Monday, September 21, 2015

ECHAD vs YACHID (Answering Objections to Modalism)


 Hear, O Israel: The LORD  (YHWH) our God is one LORD (YHWH): —Deuteronomy 6:4

This article is an excerpt from my book entitled "Godhead Theology."

The Objection
The Hebrew word for “one” employed in the Shema (Deut 6:4) is the word echad; and according to the Pluralists, especially Trinitarians, echad has one in a compound sense as its primary meaning. Texts such as Genesis 2:24 (Adam and Eve become “one [echad] flesh”), Genesis 34:16 (the men of Shechem suggest intermarriage with Jacob's children, in order to become “one [echad] people”),  Ezekiel  37:17 (two sticks, representing Judah and Ephraim become one [echad] stick), are held up to demonstrate how more than one can be one. Therefore, according to them, the Shema is announcing the Trinity with the word echad. It is, further, pointed out by the Trinitarians that there was a perfectly good word in the Hebrew for an absolute one, and that if the Holy Spirit wanted to convey the idea of God being a solitary one this particular Hebrew word would have been used; the word they refer to is yachid. Since, they postulate, that the Holy Spirit did not use the word yachid, it was the Holy Spirit’s intent to introduce the God of Israel as a compound one.

Modalism’s Response
This chapter is a companion to our previous chapter in Section Three, Chapter XXV, page 275, entitled How Is God One? There, we worked with the Greek masculine and neuter words for one,  “heis” and “hen” respectively. The reader is encouraged to review that chapter before proceeding further here.
To began with, this argument from the Pluralists’ camp is bogus, and totally without merit. In fact it is so much so that it is loathsome for this writer to spend time and energy on a rebuttal.  But since so many of the unlearned are lead captive by theological midgets that would present such arguments for the Trinity, space must be allotted to this exercise. As we examine this particular objection to the Monarchian faith, the truth of the Hebrew echad and yachid will dispel any and all confusion on the matter. Remember: Nothing suffers from examine except error.
We first take up the Hebrew word echad (Strong’s #H259). 
The Hebrew echad is used in the same manner as the English word one. It may show a compound one, or an absolute one. Like our English word, echad commands the domain of both the absolute and the compound. The meaning of any word, in any language, is not determined by its semantical domain, but by its context (this is a point to remember when considering how echad is used in the Shema). Echad stresses unity while at times (very few) recognizing diversity within that oneness.  A window into its uses is the book of Ezra: out of 15 occurrences (my count) 11 address an absolute one, while 4 reference a compound or metaphorical one. This ratio, however, is not representative of the usage of the word throughout the Hebrew Scripture. The word is used close to 1000 times, and only rarely is used as a compound. Echad addresses an absolute one in its vast majority of occurrences. According to my count, and I am being generous, echad addresses a compound or metaphorical one only 28 times out of 952 occurrences—if Strong is correct, or out of 962 occurrences—if Gesenius is correct. Due to the different forms of this word, there exists a discrepancy between scholars as to the number of occurrences. That being said, the reader is encouraged to look in a Strong’s Concordance at the word “one;” there the reader will see what I speak of here. After seeing this evidence one time, one will forever scorn the charge that echad has as its primary meaning a compound one.
According to Strong’s Concordance, the use of echad breaks down thusly: one, 687x; first, 36x; another, 35x; other, 30x;  any [one], 15x; once, 13x; eleven, 13x; every [one], 10x; certain [one], 9x; an, a [one], 7x; some [one], 7x; misc. 87x. Echad is used as a noun, adjective, or adverb, as a cardinal or ordinal number, and is often used in a distributive sense: each or other. It is closely identified with yahad “to be united” (but so is yachid) and with ro'sh “first, head,” especially in connection with the “first day” of the month (Gen 8:13). 
A few of the most difficult texts are examined in this paragraph. The phrase “as one man” can mean “all at once” (Num 14:15); and, when Gideon was told he would defeat Midian “as one man” it meant “as easily as if the Midianites were a single man” (Jud 6:16)—there is no compound one here.  Adam and Eve are described as becoming “one flesh” (Gen 2:24), which references future conception, and birth in particular—there is no compound one here.  Plus, there is the sense that Eve was taken out of Adam and was his counterpart, and as such completed him when they two came together in sexual union (Gen 5:1-2)—again, even in this understanding, it is not a compound one that is in view, but a reuniting of two halves that make one whole.  Later, Ezekiel predicted that the fragmented nation of Israel would someday be reunited, as he symbolically joined two sticks (37:17); the two sticks became one, such as the divided Israelites becoming the Israel of God in the Messianic Kingdom. Once again Judah and Ephraim would be one nation with one king (37:22)—there is no compound one indicated in this prophecy: a literal and absolute one kingdom is in view.  Abraham was viewed as “the one” (echad) from whom all the people descended (Isa 51:2; Mal 2:15), the one father of the nation. Malachi 2:10 asks the questions: “Have we not all one (echad) Father? Has not one (echad) God created us?” In the famous Shema of Deut 6:4, “Hear, O Israel....the LORD is one” (echad), the verse concentrates on the fact that there is but one God and that Israel owes its exclusive loyalty to Him alone (Deut 5:9; 6:5).
For over 1500 years the Hebrew scholars read and taught the Shema and never one time considered echad as referencing a unity of entities in their Godhead. Not until the development of the Trinity was the unthinkable thought. And the Shema received a new reading.
There is convincing evidence (of the meaning, and scholarly understanding, of the Hebrew echad) presented by discovering how the word was translated by the Greek translators, who wrote the Septuagint. The Septuagint (LXX) is the Old Testament translated into the Greek language (third century B.C.). The Greek language also has very different words for our English word “one.” We will consider two of those words; heis, the masculine, and hen the neuter. Heis is used when an absolute one man is referenced. Hen is the neuter word for one, and is used when two men are said to be one in unity—one in a compound sense. The neuter hen is demonstrated by 1 Corinthians 3:8 that presents he that plants and he that waters as being one (hen). If the Trinitarians are correct and echad of Deuteronomy 6:4 is the primary Hebrew word for a compound one, we would expect that when it was translated into Greek the translators would have rendered echad as hen. They did not. The Greek translators translated echad as heis. Heis is the Greek word for an absolute one. What is more, when Mark wrote the Jesus-saying “The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:” (Mark 12:29), he, too,  employed heis for the word one. (Please see Chapter XXV for further treatment on the words heis and hen.)

