The Macrostich (Long Lines Creed) reveals the heart of Arianism.

Christianity in the Fourth Century

This is an article in the series on the fourth-century Arian Controversy. It describes the events of the 340s after the failed Council of Serdica in 343 but focuses mostly on the Macrostich (the Long Liner Manifesto) as perhaps the most significant event of that period. At the Council of Serdica, the Western delegation formulated an explicitly one-hypostasis view. It says:

“We have received and have been taught this … tradition: that there is one hypostasis, which the heretics (also) call ousia, of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” (Hanson, p. 301)

Against this view, the East, through the Macrostich, asserts three hypostases. These articles may seem complex and even unimportant but they are important for a proper understanding of the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation.

AUTHORS QUOTED

LA = Ayres, Lewis, Nicaea and its Legacy, An Approach to Fourth-Century Trinitarian Theology, 2004

RH = Hanson RPC, The Search for the Christian Doctrine of God: The Arian Controversy, 318-381. 1988

Due to discoveries of ancient documents and significant additional Research, the scholarship of the past hundred years has concluded that the traditional account of the fourth-century Arian Controversy presents history from the perspective of the winner and is a complete travesty. These books reflect the revised account of that Controversy.

THEOLOGY CATEGORIES

One-hypostasis and three-hypostases theologies are key concepts in this article and, therefore, first explained.

One Hypostasis means one Person.

To say that Father, Son, and Spirit are one hypostasis is to say that they are one single Person with one single mind. There are variations of this theory. For example:

Three Names – The second-century Monarchians said that the Father, Son, and Spirit are three names for the same one God.

Three Parts – The third-century Sabellians taught that Father, Son, and Spirit are three parts of the one hypostasis (Person). Sabellius had many followers, but his teaching was formally condemned.

Part of the Father – Alexander and Athanasius maintained that the Son is part of the Father, namely, His only Word and Wisdom. Tertullian similarly said that the Father is the whole, and the Son is part of the whole. 

Three Hypostases means three Persons.

In the traditional ‘three hypostases’ view, the Father, Son, and Spirit are three distinct Persons with three distinct minds. There are also variations of the ‘three hypostases’ theory. In contrast to the ‘same substance’ (homoousios) of the Nicene Creed, some said their substances are unlike (heterousios), others said their substances are similar (homoiousios) and others refused to talk about substance (the Homoians).

Generally, in the ‘three hypostases’-view, the Son is subordinate to the Father. However, the Cappadocians had a three-hypostases view in which the substances are exactly alike so that they are equal. In the one-hypostasis view, there is no thought of subordination.

OVERVIEW OF EARLIER HISTORY

Arius and Alexander

In 318, only five years after Christianity was legalized, a dispute broke out between bishop Alexander of Alexandria and one of his presbyters, Arius, about the nature of the Son of God:

Alexander believed that the Son is part of the Father so that they are one single hypostasis (Person). It follows that the Son is as immutable and eternal as the Father.

In contrast, Arius followed the traditional teaching in which Father and Son are two distinct Persons. However, he had some extreme teachings. For example, he said that the Son was begotten out of nothing.

Arius has several important supporters, not because they supported everything that he taught, but because they viewed Alexander’s one-hypostasis theology as a greater evil.

The Nicene Council

Nicene Creed
The emperor standing behind the church fathers

Emperor Constantine attempted to reconcile the quarreling parties by a letter and by sending his religious advisor, Ossius, but his efforts failed. Probably on Ossius’ recommendation, he took Alexander’s part in the dispute. Early in 325, Ossius held an “anti-Arian Council” in Antioch (RH, 131). That meeting provisionally excommunicated Eusebius of Caesarea, a supporter of Arius and perhaps the most respected theologian at the time.

This was followed by the Nicene Council later that same year. At that council, Alexander was able to form an alliance with the Sabellians because they all taught that Father and Son are one single hypostasis. And since Constantine had taken Alexander’s part in the dispute, this alliance dominated at Nicaea and was able to include in the Creed at least a hint of one-hypostasis theology.

After Nicaea, Sabellians claimed that the Nicene Creed identifies Sabellianism as the formally approved religion of the church. This resulted in a decade of conflict in which the main Sabellians were removed from their positions. Thereafter, Nicaea and the term homoousios were not mentioned by anybody for about 20 years.

Athanasius

While the first crisis (Arius – Nicene Creed – Sabellians) seems to be put to rest, a second crisis was brewing, namely, Athanasius:

Alexander died in 328 and Athanasius was elected in his place as bishop of Alexandria. Seven years later, in 335, he was also exiled; not for his theology but for violence against the Melitians in his see. In 337, when Constantine died, all exiled bishops were allowed to return, including Athanasius.

However, the church soon again accused him before the emperor. Consequently, Athanasius then developed his polemical strategy, claiming that he was, in fact, exiled for his anti-Arian stance and that all his enemies were Arians, meaning followers of Arius. Using these arguments, he appealed to the bishop of Rome and was successful because the West, which was not initially part of the Controversy and which was not represented at the Council of Nicaea, traditionally had a one-hypostasis theology; just like Athanasius. At the Council of Rome in 340, the West vindicated both Marcellus and Athanasius. Marcellus was the best-known Sabellian at the time and was previously condemned and exiled by the Eastern Church for that reason. In 341, the bishop of Rome attacked the East by writing a letter, declaring that Marcellus and Athanasius are orthodox in their teachings and that the East follows Arius, who was condemned at Nicaea.

Dedication and Serdica Councils

Later in that same year (341), the East met to discuss the letter from the bishop of Rome and formulated the Dedication Creed, which condemned some of Arius’ teachings but particularly condemned the West’s one-hypostasis theology.

This was followed in 343 by the Council of Serdica. This council was supposed to reconcile the West and the East but the two parties never met as one because of their dispute over Athanasius and Marcellus. The West brought these two men with as part of its delegation and demanded that they be allowed to participate in the Council. But the Eastern Church refused because it had already condemned both men. The Western delegation then formulated a creed that explicitly presents a one-hypostasis theology. 1“… the suspicion of Sabellianism which hung around the one Western theological statement which had appeared since the controversy began, the Formula accompanying the Encyclical of the Western bishops at Serdica.” (RH, 311)

End of the Controversy

Various other articles describe the events of the 350s, 360s, and 370s. The Controversy came to an end when emperor Theodosius, in 380, put the Trinity doctrine into law and made the Trinitarian version of Christianity the state religion of the Roman Empire, and, in 381, ratified his decisions through the Council of Constantinople.

