THE TRUE CHRIST LENS
The Bible must be read through the Jesus Lens if we are to know the truth about God and ourselves. The lens you use, determines the god we construct with our own minds. ‘The natural theology’ of which Karl Baath speaks, borrows more from the knowledge of good and evil than it does from the tree of life. The implications of this are that if we have been taught that the big issue of life is the law and the keeping of it, we will build a ‘christ’ in the mind’s eye who is subordinate to the law, who lives to endorse the law and create law-keepers. This is a christ but not the christ of God.
Such a ‘christ’ has sons but they are sons who are workers. A Christianity that is a modified version of the Knowledge of good and evil is not our legacy in Christ. Incarnation is our inheritance. Paul called this Christ our life. The doctrine of the apostles calls it incarnation.
GRACE AND TRUTH
Should we imprison ourselves in aberrations of the truth because this is where our identity lies we are akin to the climate change deny who averts his mind from an unpalatable truth. The difference is that we are separating our hearts from the Reality that is Christ our life.
Grace means that God imparts Himself to us despite our theology – up to a point. Grace is the door to truth – not an excuse to live in misinformation or perpetuate cunningly devised fables. Untruth always produces some form of disease and death.
The purpose of God in Christ is not to multiply law-keepers. It’s to multiply sons and daughters of God. God as Father lives out of Himself. The I AM of God has been incarnated in us to recreate and sustain the ‘I am’ of daughters and sons of God. God lives in you to impart Himself to you. This is not all. When Christ is our life Jesus imparts to us the life of the trinity. We are included in His trinitarian belonging.
LESSER CHRIST, LESSER YOU
‘Natural theology’ can produce an evolutionary version of the human person or a religious version of personhood – particularly if one has been socialised in the kind of ‘revelation’ that undoes the cross and substitutes the beefing up of the law by a christ who lives to multiply law-keepers. This of course is a false christ and a false gospel that can be lived as a religion or as an attitude.
There is nothing natural about a theology of the incarnation. It’s as supernatural as you can get, yet paradoxically weaves God into human flesh so that God is never a principle but a reality who lives out His person and grace in our bodies.
“Natural theology presupposes a definition of God before discovering what God has revealed about Godself in Christ, and it thus attempts to fit the Word and works of God within its logic rather than discipline its logic according to God’s Word and works. We can only learn of the incarnation, of God’s becoming man for our sakes and suffering our contradiction—we can only learn this truth where God has taught it, in Jesus Christ. Looking to Christ and discovering what God has to say about Godself and is the only way for us to know God. The philosophical limitations we place on God cannot stand in the light of the incarnation.” (1)
A Christ who supervises the law and inculcates the law is not the Christ of God. This Christ who is not a false christ incarnates Himself in our lives so that Christ becomes us – with the paradox that in Christ we do not lose ourselves but we gain ourselves.
In law and religion we can be sincere and diligent workers. With Christ as our life we are one with God and the sons and daughters of God. As Irenaeus observed, “He who was the Son of God became the Son of man, that man... might become the son of God.” Here is a man who distinguished life from religion.
(1) Morrison, Stephen D.. Karl Barth in Plain English (Plain English Series Book 1) (p. 20). Beloved Publishing. Kindle Edition.