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Ephesians identity new testament Paul

Bringing Down the Fence

In the last post we considered the division that existed between the Jewish people and the Gentiles, ie everyone else, in the time of Jesus. A ‘fence’ between them had been erected that protected the Jews from ethical decay, forbidding intermarriage, cultural appropriation or even eating with Gentiles. According to Williamson Jews saw Gentiles as ‘less than human’ and in response gentiles regarded Jews with suspicion. (1)

This division might not be considered important today. However, it is unquestionable that the recent political events have created significant divides between people in the UK. The reasons might be different, but the divides are just are real and painful as ever. (2)

Categories
identity Walking with Jesus

Languages are Definitely Not For Me.

School was a funny old time. The seven years at secondary were not the happiest years of my life, not by a long shot. My school was very academic, and pushy, which was ok as long as I could keep my head down. I was that child who was into things. Electronics. Astronomy. Woodwork. Punk music. Squash. Girls.

But not languages. Definitely not languages. Foreign languages bought me pain. Oh, and fear.

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atonement creation Devotional identity

Human identity – part 4 – godlike

In “human identity – divinity” we cemented the connection between image (tselem) in Genesis 1 and cult statues or idols. To the people of the aNE (ancient near east) an idol was the living embodiment of their god, and not just a physical thing like a statue in the local park. To them it was not only alive, and in it their god was fully present to them. If you think about it this sheds light on the way humans could worship idols them and lavish care on them. Clearly, the understanding of the writers of genesis was very different to ours.

Categories
atonement creation Devotional identity

Human identity – part 3 – divinity

In the first post “human identity – representation” we looked at the Hebrew words used for image and likeness. In “human identity – crowned” we looked into the royal meaning behind some of the words the Hebrew bible uses to describe Adam and Eve’s role and status. Given that the same ‘image’ language is used in Gen 5 it is clear that what was true of Adam & Eve is true for all of us – they were ‘God’s Royal Representatives.’ We briefly concluded by saying that to the cultures of the aNE, royalty were seen as children of a god. We cited two examples of this, and left the implicit link to Adam & Eve unspoken. It’s time to dig into this at last.

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atonement creation identity

Human identity – part 2 – crowned

In the first post “human identity – representation” we looked at the Hebrew words used for image and likeness. We concluded that the authors of Genesis wanted us to think-in an holistic manner, which suggests that to their mind the image/ likeness was something included ideas around a statue ie physical. We also introduced the idea that we are made in such a way as to represent (think re-present or to “present again”) Yahweh God. We also saw there was a very clear, and somewhat disturbing “idol” theme to the word image (tslem). So there was lots to chew on. Back to our key passage Gen 1 for something a bit regal…

Categories
atonement creation identity

Human identity – part 1 – representation

In the previous posts I set out something of my thinking regarding the directions this series on atonement would go. We now come to look at Genesis to get a grip on what we, as humans, were created to be. Remember, our aim here is to look at our purpose and our nature as well – what can be referred to as our ‘ontology’. There will be several installments.

Reading in Genesis 1 26 we see:

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea …”