Did Jesus DIE for our sins?
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03-11-2014, 11:57 AM
RE: Did Jesus DIE for our sins?
(03-11-2014 11:50 AM)Impulse Wrote:  
(03-11-2014 11:19 AM)Can_of_Beans Wrote:  We don't have 500 - 600 eye witnesses. We have one guy who wrote down that we have over 500 witnesses. This same guy includes himself as a witness, but his own encounter with Christ was in a vision, so there is no reason to believe the 500 saw anything other than a hallucination either. The account also doesn't coincide with the Gospel post resurrection appearances.

Thanks and good point. What I was trying to show is that, even on his own playing field, things don't add up.

I know what you mean. Jesus pulls off the greatest magic trick of all time...thousands of years before the invention of youtube. That shit would have gone viral.

"I feel as though the camera is almost a kind of voyeur in Mr. Beans life, and you just watch this bizarre man going about his life in the way that he wants to."

-Rowan Atkinson
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03-11-2014, 11:59 AM
RE: Did Jesus DIE for our sins?
Did Jesus die for our sins?

Knights who say NI!
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03-11-2014, 12:00 PM
RE: Did Jesus DIE for our sins?
(03-11-2014 11:55 AM)RobbyPants Wrote:  
(03-11-2014 02:13 AM)Wolfbitn Wrote:  You guys don't know very much about your theology do you?

It sounds like you know less than us.


(03-11-2014 02:13 AM)Wolfbitn Wrote:  Lets say we lived in the days of legal slavery...
...
If it looked to you like your child was going to live the rest of his life in abuse and misery and then die enslaved. Would you PAY to buy back your child? Yes or no?

Is your god great or not? The problem with these analogies is they always place human limitations on your god in order for the analogy to make any sense. Let me correct your analogy for you.

Lets say your child was going to live as a slave. Now, lets say that you were all powerful and you could just free your child by will alone? Why would you pay any money to free your child?

See? Unless you think your god is far less powerful than what you would otherwise state, these analogies make no sense. Either your god is great, or he is not. If he is, then stop making God -> human analogies. If he isn't, then why call him "God"?


Learn to apologetics.

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03-11-2014, 12:05 PM (This post was last modified: 03-11-2014 12:25 PM by goodwithoutgod.)
RE: Did Jesus DIE for our sins?
(03-11-2014 02:20 AM)Wolfbitn Wrote:  
(03-11-2014 01:38 AM)Fodder_From_The_Truth Wrote:  It's an ancient fluff piece. Jesus might have been real but he did not rise from death nor was he related to any supernatural diety.

Then where do you suppose His body went to, and why weren't the Romans and the Priestly guards able to produce His body?

Great question, How about you tell me exactly what happened on the day that jesus allegedly flew into heaven...

Without the resurrection, there is no Christianity. Paul wrote, "And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not." (I Corinthians 15:14-15)

The conditions of my question are simple and reasonable. In each of the four Gospels, begin at Easter morning and read to the end of the book: Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, and John 20-21. Also read Acts 1:3-12 and Paul's tiny version of the story in I Corinthians 15:3-8. These 165 verses can be read in a few moments. Then, without omitting a single detail from these separate accounts, write a simple, chronological narrative of the events between the resurrection and the ascension: what happened first, second, and so on; who said what, when; and where these things happened. Since the gospels do not always give precise times of day, it is permissible to make educated guesses. The narrative does not have to pretend to present a perfect picture--it only needs to give at least one plausible account of all of the facts.

One of the first problems I found is in Matthew 28:2, after two women arrived at the tomb: "And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it." (Let's ignore the fact that no other writer mentioned this "great earthquake.") This story says that the stone was rolled away after the women arrived, in their presence.

Yet Mark's Gospel says it happened before the women arrived: "And they said among themselves, Who shall roll away the stone from the door of the sepulchre? And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great."

Luke writes: "And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre." John agrees. No earthquake, no rolling stone. It is a three-to-one vote: Matthew loses. (Or else the other three are wrong.) The event cannot have happened both before and after they arrived.

