18.2 The Council of Nicaea
18.2 The Council of Nicaea
© 2016 Christ Revealed Bible Institute
The Council of Nicaea
For this lesson, we will draw first from the Wikipedia article on the Council of Nicaea, etc., after which we will look briefly at the “Nicene Creed,” the definition of “Christianity” coming out from the Council of Nicaea.
The conflict that resulted in the calling of the Nicene Counsel was the question “What is Jesus of Nazareth?” There were three arguments, actually, one of which got lost in the shuffle. Arius argued that Jesus was begotten of the Father and thus there was a “time” when Jesus was not. Athanasius and others argued that Jesus was co-equal with the Father in all ways, and thus – God the Son.
But Origen, who had lived from AD 185-254 and was considered to be the first leading theologian, had taught something different about Christ.
Here is where we must root ourselves – with what God actually says in the New Testament. You see, there are a number of statements God made that support Arius’s position; whereas there are none that support Athanasius’ position directly and only two or three that can be made to support “co-equality in all ways” by argument. The thing we must understand is that neither Arius nor Athanasius (from the evidence available) placed themselves before God with His own words and spoke: “Let it be to me.”
What God Actually Says
Instead, like most human arguers, both men got an idea in their head from one verse and ran with it; both were willing to twist and ignore critical covenant verses; and both were willing to use their ideas to attempt to establish “orthodoxy.” Origen, on the other hand, must have placed what God actually says as a higher standard.
In other words, I find enormous similarity between how I see Jesus, according to what God actually says, and how Origen described Him. Jesus, though always, every moment, coming out of the Father’s all here now Being, yet He is subject to the Father, and gains His nature only by His place IN the Father.
Jesus Is a Man
I read someone recently who said that the writers of the New Testament “argued fervently that Jesus was God.” Hello? That is the power of the Nicene Creed. No one ever bothers to check.
It’s a simple matter. Begin with Matthew 1:1 and proceed to Revelation 22:21; write down every verse that describes the Father and Jesus and places them in proximity to each other. You will find, without question, that the writers of the New Testament argued with all fervency that Jesus is a Man, and that He is subject in all ways to the Father.
Yet, because the Father is all here now, Jesus must also be all here now, for Jesus is the embodiment of the Father, Person inside of Person.
Similarities to Origen
Yet this statement I just made, though surprisingly similar to Origen, makes me a heretic by Nicene Christianity and an outcast. More than that, as I glance over other things Origen taught, I see a number of things that are the same as how I read the New Testament, but that Christian “orthodoxy” also rejects. Now, the Wikipedia article states that Origen’s teachings “directly contradicted the teachings attributed to the apostles, notably Paul and John.” Notice the word “attributed.” That means the power of Augustine to control how everyone reads their Bibles by not seeing at all what God actually says.
A Heavenly Messenger
Constantine had called all 1800 bishops in the church to attend the council; somewhere around 300 showed up, each with several attendants. Constantine presided over the entire council, yet without any vote. After allowing the bishops to be seated, according to Eusebius, Constantine “proceeded through the midst of the assembly, like some heavenly messenger of God, clothed in raiment which glittered as it were with rays of light, reflecting the glowing radiance of a purple robe, and adorned with the brilliant splendor of gold and precious stones.”
Eusebius, imagining he was glorifying God, described exactly the image of the serpent, the highest of heavenly beings, as the image of God.
Along with the establishment of a permanent definition of Jesus for the church, the council also established elements of the rule of church hierarchy over Christians.
Now, along with the Nicene Creed, which we will look at next, the council also wrote a list of “anathemas,” or pronouncements against. The first I “agree” with, that there was not a “time” when Jesus was not. However, that argument is ridiculous because humans have never known what time is and have thus placed God Himself entirely into time, before and after. Time is an all now God revealing Himself every moment in our lives. Time and an eternal God cannot be separated.
No Semblance of Weakness
The second “anathema” is contradicted by Scripture, that is, the belief that Jesus could not have sinned, that “the Son just like the Father was beyond any form of weakness.” The image of “Christ” presented by Constantine could allow for no semblance of weakness.
Before looking at the Nicene Creed itself, we must first understand the underlying definitions already in the minds of every individual in attendance. As we will see in the next lesson, the goal of the serpent is to drive Jesus far away from our human flesh. Regardless of Bible verses or orthodox Christian ideas, a Christ who carries us NOW in weakness must be eliminated.
