Where do you see lines of continuity between the New Testament and the later Councils?
The later Councils and the New Testament share similarities more than differences. In the first place, Nicea aimed to determine the divinity of Christ (Meuller). Was he God or only a man? They decided that Jesus was in fact God himself, carrying divine status. They demonstrated this from the Bible rather than with logic only. Furthermore, the New Testament emphasizes the divinity of Christ, as he exercises the powers of God in the Gospels. Paul attributes divinity to Jesus quite clearly, and the book of Revelation seals the God nature of the Son. Thus, I find that the New Testament and the Council shows a continuity in the nature of Christ.
Where, if anywhere, do you see original creative contributions of the Councils?
I do not think that the New Testament articulates the nature of the Trinity with the detail and depth that the Councils do. Some might suggest that the Bible does not address the Trinity at all (Albl). However, I do not think that the discontinuity is that drastic. The New Testament clearly attributes function and status to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit with equal weight. While their functions differ, and their presence seems to appear in different shades at to different extents, the writings do affirm a doctrine of the Trinity. However, the Councils contribute original creative articulations to this doctrine. The define with more precision the ideas of procession and hierarchy (Meuller) that exist between the persons of the Trinity. They also suggest a more detailed claim to the ontology of God, that is distinguishing his being and essence or his pre-existent state. Overall, however, the conclusions stem from the New Testament, thus showing more continuity rather than creativity.
- Mueller, J.J., ed. Theological Foundations: Concepts and Methods for Understanding the Christian Faith. Winona: Saint Mary’s Press, 2011. Print.
- Albl, Martin C. Reason, Faith, and Tradition: Explorations in Catholic Theology. Winona: Saint Mary’s Press, 2009. Print.