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CHRIST THE ARCHETYPE OF HUMANITY
In my opening lecture I aimed at showing that if we would be guided aright in our inquiry regarding Paul's thought of Christ, we must interrogate his inner life and experience as formed in union with the Risen Lord. It was the consciousness of the Power of Christ on his personal life that led him into that understanding of his Master, “ for whose excellency he counted all things loss.” 1 His Christology was in this way the product of his experience, the expression of what he had found Christ to be in his deepest life. There is in friendship such a thing as a union between two of so intimate a character that the inner forces that mould the life of the one pass into and become factors in the personal life of the other, and by their effects on his experience disclose to him the inmost nature of the man who has thus entered his personality to possess and dominate it. Now, from the moment that Paul was arrested by the Risen Lord on the way to Damascus and surrendered himself to Him, his whole soul was thrown wide open to His influence, to receive impressions that resulted in the communication to him of what was most distinctive in the personal life of his Master, and in the forming within him of an experience, with features of its own, that in its turn shed light on the nature of the Heavenly Being with whom he had been brought into so intimate a fellowship. The new elements that enriched his personal life, and that were due to the influence of the Exalted Christ, supplied him with the means of construing to his thought the nature of that wonderful Personality that had made all things new within him.
i Phil. iii. 8.
His Epistles contain the record of that experience; 1 and from them we learn that in its essential features it was, on the one hand, a consciousness of new moral power identified by him with the power of the Holy Spirit of God, and, on the other hand, a consciousness of religious satisfaction rooting itself in reconciliation or sonship to God. He was conscious, in short, from the outset of his connection with Christ, of power proceeding from Him that was the power of the Holy Spirit, for by it that which was spiritual in him regained its supremacy over the flesh. And He who shed that influence on his inner life was thus revealed to him as a Being whose nature was Spirit, a Man distinguished from and contrasted with all others in this, that the Spirit of God was the indwelling Power of His personal life. Again, in communion with Christ, the old Judaic feeling of legalism and estrangement in his relation to God had given place to the consciousness of forgiveness and sonship; and this too, derived from Christ, pointed back to Him as the Son of God, differing from all others in the reality and power of His Divine Sonship and in His perfect oneness with God, constituting Him the Source to all who believed in Him of the Standing, Spirit, and Character of the children of God.
We have here the root conception of Christ in the
1“Im Epistolaren," says Auerbach in his Auf der Höhe, “ist personliche Gegenwart des Schreibenden : der Brief hat noch Stimme.” It has often been pointed out how well fitted this form of literary expression is to be the medium by which truth that is personal and subjective in its character is conveyed. Of Paul's Epistles, Ewald says, “Es gibt in alter Zeiten und Völker Schriftthum sehr wenige Schriftsteller, deren Werke ein so unverkennbares, festes und gewaltiges Gepräge ihres eigenthümlichen Geistes tragen” (Sendschr. des Apostel Paulus, p. 2).
mind of the apostle. He is at once the PNEUMATIC or SPIRITUAL MAN, in whom the Holy Spirit of God is operative as the very principle of His Personality; and the MAN who is the SON OF GOD, the embodiment through His full participation of the life of the Father of the filial relation of Man to God.
This, in a single sentence, is the interpretation of the Person of Christ that we find in his writings, and that evidently dominated his thoughts; it is a religious interpretation, and takes account not of the metaphysical nature of Christ's Person, but of His significance for the moral and religious life of man. And in what follows it will be my object to expound this interpretation in its bearing on the fitness of Christ to occupy the central place assigned to Him in Paul's writings in relation to the human race as the Second Adam or Archetypal Man, adding a brief account of the history of this interpretation in the thought of the Church.
1. The one element in the conception of Christ that ruled the thoughts of the apostle was that of Spirituality. Christ is the SPIRITUAL MAN in whom the old antagonism in human nature between flesh and spirit has been overcome. It is the Exalted Christ to whom the apostle always refers; and it is of Him that this description holds in its absolute truth; but it holds also of the historic Jesus and of His state of humiliation, and we must look at it as the account of what He was when on earth in order to understand the full significance of it as the account of His glorified Person.
The supremacy of Christ as the Spiritual Man is best understood when we bear in mind what Paul's doctrine of human nature is. He regards man in his ideal con