Was Jesus an Intervention

(Marvin Adams) #1

from a predeterministic viewpoint you could say God knew all what will happen right from the beginning so he would not need to intervene which some people use to point out the free will does not exist as to the outcome being already known to God. Does not mean that God would not need to interact / intervene with reality any further as the correction of a course would well be part of the planned / known outcome. Like sending the probe to mars might include in the plan to fire the booster rockets at some point. Was Jesus an intervention

My ID Challenge
(Roger A. Sawtelle) #2


Thank you for your comment and question.

As I see it we have three choices tied to three points of view.

  1. Everything is determined by God or Nature so there is NO need for intervention. This is monistic determinism.

  2. God sets the stage at Creation but needs to intervene on occasion to keep things on track. This is the two tier, dualistic view dominant today.

  3. God is deeply involved in every step making and implementing God’s plan, but does not intervene to make it work. This is the triune world that I advocate where God works within the framework of time, space, matter/energy, and physical, moral, and spiritual laws that God created.

The sending of Jesus Christ is not intervention in this sense, because it is part of God’s plan of salvation that existed from the Beginning. As depicted in bother the OT and NT Jesus was a part of God’s Creation, Salvation, and Kingdom plan from the Beginning.

Evidence of how God works. Let us look at the story of David. First the people Israel ask Samuel, who is their Leader or Judge to ask YHWH for a king. Samuel points to the fact that YHWH is their King, so they do not need a human king, but they persist. YHWH finally tells Samuel that YHWH will give the people a king, but the people will suffer under his rule.

YHWH chooses Saul as the king. Saul has some success united the 12 tribes and holding off the Philistines, but he also makes mistakes and loses favor with YHWH. YHWH chooses David as the successor to Saul, but this does not happen overnight, but as the result of long bloody struggle.

After David became king over all of Israel things seem to be settled. YHWH tells David through Nathen that his family will rule God’s Peale forever. Then David became involved with Bathsheba and ordered her husband killed. Then Nathen told David that he and his family would lose their Kingdom.

David repented and God mitigated the sentence. David’s descendants would rule over God’s people forever, but his grandson would lose most of his empire. Solomon succeeded David, but he was judged because he worshiped false gods, and his son, Reoboam lost the ten tribes, because he foolishly demanded higher taxes from them.

This is an interesting high stakes tale of the rise and fall of David’s Kingship where YHWH does play a role, but I do not see where YHWH intervenes to make things happen. He could have stopped David from getting involved with Bathsheba, but YHWH did not.

God works in and through people, but God is not dependent on them. I expect that God has a large number of alternative plans, so God does not need one or more to work out. God wants us all to honor and serve Jesus, but God does not need for us to honor and serve Jesus.

God is going to bring time to an end by establishing God’s Kingdom at the time and conditions of God’s choosing. We will be judged by our Love for God, and others, not by our theology. We need to understand that God is Love and we fail to live in God’s Kingdom when we fail to respect and care for others as people like D. J. Trump do.

(George Brooks) #3


While I would pause to say that your [1] is rather a grammar issue (in a universe where God determines everything, it would not be wrong to say the entire Universe is an intervention), let’s proceed directly to [3]:

you think there is an option where God is involved in every step - - but he RESTRAINS himself from making it work. Wha? This doesn’t strike you as a bit contrived?

The Gnostic Christians also made up all sorts of rules about what God did … and what he left to a demi-god.

We might as well be talking about Zeus vs. Mars… there’s no evidence for any of these distinctions.

(Marvin Adams) #4

this is an interesting thread here but as usual I think I was disruptive to the thread so we would need to filter this out into it’s own thread before being accused of Grandstanding as it clearly goes beyond the original question. Can someone fiddle it out?

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #5


As a Unitarian I do not expect you to understand the logic behind the Trinity, but I do suggest you study this topic, because it is useful to understand what I and other Christians are saying.

What it indicates is that even God works in different ways it is One God, not different goods Who is at work. God does not only work from the top down, but from the bottom up and sideways.

We are not saved because we are created in God’s Image and obey God’s Law. We are saved because being created in God’s Image we have the ability to repent from our sinful ways, and have faith in Jesus Christ,and receive the Holy Spirit of Love into our lives. All three of these movements are separate, but they are also interrelated and necessary for the divine process to be complete.

God the Father/Creator, with the Son/Logos, and Spirit/Love created the universe and gave it form and purpose. God the Spirit/Love alone with God the Creator and God the Logos maintains, sustains, and guides the universe as it moved forward in time. God the Logos along with the Creator, and the Spirit is the Telos or End meaning and Purpose of the universe, which of course includes all of humanity.

These distinctions are much more than grammar. God tells us to love, but God does not intervene to compel us to love. That is up to us, do we are responsible for what we do and who we are.

