Tag Archives: Bible full of Errors

Amazing Facts About the Bible with Former Christian: Dr. Jerald Dirks

23 Nov

 

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Does the belief in Jesus (peace be upon him) as a ‘son of God’ really make sense?

23 Nov

Does the belief in Jesus (peace be upon him) as a ‘son of God’ really make sense?

By – Yusuf Estes


What exactly does ‘son of God’ mean?

Can true salvation from God, be the punishment of someone else who is innocent from any of these crimes, to be punished as though he were guilty?

Does God need someone to suffer severe punishment, even though they are trying, day after day.

Did Jesus (peace be upon him) tell the people to take him as a god, or to worship him?

Let us find the answer to these and other important questions about the nature of Jesus of Christianity and Islam.

“Look to the Books”

To begin, let us do a sample comparison of the teachings of the Holy Books of Almighty God.

QURAN OF ISLAM

“Say: Oh my servants who have transgressed against their souls! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah: for Allah forgives all sins, for he is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”
[Noble Quran 39:53]

“If anyone does evil or wrongs his own soul but afterwards seeks Allah’s forgiveness, he will find Allah Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”
[Noble Quran 4:110]

“O you people! Adore your Guardian lord, who created you and those who came before you that you may become righteous.”
[Noble Quran 2:21]

“You will not find any people who believe in Allah and the Last Day, loving those who resist Allah and His Messenger, even though they were their fathers or their sons, or their brothers, or their kindred. For such He has written faith in their hearts and strengthened them with a spirit from Himself. And He will admit them to Gardens beneath which rivers flow, to well therein (forever). Allah will be well pleased with them, and they with Him. They are the Party of Allah. Truly it is the Party of Allah that will achieve Felicity.”
[Noble Quran 58:22]

New Testament of BIBLE

“Why do you call me good? answered Jesus, No-one is good but God alone!”
[Mark 10:18]

“Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them, but rather to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until Heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of the pen; will by any means disappear from the Law until all things are accomplished. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But whoever keeps the commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven.”
[Matthew 5:17-19]

“Not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the Will of the Father who is in Heaven. Many will say to me on the day, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles? Then I will tell them plainly, I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!”
[Matthew 7:21-23]

Some leaders claimed, “This probably refers to the Mormons or somebody else. Don’t worry about it.”

“Gabriel says Jesus will be “called the son of God” and he would be “given the Throne of David” to “rule the House of Jacob forever.””
[Luke 1:35]

“Enos was the son of Seth, and Seth was the son of Adam, and Adam was the son of God.”
[Luke 3:38]

Note: Adam, not Jesus, is listed in this genealogy of Jesus as the son of God, not Jesus.

Later on, the priests are asking Jesus (peace be upon him) if he claims to be the son of God. He tells them in fact, it is they who are making this claim.

“You say that I am.”

Gospel of John contains the greatest number of references to “son of God”

Jesus, speaking in the third person talked about the “Son of God” in [John 3:17 – John 5:24 – John 11:4 – John 11:27]

Martha, one of the followers, calls Jesus, peace be upon him, “The Messiah, the Son of God”

“The Messiah, the Son of God.”
[John 20:31]

But no verse makes the exact statement “Jesus is the Son of God and as such he is divine or God.”

QURAN

“O People of the Book! Commit no excesses in your religion: nor say of Allah anything but the truth. Christ Jesus, the son of Mary was (no more than) a Messenger of Allah, and His Word, which He bestowed on Mary, and a Spirit proceeding from Him: so believe in Allah and His Messengers. Say not “Trinity”: desist: It will be better for you: For Allah is One God: Glory be to Him: (Far exalted is He) above having a son. To Him belong all things in the heavens and on earth. And enough is Allah as a Disposer of affairs.”
[Noble Quran 4:171]

Notice in the Bible, the frequent link between the position of Jesus, peace be upon him, as the Messiah and the ‘son-ship.’

The term ‘son of god’ can not, in itself, be considered enough to declare anything unique about Jesus, peace be upon him, as this term is used for many people throughout the Old and the New Testament.

See above:
[Luke 3:38]

Also, in
[Isaiah 63:8]
refers to the entire house of Israel as being, ‘Sons of God’.

Paul tells us about those who are led by the spirit:

“because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.”
[Romans 8:14]

The word “Messiah” is one that more particularly seems to represent the station of the person predicted to appear and lead the people to the victory over this world.

Oxford Companion of the Bible states Jews prior to Jesus (peace be upon him) hoped for a prophesied ruler, reigning with everlasting justice, peace and security for the “Sons of Israel.”

