This is the time of year when Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ who we believe is the Messiah promised by God thousands of years ago. Essential to that belief is the virgin birth. It’s so important is because it fulfills prophecy, supports the deity of Jesus, and shows his sinless nature.
Isaiah 7:14 (NKJV)14 Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.
This prophecy was fulfilled with the virgin birth by Mary.
Matthew 1:18-25 (NKJV)18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit.19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly.20 But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.21 And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins."22 So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying:23 "Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel," which is translated, "God with us."24 Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife,25 and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name JESUS.
John 1:1-5 (NLT2)1 In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God.2 He existed in the beginning with God.3 God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him.4 The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone.5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.
We also believe that Jesus is God and one of the personages of the Trinity (God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit).
Arianism questions the divinity of Jesus which also means it questions the doctrine of the Trinity both of which lessen the importance surrounding the birth of Christ that we celebrate on December 25th (the date of the celebration doesn't matter what matters is the virgin birth which did take place). In fact not believing in the virgin birth and the Trinity reduce Christmas to just another holiday.
Is Arianism Heresy?
Arianism is named for Arius, a priest and false teacher in the early fourth century AD in Alexandria, Egypt. One of the earliest and probably the most important item of debate among early Christians was the subject of Christ’s deity. Was Jesus truly God in the flesh, or was Jesus a created being? Was Jesus God or not? Arius denied the deity of the Son of God, holding that Jesus was created by God as the first act of creation and that the nature of Christ was anomoios (“unlike”) that of God the Father. Arianism, then, is the view that Jesus is a finite created being with some divine attributes, but He is not eternal and not divine in and of Himself.
Arianism misunderstands biblical references to Jesus’ being tired;
John 4:6 (NLT2)6 Jacob’s well was there; and Jesus, tired from the long walk, sat wearily beside the well about noontime.
And not knowing the date of His return;
Matthew 24:36 (NLT2)36 “However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows.
It may be difficult to understand how God could be tired or not know something, but these verses speak of Jesus’ human nature. Jesus is fully God, but He is also fully human. The Son of God did not become a human being until a specific point of time we call the Incarnation, which we celebrate each Christmas. Therefore, Jesus’ limitations as a human being have no impact on His divine nature or His eternality.
A second major misinterpretation in Arianism concerns the meaning of firstborn as applied to Christ.
Romans 8:29 (NLT2)29 For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.
Colossians 1:15-20 (NLT2)15 Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation,16 for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see— such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through him and for him.17 He existed before anything else, and he holds all creation together.18 Christ is also the head of the church, which is his body. He is the beginning, supreme over all who rise from the dead. So he is first in everything.19 For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ,20 and through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross.
Arians understand firstborn in these verses to mean that the Son of God was “created” as the first act of creation. This is not the case. Jesus Himself proclaimed His self-existence and eternality.
John 8:58 (NLT2)58 Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, before Abraham was even born, I AM!”
John 10:30 (NLT2)30 The Father and I are one.”
In Bible times, the firstborn son of a family was held in great honor.
Genesis 49:3 (NLT2)3 “Reuben, you are my firstborn, my strength, the child of my vigorous youth. You are first in rank and first in power.
Exodus 11:5 (NLT2)5 All the firstborn sons will die in every family in Egypt, from the oldest son of Pharaoh, who sits on his throne, to the oldest son of his lowliest servant girl who grinds the flour. Even the firstborn of all the livestock will die.
Exodus 34:19 (NLT2)19 “The firstborn of every animal belongs to me, including the firstborn males from your herds of cattle and your flocks of sheep and goats.
Numbers 3:40 (NLT2)40 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Now count all the firstborn sons in Israel who are one month old or older, and make a list of their names.
Psalm 89:27 (NLT2)27 I will make him my firstborn son, the mightiest king on earth.
Jeremiah 31:9 (NLT2)9 Tears of joy will stream down their faces, and I will lead them home with great care. They will walk beside quiet streams and on smooth paths where they will not stumble. For I am Israel’s father, and Ephraim is my oldest child.
It is in this sense that Jesus is God’s “firstborn.” Jesus is the preeminent Person in God’s plan and the Heir of all things.
Hebrews 1:2 (NLT2)2 And now in these final days, he has spoken to us through his Son. God promised everything to the Son as an inheritance, and through the Son he created the universe.
Jesus is the “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:6 (NLT2)6 For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
After nearly a century of debate at various early church councils, the Christian church officially denounced Arianism as a false doctrine. Since that time, Arianism has never been accepted as a viable doctrine of the Christian faith. Arianism has not died out, however. Arianism has continued through the centuries in varying forms. The Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons of today hold a very Arian-like position on Christ’s nature. Following the example of the early church, we must denounce any and all attacks on the deity of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Editor’s Note: Some content from What is Ananism by Got Questions