Saying 22– overdue

22) Jesus saw some infants at the breast. He said
to his disciples: These little ones at the breast
are like those who enter into the kingdom. They
said to him: If we then be children, shall we
enter the kingdom? Jesus said to them: When you
make the two one , and when you make the inside as
the outside, and the outside as the inside, and
the upper side as the lower; and when you make the
male and the female into a single one , that the
male be not male and the female female; when you
make eyes in the place of an eye, and a hand in
place of a hand, and a foot in place of a foot, an
image in place of an image, then shall you enter
[the kingdom]. Matthew 18:1-3; John 17:11

This post is a ’10 month baby’ because I found some
pertinent material in A History of God, page 161:

Armstrong quotes a traditional ‘saying of
Mohammed, supposedly the voice of God:

“My servant draws near to me ..as a duty. And
my servant continues drawing nearer to me
through superrogatory acts until I love him:
and when I love him, I become his ear…. his
eyes… his hand….his foot whereon he walks.”

One might think that Mohammed got this from
Thomas, although he was illiterate of course.
Be that as it may, I find it pleasant to see
the close relationship between the two faiths.
Islam (naturally) appears to be closer in spirit
to Thomas than to John.

The Koran emphatically rejects the “blasphemous
doctrine of the Trinity”. In the Christian
tradition it’s most supported of course by
John and least by Thomas, and most likely by
the numerically larger Arians who civilized
most of Europe and the numerically large
Eastern Christians (larger than the Western
tradition which became orthodoxy).

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8 responses

  1. Hi Larry. I was just thinking that the gospel of Thomas and gnostic texts seem closer to Islam than traditional christianity … Thomas and the gnostics believe in God but rank Jesus as just a kind of prophet (like Mohammed. But to go along with Thomas and the gnostics, to see Jesus not as both human and God, you have to discount four canonical gsopels which mention miracles and the bodily resurrection of Jesus, not to mention a number of references to his divinity.

  2. I don’t think the miracle scommit you to Jesus’ divinity. There were many miracle workers wandering the countryside back then.The passages that openly affirm Jesus’ divinity was one position within the church. It became the dominant one — but others existed. These included “Adoptionism” — the belief Jesus became divine and “Modalism” that argued taht Trinity was “temporary” — and that God was One in is essential being and not Triune. The gospels and Paul represent the writings of the guys who won the argument.Mind you. I think they were right.

  3. Thanks Crystal and David for your prompt responses.Re “Mind you. I think they were right.” We all have to follow our conscience here. Personally I have a lot more problems with Jesus being God than I do with him as my friend, teacher, saviour, healer, a lot of other things that give him a personality that I can’t possibly ascribe to God.It’s great that we can discuss these things, disagree, and remain true friends. You both are that to me.

  4. It is good we can have different views and still get along :-)The argument for Jesus being both human and divine is one I can’t win, as in convincing others that it is so. When I honestly ask myself why I believe it, I have to admit, my belief isn’t based on the most astute theological arguments or even biblical quotations but on more personal stuff … my religious experience tells me Jesus is alive and well and God, not a dead prophet.

  5. Were they right or wrong? Can we really ever know? This past Sunday in our small worship group, we were discussing some basic tennats of Quakerism. The only tenet that the young couple who led the discussion were aware of was the “There is that of God in everyone.” Others that were raised during our discussion were on-going revelation, and personal experience. This is all to say that sometimes we forget, in all this dialogue about texts and’all of our questions about what did they mean and who or which scripture was right… that our own ongoing revelation, our own spark of divinity, and our personal spiritual experience is really the seed that we must grow from. Crystal identifies this succintly within herself, “my religious experience tells me Jesus is alive and well and God, not a dead prophet.” And at the very same moment, Larry’s experience leads him, “Personally I have a lot more problems with Jesus being God than I do with him as my friend, teacher, saviour, healer, a lot of other things that give him a personality that I can’t possibly ascribe to God.” Must one be right and one be wrong? I think one thing Thomas is encouraging us to open up to here is the possibility of paradox – that more than one thing, even things that may appear opposing, can be true at the same time.

  6. That’s the great (and somewhat less than logical) thing about being a Trinitarian — we get to call God our friend, teacher, saviour, and healer.

  7. Meredith, you siad … who is right, can we ever know?I don’t think we really can know who is right. Although we can feel something is right for us, I don’t think we can make that judgement for others. Once Fr. Marsh wrote in a homily that everyone has a different Jesus … even the 4 canonical gospel writers had different versions of him, not to mention each of us who knows him. Perhaps everyone has a different God too – maybe that’s how it’s supposed to be 🙂

  8. Right on Crystal. I heartily concur with all of you. We are one in the spirit. Our minds matter less.

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