Thursday, January 21, 2010

Sinless

Jesus was sinless, or so we are taught. This is a concept that is hard to grasp. Presuming that he existed at all, it would make him an extraordinary human being. As such, if we are to retain the lessons taught in Cat├ęchisme, Vactaion Bible School, Sunday School, or Junior Church, we end up concluding that Jesus was God incarnate ( God becoming a human being). That assumption begs many questions. They are questions which have no easy answers. They are also questions without quantitative answers. Any answer given is arguable at best and often based on feeling rather than fact. Too, it has to be added, that the facts that the facts are subjective at best. The only documents which exist concerning the life of Jesus are spotty. Even documenting how old Jesus was when he was executed by the Romans as a political insurgent is more a matter of Greek tradition than documented fact. As an adult, however, one has to grow up and decided if the teaching of childhood are valid. The idea that Jesus was sinless is one of those ideas. Could Jesus have been sinless? Too, can you or I be sinless?

Let us put Jesus in historic context first. Judaism at that point in time was roughly 500 years old. The best independent, anthropological record we have of that religion dates from about 525 B.C.E. (Before Common Era) give or take 25 years. One of the most common understanding of the Jewish teachings dates from approximately 30 B.C.E. It comes from Hillel a Doctor of Law roughly before the time of Jesus.

When a heathen who wished to become a Jew asked him for a summary of the Jewish religion in the most concise terms, Hillel said: "What is hateful to thee, do not unto thy fellow man: this is the whole Law; the rest is mere commentary" (Shab. 31a).

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