What could cause a human being, previously a worshipper of the unitary, monotheistic I AM, to write this:
God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. (1 John 4:9)
We are so used to this passage, we have no idea how bizarre it would have been to the devout people of the time. They had zero conception that the God of Israel could have a son. The Greeks of course had plenty of gods begetting children hither and yon. But not the God of the Hebrews. This idea was cataclysmically odd, not to mention offensive.
The outpouring of theological creation that occurred after the life of that one itinerant rabbi is one of the things that convinces me that he was like no other human being.
The cosmos-rending claims of the New Testament: what did they come from – a fit of collective madness?
I don’t think so. The insights are too many, too powerful, and too complex, to be the result of poisoning or hysteria or communal demand. None of those phenomena last very long. This is different.
I was never tempted to join any other religion in my younger life, but I have gone through periods of not being involved in my own. Now as I edge into my last years, I find Christianity stranger and more compelling than I’d ever before realized. It is far more than a set of ethical demands rooted in a notion of virtuous sacrifice. That idea, which guided my life for years, was thin gruel by comparison to the sustenance I am finding now.
December 24, 2020 COVID-19 Infections and Deaths