Secondly, we consider the Hebrew word yachid.
Strong’s #H3173
Brown-Driver-Briggs have the following to say about the word “Yachid:”

1 only one, especially of an only son, Genesis 22:2,12,16 את בנך את יְחִידְךָ thy son, thine only one, אֵבֶל יָחִיד Amos 8:10; Jeremiah 6:26 mourning for an only son, כמספד על היחיד Zechariah 12:10; Proverbs 4:3 רַךְ וְיָחִיד לפני אמי; so feminine יְחִידָה Judges 11:34.
2 feminine יְחִידָה as substantive Psalm 22:21; Psalm 35:17 יְחִידָתִי my only one, poetic for my life, as the one unique and priceless possession which can never be replaced (in each "" נַפְשִׁי).
3 solitary, Psalm 25:16 כי יחיד ועני אני; Psalm 68:6 מוֺשִׁיב יְחִידִים בַּיְתָה causing solitary, isolated ones (i.e. friendless wanderers or exiles;  אֲסִירִים) to dwell at home (Lag Ch and others מֵשִׁיב bringing back home). 

Yachid is found in only 12 places throughout the Hebrew Scriptures:  Gen 22:2, 12, 16; Judges 11:34; Ps 22:21; 25:16; 35:17; 68:6; Prov 4:3; Jer 6:26; Amos 8:10; Zech 12:10.
12 Occurrences: 
  1. Genesis 22:2, “... thy son, thine only [son] Isaac, ...”
  2. Genesis 22:12, “ ... thy son, thine only [son] from me.”
  3. Genesis 22:16, “... and with dances: and she [was his] only child; ...”
  4. Psalm 22:20, “... from the sword; my darling from the power ...”
  5. Psalm 15:16, “... thee unto me, and have mercy upon me; for I [am] desolate and afflicted.”
  6. Psalm 25:16, “... I am desolate and afflicted.”
  7. Psalm 35:17, “... from their destructions, my darling from the lions.”
  8. Psalm 68:6, “... setteth the solitary in families: ...”
  9. Proverbs 4:3, “... tender and only [beloved] in the sight ...”
  10. Jeremiah 6:26, “... thee mourning, [as for] an only son, most bitter ...”
  11. Amos 8:10, “... it as the mourning of an only [son], and the end ...”
  12. Zechariah 12:10, “... for him, as one mourneth for [his] only [son], and shall be in bitterness ...”

The suggestion, by the Pluralists, that yachid should have been the word used by Moses if he intended to say that God is one person/entity/individual is rejected for the following reasons:
  • First, in Genesis 22:2,12 Isaac is called Abraham’s “only” (yachid) son. There is no word for “son” in the texts. The important thing to acknowledge is that Abraham had another son; yet Isaac is called yachid. Obviously, the meaning here is uniqueness and or preciousness, i.e. the type of son.
  • Secondly, yachid is used in Psalms 25:16 and 68:6 to describe the emotion of loneliness.
  • Thirdly, yachid, from Psalm 35:17, means: “my only one, poetic for my life, as the one unique and priceless possession which can never be replaced” (Brown-Driver-Briggs).
  • Fourthly, and perhaps, most importantly, yachid is never translated “one” in the Scripture. Above we give every place where yachid is used. It has the meaning of “only,” “only child,” “desolate,” “darling,” “solitary,” and “only son,” but is never rendered as one. It is true the word has a meaning of only or alone, but not just that; yachid’s meaning includes uniqueness, and preciousness. We maintain that yachid was not used to describe the unity of the Deity because it would not have been appropriate.  If yachid would be used to describe God, it would not necessarily tell us how many Gods there were (Isaac was called yachid, though he was not Abraham’s only son), but what kind of God. The sense of singularity or plurality is derived from the singularity or the plurality of the noun, not the word “one.”
There is, however, a Hebrew word for one that could have been used to say that God was a plurality of persons united together as one—that word is yachad (Strong’s #H3161; see Brown-Driver-Briggs, page 402). Yachad is the source of both of our words, echad and yachid. This word does indeed mean to “unite together into one.” That this word was available and the Holy Spirit did not inspire Moses to employ it, in describing Yahweh’s oneness, is all telling.

