Friday, February 1, 2013

When God Came to Earth

For centuries, Mark's Gospel, the shortest one, was regarded as not much more than an abridged version of Matthew and Luke. . .there is agreement that Mark's Gospel provides the outline for the rest of the Synoptic Gospels and was written first. Therefore, it is an appropriate starting point for a study of the Gospels' Christologies (1).

Ἀρχὴ τοῦ εὐαγγελίου Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ 

For my own amusement, I did a bit of translation on the Greek above, coming to roughly "the commencement of the good news of Jesus Christ." My Greek New Testament has a footnote that includes [υἱοῦ θεοῦ] below, translated "Son of God." My initial bias was to use "origin" instead "commencement" or "beginning," but instead I think origin brings about connotations of beginning or creation and I don't think Christ was 'created' or had a 'beginning.' He certainly, however, was born into this world and thus, the "commencement" of the Son of God within a temporal context seems to make more sense to me. At least from a theological musing sort of point.

The Greek word εὐαγγελίου is translated here as "good news." So, immediately, we have a picture of a person we know nothing yet everything about. If we take my translation as commencement (as tentative as it obviously is) we see the commencement of a ceremony, as God coming to earth as Christ. We don't get this in Mark obviously in terms of birth, but the ceremony of birth is portrayed in the other Gospels. This gospel assumes that Christ had an earthly beginning.

This is good news. Particularly with how Mark portrays Jesus as "healer" and many other things. The physical nature that Christ enacts for His people is often overlooked, but Mark sees this as central. Certainly as deliverer, but also tangible evidence of what the Son of God intends for His creation:

Healing and restoration.  

This includes the removal of sickness, eating with sinners and driving out demons. This presupposes some form of preexistence. This is the commencement of the ceremonial aspect of Jesus coming down to creation and enacting inaugurated eschatology.  

And this is only the beginning of the good news. 

--Nick

Citations.

1. Karkkainen, "Christology: A Global Perspective" pg30.

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