Associate professor of church history princeton theological seminary baker book house



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Bushnell. Schleiermacher's essay on Sabelliua as translated by Professor Moses Stuart in the Biblical Repository, and said that " the general view of the Trinity given in that article coin­cides " with his own view, and confirmed him in the results of his own private struggles (God in Christ, New York, 1877; pp. 111 112). He main­tains the full divinity of Christ on the Sabellian basis. He rejects the theory of " three meta­physical or essential persons in the being of God," with three distinct consciousnesses, wills, and understandings; and he substitutes for it simply a trinity of revelation, or what he calls (p. 175) an " instrumental trinity," or three impersonations, in which the one divine being presents himself to our human capacities and wants, and which are necessary to produce mutuality, or terms of con­versableness, between us and him, and to pour his love moat effectually into our feeling (p. 137). " God may act," he says (p. 152), " as a human personality, without being measured by it." The real divinity came into the finite, and was subject to human conditions. There are not two distinct subaistences in the person of Christ, one infinite and the other finite; but it is the one infinite God who expresses himself in Christ, and brings himself down to the level of our humanity, without any loss of his greatness or reduction of his  majesty. At the same time, Bushnell holds to the full yet sinless humanity of Christ; and the tenth chap­ter of his work on Nature and the Supernatural is one of the ablest and most eloquent tributes to the sinless perfection of the moral character of Christ.

4. The modern genotio Theory (see KEnloais) differs from the theories just noticed by its ortho­dox premises and conclusions as far as the dogma of the Trinity and of the eternal Deity of Christ is concerned; but it likewise departs from the Chal­cedonian dyophysitism, by holding to one divine­human Christ, with one consciousness and one will. It is chiefly based on the famous passage Phil. ii. 6 8 (Gk. heauton ekenosen, verse 7, " he emptied himself," A. V., " made himself of no reputation," the subject of the Kenosis being the preexistent, not the incarnate, Logos), and also on II Cor. viii. 9; John i. 14 (Gk. egeneto, " became "); Heb. ii. 17, 18, v. 8, 9; and on the general impression which the gospel history makes of Christ, as a truly human,




Chrietolocy THE NEW SCHAFF HERZOG 60

yet divinely human being, speaking of himself always as a obit. It was suggested by Zinzendorf in the form of devout sentimentalism that brought the divine Christ down to the closest

1. General intimacy with men; it was scientif 

Oatline. ically developed, though with various

modifications, by a number of emi­

nent German divines of the Lutheran Confession

(Thomasius, Liebner, Gees, Von Hofmann, Kahnis,

Delitzsch, SchSberlein, Kiibel), and several Re­

formed divines (Lange, Ebrard, Godet, Prea­

eens6, in Europe, Henry M. Goodwin and Howard

Crosby in America). It is hardly just to call it

(with Dorner) a revival of Apollinarianism and

Patiipassianiam; for, while it resembles both in

some features, it differs from them by assuming

a truly humanized Logos dwelling in a human

body. It carries the Kenosis much farther than

the Giessen Lutherans, and makes it consist, not in

a concealment merely (kryPsis), but in an actual

abandonment of the divine attributes of omnipo­

tence, omniscience, and omnipresence, during the

whole period of humiliation from the incarnation

to the resurrection; the differences between the

advocates of this theory referring to the degree of

the Kenosis. It substitutes a genus kenoticum, or

tapeinoticum, for the genus majesticum of the Lu­

theran Creed: in other words, a communication of

the properties of humanity to the divinity for a

communication of the properties of the divine na­

ture to the human. Instead of raising the finite

to the infinite, the Kenotic theory lowers the infi­

nite to the finite. It teaches a temporary aelf­

exinanition or depotentiation of the preexistent

Logos. In becoming incarnate, the second Per­

son of the holy Trinity reduced himself to the

limitations of humanity. He literally emptied

himself, not only of his divine glory, but also of his

divine mode of existence (the morphe theou), and

assumed the human mode of existence (the morpU

doulou), subject to the limits of space and time

and the laws of development and growth. The

incarnation is not only an assumption by the Son

of God of human nature, but also a self limitation

of the divine Logos; and both constitute one divine­

human personality. Otherwise the infinite con­

sciousness of the Logos could not coincide with the

human consciousness of the historical Christ: it

would transcend and outreach it, and the result

would be a double personality. The self limita­

tion is to be conceived as an act of will, an act of

God's love, which is the motive of the incarnation;

