The Trinity has been taught by the Roman Catholic Church for over 1,600 years and by the Lutherans for over 500 years. It was accepted and taught by nearly all of the major Protestant dominations, including the Anglicans, Presbyterian, Baptist, Methodist and Assembly of God. This article will: (1) explain the Doctrine of the Trinity; (2) briefly discuss what some Biblical References say on the subject; and (3) examine its origin and history in timeline format to 325 AD.
(1) What is the Trinity?
According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church; Part One: The Profession of Faith, Section Two, III. The Holy Trinity in the Teaching of the Faith “(#253, 254 & 261): The Trinity is One. We do not confess three Gods, but one God in three persons, the ‘consubstantial Trinity.’ The divine persons do not share the one divinity among themselves but each is God whole and entire… In the words of the Fourth Lateran Council (1215), ‘Each of the persons is that supreme reality… essence or nature… distinct from one another. ‘God is one but not solitary….’ the Father who generates, the Son who is begotten, and the Holy Spirit who proceeds. The divine Unity is Triune… The mystery of the Most Holy Trinity is the central mystery of the Christian faith and of Christian life…”
One of the reasons this is a most difficult topic is because there are some many truths to the explanations and beliefs concerning the Trinity. However, understand that the word ‘trinity’ is not in the Bible; and that like most of the major Christian Doctrines, men took there understandings from the Holy Scriptures and interpreted them and added to them and made their own statements, many beyond the Truth in the Scriptures.
(2) Biblical Reference Books
McClintock and Strong’s Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature (1867-1887); Trinity: “The Doctrine of the Trinity in the godhead includes the three following particulars, viz. (a) There is only one God, one divine nature; (b) but in this divine nature there is the distinction of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, as three (subjects or persons); and (c) these three-have equally, and in common with one another, the nature and perfection of supreme divinity. It was the custom in former times for theologians to blend their own speculations and those of others with the statement of the Bible doctrine. It is customary now to exhibit first the simple doctrine of the Bible, and afterwards, in a separate part, the speculations of the learned respecting it.’
‘The Biblical Doctrine. — It has always been allowed that the doctrine of the Trinity was not fully revealed before the time of Christ, and is clearly taught only in the New Test. Yet, while it is true (1) that if the New Test. did not exist we could not derive the doctrine of the Trinity from the Old- Test. alone, it is equally true (2) that by the manner of God’s revelation of himself in the Old Test. the way was prepared for the more full disclosure of his nature that was afterwards made. But (3) respecting the intimate connection of these persons, or respecting other distinctions which belong to the doctrine of the Trinity, there is nothing said in the Old Test. While in each particular text allusion is made to a trinity or plurality in God, yet these texts are so many in number and so various in kind that they impress one with the opinion that such a plurality in God is indicated in the Old Test., though it is not fully developed or clearly defined.
Of the Son of God. — The principal text of this class is Ps 2:7, “Thou art my son; this day have I begotten thee;” comp. Ps 72:1; Ps 89:27. This Psalm was understood by the Jews and by the writers of the New Test. to relate to the Messiah…
Of the Holy Spirit. — There are many texts of this class, but none from which, taken by themselves, the personality of the Holy Spirit can be proved…”
Note: McClintock and Strong note that ‘holy, holy, holy’ is a text with ‘clear reference to the number three;’ yet… it is in song-like format ongoing and some ancient text use ‘holy’ six times (6x’s), (M-Text; 9x’s), (8x’s in Sinaitic Version), versus the more common holy (3x’s). Nevertheless, it sayings to whom they are speaking, ‘the Lord God Almighty (Rev. 4:8).’ ASV and others say, ‘the Lord God, the Almighty’ as in what the KJV, ASV, NIV, etc. says in Deuteronomy 10:17, ‘…THE LORD your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, (a or the) Great God, mighty and awesome…” Thus, here worship is to ONLY ONE substance.
Easton’s Bible Dictionary (1897);Trinity: a word not found in Scripture, but used to express the doctrine of the unity of God as subsisting in three distinct Persons. This word is derived from the Gr. trias, first used by Theophilus (A.D. 168-183), or from the Lat. trinitas, first used by Tertullian (A.D. 220), to express this doctrine. The propositions involved in the doctrine are these: 1. That God is one, and that there is but one God (Deut. 6:4; 1 Kings 8:60; Isa. 44:6; Mark 12:29, 32; John 10:30). 2. That the Father is a distinct divine Person (hypostasis, subsistentia, persona, suppositum intellectuale), distinct from the Son and the Holy Spirit. 3. That Jesus Christ was truly God, and yet was a Person distinct from the Father and the Holy Spirit. 4. That the Holy Spirit is also a distinct divine Person.
New Bible Dictionary (1982) adds “The word Trinity is not found in the Bible, and through used by Tertullian in the last decade of the 2nd century, it did not find a place formally in the theology of the church until the 4th century… one God… and that the Father, the Son and the Spirit is each a distinct Person. In this form it has become the faith of the church since it received its first full formulation at the hands of Tertullian, Athanasius and Augustine. Through it is not a biblical doctrine in the sense that any formulation of it can be found in the Bible, it can be seen to underlie the revelation of God, implicit in the OT and explicit in the NT… Irenaeus and Origen share with Tertullian the responsibility for the formulation which is still, in the main, that of the church catholic. Under the leadership of Athanasius the doctrine was proclaimed as the faith of the church at the Council of Nicaea (AD 325), and at the hands of Augustine, a century later, it received a formulation enshrined in so-called Athanasian Creed that is accepted by Trinitarian churches to this day. After it received a further elucidation at the hands of John Calvin… in passed into the body of the reformed faith…”
Note: Many theologians and scholars debate Tertullian’s date of use between c.190 and c. 212. Also, I saw no mention of the New Bible Dictionary adding the fact that although ‘outlaws’ to the Catholic Church, Martin Luther, Phillip Melanchthon and Ulrich Zwingli (with Catholic bishops and theologians) were responsible for the doctrine of the Trinity being in the Augsburg Confession (1530). http://www.stpaulserie.org/The%20Augsburg%20Confession.pdf
‘The Early Church Fathers;’ 38 Volumes by Roberts, Donaldson… (Hendrickson Pub, 1996; Bought mine for $199 from CBD about 2008; free Index to these “Early Christian Writings” and at the Christian Classics Ethereal Library (CCEL):
(3) Timeline of origins and history of the Trinity Doctrine
c. 3761 BC – c. 29 AD: Adam to the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ there is NO MENTION of ‘the Trinity,’ or the Holy Spirit being ‘the’ or ‘a’ God; and absolutely NO WORSHIP of the Holy Spirit in Revelation or anywhere. Yet, of course, the Holy Spirit is of (as in ‘the Spirit of God’ and ‘gift’) and from the Lord God our Father in Heaven (John 14:26; 15:26; Acts 2:4,38; ect.). AND, as David said in the Psalms (110:1); Luke wrote in Acts (2:34), Stephen said before this death (Acts 7:56); and likely Paul in Hebrews (1:13, 10:13), “The Lord said to my Lord, Sit at My right hand…”
c. 27 AD Jesus taught “In this manner pray: Our FATHER in Heaven… (Matt. 6:8)” and that “God is Spirit and they that worship HIM must worship HIM in Spirit and Truth (John 4:24).”
