Friday, April 14, 2006
Good Friday Lecture
Impossible! you say? How can God die? How can He not exist?
Beloved, you asked me that and I tried to explain it but my words wouldn't come.
I'll try again. What is death? To us death means gone forever, no longer existing. Actually death is for humans separation of the body from our soul. When we say God died, we mean that Jesus's human body was separated from His human soul, and His human body ceased to function. He didn't cease to exist, just as we won't cease to exist when we die. Now this part is tough, but Jesus is both fully man and fully God. He is the God-man. Jesus is one Person--the Second Person of the Trinity--who acts according to His God nature and His human nature. Thus He is ONE person with TWO natures. A person is an agent of action, a "WHO", who acts according to his nature, a "WHAT". For us humans, we are always used to a 1:1 correspondence, all our experience points to one nature for every person. I (the person) acts according to my human nature, and so it is for everyone. But, it is not always 1:1, the two notable exceptions are:
God, who is three Persons sharing one nature (3:1), and Jesus who is the Second Person taken human flesh, who is one Person with two natures (1:2). So in the gospels at times He is acting according to His human nature, and at other times according to His divine nature. Two natures means that He has a human soul, which means he has a human will.
Now let me backtrack and explain what a person is again. A person is an agent of action, especially moral action, so humans, angels, demons, and God are persons, animals and plants are not.
Now let's explain the difference between spirit and soul, since there is a difference between the two that most people don't know about. First a spirit, called "rooh", is the non-material part of us that knows and loves. Knowing and loving are the two main faculties of the spirit. A spirit has no shape, no size, no color, no weight, and does not occupy space. Now a soul is the life principle of a body. Thus humans, animals, and plants, (and even bacteria probably) have souls--all living things have souls. But only Persons have spirits or are spirits. God and angels and demons are pure spirit. But human beings have bodies and spirits, where their spirits are also their souls. In other words, only in humans are spirits=souls, so our souls are also spirits, and vice versa. Because human spirits are also souls and we don't have direct control over them, in the hierarchy of spirits, human spirits are the weakest. Angels, having no bodies, are orders of magnitude above us in terms of their spirits.
Now here is the kicker. The Second Person of the Trinity in God's infinite mercy took on flesh some 2000 years ago and entered our time. He chose to be born into poverty and squalor, to work hard in obscurity, and then die a horrific and shameful death. All this to redeem us and to love us. He experienced human death for three days, but even while He was dead He opened the doors to Heaven so that all the righteous souls from Adam, to Moses, to the prophets could enter Heaven. And then He rose from the dead. The Father resurrected Him to show that He had accepted His sacrifice. Now his resurrected body was not the same as when he rose Lazarus from the grave. Lazarus rose from the dead only to die again later. Jesus's resurrection is the same resurrection that you Beloveds already believe in, when we get our final, immortal bodies. Therefore, Jesus is still and always will be in His resurrected body. He will be forever God-man. He is the first one who got his resurrected body, and Mary is the second. And on Judgement Day, the rest of us will get our bodies back, some to go to Heaven and others to go to Hell.
Ok that's enough of that. You can read about it fully in "Theology for Beginners" by Frank Sheed.
Beloveds, pray pray pray for God to make things clear to you. IF you knew Jesus is the Son of God, would you follow Him?
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