and his love is absolutely powerful, even to the extent

of the utmost self surrender. This was the view

of Thomasius, a Bavarian Lutheran. He and

Liebner held, first, that the Logos actually became

a rational human soul; but afterward they assumed

a truly human soul along with the Kenosis of the

Logos, and thereby they lost the chief benefit of

the Kenosis theory.

Less, a Swabian divine brought up under the influence of the school of Bengel, Oetinger, and Beck, and starting from a theosophic Biblical realism, carried the Kenosis to the extent of a suspension of self consciousness and will. He identified it with the outgoing of the Son from

the Father, or his descent from heaven, which resulted in a temporary suspension of the influx

of the eternal life of the Father into 2. Gems. the Son, and a transition from a state

of equality with God into a state of dependence and need. Gesa and Ebrard assume an actual transformation of the Logos into a human soul, i.e., he assumed a human body from the flesh of the Virgin, but became a rational human soul so that he had no need of assuming another soul. Consequently the soul of Christ was not derived from Mary: it was the result of a voluntary Kenosis, while an ordinary human soul derives its existence from a creative act of God. It is very questionable whether such a soul, which is the result of a trans­formation which begins with divinity and ends with divinity, can be called a truly human soul spy more than the Apollinarian Logos, who, remaining unchanged, occupied the place and exercised the functions of the human soul.

Martensen, the Danish theologian, more cau­tiously taught only a relative, though real, Kenoaie.

The eternal Logos continues in God 8. tear  and in his general revelation to the

tensen. world as the author of all reason;

while at the same time he enters into the bosom of humanity as a holy seed, that he may arise within the human race as a mediator and redeemer. He would, however, have be­come man even without sin, though not as redeemer. Martensen taught, with several of the Fathers and modern German theologians, that the incarnation was necessary for the highest revelation of God, and was only modified, not conditioned, by the fall.

Kahnis and Lange limited the Kenoaie sub­stantially to an abandonment of the use, rather

than the possession, of the attri­~~ge, butea. Lange's christology abounds

m fruitful and original hints for further and clearer development.

Julius Miiller, one of the profoundest theo­logians, taught likewise in his lectures a moderate

Kenosis theory. Paul contrasts the 6. duline earthly and preearthly existence of duller. the Son of God as poverty and riches

(II Cor. vii. 9), and represents the incarnation as an emptying himself of the full possession of the divine mode of existence (Phil. ii. 6 ). This implies more than a mere assumption of human nature into union with the Son of God: the incarnation is a real self exinanition (Selbstent­6vsserung), and a renunciation, not only of the use, but also of the possession, of the divine attri­butes and powers . . . . The Church is undoubt­edly right in teaching a real union of the divine and human nature in Christ. But in the state of humiliation this union was first only potential and concealed; and the unfolded reality belongs to the state of exaltation. Only with the assumption of a self exinanition can we fully appreciate the act of the self denying condescension of divine love; while in the orthodox dogma God gives noth­ing in the incarnation, but simply receives and unites something with his person.

