So I’ve finally came to embrace Jesus Christ. I don’t know if you would technically call be a Christian, since I don’t quite accept the resurrection of Christ yet. But I see Christ primarily as a moral teacher, and as someone sent by God to set aside the old law and bring in a new, universal morality, one suitable for the whole of creation, not just the inhabitants of the Ancient Middle East.
I’m not entirely sure if I accept the trinity, it seems to me that the concepts of the godhead throughout the gospels are different. In the synoptic gospels, Jesus is the Son of Man, who, with regard to Daniel 7:9’s plural thrones, is likely a figure on a similar level to, though separate from Yahweh, whilst in the prologue of the gospel of John, Jesus is the word of God (who was God) made flesh, a clear statement that Jesus ‘is’ God.
All in all, I accept Jesus due to the the fact that Christ set aside OT law more than anything else.
I am sure it has been a journey for you, but I am interested in how you can about to your current understanding? I know you are far more educated, intelligent and knowledgeable then I am, I am curious about what interpretation you have of certain verses? Or if you just don’t know the Gospels as well as you know the OT yet?
I don’t exactly accept it either (other than I accept it to not cause division as it is mostly semantics), as it is not in the scriptures anywhere…though the concepts that make up the definition are through out. Like all analogies (which is what I believe the trinity is) Like @Mervin_Bitikofer said “Analogies were made to be useful until they break. We recognize from the outset that they won’t be perfect.”
Much like in your materialism is dead video, how can something be still and motionless at the same time? Apparently, it can according to quantum physics. How can Jesus be fully God and fully man, be God, yet not be God? A quandary that can’t seem to wrap our heads around, but the trinity analogy does it’s best to explain it.
I think you accept that Jesus is God right?
"When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.”
21 The Pharisees and the teachers of the law began thinking to themselves, “Who is this fellow who speaks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?”
22 Jesus knew what they were thinking and asked, “Why are you thinking these things in your hearts? 23 Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? 24 But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the paralyzed man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.”"
Only God can forgive sins. Jesus is telling them that He is God. First He forgives sins of man, only a judge can pardon the accused. Then reads the minds of men, only God knows the hearts of men. Then He heals a man physically, God loves and wants to restore and heal, but this is probably the most and least ‘godly’ thing He did. I only say least, because man can heal sometimes, though it is God healing through them, it could appear that man is healing. Most because God is love and restoration and healing.
I don’t think Jesus taught any morals at face value. Luke 6:45 “A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart”. “Each tree is recognized by it’s fruit”. Morals are a fruit, that comes from the tree of God.
Luke 11:42 “Woe to you Pharisees, Because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue, and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone”
When you practice justice and the love of God, you will still give 10%. But it isn’t giving the 10% that is saving you, faith saves you, giving 10% is a fruit of God coming out of your faith in God.
Even Jesus said in John 5:19 "The Son can do nothing by himself, He can only do what He sees His Father doing, because whatever the Father does, the Son also does.
Even Jesus could not live a moral life or live a life justified by the law, by trying to uphold the law. Jesus never tried to uphold the law, rather Jesus lived a life to honor the Father, and a fruit of that, was that He did uphold the law, the intent of the law.
John 5:30 “…for I seek not to please myself but Him who sent me”
Jesus wasn’t a teacher of good morals, He was a teacher of how to live life abundantly and therefore morally (as a result, not a goal), which can only be done through God, not by trying to live morally.
Jesus’ intent was never to set aside the old law, the old law was pointing to Jesus.
Luke 24:27 "He explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning Himself"
Jesus doesn’t want you to try and live a moral life, or set a universal morality. He wants you to acknowledge the all good things come from the Father, and if we live in the Father, good morals will come out.
The old law was not set aside in any way, it still stands. You could not enter into the presence of God in the temple if you violated those laws. Which still holds true, Jesus doesn’t invalidate those laws. The laws are fulfilled in that Jesus now allows us to enter the presence of God through Him.
To enter His presence you needed 3 things.
You had to be an Israelite (more specifically Levite, high priest),
You had to be pure to enter into His presence, so you can either follow the Levitical laws for purification, or, allow the purity of Jesus to shroud you so you may enter.
You had to be without sin (which no one could), or have sin atoned for.
Jesus gives us purity and atonement and son-ship, through His life on earth and death on the cross. The old laws still apply (though are extremely difficult to follow in this society), but anytime you sin, you are made aware that you need atonement, and one came to atone for us, why not trust in Him as opposed to animal sacrifices? Why follow laws for purity when we are made pure through His work on the cross?