Some bible defenders assert that Matthew 28:2 was intended to be understood in the past perfect, showing what had happened before the women arrived. But the entire passage is in the aorist (past) tense, and it reads, in context, like a simple chronological account. Matthew 28:2 begins, "And, behold," not "For, behold." If this verse can be so easily shuffled around, then what is to keep us from putting the flood before the ark, or the crucifixion before the nativity?

Another glaring problem is the fact that in Matthew the first post-resurrection appearance of Jesus to the disciples happened on a mountain in Galilee (not in Jerusalem, as most Christians believe), as predicted by the angel sitting on the newly moved rock: "And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him." This must have been of supreme importance, since this was the message of God via the angel(s) at the tomb. Jesus had even predicted this himself sixty hours earlier, during the Last Supper (Matthew 26:32).

After receiving this angelic message, "Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted." (Matthew 28:16-17) Reading this at face value, and in context, it is clear that Matthew intends this to have been the first appearance. Otherwise, if Jesus had been seen before this time, why did some doubt?

Mark agrees with Matthew's account of the angel's Galilee message, but gives a different story about the first appearance. Luke and John give different angel messages and then radically contradict Matthew. Luke shows the first appearance on the road to Emmaus and then in a room in Jerusalem. John says it happened later than evening in a room, minus Thomas. These angel messages, locations, and travels during the day are impossible to reconcile.

Luke says the post-resurrection appearance happened in Jerusalem, but Matthew says it happened in Galilee, sixty to one hundred miles away. Could they all have traveled 150 miles that day, by foot, trudging up to Galilee for the first appearance, then back to Jerusalem for the evening meal? There is no mention of any horses, but twelve well-conditioned thoroughbreds racing at breakneck speed, as the crow flies, would need about five hours for the trip, without a rest. And during this madcap scenario, could Jesus have found time for a leisurely stroll to Emmaus, accepting, "toward evening," an invitation to dinner? Something is very wrong here.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. Of course, none of these contradictions prove that the resurrection did not happen, but they do throw considerable doubt on the reliability of the supposed witnesses. Some of them were wrong. Maybe they were all wrong.

This question could be harder. I could ask why reports of supernatural beings, vanishing and materializing out of thin air, long-dead corpses coming back to life, and people levitating should be given serious consideration at all. Thomas Paine was one of the first to point out that outrageous claims require outrageous proof.

Protestants and Catholics seem to have no trouble applying healthy skepticism to the miracles of Islam, or to the "historical" visit between Joseph Smith and the angel Moroni. Why should Christians treat their own outrageous claims any differently? Why should someone who was not there be any more eager to believe than doubting Thomas, who lived during that time, or the other disciples who said that the women's news from the tomb "seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them not" (Luke 24:11)?

I ask this question in all seriousness, because it astounds me how people can believe in something so important and with such passion, yet not have actually looked at what it is they are celebrating/believing in.

You will find that the trip from A-Z via the gospels will lead you in 4 different paths.

Which is true? I posit none.

Side note: Speaking of the "gospels"

Writings of the Gospels: Mark (60 to 75 CE), Matthew (80 to 90 CE), Luke (80 to 90 CE based on the Gospels of Mark), and John (80 to 110 CE) (Albl 283). I have shown before in various venues the issues with the Gospels, the fact that we don’t know who wrote the gospels, the community effort that put them together, and the fact that they don’t agree with one another, all of which make them a suspect source of empirical evidence. When one posits a super natural, extraordinary story, one requires extraordinary evidence....sadly it doesn't exist, except philosophically.

The Gospel of Matthew is generally believed to have been composed between 70 and 110, with most scholars preferring the period 80–90; a pre-70 date remains a minority view, but has been strongly supported. The anonymous author was probably a highly educated Jew, intimately familiar with the technical aspects of Jewish law, and the disciple Matthew was probably honored within his circle. The author drew on three main sources to compose his gospel: the Gospel of Mark; the hypothetical collection of sayings known as the Q source; and material unique to his own community, called "Special Matthew", or the M source. Note the part where I said...disciple matthew honored...and anonymous writer.

