Sunday, September 4, 2011

Was Jesus Invented in A.D. 325?

"Until [the Council of Nicaea in A.D. 325], Jesus was viewed by His followers as a mortal prophet...a great and powerful man, but a man nonetheless. A mortal."
"Not the Son of God?"
"Right," Teabing said. "Jesus' establishment as 'the Son of God' was officially proposed and voted on by the Council of Nicaea."
"Hold on. You're saying Jesus’ divinity was the result of a vote?"
"A relatively close vote at that," Teabing added.

This is nonsense. First of all, no one at the Council of Nicaea believed that Jesus was merely a mortal, and no one at the Council of Nicaea disputed that Jesus was “the Son of God.” In fact, it was precisely this phrase which precipitated the debate. Arius’ heretical arguments were based on his belief that Jesus was the only begotten Son of God:
But we say and believe and have taught, and do teach, that the Son is not unbegotten, nor in any way part of the unbegotten; and that he does not derive his subsistence from any matter; but that by his own will and counsel he has subsisted before time and before ages as perfect God, only begotten and unchangeable, and that before he was begotten, or created, or purposed, or established, he was not. For he was not unbegotten. We are persecuted, because we say that the Son has a beginning, but that God is without beginning.  – Arius
Arius believed that Jesus was the Lord and creator of the universe. He believed that Jesus existed “before time and before ages as perfect God.” His argument was simply this: if Jesus is in fact the only begotten Son of God, then he must have had a beginning. In other words, he must have been created by the Father.
Collected Writings of the
Ante-Nicene Church Fathers

Furthermore, we know beyond any doubt that Christians worshiped Jesus as the Son of God long before Nicaea. The collected writings of the Ante-Nicene church fathers (Clement of Rome, Ignatius, Polycarp, Justin Martyr, Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria, Origen, etc.) comprise over 6,000 pages of tiny print. We know what they believed.

And of course, the canonical books of the New Testament, which were without any doubt written long before A.D. 325 and referenced extensively by the Ante-Nicene fathers, clearly identify Jesus as the Son of God. Consider how he is described in the opening words of Hebrews:
God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.  (1:1-4)

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