Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other. –Isaiah 45:22
Dear members and friends,
The Advent season has come! As the word indicates – Advent means “arrival” in Latin – the Advent is all about the coming of Messiah, Jesus Christ. For the past 2,000 years, there have been hundreds of books written about why he came and what it means to us. But the identity of Jesus remains somewhat obscure. Since the very beginning, there are those who believe Jesus was a man especially favored by God, like Moses. There are also those who believe Jesus was a God visiting the human world, like gods in Olympus. Then there are those who believe Jesus to be the incarnation of the Divine in human form. The very famous Trinity came into existence when Arius (256-336), a priest in Alexandria, Egypt, challenged the nature of the divinity of Jesus by insisting that he was a creation not from eternity, but from nothing. In other words, Jesus was created by God the Father after the beginning.
The council of Nicea (325) chaired by the Emperor Constantine had an intense discussion regarding the teachings of Arius which resulted in the Athanasian Creed. The intention of the Athanasian Creed was probably to clarify that the Son Jesus Christ was not created by God as a lesser god as in Greek/Roman myth, but existed from eternity sharing equal divinity as the Creator. However, this creed also made clear to all Christians that “there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son and another of the Holy Spirit.” No matter how much they insisted on the equal divinity of Jesus Christ with the Creator, it was clear that God the Father and Christ the Son are not the same Person, neither is the Holy Spirit. In other words, they created three Gods sharing equal divinity.
For Emanuel Swedenborg, this was tearing one God into three! If there was to be one Divinity and one Eternity, then Jesus had to be the incarnation of the Creator, not of equal divinity to the Creator. Thus, Swedenborg emphasizes that Jehovah Himself took human form, came into the world, and was called Jesus Christ. What does that mean? God the Creator is not angry at humans, but loves them enough to take human form and live among them. In other words, God was never angry at humans, but loves them from eternity to eternity. Thus, all anger and vengeful actions attributed to God in the Bible are more or less human projections on God who was invisible and incomprehensible to them.
Blessings, Rev. Junchol Lee