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THE MEANING OF SOME TERMINOLOGIES IN CHRISTOLOGY



THE MEANING OF SOME TERMINOLOGIES IN CHRISTOLOGY
‘BISI OLUWOLE
DATE: MAY, 2016.

INTRODUCTION

At the heart of all Christian faith and theology is the profession of faith; one of the tenets of Christian faith is that Jesus is Lord. The knowledge of vocabulary, terminology and language of Christology are meant to deepen the mystery of Christ and some theological understanding of the issues surrounding the divinity and humanity of Jesus Christ. The clarification of the terminologies and vocabulary are ancillaries to the of theological grounding to be able to interrogate and contribute intelligibly to certain New Testament and contemporary Christological issues concerning the life, person and mission of Jesus of Nazareth. To this same understanding, the following terminologies, vocabulary and language of Christology will be briefly explained.

Kenosis
 it is a Greek word for “emptying” used in theology to refer to Christ’s voluntary renunciation of His right to Divine privilege by appearing as a human being: “Jesus emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness” (Phil 2:7). The Son of God so divested Himself of His glory unrecognizable. Kenosis is the specifically Divine way of loving that pervades the Liturgy.[1]

Incarnation
 Originally, it is from Greek word (-KAhr-NAY-shuhn). This word is used in two senses: (1) The action of taking human nature by the second Person of the Blessed Trinity. By the power of the Holy Spirit, He was born of a human being with a human body and soul, a human nature. He is God-Man, true God and true Man, like us in all things except sin. (2) The supernatural Mystery covering the entire Life, Death, and Resurrection of Christ and His Risen life in glory interceding for us. In this sense, the word is equivalent to the Redemption.[2]

Atonement
 It is often used as a synonym for redemption and sometimes used as a synonym for expiation. “Atonement” refers to the end effect of the process of redemption: being at one with God from whom we were previously alienated and so sharing in the divine life. The language of atonement may also point to means for removing guilt and reconciling sinners with God in particular, various ceremonies in Old Testament for example, those described for the Annual Day of Expiation and the death and resurrection of Christ in the New Testament.[3]

Docetism
 A heresy that held that Jesus Christ was not really human, but only seemed to have a body so that his human life was illusory. This was a way of thinking that occurred repeatedly in a variety of groups in the early Church. Arguments refuting docetism are found as early as the letter of Ignatius of Antioch about A.D 110.[4]

The brothers and sisters of Jesus
 There has been some difference of opinion about the persons who were meant brothers and sisters of Jesus; some supposing that they were children of Mary his mother, others that they were the children of Mary the wife of Cleophas or Alpheus his cousins, and called brethren according to the customs of the Jews. “While he was still speaking to the people, behold, his mother and his brothers stood outside, asking to speak to him” (Mt 12:46).
 But according to the Protestants the natural and obvious meaning is, however, that they were the children of Mary his mother. For them, to this opinion, there can be no valid objection.

Homoousios
 (of one essence, or as it is usually translated, of one substance), a word used by the fathers of Nicaea to express the truth the son is one God with the father. The  heretical party starting with the notion common to their heresy in all its varying shapes that the Father and Son were of distinct essence, confessed at most that the son was of like essence with (omoionsion) or even only like (omoios). [5]

Gnosticism
 It is a complex religious movement which in its Christian form came into prominence in the 2nd century. A central issue was attached to “gnosis”, the supposedly revealed knowledge of God and of the origin and destiny of mankind, by means of interior element.

 Filioque
 The dogmatic formula expressing the double procession of the Holy Spirit added by the western Church to the Nicene Creed immediately after the words, the Holy Ghost. i.e who proceeds from the father. It first met with as an interpolation at the third council of Toledo in 589.

Adoptionism
The supernatural status, the life and the goods to which God has called man are designated in scripture as an elevation from slavery to adoptive sonship of God God sent his Son that we might receive adoption of son Thn uioeoian m Gal 5. The sonship is not merely a natural relation to God founded upon sinlessness, but a thoroughly intimate and making it the object of a particular Divine benevolence and complaisance, admitting it to filial love.[6]

Divine Self-Limitation
 (Philipians 2:1-11) Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,  but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto deaI
the on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

The Death of God
 A theological movement of the 1960s, found chiefly in the USA, which at times merely entered into dialogue with contemporary atheism, but at other times represented the world as truly God-forsaken or even followed Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (1844-1990) in proclaiming God’s death at the hands of men.[7]

Perichoresis
 It is a Greek word meaning: going around. The interpenetration of the divine and human natures of Christ, while remaining intact and not confused one with one another, they coinhere without separation or division.

Appropriation
 (it is from Latin meaning: to make one’s own) assigning a divine action or attribute which is actually common to all three persons of the Trinity, to only one of them. Thus creation is appropriated to the Father, redemption to the Son, and sanctification to the Holy Spirit. In fact, all Opera ad extra (outward actions) are common to the three persons.[8]

Son of God
It is used in the Old Testament of angels, the chosen people (Hos 11:1) and sometimes of such individuals as the anointed king, for example Psalm 2:7, 86:26-27). The voice from heaven at Jesus’ baptism and transfiguration, his intimate address to God as Father (Mk 14:36) and then his resurrection from the dead. Jesus never called himself the son of God, but at least three times he implied that he was the Son (Mt 11:25-27, Mk 12:6-8, 13:32). Believers were understood to become adopted sons and daughters in the son.