Addressing The Lie That The Jews Changed Echad To Yachid
There is a false narrative making its rounds, that after the development of Christianity the Jewish scholars edited the Shema to read yachid instead of echad. To call this story a lie is proper and correct. 
The origin of the Lie may come from confusing the Bible text with the Thirteen Principles of Faith composed by Maimonides. Maimonides (aka Rambam; 1135-1204) was physician to the Sultan Saladin and communal leader of Egyptian Jewry, as well as an important figure in the codification of Jewish law. As such, he was acquainted with Roman Catholic apologetics and interpre-tations of the Old Testament. It's possible he may have encountered Catholic use of the word echad to prove that Moses himself hinted at the Triunity of the Godhead, as mentioned in Deuteronomy 6:4. To counter this idea, Maimonides opted to employ the noun yachid in his "Second Principle of Faith."
“I believe with perfect faith that the Creator,
blessed be his name,
is a Unity [yachid],
and that there is no Unity [yachid] in any manner like unto his,
and that he alone is our God, 
who was, is, and will be.”

The truth is: Echad has never been edited out of the Shema, because it is the proper word to describe Yahweh’s absolute solitary Oneness. In every form of the Shema, both ancient and modern, echad stands in each one.

Apostolically Speaking
☩ David Ignatius


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Thursday, September 10, 2015

Another Comforter (Answering Objections to Modalism)

(Excerpted from the book "Godhead Theology." 

John 14:16 “And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you forever. 

Pluralists’ Objection to Modalism
In this passage, we have three persons in view. The Son is speaking, the Father is requested to send the Comforter. The word ANOTHER in this text is the Greek word “allos.” ALLOS means, “another one of the same sort.” Therefore, the Holy Spirit is “another person” of the Godhead, i.e. of the same sort as the Son.

Modalism’s Response 
The word “another” is given in the Greek as “allos” or “heteros.” We are told by Thayer and Vine that, while these two words in the Greek represent two different understandings of the word “another,” the distinction between them many times becomes blurred, or even lost.
Allos designates “another of the same kind.” Heteros designates “another of a different kind.” While in most places the designation is maintained, there are a few instances where their individualities seem to be lost. An example of this is found in 1 Corinthians 12:8-10 and 14:17-19. Here the two words “allos” and “heteros” are alternated back and forth. Given, here is the example from 1 Corinthians 12:8-10. (The 14:17-19 passages follows a like pattern.)
1 Corinthians 12:8-10
8 ᾧ μὲν γὰρ διὰ τοῦ πνεύματος δίδοται λόγος σοφίας, ἄλλῳ  (allos) δὲ λόγος γνώσεως         
For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom;  another the word of knowledge   
κατὰ τὸ  αὐτὸ πνεῦμα, 
by the same Spirit;

9 ἑτέρῳ (heterō) πίστις ἐν τῷ αὐτῷ πνεύματι, ἄλλῳ (allō) δὲ χαρίσματα ἰαμάτων ἐν τῷ ἑνὶ 
To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same 
πνεύματι,
Spirit;

10 ἄλλῳ (allō) δὲ ἐνεργήματα δυνάμεων, ἄλλῳ (allō) [δὲ] προφητεία, ἄλλῳ (allō) [δὲ] 
To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning
διακρίσεις πνευμάτων, ἑτέρῳ (heterō) γένη γλωσσῶν, ἄλλῳ (allō) δὲ ἑρμηνεία γλωσσῶν:
discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:

