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34 SOURCES AND GROWTH OF

subjecto est (i.e. he has an independent existence,
and is not a mere attribute or quality of some-
thing else) ; he is u-TroWacrt? (substantia), quoniam
subest ceteris qui substantise non sunt (i.e. he is
the subject of qualities or attributes) ; and he is
7rp6a-(DTrov (persona), quoniam est rationale indi-
viduum." Now persona may mean " rationale
individuum," but irpovunrov means nothing of the
kind. And the Latins soon saw that tres personce
was very different from rpia Trpoa-coTra, the latter
expression being much more Sabellian in sound.
Tjoei? uTrocrracre/9, the accepted term, ought to
mean three Substances, not three Persons. The
result of this discrepancy, or rather of the dis-
similar modes of thought reflected in the two
languages, is that Western thought has generally
been somewhat nearer to Tritheism and further
from Modalism than Greek orthodoxy. Any
approach to Tritheism makes St. John and the
theology based upon him unintelligible; but
unfortunately, with our notions of personality it
is very difficult not to think of the Trinity as
tres personce in the Latin sense, or even as three
" Persons " in the modern sense, which is
Tritheism pure and simple.

Medieval theology generally distinguished the
Three Persons as Power, Wisdom, and Love, the



THE LOGOS-CHRISTOLOGY 35

Holy Ghost being the copula between the Father
and the Son. It is instructive to notice that to
each of the Three Persons is assigned all these
attributes. It is unnecessary to quote passages
attributing Wisdom and Love to the Father.
And when Jesus Christ is proclaimed to exercise
a threefold office, as King, Prophet, and Priest,
have we not in this triad the same attributes
of Power, Wisdom, and Love which theology
teaches to be those of the Three Persons of the
Trinity ? The Holy Ghost in like manner is
Power and Wisdom as well as Love. Thus the
three attributes of the Three Persons and may
we not say further that Wisdom, Power, and
Love have been the Divine attributes which the
Greek Church, the Roman Church, and the
Protestant bodies respectively have been most
ready to grasp ? are all attributes of each
Person, and it is quite inadmissible to set them
over against each other, as is done in transactional
theories of the Atonement.

That the doctrine of the Trinity has a psycho-
logical basis has been long recognised by theology.
Gregory of Nyssa (Orat. Cat. 2) says, "As we
know the Logos by analogy from our own nature,
so in our own thoughts about the Spirit we may
find a shadow and copy of His unspeakable power



36 SOURCES AND GROWTH OF

in our own nature." St. Augustine (De Civ. Dei,
n, 26) finds an image of the Trinity in the fact
that " we are, and know ourselves to be, and love
our being and knowing." He adds that these
psychological states are more certain and im-
mediate than any sensations from without.
Alcuin, following the traditional classification of
the faculties as intelligence, will, and memory,
finds in them an image of the Trinity in Unity.
" They are not three lives, but one life ; not three
minds, but one mind ; not three substances, but
one substance. For I understand that I under-
stand, will, and remember : I will that I under-
stand, remember, and will : and I remember that
I understand, will, and remember " (De An. Rat.,
147). The mystics dwell much on this analogy.
It is elaborated by Scotus Erigena, by Hylton in
his Scale of Perfection, and by Julian of Norwich.
Eckhart calls the Trinity " natured Nature " and
the Unity " unnatured Nature." The distinction
between the Divine Essence and the Persons,
which he found in Thomas Aquinas, is fearlessly
emphasised. The Godhead is above all relations,
even above the relations of Father, Son, and
Spirit.

The two points which I wish to emphasise
about the doctrine of the Trinity are, first, that



THE LOGOS-CHRISTOLOGY 37

popular theology, when it thinks of the Three
Persons hi one God, is usually much more
tritheistic than the orthodox faith. This error
has come about through the unfortunate use of
the word " Person," with its misleading associa-
tions. The other is that the analogy between
the " Persons " of the Trinity and our own
complex nature is not an accidental or fanciful
resemblance, but rests on the belief that man
is really a microcosm, reproducing in little the
Creator in whose image he was made.

But my mam subject to-day is the perma-
nent value of the Logos-doctrine, the formula
which converted the intellect of Europe to
Christianity.

