The Trinity Doctrine: Biblical Truth or Hellenic Philosophy?
Kindle (Mobi) Version ePub Version PDF Version
The Nicaean Creeds Wording
The finished creed read:
“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. 17”
Scripture as we shall see later in this article, in the King James (KJ) and New King James (NKJ) versions of the Bible states that Christ Jesus the Son of God was the “only begotten Son”. While other Bibles use various terms, the NJB states for example:
John 3:16 KJV
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
John 3:16 NJB
For this is how God loved the world: he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.
As Arius and Athanasius contended over this, it must have been written in the Greek NT Scriptures at the time this was going on, even in the more Hebraic area of Antioch. For the Nicaean Creed to use the words “begotten not made” makes no sense what so ever and for anybody to contemplate the idea that adding ‘not’ to change the meaning of language simply shows how desperate Athanasius and the others were to be seen as “right” more than being Scripturally accurate. Their philosophical belief could not be proved accurate through scripture hence not creating a creed that was scriptural, and it could not say the Son of God was not "begotten” as Scripture obviously used the term, so in an attempt make themselves believable, they introduced the term and tried to make it “not” by adding the complete opposite of what the word means after it. To see what is meant by this statement, here is the meaning of “begotten” from the dictionary:
past participle of beget.
1. (especially of a man) bring (a child) into existence by the process of reproduction.
2. cause; bring about.
It should be obvious to anybody that God himself obviously did not have sexual relations with Mary, so definition 1. Obviously does not apply in this case, so definition 2. must apply. If we take the definition of bring about and do a search for its meaning we come up with the following:
to cause to take place : effect
Synonyms that can be used in place of the words “bring about” include the following.
beget, create, breed, generate, induce, invoke, make, produce18
It therefore makes it extremely possible using correct definitions that God did in fact create the Son. You can replace the words “bring about” with “create” and for Athanasius to place in the Nicaean Creed “begotten not made” in an attempt to make it untrue doesn’t work. If you “create” something then you “make it” so you can’t change the meaning by adding words that say the opposite of that word.
The Nicaean creed was not well accepted and bitter contests continued over the wording of the Nicaean Creed for years to come, sometimes the Emperors favoured the Arian theological belief and sometimes the Athinasian version. Until ultimately in the end the last Emperor, Emperor Theodosius I who in 380 A.D. outlawed Arianism and in 381 A.D. convoked a regional Council at Constantinople, with the first canon from this council stating that “’the faith of the 318 fathers who assembled at Nicaea in Bithynia is not to be made void, but shall continue to be established19” made by Royal Decree rather than by theological debate and
“sealed the final adoption of the faith of Nicaea by the entire Church”20 whether Scriptural or not, this previously unheard of orthodoxy has remained for centuries.
17. Henri Leclercq, "Councils of Nicæa," in Catholic Encyclopedia (1913).↩
18. Merriam-Webster, "Definition of Bring About," (Merriam-Webster).↩
19. Davis SJ, The First Seven Ecumenical Councils (325-787): Their History and Theology (Theology and Life Series 21). p. 126. ↩
20. Leclercq, "Councils of Nicæa."↩
|Previous Page||Next Page|
PLEASE, now that you have read this article, do not just take our word for it. Get your Bible, look at it and read the Scriptures for yourself, and feel free to get our Book of Bible Articles or look at our articles website for further Bible Studies and Articles.