The most important conclusion of this series of articles is that the emperor was the final arbiter in the church’s doctrinal disputes, and that the Roman Empire selected the Trinitarian version of Christianity as the state religion of the Empire and exterminated other forms of Christianity. The Controversy began soon after persecution ended and ended when persecution was resumed.

Consequently, the church that entered the Middle Ages was a remnant of the Roman Empire; the ‘Roman Church’, meaning, the Church of the Roman Empire. The Trinity doctrine was its identifying mark.

RECONCILIATION ATTEMPTS

Serdica in 343 was perhaps intended to bring reconciliation but failed. In the 340s, the Empire was divided between Emperor Constans in the West and his brother Emperor Constantius in the East. These two emperors supported the conflicting views of the churches in their domains. After the failure of Serdica, little happened during the remainder of the 340s, except some attempts at rapprochement: 2“The remainder of the 340s requires much less discussion. Richard Hanson rightly characterizes this period as one in which the failure of Serdica eventually prompted attempts at rapprochement.” (LA, 126)

Western Attempt

“After Serdica … both sides were ready for peace feelers. (RH, 306-7)

The three main Christian centers in the Fourth Century

In 344, “a Western delegation consisting of two bishops” arrived in Antioch. “This visit unfortunately proved abortive owing to the mischiefmaking proclivity of Stephen bishop of Antioch. He attempted to ensnare Euphrates (one of the two Western bishops) in a false charge of fornication by planting a prostitute in his bedroom. The plot miscarried and the instigator of it was exposed. Stephen was deposed from his see. … The two Western bishops returned home in understandable umbrage.” (RH, 307)

Athanasius Recalled

“Constans was at this point pressing his brother strongly to recall Athanasius to his see of Alexandria.” (RH, 307) “Constans was keen to assert his own ecclesiastical policy.” (LA, 127)

“In the summer of 345 Constantius permitted Athanasius back to Alexandria. … Athanasius made his way back cautiously, visiting Constantius, and did not arrive until 346.” (LA, 127)

“Meanwhile the opponents of Athanasius had gathered at Antioch and protested against his readmission to his see. … Constantius was pursuing a policy of reconciliation, when he had time to turn his attention to ecclesiastical affairs, and the enemies of Athanasius were powerless.” (RH, 312) “The watchword at this period was Reconciliation.” (RH, 313)

Eastern Attempt

“In other parts of the church, the prevailing temper was also one of reconciliation. The Council of Antioch … in 344 also produced a creed, which was conveyed [in 345] to the Western church by a delegation of Eastern bishops.” (RH, 308) 3The Christian church originated in Jerusalem but, in the first century, Antioch soon became the leading gentile church.

This creed was “universally known as the Macrostich (‘Long-Liner’ Manifesto’). … The first part is much the same as, if not identical with, the IVth Antiochene Creed of 341,” (RH, 308) which leaves out, as far as possible, all contentious issues. It had added, however, “a long explanation.” (LA, 127) “The conciliatory tone of this text is clear.” (LA, 129)

In the closing section of the creed, the bishops in Antioch state their purpose as “to clear away all unjust suspicion concerning our opinions, … and that all in the West may know, … the audacity of the slanders.” The “slanders” refer, most probably, to the letter written by the bishop of Rome in 431, following Athanasius in accusing the East of being followers of Arius. Through the creed, the bishops in Antioch attempted to clarify their position.

In 345, the Eastern delegation presented their manifesto to the Latin-speaking bishops in the western part of the empire. “The Council of Milan … gave audience to the Antiochenes with their creed. Before the Council would consider the Macrostich, however, they demanded that the Eastern bishops should condemn Arius. The Eastern delegation refused to do this, not assuredly because they were unwilling to condemn Arius, but because they thought it insulting to be suspected and arraigned in this way. They returned to Antioch, their purpose unaccomplished.” (RH, 312)

While Arius had some extreme views, he was, like the Eastern delegation, a ‘three hypostasis’ theologian. His views were, therefore, much closer to the Easterners’ than the Western one-hypostasis theology.

The Controversy was deeply political.

“Political tensions between Constans and Constantius have shaped a controversy between a key group of eastern bishops and their … ‘western’ counterparts. That controversy is indeed partly theological … (but) also deeply political, both” politics inside and outside the church.” (LA, 129-130) 4“In ecclesial terms (what form of appeal is possible following conciliar condemnation? can eastern and western councils interfere in each other’s business? can one appeal to Rome?) and in extra-ecclesial terms.”

“But this period of rapprochement resolved nothing: the tensions remained.” (LA, 130)

THE MACROSTICH

This section discusses this manifesto as an opportunity to understand the three-hypostases view in the middle of the fourth century. The term homoousios was only brought back into the Controversy in the 350s (see here) and, only after that, did the three-hypostases view subdivide into the heterousian, homoiousian, and Homoian views.

Avoiding, as far as possible, controversial, non-biblical language, the Eastern bishops hoped that their creed would be acceptable all around.

Believes in three hypostases.

The Macrostich describes the Father, Son, and Spirit as three distinct Persons. It does not mention “three hypostases” explicitly (RH, 311) but:

      • Asserts “that there are three realities (πράγματα) or persons (πρόσωπα),” (LA, 128)
      • Condemns “those who treat Father, Son, and Spirit as three names of one reality (πράγμα) or person (πρόσωπον),” (LA, 128) and
      • “Argues against Marcellan doctrines which … treat the Word as ‘mere word of God and unexisting, having his being in another’.” (LA, 127) “Against this theology the Macrostich confesses the Son as ‘living God and Word, existing in himself’.” (LA, 128)

These are aimed against one-hypostasis theology, specifically against Sabellianism, as the West held according to the manifesto of the Western delegates at Serdica in 343. The Macrostich says that, if the three were the same, then, when the Son became a man, the Unlimited has become limited, then the Impassible5incapable of suffering or feeling pain had become passible, and the Immutable6not subject to change had become mutable.

Only the Father exists without beginning.

The manifesto begins by saying:

“We believe in one God the Father Almighty,
the Creator and Maker of all things.”