BIBLE

“A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. The spirit of the Lord will be on him – the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of Knowledge and of the fear of the Lord – and he will delight in the fear of the Lord.”
[Isaiah 11:1-2]

“The days are coming, declares the Lord, When I will fulfill the gracious promise I made to the house of Israel and to the house of Judah. In those days and at that time I will make a righteous Branch sprout from David’s line; he will do what is just and right in the land. In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. This is the name by which it will be called: The Lord Our Righteousness. For this is what the Lord says: David will never fail to have a man to sit on the throne of the house of Israel, nor will the priests, who are Levites, ever fail to have a man to stand before me continually to offer burnt offerings, to burn grain offering and to present sacrifices.”
[Jeremiah 33:14-18]

“My servant David will be king over them, and they will all have one shepherd. They will follow my laws and be careful to keep my decrees. The will live in the land I gave to my servant Jacob, the land where your fathers lived. They and their children and their children’s children will live there forever, and David my servant will be their prince forever. I will make a covenant of peace with them, it will be an everlasting covenant. I will establish them and increase their numbers and I will put my sanctuary among them forever. My dwelling place will be with them; I will be their God, and they will be my people. Then the nations will know that I the Lord make Israel holy, when my sanctuary is among them forever.”
[Ezekiel 37:24-28]

“The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the rules staff from between his feet, until he comes to whom it belongs and the obedience of the nations is his.”
[Genesis 49:10]

“I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near. A star will come out of Jacob; a scepter will rise out of Israel. He will crush the foreheads of Moab, the skulls of all the sons of Sheth. Edom will be conquered; Seir, his enemy, will conquer, but Israel will grow strong. A ruler will come out of Jacob and destroy the survivors of the city.”
[Numbers 24:17-19]

God Incarnate? NOT HERE

BIBLE

Nathan the prophet (son of Solomon) said:

“The Lord declares to you that the Lord Himself will establish a house for you: When your days are over and you rest with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, who will come from your own body, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his father and he will be my son.”

(New Testament book of Hebrews stops here)

Samuel continues:

“When he does wrong, I will punish him with the rod of men, with floggings inflicted by men. But my love will never be taken away from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you.”
[2 Samuel 7:12-15]

“You are my Son; today I have begotten you.”
[Hebrews 1:5]

Does this support the case the doctrine that Jesus, peace be upon him, is the “begotten Son of God?”

Old Testament BIBLE

David is stating what God has proclaimed regarding David’s relationship to God

“I will proclaim the decree of the Lord: he said to me, you are my Son; this day have I begotten you.”
[Psalms 2:7]

Note: The New International Version says the verse could be translated either as “become your Father” or as “begotten you” into English or Greek.

New Testament BIBLE

“He will be called the Son of God.”
[Luke 1:35]

Note: This does not state he “is” the son, but rather, he will be “called” the son of God.

Or was he the “one anointed to preach Good News to the poor.” prophesied by Isaiah, and the Messiah proclaimed by Gabriel, the followers of Jesus, peace be upon him, Jesus, himself and the remained of the New Testament, he evidently would not be God.

New Testament BIBLE

“I tell you the truth”, Jesus answered, “before Abraham was, I am!”
[John 8:58]

“I am” is the term used to identify God to Moses, peace be upon him.

New Testament BIBLE

“For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten son, that whoever believed in him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
[John 3:16]

This does not actually define Jesus, peace be upon him, as God, or as the Messiah or as a Prophet.

Note: This verse was actually modified by Jerome in the 4th century.

ARIUS (Early history of the Church) a popular leader from Alexandria, Egypt.
He argued, Jesus (peace be upon him) was created and not ‘begotten.’
He was charged with heresy and his followers were horribly oppressed by the Church.

After the matter was ‘decided’ and ‘confirmed’ by the Council of Nicaea in 325 A.D. and in an effort to consolidate both beliefs, Jerome altered the original version of the Gospel of John 3:16 by changing the word ‘monogenes’ (unique) and substituted the word ‘ingenious’ meaning ‘only begotten.’

What other ‘interpretations’ did the early Church Fathers invent to satisfy their claims of the divinity of Jesus, peace be upon him?

Good question.

New Testament BIBLE

“But if I do it, even though you do not believe me, believe the miracles that you may learn and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.”
[John 10:38]

“Don’t you know that I am in the Father and that the Father is in me? The words that I say to you are not my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me who is doing this work.”
[John 14:10]

But further reading in the very same chapter:

“On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.”
[John 14:20]

So how does he live in his disciples and how do they live in him? And if so, are they also, sons of God or Gods?

Another good question.