1. God is completely separate, distant, and cold. No thought exists that God might have a heart of purpose.
2. Jesus is far away from us on this earth. He has left us to figure out how we are to be “saved.”
3. The ideas a person holds in his mind are the only means to salvation. Wrong ideas take you out; “right” ideas take you in.
4. Christians are utterly fleshy and must be controlled by a sanctioned elite if they are to be “saved.”
5. Man in weakness is not the image of God. Should God appear, He would look like the image of Constantine.
6. Jesus’ walk of stumbling was not showing us God’s heart, but rather, the wickedness of man against God.
The Nicene Creed
There are many slight variations of the Nicene Creed. Here is a present-day version used by the Catholic Bishops of America.
“I believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible.
“I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God, born of the Father before all ages. God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father; through him all things were made. For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven, and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and became man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate, he suffered death and was buried, and rose again on the third day 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.
“I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets.
“I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. I confess one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come.”
In an upcoming session, we will look at how Augustine defined “the Trinity,” that is, how most Christians define God.
Now, you will likely think: “Well, this all sounds pretty true. What’s Yordy’s problem?” It’s called miss-direction, looking at the wrong thing. This is how Satan uses Bible verses and true statements when he speaks to Christians; his purpose is to get them to look at the wrong thing. And that is easy for him to do, since their underlying assumptions, the ones I listed undergirding all thinking at the Council of Nicaea, are already in line with the covenant Adam and the serpent made together. – And demons also came out of many, crying out and saying, “You are the Christ, the Son of God!” And He, rebuking them, did not allow them to speak (Luke 4:41).
Separating God from Flesh
When the serpent speaks, his words may be “true,” but hearing his words will always connect the hearer with the false.
Where, in the Nicene Creed, do you find God’s heart of purpose or our present union with Christ, we IN Jesus and Jesus IN us? Christians can argue about orthodox ideas forever and never know Jesus alive in their hearts and revealed now through them. And in all their argument, they imagine they are defending the truth. They are defending nothing. The Nicene Creed effectively separates God from our human flesh, placing the two into totally other arenas.
A Mental Image
The argument of the Nicene Creed is that God is not like you and you are not like God; God is completely other. And yes, Jesus “came down from heaven, and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and became man.” But by having first severed God and man utterly, this action of Jesus, in “coming down from heaven” as they say, could only have been a one-time occurrence. Now Jesus is, once again, far away.
Let me make my continual claim. Any “God” that you imagine separate from your own heart cannot be God in Person, but only your own imagination.
God in Spirit and Truth
To worship God in Spirit and in truth is to know Him as the One who lives in Jesus Sent who lives in your heart, literally and substantially. To worship God in Spirit and in truth is to know that Jesus Sent connects you together with Father as one person together by every Word that He is. To worship God in Spirit and in truth is to walk together with Father sharing all things together, drawing every difficult person or circumstance into Love and setting creation free.
Affirming the Nicene Creed as your own “definition” of God will take you into Christian imaging, far away from Spirit and from truth.
In Jesus in the Father
On the other hand, speaking Christ your only life and asking God to fulfill every word that He speaks in all fullness as Christ Jesus inside of you will take you into a knowing of God personal and real that simply fills you with unspeakable joy. We are speaking of the universe-wide gap between creating mental images and imagining those mental constructs to be “correct” about God versus knowing that Jesus and we are one.
I am in the Father and the Father in Me – I am in the Father and you in Me and I in you. The Nicene Creed defines the first line as full co-substantial equality and erases the second from all Christian knowledge. We, however, just love being in Jesus in the Father – one.
My Creed of Christ
I know God the Father who fills me with all of His fullness. He creates and fills all things, but He is known in both heaven and earth only as a Man laying down His life for His friends.
I know Jesus-Sent who is my very and only life. I live only in Him who carried me inside Himself all the way through death into life. His Gethsemane is my Gethsemane, His death is my death, His resurrection is my resurrection; His blood always cleanses me. This same Jesus is now seated upon my heart, the throne of heaven. Inside of Him, seeing out from His eyes alone, I know God.
I live always in the Holy Spirit of God who reveals God in the heavens and who reveals Christ in me and who flows out from me as rivers of living water bringing life to all. I am a member of the one body of Christ in which Jesus walks the earth today. Our flesh is His flesh. Together, He in us and we in Him, we defeat death and all the curse, casting them off human experience in heaven/earth, spirit and flesh.
God judges all things by our revealed union with Christ. This same Jesus, as our very and only life, will subdue all things by love, by our lives laid down, and will restore all creation back to the Father.