Theoretically it would seem that God could force humans to love God and others, but is forced love really love. It seems to me that God created a universe that does reflect Who God is, in that we cannot force people to be good. Maybe you disagree.

God in God’s Wisdom rules over God’s universe in a way different from the way human dictators rule their countries.

(George Brooks) #6


One of your more pleasant postings, Roger.

So I’m not going to fuss over it … but just so you know, I don’t equate poetry to theology.

Though lyrical discussions of metaphysics may be the best combination possible.


I think you can click on “Reply as linked topic” and that will do the trick.

(Marvin Adams) #8

thanks to @Christy for sorting it, but that would have only worked in the first place and I was not sure where my comment would lead. It does not look like the comments create threads here as they always appear at the bottom. Interestingly in replying to this thread I was given the option to reply to the new thread or the original one. I left the reply in here but if I would have chosen otherwise, would the reply appear in both threads?

bit puzzled that the edit has shifted the reply from beaglelady to Relates and the whole thread now appears twice in the thread, once under beagle lady. Hope I haven’t broken the internet :slight_smile:

(Marvin Adams) #9

wonderful how you explain this here. We think very much along the same lines I feel but i could not have put it so nicely. It rings true with my understanding of God as a logician who bound reality to the law of selfless love which requires you to voluntarily surrender your self to the service of creation, e.g. the will of God as reflected in the Lords prayer and in the actions of Jesus. Was Jesus an intervention or was the ability of the prophets to foresee his coming a reflection of the logic consequences his law would produce? The execution of God’s will is to me not an intervention of God with reality as to correct the course but the following of the fundamental instruction or law. The things falling of in between are just the consequence of not following the instruction, e.g. following logic is not and intervention of God but an essential necessity.

(Marvin Adams) #10

can you see the whole thread now in reply to your comment?

(Christy Hemphill) #11

I’m not sure exactly what you are referring to about the threads. I moved these responses from the original thread to this new one when you mentioned it on the other thread. They only show up here now. Anytime you want to start a spin-off thread, you can do so with “the reply as linked topic option.” You can’t move a whole string of responses, only a moderator could do that.

Responses are never nested, they always go at the bottom. Which is why it is good to select text and quote someone if you are not replying to the last response, so people know what you are responding to. If you click on reply under any response, your answer will show who you are replying to. If you click reply on the bottom of the page, it won’t show your reply as directed at anyone.

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #12

In my opinion the New Covenant of Jesus Christ is a new covenant and not a reiteration of the old covenant.

Certainly God sends leaders and prophets to guide God’s People, but Jesus is different. Jesus is the final and ultimate revelation of God.

(Marvin Adams) #13

Personally speaking to me the final revelation comes from understanding Jesus so it happens as an intervention in me and in my time.
The law I refer to is not the covenant but the law as summarized by Jesus into two sentences.To you and me Jesus is obvioulsy the ultimate manifestation of God word was Jesus who remained in God for all his material existance on earth thus cannot be surpassed. but then he is the logical and ultimate consequence of the law thus completely following it / completing it. Gods intervention with reality is the law he put it under.

I wish my thoughts would be easier to express

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #14


Marvin, I certainly understand what you are saying and these ideas are not easy to understand or express.

All that I am saying is that the Bible in the form of the beginning of the Gospel According to John says:

John 1:1-3 (NIV2011)
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 He was with God in the beginning.
3 Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made.

This says that God the Father/Creator created the universe and everything ion it through Jesus, the Word/Logos, Thus Reality or Nature is something that is under Jesus Christ or the Law of Love, but Jesus is a part of Nature because Jesus gave it its form.

There is like three levels of Reality, the Divine, the Human/Organic, and the Physical. The Human should be the easiest to understand because we are human, We are physical, mental/rational, and spiritual beings. God is clearly rational and spiritual. God is physical in that God created and ultimately controls the physical. The physical world is clearly physical, but is also rational in that it is governed by rational laws and spiritual in that it has purpose and meaning given to it by the Logos.

The Organic world fills the gap between the Physical and the Human. Scientists tend to think of it as purely physical, which it is not, which is the primary reason that Darwinism is flawed. It is different from the Physical world in that it is alive, dependent on air, li9ght, food, and water, and able to seek out these resources.

This three fold nature of Reality is thus different from the usual dualistic understanding.

Also would say that it reflects what Augustine said after Plato that we can find fulfillment only in God Who Created us in God’s Own Image, even though many seek that fulfillment outside of God.

