Reading the documents and the reported discussions that took place in Nicaea, we came across a few interesting developments about the Trinity. First, it was a meeting called by emperor Constantine, a Greek king claiming Christianity as the new religion of his newly found empire.
Calling this council was a matter of solving a dispute brought about by Arius who claimed Jesus was not divine. Arius claim was that Jesus was begotten, and because he was begotten he was not of divine origin. This was indeed heresy because scripture does teach Jesus was of divine origin and seeing that the Eastern Church was teaching heresy it was a matter needed to be dealt with. And not only was it a matter to be dealt with, Constantine was worried the division within the Church was tearing his empire apart.
The council concluded on the grounds of scripture that Jesus was indeed divine, and it was from here the term Trinity was born with the word ‘homoousios’ meaning “of one substance.” This was placed in the Nicene Creed to signify the absolute equality of the Son with the Father. Arius was then exiled, and although exiled, it did not put an end to the debate; the debate continues even to this very day with the Church asking the question “Was Jesus God?”
The debate continues, but not in the nature and spirit of the past. Modern Christianity has concluded Jesus is divine. Scripture does signify the divinity of Jesus. The debate we have today is reconciling the word homoousios or Trinity in relationship to Jesus being a unique person apart from God. We believe Jesus to be the Son of God, but is he indeed God, and can we indeed say God became human? And if he did, was heaven without his presence while he was on earth?
To answer those questions, we begin our investigation using scripture to identify the person of Jesus and how he viewed himself. But the one thing we should point out before we dive into the bible is that the New Testament scripture was a development of Greek thought. Many of the concepts found in scripture were based on Greek words which is why we use words such as Trinity, Alpha, and Christ. In addition, what most Christians may not have known is that the Church we see today was not the Church we knew at the beginning of Christianity.
What I meant to say, is this! The development of Christianity was not a development of Greek thought. Christianity was first founded by Jews, and the scripture was first read in Aramaic and Hebrew. The first Christian Church was founded in Jerusalem, and some years after Paul was converted to Christianity, the Greek Church came into existence.
What we see today is the establishment of the Greek Church because of what took place in history. Few Jews took to the gospel, and the few who became Christians were not allowed to enter the synagogue in Jerusalem. They were excommunicated and being excommunicated spread out throughout the Mediterranean, and so took the gospel to the Greeks who adopted Christianity.
Converting to Christianity, the Greeks brought a new language to the scripture, at which point we begin to hear words such as Christ, Alpha, and other Greek words. Written in Greek, and after the death of Christ, the bible was later translated into the English language, and from there we develop a Greek mind and thought regarding the scripture and as such begin to interpret the scripture with that thought.
Trinity, Triune, and such are concepts of trying to explain God in his essence, but if we were to look at the Hebrew mind and thought it will present a completely different thought altogether better enabling us to see God in all his glory through his Son Jesus who gave his life for us that we might be in an everlasting relationship with him.
So, as we read through the scripture, we will look at the scripture from both the Greek and Hebrew point of view, and as we go about explaining the meaning of the Trinity, we will do our best to bring out the Hebrew thought that we might see the scripture from their point of view to answer the question “Was Jesus God and how he viewed himself?”