Thursday, April 06, 2006

The Gospel according to Judas

Anyone catch this article in the Globe and Mail, "Judas acted at Jesus's request, manuscript says". Ooooo, I can tell you right now this is going to be fun.

First of all, I have always been suspicious of National Geographic. I mean seriously, what kind of organization has such an oxymoron for a name. Broken down I find the whole concept of "national geographic" to be silly. National is an derivitive of "nation", which usually represents a bordered country, but which can also be a people group (ie: the nation of Islam). See, double-entendre already and that's only one word; which one is it guys, make up your minds. Secondly, what does geographic really mean? As I understand it, "geographic" is a related term to geography which is the science of the earth. When I noticed that a bunch of wahoos at a magazine that hasn't changed it's cover design in about 300 years, and is audacious enough to have name which roughly translates into "People Group Earth Science", is coming forward with the next big thing in religion, I just had to take a bite.

To the issue at hand. The document that was discovered is from about 300 AD (according to carbon-dating), written in a Coptic script as a copy of an earlier Greek manuscript. The gist of the document is that Judas betrayed Jesus at Jesus' request. I can't tell you the myriad of problems I noticed off the bat, but for the doozie wait till I get to the climax of this "tale".

Here are a couple of things that I noted:
1. Is it really betrayal if Jesus told Judas to do it? Um...no. What's the point of an all-powerful God who needs the help of Judas to get the redemptive work of salvation completed? The whole concept of this article indicates that Jesus was having trouble getting salvation done so he needed an inside man.
2. The first guy they talk to about it is Rev. Don Senior, the president of the Catholic Theological Union. What does this high ranking theological scholar do? He seems very excited about the prospect of this "fascinating" document. Does he know what theological means?
3. Another thing I noticed was the liberal use of the term "scholars". These geniuses somehow know that Jesus was looking to Judas to help rid him of his spiritual self. Are these the guys who discovered the 1,700 year old document in a sand dune or are they the fine individuals like the above gentlemen who are far too fascinated to really take a stand. I think they are likely bored old guys who want to make something of themselves before they die.
4. The key passage (we're told) is when Jesus says to Judas (in private conversation):
“you will exceed all of them. For you will sacrifice the man that clothed me.” Okay, didn't Jesus make quite the point of teaching his disciples that the first will be last and the last will be first (see Mark 9:33-36). It doesn't even sound like any other recorded words by Jesus, elevating one above others (for an illustration of what happens when humans do it check your closest encyclopedia under 'Roman Catholic Church"), and requesting help from a guy who takes his own life in a field. Yeah, I can see how that's key...key to nothing. It's not even a complete thought! Who writes this ancient garbage?

I think that these are the kind of articles that remind me how much I appreciate the Gospel. The simplicity of grace and mercy, salvation and forgiveness are treasures that cannot be shaken by such revisionism. As Christians let us be very careful that we do not underestimate the power the devil to undermine doctrine with ancient manuscripts that none of us were there to see written, but are readily believed because some crazy guy found them in a sand dune.

God works for his own glory, as Romans aptly teaches. I don't think Judas was necessary, but God chose to use him for his own purposes. I just don't think God would be God if he had to ask him first.

6 Comments:

Blogger JLF said...

Great post, Jay!

"I think they are likely bored old guys who want to make something of themselves before they die."
The more theological journals and technical commentaries and "original" monographs I read, the more I agree with you. Everyone wants to be the guy that says something new. It's sad.

Thought you might find this article interesting as well.

Thanks... saves me having to read about it elsewhere.

11:47 PM  
Blogger Son of Man said...

poolosophy

10:35 AM  
Blogger jessica said...

One point of disagreement. Though I realize you are probably just sayting it because of your feelings towards the magazine as a whole. I enjoy it when designs arent always changing (fashion magazine are a differnt story they have a crisis of their own). But the cover of a magazine like NG I like to look sort of oldish. But I feel that way about cereal boxes. Whenever Rice Krispies changes their box cover, I feel like an era is ending, a chapter is closing. I guess im sentimental that way.

I enjoyed the rest of your post and fully agree.

11:10 AM  
Blogger Son of Man said...

you guys must be strong...this article absolutely ruined my faith. I feel so bewildered...and alone...those thousands of authentic copies of every biblical text that miraculously don't differ must be all a figment of my imagination...we've been duped for so long...i feel so used...what a bleek future we have...sigh...sigh...

9:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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3:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's a great story. Waiting for more. film editing classes

1:43 PM  

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