Book review: When Jesus Became God

by Richard E. Rubenstein


After nearlythree hundred years of persecution, Christianity made a breakthrough in 324, when Constantine became emperor of Rome. Led by two charismatic priests—Arius, who preached that Jesus is subject to God, and Athanasius who argued that Jesus is God himself in human form—the debate over Jesus’ degree of divinity escalated from heated argument to violence and bloodshed. Rubenstein guides you through the power struggles of the time, concluding in the year 381, when the Council of Constantinople affirmed that Jesus Christ was…

the only-begotten Son of God, begotten from the Father before all ages, light from light, true God from true God, begotten not made, homoousios with the Father, through Whom all things came into existence.

Theodosius left no doubt about the church’s official stance by demanding,

We now order that all churches are to be handed over to the bishops who profess Father, Son and Holy Spirit of a single majesty, of the same glory, of one splendor, who establish no difference by sacrilegious separation, but [who affirm] the order of the Trinity by recognizing the Persons and uniting the Godhead.

Arianism was officially denounced, and possession of Arian writings would become crimes punishable by death. Jesus Christ was pronounced God. This book is the story of how Christianity reached this conclusion.

1 Comment

  1. It is unfortunate that the error of “how Christianity reached this conclusion”, is still continued. It was a Catholic conclusion. Why did one group win over another? I wonder if the book goes into the politics of the choice? It seems that before that time at least one emperor was against the choice.

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