Perfection of Christ

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The perfection of Christ is a principle in Christology which asserts that Christ's human attributes exemplified perfection in every possible sense. Another perspective characterizes Christ's perfection as purely spiritual and moral, while his humanistic traits are subject to flaw, potential, and improvement as part of the current human condition.

Apostle Paul's perspective on Christ as the "perfect man" considered him the "second Adam" who brought forth life, while Adam left a legacy of sin, e.g. in 1Corinthians 15:22 and Romans 5:12 [1]

In the 2nd century, Saint Irenaeus of Lyons based his concept of the perfection of Christ on the Gospel of John (as well as the other Synoptic Gospels) rather than on the Pauline Epistles. For Irenaeus the perfection of Christ originates from his being "The Word", i.e. the Logos which pre-existed as Christ in perfect form, untouched by sin: because he was the first, he could achieve perfection.[2]

In the 3rd century, Tertullian emphasized the perfection of Christ as a key consequence of the Incarnation of the Logos in Christ. In Tertullian's view to suggest that anything could be added to improve Christ would be to deny the Gospels.[3]

In the Middle Ages a key focus of Christological studies on the knowledge of Christ was his perfection as in John 1:14 which states "full of grace and truth".[4] In the 13th century, the perfection of Christ was subject to detailed theological analysis by Saint Thomas Aquinas in his Summa Theologiae.[5][6][7]

John Calvin considered the perfection of Christ as a source of grace which covered the blemishes of sin in others.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The nature and destiny of man: a Christian interpretation by Reinhold Niebuhr, Robin W. Lovin 1996 ISBN 0-664-25709-7 pp 76-77
  2. ^ Irenaeus of Lyons by Eric Francis Osborn 2001 ISBN 0-521-80006-4 pp. 104-106
  3. ^ Tertullian, First Theologian of the West by Eric Osborn 2003 ISBN 0-521-52495-4 pp. 44-45
  4. ^ The knowledge of Christ by Raymond Moloney S.J. 2000 ISBN 0-8264-5130-6 page 53
  5. ^ Summa Theologica, Volume 4 (Part III, First Section) by St Thomas Aquinas 2007 ISBN 1-60206-560-8 pp. 2060-2062
  6. ^ Thomas Aquinas: theologian of the Christian life by Nicholas M. Healy 2003 ISBN 0-7546-1472-7 pages 98-101
  7. ^ Christology: Biblical And Historical by Mini S. Johnson, 2005 ISBN 81-8324-007-0 pp. 76-79
  8. ^ Institutes of the Christian religion, Volume 2 by Jean Calvin 1816 Published by Philip Nicklin, page 296

Further reading[edit]