Jesus Christ of Nazareth
Who is Jesus?
He is God in the Flesh, the God 'I Am' of the Old Testament, the God 'I Am' of the New Testament. Yes, the God of the bible has many Names and He is the same Yesterday, Today, and Forever, The Great I Am, Who Is, Who Was, and Is to Come, The Alpha and Omega, The Beginning and the End, the True and Living God.
God is One and you can call Him Jesus today without hesitation, without regret.
Man has wasted millenniums trying to box Him in with man made Doctrines and Religions, our mortal minds will never be able to comprehend or explain Him. The same God who cast those 200 Billion Trillion Stars into the Heavens and keeps them in perfect time and in perfect place is the same God who formed Adam from the dust of the earth and breathed into Him a Living Soul.
This same God who walked and talked with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden is the same God who before the foundation of the world had a plan of Redemption for mankind before their fall in the garden. Yes, God knew of their sin before they sinned. There is No trial and error with the Creator of the Universe, He Speaks and it is done. This same God was not Created nor was He birthed in the Heavens but rather He is eternal with no beginning and no end.
God's reference as God's Son was a temporal existence totaling 33 years in human form
with the sole purpose of redeeming for Himself a special zealous people of whom from their own free will would choose to follow and obey Him. Did God know what you would do with Him before you were born? Yes, He did, but He did not create you without the option of choice, He has Legions of created beings who have never had the honor of human mortality, life and breath, choosing to follow Him.
The All Powerful, All Knowing Creator of this Universe is at all places at all times
with no limit to His existence. For God there is no problem being in Heaven, on Earth, and dwelling within Us, God is Omnipresent. We don't need to divide Him up into separate persons or personalities to understand the Godhead but rather just look at God as the face of Jesus Christ.
God the Father is the essence (mind of Christ), God the Son was made flesh, resurrected Glorified and is the body of God and the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God. Jesus is both the Creator of the Old Testament and God the Messiah of the New Testament and His Spirit is the Spirit of Both Old and New Testaments. Jesus is God, with that being said, Lets move on to:
The Problem - Man's Religion
The center of any religion is the god, or gods who are served. Understanding the nature and identity of the deity, or deities, is the heart of most religions. The basis of the Jewish faith is YHWH and Jews have always maintained that YHWH is one God, one being. With the advent of Jesus Christ and the subsequent inception of the Christian church, the Jewish understanding of monotheism was challenged.
The teachings of Jesus and His apostles presented a complex problem to the young church, because they advocated that Jesus was God Himself, and yet maintained a distinction between Jesus and the Father. To add to the complication, the Holy Spirit was also spoken of as being distinct from the Father and the Son. Any casual reading of Scripture presents the reader with an intricate dilemma. There are three points of seeming discrepancy that must be resolved.
(1) The Bible clearly teaches strict monotheism.
(2) The Bible also teaches that the Father is God, Jesus is God, and that the Holy Spirit is God.
(3) Finally, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are commonly distinguished one from another. Christianity has been wrestling with the issue of reconciling these three Biblical teachings for two millennia. There have been several prominent views advocated throughout church-history, and many more obscure views that never gained a large adherence.
Today, Christians continue to wrestle with the Biblical presentation of the identity of God, and attempt to make sense of the seeming paradox. How are we to understand the ontological (the essence of being) and economic (function) nature of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit? Are there three Gods, or is there one God? What is the relationship of the Father, Son, and Spirit? Is there an ordering relationship of sub-ordinationism among the three?
Several attempts have been made throughout church-history to reconcile the three difficult teachings of the Christian God into a working theology. We now turn our attention to these various theories and to the prominent historical figures who embraced them.
Greek "monos; sole, only, single, alone=one; theism-theos = God (Matthew 4:10 worship God only). " Monotheism is the Greek way of expressing the Jewish belief in one God as legislated in the first Commandment as well as several other passages of Scripture.The Jewish equivalent to the Greek Monotheism would be "Echadel or Echadelohim. The oneness of God is additionally proven by the presence of one Divine Being in the Holy of Hollies over the Ark of the Covenant in the Tabernacle.
