Questions tagged [origin]

Questions about the origins of beliefs, concepts, and terminology

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
45
votes
9answers
93k views

Where does the concept of a “God-shaped hole” originate?

There's a concept that I heard used many times throughout my life in regards to idolatry. The idea is that inside each of us is a "God-shaped hole"--a place inside of our hearts that only God can ...
27
votes
3answers
4k views

Is Xmas a secular name for Christmas?

I heard that Xmas is a secular way of "taking Christ out of Christmas". When and why did this practice originate? Is there any truth to the claim that it has a secular or "un-Christian" origin?
26
votes
6answers
6k views

What is the history of the concept of a “personal relationship with Jesus”?

It is common these days to hear questions like: Do you have a personal relationship with Jesus? Or... The most important thing is your personal relationship with Jesus. The Bible never uses ...
23
votes
5answers
81k views

What is the meaning and origin of bridal veils in Christian weddings?

Does the practice of brides wearing veils have its origin in either the Bible or Christian tradition? If so, where exactly did it originate and what is it supposed to symbolize?
22
votes
2answers
2k views

Swear to tell the truth 'so help me God'?

I know that in court if you don't believe in God you are allowed to simply give an "Affirmation" instead of an Oath. But what I want to know is why any Christian would swear an Oath to tell the truth "...
21
votes
1answer
484 views

When in the development of trinitarian doctrine was the word “persons” first applied to God?

In the Bible, the word "persons" is not used in reference to God, nor are the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit called "persons." When, in early Christian writings and creeds, was the word "persons" (...
20
votes
2answers
3k views

What is the origin of the moral-civil-ceremonial distinction of the Old Testament law?

This distinction is often called tripartite division of the law. I ran across this series of blog posts, which considers the division of the law into "moral", "civil", and "ceremonial" parts: ...
19
votes
2answers
1k views

How old is old earth creationism?

The answers to What is the biblical evidence for an old Earth? say that biblical arguments for old Earth creationism are based on the ambiguous words used for describing lengths of time in Genesis. ...
18
votes
4answers
6k views

What is the origin of the idea that Michael is Jesus?

I recently came across the idea of identifying the angel Michael as Jesus. I'm surprised I hadn't heard it before. Wikipedia documents it as common to Seventh Day Adventists and Jehovah's Witnesses. I'...
18
votes
7answers
1k views

How old is the idea of premillenial rapture?

Wikipedia claims that the doctrine of rapture was first formed in the 17th century: The concept of the Rapture, in connection with premillennialism, was expressed by the 17th-century American ...
18
votes
1answer
21k views

What is the origin of holding hands when praying around a circle before a meal?

My impression is that, among many Christians, people around a table saying a prayer thanking Jesus for a meal hold hands with one another. What is the origin of this practice, and are there any ...
18
votes
2answers
643 views

What is the origin of the idea that Matthew, Mark, and Luke didn't mention Lazarus in order to protect him?

As discussed in another question, on why Matthew, Mark, and Luke didn't mention the raising of Lazarus, this miracle is only related in John 11 – the Synoptics, though they presumably knew about it, ...
18
votes
3answers
950 views

When is the first time in church history we find a prayer ending with “in Jesus' name, amen”?

It is commonplace in Christianity today to close prayers "in Jesus' name, amen". I don't see any prayer in the apostolic writings prayed in this way. When does this first emerge in history?
17
votes
5answers
2k views

Where did the idiom “asking Jesus into your heart” come from?

Where did the idea of "asking Jesus into your heart" come from? That figure of speech is not explicitly from the bible or probably even early church history. Can anyone find its first use and maybe ...
17
votes
7answers
6k views

Why is the number 666 considered evil?

People always make jokes about the number 666 and how it's evil and such. What is the basis of this?
16
votes
1answer
545 views

What is the earliest known instance of a petition directed to Mary?

A recent answer on this site says that "People have always prayed to Mary as a chief intercessor on their behalf." Such a statement will surely seem excessive to Protestants, who would normally ...
15
votes
1answer
571 views

What are the first references to a tradition of fasting before partaking of the Lord's Supper?