(Marvin Adams) #15

It is interesting that the “he” is an english translation only found in a few versions and it is usually the more abstract “this” in most other languages. Thus it does not say that Jesus gave nature it’s form. Jesus is implied in the light down to the word being the light of this reality.
Considering that the ultimate cause by the enforcement of logic on the order this cause created it already implies all the effects possible within the cause You would have to say that Jesus was already implied in the word as it turned into flesh in Jesus, but in principle so were we all.

I am quite happy with the material/physical and intellectual/spiritual reality as a dualistic model. The material/physical bodies experience physical forces such as gravity and the spiritual bodies experience emotional forces. The problem of scientific texts is that they describe reality purely based on material descriptors using mathematical language as is allows us to quantify material reality whilst the religious texts describe reality in a poetic language that allows them to convey emotional information as well.
I don’t agree that “scientists” tend to think of it as purely physical as most scientist like myself don’t. What you refer to are materialists, not scientists. Funny you could say materialists just don’t think hard enough for their thoughts to materialise, as if they would realize that this is possible to happen they would have to admit that is is possible for spiritual energy to manifest itself and manipulate the material which of course is according to them all hokus pokus :slight_smile:
The organic world filling the gap between the spiritual and the physical world might be a more adequate description the divine is the harmonic entity combining the lot

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #16


I want commend you for your excellent response! At the risk of offending others, you expressed yourself most clearly and with great sensitivity…

This of course does not mean that I agree with you and we will ,get to that in a moment, but:

  1. There is always room to disagree with other people in the household of God.

  2. Because I may be right does not mean that you are wrong. This I think is the legacy of Western dualism. You’re being right does not mean that I am wrong or vice versa. It is most likely that we are both partly right and partly wrong, but we need to expand the part that is right so we can learn from one another.

  3. Instead I see it being good, better, best. Your view for the most part are acceptable and good, but I think that mine are better, closer to the Truth that co one can fully claim. However we all should not be satisfied with anything more than the full truth, which is why I argue for my understanding.

The dualistic model of Reality is acceptable in that it has served the West well for a millennium or so. My point is that it is very frayed and it is not sacred as many people seem to think. Therefore it needs to be reconsidered, as do all truths based on traditional and even the Bible.

The organic world filling the gap between the spiritual and the physical world might be a more adequate description the divine is the harmonic entity combining the lot

I would not argue with the organic world which includes humanity being, and thus rational, from being the third aspect which makes a triune Reality of the World we liver in, so we are in agreement here. This is the type of positive thinking we need to build on rather than rely worn out tradition, which has served its purpose.

Now I do have a concern with your first statement about Jesus and the Logos. What you seem to be saying is that the Bible indicates that the Logos is impersonal and thus not fully Jesus, the Second Person of the Trinity. I am not in position to talk about the pronoun used in John 1:1.

However John does say that the Logos existed in the Beginning and was with the Father in the Beginning. This means in theological language that the Logos is eternal and is God, so we would have to conclude that either the Logos is the Second person of the Trinity, rather than Jesus, or the Logos and Jesus are the same which is how people understand the verse 14, “The Logos became flesh and lived on earth with us.” Those who have said that Jesus/Logos was not fully God from the Beginning have been rejected by the Church.

Gen 1:27 does say that God created humans in God’s own Image, so you are right in the cause implies the result. Jesus could not be the exact Image of God (Col 1:15) and be the Perfect Human (Heb 4:15) unless all humans were created God’s Image. This is the vital connection that the Bible makes between God the Trinity and the universe that @eddie does not want to recognize.

Thank you for engaging in a true dialogue. Blessings.


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(Roger A. Sawtelle) #18

The fact remains that Humans are created in the Image of God. The Trinity is the Image of God, and therefore it follows that humans are in some sense triune, that is created in God’s Image…

Certainly Eddie does not think that this is impossible.

(Marvin Adams) #19

I guess you can’t imagine how happy I am having found this site and a way to positively debate a better understanding of the logic that is present in God. If we strive for a better understanding of God there should be no way that we offend each other. I got quite fond of Henry and we had a very positive exchange of ideas so I am not sure why he got a ban to 2019.

I am well aware that my understanding of the theology is way off track compared to others an I want to bounce my ideas of others who have far more in depth knowledge on those matters than myself. I am as much as a lay theologian as you can imagine, not having studied the bible in any depth, but when I look at it it makes logical sense to me. I just abandon a number of materialistic presumptions as I do not find them at all fulfilling and sometimes logically incoherent. I had the feeling that you are also on a more “spiritual track” from the undertone of some of your comments. I somehow have no need to see in God an entity that has do do things that are out of the ordinary as it gets more in my way than being helpful. In fact the logical non-material explanations become far more satisfying for me- as in Jesus being resurrected I would not want to be physical as it would not allow him to live in my heart which is more important to me as I believe him to live in us and through us. But then i also have a very abstract understanding of life - as the ability to move matter and energy under the influence of will. So in “thy will be done” God is also alive through our actions if they are in Jesus name, e.g. like he would have done…

