Pauline Terminology



Creator of the Cosmos

Unknowable to humans

Giver of Christ

Removed from human beings and from the earthly sphere

Ultimate Reality


An entity related to, but separate from, God

Connected to both Christ, God, and humans

A kind of teacher of wisdom

A mode of understanding

Declares Jesus to be the Son of God at his resurrection

Confers spirituality upon some humans

The activity or power of God

An internal/symbolic force of God

The presence or activity of God on earth

God's form on earth

The source of Christ's power and Lordship?

Makes both Jesus and God known to humans


1) formerly Jesus, who became Christ at his resurrection

2) now a divine entity

3) someone who has God's Spirit and who can communicate it to others

4) a being who reconciles humans to God -- an intermediary (perhaps only some of them?)

5) has same functions as the Spirit

6) went from the Son of David (human) to becoming Son of God (divine)

7) serving Christ serves God

8) Son of God seems like a divine title rather than a status

9) Jesus is not divine, but Christ is

10) Son of God could be a child of God (i.e., a human being)

11) a state of enlightenment; maximization of divine potential

12) a spirit in which believers share

13) Jesus Christ is divine and human; Christ is divine

14) A model for humans to follow


A term for God

A term for Christ

Possibly Lord of God's spiritual kingdom

Christ is the true Lord, as opposed to the political power of Rome

Refers to the totality of Jesus as God

Questions Asked By Early Christian Groups

How can Jesus be both a Son of God and also Lord?

If God is a Spirit, how could he have a Son?

Did Jesus become "Christ" -- i.e., divine -- only after his resurrection?

Differing Interpretations of these relationships made by groups of early Christians

1.  Adoptionist:  Jesus was a human being who became God's Son at his resurrection.

2.  Docetist:  Jesus was a divine entity who only appeared to be a human being.

3.  Gnostic: God gives the gift of his Spirit to only some human beings; Christ had God's Spirit.

4.  Anti-apocalyptic: Through baptism one is initiated into God's spiritual kingdom, which Jesus Christ rules.

5.  Atonement:  Jesus's death reconciled humans to God and allows humans to be righteous.