c. 29 AD: And after Christ ascended to ‘the right hand of God (Mark 16:19; Acts 7:55; Rom. 8:34; Eph. 1:20; Col. 3:1, Heb. 1:13), the Lord Jesus Christ again is worship WITH the Father, but the Spirit of God as it goes forth into all the world and creatures of the world is not worship; but teaches, etc. Revelation chapter 4: “Holy… (is the) Lord God Almighty… YOU are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor… for YOU created all things…” Revelation chapter 5: “AND… the LAMB… with SEVEN Spirits of GOD…. (was worshiped)… YOU are worthy… for YOU were slain and (You) have redeemed us To GOD by YOUR BLOOD…” See how by two or three witnesses everything is established; and by all the faithful when such an important doctrine (teaching).
c. 45 to c. 60 AD: Gospel of Matthew (16:16): “…Peter answered… ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God’.” Matthew 10:32: “Whoever confesses Me before men…”
c. 63 to 90 AD: First John was written. NKJV states that 1 John 5:7 as in the KJV was not in the oldest manuscripts. “For three be, that give witnessing in heaven, the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost; and these three be one (Wycliffe 1382); “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one (1611 KJV);” “And there are three who give testimony in heaven, the Father, the Word and the Holy Ghost. And these three are one (1899 Douay-Rheims);” Omitted by (c.400 AD Jerome’s Latin Vulgate, 1901 ASV, 1973 NIV, 2015 Amplified, etc.) verse refers to essence; does not state they are each God.
c. 90 to 110: The Didache originally in Greek does not mention in form of Trinity; but was teaching of the Apostles, and an appendix in certain very early Bible Codices.
c. 80 to 130: Clement of Rome (disciple of Paul; Phil. 4:3), no trinity doctrine.
c.110 to 140: Forming the Apostle’s Creed or Symbolum Apostolicum from Old Roman Creed:
“I believe in God the Father Almighty, and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord; who was born by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary; was crucified under Pontius Pilate and was buried; the third day He rose from the dead; He ascended into Heaven; and (sits at) the right hand of the Father; from thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead. And in the Holy Ghost; the Holy Church; the forgiveness of sins; and the resurrection of the body.” NO Trinity reference.
The Creeds of Christendom (Vol. 1), by Philip Schaff (1877).
c. 100 to 150: Shepherd of Hermas: no trinity doctrine.
c. 100-107: “Ignatius… to the Church …at Tralles” no trinity; but chapter IX is on Christ: “…Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who was descended from David, and was also of Mary; who was begotten of God and of the Virgin, but not after the same manner… the ‘Word was made flesh,’ and lived upon earth with sin… He was crucified and died under Pontius Pilate… crucified and died…He gave up the Ghost… He rose again after three days, His Father raising Him up; and after having spent forty days with the Apostles, was received up to the Father, and sat down at His right hand…
c. 100-107: Ignatius ‘Theophorus’ wrote “to Polycarp, Bishop of the Church of the Smyrnaeans… who has as his own Bishop, God the Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ…” (no trinity)
c. 110-140: Polycarp (‘disciple of John’) letter to the Philippians: “…Gird up your loins and serve God in fear and truth… you have believed on Him that raised our Lord Jesus Christ from the dead and gave unto Him glory and a throne on His right hand; unto whom all things were made subject that are in heaven and that are on the earth… who comes as judge of quick and dead…” (no trinity; but original creed)
c. 150: Justin Martyr: no trinity (God in 3 persons) doctrine.
c. 180: (Christian) School of Alexandria (Egypt; N. Africa) was founded. About this time many church fathers spoke of the Spirit of God as being Wisdom (Greek: ‘Sophia’) and of Jesus Christ as being the Word (Greek: ‘Logos’) and sometimes as Wisdom or Truth (‘Veritas’ – Latin; also motto of Harvard). In Byzantium or Constantinople (now Istanbul), Justinian I, and then later Constantine, built the Hagia Sophia (‘Holy Wisdom’); beginning about 535 AD.
c. 180: Irenaeus, a disciple of Polycarp and bishop of the church at Lyons, wrote about ‘the Faith of the Church throughout the whole world’ in his ‘Adversus Haereses;’ Against Heresies, Book 1.
c. 180: Irenaeus (Against Heresies; Bk 1, Chapter 10): “The Church, though dispersed through our the whole world, even to the ends of the earth, has received from the apostles and their disciples this faith: [we believe] in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are in them; and in one Christ Jesus, the Son of God, who became incarnate for our salvation; and in the Holy Spirit, who proclaimed through the prophets the dispensations of God, and the advents, and the birth from a virgin, and the passion (death on the cross), and the resurrection from the dead, and the ascension into heaven in the flesh of the beloved Christ Jesus, our Lord, and His [future] manifestation from heaven in the glory of the Father “to gather all things in one,” and to raise up anew all flesh of the whole human race, in order that to Christ Jesus, our Lord, and God, and Saviour, and King, according to the will of the invisible Father, “every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth, and that every tongue should confess” to Him, and that He should execute just judgment towards all; that He may send “spiritual wickednesses,” and the angels who transgressed and became apostates, together with the ungodly, and unrighteous, and wicked, and profane among men, into everlasting fire; but may, in the exercise of His grace, confer immortality on the righteous, and holy, and those who have kept His commandments, and have persevered in His love, some from the beginning [of their Christian course], and others from [the date of] their repentance, and may surround them with everlasting glory… the Churches which have been planted in Germany do not believe or hand down anything different, nor do those in Spain, nor those in Gaul, nor in the East or in Egypt, or Libya… God, though invisible, manifested Himself to the prophets not under one form, but differently to different ones… and God in His mercy …(sent) the Word became flesh and suffered… the Catholic (universal) Church possesses one and the same faith throughout the whole world…”
c. 180: Irenaeus (Against Heresies; Bk 3, Chapter 4): “…the Truth is to be found nowhere else but in the Catholic (Universal) Church… when has handed down… to those who believe in Christ… having salvation written in their hearts by the Spirit, without pen or ink, and carefully preserving the ancient tradition, believing in One GOD, the Creator of heaven and earth, and all things there in, by means of Christ Jesus, the Son of God… born of the virgin… suffered under Pontius Pilate and rising again… received up in splendor, shall come in glory, the Saviour of those who are saved, and the Judge of those who are judged, and sending into eternal fire those who transform the truth and despise His Father and His Advent (coming)… Thus, by means of that ancient tradition of the apostles, the …Church doctrine… has been established.”
