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The Development of Doctrine in Early Christianity

The early years of the religion of Christianity are truly an amazing span of time to scrutinize from a historical point of view.  What's fascinating about Christianity with regards to the period of time when the religion was just beginning to get off the ground is that if things had gone differently during those very early years back during times of antiquity, it is extremely likely that Christianity in the way people all over the world know it today might have never existed.  For those who might not be aware of some of the smaller minutia of ancient history, an interesting fact to be aware of is that Christianity was a religion whose practitioners were persecuted for a significant period of time by those whose job it was to enforce the law as well as those who were members of the government of the time period whose job it was to make the law. In Ancient Roman times, Christianity was essentially an illegal religion.

It wasn't until one of Rome's rulers converted to Christianity himself that it became okay for common people to openly practice Christianity.  Emperor Constantine I of Ancient Rome was the Caesar who made Christianity a legally valid option in terms of religions that could be practiced by Romans at the time.  This early time period in terms of the first five hundred years that Christianity began and was allowed to exist was a time of tumultuous change with regards to new ideas, concepts, and methods of thought and philosophy that came into the minds of the first Christians.  The doctrine of the trinity is the one that modern Christians are aware of today; however, it wasn't always the only idea in terms of how Christians perceived their spirituality or how Christians interpreted their particular concept of God.  A number of differing concepts with regards to the early years of Christianity battled amongst each other for the attentions of Christians that were alive in Ancient Rome during that time.

The concept of the trinity was the line of thought that turned out to be victorious amongst all of the early Christian philosophies that existed at the time, but some of the events with regards to ancient history that occurred before that happened are what is interesting to look at.  Two of the concepts that also had a significant amount of support at the same time were Arianism and Modalism.  Each one of these three concepts, Arianism, Modalism, and the idea of the trinity are systems of thought that are distinct and different from the others.  Each individual religious philosophy with regards to how it relates to Christianity has a whole has strengths, weaknesses, and reasons for being a valid line of thinking in and of itself.  Each and every one of these religious systems of thought contributed to Christianity's concept of God, the development of that idea of God, and even the concept of God that a significant number of modern Christians have today.  The idea of the trinity is a fascinating concept to explore in terms of how it went from a simple idea to having the position that it does within Christianity today. 

In order to comprehend exactly why the idea of the trinity was eventually the concept that was accepted over all of the other modes of religious thinking that existed at the time, the historical context of the time period in which the idea of the trinity existed immediately prior to its acceptance as the religious philosophy with the greatest theological weight within Christianity is an era in ancient Roman  history that needs to be explored.  Christianity was a religion that made a giant, abrupt jump from being a religious philosophy that was illegal and not condoned by ancient Rome's ruling class to being the religious choice of the Caesar himself.  All of a sudden, Christianity became something that was okay to believe in just like the normal, ordinary, everyday pagan beliefs that ancient Romans had the time and overtly practiced were.  Christianity was given an aura of legitimacy, and that was something that meant that practicing Christians and the leadership in charge of the religion of Christianity at the time would have to take steps to define what religious philosophies within the religion of Christianity and Christian theology were really going to be like. 

Deciding which mode of religious philosophy would turn out to be the reigning theological system of thinking was one of the first steps early Christians had to take in order to congeal together some of the rudimentary ideas concerning God that they had in order to accomplish the purpose of bringing their view of the godhead into fruition in terms of it being a comprehensible theological concept that members of the general public would be able to easily digest.  Arianism, Modalism, and the concept of the trinity weren't the only three ideas in existence in ancient Rome at the time, but they were some of the religious philosophies that were the most popular.  It was these three philosophies as well as several others that got the most attention from early Christians at the time. 