It is a significant fact that neither in German
nor in English, nor (more important still) hi
Latin, is there any word which really repre-
sents the Greek term. Just as Goethe's Faust
wavered between word, thought, and power, so
the Latins debated whether Verbum, Sermo, or
Ratio was the nearest equivalent of Logos in
their language. Tertullian (Apol. 21) uses
Sermo and Ratio together to represent the single
word Logos, as used by philosophers of the Agent
in creation. They ultimately decided, as we
know, on Verbum only, and we have followed



38 SOURCES AND GROWTH OF

them by choosing Word ; but the Greek
" Logos " has lost half its meaning in being
thus translated, and the range of the ideas
which it once conveyed has been narrowed and
half forgotten. Indeed, the term is, except to
theological students, so nearly meaningless that
it has almost dropped out of the vocabulary of
piety.

It would be possible to take up a great deal
of time in discussing whether St. John got the
expression from Philo or from some other source,
and whether the Logos-doctrine is wholly Greek,
or partly Jewish, in its origin. The affiliation of
ideas is a difficult, and perhaps not a very fruitful
subject of investigation. It is more important
for us to know what St. John meant by calling
Jesus Christ the Logos, than what were the
sources from which he drew the conception.

It is characteristic of the Greeks, a nation of
talkers, that the same word in their language
should mean speech and reason. This compre-
hensiveness of the term certainly made it easier
for Greek and Jewish philosophy to unite in
dealing with the self-revelation of God in the
creation and history of the world. For while the
Greeks meant chiefly " Reason " by Logos, the
Jews, when they spoke in Greek, meant chiefly



THE LOGOS-CHRISTOLOGY 39

" Word." There is no ambiguity about the
Hebrew term " the Word of the Lord " in the
Old Testament : it means the spoken word, not
the thought, of Jehovah. If we collect the
passages where " the Word of the Lord," and
similar expressions occur in the Old Testament,
we shall find that they are connected with three
ideas those of creation, providence, and revela-
tion. God " spoke the word " and the worlds
were made : then at once His Spirit, the breath
of His mouth, gives life to what His word creates
and renews the face of the earth. The protecting
care shown by God to the chosen people is
attributed by all Jewish commentators to the
Memra or Word, even where the sacred texts
have the name Jehovah. And it is always the
word of the Lord which inspires prophecy and
imparts the Law. The tendency to personify
the self-revealing activity of Jehovah becomes
more and more marked. The angel of the Lord,
the name, the presence, the glory of Jehovah,
are frequently spoken of as if they were half
personal beings, and later, the Divine Kochmah
or Wisdom attains an almost complete hypostasis.
The writer of Ecclesiasticus (i. 4) says that
Wisdom was " created before all things," a
doctrine which resembles the Arian Christology.



40 SOURCES AND GROWTH OF

The Wisdom of Solomon goes still further in
making Wisdom the cosmic principle. "Wis-
dom," says the writer, " is more moving than any
motion. She passeth and goeth through all
things by reason of her pureness. For she is
the breath of the power of God, and a pure
influence flowing from the glory of the Almighty-
She is the brightness of the everlasting light,
the unspotted mirror of the power of God, and
the image of His goodness. She is one, but
she can do all things; she remaineth in herself,
but she maketh all things new ; and in all ages
entering into holy souls, she rnaketh them friends
of God, and prophets. She reacheth from one
end of the world to the other; and sweetly
doth she order all things." But here we are
no longer within the range of purely Jewish
thought. The Wisdom literature has entered
into the inheritance of Greek philosophy. To
this Greek Logos-doctrine I now invite your
attention for a few minutes.

The history of the Logos-idea begins with
Heraclitus, that profoundly interesting Ephesian
thinker whom his contemporaries nicknamed
" the obscure," but whose scanty fragments con-
tain flashes of the most penetrating brilliance.
We cannot wonder that the Christian apologists



THE LOGOS-CHRISTOLOGY 41

of the second century coupled him with Socrates,
as a man who " lived in accordance with the
eternal reason " (Logos), and who might even be
called a Christian before Christ, when we find in
him such parallels to Christian teaching as the
following : " This Logos existeth from all time,
yet mankind are unaware of it, both before they
hear it and while they listen to it." Compare
St. John : " He was hi the world, and the world
knew Him not. He came unto His own, and His
own received Him not." Or again, " The Logos
is the judge of truth, that is, of the divine truth
which is common to all " (" the true light which
lighteth every man coming into the world").
" For that which environs us is rational and
intelligent. We draw in the truth by inspira-
tion." His Logos is the immanent reason and
light of the world ; its material emblem is fore.
(Compare "again St. John Baptist's words about
our Lord : " He shall baptize you with the Holy
Ghost and with fire.") " The fire when it cometh
shall try everything," he says, in words which
suggest a well-known passage of St. Paul. The
Logos, like Wordsworth's " Duty," keeps the sun
and stars in their courses. In one aspect, it is
the same as fate or destiny, or rather it is the
rational principle which exhibits itself as unvary-



