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The Christology Debate

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Christology
Charlene Smalls
Theology 201
June 16, 2014

Incarnation means "to become flesh." in incarnation the second person of the Trinity, the Word, became flesh and dwelt among us. John 1:1, "in the beginning was the word, the word was with God, and the word was God." John 1:14, tells us "And the word became flesh and dwelt among us . When the Word became flesh, he dwelt in the womb of Mary and was born as Jesus. Jesus is the incarnation of God. He is God in flesh. Col. 2:9 tells "for in him dwells all the fullness of deity in bodily form." Another term for the incarnation of God in reference to Jesus is the hypostatic union. The term "incarnation" does not appear in the New Testament, but the concept is definitely taught: John 1:1, 14; Col. 2:9; Phil. 2:5-8; 1 Tim. 3:16; 1 John 4:2; John 20:28; Heb. 1:8 (ref) There are two views stology teaches that God the son; the second person of the Trinity laid aside the use of certain divine attributes or emptied Himself in the incarnation in order to become fully human. This view is also called the incarnation when the second person of the Godhead became flesh. this doctrine reaches reached every area of Christian theology and effects every area as well. The doctrine of the incarnation reveals the identity of Christ this theology touches the pre-existence of Christ, Christ’s humanity, deity, sinlessness, and His three-fold office and more. The traditional view of Christology maintains that Jesus exercised both his divine and human attributes at the same time. Christology is the study of Christ the word is derived from the Greek word Christos, meaning anointed one or Christ. Christ is the second person of the Trinity John 1:1, 14 verse give a clear view of Christology; And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. The two views on this issue are the classical view and the kenotic view; the classical views states that pg. 112 Boyd and Eddy “Jesus exercise both divine and human at the same time”. This view holds that Jesus could be omniscient as God and non-omniscient as human at the same time. Philippians 2:6-7 is the Scripture often used to defend the claim that the second Person of the Godhead, “at the time of the incarnation (when “the Word became flesh”—John 1:14), “emptied Himself” of deity www.apologeticpress.org.” John 1:1 and 14 tells us that in the beginning was the Word and that the Word became flesh. It is also said that prior to the incarnation, He “emptied” himself of certain attributes while on Earth. The message of Philippians 2:7 is not that Christ emptied himself of His deity. Rather, to His divinity He added humanity (i.e., He was “made in the likeness of men”). For the first time, He was subject to such things as hunger, thirst, pain, disease, and temptation (cf. John 19:28; Hebrews 4:15). In short, He came to Earth as a God-man. (REVISE)
One of the opposing views of Christology is of Frances Stancaro an Italian reformer who taught that Christ mediated between God and humanity solely by virtue of his human nature not his unified personhood as the God-man Fink, David 2006 Calvin’s Christology. In 1560 Calvin was called upon by the evangelical churches in Poland to settle this theological dispute, “Calvin’s response was that Christ’s mediatorial role is not incidental to, but consitutive of, his salvific office.
The breadth of Christ's work as mediator emerges from Edmondson's lengthy engagement with Calvin's treatment of covenant history, clearly one of the strengths of his exposition. This history refers both to the events themselves and to the written accounts crafted to compel a particular response, involving both objective and subjective dimensions. These themes run continuously through Edmondson's treatment of Calvin's Christology, coming to the fore most prominently in his explication of Calvin's theory of the atonement and the threefold understanding of Christ's office as prophet, priest, and king. Jesus taught in Matthew 16:13-17 He is the son of God but also born of man. The Creed of the Chalcedon affirmed that Christ “must be acknowledged in two natures, without any commingling, or change, division or speparation pg. 113. Christ Paul spoke of the "mystery of the incarnation" (I Timothy 3:16). This mystery is none other than that "God was manifest in the flesh..." (I Timothy 3:16). The incarnation is the greatest miracle to ever occur. A miracle by nature is something unexplainable and mysterious to the human mind. This is why faith must always play a major role in Christology. We can know by faith the Scriptural declarations concerning the hypostatic union (a term referring to the way in which the deity and humanity existed in Jesus) to be true, but we will never fully understand how it is possible, and the mechanical details of how it occurred.
The danger comes when it is concluded that in the incarnation, the second person of the Trinity took on human nature and gave up or lost some of the divine nature -- such that Jesus was not fully divine. The doctrine of the two natures of Christ (known as the hypostatic union) maintains that Jesus possessed a full undiminished human nature and a full undiminished divine nature, which were not combined or confused into some new nature but were added to each other forever (yet remaining distinct) in the one person Jesus Christ.
***The question regarding the kenosis comes to this -- What does it mean when Scripture says Christ "emptied" Himself? Did Jesus cease to be God during His earthly ministry? Certainly not, for deity cannot stop being deity or He would never had been true deity to begin with. Rather, the "emptying" is satisfactorily explained in the subsequent words of the verse, taking note of the two participles which grammatically modify and explain the verb: He emptied himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. This emptying, in fact, was done as the man Christ Jesus, and neither of these ideas necessitates or implies the giving up of divine attributes www.theopedia.com/kenosis
Christianity maintains that Jesus did not "empty" himself of any of his divinity in the incarnation, although it is true that his divine attributes were veiled. When the Kenosis theory concludes that Jesus is or was less than God (as has been the case in the past), it is regarded as heresy.
Resources
* Thomas V. Morris, The Logic of God Incarnate. Wipf & Stock Publishers, 2001. * C. Stephen Evans, ed. Exploring Kenotic Christology: The Self-Emptying of God. Oxford, 2006. * Oliver Crisp, Divinity and Humanity: The Incarnation Reconsidered, pgs 118-153. Cambridge, 2007. * Colin E. Gunton, Christ and Creation: The Didsbury Lectures. Eerdmans, 1992. * John Polkinghorne, The Work of Love: Creation as Kenosis. Eerdmans, 2001.

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