Monday, February 8, 2010

Clayboy on the 39 articles

Doug Chaplin again has an intriguing post on the nature of Jesus related to Article XV of the 39 articles.

The article starts off with this phrase: Christ in the truth of our nature was made like unto us in all things, sin only except, from which he was clearly void, both in his flesh, and in his spirit.

Void is a curious term for today - sounds like a method definition in a C# or java module. Meaning today - I don't return a value when executed. So when Jesus earthly life was executing (= running), with respect to sin, he did not return a value. Exactly the opposite is what I would expect. If the Father is doing the 'running' by the Spirit, then a continuous return = communications would be expected. Relationship never broken.  Now this communication of mine is not in English.

It raises for me a question as to what our humanity is and what is the nature of sin in terms of my experience with systems and machines.  The 19th century Frankenstein approach to humanity was that we are a clockwork finely tuned machine. This leaves no room for sin at all. It is pure determinism. Modern physics after quantum theory leaves no room for determinism of this sort. So what are we? (I have been reading some popular books on Entanglement, Infinity, and Quantum theory - so be prepared for some more strained analogies!)

Who am I and who is he - this Jesus whom Peter called the Christ, the son of the Living God? (Mark 8:27 and par.)

This is not a theological post (yet), but an anthropological one. A few weeks ago when reading Psalm 90, a teacher said to me. We are reading too much at once. How can God prosper the work of our hands when we are but a machine? We did not follow this comment up, but it has stayed with me. I think the notion that our humanity is mechanical is too simplistic. If indeed we are a wavefunction as quantum theory implies, then there are two of us as Paul noted, the old and the new. When we have passed through the split beam produced by our birth in the flesh and our birth in the cross, we are splattered into a diffraction pattern. The question is then - who will measure us that we might collapse the wavefunction and know who we are?

Our warning is not to collapse the wavefunction in the wrong way: Judge not, lest ye be judged, as our Lord said, and note also the envelope that Paul uses for his letter to the Romans (yes that letter to the Romans has a complex envelope: who are you to judge your sibling? Romans 14 closes this part of the envelope and the opening portion is in chapter 2. As I said elsewhere

When I read the closing bracket in chapter 14 - why do you judge your brother? I find the best answer is given by the Grand Inquisitor in The Brothers Karamazov - "because the people cannot stand the freedom You have placed them in". That is why we misread Romans. We have no capacity to judge till we have died.
In this life and the life of the world to come, we must respect the outer envelope of this letter - the obedience of faith. (Romans 1:5, 16:26)  Yes I know there are disputes over the last chapter. There are lots of people who open letters and rip the envelope and toss it away.

So given the requirement of faith, is there any good news about our humanity to be gleaned from this article of religion? Here it is: the Anointed is without sin in the spirit and in the flesh. So how does this affect me or you? Can I participate in the unbroken and unbreakable communion that Jesus has? (He is implicitly being talked about here as the author and finisher of our faith.) Yes we can. (Someone else said that recently.) Does our choice effect a collapse of the wavefunction? Yes it does. Is that good news? Yes it is. Try it and see. You will discover a change in judgment. Here I quote a note from Ken Schenck this morning,1897. No church that is acquainted with the Holy Ghost will object. 

So we have a measurement that we have measured. We have looked at the life of Jesus and it was good. We do not de-create ourselves as Job did, because this source of our light has appeared to our Leviathan and has made the beast acceptable. The accuser can no longer stand to accuse. This same Anointing is from the beginning and is thoroughly manifest in the canon. Time itself changes its character in our eyes, much as it changed when Einstein demonstrated dilation. Do not think it is imaginary. Negative numbers, complex numbers, and the probability cloud, in spite of the fact that no one understands them, have produced technological marvels. Enter then this marvelous cloud of unknowing by the door of faith and be thereby known. You will not find it void.


Doug Chaplin said...

So long as you're not suggesting that he returns void because he hasn't encapsulated "humanity" properly!

Bob MacDonald said...

Perfect comment - I did not know you too were a systems designer. Encapsulation is exactly the term we use for object definitions!

When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?