And Christ is the power of God, and the wisdom of God. And so “all things are made through him,” and “all things were created through him and for him,” not in the discharge of any slavish service, but in the fulfilment of the Father’s will as Creator."

    St. Basil the Great. (On the Holy Spirit, Ch VIII)
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