Saturday 18 November 2017

What did Jesus Do?

Firstly - according to John's gospel - Christ made this world; within the context of God's creation Christ made this world we inhabit.

Then later, as Jesus, he was born-into this world which he had made; and lived as a Man.

As fully divine, Jesus lived his entire life in truth. He was a perfect Man because he was fully divine, and therefore always had direct knowledge of that created-reality he encountered and always lived and acted in accordance with that perfect knowledge of created-reality.

Therefore, even as he lived as a Man, Jesus also participated directly in the divine reality which he had created.

As a Man; Jesus's life unfolded in linear sequence and from his individual perspective (just as life unfolds for each of us); but as his life unfolded Jesus always knew what he needed to know, when he needed to know it; he always knew exactly what to do, and he always did it. And (therefore) this was always Good.

The knowledge that the above is true, is the faith a Christian needs. (Faith is knowledge, not belief.)

Such faith should-not and cannot be forced-upon anybody (not by coercion nor by 'evidence'); each must achieve such understanding from-himself.

The perfection of Jesus's life is the necessary datum.

(What that perfection means, how to understand and explain that perfection of life - comprehend the nature of its goodness, is of course subject to human partiality of knowledge: an on-going project for each of us, which extends beyond the door of death.)


Chiu ChunLing said...

Jesus also said, "Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father."

Part of the perfection of Jesus's life was that He had power to avoid losing it...and the power to restore Himself to life even after death. That is to say, neither Death nor Hell had any lawful claim on Him, yet He suffered both to ransom us.

It is crucial to our proper perspective to understand that Christ's virtue was so perfect that He needn't have died at all, yet did so that we might be resurrected like Him. Furthermore, that this was easy for Him compared to the price of suffering the penalty of our sin, that we might obtain salvation as well.

We think too little of the magnitude of our own sins if we do not understand that to raise ourselves from the dead by simple exercise of our own volition would be less difficult than to suffer the penalty of sin, which Jesus bore in our stead.

Bruce Charlton said...

@CCL - That is true, but a fairly usual way of explaining matters - and I personally find it hard to grasp. The problem is that it is a scheme or model which has Jesus living-out a prior plan of abstractions. But that was not the way that Jesus himself seemed to experience things at the time he lived-through his life.

Chiu ChunLing said...

I think that it is easier for someone who has played a certain amount of chess or similar games to understand how a person can be doing something that is, on the one hand, responding in the moment to immediate circumstances and, at the same time, following a calculated plan. Of course, you initially see it as the person who has the plan to control the moves that are available and attractive to an opponent who is only looking at the current position (that is, you do not see it as a novice player). But eventually you become sufficiently experienced so that you can always make the 'right' move (for a certain level of play) without much consideration, you have a set of spontaneous responses that are based on many calculated games, and thus you are spontaneously making moves that reflect your carefully constructed master plan.

This second experience (or being both the planner and the spontaneous actor) appears more as you approach mastery of any sport or performance, whereas the first (of being the planner who effectively predicts the spontaneous actions of another) can appear in the intermediate level of games which have finite states controlled by the players, like chess.

This first kind of relationship between planning and volition is useful to understanding aspects of our relationship to God's omniscience, the second is essential to understanding God's relationship with Himself and to us.

Bruce Charlton said...

@CCL - I do not think that is true - partly because life is not very much like chess, and partly because that is not how Men live. I think it was vital that Jesus lived in the *way* that Men live, with the same core experience - but making the correct choices.

There is no need to posit any kind of dual personality in Jesus, because Jesus and ourselves are both of the same qualitative 'kind' or nature (he is our brother) - he is at the end of a path where we may sometime join him.

Mick Jagger Gathers No Mosque said...

Because knowledge of The Hypostatic Union is substantially recondite, the possibility of making errors about Jesus is prolly endless.

Jesus not only knew what He was to do, He knew in advance what was to happen.;view=2up;seq=256

Bruce Charlton said...

@ABS: "Jesus not only knew what He was to do, He knew in advance what was to happen."

No, not really - that is Not what the Gospels tell us (not does it make common sense); it is a post-hoc insertion into Christianity due to the excessive influence of pagan classical philosophical ideas (especially Neo=Platonism) and the artificial and unnecessary compulsion to be able to state that Christianity is metaphysically 'monotheistic' despite that Jesus is fully divine and also the Son of the Father. (Mainstream Trinitarian doctrine is mere paradox, it does not make sense by any normal criteria of sense.)

