Christology (from Greek Χριστός Khristós and -λογία, -logia) is the field of study within Christian theology which is primarily concerned with the ontology and person of Jesus as recorded in the canonical Gospels and the epistles of the New Testament. Primary considerations include the ontology and person of Jesus in conjunction with his relationship with that of God the Father. Christology is concerned with the details of Jesus' ministry, his acts and teachings, to arrive at a clearer understanding of who he is in his person, and his role in salvation. The views of Paul the Apostle provided a major component of the Christology of the Apostolic Age. Paul's central themes included the notion of the pre-existence of Christ and the worship of Christ as Kyrios (Greek: Lord).
The pre-existence of Christ became a central theme of Christology. Proponents of Christ's deity argue the Old Testament has many cases of Christophany: "The pre-existence of Christ is further substantiated by the many recorded Christophanies in the Bible." "Christophany" is often considered a more accurate term than the term "theophany" due to the belief that all the visible manifestations of God are in fact the preincarnate Christ. Many argue that the appearances of "the Angel of the Lord" in the Old Testament were the preincarnate Christ. "Many understand the angel of the Lord as a true theophany. From the time of Justin on, the figure has been regarded as the preincarnate Logos."
Following the Apostolic Age, the early church engaged in fierce and often politicized debate on many interrelated issues. Christology became a major focus of these debates, and every one of the first seven ecumenical councils addressed Christological issues. The second through fourth of these councils are generally entitled "Christological councils", with the latter three mainly elucidating what was taught in them and condemning incorrect interpretations. The Council of Chalcedon in 451 issued a formulation of the being of Christ – that of two natures, one human and one divine, "united with neither confusion nor division". Chalcedonian Christianity – Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and many Protestant Christians – continue to advocate this doctrine of the hypostatic union. Due to politically-charged differences in the 4th century, schisms developed, and the first denominations (from the Latin, "to take a new name") formed.
In the 13th century, Saint Thomas Aquinas provided the first systematic Christology that consistently resolved a number of the existing issues. In his Christology from above, Aquinas also championed the principle of perfection of Christ's human attributes. The Middle Ages also witnessed the emergence of the "tender image of Jesus" as a friend and a living source of love and comfort, rather than just the Kyrios image. Catholic theologian Karl Rahner sees the purpose of modern Christology as to formulate the Christian belief that "God became man and that God-made-man is the individual Jesus Christ" in a manner that this statement can be understood consistently, without the confusions of past debates and mythologies.
Over the centuries, a number of terms and concepts have been developed within the framework of Christology to address the seemingly simple questions: "who was Jesus and what did he do?" A good deal of theological debate has ensued and significant schisms within Christian denominations took place in the process of providing answers to these questions. After the Middle Ages, systematic approaches to Christology were developed.
The term "Christology from above" refers to approaches that begin with the divinity and pre-existence of Christ as the Logos (the Word), as expressed in the prologue to the Gospel of John. These approaches interpret the works of Christ in terms of his divinity. Christology from above was emphasized in the ancient Church, beginning with Ignatius of Antioch in the second century. The term "Christology from below", on the other hand, refers to approaches that begin with the human aspects and the ministry of Jesus (including the miracles, parables, etc.) and move towards his divinity and the mystery of incarnation.
The concept of "Cosmic Christology", first elaborated by Saint Paul, focuses on how the arrival of Jesus as the Son of God forever changed the nature of the cosmos. The terms "functional", "ontological" and "soteriological" have been used to refer to the perspectives that analyze the "works", the "being" and the "salvific" standpoints of Christology. Some essential sub-topics within the field of Christology include the incarnation, the resurrection, and salvation.
Other relevant topics of faith are: Christian messianic prophecies of the Old Testament, Annunciation, the regal Genealogy and Transfiguration, Miracles (Lord of the creation), the Last Supper and institution of the Eucharist, the Passion and Crucifixion (INRI) , the doubting Thomas (Five Holy Wounds), the Harrowing of Hell, the Ascension and the Pentecost, the Kingship and Kingdom of God, the Rapture (Communion of Saints) and the Great Tribulation, the Second Coming of Christ and Last Judgement, the rising from the dead of all men.
The term "monastic Christology" has been used to describe spiritual approaches developed by Anselm of Canterbury, Peter Abelard and Bernard of Clairvaux. The Franciscan piety of the 12th and 13th centuries led to "popular Christology". Systematic approaches by theologians, such as Thomas Aquinas, are called "scholastic Christology".
Early Christians found themselves confronted with a set of new concepts and ideas relating to the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, as well the notions of salvation and redemption, and had to use a new set of terms, images, and ideas in order to deal with them. The existing terms and structures which were available to them were often insufficient to express these religious concepts, and taken together, these new forms of discourse led to the beginnings of Christology as an attempt to understand, explain, and discuss their understanding of the nature of Christ.
Furthermore, as early Christians (following the Great Commission) had to explain their concepts to a new audience which had at times been influenced by Greek philosophy, they had to present arguments that at times resonated with, and at times confronted, the beliefs of that audience. A key example is the Apostle Paul's Areopagus sermon that appears in Acts 17:16–34. Here, the apostle attempted to convey the underlying concepts about Christ to a Greek audience, and the sermon illustrates some key elements of future Christological discourses that were first brought forward by Paul.