Goodwin differed from the German Kenoticists by assuming that the Logos is the human element






81 RELIGIOUS ENCYCLOPEDIA Christoloay

in God which preexisted in him from eternity, and became incarnate by taking flesh, and occupy 

ing the place of the soul. No incas­e. Good in nation is possible without a humani­and Crosby. Zation of the divine; and this implies

a self limitation, and true develop­ment from ignorance to knowledge and wisdom. The incarnation is not a synthesis or union of op­posite natures, but a development of the divine in the form of the human. The Word did not assume flesh or human nature, but it became flesh. As the true idea of God includes humanity, so the true idea of man includes God. The divine and human differ only as the ideal differs from the ac­tual, or the prototype from the copy. This essen­tial unity is the basis of the possibility of the incarnation as a Kenosis. Howard Crosby held that, according to the Scripture, the Son of God reduced himself to the dimensions of humanity, to a state of " dormancy." His Godhead, there­fore, was in a state of quiescence during his humilia­tion and awoke with the resurrection, after which the divine overshadowed the human.

A theory advocated by so many learned and pious theologians can not be altogether false: The Kenotic theory has the merit of bringing out the truth of the classical passage in Phil. ii. more forcibly than ever before. But it carries the idea

of the self limitation of the Logos to 7. Criti  the extent of a metaphysical impos­cism. eibility: it contradicts the essential

unchangeablenesa of God. The hu­miliation of the Logos is an .abandonment of the divine doxa and its enjoyment, but not of the divine being. The true Kenoais is a renunciation of the use (chresis), but not of the possession (ktesis), of divine attributes. The former is possible, the latter impossible. God can do nothing that is contrary to his rational and moral nature. It is admitted by the Kenoticista that the Logos can not, in the incarnation, limit or suspend his moral attributes of. love and holiness, but reveals them moat fully in the state of humiliation. But his metaphysical and intellectual attributes belong just as much to the essence and nature of God as his moral attributes, and all are inseparable from his nature; so that God can not give up any of his attributes without mutilating and so far destroying his own being. He can not commit suicide, nor can he go to sleep. He can not re­duce himself to the unconscious existence of an embryo, without ceasing to be God, and without destroying the life of the world, which without I him can not exist a single moment. The illustra 

tion borrowed from sleep proves nothing; for I man's identity continues undisturbed in sleep, and he awakes with the full exercise of all the faculties. Moreover, we can not conceive of such a self reduction of the Logos without suspending the intertrinitarian process, and also the Trinity of revelation. It would stop for thirty three years, as Geas frankly admits, the eternal gener­ation of the Son, the procession of the Spirit from the Father and the Son, and the government of the world through the Logos. To say that the Logos remained unchanged in the Trinity, while

at the same time he went out of the Trinity and became man, is virtually to establish two distinct Logoi, which is uo better than the orthodox theory of two parallel natures, one infinite, the other finite. The Father and the Son have but one es­sence; how, then, could the divinity of the Son be suspended, or almost annihilated for a time, with­out suspending the divinity of the Father ? It may be said, with Thomas Aquinas, that it was not the nature, but the person, of the Logos that became man. True, but a person without a nature is an impossible abstraction. If the Logos surrendered his divine self consciousness, his omnipotence, and omniscience, how did he regain them? Was it by a recollection of his preexistent state ? Or by a reflection on the Old Testament Scriptures? Or by a revelation from the Father? Or by the development of a native instinct? These and similar questions can not be satisfactorily an­swered by the consistent Kenoticiats. Professor Pains (Critical History of the Evolution of Trini­tarianism, Boston, 1900, p. 281) pronounces the Kenoais theory " only a metaphysical makeshift to cover the real contradiction which in the Chalce­donian theology stands visible to every intelligent eye."