42 SOURCES AND GROWTH OF

ing law. It is the hidden harmony which under-
lies the perpetual strife, in which the life of the
world as we know it subsists. It is the unifying
principle of the world, and it is by participation
in it that we come to ourselves. " To those who
are awake," he says, " there is one common world,
but sleepers have each a world of their own."

It is very significant that Heraclitus was scarcely
dead before his disciples split into a right and
left wing, precisely as did those of Hegel after his
death. His philosophy was claimed on the one
side as a vindication of conservative orthodoxy, on
the other as sceptical and revolutionary. On the
whole, the former view predominated. When the
school of Heraclitus was absorbed into Stoicism,
the Heracliteans in that school were the right
wing, the orthodox and conservative branch, the
Cynics the left wing. Modern students are by
no means agreed what was the real tendency of
his system ; they quarrel about him exactly as
they do about Hegel. Some label him a " pan-
theistic materialist." Even in his own day he
was accused of making fire God. A more tenable
charge is that his Logos was merely the rational
self-evolution of the world, which was impersonal,
and only attained to self-consciousness in man.
Certainly Heraclitus seems to acknowledge no



THE LOGOS-CHRISTOLOGY 43

transcendent God, whose " Word " the Logos
could be.

Plato's Logos-doctrine is to be found chiefly
in the Timceus, in which he teaches that the
universe is produced by the " fusion of necessity
and mind" ("mind," since Anaxagoras, had dis-
placed Heraclitus' word Logos). The world is
" a living and rational organism," the " only-
begotten " (ywowyei^/e) Son of God, itself a God,
and the express image (ei/ca>j/) of the Highest.

In the writings of the Stoics the word Logos
again comes into prominence. Their " seminal
Logos " is God Himself as the organic principle
of the universe, directing it to a rational and
moral end. They are often called Pantheists ;
but I think myself that this name should be
reserved for those who hold that God is present
equally in every part of His creation. We all
believe in the omnipresence and immanence of
the Deity, but we could not endorse the words
of the Indian philosopher who said, " The learned
behold God alike in the reverend Brahmin, in
the ox and in the elephant, in the dog and in
him who eateth the flesh of dogs," nor Pope's
line that God is " As full, as perfect, in a hair
as heart." The Stoics recognised an ascending
scale of being : it was only to man that the



44 SOURCES AND GROWTH OF

Logos descended in such a way that his person-
ality might be regarded as an actual portion
of the Logos. This last notion led to the assur-
ance that God is actually the guest of the
human soul, constituting what is, or ought to
be, the ruling and guiding principle of our lives.
The Stoics also taught that we have communion
with each other through our participation in
the Logos, which remains one and the self-same
spirit,[ though he divides to every man severally
as he wills. It is to the Stoics, moreover, that
we owe the distinction between the Logos
evSidOeros and TrpotyopiKos the former the un-
spoken thought, the inner psychical function,
the latter the thought expressed in word and
act. This distinction was the foundation of
much Christian speculation on the relations
between the Word and the Father. Stoical, too,
is the recognition of the double meaning in
Logos not " thought " only, but " spoken
word." I do not think there is any trace of
this second conception before Plato, who comes
near it once or twice, and Aristotle, who once
distinguishes the " Word in the Soul " from the
" outer Word " ; but in Stoicism it is prominent.
This made a bridge between Greek and Jewish
ways of thinking, for with the Jews, as I have



THE LOGOS-CHRISTOLOGY 45

said, "the Word" meant the spoken utterance,
not " thought." The Stoical notion was prob-
ably based on the belief that a spoken word
is not merely a mode of expressing thought,
but that it is a kind of spiritual form assumed
by thought, having a real existence of its own.
Belief in the living power of a spoken word is
a common phase of superstition ; it has, for in-
stance, an important place in the Runic ritual
of Northern Europe. In any case, this double
connotation of the philosophical term Logos,
which the uses of the word hi ordinary speech
made almost inevitable, had a very important
influence on Alexandrian theology, in which the
Greek and Jewish streams of thought flowed
into each other.

