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Council of Nicaea

QUESTION: Council of Nicaea – Did they decide Jesus’ divinity?


What part did the Council of Nicaea play in Jesus’ divinity? Dan Brown makes a claim in his book The Da Vinci Code that, if true, would be devastating to the historic Christian faith. He says through his fictional character Teabing (p. 233-234), that up until the Emperor Constantine convened the Council of Nicaea in the year 325 A.D.,

    “Jesus was viewed as a mortal prophet . . . a great and powerful man, but a man nonetheless. . . . Jesus’ establishment as ‘the Son of God’ was officially proposed and voted on by the Council of Nicaea. . . . Many scholars claim that the early Church literally stole Jesus from His original followers hijacking His human message, shrouding it in an impenetrable cloak of divinity. . . . Constantine upgraded Jesus’ status almost four centuries after Jesus’ death. . . .”
However, this short excerpt from Brown’s book is fraught with inaccuracies. A few quick examples:

  • The Council of Nicaea did not debate whether Jesus was called “the Son of God” -- this was an established fact that had been known for hundreds of years.

  • Constantine did not control the Council of Nicaea, and he certainly did not invent the idea of Jesus’ deity. That was already believed from the days Jesus walked the earth, and it was reaffirmed throughout centuries of early church history.

  • Constantine lived in the fourth century, which means that his reign, as well as the timing of the Council of Nicaea, were only three centuries after Jesus’ death -- not four.

  • Initially many people did see Jesus as a mere “mortal prophet,” as Brown’s Teabing character contends, but the real challenge to their viewpoint came only three days after Jesus’ crucifixion when He resurrected from the dead -- not three hundred years later at a church council.
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What do you think?
We have all sinned and deserve God’s judgment. God, the Father, sent His only Son to satisfy that judgment for those who believe in Him. Jesus, the creator and eternal Son of God, who lived a sinless life, loves us so much that He died for our sins, taking the punishment that we deserve, was buried, and rose from the dead according to the Bible. If you truly believe and trust this in your heart, receiving Jesus alone as your Savior, declaring, "Jesus is Lord," you will be saved from judgment and spend eternity with God in heaven.

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