I find it interesting that the writer of matthew refers to "matthew" in the third person. Matthew claims jesus was born in "the days of herod the king." Yet Herod died in 4 BCE. Luke reports that jesus was born "when Cyrenius (Quirinius) was governor of Syria." Cyrenius became governor of Syria in 6 CE...that is a discrepancy of 9 years. Luke says Jesus was born during a roman census, and it is true there was a census in 6 CE. This would have been when jesus was 9 years old according to matthew. There is no evidence of an earlier census during the reign of Augustine. Which is true?

Matthew also reports that Herod slaughtered all first born in the land in order to execute jesus. No historian, contemporary or later, ever mentions this alleged genocide, an event that should have caught someones attention....like the many miraculous stories of jesus, no one at the time thought they were cool enough to record...odd don't you think?

The gospel of Mark; Most modern scholars reject the tradition which ascribes it to Mark the Evangelist, the companion of Peter, and regard it as the work of an unknown author working with various sources including collections of miracle stories, controversy stories, parables, and a passion narrative. Mark is the oldest of the synoptic gospels, of which the authors of matthew, and luke based their stories. All scholars agree that the last 12 verses of Mark, are highly dubious and are considered interpolations. The earliest ancient documents of mark end right after the women find the empty tomb. This means that in the first biography, on which the others based their reports, there is no post-resurrection appearance or ascension of jesus. Big Grin

Luke: Tradition holds that the text was written by Luke the companion of Paul (named in Colossians 4:14). Many modern scholars reject this view, although the list of scholars maintaining authorship by Luke the physician is lengthy, and represents scholars from a wide range of theological opinion. According to Raymond E. Brown, opinion concerning Lukan authorship was ‘about evenly divided’ as of 1997.

John: The gospel identifies its author as "the disciple whom Jesus loved." Although the text does not name this disciple, by the beginning of the 2nd century, a tradition had begun to form which identified him with John the Apostle, one of the Twelve (Jesus' innermost circle). Although some notable New Testament scholars affirm traditional Johannine scholarship, the majority do not believe that John or one of the Apostles wrote it, and trace it instead to a "Johannine community" which traced its traditions to John.

paul - written about 60 C.E., of the 13, he actually wrote 8. Not a single instance in any of Paul's writings claims that he ever meets or sees an earthly Jesus, nor does Paul give any reference to Jesus' life on earth (except for a few well known interpolations - Bible interpolation, or Bible redaction, is the art of adding stuff to the Bible). Therefore, all accounts about a Jesus could only have come from other believers or his imagination. Hearsay.

There’s no indication from Scripture that Paul and Jesus ever met before the Damascus Road incident. And Acts 9:4-7 doesn’t specify whether the Lord’s encounter with Paul was physical or not. It only says Paul saw a bright light and heard a voice. (hallucination/lie)The men with him heard a loud sound but didn’t see anything. In subsequent re-tellings of the encounter Paul never indicated that He had actually seen Jesus at that time.

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"The Christian community continues to exist because the conclusions of the critical study of the Bible are largely withheld from them." -Hans Conzelmann (1915-1989)
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03-11-2014, 12:23 PM
Re: RE: Did Jesus DIE for our sins?
(03-11-2014 02:54 AM)Wolfbitn Wrote:  
(03-11-2014 02:34 AM)pablo Wrote:  According to your book they crucified him, then there's that whole spear in the side thing.
I'd say according to that, they had a problem with him.
That is of course if he even existed at all.

Well there you go again showing everything you don't know lmao

Pilot grudgingly conceded to a potentially riotous crowd. He tried to release Christ.

You speak of the Roman soldier who pierced His side... The centurion also said "Surely this was the Son of God".