This is the standard opening of all creeds, including the Nicene Creed, identifying the Father as the “one God.” The Macrostich adds: “We do assert ‘three Objects and three Persons’, but not three gods.” (RH, 310) It does not confess three Gods because the Father alone exists without cause or beginning, and has generated the Son. 7“This does not … mean three Gods because there is only one ingenerate, unbegun and because the Father ‘who alone has existence from himself, and alone gives this abundantly to all others’.” (LA, 128) 8“Since we acknowledge the Self-complete and Ingenerate and Unbegun and Invisible God to be one only, the God and Father of the Only-begotten, who alone has being from Himself, and alone gives this to all others generously.” 9“Only the Father of Christ is unbegotten and unbeginning.” (RH, 310) “We must not consider the Son to be co-unbegun.” “The Father is the Son’s origin.” (RH, 310) Only the Father is selfsufficient and invisible. (RH, 310)

Origin of the Son

The Son was begotten from the being of God.

The creed condemns “those who say, that the Son was from nothing, or from other subsistence and not from God.” Note that this sentence uses the word “from” three times, indicating three possible sources of the Son:

“It is not safe … to say that the Son is from non-existence,” as Arius said. Nor can we say that He is from some other “underlying hypostasis.” He is “genuinely begotten from God alone.” (RH, 310)

He exists by the Father’s will.

In the one-hypostasis view, since the Father and Son are one single ‘Person’, the Son has existed for as long as the Father has. Consequently, the Father had never decided to beget the Son; the Father ‘always’ was Father, and the Son ‘always’ was Son.

In contrast, the Macrostich anathematizes those who say that the Father had no choice but to beget the Son so that He begat the Son unwillingly. It says that the Father begat the Son by his counsel and his will. (RH, 309-10) 10“The Son is generated from the Father’s will as the only alternative to being generated by necessity.” (LA, 129)

In this way, the Macrostich avoids Origen’s doctrine of “eternal generation of the Son.” (RH, 311) Origen argued that God created all things through His Son, that God has always created, therefore the Son has always existed. In Origen’s theory, the creation has also always existed.

There was no time before the Son.

Arius said, “there was when He (the Son) was not.” Although Arius explicitly taught that the Son was begotten “timelessly,” his enemies accused him of saying there was “time” when the Son was not. The Macrostich states:

It is dangerous to say that “there was a time when he did not exist.” We do not envisage “an interval of time preceding him.” Only God who begot him timelessly, preceded Him. (RH, 310) “The Son of God existed before the ages.” (RH, 309) He was begotten “before all ages.” There was no “time or age when He was not.”

In other words, the Son had a beginning, but that beginning was before time existed. Therefore, there never was “a time or age when He was not.”

He is not a Created Being.

Arius said that the Son is the only Being ever produced by the Father directly, that He is the only Being who can come directly into God’s presence, and that He is the Creator of all else. But Arius’ enemies accused him of saying that the Son is a mere created being. For a further discussion, see here.

The Macrostich similarly says that “the Son was not created as other creatures and products are produced; he cannot be compared with them.” He is the only being ever begotten by God. (RH, 310) All other creatures came into existence through the Son. “It is irreligious … to compare the Creator with handiworks created by Him.”

The opening phrase of the creed identifies the Father as “the Creator and Maker of all things.” The Bible says that God created all things through the Son (John 1:3; Heb 1:2-3; Col 1:15-16). The Father is the Force and Cause of creation. The Son is the Means or Hand through which God created.

The Son is both subordinate and God.

The Macrostich strongly affirms the subordination of the Son. (RH, 311)11The Son is “subordinate to his Father and God.” (LA, 127) It describes the Son as subordinate to the Father because the Father alone exists without cause.12“Three realities or persons … does not … mean three Gods because there is only one ingenerate, unbegun and because the Father … ‘alone has existence from himself’.” (LA, 128) It says that the Father alone is “Head over the whole universe wholly.” However:

“In saying that the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is one only God, the only Ingenerate, do we (not) therefore deny that Christ also is God before ages …”

“Though he be subordinate to his Father and God, yet, being before ages begotten of God, he is God according to his perfect and true nature.” (LA, 127)

While the Nicene Creed describes the Son as “true God (the Son) from true God (the Father),” the Macrostich omits the word “true” in both instances and refers to Jesus as “God from God.”

That the Macrostich also describes the Son as subordinate to the Father may sound confusing to the modern ear. However, that confusion is caused by the translations. Ancient Greek did not have a word exactly equivalent to the modern word ‘God’. It only had the word theos, which means ‘divine’ or ‘god’. Even an exalted person may be called theos. We must read the context to determine whether “God” or “god” or “divine” is intended. Translators tend to translate theos, when it refers to Jesus, as “God,” but that is an application of the Trinity doctrine, not proof thereof. For a further discussion, see – The Meanings of the Word theos.

The incarnated Son is the preexistent Son.

The Macrostich refers to “His Only-begotten Son our Lord Jesus Christ.” In other words, the pre-existent “Only-begotten Son” and the incarnated “Lord Jesus Christ” are one and the same.

In contrast, in one-hypostasis theology, the incarnated Son is a different person – often a mere human with a human soul or mind who is divinely inspired, because the Son cannot suffer or die because he is the same as or part of the Father.

The Trinity

He is One with the Father.

One-hypostasis theology has a strong claim on the unity of Father and Son because they are but one hypostasis (Person). In contrast, the Macrostich explains the unity of Father and Son as “’harmony’ and ‘conjunction’:” (RH, 311)

“Father and Son ‘are united with each other without mediation or distance’ and … they ‘exist inseparably’, all the Father embosoming the Son, and all the Son hanging and adhering to the Father.” (LA, 128-9)

These words are probably an interpretation of passages such as:

“I and the Father are one” (John 10:29), and
“No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him” (John 1:18).

Confesses a Triad.

“Believing then in the All-perfect Triad, the Most Holy, that is, in the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost.”

In this context, the translation “Triad” is better than “Trinity” because ‘Trinity’, with a capital T, implies the Trinity doctrine in which Father, Son, and Spirit are one Being, while the Macrostich presents them as three distinct Beings; a hierarchical group of “three realities and three Persons,” where the Father is the uncaused Cause of all else, and also generated the Son.

Says very little about the Holy Spirit.

The Macristich has a very scanty treatment of the Holy Spirit. It says:

“We believe in the Holy Ghost, that is, the Paraclete, which, having promised to the Apostles, He sent forth after the ascension into heaven, to teach them and to remind of all things.”

The Son is “granting the grace of the Holy Ghost unsparingly to the saints at the Father’s will.”

Similar to the Bible, it does not refer to the Holy Spirit as God, or as God from God. On the contrary, the phrase “two Gods” in the following implies that the Holy Spirit is not God:

“The Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost, and calling the Father God, and the Son God, yet we confess in them, not two Gods.”

We see Jesus in the Old Testament.

