Sometimes terms are used interchangeably in philosophy and theology but have different meanings.  The gradation can be very subtle.  This is particularly true when we deal with the Second Person of the Holy Trinity. Christianity always regarded itself as a monotheistic religion.  If this was the case, then how did Jesus fit into Christian monotheism? If only God can save, and Jesus saved us, then He must have been somehow God.  Or was he?  This was debated for centuries and was finally settled by the First Ecumenical Council in 325 A.D which declared Jesus as the Second Person of what would eventually be known as the Trinity.  He was the Logos, the Word of God, as described in the Gospel of John.   Some scholars have argued there were antecedents to the Logos in Greek philosophical and Jewish religious thought.


The term demiurge was used in the Timaeus, a Socratic dialogue.  It was a Platonic concept. Greek philosophy concluded God was not capable of movement.   If God was perfect, he could not move since movement implies bettering one’s position.  If God desired to move, and did move, he of necessity must have been in an inferior position and therefore moved to a superior position. This presented a logical problem. Since movement was impossible for God, how could God have created the world? If it didn’t exist before, then why would He create it? What could impel him to create the world since he was already in a perfect position? Platonic philosophy solved this conundrum with the concept of the Demiurge.  This was a lower “god” who was not all-knowing and all-powerful.  The Demiurge became synonymous with the “Creator”.

It is precisely here Christians must be careful as the Demiurge sounds very much like the Logos.   Monotheists regard God as the Creator of the Universe.  In the Book of Genesis God created the Universe ex nihilo by speaking it into existence.  In Christian parlance, the Word of the Father, or Logos was the agent of creation.  Christians identified Jesus as the Logos based on the Gospel of John.  The Demiurge of philosophy was less savory.  The Gnostics, an early Christian heresy, taught the material world was inferior to the spiritual world, if not downright evil.  Therefore, they conceived of the Demiurge as being a malevolent being, who created the material world to enslave our souls.

The Second Century heretic Marcion rejected the Old Testament and regarded the Demiurge as being evil.  In Marcion’s theology, the “God of the Old Testament” was an evil slave master, who held mankind accountable for its sins without any kind of mercy. The Arians, a powerful Christian heresy of the 4th Century, regarded the Word as being less than God.  The Word was not preexistent in their theology.  Their slogan was “there was a time when He was not.”   Orthodox Christians looked at this Arian dogma as being uncomfortably  close to that of the Demiurge.  The First Ecumenical Council declared Arianism to be heretical in an attempt to bring peace to the Roman Empire.  Sadly, this did not happen easily.


The logos is a Greek philosophical concept borrowed by early Christians.  It means “word, or reason”.  The Logos was the bridge between the Platonic Forms (ultimate reality) and the world we experience, which is only a shadow of the forms.  Christian theologians reimagined the Logos as the Creator and identified Jesus as the Logos portrayed in the famous hymn in Chapter One of the Gospel of John. Origen imagined the Logos as the mediator between the Creator and the Created.  It is the Logos, or the Second Person of the Trinity that provides Creation and Redemption.


We are all aware of the great cathedral in Constantinople called Hagia Sophia, or the Church of the Holy Wisdom.  In later Jewish thought, Wisdom was personified.  In the Book of Proverbs Wisdom is shown to be with God when He creates the Universe.  Christians naturally equated Wisdom to the Second Person of the Holy Trinity.  In some quarters, Sophia or Wisdom, became the feminine aspect of God.  This too has been rejected by scholars as heretical.  Scholars who do not believe the Evangelist John borrowed Greek philosophical ideas point to Wisdom as proof the idea of the Logos had existed in Jewish thought.  Under this line of thinking, John the Theologian did not need to use Greek philosophy to explain the Logos.  This could be done using Jewish religious tradition such as the Book of Psalms and Sirach.