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Jesus is God in a Human Body

By Wendy Francisco (painting in post also by Wendy)


The hardest part of reexamining how I'd been raised with Christianity was addressing the idea that Jesus is God in a human body.


Arguments against substitutionary atonement and hell are well-worn paths in church history. But at least for me, trying to figure out if Jesus was God in a human body or just an ascended master, with all the competing narratives flying around, was like looking at an academic mountain to climb.


I decided to try to compare the metaphors since that approach was within my reach.

When people take bible stories as history, they often stop looking for the intended point. The focus becomes whether or not it happened. But I had a creative writing degree and an English teacher for a mom. So, I learned to dig for meaning everywhere... even in sitcoms.


Divinity is the guts of the Jesus story. There is not much left if you let that go.


One of the difficulties in this is that we have other enlightened teachers, so it is easier to put Jesus in a pre-existing category. If he is God in a body, then he is absolutely by himself -- not a human reaching for spirituality, but spirituality come down to show us.


One of the metaphorical differences is right here -- it is a discipline to seek spiritual enlightenment, an effort requiring great dedication. But Jesus implied that it was a default setting and a gift, requiring almost no effort at all, something even children had.


I have no problem with the word is the opposite of "endarkenment", and sometimes people seem to seek that with dedication too. Learning is enlightenment. I can and do learn from ascended masters.


But some people see Jesus as an enlightened master in the sense that he is only human, but greatly advanced.


One of the most important things about divinity is how it positions the statements Jesus made. It isn't just that Jesus said, "I and the Father are one". Of course, any ascended master or even any human can say that because, in a sense, it is true. But when Jesus said it, they tried to kill him. It wasn't because they were reacting against enlightenment... (even though I am sure they did on every level); it was because Jesus was saying he was Emmanuel, God with us, from deep in their history.


The death of a human on a cross means little. The death of every peacemaker who we kill makes an impact, to be sure, but the death of God on a cross means a lot because it is the ultimate flipping of power. It redefines power. It is God going to absolute Omega in every human currency - the bottom - lower than most of us can or will ever go, even though we all die. By going to this place, he grasps and also reveals what it is to be alpha. How can a lordship not be based on control? How indeed. Perhaps God completed what it meant to be God on that day when he died. Maybe the definition of "God" was unknown and unseen until that day.


The metaphor of the divine Jesus is the flipping of power, and it was communicated from his birth to his death and resurrection... from the crib that was a feeding trough to the assurance to Peter that even a denial can be overlooked.


If Jesus was not God, all that goes away. He was still a very cool guy with a lot to say, but the metaphors are wildly different. Jesus was also human, son of man, the conjunction, the revelation of our identity.


For me, the confluence of divinity and humanity in Jesus carries the potent metaphor - the operating software. So I choose it. I looked at the enlightenment thing, but I am trying to overcome Rene Girard's pronouncement on humanity, which is powerful in its ability to describe and predict us - our attachment to "us and them" scapegoat mechanisms. That is still all over the enlightenment crowd. Substitutionary atonement is the other thing that is not supposed to be a work. But it ends up becoming a work. I am way too lazy to seek enlightenment. It is Mt. Everest. Being educated on a better diet for goats is useful today and now. I had four baby goats born this week. If you have to work and want something to do... defeating the "us and them" mechanism in our lives is a fabulous thing to take on as a discipline... especially in Jesus, when you know you are already forgiven of it.



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