A great deal of things occurred after the crucifixion of Jesus and before the first Council of Nicaea in antiquity that helped to define Christianity and the Christian conception of God.  These other philosophies include Gnosticism, Adoptionism, Marchionism, Montanism, and several other permutations in terms of theology.  Declaring these other philosophies to be heresy was something that the first Council of Nicaea accomplished and that was an action that was part of the purpose of the  first Council of Nicaea, which was otherwise known as the First Ecumenical Council.  The First Ecumenical Council didn't take place in order to tell people what they could and could not believe in terms of the nature of Christ in relation to the Christian concept of God; however, there were a lot of different ideas that people had after the crucifixion of Christ that developed over a significant period of time, and a significant number of disagreements existed in regards to the true nature of Christ as well as what his exact relationship to God was.  The first Council of Nicaea was allowed to take place during ancient  Roman times in order to resolve these issues and to bring definition to a religion that, at least at the time, was conflicted as to what the substance that it was made of in terms of religious theology would be.

Something else that the First Council of Nicaea did was make Christianity's celebration of the holiday commonly known as Easter into a celebration that was a thing that was different from the Jewish celebration of the same holiday.  The first Ecumenical Council separated the Christian Easter by making it a holiday that would depend on calculations made on the Christian calendar.  Ancient Christian leadership decided that their Easter would still be on a Sunday, but those who held positions of authority within the Christianity of that era decided that their Easter wouldn't necessarily have to be on the same day as the Jewish Easter; however, for the quaint, antiquated, Christians leaders of Ancient Rome, if it just so happened that their Easter decided to fall on the same day as the Jewish Easter during one particular year or another, their decision was that it would be not necessarily be bad, that it would be permissible, and that it would be okay with them. Regardless of any disputes as to what might have been precisely the exact, perfectly historically correct, theologically proven right time for the Easter bunny with the painted eggs to make his or her appearance, ancient Christian leadership was in agreement with the concept that Jesus rose on the third day, and the Christians of antiquity in ancient Roman times celebrated Easter out of reverence for what they believed was the divinity of Jesus and the closely related deity whom they considered to be God.  According to Steven Runciman, “The Seven Eecumenical Councils were considered, along with the Holy Scriptures, to be the basis of the Orthodox faith.  Each had been convened to settle some particular point of theology and pronounce against some particular heresy.  The doctrine of the Trinity is a difficult doctrine and the doctrine of the Incarnation makes it no easier.  The path of correct Christology was very narrow, and even the best-intentioned theologian might slip to one side or the other.  Christianity had triumphed over paganism in the midst of one of her own civil wars when the Ariansby denvying the full divinity of Christ, were trying to establish a more unitarian concepton of the Godhead”.

In terms of the divinity of Jesus and the authentic nature of God, both were subjects that many different early Christian believers had differing ideas about.  The concepts relating to the trinity which modern believers know of today are the ideas that prevail in the current era, but that wasn't the case in older Roman times during ages of antiquity.  Ideas like Arianism and Modalism questioned a great deal of the theological beliefs that modern Christian believers take for granted.  The divine nature and divine origins of Jesus were some of what beliefs that were later recognized as heresies, such as Arianism and Modalism,  questioned.  The mainstream Christian conception of God and the relationship Jesus had with God were other Christian ideas that ancient beliefs that were eventually declared to be heresies were contentious with.  The First Ecumenical Council helped to cement ideas regarding the trinity into place and give support to the idea of the trinity as the true nature of the godhead in terms of Christian theological reasoning.  Early Christian history was a time when ancient believers were not only persecuted for a long time before being granted support by Constantine I, but it was also a time when Christians had some arguments amongst themselves in terms of their religion.  Early Christians were asking themselves who their God really was, whether or not Jesus was really divine in nature, and how to make sense of it all. 

A assortment of disparate events occurred between the crucifixion of Jesus and the First Council of Nicaea that shows those who might exist in modern times who take the time to look back on history what went into the creation of the Christian concept of God why the Christian conception of God is what it is today.  The majority of what happened with regards to Christianity in Ancient Roman times had to do with the exchange of beliefs, concepts, and ideas in relation to what beliefs were permitted, which ones were persecuted or looked down upon, how long-held beliefs changes, and how certain ideas were perceived.  The concept of the trinity was the thought that prevailed, but the journey towards the realization of the trinity as the belief which ended up being the idea supported by the majority is what is fascinating to gaze at in terms of the ancient historical context of the development of the godhead.

