Foundation of Worship III
The discussion continues. Until the day that the knowledge of the Lord covers the earth like the waters cover the see, and beyond, more clarity can be gained by discussing and trying to arrive at a deeper understanding of our worship of God. May it be His will that these puny discussions lead us just a bit closer to that joyous day.
In this article we will attempt to address two questions that were presented on the heels of the previous articles:
1) On what basis can I make the accusation that just because Christianity asserts that one man (Jesus) is “not created” that this is a denial of every man’s status of “created being”? Perhaps the case of Jesus is simply an “exception to the rule”?
2) How does the argument that everything between heaven and earth must inherently owe their devotion to God apply to the inner soul/spirit of man? Finite, material articles are certainly limited in their existence and must be creations of the One God who is above and beyond all of nature. But how does this apply to the intangible and transcendent spirit within man? Perhaps Jesus was created in body and even in the outer aspects of his soul/persona, but maybe his inner soul/spirit could have been divine?
These questions go back to the foundation of worship.
The fact that we owe worship to God is not a happenstance; an aspect of life that is peripheral to our identity. Our debt of devotion to God is at the root of our very existence. Existence in God’s world means owing devotion to God. This applies to every aspect of our existence no matter how mysterious and intangible it is. If it exists in God’s world it owes devotion to God.
If I take one man and say: this one is an exception to the rule, then I have turned devotion to God into something that is merely peripheral to our existence. If one man can be an exception to the rule of owing devotion to God then existing in God’s world is not inherently tied into our debt of devotion. If one man can exist in God’s world and demand devotion himself, then there is no way that we can say that the debt of devotion that we owe towards God is intrinsic to our existence.
Just to elucidate. There are certain qualities that are integral to the article or activity in which they are displayed while other qualities are merely peripheral. The concept of movement is integral to the definition of transportation. If there is no movement then there is no transportation. The quality of movement is inherent in the existence of transportation and transportation cannot be imagined without movement. The combustion engine is not an inherent aspect of transportation. Transportation can be accomplished without a combustion engine. The combustion engine is only a peripheral aspect of transportation.
The quality of “owing worship to God” is a quality that is inherent to mankind. If one claims that there is one man who does not possess this quality then this claim has denied the intrinsic nature of our debt of worship to God.
I hope this shed some light on the first question.
Now we approach the second question. How do all of these arguments about man’s dependence upon God apply to the intangible, inner, spirit of man? Can it not be imagined that one man, who was “created” in body and in every outer aspect of his character, still be “Creator” in his mysterious inner spirit?
The answer is: “no”, and I will try to explain.
The short response to this argument is that the very fact that the possibility exists of Jesus not being “Creator” in any way tells us that worship of him is not equal to worship of the Creator. Or to state it in the reverse; the very fact that worship of the Creator is entirely possible without worship of Jesus tells us that worship of Jesus is not worship of the Creator.
The longer response simply spells out the shorter response with some more words.
Libraries of books have been written in the Christian attempt to explain the trinity. The focus of these books is the mystery of a human nature somehow integrated with the divine. These Church theologians spend their time talking about Jesus, and his supposed divine nature. It is very difficult to argue with these theologians on their own grounds because they begin and end these discussions with the argument that this is all a mystery that can never be fully understood.
I will not talk about Jesus or about the mystery of the trinity. Instead I will talk about the concept of worship, an activity that is familiar and practical.
All Church theologians acknowledge that before Jesus walked the earth it would have been entirely inappropriate to direct devotion towards any man. All Church theologians would also acknowledge that before Jesus walked the earth if one wanted to direct devotion towards the Creator of heaven and earth all that was necessary was to direct devotion towards the Creator of heaven and earth.
According to Church theology these simple facts changed with the advent of Jesus. According to these doctors of theology once Jesus appeared on the scene it is indeed appropriate to direct devotion towards this Jesus, who for all intents and purposes appeared as a man. Furthermore, these Church doctors assert that to withhold devotion from Jesus is somehow a denial or a rejection of worship of the Creator of heaven and earth.
In other words: before Jesus came on the scene if one were to somehow include or combine worship of a man together with the worship of God it would be idolatrous, while after the advent of Jesus it is inappropriate to exclude the worship of Jesus from worship of God.
Christianity insists that with the advent of Jesus something changed. Not in the mystery realm of the heavenly spheres but right here on earth, in the hearts and minds of the worshippers of God.
What brought about this cosmic change? According to the teachings of Christianity this change was brought about by the activities and qualities displayed in the setting of a human body.
The question is: how could anything change? On what basis did we owe our devotion to God before Jesus came along? Was there anything lacking in the foundational root of our worship? Was not every fiber of our existence already subject to the Master of heaven and earth? What activities or qualities manifested within the setting of a human being have the power to draw our devotion towards him? What activities or qualities manifest within the setting of a human being have the power to change the status of our worship of God and render it incomplete?
God was Master of heaven and earth before Jesus appeared on the scene and as such we owed Him every bit of devotion. Nothing could be added to God’s mastery of heaven and earth and nothing could be subtracted from it.
No theory, no matter how sophisticated or refined, can change the elemental truth that all of existence owes all of its devotion to the One who is above and beyond existence as we know it.
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Yisroel C. Blumenthal