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Divinity Of Jesus Christ And Three Sect (Jesus Christian And Christianity)
Divinity Of Jesus Christ And Three Sect (Jesus Christian And Christianity)

Divinity Of Jesus Christ And Three Sect (Jesus Christian And Christianity)

Jesus Christian And Christianity

Part 2:

The Doctrines Of Christianity.

Chapter 2:

THE CHRISTIAN TEACHING RELATING
TO JESUS CHRIST

In This Post:

Those who Deny the Divinity of Christ

Amongst them, is the group, which, despairing in answering the question, stated that the belief in the divinity of Jesus is false. He was simply human and accordingly the question itself does not arise.

James Makinon has in his excellent work “From Christ to Constantine” dealt with the views of these thinkers in fair detail. According to him, the founder – leaders of this school were Paul of Samosata  and Lucian  . He writes:

“Both held that Christ was a creature, but while Paul of Samosata conceived of him as a mere man in whom the impersonal divine wisdom or logos manifested it self, Lucian and his school regarded him as a heavenly being who was created by God out of nothing, in whom the divine logos becomes personal,who, at the incarnation, assumed a human body, but not a human soul t and whose mission it was to reveal
the father. But he was not God in the absolute sense and was not eternal”.

So, Paul of Samosata denied the doctrine of incarnation at inception. He stated that the meaning of incarnation of God in the being of Christ Is only that God conferred on him a specific intellect. Lucian on the other hand did not deny the doctrine of incarnation. He accepted that the attribute of knowledge of God was incarnated into Jesus Christ but that this incarnation did not make Jesus God, Creator, eternal and everlasting – and that despite such incarnation, God remained creator and Jesus created as before.

Arius:

Arius, the well known Christian thinker of the fourth century, influenced by the theories of Paul and Lucian, fought a great battle against the church of his time and caused an outcry in the then Christian world. The substance of his theory in the words of Makinon is as follows:

“Arius on the contrary insisted that God alone is eternal and has no equal; that he created the son out of nothing; that the son is, therefore, not eternal, nor is God eternally the father, since there was {a time) when the son was not; that he is of a different substance from the father and is subject to change; that he is not truly God, though he was capable of perfection and became a perfect creature – the logos
in a real human body. Christ is thus for him a secondary deity or demi God who partakes, in a certain measure, of the qualities of both, the divine and the human, but is not God in the highest sense”.

When Arius propounded his theories, it was widely accepted especially by the Eastern church.

However, the central churches of Antioch and Alexandria were ruled by Alexander, Athanasius and the like, who were not willing to accept any solution to the problem which touched on the divinity of Jesus or affected the doctrine of incarnation, consequently, when Emperor Constantine convened the Council of Nicaea In 323 AD, the theories and views of Arius were not only strongly rejected but Arius himself was sent into exile.

images 1 3 - Divinity Of Jesus Christ And Three Sect (Jesus Christian And Christianity)
Divinity Of Jesus Christ And Three Sect (Jesus Christian And Christianity)

Paulician Sect:

Thereafter, and in the fifth century AD there emerged the Paulician sect, which held a middle view in regard to Jesus Christ. The sect assert ed that Jesus was not God but an angel God sent him to the world so that he may reform it. Consequently, he was born in human form from the womb of Virgin Mary. And because God conferred on him His specific; glory and majesty, he was called the son of God. the influence of this sect remained mainly in the regions of Asia Minor and Armenia. However, this sect did not receive general acceptance, because of the absence of scriptural evidence relating to Jesus being an angel.

The Nestorian Sect:

In the middle of the fifth century AD there arose the Nestorian sect whose leader was Nestorius (died in 451 AD). In attempting to solve this problem, it presented a new philosophy, namely that, all difficulties that face the doctrine of incarnation – are based on the premise of the one person of Jesus consisting of two natures or realities – one human, the other divine. Nestorius said that Jesus being God is true, and his being human is also true. But he did not accept that Jesus was one person who unified both natures within himself. The truth is that the essence of Jesus consisted of two persons, the one son, the other, God – the one, the son of God, the other the son of Adam. The son was very God, and Jesus was very man.

The formula of the Roman Catholic Church was “one person and two realities or natures”. Conversely the forrnular of Nestorius was “Two persons and two natures or realities”, consequently, this theory was condemned at a council of all Churches convened at Ephesus in 431 AD with the result that Nestorius was imprisoned and exiled. His followers were declared heretics. Despite this, the sect still exists to this day . The crime committed by Nestorius is summarized by Dr. Bethune-Baker in the following words;

“That he so distinguished between the Godhead and the Manhood of our Lord as to treat them as separate personal existences… He held the word to be a person distinct from Jesus, and the son of God, distinct from the son of Man,,,,!”

Jacobite Church:

In the sixth century AD, there arose the Jacobite Church whose influence remains up to today in Syria and Iraq. Its leader was Jacabus Baradeus. Its teaching was completely contrary to that of Nestorius and Arius. Nestorius established in relation to the existence of Jesus “Two natures” together with “two persons”, Jacabus asserted that Jesus was not merely one person but also possessed one nature – which was divine. He was only God, although he appears to us in the form of man. The teachings of this sect are explained in the Encyclopedia as follows:

“Those who hold t he doctrine that Christ had but one
composite nature”.

Apart from Jacabus Bernadeus other sects also adopted this teaching. Such sects were called Monophysites and were prominent until the seventh century AD.

The Final Interpretation:

images 6 - Divinity Of Jesus Christ And Three Sect (Jesus Christian And Christianity)
Divinity Of Jesus Christ And Three Sect (Jesus Christian And Christianity)

The above discussion clearly reveals the different attempts of Christian thinkers to explain and rationalize the doctrine of incarnation. But, we have seen that each attempt was subversive and contrary to the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, Accordingly, the theologians of this Church declared such attempts as heretical. There remains therefore the answer to the original question. The orthodox held that the doctrine of incarnation is also mystery and must be believed as such – its comprehension is not possible. (See Encyclopedia Britannica).

This view did not appeal to the objective mind. Accordingly, an interpretation of the doctrine of incarnation was offered in recent times with a view to justifying it rationally. The feature of this interpretation is that it accords with the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church on the subject. Although this interpretation was given by some of the early Christian thinkers, Professor Maurice Relton has explained it clearly in the following words:

“Such an incarnation is conceivable, if we remember that the way had been paved for it from the first creation of man in the divine (mage . This means that there is a human element in God from all eternity, and this human element had been imperfectly reflected in created form in the sons of men. The truly human is the humanity of God; the merely or purely human is the humanity of man – a created and imperfect humanity which can never become anything but human,no matter how fully indwelt it may be by the divine. When, therefore, God became man, the humanity he exhibited was not a created humanity, such as ours is, but the truly human such as God alone possesses, and in the likeness of which we are made… This means ultimately that the humanity of Jesus Christ was not the humanity we know in ourselves. It was God’s humanity, which differs from ours to the extent to which the creator differs from the creature.”

In short, according to this interpretation, although two realities were united In the one person of Jesus – the divine and the human – the human itself was a divine humanity and not the humanity of men. Hence, there is no objection to both being present at one time.

This interpretation is according to Professor Relton most acceptable rationally and free from objection. And, it is not subversive to Catholic teaching.

But, what is the weight of this interpretation? Scholars may understand this!

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  • The Crucifixion

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