In the great intercessory prayer on the Mount of Olives Jesus said:
“And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” (John 17:3)
To know God and Jesus Christ is essential for eternal life. I believe without having a correct knowledge of God’s true character and attributes, a person cannot have a complete faith in God.
In each dispensation of time from Adam until now, God has revealed Himself to prophets, who have in turn witnessed their experiences to God’s children and then wrote them down as scripture being directed by the Holy Ghost. Living prophets and new scripture have ALWAYS been the sign of the true church of Jesus Christ since Adam.
However, each generation has fallen into wickedness and has changed the true doctrines of God to accomodate the philosophies of men. Noah preached to a fallen generation who mocked him. Moses taught of the true and living God despite the worship of the Egyptian gods. Jesus restored new and true doctrine among the various corrupted religions of the Jews after they had been changed by Hellenism.
Several hundred years after the death of Jesus and His apostles, there was an arguement as to the true nature of God. Under Constantine the Great this arguement was temporarily settled by the Nicene Creed in 325 AD. However, with many still in disagreement with this decision, hundreds of years later the Athanasian Creed was formed which is the foundation of the “Traditional Christian” doctrine of God today.
Heraclitus, Plato, Aristotle, The Stoics, Philo of Alexandria (a Hellenized Jew) and other Greek philosophers had created their own concepts of God prior to the birth of Jesus. They taught the idea that “logos” was the active reason pervading the universe. This non-human power was Nature or God to them. Following the death of Jesus and His apostles, many Greek philosophers thought their great intellectual philosophies of men were much better than the foolish teachings of a bunch of fisherman and carpenters. The true doctrines were changed to accomodate these Greek philosophies.
“St Thomas Aquinas, whose Summa Theologica is the single most important work of theology, was profoundly influenced by Aristotle. Indeed, the Summa can be seen as a synthesis of Aristotelian philosophy with Christian doctrine. Several decades before Aquinas started this work, the Council of Paris had threatened ex-communication to anyone studying Aristotle; indeed following Aquinas’s death his thought was initially rejected by the Church. Soon, though, both Aquinas and Aristotle were accepted, no longer seen as heretics but instead providing the foundation for much orthodox theology.”
God encourages learning, however, He has always worked through the weak and the simple. Timothy said it well when he described the last days as being filled with those who are “Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (2 Timothy 3:7)