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This is related, but intended to be a more specific version of this question.

The answer provides a pretty concise, Sunday-school refutation to Arianism, but it assumes a Trinitarian view.

From within an Arian theological framework, how does Christ fit into the work of human salvation?

Please provide Biblical and historical references as appropriate.

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I don't see why the linked answer is necessarily Trinitarian. It would also apply to other groups such as modalists or binitarians. –  Ryan Aug 29 '14 at 3:45
    
I assumed you, given the quote in your question. "... but it assumes a Trinitarian view." :) –  Ryan Sep 5 '14 at 2:22

2 Answers 2

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From Arius' own hand:

We believe in one God the Father Almighty, and in the Lord Jesus Christ his son, who was begotten of him before all ages, God the Word through whom all things were made, both things in heaven and on earth; who descended, and became human, and suffered, and rose again, ascended into heaven, and will again come to judge the living and the dead. We believe also in the holy spirit, and in the resurrection of the flesh, and in the life of the coming age, and in the kingdom of the heavens, and in one catholic church of God, extending from one end of the earth to the other. . . . If we do not so believe and do not truly receive the Father, the son, and the holy spirit, as the whole catholic church and the holy scriptures teach (in which we believe in every respect), may God judge us both now, and in the coming judgment.1

According to Arius, he and his fellow Arians believed everything in common with the rest of the church, excepting only that they disagreed on the 'origin' of Jesus:

But what do we say and think and what have we previously taught and do we presently teach? . . . Before [Jesus] was begotten, or created, or defined, or established, he did not exist. For he was not unbegotten. But we are persecuted because we have said the son has a beginning but God has no beginning. We are persecuted because of that and for saying he came from non-being. But we said this since he is not a portion of God nor of anything in existence. That is why we are persecuted; you know the rest.2

But in response to the Arians, Athanasius argued that their perception of Jesus was that any human was ontologically equal to Jesus.

For granting what they say, that, whereas His qualifications were fore-known , He therefore received grace from the first, the name, and the glory of the name, from His very first beginning, still there will be no difference between Him and those who receive the name after their actions, so long as this is the ground on which He as others has the character of son.3

According to Athanasius, the Arian position meant that humans were qualitatively identical to Jesus, with the only substantial difference between that Jesus was created before humans were. Ergo, because Jesus is created, he cannot save what is also created:

Again, if the Son were a creature, man had remained mortal as before, not being joined to God; for a creature had not joined creatures to God, as seeking itself one to join it ; nor would a portion of the creation have been the creation's salvation, as needing salvation itself.4

This should be taken with a grain of salt, however; in the process of arguing against the Arians, it appears Athanasius exaggerated their view of Jesus, so he may well be making a straw man argument.5


1 Letter of Arius and Euzoïus to Emperor Constantine, c.327 AD. Emphases mine.

2 Letter of Arius to Eusebius of Nicomedia, c.318 AD. Emphasis mine.

3 Athanasius, De Decretis, paragraph 6. Emphasis mine.

4 Athanasius, Discourse II Against the Arians, paragraph 69. The objection is, fundamentally: Only uncreated God can save, so if Jesus is not uncreated God, he cannot save. I believe this is a rather weak argument, philosophically and scripturally, but I digress.

5 e.g. Athanasius claims Arius' belief is that 'the Son is [not] by nature the Father's true Word . . . He is improperly called [the] Word [of God]', contrary to Arius' self-expressed belief (as in the first quote above) that 'the Lord Jesus Christ . . . [is] God the Word'.

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Arius' Christology follows that of Ss. Lucian of Antioch and Dionysius of Alexandria. During the Nicene council Arians quoted both of them to sustain the hypostatic difference between the Father and the Son. This is why in the original Nicene creed, the last part condemned anyone who confess the Son is of different hypostasis than the Father. Because of this Nicene was suspected for Modalism by Arian sympathizers. Only later in 362 St. Athanasius concede to distinguish ousia from hypostasis in order to gain more support from semi-Arians who were sympathetic for Church unity to prevent wars with Persian Empire by accepting Nicene as the unity of faith and the Roman Empire.

For Arius, Christ is the one mediator between God and men, because He is one nature from both natures. He is divine because before becoming the Son at creation he exists anhypostatically as the Logos with God, this then revived by Photinus of Sirmium which then condemned for both Sabellianism and Adoptionism at Constantinople in 381. The Logos became the Son hypostatically at creation by the will of God becoming the creator of this world which makes the Son divine but hypostatically lesser than the Father because He is uncaused while the Son is begotten from Him. An uncaused God can't become a caused one but a caused divine person can become a human because His personhood is caused. By become incarnate the Son is capable to die and be forsaken by His Father on the Cross.

Both Ss. Lucian and Dionysius used 1 Timothy 2:5 to show that the one mediator is a perfect man assumed by the Logos. Arians before, during, and after Nicaea used their writings to oppose the usage of Samosatan's homoousian language condemned earlier at Second Council of Antioch in 268. To this day Church of the East preserved Antiochene Christology that the Logos dwelt in His tabernacle and His tabernacle is that one mediator, notice that St. Paul didn't say God-man but referred to a man as the mediator between God and men. Samosata's and Arius' errors were not a denial of divinity of Christ but how the Logos and His tabernacle related in our salvation.

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Do you have any Biblical references, like the question asks for? And please don't say that protestants are Arian. That's off-topic for this question and unhelpful regardless. I will be removing it from your answer. –  curiousdannii Feb 9 at 9:29
    
I never said Protestantism is Arian. Both anti Nicene and Nicene party used Scripture. The question is which one is historically reliable with the faith handed down by the Apostles. This is why Nicene later won. My post on 'What are the soteriological implications of Arianism?' address this point that Lutheran and Calvinian soteriology is inherently Arian because it argues for an actual chasm between the hypostases of the Father and the Son. I was a former Calvinist and I left Reformed because it introduces an actual division between Godhead when the Fathers allegedly damned His Son in Hell. –  Adithia Kusno Feb 9 at 18:31
    
I explained the role of Christ according to Arian. The soteriological implication of Arianism can be seen in Lutheran and Calvinian soteriology (link above). Arians teach that the Son was forsaken by the Father on the cross. This view was refuted by St. Athanasius because it introduces an actual chasm in the Godhead. Both Luther and Calvin teach that on the Cross Christ became an actual sinner substituting our sins on His flesh. This explains why Lutheran and Calvinian soteriology is inherently Arian. Even though Protestantism is not Arian. Don't remove my answer simply because you disagree. –  Adithia Kusno Feb 9 at 18:48
    
curiousdannii, both Ss Lucian and Dionysius used 1 Timothy 2:5 to show that the one mediator is a perfect man assumed by the Logos. Arians before, during, and after Nicaea used their writings to oppose the usage of Samosatan's homoousian language condemned earlier at Second Council of Antioch in 268. To this day Church of the East preserved Antiochene Christology that the Logos dwelt in His tabernacle and His tabernacle is that one mediator. Samosata's and Arius' errors were not a denial of divinity of Christ but how the Logos and His tabernacle related in our salvation. Thank you for asking. –  Adithia Kusno Feb 9 at 19:11
    
If you want to argue that Lutherans and Calvinists are Arian, then make a new question. It's off topic here. –  curiousdannii Feb 9 at 21:44

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