Today, most Protestant churches still affirm their faith with this creed. Our church says it during communion services, with the Apostles’ Creed as the alternate. Without a doubt, from the apostles themselves, it has been understood that it is "God in three persons, blessed Trinity."
Liberty, we must be vigilant at all times as Satan is working every second of the day to put just enough doubt in our minds as to the truth about God and Jesus. Even after the council condemned Arius, forms of Arianism continue to this day. Arians today argue since nothing was even written about the Trinity until Nicaea, we can’t trust it. What these skeptics fail to understand was at the time, the Trinity was never addressed because no one had challenged this issue before. The teaching had been the same from the time of the apostles, so there was no need to defend what everyone already accepted as true. The false doctrine came from Arius, not the church leaders who wrote the creed.
Liberty, it is so easy to fall into false teachings whether it be about religion, history, or science. (see The Science Is Settled and The Science is Settled, Part II, When Does Life Begin, and Is There Any Intelligent Life Out There?) We often become lazy in our own responsibility to study and search for truth. We fall prey to the Ariuses of our time who profess a message that just sounds good but strays from the truth. Sometimes, we even rebel just because we want to break from the previous generations’ long held beliefs. Though it may feel good at the time, these behaviors can be dangerous and destructive, to society and to your soul.
Honest education and examination are the keys to combating these pitfalls. First and foremost, you must be in God’s Word daily as it is the Armor of God that protects you against all schemes of the Devil and of man. Satan never wavers from his basic theme, tempting you as he did Eve by asking a simple question, “Did God really say that?” (see The Serpent And The Tree) With a thorough knowledge of God’s Word, the Rock and foundation on which we stand, you can say confidently, “Yes, yes, he did.”
That’s my 2 cents.
May 20, 2016
From the time of Christ, Christians have taken up their cross and been persecuted and tortured for their faith. While Rome ruled much of the known world for centuries, it was not kind to Christians. It wasn’t until the “Edict of Milan” was issued in 313 AD by Roman Emperor Constantine I that Christians were able to live and worship in the open without threat of harm.
Constantine was the first Roman Emperor to convert to Christianity. While it is debated whether Constantine’s conversation was authentic or political, his support of the faith allowed it to spread across the region.
During this time, false doctrines began to arise. Arius, a preacher from Alexandria, began teaching that even though Jesus was the Son of God, He was created by God. Because of this, Christ was not eternal and therefore lesser than the Father. This went against all teachings of the church going back to the Apostles themselves, who always taught Jesus was one with God. After confessing his beliefs to Bishop Alexander, the bishop spent two years trying to convince Arius of his error. Arius refused to recant. The bishop had no choice but to excommunicate him in 323 AD. However, that did not prevent Arius from continuing to spread his beliefs through poetry and songs.
Tensions rose as people began to pick sides. Wanting to unify the church again, Constantine decided to take action to settle the matter once and for all. He called upon all Christian leaders in the Roman Empire to assemble in Nicaea to discuss the issue of Jesus' divinity. There was not a question of whether Jesus was divine, only at what level he was truly God.
The First Council of Nicaea, also the first ecumenical council, convened on May 20, 325, with roughly 318 bishops, priests and deacons attempting to resolve Arius’ doubt of Christ's divinity. The church had no official writings on Christ’s divinity because it was never an issue before. Up until this point the church continued the teachings that were given to them by the apostles.
Arius continued to argue that God “created” Jesus, meaning Jesus did not exist until God brought him into being. That being the case, he concluded Jesus was not eternal and therefore He was not God. His critics pointed out Jesus was “begotten” by God. In Greek, begotten, or monogenes, is defined as "pertaining to being the only one of its kind within a specific relationship”. Arius saw these two concepts as the same. His critics did not.
Evidence suggests St. Nicholas of Myra, whose generosity formed the tradition of Santa Claus (see Yes, Liberty, There Is A Santa Claus) was in attendance. According to legend, the debate became so heated and jolly ole St. Nick got so frustrated with Arius' refusal to accept scripture, that he punched him in the face.
Like Nicholas, Bishops Alexander and Athanasius were adamant that Jesus existed in God as His Logos, or the Word of God. John 1 states, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.” John continues, “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” As more evidence, in John 10:30, Jesus clearly proclaims, “I and the Father are one.”
To declare Jesus not equal to the Father would mean there is more than one God as God the Father and God the Son would be separate. To accept this would go against all other scripture professing “one true God,” thus denying the Trinity. (see St. Patrick: Patron Saint Of Beer?) As a result, the council proclaimed the evidence of scriptures teaches that Jesus was the Son, equal to the Father AND God at the same time.
Once the leaders settled on this consensus, they wrote a statement of the church's official belief on the matter. The result is known as the Nicene Creed:
We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen.
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one being with the Father. Through him all things were made. For us and for our salvation, he came down from heaven, was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the virgin Mary, and became fully human. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate. He suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.
We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who in unity with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets. We believe in one holy Christian and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Amen.