Wednesday, August 8, 2007

"My Lord and my God."

Stephen H. Webb finds the idea of the "preexistence" of Christ nonsensical - nothing exists before it exists: "Jesus exists, and he exists prior to everything, so talking about his preexistence is incoherent." How should we think about the relationship between the man Jesus and the eternal Christ? A portion of the review:
.... The liberal insistence that Jesus is "just like us" has been the cause of much confusion in contemporary theology. If Jesus' humanity were not different from our own, we would have no hope of salvation. We should try to be just like him, but he had no need to be just like us, because he is just like the father, even in his fleshly form.

Indeed, for all of his efforts to demonstrate the consistency of the doctrine of preexistence, McCready ends up cleaving Jesus Christ into two: the eternal Christ and the Jesus bound by time. The problem comes down to the idea of personhood. Jesus does not just reveal the identity of the Son. Jesus is the proper name of the Son of God. He is the Son. That means that nothing in the incarnation that manifests Jesus' identity is alien to or an alteration of the eternal Son. Even his very flesh is not an afterthought to God's triune nature.

To avoid such confusions, theologians should undertake Christology with a simple principle. Do not begin with the characteristics of human flesh that are incompatible with the divine attributes and then subtract them from Jesus in order to obtain what it was about him that preexisted his human form. Instead, begin with the Father begetting the Son, and think of the Son as the furthest reach of God into the space and time of creation. In other words, do not use the concept of preexistence to divide the person of Jesus into two. Rather, begin with the unity of his person, and marvel at the complexity of God.
Aromatheology - Books & Culture

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