Was the Divinity of Jesus a Late Invention of the Council of Nicea? by Michael J. Kruger
It is commonly asserted that the deity of Jesus was an invention by the later Christians at the Council of Nicea. Kruger, president and professor of NT at Reformed Theological Seminary, provides insight into this spurious claim. A taste:
One of the most common objections to Christianity is that the divinity of Jesus was “created” by later Christians long after the first century. No one in primitive Christianity believed Jesus was divine, we are told. He was just a man and it was later believers, at the council of Nicea, that declared him to be a God.
A classic example of this in popular literature can be found in the book The Da Vinci Code:
“My dear,” Teabing declared, “until that moment in history [council of Nicea], Jesus was viewed by His followers as a mortal prophet… a great and powerful man, but a man nonetheless. A mortal.” “Not the Son of God?” “Right,” Teabing said. “Jesus’ establishment as ‘the Son of God” was officially proposed and voted on by the Council of Nicaea.” “Hold on. You’re saying Jesus’ divinity was the result of a vote?” “A relatively close vote at that,” Teabing added.
Of course, there have been more sophisticated objections to the Christian belief in the divinity of Jesus. Bart Ehrman’s book, How Jesus Became God, argues that “It will become clear in the following chapters that Jesus was not originally considered to be God in any sense at all” (44).
Needless to say, there have been many responses to this claim by Ehrman (and The Da Vinci Code). A good place to start is the rebuttal volume to Ehrman, How God Became Jesus. And you can see my review of Ehrman’s book here.
My good friend Tim Euler, who I taught with several years, is the headmaster at Cambridge Christian School in Tampa Florida. The odd thing about this incident is both schools who were playing in their state football championship are Christian schools, prayed before all their games, and were playing at the city owned Citrus Bowl in Orlando, were prohibited from exercising their freedom of religion by praying before this game. A taste:
Leaders at a Christian high school demanded an apology this week from the athletic board that forbade a pregame prayer at a state championship football game in December.
Tampa’s Cambridge Christian School was getting ready to face Jacksonville’s University Christian School in the Florida High School Athletic Association’s (FHSAA) 2A state championship, played at the city-owned Citrus Bowl in Orlando, when Cambridge requested permission to pray before the kickoff.
“It seemed like a simple request to me,” Cambridge headmaster Tim Euler told me. “Both schools had done this at the start of all their games. The fans would be from both the schools.”
Being fired for ones religious convictions keeps reoccurring lately. The Atlanta fire chief was let go for his position on traditional marriage. CEO of Mozilla Firefox Brendan Eich resigned because of pressure from political activists against his personal beliefs that did not effect his running of the company. Now, Harmony Daws, who accepted the presidency of the Oregon Right to Life (ORTL) was fired from her position as operations manager of a thriving Portland-area cleaning business. A taste:
Last week, the new president of the Oregon Right to Life board of directors, Harmony Daws, was fired from her position as operations manager of a thriving Portland-area cleaning business. Two weeks prior, she had told her left-leaning boss that she had accepted the position as president. Ostensibly, she was fired for pro-life beliefs, as well as other political beliefs.
After that conversation, her boss came to her again and told her to never mention her pro-life work. Harmony agreed, mentioning that it had only come up in their conversation as friends, having worked together for four years. Her employer was cold and distant for the following week and a half. Then last Friday, she fired Harmony for “discrimination” and for Harmony’s beliefs that she saw online, apparently including her blog and the ORTL website.