The word in our text (John 14:16) is allos. Normally, the idea would be, “a different one of the same kind.” When a word has a normal use, then that understanding should be the first consideration, and the one favored, unless the context of the passage gives a strong indication that the normal use of the word should be set aside and a secondary use applied. While all concerned will agree with this reasoning, it is the opinion of this writer that the true distinction of the word allos is maintained in our text. 
First, to answer the Pluralists’ charge of multiple god-persons from this text, we need to look at the context of the passage and identify those mentioned within it. The one speaking is Christ, He says: “I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter;...” If we look to the very next verse, v17, the Comforter is identified as the Spirit of Truth; the Spirit of Truth, in turn, is identified as Christ in the last part of v17, where Jesus spoke of the Sprit of Truth and said, “...but ye know him for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you;” (In v6 we have already been told that Jesus is the Truth). Verse 18, however, is the clearest of all, in identifying the Comforter with Jesus: “I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you,” Jesus said. Could He have spoken more plainly?
Let’s look at it again. In v17b: Jesus identifies Himself as the Spirit of Truth; v17a: The Spirit of Truth is identified as the Comforter; add to this v26 where the Comforter is identified as the Holy Spirit, and we have the indisputable conclusion that Jesus and the Holy Spirit are one and the same!
We should look, once again, at v18; this time from the Greek text: Οὐκ ἀφήσω ὑμᾶς ὀρφανούς, ἔρχομαι πρὸς ὑμᾶς. (Ouk aphaso human orphanous, erchomai pros humas) “I will not leave you orphans, I am coming to you.”  One must take note of the setting of this statement, in order to appreciate these words of Jesus. The Last Supper was over, Judas had departed to betray Him, He is speaking intimately with his disciples of personal things: of last minute things, things that He had purposely not spoken of until now. He spoke to them of the Father, v9; and He spoke to them of His death, that was only hours away. How distressing this must have been on the Apostles. Like children uncertain of their future, afraid of tomorrow, without their parent to guide them, the Apostles became fretful, and all of them at once clamored to ask Jesus questions that reflected their fears. It was as though they had lost all direction, and were reaching out from the darkness of their despair for a hand to ... comfort them. Simon Peter spoke first, and said, “Lord, whither goest thou?” Jesus told Simon that he could not go with Him. Just as a child, afraid of being left alone, Simon replied, “Lord, why cannot I follow thee? I will lay down my life for thy sake.” Why would Simon mention death if he did no have at least some idea that that was where the Lord was going? And why would he be pleading to follow his Master into death, if he were not afraid of being left alone? Now it is Thomas, his mind tearing at the words of Jesus, trying to make some sense of them: “And whither I go ye know and the way ye know.” Speaking from the cavern of his fear, his voice betraying more than his words ever could, Thomas asked, “Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?” Philip speaks, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.” Can you not hear his cry, “Lord, if we cannot go with you, please do not leave us without anyone, introduce us to the Father.”
Unto these fearing and fretful children, their Father speaks and says, “I will not orphan you, I am coming to you.” Oh friend, notice his words, I am (even now) coming to you. I am not leaving, I am actually coming. I am not going away, I am just arriving. I am with you now, but in just a moment I will be in you. My dying is an act of arriving. I must pass through my flesh in order to dwell within your flesh. It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I do not go away the Comforter will not come unto you. No, my children, I will not orphan you! 
Notice, again, the scene: death, a father, fearful children, then a promise: “I will not leave you as orphans, I am coming to you.” 
Jesus promised his disciples that He would not orphan them. An orphan is a child that is deprived of parents, one who is left to be cared for by someone other than its natural parents. Jesus is going to die and go away - the Holy Spirit is coming in His place. Do you not see the consequences of this? If the Holy Spirit is a separate person from Jesus, then the disciples were indeed orphaned. But, if the Holy Spirit is in fact Jesus in another mode/form, i.e. Spirit, then the disciples were not orphaned after all, and Jesus told the truth when he said: “I will not leave you orphans, I am coming to you,” Let God be true and every man a lair (Romans 3:4). Yea and Amen! 

ALLOS
Much is made by Trinitarians, about the Greek allos,another one of the same kind.” They feel that this word shows proof that the Holy Spirit is another person from Jesus. As we have already demonstrated, allos and heteros are used interchangeably in several passages of Scripture. So at best, those who would deny the oneness of Jesus with the Holy Spirit do not have a conclusive argument in the word “allos.”
However, the primary meaning of allos, i.e. “another one of the same kind,” does not pose Modalistic theology the slightest pause, when employed in this passage.
We are dealing with two words from the Greek: allos and heteros. Heteros, according to Thayer and Vine expresses qualitative difference, and denotes “another of a different sort.” According to the “Emptying of Deity” understanding of Philippians 2:6-8 regarded by Trinitarians, Jesus, at the time He spoke these words was of a “different sort” than the Holy Spirit. That is to say, according to their view the Son had emptied Himself of deity, while the Holy Spirit had not. The Son, according to this view, was something less than He was before the Incarnation, while the Holy Spirit remained unchanged. Therefore, according to the Trinitarian theology the Holy Spirit was a different god-person of a different quality (sort). 
If, this concept would have been true (it is not, but if it had been) then the word heteros should have been used by Jesus to denote another of a different sort from Himself!!
The Modalist view, however, will allow for the Greek allos, “another of the SAME kind.”  This is true, because in the Modalist view the deity that had been Incarnated in Jesus had not been emptied in any way. This is emphasized by Colossians 2:9. “For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” Therefore, the deity in Christ is the same quality (sort) as that of the Holy Spirit. In that “allos” implies (in its normal use) “another one,” we point to the fact that Jesus’ return as the Holy Spirit was in another mode of His existence in God’s economy of the Deity. Thus fulfilling the normal requirement of the Greek “allos” - DIFFERENT ONE, BUT SAME KIND.