I recently learned that in Roman Catholicism, it's expected that partakers of the Eucharist will fast for at least an hour. Canon 919, §1 reads: A person who is to receive the Most Holy Eucharist ...
14
votes
3answers
3k views

What is the origin of the Christian tradition of praying before eating? [duplicate]

This is sort of related this other question about holding hands when praying before a meal. However this question is more generally about the praying itself. When looking at the origin of ...
14
votes
1answer
1k views

What is the earliest historical testimony of the celebration of the nativity of the Lord Jesus Christ?

What is the earliest historical testimony (e.g., in writing) of the celebration (i.e., a feast) of the nativity of the Lord Jesus Christ, whether it be on the equivalent of December 25, January 6, or ...
14
votes
5answers
6k views

What is the source of the story about the melted gold in the destroyed temple in 70 AD

In Matthew 24:2, Mark 13:2 and Luke 21:6, Jesus seems to indicate that in the coming temple destruction, "not one stone will be left upon another". And, indeed, this seems to be the case from the ...
14
votes
3answers
566 views

What is the modern origin of the phrase “hell is the absence of God”?

I'm familiar with debates about the theological implications of the statement "Hell is the absence of God" (see here for instance), but I have not been able to find a source for the phrase nor in what ...
13
votes
3answers
3k views

What is the origin of the belief that Satan tortures the unsaved in Hell?

There's a thought that Satan (the devil) tortures the unsaved in Hell. For example, a brief search revealed a website wherein a member posted the following: I think of Satan more of a psycopath ...
13
votes
1answer
1k views

When was the word “trinity” first applied to God in Christianity?

The word "trinity" does not occur in the Bible. When, in early Christian writings and creeds, was the word "trinity" first used in reference to God? After that first (known) occurrence, what are ...
13
votes
2answers
1k views

What is the source of the belief that the deceased become angels?

An associate wrote an open letter (email) of condolence to a friend who'd lost a child. The letter stated that that deceased was now an angel in heaven with wings. What is the ultimate source of this ...
12
votes
3answers
23k views

What is the origin of the Good Friday tradition?

As suggested by this question and this answer, it seems possible that Jesus actually died on a Wednesday, not on a Friday. In light of these competing theories, what is the origin of the Good Friday ...
12
votes
2answers
3k views

Did this phrase “love the sinner but hate the sin” in this form originate in Christianity and who is credited to have first used it?

This article "Are we to love the sinner but hate the sin?" | gotquestions.org says: Many Christians use the cliché “Love the sinner; hate the sin.” This C.SE question Is “hate the sin, love the ...
12
votes
1answer
1k views

Origin of the Reformed “Marks of the True Church”

In Reformed Theology, "the marks of a true church" are often delineated, to the effect of: Church discipline Teaching/preaching Administration of the sacraments (These are the marks often denoted in ...
12
votes
1answer
376 views

Who was the first to reject the historicity of Adam?

Since the nineteenth century the early chapters of Genesis have been very controversial. For some issues, like the age of the earth, it is well established that there have been many different ...
12
votes
3answers
645 views

What is the origin of the Covenant of Grace?

In Covenant Theology the Covenant of Grace refers to an overarching theological covenant which God made on the basis of grace. The various Biblical covenants such as Abraham's, the Mosaic/Deuteronomic,...
12
votes
2answers
2k views

When did the concept of “wine is grape juice” originate?

A discussion in chat today has lead me to this question. Most of us should be familiar with the debate about whether Jesus drank alcoholic wine, or some other form of wine, or simple grape juice. My ...
11
votes
3answers
887 views

Does the Protestant Bible mention Satan punishing non-believers after death?

I have always heard people say that when you die and haven't accepted Christ and go to hell, that you're going to be punished by Satan, and we have this great plethora of contemporary culture showing ...
11
votes
5answers
2k views

Where does the belief that the Earth is relatively young (6000 years) come from?

Some christians believe the Earth is only 6000 to 12,000 years old. Where does this age originate from?
11
votes
2answers
12k views

Origin of the story that James had knees as hard as a camel's, because of praying

I'm reading John Pollock's "The Apostle - A Life Of Paul" and, at page 85 of the 1969 print, he states that James was a man of such devotion that long praying had made his knees as hard as camel's,...
11
votes
3answers
101 views

What's the origin of this approach of trying to obtain meaning from the individual letters of Hebrew words?

