March 26, 2017

The Divinity of Jesus

Is Jesus Divine?


We want to believe Jesus was (and is) divine (close to God, godlike, having the same spirit). This fundamental tenet of Christian theology was created by early church theologians to assure Jesus had a status that would be superior to kings and emperors. For them, Jesus was God by virtue of being the son of God (expressed as God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost). But apparently Jesus never considered himself to be divine.  So does this mean he was not divine?

We know Jesus was a human male with all of the natural characteristics of a human male. He did not have any superpowers. He did not have any unusual physical characteristics. However, he was a very intelligent man, possessed a very charismatic persona, and exhibited two unique distinctions: he could summon the power of God to perform miracles, and he had the ability to connect with the conscious thoughts of the people he met. These are not externally observable physical attributes; they are a function of the human mind. Jesus demonstrated a profound awareness of spiritual energy. It is this heightened sensitivity to the flow of conscious activity that also enabled him to communicate with the divine consciousness of the Cosmos.

Yes: Jesus was, and is; divine because he is able to connect with the Holy Unity of consciousness and awareness. Also known as God.

How Did Jesus Become Divine?

There are two possible ways Jesus could have achieved divinity. One postulates Jesus was adopted by God during his later life, perhaps after age 27, because of the purity of his faith. The alternative, which I actually like better, is that God participated in a natural birth. Let’s look at both alternatives.

Divine by Adoption

When God wants to establish a spiritual relationship with us, it is through the activity of our core consciousness. When God the Holy Father created his relationship with Jesus, he established a connection the depth of which surpasses anything any other human has ever experienced. On a core conscious level, God and Jesus were in constant communication. In effect, Jesus became God’s persona on earth.

From Summa 21.

We can choose to believe God created
a consciousness connection with Jesus,
and made him divine.
We may also choose to believe
God nurtured this connection
with the man he wanted to call his Son.


Divine By Birth

From my novel.

Joseph is concerned. Will I be the father of Jesus? “Is he to be from my seed? Are we being asked to raise an infant created by God?”

Micah (the angel of God’s plan) understood Joseph’s distress. Every man was proud of his seed. In this culture, it was an integral part of his manhood. A woman was only expected to provide the fertile womb that would nourish the growth of a man’s seed (a complete fetus) until the baby was born. Micah put his hand on Joseph’s shoulder. “You will provide the seed for your son. Mary will also make her contribution to the creation and growth of a baby you will both love. God will help by making sure your seed and Mary’s contribution are perfect. Your son will be of the house of David, just as you expect. He will also be a descendant of King David through Mary.” 

Thus he encouraged Mary and Joseph to have a baby, which he knew would be a boy, would be a natural result of their love for each other, and would be made perfect by God’s will. Jesus is thus the son of man and the perfection of God.

Explanation.

During the time the New Testament was written and the early Church was developing (30 – 451 AD.), it was generally believed that a woman contributed nothing to the creation of a baby. It was believed a man planted his “seed” (a complete human) into a woman’s body and if she was fertile, the seed would grow into a baby. The idea a woman could be infertile (or barren) and hence incapable of providing the “soil” for the seed persisted into the 20th century.

The discovery of how conception works had to wait for the invention of the microscope, attributed to Antonie van Leeuwenhoek 1632–1723. By the late seventeenth century, both key components of fertilization — the egg and sperm — had been postulated, yet the contribution of the human male and female remained a matter of theory. Oscar Hertwig (1875) showed how the sperm head fused with the female genetic material in sea urchins, giving a conceptual basis for genetic inheritance. The discovery of how the human female egg is fertilized would not be confirmed until the 1900s (by Edgar Allen 1928).

Thus for Joseph it was an either or proposition. Either he would be the father or God would be the father. His seed or God’s seed. But of course God knew all about chromosomes, DNA, a woman’s egg, and the role of a man’s sperm in the act of conception. He did not have to prevent the natural creation of a zygote and the natural growth of a fetus. In order to make Jesus his son, he merely needed to examine the naturally created fetus, and adjust or replace elements of the DNA. The result is the son of man and the perfection of God. Jesus was the natural son of man and God.

It’s time we revisited the birth of Jesus and revised it to reflect our 21st Century understanding of biology and medical technology. There is no biological reason why Jesus could not have DNA from two fathers. There is no biological reason why Mary’s egg could not have contributed the female attributes God wanted in a son. After conception, God selectively modified the DNA to create the baby he would call his son.

The Basic Question


We should also consider a basic question: What did God want to accomplish?

