Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Christian and Olympian: The Range of Possibilities

Let us imagine a range of possibilities between 0 and 10.

Off the chart, to the left of 0, let us place the Olympian gods. Theirs is the way of power which is based on falsehood, expressed through indifference, and ends in death. We may place near 0 the most powerful human societies, the falsest human cultures, and the cruelest human beings.

Off the chart, to the right of 10, let us put Jesus Christ. His is the way of freedom which is based on truth, expressed through love, and leads to eternal life. We may place near 10 the strongest voluntary societies, the truest human cultures, and the most loving human beings.

Olympian gods ~ Power                                 Freedom ~ Jesus Christ
                                 0                                          10

At 5, let us put the greatest righteousness possible through conformity to the Law of Moses or, more generally, to a biblically-based moral code. This was the greatest righteousness possible between the Fall of Adam and Eve and the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

In those days, we humans had only a wholly Olympian personality. Our Olympian personality is one constrained to do right by promises of rewards and to avoid wrong by threats of punishments. It is also one which cannot discern the difference between right and wrong without the Law.

The Bible mentions few people who attained this level of righteousness. Noah was one: Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his time; Noah walked with God (Genesis 6:9, New American Standard Version, here and following). Zechariah and Elizabeth, parents of John the Baptist, were two others: They were both righteous in the sight of God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and requirements of the Lord (Luke 1:6). The apostle Paul put himself in this category: as to the righteousness which is in the Law, found blameless (Philippians 3:6).

Others certainly deserve honorable mention: Abraham, Moses, Joshua, Ruth, Samuel, David, Hezekiah, Josiah, Nehemiah, Job, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Daniel.

Olympian gods ~ Power     Legal Righteousness     Freedom ~ Jesus Christ
                                 0                          5                           10

From 0 to 5, we have the Olympian half of the range. From 5 to 10, we have the Christian half. We may also split each half in half. From 0 to 2.5, we would have Olympian Olympians and from 2.5 to 5 we would have Christian Olympians. On the other side, from 5 to 7.5 we would have Olympian Christians and, from 7.5 to 10 we would have Christian Christians.

Between the Fall of Adam and Eve and the resurrection of Jesus Christ, we human beings, as well as our societies and cultures, were solely Olympian. There is a meaningful difference, though, between being Olympian Olympian (0 to 2.5) and being Christian Olympian (2.5 to 5). During those 4,000 years of history, God really wanted us closer to 5 rather than 0; that is, witnessing to greater freedom, truth, love, and vitality rather than to greater power, falsehood, indifference, and death. Being at 5 isn’t the same as being at 10, but it’s much better than being at 1. It’s important for us to appreciate that difference.

To move societies, cultures, and personalities closer to 5, God called Abraham (1921 BC) to learn the way of freedom from him. God then continued to instruct the descendants of Abraham in his ways of freedom through the Law and the prophets. There were times when we, as God’s people, were somewhere between 2.5 and 5 because of our greater commitment to Yahweh than to the gods. Most of the time, however, we were, along with the rest of humanity, somewhere between 0 and 2.5.

Power                            Legal Righteousness                        Freedom
0                Olympian                     5                    Christian                10
  Olympian      2.5     Christian             Olympian      7.5     Christian

With the resurrection of Jesus Christ, God gave every human being, whether Christian or non-Christian, a Christian personality; that is, a personality structured in terms of Jesus Christ the one truly human being. From then until Judgment Day, every human has both a wholly Olympian and a wholly Christian personality.

What matters now is the balance. Our Olympian and Christian personalities struggle against each other every moment. At any moment, our Olympian personality might make us act in a way that comes close to 0; at the next moment, our Christian personality might have us acting much closer to 10. But how are we doing, on average, during a whole day, week, month, year? The same question applies to our church as well as to our broader society and culture.

As Christians and churches, we should be witnessing to the freedom, truth, love, and vitality of Jesus Christ with sufficient clarity and consistency to put us somewhere between 7.5 and 10.

Sadly, this is not the case. Today’s Global Technological System (GTS) is the most powerful embodiment of the will of the Olympian gods ever devised. Under its dire influence, all human societies, cultures, and personalities are rocketing toward 0. This includes Christians and churches. Not only is the GTS dragging us along. We still continue to celebrate it, and the gods behind it, without even knowing it.

The purpose of this range of possibilities, Christian and Olympian, is to increase our awareness of where we are as Christians and churches and as societies and cultures. It should also help us to identify examples from the past that we should either emulate or reject. Finally, it should enable us to see that the GTS is pulling all societies, cultures, and personalities toward Hell so that, finally, at least we Christians and churches might do something creative in response to it.

Copyright © 2018 by Steven Farsaci. All rights reserved.