The title Kyrios for Jesus is central to the development of New Testament Christology, for the early Christians placed it at the center of their understanding, and from that center attempted to understand the other issues related to the Christian mysteries. The question of the deity of Christ in the New Testament is inherently related to the Kyrios title of Jesus used in the early Christian writings and its implications for the absolute lordship of Jesus. In early Christian belief, the concept of Kyrios included the pre-existence of Christ, for they believed if Christ is one with God, he must have been united with God from the very beginning.
In everyday Aramaic, Mari was a very respectful form of polite address, which means more than just "Teacher" and was somewhat similar to Rabbi. In Greek, this has at times been translated as Kyrios. While the term Mari expressed the relationship between Jesus and his disciples during his life, the Greek Kyrios came to represent his lordship over the world.
And he asked them, "But who do you say that I am?" Simon Peter replied, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." — Matthew 16:15-16, ESV
No writings were left by Jesus, and the study of the various Christologies of the Apostolic Age is based on early Christian documents. The Gospels provide episodes from the life of Jesus and some of his works, but the authors of the New Testament show little interest in an absolute chronology of Jesus or in synchronizing the episodes of his life, and as in John 21:25, the Gospels do not claim to be an exhaustive list of his works.
Christologies that can be gleaned from the three Synoptic Gospels generally emphasize the humanity of Jesus, his sayings, his parables, and his miracles. The Gospel of John provides a different perspective that focuses on his divinity. The first 14 verses of the Gospel of John are devoted to the divinity of Jesus as the Logos, usually translated as "Word", along with his pre-existence, and they emphasize the cosmic significance of Christ, e.g. John 1:3: "All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made." In the context of these verses, the Word made flesh is identical with the Word who was in the beginning with God, being exegetically equated with Jesus.
A foremost contribution to the Christology of the Apostolic Age is that of Paul. The central Christology of Paul conveys the notion of Christ's pre-existence and the identification of Christ as Kyrios. The Pauline epistles use Kyrios to identify Jesus almost 230 times, and express the theme that the true mark of a Christian is the confession of Jesus as the true Lord. Paul viewed the superiority of the Christian revelation over all other divine manifestations as a consequence of the fact that Christ is the Son of God. Nevertheless, the view that it was apostle Paul who introduced the idea that Jesus was divine and thus distorted the actual Jesus has been rejected by some historians. Richard Bauckham argues that Paul was not so influential that he could have invented the central doctrine of Christianity. Before his active missionary work, there were already groups of Christians across the region. For example, a large group already existed in Rome even before Paul visited the place. The earliest centre of Christianity was the twelve apostles in Jerusalem. Paul himself consulted and sought guidance from the Christian leaders in Jerusalem (Galatians 2:1-2; Acts 9:26-28, 15:2). “What was common to the whole Christian movement derived from Jerusalem, not from Paul, and Paul himself derived the central message he preached from the Jerusalem apostles. These scholars argue that if Jesus himself did not claim and show himself to be truly divine (i.e. on the Creator side of the Creator–creature divide), the earliest Christian leaders who were devout ancient monotheistic Jews would not have come to a widespread agreement that he was truly divine, but would have regarded Jesus as merely a teacher or a prophet instead.
The Pauline epistles also advanced the "cosmic Christology" later developed in the fourth gospel, elaborating the cosmic implications of Jesus' existence as the Son of God, as in Corinthians 5:17: "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come." Also, in Colossians 1:15: "He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation."
Following the Apostolic Age, from the second century onwards, a number of controversies developed about how the human and divine are related within the person of Jesus. As of the second century, a number of different and opposing approaches developed among various groups. For example, Arianism did not endorse divinity, Ebionism argued Jesus was an ordinary mortal, while Gnosticism held docetic views which argued Christ was a spiritual being who only appeared to have a physical body. The resulting tensions led to schisms within the church in the second and third centuries, and ecumenical councils were convened in the fourth and fifth centuries to deal with the issues. Eventually, by the Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon in 451, the Hypostatic union was decreed—the proposition that Christ has one human nature [physis] and one divine nature [physis], united with neither confusion nor division—making this part of the creed of orthodox Christianity. Although some of the debates may seem to various modern students to be over a theological iota, they took place in controversial political circumstances, reflecting the relations of temporal powers and divine authority, and certainly resulted in schisms, among others that which separated the Church of the East from the Church of the Roman Empire.
In 325, the First Council of Nicaea defined the persons of the Godhead and their relationship with one another, decisions which were ratified at the First Council of Constantinople in 381. The language used was that the one God exists in three persons (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit); in particular, it was affirmed that the Son was homoousios (of the same being) as the Father. The Nicene Creed declared the full divinity and full humanity of Jesus.
In 431, the First Council of Ephesus was initially called to address the views of Nestorius on Mariology, but the problems soon extended to Christology, and schisms followed. The 431 council was called because in defense of his loyal priest Anastasius, Nestorius had denied the Theotokos title for Mary and later contradicted Proclus during a sermon in Constantinople. Pope Celestine I (who was already upset with Nestorius due to other matters) wrote about this to Cyril of Alexandria, who orchestrated the council. During the council, Nestorius defended his position by arguing there must be two persons of Christ, one human, the other divine, and Mary had given birth only to a human, hence could not be called the Theotokos, i.e. "the one who gives birth to God". The debate about the single or dual nature of Christ ensued in Ephesus.
