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    Posted: Oct 02 2013 at 2:14pm
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When you adopt a god who is not in you own image,  when you embrace literature that teaches you to hate yourself and love your enemy, when you oppressor and savior and your god and enslaver are one in the same; you become the principal agent in your own destruction.
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Serapis

(Sarapis)

Cult Center: Alexandria

Serapis was an anthropomorphic god created by the Greek pharaoh Ptolemy I. Ptolemy I chose Serapis to be the official god of Egypt and Greece. He hoped a common religious base would unify the two peoples and ease tension in the country. Serapis' attributes were both Egyptian and Hellenistic. Serapis became very popular and his cult quickly spread from its center in Alexandria.

A Roman historian insisted that the god was originally from Asia Minor. However, Egypt probably provided the essential attributes of Serapis. Serapis' Egyptian nature can be seen in his roots, which were drawn from the cults of Osiris and the Apis bull. These cults had been combined prior to the reign of Ptolemy I. At that time, a sacred bull of Memphis called Osorapis was worshipped after its death. Osorapis was an agricultural god whose cult emphasized the Egyptian principles of life after death. The early Greek pharaohs seemed to have been drawn to Osorapis as a god who seemed to fuse the myriad of Egyptian deities and possessed aspects that were easily fusible with the gods of the Greeks.

The Hellenistic elements of Serapis dominate Serapis' "personality" and iconogrpahy. Many greek gods contributed to his nature, including: Zeus, Helios, Dionysos, Hades and Aesculapius. From Zeus and Helios he received the aspects of sovereignty and sun-god. Dionysos brought to him the attribute of presiding over nature. Hades linked him to the afterlife and Aesculapius gave him the art of healing.

The Greek images of Serapis show him with long hair and a long beard. He is seated on a throne with the three-headed dog of Hades, Cerberus, at his feet. The Egyptian images of the god show him as a mummified human with the bead of a bull. He is crowned with the crescent moon and two plumes.

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http://www.tecmalta.org/tft340.htm

Arius and the deity of Christ

Arius was a cultured and ascetic presbyter (256-336 AD), a popular preacher from Libya. He was tall, handsome, earnestly religious, and eloquent in his arguments. He gave the impression of being arrogant.

He lived at a time when the Eastern Church was divided because of the Christological dispute which he was instrumental in starting. He taught that Christ is not divine, but created.

Arius was strongly opposed by his bishop Alexander, who was bishop of Alexandria from 313 AD. Alexander insisted that the Son was fully and truly God, in as absolute a sense as the Father was. The problem for Alexander was to show that this (orthodox) truth did not lead to a belief in two Gods, as Arius maintained that it did.

Alexander assembled a council of Egyptian bishops in 320 which deposed Arius for heresy. Arius, however, was not ready to give up without a fight, and went to Palestine, canvassing support from other Eastern bishops.

Arius wrote letters to Lucian’s ex-students who were now presbyters or bishops, addressing them as “Dear fellow-pupils of Lucian.” Lucian’s views of Christ seem to have been similar to Arius’s.

All came to a head and the Emperor, to safeguard the unity of the empire and the church, convened a general council at Nicea, which declared the Son to be equal with the Father and issued the Creed saying that Christ is “God from God, true God from true God, begotten not created, of the same essence as the Father....”

All but two of Arius’s supporters - Secundus of Ptolemais and Theonas of Marmarica - gave in and signed the Creed. Arius still refused. These three were sent into exile by Constantine the emperor. They were anathemized and condemned. The enforce the decisions of the Council, Constantine demanded, with the death penalty for disobedience, the burning of all books composed by Arius and deposed Eusebius of Nicomedia and another bishop who had been active in their support of Arius.

The dispute, though, continued throughout the fourth and fifth century.

Defining the heresy named after him.

His teaching was that the Father alone is God. The Logos or Son, Arius maintained, was a created being - formed out of nothing by the Father before the universe was made. He therefore said that there was a time when the Son had not existed.

According to Arius, the Son was the first and greatest of all that God had created; He was closer to God than all others, and the rest of creation related to God through the Son (for instance, God had created everything else through Christ).

By developing this arch-heresy, Arius thought he was defending the fundamental truth that there is only one God - monotheism. A belief in the full deity of Christ, he supposed, would mean the Father and Son were two separate Gods, which contradicted the many statements of the Bible about God’s oneness.

Arius was also unhappy with Origen’s idea that there could be ‘degrees’ or ‘grades’ of divinity, with the Son being slightly less divine than the Father (this became known after the Nicene Council as semi-Arianism).

Arius argued that since the Father is clearly God, it follows that the Son could not be God - so He must be a created being.

Opposing Sabellianism

This heresy is named after Sabellius (early third century), an obscure Roman theologian. Sabellius taught that God is only one person, who acts now as Father in creating the universe, now as son in redeeming sinners, now as the Holy Spirit in sanctifying believers.

The three divine Persons he believed to be three different roles acted out by one divine Being, much as one human person might be a husband, a father and a clerk.

His view, of one sort or another, was quite popular in the early church, because it offered a way of believing in the deity of Christ while preserving the oneness of God.

The Church rejected Sabellianism because, among other things, it failed to preserve the personal relationships between the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, so prevalent in the New Testament. It makes nonsense of the prayer-life of Jesus in the Gospels.

Sabellianism is also known as Modalism (3 different modes of the same God), and Monarchianism (one rule of God through different roles).



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The Nicene Creed


We believe in one God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.

And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, Very God of Very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father by whom all things were made; who for us men, and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary, and was made man, and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate. He suffered and was buried, and the third day he rose again according to the Scriptures, and ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of the Father. And he shall come again with glory to judge both the quick and the dead, whose kingdom shall have no end.

