From Paul to Nicea

From Paul to Nicea May 3, 2013

I’ve just finished reading Christopher Bryan’s The Resurrection of the Messiah (Oxford: OUP, 2011) and I rather liked this quote in his conclusion:

Paul, the earliest of our witnesses is, as we have seen, particularly clear. We have noted how, in I Corinthians 15:27-28 he spells out, in his own way, precisely the point that Nicea would  eventually make by means of the homoousion – that the subjection of all things to the Son involves not two rival divine principles but the sovereignty of the one God who is truly glorified in the Son. We noted that even these remarks must also be understood in the light of Paul’s repeated and (apparently) utterly characteristic assertion that “the Lord Jesus Christ” together  with “God the Father” is the source of “grace and peace” – an extraordinary assertion for a Pharisaic Jew. Even more strikingly, Paul’s assertion in I Corinthians stands alongside passages such as that in Philippians 2:9 where Paul (in the view of most commentators, quoting from an older source) reminds his hearers that God has given to Christ Jesus “the Name that is above every name.” As we have also noted, for a Pharisaic Jew there was only one name that could possibly be described in that way, and it was the name of God … Catholic Christianity has claimed that by the homoousion of the Niceno-Constantinopolitan formularies it elucidated what the New Testament already implied. The claim is well-based (pp. 177-78).

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