The evolution of the concept of God and God’s nature is an important theological issue. In part II of his book on Christianity’s history, Gonzalez (2010) explains that more modern understandings of God as a caring entity and humanity’s father have been preceded by earlier concepts perceiving the Sun, which supports life, as a form of deity. The early Christian Church came to the realization of God’s multi-dimensional nature, including the Trinity doctrine, gradually and mainly emphasized God’s and Jesus’s divinity without stating their oneness explicitly (Gonzalez, 2010). The opportunity for salvation and God’s impartiality in saving individuals was another point of philosophical development for the church. Particularly, the Christian Church has gradually expanded its understanding of God’s ability to grant salvation regardless of one’s social status (Gonzalez, 2010). They claimed that wealthy individuals could be saved just like their poorer counterparts. This can be perceived as the realization of God’s love for everyone devoted to the avoidance of sin.
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The early church’s methods to develop such understandings and declare them present another crucial research question. Such methods might include the leaders’ true devotion to the concept of an omniscient and omnipotent entity. It resulted in the inability to place human figures, even those with the noblest character, above God and the readiness to denote a clear hierarchy between the creator and the creation.
As for the involved methods, the conversion of Constantine to Christianity and his nephew Julian’s rise to power challenged church leaders to proclaim their priorities and opinions on God’s place above any human. Despite the associated risks, church leaders preferred to be open about God’s nature as an entity deserving “their ultimate loyalty” that outperformed the devotion to any leader, including emperors (Gonzalez, 2010, p. 148). Therefore, for church leaders, remaining firm in their priorities was a consciously selected strategy to avoid rhetorics that would make God the loyal helper of the powerful.
Gonzalez, J. L. (2010). The story of Christianity: The early church to the dawn of the reformation (Vol. 1, 2nd ed.). HarperOne.