Arianism was a belief that was unbelievably divisive with regards to Christians during the earliest times of Christianity's existence.  Arianism is a belief system which questions the divinity of Jesus as well as some of his divine origins.  Those who believed in what early Christians referred to by using a term that they liked to use called 'Arianism' thought that Jesus wasn't a God or equal to God.  Airans saw Jesus as a person whose life, like the lives of all people who lived in ancient Roman times as well as modern times, had a beginning as well as an end.  To those who believed in Arianism during ancient times, Jesus was a person who wasn't exactly like other people, but was not the equal of God, either.  A large amount of what the Arians who were alive during ancient times after the crucifixion of Jesus believed that is available today is information that was written by people who lived at the time who were opposed to Arianism, so determining precisely what ancient Arians believed is not something that is a simple task to accomplish.  Those who believed in Arianism during times of antiquity, like many who considered themselves Christian during those times, often disagreed with each other.  Arianism was one of the biggest, most divisive dissensions within the Christianity of older ages, and Arians had disagreemants amongst themselves.  Exactly how far from being a divine creature Jesus was  inspired serious, consequential, expressive disputes amongst Arians.

Because of the fact that all of the whole conglomeration of concepts concerning Arianism came from a priest named Arius who lived during the antiquated ages of early Christianity and taught his beliefs to others while he existed, early Christians dubbed many forms of thought that followed that appeared to follow that line of thinking 'Arianism' after the Arius who, during the time that he was alive, taught that Jesus was not divine in nature in a manner equivalent to God.  Arius was excommunicated more than once while he was alive, but he had a significant amount of followers remained loyal to his ideas and helped to spread his beliefs even after he died.  Arianism caused a lot of conflict and controversy within the early Christian church during those times.  Arius was someone who had a strong influence within educational institutions that members of the public attended during that time in history, and he used his influence to spread his ideas amongst the populace.  The result was that the beliefs and ideas that Arius advocated ended up spreading fast and becoming popular quickly.  Arianism became an idea that went from being relatively obscure to being something that questioned and challenged more orthodox Christian ideas in a short amount of time.  Modern practitioners of the religion of Christianity will recognize remnants of the beliefs of Arianism in forms of faith which exist today such as Unitarianism as well as the type of spirituality practiced by those who consider themselves to be Jehovah Witnesses.

Trinitarian beliefs are the ideas practiced in times of antiquity that are the most strongly prevalent within Christianity today, but Arianism was only one out of a multitude of opposing thoughts that existed in order to challenge those beliefs back then.  Modalism, also known as Sabellianism, was another popular mode of thought that questioned the methods by which those who might have believed in Trinitarianism came to their conclusions.  Modalists criticized many ideas related to Jesus and the concept of the trinity.  Modalists believed in that God was only one, that God was a singular God, and that God was an ineffable, incomprehensible, all-encompassing, omniscient, omnipotent being.  The idea alive within Christianity at the time that has prevailed and been able to continue to exist into modern times the idea that God is a being that has three aspects, and that was something that those who believed in Modalism rejected.  Modalists didn't  believe in the same type of trinity that mainstream Christians have come to be familiar with today.  The Modalist God was one God alone, and that was the idea that made the most sense to those who supported Modalism.  The concepts of the Son and the Holy Spirit in the way that mainstream Christians knew them were both ideas that those who believed in Modalism rejected.

What those who believed in Modalism thought was that the Son and the Holy Spirit were both different aspects of the same God.  The God that those who supported Modalism believed in was one God that existed alone.  The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit were not each one third of God in and of themselves, but what they were instead in the way those that believed in Modalism understood them were aspects of God that appeared to be God because believers perceived them to be that way.  Modalists believed that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit each appeared to be God to believers because believers perceived them to be that way.  To a modalist, there was only one God, and a person who followed a Christian set of beliefs perceived that to be different in certain instances because it appeared to be that way.  The mask, or mode, of the 'Father,' the 'Son,' or the 'Holy Spirit' were each simply differing roles that God had to play in order for believers to be able to perceive and comprehend that there was a God.  Certain forms of Pentacostal Christianity which are practiced in modern times serve as a reminder that Modalism, which was also known as Monarchianism or Sabellianism during ancient times, once existed. Today, which happens to be occurring in the year two thousand and nine, the heated arguments regarding theological beliefs that happened during ancient times appears to have concerned an assortment of concepts which many people today consider to be minor details; however, minor details that appear to mean nothing to many people who call themselves Christian believers today were once ideas that were incredibly significant to those who practiced Christianity during what people today in the year two thousand nine consider to be ancient times.