In 431, the Council of Ephesus debated miaphysitism (two natures united as one after the hypostatic union) verses dyophysitism (coexisting natures after the hypostatic union) versus monophysitism (only one nature) versus Nestorianism (two hypostases). From the Christological viewpoint, the council adopted Mia Physis (But being made one κατὰ φύσιν) - Council of Ephesus, Epistle of Cyril to Nestorius, i.e. One Nature of the Word of God Incarnate (μία φύσις τοῦ θεοῦ λόγου σεσαρκωμένη mía phýsis toû theoû lógou sesarkōménē). In 451, the Council of Chalcedon affirmed dyophysitism. The Oriental Orthodox rejected this and subsequent councils and continued to consider themselves as miaphysite according to the faith put forth at the Councils of Nicaea and Ephesus. The council also confirmed the Theotokos title and excommunicated Nestorius.
The 451 Council of Chalcedon was highly influential and marked a key turning point in the Christological debates that broke apart the church of the Eastern Roman Empire in the fifth century. It is the last council which many Anglicans and most Protestants consider ecumenical. It fully promulgated the Western dyophisite understanding put forth by Pope Leo I of Rome of the hypostatic union, stating the human and divine natures of Christ coexist after the union, yet each is distinct and complete. Most importantly, it unquestionably established the primacy of Rome in the East over those who accepted the Council of Chalcedon. This was reaffirmed in 519 when those Eastern Chalcedonians accepted the Formula of Hormisdas anathematizing all of their own Eastern Chalcedonian hierarchy who died out of communion with Rome from 482-519. Although, the Chalcedonian Creed did not put an end to all Christological debate, it did clarify the terms used and became a point of reference for many future Christologies. Most of the major branches of Western Christianity – Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, Anglicanism, Lutheranism, and Reformed – subscribe to the Chalcedonian Christological formulation, while many branches of Eastern Christianity - Syrian Orthodoxy, Assyrian Church, Coptic Orthodoxy, Ethiopian Orthodoxy, and Armenian Apostolicism – reject it.
The term Person of Christ refers to the prosopic (and hypostatic) union of the human and divine natures of Jesus Christ as they coexist within one person (prosopon) and one hypostasis. There are no direct discussions in the New Testament regarding the dual nature of the Person of Christ as both divine and human. Hence, since the early days of Christianity, theologians have debated various approaches to the understanding of these natures, at times resulting in schisms.
Historically in the Alexandrian school of thought (fashioned on the Gospel of John), Jesus Christ is the eternal Logos who already possesses unity with the Father before the act of Incarnation. In contrast, the Antiochian school views Christ as a single, unified human person apart from his relationship to the divine.
Some controversial notions of "two persons" (prosopic duality) caused heated debates among Christian theologians during the 5th century, resulting in official condemnation of such theological views. The Fourth Ecumenical Council, held in Chalcedon in 451, reaffirmed the notion of "One Person" of Jesus Christ, and formulated the famous Chalcedonian Definition with its "monoprosopic" (mono-prosopic: having one person) clauses, explicitly denying the validity of "dyoprosopic" (dyo-prosopic: having two persons) views.
John Calvin maintained there was no human element in the Person of Christ which could be separated from the Person of The Word. Calvin also emphasized the importance of the "Work of Christ" in any attempt at understanding the Person of Christ and cautioned against ignoring the Works of Jesus during his ministry.
The study of the Person of Christ continued into the 20th century, with modern theologians such as Karl Rahner and Hans von Balthasar. Rahner pointed out the coincidence between the Person of Christ and the Word of God, referring to Mark 8:38 and Luke 9:26 which state whoever is ashamed of the words of Jesus is ashamed of the Lord himself. Balthasar argued the union of the human and divine natures of Christ was achieved not by the "absorption" of human attributes, but by their "assumption". Thus, in his view, the divine nature of Christ was not affected by the human attributes and remained forever divine.
Historical christological doctrines are
The Nativity of Jesus impacted the Christological issues about his Person from the earliest days of Christianity. Luke's Christology centers on the dialectics of the dual natures of the earthly and heavenly manifestations of existence of the Christ, while Matthew's Christology focuses on the mission of Jesus and his role as the savior. The salvific emphasis of Matthew 1:21 later impacted the theological issues and the devotions to Holy Name of Jesus.
Matthew 1:23 provides a key to the "Emmanuel Christology" of Matthew. Beginning with 1:23, Matthew shows a clear interest in identifying Jesus as "God with us" and in later developing the Emmanuel characterization of Jesus at key points throughout the rest of his Gospel. The name Emmanuel does not appear elsewhere in the New Testament, but Matthew builds on it in Matthew 28:20 ("I am with you always, even unto the end of the world") to indicate Jesus will be with the faithful to the end of the age. According to Ulrich Luz, the Emmanuel motif brackets the entire Gospel of Matthew between 1:23 and 28:20, appearing explicitly and implicitly in several other passages.
