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Turning Point

Turning Point. Council of Nicea (325). JESUS Son of God and Son of Man. A paradox, but true Phil. 2:5-11 John 1:1-2, 14 Heb. 2:9-18 2 natures of Jesus sparked controversy Initial controversy settled at first Council of Nicea (325). Arius taught. God was only uncreated reality

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Turning Point

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  1. Turning Point Council of Nicea (325)

  2. JESUS Son of God and Son of Man • A paradox, but true • Phil. 2:5-11 • John 1:1-2, 14 • Heb. 2:9-18 • 2 natures of Jesus sparked controversy • Initial controversy settled at first Council of Nicea (325)

  3. Arius taught . . . • God was only uncreated reality • There was a time when the Son was not • Jesus is more than man but less than God • Concept made Jesus inferior to God, but more popular with the people as a great, virtuous, god-like hero GOD THE FATHERJESUSCREATION

  4. Alexander taught . . . • Jesus is divine and co-eternal with the Father, not created by the Father GOD THE FATHER JESUS CREATION • Alexander condemned Arius’ teachings and removed him from his position in the church in Alexander.

  5. Diocletian(284-305) THE GREAT PERSECUTION (303-311) Galerius (305-311)

  6. Constantine (306-337)

  7. Constantine (306-337)

  8. WEST Maxentius (Emperor) Constantine (Caesar) EAST Maximinus Daia (Emperor) Licinius (Caesar)

  9. Constantine: Conquest of Western Empire (312) • War against Maxentius • Eve of the Battle of the Milvian Bridge • Saw a vision: • Chi & Rho • In hoc signes vinces – “In this sign, you will conquer” • He painted the Chi-Rho on his soldiers’ shields • Maxentius drowned in river

  10. Edict of Milan (313) • Constantine met with Licinius at Milan and established an alliance which required the cessation of Christian persecution • Maximinus Daia (eastern emperor) continued persecution until he was defeated by Licinius • In 324, Constantine defeated Licinius and became sole emperor; then persecution of Christians ceased throughout the empire.

  11. Council Conveners • Constantine • Approximately 250 Bishops from throughout the empire • 3 Basic Groups made up the Council • Those who supported Arius’ teachings • Those who saw Arianism as a threat to the very core of the Christian faith • Majority who chose neither side, but grieved that the controversy could divide the church at such a promising time

  12. Terminology • Heteroousios:of a different substance • Jesus is of a different substance than God the Father • Homoousios: of the same substance • Jesus is of the same substance as God the Father • Homoiousios:of a similar substance • Jesus is of a similar substance than God the Father

  13. The Nicene Creed We believe in one God the Father All-sovereign, maker of all things visible and invisible; And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, begotten of the Father, only-begotten, that is, of the substance of the Father, God of God, Light of Light, true God of true God, begotten not made, of one substance (homousion) with the Father, through whom all things were made, things in heaven and things on the earth; who for us men and for our salvation came down and was made flesh, and become man, suffered, and rose on the third day, ascended into the heavens, is coming to judge the living and the dead; And in the Holy Spirit.

  14. The Nicene Creed(Continued) And those who say “There was when he was not,”and, “Before he was begotten he was not,” And that, “He came into being from what-is-not,” Or those who allege that the Son of God is “of another substance or essence,” or “created,” or “changeable,” or “alterable,” These the Catholic and Apostolic Church anathematizes.

  15. The State-Church Marriage • Resources of the statewere utilized to refute heresy and establish doctrine • Goal of the state was achieved when unity of church led to unity of the state • Danger of state-controlled church became evident during next decades

  16. Christ Controversies • Three Categories of Heresies • Those who argued Christ is fully divine • Those who argued Christ was very special, but only a human being • Those who had flawed explanations for how Jesus could be both divine and human • The Orthodox View • Those who believed Jesus was fully human and fully divine, having two natures in one person

  17. “Christ is Fully Divine” • Docetists (i.e. Gnostics) • Jesus only seemed human and only appeared to die, for God cannot die. Or, in other versions, “Christ” left “Jesus” before the crucifixion. (Phil. 2:8) • Apollinarians • Jesus is not equally human and divine, but one person with one nature. In Jesus’ human flesh resided a divine mind and will (didn’t have a human mind or spirit) and his divinity controlled or sanctified his humanity. (John 1:14) • Modalists • God’s names (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) change with His “mode”. No permanent distinction between 3 “persons” of Trinity, otherwise you have 3 gods. (Ex.20:3, John 10:30)

  18. “Jesus is Fully Human” • Ebionites • Because “God is one”, these conservative Jewish Christians understood Jesus in an Old Testament context, as merely a specially blessed prophet. (I Tim. 2:5) • Adoptionists • At birth (not conception) God “adopted” the human Jesus as his special son and gave him an extra measure of divine power. (Luke 3:22) • Arians • The Son as Word, Logos, was created by God before time. He is not eternal or perfect like God, though he was God’s agent in creating everything else. (John 1:14)

  19. “Flawed Combinations of Both” • Monophysites • Jesus cannot have two natures, but only one; his divinity swallowed up his humanity “like a drop of wine in the sea.” (Col. 1:19) • Nestorians • Christ is two persons. If you dismiss his humanity, he cannot be the Savior of humankind. Better to say he has two natures and also two persons: the divine Christ and the human Christ lived together in Jesus. (John 2:19)

  20. The Orthodox View • Jesus is fully human and fully divine, having two natures in one person – “without confusion, without change, without division, without separation.”This statement comes from the Council of Chalcedon in 451 AD • Phil.2:5-11: “Christ Jesus . . . being in very nature God, [was] made in human likeness . . . and become obedient to death . . . Every tongue [should] confess Jesus Christ is Lord.”

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