If: The R,itschIian Theory is the product of Albrecht Ritachl (q.v.), the founder of the theo­logical school which goes by his name. It is set forth adequately in his Christliche Lehre von der RechtferEigung and der Versohnung (3 vole., Bonn, 1870 74; 3d ed., 1888 89; Eng. transl., Edinburgh, vol. i., 1872, vol. iii., 1900), chap. vi., " The Doc­trine of Christ's Person and Work" (iii. 385 484 of Eng. ed.). The theory is an appreciation of Christ's ethical and religious unity with the Father and a denial of man's ability to find out the " phys­ical origin" of the Person of Christ. Christ is " unique in his own order," that is, regarded as the revealer and bearer of religious and ethical truth. In this sense he is the Son of God; and his " appre­hension of himself as the Son of God is ever at­tained through his adoration of God as his Father." It is folly to attempt to explain the physical origin of the Person of Christ. Ritachl's theory is in accord with his discarding of the 1. The metaphysical element and his asser­Theory tion only of that which is truly re­13teted. ligious. In other words, all is to be set aside from the discussion of Christ's Person which can not be and has not been tested by the Church, or " the Christian community," in its experience. Ritschl says that the three offices of Christ prophet, priest, and king are a step toward grasping the significance of Christ for the Church, but they afford only a defective conception of him. Jesus was conscious of a new and previously unknown relation to God, as he testified to his disciples (p: 386). He esteemed himself more than a .mere human being. He regarded his life as an instrument of God's com­plete revelation of himself. The theology of the Reformers adopted, it is true, the ethical mode of looking at Christ (p. 440); but all the older theologies in their doctrine of Christ failed to consider his religious activities, namely his habit of prayer and






ChslstoloBy

THE NEW SCHAFF HERZOG

his submission to the dispensations of God. Christ as the Word of God realizes in himself, that is in a human person, his vocation, which is the estab­lishment of the universal ethical kingdom of God. This kingdom is the supreme self end of God in the world, so that the complete revelation of God is present in Christ, " in whom the word of God is a human person " (p. 451). The origin of the Person of Christ is not a proper subject of inquiry, for the problem transcends all investigation (p. 451). What ecclesiastical tradition offers in this respect is obscure in itself and is not fitted to make anything clear. Christ, as the instrument of the perfect revelation, is given that we may believe on him, and believing on him we find him to be the revealer of God. But the determination of the personal relation of Christ to God the Father is not a matter of scientific inquiry. Straining after explanations will prove fruitless. It will result only iii obscuring the recognition of Christ as the perfect revelation of God (p. 452). The specific and complete revelation of God in Christ is " the grace and truth" which dwelt in him. These are his divinity, and divinity does not reside in the will (p. 467). In the discharge of his vocation the essential will of God is revealed, which is love (p. 454). The only tests of the revelation of God in a human personality are " grace and truth." In Christ the divine attributes of omniscience, om­nipotence, and omnipresence are not to be sought. To be sure, to Christ is ascribed power over the world (Matt. xi. 27; etc.), but this power mani­fests itself chiefly as patience under suffering (p. 460). Christ's divinity is in his world conquering power, in his own patience, and in the Christian community. It rests not in his physical origin, which has never yet been reconciled with his historic appearance and never can be (p. 467). In virtue of the love which inspired him and in view of the lordship which in his own estimate of him­self and by his patience he exercised over the world, he is equal with God (p. 4&3).

It is Ritachl's merit that he emphasized the ethical element of Christianity and insisted upon human experience as a test of the great principles

of the Gospel. He can preserve the 2. Its terms "equality with the Father" ~ Limi  d sad " Preexistence " by exalting the

tation. love which moved Christ and by

exalting Christ's vocation, which was to advance the universal kingdom of God. In doing this he can not avoid metaphysical subtlety and he must leave out, or explain away, utterances of Christ which on their face refer to what he calls " his physical origin " and which he says the older theologies in vain attempted to solve. Theology will not be satisfied with formulas bearing on the ethical and religious relationship of Christ and God while so much is said in the New Testament about the " physical (essential) relationship," especially as this " physical relationship " seems to be the basis of the ethical and religious unity of the Son of God and the Father.



