The Changing Face of God

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The Changing Face of Theology: A tradition in process

Please re-enter recipient e-mail address es. You may send this item to up to five recipients. The name field is required. Please enter your name. The E-mail message field is required. Please enter the message. Please verify that you are not a robot. The story of Jesus shows strong parallels to Middle Eastern religions about dying and rising gods, symbolizing the rebirth of the individual as a rite of passage. He writes that Christian apologists have tried to minimize these parallels.

Paul did not know the historical Jesus. Theologian James D. Dunn argues that Robert Price ignores what everyone else in the field regards as primary data. Biblical scholar F. In the letters, Paul on occasion alludes to and quotes the teachings of Jesus, and in 1 Corinthians 11 recounts the Last Supper.

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But is it possible that the problem is worse than that—that the Bible actually contains lies? But good Christian scholars of the Bible, including the top Protestant and Catholic scholars of America, will tell you that the Bible is full of lies, even if they refuse to use the term. And here is the truth: Many of the books of the New Testament were written by people who lied about their identity, claiming to be a famous apostle—Peter, Paul or James—knowing full well they were someone else.

In modern parlance, that is a lie, and a book written by someone who lies about his identity is a forgery b. According to Ehrman, many scholars are ministers and professors who have to serve the needs of their clientele see Ehrman, , pp. Professors really do know the truth, Ehrman claims, but they cannot be honest about it, because they largely teach in colleges, seminaries, and divinity schools. They cannot denigrate the very texts they are teaching to Christian students without suffering repercussions from their constituency.

It is not necessary to say Bart Ehrman become a pariah in scholarly circles after this outburst! In other words, are you accusing me of toeing the party line and saying what they wish me to say, and therefor you doubt the integrity of my public opinions? Well, yes! When you belong to a church religious denomination, and you get butter for your bread from, but privately can hold an agnostic position, or even an atheist one. Or play both sides, holding Faith but pretending not to with other scholars of a different ilk! Not that there is any crime on it, in this world with a increasingly Secular majority, but still is intellectually dishonest to pretend otherwise, it is plainly speaking spiritual bankruptcy.

Neither I believe Theology, and the study of scriptures should be the exclusive domain of the believer, since you can study Theology just to prove it is nonsense, or the study of scriptures that can be fascinating, from an anthropological, and archeological historical point. But who are we kidding, if you are getting paid by your church institution, it is threading a fine line between the two sides I find objectionable, and morally troublesome, you cease to believe, why to keep on pretending otherwise?

Does not this two positions are clearly ambivalent, and dishonest? Or in the better cases a compromise? I wish you were either one or the other! I wonder sometimes at the rolling of the eyes of Medieval scholars! King Arthur, Guinevere, and Sir Lancelot did not really exist, but their names conjure up a romantic image of gallant knights in shining armor, elegant ladies in medieval castles, heroic quests for the Holy Grail in a world of honor and romance, and the court of Camelot at the center of a royal and mystical Britain.

Countless writers, poets, and artists not to mention film-makers and now, webmasters have been inspired by the life and times of King Arthur. Which of course is not to appeal to our objective left side brain, but to our subjective right side brain, our Hearts… I do not have a problem with a non historical Jesus to see the greatness of the New Testament, neither I care if the position of the mythicist is true, as a matter of fact, I believe to be so in a general sense, if not in the details, or the particular twist they choose to give to the Jesus story, I agree that the Gospels are Myth, but since they come with so much bogus ideas, in their zeal to discredit belief, God, Jesus, and Religion, they lack depth, and suffer of the modern malady of lacking the use of their right brain, if only they will refrain of speculating wildly about what kind of man was Jesus: Bandit, political agitator, Doomsday Prophet, Magician, etc.

At least a not existent Jesus is an allegory, and a Symbolic entity deserving of imitation. The emperor Julian made a short-lived attempt to revive traditional and Hellenistic religion and to affirm the special status of Judaism, but in under Theodosius I Christianity became the official state religion of Rome, to the exclusion of all others.

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Pleas for religious tolerance from traditionalists such as the senator Symmachus d. Expedient perhaps, but a social common phenomenon, they obviously do not understand religious experience, and lack right brain side sensitivity to understand, and realize so.

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On the other side for those who uphold dear the historical Jesus, even the existence of a man that was crucified, maybe the leader of a small group of Jewish dissenters from the orthodoxy of the Sanhedrim, and it is my understanding that they may have been many, this does not make one of them the historical Jesus, the one the Gospels of Mark, Luke, Mathew or John were talking about, who to my understanding is the allegory of the Ecce Homo the ideal man every human being should aspire to be, Christ like at the pinnacle of his life, despite the incoming crucifixion.

In my opinion the story of Jesus probably has more to do with small, syncretism Jewish religious groups, who borrowed freely from different traditions, how to explain the Wise men from the East of Mathew? Syncretism is the combining of different often contradictory beliefs, often while melding practices of various schools of thought.

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In the East, the magi traditionally number twelve. For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage. When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage.

Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another path. Excuse to say this gifts are highly Symbolic some speculate they belong to three different Esoteric schools, of Knowledge, represented by the Gold; Alchemy, Frankincense; Astrology, and Myrrh; Theurgy. Important details of his biography are gleaned from the works of the 1st century CE Roman-Jewish historian Josephus Flavius. Many Jewish groups like the Essenes, believed that the high priest of the Jerusalem Temple was elected on false pretenses, which invalidated the whole Temple cult.

Paul the clear example of a Hellenistic Jew who basically become the pillar of Christian belief. No Orthodox Jewish will dare to be as bold as to incorporate Hellenistic, Zoroastrian, or Egyptian symbolism in to the Gospels, it is quite shocking to read the Old Testament virulent rejection of anything foreign to Israel, and the Prophetic tradition, except for obscure passage in Genesis. And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine: and he was [is] the priest of the most high God.