So... back to the question youre avoiding... Would you buy your child back out of slavery or would you let them die miserably as a slave?
Since you spelled Pilate "Pilot", I have to assume you've never actually read the gospels.
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03-11-2014, 12:48 PM
RE: Did Jesus DIE for our sins?
(03-11-2014 12:23 PM)photon9 Wrote:  
(03-11-2014 02:54 AM)Wolfbitn Wrote:  Well there you go again showing everything you don't know lmao

Pilot grudgingly conceded to a potentially riotous crowd. He tried to release Christ.

You speak of the Roman soldier who pierced His side... The centurion also said "Surely this was the Son of God".

So... back to the question youre avoiding... Would you buy your child back out of slavery or would you let them die miserably as a slave?
Since you spelled Pilate "Pilot", I have to assume you've never actually read the gospels.

...or he's just really bad at grammar and spelling. I mean, he can't even spell "I've" correctly, and he must have seen that a few times.
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03-11-2014, 12:54 PM
RE: Did Jesus DIE for our sins?
(03-11-2014 11:19 AM)Mathilda Wrote:  When we're talking about Jesus dying while being strapped to a cross, I just need to ask, how exactly did he die? We aren't referring to 'La petite mort' are we? Being penetrated by a spear will do that I find.

You're a naughty, naughty girl. Yes

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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03-11-2014, 01:58 PM
RE: Did Jesus DIE for our sins?
(03-11-2014 05:59 AM)Wolfbitn Wrote:  
(03-11-2014 05:53 AM)Fodder_From_The_Truth Wrote:  Humans, based upon that idiotic story of Adam and Eve, didn't willfully sell themselves into slavery to Satan. They were duped by the greatest of all tricksters who was allowed to enter Eden by your bumbling ball of infallibility. I repeat, humans did not sell themselves to Satan.

Yup... like I said every time you open your mouth you show you know nothing about Christian doctrine... Don't presume to teach me anything until you know a bit yourself Smile

Yes... humans DID sell themselves to satan... you've watched too much tv and trying to envision this as a black arts ritual.

Man chose rebellion... man gave his dominion to satan including dominion over man... just handed it to him Smile

Read a theology book or a bible or something sheesh lmao

LEARN something Smile

Actually you are totally wrong.
Christians like to quote Martin Buber's "I and Thou", (he was a Jewish Talmud scholar and philosopher.) In his "Good and Evil" he examines the Garden Myth in Genesis, and shows how it was taken from the Babylonian "chaos" mythology", and it's not about "rebellion". Genesis says if they eat of the fruit their eyes will be opened and they will become as "one of us" (the gods). It taken directly from the Enuma Elish chaos mythology, (and in context I find it rather amazing how they changed it, slightly, when the Judean priests assembled Genesis). It's one of the few literary things of value in the OT. Anyway, Buber demonstrates how the Christian "salvation paradigm" makes no sense AT ALL, in light of what is actually in Genesis.
http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/...other-Look
http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/...#pid133402

Then we have CHRISTIAN Professor of NT at the Tulsa Seminary, Dr. B. B. Scott.
In his book, "The Trouble with Resurrection, he turns the entire concept on its head, and puts it back into the context of Jewish Apocalypticism, where it came from.
http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/...other-look

So, Brain Bitten, stop telling us we know nothing about your cult's doctrine.
Some of us know FAR more about your shit than you do.

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein God has a plan for us. Please stop screwing it up with your prayers.
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03-11-2014, 02:09 PM
RE: Did Jesus DIE for our sins?
(03-11-2014 01:58 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  
(03-11-2014 05:59 AM)Wolfbitn Wrote:  Yup... like I said every time you open your mouth you show you know nothing about Christian doctrine...

Actually you are totally wrong.

That's like... a surprise? Know what Wolfbitn is? Our sins, for not enacting Rule 5. Smartass

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04-11-2014, 04:17 AM
RE: Did Jesus DIE for our sins?
(03-11-2014 11:30 AM)goodwithoutgod Wrote:  
(03-11-2014 05:30 AM)Wolfbitn Wrote:  Its really too bad the majority of you have nothing above a single little childish quip every time you post and never have anything intelligent on the subject.. A debate against those unarmed with intellectually inclined comments and credible source material is pretty boring. Its like... winning by default
Laughat

dude.....lol...don't make me drag you around the knowledge tree. Smartass

WOLFBITN: "Then where do you suppose His body went to, and why weren't the Romans and the Priestly guards able to produce His body?"