“But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in Him. Whoever claims to live in Him must walk as Jesus did.”
[1st John 2:5-6]

(This is an epistle [letter] written by another ‘John,’ not John the Gospel er nor John the Baptist)

Note: This indicates, living ‘in God’ means, ‘Obeying God’ commandments and following the Way of Jesus, peace be upon him.

Twice in the New Testament, Jesus (peace be upon him) tells his followers how to pray saying, “When you pray, say this…”
And the words are very clear, God’s Will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.

BIBLE

“I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one; I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”

[John 17:22-23]

The word used throughout chapter 10 and 17, for unity or one was the same, ‘heis’ meaning the number one. There is another word ‘hen’ which means a unity of essence. However, ‘hen’ is nowhere to be found in these chapters.

Note: Conclusion is this is a prayer from Jesus, peace be upon him, to God that all of his followers would have the same relationship that he (Jesus) had.

Understanding the word ‘one’ meanings understanding the way in which it is being used. For example a man and a woman become ‘one’ when they marry; someone might say, ‘One hopes for success’ or ‘We are one in agreement.’

Jesus, peace be upon him, is supposed to have said,
“If you have seen me, you have seen the Father.”
In the very part of the Bible we find the verse wherein Jesus (peace be upon him) tells his followers, if they accepted a little child, then they also accepted Jesus, peace be upon him. Naturally, he did not mean the child was God or that he was a child.

Christians are taught early in life, by doing good deeds and service for others, they are in fact allowing others to see Jesus in them.

Why do we hold so tight to doctrines, even after realizing the incorrectness and false teachings?

Yet another good question

The Bible clearly teaches that Jesus, peace be upon him, is a man, born of a woman without any father, strengthened by a Spirit from God (Gabriel), sent by God to teach the Children of Israel the true meaning of belief and proper actions (following the commandments) that God would accept from them and as such, their ‘road to salvation.’

One more time:

BIBLE

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God at the beginning.”
[John 1:1]

Jesus (peace be upon him) was the very “Word of God”.

QURAN

“O People of the Book! Commit no excesses in your religion: nor say of Allah anything but the truth. Christ Jesus the son of Mary was (no more than) A Messenger of Allah, and His Word, which He bestowed on Mary, and a Spirit proceeding from Him; so believe in Allah and His Messengers. Say not ‘trinity’: desist.”
[Noble Quran 4:171]

It is difficult for us to admit that we have been deceived for so many years by some many people, some of them very near and dear to us. The truth is, ‘Someone has been lying to us’ – on purpose.

It is also difficult to consider the consequences of loosing faith in the doctrine of the Church, out of fear of loosing faith in God altogether.

But there is wonderful hope, Grace, Mercy and Salvation for those who come to the correct belief and obey the commandments.

Wisdom or Word?

Oxford Companion to the Bible

The words “wisdom” and ‘word’ were synonymous (exactly the same words) in Jewish thought at the time of Jesus.

Old Testament BIBLE

“The lord brought me forth at the beginning of his work before his deeds of old; I was appointed from eternity, from the beginning before the world began. When there were no oceans, I was given birth, when there were no springs abounding with water; before the mountains were settled in place, before the hills, I was given birth, before he made the earth or its fields or any of the dust of the world. I was there when he set the heavens in place, when he marked out the horizon on the face of the deep, when he established the clouds above and fixed securely the fountains of the deep, when he gave the sea its boundary so the waters would not overstep his command, and when he marked out the foundations of the earth. Then I was the craftsman at his side.”
[Proverbs 8:22-30]

“By Wisdom the Lord laid the earth’s foundations, by understanding he set the heavens in place; by his knowledge the deeps were divided, and the clouds let drop the dew.”
[Proverbs 3:19]

APOCRYPHA (hidden books of the Bible)

Wisdom I and Wisdom II

Sirach (also called: “Ecclesiasticus”) written by Jesus ben Sira, a devout Jew of Jerusalem, 200 years before Christ.
These texts were a part of the Bible until the time of the Calvinists and the Protestant Reformation (hence the word – protest).

Scrolls found at Wadi Qumran and Masada confirm these were always a part of the ancient version of the Bible, but obviously not something Protestants wanted anything to do with.