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And he gave him tithe from all. And so Jesus assumes the role of High Priest once and for all. A collection of early Gnostic scripts dating on or before the 4th-century, discovered in and known as the Nag Hammadi Library, contains a tractate pertaining to Melchizedek. Here it is proposed that Melchizedek is Jesus Christ. Melchizedek, as Jesus Christ, lives, preaches, dies and is resurrected, in a gnostic perspective. The Coming of the Son of God Melchizedek speaks of his return to bring peace, supported by the gods, and he is a priest-king who dispenses justice. The Divinity of Jesus It is the posterior decrees of the Christian church who in Divinizing the man Jesus created the problem of a historical Jesus.

Following the Apostolic Age, from the second century onwards, a number of controversies developed about how the human and divine are related within the person of Jesus. As of the second century, a number of different and opposing approaches developed among various groups. For example, Arianism did not endorse divinity, Ebionism See my post Via Positiva, Via Negativa argued Jesus was an ordinary mortal, while Gnosticism held docetic views which argued Christ was a spiritual being who only appeared to have a physical body.

The resulting tensions lead to schisms within the church in the second and third centuries, and ecumenical councils were convened in the fourth and fifth centuries to deal with the issues. Eventually, by the Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon in , the Hypostatic union was decreed—the proposition that Christ has one human nature [physis] and one divine nature [physis] , united with neither confusion nor division—making this part of the creed of orthodox Christianity. Although some of the debates seemed to be over a theological iota, they took place in controversial political circumstances and resulted in a schism that formed the Church of the East In , the First Council of Nicaea defined the persons of the Godhead and their relationship with one another — decisions which were again ratified at the First Council of Constantinople in The language used was that the one God exists in three persons Father, Son, and Holy Spirit ; in particular, it was affirmed that the Son was homoousios of same substance as the Father.

The Nicene Creed declared the full divinity and full humanity of Jesus. In , the First Council of Ephesus was initially called to address the views of Nestorius on Mariology, but the problems soon extended to Christology, and schisms followed. The council was called because in defense of his loyal priest Anastasius, Nestorius had denied the Theotokos title for Mary and later contradicted Proclus during a sermon in Constantinople. Pope Celestine I who was already upset with Nestorius due to other matters wrote about this to Cyril of Alexandria, who orchestrated the council.

During the council, Nestorius defended his position by arguing there must be two persons of Christ, one human, the other divine, and Mary had given birth only to a human, hence could not be called the Theotokos , i. The debate about the single or dual nature of Christ ensued in Ephesus.

The Council of Ephesus debated hypostasis coexisting natures versus monophysitism only one nature versus miaphysitism two natures united as one versus Nestorianism disunion of two natures. From the Christological viewpoint, the council adopted hypostasis , i. The Oriental Orthodox rejected this and subsequent councils and to date consider themselves to be miaphysite. By contrast, Roman Catholics to date believe in the hypostatic union and the Trinity. The council also confirmed the Theotokos title and excommunicated Nestorius.

The Council of Chalcedon was highly influential and marked a key turning point in the Christological debates that broke apart the church of the Eastern Roman Empire in the fifth century. It is the last council which many Anglicans and most Protestants consider ecumenical.

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  • It fully promulgated the hypostatic union, stating the human and divine natures of Christ coexist, yet each is distinct and complete. There was no basis in Judaism, Nachmanides said, for believing in the divinity of the Messiah or, indeed, of any man. The mind of a Jew, or any other person, cannot tolerate this. What is the use of scholarly studies, the many petty debates over a simple word, if there is no longer those rivers flowing? The word is used frequently in the New Testament of the Bible to describe the relationship within the Early Christian church as well as the act of breaking bread in the manner which Christ prescribed during the Passover meal [John , Matthew , 1 Corinthians , 1 Corinthians ].

    As a result the word is used within the Christian Church to participate, as Paul says, in the Communion of Christ, in this manner it identifies the idealized state of fellowship and community that should exist in Communion. In the New Testament, the basis of communion begins with a joining of Jesus with the community of the faithful.

    This union is also experienced in practical daily life.

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    • The same bonds that link the individual to Jesus also link him or her with other faithful. The New Testament letters describe those bonds as so vital and genuine that a deep level of intimacy can be experienced among the members of a local church. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need…They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people.

      Sorry I am an skeptic when it come to technological Utopias who try to change the exterior circumstances of Man, ignoring the basic premise that at the bottom of it, is just a Philistine desire for making money, not the welfare of Humanity. This is the realm of the Self, and the Subjective. I would said rather pointless if the value of your belief hangs precariously on this tenuous hinge, since as we saw previously they do not give proper value to the Self, and the Symbolic, what would be the purpose of the material existence of a Jesus, that has little to do with the Gospels? If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders.

      But now my kingdom is from another place. The following observations give biblical reasons as to why:. There would be no significance or reason for John to write about seeing the face of God if we have already seen it. This is the same language used in Exodus and John , which both concern God the Father. Although the chronology of the verse is before Jesus made claim to be the Father, John wrote the book after His claim, giving reason to suggest that there is indeed a distinction between seeing the face of Jesus and the face of God the Father.

      Throughout the Bible, man has attempted to see God in all of His splendor, but it has been impossible Genesis ; 2 Samuel ; 2 Chronicles ; Leviticus In Revelation that will all change! But if God is Spirit John , how can He have a face?

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      Isaiah mentions His hand and His ear. Zechariah says that He has an eye. Matthew mentions His mouth. Jesus was the physical representation of God the Father, and although when we see Him, we see God, we do not see the full and total manifestation of the Father. That is, we do not see the Father in His full glory otherwise we would die.

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