We're making big changes. Please try out the beta site at beta.ccel.org and send us feedback. Thank you!
« Prev Augustine Next »

Augustine:

Augustine wrote a great deal on John 1:1 and Philippians 2:5-7, but very little on Colossians 1:15-17. Quite frequently the two passages are quoted together. Augustine's "Homilies on the Gospel of John" provides plenty of information on his views of the pre-existence of Christ as revealed in John 1.3636Augustine, "Homilies on the Gospel of John" in The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers series I, edited by Philip Schaff, vol. 7:7-13. Augustine also connected the idea of pre-existence with the absolute usage of e go eimi at John 8:21-25; in vol. 7:218-219. However, we will look more at the doctrinal sections of Augustine's writings. In his "Enchiridion" he wrote:3737Augustine, "Enchiridion," in The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers vol. 3:249.

"Wherefore Christ Jesus, the Son of God, is both God and man; God before all worlds; man in our world: God, because the Word of God (for`the Word was God'); and man, because in His one person the Word was joined with a body and a rational soul. Wherefore, so far as He is God, He and the Father are one; so far as He is man, the Father is greater than He. For when He was the only Son of God, not by grace, but by nature, that He might be full of grace, He became the Son of man; and He Himself unites both natures in His own identity, and both natures constitute on Christ; because, `being in the form of God, He thought it not robbery to be,' what He was by nature, `equal with God.' But He made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Himself the form of a servant, not losing or lessening the form of God. And, accordingly, He was both made less and remained equal, being both in one, as has been said: but He was one of these as Word, and the other as man. As Word, He is equal with the Father; as man, less than the Father. One Son of God, and at the same time Son of man; one Son of man, and at the same time Son of God; not two Sons of God, God and man, but one Son of God; God without beginning; man with a beginning, our Lord Jesus Christ."

This passage is one of many3838See also Augustine, "On Faith and Creed" in The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers vol 3:322-323, 329. that could be cited, but it admirably sums up Augustine's view-point for our purposes.

A Modern Viewpoint: The Westminster Confession The Westminster Confession is hailed by many as the greatest theological creed since the Reformation era, and so it is. A lengthy discussion need not be put forth to demonsrate the harmony between Westminster and the Scriptures, creeds, and Fathers already cited. The Confession itself, Chapter VIII "Of Christ the Mediator," sections I-III should be sufficient to demonstrate the acceptance of the doctrine:

"I. It pleased God, in his eternal purpose, to choose and ordain the Lord Jesus, his only-begotten Son, to be the Mediator between God and man, the Prophet, Priest, and King; the Head and Saviour of his Church, the Heir of all things, and Judge of the world; unto whom he did, from all eternity, give a people to be his seed, and to be by him in time redeemed, called, justified, sanctified, and glorified. "II. The Son of God, the second person in the Trinity, being very and eternal God, of one substance, and equal with the Father, did, when the fullness of time was come, take upon him man's nature, with all the essential properties and common infirmities thereof, yet without sin: being conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost in the womb of the Virgin Mary, of her substance. So that two whole, perfect, and distinct natures, the Godhead and the manhood, were inseparably joined together in one person, without conversion, composition, or confusion. Which person is very God and very man, yet one Christ, the only mediator between God and man. III. The Lord Jesus, in his human nature thus united to the divine, was sanctified and anointed with the Holy Spirit above measure; having in him all the treasure of wisdom and knowledge, in whom it pleased the Father that all fullness should dwell;..."3939   Philip Schaff, The Creeds of Christendom, vol. 3:619-620.

The greatest of the Protestant creeds clearly bases its high view of the Lord Jesus Christ on the fact of the Scriptural revelation of his eternal pre-existence with the Father, in the very form of God. This writer sees any movement away from the clear stance of Westminster (reflecting Biblical teaching) as a move away from truth.


« Prev Augustine Next »



| Define | Popups: Login | Register | Prev Next | Help |