Saturday, June 07, 2008

Jesus--the ultimate human?

There are broadly speaking 2 ways we tend to look at Jesus of Nazareth. There are those that tend to see him as Savior, and pretty exclusively speaking to the theological and moral issues of our day. In my estimation this is the dominant view in American Evangelicalism, and maybe in Christendom as a whole.

A second, lesser-held view is the idea that Jesus, as the God-man, is the ultimate human. He would have/could have been the the best at whatever he did. As my friend Rick Archer says, if Jesus had been an architect he would have been the greatest architect that ever lived. I like this theory, although I can see some obvious shortcomings. Jesus almost assuredly could not have been the best professional basketball player and the best horse jockey. At least not in the same incarnation.

But for me it brought up this question recently: what kind of politician would Jesus have been? More specifically, what would Jesus' foreign policy be like? There's been a lot of talk about foreign policy in our current presidential election, and given the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, rightly so. Our standing in the world seems to have diminished recently.

Maybe a more pertinent question, since Jesus isn't president of the US, is what would he have our foreign policy be? How would the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth be applied to real world situations like foreign policy?

This is a difficult topic. It is what differentiates following the lifestyle of Jesus of Nazareth vs. letting Jesus save us and guide us in matters of personal morality, but not so much seeing his teaching and lifestyle impact societal, systemic thinking and acting.

At least anecdotally, you find more pacifists among New Testament scholars than other theological groups, purportedly because studying and focusing on Jesus' life leads to a "turn the other cheek" and "love your enemies" pacificistic view. But I'm not sure. Jesus wasn't a pure pacifist--just ask the money-changers in the temple. And there's no way Jesus was some milquetoast, as pacifists are often viewed. But what would he have done if he was president of the US on 9/11? Of course you could make the case that if we were the kind of society that would elect Jesus to office maybe 9/11 wouldn't have happened in the first place. But that begs the question. How would Jesus lead in a post-9/11 world?

How do the teachings and doings of Jesus of Nazareth impact systemic issues like foreign policy?


Miguel said...

Have you read "Jesus for President"? If not, I think you'd enjoy it. It would speak to that very question.

Arnie Adkison said...

Miguel, I haven't read it, but you're the second person to recommend it to me. I've got it on my "look for" list. Thanks.