What a proof it is of the impression which Christ’s teaching created that Greek philosophers managed to identify him with the Logos! For the assertion that the incarnation of the Logos had taken place in an historical personage there had been no preparation. No philosophising Jew had ever thought of identifying the Messiah with the Logos; no Philo, for instance, ever entertained the idea of such an equation! It gave a metaphysical significance to an historical fact; it drew into the domain of cosmology and religious philosophy a person who had appeared in time and space; but by so distinguishing one person it raised all history to the plane of the cosmical movement.
The identification of the Logos with Christ was the determining factor in the fusion of Greek philosophy with the apostolic inheritance and led the more thoughtful Greeks to adopt the latter. Most of us regard this identification as inadmissible, because the way in which we conceive the world and ethics does not point to the existence of any logos at all. But a man must be blind not to see that for that age the appropriate formula for uniting the Christian religion with Greek thought was the Logos. Nor is it difficult even to-day to attach a valid meaning to the conception. An unmixed blessing it has not been. To a much larger extent than the earlier speculative ideas about Christ it absorbed men’s interest; it withdrew their minds from the simplicity of the Gospel, and increasingly transformed it into a philosophy of religion. The proposition that the Logos had appeared among men had an intoxicating effect, but the enthusiasm and transport which it produced in the soul did not lead with any certainty to the God whom Jesus Christ proclaimed.