That, and you had to be an Israelite, which I am not, so I would have to go through circumcision and other things aliens did back then to become an Israelite. These were not laws for living or getting to heaven, they were laws for the Israelites to have a covenant relation with God and be able to be in His presence and be blessed by Him, which would in turn (in theory) show the world of the great God and cause all the world to want to become Israelites and worship their God.
The wold was supposed to be blessed through the Israelites, and it finally was, when Jesus was able to bless the world and show us His God (like the other Israelites failed to do), so that we can see and know the One true God and have faith in the Father.
Jesus didn’t set aside the OT laws, He fulfilled them and amplified them, or the meaning or original intent for them being said/known.
It’s like a librarians law to be quiet. One could be quiet and the librarian would not be angry or yell. But the thing is, the librarian yelled often… because people kept making noise. Then one day, you were given the ability to hear others thoughts. You hear things like “I can’t study, this noise is so distracting” “If I fail this test, I am going to get kicked out of my house” ect. It was you then realizing that the librarian wanted you to be quiet, not for quiets sake, but for the librarians love for the other students, who needed to be able to focus. So now with more knowledge and awareness of others, you were now able to be quiet, because you realized how important it was to be quiet. You were no longer trying to be quiet to follow a law or make a librarian not yell, you were not making noise out of love for others. This happened to fulfill that law, and make the librarian not yell, but that was no longer your intent, it was a reality.
This ability to hear others thoughts, is Jesus, who gave us the ability to understand the why the laws were written. Not to please a librarian, but when the librarian wasn’t yelling, one could assume they were pleased, and when they were yelling, knew they were not pleased. But were they not pleased at you? Or not pleased because of the result of what you were doing was harming others?
When we sin, is God angry or not pleased with us? He knows what frail beings we are, He knows how we need Him to live an abundant life for us and other to be blessed through that abundant life. If He is not pleased, He is not pleased because of how much we are screwing up all the rest of the people He loves. So He gave us a law, to help others know Him, to help them out. We failed to follow it, so He then lovingly gave us His Son, to reveal to us awareness of others, and that the law was given not for us or for laws sake or to please Him, but to not harm others. If others lives can only be lived most abundantly by knowing Him, when we don’t shine His light to them, we are harming them, but turning them away from Him or perverting or covering His light. Once we see others through Jesus, we now see that the law is not necessary to have us help others, but we now want to help others (which manifests itself as us following the law or being moral).
For a time, it was just for Israelites for the world to be blessed through and know God through, and they were to be a light for the world. But they failed, and now Jesus is the light for the world. We are to allow His light and truth to be seen in us, so the world will know the One True God, and in turn be blessed through having a relationship with their Creator.
Mat 5:18 “For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.”
The truth of the law exist outside the inscription of it. I don’t think Jesus was literally saying that the words of the law would stand, rather the intent of the law, the reasoning or foundation of the law will pass. The librarian will always need quiet, this will never change. But the Israeilites who once tried to be quiet under the old covenant, is now upgraded to an understanding of the law, and a following of the intent of the law, through loving others, not following the law.
What about Luke 18:33 “and kill Him. On the third day he will rise again” Those are red letters.
I don’t think His resurrection was ‘required’ for our atonement…His perfect life and death were needed. And because of who Jesus is, death couldn’t hold Him, and He was resurrected.
But I don’t find that a necessary act for our salvation, it is what had to happen though. Like if you knock something off of a cliff, and that thing has to be no longer on the cliff to receive benefits, once off the cliff, you ‘win’. But that object is going to fall regardless of you winning or not. God/Jesus is life, Jesus can’t stay dead, it took a few thousand years and all the powers of darkness to culminate all of its powers to hold Jesus in the grave for 3 days (well on the 3rd day He rose, so He was only ‘dead’ for probably 36ish hours (not that that is important)).
I don’t see the death of Jesus as an obstacle for God to overcome. Jesus is life, and was coming back to life, the miracle was in the few thousand years of orchestration of God for the moment to come when Jesus could say “It is finished!” and the love of God could be understood by all man so that He may be forever praised!
But did Jesus’ heart stop, did His fleshly brain activity cease? I think so, every medic would admit to that. Did His heart pump again? No one knows, maybe glorified bodies have no heart anymore or no circular or muscular system? Maybe the power of God flows through our earthly bodies and we don’t need concepts of flesh to give us life anymore? Is that a resurrection like Lazarus, who had his heart start beating again and brain start working…who eventually died in the flesh again. With Jesus’ resurrection, the body He resurrected in will never die, so in a way, His resurrection was not like Lazarus, but better.
But it was clear that He died, and He said He would rise again, and did. As to how technical you want to get with the term resurrection is all semantics as far as I am concerned. His flesh did die, His spirit experienced/felt death, and His spirit is now alive and it was in His body.
