ut that's exactly what was going on. Arius' views about Jesus being a created (divine) being forced the Church to think about their position. They brought up all sorts of biblical passages, and realised that the semi-Arians could use/interpret those same Scriptures in their own way. When Constantine suggested the (then) questionable term consubstantial, it was something new that they had to struggle with, and the struggle went on for another 55 years.
Do you have any evidence to support your claim ? Can you bring up any writings from the age of the Apostles till the council of Nicea in which there is a clear denial of the divinity of Christ ?
Any verse in the Bible standing alone can be intrepreted in any way you like, and it was not a trap for the Orthodox as much as it was for the Arians for they failed to relate their heretical interpretation of indidvual verses to the whole belief system conveyed through the Bible and through the earluy writings of the Church Fathers that is clear about Christ's divinity.
Not only that, the centuries before Nicea were ages of martyrdom that were dominated by a clear confession of the lordship and divinity of Christ on the part of christians. You cannot challenge that not only was the theology and christology one of clear admission of the worship of Christ as divine, but the masses in all the Roman empire who accepted the faith shared in the same doctrines practiced in clarity.
Then there was indeed confusion about the Holy Spirit. It's sort of funny that one of St. Basil's best known works is on the Spirit, because Basil was actually unsure of the exact status of the Holy Spirit, and his quasi-friend Gregory the Theologian had to defend him.
I donot find this confusion at all. I find a clear attribution of all the qualities and characteristics of God to the Holy Spirit. If there is any text that you find in contradiction to that,please bring it forward in its context. In addition to misrepresentation of the Bible verses away from Apostolic Tradition, there is misrepresentation of the writings of the Fathers in some aspects related to the faith to suit heretical claims.
Gregory also seemed willing to grant that there was a development of doctrine. Here's a quote to chew on:
We either define the term "development" differently, or you are bringing quotes that by no means support your views. There is a difference in the stages of revelations to humankind each according to his or her capacity and it was sealed in the Apostolic era after a long preparation throughout the OT and through the service of the Lord on the earth. The reason why no other development could take place because these are matters related to salvation that cannot be compromised. In the OT, there was none and as such it the revelation of dogmas related to the nature of God makes sense. With the change on scene with the coming of the incarnate Logos, who is the revelation of God Himself, it does not make sense to have any new dogmas introdcued to the faith after his ascension. There is no problem to reveal the doctrines step by step, but it does not necessarily mean that it changed the nature of this doctrines at any point of time, specially as hard evidence contradict that totally.
As for the work of the Holy Spirit, it should be noted that the quote by St. Gregory limits His work to the era of the Apostles, and to the dogmas they are already received from Christ. I was not born knowing every detail of the Orthodox faith, but the Holy Spirit enlightens my mind to receive more and understand more until I come to a perfection of understanding in eternity, but the dogmas did not change themselves.
Perhaps this was not directed at me but regardless I can agree with this statement 'but' I would suggest that 'all' that can be written or taught concerning 'this deposit of Faith' has not be exhausted. The Advocate is ever shining within those God-Seers who are ever present within the Church of the Living God and some continue to write even today what has be gleaned.
Such a statement might be in line with your belief system that must incorporate theological development in its components to allow for deviations made by bishops of Rome, but it is not what the real Orthodox believe in. We have no common reference in this regard and no common approach, but maybe the fruits of each approach should be the measure to judge the validity of each approach.
Are you suggesting that Neo-Platonic Philosophy played 'no' role with the formulations of our early Church Fathers to articulate Doctrines and Dogmas?
Formulation ...no. Our church has no problem with any forumation as long as it explains the dogma in a language suitable to the audience without adding or subtracting anything to the content of the faith.
With all due respect, I beg to differ. This does not have to be the 'only' conclusion.
My following statement isnot directly related to the content of the topic but to an approach that is spreading in the Christian world and is the cause of all problems. THERE COULD NOT BE TWO CONCLUSUIONS BOTH ACCEPTED AND UPHELD AND YET CONTRADICT EACH OTHER. It does not make sense. Regardless of who got it right, there has to be only one way the faith has been delivered. It insults God, His Church, His Faith and common intelligence to present the truth, by definition not able to evolute, as something against it svery definition.
This approach is hurting the faith because it presents the faith as an ideology and not as the incorruptable truth. I might ask where does this development end and who is to judge whether a heretic is the element of God's revelation or just puffed up by his own fantasies.
Expressing a truth in a new way does not void the validity of the truth expressed. Method had not bearing on the value of what is expressed. You are mixing Content with Method.
No. I make a clear distinction between both and have stated that there could be no objection to proclaiming the right faith in any terms or language as long as it does not touch the faith. But the method should not conceal any introduction to the faith.
As an Eastern Catholic I rejected the idea that doctrines "develop" over time, because doctrines are not discursive truths open to logical development; instead, doctrines are an unmerited experience of God's own life and glory given to mankind through the incarnation of the eternal Logos.
However, human understanding of doctrines has developed---we have come to a greater understanding of the kernels of doctrine the apostles left us.
This in turn willmean that at one point of times, believers, whether martyrs or confessors or simple good believers, might have rejected the idea of the divinity of Christ or his incarnation in the way we Orthodox understand it or were not clear about.
Although no hard evidence support such view, such approach also suggests that it could be reversed (it is human interpretation after all) and does not give an explanation to why Christ failed to deliver the faith in a comprehensible way, needing human interpretation centuries after.