A central element in the Christology presented in the Acts of the Apostles is the affirmation of the belief that the death of Jesus by crucifixion happened "with the foreknowledge of God, according to a definite plan". In this view, as in Acts 2:23, the cross is not viewed as a scandal, for the crucifixion of Jesus "at the hands of the lawless" is viewed as the fulfilment of the plan of God.
Paul's Christology has a specific focus on the death and resurrection of Jesus. For Paul, the crucifixion of Jesus is directly related to his resurrection and the term "the cross of Christ" used in Galatians 6:12 may be viewed as his abbreviation of the message of the gospels. For Paul, the crucifixion of Jesus was not an isolated event in history, but a cosmic event with significant eschatological consequences, as in Cor 2:8. In the Pauline view, Jesus, obedient to the point of death (Phil 2:8), died "at the right time" (Rom 4:25) based on the plan of God. For Paul, the "power of the cross" is not separable from the resurrection of Jesus.
The threefold office (Latin munus triplex) of Jesus Christ is a Christian doctrine based upon the teachings of the Old Testament. It was described by Eusebius and more fully developed by John Calvin. It states that Jesus Christ performed three functions (or "offices") in his earthly ministry – those of prophet (Deuteronomy 18:14–22), priest (Psalm 110:1-4), and king (Psalm 2). In the Old Testament, the appointment of someone to any of these three positions could be indicated by anointing him or her by pouring oil over the head. Thus, the term messiah, meaning "anointed one", is associated with the concept of the threefold office. While the office of king is that most frequently associated with the Messiah, the role of Jesus as priest is also prominent in the New Testament, being most fully explained in chapters 7 to 10 of the Book of Hebrews.
Some Christians, notably Roman Catholics, view Mariology as a key component of Christology. In this view, not only is Mariology a logical and necessary consequence of Christology, but without it, Christology is incomplete, since the figure of Mary contributes to a fuller understanding of who Christ is and what he did.
Protestants have criticized Mariology because many of its assertions lack any biblical foundation. Strong Protestant reaction against Roman Catholic Marian devotion and teaching has been a significant issue for ecumenical dialogue.
Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (later Pope Benedict XVI) expressed this sentiment about Roman Catholic Mariology when in two separate occasions he stated, "The appearance of a truly Marian awareness serves as the touchstone indicating whether or not the Christological substance is fully present" and "It is necessary to go back to Mary, if we want to return to the truth about Jesus Christ."
Christology is the reflective and systematic study of the person and work of Jesus Christ.
New Testament scholars often speak about “Christology,” which is the study of the career, person, nature, and identity of Jesus Christ. There are, of course, many different ways of doing Christology. Some scholars study Christology by focusing on the major titles applied to Jesus in the New Testament, such as “Son of Man,” “Son of God,” “Messiah,” “Lord,” “Prince,” “Word,” and the like. Others take a more functional approach and look at how Jesus acts or is said to act in the New Testament as the basis for configuring beliefs about him. It is possible to explore Jesus as a historical figure (i.e., Christology from below), or to examine theological claims made about Jesus (i.e., Christology from above). Many scholars prefer a socio-religious method by comparing beliefs about Jesus with beliefs in other religions to identify shared sources and similar ideas. Theologians often take a more philosophical approach and look at Jesus’ “ontology” or “being” and debate how best to describe his divine and human natures.
The most urgent task of a contemporary Christology is to formulate the Church's dogma – 'God became man and that God-made-man is the individual Jesus Christ' – in such a way that the true meaning of these statements can be understood, and all trace of a mythology impossible to accept nowadays is excluded.
[Christ’s Divinity] We have already seen that Paul, in appropriating the language of the christological hymns, subscribed to the christological notion that Christ existed prior to taking on human flesh. Paul spoke of Jesus both as the wisdom of God, his agent in creation (1 Cor 1:24, 30; 8:6; Col 1:15–17; see Bruce, 195), and as the one who accompanied Israel as the “rock” in the wilderness (1 Cor 10:4). In view of the role Christ plays in 1 Corinthians 10:4, Paul is not founding the story of Christ on the archetypal story of Israel, but rather on the story of divine Wisdom, which helped Israel in the wilderness.
[Per Christology] ‘Explosion Theories’ (one might also call this ‘the Big-Bang theory of Christology’!). This proposes that highest Christology was the view of the primitive Palestinian Christian community. [...] As Bauckham (2008a, x) memorably puts it, ‘The earliest Christology was already the highest Christology.’ Many proponents of this group of theories have been labelled together as ‘the New Religionsgeschichtliche Schule’ (Hurtado 2003, 11), and they include such eminent scholars as Richard Bauckham, Larry Hurtado, N. T. Wright and the late Martin Hengel.