The LMM finds Jesus in the OT. It says:

“He it is, to whom the Father said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness’ (Gen 1:26), who also was seen in His own Person by the patriarchs, gave the law, spoke by the prophets, and at last, became man …”

Some dispute that God was talking to His Son in Genesis 1:26, saying that God spoke to His angels, but man was not created in the image of angels, but in the image of God. Furthermore, the Son Himself “existed in the form of God.” (Phil. 2:6)

No ousia language

The Nicene Creed says that the Son was begotten from the ousios (substance or essence) of the Father and claims that the Son is homoousios (of the same substance as) the Father. It follows that the Son is equal to the Father.

The Dedication Creed of 431, which is, like the Macrostich, an Eastern creed, also uses the term ousia: “Exact image of the Godhead and the substance (ousia) and will and power and glory of the Father.”

In contrast, although the Macrostich says that He is “from God,” and “begotten,” it does not use the term ousia (substance) and homoousios (same substance). It “appears to have been composed by theologians unhappy with the ousia language deployed in the Dedication creed.” (LA, 127) 13The Macrostich describes “the Father’s generation of the Son as a sharing of the divine existence, but … without materialist connotation. … The hierarchical scheme within which this occurs remains unaltered.” (LA, 129)


OTHER ARTICLES

CHURCH FATHERS

ARIAN CONTROVERSY

ARIUS

THE NICENE CREED

ARIANISM

    • Athanasius invented the term ‘Arian’. 34The only reason we today refer to ‘Arians’ is that Athanasius invented the term to falsely label his opponents with a theology that was already formally rejected by the church.
    • The Dedication Creed – AD 341 35This Creed shows how the Nicene Creed would have read if Emperor Constantine had not manipulated the Nicene Council.
    • The Long Lines Creed – AD 344 36In contrast to the one-hypostasis view of the Western manifesto at Serdica in 343, the Long Lines Creed reflects a three-hypostasis theology.
    • Did Arians describe the Son as a creature? 37‘Arians’ described Christ as originating from beyond our universe, the only being ever brought forth directly by the Father, and as the only being able to endure direct contact with God.
    • Homoian theology 38In the 350s, Athanasius began to use homoousios to attack the church majority. Homoian theology developed in response.
    • Homoi-ousian theology 39This was one of the ‘strands’ of ‘Arianism’. It proposed that the Son’s substance is similar to the Father’s, but not the same.
    • How did Arians interpret Colossians 2:9? 40Forget about Arius. He was an isolated extremist. This article quotes the mainstream anti-Nicenes to show how they understood that verse.

THE PRO-NICENES

EMPEROR THEODOSIUS

AUTHORS 

Extracts and summaries from the writings of scholars who have studied the ancient documents themselves:

LATER

TRINITY DOCTRINE – GENERAL

    • Elohim 51Elohim (often translated as God) is plural in form. Does this mean that the Old Testament writers thought of God as a multi-personal Being?
    • The Eternal Generation of the Son 52The Son has been begotten by the Father, meaning that the Son is dependent on the Father. Eternal Generation explains “begotten” in such a way that the Son is co-equal and co-eternal with the Father.

OTHER

Dr. Tuggy discusses this creed in podcast 172.

