28) Jesus said,

“I took my place in the midst of the world,

and I appeared to them in flesh.

I found all of them intoxicated;

I found none of them thirsty.

And my soul became afflicted for the sons of men,

Because they are blind in their hearts

And do not have sight;

for empty they came into the world,

and empty too they seek to leave the world.

But for the moment they are intoxicated.

When they shake off their wine,

then they will repent.”

 

 

“I took my place in the midst of the world, and I appeared to them in flesh“,

 

This phrase expresses the Christian idea of “God incarnate”.  I believe this must be re-interpreted as a metaphor or myth, otherwise Christians will continue to believe that their religion supercedes all others.

The following quotes are from John Hick’s book,

The Metaphor Of God Incarnate

Christology in a Pluralistic Age

1993, Westminster/John Knox Press

 

“A theology … stipulating that Jesus has been and will be the ONLY divine incarnation…means that Christ is in a category distinct from all other forms of revelation; the divine manifestation in him is thus both exclusive and final; it is qualitatively superior to all others, and it can never be surpassed.”

“The doctrine … is inherently liable to dangerous misuse”

“The Christian superiority complex in relation to the peoples of other faiths (has been) defended by appeal to the idea of Jesus’ deity “

 

Hick offers an alternate view of incarnation as

a METAPHOR, freeing Christians from a literal interpretation, which would promote bigotry by

ruling out other faiths as necessarily inferior.

 

“In the case of the metaphor of divine incarnation, …Jesus was a human being exceptionally open and responsive to the divine presence…In so far as Jesus was doing God’s will, God was acting through him on earth and was in this respect ‘incarnate’ in Jesus’ life”

 

(28) cont.

“I found all of them intoxicated;

I found none of them thirsty. …
But for the moment they are intoxicated.
When they shake off their wine,

then they will repent”

(47) No man drinks old wine

and immediately desires to drink new wine. 

 

Here in (28), “intoxication” with wine is used as a negative to contrast with “thirsty”. This metaphor of being “intoxicated” is similar to (47), where Jesus’ words are “new wine”, but his audience is still quite content with the old wine they’ve just consumed to excess. 

 

(13) Jesus said, “I am not your master.
Because you have drunk, you have become intoxicated
from the bubbling spring which I have measured out.”

In contrast, Thomas is “intoxicated” with Living Water in (13), not “drunk” with wine and that “intoxication” is to be praised; it makes him equal with Jesus.

(28) cont.

“And my soul became afflicted for the sons of men,
because they are blind in their hearts and do not have sight;
for empty they came into the world,
and empty too they seek to leave the world.”

Here again, there seems to be a sense of urgency

in this call for those with “eyes to see” to

gather Knowledge and Wisdom while they can.

 

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