Did Most Early Christians Believe The Divinity of Christ?

Discussion in 'Abrahamic Religions' started by RJM Corbet, Mar 16, 2021.

  1. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet God Feeds the Ravens

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    @Thomas @muhammad_isa @juantoo3 @Tone Bristow-Stagg others ...
    At risk of repetition, and trying to start with a clean slate:

    This is spin-off from recent threads about the Arian movement and the Nicean Council, trying to focus in upon the central issue, which seems to be whether or not Christian belief in the divinity of Christ the Son, was already THE mainstream belief amongst early Christians, long before the ‘trinity’ as most today understand it, was officially rubber-stamped at Nicea?

    Prior to Nicea, did most early Christians accept the divinity of the Son? Or did they not?

    Was the belief in the divinity of the Son already mainstream with early Christians, before the Nicea Council in AD 325? Or was Rome responsible for basically imposing upon early Christians a belief in the divinity of Christ?
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2021
  2. muhammad_isa

    muhammad_isa Save Our Souls

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    Simple answer, yes. :)
    It is crystal clear that they had different opinions on the relationship between Father and Son.
    One cannot define "divinity" as being the eternal God.

    If you mean did most of them believe that Jesus is the One eternal God, then no, they didn't.

    Roman Emperors were responsible for a lot of things. If you mean did they force people to believe the Nicene creed by knifepoint, no, not really.
     
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  3. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet God Feeds the Ravens

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    Did they petition Jesus Christ as an intermediary to take their prayers onward to God? Did they pray to Jesus to intercede with the Father, in the same way Catholics pray to the Virgin Mary to intercede with the Son -- or in the same way they pray/petition to saints to mediate for them before God?

    Or did they pray directly to Jesus/Christ, as God?
     
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  4. muhammad_isa

    muhammad_isa Save Our Souls

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    Let me think about it, please. . . . . . . . .

    Maybe, like Rowan Williams, they didn't care .. they were more interested in praising The One God :D
     
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  5. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet God Feeds the Ravens

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    Is this relevant to the question?
     
  6. muhammad_isa

    muhammad_isa Save Our Souls

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    . . . . . . . . .still thinking. . . . . . . . .
     
  7. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet God Feeds the Ravens

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    There's no need to hurry. Better to take time, imo ...

    There can be no branch but that begotten of the unbegotten vine. Yet the branch is inherent to the vine, and without the branch, the vine is useless to produce fruit?
     
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  8. muhammad_isa

    muhammad_isa Save Our Souls

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    What about the gospel of truth from the Nag Hammadi library..

    Mmm, ignorance is most certainly a nightmare :)
    It is interesting to note how so-called gnostics were "swept away" by tarring them all with one brush.
     
  9. muhammad_isa

    muhammad_isa Save Our Souls

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    ...
    53. Wherefore let the remainder understand in their places that is not appropriate for me, having been in the realm of repose, to anything further. But it is within his heart that I shall be--forever devoted to The Father of the totality, together with those true Brothers upon whom pours the Love of The Father and among whom there is no lack of him.
    These are they who are genuinely manifest, being in the True and Eternal Life and speaking the Perfect Light which is filled with the seed of The Father, and who are in his heart and in the fullness and in whom his Spirit rejoices, Glorifying him in whom they exist. His good and his Sons are perfect and worthy of his Name. For it is children of this kind that he The Father desires.
    +++ THE END +++

    - gospel of truth -

    I don't know .. I'm not an expert.
    Lots of people pray (or ask for intercession) to other than the Father.
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think most of the early Christians did.
     
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  10. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet God Feeds the Ravens

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    The ancient Jesus Prayer says: "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner."
    Jesus forgave sins.

    IMO it is clear that, whether or not they have always done so -- Christians do pray directly to Jesus, in expectation that Christ has the power to answer prayer. However, when they pray to Jesus, it is with the understanding that it is the Father who answers prayer, however that the Father has granted Christ complete authority. Jesus Christ does not have to intercede or mediate with the Father for authority, because He already has been granted that -- Before All Ages?

