The Pagan Path

Those who wonder are not lost; they are trying to awaken! 'The Sleeper must awaken!'

Saturday, July 02, 2016

The Importance of Being Human

 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God,
 the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels,  
to the general assembly and church of the firstborn [ who are ] registered in heaven,
 to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect,
  to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, 
and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than [ that of ] Abel.
Hebrews 12:23-24 

It is said that, in the beginning, on the sixth day actually, according to Genesis 1:27, 'God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them'. There is some question as to whether this 'creation' was the actual origin of the species, or just the forming, as the phrasing seems to indicate, of already existent human beings 'in the image' of the Creator. The Hebrew 'bara'', a transliteration which appears as 'created' here, actually means 'to cut, to carve out, to form by cutting', according to Gesenius' Lexicon. Covenantally speaking, this is very significant, especially when considering the fact that this Hebrew verb is also used to describe the fattening of a sacrifice ( I Samuel 2:29 )!

Arguing from the traditional assumption that Adam & Eve were indeed the first human beings on planet earth, orthodoxy takes this assumption into the New Covenant, insisting that since the Creator God fashioned them in His own image, then, because this biology is cursed & fated to perish, the self-same biology which we now incarnate will be resurrected from its corruption at the Last Day. This kind of reasoning forces them to wrangle Jesus' own words in Matthew 24, for instance & the apostle Paul's in I Corinthians 5:17, where he speaks of the 'new creation' as an already accomplished fact. If the 'new creation' to which the apostle refers is this biology, then he was obviously mistaken, because our biological clocks still run down & our individual bodies are subject to pain: biologically speaking, we still suffer, cry & die. Either that, or Paul, along with Jesus, wasn't referring to individual, biological bodies!

Human beings were created for One Purpose: well, many, maybe, but for one main purpose & that is to serve the Creator. The Creator God said, 'let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all[b] the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth'; scripturally speaking, this is about as plain & yet ambiguous as you can get! 'What does it mean, to have 'dominion'?' Transliterated 'radah', the Hebrew verb here means 'to tread', which again carries great significance, covenantally speaking, especially considering the apostle Paul's words of promise to the disciples of Jesus in the first century, 'and the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly'( Romans 16:20 ); these words actually echo Jesus' own words, 'I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven' ( Luke 10:18 )!

To 'have dominion', then, did not simply mean to crush underfoot & dominate or subjugate all of the above ( or below, as the case may be ), it carried a specific connotation, prophesying the crushing of the Satan under the heels of the first-century Church. Here again, traditional orthodoxy runs into a major problem; if indeed the 'Satan' that Jesus spoke of has not yet been crushed under the heel of the Church, even in an 'already, not yet' scenario, then both Jesus' & Paul's words must be wrangled to mean something other than they were meant to portray. In this scenario, Paul gave those first-century Christians false hope & Jesus was off by a couple millenia & counting!

Paul's 'new creation' obviously did not refer to individual, biological bodies, else it would not be a present reality, as the apostle strongly asserted! The writer to the Hebrews spoke of 'the spirits of just men made perfect'; using what is often referred to as 'Hebrew parallelism', the author considered that the Church, made up of individuals, yes, had been made 'perfect', in the spirit & by the Spirit. It is not that these men & women, in their biology, were perfect, it was that in their spirits & by the Spirit, as the Church, they had been 'perfected forever' ( Hebrews 10:14 ). In the same manner, when the apostle Paul spoke of a 'new creation', he obviously was not referring to individual, biological bodies, but rather to the spirits that by that same Spirit, as the Church, had been justified!

According to John 3:16, the Creator God 'gave His only begotten Son', making the Ultimate Sacrifice for His  Beloved Church. That Jesus was this Son is without question, that this Sacrifice was made 'in the flesh' is doubtless; His Sacrifice served to redeem His Church, that which had been formed from His side ( Genesis 2:21-23 ). The New Covenant, which Jesus embodied, brought forth the 'new creation' of which the apostle so wondrously wrote!

Charles Haddon Shank

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