Friday, 29 February 2008

True Humanity

Fascinating lecture this week at college.

Beginning the Doctrine of Christ and the Ethics of humanness with today's lecture being the outline of the whole module.

'We Believe in One Lord, Jesus Christ...' was the title and we reflected on who God is as reveled in Jesus of Nazareth.  John (Colwell) challenged us to think again about how we define God and how we define humanity. A philosophical perspective (as Sam will know from recent debates!) is that we define who God is, i.e. God must be omnipotent etc, (actually it is more a 'Alexandrian' perspective. Christology 'from above'.) and then see how Jesus fits into that mould. How often it is that we decide what God 'should' be like and then become confused about Jesus when we try to get him to fit into the God box. we also fall into the trap of somehow trying to separate Jesus' divinity and humanity and attribute his walking on water, healing the sick etc to his divinity and his weeping at Lazarus' tomb, falling asleep in the boat etc to his humanity. This is where so many people get into knots when thinking about Jesus, and where philosophers get perplexed and write off Christianity.

Yet it is when we look at Jesus first and see who He is, then we know who God is. So when Jesus falls asleep in the boat and weeps at Lazarus' tomb, that is what God is like. When Jesus walks on water, heals the sick and rises from the grave on Easter morning, that is what true humanity is like. This not only challenges and transforms our understanding of God and how we should read the Old Testament, but it also challenges and transforms how we should define our own humanity. Of course there is the danger here of just going completely the other end of the scale, but surely it is when we begin to approach it this way that we are beginning to find surer footing.

When thinking of Jesus we must try to hold together the fullness of his deity and the fullness of his humanity without ascribing some of his actions to one and some of his actions to another.

As we continue to view Jesus in this way, we begin to view humanity in a new light.  We then begin to see our call to be salt and light in the world in new ways.  As followers of Christ we are called to witness to the world the saving power of Jesus.  We witness through words and actions.  How we live.
Maybe, just maybe, the more we live in the humanity shown to us by Jesus, the greater impact the Church will have on this world.

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