Arianism is a doctrine that was taught by Arius of Alexandrian (ca. 280-336), which viewed preexisted Son of God as a first created creature before and above all other creatures. He is not out of the essence but the will of God the Father.
Arianism perceived pre-existed Son of God as the perfect image of the Father and the executor of God the Father’s thoughts. Thus preexisted Christ Jesus is “capable of being called in a metaphorical sense God, and Logos, and Wisdom.”(Schaff 1997: n.p)
Shedd and Gomes explained that “Arius taught that God created a rational spirit creature called the ‘Son-Logos.’ At the incarnation the created Son-Logos assumed bodily form.”(Shedd & Gomes 2003: 952)
Arius and his fellows, applied Origen’s (ca. 185- ca. 254) teachings, viz., ontological Platonic categories of attributing hypostasis and subordination to God the Father, to an extreme of asserting that only God the Father is “unbegotten, eternal, and without beginning or change. Christ is distinct from God, created out of nothing by the will of God”( Fahlbusch & Bromiley 2003: 121)
Athanasius of Alexandria (ca.295-373) contended that Arianians have contra Scriptura invented a doctrine that asserted:
God was not always a Father, but there was a time when God was not a Father. The Word of God was not always, but originated from things that were not; for God that is, has made him that was not, of that which was not; wherefore there was a time when He was not; for the Son is a creature and a work.( Schaff & Wace 1892: 70)
Athanasius depicted Arianians position that the Son of God is neither like the Father in essence, nor true Wisdom and natural Word of the Father. The Son of God “originated by the proper Word of God, and by the Wisdom that is in God, by which God has made not only all other things but Him also.”(ibid: 70)
Steven Lawson pointed out that “Athanasius mounted his response to Arius by expounding the eternality of the Son. The natures of the Father and of the Son are identical, he said—both are eternal.”(Lawson 2011: 150). Athanasius addressed the difficult passages that Arianians used (Acts 2:36; Col. 1:15; Heb. 1:14) and “cites almost all the familiar proof-texts which ascribe to Christ divine names, divine attributes, divine works, and divine dignity […]”(Schaff 1997: n.p)
Arianism was anathematized at the ecumenical council of Nicea (A.D.325) because it destroyed the whole doctrine of salvation, borrowing Athanasius words. As Schaff explained “For if the Son is a creature, man remains still separated, as before, from God; no creature can redeem other creatures, and unite them with God. If Christ is not divine, much less can we be partakers of the divine nature and children of God”(ibid: n.p)
All 318, except Theonas and Secundus of Alexandria, bishops present in Nicaea I, the first ecumenical council summoned by the Emperor Constantine in A.D.325, affirmed the Deity of Christ Jesus(Schaff: 1994: 623-9), namely Jesus is begotten of the Father before all worlds, very God of very God, begotten, not made, and His being is of one substance with the Father. They anathematized the teachings of Arius as heresy.
Reestablishing Arius’ Christology, in our contemporary time, are the followers of Charles Taze Russell (1852-1916), Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Question For Jehovah’s Witness:
What Bible passages convinced you that Jesus is not God but angel Michael? Give reasons.
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Lawson, S. J. (2011). Vol. 2: Pillars of Grace (AD 100–1564). A Long Line of Godly Men. Lake Mary, FL: Reformation Trust Publishing
Schaff, P., & Schaff, D. S. (1997). History of the Christian church. Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
__________________(1994), History of the Christian Church,Vol. III; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.
__________________(1983) The Creeds of Christendom, Volume 1: The History of Creeds. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.
__________________(1892) Athanasius Deposition of Arius: A Select Library of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church, Second Series, Volume IV: St. Athanasius: Select Works and Letters. 1892 (P. Schaff & H. Wace, Ed.). New York: Christian Literature Company.
Shedd, W. G. T., & Gomes, A. W. (2003). Dogmatic theology (3rd ed.). Phillipsburg, N.J.: P & R Pub.