c. 160-240: Quintus Tertullianus; Tertullian, a prominent, knowledgeable and well respected early church father of Carthage, North Africa (with Irenaeus) spoke against one single bishop lording over the entire church (and taught that Christ through the apostles desired to set up elders in every church or group of believers). He has been called the ‘father of Latin Christianity’ and ‘the founder of Western theology.’ He said, ‘the blood of the martyrs/saints is seed of the church.’
c. 200: Tertullian wrote ‘…Against Praxeas’ (chapters II-V; XXV) “…We believe that there is one only God… that this one God has also a Son, His Word, who proceeded from Himself, by whom all things were made, and without Him nothing was made. Him we believe was sent by the Father into the Virgin, and to have been born of her – being both Man and God, the Son of Man and the Son of God, and to have been called by then name of Jesus Christ; we believe Him to have suffered, died, and been buried, according to the Scriptures, and after He had been raised again by the Father and taken back to Heaven, to be sitting at the right hand of the Father, and that He will come to judge the quick and the dead; who sent also from heaven from the Father, according to His own promise, the Holy Ghost, the Paraclete, the sanctifier of the faith of those who believe in the Father and the Son, and in the Holy Spirit. That this RULE of FAITH has come down to us from the beginning of the Gospel, even before any of the older heretics, much more before Praxeas, a preacher of yesterday…‘
‘Only God in any other way than by saying that the FATHER, the SON, and the HOLY GHOST are the very selfsame Person. As if in this way also one were not ALL, in that ALL are of One, by unity (that is) of substance; while the mystery of the dispensation is still guarded, which distributes the Unity into a TRINITY, placing the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost; three, however, not in condition, but in degree; not in substance, but in form; not in power, but in aspect; yet of one substance, and of one condition; and of one power, inasmuch as He is one God, from whom these degrees and forms and aspects are reckoned, under the name the Father, and the Son and of the Holy Ghost… The majority of believers are startled at the dispensation (of the Three in One), on the ground that their very rule of faith withdraws from the world’s plurality of gods… not understanding that, although He is the one only God… they assume the Trinity to be a division of the Unity… and the Latins take pains to pronounce the Monarchy, while Greeks refuse to understand the Dispensation… As for me… I believe the Spirit to proceed from no other source than from the Father through the Son… and that the Father and Son are two separate Persons, not only by the mention of their separate names… but …He who was subjected to all things and He to whom all things were subjected – must be two different Beings… In the beginning… though God had not sent out His Word, He still had Him within Himself, both in company… and arranged within Himself everything which He was about to utter through His Word…’
‘(XIII) I shall follow the example of the apostle: so that if the Father and the Son, are alike to be invoked, I shall call the Father ‘God’ and invoke Jesus Christ as ‘Lord.’ But when Christ alone is mentioned, I shall be able to call Him ‘God.’
‘…Then there is the Paraclete or Comforter, also, which He (Jesus) promises to pray for to the Father and sent from Heaven after He is ascended to the Father… Thus the connection of the Father in the Son, and of the Son in the Paraclete, produces three coherent Persons, who are yet distinct One from Another. These THREE are one essence, NOT one PERSON, as it is said, ‘I and My Father are One,’ in respect of Unity and of Substance… the Spirit of God…“
c. 200: Tertullian, in De Virginibus Velandis (On the Veiling of Virgins); chapter 1: “…I will show in Latin… truth… Our Lord Christ has surnamed Himself Truth, not Custom. Believing in one only God omnipotent, the Creator of the universe, and His Son Jesus Christ… The rule of faith, indeed, is… (Christ), born of the Virgin Mary, crucified under Pontius Pilate, raised again the third day from the dead, received in the heavens, sitting now at the right (hand) of the Father, destined to come to judge quick and dead through the resurrection of the flesh as well (as of the spirit). This law of faith being constant… (And) why the Lord sent the Paraclete was, that, since human mediocrity was unable to take in all things at once, discipline should, little by little, be directed, and ordained, and carried on to perfection, by that Vicar of the Lord, the Holy Spirit. He said, ‘I have many things to say to you, but ye are not yet able to bear them: when that Spirit of truth shall have come, He will conduct you into all truth, and will report to you the supervening things (John 14:26).’ …the Paraclete’s administrative office is for: the direction of discipline, the revelation of the Scriptures, the reformation of the intellect, the advancement toward the better things?”
According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (online, March 2018; and note this is an interpretation of Tertullian’s writings – which are many and over much time): “An important transitional figure is the pugnacious but philosophically sophisticated Tertullian (ca. 160-225). He was pressed on one side by catholic Christians who objected to late second century logos Christology on which the pre-human Jesus (the “Word”, Greek: logos of John 1) was God’s instrument of creation. They considered this scheme of two creators and a divine Jesus to be inconsistent with monotheism (Tertullian Praxeas, ch. 3). He was pressed on the other side by Catholics now called “Monarchians” who held that the divine element in Jesus was the Father himself. Some of these thought Jesus to be a man empowered and indwelt by God, while others thought that Jesus and the Father were one and the same – the same self and the same god (Heine 1998). Tertullian mocked as “patripassians”, for the implication of that the Father suffered when Jesus was crucified, something widely assumed to be impossible. In opposition to these he asserted and developed logos Christology in a unique way. Here is a graphic illustration of Tertullian’s trinity – not a triune God, but rather a triad or group of three, with God as the founding member.
