John Gavazzoni
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The Gavazzonis'

A Matter of Fundamental
Theological Subterfuge
By John Gavazzoni

If we end up (as many have) caught in the current of drift away from the elegant truth of the Deity of Christ, even drifting in that current toward total denial, the very heart of the gospel will be gutted, in that salvation absolutely requires the eonian Presence of God, Himself, among and within us. No agency of salvation that suffers from such an essential ontological disconnect can be successful.

God must be our Savior directly as salvation's Presence. He, as the God who is the Word, may connect with us by someone's heralding of the Word, but the heralding agent is not the connecting point of God and man. It must be God, Himself, on the scene making the connection. Though others down through history have been given the name, "Emmanuel," it was so only as a reminder of the One who is the fulfillment of the Name's meaning. "His name shall be called Emmanuel, which being translated, is God with us."

In the biblical tradition, overseen by the sovereignty of God, men and women were so named as to fit their character and place in the administration of God. Jesus of Nazareth---the historical Jesus---perfectly fit that name. In the Bible a person's name conveys "this is who and what I am, and what I'm about." Starting from that point, when one comes to feel the full weight how scripture presents Jesus, unless some thread of Anti-Christ influence is at play, that one will finally, with Thomas, exclaim to Jesus, "My Lord, and my God."

I have previously addressed a point of protest against ascribing Deity to Christ, and must do so again in this article. The protest so often resorted to by dull-thinking opponents of the Son of God's shared Deity with His Father, is that Jesus never, in so many words, said, "I am God." Well, there was a very good reason for that rhetorical moderation on our Lord's part. As my previous sentence makes clear, Jesus did not possess Deity other than relationally.

The Lord carefully avoided such brashness, especially in His portrayal of Himself within a culture of the most strict monotheism. A Torah-schooled Israelite, upon hearing a Man claiming to be God, would be horrified, since the truth of the incarnation was still veiled from mankind. And yet, even in the face of Jesus' self-descriptive moderation, it was logically clear to them that for Jesus to claim to be the Son of God, amounted to a claim of Deity.

Well, they were right. Why? As creation mirrors the nature of God, producing after its own kind, so Deity has given birth after Its own kind. In begetting a Son, God had reproduced after His/Her kind. Deity gives birth to Deity. Pardon my crude analogy, but dogs don't produce cats. Birds don't produce reptiles. Godness reproduces as Godness. In the timeless dimension of the Divine I Am, God, by giving birth to a Son, became both Parental and Filial; Godness became a Father, Mother, and a Son, in the unity of The Divine Nature They equally shared.

Deity, by the birth of the Son (before being born of Mary), became a Family, bound together by, and communing by, Their shared Holy Spirit. This truth is at the core of the Cristo-Centricity of scripture. That timeless conception and birth out from within the loins and womb of God is what holds all truth in balance.

Someone may protest my heralding of the Son-uniqueness of Jesus so emphatically, by asking, "Are we not all the children of God?" Yes, indeed we are, but there is a distinction that must be upheld regarding the relationship of Jesus' Sonship, and universal Sonship. The former is the all-inclusive Source for the latter. We are all the children/sons/daughters of God out from within God, in turn out from within the Son of God within God. There is only one generic sonship, and that is the sonship of THE Son, who is BOTH God's Only/ Uniquely-begotten, AND "...the First-born of many brethren."

We are all the children of God in, and out from within, Him. Another way of putting it is to say that it is the Son in the sons, that makes the sons sons. None of us possesses sonship apart from our union with the Son. "In Him, ye are complete," wrote Paul. That completeness is the completeness of sonship. I cannot say of some brother in Christ, "I am complete in you," nor can he say to me, "I am complete in you." But we both confess the truth that we together are complete in Him. "He that hath the Son, hath life..." Jesus testified that "the Father has life in Himself, and gives the Son to have life in Himself." So it follows, that as the Son has Life from the Father, we, in turn, sequentially, have the Son's life of sonship from Him.

Now, the point has been made that there has been an emphasis on the Deity of Christ, at the expense of His Humanity, and that that emphasis has been presented in such a way as to tend to give us a sense of God being distant from us, that with God being God, there is necessarily a great gulf fixed between Him and we mere humans. How, indeed, can we mere humans relate to pure Deity? But the answer does not lie in being shy about affirming our Lord's Deity. It lies in a proper and careful affirmation of how His humanity is ontologically based in His Deity. To present Jesus in His Deity at the expense of His Humanity, is a distortion. So what else is new? Theological history is replete with the distortion of truth, and mere reaction to such distortion, can end up creating more distortion.

Let not His Deity be presented at the expense of His Humanity, nor His Humanity at the expense of His Deity. Do your homework, Christian. Seek the grace of balanced understanding. Yes, indeed, our Lord, as it were, loved to proclaim Himself to be the Son of Man. Of note, in his translation of the New Testament, Jonathan Mitchell points out that Son of Man=Son of Adam. We might say that Jesus bore the name, Son of Man, as a badge of honor, revealing God's solidarity with humanity from its very source. As a Jew, it might have been expected of Him, that he would revel in the truth that He was the son of Abraham, but with far-reaching implications, in His insistence of being known as Adam's Son, He proclaimed commonality with the whole of humanity. Among the far-reaching implications, of course, is the truth that He is the Lord and Savior of all men.

He most often described Himself thusly, patiently waiting for the revelation to sink into his followers, that the quality of His Humanity, could only be explained as emerging out from within His Deity. God of very God, and Man of very Man: He, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ of Nazareth.

John GavazzoniJohn Gavazzoni
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