Foundation of Worship II
The Jewish scriptures together with the sense of justice that God breathed into each one of us makes it clear that the foundation of our worship is the fact that we are completely dependent upon our Creator who is the Author of all existence.
Once this fact is established, it becomes obvious why the Christian claim for the incarnation of Jesus is actually an attempt to redefine the very basis of worship. The scenario proposed by the theology of Christianity, in which Creator takes on the form of created – and demands worship in that form – is in effect claiming that worship is not rooted in our dependence upon the Author of all existence. “Creator”, by definition means the one to whom worship is due, while “created” means the one who owes the worship. By saying that Creator became created that is like saying that the One to whom worship is due became one who owes worship and has no right to demand the devotion that is owed to Creator alone – unless we redefine worship.
There are still some details that require some clarification.
Some Christians seem to be confused by the term “created” as applied to Jesus. The Nicene Creed asserts that Jesus was not “created”. Since, according to these theologians, Jesus was not created, he could then still rightly demand worship.
What these theologians have done is that they have redefined the term “created”.
No-one saw God create the world. What we do see is a finished world which could not have created itself. The very fact that we exist in the form that we do, namely as a dependent existence, testifies to every human conscience that we were created – all of us and everything that exists between heaven and earth. Furthermore, the testimony of Israel concerning the miracles of the exodus and the Sinai revelation confirm this truth; that the Master and Creator of all of nature is the One who exists above and beyond all of the limitations of nature.
Jesus was a man; to put it in the terms of Christian theology – he was one hundred percent human. That is what his disciples saw and that is what is described in the writings of the Christian Scriptures. To take one human and deny that the status of “created” applies to him is in effect to deny all of nature its status as “created”. It is a rejection of the testimony of our conscience together with a rejection of the testimony of Israel.
Another detail that could use some clarification is presented as a question in the comment section of the previous post. If I understood the question correctly it runs roughly as follows: Of-course we owe our devotion to God because He created us, but isn’t it also true that we owe our devotion to Him because He is supremely holy? Because He is supremely righteous and merciful? Aren’t these sentiments also a part of our worship?
The point here is; that while God cannot imbue a created being with the quality of Creator because that would be a contradiction in terms, but can’t He present these qualities of Himself in a context where the quality of “Creator” is not present? In other words, while Jesus could not have been an embodiment of Creator but perhaps he was an embodiment of God’s holiness – without becoming “created” or “Creator”.
The first response to this question would be the point articulated above – the very fact that Jesus existed in God’s world tells us that he was “created’ and not “Creator” and not “neither Creator nor created”. The very fact that Jesus breathed God’s air tells us that he was one who owes all worship and cannot rightly demand worship that is due to the Author of his existence.
But there is yet another concept that needs to be articulated.
The qualities of God are inseparable. God is the Ultimate Merciful One precisely because He is the Creator. He is supremely holy because He stands outside of nature and He is completely righteous because He is an independent existence.
As dependent beings all of us who exist between heaven and earth can only share the blessings that God showered upon us – we can’t create new blessings. Our kindness is only a relative term when seen against the backdrop of God’s mercy. God’s mercy is limitless because He is limitless.
Holiness is the separation from all pettiness and self-interest. Only the One who intrinsically needs nothing can truly be separate from all self-interest. Perfect righteousness is only possible by the One who brought every detail into existence and who has intimate knowledge of every action and thought that ever existed and that will ever exist – together with the ability to deal with every detail with unlimited power. It is only the Creator of all who constantly sustains all that can be called intrinsically righteous.
I will take the liberty of quoting from “The Elephant and the Suit” to close this article.
“The Jewish people are married to their Creator. They pledged their hearts towards the Maker of heaven and earth, and promised Him that they will not allow their hearts to be led astray by any of His subjects. We bask in the shine of God’s holy radiance. We are overwhelmed by the truth of God’s absolute reality, by His absolute Mastery over everything in heaven and earth, by the love God demonstrated in creating us, and by the tenderness of His holy embrace we sense in the benevolence of every facet of our own existence and in the existence of every fellow inhabitant of heaven and earth. What does the life and death of a mortal inhabitant of God’s earth have to offer to us? How meaningless are the activities of flesh and blood when contrasted with the all-encompassing love and truth of the Master of all?”
If you found this article helpful please consider making a donation to Judaism Resources by clicking on the link below.
Judaism Resources is a recognized 501(c) 3 public charity and your donation is tax exempt.
Yisroel C. Blumenthal