Dependence Of Christology On Philosophy
We mentioned above the two other chief Christological systems, the
Nestorian and the catholic. No analysis of monophysitism which omitted
a reference to these systems would be complete. They were three nearly
contemporary attempts to solve the same problem. The comparison is of
special interest when, as here, fundamental principles are under
examination. It demonstrates the closeness of the connection between
ristological and the cosmic problems. In each of the three cases
we find that a school of philosophy corresponds to the school of
theology, and that the philosopher's dominant idea about the cosmos
decided the theologian's interpretation of Christ.
This connection between philosophy and Christology is of early date.
From the nature of both disciplines it had to be. Even in apostolic
days the meaning of the incarnation was realised. Christ was
apprehended as a being of more than national or terrestrial importance.
The Pauline and Johannine Christologies gave cosmic significance to His
work, and so inevitably to His Person. Theologians made the tremendous
surmise that Jesus of Nazareth was no other than the Logos of the
Neo-Pythagoreans or the Wise One of the Stoics. That is to say, He
stands not only between God and man, but between Creator and creation.
He is the embodiment of the cosmic relation. From early days, then,
philosophy and religion were working at the same problem; their paths
met at the one goal of the Ideal Person who satisfied both head and
heart. The systematic Christology of the fifth century was, therefore,
a completion of the work begun in the first.