Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Begotten Not Created

Many years ago, Christians debated the nature of Jesus. Among the questions was whether he was created (in the usual sense, like you and me, if you’ll pardon my assumption), or if he was begotten (like he existed before time, with God). It probably wouldn’t have come up if there weren’t people terribly convinced of one side or the other. And you know how awful it can get when religious people argue.

Well, if you sing softly to yourself the great Christmas carol, “O Come, All Ye Faithful,” you will, during the second verse, realize which side won the day. (“very God, begotten not created”)

I am glad that they settled the question so very long ago. I would have, I think, begotten dizzy and in desperate need of a nap listening to that debate. The winning side had lots of New Testament scripture to prove their point. The losers only had how every other person came to be on their side (or so I assume). I don’t mean to suggest that I favour the losing side, I don’t. I am sure Jesus was begotten. I merely want to say that the things we argue about today will boggle the minds of future generations. I hope that they are thankful that we settled a bunch of issues, so they don’t have to.

Then there might be a few, or a lot, of voices crying in the wilderness for us to think about what mattered to Jesus. Debates over his nature, created or begotten, seemed to matter very little to him. He, sort of dismissively, referred to himself merely as the son of man (human, in other words. How he is so seems incidental to him).

So, what mattered to Jesus? “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.” (Luke 4:18-19)

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