Lost Christianities: Separationists

So far we have learned that early Christians believed many things about Jesus. The adoptionists believed that Jesus was a full flesh-and-blood human. The docetists believed that Jesus was completely a divine being, not flesh at all. Today I will introduce the separationist Christology. This group believed that the man Jesus was completely human and the Christ was completely divine. These were two separate beings.

The idea is that Jesus was a man who at his baptism was combined with the divine Christ. This Christ is what gave Jesus the power to perform miracles and preach. During the crucifixion, the Christ left Jesus alone to die on the cross. This is why, according to separationists, Jesus yells out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me.”

If the separationists won the battle for right belief, today Christians would not believe in the Trinity, they would probably see Jesus as a man who was worthy and that is why he was resurrected but he wasn’t divine. They would probably worship the Christ as the provider of secret knowledge. Since the Gnostics (gnosis is the Greek word for knowledge) were separationists, Christians would probably be reading the Gospel of Thomas, probably the Gospel of Peter (although it had some views that were docetic, some believe that it included separationists teachings. A variation of Jesus’ lament in the Gospel of Peter has Jesus saying on the cross, “My power, O power, why have you left me.” which looks like a very separationist quote. Christians would also have the Gospel of Philip which adds an interesting follow up to the lament.

“My God, my God, why O Lord have you forsaken me?” For it was on the cross that he said these words, for it was there that he was divided.”

I will not address Gnosticism in this blog because I feel it is a subject the deserves its own blog or perhaps a series of blogs. The purpose of today’s blog is to show yet another way early Christians saw Jesus.

What we have seen in this series so far is that early Christians didn’t quite know how to interpret the readings they had. They seemed to have created their theology to match what they personally saw as possible. Some thought Jesus was clearly a man and therefore couldn’t be god. Others thought that if he was god, he couldn’t be a man too. Today we saw that the separationists thought that the only way the story made sense was that Jesus was possessed by the Christ and when the shit hit the fan, the Christ left Jesus alone to suffer. Kind of like the exorcist, but a good spirit possession.

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I don’t know why they would like this interpretation because it makes the Christ look like a big asshole. Of course the belief that won was the idea that Jesus is both man and divine. I can not stress enough that I find it difficult for anyone to have faith in a religion that clearly was the invention of men.

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