Lost Christianities: Docetism
Yesterday I talked about the Ebionites, a Jewish-Christian sect with an adoptionistic Christology that believed that Jesus was all man, not divine in any sense. Jesus was adopted by God because he was the best at following the Jewish law. Had the adoptionistic views had won the battle for the right belief, Christians today would think that the virgin birth was just silly.
I find it funny what Christians accepted as actual events versus what they deemed were too fantastic and therefore unworthy of inclusion in the New Testament. A good example is the Gospel of Peter. Yes, there actually is a Gospel of Peter. So why didn’t it get put into the bible? Well it has an actual narritive of the ressurection of Jesus. The four gospels in the New Testament only show the empty tomb. But Peter had Jesus walking out with two angels. They become so tall that they are taller than the clouds. Believe it or not, a giant Jesus and giant angels isn’t the weirdest part. After they leave the tomb they are followed by a walking and talking cross. Apparently Christians draw the line at walking and talking crosses but all the other bullshit in their books are plausible–like the zombies who rose from the grave at the resurrection and went into Jerusalem.
“and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, and came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.” - Matthew 27:52-53
But that is a different blog for a later date. Maybe around Halloween
At the opposite end of the Christology spectrum from the Ebionites were the docetists. Since I didn’t mention it in yesterday’s blog, Christology basically is what people believe about Jesus and his works.
The name docetists comes from the Greek work DOKE-O, meaning “to seem.” So where the Ebionites thought Jesus was a flesh-and-blood human, the docetists thought he was purely divine. He only “seemed” to be human.
The belief was that God could not really be a man so he came down and “appeared” to be a man. This might seem insignificant but the problem with this belief by proto-orthodox standards was that if Jesus was not a man he could not sacrifice his flesh and shed his blood. The proto-orthodox thought that in order for Jesus to provide salvation for mankind he had to shed blood. If he did not do this, he could not save humanity.
The concept is pretty cool when you think about it. The idea that Jesus was a phantasm is just as crazy as him being half man and half god. I don’t buy either. However, I think the visual of Jesus walking on the beach but not leaving footprints behind him is pretty cool.
I am not really sure what Christianity would look like today had the docetists won the Christology battle. We would probably have the Gospel of Peter (the one with the walking/talking cross) since it contained doecetic teachings. Also, some of the current gospels we currently have appear to have been changed from their original text since some of the verses could easily be interpreted in a docetic way. And Mel Gibson’s movie The Passion of the Christ really wouldn’t be as moving or gory.
Studying the history of Christianity leaves no doubt that Christianity is man made. The fact that so many early Christians had no clue what way to believe in Jesus or what he really expected them to think shows that they all made up what they thought made sense. This also shows how the most powerful group ended up winning the Christology battle, and not because it was the right belief. Who is to say what a right belief to Christianity is? Even today, with 10′s of thousands of Christian sects, we know that everybody makes up Christianity to fit their own life. What we can know is that if God was real and gave us his words, he really sucked at letting people know what the hell he wanted them to believe. This to me is another nail in the
coffin hand for Christianity.
Tomorrow I will address the “separationists” Christology. It sounds like something terrible that George Lucas wrote for the new Star Wars prequels.