The Trinitarian Theology
In Nicene Creed, Christians are presented with the idea that Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of God. The existence of the holy trinity is a manifestation of God in three equal measures, which make Jesus Christ an equal to God the Father and the heir of the throne of God. This is different from the rest of the creation; God created all the other humans in the creation of man. As such, Nicene Creed acknowledges the position that Christ occupies in the holy trinity as that equal to the Father as he is the seed of the Father. This has been attacked by the Arians (anti-Trinitarian persuasions), who attack the Christology as practiced by the Nicene Christians, viewing it as a flawed doctrine and religious practice (Paulson, 2017). To defend the claim that Jesus Christ is equal to the Father, who is the precinct of the holy trinity, we need to lay some background on the existence of God. This is followed by addressing the Old Testament theology that leaves creation and sin forgiveness as activities exclusively left to God. Then this stance will be compared to the New Testament claim and evidence that shows Christ as having the power to forgive, sin-which was thought as blasphemous by the Pharisees but indeed forgave the sins of the people whom he healed. These New Testament texts that show Christ as having the power to forgive sins will be used to draw parallelism with the Old Testament’s texts, where only God possessed the power to forgive. This, in the end, will be the evidence that Christ is indeed God and is equal to the Father, as is claimed in the Nicene Creed’s acclaim of the Holy Trinity.
Briefly describe two major arguments for the existence of God.
There exist dozens of arguments put forth about the existence of God. In the context of the Holy Trinity, I will select two major arguments that show some relatedness between the existence of God and probably the holy trinity with the aim of forming the basis of God as existing in three forms-God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Moreover, the Homoousian, as featured in the Nicene Creed, claims that Jesus is homoousios to God the Father, and this will be proven using biblical texts from both the Old and New Testaments, which show God and Jesus as possessing the same power. Also, the arguments for God’s existence will be used to give credence to the story of creation that supports the idea of a powerful God involved in the creation of the universe.
The Ontological Arguments
These are arguments drawn from other sources other than observation, such as reason alone, to conclude that God exists. They are arguments from nothing but are analytic, and mostly based on an argument proposed by St. Anselm in the 11th century C.E. which brought forth a concept of the existence of God who is a being that nother greater being can be conceived (Oppy, 2016). From the reasoning of St. Anselm, if a being of this nature fails to exist, then a greater being-one which no greater may be conceived, and exists can be conceived. But thus, it cannot happen as there can be no greater a being that is greater than a being which no greater can be conceived by humans (Oppy, 2016). From this idea of a being that no greater being that can be conceived exists, and that being is God. It is thus inconceivable that God does not exist, as to conceive that God does not exist is not to conceive of God (Goldstein, 2009).
The Cosmological argument
This argument uses a general pattern of argumentation to draw inferences from facts about the universe on the existence of a unique being that is referred to as God. The argument uses an initial stance that particular events and beings are contingent or causally dependent and that the universe is contingent since it could have been different from what it is today. Rendering the Big Conjunctive Contingent Fact as a possible explanation of how the earth came into being (Reichenbach, 2017). These facts are used to make inferences either inductively, deductively, or abductively. The inferences take the best explanation that an initial cause or a sustaining cause is necessarily a being that is probably a personal being-God truly exists and sustains the universe. This is equally the same as the argument that is found in the two creation accounts where in the first, God creates the entire universe out of nothing, and in the second, after a chronological creation of the universe, man is moulded out of dust.
In the beginning, God created heavens and earth (Genesis 1:1). The teachings of the Bible here and in other passages show that God caused everything to be, and he created the entire universe by willing it into existence.
This argument is part of the classical natural theory that aims at providing proof of the existence of God (Reichenbach, 2017). The argument that nothing can cause itself follows that the universe could not have caused itself. Only a being outside the universe had the ability to cause the universe; thus, this being is referred to as God, which proves that, indeed, God exists (Goldstein, 2009).