8. The Theory of a Gradual or Progressive In­carnation is the last to be mentioned as promoting a. solution of the problem. It carried the divine

Kenoaie, or the motion of God's love to men, through

the whole earthly life of Christ, instead of confi­

ning it to an instantaneous act when the Holy

Spirit overshadowed the Blessed Virgin. When

John says that the " Logos became fleNh," he

spoke as one of those who " beheld his glory, the

glory of the only begotten of the Father," as it

manifested itself in his whole public life. The

impossible idea of an essential self limitation of

the Logos is discarded, and in its

1. The place is assumed the rational idea of

Theory. a limitation of the self communication

of the Logos to humanity. There are

various degrees in this self communication. The

being sad. actuality of the Logos remained meta­

physically and morally unchanged; but Jesus of

Nazareth possessed the Logos merely so far as was

compatible with the truth of human growth and

the capacity of his expanding consciousness. In

other words, the eternal personality of the divine

Logos entered into the humanity of Jesus, meas­

ure by measure as it grew, and became capable

and worthy of receiving it. There were two corre­

sponding movements in the life of Christ a

descent of the divine consciousness, and an ascent

of the human consciousness. There was a pro­

gressive self communication of the divine Logos

to Jesus, and a moral growth of Jesus in holiness

keeping step with the former. The process of union

began with the supernatural conception, and was

completed with the ascension. The first act of the

incarnation of the Logos was the beginning of the

man Jesus, and both constituted one undivided

personality. There was a personal unity and iden­

tity throughout the whole period, the same life of

the divine human personality, but in actual growth

and development from germ to full organization,

from infancy to ripe manhood. Christ became

conscious of his Godhead as he became conscious

of his manhood; but the divine life always was the

basis of his human life. The twelfth year of

Jesus in the temple, and the baptism in the Jor­

dan, mark two important epochs in the develop­

ment of this divine human consciousness. There

was in connection with the gradual incorporation

of the divine Logos into the humanity of Jesus an

actual elevation of his humanity into personal

union with the Godhead, as he grew in moral

perfection: hence his exaltation is spoken of by

Paul as a reward for his humiliation and obedience

(Phil. ii. 9; cf. Heb. v. 7 10).

This theory escapes the difficulties of the Ken­otic theory, and is even better reconcilable with the orthodox christology of the creeds,

2. Its as far as the result is concerned.

merits. Nearly all christologists admit now

the genuine growth and development

of Christ's humanity, to which the Kenoticiats add

the impossible growth of the divine Logos from

unconsciousness and impotence to omniscience

and omnipotence. This view teaches the former

without the latter, and saves the continued integ­

rity of the Logos. There still remains the specu­

lative problem perceived by the Reformed divines ­

how the infinite consciousness of the eternal Logos

can ever become absolutely coincident with the






as RELIGIOUS ENCYCLOPEDIA Christolosy

limited consciousness of the man Jesus; but this difficulty attaches to every theory which holds fast to the strict divinity of our Lord

7. Conclusion: In reviewing these various the­ories we can readily accept the elements of truth which they variously express. Christ is the ideal man realized, the head of the redeemed race, the perfect model for universal imitation. So far, even the Humanitarian theory is correct; only it does not go far enough, and it becomes a serious error when it denies the higher truth beyond. For Christ is also the eternal Son of God, who in

infinite love renounced his glory and 1. Ele  majesty, and lowered himself to a

menu o


Truth in All f fallen race, entering into all its wants,

Theorise. trials, and temptations, yet without

sin, and humbled himself, even to the death on the cross, in order to emancipate men from the guilt and power of sin, and to reconcile them to God. He is the one undivided God man, who, as man, calls out all our sympathies and trust, and, as God, is the object of true worship. In this respect we accept fully the faith of the Church in all ages, and consider the divinity of our Lord as the corner stone of Christianity. We hold, with Ritachl and Pains, to the moral nature of the God manhood of Christ, but without sacri­ficing his eternal divinity. We would go as far with the Kenoaia theory as the unchangeable nature of God permits, and as the unbounded love of God demands. We dissent from the dyophysitic and dualistic psychology of Chalcedon, and hold to the inseparable personal unity of the life, and at the same time to the genuine growth of Christ, without asserting, with the Kenoticiata, a growth of the divine Logos, who is unchangeable in his nature; but we substitute for this impossible idea s gradual communication of the divinity to the God man.

