"Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls."
1 Peter 1:8-9 (KJV)
1 Peter 1:8-9 (KJV)
Explain the main differences between ontological and functional Christologies as they relate to the person and work of Christ. In your estimation, what is the value of considering both of these approaches to Christology as two sides of the same coin?
Functional and ontological Christology, although different relate in countless ways. While ontological Christology deals with the relationship of Christ to the Father, the functional deals with Jesus Christ’s unique function or role as a member of the Trinity. Both of these categories are essential to our doctrine. This is also the common theme throughout our text when Mr. Horton states, “the sonship-as-office is as important as his ontological sonship as the eternal Word.” It is hard to bring up one topic without the other being discussed. As a body of Christ, we have more in common regarding what we all believe was Jesus’ function, but less commonality as it refers to the ontological relationship of Christ to the Trinity. This is where many heresies and false doctrines are born. It is also the origin of cults and ministries that violate the essential first-order doctrines of faith.
The functional branch of Christology addresses the role and job of Jesus Christ, specifically His role as Savior and Messiah. Christ’s purpose of being here on earth was to come “fulfill the Law”. There had to be a living sacrifice sufficient enough to be shed for all mankind. Jesus was the only answer to that problem. Another function would be His example of life here on earth set through His physical ministry. As we know from Scripture, Jesus lived a perfect and blameless life of ministry to others, fulfilling His destiny in several different ways. By living and serving without sin, he was simultaneously also fulfilling His role as Savior. I would like to point out that it is amazing that Jesus did all of this so seamlessly without sin, not by sitting at home on the couch avoiding trouble in hopes to remain blameless, but by engaging the problems of the world head on.
The ontological branch of Christology deals with the identity of Christ as His relationship to the Father. It is in this field where questions are addressed such as, “who is He?” and “What is His relationship to God?” God’s Word tells us that He is God’s only begotten Son who came to save the world from their sins (John 3:16). Jesus also states Himself that He is equal with God the Father (John 10:30, 8:58). God the Father confirms these things when Jesus was baptized (Matthew 3:17; Rev. 1 & 2; John 1:1-3). These are just a few of the topics that are addressed in ontological Christology. As far as their value and association, both of these Christological topics are essential to our faith. They also both come as a package deal. Christ simply cannot be one without the other. If He did not fulfill his function and duty, He must have certainly not been able to claim His ontological connection to God the Father. This is why Apologists make the claim that Jesus is either who He says He is, or He is a bold-faced liar. I choose to believe the evidence that Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior, Son of God, and one with my Father in paradise.
 Horton, Michael. 2011. The Christian Faith: A Systematic Theology for Pilgrims on the Way. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan. GCU database. 463
Do a quick sketch of two significant theological perspectives accounting for the origin of evil. In your opinion, which of these best explains how evil originated in the world? Make sure you provide scriptural references.
Judging by the news on our televisions, you can ask this question to any political liberal that you meet on the street and they will say,” It is our money which is the root of evil.” Ask a conservative and they may tell you that, “it is the envy of those who have money that is the root of all evil.” However, we aren’t considering the money this week as the origin of all evil. The theories or thoughts regarding the origin of evil are so numerous that I could not even express all the ideas of possibility within one discussion post. What I can do however, is give realistic Biblical theories and answers to this question. We all know that the proof of evil in our world was marked by the showing of its ugly face in Genesis 3, where we see the fall of mankind. This sin had a consequence so great that it was, “the root cause of all the decay, destruction, and death that has become so visible in the modern world.” For this sin to have been so consequential to the relationship between God and man there must have also been serious consequences to the order of life in general. What kind of evil would want to ruin such a good thing?