Jesus promised His disciples that He would not orphan them, but that He, not another, would return as the Comforter. In Mark 16:12 we read, “After that, he appeared in another form unto two of them...” In another form! As a companion to this, Paul tells us in Colossians 1:27 that the Comforter, or Holy Spirit, that indwells the believer is “Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

Apostolically Speaking
☩ David Ignatius


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Monday, September 7, 2015

Creed of Nicæa (Creed of the 318) Affirmed

Creed of Nicæa (Creed of the 318) Affirmed 
by 
Modalistic Monarchianism
(This article is excerpted from my book "Godhead Theology")

Both the Council and Creed of Nicæa (A.D. 325) have been much misunderstood by non-Trinitarians (and Trinitarians alike) for such a long time, that, I fear it will  require more than this humble author’s attempt to bring about a correction. Since Godhead Theology has taken a stand in this arena, as a defender of said Council and Creed, it behooves us to undertake a demonstration of how the Creed of Nicæa would be interpreted and affirmed by Modalists of the fourth and twenty-first centuries.
In order to arrive at an honest interpretation of the text, one must strive to understand the intent of the framers. Any attempt to comprehend the Creed through modern usage of the terms found in the Creed is sure to meet with certain disappointment. Therefore, a long and ardent study of the debate of the first 300 years of the Church is absolutely required before approaching the Creed. Your humble author has devoted the last thirty years of his life to just such a study. The commentary that is presented in this writing is sure to offend the tritheist who tout themselves as Trinitarians, and will bring surprise and wonderment to those in the Oneness camp that have been taught to despise all things Nicaean. The reader should remember that the Council was dominated by the Modalistic Monarchian bishops present, and it was their watchword “homoousia” that saved Christendom from the Arian heresy of Subordinationism. The Creed of Nicæa is the paragon of post apostolic (the church after the death of the Apostles) Christology.
So, then, given here is our short commentary of the Creed of the 318.

The Creed of Nicæa
We believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of all things visible and invisible; And in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, begotten from the Father, only-begotten, that is, from the substance of the Father, God from God, light from light, true God from true God, begotten not made, of one substance with the Father, through Whom all things came into being, things in heaven and things on earth, 
Who because of us men and because of our salvation came down,
and became incarnate and became man, and suffered, and rose again on the third day, and ascended to the heavens, and will come to judge the living and dead, And in the Holy Spirit. 
But as for those who say, There was when He was not, and, Before being born He was not, and that He came into existence out of nothing, or who assert that the Son of God is of a different hypostasis or substance, or created, or is subject to alteration or change - these the Catholic and apostolic Church anathematizes. 


Commentary

I. Πιστεύομεν εἰς ἕνα Θεὸν 
We believe in one God, 
The shibboleth of Christianity is the belief in One Only God. The Shema (Deut 6:4) is the gate keeper of the Faith. “Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God is one LORD.” (See Isa 44:8, 45:5, 18, 21-22; 46:5, 9.)

II. Πατέρα παντοκράτορα
the Father Almighty, 
Here, the Creed acknowledges the Father to be the fountain of Deity. All “God-stuff” originates and flow out of Him. There can be but ONE Almighty—which He is. In both the Old and New Testaments we are informed that the Father is the only true God. (See, Isa 63:6, 1 Cor 8:6, John 17:1, 3.) The idea of “FATHER” is one of progenitor, nourisher, protector, and upholder. He is acknowledged as the Father by the Psalmist (68:5; 89:26), and the prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah (see Isa 9:6; 63:16; 64:8 and Jer 3:19; 31:9 respectively). Moreover, the New Testament magnified His capacity as creator, nourisher, protector, and upholder of all things in heaven and earth, both visible and invisible (Col 1:16), by His eternal Word (see John 1:1-3 and Heb 11:3 respectively). Gods fatherhood is abundantly demonstrated in both Testaments.


III.  πάντων ὁρατῶν τε καὶ ἀοράτων ποιητήν
maker of all things visible and invisible; 
The Father is acclaimed by the Creed as the Creator of all things. In Isaiah 44:24 Yahweh states, “I am the Lord that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself;...” (The student of the Creed must remember this when interpreting line IX.) The prophet Malachi acknowledges one Father, who is the one God that created us (Mal 2:10). Hilary of Poitiers (A.D. 310-367), wrote: “The Father is He to whom all that exists owes its origin. ... Moreover, His existence is existence in itself, and He does not derive His existence from anywhere else. Rather, from Himself, and in Himself, He possesses the actuality of His being. ... He is always beyond location, because He is not contained; always before the ages, because time comes from Him.… God, however, is present everywhere; and everywhere He is totally present. ... Outside of Him there is nothing, and it is eternally His characteristic that He shall always exist. This is the truth of the mystery of God, And of the impenetrable nature which this name Father expresses; God is invisible, unutterable, and infinite. ... He has, as ... in the word Father a name to indicate His nature; but He is Father as such. For He does not, as humans do, received His Fatherhood from elsewhere. He Himself is unbegotten and eternal; and it is His property, eternally in Himself, that He shall always be.”

