Friday, 9 February 2007

The humiliation of Jesus Christ

“He, the Lord of all lords in heaven and earth, becomes and is the most despised and wretched of all servants! He, the divine and human Light, was wrapped in deepest concealment! He, the divine and human Judge, was judged! He, the living God and the only truly living human, was executed and destroyed, disappearing into the night of death! This is the one antithesis in the existence of Jesus Christ.”

—Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics IV/2, p. 349 (KD IV/2, p. 390).

4 Comments:

Anonymous said...

He, the Lord of all lords in heaven and earth, becomes and is the most despised and wretched of all servants!

Oh come on!
There were lots and lots of slaves in the history of the world who were more despised and more wretched than Jesus.
The trouble with Barth is that he does not understand the meaning of the work 'and.'

Vynette said...

“He, the Lord of all lords in heaven and earth, becomes and is the most despised and wretched of all servants! He, the divine and human Light, was wrapped in deepest concealment! He, the divine and human Judge, was judged! He, the living God...

I suggest that Christian theology is incorrect in its interpretation of the Supreme Being and in its characterisation of Jesus of Nazareth.

I suggest that the New Testament writers claimed that Jesus of Nazareth was a perfectly normal human who exemplified and enacted the values and principles required of creatures by their Creator; that he was 'anointed' with plenipotentiary powers to speak and act in the name of God.

I suggest that, having created mankind in his own image, God is not likely to find the necessity of becoming the image of himself. To do so would be an admission that it was he who had failed in his work of Creation.

I suggest that the New Testament was written to prove that Jesus of Nazareth was the man appointed by God to rule the world in righeousness. It was not written to prove the doctrines imposed on scripture by the Graeco-Roman church fathers, nor was it written to prove that he was in any sense equal to God, except as it pleased God to make him so.

Ben Myers said...

Thanks for these comments -- I appreciate your points of view. Vynette, I basically agree with you: the point of the Christian message is not to say that Jesus is a god, or that he is the "Supreme Being". Rather, Jesus is a human being like any other -- except that he is wholly dedicated to the will of his "Father". And in precisely this way, Jesus' human existence reveals (and so is) the event of God's own life.

As I suggested in an earlier post, the Christian message thus challenges us to think of God not as the opposite of humanity, not as some kind of inhuman "Supreme Being", but precisely as the occurence that takes place in the existence of this particular man. In other words, humanness is not foreign to God's own being -- it is proper and fitting for God to be human. God's deity includes God's humanity -- and according to the Christian message, both this "deity" and this "humanity" are located in the specific history of Jesus Christ's life, death and resurrection.

Or to put it much more simply: the point is not that "Jesus is God", but that "God is Jesus"!

Vynette said...

Ben, thanks for your response but it leaves me a little confused...

Do you agree that the New Testament teaches that Jesus was a perfectly normal human, born of perfectly normal human parents? Just like you and me?

Or do you hold to the doctrines of the 'Miraculous Incarnation' and the 'Trinity?'

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