Whose body? The mythical jesus? By the way, you do know what Pseudepigrapha, interpolations, parables and allegorical writings are right? *whispers* "the bible".

WOLFBITN: "What about the witnesses to His resurrection? They all lied??"

Witnesses? according to who? Got a name? Speaking of people who oddly DIDN'T see or report anything ...

The early years of the Roman Republic is one of the most historically documented times in history. One of the writers alive during the time of Jesus was Philo-Judaeus (sometimes known as Philo of Alexandria).

Philo was born before the beginning of the Christian era, and lived until long after the reputed death of Christ. He wrote an account of the Jews covering the entire time that Christ is said to have existed on earth. He was living in or near Jerusalem when Christ’s miraculous birth and the Herodian massacre occurred. He was there when Christ made his triumphal entry into Jerusalem. He was there when the crucifixion happened with its attendant earthquake, supernatural darkness and resurrection of the dead took place – when Christ himself rose from the dead and in the presence of many witnesses ascended into heaven. These amazing marvelous events which must have filled the world with amazement, had they really occurred, were all unknown to him. It was Philo who developed the doctrine of the Logos, or Word, and although this Word incarnate dwelt in that very land and in the presence of multitudes revealed himself and demonstrated his divine powers, Philo saw it not.
Philo might be considered the investigative reporter of his day. He was there on location during the early first century, talking with people who should have remembered or at least heard the stories, observed, taking notes, documenting. He reported nothing about Jesus.


Justus of Tiberius
There was also a historian named Justus of Tiberius who was a native of Galilee, the homeland of Jesus. He wrote a history covering the time when Christ supposedly lived. This history is now lost, but a ninth century Christian scholar named Photius had read it and wrote: “he [Justus] makes not the least mention of the appearance of Christ, of what things happened to him, or other wonderful works that he did.”

Consider

WOLFBITN: "Why did the church take off like a shot all of a sudden, with thousands of people converting every day AT THAT time period? These would have been the eyewitnesses, all their friends and family... in spite of the fact they were killing Christians and did for the next almost 300 years."

Citation please. Facepalm

Hey Mr theology student, surely you know the answer to that. SO WHY is Xtianity so popular? Why did it become the worldwide delusion of choice? Ever heard of Emperor Constantine? Bishop Augustine? Come on, you are kidding me right?

Because I pity your hubris attempt to posit that you know something, I will endeavor to teach you, take notes child..

Here, a paper I wrote on this:

The impact of Emperor Constantine on the Nicene Council

Any analysis of the impact of Emperor Constantine on the councils of Nicaea is bound to be one of controversy and debate. It is my position that Emperor Constantine had an inappropriately heavy and undue influence on the various councils that strived to answer various questions of Christianity. We must begin with the immeasurable impact that Emperor Constantine had on the spread of Christianity, and his successful suppression of incumbent Roman pagan beliefs. Legend has it that Emperor Constantine saw two stars cross in the sky, in which he took to be a sign from God that Christianity was the only true faith. Eusebius, in his written work Life of Constantine, claimed that Emperor Constantine had thought long and hard about which God to ask for help in the upcoming battles.

His decision rested on honoring his father’s God alone. He claimed that in his sleep the Christ of God appeared to him with the same symbol that he saw in the sky earlier in the day, and commanded him to make a likeness of that sign, and to use it as a safeguard for all future engagements with enemies (Stewart 67). While his conversion to Christianity in 312 CE was not truly the moment Christianity came to be the official religion of the Roman Empire, it definitely was one of the major contributing factors for its subsequent acceptance.

