What Happen?: The Council of NiceaPosted: April 2, 2007
What happened at the council of Nicea was of monumental importance, for in that council the doctrine that was essential to Christianity was formally affirmed for the first time in history, Christ’s Divinity. Alexander of Alexandria began to lecture at a meeting with Presbyters about the Holy Trinity. He had been discussing the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost for quite some time when an interruption from a presbyter called, Arius came from the crowd. What happened is debated but the man called Arius accused Alexander of a heresy that involves a belief in the unity of God at the expense of the reality of the Trinity. What Arius did not realize was that in combating Alexander he himself fell into a heresy of his own. He announced, “If the Father begat the Son, then he who was begotten had a beginning in existence, and from this it follows there was a time when the Son was not.” These words were a direct attack on the eternality of God and unfortunately these words influenced the church for history. Meanwhile, Alexander was appalled at this new heresy and knew that it would take serious actions to combat it. Now that the statement was said he would have to combat the thought that possibly that Son could be infinitely lower than the Father. Alexander and Athanasius stood firmly on the foundation that Christ is absolute God.
When Alexander realized that this heresy was out of his hands, and private meetings and pleadings with Arius were not going to persuade him otherwise then it was time to take action. He drew up a letter that explained the totality of the heresy, unfortunately this was not what the people wanted to hear, and Arius’ catching phrases like, and “there was a time when the Son was not” became popular among the speech of the people. The news of the controversy traveled to the ears of the emperor Constantine, and he became worried about the unity which he regarded as, “the mother of order”, instead of theology. He wrote up a personal letter ordering that this quarrel come to a stop, but the letters orders were to no avail.
Constantine fed up with the bloodshed on this issue decided to call a meeting in the small city of Nicea and called 1,800 bishops and their invited presbyters to come to the meeting. Although the bishops did not make it in the numbers invited, pastors, presbyters, deacons, sub-deacons, and laymen showed up by the numbers! When the actually meeting ensued, Constantine in all his finery gave an opening remark that gave an underlying threat, remove this dissension among you and establish peace. When Arius was given his time to speak, he broke out in his chanting that embodied his beliefs. After the rhymes and song were finished Hosius announced that the best way to reach an agreement was to draw up a creed. They came up with a creed that believed each of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost to be and to have existed. Although the heresy still existed Constantine was soon won over that this must be stopped. The burning of all Arius’ works took place, but the Arian way of thought thrived in the towns. When the council ended Constantine dismissed the aged and persecuted popes with gentleness.