Early Church Fathers Quotes on Temples
Let us be spiritually-minded: let us be a perfect temple to God.
He says in another prophet, “Behold, said the Lord, I will take away from these, that is, from those whom the Spirit of the Lord foresaw, their stony hearts, and I will put hearts of flesh within them,” because He was to be manifested in flesh, and to sojourn among us. For, my brethren, the habitation of our heart is a holy temple to the Lord. -ibid
Moreover, I will also tell you concerning the temple, how the wretched [Jews], wandering in error, trusted not in God Himself, but in the temple, as being the house of God. For almost after the manner of the Gentiles they worshipped Him in the temple. But learn how the Lord speaks, when abolishing it: “Who has meted out heaven with a span, and the earth with his palm? Have not I? Thus said the Lord, Heaven is My throne, and the earth My footstool: what kind of house will you build to Me, or what is the place of My rest?”-ibid
Let us inquire, then, if there still is a temple of God. There is – where He himself declared He would make and finish it. For it is written, “And it shall come to pass, when the week is completed, the temple of God shall be built in glory in the name of the Lord.” I find, therefore, that a temple does exist. Learn, then, how it shall be built in the name of the Lord. Before we believed in God, the habitation of our heart was corrupt and weak, as being indeed like a temple made with hands. For it was full of idolatry, and was a habitation of demons, through our doing such things as were opposed to [the will of] God. But it shall be built, observe you, in the name of the Lord, in order that the temple of the Lord may be built in glory. How? Learn [as follows]. Having received the forgiveness of sins, and placed our trust in the name of the Lord, we have become new creatures, formed again from the beginning. Wherefore in our habitation God truly dwells in us. How? His word of faith; His calling of promise; the wisdom of the statutes; the commands of the doctrine; He himself prophesying in us; He himself dwelling in us; opening to us who were enslaved by death the doors of the temple, that is, the mouth; and by giving us repentance introduced us into the incorruptible temple. -ibid
Forasmuch as you are stones of a temple, which were prepared beforehand for a building of God the Father, being hoisted up to the heights through the engine of Jesus Christ, which is the Cross, and using for a rope the Holy Spirit; while your faith is your windlass, and love is the way that leads up to God.
Hasten to come together all of you, as to one temple, even God; as to one altar, even to one Jesus Christ, who came forth from One Father and is with One and departed unto One. -ibid
Rusticus the prefect said, “Where do you assemble?” Justin said, “Where each one chooses and can: for do you fancy that we all meet in the very same place? Not so; because the God of the Christians is not circumscribed by place; but being invisible, fills heaven and earth, and everywhere is worshipped and glorified by the faithful.” Rusticus the prefect said, “Tell me where you assemble, or into what place do you collect your followers?” Justin said, “I live above one Martinus, at the Timiotinian Bath; and during the whole time (and I am now living in Rome for the second time) I am unaware of any other meeting than his. And if any one wished to come to me, I communicated to him the doctrines of truth.” Rusticus said, “Are you not, then, a Christian?” Justin said, “Yes, I am a Christian.”
Whence also he says, that this handiwork is “the temple of God,” thus declaring: “Know you not that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If any man, therefore, will defile the temple of God, him will God destroy: for the temple of God is holy, which [temple] you are.” Here he manifestly declares the body to be the temple in which the Spirit dwells. As also the Lord speaks in reference to Himself, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” He spoke this, however, it is said, “of the temple of His body.” And not only does he (the apostle) acknowledge our bodies to be a temple, but even the temple of Christ, saying thus to the Corinthians, “Know you not that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot?” He speaks these things, not in reference to some other spiritual man; for a being of such a nature could have nothing to do with an harlot: but he declares “our body,” that is, the flesh which continues in sanctity and purity, to be “the members of Christ;” but that when it becomes one with an harlot, it becomes the members of an harlot. And for this reason he said, “If any man defile the temple of God, him will God destroy.”
“But if “the children of Israel are to sit many days without a king, or ruler, or altar, or priesthood, or responses;” and if, since the temple was destroyed, there exists no longer sacrifice, nor altar, nor priesthood, it is manifest that the ruler has failed out of Judah, and the leader from between his thighs. And since the prediction declares that “the ruler shall not fail from Judah, and the leader from between his thighs, until what is reserved for Him shall come,” it is manifest that He is come to whom (belongs) what is reserved–the expectation of the Gentiles. And this is clear from the multitude of the heathen who have believed on God through Jesus Christ.”
Clement of Alexandria
Superstition, then, as was to be expected, having taken its rise thus, became the fountain of insensate wickedness; and not being subsequently checked, but having gone on augmenting and rushing along in full flood, it became the originator of many demons, and was displayed… and building temples, which were in reality tombs: for I will not pass these over in silence, but make a thorough exposure of them, though called by the august name of temples; that is, the tombs which got the name of temples.
What work of builders, and stonecutters, and mechanical art can be holy? …For it is not now the place, but the assemblage of the elect, that I call the Church. This temple is better for the reception of the greatness of the dignity of God. For the living creature which is of high value, is made sacred. -ibid
Pure speech and a spotless life are the throne and true temple of God. -ibid