Meeting at Nicaea

This entry is part of 3 in the series The Trinity

Let’s review the meeting at Nicaea: Gathering in the city of Nicaea at the request of Constantine the Great, the Church elders congregate to discuss the matter and subject regarding the divinity of Jesus. The meeting was held in Nicaea, and during that meeting, the word homoousios was born speaking to the substance of God rather than the person of God.

Using the word substance, the early Church fathers were able to answer the question regarding the divine nature of God in relationship to the divine nature of his Son which gave birth to the word Trinity, a term explaining the individuality of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

The view is called the tritheism view, a statement that God in substance is one, yet three sharing his divine substance with the Son and the Holy Spirit; and although the early church fathers have agreed on the matter of using such term as the foundation of sound doctrine, there remains another opposing view.

The opposing view to the tritheism view of God is the Modalism view that teaches there is only one God manifesting Himself as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This view is considered heresy by the modern Church creating division on the matter of the singleness of God and his relationship to his Son.

I agree, this is a hard matter to resolve, but the one thing I do see is an agreement in the belief in Jesus as the savior among the groups. So, how do we resolve this matter and unite in the cause of Christianity or the work of God that we might fulfill his will on earth?

“Dear friends, do not believe every spirit but test the spirits to see whether they are from God because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world. “1 John 4:1-3.

It is important for us to understand that for us to be Christians, we must believe Jesus came in the flesh died for our sins and rose from the grave. We must believe he physically died, and after being in the grave for three days he rose from the dead. We must also believe he was fully human and fully divine; that he died humanly and was buried in the grave for three days and rose from the grave. Because without these fundamental understandings, we cannot take to ourselves the title of Christianity because for us to be Christians we must hold these confessions.

Our early Church fathers understood the importance of holding these beliefs to be counted as a follower of Jesus the King. Therefore, when Arius begin to deny the divinity of Jesus it was important for them to address the matter to save the Church. Arius may have been ignorant to the mystery of the Trinity, and I would not say he was willingly trying to undermine the gospel message; nevertheless, what he was bringing forth was heresy because to deny the divinity of Jesus was to say he had not atoned the sins of the world.

It is an old issue, heresy has always been a plague in the Church, so much so that at the birth of Christianity John had to address the matter calling on us to use discernment when dealing with heresies. But after listening to Arius and his followers, I am not sure if it was for a lack of understanding Arius thought Jesus to be created and was subordinate to God the Father, or his lacking in Hebrew scripture. Nevertheless, the one thing I’m sure of, these men were Greeks trying to resolve the questions as to who Jesus was.

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