Terms and Concepts Regarding the Deity of Christ and the Spirit

Over the next few posts, we are going to examine a few more terms on some key concepts and beliefs. This time, the series will focus mainly on Christ, His deity, and the deity of the Holy Spirit. As we go through this, you will begin to see how divisions were forming as different groups/leaders had different beliefs about Christ and the Spirit.

This is a very high level look at some key ideas and is in no way comprehensive. This will hopefully continue to build a foundation of Christian thought and why some decisions and now traditions are present. After this short series, there are several key ideas that we will need to look at in further detail that will hopefully provide greater clarity on the decisions of the church and the church fathers. For now, let us look at some key concepts about Christ and the Holy Spirit.

Angel of Yahweh-a designated angel bringing the message of God; the angel of the Lord, many times is one who seems to bring very direct revelation and speaks as though he is God; denotes a special angel delegated with direct divine authority, hence speaking and acting as God within specific tasks and at times the angel is more than a designated representative—he is one with and yet distinct from God. Gen 16:17, 18-19; Ex 3:2-15; Zech 3:1-7; seems to speak direct revelation, every other angel refuses personal worship, possible Christophany

Apollinarianism-Apollinarius taught that Jesus (or the Son of God, the Logos) came down and inherited, took upon Himself a human body. He was God on the inside and human on the outside: God as to His higher soul, His rational mind and will; and man in terms of His lower soul, His emotions, His appetites, and His bodily functions. Apollinarianism was early written off as heresy of the church  Apollinarius was adamant that Christ had but one active principle (rational nature) – the divine Logos. Such a doctrine negated any possible initiative from the humanity of the Lord

Arianism-Arius would say that God the Father, the theta up above, and then you have Christ as the highest of all creation that created everything else but is Himself creature, as Arius taught. “There was a time when Christ was not.”

Chalcedonian Creed (Definitio Fidei)-…the Same of a rational soul and a body; of the same nature (homoousios) with the Father as to his Godhead, and the Same nature (homoousios) with us as to his manhood…. The edict of the 4th Ecumenical Council at Chalcedon (451) generally accepted in the East and West that affirms the divine and human natures of Christ are united in his single person (hypostasis), thus in hypostatic union. It stands as the definitive statement of Christology against both exaggerated separateness of natures (Nestorianism) and exaggerated commingling of natures (Eutychianism).

’Ehad-a Hebrew term, refers to that the Lord God is the one God particularly of Israel. Not other gods, but Yahweh is our God. The other nations may have their gods, but we have but one, the Lord God. “One” in Hebrew, a composite oneness

Enhypostasis and AnhypostasisEnhypostasis: that the human nature of Christ was both created by the Spirit and sustained by the divine nature; literally, that the human nature is sustained by the divine nature. Anhypostasis: that the human nature would not exist without the divine nature

Eternal Generation and Procession: Biblical Evidence, Importance-a controversial view largely held by the Eastern Orthodoxy church where in the Father has priority, not in time but in ontology to the Son and the Spirit. Applied to the Father, fons totius divinitatis, denotes the Father as the ground and the source of the eternal generation of the Son and the eternal procession of the Holy Spirit. This means that there was never a time in which the Son and the Spirit were not completely God, and therefore, equal to God the Father. But they come forth from the Father, yet always the Son and the Spirit have their very being from the Father – yet in such a generous way that they have it equally

Eutychianism-Eutyches emphasized the unity of the two natures, but began to confuse them so that the divine became human; that is the divine absorbed human realities and human absorbed divine realities. Eutyches stressed the unity of Christ that, if he did allow two natures, they were so intermingled as to be indistinguishable

Father God, Characteristics and Place-He is the Sovereign Ruler (1), the absolute Other-there is nothing above or behind Him, all things come forth from the Father and all things return to the Father (2), the Creator and Originator of everything, including human life (3), He is the holy Judge, the Father is the moral Absolute of all existence (4), Compassionate Reconciler (5), the One to whom all things return (6)  He is the Divine Source, Sovereign Ruler, Lord Chief Justice, Loving Reconciler, Him to Whom All Things Return, God as the Father of the Son .

Firstborn (Prototokos)-can mean “the first one born in a family”; primary meaning in Hebrew Semitic society and even Greco-Roman society was “one who was chief heir”, the one who received double portion of all the rest. The one who is the favored inheritor of that of the Father. Prototokos has several meanings, often with the dominant notion of supremacy or priority of rank. Col 1:15-16 the Son is described as the creator of everything ever created

Fons Totius Divinitasa characteristic of God the Father, denotes the Father as the ground and the source of the eternal generation of the Son and the eternal procession of the Holy Spirit

Holy Spirit: Biblical Evidence for Personhood and Deity-Personhood: the Savior speaks of the Holy Spirit as the Comforter, Counselor Advocate, one who loves you and is at your side to defend you. I Cor 2:8-13, Paul likens the Holy Spirit to our own human spirit. The Spirit manifests emotions, Eph 4:30, Rom 8:15-16. Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit as one of the strongest arguments for the personal reality of the Holy Spirit, Matt 12:31-32. The Holy Spirit comforts, helps, guides. Deity: the Spirit is doing things, in His own will—not separate from the Father and the Son, in conjunction with them, but distinct from them in terms of acting as Himself. Gordon Fee puts it, “The Spirit literally is the personal presence of God sent into our hearts and into the church”. 2 Cor 3:17-18 emphasizes identification with Christ or with the Father—God


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