The answer is easy: God wanted to deliver a message to humanity. From Summa 21:

1. God would want Jesus to be thoroughly familiar with Jewish law and religious customs. Jesus would need this knowledge if he was to defend his theology against the challenges of his critics and effectively bring God’s message to those who followed him. Both Mary and Joseph heeded God’s counsel by making sure Jesus was well versed in contemporary Jewish beliefs. By age 12 or 13, he understood the law well enough to engage in a discussion of considerable depth with temple priests in Jerusalem. This episode also reveals an independent and remarkably mature Jesus.

2. God would want Jesus to be passionate about his mission. In addition to having an intellectual understanding of theology and the law, Jesus must also have the innate ability to deliver a powerful message. If he is to minister with a voice that resonates with his contemporaries, then Jesus must live the compassion of love and experience the suffering of hatred. The obvious solution: Jesus would live and experience human life with all its joys, sorrows, triumphs, and tragedies. Jesus would acquire his credibility, and his passion, by taking his place among the men of his community. His life, and his life style, would be influenced by the cultural norms of his community.

If God is compassionate and loving, would he not want Jesus to be the same? Would he want Jesus to experience human life with all its joys, sorrows, challenges, and triumphs? One can acquire an intellectual understanding of theology through study, but in order to value the deeply emotional significance of theological concepts one must live them. This experience would round out Jesus the man and Jesus the teacher. After all, how can one teach about life if one has not experienced it?

He created Jesus to communicate His message with instruction and inspiration. Jesus would seek to convey God’s values to humanity, reinforce our belief in God’s existence, teach us about God’s love, inspire us to love God, encourage us to love one another, and show us the way to the Kingdom of Heaven. God wanted to confirm to us that immortality is possible if we adopt His code of conduct.

Jesus did not exhibit super human God like powers. He did have the human attributes necessary deliver God’s message and a conscious connection with God that essentially made him divine. 

Medical science has rendered the early church’s concern, and constant argument, about the creation and lineage of Jesus obsolete. Jesus was (and is) God’s son and divine by God’s will.

It’s all very natural.


Ron
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February 22, 2017

The Catholic Church Must Not Go Backward.

I admire Pope Francis, 266th Pope of the Roman Catholic Church. When Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, Argentina was elected as Pope, he brought to the position a persona of recognizable humility and empathy. Although I may not agree with him on some issues, his thoughts on spiritual renewal, marriage and resurrection bring a breath of fresh air to the stuffy halls of parochial tradition.

The Catholic Church must not go backward. Those who serve are not privileged, should not view themselves as members of a special caste of clerics, and must not forget their attention to humble service. Instead, we look to the Catholic Church for leadership that understands the intellectual and spiritual needs of a 21st century population, and is able to deal with the organizational, social, and political realities of the 21st century. This includes a larger role for women within the Church, and a renaissance of Christian theology.

To those who oppose change I suggest the following thought: Church doctrine was largely created by early Church fathers long after the death of Jesus Christ. Based on 1,800 year old knowledge and social beliefs, much of it is obsolete and does not even reflect the spirit of his message. If we wish to carry on the work of Jesus Christ, we must bring about constructive change based on a thoughtful evaluation of the role of Christian theology in the 21st century.

Focus on two words: renaissance and reformation. We look to the Catholic Church to bring about a renaissance of Christian theology, and a reformation of how the Church approaches its mission.


Ron
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February 08, 2017

God’s Help Comes in Many Ways

Sometimes a little humor helps brighten the day.
 

She hurried to the pharmacy to get medication, got back to her car and found that she had locked her keys inside. The woman found an old rusty coat hanger left on the ground. She looked at it and said, "I don't know how to use this."

She bowed her head and asked God to send her some help. Within 5 minutes a beat-up old motorcycle pulled up, driven by a bearded man who was wearing an old biker skull rag.

He got off of his cycle and asked if he could help.

She said: "Yes, my daughter is sick. I've locked my keys in my car. I must get home. Please, can you use this hanger to unlock my car?"

He said, "Sure." He walked over to the car, and in less than a minute, the car door was open. She hugged the man and softly said, "Thank you, God, for sending me such a very nice man."

The man heard her little prayer and replied, "lady, I just got out of prison yesterday; I was in prison for car theft."

The woman hugged the man again, "Oh, thank you, God! You even sent me a professional." 

Is God great or what!?!