Emperor Constantine conducted a religious-based crusade against Licinius in a war to rescue Christians on the east from further persecution. In the years 312 CE to 313 CE, Emperor Constantine began a systematic policy in which he gave honors, privileges and financial donations to the Christian church and their clergy. In 324 CE, as the unchallenged controller of the East, he prohibited by Royal decree any cultic activities which until then fell under the traditional religions of the Roman Empire, and this is when the status of Christianity as the official religion of the state and its rulers was affirmed (Lieu 7).

Constantine used his imperial power to protect and support the Christian church. He was a sincere if somewhat simple believer. He knew portions of the Old Testament and perhaps the basic outline of biblical history, and he could summarize the story of the Gospels. For Constantine, God was a providential Judge who supports the righteous and destroys the wicked, and he believed that the church had to be unified if it was going to offer pleasing worship to God. Constantine expended an enormous amount of treasure on churches; it was used both on buildings and, with the emperor’s explicit encouragement, on establishing ministries of mercy to the poor, sick and the widows(Leithart 302).

Emperor Constantine also wanted to end the growing controversy between Arius, a priest in the church of Alexandria, and his Bishop Alexander. Bishop Alexander became concerned when he noticed a growing number of clergy members accepting and encouraging Arius’s views which went against the accepted teachings of the church in regards to the relationship between God and Jesus. Emperor Constantine called for the Council of Nicaea which was considered to be the first ecumenical Council of the church because bishops from both the eastern and western parts of the world would attend.

Emperor Constantine attempted to give the Council of Nicaea an inspiring opening speech designed to bring the 300 bishops in attendance to a focused unity. He even reminded them that Christ had instructed them to forgive one another. “… As soon as I heard that intelligence which I had least expected to receive, I mean the news of your dissension, I judged it to be of no secondary importance, but with the earnest desire that a remedy for this evil also might be found through my means, I immediately sent to require your presence. And now I rejoice in beholding your assembly; but I feel that my desires will be most completely fulfilled when I can see you all united in one judgment, and that common spirit of peace and concord prevailing amongst you all, which becomes you, as consecrated to the service of God, to commend to others” (Stewart 73).

Arius and his followers were in the minority against their counterparts from the West. Both groups presented arguments from Scripture, essentially canceling each other out. Part of the problem was that the scriptural terms used in the debate (such as father and son) were too ambiguous. The Arians exploited this ambiguity, insisting that it is only logical that he father must exist prior to his son. The Orthodox countered that the Arians were taking the analogy too literally (Albl 154). Then the debate began on the specific terminology for the Creed that they were trying to promulgate. They needed to be able to define the son’s relationship with the father in a philosophically precise term.

In the end however, the two sides refused to come to a common agreement over the term Homoousios, which means “of the same substance,” meaning that God the father and the son are not just alike in some way, but that they actually share the same divinity. The Arians wanted to make a small change by adding a letter to make the word homoiousios, which means “of similar substance”. When it was time to finish business and sign the Creed, 17 bishops remained opposed. Emperor Constantine threatened to depose these bishops and send them into exile. Two of the 17 bishops stood their ground and were subsequently deposed and exiled for their efforts (Stewart 73).

How is it possible to affirm that Jesus is somehow God while avoiding the undesirable conclusion that there are two gods? If they adopt John’s language, namely that Jesus is the logos become flesh, is this logos to be thought of as God properly speaking or some lesser divinity? How is it possible, if at all, for Christians to affirm that God “becomes” something when Christians also affirm that God is eternal and unchanging? These questions created conflict and confusion within the Christian movement as it spread across the Mediterranean world and increasingly interactive with Greco Roman culture and thought. Such confusion ultimately led to the need for Christian theologians and bishops to provide a conceptual framework in which to speak properly and consistently about Jesus’ identity (Mueller 121).
Some religious scholars concede that Emperor Constantine not only convened important council’s sessions, but also either presided over them, or appointed a Royal official to preside in his place. This reduced the very role of bishops and councils such as Nicaea and Tyre to utter insignificance by assimilating them to members of the Imperial consilium, whose advice was not binding on the Emperor. All decisions taken at the Nicene Council were made by Emperor Constantine alone, since he could completely disregard the advisory opinions of the bishops whom he had summoned to the Council (Lieu 8).

