Monday, October 7, 2013

Only Son (part 21)

Why did the Creator God raise up Solomon and gift him with such wisdom and wealth?  Presumably, it was so that His people Israel, along with all peoples and nations, would come to believe in Him.  Solomon, as a son of God, was yet another example of the Creator God’s love for the world, and it would appear that, as an example, he was said to be gifted in such a profound way so that He would be blessed, so that Israel would be blessed, and so that Israel would, in turn, be a blessing to all peoples of the world by being an example of unparalleled divine blessing. 

The Creator God’s design in this was to cause all peoples, through His people, to forsake their idolatry and turn in worship to the One that was their Creator, as and in Whose image they had been created.  In so doing, the tide of evil would be stemmed and the ongoing and ultimately unnecessary perishing of the peoples of the world and the creation could be restrained. 

The divine blessings (reflective of Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28) granted to Solomon and Israel were representative of the gifts of eternal life that the covenant God desired to grant to all peoples, restoring them to the place and status from which Adam had fallen.  Unfortunately, though Solomon had experienced his God’s power and presence (on two occasions---1 Kings 11:9), much like Adam and Israel had experienced that power and presence, he did not truly believe his God.  What was the result?  He fell into the aforementioned idolatry.  Because of that, Israel, as a unified body of people adequately representing their God to the world, effectively perished, and the blessings of their God that had been so strong upon them (eternal life) would be lost.            

While one could certainly continue moving forward from the history of Solomon, wading into and through the inter-testamental literature that sets the stage for the second Temple Judaism into which Jesus came and spoke, doing so in order to more fully develop the “son of God” theology and frame of reference, to engage in such would merely belabor the point.  Based on the examination of the clear “son of God” traditions embodied in Adam, Israel, and Solomon, it is now quite possible to understand the full import and impact of Jesus’ words when He speaks of His God’s love of the world and the sending of His one and only Son for the purpose of belief and eternal life.  The historical examples provided heretofore, stand in stark contrast to the Creator God’s expectations and intentions for the role that His son (whoever that son may be) would play in and for the world. 

Though, with reflection, one can see that Jesus is referring to Himself (as the author of the Gospel would seem to desire), it is not necessarily the case that Jesus is demanding that Nicodemus come to this conclusion.  Rather, an observer might be better served by considering that Nicodemus was to remember this conversation with Jesus, and upon His crucifixion realize that Jesus was referring to Himself with His cryptic comments that “the Son of Man must be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life” (John 3:14b).  This would seem to be a reasonable proposition. 

It is this believing in Jesus as the Son of Man (the Messiah-King and embodiment of Israel’s God) that then becomes equivalent to believing in the Creator God in the way that was expected of Adam and Israel and Solomon.  It is through believing in the lifted-up-Son-of-Man, with the efficaciousness of such belief equivalent to the reversing of the exilic-oriented and death-bringing curse of the serpents in the wilderness, that the blessings that the Creator God intends for His people (renewal, restoration, reconciliation, re-creation, exodus, rescue, deliverance, liberation, resurrection---eternal life) are to be enjoyed. 

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