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(pre-existence) into an earthly existence. There is no trace
hindura noh asmarathon 4. Harris notis p 17
$ 10. PURELY HUMAN CONSCIOUSNESS OF CHRIST
In view of the meagreness of the immediate testimony of Jesus to Himself in the Synoptists on the one hand, and the importance of the matter on the other, it is the more advisable to pay attention to the indirect utterances of the consciousness of Jesus, and thus once more prove the foregoing result, which is still contested in favour of later dogmatic conclusions. From these it is manifest, that with all the sublimity and uniqueness of His consciousness of Sonship, Jesus felt and confessed throughout that He was a man in God's presence. Immediately after the sealing of His consciousness of Sonship in the baptism, He places Himself unaffectedly and unreservedly under the generic notion "man”-in the narrative of the temptation, unquestionably related by Himself to His disciples. "Man lives not by bread alone" (Matt. iv. 4). There also he repeatedly calls God His Lord, and acknowledges the universal human obligation of praying to Him (vv. 7, 10), expressions which cannot possibly be harmonised with a consciousness of being Himself God. What can be more
human as distinguished from God than prayer ?
A God cannot pray. But according to the testimony of the evangelists, Jesus prays regularly—in Gethsemane, even on the cross. He prays: “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” words which are quite impossible in the mouth and heart of one who is himself God. Elsewhere also Jesus acknowledges every innocent attribute of human nature, while on the other hand He refuses the divine attributes of omniscience, omnipotence, and a holiness which is raised above temptation. Not only does He hunger in the wilderness and thirst upon the cross, at one hour He rejoices, and at another He is sorrowful even unto death (Luke x. 21 ; Matt. xxii. 38). He can also waver, hesitate, and change His resolutions—as is manifest from the narrative about the Canaanitish woman. Nay, as His soulstruggle in Gethsemane shows, He apparently knows not what is possible or not possible with God, or what He is to wish and pray for. He acknowledges the opposite of divine omniscience, the limited knowledge of the future which holds good of all prophets, when He declares : “Of that day and hour knoweth no man, not even the Son, but only the Father (Mark xiii. 32). He likewise acknowledges the opposite of divine omnipotence: “To sit on My right hand, and on My left, is not Mine to give; but for those for whom it is prepared of My Father" (Matt. xx. 23). According to these words, He did not co-operate in that “preparing,” that is to say, He had no share in the divine plan, but rather had to learn it like any other man, and to praise the Father for it as Lord of heaven and earth (Matt. xxii. 23). Finally, the strange words in which, in presence of the rich young man, He repudiates all claim to the goodness of the holy God, cannot after all this surprise us: “Why callest thou Me good ? there is none good but one, that is, God." That does not mean an acknowledgment of any evil, but neither does it mean what a narrow dogmatic exposition would bring out of it. It does not mean, if thou callest Me good thou must hold Me to be more than a human master, thou must hold Me to be God Himself. For it is manifest that Jesus cannot in one breath speak of God as one, and place Himself as God beside Him. Jesus desires to urge the young man, who is going about so liberally with the word good, to the highest and deepest sense
of the word, in which it is applicable to God only. God is the absolutely Good, that is, the morally perfect Being (Matt. v. 48); it is His nature to be good; He is, as Jas. i. 13 says, áreipaotos kakv, absolutely raised above all temptation to evil. The Son of Man, who is still in the midst of moral conflict and growth, and first attains perfection through temptation, is not good in this sense, that is, perfectly holy, exalted above all temptation (cf. Heb. v. 8). And we have only to call to mind the narrative of the temptation, the repulse of Peter dissuading Him from the way of suffering, or the soulconflict in Gethsemane, to see how openly He acknowledges these conflicts and temptations, and how little He denies that even He has to sacrifice His own will in order to live in God's will only. All these facts make it so certain that the consciousness of Jesus was at bottom purely human, that only an unconquerable dogmatic prejudice, springing from scholastic tradition and misunderstanding of what religion requires, can resist the force of this testimony.
