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CHAPTER ELEVEN

 

THEOLOGY OF PAUL

 

 FALL OF MAN

Man was created in both the image and likeness of God. As humans, we are in the image of God, but that does not necessarily mean that we are exact replicas of God. Being made in the image of God simply means that we resemble God and are similar to His image. In His likeness is a comparison to the likeness of God (moral attributes). Before the fall of man, the image of God and the likeness were intact and, so to speak, all was well.

Man certainly stands singularly above most other sentient beings in the cosmos.  The difference lies in the dimensionality.  Early in the Hebrew mysticism the cosmos was considered as multidimensional.  This was represented by a tree with three main branches growing from the material realm to beyond the three heavens.  It is also represented as a person within a person at varying levels.  God permeates in all levels.  Since there is nothing outside of God, the cosmos with all its sentient beings are still within the body.  In this sense cosmos is the body of God.  Kabbalists therefore like to say, the world emanated from God.  The World is the Word that became Flesh.  The creation itself in all its variations are in that sense part of God.  This concept of New Creation Man as the body of Christ is emphasized by Paul.

 

Psalm 8:3-8,  When I look at thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars which thou hast established;  what is man that thou art mindful of him, and the son of man that thou dost care for him?  Yet thou hast made him little less than God, and dost crown him with glory and honor.  Thou hast given him dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet,  all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field,  the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the sea.

 

Heb.2:5-11,  For it was not to angels that God subjected the world to come, of which we are speaking.  It has been testified somewhere, "What is man that thou art mindful of him, or the son of man, that thou carest for him?  Thou didst make him for a little while lower than the angels, thou hast crowned him with glory and honor,    putting everything in subjection under his feet." Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. As it is, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him.  But we see Jesus, who for a little while was made lower than the angels, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for every one.   For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through suffering.  For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified have all one origin. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brethren,

Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground." So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. - (Gen. 1:26-27 NIV)

Purusha portrays a Lord of the Universe which is earlier depicted only in the Hebrew theology as Adam Kadamon – the Primordial Man. In the Genesis creation of Man, God said, "Let us make man in our own image".   The first earthly man was created on the model of a cosmic Purusha. In the Nag Hammadi text, the Apocryphon of John, we learn that this anthropos is the first creation of "knowledge and Perfect Intellect" and the first luminary of the heavens.  

 

The Hebrew letters for YHVH is shown to form a Person

God made Flesh and Form

Kabbalah. is a presentation of  Jewish mysticism based on the  fragmentary midrashim - rabbinic writings - of the Talmudic period. It is considered as a codification of the Oral Traditions starting from Moses.  It is reflected in the prophetic books of the Old Testament. Rabbi Isaac Luria  (1534-72) was one of the early mystic who put them in writing.  Kaballa was the basis of Gnosticm and it is not surprising that it features heavily in the Hinduism - which is the heretic outgrowth of Christianity under the influence of Manichaen infiltration into the Indian Churches. 

 Adam Kadmon, is the first being to emerge from the infinite unknowable Godhead, Ein-sof  (which corresponds to the Nirguna Brahman of Hinduism)  to become the knowable God – the Saguna Brahman.   The body of this knowable God (Saguna Brahman) is said to both emanate and constitute the cosmos.

 Man, having been created in God’s image, is said by the Kabbalists to be comprised of the very same cosmic elements, the sefirot, which comprise the "body" of Adam Kadmon.  The symbol of Adam Kadmon expresses the idea that the cosmos itself has both a soul and body.  The whole cosmos with all the infinite beings of consciousness form part of the the Body of the Purusha. This image is called the Adam Kadmon, and represents the primordial, pre-created Man, an image of the Godhead that existed before any other divine emanation. It is a vertical arrangement of the four letters of the Tetragrammaton, the four letter name of God YHVH as given to Moses in the Hebrew Bible. In this shape, they represent Keterim, the first reflection or image of the Ain Sof.