To me Jesus is the shadow of God in our limited dimensional perception of reality. He was all God and all human in one go, but had to be limited to the material existence for us to comprehend. To me that means all of him was God but he could not have been all of God as all God does not fit into an all human Jesus. Thus he was for us as far as we can go in becoming God like, e.g.his perfect example for the projection of God into our reality, like Adam would have been, not created through the will of manbut through the will of God
Luckily I do not worry about the rejection of “the church” as here I stand and can’t do otherwise as my consciousness cannot be judged by “the church” That the logos became flesh is to me a far more abstract description as to me the logos is the materialisation of the word of God as Jesus described it as the basis of all the law and the prophets, the rule by which existence becomes possible and stable, e.g. by which energy or matter has to move to maintain existence. Whatever does not follow this word cannot maintain existence.

I understand the explanation of Jesus being the manifestation of the word becoming flesh to be far more powerful in the interpretation that Mary and Joseph allowed Jesus to exist because they obeyed the word, Thus Jesus came alive as well as Jesus was later resurrected / born again in my heart because of his obedience to the word of God. His selfless love showed me how to live in the word and how to return to everlasting life by submitting to the authority of God and become one with him in Christ. This way in Jesus God became accessible to me. If Mary would have claimed that the baby had got inside her by some form of divine spell and Joseph would have accepted to raise that child for being fathered by God it lacks the feeling of reality. If the word of God becoming flesh would only represent the manifestation of life - something that he had done before to create life in the first place - nothing spectacular had happened and the act of immaculate conception in the form of a virgin birth (as you can get nowadays on the NHS here in the UK) would not give me any hope. If however I look at it as immaculate from the point of not being created to satisfy human will but only to come to life because of the commandment to love thy neighbour like thyself put in action be Mary. The scenario of her being raped by a roman soldier in order to make her mates kill her and the baby is more coherent. It would be a sign for us how his word can overcome the most adverse of conditions, in this case to turn an act of hate and oppression into a beacon of love and hope. As such to me this is a more satisfactory understanding of the word turning flesh and I do not have to deny my understanding of reality and think of the writers of the bible as “gullible primitive goat herders” but as people who well understood reality and described it in a beautiful poetic language. For Mary to have a miraculous immaculate conception would make her less worthy of praise then for her to raise a “bastard”, a child created against her will and detested by others. And it would make Jesus not an “intervention” of God but the logical consequence of his word being followed.

When the bible states we are made in his image I would see it more as projection or reflection of God. Originally we were perfect in our submission to God and accepting his authority. But still we were only images,and when you look at an image of yours, what is missing in your image compared to the original? We can now made 3D images but they are still a dimension short of the original.
[Watch Carl Sagan accidentially explaining the problem of understanding God] (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UnURElCzGc0) and you may hopefully follow my understanding the problem of making an image of God in our reduced dimensionality. Now the dimension I always think missing in the experience of atheists is the dimension of selfless love, the dimension most prominent in Jesus…

(Marvin Adams) #20

Being a “protestant” myself you obviously will reject my “do it yourself theologizing” as well. Why should I respect learned tradition? As a scientist I want logic coherence as I understand God to be a logician, not a magician and the same I apply to Jesus. Thus to me they don’t have to jump through hoops to look whiter than white as white is sufficient.
Now when it comes to respecting millenia of learned tradition I look at the wedding of canaan and try to understand the logic coherence of the story. To me Jesus turned wine into water by turning water into wine. The traditional scripture interpretation explains this miracle as a bit of magic by pretending the wine to be more valuable than the water for ritual cleansing. Now the master of ceremony being not stupid was well aware of the fact that he just had been given the purest of waters you could get - the cleanest of waters that had to be drawn from a living well - if you understand the whole ritual of the water used for ritual washing. And he complimented the bride groom on his honesty not to cut the wine and to serve the best wine last which was not to his doing would be a farce as he had not kept the best wine to the end on purpose. One might say that his honesty was rewarded by Jesus, but why would Jesus use a miracle to teach us the appreciation of material values, defile the vessels for ritual cleansing by filling them with wine. Would the lesson in this miracle not be far more powerful if he were to teach the audience that the problems with the materialistic worldview by teaching us that the water for ritual cleansing is more valuable than any wine could be? After all it is the pure water that sustains life, not the wine. Perhaps the miracle in the story is for people to understand it not to be about making wine and that his disciples followed him not because Jesus could do something they could not comprehend like any magician would do, but because he did something the did understand, to be more cunning than any trickery by changing superficial values. For me it would definitively have been the latter.