Homoousion (/ˌhɒmoʊˈuːsiən/ HOM-oh-OO-see-ən; Greek: ὁμοούσιος, translit. homooúsios, lit. ‘one in being’, from ὁμός, homós, “same” and οὐσία, ousía, “being”) is a Christian theological doctrine pertaining to the Trinitarian understanding of God. The Nicene Creed describes Jesus as being ὁμοούσιος with God the Father, i.e. Jesus is “one in being” with the Father. The term was adopted at the First Council of Nicaea to clarify the nature of the relationship between Christ and God the Father within the Godhead. In Latin, and in Romance languages that lack a present participle of the verb be, the term is rendered consubstantialis or a translation thereof. It is one of the cornerstones of theology in Nicene Christianity.
The term ὁμοούσιος had been used before its adoption by the First Council of Nicene. The Gnostics were the first to use the word ὁμοούσιος, while before the Gnostics there is no trace at all of its existence. The early church theologians were probably made aware of this concept, and thus of the doctrine of emanation, by the Gnostics. In Gnostic texts the word ὁμοούσιος is used with the following meanings:
For example, Basilides, the first known Gnostic thinker to use ὁμοούσιος in the first half of the 2nd century AD, speaks of a threefold sonship consubstantial with the god who is not. The Valentinian Gnostic Ptolemy claims in his letter to Flora that it is the nature of the good God to beget and bring forth only beings similar to, and consubstantial with, himself. The term ὁμοούσιος was already in current use by the 2nd-century Gnostics, and through their works it became known to the orthodox heresiologists, though this Gnostic use of the term had no reference to the specific relationship between Father and Son, as is the case in the Nicene Creed.
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Keywords: Homoousios, Homoiousian, Homoousion, homoiousios, Athanasius, Nicene Creed, Nicean Creed, Trinity, Deity of Jesus, Divinity of Jesus, Creed, Church Creeds, Nicea, Nicaea, Council of Nicaea, 325 AD, Council of Nicea, Arius, Arian, Arian heresy, Arian controversy, Arianism, Athanasian, Athanasian Creed
Bible reference(s): Deuteronomy 6:4, Matthew 28:19, Mark 12:32, 1 Corinthians 8:6, 1 Timothy 2:5, 1 John 5:7-8
Source: This article uses material from the Wikipedia article “Homoousion,” which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.
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