Jesus: Human and Divine

January 28th, 2019 by Dave Leave a reply »

One United Dynamic Nature
Sunday, January 27, 2019

For no one can lay any foundation other than the one that has been laid; that foundation is Jesus Christ. —1 Corinthians 3:11

We’ve begun this year’s Daily Meditations focusing on Jesus. While the Christian faith is living and evolving, its foundation is still Jesus, the Christ. Such a firm clear centerpiece will allow us—indeed demand of us—that we move outward from there. But the pieces of the Rubik’s Cube that we must forever untangle anew are all firmly in place. The forever union of matter and spirit, of human and divine, of God with Creation, is revealed in human history as Jesus, and in the cosmos as Christ.

This pretty much makes any attempts at exclusion virtually impossible. Such wholeness at the heart of the universe is known by other names in various religions and fields of study, as we’ll see later this year.

Understanding how Jesus was fully human and fully divine at the same time requires nondual consciousness. That’s probably why it has often been best taught by mystics who spend much time in deep prayer. For example, let’s look closely at the Alexandrian Mystics (312–454 CE)—hermits, monks, and nuns living in the Egyptian desert. Some of these mystics are known as the Desert Fathers and Mothers. In general, the early Alexandrian school represents the more mystical and nondual tradition of Christianity, but it never dominated in the common imperial versions of the Gospel (either Roman or Byzantine), so it was completely lost by the time of the Protestant Reformation.

This period of early Christianity is largely unknown and of little interest to most Western Christians today. With the self-sufficiency and arrogance that has often characterized the West, we have proceeded as if the first centuries of the Christian church were unimportant or not a part of the essential Christ Mystery. So, bear with me as I share a bit more historical and theological nuance than I usually do.

Christian theologian and friend Amos Smith offers some very helpful context to help us understand these early Christians:

The Alexandrian Mystics were predominantly Miaphysite (one united dynamic nature in both Jesus and in us). Jesus is the Great Includer and we are the endlessly included. They were also hesychasts [practicing a form of contemplative prayer that focused on clearing the mind of all thoughts and sensory distractions]These monks and monk-bishops predate the split between Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy (1054). They also predate the Oriental Orthodox split that eventually followed the Council of Chalcedon (451), so they rightfully belong to the early Church universal. . .

Miaphysite is the non-dual awareness of Christ, who as Cyril of Alexandria put it, is “at once God and human.” If Jesus is at once God and human, that means as believers we cannot refer to Jesus as God without qualifying that: “God in human form.” We also cannot refer to Jesus as human only without qualifying that: “the human incarnation of God.” The legacy of Miaphysite theology is only well preserved today in the Oriental Orthodox Church (not to be confused with Eastern Orthodox). Miaphysite is the crown jewel of the Alexandrian Mystics. It is the center piece that holds the various strands of Mystic Christianity together. [1]

I hope I do Amos Smith’s scholarship justice in my brief summaries the next few days as we continue to explore how the incarnation is essential to our faith and how we, too, participate in this mystery of creation embodying the divine.

Reconciliation of Opposites
Monday, January 28, 2019

The dynamic union of opposites (humanity and divinity) that the Christ Mystery is surpasses, undercuts, and has the power to resolve so many levels of denominational argument and partisanship that have divided Christianity over the centuries. We did not realize how large and reconciling our own Christ was, despite being told that “God wanted all fullness (pleroma) to be found in Christ, and all things to be reconciled through him and for him” (Colossians 1:19-20).

Instead of the Great Reconciler, we made Jesus into a clannish god who then had to compete with other world religions (even with his own Judaism!) and with our very humanity—which made humanity hard to sanctify or liberate. As St. Irenaeus (c. 130–202) reflected, “That not taken up within the Incarnation, would not be redeemed.” [1] Without the dynamic terms of incarnation being absolutely clear, Jesus remained only Divine, and we remained only human, thus confusing, severely limiting, and diminishing the process of redemption. We missed the major point which was that God had put the two together in a dynamic way for all to see and trust, but we did not know how to even imagine that either in Jesus or in ourselves. Yes, we had the will and the desire, but did not trust the extraordinary incarnational method that God used, nor its Perfect Exemplar, Jesus.

Truly great ideas, like the dynamic union of humanity and divinity in Jesus, are invariably slow in coming, because the normal mind prefers to think in static dualisms. It allows us to take clean sides and argue from supposedly pure positions. Only contemplative prayer can overcome such splits and artificial separateness. Only inner stillness can absorb and comprehend paradoxes and seeming contradictions, which Eastern Christianity, at least in its early period, seemed to understand much more than the Western church.

I think Jesus was the first nondual teacher for the West, but the West has unsuccessfully tried to understand him with our usual dualistic thinking. Western theology adopted the Council of Chalcedon’s (451 CE) doctrine that Jesus was “made known in two natures.” As Amos Smith says, “If Christ were two natures he would not be God the Son incarnate, but only God the Son dwelling in a human. . . . [Christ’s] is a true mystical union, not a nominal union of ‘two natures, two wills, and two natural operations.’ How can there be union when everything is split in two.” [2]

These lyrics are a mix of Hold On and Let Go. Requires non dual thinking to unpack…………….


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