FOOTNOTES

  • 1
    “… the suspicion of Sabellianism which hung around the one Western theological statement which had appeared since the controversy began, the Formula accompanying the Encyclical of the Western bishops at Serdica.” (RH, 311)
  • 2
    “The remainder of the 340s requires much less discussion. Richard Hanson rightly characterizes this period as one in which the failure of Serdica eventually prompted attempts at rapprochement.” (LA, 126)
  • 3
    The Christian church originated in Jerusalem but, in the first century, Antioch soon became the leading gentile church.
  • 4
    “In ecclesial terms (what form of appeal is possible following conciliar condemnation? can eastern and western councils interfere in each other’s business? can one appeal to Rome?) and in extra-ecclesial terms.”
  • 5
    incapable of suffering or feeling pain
  • 6
    not subject to change
  • 7
    “This does not … mean three Gods because there is only one ingenerate, unbegun and because the Father ‘who alone has existence from himself, and alone gives this abundantly to all others’.” (LA, 128)
  • 8
    “Since we acknowledge the Self-complete and Ingenerate and Unbegun and Invisible God to be one only, the God and Father of the Only-begotten, who alone has being from Himself, and alone gives this to all others generously.”
  • 9
    “Only the Father of Christ is unbegotten and unbeginning.” (RH, 310) “We must not consider the Son to be co-unbegun.” “The Father is the Son’s origin.” (RH, 310) Only the Father is selfsufficient and invisible. (RH, 310)
  • 10
    “The Son is generated from the Father’s will as the only alternative to being generated by necessity.” (LA, 129)
  • 11
    The Son is “subordinate to his Father and God.” (LA, 127)
  • 12
    “Three realities or persons … does not … mean three Gods because there is only one ingenerate, unbegun and because the Father … ‘alone has existence from himself’.” (LA, 128)
  • 13
    The Macrostich describes “the Father’s generation of the Son as a sharing of the divine existence, but … without materialist connotation. … The hierarchical scheme within which this occurs remains unaltered.” (LA, 129)
  • 14
    The pre-Nicene fathers described the Son as “our God” but the Father as “the only true God,” implying that the Son is not “true” God. This confusion is caused by the translations.
  • 15
    Sabellius taught that Father, Son, and Spirit are three portions of one single Being.
  • 16
    If we define Sabellianism as that only one hypostasis – only one distinct existence – exists in the Godhead, was Tertullian a Sabellian?
  • 17
    The Controversy gave us the Trinity doctrine but the traditional account of the Controversy is a complete traversy.
  • 18
    RPC Hanson states that no ‘orthodoxy’ existed but that is not entirely true. This article shows that subordination was indeed ‘orthodox’ at that time.
  • 19
    The term “Arianism” implies that Arius’ theology dominated the fourth-century church. But Arius was not regarded in his time as a significant writer. He left no school of disciples.
  • 20
    Over the centuries, Arius was always accused of this. This article explains why that is a false accusation.
  • 21
    There are significant differences between Origen and Arius.
  • 22
    Arius wrote that the Son was begotten timelessly by the Father before everything. But Arius also said that the Son did not always exist. Did Arius contradict himself?
  • 23
    New research has shown that Arius is a thinker and exegete of resourcefulness, sharpness, and originality.
  • 24
    The word theos, which is translated as “God” in John 1:1 is not equivalent to the modern English word “God.”
  • 25
    Constantine took part in the Council of Nicaea and ensured that it reached the kind of conclusion which he thought best.
  • 26
    Eusebius of Caesarea, the most respected theologian at the Council, immediately afterward wrote to his church in Caesarea to explain why he accepted the Creed and how he understood the controversial phrases.
  • 27
    The Creed not only uses non-Biblical words; the concept of homoousios (that the Son is of the same substance as the Father) is not in the Bible.
  • 28
    Does it mean that Father and Son are one single Being, as the Trinity doctrine claims? How was it understood before, at, and after Nicaea? – Summary of the next article
  • 29
    The Nicene Creed describes the Son as homoousios (same substance) as the Father. But how was the term used before, during, and after Nicaea?
  • 30
    The term homoousios was not mentioned by anybody during the first 30 years after Nicaea. It only became part of that controversy in the 350s.
  • 31
    The word is not found in the Bible or in any orthodox Christian confession before Nicaea.
  • 32
    The Creed seems to say that the Father and Son are the same hupostasis. This is Sabellianism.
  • 33
    There was no Arian Conspiracy. It was a campaign against the claim that homoousios identifies Sabellianism as the church’s official theology.
  • 34
    The only reason we today refer to ‘Arians’ is that Athanasius invented the term to falsely label his opponents with a theology that was already formally rejected by the church.
  • 35
    This Creed shows how the Nicene Creed would have read if Emperor Constantine had not manipulated the Nicene Council.
  • 36
    In contrast to the one-hypostasis view of the Western manifesto at Serdica in 343, the Long Lines Creed reflects a three-hypostasis theology.
  • 37
    ‘Arians’ described Christ as originating from beyond our universe, the only being ever brought forth directly by the Father, and as the only being able to endure direct contact with God.
  • 38
    In the 350s, Athanasius began to use homoousios to attack the church majority. Homoian theology developed in response.
  • 39
    This was one of the ‘strands’ of ‘Arianism’. It proposed that the Son’s substance is similar to the Father’s, but not the same.
  • 40
    Forget about Arius. He was an isolated extremist. This article quotes the mainstream anti-Nicenes to show how they understood that verse.
  • 41
    Eustathius and Marcellus played a major role in the formulation of the Creed but were soon deposed for Sabellianism.
  • 42
    Athanasius presents himself as the preserver of Biblical orthodoxy but this article argues that he was a Sabellian.
  • 43
    Many believe that these accusations were false but RPC Hanson shows that Athanasius was justly condemned.
  • 44
    The West deposed Athanasius for violence but the West, which, like Athanasius, preferred a one hypostasis theology, declared him blameless.
  • 45
    In the Trinity doctrine, Father, Son, and Spirit are one substance or Being. This article shows that Basil taught three distinct substances.
  • 46
    This council reveals the state of Western theology at that time.
  • 47
    It was a regional synod of Antioch and attended only by bishops who were friendly to the bishop of Antioch. But the emperor hijacked it.
  • 48
    A summary of this book, which provides an overview of the fourth-century Arian Controversy. Lewis Ayres is a Catholic theologian and Professor of Catholic and Historical Theology.
  • 49
    A very informative lecture on the Arian Controversy by RPC Hanson, a famous fourth-century scholar
  • 50
    In the fifth century, Arian ‘barbarians’ dominated the Western Empire, but they tolerated and even respected the Trinitarian Roman Church.
  • 51
    Elohim (often translated as God) is plural in form. Does this mean that the Old Testament writers thought of God as a multi-personal Being?
  • 52
    The Son has been begotten by the Father, meaning that the Son is dependent on the Father. Eternal Generation explains “begotten” in such a way that the Son is co-equal and co-eternal with the Father.

After Nicaea, the church restored proper balance in its doctrine.

INTRODUCTION

The True Origin of the Trinity Doctrine

The Trinity doctrine originated in the fourth-century Arian Controversy. However, based on new discoveries of ancient documents and progress in research over the past century, historians now say that the traditional account of that controversy presents history from the perspective of the winner and is a complete travesty.. This is one of the articles that explains the true origin of the Trinity doctrine. (See the list below.) Each article explains a different aspect of that ‘travesty’. This article describes the ten years after the Council of Nicaea.

These articles may seem complex and even unimportant but they are important for understanding the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation.

‘Eusebians’ is a better name for the ‘Arians’.

This article sometimes refers to the ‘Eusebians’. This refers to the followers of the two Eusebii of the early fourth century; Eusebius of Caesarea and Eusebius of Nicomedia. They were Athanasius’ opponents and he intended to insult them by falsely naming them ‘Arians’, meaning followers of Arius, which they were not. See – Athanasius invented Arianism.

Authors quoted

Ayres, Lewis, Nicaea and its Legacy, An Approach to Fourth-Century Trinitarian Theology, 2004

Hanson RPC, The Search for the Christian Doctrine of God: The Arian Controversy, 318-381. 1988

Williams, Rowan, Arius: Heresy and Tradition (Revised ed.). Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2002

These are three of the most important books recent books on the Arian Controversy.

AFTER NICAEA

Arians were reinstated.

In the years after Nicaea, the ‘Arians’ who were exiled after Nicaea, were all reinstated. 1“Arius and most of his supporters were, at Constantine’s request, readmitted to communion within two or three years of the council.” (Ayres, p. 100) 2“Eusebius of Nicomedia quickly rose again to a position of importance, baptizing Constantine on his death-bed in 337 and becoming bishop of Constantinople.” (Ayres, p. 100)

Pro-Nicenes were deposed.

Alexander was the leader of the pro-Nicenes at Nicaea but died soon after Nicaea (in 328). With respect to the other leading pro-Nicenes, “within ten years of the Council of Nicaea all the leading supporters of the creed of that Council had been deposed or disgraced or exiled – Athanasius, Eustathius and Marcellus, and with them a large number of other bishops who are presumed to have belonged to the same school of thought.” Hanson provides a list of such people. (Hanson, p. 274)

THE TRADITIONAL ACCOUNT

It was an evil Arian Conspiracy.

In the traditional account of the Arian Controversy, this was the result of a wicked ‘Arian Conspiracy’, namely, some followers of Arius who secretly conspired to manipulate church councils, aiming to depose all supporters of the Nicene Creed to counter the influence of the Nicene Creed:

“The usual explanation (of the resistance to the Nicene Creed after Nicaea) … describes the favourers of Arianism as setting themselves with deliberate craft and malignant intrigue to depose and replace every and any bishop who was known to be particularly favourable to N.” (Hanson, p. 274)

HOWEVER, IN REALITY

After Nicaea, Arius was irrelevant.