Adam Kadmon is the first being to spontaneously emerge in the metaphysical void.  Nicean Creed puts it succiently as:

We believe in one Lord Jesus Christ,
 the only begotten Son of God,
begotten of the Father,
Light of Light,
very God of very God,
begotten, not made,
being of one substance with the Father;

The Sefirot and worlds which they comprise are, according to Luria and his disciple, Vital, emanated from the various orifices in Adam Kadmon¹s head: from the ear, the nose, eyes, and mouth. The highest, most sublime of these emanations, forms the world of Atziluth, from the Hebrew "etzel", meaning "near" (to the infinite God). However, even higher than Atziluth, according to the Lurianists, is the World of Adam Kadmon itself, often abbreviated as the World of A¹K, a world so high and sublime as to be virtually indistinguishable from Ein-sof. From within this realm, so close to the infinite God, Adam Kadmon directs the subsequent course of events in the lower worlds. The Primordial Man is instrumental not only for the world¹s creation, but for its redemption as well.

It is very probable that Jesus identified himself with the primordial or Cosmic Person in saying “... before Abraham was I am” (John 8:58). The primordial man was before Abraham and before all men, who is prior to all creation.

"He is the image (Adam Kadmon) of the invisible Elohim (Ayn Sof), the firstborn over all creation (Son of Yhvh). For through Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the Assembly, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence (Messiah)." Colossians 1:15-18

2.  The Concept of God:  Jagnath:  Lord of the Universe

 This figure of Jagnath, which is celebrated as the Lord of the Universe, is really an epitome of the theology, which is essentially the theology of Eastern Churches and that of the Hebrew Kabala.  It developed in India soon after the advent of Thomas.  The celebrated Temple of Lord Jagannath now existent at Puri was constructed by Raja Ananta Varman Chodaganga Dev in 12th century A.D  The description of the figure can be summarized as follows:

 

In the beginning, God alone existed.  We cannot attribute any quality to God, because qualities are relative.  Without the existence of another, we cannot define qualities.  This God – the beginning - is referred to as Nirguna Brahman (God without Qualities).  This is represented as the darkness.  God who resides in darkness symbolized the God who cannot be known.  “Jehovah hath said that he would dwell in the thick darkness” (1 King 8:12)  “Jehovah spake unto all your assembly in the mount out of the midst of the fire, of the cloud, and of the thick darkness, with a great voice”  (Deu. 5:22)

 

Jagnath

Then the fact remains that we have a creation and movement.  Therefore, this Nirguna Brahman put on a variation within himself.  It is as though he differentiated himself to parts thus creating a God with Properties and Qualities.  This God is known as Saguna Brahman (God with Properties).  God is a person not a force.  This is because creation needs a purposeful act.  The two open eyes represent this waking up process.  This God has expressed himself and hence can be known through creation and in intimacy.

 

 

Out of the mouth of this Jagnath proceeds the AUM – the Word. 

The Aum is a person as its vibrations takes the form of a man - a person and rises to create.  It is this person Om that created the universe with all its variations – material and immaterial.  The whole creation is in a way Word becoming flesh.  The whole cosmos forms the body of God. “For in him we live, and move, and have our being”.  This concept explains the immanence and transcendence of God.  Church as the body of Christ is just an extension of this Jagnath concept.

 

It is evident that this sophisticated concept of God which did not exist prior to Christian era appeared in crystallized form in powerful concrete expression could not have occurred except through Thomas.  This connection of Hebrew mysticism to Indian theology goes much deeper in all aspects of Hindu worship and daily living.

 

      The first born of all the creations is the divine essence of the Yhvh himself.   He is the Father's only-begotten Son. As the writer to the Hebrews expressed it, He is: “the brightness of His glory and the express image of [Yhvh’s] person (Hebrews 1:3).” He is the “Repairer of the Breach,” even before there was a “breach.” Blessed is Yhvh our Elohim Who creates the remedy before the wound. It was from the Adam Kadmon that tremendous light shown forth and aligned itself into creation. It was through “the image of the invisible Elohim,” the Messiah, that Yhvh made all things. The Adam Kadmon is the expression of Yhvh’s complete Word - the Aum.- the creative energy of Yhvh himself. 

