by Stan Coffey

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Colossians: The Pre-eminence Of Christ (14 Of 32)
Through the Bible Survey
Dr. Stan Coffey
August 25, 1991

BACKGROUND: The letter of Colossians is polemic. It was written to combat error against which Paul warned and later became known as Gnosticism. In addition to the Gnostic teachings, Jewish ideas were being entertained in the church at Colosse. Paul's answer to this subtle mixture of error was the supremacy and preeminence of Jesus Christ.

THE NATURE OF GNOSTICISM: The Gnostic heresy was a philosophy based on a notion that matter is evil. They assume that since God is good and evil exists that a good God could not have created evil matter. Therefore, between God and matter they placed a series of emanations,-,spirits, and angels. The Gnostics idea-was that one of those spirits came from God and then there was a progression downward away from God until there was a spirit far enough away from God to have the power to create evil matter and yet not contaminate God. The Gnostics, confronted with the person of Christ, placed Christ either at the bottom of the list of spirits or somewhere in the center. Christ was interpreted in the light of their pagan philosophy, this led some to deny the humanity of Jesus but others took an opposite -view maintaining -that whereas Christ was an ordinary man until His baptism, at that time the eternal Christ came upon Him and remained with Him until just prior to His death on the cross. The Gnostics view that matter was essentially evil caused them to take divergent views of ethical problems. Some argued that then. Body was matter therefore it was evil and should be subdued and the result was asceticism. These were known as the Essenes and the Stoics. On the other extreme other Gnostics took the view that the only way to overcome sensuality was to indulge bodily cravings to the full and that what was done in the body did not effect what was done in the spirit. The Epicureans were examples of that view.


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