What do Dan Brown, Bart Ehrman, and Arius all have in common? All agree that Jesus was not truly God.
In Dan Brown’s famous book, The Da Vinci Code he contends that the deity of Jesus is something the Church developed a few centuries later in an effort to maintain their hierarchical power.
Bart Ehrman, professor of New Testament at the University of North Carolina, likewise believes that the “early disciples” never thought of Jesus as preexistent.
Finally, Arius argued in the 4th century A.D. that Jesus was merely a creation of God. His famed saying regarding Jesus was, “There was a time when he was not”.
One of the many good things about seminary is that it provides an outlet to respond biblically to such ideas. And that’s what I did this semester in my Theology II class. Primarily drawing from Paul’s letters to the Philippians and Colossians, I have argued that Paul believed Jesus to be pre-existent and equal in status and essence to YAHWEH, the God of the Hebrew Bible. For those interested, my paper is available here.
Before you jump in though, here are a few words of caution:
First, this paper weighs in at 18 pages, so it’s not really a quick read.
Second, there is some issues of Greek grammar, but my aim was to bring up those issues in a way that all people can benefit from.
Third, this paper is by no means all that the New Testament has to say on the matter. For example, I don’t even get to touch the divinity of Christ presented in John’s gospel. Instead, I’ve narrowed my topic to two of Paul’s most well known Christological passages: Philippians 2:5-11 and Colossians 1:15-20.