zaterdag 16 maart 2013

Christological Disagreements and arguments before Nicea

Christological Disagreements and arguments before Nicea

Dr Boris Paschke

Heliopolis, Egypt, 14 March 2013

“‘Christology’ discusses any evaluation of Jesus in respect to who he was and the role he played in the divine plan” (Raymond E. Brown, An Introduction to New Testament Christology [1994], p. 3).
·      Low Christology: “the evaluation of him in terms that do not necessarily include divinity: e.g. Messiah, Rabbi, Prophet, High Priest, Savior, Master” (Brown, 4)
·      High Christology: “the evaluation of Jesus in terms that include an aspect of divinity, e.g., Lord, Son of God, God” (Brown, 4)

Deity of Christ

No NT writer denies the divinity of Jesus Christ (Brown, 4)

“The deity of Christ sits at the pinnacle of controversy and belief concerning the Christian faith. While some have overemphasized the deity of Christ, others such as the Ebionites and the Arians, have portrayed Christ as a unique human not possessing a divine nature. Relevant biblical passages clearly indicate that this is not the case.”[1]

“It is true that Jesus did not make an explicit and overt claim to deity.”[2]

Unity with the Father: John 10:30
Preexistence: John 8:58
“My Lord and my God” (John 20:28)

“The Gospel of John is, of course, noted for its references to Jesus’ deity.”[3]

John 1:1

“He has both identified the Word as divine and distinguished the Word from God. He is not describing a simple monotheism or a modalistic monarchianism here.”[4]

“The Book of Hebrews is also most emphatic regarding Jesus’ divinity.”[5]

Heb 1:3
Heb 1:8: “In verse 8, which is a quotation of Psalm 45:6, the Son is addressed as ‘God.’”[6]

“Paul frequently witnesses to the deity of Jesus.”[7]

Col 1:19
Col 2:9
Phil 2:5-11

Humanity of Christ

Logos Christology
Justin Martyr
“the Logos is God’s preexistent Spirit – a second God – who became incarnate in Jesus Christ.” (Olson, 60)

Like fire from fire (Olson 60)

“the Logos was thought of as a mediating being between the one God and creation” (Olson 61).

“This Logos (Christ) was in the world before Jesus Christ. He spoke through both Jewish prophets and Greek philosophers” = Logos spermaikos (the ‘seed of the Logos’) (Olson 61).

“Christ as the universal Logos preexisted Jesus as God’s Son as fire taken from fire – somewhat less than God himself but of God’s own nature and substance.” (Olson 61).


Origen never tired of emphasizing that the Logos/Word is God’s very Son and in no way created or begotten in time. This is ironic since Arius, the archenemy of the doctrine of the Trinity in the fourth century, claimed Origen as the source of his subordinationism of the Son” (Olson, 110).


Monarchianism as reaction to Logos Christology (= ‘Ditheism’)

“Being strongly monotheistic, they focused their attention upon the problematic deity of Christ. They rejected the virgin birth, maintaining that Jesus was born to Joseph and Mary in normal fashion” (Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho 47).[8]

“A central conception in the Arian understanding of Jesus is the absolute uniqueness and transcendence of God.”[9]
“The Word is also a created being, although the first and highest of the beings. He is not an emanation from the Father, but a fiat creation out of nothing”[10]
“the Word must have had a beginning at some finite point”; cf. slogan “There was a time when he was not.”[11]
“the Son has no communion with or even direct knowledge of the Father.”[12]
“the Word was given the status of a demi-god”[13]

“the most divisive schism the Christian church had ever experienced”[14]

