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Don Stewart :: Is Jesus Lesser in Nature than God the Father? (Arianism)

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Don Stewart

An ancient heresy regarding the Trinity known as Arianism caused much discussion about the nature of God in the fourth century. Arius, a bishop from Alexandria, Egypt, taught that Jesus was the first creation of God and not God Himself. According to Arius Jesus was the first and highest of all the created beings. Arius said, "There was a time when the Son was not." Jesus was then given powers to create. He then created the Holy Spirit as His greatest creative act. Therefore Arianism teaches that Jesus and the Holy Spirit are created beings and not God. Arianism is another heresy that is Unitarian in its belief about God in that its does not accept the three distinctive Persons of the Trinity.

The Doctrine Originated In Egypt

The heresy of Arianism originated in Alexandria in Egypt where Arius was an elder of the church. Arius' heretical teaching caused Alexander, the bishop of the church, to excluded him from the fellowship. However the false teachings of Arius spread immediately spread throughout all the churches of the Roman Empire.

The Council Of Nicea Meets

A council was called at Nicea in A.D. 325 to discuss the relationship between Jesus Christ and God the Father. The teachings of Arius were condemned. From it resulted the Nicene Creed. The Nicene Creed confessed that Jesus Christ was fully God and not a created being as the Arians taught.

It Is Closer To The Truth Than Adoptionism

Arianism was closer to the biblical truth concerning the nature of Jesus than there heresy of Adoptionism. Adoptionism taught that Jesus was a mere man who was adopted by God as His Son in a special way at His baptism. In Arianism Jesus was more than a mere man while adoptionists see Him as no more than human. However Arianism is unbiblical in that it makes Jesus a created being instead of the Creator.

There Is No Participation Of God With Humanity

In neither Arianism nor Adoptionism is there any participation of God with humankind. The Savior of these two heretical beliefs is not God who became a human being but either the first creation of God or a special man that God adopted as His Son.

They Are Equal In Nature

The Bible teaches that Jesus is equal in nature to God the Father. Jesus is the Creator of everything - not everything but Himself. The Bible says.

Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made (John 1:3)

Paul wrote the to the Colossians.

For by him [Jesus] all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him (Colossians 1:16).

There is no hint in Scripture that Jesus was a created being. He not only existed before all things He is also preeminent over all things.

The Holy Spirit Is Not A Created Being

The Holy Spirit, like the Son, is not a created being either by God the Father or by Jesus. He is the eternal God the Third Person of the Trinity.


Arius of Alexandria, a fourth century church leader, attempted to make Jesus Christ a lesser person than God the Father though greater than humans. According to Arius Jesus was the highest of all of the created beings. He also taught that the Holy Spirit was part of Jesus' creation. In doing so he contradicted the biblical evidence that Jesus is the Creator of all things. Scripture also teaches that the Holy Spirit was involved in the creation process of the universe. Arianism thus denies the Deity of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. Arianism was condemned for the heresy that it is at the council of Nicea.


The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.


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