Where in the Old Testament theology are creation and forgiveness of sin activities exclusively reserved for God?
We begin with the creation story as recorded in the books of Law. Themes of God’s personal involvement in human life are adequately canvassed in the Old Testament texts, his power, sovereignty, and giving standards to humans to rule the earth and take care of it as he is the giver of authority to his creation. God is portrayed as a merciful being who is the only deity and the only creator of the universe, and all the theological doctrines emanate from this knowledge of the Lord as the creator. From Genesis 1-2, which are the words used in the Apostles’ Creed and Nicene Creed, God alone is regarded as the one who made the heavens and the earth, the seen and the unseen, and all that is in the universe.
While Genesis 1-2 presents the most crucial passage of the Bible regarding creation, it is not the exhaustive creation account pitting God as the only creator. Instead, it is the framework for which all the other inferences on creation are made throughout the Old Testament. In Genesis 1:1, it is indicated that God is the sole cause and source of creation and the existence of the universe. Genesis 1 and 2 tell the story of bringing order to the universe through God’s will and command and God’s satisfaction with all that had been created. From these texts, the human race and all that was created owe its existence solely to God. It will later emerge that even after the fall of man for sinning against God, the creation’s dependence on that who caused it to be for salvation and deliverance through God’s forgiveness of the erring humans is all owed to God the creator and the all-powerful being (Genesis 3:15).
The creation story does not stop with Torah, but the themes continue in the works of the Prophets who deal with the passage of God’s message to the wicked men. Isaiah and Amos are probably the best representatives of how prophetic literature propagates creation theology. After the invasion by the Assyrians, Isaiah addresses an audience tempted to fall into the trap of worshipping the gods of Assyria as Ahaz had done (Isaiah 40-48). There were also temptations to venerate the Babylonian gods, as the Babylonians were a force to reckon with and constantly opposed the Assyrians (House, 2014). The Israelites felt like God had abandoned them and left them to suffer in the hands of their tormentors and were thus looking for alternative religious options instead of following the true religion that they had been commanded to follow by God (Isaiah 40: 1-27). Isaiah uses the creation theology to deal with the attitudes and feelings of the despairing Israelites by affirming the power, sovereignty, mercy, and greatness of God (Isaiah 40:12-31). He assures them that God cannot grow weary or forget Israel despite their sinfulness because he is the creator who unfolded the heavens and earth. All that Isaiah is doing here is to hearten the Israelites by reminding them of the sustaining creator and wishes that they may repent their sins and move closer to God as they had entered into a covenant with their fathers that they would not worship other gods (House, 2014).
Isaiah proceeds to assure the Israelites that the Lord only would restore all that he created for his glory (Isaiah 43:7). This power to forgive repentant humankind rests only with the Lord. God knew the fate of the Israelites and promised to bring the exiles home and restore the nation for being the sovereign creator who knows and declares the future. Amos uses stern warnings to the northern kingdom of Israel to repent of their sinfulness and turn from their unrighteousness and heinous acts before God’s judgment is released upon them. If they cried to the Lord, the looming judgment would be eliminated by the creator who controls everything that exists in the universe (Amos 4:12-13). God, the creator, was not interested in mechanical and morally ambiguous religion as practiced by the idolaters but was interested in the people who came to him in humility and thanksgiving, and their sacrifices were neither enough to buy him nor avert his righteous anger (Montgomery, 2015).
Explain key New Testament texts that associate Jesus with creation and forgiveness, thereby identifying him with the Father
Colossians chapter 1, Revelation chapter 1, and john and Hebrews chapters 1 are all accounts detailing God as the creator of the universe. We learn from the book of John that the Word of God was present with the Father’s creation, and the word was God, and the reference of the word – ho logos, is made to the Son of God. It is through the word that the entire universe was created. Since we cannot communicate without words, a conception of the universe’s design was made in God’s mind, and through Christ, it was spoken into being. Nothing was created in the universe except through the Son, which gives Jesus the power to create just like his Father, who is the creator of everything on earth, in the heavens, and beneath the earth. John establishes Jesus as the light of the world, and the light gives life, and it is Jesus alone who imparts life to the men who come to him and it is only through the Son that the Father is known to the world.