Under the influence of Stoic philosophy, Tertullian believes that all real things are material. God is a spirit, but a spirit is a material thing made out of a finer sort of matter. At the beginning, God is alone, though he has his own reason within him. Then, when it is time to create, he brings the Son into existence, using but not losing a portion of his spiritual matter. Then the Son, using a portion of the divine matter shared with him, brings into existence the Spirit. And the two of them are God’s instruments, his agents, in the creation and governance of the cosmos.
The Son, on this theory, is not God himself, nor is he divine in the same sense that the Father is. Rather, the Son is “divine” in that he is made of a portion of the matter that the Father is composed of. This makes them “one substance” or not different as to essence. But the Son isn’t the same god as the Father, though he can, because of what he’s made of, be called “God”. Nor is there any tripersonal God here, but only a tripersonal portion of matter – that smallest portion shared by all three. The one God is sharing a portion of his stuff with another, by causing another to exist out of it, and then this other turns around and does likewise, sharing some of this matter with a third.
Against the common believers concerned with monotheism, Tertullian argues that although the above process results in two more who can be called “God”, it does not introduce two more gods – not gods in the sense that Yahweh is a god. There is still, as there can only be, one ultimate source of all else, the Father. Thus, monotheism is upheld. The one God is unipersonal both at the start and the end of this process. Nor are the persons equally divine; Tertullian holds that the Son is “ignorant of the last day and hour, which is known to the Father only.” (Tertullian, Praxeas, ch. 27; Matthew 24:36)
What is Tertullian’s answer to his “monarchian” critics? First, he strongly emphasizes that these are truly three; none of the three is identical to any other. They are “undivided” in the sense that the Father, in sharing some of his matter, never loses any; rather, that matter comes to simultaneously compose more than one being. The chart above might suggest that this portion of matter is one thing with three parts; but it is conceived of merely as a quantity of matter. The Father is one entity, the Son is a second, and the Spirit is a third…”
c. 200-220, Hippolytus of Rome, ‘the spiritual son of Irenaeus;’ Treatise on Christ and Antichrist: “…Theophilus… I have thought it right to set these matters for you to view… drawing from the Holy Scriptures as from a holy fountain… Only see that you do not give these things over to unbelieving and blasphemous tongues, for that is no common danger. But impart them to pious and faithful men, who desire to live holy and righteously with fear… as the blessed apostle (Paul) exhorts Timothy, and says, ‘O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust …the things that you have heard from me… commit to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also (2 Tim. 2:2).’ …The Word of God, who is the Son of God, as He was of old the Word, communicated His revelations to the blessed prophets… (Rom.1:2; Heb. 1:1) And then the Word who was without flesh, He took upon Himself the holy flesh by the holy Virgin… suffered on the cross… uniting His own power with our moral body (the flesh)… that He might save perishing man… Now, (there is) coming the Antichrist… as our Lord Jesus Christ, who is also God, was prophesied of under the figure of a lion, on account of His royalty and glory… the Antichrist is spoken of as a lion, on account of his tyranny and violence. For the deceiver seeks to liken himself in all things to the Son of God… Christ is a King, so Antichrist is also a king. The Savior was manifested as a lamb; so he too will appear as a lamb, though he is a wolf…”
c. 240: Origen; a bishop of Egypt and Alexandrian theologian. De Principiis (Vol. 1 and 4): “If anyone would say that the Word of God or the Wisdom of God had a beginning, let him beware lest he direct his impiety rather against the unbegotten Father, since he denies that He was always Father, and that He has always begotten the Word, and that He always had wisdom in all previous times or ages or whatever can be imagined in priority . . . There can be no more ancient title of almighty God than that of Father, and it is through the Son that he is Father…”
‘For if the Holy Spirit were not eternally as He is, and had received knowledge at some time and then became the Holy Spirit] this were the case, the Holy Spirit would never be reckoned in the unity of the Trinity, i.e., along with the unchangeable Father and His Son, unless He had always been the Holy Spirit… Moreover, nothing in the Trinity can be called greater or less, since the fountain of divinity alone contains all things by His word and reason, and by the Spirit of His mouth sanctifies all things which are worthy of sanctification . .’
(Roberts and Donaldson, The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Eerdmans, 1975, Vol. 4, p. 253-255)
c. 253: Cyprian, the ‘Bishop/Pope (Father)/presbyter/priest/martyr’ of Carthage: In his The Unity of the Church he called Peter the ‘first bishop.’ Yet, James the half-brother of Jesus was respected highly at the Jerusalem Council in Acts 15. He spoke much about the ‘Catholic Church.’ But, he was speaking of the ‘kata’ – ‘holos;’ Greek – ‘with respect to the whole;’ or ‘katholikos; universal’ Churchl; Latin = Catholicus; French = Catholique; English = Catholic. Christ “speaks of Peter, upon whom the Church would be built (John 1:42; Matt. 16:18)… For the Church, which is one and catholic, is not split or divided, but united and joined by the cement of priests who adhere to one another…” Note: the body of Christ (Church) is built upon the foundation (1 Cor. 3:11) ‘Rock’ of Christ – the ‘Rock of offense (Rom. 9:33); and then upon the ‘apostles and prophets (Eph. 2:20).’ Peter teaches that in 1 Peter 2:8; as does Paul and John (Rev. 21:14). Cyprian speaks often of ‘God the Father’ and worship to Him, and of our Lord Jesus Christ who is coming on ‘the day of judgment;’ but nowhere speaks of God the Holy Spirit.
Cyprian teaches “Christ is the head of man; God is the head of Christ…” In his Treatises he teaches that ‘Christ is God… Christ is man and God… also called a Stone… He has risen and …will come as a Judge… then He is to reign as a King forever. He is both Judge and King. Christ is the First-born, and the Wisdom of God…”
c. 257: Novatian, a Roman presbyter, wrote ‘De Trinitate;’ On the Trinity: (5 pages:) “The Rule of truth requires that we should first of all things believe on God the Father and Lord Omnipotent; that is, the absolutely perfect Founder of all things, who has suspended the heavens in lofty sublimity, has established the earth with its lower mass… He has lifted up the loftiest mountains to a peak… He has smoothly leveled the plains, He has ordained the animal herds usefully for the various services of men. He has also established the oak trees of the woods for the future benefit of human uses. He has developed the harvests into food. He has unlocked the mouths of the springs, and has poured them into the flowing rivers… He has clothed all things with the various colors of the flowers for the pleasure of the beholders… He has made manifold creatures, sometimes of moderate, sometimes of vast bodily size, testifying by the variety of His appointment to the intelligence of the Artificer… And after these things He also placed man at the head of the world, and man, too, made in the image of God, to whom He imparted mind, and reason, and foresight, that he might imitate God; and although the first elements of his body were earthly, yet the substance was inspired by a heavenly and divine breathing.’