Conceptually, the Nicene Creed may be divided into three parts:

      1. The traditional statements that were also found in previous creeds,
      2. The negations or condemnations of aspects of Arius’ theology, 
      3. The new affirmations, namely that:
        1. The Son is from the substance (ousia) of the Father,
        2. The Son is of the same substance (homoousios) as the Father, and
        3. The Son is the same hypostasis (Person) as the Father (in the anathemas).

After Nicaea, the first two parts (the traditional affirmations and the condemnations of Arius) remained generally accepted and were not disputed. The conflict during the decade after Nicaea after Nicaea was specifically about the new affirmations. Arius was no longer an issue:

“Arius’ own theology is of little importance in understanding the major debates of the rest of the century.” (Ayres, p. 56-57)

“Arius evidently made converts to his views … but he left no school of disciples.” (Williams, p. 233) 3“Late in 335 or early in 336, Arius died … The death of Arius marks, however, no significant turning point in the story of these years. By this time the focus was elsewhere.” (Ayres, p. 103)

For a discussion, see – After Nicaea, Arius was irrelevant.

The ‘conspirators’ were not Arian.

In the year 341, the anti-Nicenes of the Eastern Church (the Eusebians or ‘Arians’) formulated the Dedication Creed which explicitly condemns aspects of Arius’ theology. The so-called Conspirators, therefore, were not followers of Arius:

“Nor must we assume that what Eusebius and his party were aiming at was to substitute for the Creed of Nicaea a nakedly Arian formula. What precisely they wanted to establish as doctrine became quite clear when they showed their hand at the Council of Antioch in 341.” (Hanson, p. 284)

There is no evidence of a conspiracy.

After a discussion of several specific individuals, Hanson concludes that we do not see “a systematic campaign by the Eusebian party against known opponents of Arianism. … All that we can say is that a number of bishops were deposed between 328 and 336 for various reasons.” (Hanson, p. 279) 4“It should be noted that none of the evidence so far considered presents a reliable picture of a systematic campaign by the Eusebian party against known opponents of Arianism. … All that we can say is that a number of bishops were deposed between 328 and 336 for various reasons, and that Eusebius of Nicomedia or some of his party had a hand in most, or all, of these depositions. They were perhaps controlling events, but not controlling them in the interests of forwarding Arianism.” (Hanson, p. 279)

Eusebius did not engineer all exiles.

“It is usually asserted that the leader of this remarkably successful conspiracy was Eusebius of Nicomedia (later of Constantinople). That Eusebius was the leader of a party, and that he was recognized as such by his contemporaries, there can be no doubt at all. ‘The party of Eusebius’, is an expression used by Eustathius, by Julius and by Athanasius. But to see his hand active in every case of a bishop being deposed … is more than the evidence warrants.” Hanson, p. 275) “We cannot lay all depositions of all bishops between 328 and 431 at his door.” (Hanson, p. 284)

Athanasius was not exiled for anti-Arianism.

Athanasius could not have been exiled by an ‘Arian Conspiracy because he was not an obvious target for ‘Arians’. He was not a leading figure at the Council of Nicaea 5“He could not possibly have been, as he was later erroneously represented to have been, a leading figure at the Council of Nicaea.” (Hanson, p. 275) and only began his zealous support of the Nicene Creed after he had been exiled in 335. 6“There was … no reason to regard Athanasius as a zealous supporter of the doctrine of Nicaea until at earliest his second exile (339-346).” He had no love for the Arians but “he was not until much later in his career an obvious target for those who were anxious either to limit or to undo the achievement of the Council of Nicaea.” (Hanson, p. 275)

Athanasius was deposed for violence against Melitians in his see. “He was finally deposed at Tyre for reasons which had nothing to do with Arianism, nor with any doctrinal issue, but for misbehaviour in his see, disgraceful and undeniable, and that against Melitians rather than Arians.” (Hanson, p. 275) See – Athanasius was justly deposed for violence against the Melitians.

The target was specifically the Sabellians.

Origen taught that Father, Son, and Spirit are three hypostases (three ‘Persons’ with three distinct minds). In opposition to him, ‘one hypostasis’ theologians taught that Father, Son, and Spirit are one single hypostasis (one single Person with one single Mind). In other words, in ‘one hypostasis’ theology, the Son does not have real distinct existence. There were variations of that theory:

      • The Monarchians and Modalists said that the Father, Son, and Spirit are the three faces of the one God. See – The Monarchians.
      • The Sabellians taught that Father, Son, and Spirit are three parts of the one hypostasis (Person). See – Sabellius.
      • Alexander and Athanasius held that the Son and the Spirit are parts of the Father, but there still is only one hypostasis. See – Athanasius.

Apart from Athanasius, the other two important theologians who were deposed more or less at the same time as him were Eustathius and Marcellus. Both of them were strong supporters of the Nicene Creed but both of them were Sabellianism:

“We can be sure that both of these men had been strong supporters of the homoousian line at Nicaea. But both also had put forward views which were open to the charge of Sabellianism.” (Hanson, p. 276) 7The theology of “Marcellus and Eustathius” “was able to provoke a strong and sustained reaction from the Eusebians, and one that seems to have gained wide support throughout the east.” (Ayres, p. 102) 8“Marcellus of Ancyra was certainly deposed for unorthodoxy in 336.” “The new synod met in the summer of 336 and deposed Marcellus for holding the heresy of Paul of Samosata.” (Williams, p. 80) (This Paul was a well-known Sabellian of the third century.) “Eustathius of Antioch was deposed in all probability for similar reasons earlier.” (Hanson, p. 276)

So, the conflict after Nicaea was not specifically a pro-Arius initiative but anti-Sabellian. Sabellians were targeted and removed from their positions.

The dispute was about homoousios.

The conflict was specifically about the meaning of the term homoousios. For example:

“The fifth-century ecclesiastical historian Sozomen reports a dispute immediately after the council, focused not on Arius, but … concerning the precise meaning of the term homoousios. Some thought this term … implied the non-existence of the Son of God; and that it involved the error of Montanus and Sabellius. … Eustathius accused Eusebius [of Caesarea] of altering the doctrines ratified by the council of Nicaea, while the latter declared that he approved of all the Nicaean doctrines, and reproached Eustathius for cleaving to the heresy of Sabellius.” (Ayres, p. 101)

“This event was only one part of the conflict that now began.” (Ayres, p. 101) It occurred “probably in 326 or 327” (Ayres, p. 101)

In other words, the Eusebians understood the Sabellians as teaching that homoousios means that Father and Son are one single hypostasis so that the Son does not have a real distinct existence. Eusebius of Caesarea has signed the Nicene Creed but with the understanding that homoousios means that Father and Son are two distinct Beings of the same class. See – The Meaning of Homoousios in the Nicene Creed.