·      Born in Libya (Epiphanius, haer. 69.1; 152.19); also suggested by the fact that Arius’ had two episcopal supporters from Libya, i.e., the bishops Secundus and Theonas from Ptolemais and Marmarica, respectively. “In fact, we know of no Libyan bishops opposing Arius” (Williams 29).
·      Arius was an old man (gerōn) when the controversy broke out (Epiphanius, haer. 69.3; 154.12).
·      “The widespread consensus that puts Arius’ birth in the 250s has no definite foundation in the texts of the fourth and fifth centuries, but it seems safe to assume that he was not a young man when the crisis broke” (Williams 30).
·      Education in Antioch: sulloukianista = “fellow-Lucianist”, study with the martyr Lucian of Antioch
·      Outward appearance described in Epiphanius, haer. 69.3; 154.12–16; “a guru, we might almost say” (Williams 32).
·      “Before 313, nothing is clear” (Williams 32)  

Lucian of Antioch (died in 312)
·      Influenced by the heretic bishop Paul of Samosata
·      None of Lucian’s writings survived
·      Emphasized the humanity rather than the deity of Jesus Christ
·      Tried to find a way to explain the incarnation of God in Christ without making Jesus himself God or falling back into Paul of Samosata’s adoptionist heresy

Eusebius of Nicomedia
·      Fellow Lucianian student of Arius
·      Friend of Arius
·      Both hated and feared the heresy of Sabellianism (modalism) more than the heresy of adoptionism

Melitian Schism
·      February 303: persecution under Diocletian

Alexander, bishop of Alexandria
·      Alexander became bishop in 313

·      Declared a heresy by the Synod of Antioch in 268

“Arius led a minirebellion of Christians against the bishop after he heard Alexander preach a sermon that he considered too close to the heresy of Sabellianism. That is, Arius thought he detected in the bishop’s theology at least a trace of the old modalistic heresy of Praxeas and Sabellius that reduced the Father, Son and Holy Spirit to mere names or aspects of the one divine person, God.”[15]

“Arius began to preach sermons, deliver lectures and write letters criticizing Alexander’s theology and leadership.”[16]

Synod of Alexandria 318
·      Attended by about 100 bishops
·      Arius condemned
·      Arius deposed from position as presbyter
·      Forced to leave the city

·      Arius went to Nicomedia, to his old friend and now important bishop Eusebius of Nicomedia
·      From Nicomedia, Arius and Eusebius began a letter-writing campaign to bishops who had not attended the Alexandrian synod

Arius’ Works
“Arius’s only known written works are these and later letters and one book titled Thaleia, which means ‘banquet.’ All have been lost, and only fragments of Arius’s works are able to be reconstructed from quotations found in his opponents’ writings.”[17]

“We have only a handful of texts that can confidently be treated as giving us Arius’ own thinking in his own words; apart from these, we are wholly dependent upon the reports of his enemies.”[18]

Theology of Arius

[1] Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology, 699.
[2] Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology, 701.
[3] Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology, 705.
[4] Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology, 705.
[5] Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology, 705.
[6] Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology, 705.
[7] Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology, 705.
[8] Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology, 711.
[9] Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology, 712.
[10] Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology, 712.
[11] Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology, 712.
[12] Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology, 712.
[13] Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology, 713.
[14] Olson, 139.
[15] Olson, 141.
[16] Olson, 141.
[17] Olson, 146.
[18] Williams, 95.

1 opmerking:

Anoniem zei

Expliciet misschien niet, maar Jezus laat in het dispuut over de Goddelijkheid duidelijk blijken dat Hij dat wel gezegd heeft in een eerder stadium. Daarvoor moeten we gaan naar Johannes 10 vers 36: "...gij lastert,omdat Ik gezegd heb: Ik ben Gods Zoon?"
Het is zover ik weet de enige getuigenis van Jezus zelf, waaruit blijkt dat Hij dit eerder gezegd heeft, maar niet is opgeschreven. Het is dus niet correct om te stellen dat Hij deze woorden nooit heeft gebezigd en zichzelf Gods Zoon noemt, zoals vaak door tegenstanders wordt beweerd.

Een direct expliciet bewijs is er misschien niet, maar er zijn genoeg aanwijzingen in de H.Schrift geweest (en ook voor gelovige Joden van die tijd - die hadden aan een half woord genoeg) wie Hij werkelijk was, en welke identiteit Hij werkelijk bezat.