In a recent question about the names of God, two answers from different people wrote that the letters of the Tetragrammaton by themselves give the meaning of: The Hebrew letters mean “Behold the ...
11
votes
2answers
407 views

Who first associated the fourth beast of Daniel 7 with the Roman Empire?

Daniel's vision of the four beasts in Daniel 7 has long intrigued commentators. Regarding the vision of the fourth beast, the text reads: 7 After this I saw in the night visions, and behold, a ...
11
votes
3answers
3k views

Which church father first taught the perpetual virginity of Mary?

Reformed theologian Herman Bavinck, in his Reformed Dogmatics, III, §366, briefly deals with Mary's perpetual virginity, and touches on the doctrine's history: We do not yet find this idea of Mary'...
11
votes
3answers
344 views

What is the historical origin of the “Last Supper” expression?

This is not a question about the meaning (self-explanatory) of the expression, but on its origin. In particular, about who, where, and when. There seems to be nothing about this around. The New ...
11
votes
2answers
654 views

When was Sunday first called the Sabbath?

I am looking for the first extant record of Sunday being referred to specifically as the "Sabbath" or "Christian Sabbath" I am not asking which day the early church gathered. I am not asking which ...
11
votes
1answer
224 views

Who first came up with the phrase “an over-realized eschatology” and in what context?

The phrase "an over-realized eschatology" seems to get a run from time to time in theological discussions (example) or blog posts (example). Who first coined this phrase* and in what context were they ...
11
votes
1answer
2k views

What is the basis for King Melchizedek actually being Jesus? Where did this idea come from?

I have heard people state that King Melchizedek was actually Jesus. What is the biblical basis for this idea? Where in church history did this idea begin?
11
votes
2answers
7k views

Where did the belief that Saul fell from a horse come from?

Many people (especially Catholics; I don't know about others, but some say that Protestants usually don't believe this) think that Saul/Paul fell from a horse at the moment of his conversion, perhaps ...
11
votes
2answers
476 views

When and how was the doctrine of the one divine will established?

Many (perhaps most) Trinitarian theologians says that the Father, Son, and Spirit each possess the one singular divine will. This is a stronger statement than saying they are "united in will", which ...
10
votes
2answers
3k views

What is the history behind/Origin of the doxology that often gets added to the end of the Lord's prayer? [duplicate]

Quite often when I hear Protestants recite the Lord's prayer, they include a doxology on the end "For the kingdom the power and he glory are yours, now and forever". I can't find this doxology in the ...
10
votes
3answers
1k views

What's the origin of the Catholic object that is a staff with a crucifix on top?

Like I asked in the title, what's the name and origin of a staff with a crucifix on top? Like the one depicted in the picture.
10
votes
5answers
5k views

Origin of the idea that “demons” and “fallen angels” are the same thing?

Background So I'm studying angels and demons right now, attempting to put together a picture of what the Bible teaches on these topics, and I'm struggling to find anything in the Bible that suggests ...
10
votes
3answers
15k views

Where did the religious symbol of the 'halo' come from?

I once read somewhere that the 'halo' was inherited by Christianity from ancient worshippers of the Sun.  However, although this seems believable I never bothered to verify its historic credibility - ...
10
votes
2answers
1k views

What is the theological background to the belief that taxation is theft?

Within American evangelicalism a debate has recently been reignited on economic policy, and I've been astonished at the number of people saying that some or all taxation should be considered to be ...
10
votes
1answer
416 views

What is the earliest systematic New Testament commentary?

Were Origen's commentaries the earliest attempt to systematically exegete the New Testament texts, so far as there is any record?
10
votes
1answer
594 views

When and where does the statement, “Christ paid the penalty for our sins” first appear?

The statement, "Christ paid the penalty for our sins" does not appear in the Bible. When in the history of Christian theology did this specific statement first appear? Who said it? Please provide ...
10
votes
1answer
3k views

How did the Virgin Mary's title “Mirror of Justice”, used in some Catholic prayers, originate?

The Catholic prayer often known as the Litany of Loreto1 contains a number of descriptive titles of Mary, the mother of God—for example, "Mirror of Justice", "Seat of Wisdom", "Star of the Sea". ...