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Christology - Topics in Theology

A short overview of Christology

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Christology - Topics in Theology

  1. 1. Topics in Systematic Theology Christology
  2. 2. Christology 1. Divine Nature 2. Human Nature 3. The Hypostatic Union 4. Peccability 5. Christological Heresies
  3. 3. 1.Divine Nature 1. Biblical texts supporting deity: Jn 1:1; 20:28; Rom 9:5; Titus 2:13; Heb 1:8; 2 Peter 1:1 2. He had divine titles attributed to Him: a. Lord b. Son of Man c. Son of God d. Messiah e. “I am” saying f. Alpha and Omega 3. Performs divine activities Jesus Christ has a hand in creation (Jn 1:3; Col 1:16), Heals the sick (Mk 1:32-34; Acts 3:6), forgives sin (Mk 2:1-12; Lk 24:47; acts 5:31), Dispenses the Spirit (Matt 3:11; Ascts 2:17, 33), Raises the dead (Lk 7:11-17; Jn 5:21; 6:40)
  4. 4. 2. Human Nature 1. Biblical texts supporting His humanity: Matt 4:4; John 8:40 2. His titles: a. Son of David b. Genealogical records in Matt 1 and Luke 3 c. The Son of Man d. The Last (or second) Adam: 1 Cor 15:45; Rom 5 3. He had a real human body: a. He had a human birth (Lk 2:7) b. He grew as all children grow (Lk 2:40, 52) 4. He was subject to human finitude a. He could become weary, hungry, and thirsty. b. He could suffer physically and undergo death.
  5. 5. 3. The Hypostatic Union 1. The two natures do not address each other. 2. Jesus (as well as the biblical writers) always refers to Himself as a singular person (which He is, one person). 3. When speaking of this one person, Jesus Christ, Scripture does not explicitly distinguish between His two natures.
  6. 6. 3. The Hypostatic Union 1. The union of the two natures in the one person a. Two intact natures: an “unconfused, unchangeable” union of natures b. One person: a personal, “Indivisible, inseparable” union Summary Definition of the Person of Christ (from EDT, 540) “In the incarnation of the Son of God, a human nature was inseparably united forever with the divine nature in the one person of Jesus Christ, yet with the two natures remaining distinct, whole, and unchanged, without mixture or confusion so that the one person, Jesus Christ, is truly God and truly man.”
  7. 7. 3. The Hypostatic Union 1. The Necessity of the Hypostatic Union: a. Christ must be divine to be a worthy sacrifice for our sins. b. Christ must be human to be a representative of humanity.
  8. 8. 4. Peccability 1. Could Christ have sinned? a. The Problem: Christ, as a member of the Trinity, cannot sin. b. But then how could he be tempted? c. What do we make of Hebrew 4:15? 2. Christ never did sin: John 8:29, 46; 14:30-31; 15:10; 2 Cor 5:21 3. Christ really was tempted: Matt 4:1-11; Hebrews 4:15
  9. 9. 4. Peccability 1. A Solution: We must follow the teaching of scripture on this issue. It states clearly that Christ really was tempted in every way, and this temptation was real. Yet at the same time, it would be impossible for Christ to sin because of His divine nature. We might think of it as a backup to His human nature. Even if this is so, the way the scriptures speak is that Christ did not need His divine nature as a “backup” but resisted temptation like we can as well. That is what Hebrews is getting at; He resisted temptation to show us that we can as well. He couldn’t show us how to beat temptation if He was relying on His divine nature.
  10. 10. 5. Christological Heresies 1. Arianism: Denied full divinity – characterized by the phrase “There was a time when he [Christ] was not.” 2. Socinianism: Jesus was a good man that God exalted to a delegated divinity 3. Kenoticism: Turn to Phil 2:5-8 4. Docetism: Christ only appeared to be human 5. Apollinarianism: Tricotemistic; Jesus had human body and soul, but divine spirit. He was not fully human.