One theory that seems to permeate throughout society is that the source of evil was man himself. This theory was considered by the likes of Martin Luther and John Calvin, who view the cause of evil to be this one act of sin committed by Adam and Eve. The strongest defense of this theory is that no evil is shown to exist prior to the introduction of sin in Genesis 3. However, this defense and theory is rife with holes and problems. If man’s sin is the source of all evil this gives man the power to create eternal ramifications beyond this world into Heaven. This changed the destiny of not only man himself, but caused a problem that only Christ could solve. Even if this is so, this gives man the power to change the course of destiny even for God as he did for Christ during the original sin. Outside of these issues, we are now faced with even more questions. If God made man does that make God inherently evil since He created man in His image? Where did the serpent come from? Did man create the serpent as well? Was the serpent evil or did man think of those thoughts in his own head at the view of the serpent? These questions are all credible and are much easily answered with another biblically based theory such as what I call the “Biblical Theory”.
The Bible teaches us a much deeper answer to the problem of evil than what you will get from the writings of an ancient or modern day theologian. What kind of evil can make a man so confused that he loses sight of his own identity as we see in our text when Beth Jones states, “We are the kind of creatures who truly want to live in sin even though sin makes us inhuman.”It takes an inherently evil being or force to make a creature who was created and had life breathed into him by God Himself to commit such an act of selfishness. There is only one force capable of such destruction and that is the one who the scripture tells us that “comes steal, kill, and destroy” (John 10:10). Looking at the progression of events and how the order is laid out for us in Scripture, it is obvious that Lucifer and possibly other forces of evil were present in the world prior to Genesis 3 fall of man. Although the Scripture does not state the exact timing or method of Satan’s arrival to earth, it does tell us that the Word of God does not contain all the Christ said or did (John 21:25). Revelation 12 tells us of an event when Satan was casted out of heaven along with his angels. While our lecture instructs us to avoid such Scripture references as they may be prophetic in nature to future events, I disagree. Revelation has as much to do with today as it does with tomorrow. It is truly a book which transcends time such as proved with its comparisons to the book of Daniel. Isaiah 14:13 describes to us how Satan was casted out of Heaven for desiring to be God where it says, “For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God”. Here we find the justification once again for God’s actions in Revelation 12, showing us that this was not just a future prophecy to come. While there may be many questions regarding the stories given in the Bible regarding the goodness of God and evil, we should not expect to have all the answers. Even one of God’s most righteous men, Job himself asked God questions that he pondered in Job 38. With this in mind we have to have Christ in center focus. If we keep the faith in our hearts, we will one day be given this knowledge and understanding according to Ephesians 4:13. Until then, we must maintain this “good fight” and use the knowledge that we have been given the best we can.
 Grand Canyon University, “The Doctrine of Sin” (lecture, Christian Doctrines, Grand Canyon University, August 21, 2014).
 Joseph F. Kelly, The Problem of Evil in the Western Tradition: From the Book of Job to Modern Genetics (Collegeville, MN: Michael Glazier, January 1, 2002), : 1st edition, p. 94–95
 Beth Felker Jones. Practicing Christian Doctrine: An Introduction to Thinking and Living Theologically. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2014), 105
Considering Christian anthropology centers on Scripture, what are some divine directives that can be gleaned from the biblical account of creation concerning marriage and family life? Thinking critically, how may Christians continue to uphold their biblical understanding of anthropology while remaining relevant in a secular society that upholds diverse human and family values?
There are many divine directives that can be understood by simply reading the creation account as given by God’s Word regarding marriage and family. The first that I think of is how man depends on God for all his needs. Our text tells us that, “The dependent nature of human existence is a gift in itself.” Although we depend on our Creator for our needs, this is a good problem. God holds all the keys to our survival and if we find comfort in Him, He will meet every need. Just as man finds his comfort and needs met in the heavenly Father, a man’s family should be able to look to the father of the family to have many of their physical and emotional needs. Just as God is the leader of man’s spiritual life, a man’s family should be able to look to the father of the family to provide that spiritual guidance and leadership. The head of the family is God. If the father of the family is following his heavenly Father, there should be no confusion about what a man’s role is. It is only when a man has his first love in God, that he can then properly love his wife and children. We see this theme throughout both the Old and New Testament Scripture and is directly addressed in 1 Corinthians 11:3 (NKJV), “ But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.” This same message is also found in Ephesians 5:23. The evidence that our spiritual model is displayed in the family structure is found in the verse immediately after in Ephesians 5:24 (NKJV) as it says, “Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.”
