It should be noted that all four of these exalted roles-Jesus as messiah, as Lord, as Son of God, as Son of Man-imply, in one sense or another, that Jesus is God. In no sense, in this early period, is Jesus understood to be God the Father. He is not the One Almighty God. He is the one who has been elevated to a divine position and is God in a variety of senses.

This oldest Christology of all may be found in the preliterary traditions in Paul and the book of Acts, but it is not the view presented in any of the Gospels. Instead, as we will see at greater length, the oldest Gospel, Mark, seems to assume that it was at his baptism that Jesus became the Son of God; the next Gospels, Matthew and Luke, indicate that Jesus became the Son of God when he was born; and the last Gospel, John, presents Jesus as the Son of God from before creation.

This motivation was at work in both Christian and non-Christian circles. We know this because ancient authors actually tell us so. For example, a commentator on the writings of Aristotle, a pagan scholar named David, indicated: “If someone is uninfluential and unknown, yet wants his writing to be read, he writes in the name of someone who came before him and was influential, so that through his influence he can get his work accepted.

Within Judaism we find divine beings who temporarily become human, semidivine beings who are born of the union of a divine being and a mortal, and humans who are, or who become, divine.

a child has been born for us,                  A son given to us;            Authority rests upon his shoulders;                  And he is named            Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God

WE HAVE SEEN THAT those holding adoptionist views of Christ claimed to represent the earliest views of Jesus’s own apostles .. Docetic views, when first we meet them, appear to have emerged out of incarnation Christologies later in the first century-but still during the times of the New Testament.

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