In school we are currently taking a Christology course. It is this course that is currently inspiring my thoughtflow.
When we look at Christology, it should be apparent that there is a lack of revelation on the identity of Christ. This may seem like a foreign idea to many in the western church because the church is designed to be the guardian and purveryor of the knowledge of Christ. However, when you see the havoc being wrecked in the church by the “Liberal Tradition”, it becomes obvious that there is something wrong.
Consider this, men like Martin Luther King, Jr. have been writing papers and giving sermons that tell the world that Jesus was either not fully God or that he didn’t actually raise from the dead. Yet somehow, these people are still considered “Christian”? Considering that the identity and actions of Christ are the thing that seperates Christianity from, say, Buddhism, you have to question how this can be. The fact is that if you have no Christology or a even a bad one, you are not actually Christian.
When the church leaders at the council of Chalcedon formally described the identity of Jesus as “Fully God, fully man, two natures, one person” they weren’t just voicing a good idea or a recent innovation to Christian doctrine, but rather they were putting words to the ideas being communicated by the New Testament authors themselves in establishing who Jesus was and is. Jesus Himself said of his generation that if Abraham, Noah and Daniel were there they would only be righteous enough to save themselves. If this is true, then Jesus had better have been God or we are all still lost. Indeed, the very nature of our salvation through Christ is dependent on his divinty and physical resurrection.
However, many would bring up the valid question about how Jesus can be divine and yet Christianity claims to be a monotheistic religion? In our very western worldview, it seems highly idiosyncratic for a monotheistic religion to claim that God has more than one “part”. The trinity makes zero sense to our minds because we are approaching it with a Greek view of God.
Arguably, in the Post-Modern and Hellenistic world, the most common theological question posed to us is, “Who is God?” If you were to ask this question to the average person on the street, they would most likely start to tell you about how God is omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient. Is God loving? Absolutely. Is God all-powerful? Yes. Is God all-knowing? Yes. However, these things are not God. In fact, it is this idolatrous worship of intangible ideals that not only formed the foundation for the Roman society (arguably one of the most wicked of all time), but also has led us into most of our theological errors. Because of the common view of God as this intangible, “out there”, untouchable super-consciousness, most people have rejected God altogether. Why would we worship a pseudo-being that has no reactions to us whether we worship it or not? If you have held this view of God, you may as well throw up a salute to loyalty, courage, strength, and honor as well. Sieg Heil…
By contrast, the Jewish view of God is of a definitive being that is both exalted beyond all of the created order, and yet very near to all of us. As opposed to the Greek definition of God where God must be in contrast to everything in the created order (and thus whatever is true of nature cannot be true of God), the Jewish definition of God in the Old Testament creates two catagories of beings: divine and natural (meaning that both can share qualities but both have definite differences). This means that God can have a corporeal form like we see in the theophanies without it being a mere image God creates to allow us to relate to Him. This means that we have limited ability to share some of the attributes of God, and God can share a number of the attributes of creation. So how does this affect the Trinity? Think about this… If Jesus has attributes that are only applicable to the “divine” side of the line, then he must be divine. However, how does this account for Monotheism? What is on the divine side of the line is “God”. What is not on that side of the line is not God. So what is left on the divine side of the line? The Father, Jesus Christ, and the Spirit that proceeds from both.
So for Christology, it should be noted that declaring Jesus as anything less than divine is declaring that God is not God. If you begin playing that game, the idea that you would still be secure is ludicrous. While Paul makes the case quite clearly for the necessity of the resurrection, many still have not gotten the picture that if you remove the divinty from Christ, you completely lose the foundation of Christianity. The highly exalted God that is far above and beyond all of the created order desired humanity to such a degree that He came to the planet and took on our form to work our redemption. That is the real glory of the Christian faith. To say less is to lose the importance of our faith and debase the very reason we have to be different. A lot of people have good reasons to live “morally”, but ours is that God Himself came the earth in human form to tell us how to be with Him… and that is the real issue.