Preface – The History of Christology

Throughout the history of the Christian faith, there have been four prevalent explanations of the relationship between Christ and God. We can see the evidence of the time period when they first arose.

Apostolic Theology

Christ from the beginning has been the image of the invisible God, and the Word, who speaks for the invisible God.

“His firstborn Word, the eldest of His angels, as the great Archangel of many names; for He is called, the authority, and the name of God, and the Word, and man according to God’s image . . .”

Philo, Jewish Theologian, On the Confusion of Tongues, XXVIII, 30 A.D.

“But so much is written for the sake of proving that Jesus the Christ is the Son of God and His Apostle, being of old the Word, and appearing sometimes in the form of fire, and sometimes in the likeness of angels; but now, by the will of God, having become man for the human race.”

Justin Martyr, First Apology, Ch 63, 150 A.D.

Modalism

God plays the role of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Noetus (approx. 180–190 A.D.) was the first Modalism teacher, according to Hippolytus of Rome. Praxeas preached this doctrine in Rome about 190–200 A.D.

“Praxeas did a twofold service for the devil at Rome: he drove away prophecy, and he brought in heresy; he put to flight the Paraclete, and he crucified the Father.”

Tertullian, Against Praxeas, 190–200 A.D.

The Trinity (381 A.D.)

The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are three distinct persons who form a Godhead.

“When I think of any of the three I think of him as the whole, and my eyes are filled, and the greater part of what I am thinking escapes me.”

Gregory of Narzianzus
The Trinitarian Theologian
381 A.D.

Unitarianism (1556 A.D.)

Christ did not preexist. There is one God, the Father.

Jesus Christ began his life when he was born as a human.

Fausto Sozzini, 1594, Poland