Opening the First Synod of Nicaea in 325 A.D. Athanasius declared: ‘God became man in order that man becomes God’.
Jesus is not just a historical [Yeshua, Lesus, Joshua] or mythical [Mashiah, Kristos, Christ] figure. Jesus is not even a simple idea. Jesus in fact, is a defiant contradiction. For ‘Jesus’, it said: ‘is both God and Man.’
The first Synod of Nicaea was the first Ecumenical meeting of the Catholic Church, under Constantine, whose own conversion elevated an heretofore obscure persecuted cult to an empire-spanning faith propagated under a Pax Romana.
The Eastern Church insightfully saw greater danger in the ready consumption of reassuring sensibility than in the absurd and in the cryptic. ‘Scripture shorn of antinomy’, it voiced, ‘is Scripture suspect’.
But contrary to popular belief, the Western Church held no different. The difference is more in the speed of memory-loss.
Athanasius’ proclamation was a provocatively incorrect stance for a man of the Church. A charged debate ensued and it was finally [but not unanimously] agreed that a new major doctrine that ironed out various conflicting minor anomalies was indeed needed.
And the new doctrine said:‘Christ was of one substance with the Father’.
To be a True Christian is to be able to ride that contradiction and allow it to take you where it will.
The Creed of Nicaea was the first uniform statement of doctrine for the Catholic Church. Much of the mountainous pile of later theological writing focused on making sensible this and other irritating antinomies that kept erupting, sneaking their way past the stern guards stationed at the door of orderly Church interpretation.
Naturally, this leads to even greater absurdity: ‘How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?’