Council of Nicaea 325 AD & Christ’s Divinity: Lost Gnostic Gospel’s
The First Council of Nicaea was the first ecumenical council of the Church. Most significantly, ...
The First Council of Nicaea was the first ecumenical council of the Church. Most significantly, it resulted in the first, uniform Christiandoctrine, called the Creed of Nicaea. With the creation of the creed, a precedent was established for subsequent local and regional councils of Bishops (Synods) to create statements of belief and canons of doctrinal orthodoxy—the intent being to define unity of beliefs for the whole of Christendom.
The council settled, to some degree, the debate within the Early Christian communities regarding the divinity of Christ. This idea of the divinity of Christ, along with the idea of Christ as a messenger from God (The Father), had long existed in various parts of the Roman empire. The divinity of Christ had also been widely endorsed by the Christian community in the otherwise pagan city of Rome.
The council affirmed and defined what it believed to be the teachings of the Apostles regarding who Christ is: that Christ is the one true God in deity with the Father.
Derived from Greek oikoumenikos (Greek: οἰκουμένη), “ecumenical” means “worldwide” but generally is assumed to be limited to the Roman Empire in this context as in Augustus’ claim to be ruler of the oikoumene/world; the earliest extant uses of the term for a council are Eusebius’ Life of Constantine 3.6 around 338, which states “σύνοδον οἰκουμενικὴν συνεκρότει” (he convoked an Ecumenical Council); Athanasius’ Ad Afros Epistola Synodica in 369;and the Letter in 382 to Pope Damasus I and the Latin bishops from the First Council of Constantinople.
One purpose of the council was to resolve disagreements arising from within the Church of Alexandria over the nature of the Son in his relationship to the Father: in particular, whether the Son had been ‘begotten’ by the Father from his own being, or rather, created out of nothing, a characteristic shared with other creatures.
St. Alexander of Alexandria and Athanasius took the first position; the popularpresbyter Arius, from whom the term Arianism comes, took the second. The council decided against the Arians overwhelmingly (of the estimated 250–318 attendees, all but two agreed to sign the creed and these two, along with Arius, were banished to Illyria).
Another result of the council was an agreement on when to celebrate Easter, the most important feast of the ecclesiastical calendar, decreed in an epistle to the Church of Alexandria in which is simply stated:
We also send you the good news of the settlement concerning the holy pasch, namely that in answer to your prayers this question also has been resolved. All the brethren in the East who have hitherto followed the Jewish practice will henceforth observe the custom of the Romans and of yourselves and of all of us who from ancient times have kept Easter together with you.
Historically significant as the first effort to attain consensus in the church through an assembly representing all of Christendom,the Council was the first occasion where the technical aspects of Christology were discussed.
Through it a precedent was set for subsequent general councils to adopt creeds and canons. This council is generally considered the beginning of the period of the First seven Ecumenical Councils in the History of Christianity.
The Council of Nicaea actually decided the Gospels of the Bible by the 4 points of the Cross Matthew 27:37; Mark 15:26; Luke 23:38; John 19:19 did Constantine have the final say over the Council of Nicea?
Here are the Lost Nostic Gospels !
The Gospel of Mary
The existence of this gospel was unknown until several fragments were discovered in modern times. Since the only long fragment is a Coptic translation, most of the original Greek text is still lost. And even the long fragment may only include about half of the book.
Because the “Mary” in this gospel is depicted as a very prominent disciple, most scholars assume that she is Mary Magdalene, although in the extant text she is always just called Mary. The gospel emphasizes her prominence by presenting her as a strong leader, and by suggesting that she was the most favored disciple of Jesus and received a special revelation from him. It also suggests that this led to a conflict with Peter, who may have seen her as a threat to his position as overall leader of the disciples in the period after Jesus departed.
Indications of a rivalry with Peter are especially evident in the last section of the extant text, in which Mary gets into an argument with Peter and his brother Andrew over some private revelations that Jesus had given to her. This section may derive from memories of a historical conflict between her and Peter which eventually caused her to leave the group. Thus, although this gospel probably wasn’t written until the second century, it may preserve some traditions passed down from an earlier period.
The Gospel of Mary contains some gnostic ideas, particularly in the section which describes the revelations she received from Jesus. This connection with gnosticism, together with the prominent role that the gospel gives to a female, may have led to its suppression by orthodox Christians.
The Gospel of Peter
A fragment of this gospel was discovered in Egypt in the late nineteenth century, and two more possible fragments have been found since then. But a large portion may still be missing. Hopefully the remainder will eventually be found, because the available text contains some interesting material, including the only known description of Jesus leaving the tomb after his resurrection.
Ever since the first fragment was discovered, this gospel has been controversial. A few scholars think that it preserves some of the beliefs and views of the earliest Christians. But most regard it as a secondary work containing a mixture of fanciful elements and material copied from the New Testament gospels.
One intriguing part of this gospel is its account of the exit of Jesus from the tomb. This exit takes place during the night as some Roman soldiers stand guard nearby. Suddenly the soldiers see two men (or angels) descend from heaven and enter the tomb. A short time later the men come back out with Jesus between them. At this point the men look so tall that their heads reach to the sky, and Jesus looks even taller. They are followed out of the tomb by a cross. Suddenly the soldiers hear a voice from heaven, and the cross answers it.
The description of this scene puzzles many people, since it appears to depict a wooden cross that can walk and talk. But some scholars think that the passage is actually describing a cross-like formation of resurrected saints who have returned to life along with Jesus and follow him out of the tomb. A few scholars also see connections between this account and a passage at Matthew 27:52-53, which describes a similar resurrection of dead saints.
The Gospel of Thomas
This gospel was probably first written in Greek, but the only surviving complete text is a Coptic translation discovered in Egypt in 1945. Its initial section indicates that it contains the “secret sayings” of Jesus, and the main text then gives 114 of these sayings. In most of the passages Jesus speaks as a teacher and his disciples make comments and ask questions.
Because the initial section of this gospel refers to “secret sayings”, many scholars believe that it was a secret gospel, at least originally. This means that it was thought to contain secret knowledge, and that only certain individuals were allowed to read it. Several other secret gospels, or fragments of them, have also been discovered.
The Gospel of Thomas may preserve some authentic teachings of Jesus that aren’t found in the bible. For this reason, many scholars regard it as the most important surviving non-canonical gospel.
The Gospel of Judas
The only extant copy of this gospel was found in Egypt, but the time and place of its discovery are uncertain, and there are indications that it passed through the Egyptian black market at one stage.
The existing copy is a Coptic text, probably a translation of a still-lost Greek original. Unfortunately the manuscript is damaged in many places, and some pages are missing, so that translation and interpretation are difficult. However, many scholars believe that it was a secret gospel used mostly by certain gnostic sects of Christians.
This gospel is notable in that it may depict Judas Iscariot as the most loyal disciple of Jesus, and an innocent martyr instead of an evil betrayer. But because of the damage to the manuscript, and the difficulties of interpretation, there is some uncertainty about this matter. In any case, this is one of the later gospels, probably not written until the second century, and most scholars doubt that it contains any authentic information about the real Judas Iscariot.