Jewish belief in one God is confessed daily in the Shema found in Deuteronomy 6:4: "Hear O Israel, The LORD our God is one LORD."Monotheism presented itself in religious form in ancient patriarchs such as Adam, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, Daniel, Malachi, and John the Baptist. None of these men believed in plural Gods, or plural divine Beings, and were the ancient testimonies of the echad or oneness of God. These are the champions of orthodox Monarchianism. None of them were Trinitarian.
Trinitarians use of these Oneness champions of Monarchianism shows a dual theology within Trinitarianism. To the Jewish patriarchs, God was the alone, only, sole, Ruler of heaven and earth. Christian Monarchianism brought Jesus into this Oneness of God by proving and explaining he was God in human form. This unity of Father and Son was not to be divided into plural ideas of God being more than one Divine eternal Being.
Also known as Adoptionistic Monarchianism, this view of the Godhead attempted to preserve monotheism by denying the absolute deity of Jesus Christ. Jesus was a mere man, but became endowed with the Holy Spirit in a special way at some point in His life (usually attributed to the time of His baptism). Jesus was the logos and was homoousis (of the same essence) with the Father, but in the same sense as a man s reason is homoousios to himself.
The logos was not God in the strict sense however, for the same logos was present in all men in degree. The man Jesus merely experienced the operation of this power to such an extent that the logos penetrated the humanity of Christ progressively, resulting in eventual deification.1 The Holy Spirit was an impersonal force like the logos, and was operative as the grace of God in the church.2 The founder of this view was Theodotus of Byzantium. Its most famous proponent, however, was Paul of Samosota.
This form of monarchianism existed side-by-side Dynamic Monarchianism, but took a different route. This form of Monarchianism embraced a strict monotheism, and opposed the Subordination doctrine of the day, particularly the logos doctrine espoused by the Greek Apologists. It maintained that God is absolutely one in number, and not one in unity; He is one being, one person. The terms, "Father," "Son," and "Spirit" are three titles for the one God as He reveals Himself to mankind relationally and functionally. There is a three-fold mode of revelation of God, but not a tripersonality within His being.
The Son is not eternal, but is the Father manifest in flesh for the purpose of redemption. The Holy Spirit is not another personality in the Godhead, nor is He an impersonal force, but is the Father as He works among men for the purpose of sanctification. The major names attached with this teaching are Noetus, Praxeas, and Sabellius. The latter held to a form of Monarchianism which maintained that the divine monad projected Himself through expansion in successive modes. God was known as Father in creation, as Son in redemption, and as the Holy Spirit in bestowing grace on man.
This form of Monarchianism became the prominent modalistic view, and thus the belief in Modalism became identified as Sabellianism. Modalistic Monarchianism is sometimes referred to as Patripassianism, meaning that the Father suffered, because the Modalists said that the Son was the Father, and since the Son suffered on the cross, the Father suffered likewise.The historic position of Modalism is very similar to the doctrinal position of modern Oneness theology.
Although this teaching had its origin in Lucian of Antioch, its most famous propagator and developer was Arius of Alexandria, from whence it bears its name. Arius taught that since God is immutable, His essence cannot be communicated to any other. This being so, the Son and Holy Spirit could not be considered to be God. Jesus was said to be the first creation of God.
In turn, Jesus created everything else. The famous cry of the Arian's concerning Jesus was, "There was once when he was not." He was divine, but not deity. The Spirit was also created, receiving "his being from the Father through the Son." Only the Father was eternal and immutable. The Son and Spirit were not con-substantial, co-eternal, or coequal with the Father.
Patripassianism is the teaching the Father became incarnate at the birth of Jesus, remained in Jesus all of his life, and experienced the rejection of the Jews and the sufferings of the Cross. Trinitarians would later claim the Patripassians believed the Father died on the Cross. Such falsehoods are used to deceive those easily beguiled with lies and distortions.
Praxeas attempted to make known the beliefs of the Modalist by proving a distinction between Christ the man, the son of David, and God the Father. Praxeas taught the dual nature of Jesus as God and man and his favorite verse of Scripture was 1Timothy 3:16.
