Monday, August 2, 2021

What's the Deal with the Council of Nicaea?

The Council of Nicaea was extremely important because it brought together the leaders of the early church for the first time, in a council to deal with the serious concern of the heresy of Arianism.  Several issues were dealt with at the council of Nicaea, including what date Easter fell on, whether the Jewish calendar should be followed, the fate of Christians who lapsed, church discipline, church government, the order of precedence, and other important issues. The declarations of which they made of Christ are as follows: They declared that Christ was not a created being but co-eternal with the Father. They declared that Christ was of the same substance as the Father. And they declared that the Son knows the Father perfectly. The Trinity was affirmed as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, under which the understanding we have today, that they are co-equal and co-eternal, of the same substance but distinct persons.

What would've happened if the Council of Nicaea had never occurred? Well, it's hard to say, but I think that there would've been a great deal more division in the church. Some of the heresies and confusions they addressed would've continued.  The date for Easter and other holidays would've continued to be divided based on region.  Essentially it would've meant the church would've stayed divided on doctrine and practice of belief. It probably would've allowed the heretical teachings to continue to grow and prosper. And of course Arianism might've won out and there would be distorted perceptions of Christ and the Trinity.

If Arianism had won out, our understanding of Christ today would probably much like the Jehovah's Witnesses. We would see Christ as a created being, as an angel maybe, or some sort of lower being. This would distort the truth about Christ. And would probably lead to the eroding of Christianity, eventually becoming less and less important and widespread, as heresy had won out.  There would probably be no understanding of any sort of Trinity, but we'd worship God the Father only, and Christ and the Spirit would be relegated to a back seat role.