‘And when He had given him all things for his service, He willed that he alone should be free. And lest, again, an unbounded freedom should fall into peril, He laid down a command, in which man was taught that there was no evil in the fruit of the tree; but he was forewarned that evil would arise if perchance he should exercise his free will, in the contempt of the law that was given. For, on the one hand, it had behooved him to be free, lest the image of God should, unfittingly be in bondage; and on the other, the law was to be added, so that an unbridled liberty might not break forth even to contempt of the Giver… Still, nevertheless, God indulgently tempered his punishment by cursing, not so much himself, as his labors upon earth. And, moreover, what is required does not come without man’s knowledge; but He shows forth man’s hope of future discovery and salvation in Christ…’
‘God is the Founder of All things; Him we acknowledge and know to be God, the Creator of all things – Lord on account of His power… And when the Lord says that God is a Spirit (John 4:24), I think that Christ spoke thus of the Father, as wishing that something still more should be understood… God is called Love… He is called Light… He is called a Spirit… God is called Fire, that fear may be struck into the hearts of a sinful people, by suggesting to them a Judge… This GOD… the Church knows and worships, to whom the universal and entire nature of things …visible and invisible give witness; whom angels adore, stars wonder at, seas bless, lands revere, and all things under the earth look up to, whom the whole mind of man is conscious of, even if it does not express itself; at whose command all things are set in motion…
‘He planted the tree of life, and similarly placed near it another tree of the knowledge of good and evil, gave a command, and decreed a judgment against sin; He preserved the most righteous Nöe (Noah) from the perils of the deluge, for the merit of His innocence and faith; He translated Enoch: He elected Abraham into the society of his friendship; He protected Isaac: He increased Jacob; He gave Moses for a leader unto the people; He delivered the groaning children of Israel from the yoke of slavery; He wrote the law; He brought the offspring of our fathers into the land of promise; He instructed the prophets by His Spirit, and by all of them He promised His Son Christ; and at the time at which He had covenanted that He would give Him, He sent Him, and through Him He desired to come into our knowledge, and shed forth upon us the liberal stores of His mercy, by conferring His abundant Spirit on the poor and abject… He willed the apostles, as founders of our family, to be sent by His Son into the whole world, that the condition of the human race might be conscious of its Founder; and, if it should choose to follow Him, might have One whom in its supplications it might call Father instead of God…’
‘The same rule of truth teaches us to believe, after the Father, also on the Son of God, Christ Jesus, the Lord our God, but the Son of God—of that God who is both one and alone, to wit the Founder of all things, as already has been expressed above. For this Jesus Christ, I will once more say, the Son of this God, we read of as having been promised in the Old Testament, and we observe to be manifested in the New, fulfilling the shadows and figures of all the sacraments, with the presence of the truth embodied. For as well the ancient prophecies as the Gospels testify Him to be the son of Abraham and the son of David. Genesis itself anticipates Him, when it says: ‘To thee will I give it, and to thy seed.’ …And He too, when it says: “There shall not fail a prince from Judah, nor a leader (King; Scepter – Gen. 49:10)… until He (Shiloh; ‘peaceful one’ – as Isa. 9:6) shall come to whom it has been promised; and He shall be the expectation of the nations.’
‘It is the same that he refers to when, concerning His passion, he exclaims, saying: ’As a sheep He is led to the slaughter; and as a lamb before his shearer is dumb, so He opened not His mouth in His humility.’ Him, moreover, when he described the blows and stripes of His scourgings: ‘By His bruises we were healed.’ …Or that He would rise again from the dead: ‘And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, and one who shall rise to reign over the nations; on Him shall the nations hope, and His rest shall be honour.’ Or when he speaks of the time of the resurrection: ‘We shall find Him, as it were, prepared in the morning.’ Or that He should sit at the right hand of the Father: ‘The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit Thou at my right hand, until I shall place Thine enemies as the stool of Thy feet.’
‘Or when He is set forth as possessor of all things: ‘Ask of me, and I will give Thee the heathen for Thine inheritance, and the boundaries of the earth for Thy possession.’ Or when He is shown as Judge of all: ‘O God, give the King Thy judgment, and Thy righteousness to the King’s Son.’ And I shall not in this place pursue the subject further: the things which are announced of Christ are known to all heretics, but are even better known to those who hold the truth. Indeed that Christ Was Not only Man, but God also; that even as He was the Son of Man, so also He was the Son of God.’