Jewish philosophy could supply the most
glaring defect of Stoicism the belief in a
transcendent God. The Stoic's God was really
only Natural Law, and Plotinus, though not al-
together unsympathetic towards them, could say,
" They only bring in God, in order to be in the
fashion." This is too severe; for it is a truly
religious profession to say (and believe) that the
laws of nature are the laws of God. But if we
would avoid Pantheism, we must worship a God
who is above as well as in the world, and this



46 SOURCES AND GROWTH OF

the Alexandrian Philo, who for us represents the
complete fusion of Hellenic and Jewish thought,
was careful to do. He describes God as un-
qualified and pure Being, to whom no names
can be given. The Logos dwells with Him as
His vicegerent. He is the "eldest son" of
God, says Philo, mythically, and the "Wisdom
of God " is His mother. In other places the
Logos himself is called the Wisdom of God.
Again, he is the Idea of Ideas, the whole mind
of God when it goes out of itself in the act of
creation. By His agency the worlds were made.
He represents the world before God as High
Priest, Intercessor, Paraclete. He is the Shec-
hinah or glory of God ; He is also the Darkness
or Shadow of God, since the Creation half veils
and half reveals the Deity. He is the intelligible
world, the archetypal universe, of the Platonists,
and the real life of the world that we know.
He is in the closest relations with the human
spirit, operating in man as the higher reason.
And yet, with all these resemblances to the
Johannine doctrine, Philo's Logos is not a
hypostasis of the Deity. He is not personal,
and may equally well be spoken of in the
plural number. He is not so much the " Word "
as the " Mind " of God. A true incarnation (as



THE LOGOS-CHRISTOLOGY 47

opposed to a theophany) of such a Being is
unthinkable, and Philo never attempts to connect
the Logos with the Messianic hopes of his people.
Thus, whether or not St. John borrowed the
terra Logos from Philo and his school, the corner-
stone of the Johannine theology, the doctrine
that " the Word became flesh," was not only
not taken from Philo, but was totally opposed
to his philosophy.

Such, then, were the antecedents of the term
Logos, which the New Testament applies to Christ.
It is of the doctrine hi the New Testament that
I now wish to speak. But before we come to
the prologue of St. John's Gospel, I wish to show
that St. Paul gives us a very complete and ex-
plicit Logos-theology, though he never uses the
word. I wish to lay special stress on this point,
because none of the commentators on St. Paul, so
far as I know, do full justice to it. I am con-
vinced that the conception of Christ as a cosmic
principle that conception which is enunciated
in St. John's prologue holds a more important
place in St. Paul's theology than in that of St.
John, and that it may be proved, not only from
his later Epistles, which some critics, partly on
this account, consider spurious, but from those
which are not disputed. I will collect the chief



48 SOURCES AND GROWTH OF

passages which, taken together, comprise St.
Paul's teaching on this subject, naming in each
case the Epistle from which the words are taken.

In relation to God the Father, Christ is the
Image (a/cwi/) of God (2 Cor., Col.). This is
a Philonic term, with a well-defined connotation.
An eiKODv is a copy, not only resembling but de-
rived from its prototype. It represents its pro-
totype, and is a visible manifestation of it : Christ
is the " eiKwv of the Invisible God" (Col.). In
Him dwells bodily (crw/iaTureo?) the Pleroma, the
totality of the Divine attributes (Col, Eph.).
The special force of this phrase is that He needs
no subordinate " thrones, dominions, or powers "
to mediate between Him and the world. Philo's
Logos was polarised, as it were, into various Logoi
or Swd/meis ; in Christ there is no such delegation
of energy. He is " Lord of all " and " Lord of
Glory " (Rom., i Cor.); even (probably) " God over
all, blessed for ever" (Rom. ix. 5.).

In reference to the world, Christ is the Agent
in creation ; " through Him are all things "
(i Cor. viii. 6), and we through Him. He
pre-existed " in the form of God " (Phil. ii. 6)
from the beginning. He is " the first-born of all
creation; in Him and through Him and unto
Him are all things. He is before all things, and



THE LOGOS-CHRISTOLOGY 49

in Him all things hold together" (Col. i. 15, 16).
All things are to be summed up in Him (Eph. i.
10). "He is all and in jail" (Col. iii. n). His
reign is co-extensive with the world's history. " He
must reign till He hath put all His enemies under
His feet. The last enemy that shall be abolished
is death." Only " when all things have been
subjected unto Him, shall the Son also Himself
be subjected to Him that did subject all things
unto Him, that God may be all in all" (i Cor.
xv. 24-28).

