The other day I was thinking about Jesus. I do not do this very often anymore. I had just noded about his mommy. She came home one day and told her friends and neighbors that an angel of the Lord had visited her. This angel told her some things about her reproductive tract that must have startled her, her husband and all the neighbors. This was before anal probes and artificial insemination, so perhaps she ran into a little doubt when she said that she was pregnant, but still a virgin.
It's funny to think about Jesus in such particular terms, as a man among men, which is of course the whole point of Christianity, that God extended a celestial pseudopod down onto the dusty earth of Jerusalem.
So Jesus was also a baby. Did he poop his diapers? Or is that not part of being perfect? Did he ever bite his mother, or kick the cat? Did he have zits at thirteen?
Jesus was a human, but also perfect, isn't that the story? So how much of the human condition is obliterated by perfection?
  • Was he sinless his whole life?
  • Did he ever stub his toe?
  • Did he ever go out on a beautiful summer night and walk through the streets with his buddies, singing a goofy song? Is goofiness compatible with perfection?
  • Farting?
  • How about laughing at farting?
Christian theology is split on this issue, and different sects are apt to believe different things. . .

First some history: When Christianity was starting out long ago, the gentiles recruited by the evangelists were either former pagans or former Jews. As these early Christians were grappling with the nature of Jesus and the divine, they looked to their old faiths in order to get a handle on who he was.

For example, some early Christians who were formerly of Greek religion looked to Asclepius. Asclepius was a son of Apollo who who went around healing men and performing miracles. He was, however, not allowed to raise men from death, for such a thing was supposed to be beyond the province of men. . .He was exhorted to resurrect a dead fellow, and, for doing this, Asclepius was struck down by Zeus. He was, however, then raised to Mount Olympus and became of the gods. "Oh," some early Christians said. "Asclepius was of man, performed miracles for man, was struck down in his youth, and then adopted into heaven. Jesus is like Asclepius!" And they came to the conclusion that Jesus was some kind of superhuman man who was later raised to heaven by god. (as an interesting side note, many of the early Christian temples were built upon former temples and centers of healing to Asclepius)

Others early Christians looked to other stories: for example, Jews who became Christians saw the story of Elijah the Prophet in the Old Testament, and drew a parallel there: Elijah was a prophet of God who was brought up to heaven because he served God well and true. "Oh," some other people said. "Jesus was like Elijah - he was a human who simply was incredibly pious, served God very well, and was then brought into heaven."

So at any rate, a schism formed from all of these interpretations, and it lasts unto this day. Most Christians believe nowadays that Jesus was actually an incarnation of God, but there is a split over how much like man or how much like God this incarnation was: was he entirely human, and did he doubt, weep, and tremble as men? Was he superhuman, and therefore was at some midpoint? Or we he godly, knew all of what was and what would be, and did not tremble a whit?

The argument for Jesus being extremely human might go like this: mankind has sinned. He has blackened his soul, and he has blackened the Earth. For man to be redeemed, God must come in a profoundly human way and must suffer in a profoundly human way: He must doubt as man, weep as man, and, ultimately, bleed as man. A man who is closer to God than to mankind would be unacceptable - it is men who have sinned and therefore a man must take all of this suffering upon himself.

The argument for Jesus being a "perfect" man is that it was a "perfect" man who got us into this mess, namely Adam. Because a perfect man initiated this cycle of sin, a perfect man is required to end it: Adam ate of the Tree of Life's apple; to atone, Jesus must be mounted upon a tree of thorns.

Yes, I agree. This is all fucked up.

Most conservative portrayals of Jesus have him being "perfect." It's just safer that way. Newer (and inifinitely more interesting) portrayals can be found in several modern works, including the excellent The Last Temptation of Christ and the minorly great Jesus Christ Superstar.

Interestingly, it's possible to be both imperfect and perfect at once, if you go by general Christian theology.

Most Christians consider humans to be by definition imperfect, this being a result of the Fall. Jesus is also generally considered to be a perfect human being. Therefore, even the most perfect human being is still by definition imperfect in some measure, simply by virtue of being human.

Considering the mischief Jesus got himself into as a child, (check Luke 2:41-52) this seems to work out fairly well.

I once had a friend try to give me a "scientific" perspective as to how Jesus could be both human and perfect, since being human is supposed to make one incapable of being perfect. After all, the phrase "I'm only human" basically MEANS "I'm not perfect," it's in a way a synonym for imperfection.

My friend explained that "sin" is inherited from the father. Therefore, only he with an earthly father inherits the sins of man. I wonder if, according to this, geneticists could isolate "sin" on the father's chromosomes and extinguish it? Wow. Sin is an inherited genetic disease.

So apparently, the "Jesus" part of God, the "Son" of the trio, was not supposed to be actually perfect, or else he wouldn't really be human. However, the fact that he is said to be "sinless" causes him to be godly. Interesting paradox, eh?

The basic Christian perspective is that Jesus Christ was entirely human, and entirely divine. I know this may sound like a contradiction in terms, but basically the consensus is that 'He's God, so it doesn't have to make sense.' Of course, this is not what a theologian would tell you, in fact he'd be able to explain it better using a whole bunch of complicated Greek and Latin terms (English lacks a lot of these abstracts), the the outcome would be the same: Jesus is truly God and truly man. The important thing though, was that He was both man and God at once. Yes He farted, and I'm sure he laughed about it. He probably vomited and had nosebleeds as well, probably took longs shits and peed in the bushes behind the carpenter shop in Nazareth, and felt very human emotions, such as rage and jealously, which are perfectly natural human emotions.

But the problem comes when people confuse perfection with sinlessness. No one says Jesus was perfect in every way, just that He was sinless in every way, that he did not willingly commit acts against the will of God, His Father. Even if he felt envy, He would not have acted on it. Even if he wanted to do prostitutes with all his desire, he wouldn't. There is no doubt Jesus was tempted at every corner of His life, and that He could have sinned whenever He wanted to.

Jesus even feels fear and regret for what He eventually has to do, that's the whole point of the Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane. He could have done anything He wanted to do, including sin, including zapping all the Romans to Hell. But the point was that He didn't, that He willingly did what He was begotten to do, to die for the sins of all humanity, past present, and future. Christians believe that the pains he experienced were not simply physical, but that He felt real grief, remorse, guilt, despair, anger, and all the pains that were ever caused by every sin ever committed. Being totally God, He was strong enough to undertake all this, but being totally human, He felt all the pain and regret for what He did.

There are many of these 'contradictory' tenets of Christianity, two other popular ones being the whole Trinity, the one God in three persons; and the transubstantiation issue, which involves the essence of Christ's Body and Blood in the form of bread and wine -- according to the Catholic and many Protestant and Orthodox religions, they are not symbols, but Jesus' Body and Blood in essence.

As far as the abovementioned 'fact' that Adam of Eden was perfect, this is simply not true. It's just that sin did not exist before Adam and Eve ate from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. They did not know what sins were, but they knew God told them not to eat from the tree, and their envy drove them to anyway, the first willful act against God by a human being. However, the point of humanity in a Christian worldview is that we can be forgiven for our sins,that we can freely choose to do good and evil, and that all this is on a ticket paid for by the death and Resurrection of Christ. So basically, humans are free to sin, but do not have to suffer for it, only to ask forgiveness, because all the suffering has already been done.

Just a disclaimer to idiots: I am not at all trying to say that any of this is fact, that you have to or should believe it. I am just stating what my beliefs and the beliefs of most Christians are, so don't go downvote me or message me saying you don't like it. Have an open mind.

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