The Air We Breathe – Equality

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

  • Genesis 1:1

So God created mankind in his own image,
    in the image of God he created them;
    male and female he created them.
God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

  • Genesis 1:27-28

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
There was a man sent from God whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.
The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

  • John 1:1-14

“Before picking a side, it’s worth knowing that the Bible speaks to both visions. We are certainly frail, earthbound, physical creatures, coming at the end of the creative process. In the poetic vision of Genesis 2, mankind is formed from the dust. Materially speaking we are base and brittle, and our lives are brief. But we are also breathed upon by God. There is bottom—up—ness to us and top-down—ness to us. We are dirt—bags kissed by heaven. Beloved dust. In ourselves we are like that one-dollar water glass. But we are touched by the divine too, and in connection with God we are precious beyond all earthly valuation. Precious, but profoundly flawed. That’s the meaning of the next chapter of the story. …
“Of course, Christians only compounded the problem by insisting that the divine Son of God—described in the New Testament as ‘the Word’ who made the world—became man (John 1:1-14). Celsus notes with horror that the Christian God ‘forsakes the whole universe and the course of the heavenly spheres to dwell with us alone”. If it was pride to think God specially blesses man, what kind of lunacy imagines that he becomes man? For Celsus this was nonsense. For a Christian, though, this is precisely what makes sense—of everything. If you believe that ‘man’ (in the universal sense of the word) has been established to have ‘dominion’, then of course the true King would show up as man. Of course he enters history, centre stage, in this way. Humanity is the location he prepared for himself right back ‘in the beginning’. To become human is exactly the sort of thing this God would do. And he did it so as to take the wheel of his own world and guide creation home. …
“If you consult Celsus, he will answer from the perspective of the classical world: Quit your human-centredness! The gods are indifferent, and nature is unequal.
“If you consult Harari, he will answer from our modern understanding: The struggle for survival is indifferent and viciously unequal. Human rights are as fictional as the God who underwrites them.
“Both men though, ancient and modern, are correct in this: the God story and the equality story stand or fall together. If we feel that life is sacred, that every human possesses an inviolable dignity and equality, and that no one deserves to be trampled down simply because they are smaller or weaker or poorer, then we are standing on particularly biblical foundations. There is a thread running from Genesis through the New Testament to our 21st—century humanist convictions. In the coming chapters we will trace out the developments in more detail, but for now it’s enough to know that the thread is strong. It needs to be—the modern world hangs by it.

  • Glen Scrivener, The Air We Breathe

What Rev. Scrivener is saying is that God created mankind in order to save mankind.  He did not preordain, or predestine, mankind to sin, but as C. S. Lewis wrote, to give men free will, you give them a choice.  If there is good, then there is a choice of bad.

God, knowing that mankind, having been created in His image, would fail, so in the creation of everything, God planned the birth of Jesus and His death, burial, and resurrection.

The Israelites became the Chosen People by virtue of the faith of the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Israel).  The word patriarch may be in disfavor in some circles today, but Abraham is our father through faith, even if we have no bloodline that goes back to him.  It is through that bloodline that Jesus would be born, with us today, knowing full well that Jesus is a person in the Great I AM, meaning God existing before creation, after the end times, and at all moments in between.  He is fully human, fully God.  He is not made better because He is in the kingly line of David.  David is not really better for being an ancestor of Jesus.  But there is that faith connection.

As for the creation story, the Scripture above uses the Genesis 1 “executive summary” with Genesis 2 adding that Adam came from dust and Eve came from Adam, thus from dust also.  All mankind come from those two people.  In recent DNA discoveries, the Y-chromosome, which can only pass from a man to his male offspring, is roughly 5,000 years old, dating back to Noah rather than Adam.  There may have been a lot of divergence prior to Noah, but with all other males being killed in the flood, other than Noah’s sons, dating back to Noah is valid.  As the Y-chromosome changes over a few generations, it can be shown that skin color is not a distinction.  The age-old myth that the descendants of Ham were the dark-skinned people that settled mostly in Africa is indeed a myth.  It is not biblical in that only Canaan was cursed.  Considering skin color, a star chart with the different variants of the Y-chromosome emanating from the center (Noah), there is no white area, brown area (including Asians), and black area.  It is closer to being Zebra striped.

On the female side of things, mitochondrial Eve dates back about 6,000 years, with the mitochondrial DNA only passed from mothers to female offspring.  Thus, Eve is the connector.  Noah’s wife would not be a single point connection in that each son was married and the wives were on the ark also.

As we all descend from one man and one woman and color of skin is scattered throughout the Y-chromosome variants, we are all equal as humankind, making very light skinned Caucasians more closely related to dark-skinned Africans than they might be with their Caucasian neighbors.  Thus, skin color should not be a reason for discrimination.  But society creates more and more excuses for discrimination.

Rev. Scrivener starts the chapter by quoting Plato.  Plato would have a hard time saying that rich-poor, slave-master, king-commoner were equal.  In societal standards, they are still not and the other philosophers that are quoted above would confirm the divide: Celsus from the second century and Yuval Noah Harari, an Israeli philosopher and historian, of the present day.

But, to become a Christian, we believe and trust in Jesus Christ alone.  This one qualifier says nothing of rich-poor, slave-master, king-commoner.  If anyone has a handicap, it would be the ultra-privileged.  The rich, master, king would have more reason to think themselves better than those around them, and less inclined to listen to the still small voice inside them telling them that they need Jesus.  Yet, Emperor Constantine became a Christian.  Other kings and rulers have come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.  The key is who is willing to hear the voice of God and respond to it.

In some cases, it comes down to be receptive to that voice.  That is within the spiritual make-up of the individual.  Is God talking to you right now?  He probably is.  The operative question is whether you are responding toward God or responding with rejection of God.

As Rev. Scrivener infers, this first concept among those ideals which we consider self-evident, like the air that we breathe, is more of a foundational concept that is built upon.

Lord, guide me.  Help me to see everyone as a brother or sister.  Help me to love those around me and guide those that are receptive to Your message of love.  In Thy Name I pray.  Amen

Soli Deo Gloria.  Only to God be the Glory.

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