1. John 1:14 (ESV)
  2. Application

Some heresies regarding the incarnation

John 1:14 (ESV)

14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

The mystery of the incarnation has prompted many people to find a way of explaining it, which has resulted in several heresies.

A heresy is a clear biblical error that denies the truth of the Bible and is taught to others. Below is a brief explanation of some of the different heresies that were taught in the early history of the church:

  • Docetism – a heresy that denied the full humanity of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ only appeared to have a human body like ours and he only appeared to die on the cross.

  • Apollinarianism – a heresy that taught that Jesus’ two natures, human and divine, could not co-exist in the same person. Even though Jesus was a man, apparently he did not have a human mind, the mind of Christ was solely divine

  • Nestorianism – a heresy that taught that Jesus Christ exists as two persons sharing one body. His divine and human natures are completely distinct and separate. This idea is not scriptural, however, and goes against the orthodox Christian doctrine of the hypostatic union, which states that Christ is fully God and fully man in one indivisible person.

  • Eutychianism – a heresy that taught that Christ’s divine nature was so intermixed with His human nature that He was, in fact, not fully human and not fully divine. The human nature of Christ was absorbed into His divine nature in a way that both natures were changed to some degree, which resulted in a third nature being formed.

  • Arianism – a heresy that denied the full deity of Jesus Christ. According to Arianism, Jesus was a created being and he was not fully divine. This heresy continues to be taught by modern-day Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Many of the heresies listed above were refuted in the ecumenical creeds (Apostles’ Creed, Nicene Creed, Athanasian Creed). These creeds are statements of essential Christian beliefs written in the early centuries of the Christian church to state the Bible’s teaching over against false teaching about God.