The Jews answered him, “Aren’t we right in saying that you are a Samaritan and demon-possessed?”
“I am not possessed by a demon,” said Jesus, “but I honor my Father and you dishonor me. I am not seeking glory for myself; but there is one who seeks it, and he is the judge. Very truly I tell you, whoever obeys my word will never see death.”
At this they exclaimed, “Now we know that you are demon-possessed! Abraham died and so did the prophets, yet you say that whoever obeys your word will never taste death. Are you greater than our father Abraham? He died, and so did the prophets. Who do you think you are?”
Jesus replied, “If I glorify myself, my glory means nothing. My Father, whom you claim as your God, is the one who glorifies me. Though you do not know him, I know him. If I said I did not, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and obey his word. Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad.”
“You are not yet fifty years old,” they said to him, “and you have seen Abraham!”
- John 8:48-57
Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me, but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”
- John 10:25-30
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
- 1 John 4:7-12
“ ‘I have been taught to believe in one only-begotten, our Lord Jesus Christ, God the Word made man. But l know the distinction between flesh and Godhead and regard as profane all who divide our one Lord Jesus Christ into two sons — as well as those who, going the other way, call the deity and humanity of the master Christ one nature. These extremes are opposed to one another while between them lies the way of the doctrines of the gospel.’ (Letter 109)
“ ‘God the Word was made man, not to render the impassible [divine] nature passible, but in order to bestow on the passible nature [our humanity], by means of the Passion, the boon of impassibility.’ (Letter 145)”
- Tony Lane, A Concise History of Christian Thought
Theodoret of Cyrus (393-457) was bishop of Cyrus or Cyrrhus which is a two-day walk to the east of Antioch in present day Turkey.
He countered the arguments of Cyril of Alexandria who had an extremely mystical explanation of the deity of Jesus Christ to the point of all believers becoming mystically purified as Saints upon accepting Him. Cyril called Mary the “Mother of God.” He was opposed by Nestorius who preferred Mary to be called the “Mother of Christ.” But while Cyril argued that Jesus suffered in the flesh, Nestorius felt Jesus, being God, could never suffer. To counter the argument, Cyril, being bishop of Alexandria, and thus Pope of the Coptic church, wrote a series of Anathemas. Basically drawing the example for our current Cancel Culture. If you do not agree with my way of thinking, as far as the church is concerned, you are hereby “cancelled”, an anathema within the church.
Theodoret, who sided with Nestorius, cancelled the Cyril Anathema’s but in later compromise had to reinstate the anathema on Nestorius and settle on Mary being the “Mother of God” which leads to all kinds of misconceptions regarding Mary.
Part of Cyril’s issues was how Jesus could be God, a spirit without a body, become a man, and then go back to being a spirit? But if Theodoret is correct, and at least in part, Jesus was and is in all time and outside of time. As John stated, the Word was with God and was God from before the time that time began. Yet, even today, people get hung up on Jesus meeting and arguing with Abraham about the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah and then becoming a baby in Mary’s womb. Jesus even states above that before Abraham, “I am” meaning that Jesus existed prior to Abraham.
Cyril invented his mysticism to explain it, and then the mysticism began to contaminate other arguments, especially when we accept Jesus into our hearts. Theodoret did not get everything right either, and I think one of the biggest problems, then and now, is that most people do not understand that God is outside time and space. Thus, all time is accessible at any time. And another factor is that God created the natural law and thus, He alone holds the key in monkeying with the natural law. Thus, He can perform miracles, events that natural law simply says, “That cannot happen.”
When something spiritual is explained in intellectual terms, it never quite works out, but to cancel anyone that does not agree with your explanation? That goes a little too far. In things that are a bit beyond our reach and impossible to prove one way or the other, cancelling those who disagree with us is too much, but if what we say is biblical, we have grounds for what we argue. Jesus came to earth not just in human form, but as a human, although He was fully God. We have theologians who argue that the soul and the spirit of a man are different, but no scientific experiment has defined either of them. Yet, for Jesus to appear to Abraham in fully adult human form and then be born thousands of years later in Mary’s womb, that requires something mystical? God is bigger than that.
If you like these Tuesday morning essays about philosophy and other “heavy topics,” but you think you missed a few, you can use this LINK. I have set up a page off the home page for links to these Tuesday morning posts. I will continue to modify the page as I add more.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.
Thanks for sharing this idea. Anita
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You are welsome.