Sunday, March 18, 2012
In The Beginning ... God
The art work above is my attempt to represent God creating the world.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ:
for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth;
For therein is the righteousness of God revealed
from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;
Romans 1: 16-18 (KJV)
In the beginning was the creative language and the creative language was God. Does that sound a little different from the statement it is borrowed from?
“In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
The same was in the beginning with God.
All things were made by him;
and without him was not any thing made that was made.
In him was life; and the life was the light of men.”
John 1:1-4 (KJV)
I have bolded the designation 'Word' it is a hyper link with additional information from various sources explaining the use of this mysterious designation and how it relates to divinity. We will take a look at this unusual use of language in a way not ordinarily used.
The link included is to a lecture on the topic of ‘Logos’ ie the meaning of ‘Word’ in the human race. It was humans who invented the terminology to describe God. The lecture is in multiple parts and it adds a lot to the understanding of the Christ event.
Some features come to our attention regarding Christ from these two passages.
1. His eternal nature.
2. His participation in the origination of the things created.
3. He is the source of life.
4. His life is the ‘Light’ of the human race.
Proclaiming this is the task assigned to those who have come to know the Logos. Here is how it was done the first time. It’s an amazing scene. Try to visualize what is happening during the very first gospel sermon.
In this, the first gospel message, Jesus of Nazareth is proclaimed as having been executed and risen from the dead now seated in heaven in the most auspicious of situations.
This revelation of the living resurrected Christ was the substance of the first proclamation of the gospel of Christ. This message was first spoken to a confluence of Jewish religious adherents who had traveled to worship during the feast days of that religion. He pointed out who Jesus was and what their fellow religionists had done to him.
The scene is summarized in the following passages.
“Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly,
that God hath made the same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.
Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart,
and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles,
Men and brethren, what shall we do?
Then Peter said unto them,
Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ
for the remission of sins,
and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”
Acts 2:36-38 (KJV)
Read the account of the day of Pentecost over to your self. The risen life of Christ is the focal point. The apostles are directing the assembled religious pilgrims to heaven where Christ is seated.
Paul, later on did the same thing in reference to the life of the resurrected Christ as the life of men. In Colossians, he begins his treatise with these words:
“If ye then be risen with Christ,
seek those things which are above,
where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.
Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.”
Colossians 1: 1-3.
So far what do we know about Jesus, the Christ of the Jewish Messianic tradition?
To sum it up he is the eternal source of not only our existence, but everything else as well. Within this tradition, he is the creator of all that is able to be experienced or known.
For about 3 decades the eternal God walked among us. He taught of a spiritual reality that he claimed would result in social discord. It would also disrupt the closest of social relationships, the family. But he claimed it offered in place of those things a complete liberation and salvation from the claims of the grave. And he claimed the teaching would bring peace and healing. Not the ordinary kind of conclusion you'd expect when you think of disrupting the family and social relationships of a society.
He was executed as a result of teaching these things. The accusations implicit in that teaching subverted the current religious orthodoxy. But the gospel proclamation is that he lives and that his life is the light of men. Faith in the gospel is an acceptance of all the things we can find in the knowledge of Christ.
For many people only 3 decades of Jesus’ life are seen as the substance of the gospel. I consider this an impoverished view of a knowledge that spans eternity. It is a perspective easily used to detract from the life that is ours in God in Christ.
As we have noted Jesus is first and foremost the eternal creative intelligence responsible for all existence and experience. He was flesh only briefly to reveal the life he had to offer and then he was gone back to wherever it is that God resides when he is not incarnated.
He was not separate from himself when he was incarnated. He was God with us, in solidarity with us. He spent his time seeking to reveal the light which is the life of men. This life is now residing in heaven where the believer is seated in Christ and in the heart of the believer on earth. In this context Christ, heaven, the believer and earth are inseparably linked.
The light of Christ reveals the heart of the impulse of the universe is nurture expressed as love. Look at how Jesus talks about the reality he represents and wishes to have abide in our consciousness where the Spirit can teach us.
“Neither pray I for these alone,
but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;
That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee,
that they also may be one in us:
that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them;
that they may be one, even as we are one:
I in them, and thou in me,
that they may be made perfect in one;
and that the world may know that thou hast sent me,
and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.”
John 17: 20 - 23 (KJV)
Click here to read the context of the last few things Jesus said to his disciples in John 14-17.
So this is what we know about Christ. He is the eternal God. He came in a Jewish context with a teaching appropriate to the entire human race.
He introduced information to human minds that was so seditious it threatened both secular and religious security. And these were the reasons revealed in the New Testament for his execution. Church and state conspired to kill Jesus just as it is doing today.
Beyond that brief passion in the flesh Jesus was always and remains the eternal God. He claims to be the Alpha and Omega the beginning and end of all existence and experience. And in some divine mystery this Christ has set loose information for our minds to interact with. Information that is seeking our approval.
The gospel is that information and it declares that eternally God is with us. For Christ is God with us and he is eternal. The gospel reveals to us our welcome by God not as something added on because we sinned, but as a revelation of the eternal light to draw us back. It is not only saying now you can have it if you repent. It is saying from all eternity this has been the nature of Gods thought toward you. The universe is a friendly place if you know you are in Christ who is in God and that you are one in God in exactly the same way that Christ is in God.
That’s all metaphysics, but creation is quite physical and so are we. In the Christian story Jesus is said to have made the world and given it to mankind represented by Adam and Eve.
In Christian thought man is obliged to take care of the earth which was placed under his care. So far he has shown God just what he thinks of the earth.
I have a couple videos on the theme of how God feels about this.
There is much more than an ecological slant to the gospel but it is one very important aspect because it refers directly to the creator. The respect we show creation is an indication of the knowledge we have of Christ. Jesus, in the Revelation of himself, reveals the future we can expect due to our choices with regard to respecting the environment. He takes it with more seriousness than congress does.
I have made a couple short videos on the topic. Click to see The Sad Story of Adam and Eve.
Click to see my video Radical Christianity on Youtube
Bible texts are from the KJV in the public domain.
The photographs, videos and text written by me are
(C) 2012 by David H. Roche
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