Defining Christ, Part 3
John R Gavazzoni
Thousand Oaks, CA
One of the primary signs of the anti-Christ spirit can be seen in the way that the traditions of men devalue, depreciate and deprecate humanity. The closer to, and the deeper into the heart of the Father one gets, the higher one's valuation of humanness becomes and only the God-Man, Christ Jesus, can take us into our Father's heart, for He is the One Mediator between God and man. Beginning with a form that many, if not most, of my readers are familiar with; Christian fundamentalism, in general, tends to quite overtly depreciate being human while seeking to save what it depreciates.
On the other hand---and again I'm speaking generally---old style Christian liberalism, the kind that emerged in the earlier part of the twentieth century, the kind that does not take seriously the inspiration of scripture, the Deity of Christ, the necessity of His shed blood, the reality of Jesus' miracles, etc. has hidden its suppressed disgust of humanity by a theology that replaces the necessity of the cleansing of the precious shed blood of Christ with aevery-day-in-every-way-I'm-getting-better-and-better-goody-two-shoes whitewash.
(The early influence of fundamentalism in my Christian life shows in my use of the term liberalism. I probably ought to more precisely speak of modernism in contrast to fundamentalism). Then we have the undisguised disgust of human flesh that is found in both ancient and contemporary gnosticism that in some ways contains elements of both those extremes of the Christian spectrum. As to the elements of fundamentalism to be found in concert with gnosticism, though the fundamentalism of today, in the main, rightly affirms the resurrection of the body, and in so doing does, in that respect, recognize the essential worth of humanness; yet by its tendency to equate human nature with evil, it contradicts itself and sends out a horribly mixed message. Then, of course, its insistence that the vast majority of mankind must end up in eternal torment, reveals a grotesque and hideous deprecating of human worth.
A primary element that Christian modernistic liberalism has in common with gnosticism is the emphasis on knowledge being all that is needed to fulfill human potential. Gnosticism emphasizes an esoteric knowledge---quite inaccessible to the unwashed masses in their estimation---that enables its initiates to transcend a humanness that they see as sub-spiritual, whereas old-style Christian modernism has insisted that nothing more than education is needed to cure the ills of society. (Two world wars, not to mention all the lesser conflicts, the determined practice of genocide by "civilized" nations, and all other forms of inhumanity have pretty much made that position embarrassingly untenable).
To find the path to the truth concerning our species, we must take up issues that the earliest Christian leaders struggled with, such as, what really constituted the Personhood of Christ. Nearly everyone agreed that He was, in some sense, divine, but things got really messy as to His connection with plain old flesh and blood humanity. One of the elements common to all the forms of gnosticism was the idea that actual flesh-humanity was not intrinsic to the Personhood of Christ, or of any person for that matter, so that the physical Jesus was thought to be merely a container for the Christ, a merely outward appearance that belonged to the material realm so despised by gnostics; something to be shed in order to return home to their pure-spirit being and identity.
In contrast to that blatant anti-Christ, anti-humanness, stands the awesome purpose of God, which is: to take the very stuff of flesh-humanness and transform it into God-stuff from whence it originated. It is a most trustworthy saying that when God became a man in Christ Jesus, our Lord, He did not cease to be God, and when He arose from the dead, ascended on high, was exalted, enthroned and glorified, He did not cease to be a Man. Not a disembodied spirit-man, but a Man in complete solidarity with the dust-formed Adamic race.
That which was sown perishable, rose imperishable. That which was sown perishable was not discarded, and replaced. It was multiplied and renewed by glorifying transformation. Get that---RENEWED, NOT DISCARDED. Renewal's the name of the game, friends. Making the old new is what it's all about. "Behold I make all things new." Revelation 21:5
God loses nothing. God discards nothing, God annihilates nothing, God turns His back on nothing. God-stuff just won't go away, "It" just draws forth out of its depths greater and greater dimensions of glory.
All things, and especially God's crowning achievement, mankind---yes, I do mean the mankind formed of the dust of the ground, the only kind there is---came out from the midst of God, continues always through the midst of God, and increasingly goes deeper into the midst of God, "For out from the midst of Him, and through the midst of Him, and into the midst of Him are all things."Romans 11:36 (that best translation courtesy of Jonathan Mitchell.) If God had been satisfied with a totally non-material universe, He could have left things as they were, but He had something better in mind.
He took of His very spirit-substance; in particular the spirit-substance of His Son(s) and created all things, making space, time and materiality out of spirit. The non-materialized spirit realm was indeed glorious, but a greater glory lay ahead in the plan of God, when materialized spirit-glory would become a greater glory by passing through death and resurrection. This He did in and by Christ, and repeats, demonstrates and confirms that already accomplished victory in His corporate body which ultimately will include the whole body of humanity.
Essentially, the whole space-time-material creation in its present condition, according to fundamentalism, modernism, or contemporary gnosticism (New Age) had its origin either as the result of one monumental human mistake, or the creation of a demiurge dark-lord, or the failure of angels and men to maintain a transcendent consciousness. The simple, yet profound truth that what is behind it all is : "Except a grain of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone,"John 12: 24 is just not acceptable to the religious, self-centered mind
That single grain of wheat with the innumerable grains contained within it, both in its singular and corporate process of death and resurrection, had to take on a "body of death," to make this process possible. Eternal life, in its aionian purpose and process, needs death to swallow. It needs to take into itself that which is contrary to itself, to bring out the best of itself by transforming not only that which is natural, but that same natural subjected to perversity. The above "it" is really Him, "the Way, the Truth and the Life." John 14:6
Stay tuned for future serious, seminal samplings.
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