For those who believed in what was then referred to as Trinitarianism, the dissension and opposing assertions presented by those who supported Modalism presented a significant challenge to beliefs held by those who considered themselves to be Trinitarians who thought their interpretation of Christianity should be the prevailing one.  To many ancient Christians who believed in the theology of Trinitarianism, Modalism represented an extreme form of monotheism that many Trinitarians who considered their ideas to be the more mainstream ones perceived as being a threat to their beliefs and their form of thought in relation to Christian theology.  A person who considered himself a theologian who was alive at the time that was strongly, loudly, actively opposed to dissensions from Trinitarianism that proved himself to be a staunch opponent of Modalism was Tertullian.  Theologians such as Tertullian were deeply offended by Modalism and its denial of what Trinitarians considered to be the true nature of the trinity. 

In spite of successes in terms of arguing against specific ideas such as those advocated by Modalism and Arianism, a reality that early Christians had to deal with was that there were numerous ideas and philosophies that had to do with Christianity that existed during those early years.  Not everyone who lived during ancient times and considered himself or herself to be a Christian, whether he or she lived during a specific time period right after the crucifixion of Jesus when Christianity was persecuted or not, believed in the same set of ideas that are taken for granted today.  Many differences between Christian beliefs existed, and a multitude of dissenting permutations of Christianity were what Christians of antiquity had to deal with both before and after the Christianity's legalization.  What is ironic is that after Rome stopped persecuting Christianity and Christian leaders decided what specific kind of Christianity defined the godhead, something that started to happen was that Christians started persecuting each other.  Those who didn't toe the Trinitarian line were labeled as heretics and treated as such.

What is intriguing to speculate about, conduct research on, and gaze into are some of the different theological interpretations of religion that existed during that time in history.  Each form of religious thought had came with its own interpretation of Christianity, but each had an interpretation of Christianity that came from the same bible.  One more of religious thought which might be a bit more familiar to modern readers and researchers than Arianism or Modalism is Gnosticism.  During ancient times, Gnosticism was a school of thought that didn't appear to be as much of a heretical threat to Christians who thought of their unique beliefs as things that were a part of what Christian leadership at the time considered to be the orthodox set of thoughts, but it is a footnote in history that has a tendency to pique the curiosity of readers and researchers in modern times.  Those who take the time to look back on alternate interpretations of Christianity sometimes find that lines of thought that were once labeled as heretical can sometimes contain some fascinating aspects in terms of their interpretations of Christian scripture.

Gnosticism is a form of thinking that sometimes refers to other faiths and has roots in religions other than Christianity; however, there was a form of Gnosticism that had exclusively to do with Christianity during those times, and mainstream Christians who agreed with the belief in the trinity that would be recognized as the orthodox belief by the Council of Nicaea didn't always agree with what Gnosticism had to say. In Ancient Roman times, those who were attracted to Gnosticism and Gnostic forms of theology made references to portions of biblical scripture that would later be labeled as being a part of what modern Christians recognize today as the Apocrypha.  When Christian believers who exist during the year two thousand nine refer to the apocryphal texts of the Bible, what they are referring to are some of the books of the Bible that were not originally included in the official version of the Bible recognized by the church. 

