I previously posted the question:
I understand the word theos may be translated as "God" or as "god." Bible writers added words (the, true, only, or one) to indicate the Almighty. The Nicene Creed describes the Father as "one theos" and the Son as "true theos from true theos." Is there anything in the Greek of this phrase to indicate whether this should read "God" or "god?"
But the moderator closed the question and indicated:
Add details and clarify the problem you’re solving.
So, let me try to explain why I ask such a question:
The ancient Greek word theos is the standard word used by the Greeks for their gods. The modern English word “God” has a very different meaning, for it is used only for one Being, namely the Ultimate Reality; the Almighty.
Since no other word was available, the New Testament writers used the same word theos for the God of the Bible. When the context indicates that it refers to the Ultimate Reality, theos is translated as “God.” The New Testament also uses theos for other beings. In such instances, theos is translated as “god.” (e.g., 1 Cor 8:5-6)
The Nicene Creed refers to Jesus as theos in the phrase “theos from theos.” On the assumption of the Trinity doctrine, in which the Son is God Almighty, this is translated as “God from God.” However, the authors of the 325 Nicene Creed did not think of the Son as God Almighty. This is indicated by the following:
(1) The Creed itself makes a distinction between the “one God, the Father almighty” and “one Lord, Jesus Christ.”
(2) Most of the delegates to the council were followers of Origen Frend WHC (The Rise of Christianity) (Millard J. Erickson) and Origen, like all pre-Nicene Fathers, regarded the Son as subordinate to the Father (Hanson). They did refer to Jesus as theos because they did regard Him as divine but, in their theology, there were many different types and grades of deity.
(3) The concept or phrase “theos from theos” was used by pre-Nicene fathers (Irenaeus - Proof of the Apostolic Preaching 47, Tertullian - Against Praxeas 13) but, as said, they regarded the Son as subordinate to the Father.
(4) Eusebius, who was the leader of the eastern (Greek) delegation at Nicaea, who were the majority at Nicaea (Millard J. Erickson), wrote after the Council at Nicaea in AD 325 that the Nicene Creed refers to Jesus as theos because He is “the perfect resemblance” of the Father [Against Marcellus. As cited by The Ecclesiastical History of Socrates Scholasticus. II:21]. In other words, the creed did not refer to the Son because the council thought that He is the Almighty God Himself.
(5) The Creed of Sirmium from the year 358 also refers to the Son as “God from God, light from light,” but that creed presents the Son as subordinate to the Father.
In defense against indications of subordination, the Council of Chalcedon formulated the concept that the Son, during His incarnation, had two natures; a divine and a human nature and, when He said that He is subordinate to the Father, He was speaking from His human nature.
But there are also many indications that the Son is subordinate to the Father before His incarnation and in His existence after His resurrection and ascension. To defend against these indications of subordination, defenders of the Trinity doctrine postulates that the three ontologically equal Persons have a voluntary arrangement amongst themselves – a division of duties, so to speak - in which the Son is eternally subordinate to the Father.
(1) An eternal voluntary arrangement between three ontologically equal Persons, in which the Son is subordinated to the Father, remains real subordination. (Kevin Giles)
(2) The Pre-Nicene fathers regarded the Son to be ontologically subordinate to the Father. According to their Logos-theory, the Logos (Word) of God was always part of God but became separated from (begotten from) God when it became time to create. At that time, the Logos became the only Begotten Son of God and later became Jesus Christ through His incarnation. (See Hanson) The pre-Nicene fathers, therefore, regarded the Son as subordinate to the Father in all respects. They did not regard the Son to be “the supreme or ultimate reality,” namely God Almighty.
Conclusion and Question
Therefore, when Irenaeus said that “the Father is God and the Son is God” (Proof of the Apostolic Preaching 47), I understand that Irenaeus simply meant that both the Father and the Son are immortal beings with supernatural powers.
And, therefore, when Irenaeus added that “that which is begotten of God is God,” he simply meant that, since the Father is an immortal being with supernatural powers, and since Jesus Christ is the only begotten of God, He is also an immortal being with supernatural powers.
So, the question remains, on the basis of the conclusion that the Nicene Council regarded the Son as subordinate to the Father, how should "theos from theos" in the Nicene Creed be translated? This may be compared to the following quote from Irenaeus:
There is none other called God by the Scriptures except the Father of all, and the Son, and those who possess the adoption. (IV, Preface).
This quote classifies the Father, the Son, and believers under the category theos, showing the general meaning of the word theos. How should theos in this quote be translated?