Note I said His spirit experienced/felt death, I did not say “His spirit died”. I don’t believe it died, or was ever separated from God (which is what death of the spirit is), though it did experience separation. Like a child who looks around and can’t find their parents and feels lost, the parent is still there, and when sees the panic in the child’s face, makes their presence known and the child feels safe again. But for those slight moment, that child felt completely lost and scared (I remember this happening as a kid, and saw that fear in my own child’s face when they feel lost/abandoned).
I believe this is the wrath of God Jesus felt or took upon Himself for us, He felt abandoned and forsaken, though He never was.
God bless you on your journey to seek Him, and I am sure He has, and will continue to reveal Himself to you as you earnestly seek Him. I hope that helps you understand the Jesus that I know a bit better.
This statement of belief is congruent with my interpretation of Teilhard’s concept of the universal Christ as the Omega Point toward which all the Universe is pointing. This explains how Jesus, whom his disciples knew as beginning his life in Mary’s womb, could still claim: “Before Abraham was, I AM.” IMHO it is the smoothest way to reconcile modern science with a Christian Faith (admittedly a much modified Faith). If you believe, as I do, that other conscious life forms have evolved elsewhere in the universe, and, like humankind, are in need of perfecting, Christ can fill that role in the manner as needed–perhaps as a fellow being but not necessarily undergoing suffering and death.
In the 20th century,Alfred North Whitehead and John Cobb promoted this concept (sort of) under the heading of Process Theology. The nearby Claremont School of Theology is a renowned center for this school of thought, and their library is a great source of information on this subject.
I know contradict myself too much, sorry. It’s for lack of knowing the right terms or being able to explain such simple, yet complex concepts.
Complex in that no one can explain them. Simple in that we can trust God in them and don’t have to be able to explain them.
I do accept the trinity like I accept quantum physics, and how some can be moving and stationary at the same time, or that something doesn’t exist until it is observed/measured.
I can’t comprehend either the trinity or quantum physics, but I accept what scientists say and I also what the Bible says. Though the Bible does mention many claims of the “trinity” concept that man came up with, but it doesn’t say that word “trinity” in it.
I guess I am saying I would not debate against anyone who doesn’t believe it, nor would I against someone who believes in it.
I guess we disagree there. I think the heart of the Christian faith is faith in our Creator, His goodness, love, mercy, and justice. There is nothing that contradicts this.
In depth or in doctrine, we see the Father’s love manifested/demonstrated in His Son Jesus, who came to this world for us, to leave His Spirit to help us honor and glorify Him.
But a Christian is a follower/disciple of Christ. Christ taught us to love the Lord our God with our hearts, minds, and soul. And to love others as ourselves/put others needs above our own, and in that, we are loving God, if we acknowledge God is the one who blesses us so that we can bless others. There is nothing that contradicts this.
That was Christ’s central theme.
Though He also spoke doctrine that said He, the Father, and the Spirit are one… and somehow, also not, as the Son will sit at a different location than the Father…kind of like quantum things, that appers to contradict.
I agree with Paul. If Christ stayed dead, than He wasn’t life, He wasn’t God/Christ.
I just don’t think there was anything done by the resurrection itself that saved us.
In that, I believe it was both necessary and unecessary. And were back to contradictory quantum levels and opposing/opposite concepts impossible to comprehend for humans, yet it fully happens and we can have faith in.
The level of mathematics used by Redford and others who hope to develop a TOE (theory of everything) is far above my capabilities–to the extent that I suspect they could be using it to fool yokels like me with a shell game. Of course Teilhard’s theological description of the Omega Point left many philosophers thinking it was too ‘fuzzy’ to be useful. What I find useful is his basic framework that sees the Universe progressing (evolving) materialistically through the Cosmosphere; next evolving biologically through the Biosphere; and just recently, through conscious thought and shared ideas, through the Noosphere. This is “loose” enough so that I can attach my own ideas and personal experiences, lived through a Christian Faith, to create a satisfying World View.
With a better grounding in mathematics, I can see why you might find the Tipler/Redford approach more a appealing way to view the Omega Point.
My point was not of the forgiveness from the lambs. There are verses that say “I require mercy not sacrifice”, and other verses that say “Do not bring any more meaningless offerings; I consider your incense detestable!” pointing that it was more the heart in the matter and not the physical object.
However, my point was in that it was the blood of the animal sprinkled that made them clean. If that were transferred to Jesus, it would be His blood that made us clean. There are many verses that speak on this “Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. “ (Romans 5:9)” is one of them.
My point saying that the blood of Christ, the life of Christ is where our atonement comes from.
I agree with you and Paul on that point. Again, Christ wouldn’t be God if death could hold Him, but death couldn’t. I just don’t think we received justification through the resurrection.