Wisdom states:

“Wisdom praises herself, and tells of her glory in the midst of her people. In the assembly of the Most High she opens her mouth, and in the presence of his hosts she tells of her glory: ‘I came forth from the mouth of the Most High and covered the earth like a mist. I dwelt in the highest heavens, and my throne was in a pillar of a cloud. Alone I compassed the vault of heaven and traversed the depths of the abyss. Over waves of the sea, over all the earth, and over every people and nation I have held sway. Among all these I sought a resting place; in whose territory should I abide? Then the Creator of all things gave me a command, and my Creator chose the place for my tent. He said, ‘Make your dwelling in Jacob, and in Israel, receive your inheritance.’ Before the ages, in the beginning he created me, and for all the ages I shall not cease to be. In the holy tent I ministered before him, and so I was established in Zion. Thus in the beloved city he gave me a resting place, and in Jerusalem was my domain. I took root in an honored people, in the portion of the Lord his heritage.”
[Sirach 24:1-12]

“For she is a breath of the power of God, and a pure emanation of the glory of the Almighty; therefore nothing evil gains entrance into her. For she is a reflection of eternal light, a spotless mirror of the working of God, and an image of His goodness. Although she is but one, she can do all things, and while remaining in herself, she renews all things; in every generation she passes into holy souls and makes them friends of God, and prophets.”
[Wisdom of Solomon 7:25-27]

Did the beginning of the Gospel of John indicate John believed the Spirit was sent by God to Jesus (peace be upon him) that it was the Spirit of Wisdom, Spirit of Prophecy, sent to all the prophets, with the same commandments and wisdom?

Could the Spirit of Wisdom be with God since creation? Or perhaps the Spirit was the ‘Word of God’ that was uttered or breathed by God in the Beginning and then continued along with God in the rest of Creation?

BIBLE APOCRAPHA

“For wisdom, the Fashioner of all things, taught me.”

[Wisdom of Solomon 7:22]

Could the Spirit of Wisdom be the Holy Spirit that spoke to Mary about having her baby? And the same Holy Spirit that descending upon him at this baptism?

BIBLE

“Then John gave this testimony: ‘I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. I would not have known him, except that the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit’”
[John 1:32]

All of this confirms without doubt the writers of the Old Testament and the New Testament were definitely on the lookout for a “Messiah” or “chosen leader of the way to salvation in this life and the next life.”

The word in Hebrew for the ‘chosen one’ or ‘anointed one’ or ‘appointed one’ is ‘Messiah.’
The word in Koine Greek for ‘Messiah’ is ‘Christos’ (became ‘Christ’).
The word in Arabic for it is “Massih”

Did Jesus, peace be upon him, ask people to pray to him, or to pray with him, to the God who sent him?

Did Jesus, peace be upon him, claim to be God?

Can the term “son of God” in English really present the meaning intended by the writers of the Bible?

Now let us compare with compassion and wisdom in our hearts. Which of the two concepts make the most sense between Islam and Christianity when it comes to the subject of Jesus, peace be upon him?

Let us compare the two and see what our wisdom and common sense tell us:

According to the teachings of Islam in the Quran and the words of the last prophet, Muhammad, peace be upon him, Jesus, the son of Mary, was predicted, he came to earth as a baby with a mother but no father, he did amazing miracles by the permission of Allah, including even bringing a dead man back to life; he did demonstrate for his followers the very best of behavior and obedience to the commandments of God. And according to the Bible he personally prayed and ask God Almighty to save him from the fate of going to the cross.

The Bible indicates Jesus prayers at Gethsemane went unanswered, even though he stayed up through the night crying and asking God, “Let this cup pass from me, even so, Your will be done.”

Yet, according to Quran, Almighty God did answer his prayers. He did not go to the cross, but rather the likeness of him was put on another person who did go to the cross and Almighty God, caused Jesus, peace be upon him, to be saved, protected and he is with God and will return in the Last Days to lead the true believers to victory over the evil ones.

Some have even speculated the one on the cross was the very one (Judas Thomas Iscariot) who sold out Jesus and his followers for thirty pieces of sliver.

God (or Gods)?

23 Nov

God (or Gods)?
Excerpts and Quotes – From The Catholic Church History
By Brother John Raymond

Introduction

Arianism with its fundamental Trinitarian controversy must not be looked upon as an isolated theory by its founder Arius. Its appeal, which began in Alexandria and spread through the whole Empire, must be seen in the context of the times. The Church emerged in a Jewish and Greek world. The question occupying this non-Christian world was the contrast between the

“One and the Many, between the ultimate unity that lay behind the visible universe and the incalculable variety that exists in the world.”
[Ward 1955, 38]


Relationship of God And World

The relationship between God and the world had to be solved.