IV.  καὶ εἰς ἕνα Κύριον Ἰησοῦν Χριστὸν τὸν Υἱὸν τοῦ Θεοῦ,
And in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, 
The Creed emphasizes a particular Christ. There are those that would preach a different Jesus than the Jesus of the holy Scripture. The Creed knows but One Jesus, as should we. The Christology of the Church must be that of the prophets, apostles and Jesus Christ, Himself (Eph 2:20).
  • John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
  • Luke 1:35 “And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.”
One is said to be the “son of” whatever he exemplifies or manifests. One who dwells in the desert is said to be the a “Son of the Desert.” Also, in this way the brothers James and John were said to be “Sons of Thunder;” and, Joses’ name was changed by the apostles to Barnabas (“Son of Consolation” Acts 4:36). Thus, these persons were understood to be the very nature, character, or essence of what they were the “sons” of. When Jesus is called the Son of God we are to understand that He manifests the very nature, character and essence of the Father. Understanding this helps us comprehend the encounter between Jesus and the Jews in John chapter 10, where Jesus had said that He and the Father were One. The Jews then took up stones to stone Him. Jesus asked them for what good work they were preparing to stone Him. They said clearly, “For no any good work, but because you being a man have made yourself God.” Jesus, in His defense said, “You say I blaspheme because I said, I am the Son of God.” To the Jews, then, Jesus had called Himself God because He said He was the Son of God. As one is the “Son of the Desert”, or “Sons of Thunder”, or the “Son of Consolation,” Jesus was the Son of God. He embodied all that was God the Father (John 10:30ff; 1 Timothy 3:16; Colossians 2:9). This, then, makes Peter’s confession more powerful than we ever knew, when he proclaimed: “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God” —Matthew 16:16.


V. γεννηθέντα ἐκ τοῦ Πατρὸς μονογενῆ 
begotten from the Father, only-begotten, 
When the Creed speaks of Jesus being “begotten from the Father” one should not think in the terms of human begetting and birth. The ancients did not think in such a manner. The term μονογενῆ - monogenē, means: unique, one of its kind. The begetting of the Son was a unique begetting. An example of the ancients’ understanding may be found in the writings of Athenagoras of Athens.  He announces that the Son is the thought of the Father. For him the plurality of God is not a plurality of self rational persons, but of modal aspects of the Deity. The Son/Word is the thought of the Father; the Holy Spirit is the action or the animation in the universe produced by the “Word” (thought) of the Father. Again, not different moral persons, but different modal manifestations. For the early churchmen that gave us the Creed of Nicæa, God’s thought/word (His logos) was His Son, because He “birthed” it in his knos (mind). There is no separate God-person here, only the thought/word of the Father called His logos.
Athenagoras said  “We do indeed think also that God has a Son - please let no one laugh at the idea of God having a Son! This is not a case of the myths of the poets who make the gods out to be no better than men; we have no such ideas about God the Father or the Son. The Son of God is Word of the Father in thought and power. All things were made through Him and after His fashion. The Father and the Son are one, the Son being in the Father and the Father in the Son by the powerful union of the Spirit - the Son of God is Mind and Word of the Father.”

VI. τουτέστιν ἐκ τῆς οὐσίας τοῦ Πατρος
that is, from the substance/being of the Father, 
Jesus was the same “ousia” as the Father. In no uncertain terms the Creed is stating that Jesus is the same Being as the Father.
John 1:18 No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.” (NASB)
When we consider Jesus being the Son of God, because of His “generation,” we have the event of God Himself being birthed into our world through the matrix of a woman’s womb. The Greek New Testament renders John 1:18 thusly, “θεὸν οὐδεὶς ἑώρακεν πώποτε: μονογενὴς θεὸς ὁ ὢν εἰς τὸν κόλπον τοῦ πατρὸς ἐκεῖνος ἐξηγήσατο. Here John calls Jesus “monogenēs theos” English: “only (uniquely) begotten God.” In this case, it is the Incarnated God that is called the Son—because of His having undergone generation. Therefore, in this sense, it is not the humanity of Christ alone, that the Scripture designates as the Son, but the God-man as He is in Himself. It is in this sense that the ancient Monarchians viewed the Son of God as God. In this writer’s opinion, this definition must be allowed because of the weight of manuscript evidence for John 1:18. 

VII. Θεὸν ἐκ Θεοῦ, Φῶς ἐκ Φωτός, Θεὸν ἀληθινὸν ἐκ Θεοῦ ἀληθινοῦ,
God from God, light from light, true God from true God, 
Jesus taught that He proceeded from the Father. He was in fact, God from God, Light from Light, and true God from true God. Lest we get it mixed up, and suppose that Jesus is “another God,” or “God also,” The Creed informs us differently. John wrote of this Light: “In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world” —John 1:4-9.
Jesus was the true Light of Yahweh God shining into a world full of darkness that had blinded men. Before this Light the darkness fled. This Light was not another Light from God, it was God! Some have supposed that Jesus is the Light of God as one would light one torch from another. Not so! That would mean that two somethings share the same Light. Jesus is not God, or Light, as if the deity of God, or the Light of God was shared with Him, and thereby making Him another God, or another Light. As would be the case if we are considering torches. No, Jesus is Light from Light as the  Sun and it Rays. The Rays of the Sun are the same Sun in a different way. Jesus is not like God, He IS God in a different way. Jesus has not been illumined by God, He IS the Light of God shining into the created universe, dispelling the darkness.