[Per the Gospel of John] No longer is John [the Baptizer] an independent preacher. He is but a voice, or, to change the figure, a finger pointing to Jesus. The baptism story is not told, although it is referred to (John 1:32f). But the baptism of Jesus is deprived of any significance for Jesus – not surprising since the latter has just been introduced as the preexistent Christ, who had been the effective agent responsible for the world’s creation. (Enslin, p. 4)
Chalcedonian Christianity refers to the Christian denominations adhering to the christological definitions and ecclesiological resolutions of the Council of Chalcedon, the Fourth Ecumenical Council held in 451. Chalcedonian Christians follow the Definition of Chalcedon, a religious doctrine concerning the divine and human natures of Jesus Christ. The great majority of Christian communions and confessions in the 21st century are Chalcedonian, but from the 5th to the 8th centuries the ascendancy of Chalcedonian Christology (detailed below) was not always certain.
Doctrinally, Chalcedonianism may be regarded as a subset of Nicene Christianity.Chalcedonian Definition
The Chalcedonian Definition (also called the Chalcedonian Creed) was adopted at the Council of Chalcedon in AD 451. Chalcedon was an early centre of Christianity located in Asia Minor (modern Turkey). The council was the fourth of the Ecumenical Councils that are accepted by Chalcedonian churches which include the Eastern Orthodox, Catholic, and most Protestant churches. It was the first council not to be recognised by any Oriental Orthodox church; these churches may be classified as non-Chalcedonian.Christ (title)
In Christianity, Christ (Greek: Χριστός, Christós, meaning "the anointed one") is a title for the saviour and redeemer who would bring salvation to the whole House of Israel. Christians believe Jesus is the Israelite messiah foretold in both the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Old Testament. Christ, used by Christians as both a name and a title, is synonymous with Jesus.The role of the Christ in Christianity originated from the concept of the messiah in Judaism. Although the conceptions of the messiah in each religion are similar, for the most part they are distinct from one another due to the split of early Christianity and Judaism in the 1st century.
Though the original followers of Jesus believed Jesus to be the Jewish messiah, e.g. in the Confession of Peter, Jesus was usually referred to as "Jesus of Nazareth" or "Jesus, son of Joseph". Jesus came to be called "Jesus Christ" (meaning "Jesus the Khristós", i.e. "Jesus the Messiah" or "Jesus the Anointed") by later Christians, who believe that his crucifixion and resurrection fulfill the messianic prophecies of the Old Testament. The Pauline epistles, the earliest texts of the New Testament, often refer to Jesus as "Christ Jesus" or "Christ". The word Christ was originally a title, but later became part of the name "Jesus Christ". It is also used as a title, in the reciprocal use "Christ Jesus", meaning "the Messiah Jesus", and independently as "the Christ".The followers of Jesus became known as Christians (as in Acts 11:26) because they believed Jesus to be the Khristós or Mashiach prophesied in the Hebrew Bible. Religious Jews still await their messiah's first coming and the messianic prophecies of Jewish tradition to be accomplished. Religious Christians believe in the Second Coming of Christ, and they await the rest of Christian messianic prophecies to be fulfilled. One of those prophecies, distinctive in both the Jewish and Christian concept of the messiah, is that a Jewish king from the Davidic line, who will be "anointed" with holy anointing oil, will be king of God's kingdom on earth, and rule the Jewish people and mankind during the Messianic Age and World to come. Jesus is not accepted as the Jewish messiah in modern Judaism. Muslims accept Jesus (Arabic: عيسى, translit. ʿĪsā) as al-Masih, the messiah in Islam, and believe he will come again, but don't believe that the messiah is divine or the Son of God.
The area of Christian theology called Christology is primarily concerned with the nature and person of Jesus Christ as recorded in the canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament.Docetism
In Christianity, docetism (from the Koine Greek: δοκεῖν/δόκησις dokeĩn "to seem", dókēsis "apparition, phantom", is the doctrine that the phenomenon of Jesus, his historical and bodily existence, and above all the human form of Jesus, was mere semblance without any true reality. Broadly it is taken as the belief that Jesus only seemed to be human, and that his human form was an illusion.
The word Δοκηταί Dokētaí ("Illusionists") referring to early groups who denied Jesus's humanity, first occurred in a letter by Bishop Serapion of Antioch (197–203), who discovered the doctrine in the Gospel of Peter, during a pastoral visit to a Christian community using it in Rhosus, and later condemned it as a forgery.. It appears to have arisen over theological contentions concerning the meaning, figurative or literal, of a sentence from the Gospel of John: "the Word was made Flesh".Docetism was unequivocally rejected at the First Council of Nicaea in 325 and is regarded as heretical by the Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox Church, Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria and the Orthodox Tewahedo, and many other Christian denominations that accept and hold to the statements of these early church councils.Dyophysitism
In Christian theology, dyophysitism (Greek: δυοφυσιτισμός, from δυο (dyo), meaning "two" and φύσις (physis), meaning "nature") is the Christological position that two natures, divine and human, exist in the person of Jesus Christ. It contrasts with monophysitism and miaphysitism.Development of dyophysite Christology was gradual, promoted by St Cyril of Alexandria (Church Father and Doctor of the Church) and its complex terminology was finally formulated as a result of long christological debates that were constant during the 4th and 5th centuries. The importance of dyophysitism was often emphasized by prominent representatives of the Antiochene School. After many debates and several councils, dyophysitism gained its official ecclesiastical form at the Fourth Ecumenical Council, held in Chalcedon in 451. The Chalcedonian Definition became the basis for the christological doctrine of the two natures of Jesus Christ, that is held up to the present day by a majority of Christian churches, including: the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Catholic Churches, the Anglican Church, the Old Catholic Church, and various other Christian denominations. Both the monophysitism were sentenced as false and condemned as heretic by the Council of Chalcedony in 451, and therefore declared not compatible with the Christian faith.