Son of Man
 Jesus repeatedly applied this designation to himself with reference to His work and life on earth (Mt 8:20), His death and resurrection (Mt 8:31) His coming in glory at the final judgment (Mt 8:38, 13:26-27). Outside the synoptic Gospels the title hardly appears the proclamation and teaching of the early Church preferred Son of God, Lord and Christ.[9]

Christ as Mediator
 This denotes a person who intervenes between two others in order to effect reconciliation. In Old Testament, Moses, Abraham and other act as mediators between human beings and God in order to end an impasse or rupture in the relationship between them. Jesus Christ is the mediator par excellence between the fallen humanity and God the Father, His life, death and resurrection bridged the gap between God and humanity caused by the sin of Adam. This is a central belief of the Christian faith which is attest to by both Sacred Scripture and the lived Tradition of the Church. [10]

“Communication of attributes”
 ( Communicatio Idiomatum: interchange of propertise). Exchange of attribute because of the union of divinity and humanity in the one person of the incarnate Son of God. This means that attributes of one of his natures may be predicated of him even when he is named with reference to the other nature, for example, “the Son of God died on the cross, and the Son of Mary created the world”. This method of attribution calls for certain distinctions, so as not to confuse the two natures. The Son of God precisely as divine did not de on the cross, nor did the Son of Mary precisely as human created the universe.

The Passion of Christ
It refers to the suffering and crucifixion Jesus endured for our salvation. All four Gospels and with detailed account of Jesus’ passion (Mt 26-27, Mk 14-15, Lk 22-23, Jn 18-19). On Palm Sunday the story of the passion is read from the synoptic and on Good Friday from the Gospels of John.[11]


BIBLIOGRAPHY
Wiiliam A. Jurgens, The Faith of the Early Father Vol.2, The Liturgical Press Collegeville                 Minnesota, USA, 1979.

Elizabeth A. Livingstone, Ed. The Concise Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, Oxford                   University           Press, New York, 1997.

Gerald O. Collins, S.J. and Edward G. Fairugia, S.J. A Concise Dictionary of Theology, Paulist              Press,      USA, 2000.

  Karl Baus, et al; The Imperial Church from Constantine to the Early Middles’ Ages,  Burn and                   Oates, USA, 1980,

Charles E. Curran and Richard A. McCormit S.J. Moral Theology No 5: Official Catholic Social                   Teaching, Paulist Press, New York, 1986.

Michael Glazier and Monika K. Helwig, The Moern Catholic Encyclopedia, Claritian                         Publication, India, 1997.

William E Addis, et al, A Catholic Dictionnary, Virtue & Co Ltd, London, 1954.
Gerald O. Collins, S.J. and Edward G. Farrvgia S.J. Ed. A Concise Dictionary of Theology, T                   &T Clark             Edinburgh, USA, 2000.






[1] Rev. Jovian P. LANG, OFM, Dictionary of Liturgy, Catholic Book Publishing Corp, New York, 1989, Pg. 302.
[2] Rev. Jovian P. LANG, OFM, Dictionary of Liturgy, Catholic Book Publishing Corp, New York, 1989, Pg. 263
[3] Gerald O. Collins, S.J. and Edward G. Farrvgia S.J. Ed. A Concise Dictionary of Theology, T &T Clark Edinburgh, USA, 2000, pg 21.
[4] Michael Glazier and Monika K. Helwig, The Moern Catholic Encyclopedia, Claritian Publication, India, 1997, pg, 406.
[5] William E Addis, et al, A Catholic Dictionary, Virtue & Co Ltd, London, 1954, pg 10.
[6] William E Addis, et al, A Catholic Dictionnary, Virtue & Co Ltd, London, 1954, pg 10.
[7] Gerald O. Collins, S.J. and Edward G. Farrvgia S.J. Ed. A Concise Dictionary of Theology, T &T Clark Edinburgh, USA, 2000, pg 60.
[8] Gerald O. Collins, S.J. and Edward G. Farrvgia S.J. Ed. A Concise Dictionary of Theology, T &T Clark Edinburgh, USA, 2000, pg 18.
[9] Gerald O. Collins, S.J. and Edward G. Farrvgia S.J. Ed. A Concise Dictionary of Theology, T &T Clark Edinburgh, USA, 2000, pg. 248.
[10] Gerald O. Collins, S.J. and Edward G. Farrvgia S.J. Ed. A Concise Dictionary of Theology, T &T Clark Edinburgh, USA, 2000, pg. 154.
[11] Gerald O. Collins, S.J. and Edward G. Farrvgia S.J. Ed. A Concise Dictionary of Theology, T &T Clark Edinburgh, USA, 2000, pg. 191.

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