This is, in substance, the Christ of the Catholic creeds and the Protestant confessions of faith.

He is a mystery indeed to our intel­8. The lectual and philosophical compre 

Myetery hension, but a mystery made manifest

of Christ. as the most glorious fact in history 

the blessed mystery of godliness, the inexhaustible theme of meditation and praise'for all generations. How the whole fulness of un­treated divinity can be poured out into a human being passes our understanding, but not more, perhaps, than the familiar fact that an immaterial and immortal soul made in God's image, and ca­pable of endless perfectibility, inhabits and inter­penetrates a material and mortal body. And deeper and grander than both mysteries is the infinite love of God which lies back of them in the very depths of eternity, and which prompted the incarnation and the death of his only begotten Son for the salvation of a sinful world. Yet this love of God in Christ, whose " breadth and length .and height and depth pasaeth knowledge " (Eph. iii. 18, 19), is more certain and constant than the light of the sun in heaven and the voice of conscience in man.

It has been thought best not to discuss in this article the bearing of the denial of the virgin birth

of our Lord upon the problems of chrietology. Origen and other early Fathers, whose names have a prominent place in the development of chris­tology, emphasized the virgin birth as an integral element of Christ's divinity. The purely human origin of Christ from a human father and mother favors strongly, if it does not necesei 

S. Limits tats, the view that Christ was only a

of This man andprecludes the view that he was Article. either preexistent or essentially divine. Nor has it seemed necessary to take into considera­tion the view of the contemporary school of his­torical critics, Pfleiderer, Wernle, and others, who make a sharp distinction between Paul's theology and the much simpler claims Christ made for him­self, and who regard Paul as the inventor of the deity of Christ and other doctrines which the Church has always held. This article sesames the integrity of the four Gospels, and that the Pauline epistles interpreted but did not originate the doctrines concerning Christ's person.

(PHILIP ScanFFt) D. S. ScaAFr.

XI. Additional Note; Certain questions which have come up in the recent dogmatic considera­tion of the person of Christ require an additional statement. That this problem engaged the early attention of the church is evident by the birth­stories of Matthew and Luke, the stories of the bap­tism, the Logos doctrine of the Fourth

z. Preex  Gospel and the Epistle to the He 

iatence. brews, and Paul's conception of preex­

istence. In addition to the orthodox

theory of the Logos, or the second person of the

Trinity, who assumed human nature in Jesus Christ,

and the speculations of those who have advocated

the several Kenotic theories (see KEN08I8), various

attempts have been made to do justice to the New

Testament teaching concerning preexistence. (1)

The preexistence is ideal. According to a form

of expression common in the time of Jesus, things

of exceeding worth, as the ark of the covenant, the

temple, Jerusalem, are conceived as already exist­

ing in heaven with God before they are manifested

on earth. Thus the transcendent ground of the

person of Christ was within God's eternal knowl­

edge, so that in the divine idea and purpose of

redemption Jesus had eternal existence (cf. Har­

nack, Dogma, vol. i., Appendix L). Or, the mean­

ing of preexistence is that Christ in human form

is the revelation of the eternal cosmic principle

through which in creation and redemption God is

disclosing himself (W. A. Brown, Christian The­

ology in Outline, pp. 179 180, 347, New York, 1906).

(2) The " heavenly man " preexisting in the image

of God (I Cor. xv. 47, cf. Col. i. 15 17; II Cor. viii.

9) does not assume human nature, but becomes

incarnate in Jesus Christ. This interpretation,

originating in Paul's antithesis of flesh and spirit,

found a congenial soil in the religious ideas of the

time a logical deduction backward drawn from

belief in the risen Christ (cf. O. PHeiderer, Pauliv­

ism, part L, chap. iii., London). Or, the" heavenly

man " had a preexistent life, and this life was divine

not is the absolute sense, but as conferred upon him

by God, thus identical in principle with the glorified

life (C. H. von WeizsAeker, Apostolic Age, book IL,





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