The Gospel of Thomas is an apocryphal text of the Bible that is often recognized as revealing a bit of Gnostic thinking, and those who believed in Gnosticism during ancient times often referred to numerous apocryphal writings.  Gnosticism during ancient times was something that was considerably contrastive from the concept of the trinity that was adopted as the orthodox point of view by the first Council of Nicaea.  In a number of ways, the Gnosticism that was preached as an alternate interpretation of Christianity in ancient times was even more largely dissimilar from the version of Christian beliefs that were adopted as the orthodox set of beliefs  than beliefs such as Arianism and Modalism were.  For modern researchers, historians, and Christian believers who are accustomed to the mainstream interpretation of the character of the trinity, the Gnosticism of Ancient Roman times sometimes hardly resembles a theology related enough to Christianity to be regarded as being a part of the same religion.  Gnostics were believers that appeared to have an innumerable, boundless, sundry of dissenting theology in terms of ideas that were different from orthodox thoughts concerning the trinity.         

Gnostics believed that the God that created the world was a deity that was imperfect, and that was part of the Gnostic view of the God of the old testament of the Bible.  In the Gnostic perception of Christian texts and thought, the God that created the world was a spirit that had fallen.  A person who considered himself or herself to be a Gnostic in Ancient Roman times was someone who believed that a person trapped in a world created by an imperfect God was a soul who could achieve freedom by acquiring secret knowledge.  This secret knowledge was referred to as Gnosis, and those who adhered to this line of thinking became known as Gnostics.  Gnosticism is the term that modern readers, researchers, students, theologians, and Christian believers use to refer to those that followed that unique set of beliefs in those times; Gnosis in ancient times was a word that meant knowledge.  The interpretation of Christian scripture that those who are referred to as Gnostics by modern academic researchers supported was an interpretation that had a larger depth, range, and variety of pagan origins and influence than the orthodox version of the interpretation of the spiritual nature of the trinity could even imagine having.  

With regards to the existence of differing forms of thinking with respect to Christian theology during the early years of Christianity, what is intriguing to take notice of is the fact that each school of Christian thought utilized the Bible in order to support their logic.  Trinitarians, Modalists, Arians, and others could each quote passages from the Bible that supposedly supported their point of view even if their point of view denied part of the divinity of Christ or an aspect concerning the holiness of the trinity.  When Christianity achieved legalization and legitimacy, many alternative forms of theology were labeled as heretical; however, each mode of thinking had its own kind of logic behind it in terms of the portions of scripture that were used to give it support.  Those who may have believed in theological ideas such as Modalism, Gnosticism, or Arianism didn't just invent them from their own imaginations.  Some Christians simply interpreted the same Bible in a different manner than others. 

The doctrine of the trinity that eventually proved to be victorious over the other religious philosophies that existed at the time with regards to early Christianity simply states that there is one God, but that the one God that exists can be found in three persons.  The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are the three manifestations of the one God.  That doesn't mean that the Father is the same person as the Son and the Holy Spirit, that the Son is the same person as the Father and the Holy Spirit, or that the Holy Spirit, the Son, and the Father are exactly the same person in any way.  There is one God, but that God is a God that is the Father, the Son, and also the Holy Spirit.  Those that opposed the doctrine of the trinity in ancient times believed that it was an interpretation of the Bible that had its roots in some of the paganism and pagan religions that were around during that era in history. 

Those who advocated Modalism, Arianism, and other theological philosophies like them thought that the idea of a trinity in terms of the nature of God was a bastardization of what they thought Christianity should be like, and those who didn't believe in the trinity in the same way often thought that the kind of Christianity practiced by the public should be a more radically monotheistic Christianity than what they thought that those with Trinitarian beliefs were in support of.  Those who  belonged to schools of thought that didn't hold the same beliefs about the trinity often had the mistaken idea that a trinity referred to three Gods instead of one God.  For many people alive during ancient times, the idea of a trinity was a something that they sometimes failed to be able to wrap their minds around.  The idea of a trinity was a concept that was a little too abstract for some, and for others it was an idea that seemed to be one which reeked of the influence of pagan faiths.