Other religious scholars contend that Emperor Constantine’s influence was minimal, and that he merely sat in on the councils out of personal interest. “He attended some of the councils and contributed to discussions but did not chair any council or determine the outcome” (Leithart 304). However, when we look at the Council of Nicaea of 359 CE, we see that Emperor Constantine again took a prominent role of control in the theological debate. Once the foundation of Christianity as a predominant religion of the Empire had been successfully established, Emperor Constantine later relinquished some of his control and influence by putting a seal of approval on the rulings of bishops declared at councils. The governors of provinces were not even allowed to rescind what they had decided, for he said the priests of God were more trustworthy than any magistrate (Lieu 10).

The first Council of Nicaea in 325 CE was called together by Emperor Constantine, and it worked to establish a settlement of the issue of the relationship between father and the son. The focus primarily was on defining Jesus Christ as a deity. Establishment of the Holy Spirit was largely unaddressed until after the father and son relationship was settled in 362 CE. After Nicaea, some bishops continued to prefer a term which had been discussed and rejected by the Council: homoiousios, in the sense of the son ‘being of like substance’ with the father. There were other bishops who were antagonistic to the term homoiousios because it was not biblical (O’Collins 184). Seven years later, the Trinitarian terminology was officially adopted after first Council Constantinople. Even Thomas Aquinas acknowledged that some words used in the churches official declarations are not biblical, but insisted that “the urgency of confuting heretics made it necessary to find new words to express the ancient faith about God” (Albl 155).

In its letter to Pope Damascus, a post conciliar synod confessed ‘one divinity, power, or substance’ in ‘three most perfect hypostasesin’ (O’Collins 185). At the Trinitarian level, Constantinople I reaffirmed the Nicene Council confession of faith that the son was ’of one substance’ with the father, as well as teaching the divinity of the Holy Spirit (O’Collins 186). Thus, the official establishment of Christian doctrine regarding the Trinity of the father, the son, and the Holy Spirit was initiated. If It was not for the overbearing presence of Emperor Constantine upon the proceedings, to include the threat of deposing any opposing bishops to what he considered to be the way forward, Christianity would not be what it is today.
The councils findings were that God’s very self is encountered in Christ, not just a creature of elevated status, not a proxy. Jesus is the personal manifestation of God in the world according to the Christian tradition. A good analogy would be that God is like the sun, and Jesus is like the sunlight emanating from the sun. The same substance, the same source, and yet different in form and function.

If it was not for the overwhelming presence of Emperor Constantine at the various councils, deposing of bishops with differing views, issuing of decrees banishing all other forms of religion except Christianity, and his political, military, royal and financial support of Christianity, there is a good chance that the world’s dominant religion today could’ve been Mithraism. It is hard to conceive that Christianity would be the worldwide influential religion that is today if it were not for the impact of Emperor Constantine.

Works Cited:

Leithart, Peter J., Defending Constantine. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2010. Print.

Lieu, Samuel N. C., and Montserrat, Dominic, Constantine: History, Historiography, and Legend. London: Routledge, 2002. Print.

O'Collins, Gerald, Christology: A Biblical, Historical, and Systematic Study of Jesus. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009. Print.

Mueller, J.J., Theological Foundations: Concepts and Methods for Understanding the Christian Faith. Winona: Anselm Academic, Christian Brothers Publications, 2011. Print.

Albl, Martin C. Reason, Faith, and Tradition: Explorations in Catholic Theology. Winona: Anselm Academic, Christian Brothers Publications, 2009. Print.

Stewart, Cynthia., The Catholic church: a brief popular history. Winona, Mn: Anselm Academic, Christian Brothers Publications, 2008. Print.

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You see, Emperor Constantine made an official decree that all other forms of religion were not only illegal, but capital crimes. Get caught with a differing view; death. Now go study Bishop Augustine some more as well....

[Image: fatality.gif]

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