SPECIAL TOPIC: ADOPTIONISM (early heresy)

This was one of the early views of Jesus' relation to Deity as fully God yet fully man (cf. 1 John 4:1-3). It basically asserted that Jesus was a normal human in every way and was "adopted," "begotten" 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), [1] adopted Him as His "son" (cf. Rom. 1:4; Phil. 2:9) or [2] "begotten," cf. Ps. 2:7, quoted in Heb. 1:5; 5:5, as referring to Jesus. This was an early church and eighth century heresy. Instead of God becoming a man (the Incarnation), the heresy reverses this and now man becomes God!  It denies the pre-existence of Jesus (cf. John 1:1-2; 8:56-59; 16:28; 17:5; 2 Cor. 8:9; Phil. 2:6-7; Col. 1:17; Heb. 1:3; 10:5-8).

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.