Jesus the Christ Chapter 3

So much in this chapter, much of it great expounding on principles I already had basics on, but the extra detail or explanation made the view just open up.

In particular, I appreciated the explanation of how God’s foreknowledge doesn’t consitute a loss of agency on our part- His knowledge of what we will do doesn’t mean He wants it or is making it happen. I also loved Talmage’s long analogy about inorganic and organic life, and how something inorganic cannot become alive- just as we cannot reach a higher kingdom without help. I also thought his comment that we can’t take the analogy too far (we can eat vegetable matter and it becomes part of us… but don’t take that to mean that’s how we become like God) was pretty funny.

There are a couple of things I’m still pondering: the idea that Adam and Eve erred in “indulgence in food unsuited to their nature and condition”. I’d not thought of it that way, and think it’s a useful way to think about the decisions we make. If we know that we all have divine nature, when we make choices, are the things we’re doing suited to our nature and condition, or are they taking us away from who we are?

The other thing was this: “What other man has been without sin, and therefore wholly exempt from the dominion of Satan, and to whom death, the wage of sin, is not naturally due? Had Jesus Christ met death as other men have done- the result of the power that Satan has gained over them through their sins- ” . Is this saying that the reason that Christ had power over death was because He was sinless? I thought it was because of his being the literal Son of God. Or is it a little of both? Or does it connect with the Adam and Eve thought above- that He didn’t partake in things contrary to His nature, so He was able to maintain it? He didn’t take hurtful things into His body that would bring Him closer to death? I have a call in to my dad about this, we’ll see what he adds.

Oh, and I also really liked this: “In the judgment with which we shall be judged, all the conditions and circumstances of our lives shall be considered. The inborn tendencies due to heredity, the effect of environment whether conducive to good or evil, the whole teachings of youth, or the absence of good instruction- these and all other contributory elements must be taken into account in the rendering of a just verdict as to the soul’s guilt or innocence.” I thought that tied in nicely with the article Brandy posted and the related comment.

12 thoughts on “Jesus the Christ Chapter 3

  1. Cindy on

    You absolutely amaze me! Do you know that we always refer to your family as the “smart cousins?!” LOL! I barely have had time to read the newspaper today and didn’t have any time for it yesterday but I’ll be blogging that soon! LOL! Keep up the good work on reading this. I read it many years ago and keep it as a reference. I loved it.

  2. Cindy on

    P.S. We use the “smart cousins” comment is a most loving manner and not sarcastic at all! Just wanted to clarify that!!

  3. Maryanne on

    Just for the record- I read the chapter last night, there’s no way I’d have it read by this time this morning! 🙂
    And thanks, we think you’re smart too! 🙂

  4. great post maryanne; please let me know what your dad says. i was confused by that part about death being a result of sin too. i guess it ultimately is, because we die because adam and eve partook of the fruit. does this mean christ couldn’t have died a normal death? i mean, if he never did “give up this ghost”, would he have lived forever?

  5. Maryanne on

    My dad’s answer was “It’s probably a complex combination of factors.” So much for a clear answer. 🙂 But we came to the conclusion that while Christ would have aged, He would not have died without it being His decision.

  6. Maryanne on

    That is really interesting, Brandy. I wonder though, if there isn’t a connection. Those people are really careful what they take into their bodies, and they do live longer. They’re also careful with their attitudes and mindsets.
    One thing my dad mentioned was that even a vulgar thought would be sin- therefore Christ wouldn’t have had them- and that perhaps they have the same degrading effect on the brain as bad food or whatever would have on the rest of the body. So maybe that, combined with His divinity, was what allowed Him to not be subject to death. Or, again, maybe if He’d have sinned it would have violated His divinity. I just wonder if it was possible for it to be rendered moot? Could “nurture” trump “nature” in His case?

  7. bruce on

    If I may weigh in here, Christ had already exhibited the ability to sustain his body through his spirit alone when he fasted for 40 days. He had a perfect spirit and will, so he realistically could have lived however long he wanted. Remember that while his spirit was perfect, it wasn’t until crucifixion that Christ had a perfect body. Being as the body was imperfect, I would think that he would eventually have died. Now, that’s not to say he would have died at the age of 80 or 90. I mean Methuselah was 969 when he finally died and he was nowhere near as perfect as Christ.

    I think what Talmage is saying is that his death would not have been a deterioration of the body due to the negative impact of sin, just through the natural consequences of human flesh.

    It’s almost a catch 22. It was God’s will that Jesus fulfilled the Christ role of dying for the sins of mankind. Had Jesus not died, wouldn’t He have been disobeying God and therefore sinning? And then if he sinned, he would no longer be filling the Christ role and wouldn’t have the perfect will to live as long as He wanted.

  8. hmm…much food for thought. i posted a comment on my “sacred and absolutes” post about your belief that christ and god are separate being so crucial. i said that one of the reasons christ’s responses is so amazing is that he really was tempted to sin, but did not. if he wasn’t tempted, then his experience isn’t so impressive. doesn’t being tempted imply that he had “vulgar” thoughts, in that he wanted to sin? is wanting to sin a vulgar thought? or, since we know christ taught that even looking lustfully at a woman is adultery, then did he not have those experiences? how are we tempted if we don’t have that experience? what does it mean to be tempted?

    (you don’t have to answer all of these questions, i’m just thinking out loud…”

  9. Maryanne on

    Oooh, good questions. I think the process of being tempted- me holding chocolate cake in your face- and actually “being tempted”- you thinking, “oooh, chocolate cake, I love chocolate cake”- are different things. My assumption is that while He was definitely tempted – Satan definitely said, “you’re hungry, make these stones into bread”- I don’t think Christ entertained the option. You know how we tell kids they should make decisions ahead of time so when the choice comes up they’ve already made it? Perhaps that was at play- so the choice was a rational, thought out process (rather than blind obedience, which I don’t think it was) instead of “being tempted”. Does that make any sense?
    There’s an awesome talk that’s in the package I’m sending you that somewhat addresses this question.

  10. a package?! yay 🙂

    so you define being tempted as being offered the choice, not in our response to it? so temptation is external? that makes sense, and explains jesus’ comments about our thoughts being sins. our sin starts when we entertain the idea of the temptation…hmmm…

  11. Maryanne on

    “I think what Talmage is saying is that his death would not have been a deterioration of the body due to the negative impact of sin, just through the natural consequences of human flesh.”

    B, I think this is right on. And the negative impact of sin is what would have put Him in the domain of Satan.

    It’s interesting too to think about the idea of “perfect will”- and how that impacted both His physical body and his choices. I’m thinking about it in terms of integrity- is that what we’re ultimately shooting for in having integrity?

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