Contrary to The Da Vinci Code and other novel speculations, the belief that Jesus is God was not invented by the Council of Nicaea. It is rooted in the text of Scripture and was believed on in the church from the very beginning. Here are some quotations from the early church fathers living in the second century which affirm the deity of Christ:
“Brethren, it is fitting that you should think of Jesus Christ as of God, as the Judge of the living and the dead. And it does not become us to think lightly of our salvation” (2 Clement 1:1).
“For when they hear from us that God saith, ‘There is no thank unto you, if ye love them that love you; but there is thank unto you, if ye love your enemies and them that hate you’” (2 Clement 13:4).
“Ignatius, who is also called Theophorus, to the Church which is at Ephesus, in Asia, deservedly most happy, being blessed in the greatness and fullness of God the Father, and predestinated before the beginning of time, that it should be always for an enduring and unchangeable glory, being united and elected through the true passion by the will of the Father, and Jesus Christ, our God: Abundant happiness through Jesus Christ, and His undefiled grace. I have become acquainted with your name, much-beloved in God, which ye have acquired by the habit of righteousness, according to the faith and love in Jesus Christ our Savior. Being the followers of God, and stirring up yourselves by the blood of God, ye have perfectly accomplished the work which was beseeming to you” (Ignatius to the Ephesians 1:1).
“There is one Physician who is possessed both of flesh and spirit; both made and not made; God existing in flesh; true life in death; both of Mary and of God; first possible and then impossible, even Jesus Christ our Lord” (Ignatius to the Ephesians 7:2).
“For our God, Jesus Christ, was, according to the appointment of God, conceived in the womb by Mary, of the seed of David, but by the Holy Ghost. He was born and baptized, that by His passion He might purify the water” (Ignatius to the Ephesians 18:2).
“Hence every kind of magic was destroyed, and every bond of wickedness disappeared; ignorance was removed, and the old kingdom abolished, God Himself being manifested in human form for the renewal of eternal life. And now that took a beginning which had been prepared by God. Henceforth all things were in a state of tumult, because He meditated the abolition of death” (Ignatius to the Ephesians 19:3).
“I wish abundance of happiness unblameably, in Jesus Christ our God. Through prayer to God I have obtained the privilege of seeing your most worthy faces, and have even been granted more than I requested; for I hope as a prisoner in Christ Jesus to salute you, if indeed it be the will of God that I be thought worthy of attaining unto the end” (Ignatius to the Romans 1:1).
“Nothing visible is eternal. ‘For the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.’ For our God, Jesus Christ, Now that He is with the Father, is all the more revealed in His glory. Christianity is not a thing of silence only, but also of manifest greatness” (Ignatius to the Romans 3:3).
“Permit me to be an imitator of the passion of my God. If any one has Him within himself, let him consider what I desire, and let him have sympathy with me, as knowing how I am straitened” (Ignatius to the Romans 6:3).
“I glorify God, even Jesus Christ, who has given you such wisdom. For I have observed that ye are perfected in an immoveable faith, as if ye were nailed to the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, both in the flesh and in the spirit, and are established in love through the blood of Christ, being fully persuaded with respect to our Lord, that He was truly of the seed of David according to the flesh, and the Son of God according to the will and power of God; that He was truly born of a virgin, was baptized by John, in order that all righteousness might be fulfilled by Him” (Ignatius to the Smyrnaeans 1:1).
“Be ever becoming more zealous than what thou art. Weigh carefully the times. Look for Him who is above all time, eternal and invisible, yet who became visible for our sakes; impalpable and impassible, yet who became passible on our account; and who in every kind of way suffered for our sakes” (Ignatius to Polycarp 3:2).
“Wherefore also I praise Thee for all things, I bless Thee, I glorify Thee, along with the everlasting and heavenly Jesus Christ, Thy beloved Son, with whom, to Thee, and the Holy Ghost, be glory both now and to all coming ages. Amen” (Martyrdom of Polycarp 14:3).
“For this end he suggested it to Nicetes, the father of Herod and brother of Alce, to go and entreat the governor not to give up his body to be buried, “lest,” said he, “forsaking Him that was crucified, they begin to worship this one.” This he said at the suggestion and urgent persuasion of the Jews, who also watched us, as we sought to take him out of the fire, being ignorant of this, that it is neither possible for us ever to forsake Christ, who suffered for the salvation of such as shall be saved throughout the whole world (the blameless one for sinners), nor to worship any other” (Martyrdom of Polycarp 17:2).
“But truly God Himself, who is almighty, the Creator of all things, and invisible, has sent from heaven, and placed among men, Him who is the truth, and the holy and incomprehensible Word, and has firmly established Him in their hearts. He did not, as one might have imagined, send to men any servant, or angel, or ruler, or any one of those who bear sway over earthly things, or one of those to whom the government of things in the heavens has been entrusted, but the very Creator and Fashioner of all things— by whom He made the heavens— by whom he enclosed the sea within its proper bounds— whose ordinances all the stars faithfully observe” (Epistle to Diognetus 7:2).
“This is He who was from the beginning, who appeared as if new, and was found old, and yet who is ever born afresh in the hearts of the saints. This is He who, being from everlasting, is to-day called the Son; through whom the Church is enriched, and grace, widely spread, increases in the saints, furnishing understanding, revealing mysteries, announcing times, rejoicing over the faithful. giving to those that seek, by whom the limits of faith are not broken through, nor the boundaries set by the fathers passed over” (Epistle to Diognetus 11:4-5).
“And further, my brethren: if the Lord endured to suffer for our soul, He being Lord of all the world, to whom God said at the foundation of the world, ‘Let us make man after our image, and after our likeness,’ understand how it was that He endured to suffer at the hand of men” (Epistle of Barnabas 5:5).
“The Christians, then, trace the beginning of their religion from Jesus the Messiah; and he is named the Son of God Most High. And it is said that God came down from heaven, and from a Hebrew virgin assumed and clothed himself with flesh; and the Son of God lived in a daughter of man. This is taught in the gospel, as it is called, which a short time was preached among them; and you also if you will read therein, may perceive the power which belongs to it” (Aristides, Apology 2.4).
“The Father of the universe has a Son; who also, being the first-begotten Word of God, is even God” (Justin Martyr, First Apology 63).
“For Christ is King, and Priest, and God, and Lord” (Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho 34).
“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” (Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho 128).
“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” (Tatian, Address to the Greeks 21).
“For, as we acknowledge a God, and a Son his Logos, and a Holy Spirit, united in essence, the Father, the Son, the Spirit” (Athenagoras, A Plea for the Christians 24).
“The one who was born as Son, and led to slaughter as a lamb, and sacrificed as a sheep, and buried as a man, rose up from the dead as God, since he is by nature both God and man” (Melito of Sardis, On Passover 8).
“The one who hung the earth in space, is himself hanged; the one who fixed the heavens in place, is himself impaled; the one who firmly fixed all things, is himself firmly fixed to the tree. The Lord is insulted, God has been murdered, the King of Israel has been destroyed by the right hand of Israel” (Melito of Sardis, On Passover 96).