Christology – Study Paper

Christology – Study Paper
Introduction
Christology is one of the mainstream branches in theology which studies the nature and person of Jesus Christ . Basically, this branch of theology is very important because Jesus Christ is the key figure in the history of Christianity and his life, deeds, nature and person are extremely important for Christians worldwide. At the same time, debates over the nature and person of Jesus Christ persist till present days and these debates laid the foundation to the major controversies within Christianity, provoked the break-up of western and eastern Christianity into Catholicism and Orthodox Christianity as well as the emergence of various protestant movements which also debated the nature and person of Jesus Christ. In such a context, it is important to trace the origin of Christology and refer to the primary sources – Biblical texts – which may reveal the nature and person of Jesus Christ along with the interpretation of nature and person of Jesus Christ by Christians that will help to understand the role of Jesus Christ and Christology in the life and faith of Christians. In this regard, it is obvious that the original Biblical texts and later interpretations of nature and person of Jesus Christ may vary consistently but these interpretations laid the foundation to the modern understanding of Jesus Christ, his person and role in Christian religion, while different interpretations of his nature and person contributed to the emergence of diverse movements within Christianity.
Christology and Biblical texts
In order to understand the essence of Christology, it is necessary to refer to primary sources, i.e. Biblical texts, which reveal the nature and person of Jesus Christ. On analyzing Biblical texts, it is possible to reveal several key facts about Jesus Christ, which imply that he was closely associated and identified with God and possessed qualities and characteristics which were traditionally attributed to God. In fact, Biblical texts place emphasis on the fact that Jesus is God:
"The man from whom the demons had gone out begged to go with him, but Jesus sent him away, saying, 'Return home and tell how much God has done for you.' So the man went away and told all over town how much Jesus had done for him." In such a way, the Biblical text compares deeds of Jesus Christ to deeds of God. Moreover, Jesus Christ recognized that he was God: "You call me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am." In such a way, Biblical texts prove that Jesus Christ identified himself with God.
At the same time, Jesus Christ possessed characteristics which were normally attributed to God. For instance, Biblical texts prove that Jesus is Almighty:
Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him. So shall it be! Amen. "I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, "who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty."
Or else:
"... Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the Seven Spirits before his throne, and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth...."
In his actions and philosophy, Jesus Christ manifested his unlimited power and ability to rule the world and help people to find their salvation in the afterlife:
"My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand; I and the Father are one."
In such a way, Jesus Christ positioned himself as a leader, who guides people to eternity and eternal afterlife.
On the other hand, Biblical texts reveal another side of the nature and person of Jesus Christ which comes into clashes into the perception of Jesus Christ as God Himself. What is meant here is the fact that Jesus is positioned as the son of God in many Biblical texts: "Then Jesus cried out, 'When a man believes in me, he does not believe in me only, but in the one who sent me. When he looks at me, he sees the one that sent me.' " Or else: "He is the image of the invisible God..." Moreover, he is not a mere image but the true son of God: "The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word..." In such a way, Jesus Christ turns out to be not God but just the son of God, the manifestation of God on the Earth.
At the same time, Jesus Christ is unique, he is first and last:
“When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said, "Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last, I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades."
The uniqueness of Jesus Christ stresses his importance for Christianity and proves that there was no other Jesus Christ. The latter implies that he may return to save the world and true Christians.
As the matter of fact, Jesus is depicted as messiah in Biblical texts:
"Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End... I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star... He who testifies to these things says, 'Yes, I am coming soon.'" Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.
The role of Messiah is sacred for Christians because they expect for Messiah, who is supposed to save them being sent by God.
