The more I've thought about the issues I first discussed in Semi-Arianism and the Second Ecumenical Council the more I've come to think that the Homoousion controversy became a distraction from the actual point of the Arian Heresy. But that's not me saying Homoousionism is wrong, per se.
So first we need to ask the question of why did the Arians object to the Homoousion formula so strongly? It was not relevant to Arius's original explanation of his Theology at all. And Arians did believe Jesus was the Son of God. Aren't most children made from the Substance of their parents?
It's because of how by this time the Pythagorean and Platonic understanding of The Divine had influenced all schools of thought in the Greco-Roman world. To them no Created Being could be described as being of the same Substance as the True Original God. The Demiurge of Timaeus could be considered in some sense Homousian with the matter it was merely rearranging, but even the Demiurge was not Homousian with the True God (at least during this later period of Platonism and Pythagoreanism). And Arians were essentially Platonists who identified The Logos with the Demiurge not the ultimate Supreme Being. However what the Arians and Athanasians and Trinitarians who were iffy on Homoousianism like Eusebius of Caesarea all agreed on was that Creation itself is not Homousian with The Father.
I am making this post to suggest that this assumption everyone at Nicaea agreed on is actually something that The Bible maybe doesn't agree with.
I know that many Christians are used to thinking God must be completely Outside The Universe in order to be it's Creator. But if you know what your doing you can construct a circular wall in such a way that you are within it when you are done making it. And maybe the Substance of God is Infinite enough that He could create the Universe from His own Substance without lessening Himself at all?
When The Bible says that The Heavens are His Throne and The Earth His Footstool, that imagery tells me He's within The Universe not Outside of it. Remember both the Ancient Hebrew and Greek words for "Heaven" at their core just meant The Sky and what we would call Outer Space. I already made a post arguing that the Light that lightened the Universe before the Sun, Moon and Stars were created was the same Light that Jesus is identified with. And then there is the fact that Adam became a Living Soul when God Breathed Life into him. Breath in that verse is also the word for Spirit. To me that is pretty strong support for at least our Spirits and/or Souls being homousian with The Holy Spirit.
InspiringPhilosophy in his video on Panentheism said there is supposed to be a strong distinction between Creator and Creation, but the only verse he cited was what Paul said in Romans 1. First of all that verse was only about what we're supposed to Worship and nothing else. And also Romans 1:18-32 is Paul quoting the beliefs of the Platonic Hellenized Jews of Rome he spent the rest of the Epistle refuting. In Romans 11 Paul tells us what God is going in grafting Gentiles into Israel is "Para phusis" that utterly destroying the world view of Romans 1 where being "Para Phusis" is presented as inherently evil.
Materialism is often assumed to be inherently Atheistic. However the Theology of the Ancient Stoics was a Materialist Monotheism.
Stoicism is often described as being Pantheistic, like on Wikipedia. But Stoic theology is not at all like what anyone in a modern post New Age movement world is likely to think of when they think of Pantheism, (nor is it like the "Blood and Soil" Pantheism of the Nazis). There is no Sapient Mother Earth or anything like that. Rather their view had a strong distinction between Passive Matter and Active Matter. The Passive Matter was the material world while the Active Matter was God.
I know some readers might be calling me a Hypocrite now, so often using associations with Pythagoras and Plato as inherently Derogatory but now defending a different school of Secular Greek Philosophy.
The Bible says you'll know them by their Fruits. I have come to despise Pythagorean and Platonic influences on Christianity because I've looked at 2000 years of Church History and seen them as the root of almsot everything The Church has gone wrong on. Stoicism died with Marcus Aurelius (who did NOT Persecute Christians, the persecutions that happened during his reign were the result of Alexander The False Prophet), when the Church was still only starting to flirt with Greek Philosophy.
Based on Revelation 21:24 I think all of the Secular cultures of the world have something to contribute to The Tabernacle of New Jerusalem. Much of what I've been doing as a Christian Otaku is trying to find what we can learn from a certain Japanese Sub Culture. And I think even Plato has some value if we stick to the early dialogues before the Pythagorean influence started, like Symposium. But we need to do so applying Scriptural Discernment.
I'm by no means suggesting we Canonize Stoic Philosophers as Prophets the way David Bentley Hart seems to wish he could replace The Old Testament with Plato. Like all Philosophers they were people throwing's ideas around. And I do want to distinguish the early Hellenistic Stoics who shared the Pre-Plato Athenian attitude to Same Sex Love from the later Roman Stoics like Musonius Rufus who were influenced by Roman Pythagoreanism and thus adopted the Para Phusis Sexual Morality of The Laws.
Zeno of Citium who founded the Stoic School was born on Cyprus and was referred to as being ethnically Phoenician. Phoenician is a Greek term we tend to think of as equivalent to the Biblical Canaanites or Sidonians. But I think there is good evidence that the Ancient Greeks sometimes included Ancient Israelites with the Phoenicians. The Tribes of Asher, Naphtali and Dan had particularly associations with modern Lebanon. I also think many Judahites may have fled to Cyrpus during the Babylonian conquest, or wound up there with the Egyptians who came there under Amasis since we know from Jeremiah some Judahites fled to Egypt a little before then.
But even if Zeno was a purely Gentile Phoenician, it was their Idolatry and Polytheism and certain Customs The Bible repeatedly condemns. They may well have had a similar view as The Israelites on the basics of how the Divine and Material world relate. In fact that's the whole premise of Michael Heiser's career, arguing that the we can understand The Hebrew Bible's cosmology better by understanding what the Pagan Canaanites believed.
Stoic Theology viewed God as Invisible but Immanent. They also pictured God as in a sense a Fire, which is very Biblical, YHWH is a Consuming Fire and His Breath like Brimstone, which is why I've argued the Lake of Fire is the Baptism of The Holy Spirit. They also had a similar teaching to The Bible about God ordering and maintaining The Cosmos. And they even said that only God is Good.
They had some ideas about "Fate" you could take out of context. However they had a nuanced view of Free Will versus Divine Predestination similar to how Josephus described the Pharisees placing them between the extremes of the Essenes and Sadducees on that issue. They were neither Calvinist or Arminian, but that's an issue I may discus in a future post.
Baruch Spinoza was a Dutch Jewish Philosopher of the 17th Century who was similarly accused of being a Pantheist even though he insisted he wasn't, simply for rejecting the Pythagorean dualism of Mainstream Christianity and Rabbinic Judaism. Spinoza was a major influence on Moses Hess in the 19th Century who was in turn the true spiritual father of both Labour Zionism and Marxist Materialism.
None of this is a hill I'm willing to die on. I don't think it's possible for us to fully comprehend the nature of God prior to The Resurrection. But if many Christians are going to keep insisting The New Testament being written in Greek means we should also Stan some Greek Philosophers. Maybe at least pick the school that at least kind of shares it's Semitic Roots.