Illustrations of the diversities of early Christianity are many, which are called Christologies. Christologies is what do you believe about Christ: what kind of nature is Jesus Christ?
We can map out all these differences; when did Jesus become divine according to the gospel of John? He always was. He was with God from the very beginning. Everything was created through him. The beginning of the gospel of John ends up having the Christology that now become Orthodox Christianity.
Before Jesus was executed, he was recognized as a prophet, he seems to accept himself as a prophet, and it may be that he claimed to be a king or a messiah, but certainly by the time of his execution, some people thought he was a king, because that is the charge on which he was executed.
The Romans executed Jesus, because at least either he or other people were claiming that he was a king. He is a prophet and he is a king, but does that mean Jesus is divine? No, of course not.
The Israelites had lots of kings that were not divine. The Israelites had lots of prophets that were not divine. Many modern people get the idea that the word “Christ” or “Messiah” in itself signifies divinity, but it doesn’t. The “Messiah” in Jesus’ day was simply some Israelite figure who would rise up and take over the throne of David and reestablish the kingdom of Israel.
Calling someone the messiah in the ancient world did not mean that he was divine. Jesus is a prophet; he is even considered the messiah, but that does not make him divine. Some Christians therefore have to make a decision. Is Jesus human and only human? Is Jesus human and divine?
Jesus being human and divine is the take most followers of Jesus end up taking, although there are some followers today of Jesus who believed he was purely human. Those who believe Jesus was purely human tended to understand the Israelites history and they even accept him as a messiah, but that does not mean they think he was God.
They know the monotheism of Israel does not and cannot evolve from polytheism, because the two are based on radically divergent world-views, radically divergent intuitions about reality. The monotheism of Israel was not, it could not be the natural outgrowth of the polytheism of an earlier age, it was a radical break with it.
Monotheism was a revolution, not an evolution. Therefore, they say, no, Jesus cannot be divine. The early Christians who chose the human and divine route, though they had to spilt this up. Some believed Jesus was always divine; others believed Jesus became divine.
If Jesus became divine, then when did he become divine, at his birth, at his baptism, or at his resurrection? Other Christians say, no, he always was divine, but even they believed in different choices too, because some believed Jesus was divine but also fully human.
Other Christians believed Jesus was fully divine but not fully human. They believed Jesus was so divine he was God, so that when Jesus walked along on wet sand on the beach, his feet did not leave footprints, that is how divine he was, but this belief became declared as a heresy.
Out of all these choices, only one of them is considered Orthodox by the later church, so that what Christians end up with is the Nicene Creed, or the Creed of Chalcedon, which is what Christians came to believe? There were lots of complexities in early Christianity that finally got whittled down into a more united consensus view on Christology.
It is God’s sovereign right to choose the criteria and he chose to use the criteria of belief. God has always used faith in every age; God has always used faith, or what a person believes, as the criteria necessary to effect salvation for humankind.
Our faith in the good news of Christ given to Paul enables God to impute us with the faith of his son. Once we believe, and are sealed, it is not about us; our faith, but Christ’s faith. If you want God to view you today, you got to be in his son.
For any one to think they are just before God through their performance; to think that they have perfected themselves with God through their behavior proves that man is a liar and the truth is not in them. One who puts their faith in the Nicene Creed or any Creed, has not met the criteria that God requires, and living up to a Creed is based upon performance.
Ministers of righteousness have a lot of fun with these Creeds controlling people! How can you get into his son, and have all of his righteousness freely imputed to your account? By simply taking God at his word, concerning what his son accomplished for you.
This one-sided reconciliation on God’s part is self-evident proof of God’s superabundant love to man. As far as God is concerned, he loved us so much that he was willing to let his own son die for sinful man, and have his son pay all the penalties for their sins, forget their rebelliousness and overlook their hostility, while they were still sinners, still rebellious, and still hostile.
God made up his mind to become completely reconciled to mankind before man made any signs of making peace with God. God has told the world through Paul’s teaching’s (not through Creeds), that he has reconciled himself to them because of his love for them, and it was God alone who did this harmonious act; we have had nothing to do with it, all we have had to do is to receive the reconciliation that God has made with mankind.
God has one-sidedly reconciled himself to mankind through what the death of his son accomplished; all sins and hostility are paid for as far as God is concerned, and it is time all people begin to believe it. This three-in-one god concept has its roots from polytheism; monotheism was a revolution, it was a radical brake from polytheism, not an evolution of polytheism!
If you want to believe Jesus is God, whatever. God has reconciled himself to man, before man wrote those Creeds?