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January 30, 2017

Our Quest for God

Our Search for Understanding

We humans have searched for God since the beginning of human intelligence. We have been very creative in our interpretation of what or who is a God. Our explanations have typically been drawn from current experience, our fears, and our desires.  God is a woman.  God is a man.  God is an animal.  God is a star, the sun, or the moon.  God is an invisible being.  God exists in the earth.  God lives in the sky.  God reigns over our universe from a place outside our Cosmos. Human literature and traditions claim God is compassionate, God demands obedience, God is fickle, and God is steadfast. Our search for what is, or who is, God has produced a plethora of contradictory beliefs that have frequently been the source of bloody human conflict.

Gradually, however, most Christians have come to perceive God as a supernatural being, creator of all that exists in the Cosmos, the source of Christian values, and the essence of moral perfection. God provides us with a message of love, and teaches us how to become one with the transcendent principles of the Cosmos. In the final analysis, God is both a teacher of values and judge of individual conduct. For many, faith in the word and character of God provides life with its intrinsic meaning.

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January 24, 2017

Hatred Has No Moral Value

Political chaos can be found in many nations.
Zealots are consumed by the bile of hatred.
However let us remember a fundamental truth.

No matter what we may think is justified.

If a theology, ideology, or philosophy
fails to bring people together,

it has no moral value.


January 17, 2017

We Must Find Our Own Way

Established religions do not always practice their published theology. The faithful do not always observe the teachings of their faith. Believers can be obstinately patronizing about the truths they read in ancient documents. All too often, the selective use of religious doctrine is used to justify malicious behavior.

What a shame.

These realities of human failing present us with many questions. Who are we to judge?  How do we have a constructive conversation with those who espouse inflexible beliefs? How do we deal with the venom of a faith that has been corrupted by human betrayal? By what measure do we know our own actions and thoughts are spiritually virtuous?  And so on.

Be thoughtful. Human nature will not change. These failings and the questions they raise will be with us forever. Let us therefore embrace a positive and constructive view of who we are, and deal with these weaknesses of the human condition with grace and intelligence.

Let us be humble in our beliefs. In truth, most of us are pursuing the same quest. We want to be sure that life has meaning. We are, in a sense, always searching for a truth that is greater than ourselves, even if we are unable to fully comprehend the meaning of our discovery. There are, it would appear, many paths to spiritual truth. We must, each one of us, find our own way.

We will be measured by the sincerity of our effort and our compassion for others.


Father Giovanni
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January 11, 2017

Religions

It is clear to me that "religions" are the invention of man, and therefore exhibit all the strengths and weaknesses of human nature. All too frequently theology is based on current knowledge and mythology. A formalized belief system evolves which quickly becomes outdated, because it is based on the unrelenting march of rapidly obsoleting human knowledge. A growing gap thus separates the norms of religious practice from our perceived experience of reality.
  
Yet, in this there is a paradox. Any extended attempt to seek the spiritual must establish a cohesive framework of intellectual and emotional theology. Else it has no lasting virtue.

Let us come together, therefore, to establish a theology that venerates values, rather than the trappings of current knowledge.

Ron
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January 07, 2017

My Spouse

My spouse is my best friend.
Love has united two as one.
We comfort and encourage each other.
We share the joys and sorrows of life.

Two are better than one.
Together we are strong.
In moments of distress;
We share a loving hug.

I will be quick to show my love;
And be steadfast in my trust.
For as we journey through life,
I will often need the love - of my best friend.


January 04, 2017

Where Is The Garden of Eden?

There has always been speculation the real physical Garden of Eden existed (past tense) somewhere within the Fertile Crescent, or perhaps elsewhere. I prefer an allegorical interpretation of God's message because it is very relevant to the 21st century. My reasoning is thus: We have the means and intelligence to make our earth a paradise. We also have the unfortunate potential of moral failure. If we yield to the temptation of excess and ignore the spiritual rules of the Cosmos, we risk bringing about our own demise through disease, conflict and famine.

Thus we may ponder: Is this unique planet meant to be our garden of Eden? Will moral failure lead to eviction? Will we be the cause of our own demise?


Ron

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December 29, 2016

Happy Birthday: Pope Francis

Being 80 is a milestone in any life. Your ministry has thus far been remarkable for Christian doctrine and the Catholic church. Thank you for your efforts to heal the divisions within our Christian institutions and the rumblings of dissension within the Catholic church. We must work toward a positive and constructive unity of Christian belief. The development of a shared view of Christian history and theology is essential for continuing the message Jesus Christ gave to us.

May the warmth of your ministry continue to be an inspiration.

Ron
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