    Jesus in earliest Christian prayer
    (edit: I've only scanned the above pdf, but offer it for deeper reading)
     
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  11. muhammad_isa

    muhammad_isa Save Our Souls

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    I have no doubt that the early church was involved in "praying to Jesus", particularly after the destruction of the temple
    when Jews were no longer allowed in Jerusalem.
    To use @Thomas' words when referring to so-called Jewish Christians,
    "who knows what those crazy dudes got up to?"

    The phrase "before all ages" effectively means that both Father and Son are outside of time.
    This might make sense to trinitarians, but if we use Occam's razor.. [ not that I'm fond of that ],
    it becomes a complicated description of what God is.
    It might be OK for an expert, but not the layman, I would have thought.

    Does the "One God" expect us all to be expert trinitarian theologians? :D

    People prayed to Moses in the past .. does that make it correct?
     
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  12. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Worth a note also, RMJ, is the word 'Lord' - Kyrios – used in reference to Jesus.

    The use of kyrios in the New Testament has been the subject of debate among modern scholars, and three schools of thought exist on that topic:

    The first is the designation to Jesus of the Old Testament attributes of God.
    The reasoning is that the Septuagint was written using the word 'Kyrios', but when reading aloud the Jews pronounced Adonai, the Hebrew word for 'Lord' when they encountered the name of God. As the early Christians were primarily Greek or Aramaic speaking Jews, they would be familiar with this Septuagint implication.

    The second school is that as the early Church expanded, Hellenistic influences resulted in the use of the term.

    The third is that it is a translation of the Aramaic title Mari applied to Jesus. In everyday Aramaic, Mari was a very respectful form of polite address, well above "teacher" and similar to rabbi. In Greek this has at times been translated as kyrios.

    Christians eventually came to interpret the Greek kyrios as representing lordship over the world.

    Kyrios is a key element of the Christology of Paul. Most scholars agree that the use of kyrios, and hence the Lordship of Jesus, predated the Pauline Epistles, but Paul expanded and elaborated on that topic. More than any other title, kyrios defined the relationship between Jesus and those who believed in him as Christ: Jesus was their Lord and Master who was to be served with all their hearts and who would one day judge their actions throughout their lives.

    -- wiki --
     
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  13. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet God Feeds the Ravens

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    I think perhaps God heard and responded to their sincere prayers? I think perhaps God did not ignore their prayers as 'incorrectly' directed?
    Ok. Thank you. The world as in this earthly realm of nature, time and death, perhaps?
     
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  14. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet God Feeds the Ravens

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    Any attempt to talk about a 'God' outside of time and space is going to get complicated?
    (Occam's Razor proposes the simplest explanation as most usually the correct one?)
     
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  15. muhammad_isa

    muhammad_isa Save Our Souls

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    It can do, I agree.
    However, if one says that God is eternal, it implies that He existed before He created the universe.
    ..most people can grasp that quite easily.
    It is only when one starts to talk about Fathers and Sons that it becomes complex.

    You got it :D
    It is quite understandable, imo, that the layman [ non-philosopher ], might consider a person to be God.
    Having to concoct a complicated trinitarian doctrine to substantiate it is something else. IMO
     
  16. muhammad_isa

    muhammad_isa Save Our Souls

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    Quite possibly.
    ..but there again, such things can get out of hand.
    That is why we have the first commandment.

    Most of the prayers I remember in the C of E were along
    the lines of "through Jesus Christ our Lord".
    It doesn't have to be interpreted as praying directly to Jesus, as I think you
    might have been pointing out.
     
  17. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet God Feeds the Ravens

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    Islam does not assume authority as arbiter of God and prayer?
     
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  18. muhammad_isa

    muhammad_isa Save Our Souls

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    The Qur'an "assumes authority" .. if you believe that it was dictated to Muhammad by the One God
    through Angel Gabriel, that is.
    If not, it has no authority whatsoever. The same goes for the Christian Bible.

    Personally, I'm not in favour of an atheist society .. are you?
     
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  19. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet God Feeds the Ravens

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    I am totally in favour of secular democracy over theocracy
     
  20. muhammad_isa

    muhammad_isa Save Our Souls

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    I know what you mean..
    ..but is it as simple as that?
    Can't a theocracy be a democracy also?

    The most important thing is the integrity of those involved.
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2021
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