VIII. γεννηθέντα, οὐ ποιηθέντα, ὁμοούσιον τῷ Πατρί,
begotten not made, of one being with the Father, 
It is here, in these two statements of the Creed, that the framers accomplish their purpose. The Arians said that the Son of God was actually a created being. It was the purpose of the Council to frame a Creed that the Subordinationist could not sign. The “begotten not made” clause is a frontal assault on the Arians and is, therefore, against their fundamental belief system.  The “begotten” is to be thought of in the sense that Athenagoras set forth. God “birthed” His thought/word. Thus, the thought/word of God, then, is said to be His Son, by virtue of the begetting of it. Further, the thought/word of God (His Son) is Himself in a revealed, intelligible way.
The second of these two statements “of one being with the Father” is the core of the Council’s attack on Arius and his followers. It is, indeed, the coup de grâce delivered by the orthodox to the Arians. The word “homoousion” which identified Jesus as the same being/substance/essence as the Father, was supplied by the Modalists. It had been their watchword for, at least 100 years, as is demonstrated by the separate episodes of Paul of Somosata and the two Dionysii in the previous century. The Subordinationist could have lived with homoiousion (like being), but not homoousion (same being).


IX. δι’ οὗ τὰ πάντα ἐγένετο τά τε ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ καὶ τὰ ἐν τῇ γῇ,
through Whom all things came into being, things in heaven and things on earth, 
Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by which also he made the worlds” —Hebrews 1:2.
Greek dia as found in Hebrews 1:2 (also, in this line of the Creed) and translated in the KJV as by (in our Creed translated “through”), is the instrumental cause; of the ground or reason of which anything is or is not done; by reason of, because of... . The Creed has already told us that it was the Father that created all things visible and invisible (line III). Here, we are shown how the creation was carried out: i.e. by the Word of God. The “logos” the thought/word of God. God spoke and His universe leapt into existence. Therefore, God the Father created dia, by or through His begotten Son. (We must be careful to point out that the begotten Son is not understood as a separate God-person from the Father, but the thought/word of God — the revealed, intelligible God.)
Of course there is a sense in which the Father created with His Son in view. This, because creation would have been an unjust act without the Son of God redeeming fallen man in God’s foreknowledge. Because God is all knowing, He knew His creation would fall from His grace. Knowing this before hand, He created all things with the redemption in view. That is, the Father predicated all creation on the cross. Thus, the Creed can say, “δι’ οὗ,” or “through whom.” The “whom” was the Son of God crucified before the foundation of the world (Rev 13:8).


X. τὸν δι’ ἡμᾶς τοὺς ἀνθρώπους, καὶ διὰ τὴν ἡμετέραν σωτηρίαν, κατελθόντα,
Who because of us men and because of our salvation came down,
The Wisdom of The Lord declared: If man cannot come up to me, then I will go down to him. Jesus was the “uniquely begotten God” (John 1:18). The Creed states Who because of us men and because of our salvation came down, The truth declared in this line of the Creed is the Incarnation of the Father in Mary’s womb, and the reason for that Incarnation: To whit, the salvation of sinful mankind. Perhaps the Apostle Paul said it best when he wrote “To whit, that God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses to them;” (2 Cor 5:17). Paul also wrote, “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest[ed] in flesh,…” (1 Tim 3:16). Thus, to this end the Apostle John wrote, “And you know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin” (1 John 3:5). Therefore, when John the Baptist introduced Jesus to the world he cried, “Behold! The lamb of God which takes (Grk: bears) away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). 

XI. καὶ σαρκωθέντα, καὶ ἐνανθρωπήσαντα,
and became incarnate and became man, 
Truly, it was the Logos, the Word of God, that became Incarnated in human flesh. But, make no mistake, the Logos was not a separate God-person from God the Father. It was His Word (that was in very fact Himself, John 1:1) projected into a virgin’s womb. When Mary believed the Word of the Angel, she conceived by that Word. The Word of God was tabernacled in the world in a human body (John 1:14). This line of the Creed acknowledges the dual nature of Christ. The true God from true God took on humanity in the Incarnation.

XII. παθόντα, καὶ ἀναστάντα τῇ τρίτῃ ἡμέρᾳ,
and suffered, and rose again on the third day, 
The suffering Messiah is prophesied of in Isaiah chapter 53, among other places of the Old Testament. Not the least of which is the prophet Zechariah’s prediction that Yahweh would be pierced (Zech 12: 4, 10). The fulfillment of such prognos-tications, as is recorded in the four Gospels, provides the surety of the creedal statement, “and suffered.”
The suffering of the Son of God was of some concern to the ancients. It is of some interest that this line of the Creed comes after the logos assuming manhood, as is stated in the previous line, “and became man.” Patripassianism (God the Father suffered) is avoided by isolating the passion of Christ to His humanity. Though cognizant of this fact, the bishops had not yet hammered out the precise wording to articulate its concepts. Such codification would wait until the Nestorian controversy and the Council of Chalcedon in the next century (Nestorian controversy, A.D. 431; Chalcedon, A.D. 451).
The resurrection of Christ on the third day does not only validate Jesus’ prediction that the only sign given to His generation would be the sign of Jonah, but assures the Christian of a sure resurrection. The bones of the founders of other world religions remain in their dusty graves; while, the grave of the founder of Christianity is empty.  The empty tomb in Jerusalem presages a general resurrection of all believers. Pagan philosophy has speculated at the eternality of the soul, but never in their most adventurous  dreams did they guess that the body would get up and join it.

