One of the great gifts to the Church are the heretics. I use that one-liner in order to grab people’s attention. It mostly generates the question: “what possible good could come from a heretic,” right? The thing about heretics is that they ask great questions, sometimes the critical questions. The problem is they get the wrong answers. They take a road leading away from Truth. And in the beginning it always looks like a promising direction.
One of the early and dangerous heresies came from the Deacon Arius of Alexandria about the year 300 CE. In short, he claimed that while Jesus was divine, he was a “second tier” divine, a lesser God so-to-speak, not co-eternal with God the Father. In other words, there was a time when he was “not.” Arius has his supporters, even among the court of the Roman Emperor. Armies formed, battles were fought, and people died. This was serious stuff. The Council of Nicea in 325 declared Arianism a heresy.