We are justified through faith in Christ and the Grace, mercy of God. The Trinity is a formal doctrine that provides a theological articulation of the Gospel teachings that we are given the revelation of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. I think this is difficult to comprehend unless we consider that the essence of God is a simple Oneness - thus there is no distinction in the essence of God, as we human beings understand the term, in the Godhead.
I still maintain that the resurrection is important for our salvation and is not just some little detail. Jesus asked, "Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?”
And he said that he goes to prepare a place for us. The second coming is important for our salvation. He can’t do that if he’s dead.
And between Good Friday and Easter, he descended into hell and preached to the spirits in prison. Without the resurrection how could he offer salvation to them?
I agree with you completely. I also agree with Paul, it is mostly semantics, but I do see a distinction.
Like getting a degree, that takes 4 years of effort, than a “final test” and you get a piece of paper. I see Jesus’ life as 33 years of effort, and the crucifixion as the final test and the resurrection as the piece of paper.
I am not saying the resurrection didn’t happen, or that it didn’t need to happen, just that it was going to happen, there was no effort involved nor miracle that needed to occur, as much as us getting a piece of paper just happens, there is no effort in receiving it, the effort is in the years prior to it.
I don’t think we received any justification or anything from the resurrection. But it had to happen, as if He didn’t rise, then death defeated Him.
The same way He offered salvation to the thief next to Him, before the resurrection.
Romans 3 :25-26 For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, 26 for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time.
And the same way all are saved through His sacrifice, not resurrection.
The reason blood was important, is because blood was the life. So it wasn’t even the death of Jesus, rather the life of Jesus that we are saved. The blood is the completion or end of His life.
God had a mission right? To save us, through showing us how to live, through Jesus. Jesus came to earth, to show us the way, the truth and the life and how to live life most abundantly. And if He died and humanity failed to learn how to live, that mission failed…That is how the powers of darkness saw it. Like Satan testing God in Job, Jesus was much the same. Satan thought that Jesus’ life was here to show us the way, and if we all turned towards God, Jesus was successful, and if not, He failed. Not only did the whole world not turn to Jesus (even His closest disciples didn’t understand until after He died), but we actually played a key role in seeing He was killed. God obviously knows better and is one(infinity) step(s) ahead of Satan. Luke 22:53 “but this is your hour, and the power of darkness.” Satan was trying to end the life of Jesus as a failure, so he would win. Jesus knew this, and all of creation has been orchestrated to this point so that they could attempt to accuse God of failure. All the powers of darkness were ganging up on Jesus at this point, and this was required to kill Jesus. That was the miracle, and it took thousands of years to finally reach this point, were Satan would think he would be successful at accusing God of failure.
Little did he know, that Jesus needed to die, and would turn that perceived defeat into victory. When Jesus died, He showed the world that He was obedient to God’s will throughout His life, and even to death. Every battle of the flesh vs. the spirit, was won during Jesus’ life. Jesus defeated death and the powers of darkness when He died.
The resurrection was just something was going to happen, like if you drop a ball off a building, it will fall. Jesus is life, He can’t stay dead, death can’t defeat Him. The resurrection validated everything He said He was and did, but we don’t get salvation through the resurrection itself.
But again, semantics, we both and Paul agree that Jesus had to have been and was resurrected.
But even that is kind of an unknown/ambiguous term. No-one understands the resurrection and no one will until the second coming. What happens to those who were cremated? Does that dust re-assemble into their old body? What about those born without an arm? What age is “chosen” to be representative of a glorified body? How do we know a glorified body isn’t a “new” one and not the old one “patched up”? Do we have hearts, blood ect? I do believe Jesus came back in a physical body that looked like His, since it had holes in his hands and side ect. Did he still have scars from the whipping? Was this a one time special resurrection were He kept only the holes but everything else was back to “normal”? We don’t know.
I think the important thing to get is:
1.From His life, that He lived to show us how to live and put the spirit first and not the flesh. This is to say that we are to love God with all our being and love others (put their needs above ours).
2. That death could not hold Him, so though He died, He is no longer dead. A simple term for that used is resurrection, but the important take away is that He is not dead, He lives! Not what level of physical representation He does or doesn’t have. When Paul was putting emphasis on the physical resurrection, it was to address those who believed His spirit was floating around like the other instances of dead people that they knew it occurred to. And this wasn’t like that, it was different/special.
That’s OK. Maybe you can discuss.
Like Pete Enns said, God desires our trust more than our correct beliefs. There’s a tyranny of certainty that I think turns us off from learning calmly. What does God care, anyway, if we try to force ourselves to believe against our better reasoning? He accepts us for where we are.