SPECIAL TOPIC: ADOPTIONISM (early heresy)

This was one of the early views of Jesus' relation to Deity. It basically asserted that Jesus was a normal human in every way and was adopted in a special sense by God at his baptism (cf. Matt. 3:17; Mark 1:11) or at His resurrection (cf. Rom. 1:4). Jesus lived such an exemplary life that God, at some point (baptism, resurrection), adopted Him as His "son" (cf. Rom. 1:4; Phil. 2:9). This was an early church and eighth century minority view. Instead of God becoming a man (the Incarnation), the heresy reverses this and now man becomes God!

It is difficult to verbalize how Jesus, God the Son, pre-existent Deity, was rewarded or extolled for an exemplary life. If He was already God, how could He be rewarded? If He had pre-existent divine glory (i.e., John 1:1-2; Phil. 2:6) how could He be honored more? Although it is hard for us to comprehend, the Father somehow honored Jesus in a special sense for His perfect fulfillment of the Father's will.