Christology is that part of Christian theology that studies and defines who Jesus Christ is. It is generally less concerned with the minor details of his life; rather it deals with who he was, the incarnation, and the major events of his life (his birth, death, and resurrection).

Important issues in Christology include:

  • was Jesus human, divine, or both
  • whether he actually performed miracles
  • whether he rose from the dead, and if so, whether his resurrection was of the body or strictly of the soul

Christology may also cover questions concerning the Trinity, and what if anything Christ accomplished for the rest of humanity.

There are almost as many Christological views as there are variants of Christianity. The different Christological views of various Christian sects have led to accusations of heresy, and subsequent religious persecution.

Some Christological viewpoints

Some important controversies have included the controversy with Arians over his divinity and relationship with the Father, which led to the adoption of the Nicene creed; and the controversies over Nestorianism, Monophysitism (and its derivates Monothelitism and Monoenergism), which lead to the adoption of the traditional (in both the East and West) Chalcedonian view of Christology. Other controversies included that with Docetists and the Adoptionists.

We can describe most of these views in terms of whether they believed Christ had a divine nature, human nature or both; and if both, in terms of how the two natures coexisted or interacted. All of these views will be presented in simplified form; see the related articles for more complete treatment.

  • The Chalcedonian view is that Christ possesses two natures, divine and human, which were united in the one person of Jesus Christ without either nature losing any of its properties. This view is the dogma of the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches, having been defined by the Council of Chalcedon. It is also the view of the Anglican church and the vast majority of Protestant churches.
  • The Arian view is that Christ is not fully divine, but was created by God for the purpose of accomplishing our salvation.
  • The Docetist view is that Christ was never fully human, but only appeared to be human.
  • The Adoptionist view is that Christ was born a man only, but became God's son by adoption when he was baptized in the Jordan.
  • The Nestorian view is that the Son of God, and the man, Jesus, shared the same body but retained two separate personhoods.

(more views should be added here)