‘…Let them, therefore, who read that Jesus Christ the Son of man is man, read also that this same Jesus is called also God and the Son of God. For in the manner that as man He is of Abraham, so also as God He is before Abraham himself. And in the same manner as He is as man the ‘Son of David,’ so as God He is proclaimed David’s Lord. And in the same manner as He was made as man ‘under the law,’ so as God He is declared to be ‘Lord of the Sabbath.’ That Christ is God, is Proved by the Authority of the Old Testament Scriptures…’
“…Hosea the prophet says in the person of the Father: ‘I will not now save them by bow, nor by horses, nor by horsemen; but I will save them by the Lord their God.’ If God says that He saves by God, still God does not save except by Christ. Why, then, should man hesitate to call Christ God, when he observes that He is declared to be God by the Father according to the Scriptures? Yea, if God the Father does not save except by God, no one can be saved by God the Father unless he shall have confessed Christ to be God, in whom and by whom the Father promises that He will give him salvation: so that, reasonably, whoever acknowledges Him to be God, may find salvation in Christ God; whoever does not acknowledge Him to be God, would lose salvation which he could not find elsewhere than in Christ God. For in the same way as Isaiah says, ‘Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and ye shall call His name Emmanuel, which is, interpreted, God with us;’5090 so Christ Himself says, ‘Lo, I am with you, even to the consummation of the world.’ Therefore He is ‘God with us;’ yea, and much rather, He is in us. Christ is with us, therefore it is He whose name is God with us, because He also is with us; or is He not with us? …Because He is with us He was called Emmanuel, that is, God with us…’
‘…John, describing the nativity of Christ, says: ‘The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.’ For, moreover, ‘His name is called the Word of God,’ and not without reason… for ‘by Him were made all the works, and without Him was nothing made.’ ‘Whether,’ says the apostle, ‘they be thrones or dominations, or powers, or mights, visible things and invisible, all things subsist by Him.’ Moreover, this is that word which ‘came unto His own, and His own received Him not. For the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not.’ Moreover, this Word ‘was in the beginning with God, and God was the Word.’ Who can doubt, when in the last clause it is said, ‘The Word was made flesh, and dwell among us…’
‘…If Christ was only man, how is it that He Himself says, ‘And every one that believeth in me shall not die for evermore?’ …If Christ was only man, how does He say that the Paraclete ‘shall take of His, those things which He shall declare?’ For neither does the Paraclete (Spirit Comforter Teacher) receive anything from man, but the Paraclete offers knowledge to man; nor does the Paraclete learn things future from man, but instructs man concerning futurity… The Paraclete has received from Christ what He may declare…’
‘…Christ was in substance before the foundation of the world; for He is ‘the Word by which all things were made, and without which nothing was made.’ Because if He is said to be glorious in predestination, and that this predestination was before the foundation of the world, let order be maintained, and before Him a considerable number of men was destined to glory… Although we call Christ God, and the Father God, still Scripture does not set forth two Gods, any more than Two Lords or Two Teachers. And now, indeed, concerning the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, let it be sufficient to have briefly said thus much, and to have laid down these points concisely, without carrying them out in a lengthened argument… the whole of the Old and New Testaments might be adduced in testimony that thus the true faith stands. But because heretics, ever struggling against the truth, are accustomed to prolong the controversy of pure tradition and Catholic faith, being offended against Christ…’
‘For as well they who say that Jesus Christ Himself is God the Father, as moreover they who would have Him to be only man, have gathered thence the sources and reasons of their error and perversity; because when they perceived that it was written that ‘God is one,’ they thought that they could not otherwise hold such an opinion than by supposing that it must be believed either that Christ was man only, or really God the Father… And thus they who say that Jesus Christ is the Father argue as follows:—If God is one, and Christ is God, Christ is the Father, since God is one. If Christ be not the Father, because Christ is God the Son, there appear to be two Gods introduced, contrary to the Scriptures. And they who contend that Christ is man only, conclude on the other hand thus:—If the Father is one, and the Son another, but the Father is God and Christ is God, then there is not one God, but two Gods are at once introduced, the Father and the Son; and if God is one, by consequence Christ must be a man, so that rightly the Father may be one God.’
‘Thus indeed the Lord is, as it were, crucified between two thieves, even as He was formerly placed; and thus from either side He receives the sacrilegious reproaches of such heretics as these. But neither the Holy Scriptures nor we suggest to them the reasons of their perdition and blindness, if they either will not, or cannot, see what is evidently written in the midst of the divine documents. For we both know, and read, and believe, and maintain that God is one, who made the heaven as well as the earth, since we neither know any other, nor shall we at any time know such, seeing that there is none. ‘I,’ says He, ‘am God, and there is none beside me, righteous and a Saviour.’ And in another place: ‘I am the first and the last, and beside me there is no God who is as I…’
‘…After the Father and the Son, we Believe also on the Holy Spirit, whose operations He enumerates from Scripture… for the Scriptures of the Lord, admonish us after these things to believe also on the Holy Spirit, once promised to the Church, and in the appointed occasions of times given; for He was promised by Joel the prophet, but given by Christ. ‘In the last days,’ says the prophet, ‘I will pour out of my Spirit upon my servants and my handmaids.’ And the Lord said, ‘Receive ye the Holy Ghost: whose sins ye remit, they shall be remitted; and whose ye retain, they shall be retained.’ But this Holy Spirit the Lord Christ calls at one time ‘the Paraclete,’ at another pronounces to be the ‘Spirit of truth.’ He is not new in the Gospel… for it was He Himself who accused the people in the prophets and in the apostles gave them the appeal to the Gentiles… Assuredly in the Spirit there are different kinds of offices, because in the times there is a different order of occasions; and yet, on this account, He who discharges these offices is not different, nor is He another in so acting, but He is one and the same, distributing His offices according to the times, and the occasions and impulses of things.’
‘The Apostle Paul says, ‘Having the same Spirit; as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak.’ He is therefore one and the same Spirit who was in the prophets and apostles, except that in the former He was occasional, in the latter always. But in the former not as being always in them, in the latter as abiding always in them; and in the former distributed with reserve, in the latter all poured out; in the former given sparingly, in the latter liberally bestowed; not yet manifested before the Lord’s resurrection, but conferred after the resurrection. For, said He, ‘I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Advocate, that He may be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth.’ And, ‘When He, the Advocate, shall come, whom I shall send unto you from my Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeded from my Father.’ … And ‘When the Spirit of truth shall come, He will direct you into all the truth.’ Because the Lord was about to depart to the heavens, He gave the Paraclete out of necessity to the disciples; so as not to leave them in any degree orphans… and forsake them without an advocate and protector…’
‘For this is He who strengthened their hearts and minds, who marked out the Gospel sacraments, who was in them the enlightener of divine things; and they being strengthened, feared, for the sake of the Lord’s name, neither dungeons nor chains, nay, even trod underfoot the very powers of the world and its tortures, since they were henceforth armed and strengthened by the same Spirit, having in themselves the gifts which this same Spirit distributes, and appropriates to the Church, the spouse of Christ, as her ornaments. This is He who places prophets in the Church, instructs teachers, directs tongues, gives powers and healings, does wonderful works, offers discrimination of spirits, affords powers of government, suggests counsels, and orders and arranges whatever other gifts there are of charismata; and thus make the Lord’s Church everywhere, and in all, perfected and completed. This is He who, after the manner of a dove, when our Lord was baptized, came and abode upon Him, dwelling in Christ full and entire, and not maimed in any measure or portion; but with His whole overflow copiously distributed and sent forth, so that from Him others might receive some enjoyment of His graces: the source of the entire Holy Spirit remaining in Christ, so that from Him might be drawn streams of gifts and works, while the Holy Spirit dwelt affluently in Christ. For truly Isaiah, prophesying this, said: ‘And the Spirit of wisdom and understanding shall rest upon Him, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and piety; and the Spirit of the fear of the Lord shall fill Him.’