In reference to the human soul, " The Lord is
the Spirit" (2 Cor. iii. 17); He is "life-giving
Spirit" (i Cor. xv. 45). As such He is the
possession of all true Christians, " living in
them " (Gal. ii. 20) ; " forming Himself in them "
(Gal. iv. 19); " transforming them into His
image" (2 Cor. iii. 18); enlightening their
understandings, so that they can judge all things,
even searching out " the hidden things of God "
(i Cor. iii. 15), and uniting them in closest union
with each other and with Himself.

These quotations, which might easily be multi-
plied, seem to me to contain all the elements of
a complete Logos-theology ; and it is a constant
source of surprise to me that critics continue to
say that the Pauline Christ is only " the heavenly

D



50 SOURCES AND GROWTH OF

man," and that for a complete recognition of
Christ as the Logos we must wait for the fourth
Gospel. It is of no avail to deny the authenticity
of the Epistles to the Colossians and Ephesians,
for some of the most striking declarations come,
as I have shown, from the undisputed Epistles.
For my own part, though the style and phrase-
ology of the later Epistles differ slightly from
the earlier, I cannot trace any development
or modification of doctrine, except that the
pronouncements on eschatology become more
spiritual, and less affected by chiliastic beliefs, as
we advance from i Thessalonians to Colossians.
But this is just what we should have expected :
the hopes of a future earthly " reign of the
saints " were deeply rooted in Judaism and
Judaic Christianity ; they were undermined by
the Logos- theology, which, as we can see,
gradually overcame them in St. Paul's own
mind.

The Pauline Logos-doctrine is, to me, so
supremely important that I should like to sum
up again the chief heads of it, especially as
regards the second of the three divisions, the
relation of Christ to the world. I choose this
part for special emphasis, not because it is tho
most important, but because it is, unfortunately,



THE LOGOS-CHRISTOLOGY 51

as I venture to think, almost entirely neglected
in modern religious teaching.

St. Paul does not speculate at all on the re-
lations of the Son to the Father apart from
creation. The words " He was before all things "
are sufficient to exclude the Arian dogma, nv ore
OVK ?jv, whatever interpretation we give to the
TrpcoTOTOKO? Trdcrw /cT/creco? of Colossians. So far
as we can know, the reign of the Son as a
distinct principle in the Godhead is co-extensive
with time ; it began " in the beginning," and will
continue till " cometh the end." For us, the Son
is the revelation of God hi space and time. I
do not think we shall get any profit by specu-
lating on His relations to the Father outside those
categories ; the recognition of His unity with the
Father is enough to guard us against the notion
that He has only a temporal life. The Son,
then, is the creating and sustaining principle in
the universe : He comprehends it, though as God
He is not comprehended by it. All the life in
the world is His life ; the fulfilment of His will
is the far-off divine event to which the whole
creation moves. He was in the world from the
first, though the world knew Him not ; He was
the spiritual rock that followed the Israelites ;
He was the " mystery " which shrouded all the



52 SOURCES AND GROWTH OF

higher aspirations of those who lived under the
old dispensation, till in the fulness of time it was
revealed in the historical Christ.

It may be asked why St. Paul avoids the word
Logos, while he gives us, hi his doctrine of Christ,
all that the word contains ? I have no answer to
suggest; for it is nearly certain that the word
had found a home in Jewish theology some time
before Philo. We must be content to note the
fact without explaining it ; and we may now pass
to the prologue of the fourth Gospel, where the
Divinity and Incarnation of the Logos are ex-
plicitly asserted.

The doctrine of the prologue is, so far as I
can see, identical with that of St. Paul. The
Word, as God in essence, has an extra-temporal
relation in closest union with the Father. He
is the agent and the quickening spirit in creation,
the life of all that lives, and the light of all that
shines. That light had brooded over all history,
enlightening every man, but unrecognised by
many. At last came the time when " the Logos
became flesh and tabernacled among us, and we
beheld His glory, the glory as of the only-born
Son of the Father, full of grace and truth."

I think, then, that we may say that the Logos-
doctrine of the prologue is identical with that of



THE LOGOS-CHRISTOLOGY 53

St. Paul. And yet we all feel that, even apart
from differences of style, it would be impossible
to attribute any page of St. John to St. Paul, or
vice versa. What is the main difference between
them?

We are so familiar with St. Paul's Epistles as


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