The Jews proposed a supreme God who created by His word. It was an idea of a mediating “Word or Wisdom – the Word which is pronounced, the Wisdom which is created – whereby the Father communicated Himself to man and took possession of him.”
[Guitton 1965, 81]

The Greeks could not see how a finite and changeable world could come from an eternal and changeless God. They proposed the idea of a “mediating Intelligence or even Word, a first emanation of the first principle which reduced the distance between God and the world”
[Guitton 1965, 81]

The primitive Church had to “reconcile the notions they had inherited from Judaism with those they had derived from philosophy. Jew and Greek had to meet in Christ. They had to find an answer that would agree with the revelation they had received from Christ as recorded in the scriptures.”
[Ward 1955, 39]

This struggle for a reconciliation of thought reached its climax with the Arian controversy. The Church responded with the First Ecumenical Council of Nicaea that brought together Scriptural and philosophical thought to explain the Trinity. The Council did triumph over Arianism but only after fifty years of bitter battling. Imperial support and confusion in theological terminology were the principal reasons for such a long drawn out battle as we will see.

Arius And His Teaching

Arius, who was born in Egypt in 256 A.D., was a parish priest in Alexandria. He had studied under St. Lucian of Antioch, the founder of the school of Antioch, who had earlier been condemned for holding that Christ was only a man; although he was later reconciled. He is called the “Father of Arianism” because “Arius and almost all the 4th-century Arian theologians were his students. Calling themselves Lucianists and Collucianists, they developed his adoptionist and subordinationist tendencies into a full heresy.”
[Harkins 1967, 1057, 1058]

With this background Arius struggled with the question of the Trinity. His teaching in Alexandria was the following: “Personal distinctions were not eternally present within the nature of God. . . the Godhead Himself was responsible for them. . . Identifying the eternal Godhead with the Father and regarding the Logos (‘Logos’ is simply a Greek word for ‘word’) as no more than a power or quality of the Father, he said that before time began the Father had created the Son by the power of the Word to be His agent in creation.

The Son was not therefore to be identified with the Godhead, He was only God in a derivative sense, and since there was once when he did not exist He could not be eternal. Arius stressed the subordination of the Logos to such an extent as to affirm His creaturehood, to deny His eternity and to assert His capacity for change and suffering.”
[Ward 1955, 41]

This teaching of Arius “drove the distinctions outside the Deity and thus destroyed the Trinity. It meant solving the difficulty of the One and the Many by proposing a theory of one Supreme Being and two inferior deities.”
[Ward 1955, 43]

The Person of Christ “belonged to no order of being that the Church could recognize. . . He was neither God nor man.”
[Ward 1955,42]

Arius Versus The Alexandrian Bishop

Arius’ views began to spread among the people and the Alexandrian clergy. Alexander the Bishop called a meeting of his priests and deacons. The Bishop insisted on the unity of the Godhead. Arius continued to argue that since the Son was begotten of the Father then at some point He began to exist. Therefore there was a time when the Son did not exist. Arius refused to submit to the Bishop and continued to spread his teaching.

Alexander called a synod of Bishops of Egypt and Libya. Of the hundred Bishops who attended eighty voted for the condemnation and exile of Arius. After the synod Alexander wrote letters to the other Bishops refuting Arius’ views. In doing so the Bishop used the term “homoousios” to describe the Father and Son as being of one substance.

Alexander “used a term which was to become the keyword of the whole controversy.”
[Ward 1955, 43, 44]

With the decision of the synod Arius fled to Palestine. Some of the Bishops there, especially Eusebius of Caesarea, supported him. From here Arius continued his journey to Nicomedia in Asia Minor. The Bishop of that city, Eusebius, had studied under Lucian of Antioch. He became Arius’ most influential supporter. From this city Arius enlisted the support of other Bishops, many of whom had studied under Lucian. His supporters held their own synod calling Arius’ views orthodox and condemning Bishop Alexander of Alexandria. Arius seemed to have good grounds for this condemnation.

The term homoousios was rejected by Alexander’s own predecessor Dionysus when arguing against the Sabellians (who claimed the Father and Son were identical). All this controversy was taking place just as the Church was emerging from Roman oppression.

Constantine And Ossius

With the rise of Constantine to power Christianity became the religion of the Roman Empire. Constantine had politically united the Empire but he was distressed to find a divided Christianity. Constantine, certainly not understanding the significance of the controversy, sent Ossius his main ecclesiastical adviser with letters to both Alexander and Arius. In the letters he tried to reconcile them by saying that their disagreement was merely just a matter of words. Both of them really were in agreement on major doctrines and neither was involved in heresy.

The letters failed to have an effect. In 325 A.D. Ossius presided over a Council of the Orient in Antioch that was attended by fifty-nine bishops, forty-six of whom would soon attend the Council of Nicaea. This Council in Antioch was a forerunner of the latter Council in Nicaea.