Furthermore, Jesus Christ possesses characteristics, which are normally attributed to God. For instance, Jesus is all-knowing: "Now we are sure that You know all things, and have no need that anyone should question You. By this we believe that You came forth from God.' Jesus answered them, 'Do you now believe?'" In addition, "He said to him the third time, 'Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?' And he said to Him, 'Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.' Jesus said to him, 'Feed My sheep." This characteristic of Jesus Christ can be traced in other Biblical texts, such as the Revelation: "Then all the churches will know that I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds." In addition, Jesus Christ has another characteristic which is normally attributed to God, he is omnipresent: "For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them." Other Biblical texts also stress the omnipresence of Jesus Christ:
"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
"Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love himand show myself to him... If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching, my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him."
In such a way, Biblical texts reveal the fact that Jesus Christ is: first, associated and identified with God; second, possesses characteristics and qualities of God, and, finally, is the Son of God.
Christological heresies
The diversity of interpretations and presentation of Jesus Christ in Biblical texts gave rise to Christological heresies, among which it is possible to single out six key Nicene Creed heresies, including Ebionism, Arianism, Docetism, Apollinarianism, Nestorianism, and Eutycianism.
One of the major Nicene Creed heresies is Ebionism, which emerged on the ground of the belief that Jesus Christ was not God and followers of Ebonism rejected the virgin birth . Instead, they believed that Jesus Christ was born naturally. The Nicene Creed developed another heresy – Arianism, which denied that Jesus Christ possessed characteristics, which were normally attributed to God . Followers of Arianism stood on the ground that God only could possess divine characteristics and Jesus Christ was a normal person in this regard. Therefore, Jesus Christ was a sort of demigod than God himself in view of Arianists. In contrast to Arianism, the Nicene Creed developed another heresy – Docetism, which stood on the ground that Jesus Christ was God and he just seemed to be human . In such a way, Docetists identified Jesus Christ with God.
Another important Nicene Creed’s heresy is Apollinarianism. Apollinarianism stands on the ground that Jesus was a compound unity, which included a part of human, a part of God and a part of divine . Jesus was human physically but spiritually he was the manifestation of God. Furthermore, the Nicene Creed developed Nestorianism, which stressed that Jesus Christ combined both human and divine in one person of Jesus Christ, which co-existed in his consciousness . However, such a view on Jesus Christ made him a kind of schizophrenic, for he had double identity, where divine and human nature co-existed, were side-by-side and divided natures and person of Jesus Christ. Finally, another heresy of the Nicene Creed was Eutycianism, which viewed Jesus as having one nature only, which was divine one . In contrast to Nestorianism, Eutycianism denied the existence of human nature in Jesus Christ.
In such a way, different heresies mentioned above had quite different and often opposing views on nature and person of Jesus Christ . At the same time, diverse views on Jesus Christ were, to a significant extent, determined by the primary sources, Biblical texts, which provoked controversies in views on nature and person of Jesus Christ. In fact, Biblical texts laid the foundation to controversial views on nature and person of Jesus Christ, which were interpreted in different ways by different movements in Christianity and different theorists in theology.
Conclusion: the application of Christology to the life and faith
Thus, taking into account all above mentioned, it is important to place emphasis on the fact that Christology comprises absolutely diverse views on the nature and person of Jesus Christ. Nevertheless, the diverse views still have a significant impact on the life and faith of believers as well as non-believers because they suggest different interpretations of the birth, life, deeds and philosophy developed by Jesus Christ, who was the key figure in Christianity. As a result, believers can slip toward different movements within Christianity depending on the view on nature and person of Jesus Christ they support. On the other hand, the faith unites all Christians and helps them to unite their views on Jesus Christ as the key figure in the history of Christianity.

Works Cited:

Brown, C. Ed. (1986). New International Dictionary of NT Theology, Volume 3. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.
Letham, R. (1993). The Work of Christ. Contours of Christian Theology. Downer Grove: IVP.
Craig, W. L. (1995). “Did Jesus Rise from the Dead?” Edited by Michael J. Wilkins and J.P. Moreland. Jesus Under Fire. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House.
Kingsbury, J. D. (1989). The Christology of Mark's Gospel. Philadelphia: Fortress Press.
Letham, R. (1993). The Work of Christ. Contours of Christian Theology. Downer Grove: IVP.
Hodgson, P. C. (1994). Winds of the Spirit: A Constructive Christian Theology. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press.
The Holy Bible. (2008). New York: St. Martin Press.

Christology – Study Paper 9.6 of 10 on the basis of 4247 Review.