Posts Tagged Justin Martyr
St. Justin Martyr (c. 100 – 165) taught that all truth came from the Logos, or Word, of God. Therefore, whatever truth was stated by any human being at any time, anywhere, was the result of the influence of the immanent Logos within him/her; and was, therefore, Christian. It was later generations of Christians that claimed for the institutional Christian church a total monopoly on truth as its sole source and repository… as it does to this day.
“the teachings of Plato are different from those of Christ, … they are not in all respects similar, as neither are those of the others, Stoics, and poets, and historians. For each man spoke well in proportion to the share he had of the spermatic word [spermatikos logos; the Logos inherent in all humans], seeing what was related to it. But they who contradict themselves on the more important points appear not to have possessed the heavenly wisdom, and the knowledge which cannot be spoken against. Whatever things were rightly said among all men, are the property of us Christians… For all the writers were able to see realities darkly through the sowing of the implanted word [spermatikos logos] that was in them. For the seed and imitation imparted according to capacity is one thing, and quite another is the thing itself, of which there is the participation and imitation according to the grace which is from Him.” Second Apology, 13.
Justin Martyr, (c. 100 – 165 AD), was an early Christian apologist, and is regarded as the foremost interpreter of the Logos Doctrine in the 2nd century. He was martyred alongside some of his students and is considered a saint by the Roman Catholic, the Anglican, and the Eastern Orthodox Churches. It is clear that the early church was much more inclusive, more cosmic, and less tribal and triumphalistic than the later and contemporary church.
“We have been taught that Christ is the first-born of God, and we have declared above that He is the Word [Logos] of whom every race of men were partakers; and those who lived reasonably (μετὰ λόγου, “with reason, or the Logos”) are Christians, even though they have been thought atheists;” First Apology, 46.
“…according to the Logos Doctrine, Christianity is very inclusive and universal.”
The incarnation of the Logos, the Son, as Jesus the Christ is a once-for-all event. It is not the incarnation of a particular characteristic or set of characteristics of God; it is the very Logos of God, center of divinity, which becomes incarnate. The incarnation initiates a series of events in the economy, or plan of God for the salvation of humankind.
The saving economy of Jesus Christ, the Logos, are is found in his incarnation which deified the fallen nature of humankind; in his ministry which gave us direct knowledge of God; in his death by which he redeemed us from the bondage of sin; and in the resurrection, which defeated death.
Jesus Christ, as Logos, is first of all a teacher in the sense of giving us existential knowledge and power through the Holy Spirit. Justin Martyr said, “the teachings of Plato are not alien to those of Christ, although not in all respects similar. For all the writers of antiquity were able to have a dim vision of the realities by the means of the implanted word [Logos].” 2nd Apology, 13.
So, you see, according to the Logos Doctrine, Christianity is very inclusive and universal; “catholic”, if you will. It is not the exclusive club, tribe, or competing religion than humans have made of it. Ancient Christianity was inclusive of all truth, regardless of source, place, or time. It included all of humankind, without distinction.
When seen from the viewpoint of the Logos Doctrine, the seemingly exclusive claims of John 14:6 become a declaration of inclusive, cosmic, universal truth. The verse reads: “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me’.” In paraphrase, I believe this means: “I am the Logos, the self-manifestation of God the Father. We are the same in essence, but the Father remains hidden from creation. The only possible way that humankind has to understand and know God is through understanding and knowing the Logos.” This is the cosmic Christ. This is the Way; the “finger pointing to the moon”!