XIII. ἀνελθόντα εἰς τοὺς οὐρανούς, ἐρχόμενον κρῖναι ζῶντας καὶ νεκρούς.
and ascended to the heavens, and will come to judge the living and dead, 
Here the Creed affirms what every Christian knows: Christ ascended to Heaven and will return again as the Great Judge, to judge all men of the deeds done in their bodies, whether good or evil. The creedal statement “to judge the living and dead,” speaks to a general resurrection of both sinners and saints. Jesus had taught a general resurrection of the dead– literally. John recorded his words, “... for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, 29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.” (John 5:28-29; cf. Dan 12:2; Acts 24:15; Rev 20:11).

 XIV. καὶ εἰς τὸ Ἅγιον Πνεῦμα.
And in the Holy Spirit. 
The 318 bishops, here, affirm their belief and faith in the Holy Spirit, without identifying the Spirit in any way. This Creed  is totally void of  Trinitarian language that is found in later creeds and formulas of faith, which assign to the Holy Spirit a separate identity from the Father and the Son.

XV. Τοὺς δὲ λέγοντας Ἦν ποτε ὅτε οὐκ ἦν, καὶ Πρὶν γεννηθῆναι οὐκ ἦν, καὶ ὅτι Ἐξ οὐκ ὄντων εγένετο,
But as for those who say, There was when He was not, and, Before being born He was not, and that He came into existence out of nothing, 
In this line of the Creed we have arrived at the anathemas. In modern thought one does not expect (or accept, for that matter) the Church to curse those who hold or preach wrong views. The ancients had no such proclivities. People that taught a wrong Jesus were damning to the salvation of those that followed them, and should, themselves, be damned.
Here, after an unexpected statement concerning the Holy Spirit, the Creed returns to its Christological mission, and renews its attack on Subordinationism. This line of the Creed views, with the utmost contempt, any who would dare suggest that the “one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God,” of line IV, was not eternal. Of course, as Modalist, we can agree to the eternality of the Son of God as it, was then, and is now, understood that the Son, i.e. the Logos is God’s thought/word from silence (Bishop Ignatius, of Antioch, A.D. 107; Athenagoras of Athens, A.D. 176/77 ). Or, in a more particular way, the Modalist might say that the Son proper, i.e. in physical form, had a certain day in which He was born, by the Father undergoing generation. In this view, the eternality of Christ has His deity in view. So, in this sense it is not the Son proper (Mary’s baby) that is eternal, but rather the God from God, the Light from Light, the true God from true God, who became the Son.

XVI. ἢ Ἐξ ἑτέρας ὑποστάσεως ἢ οὐσιάς φάσκοντας εἶναι ἢ κτιστόν ἢ τρεπτόν ἢ ἀλλοιωτὸν τὸν Υἱὸν τοῦ Θεοῦ,
or who assert that the Son of God is of a different hypostasis or substance, or created, or is subject to alteration or change 
The Creed states in clear terms that the Son of God is: God from God, Light from Light and True God from True God. Christ is not another God-person from the Father Almighty. Not as one would light one torch from another—thus, making two torches, but as Rays from the Sun. The deity of the Son and the deity of the Father is the self same ousia, or, in this line of the Creed, hypostasis. Origen had said the the Father and the Son were both eternal, but were not the same hypostasis; Arius argued that not only was Jesus not the same hypostasis as the Father, but neither was He eternal. By this Creed, both men and their followers were anathematized, as the next, and final, line of the Creed makes plain.
XVI. τούτους ἀναθεματίζει ἡ ἁγία καθολικὴ καὶ ἀποστολικὴ ἐκκλησία.
these the catholic and apostolic Church anathematizes. 
In this final line, the bishops at Nicæa take the high ground for the cognomen they claim for themselves. They represent the “catholic and apostolic Church.” Catholic (universal) and apostolic (of, or, from the Apostles) are used as ad-jectives for Church. The formula is painfully clear: All that cannot affirm this statement of Faith are cursed by the catholic and apostolic Church, consequently, then, placed outside of fellowship.


Conclusion

To conclude this commentary on the Creed of Nicæa we will only say: There is nothing trinitarian (in the modern since of that doctrine) in this Creed, nor in the Council that produced it. The rejection of this formula of faith by the twentieth and twenty-first century Christians, calling themselves Oneness, is uncalled for. By doing so, we have been robbed of a rich history that should be a major part of our doctrinal underpinning.

Apostolically Speaking
† David Ignatius


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The above is an excerpt rom the author's book entitled "Godhead Theology" which may be purchased from amazon at the following link: 
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