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But the revelation of Christ concerning the Fatherhood of God is a mystery which in other generations was not known to the sons of men; it had been hidden from eternity in God, who created all things (Eph.iii 5, 9); it is a wisdom which is hidden, which God ordained before the world, unto our glory. Peter made his profession of faith in Christ, saying: Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God, Christ answered him: Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jona, because flesh and blood hath not revealed it to thee, but my Father who is in heaven.This association of mankind with Christ in his filial relation to the Father, and yet this contrast between his natural filiation and our own adoptive sonship, may truly be said to constitute the essence of the Christian revelation.
The fuller appreciation of all that is involved in the hypostatic union will lead us to consider its consequences as far as they concern the Person of the Word Incarnate, and in particular the preternatural and supernatural perfections of his human nature.
Even a superficial reading of the Gospels leaves the predominant impression that God is the Father; and St.
It may not, however, be out of place here to remind the reader that these men were, as far as we know, sincerely groping after a precise statement of the scriptural truth that Christ is both God and man.
Nevertheless, in spite of the exuberant terms in which Theodore extols the union of Christ with God, it remains that Christ and God are two different persons; God was in Christ, but Christ was not God.
John himself seems to regard this as a suitable summing up of the Christian revelation when he says, No man hath seen God at any time.
An entirely inadequate conception of Christianity would restrict the revelation of Christ to the bare statement that God is the provident Father of all his creatures, and in particular that he has a special care for the human race.He came forth from God into the world as the light into the darkness, to reveal the Father to mankind and to enable men to be born again as the adopted sons of God, raised by Gods favor to be brethren of Christ, the only-begotten of the Father.These errors take the form either of denying the true humanity of Christ or of rejecting his true divinity, and in either form they had a more or less continuous history during the first four centuries of the Christian era.Christ is shown to be the only-begotten son of God, not merely a partaker of the divine nature, but truly and essentially God, because he enjoys this intimate and intuitive knowledge of the divinity as his own natural right.This then is the meaning of the divine Fatherhood which Christ came to reveal to us: the true and only-begotten Son of God, the second Person of the Blessed Trinity, assumes our human nature that we may be made partakers of his divinity; the divine life, which is in the Word incarnate in all its fullness, is communicated to us through his humanity; Gods own Son lives and dies as man in our midst in order that we may become co-heirs with him of eternal life, adopted sons of God by a real participation in that divine nature which is his by eternal generation.He refers to God as his Father, and when he has occasion to associate himself with us he seems careful to preserve the distinction between our sonship and the much higher relationship in which he himself stands to God We are the sons of God by adoption, partakers of the divine nature, as St.Peter calls us, because we are destined by divine supernatural favor to enjoy that vision of God which is naturally proper to God himself alone.In the endeavor to make a compromise between Christianity and their philosophical tenets they taught that Christ had not a real body, but merely the appearance of a body, thus reducing the whole of Christs human life to a pretence; hence the name given to these heretics, the Docetists (from a Greek word meaning to appear). John wrote his Gospel to prove the divinity of Christ, and it is to this sect that he refers in his first epistle as the antichrist who denies that Jesus is the Son of God (ii 22, 23).Certain Jews who set the angels higher than Jesus are refuted by St. Forasmuch as the two substances The mention of the see of Antioch makes it opportune at this point to call attention to the two great theological schools of Alexandria and Antioch, which played so important a part in the Christological conotroversies of the fifth century.Paul in his epistle to the Colossians, and the same are probably in his mind when, at the beginning of his epistle to the Hebrews, he extols the majesty of Christ above all the categories of the heavenly spirits: To whom of the angels hath he said at an time, Thou art my son, this day I have begotten thee? Paul of Samosata, then, taught that Christ was a man, but a man in whom the mind of Godthe Logosdwelt in a special way; if he is called God it is only by reason of his intimate union with the Word of God.In fact it is in this work that Tertullian provides the first attempt at a technical formulation of the mystery of the Incarnation: We see plainly the twofold state, which is not confounded, but conjoined in one Person, Jesus Christ, God and man. The end of the third century and the beginning of the fourth were occupied with the great Trinitarian heresies, into which we cannot enter here, except to remark that the Christological problem could not be precisely formulated or solved until the Catholic doctrine of the Trinity of Persons in God had been put beyond misunderstanding.