Praxeas as other Modalist taught that it was the Father incarnate in Jesus as God while later trinitarians took up the theory it was God the eternal Son incarnate in Jesus. Naturally there was a difference between which person of the trinity was incarnate in Jesus as far as the trinitarians were concerned.
But to the Modalist there was no question it was God the Father in Christ reconciling the world unto himself (2Cor 5:19). This language in the singular (God, himself) does not admit of other divine Beings in Christ, certainly not an eternal God the Son.
Monarchian Patripassian Modalist would not be converted to the new logos, neoplatoist theories of the trinitarians and they rejected this pagan intrusion into Christian doctrine by Origen trying to follow the methods of Philo and interpret the Bible from an allegorical position.
At the same time these philosophies were spreading from Egypt to Rome, there was a split among the Monarchians by a group following Paul of Samosata (200-275AD), at one time bishop of Antioch, who chose to revert back to the beliefs of the Pharisee and deny Jesus was God.
They believed Jesus was a son of God like all other Jewish men. They began a heretical doctrine that Jesus became a son of God by adoption at his baptism. These were later called "Dynamic Monarchians or Adoptionist." They denied the deity of Christ. He was only a man who had no more of God within him than any other man.
Tritheism understands the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost to be three separate Gods, not merely three distinct personalities within one God. There is not one essence in God s being, but there are three essences, unified in some manner. Each Person in the Trinity is similar to the other two, but are as radically separate as three individual men are separate one from another.
At least five uses of the term tritheism are possible, some of which may overlap: 1) the crude postulation of three deities; 2) the Arian notion of God; 3) the denial of the doctrines of the eternal generation of the Son and the procession of the Spirit; 4) holding Enlightenment views of personhood; 5) certain forms of social trinitarianism.
Views 1 and 2 overlap in the sense that Arianism is a form of polytheism. But view 1 is still distinct because other forms of polytheism are possible. View 3 is a special definition of tritheism that one might or might not hold along with a view that could fall under the definitions 4 and 5. However, one could interpret the Trinity in a way that fell under the description of only one of the views explained in 3, 4, and 5.
The Trinitarian doctrine states that there are three persons within one God: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit. According to this view monotheism is maintained by confessing God's one essence (ousia), but it is also said that this essence consists of three distinct persons (hypostasis), or subsistencies. "Trinity" simply means "triunity," expressing the nature of the three-in-one God.The Trinity is not viewed as three separate gods, but as one God with a three-fold personality.
Each subsistence, or personality (person) is coequal, coeternal, and consubstantial with the other two. Each is fully God in His own right, yet God could not exist without the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in unity. God's one essence is ontologically three-fold. As Calvin Beisner has said, " there is one God who is a being composed of three individuals, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
All of who are to be worshipped as the same God, and who share in the same substance or essence." The Trinity is an inseparable, perfect union, in which each member shares in the work of the other, but there are some unique characteristics that belong to each member personally.
The distinguishing characteristic of the Father is that He is un-begotten, the Son is begotten, and the Spirit is proceeding from the Father. Functionally, there is subordination in the Trinity, but only as God works among mankind for the purpose of redemption. The Father functions as the head.
The Son is subject to the Father, and the Spirit is subject to the Son. Ontologically, however, the Trinity is coequal, with no one member of the Trinity being greater or less than the other two. Ultimately this triunity of God is said to be a mystery not fully comprehensible to man.
The Bishops who came to Nicaea appear to have been Monarchian, Adoptionist, Biarians, and the new logos-trinitarians. It was Athanasius of Egypt, a devout neo-platoist, who influenced the Council in the logos philosophy and with it defeated all others present who disagreed with the triune God. It was the Nicene Creed that laid the foundation for the trinity doctrine.
It was not until 381-382 at the Council of Constantinople that the Holy Ghost was added clearly to the trinity. After the Nicaea victory of trinitarians over Monarchians, Adoptionist, Biarians, and others, the trinity doctrine became the interpretation of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Catholic and Protestant churches retained this doctrine. Does it teach three separate Gods?