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respect, than to deny that he is the Christ should he appear to be a man of men (άνθρωπος εξ ανθρώπων), and to have become Christ by election.”
If some—which may be more correctly understood most—Christians of the age of Justin accepted the simple Humanity of Jesus, this was assuredly the primitive faith of Galilee ; for how could men, who had once received, forget or deny the Divinity of the Messiah ; and if the Galilean apostles had ever taught that Jesus was divine, in any other sense than man inspired by God, would not this marvellous revelation have been so clearly disclosed in the Logia of Matthew, as to spare philosophic piety the task of constructive divinity? Or, if the Godhead of Jesus had ever been an apostolic tradition, would not Justin have appealed to episcopal authority, rather than to Platonic Judaism, in confirmation of his theosophy? No fact stands out more prominently in the works of Justin than that he identified the Hebrew Messiah with the divine Logos of the Alexandrine school, in absolute independence of the fourth Gospel, the existence of which was unknown to him, unless we assume that he rejected its authority. In confirmation of these conclusions, we find Justin following Philo in giving to the Logos the title of Protogonos (IIpwróyovos, first-begotten), whereas Pseudo-John, as shown in the following chapter, borrows the title of Monogenes direct from the Valentinians.
Justin, although now a canonised saint, was in fact a Gnostic heretic in the second century, forming his convictions external to the school of Galilee, but posthumously enrolled among the orthodox of the fourth
century, when his works had been utilised in finally establishing the Divinity of Jesus.
Justin is followed by Athenagoras, an Athenian philosopher who became a convert to Christianity, and addressed an eloquent appeal to the Emperor Marcus Aurelius (about A.D. 176) in defence of the morality and religion of his fellow-Christians. He sustains the moral purity of the Gospel by citing Matthew; but his theology is simply Platonism engrafted on Christianity through the adoption of Jesus of Nazareth as the divine Logos.
THE GNOSTIC GOSPEL—THE DEIFICATION OF JESUS.
Whilst philosophers were vainly striving to reason on the incomprehensible, a contemporary of Justin conceived the bold design of publishing, in the name of an apostle, that famous fourth Gospel through which Jesus has been deified within the pale of orthodoxy. Antecedent constructors of Messianic divinity had courted failure and oblivion, by submitting their doctrines to the test of controversy; but the more sagacious author of the Gospel attributed to John, aware that he who would win theological success must speak as a voice from heaven, adopted the pious fraud of writing in the name of a Galilean apostle, and thus escaped companionship with contemporary heretics.
To establish the Divinity of Jesus, this unknown evangelist adopted a dogmatic formula-- In the beginning was the Logos, and the Logos was with God, and the Logos was Divine. The same was in the beginning with God. All things came into existence through him; and without him nothing came into existence. That which hath been made in him was Zoe (Life), and Zoe was the Phos (Light) of men, and Phos shineth in the darkness, and the darkness apprehended it not ... And the Logos became flesh, and dwelt among us, full of Charis (Grace) and Aletheia (Truth). And we beheld
his glory, glory as of Monogenes (the Only-Begotten) from the Father.'1
Further on Jesus is called Soter (Saviour) of the world, and he promises to send Paracletus (Advocate), who proceedeth from the Father, and shall bear witness of Christ.3
Thus, Pseudo-John adapts the theosophy of Valentinus to the Gospel of Jesus. Condensing the Pleroma, he unifies Christ in Monogenes, Logos, Phos, and Soter, who, through Æonic relationship with Charis and Aletheia, is full of grace and truth. Zoe proceeded from the Logos; therefore that which hath been made in him was life.' The Christ of Valentinus descended from the Pleroma as Phos in the midst of darkness, and was incomprehensible to the chaotic substance from which man was formed; the darkness, therefore, apprehended him not. He again returned to the Father, and sent forth Paracletus to complete the work he had left unfinished. What, therefore, is the exordium of John but an adaptation of the system of Valentinus to the Gospel of the Kingdom, confirmed by the alleged promise of Jesus to send the Paraclete to finish the work of enlightenment begun by himself on earth ?
Pseudo-John was, therefore, a pious Gnostic who, in his zeal for the deification of the Messiah, modified the Pleroma of Valentinus in the name of an apostle, and thus engrafted Gnosticism on the simplicity of the Gospel, under the personal illusion that the Paraclete had reproduced in him the veritable teaching of Jesus of Nazareth. Can we, therefore, experience any sur
2 John iv. 42.
1 John i. 1-5, 14.
3 John xv. 26. 3 John xiv. 26.
prise on learning from Irenæus that the disciples of Valentinus confidently appealed to the exordium of John as the apostolic attestation of their doctrines ?1
Although orthodox theologians contend that traces of the fourth gospel are found at an earlier period, the work had no historical existence until the last quarter of the second century; and, as Valentinus flourished A.D. 140-160, the weight of evidence obviously assigns the authorship of the Æonic fiction to the earlier theologian, more especially as the language of PseudoJohn is absolutely irreconcilable with the Logia of Matthew. But, if modern orthodoxy prefers to see, in the fourth Evangelist, the plagiarist of Philonism, borrowing Monogenes or Logos direct from Alexandrine theosophy, this Judæo-Platonic source of revelation is equally irreconcilable with the claims of an inspired Evangelist.
Even the most advanced believers in the Deity of Jesus, in the age of Pseudo-John, had not yet invested him with more than subordinate Divinity. The Gnostic Evangelist, therefore, teaches that the Father is the only true God (o móvos åknowòs eós), and the Son whom he hath sent, merely Deós—a Divine personage, the faithful servant of the Supreme Deity. The words—I and my Father are one'-cannot annul the declarations of Jesus, that he owes life, authority, and power to the Father, and came down from heaven, not to accomplish his own, but the will of him who sent him. And, in fact, Christians of even the third century understood the text_'I and my Father are one'-as implying nothing more than unity of disposition. Origen says:
Against Heresies, Book I. chap. 8.