Dyophysite Christians believe that there is complete and perfect unity of the two natures in one hypostasis and one person of Jesus Christ. For the Chalcedonians the hypostatic union was the center of Jesus' unity (his divinity and humanity being described as natures) whereas those who rejected the Chalcedonian definition saw his nature as the point of unity. Since the term dyophysitism is used for describing the Chalcedonian positions, it has distinctive opposite meaning to the terms monophysite (notion that Christ has only one, divine nature) and miaphysite (notion that Christ is both divine and human, but in one nature).Dyophysitism has also been used to describe some aspects of Nestorianism, the doctrines ascribed to the Patriarch Nestorius of Constantinople. His detractors also asserted (unprecisely, and sometimes falsely) that he believed that Christ existed not only in two natures, but also in two (hypostases) and two persons (prosopon): the human Jesus and the divine Logos. Apart from that, the ancient Church of the East has preserved dyophysite Christology and other traditions of the Antiochene School.The belief in Jesus Christ being true Man and true God was imbedded in the Chalcedonian Creed, and later it was integrated in the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity, basic article of the Christian faith.Holy Wisdom
Holy Wisdom (Greek Ἁγία Σοφία, Latin Sancta Sapientia, Russian Святая София Премудрость Божия "Holy Sophia, Divine Wisdom") is a concept in Christian theology.
Christian theology received the Old Testament personification of Wisdom (Hebrew Chokhmah) as well as the concept of Wisdom (Sophia) from Greek philosophy, especially Platonism.
In Christology, Christ the Logos as God the Son was identified with Divine Wisdom from earliest times.
The identification of Holy Wisdom with God the Son remains particularly pronounced in Eastern Orthodoxy, while the Latin Rite has placed more emphasis of the identication of God the Son with the Logos.
There has also been a minority position which identified Wisdom with the Holy Spirit instead. Furthermore, in mystical interpretations forwarded in Russian Orthodoxy, known as Sophiology, Holy Wisdom as a feminine principle came to be identified with the Theotokos (Mother of God) rather than with Christ himself. Similar interpretations were proposed in feminist theology as part of the "God and Gender" debate in the 1990s.Hypostasis (philosophy and religion)
Hypostasis (Greek: ὑπόστασις) is the underlying state or underlying substance and is the fundamental reality that supports all else. In Neoplatonism the hypostasis of the soul, the intellect (nous) and "the one" was addressed by Plotinus.
In Christian theology, a hypostasis is one of the three hypostases (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) of the Trinity.Hypostatic union
Hypostatic union (from the Greek: ὑπόστασις hypóstasis, "sediment, foundation, substance, subsistence") is a technical term in Christian theology employed in mainstream Christology to describe the union of Christ's humanity and divinity in one hypostasis, or individual existence.The most basic explanation for the hypostatic union is Jesus Christ being both God and man. He is both perfectly divine and perfectly human.
The Athanasian Creed recognized this doctrine and affirmed its importance, stating that "He is God from the essence of the Father, begotten before time; and he is human from the essence of his mother, born in time; completely God, completely human, with a rational soul and human flesh; equal to the Father as regards divinity, less than the Father as regards humanity. Although he is God and human, yet Christ is not two, but one. He is one, however, not by his divinity being turned into flesh, but by God's taking humanity to himself. He is one, certainly not by the blending of his essence, but by the unity of his person. For just as one human is both rational soul and flesh, so too the one Christ is both God and human."Incarnation
Incarnation literally means embodied in flesh or taking on flesh. It refers to the conception and birth of a sentient being who is the material manifestation of an entity, god or force whose original nature is immaterial. In its religious context the word is used to mean the descent from Heaven of a god, deity, or divine being in human/animal form on Earth.Jesus in Christianity
In Christianity, Jesus is believed to be the Messiah (Christ). Christians believe that through his crucifixion and subsequent resurrection, God offered humans salvation and eternal life.These teachings emphasize that as the Lamb of God, Jesus chose to suffer on the cross at Calvary as a sign of his obedience to the will of God, as an "agent and servant of God". Jesus died to atone for sin to make us right with God. Jesus' choice positions him as a man of obedience, in contrast to Adam's disobedience.Christians believe that Jesus was both human and divine—the Son of God. While there has been theological debate over the nature of Jesus, Trinitarian Christians believe that Jesus is the Logos, God incarnate, God the Son, and "true God and true man"—both fully divine and fully human. Jesus, having become fully human in all respects, suffered the pains and temptations of a mortal man, yet he did not sin.
