Sunday, November 22, 2020

The Word of God (Logos) in the ancient church

The "Logos", or Word of God, is an ancient concept that has been used in Christian circles since the days when the New Testament was being written, particularly in the writings attributed to John. The Catholic Encyclopedia's article on the Logos helpfully traces some of its origins before that use so that we have some context for what the word may have meant at that time. 

The same article also traces what the early Christian church understood about that in reference to Jesus. The thinkers and theologians of the church grappled with it for centuries. The Catholic Encyclopedia acknowledges frankly that there were "subordinationist tendencies found in certain Ante-Nicene writers." That is, many of them saw the Logos -- and consequently Jesus -- as subordinate to the Father. 

The article also notes an interesting contrast between theology in the early church and now. The Christian thought of that day, and now, affirms that the Word was not created but generated (begotten) of God. However, the Catholic encyclopedia views the early church's theology as "less satisfactory as regards the eternity of this generation and its necessity; in fact, they represent the Word as uttered by the Father when the Father wished to create and in view of this creation." 

I have spent some hours over the last few weeks reading up on this, and I find the research going more slowly than I could wish. Still, as any regular reader here knows, I'd rather be thorough than fast. The questions of interest to me are: What were the arguments on each side of that question, and how did we arrive at our current understanding? 

To be continued


Martin LaBar said...

Yes, you'd rather be thorough than fast.

Weekend Fisher said...

Lol. Hope I'm not trying your patience. I appreciate that you're here.

Take care & God bless
Anne / WF