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Early Christianity Research Paper

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It is irrefutable that christianity is one of the dominant faiths in today's society, but how did it become so successful? Christianity and the development of the Church owes its success to key figures and aspects including: The Apologist that defended the true meaning of the doctrines, Athanasius, who refuted the false teachings of Arius, the Council of Nicea that drafted a creed affirming Jesus Christ, and St. Basil who clarified the ambiguous terminology put forth by the Council of Nicaea.
Christianity started out as small and illegal movement. The First Apology states that classical philosophers believed Christianity was an atheistic and lower class religion(Placher, 33). However, Tertullian, a highly educated Roman citizen was convinced
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Christians had many unanswered questions about their religion, and to make matters worst, religious leaders had different interpretations of the scriptures. This caused deep divisions and disputes amongst Christians. One question that was very controversial was how does one distinguish between the “father” and “son.” To many people today this difference might seem technical and completely uninteresting. But for early christians this was crucial for the development of a unified Christian Church. Arius attempted to answer this controversial question by stating that “He is neither part of God, nor of any essential being.” (placer, 53) Airus believed that Jesus was divine, however he was just a regular human being seperated from God. Airus also argued that Jesus' wisdom and teachings were more important than his death and resurrection(class notes). This claim infuriated Athanasius, who stated that “Of all the other heresies which have departed from the truth it is acknowledged that they have but devised a madness”(placer, 54) Athanasius believed that Airus’ claims were not only false but sacrilegious to foundation of Christianity. Athanasius believed that he was “not a creature or work, but an offspring proper to the Father’s essence. Wherefore He is very God, existing one in essence.”(placer, 53) Athanasius made it clear that Jesus is in fact One essence with God, which meant that like God, Jesus was unbegotten. …show more content…
The Nicean council had the term homoousios added to the creed of Nicea which defined the relationship of Father and Son in the Trinity. Unfortunately, this term was unclear since ousia was also a synonym of the term hypostasis which means underlying reality or substance (placer, 53). St. Basil was responsible for articulating what the Trinity really meant. The challenge for St. Basil was how to create a theological language that correctly defined each divine entity and how they relate to each other. St. Basil started by attempting to clarify what hypostasis and ousia meant. He stated that “The distinction between ousia and hypostasis is the same as that between the animal and the particular man.” In other words he argues that the two terms are not synonymous and that they therefore are not to be used equally in referring to the Godhead. St. Basil’s main concern was that one should understand that Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are really distinct but essentially equal things. St. Basil’s interpretation of the trinity remains at the cornerstone for Orthodox Trinitarian theology and was therefore an important factor in the Church's

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