For some Modalists, Arians, and those who adhered to similar lines of thinking, the concept of a trinity was something that appeared to have roots in pagan religions that were deeper than those who supported the concept of a trinity were willing to let on.  Others who opposed the thought of a trinity in relation to God thought that the idea of a trinity wasn't something that they perceived as having a large amount of support in Biblical scripture in either the New Testament and or the Old Testament.  To those opposed to the theological belief in the trinity, the Old Testament had no references that indicated that there was any kind of trinity at all.  In ancient times with respect to the era that could be regarded as the one which gave birth to Christianity, Christianity was a fledgling religion that had origins in Judaism. Those who were alive during that antiquated time period knew Judaism to be a completely monotheistic faith. There was no reference of a type of triad of deities in orthodox forms of Judaism which were practiced during that era of history.

Many people held the belief that the idea of a trinity was something that didn't have much basis in scripture, but that it was something that was pretty much just an idea that was introduced in order to placate those who belonged to pagan religions.  The idea of a trinity of deities was something that many pagan religions had.  The Egyptians, the Babylonians, the Indians who resided in India during ancient times, the Sumerians, the Japanese, and a host of other groups of people who did not practice any form of Judaism or Christianity that existed before Christianity came into being often all had  references to a trinity of deities within their respective pagan systems of belief.  Critics of the Christian system of theological belief that advocated a trinity claimed that there was very little within the Bible to support the idea of a trinity and that the concept that God might exist in any kind of a trinity was something added to Christian thought that came from pagan ideals.  Opponents of the concept of a trinity viewed the idea of a trinity as something that was added to Christianity to simply keep Pagans happy and make Christianity into something that was acceptable to them.

The First Ecumenical Council, otherwise known as the Council of Nicaea, was a turning point in history in terms of being the place in time when the concept of there being a trinity was given definition for the first time.  For the first time in recorded history, a basic dispute with regards to Christian theology was addressed and the idea of their being a trinity in the way that Christians have come to understand the idea of a trinity today was the theological religious concept that was given validity by Christian leadership during that antiquated era.  What is an interesting fact that was true during that era was that until the First Ecumenical Council gave definition to the doctrine of the trinity and recognized it as the belief that was the theological position of orthodox Christianity, many of those who believed in the concept of the trinity in the way many modern Christians do today did not know what to call themselves.

Many of those who were alive during Ancient Roman times who identified themselves as Christian and held beliefs that they thought were Trinitarian were really lending their support to a set of theological beliefs that are known today to be something more like Semi-Arianism.  Many Trinitarians who were alive during ancient times were Christians who didn't go as far with their systems of thought as Arianism did; however, they still held ideas that fell short of orthodox Christianity, and some of their beliefs conflicted with those of orthodox Christianity.  What was defined during the First Ecumenical Council to be the official position of Christianity in terms of Christian beliefs differed from the beliefs that some Trinitarians, who are known today to as Semi-Arians. as well as some Arians had.  The aspect of the godhead that orthodox Christians, Semi-Arians, and Arians disagreed with was the nature of the trinity.  One group believed that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit were all composed of the same ethereal substance and were equally holy, another viewed the Son and the Holy Spirit as being inferior to the Father, and another thought that the Son and the Father were similar in substance, yet not the same.  

The official position of the early Christian church that was adopted at the First Ecumenical Council was the the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit were of the same spiritual essence.  Arianism and Semi-Arianism were both labeled as being completely heretical with respect to the orthodox beliefs of Christianity.  Semi-Arianism and Arianism are often referred to by historians as the Trinitarian heresy.  Semi-Arians and Arians believed in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Sprit, but they did not have the same view of the relationship that the three had with each other that those with an orthodox view of Christian theology did.  What became known as the Trinitarian heresy was something that caused a significant amount of conflict within the early Christian church when it existed during that antiquated era of Ancient Roman history, and what was decided by leaders of the church at the time was that their official position would be that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost were three distinct persons within one godhead that were equal in respect with regards to their divinity. 

