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Nathan C. Arius the Libyan: a Romance of the Primitive Church.

Arius the Libyan: a Romance of the Primitive Church

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William Penn. Charity for the Suffering Souls. John A. Richard C. The John Milton Collection. John Locke. The Sacred Writings of Leo the Great. Leo the Great. There are several contemporary Christian and Post-Christian denominations today that echo Arian thinking. Jehovah's Witnesses are often referred to as "modern-day Arians" or sometimes " Semi-Arians ", [44] [45] usually by their opponents.

Arius considered the Holy Spirit to be a person or a high-ranking angel, which had a beginning as a creature, whereas the Witnesses consider the Holy Spirit to be God's "active force" or divine "energy", which had no beginning, and is not an actual person. The original Arians also generally prayed directly to Jesus, whereas the Witnesses pray to God, through Jesus as a mediator. Some Christians in the Unitarian Universalist movement are influenced by Arian ideas.

Contemporary Unitarian Universalist Christians often are either Arian or Socian in their Christology, seeing Jesus as a distinctive moral figure, but not God the Father, or follow Origen 's logic of Universal Salvation, and thus potentially affirm the Trinity, but assert that all are already saved. In explaining his actions against Arius, Alexander of Alexandria wrote a letter to Alexander of Constantinople and Eusebius of Nicomedia where the emperor was then residing , detailing the errors into which he believed Arius had fallen.

A Romance of the Primitive Church

According to Alexander, Arius taught:. That God was not always the Father, but that there was a period when he was not the Father; that the Word of God was not from eternity, but was made out of nothing; for that the ever-existing God 'the I AM'—the eternal One made him who did not previously exist, out of nothing; wherefore there was a time when he did not exist, inasmuch as the Son is a creature and a work.

That he is neither like the Father as it regards his essence, nor is by nature either the Father's true Word, or true Wisdom, but indeed one of his works and creatures, being erroneously called Word and Wisdom, since he was himself made of God's own Word and the Wisdom which is in God, whereby God both made all things and him also. Wherefore he is as to his nature mutable and susceptible of change, as all other rational creatures are: hence the Word is alien to and other than the essence of God; and the Father is inexplicable by the Son, and invisible to him, for neither does the Word perfectly and accurately know the Father, neither can he distinctly see him.

The Son knows not the nature of his own essence: for he was made on our account, in order that God might create us by him, as by an instrument; nor would he ever have existed, unless God had wished to create us. God has not always been Father; there was a moment when he was alone, and was not yet Father: later he became so. The Son is not from eternity; he came from nothing. This question of the exact relationship between the Father and the Son a part of the theological science of Christology had been raised some fifty years before Arius, when Paul of Samosata was deposed in for agreeing with those who used the word homoousios Greek for same substance to express the relation between the Father and the Son.

This term was thought at that time to have a Sabellian tendency, [53] though—as events showed—this was on account of its scope not having been satisfactorily defined.

Arius - Wikipedia

In the discussion which followed Paul's deposition, Dionysius , the Bishop of Alexandria, used much the same language as Arius did later, and correspondence survives in which Pope Dionysius blames him for using such terminology. Dionysius responded with an explanation widely interpreted as vacillating. The Synod of Antioch , which condemned Paul of Samosata, had expressed its disapproval of the word homoousios in one sense, while Bishop Alexander undertook its defense in another.


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Although the controversy seemed to be leaning toward the opinions later championed by Arius, no firm decision had been made on the subject; in an atmosphere so intellectual as that of Alexandria, the debate seemed bound to resurface—and even intensify—at some point in the future. Three surviving letters attributed to Arius are his letter to Alexander of Alexandria , [54] his letter to Eusebius of Nicomedia , [55] and his confession to Constantine. These quotations are often short and taken out of context, and it is difficult to tell how accurately they quote him or represent his true thinking.

Arius' Thalia literally, "Festivity", "banquet" , a popularized work combining prose and verse and summarizing his views on the Logos, [57] survives in quoted fragmentary form. In the Thalia, Arius says that God's first thought was the creation of the Son, before all ages, therefore time started with the creation of the Logos or Word in Heaven lines , ; explains how the Son could still be God , even if he did not exist eternally lines ; and endeavors to explain the ultimate incomprehensibility of the Father to the Son lines The two available references from this work are recorded by his opponent Athanasius: the first is a report of Arius's teaching in Orations Against the Arians , This paraphrase has negative comments interspersed throughout, so it is difficult to consider it as being completely reliable.

The second quotation is found in the document On the Councils of Arminum and Seleucia , also known as De Synodis , pg. This second passage is entirely in irregular verse, and seems to be a direct quotation or a compilation of quotations; [59] it may have been written by someone other than Athanasius, perhaps even a person sympathetic to Arius. It also contains some positive statements about the Son. And so God Himself, as he really is, is inexpressible to all. He alone has no equal, no one similar homoios , and no one of the same glory.

We worship him as timeless, in contrast to him who in time has come to exist. For he is not equal to, nor is he of the same being homoousios as him.

Arius the Libyan: Heretic as Hero

He is invisible both to things which were made through the Son, and also to the Son himself. Their beings hypostaseis are not mixed together among themselves. As far as their glories, one infinitely more glorious than the other. The Father in his essence ousia is a foreigner to the Son, because he exists without beginning. Understand that the Monad [eternally] was; but the Dyad was not before it came into existence. It immediately follows that, although the Son did not exist, the Father was still God.

Wisdom came to be Wisdom by the will of the Wise God. God's glory, Truth, Image, and Word. Understand that he is also conceived of as Radiance and Light. But not someone more important, or superior, or greater. He, though strong God, praises in part ek merous his superior. So that the son does not comprehend any of these things or have the understanding to explain them. For it is impossible for him to fathom the Father, who is by himself. For being Son, his existence is most certainly at the will of the Father.

A slightly different edition of the fragment of the Thalia from De Synodis is given by G. Stead, [64] and served as the basis for a translation by R. Hanson based his translation of this fragment directly on Stead's text. Here is Stead's edition with Hanson's translation. And God is wise because he is the Teacher of Wisdom. He is only-begotten God and he is different from any others. For he is the Mighty God [i. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For other uses, see Arius disambiguation. Arius arguing for the supremacy of God the Father, and that the Son had a beginning as a true Firstborn.

Ptolemais, Cyrenaica , Roman Empire. Constantinople , Thracia , Roman Empire. Main article: Arianism. Main article: First Council of Nicaea. See also: Nicene Creed. Main articles: Gothic Christianity and Germanic Christianity. John Hunt Publishing. Retrieving Nicaea. Grand Rapids: BakerAcademic. Arius, who was born in Libya, was a respected ascetic and presbyter at the church of the Baucalis in Alexandria. Arius Revised ed. Grand Rapids, Michigan: W. The Search for the Christian Doctrine of God.

Arius and Nicea

Grand Rapids: Baker Academic. Arianism: Historical and Theological Reassessments : — Lynnwood: Northwest Theological Seminary. Retrieved 2 May Collegeville: Liturgical Press.