chapter  VI
24 Pages

Pagan and Christian Monotheism in the Age of Constantine

ByMark Edwards

A monotheist, is one who believes in a single god, or supramundane being, who governs the world omnipotently and either without an instrument or with those of his own creation. This chapter argues that there was no such thing as pagan monotheism in the Roman Empire, even where the pagan was, like Porphyry, a monist in a certain sense and in every sense a theist. The Christian evangelist preached not monotheism, but God; if others too adored a single deity, that did not mean that their god was the same as his. Similarly, the Church proclaimed not trinitarianism, but the Trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Before the political triumph of the Church, the triune nature of God was not so frequently proclaimed by Christian preachers as his unity. When the apologists dwelt upon the Trinity, it was either to defend themselves from a charge of tritheism or to find a specious analogy with some philosophic doctrine.