Those who did not believe in the orthodox Christian position concerning the trinity continued to preach their opposing positions even after being labeled heretics at the First Ecumenical Council.  In addition to those who consider themselves to be Unitarians or Jehovah Witnesses, another modern group of religious Christians that exists today who oppose mainstream theology regarding the trinity are Mormons.  Arians, Semi-Arians, and others who were considered to be heretical in terms of their thinking persevered in small ways while they were being pursued and persecuted after being regarded as heretics by Christian orthodoxy, and the fact that remnants of the theological alternatives that they advocated remain in existence during the current era is remarkable.  For the majority of Christians who adhered to the beliefs advocated by orthodoxy, the mainstream concept of the trinity was the belief that had the most theological weight, but there were a few who disagreed.  Arians, Semi-Arians, and others similar to them just thought that the orthodox Christian idea of the trinity was something that made very little sense philosophically.  To most early Christians, the issue of different ideas concerning the trinity was a dispute that was done and over with after the First Ecumenical Council. 

Although Mormonism, Jehovah Witnesses, Unitarianism, as well as the possibility of one or two other offshoots of ancient ideas that were once labeled heresies have survived into modern times, an intriguing aspect of ancient history that might pique the interest of a few modern Christian believers is that the word “trinity” is not part of the vocabulary of the New Testament.  Many of the verses in the Bible that were referred to by ancient Christian leadership in order to support a particular interpretation of Christian theology came from the New Testament; however, the term “trinity” is not a term that can be found in the New Testament of the Bible, and the word “trinity” in the way that modern Christians understand it today is actually a term that has a different origin than that of biblical scripture.  “Trinity” was a word that was used for the first time by the theologian Tertullian, and someone who was stalwartly in disagreement with a few theological modes of thinking that were regarded as heresies after the First Ecumenical Council was who he was. 

To Tertullian and those who supported the understanding of the trinity backed by Christian leaders during the first Council of Nicaea, there was a trinity in terms of Christian theological beliefs even in the Bible didn't explicitly say so.  A fact that is as obvious to everyone today as it was in ancient times is that one and one and one, when added together, make three.  With regards to theological support for the idea of the trinity in the way that people like Tertullian and others like him understood it, a number of significant sections of biblical scripture were listed by supporters.   Like ancient Christian believers whose line of thinking leaned more towards Gnosticism, Arianism, Semi-Arianism, Modalism, and other alternative interpretations of biblical scripture, those who considered themselves to be adherent to a more orthodox interpretation of biblical scripture utilized the Bible in order to support their assertions, as well.  Supporters of the notion that God existed in a trinity in the manner that the majority of Christian believers know today claimed that the idea of a trinity was one that was echoed in several particular, singularly noticeable sections of biblical scripture, and they claimed that the Bible showed evidence that there was a trinity in spite of the fact that it didn't explicitly say so.

For leadership at the First Ecumenical Council, the interpretation of scripture that was recognized and given support as being that which was most in line with orthodoxy was the interpretation that modern believers know of today.  The concept that God exists as three persons in a trinity, all of which are both equal in respect to each other and not the same as one another at the same time, was the notion that Christian leaders at the First Ecumenical Council believed made the most amount of sense in terms of its interpretation of biblical scripture.  Regardless of the voices of dissenters, the version of the trinity that most mainstream Christians have come to be aware of today is the one which was given support by Christian leadership at the first Council of Nicaea. 

What those who were in a position of authority during those times wanted to accomplish was to give support to the set of beliefs that exemplified the position of the majority of Christians at the time.  Christian leaders wanted to give a Christianity that was a newer religion during that time period an identity that was unique and all its own.  According to Bruce Marshall, “In the case few the Christian community, I have suggested, our empirical criterion for centrality of belief points to the church's humanitarian identification of God.  It seems that no practice is more primitively embedded and persistently maintained in the Christian community that that of calling upon Jesus, or, we could equally well say., of calling upon the Father thought and with Jesus int the Spirit.  Therefore the beliefs upon which this practice chiefly depends are the ones which are most central for this community:  those which identify the crucified Israelite Jesus as raised by the Father, in the Spirit whom Jesus and the Father have poured out on all flesh; by constituting the narrative of these actions the same body of beliefs identifies the Father and the Spirit as well”.Those who were a part of the leadership wanted what was then a new, fledgeling Christianity to be a religion that was distinct, separate, and all its own apart from the Judaism that was practiced during that time and also a unique entity that could also be distinguished from the pagan practices of the ancient Romans, too.

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