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

the C
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.