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As I lay dying…
What if Christ were not crucified…
What is important, that is the question. When a person's life is done, what will they regret, what will they cherish? I submit that one should not waste any time or effort worrying about most of the things we do worry about day-to-day, for they simply don't matter. What we should concern ourselves with is the impact our lives and actions will have on the future society of people.
We should look at the long view of time, forwards and backwards; the broad sweep of people and society in time, as if we were viewing a movie that could be played backwards and forwards and at any speed. Better, we should try to take the viewpoint of a whole series of inter-connected and inter-related movies spread before us on a vast panoply of space-time.
On this scale, surprisingly, every life matters quite a lot. Unless a person lives entirely as a hermit with no human interaction at all, then one's actions and life have manifold consequences down throughout all time thereafter. This is the beauty of human existence; a magnified, higher level chaotic "butterfly effect" of the human social system; a complex inter-weaving of individual human destiny with the history and unfolding of civilization.
Consider Christ. No human being has had more influence than Jesus of Nazareth, whom we call the Christ. The influence of other great spiritual innovators of human history have had similar influence, and could be likewise studied. Each individual, no matter how humble or unfortunate, has also had great influence in similar ways. But the great person whom we call Jesus Christ makes a perfect case for analysis of this "butterfly" effect.
What would the world be like if Jesus had never lived? Each person should contemplate this for her or his own good, and surely each person will come to their own individual understanding of how great an impact the life of this one Man has made on human society, history, and civilization.
How did Christ achieve so great an impact? By contemplating this, one can reach a better understanding of how each person can make the best impact, achieve the most good, and exert the optimum influence on the future.
Central to Christ's impact was His crucifixion, His sacrifice of His life for the spiritual salvation of all people, for the uplifting of the human spirit, for the elevation of the evolutionary purpose of life on earth to a new level.
So what if Christ had not been crucified? What if the people of Palestine 2000 years ago had accepted Jesus of Nazareth and embraced His message? With all due humility, it seems to me possible that Christ could still have had so great an impact; that he was not dependent on the ill will of men in order to achieve His divine purposes; that God could have accomplished His objectives through Christ regardless of how people reacted to Christ. In other words, God is not dependent on His creatures in this way; and we as individual humans are likewise free to accomplish what we will regardless of circumstances.
But what if Christ had been crucified, but no one noticed, or remembered; what if He had not exhibited the divine attributes which made Him what He was; what if human society had not been changed by His presence and His existence and His actions? I submit that in such a case, Christ would not be the Christ we know; and that therefore the reality of the life of Jesus Christ is the effect which He had on all subsequent human history and civilization. So, in other words, the Crucifixion itself, that most important of events in Christ's life, is by itself relatively meaningless and unimportant; but by contrast the Effects of Christ's life , actions, and crucifixion are all-important.
If this is the reality of Christ, then so is it the reality of man. If Christ is measured by the greatness of His positive effects on human society throughout the great panoply of time and space, then so are we other humans to be measured by our impact on human society.
By this standard, then, the life of a relatively lonely woman in Neolithic times in some remote part of the world could still be enormously important. As mother of one or more children whom she loved, taught, and molded she exerts influence for all time , as those children's children interact with society, mother children, and converse daily with other people of their place and time. So, by this ultimate standard, we each have an enormous butterfly effect; we are not Christ, but we are important in our affects on those around us, in word and deed, reverberating throughout ages without number.
For if Christ were not crucified, He could still be Christ; but if Christ were not Christ, His crucifixion would not matter.
Amen, so be it.
It’s as if God gave us an infinite playing field of pure mathematical possibilities.
One person spends a whole lifetime searching out just one narrow field of number theory, all the wonderful theorems, truths, and relationships discoverable in one life by one person. Another spends a lifetime doing tedious work to support a family of no great distinction but infinitely related to other unremarkable families.
All possibilities get played out. It’s as if God had enough FAITH in the universe to create mankind, and enough Faith in Mankind to re-create God. So great Faith has no other had, to give His life that others might live.
We aren’t used to thinking about the great Faith of God. We think about how great Faith people have, such as Abraham, who is rightly honored for his Faith in God. But God had even greater Faith.
For God, being infinite in intelligence, life, and grace, had such great Faith and Love that He scattered His essence out amongst the stars, exploded His vitality in a burst of the Great Bang to populate the cosmos with life-stuff, having Faith that He would ultimately be re-created, be enriched, (even in His aboriginal infinitude) by the life experience of countless noble beings made possible by His sacrifice.
Glory be to God, for such Faith as this has no mere man.