Tuesday 10 March 2020

Jesus as God and Man

For metaphysical pluralists such as myself; Jesus as both God and Man entails that I have some idea of what (on the one hand) constitutes the divine and what (on the other) characterises a Man.

By saying Jesus was a Man we mean he was subject to mortality: to change, disease, decay and death. He was 'doomed to die' as Tolkien's One Ring said about 'mortal men'.

 And Jesus was divine for two reasons - one present from birth, the other from the Baptism by John (the final three years of his life, and the time of his ministry).

Jesus was chosen to incarnate as the Saviour because, in pre-mortal life, he uniquely attained harmony with God's divine purposes, his motivations were fully aligned-with Creation.

Thus he was born divine - but until age 30, apparently Jesus did not know he was the Saviour. That is, he was wholly- and always-immersed-in God's creation; and implicitly but not consciously working in total-harmony with God's purposes.

Therefore, the pre-ministry era of Jesus's life corresponds to Owen Barfield's definition of complete Original Participation - a total but passive and unconscious participation in the work of creation.

From the baptism by John; Jesus became conscious of his divine nature and destiny; and therefore attained the fullness of active freedom, of choice and agency: became a co-creator, shown in the miracles, where Jesus was working deliberately with God. This is Barfield's Final Participation.

So, the post-baptism Jesus was fully divine, and a mortal Man.

The life of Jesus illustrates the distinction between Original and Final Participation - and the nature of the destiny of modern Western Man - here and now; as we attempt, albeit partially and temporarily, to achieve was Jesus did, wholly and at-all-times.


Joseph A. said...

So, according to this idea, twelve year old Jesus was just doing what a perfect twelve year old would do -- without knowing the grand providential plot line? I guess the Temple story makes sense there.

Why, then, would Jesus have gone to John to begin with -- and said what he said? Does it make sense that the Baptist would have known more about Christ's mission than Christ himself before the baptism? That doesn't seem right. I don't know what the Church teaches about Jesus' awareness while growing up as a man. I don't think that I have the right tools to grasp it . . . the Lord being the ultimate sui generis. To what can we adequately compare him?

Bruce Charlton said...

@Joseph - I have covered some of this in earlier posts


From reading the Fourth Gospel, I think we are told that Jesus did not know who he was until the Baptism.

I am unsure about the accounts of Jesus's childhood in the other Gospels. The Fourth Gospel author (who I believe to be Lazarus) was the only eye witness we have, who personally knew Jesus. The other Gospels strike me as later compilations, with other agendas, and of lesser validity.