The rest of this article explains why the Sabellians specifically were targeted after Nicaea.

WHY SABELLIANS WERE TARGETED

‘One hypostasis’ dominated at Nicaea.

The ‘one hypostasis’ theologians had the upper hand in the Nicene Council because “(emperor) Constantine had taken Alexander’s part” in his quarrel with Arius (Ayres, p. 89) and because Alexander, who also had a ‘one hypostasis’ theology, allied with the Sabellians. 9“This imperial pressure coupled with the role of his advisers in broadly supporting the agenda of Alexander must have been a powerful force” (Ayres, p. 89).

“Alexander … accepted virtual Sabellianism in order to ensure the defeat of Arianism.” (Hanson, p. 171)

Ayres implies that “Eustathius, Athanasius, and Marcellus” were “the architects of Nicaea.” (Ayres, p. 105)

The Nicene Creed implies one hypostasis.

Since ‘one hypostasis’ theologians dominated at Nicaea, the Creed implies that the Father, Son, and Spirit are one hypostasis (one ‘Person’ with one single mind):

“Simonetti estimates the Nicene Council as a temporary alliance for the defeat of Arianism between the tradition of Alexandria led by Alexander and ‘Asiatic’ circles (i.e. Eustathius, Marcellus) … The ‘Asiatics’ were rootedly opposed to the thought of Origen, and were able to include in N a hint of opposition to the three hypostases theory.” (Hanson, p. 171)

“The production of N … must have been deeply disturbing for many who could not seriously be described as Arian in sympathy but could not believe that God had only one hypostasis, as the creed apparently professed.” (Hanson, p. 274)

“We can readily imagine that people such as Eusebius of Caesarea who were not whole-hearted supporters of the doctrines of Arius but who saw in N, if it were pushed to its logical conclusions, a serious threat to the proper distinction of Persons within the Trinity, would think it right to impugn (question) the orthodoxy and reduce the influence of Eustathius and Marcellus.” (Hanson, p. 276) 10“In the controversies which erupted over Eustathius of Antioch and Marcellus after Nicaea, both thought their theologies faithful to Nicaea—and they had good grounds for so assuming. Both were influential at the council, and Nicaea’s lapidary formulations were never intended to rule out their theological idiosyncrasies.” (Ayres, p. 99) 11“Marcellus and Eustathius presented their theologies as the natural context for Nicaea’s creed.” (Ayres, p. 105)

The Sabellians claimed Nicaea as support.

After Nicaea, with the extremities of Arius’ theology formally rejected, a new and perhaps much greater problem faced the church, namely, the claim that the wording of the Creed, particularly the term homoousios, means that the church has adopted a Sabellian ‘one hypostasis’ theology. It was to root out this ‘evil’ that the Sabellians were targeted. 

CONCLUSION

It was a campaign against Sabellianism.

After Nicaea, ‘Arians’ were reinstated and Pro-Nicenes deposed. In the traditional account of the Arian Controversy, this was the work of a wicked ‘Arian Conspiracy’ against the Nicene Creed. However, what happened in the decade after Nicaea was not the work of an evil ‘Arian Conspiracy’ but a campaign against Sabellians who explained the term homoousios as meaning that Father and Son are one single hypostasis and that Sabellianism, therefore, is now the church’s official theology.

Since ‘one hypostasis’ theology was already rejected by the church during the third century in church councils that condemned Sabellius and Paul of Somasata, the Eusebians, in targeting these Sabellians, were resisting a known error. Hanson concludes:

“They would have said that they were not conducting a persecution in the interests of Arianism but trying to restore proper balance to the Church’s understanding of its doctrine of God.” (Hanson, p. 276)

This website refers to the events of the decade after Nicaea as the Post-Nicaea Correction. After the Sabellians were removed from their positions, the term homoousios was not mentioned for about 20 years. It was only brought back into the Controversy in the mid-350s.

Athanasius was not exiled for his theology but for violence against the Melitians.


OTHER ARTICLES

CHURCH FATHERS

ARIAN CONTROVERSY

ARIUS

THE NICENE CREED

ARIANISM

    • The Dedication Creed 32This Creed shows how the Nicene Creed would have read if emperor Constantine had not manipulated the Nicene Council.
    • Athanasius invented Arianism. 33The only reason we today refer to ‘Arians’ is that Athanasius invented the term to falsely label his opponents with a theology that was already formally rejected by the church.
    • Did Arians describe the Son as a creature? 34‘Arians’ described Christ as originating from beyond our universe, the only being ever brought forth directly by the Father, and as the only being able to endure direct contact with God.
    • Homoian theology 35In the 350s, Athanasius began to use homoousios to attack the church majority. Homoian theology developed in response.
    • Homoi-ousian theology 36This was one of the ‘strands’ of ‘Arianism’. It proposed that the Son’s substance is similar to the Father’s, but not the same.
    • How did Arians interpret Colossians 2:9? 37Forget about Arius. He was an isolated extremist. This article quotes the mainstream anti-Nicenes to show how they understood that verse.

THE PRO-NICENES

EMPEROR THEODOSIUS

AUTHORS 

Extracts and summaries from the writings of scholars who have studied the ancient documents themselves:

LATER

TRINITY DOCTRINE – GENERAL

    • Elohim 48Elohim (often translated as God) is plural in form. Does this mean that the Old Testament writers thought of God as a multi-personal Being?
    • The Eternal Generation of the Son 49The Son has been begotten by the Father, meaning that the Son is dependent on the Father. Eternal Generation explains “begotten” in such a way that the Son is co-equal and co-eternal with the Father.