§ 11. SINLESSNESS OF JESUS
On the other hand, from that field of inquiry we have last alluded to, His relation to the will of God, there starts up a unique majesty of Jesus for which the name “Divinity of Christ,” a name which is justifiable though capable of being misunderstood, is not too high. In the first place, notwithstanding the separation of His will from the Father's, and all the struggle for submission which even He was not spared, the invariable watch word of His life was, “Not My will, but Thine be done.” In other words, in spite of that “no one is good but one, that is, God,” He was perfectly sinless. The express evidences of this are the weakest, as when on His way to death He contrasts Himself as the only green branch on the tree of Israel with the dry boughs on that tree (Luke xxiii, 30), or when He designates those who do the
1 The justice of the expression depends on the religious and moral absoluteness of Jesus, in virtue of which He is the perfect revelation of a God in Himself secret. If God is holy love, how could the predicate of divinity be withheld from the man in whom this love has appeared in perfection.
will of His Father as His brethren and sisters (Mark iii. 35), thus presupposing the doing of the divine will as manifestly His own character. Far more striking and convincing are the indirect testimonies, as they come to us from His silent conduct, or force themselves upon us as the indispensable presupposition of the other greatest and most certain facts of His consciousness. He who with incomparable keenness has pursued sin into the inmost recesses of the heart, found no shadow of guilt, even in the most critical hours of His life, arising in His own heart to transform the countenance of His heavenly Father into the countenance of a judge—not in the storm which threatened His life, not in the total wreck of His earthly hopes, not even in Gethsemane or on Golgotha. He has given to the world its sweetest name for God, the name heavenly Father, and He took it from the child-feeling of His own heart, as a right which first of all belonged to Himself. What other man in Israel, on the soil which law and prophets had prepared for the knowledge of God's holiness and man's sin, could have dared in reverence to claim this right as one who knew of no shadow of sin to separate him from the holy God? It was the thought of His life to set up the kingdom of God among men, the kingdom of God as a heart-communion with the holy God on a true ethical footing. How could this idea of His life have been possible unless the communion with God which He wished to set up in the world had existed in Himself in full possession ! And it was His original possession, not first acquired by overcoming the sin that adhered even to Him. For if that had been the case, as many fancy, that even He had first to overcome an ungodly element in His own nature, and had done so only just before His public ministry, before He was laid hold of and conquered by the Messianic consciousness, then the gospel of the kingdom which He preached would necessarily become a gospel of self-redemption, an inducement to follow Him in the conquering of sin. But His institution of the Supper, the most certain fact we have of Him, attests that He knew all men, even the best and most pious in Israel, to be in need of an atonement and a Mediator, but Himself to be the spotless Lamb who makes atonement for them with His blood (Matt. xxvi. 28). And therefore His life must be conceived rather as a development from original innocence to completed holiness, than as the continuous preservation of a disposition originally at one with God through all His intercourse with an evil world, which imposed on Him self-denials ever more painful, but by that very fact became to Him the course to the goal of divine perfection. That is the picture of His life as outlined in our Gospels. At the beginning (Luke ii. 49) it gives evidence of such a state of heart in Him, that what to others is a powerless command of duty, bears for Him rather the character of most free and natural necessity—“Must I not be about my Father's business," — and it closes with a moral conflict and victory beyond which no further can be imagined, because in it the final offering, the perfect sacrifice of self, has been offered to the love of God.
$ 12. His ONENESS WITH GOD In this sinless perfection we have the precondition of that last and highest element in Him which the Church afterwards called His divine nature or Godhead, though original Christianity was content with viewing it as an anointing with the Holy Spirit without measure, an unlimited possession of the Divine Spirit; this is His relation of complete unity with the Father which made Him the personal bearer of the kingdom of heaven, the procurer of conimunion with God for all. He Himself, in sublime self-contemplation, describes this relation in a saying which is without parallel in the Synoptics, though it possesses the highest guarantee of genuineness as belonging to the original collection of Logia in its twofold attestation, Matt. xi. 27; Luke x. 22: Távta μοι παρεδόθη υπό του πατρός μου και ουδείς επιγινώσκει τον υιον, ει μή ο πατήρ ουδε τον πατέρα τις επιγινώσκει, ει μη ο υιός, και ώ εαν βούληται ο υιός αποκαλύψαι. All things
1 The different Marcionite reading which is found in the older Fathers -ουδείς έγνω τον πατέρα, ει μή ο νιος, και τον υιον ει μή ο πατήρ και ώ εαν ο viós átoranien-contains no real change of doctrinal meaning. Moreover, it is very doubtful, as Keim and others assume, that it is the more genuine reproduction of the words of Jesus. The placing first of the Father, and knowledge of the Father, is more probably an inversion of position, as the whole saying was occasioned by the denying of the Son on the part of His contemporaries. See my Leben Jesu, ii. p. 254.