Under the influence of Ossius a new Church practice was inaugurated – that of issuing a creedal statement. At this Council Arianism was condemned, a profession of faith resembling the Alexandrian creed was promulgated and three Bishops who refused to agree with the teaching of this Council were provisionally excommunicated until the Council of Nicaea.

Roman Emperor Calls Council of his Church (Universal or Catholic Church of Rome). It was the year 325 AD in what is now Turkey and in the summer of that year, probably under the suggestion of Ossius, Constantine called for a general council of the Church at Nicaea in Bithynia.

That an Emperor should invoke a Council should not be considered unusual since in Hellenistic thought he “was given by God supreme power in things material and spiritual.”
[Davis 1987, 56]

The Council of Nicaea. The General Council was well attended by the major sees of the Eastern Empire. Also some Western Bishops were present. Because of old age and sickness Pope Sylvester did not attend but sent two papal legates. The total number of Bishops who attended the Council has been disputed. Eusebius of Ceasarea who attended it claimed 250; Athanasius also in attendance mentioned 300; after the Council a symbolic number of 318 was used; modern scholars put the number at 220.

If there were minutes taken of the Council proceedings they are no longer in existence. We know from the writings of Rufinus that “daily sessions were held and that Arius was often summoned before the assembly; his arguments attentively considered. The majority, especially those who were confessors of the Faith, energetically declared themselves against the impious doctrines of Arius.”
[LeClercq 1913, 45]

Concerning the Creed that was drafted at the Council “Eusebius of Caesarea, Athanasius of Alexandria and Philostorgius have given divergent accounts of how this Creed was drafted.”
[LeClercq 1967, 792]

But from one reconstruction of the events Eusebius of Nicomedia offered a creed that was favorable to Arian views. This creed was rejected by the Council. Eusebius of Caesarea proposed the baptismal creed used in Caesarea. Although accepted it does not seem to form the basis of the Council’s Creed. Attempts were made to construct a creed using only scriptural terms. These creeds proved insufficient to exclude the Arian position.

“Finally, it seems, a Syro-Palestinian creed was used as the basis for a new creedal statement . . . The finished creed was preserved in the writings of Athanasius, of the historian Socrates and of Basil of Caesarea and in the acts of the Council of Chalcedon of 451.”
[Davis 1987, 59]

When the creed was finished eighteen Bishops still opposed it. Constantine at this point intervened to threaten with exile anyone who would not sign for it. Two Libyan Bishops and Arius still refused to accept the creed. All three were exiled. The Creed and an Analysis some parts of the literal translation of the Nicaea Creed are as follows:

“We believe in one God the Father Almighty, Maker of all things visible and invisible; and in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten of the Father, that is, of the substance (ousia) of the Father, God of God, light of light, true God of true God, begotten not made, of the same substance (homoousios) with the Father, through whom all things were made both in heaven and on earth . . . Those who say: `There was a time when He was not, and He was not before He was begotten;’ and that `He was made out of nothing;’ or who maintain that `He is of another hypostasis or another substance,’ or that `the Son of God is created, or mutable, or subject to change,’ the Catholic Church anathematizes.”
[LeClercq 1913, 45]

The Arians were very clever in twisting phrases in creedal statements to reflect their own doctrine. The Son being “begotten of the Father” was seen by them as saying that the Son was created from nothing. But to counter their doctrine the phrase “begotten not made” was added to the creed that totally ruled out their position of the Son having a beginning. Another Arian teaching was that the Son was God by grace and name only.

The creedal statement “true God of true God” was an affirmation that the Son was really truly God against this Arian position. The most important statement in the creed that affirms “that the Son shares the same being as the Father and is therefore fully divine” was the phrase “of one substance (homoousios) with the Father”
[Davis 1987, 61]

This statement totally destroyed the Arian view of the Son as an intermediary being between God and Creation. In case the creed was not enough to end the Arian controversy anathemas were attached directly condemning Arian positions. The Arian denial of the Son’s co-eternity with the Father is expressed in the two phrases “there was when the Son of God was not” and “before He was begotten He was not.”

The Arian belief in the Son being created out of nothing is expressed in the phrase “He came into being from things that are not.” The Arian doctrine that the Son being a creature was subject to moral changeability and only remained virtuous by an act of the will is expressed in the phrase “He is mutable or alterable.”

Finally the Arian position of the Son as subordinate to the Father and not really God is expressed in the phrase “He is of a different hypostasis or substance.” With these specific anathemas against them the Arians and their heresy seemed to be finished. Terminology Problem With the Eastern Church using Greek and the Western Church using Latin misunderstandings were bound to arise over theological terminology. Once instance of confusion is the statement “He is of a different hypostasis or substance.”

