In the Nicene Creed we confess that “we believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father…”

Last week, in episode 4, we were introduced to Athanasius, Arius, Constantine, and the Nicene Council. Today, in episode 5 of Passages, Caleb and Joshua explore the backstory to the confession that the Son of God is not only like the Father, but “of one being with the Father.” Caleb investigates the ancient philosophical context of the word “homoousios,” “of one being,” in ancient Hermetic and Greco-Roman contexts.

Joshua discusses the lingering influence of the Hellenization thesis, with its assertion that early Christian thought was corrupted by Greek philosophy, and recent scholarship on the doctrines of impassability and simplicity in Cyril of Alexandria and others. To illuminate this and more, we also hear from systematic theologians Fred Sanders and Michael Horton.

This episode concludes by reading excerpts from Athanasius’s anti-Arian writings and from his “On the Incarnation.” Join us to marvel with Athanasius in wonder and awe at the mystery of the renewal of the cosmos through the incarnate Word as crucified and risen Lord, whose glories are as inexhaustible as waves upon the shoreline.

Next time on Passages, we at last turn to the Cappadocians and meet Gregory of Nazianzus, from whom we will learn more about the backstory of the Nicene Creed’s confession that the Son of God was “eternally begotten of the Father” but “not made.”


To support those who made Passages, please consider donating to Mere Orthodoxy.

Joshua Heavin serves as the lead writer and host of Passages, while Caleb Wait serves as the lead producer and co-host. Original music by Aaron Feeney, who welcomes inquires.

Follow Passages and Joshua and Caleb on Twitter for more news and updates about the show.

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Posted by Joshua Heavin

Joshua Heavin is from the flatlands of the Texas Panhandle, attended Amarillo College and West Texas A&M University, and wrote his doctoral dissertation at Trinity College Bristol, University of Aberdeen, on the Apostle Paul and Participation in Christ. 


  1. […] week, in episode 5, we explored with Athanasius how and why it is significant that the Incarnate Word is of the same […]


  2. […] “Passages – Chapter 6.” This episode of Passages (a podcast on the story of the Nicene Creed) introduces Gregory of […]


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