Hi James, I believe James, that Christ is obviously seen differently through everyone's eyes or through every Christian's eyes at least, and you are the only one who can really answer who Christ is for yourself. He is definately someone spiritual and there is no literal explanation for his being. According to what we Christians are meant to believe, Christ lived in Israel and so on. he preached to many and was persecuted by the Roman pagans. I personally believe, and this may help you, that Christ was, is and always will be for Christians, someone we can compare our lives to. I believe Christ's purpose on Earth was to make himself well known, and for all his followers to live by his teachings and every time we do something morally wrong, we can learn to never do it again becasue we have Christ here as a role model. To put it more simply, what I'm saying may be obvious and sound too simple, but i think people look too deeply into Christs teachings. i think we are on earth to work together towards peace and so that eventually we can be even slightly the way Jesus was. If you wanted the literal meaning of Christ, it comes from the Greek word, "Christos" meaning... whatever you want it to mean to you. I hope I helped in some way, I am only 16 years old and have many more years to become more wise. Good Luck Kind Regards, Chris Macheras
Let me start from the end of your post. If Christ means whatever, according to anyone’s taste, wishes, opinions, etc., then we lose the possibility of communication. Each one of us will have an individual and arbitrary ‘religion’ and we become isolated. This is a protestant view, something that I say not to ‘condemn’ protestantism, but in order for you to understand that you may very well think that you are Orthodox, while essentially being not – which is almost natural for someone living in a non-Orthodox society. As Justin Popovic, a modern father of the Orthodox Church said, protestantism is in truth an applied catholicism. In Catholicism the Pope is infallible, in Protestantism each individual is infallible. In both cases, the Church (that is: Love) is useless. Our problem, therefore, is the missing of a Church. The Church is what is missing from your post. This is also the reason why you see Christ as a moral model, while in the Church He is not a model of doing this or that, but a Lover.
This is also the reason why it is very difficult for one to answer to James’ question. If all problems could be solved by reading books, then James or anyone could read the Orthodox Fathers and become wise. Yet, outside of the Church books have no meaning, they are just ‘ways’, ‘interpretations’, ‘opinions’, etc. Then theology becomes a theory, available to anyone to learn, modify, deny, etc.
My personal contribution to this discussion, given the fact that most of those who participate live in non-Orthodox societies, would be the advice of St. Symeon the New Theologian. Don’t read this or that or all the books of the world: just believe that Christ exists, give your life to Him, live for Him, love Him – and if you really want it, He will appear to you and you will have no doubts anymore. The problem is not a formation of a theory, trinitarian, christological, etc. The problem is to see Him as He is – and it is possible, a possibility open to all, provided that they want, that they don’t have any other wishes and ambitions, not only for material things, but even for spiritual. It is just like when someone is in love and he is not able to think of anything else than his lover.
I am sorry I didn't found this thread earlier. I have strong doubts about the historical truth of the figure of Christ; the Vangels have been written some decades afters his death, we don't know exactly by whom, they contain contradictions, surtprising facts, the language is very poor. On the other hand, we have the acts of the ecumenical councils, the seven council of the fist millennium, of these we know almost everytthing, names of partecipants, date, place, we have the signature of the bishops who attended and we know exactly what they said. So this is a certainty, the seven Councils, not the Holy Scripture. I have the deepest mistrust for all these philosophers etc. who speak about Christ, they should look at the councils, they are sure historical truth, Christ is not.
I recomend that one try to make of Jesus a personal acquaintance.
I am coming to learn from the writings of Fr. professor John Romanides (late, of Athens University) that the Scriptures are more or less a "how to" in becoming acquainted with him. It is a matter of spiritual growth. Of course, this presuposes faith, which is an acceptance of the person of an otherwise unknowable God. The degree to which we do not or cannot understand, receive, or embrace what God speake to us through them is a measure of spiritual maturity.
I would recomend reading the Gospels in order, and not progress beyond one's own pace. It is good to see the Gospel book as a compendium of a tetroilogy -- similar to the way Greek plays were written, the first showing the aetiology, or, being a synopsis of what the whole trilogy to follow presents.. This, then is how to read the Gospel According to St. Matthew. Do not concern yourself with the anonymous author. It is anonymous for the same reason that St. John the Forerunner says of himselt that he must decrease, that the Christ may increase. So, the authors of three of the four Gospels remain anonymous. What is important is what the Gospel says. Read St. Matthew without reference to anything else, at first. Most importantly, do not open the book before praying for the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit who inspired its writing.
When you feel comfortable that you have the basic outline of what the Gospel of St. Matthew says, you will be ready to begin the trilogy, at St. Mark. It stats you at the stage of "body." From there you progess up.
Let God lead you. He will bring you to himself filling you with faith to receive him. None of this is any where near what rational so-called scientific humanity can grasp, but that is a modern definition of what "the dark" is, spoken of at the outset of the rather advanced Gospel of St. John.
Giovanni, maybe you are a little confused. If the Ecumenical Councils are indeed what you say, then we should follow their own example of following the Bible, which the Councils also formed as we have it today. We start from the Fathers to interpret the Bible, but in any case, no text (scriptural or not) is sufficient outside of our personal relationship with the Christ and the whole Trinity.
Differences in the authors of the Bible imply this personal relationship, which can not be but different, because each of us is different and forms a unique relationship with God. The Bible (or any text) is not to define rules and principles, but to help us meet with Him. Our faith is not philological, it is living and personal.