‘This self-same thing also he said in the person of the Lord Himself, in another place, ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me; because He has anointed me, He has sent me to preach the Gospel to the poor.’ …Let us therefore believe this, since it is most faithful that Jesus Christ the Son of God is our Lord and God; because ‘in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and God was the Word. The same was in the beginning with God.’ And, ‘The Word was made flesh, and dwelt in us.’ ‘My Lord and my God.’ And, ‘Whose are the fathers, and of whom according to the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for evermore.’ What, then, shall we say? Does Scripture set before us two Gods? How, then, does it say that ‘God is one?’ Or is not Christ God also? How, then, is it said to Christ, ‘My Lord and my God?’ (Psalm 110:1; also: “The LORD said to my Lord”); unless, therefore, we hold all this with fitting veneration and lawful argument, we shall reasonably be thought to have furnished a scandal to the heretics, not assuredly by the fault of the heavenly Scriptures, which never deceive; but by the presumption of human error, whereby they have chosen to be heretics. And in the first place, we must turn the attack against them who undertake to make against us the charge of saying that there are two Gods. It is written, and they cannot deny it, that ‘there is one Lord.’ What, then, do they think of Christ?—that He is Lord, or that He is not Lord at all? …The truth is that there is one Lord, that Christ also is Lord, …the truth that one is our Master, that Paul also is our master… the truth that one is good, that Christ also is called good; on the same reasoning, let them understand that, from the fact that God is one, no obstruction arises to the truth that Christ also is declared to be God.’
‘But that God, the Son of God, born of God the Father from Everlasting, Who was Always in the Father, is the Second Person to the Father, Who does Nothing without His Father’s Decree; and that He is Lord, and the Angel of God’s Great Counsel, to Whom the Father’s Godhead is Given by Community of Substance…”
Novation, as those before them after the apostles, set forth and expand on Christian doctrine as taught by the early church; but do not add separate worship or prayer to the Holy Spirit or make the Holy Ghost a separate God. Origen ‘on Prayer,’ said, the Lord Jesus Christ taught his disciples and us to pray to ‘Our Father in Heaven…’ and not to Christ Himself; and Novation, Origen, Tertullian, etc… all thought the Holy Spirit is the Spirit ‘of God’ and not a God. Origen adds “Prayer ought not be performed less than three times each day… clear from the practice of Daniel… and Peter… praying about the sixth hour… and three times by David… (Psa. 5:3)…”
c. 265: Gregory Thaumaturgus, a disciple of Origen; and bishop of Neocaesarea (Turkey) in Ἔκθεσις τῆς πίστεως (Exposition of the Faith): “There is one God, the Father of the living Word, who is His subsistent Wisdom and Power and Eternal Image: perfect Begetter of the perfect Begotten, Father of the only-begotten Son. There is one Lord, Only of the Only, God of God, Image and Likeness of Deity, Efficient Word, Wisdom comprehensive of the constitution of all things, and Power formative of the whole creation, true Son of one Father, Invisible of Invisible, and Incorruptible of Incorruptible, and Immortal of Immortal, and Eternal of Eternal. And there is One Holy Spirit, having His subsistence from God, and being made manifest by the Son, to wit to men: Image of the Son, Perfect Image of the Perfect; Life, the Cause of the Living; Holy Fount; Sanctity, the Supplier, or Leader, of Sanctification; in whom is manifested God the Father, who is above all and in all, and God the Son, who is through all. There is a perfect Trinity, in glory and eternity and sovereignty, neither divided nor estranged. Wherefore there is nothing either created or in servitude in the Trinity; nor anything super-induced, as if at some former period it was non-existent, and at some later period it was introduced. And thus neither was the Son ever wanting to the Father, nor the Spirit to the Son; but without variation and without change, the same Trinity abides ever.”
c. 300 Lucian of Antioch, presbyter/elder/bishop, was martyred 311 AD, under Maximinus. His creed was brought to the Synod of Antioch in 341, which sought to substitute or amend the Creed of Nicæa. His ‘Antiochean Formula’ or ‘Treatise on Faith:’
“We believe, in accordance with evangelic and apostolic tradition, in One GOD the Father Almighty, the Maker and Provider of all things. And in One Lord Jesus Christ His Son, the only-begotten God, through whom all things were made, who was begotten of the Father before all ages, God of God, Whole of Whole, One of One, Perfect of Perfect, King of King, Lord of Lord, the living Word, Wisdom, Life, True Light, Way, Truth, Resurrection, Shepherd, Door, unchangeable and unalterable, the immutable likeness of the Godhead, both of the substance and will and power and glory of the Father, the first-born of all creation, who was in the beginning with God, the Divine Logos, according to what is said in the gospel: ‘And the Word was God,’ through whom all things were made, and in whom ‘all things consist:’ who in the last days came down from above, and was born of a Virgin, according to the Scriptures, and became man, the Mediator between God and man, and the Apostle of our Faith, and the Prince of life; as he says, ‘I have come down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me:’ who suffered for us, and rose for us the third day, and ascended into heaven and sat on the right hand of the Father, and again is coming with glory and power to judge the quick and the dead.’
‘And in THE HOLY GHOST given for consolation and sanctification and perfection to those who believe; as also our Lord Jesus Christ commanded his disciples, saying, ‘Go ye, teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost;’ clearly of the Father who is really a Father, and of a Son who is really a Son, and of the Holy Ghost who is really a Holy Ghost; these names being assigned not vaguely nor idly, but indicating accurately the special personality, order, and glory of those named, so that in Personality they are three, but in harmony one.’
‘Having then this faith (from the beginning and holding it to the end) before God and Christ we anathematize all heretical false doctrine. And if any one, contrary to the right faith of the Scriptures, teaches and says that there has been a season or time or age before the Son of God was begotten, let him be accursed. And if any one says that the Son is a creature as one of the creatures, or generated as one of the things generated, or made as one of the things made, and not as the divine Scriptures have handed down each of the forenamed statements; or if a man teaches or preaches anything else contrary to what we have received, let him be accursed. For we truly and clearly both believe and follow all things from the holy Scriptures that have been transmitted to us by the Prophets and Apostles.”
306: Constantius the Pale died and his son, Constantine I because the Roman Emperor.
