What occasion in the church ushered in the formulation of the Nicene Creed?

Quick answer:

The Nicene Creed was ushered in by the First Ecumenical Council of Nicaea in 325 AD. The Creed was an attempt by the Church to impose some measure of orthodoxy on Christian believers concerning the nature of Christ.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The convening of the First Ecumenical Council of 325 AD, held in the city of Nicaea in modern-day Turkey, was one of the most important events in the history of Christianity. It established what came to be known as the Nicene Creed, a definitive statement of belief that has formed the basis of mainstream Christianity ever since.

At the time of Nicaea, the Church was riven with dissent. Different factions within the Church held diametrically opposed theologies, particularly relating to the nature of Christ.

Some Christians, called Arians after the priest Arius, believed that Jesus had been created by God. According to them, God is uniquely self-existent—that is, not created by anything else—but that the same cannot be said of the Son. As the Son was created by God, this meant that there was a time when he didn't exist.

Such a formulation was strongly opposed by other Christians. To them, this implied that Jesus was somehow less than God and therefore not fully divine. As such, they regarded Arianism as nothing less than heresy.

It was largely as an attempt to deal with the increasingly bitter dispute between Arians and their opponents that the Nicene Creed was adopted. The Creed stated that the Son, Jesus Christ, was cosubstantial with the Father, meaning that he was of the same divine substance as God. Furthermore, Jesus was affirmed as "begotten" of the Father, not made, which meant that he was not less than God, as the Arians held.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial