What is “light from light”?


“True God from true God”

What does that mean? Be gentle and simple with me, I’m only a daisy…


God from God, Light from Light
God the Son exists in relation to God the Father. The Son is not the Father, but they both are God. Just as a torch is lit one to another, the Father and Son are distinct, but both light. Some Christians, called Sabellians or Modalists, said that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit were one God who changes roles. So when God creates, he is Father, while on earth, he is Son, and so forth. However, the Scriptures have all three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, interacting at the same time, as shown at Jesus’ baptism. The language of Scripture also suggests that the Father and Son are somehow two as well as one. In John’s gospel, the Father and Son testify as two witnesses, not one (John 8:17-18). Related to this, St. Athanasius, writing during the Nicene era, reportedly said that the Father and Son are one as “the sight of two eyes is one.” Another illustration is the musical chord. Think of a C-chord. The C, E, and G notes are all distinct notes, but joined together as one chord, the sound is richer and more dynamic than had the notes been played individually. The chords are all equally important in producing the full, dynamic, sound of the chord, but the sound is lacking and thin if one of the notes is left out.

True God from True God

God the Son is not a half-god or inferior to God the Father. God the Son is fully and utterly God, distinct from the Father, yet not divided from the Father. The ancient Arians believed that Jesus could be called “god” but not true God. In other words, they believed the Logos (the “Word,” a popular title for Jesus in early Christian literature) was the first creation of God, necessary to mediate between the unknowable distant God (a concept borrowed from Platonic thought) and creation. Because God knew that the Logos would be perfect, the title god could be bestowed upon the Son “by participation,” but “true God” was a title reserved only for the unknowable Father. This is the Ante-Nicene “Logos Theology” of St. Justin and Athenagoras taken to an unintended extreme.


True God from True God is a phrase in response to the Arians’ faulty belief?


It sounds like it.

The Creed was developed in different stages, to respond to different heresies. As they tried to clarify things into words, it developed— but we take a lot for granted, since we see the end product, but not the wrong turns that kept cropping up and causing division and debate along the way.


Thank you for your help, Midori.


I find it interesting that Arianism thrives still today, in the form of the religion of Jehovah’s Witnesses and the religions of Latter Day Saints (Mormons).


Christ came from oneness with God. There was never a time when Christ did not exist, but this does not rule out the possibility that there is only one God (God the Father) transcending time and space.

When God created time and space, He created something outside of Himself and as He came into time He is God the Holy Spirit.

God also sent part of Himself into time and space to be born a human and redeem humanity. If Christ came from God at the beginning of time, He must return to God at the end of time so that in the infinity that transcends time there is only one God.

So there is God the Father who transcends time and space, there is God the Holy Spirit which is God within time and space, and there is God the Son who came from oneness with God into time and space and was born to the virgin Mary. The Trinity exists within time, but there is only one God transcending time. This is why the Bible can support the Trinity while saying there is only one God.


Almost sounds a bit like Adam and Eve…
Could it be compared?


Yes, but Adam and Eve were created by God, while God the Son came from the essence of God.


As far as I know, it’s an expression to explain the relationship between Jesus and the Father. Jesus is no less God than the Father is, and this formula seeks to clarify that.


The world was created by or through Jesus. We don’t know exactly what that means, but it could be that God the Father created time and space while Jesus created all the planets and stars and everything in time and space. In any case it should be clear that Jesus is fully God. By saying that He is separated from God in time and is one with God in the infinity that transcends time, I don’t want there to be any confusion on that point.

Jesus is God.


It’s part of the Nicene Creed. It’s written in the 4th Century to deny the arian claim God was the creator of Jesus, who they claimed was a creature like us.

God from God, Light from Light, True God from true God

Firmly establishes Jesus Divine status and not a creature


Jesus is true God. He is nothing less.

He is begotten of God. This does two things:

  1. It avoids denigrating the Father to a lower status by continuing to recognize that He is true God.
  2. It recognizes that there is more than one person in the being that is God.

Ultimately, it takes out a lot of heresies from being considered orthodox. It takes out Arianism and Subordinationism by making sure that we recognize Jesus as “true God”. It also takes out Modalism by recognizing that Jesus is separate “from” the Father.


We Latter-day Saint are simply NOT Arians in any way, shape, or form. Please note what Catholic scholar Stephen H. Webb says regarding the matter:

By now it should be clear how narrow-minded the charge is that Mormonism is a modern version of Arianism…For me, Mormonism raises the hypothetical question of what would have happened if the best theological minds had dedicated themselves to explicating all of the implications of the heavenly flesh position…we cannot simply turn back the clock to try to find a place and time where we can locate Mormonism in order to make it look familiar. Comparing Joseph Smith to Arius, who denied the Son’s equality with the Father, or, better, Eutyches, an early defender of Heavenly Flesh Christology, is not an unproductive thought experiment, but it misses the point that Mormonism demands a rethinking of classical theism from the ground up and thus a retelling of the Christian story from the Gospels forward—and the ground upon which it erects its speculations is as earthy as it can be. (Jesus Christ, Eternal God: Heavenly Flesh and the Metaphysics of Matter (Oxford University Press, 2012),

I hope this helps…


The Nicene Creed phrase “light from light” is a confusing phrase at best and does nothing to distinguish the Father or the Son from us mere mortals. Consider these verses from the New Testament:

John 8:12 Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."

Matthew 5:14 You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden

In the first verse Jesus refers to Himself as light. In the second verse He refers to the believers as light. This allows for a very ambiguous interpretation of “light from light”.



Are you Catholic? This does not sound like Catholic theology.

Sent “part of himself”? God does not have parts. He is utterly simple. Christ must “return to God”? Christ is God. 100% God and 100% man. He doesn’t not have to return to himself. He never ceased being all of God.


So, I’m not a LDS, but I have spent a good deal of time speaking with them in an attempt to understand what and why they believe. What I found is there are different sects or denominations in the LDS Church, with different beliefs.

It sounds as though the author’s argument goes like this:

a. Arianism existed in the first century AD
b. Mormonism began in the 19th century


Mormonism is not a form of Arianism

Now, I suppose some Mormons might respond by saying the author made an LE by omitting a premise:

a. Arianism existed in the first century AD
b. Mormonism began in the 19th century
c. Joseph Smith said that God revealed to him the Church had ceased to exist on the earth, and his purpose was to restore it


If ( c ) is true, then it’s possible that Mormonism is a form of Arianism, for the Church could have died when Arian’s followers died and then was resurrected when God spoke to Joseph Smith.

I mean, it seems the author might be assuming ( c ) isn’t true, but perhaps the rest of the quoted source actually provides evidence that ( c ) isn’t true? If that is the case, I’d be interested in hearing what evidence he gives us! At any rate, ( c ) is a premise I’ve never seen Mormons deny, in fact, I’ve seen many defend it.



its not confusing , its very simple. It establishes God from God. it rejects the heresies of the early church who considered Jesus either a demi god, a messenger of god, a creature, a prophet with special knowledge.

it firmly establishes the Divine Nature of Jesus


and where in the bible do we see this verse?


Jesus is light from light, one with God, is God, God incarnate, the light of the world. The believers are light therefore since they have aligned their hearts with God through God, like flaming torches to a billion Suns.

Thanks be to God.

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