OTHER

FOOTNOTES

  • 1
    “Arius and most of his supporters were, at Constantine’s request, readmitted to communion within two or three years of the council.” (Ayres, p. 100)
  • 2
    “Eusebius of Nicomedia quickly rose again to a position of importance, baptizing Constantine on his death-bed in 337 and becoming bishop of Constantinople.” (Ayres, p. 100)
  • 3
    “Late in 335 or early in 336, Arius died … The death of Arius marks, however, no significant turning point in the story of these years. By this time the focus was elsewhere.” (Ayres, p. 103)
  • 4
    “It should be noted that none of the evidence so far considered presents a reliable picture of a systematic campaign by the Eusebian party against known opponents of Arianism. … All that we can say is that a number of bishops were deposed between 328 and 336 for various reasons, and that Eusebius of Nicomedia or some of his party had a hand in most, or all, of these depositions. They were perhaps controlling events, but not controlling them in the interests of forwarding Arianism.” (Hanson, p. 279)
  • 5
    “He could not possibly have been, as he was later erroneously represented to have been, a leading figure at the Council of Nicaea.” (Hanson, p. 275)
  • 6
    “There was … no reason to regard Athanasius as a zealous supporter of the doctrine of Nicaea until at earliest his second exile (339-346).”
  • 7
    The theology of “Marcellus and Eustathius” “was able to provoke a strong and sustained reaction from the Eusebians, and one that seems to have gained wide support throughout the east.” (Ayres, p. 102)
  • 8
    “Marcellus of Ancyra was certainly deposed for unorthodoxy in 336.” “The new synod met in the summer of 336 and deposed Marcellus for holding the heresy of Paul of Samosata.” (Williams, p. 80) (This Paul was a well-known Sabellian of the third century.)
  • 9
    “This imperial pressure coupled with the role of his advisers in broadly supporting the agenda of Alexander must have been a powerful force” (Ayres, p. 89).
  • 10
    “In the controversies which erupted over Eustathius of Antioch and Marcellus after Nicaea, both thought their theologies faithful to Nicaea—and they had good grounds for so assuming. Both were influential at the council, and Nicaea’s lapidary formulations were never intended to rule out their theological idiosyncrasies.” (Ayres, p. 99)
  • 11
    “Marcellus and Eustathius presented their theologies as the natural context for Nicaea’s creed.” (Ayres, p. 105)
  • 12
    The pre-Nicene fathers described the Son as “our God” but the Father as “the only true God,” implying that the Son is not “true” God. This confusion is caused by the translations.
  • 13
    Sabellius taught that Father, Son, and Spirit are three portions of one single Being.
  • 14
    If we define Sabellianism as that only one hypostasis – only one distinct existence – exists in the Godhead, was Tertullian a Sabellian?
  • 15
    The Controversy gave us the Trinity doctrine but the traditional account of the Controversy is a complete traversy.
  • 16
    RPC Hanson states that no ‘orthodoxy’ existed but that is not entirely true. This article shows that subordination was indeed ‘orthodox’ at that time.
  • 17
    The term “Arianism” implies that Arius’ theology dominated the fourth-century church. But Arius was not regarded in his time as a significant writer. He left no school of disciples.
  • 18
    Over the centuries, Arius was always accused of this. This article explains why that is a false accusation.
  • 19
    There are significant differences between Origen and Arius.
  • 20
    Arius wrote that the Son was begotten timelessly by the Father before everything. But Arius also said that the Son did not always exist. Did Arius contradict himself?
  • 21
    New research has shown that Arius is a thinker and exegete of resourcefulness, sharpness, and originality.
  • 22
    The word theos, which is translated as “God” in John 1:1 is not equivalent to the modern English word “God.”
  • 23
    Constantine took part in the Council of Nicaea and ensured that it reached the kind of conclusion which he thought best.
  • 24
    Eusebius of Caesarea, the most respected theologian at the Council, immediately afterward wrote to his church in Caesarea to explain why he accepted the Creed and how he understood the controversial phrases.
  • 25
    The Creed not only uses non-Biblical words; the concept of homoousios (that the Son is of the same substance as the Father) is not in the Bible.
  • 26
    Does it mean that Father and Son are one single Being, as the Trinity doctrine claims? How was it understood before, at, and after Nicaea? – Summary of the next article
  • 27
    The Nicene Creed describes the Son as homoousios (same substance) as the Father. But how was the term used before, during, and after Nicaea?
  • 28
    The term homoousios was not mentioned by anybody during the first 30 years after Nicaea. It only became part of that controversy in the 350s.
  • 29
    The word is not found in the Bible or in any orthodox Christian confession before Nicaea.
  • 30
    The Creed seems to say that the Father and Son are the same hupostasis. This is Sabellianism.
  • 31
    There was no Arian Conspiracy. It was a campaign against the claim that homoousios identifies Sabellianism as the church’s official theology.
  • 32
    This Creed shows how the Nicene Creed would have read if emperor Constantine had not manipulated the Nicene Council.
  • 33
    The only reason we today refer to ‘Arians’ is that Athanasius invented the term to falsely label his opponents with a theology that was already formally rejected by the church.
  • 34
    ‘Arians’ described Christ as originating from beyond our universe, the only being ever brought forth directly by the Father, and as the only being able to endure direct contact with God.
  • 35
    In the 350s, Athanasius began to use homoousios to attack the church majority. Homoian theology developed in response.
  • 36
    This was one of the ‘strands’ of ‘Arianism’. It proposed that the Son’s substance is similar to the Father’s, but not the same.
  • 37
    Forget about Arius. He was an isolated extremist. This article quotes the mainstream anti-Nicenes to show how they understood that verse.
  • 38
    Eustathius and Marcellus played a major role in the formulation of the Creed but were soon deposed for Sabellianism.
  • 39
    Athanasius presents himself as the preserver of Biblical orthodoxy but this article argues that he was a Sabellian.
  • 40
    Many believe that these accusations were false but RPC Hanson shows that Athanasius was justly condemned.
  • 41
    The West deposed Athanasius for violence but the West, which, like Athanasius, preferred a one hypostasis theology, declared him blameless.
  • 42
    In the Trinity doctrine, Father, Son, and Spirit are one substance or Being. This article shows that Basil taught three distinct substances.
  • 43
    This council reveals the state of Western theology at that time.
  • 44
    It was a regional synod of Antioch and attended only by bishops who were friendly to the bishop of Antioch. But the emperor hijacked it.
  • 45
    A summary of this book, which provides an overview of the fourth-century Arian Controversy. Lewis Ayres is a Catholic theologian and Professor of Catholic and Historical Theology.
  • 46
    A very informative lecture on the Arian Controversy by RPC Hanson, a famous fourth-century scholar
  • 47
    In the fifth century, Arian ‘barbarians’ dominated the Western Empire, but they tolerated and even respected the Trinitarian Roman Church.
  • 48
    Elohim (often translated as God) is plural in form. Does this mean that the Old Testament writers thought of God as a multi-personal Being?
  • 49
    The Son has been begotten by the Father, meaning that the Son is dependent on the Father. Eternal Generation explains “begotten” in such a way that the Son is co-equal and co-eternal with the Father.