Christology and the Brain of Jesus

I have not yet read the book Christology and Science that has made some ripples in the blogosphere lately. I certainly hope to do so in the near future. The subject definitely interests me.

Here are some questions one might ponder about Christology. If one believes that God is omnipresent, then in what sense if any could God be present in Jesus to a greater extent than elsewhere? If one believes Jesus was fully human, then how could he not have a complete human psyche arising from the function of his brain? The latter point, although not couched in the language of modern neuroscience, nevertheless reflects the conviction of those who defined Christian orthodoxy that Jesus had a human soul. But I can’t remember the last time I heard someone mention Jesus’ brain, and yet I doubt there is anyone reading this who would deny that he had one, although some (modern day Apollinarians), if pressed, might be hard put to explain what it was for).

I know this blog is read by many Christians who embrace the findings of modern science, as well as some who do not. It is also read by some who embrace the findings of modern science but are not Christians. I wonder how people of various viewpoints regard Jesus, in relation to the Biblical evidence, historical considerations, classic orthodoxy, modern questions and the natural sciences.

Please do share your thoughts on this subject, whatever they may be!
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  • I am sure Dan Dennett (one of my favorite authors by the way) would have a hay day with a book like this. We always try to escape the acid don’t we?

  • James, I saw a part of a documentary the other day on discovery (looked interesting). It was about Jesus and the other messianic characters who were going about at the same time as Jesus. It also went into some of the different ideas that were floating about at the dawn of Christianity, like the Gnostics and the Nag Hammadi library. It seemed a fairly sensible look at the character Jesus and what he might really have been. It seems that some gospels presented the notion that Jesus and Mary Magdalene may have been lovers. This more human character Jesus is a far more likely historical reality than the son of God. Jesus was most likely in my estimation just another messianic claimant, of whom there were many. I think we have way too little information on him to reliably construct a view of his character. In his case, the idea caught on. If it hadn’t I suspect there would be a Christian like faith anyway today, it would just be named after someone else.

  • The more I try to think in these terms, the more the Christologies of John Cobb and Schubert Ogden provide the only adequate answers for me.

  • After quite some thought, I find myself more and more comfortable with the idea that the NT does not present Jesus as G’d. And find that when reading the NT with this view, a lot things make more sense. As a Trinitarian I used to have difficulty with the idea that “the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom. And the favor of G’d was upon him.”, as for how would this be possible? Of course I ‘knew’ about his dual nature, but this didnt make sense as then the whole equation with Adam seemed out of place, and also him being our high priest, and able to sympathize with us, seemed out of place, and also it made him more out of reach, as, him being G’d, he couldnt sin anyways, so what was the point in lauding him for that,and whats the point for me to try to live like him, I am just man.. What I dont like about my present view is that it puts me out of orthodoxy, as it is such a central tennet of Christianity, and any view deviating from it, is labeled as heresy… but I understand it, as I used to say the same of people who didnt adhere to the Trinity.

  • I live in the both/and. Science is as close to accurate as we can muster right now. Faith in Christ is as close as I can come to Truth right now. I believe in the words of the Apostles’ Creed and that Darwin was really on to something.

  • Jon

    I still believe that the only way for true Salvation to happen was for Jesus (God) to be fully human. Someone had to fulfill the law. He is the only one to do it so far as we know. It is hard to comprehend, but since when do humans comprehend what God does or is. Jesus came from God and though human fully, knew that someday He would return to His full Glory.

  • Pete

    I find the more I think about such issues, the more I get into a tizzy. What did Jesus know and when? Did Jesus have 23 male chromosomes poofed in and if he did, did they have characteristic signatures of past historical events, such as ERVs that we all share (even beyond our species)? If Jesus was “physically” resurrected and then returned to heaven, does heaven have physical atoms? Does the strong nuclear force exist in heaven to hold these atoms together? Is the outer layer of Jesus skin cells dead? If it is not important to answer these questions, as most Christians would probably tell me, then why do we stress the “physical” part of the resurrection anyway? What is the difference of Jesus’s existence now, and what I would be, if I died and went to be with him, but before the second coming? I’m afraid answering these questions often leads to doubt, as the obvious answer seems to be that these stories were created in a scientific world view where they would make sense. They didn’t know Jesus needed male chromosomes (or that they existed), a Holy Spirit could impregnant a woman just as any man. What skin cells? What atoms? Of course Jesus is alive in a physical body, in a physical heaven in the sky, right on the other side of that cloud.