Theology Issues Links
What is a God
The Praying, Agonizing Jesus
New or fresh paradigms give new, different, possibly better answers and insights for the issues to which they are applied. One sub-paradigm that is being proposed by the IFISEEUS site is that "God" the Father is the corpus of unfallen children (humans) in the greater universe, a universe over which the Originator has delightfully ceded control to them. Another is that SIN is a wrong concept, a fundamentally wrong framework or understanding of "God" AND a misunderstanding of who WE really are and our role in the universe, in the scheme of things.
Jesus is sometimes portrayed in the Gospel accounts as often withdrawing from earthly human contact and agonizingly praying throughout the night. Christians assume that he was seeking solace and strength from God to assuage his loneliness, disappointment and frustration in dealing with the people, disciples and others, with whom he was interacting. Can we understand this scenario in another, more appropriate and meaningful way?
In putting myself in that same context, I realize that just being able to talk to God with clear bilateral communication and just one or a few sentences and affirming sentiments from this source would buoy my spirits, and I wouldn't need nor would I continue to "agonize" over the personal uncertainties of my life and my "faith" for more than a couple of minutes.
What if we understand what Jesus was doing in a different way?
One foundational presumption, one also made universally by Christians, is that NEVER before in all time had Jesus and the Father been in this situation before, where BOTH the fate of the human race AND the life of the Originator was on the line, was at stake! Was not his cessation as a person, his "death", his being born as a fleshly baby in the womb of his earthly mother Mary, his nurturing for some 30 to 35 years was all designed to be the one great, final apocalypse or revelation of God of all time that would solve the sin problem? Not a sacrifice to assuage the demands of a larger than God law, but a revealing, not one that would ever abrogate, violate or override individual sovereignty or autonomy, but one that would INSPIRE the needed change of concept, belief and attitude.
With that as the larger context of framework, it is being proposed that this time was spent in intense discussion about: What should he do and not do next? Where should he go or not go next? What should he say or not say, and how should he say it and to whom and not whom? What would be the most impactful setting? What were the options, the downside and the upsides? Was his ministry getting overly associated with miracles that only temporarily assuaged specific individual problems? If so, how to strike the proper balance?
At this point in this line of thinking, some would just bail out by "reminding" themselves that "God" knows the end from the beginning, and doesn't ever need to discuss a course of action. However, the Bible itself does NOT teach this, as reflected in the conversations of Moses, Abraham, Jonah, etc.
The questions are legion, but one of the most important would be: What was he personally quite willing to do and what was he reticent to do? What role in the discussion did he play other than to be silent and submissive?
If this is the correct understanding, never did the Father fail to take Jesus' own personal and immediate feelings and welfare into consideration in planning out these approach issues. How to weigh and consider all of these myriad factors? If I had spent days or even a long night wrestling with all of this, I would be both depleted by the endeavor and bolstered by having done due diligence and coming to the best conclusion along with the counsel of the whole universe!
Can we not see that long sessions of agonizing in prayer with God over whether he is willing to do good things for us in this life just doesn't make sense? Or trying to influence him to do the right thing−from our limited perspective−for the world, the government, our church, our own personal lives, is a pathetic misunderstanding? Are WE not supposed to be part of the grand solution of unity of purpose, values and paradigm of reality, or are we not mature enough to even suggest a thoughtful course of action? And is not THIS primarily what we should be focused on?