According to the Bible, God raised him from the dead. He ascended to heaven to sit at the right hand of God, and he will return to earth again for the Last Judgment and the establishment of the Kingdom of God.Lamb of God
Lamb of God (Greek: Ἀμνὸς τοῦ Θεοῦ, Amnos tou Theou; Latin: Agnus Deī [ˈaŋ.nʊs ˈde.iː]) is a title for Jesus that appears in the Gospel of John. It appears at John 1:29, where John the Baptist sees Jesus and exclaims, "Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world."Christian doctrine holds that divine Jesus chose to suffer crucifixion at Calvary as a sign of his full obedience to the will of his divine Father, as an "agent and servant of God" as well as to pick up and carry away the sin of the world. In Christian theology the Lamb of God is viewed as foundational and integral to the message of Christianity.A lion-like lamb that rises to deliver victory after being slain appears several times in the Book of Revelation. It is also referred to in Pauline writings: 1 Corinthians 5:7 suggests that Saint Paul intends to refer to the death of Jesus, who is the Paschal Lamb, using the theme found in Johannine writings. The lamb metaphor is also in line with Psalm 23, which depicts God as a shepherd leading his flock (mankind).
The Lamb of God title is widely used in Christian prayers, and the Agnus Dei is used as a standard part of the Catholic Mass, as well as the classical Western Liturgies of the Anglican and Lutheran Churches. It also is used in liturgy and as a form of contemplative prayer. The Agnus Dei also forms a part of the musical setting for the Mass.
As a visual motif the lamb has been most often represented since the Middle Ages as a standing haloed lamb with a foreleg cocked "holding" a pennant with a red cross on a white ground, though many other ways of representing it have been used.Miaphysitism
Miaphysitism is Cyril of Alexandria's Christological formula holding that in the person of Jesus Christ, divine nature and human nature are united (μία, mia – "one" or "unity") in a compound nature ("physis"), the two being united without separation, without mixture, without confusion and without alteration.Historically, Chalcedonian Christians have considered Miaphysitism in general to be amenable to an orthodox interpretation, in contrast to Monophysitism. Since 1142, Oriental Orthodoxy uses the term "Miaphysite" for themselves but prefer to call themselves non-Chalcedonians.Modalistic Monarchianism
Modalistic Monarchianism (also known as Oneness Christology) is a Christian theology that upholds the oneness of God as well as the deity of Jesus Christ. It is a form of Monarchianism and as such stands in contrast with Trinitarianism. Modalistic Monarchianism considers God to be one while working through the different "modes" or "manifestations" of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Following this view, all the Godhead is understood to have dwelt in Jesus Christ from the incarnation. The terms Father and Son are then used to describe the distinction between the transcendence of God and the incarnation (God in immanence). Lastly, since God is a spirit, it is held that the Holy Spirit should not be understood as a separate entity but rather to describe God in action.
Modalistic Monarchians believe in the deity of Jesus and understand Jesus to be a manifestation of Yahweh, the God of the Old Testament, in the flesh. For this reason they find it suitable to ascribe all worship appropriate to God alone to Jesus also.Monophysitism
Monophysitism ( or ; Greek: μονοφυσιτισμός; Late Koine Greek [monofysitizˈmos] from μόνος monos, "only, single" and φύσις physis, "nature") is the Christological position that, after the union of the divine and the human in the historical incarnation, Jesus Christ, as the incarnation of the eternal Son or Word (Logos) of God, had only a single "nature" which was either divine or a synthesis of divine and human. Monophysitism is contrasted to dyophysitism (or dia-, dio-, or duophysitism) which maintains that Christ maintained two natures, one divine and one human, after the incarnation.
Historically, the term "Monophysites" (capitalized in this sense) referred to those Christians in the Eastern Roman Empire who rejected the fourth ecumenical council, the Council of Chalcedon in 451. The moderate members of this group, however, maintained a "miaphysite" theology that became that of the Oriental Orthodox churches. The Oriental Orthodox reject the label "monophysite" as a catch-all term, but the label was extensively used in historical literature of Chalcedonian Christian authors.
After the Council of Chalcedon, the monophysite controversy (together with institutional, political, and growing nationalistic factors) led to a lasting schism between the Oriental Orthodox churches, on the one hand, and the Eastern Orthodox and Western churches on the other. The Christological conflict among monophysitism, dyophysitism, and their subtle combinations and derivatives lasted from the third through the eighth centuries and left its mark on all but the first two Ecumenical councils. The vast majority of Christians presently belong to the Chalcedonian churches, namely the Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and traditional Protestant churches (those that accept at least the first four Ecumenical Councils); these churches have always considered monophysitism to be heretical.
Monophysitism is occasionally referred to as "monophysiticism".Nestorianism
Nestorianism is a Christian theological doctrine that upholds several distinctive teachings in the fields of Christology and Mariology. It opposes the concept of hypostatic union and emphasizes a radical distinction between two natures (human and divine) of Jesus Christ. This Christological position is defined as radical dyophisitism. Nestorianism was named after Christian theologian Nestorius (386–450), Patriarch of Constantinople from 428 to 431, who was influenced by Christological teachings of Theodore of Mopsuestia at the School of Antioch.
Nestorius' teachings brought him into conflict with other prominent church leaders, most notably Cyril of Alexandria, who criticized especially his rejection of the title Theotokos ("Mother of God") for Mary, the mother of Jesus. Nestorius and his teachings were eventually condemned as heretical at the Council of Ephesus in 431, and again at the Council of Chalcedon in 451, which led to the Nestorian Schism; churches supporting Nestorian teachings broke with the rest of the Christian Church.
