It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the most confusing of times, and it was the year three-hundred twenty-five. The world has changed much since a man by the name of Jesus Christ stepped onto the stage and revolutionized what it meant to be faithful. The once chief of persecutors, the Roman Empire, was now the chief of proponents for Christianity. Now that the Apostles are long gone and their students long buried, there are questions. At the avenue of Christianity and the corner of heresy there is a clammor of the market. Some teachers are rising to prominence with their points of view that are completely opposite the sound teachings that have been handed down these three hundred years. For the good of the empire, for the health of the religion, and for the sanity of the believers, the emperor himself has called to the city of Nicaea every knowledgeable bishop to answer these questions one by one. There is only one rule, this council is concluded once everybody is agreed.
(According to the Wikipedia article on the Nicene Creed, the Greek word that was used meant “a half of a broken object which when placed together with the other half verified the bearer’s identity.”)
A preacher by the name of Arius has amasssed a following by his ideas of Jesus which denies and diminishes the Trinity. These ideas have been adopted by the schools of Alexandria, the hallowed halls of learning for the privledged. They grew so popular that Arius wrote a book fully clarifying his point of view called The Thalia. So it comes down to this, in the lower left corner is Arius, The Thalia, and the teachers in the school who are his supports and in the upper right corner is Constatine and his assembled bishops. Let the arguments commence, let the scripture fly, and every now and then quell the noise to post a question. This is the result:
“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 of the Father [the only-begotten; that is, of the essence of the Father, God of God], Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father; By whom all things were made [both in heaven and on earth]; Who for us men, and for our salvation, came down and was incarnate and was made man; He suffered, and the third day he rose again, ascended into heaven; From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead. And in the Holy Ghost. [But those who say: ‘There was a time when he was not;’ and ‘He was not before he was made;’ and ‘He was made out of nothing,’ or ‘He is of another substance’ or ‘essence,’ or ‘The Son of God is created,’ or ‘changeable,’ or ‘alterable’—they are condemned by the holy catholic and apostolic Church.]”
And as for Arius, he was banished, his book was burned, and those that would not sign a statement of condemnation shared his fate. So that is how the first heretic rose and fell, but his story and the story of the Nicene Creed have only just begun.