We find in Genesis 2:21-22 that the woman was created just as man so that he would have woman as a companion, but this does not mean that man must dominate her. She was made, “bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh”, requiring Adam to respect her as a human created by the hands of God. Ephesians 6:4 (NKJV) tells us, “And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.” Even Proverbs 22:6 tell us that if we do these things properly as God commands then they will not “depart from it.” A good woman, wife, mother, and leader of the home are shown by example in Proverbs 31. I remind my wife constantly of how well she matches that description and that not only makes her feel confident, but encourages her to stay strong in the fight against family life in America. Colossians 3:18-21 gives us the commands for all three positions of the family and how it should be ran. Mark 10:6-9 gives us instructions on how we are to marry and how to go about that business. Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 both discuss the unholy nature of same –sex relationships. The creation of both man and woman of Genesis 1:27-28 explain the purpose of gender and how we were made to multiply under God’s blessing. With all the evidence that God has given in His holy Word, man continues to act under the assumption of his own desires.
Christians should always remain relevant to secular society in the fact that we understand what societal issues that non-Christians face. Of course John 15:19 reminds us that the evil in the world will always hate us, but if we are able to offer solutions to many of man’s issues on this earth we will at least remain relevant to individuals even if we are not relevant to popular culture as a whole. Even now, they mock us and speak hatred towards believers, but when those same individuals need help, prayer, and spiritual answers they turn to the very ones that they discriminate against. We remain relevant by remaining in Christ. There is no other answer than to stick to our faith and our heavenly instruction through the Word. We must keep our way of life and our testimony on full display. Even amidst complete turmoil and suffering in the world, the Christian methods of life are proving to be fruitful even where it is not popular. Secular science refrains from making the true results of unclean lifestyles popular. When the world realizes that all the fornication, lustful desires, homosexual, and deviant behavior are only reaping sufferings; they will break. The world will then turn to God to get them out of the mess that they shook their fists to Him over, just a few years before. We must remember that our journey is one of endurance as we are told in Hebrews 12. There will come a time when the weary will grow tired and thirst for the “rivers of living water” (John 7:38 NKJV). The question is, will we be there to guide them back to Jesus or will we cast the first stones?
The beginning of Psalm 139 verse 14 declares, "I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made". What must have man been like at creation and what kind of example was Christ as a man?
When I think of God’s original design and purpose for humanity, what first comes to mind is what Adam’s life must have been like. But as I ponder that, I can’t help but consider how Jesus also lived his life. Jesus was the only perfected man since Adam’s fall in sin. For me, Jesus’ life is an example of how the rest of us should view the method and purpose for how to live our life and view God’s original design. Jesus lived in complete fellowship and relationship with the Father and Spirit. He walked with all knowing grace and wisdom. How much more could we do the same had our relationship never been broken with God? Jesus spoke with God freely and was always focused on “my Father’s business” (Luke 2:49). How awesome would this world be if we all walked in complete fellowship and worship with God as Christ did? One day coming soon, we may know.
Adam’s life must not have been much different prior to his fall. Adam was the first man, created by God himself. Along with Eve, Adam got all of the attention from God. How awesome would it be to hand out with God day in and day out with little distraction? The physical limitations and restraints that are on our bodies today due to aging process were not present at the beginning. Even after the entrance of death into the world we see where Methuselah lived over 900 years. There must have been a ton of differences in between the bodies of theirs and ours. It is my understanding that as time progresses, our bodies DNA loses data and its ability to repair and replace. This leaves us with unnatural cell damage and mutations. As we age our skin droops, wrinkles appear, and the skin that used to be tight and repair itself in two days now takes a couple of weeks to heal. O, how I desire to be like Adam just one time and see the unlimited capabilities of a perfect body created by the Lord Almighty. I ponder how awesome it would be to commune with the Lord at the sound of my voice to His ear. Even now, nothing can “separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”(Romans 8:38-39). I pray that we soon know this unlimited capability and once again commune with God in our Heavenly made home.