Following that, many of Nestorius's supporters relocated to the Sasanian Empire, where they affiliated with the local Christian community, known as the Church of the East. Over the next decades the Church of the East became increasingly Nestorian in doctrine, leading to it becoming known alternatively as the Nestorian Church.Nicene Christianity
Nicene Christianity refers to Christian doctrinal traditions that adhere to the Nicene Creed, which was originally formulated at the First Council of Nicaea in AD 325 and finished at the First Council of Constantinople in AD 381. It is much more commonly referred to as mainstream Christianity.The main rival doctrine of Nicene Christianity at the time was Arian Christianity, which ceased to exist during the 7th century AD with the conversion of the Gothic kingdoms to Nicene Christianity. The main points of dissent centered on Christology. Nicene Christianity considers Christ to be divine and co-eternal with God the Father, while Arian Christianity considered Christ to be the first created being and inferior to God the Father. Other non-Nicene currents have been considered heresies since the early medieval period.Present-day mainstream Christian Churches including all of the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Assyrian and Ancient Churches, Lutheran and Anglican churches together with most Protestant denominations adhere to the Nicene Creed and are thus examples of Nicene Christianity.
Chalcedonian Christianity is a large subset of Nicene Christianity. In addition to subscribing to the Nicene Creed, Chalcedonian Christians also subscribe to the decisions of the First Council of Ephesus in AD 431 and of the Council of Chalcedon in AD 451. The great majority of Nicene Christians are also Chalcedonian Christians. However, some portions of Eastern Christianity such as the Oriental Orthodox Churches and historically Church of the East adhere to the Nicene Creed but not to the Chalcedonian Definition and are therefore part of Nicene Christianity but non-Chalcedonian and for latter "non-Ephesine".
Examples of non-Nicene Christianity today include the various either Protestant or non-Protestant non-trinitarian groups like predominantly Latter Day Saint movement (with exception of the Nicene Mormon group the Community of Christ also formerly as the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints), the Unitarian Church of Transylvania and the Oneness Pentecostals.Oriental Orthodoxy
Oriental Orthodoxy is the fourth largest communion of Christian churches, with about 76 million members worldwide. As one of the oldest religious institutions in the world, it has played a prominent role in the history and culture of Armenia, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Sudan and parts of the Middle East and India. An Eastern Christian communion of autocephalous churches, its bishops are equal by virtue of episcopal ordination, and its doctrines can be summarised in that the communion recognizes the validity of only the first three ecumenical councils.The Oriental Orthodox communion is composed of six autocephalous churches: the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria, the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch, the Armenian Apostolic Church, the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, the Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church, and the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church. Collectively, they consider themselves to be the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic church founded by Jesus Christ in his Great Commission, and that its bishops are the successors of Christ's apostles. Most member churches are part of the World Council of Churches. All member churches share a virtually identical theology, with the distinguishing feature being Miaphysitism. Three very different rites are practiced in the communion: the western-influenced Armenian Rite, the West Syrian Rite of the two Syriac churches, and the Alexandrian Rite of the Copts, Ethiopians and Eritreans.
At the Council of Chalcedon in 451 AD, the Oriental Orthodox churches separated from the Imperial Roman Church, primarily over differences in Christology. Oriental Orthodoxy developed distinctively under the Patriarchate of Alexandria in Egypt, originally part of the Pentarchy, and the only episcopal see besides the Holy See to maintain the title "Pope". The majority of Oriental Orthodox Christians live in Egypt, Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Armenia, with smaller Syriac communities living in the Middle East–decreasing due to persecution–and India. There are also many in other parts of the world, formed through diaspora, conversions, and missionary activity.Pre-existence of Christ
The doctrine of the pre-existence (or preexistence) of Christ asserts the ontological or personal existence of Christ before his incarnation. One of the relevant Bible passages is John 1:1–18 where, in the Trinitarian interpretation, Christ is identified with a pre-existent divine hypostasis called the Logos or Word. There are other nontrinitarian views that question the aspect of personal pre-existence or the aspect of divinity or both.
This doctrine is reiterated in John 17:5 when Jesus refers to the glory which he had with the Father "before the world was" during the Farewell Discourse. John 17:24 also refers to the Father loving Jesus "before the foundation of the world".Scholastic Lutheran Christology
Scholastic Lutheran Christology is the orthodox Lutheran theology of Jesus Christ, developed using the methodology of Lutheran scholasticism.
On the general basis of the Chalcedonian christology and following the
indications of the Scriptures as the only rule of faith, the Protestant (especially the Lutheran) scholastics at the close of the sixteenth and during the seventeenth century, built some additional features and developed new aspects of Christ's person. The propelling cause was the Lutheran doctrine of the real presence or omnipresence of Christ's body in the Lord's Supper, and the controversies growing out of it with the Zwinglians and Calvinists, and among the Lutherans themselves. These new features relate to the communion of the two natures, and to the states and the offices of Christ. The first was the production of the Lutheran Church, and was never adopted, but partly rejected, by the Reformed; the second and third were the joint doctrines of both, but with a very material difference in the understanding of the second.