Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Another explanation of what Jesus did

This is far from the first blog post I have written on this vital topic. While wholly accepting the necessity of Jesus, clearly I find the usual explanations for this necessity, and the usual explanations of just what he did that was necessary, to be unsatisfactory (for one reason or another). This is why I keep trying different ways to explain 'what Jesus did', in the plainest and most comprehensible but (albeit partially) True way that I can. While the reality is what it is, no single explanation works for everyone (for one reason or another) - a new explanation may be the best for some specific person.

1. God is the creator - and God has an eternal body, is separated from that-which-is-created, is localised in space. A body is necessary to be a source of creation.

2. God's aim was that all Men could become divine, live eternally; dwell-with and participate-with God in the work of on-going creation.  

3. Men begin as eternal spirits - but Men cannot become divine unless each has a body; and for the situation to be permanent, each body must be eternal.

4. An immortal body cannot be created in one step. This is just a fact, a constraint, of reality. It cannot be known 'why' this constraint exists - but it is the reason that God alone was not sufficient, and that the life and work of Jesus was needed.

5. Jesus was born a mortal Man, and he became fully-divine when baptised by John and the spirit descended and stayed upon him. Jesus was chosen because of his perfect love of God while still a spirit. This meant that Jesus's motivations were wholly in accord with those of God; such that he could and would, henceforth, harmoniously participate in creation.  

At this point of baptism by John - and because he then became a divine-Man - Jesus made it possible for all other Men to attain life everlasting.

6. At this point (of baptism) Jesus was fully divine and participated in God's creation. Henceforth the work of creation was a 'collaboration' between God and Jesus, with potential for this collaboration to be extended to other Men.

From this point, the miracles of Jesus show harmonious creation in action - including the primary creative act of resurrecting Lazarus, which demonstrated that Jesus really was divine. However, Jesus was still a mortal Man - with a 'temporary' body. To become both divine and eternal, Jesus needed an eternal body.

7. An unique human spirit can only attain to an unique and eternal body via death of the body: biological death must precede the goal of embodied immortality. So, first Jesus's body died, and his eternal spirit remained.  

Then, because his (unique) eternal spirit had previously dwelt in a (unique) mortal body, the eternal spirit could 'make' an eternal body specific to that spirit.  (Only spirits that have incarnated, may be 'used' to 'make' an eternal, indestructible resurrection-body.)

8. Jesus was therefore the first Man to participate in creation and the second Man to be resurrected. Lazarus was the first Man to be resurrected (by the divine creative act of Jesus); and (although we are not shown this in the Gospels) Lazarus was presumably the second Man to participate in the ongoing work of creation.


Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

Doesn't the opening of the Fourth Gospel imply that Jesus was involved in the work of creation from "the beginning," long before his incarnation or baptism? "Without him was not anything made that was made," right?

Or perhaps the primordial Word was not Jesus all along. Maybe "the Word was made flesh" does not mean "Jesus, who was already the Word, acquired a body" but rather "Jesus, who already had a body, came to embody the Word."

Bruce Charlton said...

@William - My assumption is that Jesus was indeed involved in creation of this world - but this was as an angelic spirit 'immersed-in' the will of God; not as a fully 'independent' creative agent.

I am also assuming that the reason for this passage at the beginning of the Fourth Gospel is to indicate that it was during the creation of this world *when* Jesus made evident the fullness of his love of God, when he was chosen and volunteered for the job of the Christ, when he showed himself to be fully aligned with God's creation.

(Note - I think the passage refers to this world that we know; I do not think it was intended to refer to the creation of everything ever.)

Tobias said...

How some moments glow.

Gyan said...

"God is the creator "

This sentence needs to be completed. God is the Creator of ?
Not of eternal spirits, since they are eternal.
Not of the universe, since God is IN the universe as God has a body.
Then what is God creator of?

Bruce Charlton said...

@Gyan - The answer depends on what kind of metaphysical framework you are within - order from chaos is one formulation, or Life might be another.

I would probably answer something like 'living' - live-ing - in other words the creation is about making the universe purposive, meaning-ful; in a sense initiating the process of creation itself.

Because creation isn't making something then (having made it) stopping - it refers to the contrast between a 'static' reality of chaos that is going-nowhere (except in circles); and a reality of creating purposively.

(I am assuming that creation includes love - love is what makes creation 'possible' - without love nothing would hold together.)

Tobias said...

I have trouble accepting the idea that eternal spirits (other than God) are uncreated - that they always 'were'.

I feel uneasy with the view that those spirits did not come from the mind/word/light of God.

It seems to make God just one of many spirits, it lessens him, whereas the view that God created them definitely makes him the top, the leader, the being justifiably named 'God'.

I can accept that created spirits rebelled against God because they had free will - Satan being the chief of them. But the idea I think that I find here is that they could not have had free will because they had not been incarnated (separated from God), and were really just a sort of extension of God, in that they have no choice but to follow his will.

If I have understood correctly, the views expressed lead to the conclusion that angels, or whatever they are, are soft, soggy, beings dependent on the will of God to animate them into action.

And yet we have evil - primary evil - the evil of Satan and his spirit followers, working in, and on the world to thwart God and his followers, both spirits and human, and to cajole humans into evil action - secondary evil.

I cannot reconcils the view that spiritual beings pre-incarnation are extensions of the will of God with Satan as actively, purposively evil working against God.

Do I infer from what you have said, that Satan and his hordes have been/are incarnated, and so get their free will/agency from that experience?

I am somewhat confused.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Tobias - I suggest you do word searches on this blog for the themes about which you seek further information - there is a lot of material.

Some of this is just standard Mormon theology - which I summarise (as I understand it) here: https://theoreticalmormon.blogspot.com .

But at the bottom line it is not a matter of what makes you uneasy but what is true - that's what you need to seek.

To answer your last question - I regard Satan and demons as pre-mortal human spirits, who are separated from God, and therefore have more scope for agency than they did (and than we did) when living immersed-in the goodness of the divine.

(An approximate analogy would be children living in a loving family would behave a lot better than would children who left their families because they found the parental demands of goodness too onerous; and were living a 'feral' life with a pack of other rebels.)

But, as spirits, they do not have as much agency as you and I and other incarnated Men.