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Jesus, the Son and Daughter of God

January 9, 2013
Jesus was often maternal, yet had to be a man to be accepted in the society in which the Christ Spirit appeared.

Jesus was often maternal, yet had to be a man to be accepted in the society in which the Christ Spirit appeared.

This is a continuing series taking a look at conservative evangelical beliefs (which is what I grew up hearing), and comparing them to my own somewhat heretical, wide path view of Christianity.  We begin with the well crafted and much considered statement of faith from a fairly typical (in fact a pretty hip) church.

From the Church:  We believe that the eternally existing Son of God came in time and space to take on flesh. Fully God and yet fully man, He was without sin. In perfect righteousness He came to fulfill the offices of Prophet, Priest, and King. He was crucified, buried, and raised to life. He ascended to heaven where He is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. (Luke 14:25-26; 22:69; John 1:1-3, 14; Acts 3:20-23; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Philippians 2:6-8; Hebrews 4:15; 5:5-6)

Why was Jesus male?  Why was he the “eternally existing Son of God.”  I don’t have a problem whatsoever with the eternal part, of even the “of God” part, yet why male?  Why is “God” male?   Even though Genesis is clear that God made man in His own image, “male and female He made them” somehow the female side of God got lost early in the game.  If Jesus is fully human AND fully God, then the Godness is both God and Goddess.  I think this diminished an otherwise decent religion when it really didn’t have to do so.  This pattern of misogyny is a key reason that I object to the Bible as being straight from the mouth and hand of God.  God was indeed speaking, however that voice was heard through the presuppositions of the writers.  You know I fully believe there were God breathed writings that were done by women and by men who were open to the divine feminine, however the church destroyed and otherwise hid those truths.

When the Christ Spirit came into the human we know as Jesus, I believe it was necessary for the being to be male in order for Christ to be heard in that culture.  He was not male because maleness is better, it was an accommodation of the culture.  Indeed there are many examples of Jesus’s teachings and actions that are markedly feminine and maternal.  There is so very much about Jesus that we don’t know….like what happened to him between the ages of 12 and 30, that I suspect that there is much about Jesus’s blended internal gender that has been suppressed.  Fortunately, there is enough reported that we know there was more.

I’m intrigued that the church’s statement here does not mention the name Jesus.  I do truly believe there is power, power, wonder working power in that name.  That said.  Jesus is not the name of the son of God.  Really.  His name at birth was Jehoshua ben Joseph, which would have been typically shortened to “Joshua.” So how did He become “Jesus?” When the stories of His life were first written in Greek, the Greek language has no “sh” sound, so the scribes changed His name to Jesu.  Ah, well.  The Rose of Sharon by any other name is still as sweet.

First, I do very much believe that there was something unique and seminal in the coming of Jesus. I do believe that the essence of God was rich within him, and that this incarnation brought healing and a path of redemption to all people who have and will ever live.   That said, I don’t believe that Jesus is the only example of the essence of God appearing on earth.  Indeed, the New Testament is full of passages that make clear that what was in Jesus can be fully manifested within ourselves.  A favorite verse of mine, Galations 2:20 says, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.”  The language is here specifically “Christ” not Jesus, and I do make a distinction between Jesus, who was the seminal flesh incarnation of the Christ Spirit, and the Christ Spirit itself.  For those of us who will, it is in Christ that we live and move and have our being. (Acts 17:28)  I’m also persuaded by First Corinthians 15 which speaks of mankind falling away from God through Adam, and likewise all of man kind being restored to God by the incarnation of Christ.

So…back to the declaration from the church:   We believe that the eternally existing Son of God came in time and space to take on flesh.  I really like this statement.  It highlights that God, The Divine, exists in a dimension that is beyond the realm of human experience.  That is indeed one of the great mysteries of the incarnation—that the Christ spirit placed itself within the confines of our existence in time.  It also moves the incarnation to another level in that while Jesus the male bodied person was confined by time, the indwelling of God was both in and beyond this realm.  This is a key to why Jesus was able to make sweeping changes not just to human hearts and souls but to all of creation.  Jesus was just in time…and infinitely more as well.

Fully God and yet fully man, He was without sin.  What about “original sin”—the idea that because we are sons and daughters of Adam we are born in sin.  If Jesus is fully human then either the idea of original sin or Jesus being sinless is in question.  Personally I believe in “original blessing” for all of us.  If a baby dies a day before or a day after birth, does it go to hell due to original sin?  No way.  It’s also obvious that when it’s spoken of Jesus being without sin that there must be a whole other code happening of what is sin and what is not—Jesus often boldly broke Levitical law, to the horror of the Pharisees.  Apparently the rules changed when Jesus arrived on the scene.  Last it is crucial to meditate about the concept of being fully God AND fully man.  What so often prevents us from seeing the truths of the Bible is our western tendency to see everything in duality—either/or, good/bad, etc.  The idea of Jesus being fully God AND fully man can only be understood as mystery, holding two opposite truths as fully true at the same time.  It was within that Eastern mindset that Jesus dwelt among us.

In perfect righteousness He came to fulfill the offices of Prophet, Priest, and King.  What this statement is trying to do is connect Jesus to the prophesies of the Old Testament.   Sadly, in our modern context those terms hold very different definitions, if the terms mean anything to us at all. Jesus is relevant to every age, and it would not be unreasonable to look at modern parallels.  I’d spend some time on that, however I think the truth is actually backwards here…Jesus did not fulfill the offices by His incarnation.  Rather, the Christ spirit was always in the very best of those offices, and that perfect Christ Spirit was finally and fully revealed in the incarnation as Jesus.

He was crucified, buried, and raised to life.  I believe this.  It’s fascinating to me that through this process it was always women who stood at his side.  It was Mary the Mother and Mary the One who Loved Him that lay weeping at the foot of the cross.  It was the women who prepared his body for proper burial, and it was women who looked for him, were the first to see him alive, and indeed women who were the first evangelists—the first to announce “the Good News.”  How amazing it is that for evangelicals the crucifixion, burial and resurrection is so central to everything, and yet they resist women being in leadership.  For this conservative church I’m astonished that they do not mention the death and resurrection as being the moment of atonement.  I can only imagine that they see this as so perfectly obvious that it does not warrant a mention.  I believe, as I’ve touched on earlier, that what is referred to as the atonement was more fully manifested in the incarnation than in the death and resurrection, although those events are certainly intertwined into the whole.

He ascended to heaven where He is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.  Yes, I get this is scripture right out of the Bible, however it wholly misses the point.  How can they end their section on Jesus with that?  Jesus is not seated on a throne in a realm so far away that we can’t imagine a way to get there without dying,  The whole “on the throne” thing was symbolism that meant a great deal to the first century Jesus followers.  Sadly it doesn’t connect with the world today.  If the miracle and mystery of Christ is to maintain and invigorate the church we must see Him fully present and manifested NOW and HERE in the best of who we are and even in the redeemed world around us.

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