The two words in the Eastern Church were seen to be synonymous. In the West hypostasis meant person. So for a Westerner the Council would look as if it was condemning the statement that the Son was a different Person from the Father, which would clearly be erroneous. Only later would the East come to distinguish hypostasis from substance (ousia) as in the West.

This instance of confusion “points up the terminological difficulty which continued to bedevil Eastern theology and to confuse the West about the East’s position.”
[Davis 1987, 63]

A second and very important termed used by the Council was homoousios. At that time this word could have three possible meanings.

“First, it could be generic; of one substance could be said of two individual men, both of whom share human nature while remaining individuals.
Second, it could signify numerical identity, that is, that the Father and the Son are identical in concrete being.
Finally, it could refer to material things, as two pots are of the same substance because both are made of the same clay.”
[Davis 1987, 61]

The Council intended the first meaning to stress the equality of the Son with the Father.

If the second meaning for the word was taken to be the Council’s intention it would mean that the Father and Son were identical and indistinguishable – clearly a Sabellian heresy.

The third meaning gave the word a materialistic tendency that would infer that the Father and Son are parts of the same stuff.

Along with these possible misunderstandings of the meaning of the word homoousios the history of the word is closely associated with heresies.

The word was originally used by the Gnostics [1] . The word had even been condemned at the Council of Antioch in 268 regarding its use by the Adoptionist Paul of Samosata.

Another factor making the word unpopular was that it was never used in Sacred Scripture. The Council’s defeat by Arianism. It is not surprising that with its use of the word homoousios the Council could be called into question.

Bishop Eusebius of Nicomedia gained the confidence of Emperor Constantine. He convinced Constantine that the Council’s use of the word homoousios was Sabellian (Father and Son were identical). The Emperor now favored the Arians.
With the death of Constantine the Empire was divided between his sons. Constans who ruled in the West favored Nicaea while his brother Constantius who ruled the East was anti-Nicaea.

Supporters of Nicaea in the East especially Bishop Athanasius were deposed and excommunicated by the Dedication Council of Antioch. This Council directly attacked the Nicaea Council by promulgating its own creed that omitted the phrases “from the substance of the Father” and “homoousios.”

Some attempts were made to find a substitute word for homoousios. As many as fourteen Councils were held between 341 and 360 “in which every shade of heretical subterfuge found expression . . . The term `like in substance,’ homoiousion . . . had been employed merely to get rid of the Nicene formula.”
[Barry 1913, 709]

Not all Arians, or their new name of Semi-Arian, agreed with this new word. One group emphasized that the Father and Son were “dissimilar” or anomoios. Another group used the word “similar” or homoios to describe the Father and Son relationship.

With the death of Constans in 350 his anti-Nicaea brother Constantius became sole ruler of the Empire. The new Emperor demanded that all the Bishops of his Empire should agree with the homoios formula. In 359 he summoned two Councils, one in the East at Seleucia and the other in the West at Rimini.

Both Councils, under the Emperor’s threats and with rationalizing arguments aimed at calming consciences, were induced to sign the homoios formula.

“This Homoean victory was confirmed and imposed on the whole Church by the Council of Constantinople in the following year” which condemned the terms homoousios, homoousios and anomoios.
[Ward 1955, 57]

It seemed that the Arians had triumphed over the Nicaea creed. The Final Battle. The seeming triumph of homoeism was short lived.

First it gained its popularity solely by imperial imposition. With the death of Constantius in 361 it collapsed.

Second by persecuting both homoousios and homoousios supporters alike “it brought about better understanding and, ultimately, reconciliation between the two groups.”
[DeClercq 1967, 793]

Athanasius an ardent defender of the homoousios position and following the Alexandrian train of thought had begun his reasoning with the unity of God. From their he had concluded that the Son and Spirit Who shared that unity must have the same essential substance.

The Cappadocian Fathers Basil of Caesarea, Gregory Nazianzen and Gregory of Nyssa were associated with Homoiousians.

The point of departure for them as well as the Antiochenes had been the individual aspect of the divine personality. With the help of Athanasius they came to the realization that the three Persons as God must share the same identical substance also. By using the term homoousios the Cappadocian Fathers “had never meant to deny the unity but only to preserve the distinction of persons.”
[Ward 1955, 58]

Both came to the conclusion that although they used different terms what they meant to say was the same.

The Cappadocian Fathers came to accept the term homoousios. Athanasius, on the other hand, accepted the Cappadocian formula for the Trinity – one substance (ousia) in three persons (hypostaseis).

At about the same time as Athanasius and the Cappadocian Fathers were reaching an agreement another development was taking place. The East and the West were arriving at a better understanding of each others theological terminology.

