Once, long ago, I taught an adult Sunday School class. As a college teacher, I've always tossed provocative questions out to the class, and I didn't approach the Sunday School class any differently. One morning I asked how our beliefs and actions would change if archaeologists found the bones of Jesus.
One of my students got a bit upset at the thought. He declared he'd never come to church again if presented with proof that bodily resurrection didn't happen. On the other hand, I said that it was the teachings of Jesus that were important to me, and the resurrection or lack of it wouldn't affect my use of those teachings to structure my life.
I thought of that Sunday School class yesterday when I read this post by Marcus Borg. He says he doesn't believe in the divinity of Jesus: "Was Jesus God? No. Not even the New Testament says that. It speaks of him as the Word of God, the Son of God, the Messiah, and so forth, but never simply identifies him with or equates him with God. As John’s gospel puts it, he is the Word become flesh – that is, he reveals what can be seen of God in a finite human life. To say, 'I believe Jesus was God' (as some Christians do, or think they are supposed to) goes beyond what the New Testament affirms and is thus more than biblical. He is the Word incarnate – not the disembodied Word."
Borg goes on to talk about Jesus as showing what humans could be truly capable of--that's why it's important to him not to think of Jesus as having a "divine supercharger."
I agree with part of Borg's argument. I first encountered this idea in Madeleine L'Engle's book, Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art: “God is always calling on us to do the impossible. It helps me to remember that anything Jesus did during his life here on earth is something we should be able to do, too” (page 19).
All yesterday, my brain returned to Borg's idea that Jesus may not have been God, the way we've come to think of him in the centuries that followed his life. Could I reject the divinity of Jesus?
I know that as I look at parts of the Gospels, it seems that Jesus himself isn't sure of his mission. The Jesus that we meet in Mark, the Gospel written first, is very different from the Jesus we meet in the Gospel of John.
But to think of Jesus as not-the-Trinity? Hmmm.
I've reconsidered many parts of the Christian creeds and ditched some of them. But to abandon the divinity of Jesus? I'm not ready to do that.
feeling the feelings…
9 months ago