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace (Ephesians 1:7). The reference to forgiveness o sins through Christ brings him close to the Father, who is seen as the only person with authority to forgive sins.
When he saw their faith, he said unto him, man your sins have been forgiven (Mark 2:5, Luke 5:20, Matthew 9:2).
And he said to the woman, thy faith hath saved thee, go in peace (Luke 7:50)
Every time Jesus healed a sick person, he told them that their sins were forgiven to show that he had power over their baggage. This is a position that, according to Pharisees who did not understand the divine nature of Jesus as the Son of God, picked fights with him as they viewed him as committing blasphemy. Nonetheless, the miracles of Christ happened by just his declaration that the sins of the sick people were forgiven.
Using a proper theological methodology, explain the Nicene Creed’s identification of the Son with the Father as “homoousios,” of the same being, also, showing that the Spirit is “homoousios” with the Father as well.
The Nicene’s Creed view of Jesus as being equal to God as the Father and the trinity is the central tenet of Christianity. Athanasius and the Nicene Synod expressed that the Son had the same nature as the Father, and in the Nicene Creed, the Son was conjured to be as immutable as his Father. Jesus, the manifestation of logos- the divine word- was deemed to possess all the inherent and ineffable perfections that religion attributes to the Supreme Being. Since the words and the originator of the words is one, then the Son and the Father are one, and the Son is as God as is the Father.
The scriptures point to the similarity between Christ and God the Father, who sent him for the salvation of humankind. Jesus is God come in the flesh (John 1:1-3.14). In Isaiah 7:14, a savior is sent to men, and he is called Immanuel-meaning God with us. Jesus’ own claim in (John 8:58) he declares that ‘Before Abram was, I am’. This is repeated in John 10:30, where he says, ‘I and my father are one.’ When God revealed himself to Moses in Exodus 3:14, his divine name was ‘I am that I am.’ The eternal I AM is the living God and is a manifestation of God the Father and the Son. The scriptures not only infer the prophetic messages about Christ being the Son of God but also reveal instances where Christ himself revealed that he was the eternal God to the people. In the trial before the Sanhedrin, when the High Priest enquired from Jesus to declare whether he was God, Jesus affirmed with an unmistakable yes by telling the High Priest that he had said he was God.
Goldstein, R. N. (2009, November 18). 36 Arguments for the existence of God. Retrieved from Edge: https://www.edge.org/conversation/rebecca_newberger_goldstein-36-arguments-for-the-existence-of-god
House, P. R. (2014). Creation in Old Testament theology. Wheaton College.
Montgomery, D. (2015). Forgiveness in the Old Testament. Embodying forgiveness project, 1-14.
Oppy, G. (2016). Ontological Arguments. Stanfoord Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 24-51.
Paulson, M. (2017, May 13). Niceene Cristology and an introduction to the Trinitarian Theology of the ante-Necene fathers. Retrieved from Tektonics: http://www.tektonics.org/guest/psnicea.html
Reichenbach, B. (2017). Cosmological Argument. (E. N. Zalta, Ed.) The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 67-79.
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In 2,000-2,200 words, defend the Nicene Creed’s claim that Jesus is equal with the Father using biblical theology. Include the following:
- Briefly describe two major arguments for the existence of God.
- Where in the Old Testament theology are creation and forgiveness of sin activities exclusively reserved for God?
- Explain key New Testament texts that associate Jesus with creation and forgiveness, thereby identifying him with the Father.
- Using a proper theological methodology, explain the Nicene Creed’s identification of the Son with the Father as “homoousios,” of the same being, also, showing that the Spirit is “homoousios” with the Father as well.
- Use at least two biblical commentaries, one from the Old Testament and one from the New Testament, to help validate your exegesis.
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