The Effects of the Christ-Event: Wider Aspects of Justification

Justification is one of the most prominent of Paul’s ten great metaphors and it’s also probably the best-known one as well. In this light, I think that I’ll try to move past an assumed understanding of justification by touching on three topics:

1) The pre-Pauline roots of justification
2) Baptism and justification
3) Works of the law and justification

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The Effects of the Christ-Event: Mark’s Thoughts

One of the questions I get asked when talking about the effects of the Christ-event has to do with whether this avenue of approach is fruitful outside of the Paulines. The fact is, the entire NT pretty uniformly teaches Jesus in terms of what he did/does/will do. This time we’ll take a couple of examples from Mark.

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Whassup with that “one-third the hosts of heaven” stuff?

Since that shadowy character HP has lately taken to investigating the even darker figure of Satan in the dim reaches of LDS protology, David J and J. Watkins want to talk about the “third part” thing. And since I’m writing my dissy on Revelation and since I had way too much Mt. Dew after dinner, I’m going to oblige.

First off, the easiest way to handle the whole thing is to rely strictly on DC 29:36-37 and be done with it:

And it came to pass that Adam, being tempted of the devil—for behold the devil was before Adam. for he rebelled against me saying “Give me thine honor, which is my power, and also a third part of the hosts of heaven he turned against me because of their agency, and they were thrust down and became the devil and his angels;

Anytime Revelation gets called in on anything but its own terms, you will be lucky if you are only tormented by demonic cavalry from the abyss for five months. So if you click “read more,” you asked for it…

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The Effects of the Christ-Event: New Creation

In one of those interesting threads over at New Cool Thang, the Head Thang posed a question to the rest of the Wild Thangs:

Ok, our scriptures clearly say that because Jesus Christ was resurrected we all will be resurrected, too. I honestly have no idea why that is the case. If God can cause us to get new bodies then why did Jesus specifically have to be resurrected to make that possible? If Christ never came couldn’t God have resurrected us all anyway? If so, then what’s the connection? If not, then what is the law that would prevent God from doing so?

The first thing that should be said is that the NT is not unanimous in reporting that Jesus was the first person resurrected.

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The Effects of the Christ-Event: Reconciliation

Early last week a random John made a most interesting post that received no real response. Since I had been going to lead into a little series with precisely the point he made, I have taken the liberty of reproducing arJ’s comment here:

As Kevin Barney pointed out at BCC recently the at-one-ment thing really is the word origin in English. But it isn’t clear to me how this word was selected to represent Christ’s sacrifice. Do any other languages render it similarly?

Also odd is that the word only shows up once in the KJV NT. The OT usage (which is frequent) doesn’t seem to support the at-one-ment idea very well since it is often referring to the animal that was just sacrificed. I am guessing now that being at with an animal was the idea the original authors had in mind. What words at (sic) actually being used in the original languages of the OT and NT?

What arJ is probably getting at is that it is very odd that a word that shows up precisely once in the NT should hold such a prominent place in Christian discourse. Or to phrase it more positively, it appears that the authors of the NT can say quite a bit about Jesus without ever using the word “atonement.”

What’s up with that?

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Rehabilitating Our Judas: Ms. Tchacos Nussberger

Today’s NYT has a story about how GJudas finally came to light. The eye-catcher is this:

I think I was chosen by Judas to rehabilitate him,” Ms. Tchacos Nussberger, 65, is quoted as saying in one of the society’s books, “The Lost Gospel,” by Herbert Krosney. Mr. Krosney is also an independent television producer who brought the gospel project to National Geographic.

But the heart of the articles is really about the legal and ethical issues involved in acquiring, handling, and publishing these rare lost works. When I first heard about this story a little more than a year ago, I immediately googled it, only to find that most of the hits also included INTERPOL.

Bad sign.

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Historical Jesus: Dr. Tabor and Jesus bar Pantera

You can tell the season by the books released. Yes, it’s Easter and ’tis the season for books on the historical Jesus. This particular example comes from James Tabor, a historian and member of the Religious Studies Department at the University of North Carolina. His theory is two baptizing messiahs, John in the Jordan and Jesus in the Suba cave (yes, the same Suba cave featured about three or four posts below this one).

I did five posts on the historical Jesus in John Meier’s work in the Jan-Feb timeframe, so if you want to look over a summary of some serious scholarship, scroll down or click here, here, here, here, or here.

I report, you decide.

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Gospel of Judas: The Beginning of a Sensible Response

Over at the Volkh Conspiracy, Dave Kopel has a piece up characterizing the media response to the presentation of the Coptic Gospel of Judas:

This Friday’s coverage of the so-called “Gospel of Judas” in much of the U.S. media was appallingly stupid. The Judas gospel is interesting in its own right, but the notion that it disproves, or casts into doubt, the traditional orthodox understanding of the betrayal of Jesus is preposterous.

I must say I agree. What silliness. I don’t think it’s got anything to do with President Kimball’s speculation regarding Judas, either. I’d have been disappointed, except that I don’t expect much from the major media outlets to begin with.

To me, the most striking thing about the GJudas is Jesus’ laughing. Jesus does a fair amount of laughing in many Nag Hammadi texts, but this is something unusual. I tried to post this as a comment on LDS Science Review right after I got the Coptic from his link (Thanks!), but couldn’t get the comments dialogue to take my remarks.

Anyway, we’ll need to wait a bit for the serious work to come in. We’ve got some things happening at my school and I’m sure there’s serious stuff going on in many places. Until then, it’s gonna be best to ignore what you read in the press, unless it’s a specialist outlet.

In the meantime, here’s a link to some folks who practise a modern form of gnosticism. Remarkably sensible approach to the issue of GJudas if I do say so myself. I think this same link is on the Volkh Conspiracy now, as well.

Jesus Walked on Ice

This article applies a subject called paleolimnology, the study of “freshwater, brackish, salt water environments in the ancient world” to the question of how Jesus may have [appeared to] walk on water. The folks behind it are serious scholars. I collect these pieces, without prejudice to the science or lack thereof, as evidence of the massive influence that the NT record of Jesus maintains even now.

Original website here.

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Cave of John the Baptist

This story relates progress in the excavation of Suba Cave, located about 15 miles west of Jerusalem. The link to the Baptist is controversial, resting mainly on some drawings on the walls and some evidence of baptisms. The real news is that this cave was a happenin’ place in the 7th century BCE, making it a feature of Isaiah’s era.

The original website is here. I totally recommend you click that link for the pictures. To my non-archeologist’s eye, the details of the enlargements are fascinating. I have enclosed the narrative below.

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