Christ Jesus: Revealing God and Revealing Humanity

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Now in the synagogue there was a man who had a spirit of an unclean demon. And he cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Let us alone! What have we to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth? Did You come to destroy us? I know who You are – the Holy One of God!”  (Luke 4:33-34)

In the Gospel, the demons recognize who Jesus is, calling Him “the Holy One of God.” Biblical scholar James Dunn comments that for St Paul Jesus is not merely God’s Holy One, but He is God’s self-revelation.  In encountering Christ, we experience God revealing Himself to us.

For Paul, God was now to be known definitively by reference to Christ. If I am right, the use of Wisdom language to describe Christ, including the language of preexistence, was in the first instance an attempt to say that God’s self-revelation in and through creation was now most clearly manifested in Christ.  God not only acted through Christ, but he revealed himself and his character most fully in terms of Christ… for Paul the revelation of Christ was the revelation of God; that for Paul God so revealed himself in Christ that Christ became the definition of God (but ‘definition’ is too scholastic a term).  God as Creator, God as God of Israel, was now more clearly defined, or, better, characterized, as the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

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In a correlated way Christ as last Adam functions in Paul’s theology as the archetypal fulfilment and measure of God’s purpose in creating humankind…. The primary thrust is rather to reflect the degree to which Christ in his person and work, particularly his death and resurrection, illumines the character of humankind as it was intended to be—loving the neighbor and looking to the resurrection of the dead.”   (THE THEOLOGY OF PAUL THE APOSTLE, pp 723-724)

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