Was The Man Jesus, Possessed by Christ?
By: Rev. Joe Kramer
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us…
for in Him dwells all the fullness of deity in bodily form,
This heretical teaching is similar to the last one we discussed, Adoptionism, only much more insidious (in my opinion anyway). This heresy was taught around 361 A.D. by Apollinaris the Younger who was the Bishop of Laodicea. He taught that God took the place of the human soul of Jesus and that the body of Christ was the glorified form of the human nature. In other words, Jesus was a man but his mind was not the mind of man, but only that of God. His soul was God. He taught that the two natures of Christ couldn’t be together so the divine took over the human nature.
Think of it this way, the teaching states that God overtook the man Jesus, possessed him as it were making the human nature of Christ very little and all that really existed (with a little bit of humanity in there) was the divine nature.
In 381 A.D. this was condemned by the Second Council at Constantinople. The reason is that this takes away from Jesus’ humanity and is heresy. This teaching takes away from the atoning work of the Cross; because the atonement could only have been accomplished through Christ being 100% man and 100% God (The Hypostatic Union). Why? Because He needed to be God to offer a pure and holy sacrifice and He needed to be man in order to die for mankind.
We are, again, coming back to the Hypostatic Union. It is a concept that we as humans have trouble with but yet it is simple at the same time. Jesus is 100% God and 100% man. He is not half God and half man. He is both. He did not lose any of His divinity nor did He lose any humanity because of His divinity. To try to explain any further, I believe, would take away from the simplicity of Christ and only serve to convolute our understanding of Christ (I believe the same thing happens when we try explain the Trinity, which is for another time.).
Now I have heard this teaching maybe only once or twice in my time as a Christian and all from the outer fringes of Christianity. Maybe you know of a time when you have heard this heresy? This one seems to be less popular than the heresy of Adoptionism.
I hope you have learned something today and that this will spark you on to more study on aberrant teachings, if you find it intriguing that is. God Bless you today!