Chiu ChunLing said...

I think that there is a false dichotomy here. Jesus could be aware of the potentiality of every moment by experiencing it with a sense of the present that was more completely engaged than we commonly experience, rather than less.

Part of that awareness was knowledge of things that must come to pass and things that had already happened. But most of it was deeper awareness of the moment itself, the people and objects as they were exactly then.

In physical terms, awareness of a situation does not exclude but rather essentially hinges on assigning velocities to entities. A high-speed camera can capture momentary positional information while excluding information about velocities, this creates incomplete data. A low speed camera might turn moving objects into blurs, allowing us to infer information about velocity at the expense of being able to see what is moving.

The human eye is not a shuttered camera, we process information that arrives continuously. We also predict events in the near term, and in the longer term as we grow in knowledge of the connections between motives, actions, and consequences. Christ's moral mastery of life did not disconnect Him from experiencing each moment profoundly, like someone watching a boring movie for the third time. Nor did Christ's deep engagement with each individual leave Him powerless to perceive the potentials implicit in their situation, like someone watching some incoherently avant garde work with no discernible rational connections between one scene (or even frame) and the next.

To be fully engaged with the moment is to bring to that moment our hopes (and even plans) for the future, and our knowledge (perchance wisdom) derived from past experience. Jesus, having a fuller measure of those hopes and timeless wisdom, experienced the individual moments of life with greater, not less, significance. But also with clearer understanding of how each moment fit into the gap between the past and the future, connecting them.

Bruce Charlton said...

@CCL - This is all too complex to help people understand Jesus - even if it is a valid approach (which is isn't really, for me). It seems that people understood better what had happened before Jesus's life was *explained* theologically.

There have been so many abstract philosophical explanations that treat Jesus as an actor performing a detailed script, that it has become almost impossible for people to grasp the extraordinary essence of his narrative, seen from within.

The story really is a story - not a mere exemplification of principles, nor a fulfillment of objectives. The story comes first and is primary - the schemata are later, secondary, selective summaries.

Chiu ChunLing said...

Well, simply put, to be more like Jesus, we must be wiser about the connection between our own motives, actions, and consequences. And this wisdom is not attained by ignoring what ordinary reason and experience teach us, but by deepening our contemplation of what we know.

Most especially what we know from our experience of communion with God.

Bruce Charlton said...

@CCL - I would say we often/ usually misconceive 'communion' in terms of the annihilation of our selves into God. It is more like knowing *in the way* God knows.

Chiu ChunLing said...

Well, except that I really have no idea how God knows what He tells me.

Mick Jagger Gathers No Mosque said...

Prof. Charlton. It is you who is engaged in eisegesis by treating your notions as normative.

The Catholic Church wrote every single letter of the New Testament (it is aught but the letters of Christian Catholics written to other Christian Catholics in an already existing Catholic Church) and it is also has the authority to teach and to teach infallibly (jn 14:26,lk 10:16,1 tim 3;15, j n 2:27 etc.)

The fundamental problem is that you do not accept the authority divinely confected by Jesus Christ and so you do not, as He commanded, keep all of His commandments.

Now, your objections were not only answered, they were anticipated by Dogmatic Theology.

Still, at least Free Will is being exercised here.

The Hypostatic Union means that Jesus is in Heaven bearing His wounds and He wil have those wounds for all of eternity even as He knew what was to happen owing to His Beatific vision which He always possessed - because He has a divine and human nature.

Just curious, what is it you think about the Holy Eucharist; is is the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus?

Bruce Charlton said...

@ABS - Well, this is my blog... Naturally my ideas are normative here!

I have been writing about my Christian path since 2010 - and over that time my understanding has changed a great deal in response to problems I encountered and insights.

I am perfectly aware that there is not one single person in the world, now or at any point in the past, who has the same understanding of Christianity as I do.

And I am not trying to change or convert and real Christian who is satisfied with what they find in one of the churches. Helped by reading this blog, according to messages people have written to me, some readers who were atheist/ agnostic have become Roman Catholics, Orthodox, conservative evangelicals, Mormons... all of which please me greatly.

So - I don't want to debate or defend. I can only express realities as I apprehend them. Not many people are interested - but I write for those who are.