Monday 27 November 2017

True freedom and real Christianity

I reject (because it is untrue) that double-negative understanding of the work of Christ which is expressed in terms of his saving us from a punishment that God imposed.

The work of Christ should be understood in terms of what he positively did for us: what he enabled, and taught, and demonstrated.

Jesus made it possible for us to be free, as well as Good - recognising that values based upon passive, unconscious obedience to external authority (of any kind, even when that authority is truly divine) are insufficient.

To be ours, to count to our credit, to be worthy of full sons and daughters of God; values must come from-within - that is from our selves - and from our real, true, divine, eternal selves; and be freely chosen.

Christ both made this possible by a cosmic effect - by which his incarnation, death and resurrection changed the universe - and also by his life-as-teaching he showed us how this works in practice.

Jesus was the first and only complete 'primary thinker' - whose thinking was of reality, was fully participating in creation and was intrinsically creative.

Jesus did not passively follow external rules or laws (which can never be more than approximately or averagely right, which match only imperfectly with experience) - but acted directly from his divine nature; knowing the specifics of each situation and doing the one-thing-needful.

This is why the responses and actions of Jesus could never be predicted; yet always were perfect, unique and correct (but we recognise this only after they have happened).

Thus we can understand the work of Jesus in terms of allowing and implementing (gradually, incrementally, at first very imperfectly - and far from completed) the development of real Freedom - which is the agency of the real self.

Which is eventually to know and freely-choose Good in the way of divinity - which is to say to be Good consciously (in full self-awareness), actively and from-our-selves.


Chiu ChunLing said...

We should also understand that the "punishment from God" was the result of God providing us with blessings (life, awareness, and freedom) which we, because of our own moral defects, were certain to lose. But the existential terror we feel over the inevitability of losing these things is proof that God provided them according to our desire, what was insufficient was our own grace to conserve them.

To a person who genuinely felt no desire to be alive, aware, and free, the prospect of losing these things could bring no fear or dread. Our feeling of being 'punished' by the loss is thus proof that we have been blessed beyond our capacity to retain.

Christ's redemptive transformation of our moral framework, to offer from His grace the strength of will to make us worthy, is thus a gift that crowns and completes gifts we have already received, for which wisdom would have us be grateful. We are of course free to reject this gift, it is not imposed against our will. The key to the love Jesus taught us was respect and nurture of freedom, including the freedom to reject His love.

If we can learn to feel the love of Jesus for us, and be inspired to reciprocate, we are then on the path of showing that love to each other, as Christ commanded. This pure, divine love will move us as spontaneously, yet perfectly, as it led His exemplary life.

Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

What change in the universe do you think Jesus effected?

Bruce Charlton said...

@WmJas - Nothing controversial (at least, not to Mormons)! That Jesus changed reality such that he enabled Men to become fully divine.

Part of being fully divine is the divine mode of consciousness - of being a free agent, of being aware of oneself as a source of love, evaluation and (sub-) creation.

Before Christ - Man received and objeyed, it was a spiritual childhood; Christ initiated the spiritual adolescence of Man.

(Each man and Men are intrinsically linked - over time; agent individuals have incrementally 'condensed' or 'solidified' from a groupishness of being - which we may remember from childhood. In sum, the group - Man - came first; individual men came later - noting that the two (man and Man) are distinguished but not separable, both are always and necessarily present - but the dominance of one or other is possible. What we now have, in the modern West, is a denial of the reality of (what was first and original): group consciousness - But group consciousness is there, always, and inevitably.)

I emphasise this as the 'Cosmic' aspect of Christ, to bring-out that some very substantial part of what he did, did *not* rely on people knowing about it; and affected everybody from then onwards.

i.e. This is not revelation - it was a change in the structture of reality.