That free will was demonstrated in the placing of temptation before man with the command not to eat of the fruit of the tree which would give him a knowledge of good and evil, with the disturbing moral conflict to which that awareness would give rise.
In the third century after Christ the faith continued to spread.
The most that one of Jewish faith can do – and some have gladly done it – is to say that Jesus was the greatest in the long succession of Jewish prophets. None can acknowledge that Jesus was the Messiah without becoming a Christian.
In contrast, Christianity, while acknowledging the presence of suffering, declares that life can be infinitely worth living and opens the way to eternal life in fellowship with God Who so loved the world that He gave Himself in Christ.
Religiously the Empire was pluralistic and marked by a search for a faith which would be satisfying intellectually and ethically and would give assurance of immortality.
Freedom was conditioned by man’s physical body, heredity, and environment.
Christianity emerged from the religion of Israel. Or rather, it has as its background a persistent strain in that religion. To that strain Christians have looked back, and rightly, as the preparation in history for their faith.