308: Constantine became ‘Caesar’ of the Western Roman Empire.
c. 310: Eusebius Pamphilius, bishop of Caesarea, said in his ‘Chronicon,’ “I have searched through the various books of ancient history… what the Chaldaeans and Assyrians have recorded, what the Egyptians have written in detail and what the Greek have related… They include the dates of their kings… I think it is fitting …to writte down the ancient history and chronology of the Hebrews, taken from the Holy Scriptures, alongside the things which I have mentioned…” And so Eusebius wrote ‘Church History…’ or Ἐκκλησιαστικὴ ἱστορία in Greek; or Historia Ecclesiastica or Historia Ecclesiae in Latin. He also wrote …On the Gospel Canons (four gospels in the New Testament)… and taught “Christ teaches us to call His Father the True God and to worship Him…” Also, in ‘Church History,’ Eusebius said, “Since in Christ there is a twofold nature, and the one – in so far as He is thought of as God – resembles the head of the body, while the other may be compared with the feet – in so far as He, for the sake of our salvation, put on human nature… no language is sufficient to express the origin and the worth, the being and the nature of Christ…For who beside the Father could clearly understand the Light which was before the world… the only begotten Son of God, the Lord and God and King of all created things… ‘in the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God… All things were made by Him and without Him nothing was made…’”
313: Constantine enacted the Edict of Milan, in which Christianity was given a legal status; and said, ‘each one may have the free opportunity to worship as he pleases…”
c.318: Arius, a presbyter (minister/preacher/priest) of Alexandria, Egypt (North Africa) began to teach a different Creed in which he and his ‘Arian’ followers did confess: “We believe in One God, the Father Almighty; and in the Lord Jesus Christ, His Son, who was begotten of Him before all ages, the Divine Logos, through whom all things were made… who came down and was made flesh; and suffered, and rose again; and ascended to the heavens; and shall come again to judge the quick (living) and the dead; and in the Holy Ghost; and in the resurrection of the flesh; and in the life of the world to come… and in one Catholic Church of God…” However, Arius taught that Jesus Christ, the Logos (Word) was created out of nothing before the world and was thus not of the same substance of the Father – He was to them ‘the first-born’ of creation of God… but ‘there was a time when He was not’ – thus, to Arians not eternal as being ‘with’ God ‘in the beginning’ as John taught – ‘the Word was with God (John 1:1).’
Bishop Alexander gave a ‘defense’ for the faith to no avail.
321: Bishop Alexander held a local synod (assembly of elders and bishops) and they condemned Arius’ teachings and excommunicated the Arians.
321-324: Arius called others to his side; of which Eusebius of Nicomedia was said to have supported him and to help spread the Arian doctrine.
324-325: Emperor Constantine I of the Roman Empire, the ‘first emperor’ to defend Christianity, desired to have the dispute settled – for it was spreading throughout parts of the empire; as well as had caught the hears and passion of his Christian advisors. Constantine sent Bishop Hosius of Cordova to Alexandria to settle the dispute; and when he could not, according to Eusebius (‘Life of Constantine; c. 338) the Emperor – “he convoked an Ecumenical Council” of all the bishops to meet in Nicaea (Nicea; Isnik, Turkey) which was a short distance north of Nicomedia.
May-June 325: The Council of Nicaea; called First Council of Nicaea and the First Ecumenical Council of the Christian Church. Constantine had invited about 1,800 bishops from the Eastern and Western parts of the Empire. Approximately 250-310 bishops from all parts of the Empire, even from as far as Britain (Britannia), meet in Nicaea. Eusebius counted over 250; Eustanthius, about 270; and Athanasius said there were 318 that attended between May 20 to June 19. Some say though about 800 invitations went out to western bishops – less than 10 Latins attended. More than 100 bishops were from Egypt and Libya regions.
Emperor Constantine presided over some meetings, but was said to have arrived about June 14. The foremost issue at hand was the Arian Conflict – concerning the eternal divinity of Christ Jesus and the proper Creed of the Church. Pope Sylvester I of Rome, Italy did not attend the Council, but sent two legates or representatives to condemn the Arian teaching. According to legend, it was Sylvester who later baptized Constantine into the faith.
Bishop Alexander of Alexandria and Athanasius, deacon and elder of Alexandria argued against the Arian doctrine and the need for their condemnation. Eusebius of Caesarea offered the baptismal creed of the diocese at Caesarea, Palestine, as an official CREED of the Church; and some say that the baptismal Creed of the Church at Jerusalem was one of the sources for the Nicene Creed. ALL the attendees, except for Arius (+ 2) agreed to sign the Nicene Creed.
The COUNCIL condemned Arius and those that would follow his teaching on Christ. Although, many were reluctant to banish Arius and the condemned to Illyria; the majority adopted that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit were “homoousios (of one substance);” and they officially set forth a Creed, the NICENE CREED (Symbolum Nicaeno-Constantinopolitanium). They discussed the ‘Trinity doctrine,’ and other matters as well: the proper date for Easter (Pascha), on consecrating bishops, condemned clerics lending money at interest, and refused that bishops, priests and deacons could move from one church into another at will.
Catholic Encyclopedia said that the Council put for 20 Canon (laws; rules of the Church):
325: Nicene Creed
We believe in one God, the FATHER Almighty, Maker of all things visible and invisible. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, (only) begotten of the Father; that is, of the essence (substance [ek tes ousias]) of the Father, God of God, light of light, very (true) God of very (true) God, begotten, not made, of the same substance (ὁμοούσιον; homoousios) with the Father [homoousion to patri], by (through) whom all things were made both in heaven and on earth; who for us men, and our salvation, came down (descended) and was incarnate and was made man, He suffered and the third day He rose again (He rose again the third day), ascended into heaven; from thence He shall come to judge the quick (living) and the dead. And in the Holy Ghost. Those who say: ‘There was a time when He was not,’ and ‘He was not before He was made (begotten);’ and ‘He was made out of nothing (ex ouk onton);’ or (maintain) ‘He is of another essence or (hypostasis or another) substance [than the Father],’ or ‘the Son of God is created,’ or ‘alterable (mutable or subject to change),’ they are condemned by the holy catholic and apostolic Church [them the Catholic Church anathematizes].
English Translation by Philip Schaff in “The Creeds of Christendom (1887);” many Catholic versions differ some words in () or .
Nicene Creed 325 AD, before being amended in 381 at the First Council of Constantinople: Nicene-Constantinoplitan Creed.