Apologetics Thursday – Sacks Sees Jesus as a Compromise

In The Great Partnership: Science, Religion, and the Search for Meaning, Rabbi Sacks speculates about the role of Jesus in Christianity:

So remote is the God of pure being – the legacy of Plato and Aristotle – that the distance is bridged in Christianity by a figure that has no counterpart in Judaism, the Son of God, a person who is both human and divine. In Judaism we are all both human and divine, dust of the Earth yet breathing God’s breath and bearing God’s image. These are profoundly different theologies.

While Sacks is correct to note that Jesus is used as a stop-gap by modern Christians between the “incommunicable” god of the Platonists and man, Sacks appears to assume this was the original state of Christianity. But Christianity was born in Judaism. All the early Christians were Jewish and were entrenched in solid Jewish theology and eschatology. It was not until the rise of Paul that the Gentiles were courted. The religion of Christianity never did invent Jesus as a bridge between an unknowable god and between man. Instead Jesus is depicted as a mediator, much like the Holy Spirit (they both advocate to God on our behalf (1Ti 2:5, Rom 8:26)). That Jesus and the Spirit advocate to the Father is directly counter to any Platonistic notion of god. Why would one try to sway an immutable and incomprehensible god?

The Bible depicts Jesus praying to God and asking God to change His mind (Mat 26:39). The picture is primarily relational, not metaphysical. When Jesus states “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (Joh 14:9) this is not a bridge between the knowable and the unknowable. Instead, this is Jesus telling the disciples who they will meet when they finally meet God.

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