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It seems virtually undisputed that Theophilus of Antioch (d. 183) is your man. He wrote in Greek: [God's creations on the first three days--light, sky, and vegetation--] are types of the Trinity, of God, and His Word, and His wisdom. And the fourth [day, the creation of the moon and stars,] is the type of man, who needs light, that so there may be God, ...


3

I've seen a few candidates put forward. Valentinus the Gnostic (100 - 160) Writing about two hundred years later against the Arian heresy, Marcellus of Ancyra (himself possibly a Sabellian) wrote: These then teach three hypostases, just as Valentinus the heresiarch first invented in the book entitled by him On the Three Natures. For he was the first to ...


6

John Darby (1800-1882), often considered the father of dispensationalism and one of the founders of the Plymouth Brethren, tends to be given credit for inventing the doctrine, or at least for having "provided the intellectual mantle that helped make it respectable." (1 2 3 4). Anti-pre-trib sources often allege that he got it from a certain Margaret ...



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