Tuesday, 28 July 2009

The Emperors' Doctrines?


Another jibe directed at the doctrines of the Incarnation and the Trinity is that they are the product of political maneuverings (and therefore not gospel) and the emperor's power designed to support his sole rule. The first is true to an extent, but the wrong conclusion is being drawn; the second is plain wrong.

First, why assume that political maneuverings mean that the gospel is lost? Certainly there was plenty of ego involved, but this is the real world in which Jesus was incarnated. There is no forum of 'spiritual purity' in which to hammer out anything Christian. To think so is a different religion.

Second, if the emperor wanted a doctrinal outcome that instantly supported his autocratic and sole rule, he/they seriously mucked up with the doctrines of the Incarnation and the Trinity. A messiah who dies on the cross? A messiah who as the incarnation of true divinity and preaches the sermon on the mount? Why not split the humanity and the divinity, and in a way that leads inexorably to the separation of divinity and humanity, so that God could be saved from the radical Jesus? Exactly, and that is not what happened. And why would an emperor want a Trinity of non-hierarchical love? Makes no sense. More like the emperor had to make do with the gospel, and like all of us ever since we try to mould the doctrine around our perspective, but the doctrines have the annoying talent of escaping complete domestication.

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