At the Synod of Alexandria in 362 the Nicene Creed was re-affirmed, the terms ousia and hypostasis were explained and Macedonianism (sometimes referred to as another form of Semi-Arianism in its subordination of the Holy Spirit) was condemned.

Under the Eastern Emperor Valens (364-378) homoeism still had imperial favor. In the West Ambrose of Milan led the fight for the Nicene Creed. At the Council of Sirmium in 378, with the support of the Western Emperor Gratian, six Arian Bishops were deposed. A series of laws were passed in 379 and 380 the Emperor prohibited Arianism in the West.

In the East with the succession of Valens by a Nicene sympathizing Emperor Theodosius I all exiled Bishops under Valens to return to their sees. In 381 he convoked a regional Council at Constantinople. The first canon from this Council states that “the faith of the 318 fathers who assembled at Nicaea in Bithynia is not to be made void, but shall continue to be established.”
[Davis 1987, 126]

In 380 the Emperor Theodosius outlawed Arianism. The last victory over Arianism came in 381 with the Council of Constantinople in the East and the Council of Aquileia in the West. Both of them

“sealed the final adoption of the faith of Nicaea by the entire Church.”
[DeClercq 1967, 793]

Conclusion

The Council of Nicaea was victorious in the end. It took over fifty years of bitter battling between the upholders of the Council of Nicaea and those against it. The Arian heresy seemed finished when the Council so specifically anathematized their teachings one by one.

The Arian doctrines condemned were the following:

The Son was created by the Father out of nothing.
Thus the Son was not God in the strict sense but by grace and
in name only.
The Father and Son did not share the same substance.
The Son being a creature was subject to moral changeability
and only remained virtuous by an act of the will.

Terminology difficulties had kept the door open for the Arians to continue after the Council. This was especially true with the term homoousios (of the same substance) used by the Council to describe the relationship between the Father and the Son.

The Arians took advantage of one of the term’s other meaning, that of identity, to claim that the Council said the Father and Son were identical thereby invalidating the Council. The Arians then started producing their own creeds either eliminating this term or substituting another for it. This lead to the breaking up of the Arians into diverse groups according to which term they supported – anomoios (dissimilar), homoios (similar) or homoiousion (like in substance).

It is obvious that Imperial involvement in the controversy determined at any given moment whether the Council of Nicaea or the Arianism was dominating the controversy. With the imposition of the term homoios on the Church by the Emperor Constantius the work of the Council of Nicaea seemed doomed. But the popularity of this term died with the Emperor.

The persecution of both the Homoiousians and the Homoiousians forced them to begin to dialogue. With the two great representatives of these positions, St. Athanasius and the Cappadocian Fathers, finding theological grounds for their eventual agreement the way was paved for the triumph of the Council of Nicaea. This incident later coupled with Eastern and Western Emperors who were pro-Nicaea led to the final Arian downfall.

REFRENCE:

[1] Gnostics – meaning “to know secret or hidden knowledge”; lit., those who know; a mystic order of Christianity. Often known for giving up all worldly matters, often living apart from society and being reclusive, fasting and remaining celibate. Possible forerunners of the sufi orders found amongst some Muslims today.
WORKS CITED:
The New Catholic Encyclopedia. 1967. New York: McGraw-Hill
Book Co. Vol. 1. Arianism, by V.C. Declercq.
The New Catholic Encyclopedia. 1967. New York: McGraw-Hill
Book Co. Vol. 8. St. Lucian of Antioch, by P. W. Harkins.
Davis S.J., Leo D. 1987. The First Seven Ecumenical Councils (325-787):
Their History and Theology. Wilmington: Michael Glazier, Inc.
Guitton, Jean. 1965. Great Heresies and Church Councils. New York: Harper and Row.
Herbermann, Charles G., Edward A. Pace, Conde B. Pallen,  Thomas J. Shahan, John J. Wynne, eds. 1913. The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: The Encyclopedia Press. Vol. 1, Arianism, by William Barry.
Herbermann, Charles G., Edward A. Pace, Conde B. Pallen,
Thomas J. Shahan, John J. Wynne, eds. 1913. The Catholic
Encyclopedia. New York: The Encyclopedia Press. Vol. 11,  Councils of Nicaea, by H. Leclercq.
Ward D.D., Bishop J.W.C. 1955. The Four Great Heresies. London: A.R. Mowbray and Co. Limited

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Death to Followers of Other Religions

 

Whoever sacrifices to any god, except the Lord alone, shall be doomed. (Exodus 22:19 NAB)

 

 

Book of LOVE !

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Death for Hitting Dad

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