Friday, June 17, 2016

The Earliest Christologies (IVP Academic)

When you consider all that we know and understand in matters of the Faith, we are very fortunate to live in the day that we live. Those in the 2nd Century were not as fortunate. Yes, they were closer to the original words of Christ and His Apostles, but there were also questions, debates, confusion, and unfortunately heresies. Today, I am reviewing the book The Earliest Christologies, which looks at five different views/images of Christ in the 2nd Century.

The beginning of this book discusses exactly what the Postapostolic Age, the scope of this book, and the five views of Christ in the 1st and mainly 2nd Century. We then are treated with a chapter on each of those five views. The views are as follows:

1. Christ as angel. Jesus was a human born of a virgin. He perfectly obeyed God and because of this perfect obedience, he was rewarded with an angelic spirit (the Christ). The union between Jesus and Christ was temporary.
2. Christ as prophet. Jesus was a human with no virgin birth. He earned the title of Christ, and therefore there was no real union between Jesus and Christ.
3. Christ as a phantom. Jesus was an illusion with no body. The Christ was a lesser deity who appeared to be human. There was no birth and the union between Jesus and Christ was just an apparition.
4. Christ as cosmic mind. Jesus was not really human but had an ethereal body. The Christ was a lesser deity, disguised as a human. There was no birth and no union between Jesus and Christ, merely an illusion.
5. Christ as Logos. This is what Christians believe today. There is the virgin birth, the Resurrection, the union between Jesus and Christ (union of human and divine).

The book ends with what orthodoxy is and why the view of Christ as Logos won out in the end. In addition to that view being the middle ground between the other four views, it also didn't diminish the human and divine nature nor did it separate the two. He also explained how these heresies, which were rejected, didn't fully go away. Instead they evolved and found new names such as Arianism, Doceticism, and Modalism. Overall, this book was an interesting read and one that helped me understand how people in the early days of Christianity viewed Jesus and tried to make sense of it all. Looking back on the wrong views of Christ, it seems almost silly that people could think such things. But as I said earlier, we are fortunate to live in a day where we have it spelled out for us thanks to years of struggling and discerning by those before us.

This book was provided to me for free by IVP Academic in exchange for an honest review. If you found this review helpful, please click here and hit Yes!