And we believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of Life, who proceedeth from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified, who spoke by the prophets. And we believe one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins. And we look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.
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Constantine - The Nicene Creed and its Aftermath

In 325 AD, the year of the Nicene Creed, the Roman Emperor Constantine took the step that forever changed Christianity; he convened the first universal council of the church at Nicaea in Asia Minor. The Council was convened to resolve a theological controversy over the nature of God and Christ. The results of the conference involving 200 to perhaps more than 300 bishops were at least four-fold:

  • The adoption of a universal statement of Christian faith known today as the Nicene Creed.

  • The transformation of Christianity from a colloquium of diverse viewpoints to a rigorously enforced, monolithic and doctrinaire church (evidenced by the decision that Easter would be celebrated pursuant to the Roman rather than Jewish calendar – always to be on a Sunday.)

  • The marriage of church and state – a situation to remain in force throughout much of the Mediterranean and Europe for over a millennium.

  • The practice of anathematizing and excommunicating leaders who would not adopt the newly established doctrine of the emperor and church at Rome.

The Nicene Formulation (Nicene Creed): Reporting on the events of the Council to his church at Caesarea was the early church historian Eusebius (or Caesarea). He recounts this first of the official orthodox church creeds as adopted:

    We believe in one God, the Father All-sovereign, maker of all things visible and invisible. And in One Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, begotten of the Father, only begotten, that is from the substance of the Father, God of God, Light of Light, true God of true God, begotten, not made, of one substance with the Father, through whom all things were made, things in heaven and things on earth: who for us men and for our salvation, came down and was made flesh, and became man, suffered, and rose on the third day, ascended into the heavens; is coming to judge the living and the dead. And in the Holy Spirit. And those who say, "There was when he was not," and "Before he was begotten he was not," and that "He came into being from what is not," or those that allege, that the son of God is "of another substance or essence," or "created," or "changeable," or alterable," these the Catholic and Apostolic Church anathematizes."

The source of the dispute that had precipitated the Nicene convention and the Nicene Creed was that of presbyter Arius of Alexandria. In earlier correspondence, Arius had stated that Jesus: "… is not equal to God, nor yet is he of the same substance."

Despite their protests – including the observation that the term "of the same essence" was not to be found in any of the New Testament writings, the Arian supporters lost. The Nicene Council (and the Nicene Creed) ended by condemning the person and views of Arius, authorizing his excommunication and degradation from the presbyterate. Constantine sent Arius and three others into exile.

Subsequent to the Council, the emperor made known his views of this dissenter (with the Nicene Creed):

    While more than three hundred bishops remarkable for their moderation and shrewdness were unanimous in their confirmation of one and the same faith, which is in accurate conformity to the truth expressed in the laws of God, Arius alone, beguiled by the subtlety of the devil, was discovered to be the sole disseminator of this mischief, with unhallowed purposes, first among you, and afterwards among others also.

In separate correspondence, the emperor also stated his purpose for having called the council (resulting in the Nicene Creed): "My sole desire was to effect universal concord, and in particular to refute and dispose of this question which began through the madness of Arius the Alexandran …"

In case anyone was not catching the full imperial intent, Constantine becomes more explicit: "So I decided to take action against these ungrateful individuals: I ordered them to be arrested and banished to the most distant region possible."

The strength of the emperor’s disdain for those he viewed as heretics also is revealed by the following imperial edict:

    "VICTOR CONSTANTINUS, MAXIMUS AUGUSTUS, to the heretics.

    "Understand now, by this present statute, ye Novatians, Valentinians, Marcionites, Paulians, ye who are called Cataphrygians, and all ye who devise and support heresies by means of your private assemblies, with what a tissue of falsehood and vanity, with what destructive and venomous errors, your doctrines are inseparably interwoven; so that through you the healthy soul is stricken with disease, and the living becomes the prey of everlasting death. Ye haters and enemies of truth and life, in league with destruction! All your counsels are opposed to the truth, but familiar with deeds of baseness; full of absurdities and fictions: and by these ye frame falsehoods, oppress the innocent, and withhold the light from them that believe.

Three months after Nicaea and creation of the Nicene Creed, Constantine found that Eusebius of Nicomedia and Theognis, Bishop of Nicaea, still held to Arian views. They were exiled to Gaul and a new election of bishops was ordered. At one point, the emperor wrote to denounce Eusebius and issue a personal warning about high treason.

In subsequent writing, Constantine went beyond individual sanctions, placing whole congregations viewed as being outside of the Catholic faith at risk:

    And in order that this remedy may be applied with effectual power, we have commanded, as before said, that you be positively deprived of every gathering point for your superstitious meetings, I mean all the houses of prayer, if such be worthy of the name, which belong to heretics, and that these be made over without delay to the catholic Church; that any other places be confiscated to the public service, and no facility whatever be left for any future gathering; in order that from this day forward none of your unlawful assemblies may presume to appear in any public or private place. Let this edict be made public.

And later, the imperial punishment for lesser religious infractions became more severe. In an edict to eight years after the Council of Nicaea, Emperor Constantine stipulated:

    This therefore I decree, that if any one shall be detected in concealing a book compiled by Arius, and shall not instantly bring it forward and burn it, the penalty for this offence shall be death; for immediately after conviction the criminal shall suffer capital punishment. May God preserve you!

So, here we have it -- the Nicene Creed. The wedding of church and state. And the silencing of dissenting voices pursuant to the apostolic, catholic authority of a single monolithic church – emerging to rule with full force of imperial law for over a millennium.

http://www.jesustheheresy.com/ncreed.html

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