What we have seen is a graphical representation of who God is and how man is an image and a likeness of God Himself.  Again this is only a graphic symbolic representational model and is useful only as a model to get some insight.

Jewish Cosmology

As represented in the Tree model of Jewish cosmos, we have four dimensions of existence

1.  Atziluth – Divine Realm.  -Archetypal World (World of Emanations) or Divine World

2. Briah- Spiritual Realsm - Creative World or World of Thrones

3.  Yetsirah- Mental Realm - Formative World

4. Assiah- Material Realm --Manifest World

In each of the realms there are sentient beings.  Some sprawling over several dimensions.  But there is one being who spreads into all the dimensions which is Man – a little lower than God.   That is why Adam is stated as “Adam son of God”   Luk 3:38  Thus if we place Adam within the above figure it will be above the Cherubim and Seraphim just below the Trinity.

 

  

Paul refers to the three heavens in 2Co 12:2

 

The part of the likeness of man is his freedom of will.  Every sentient being is given this freedom.  Otherwise man will be another robot, preprogrammed and predestined.  There are other beings in the cosmos which has this freedom as well.  We are told of the fall the angelic hosts led by Lucifer himself who was close to God himself.  Certainly Lucifer and these angels had the freedom of choice.  Otherwise they would not be responsible for their actions.  It is quite possible that there may be creations that do not have this free will but are robots meant for specific purposes.

 

Creation of beings is dialectical.  The beings are independent free will individuals  and at the same time part of cosmic creation with responsibility to the whole.  There is a definite conflict built in within the individuals between self and the rest of cosmos.  Thus one of the essential features contained in the freewill of the created beings is the ability to discord, breakaway and be selfish.  This exactly was the fall of Lucifer.  Lucifer was thus given a place from the Divine realm to the Angelic realm and is hence forth referred to as the  Prince of the Power of Air.

 

 

In the case of Man, due to the selfish ambitions of Eve and Adam ignited by the Satanic prompts, Man lost his position as “little lower than the gods” and was placed under the tutelage of the unfallen angels.  

Fall of Adam and Eve was not because of Satan since they had their free will and had their choice.  So blaming Satan for the fall as Eve did  does not justify the choice. 

 In Adam all die

 Heb 2:5-9   For it was not to angels that God subjected the world to come, of which we are speaking.   It has been testified somewhere, "What is man that thou art mindful of him, or the son of man, that thou carest for him?

 

Thou didst make him for a little while lower than the angels, thou hast crowned him with glory and honor, putting everything in subjection under his feet." Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. As it is, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him

 After the fall a Cherubim protected the tree of life until Man was ready to enter and partake of it.

Gen 3:24  He drove out the man; and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.

Gal 3:23 Now before faith came, we were confined under the law, kept under restraint until faith should be revealed.

 Gal 4:1-3  I mean that the heir, as long as he is a child, is no better than a slave, though he is the owner of all the estate;  but he is under guardians and trustees until the date set by the father. So with us; when we were children, we were slaves to the elemental spirits of the universe.  

Gen 4:4 But when the time had fully come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law,  to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.  And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!"  So through God you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son then an heir.

Once again Man will regain his unfallen glory with angels as their ministering spirits.

Heb 1:14  But  …  angel  …. Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to serve, for the sake of those who are to obtain salvation?

 

 

1Co 6:3  Do you not know that we are to judge angels?

 

As a result of the fall, the creation was subjected to decay and death in order to limit the length of human life.  Thus the law of nature was changed so that everything will go from order to disorder and eventually human body will die.  This was in fact a blessing that the selfish mankind may not suffer too long.  Imagine living in a selfish society eternally – ages after ages without end - each person trying to exploit the other and lording over the others.  Thus Man was barred from getting the fruit of the Tree of Life.  But God did not do this without a plan to redeem all creation.  His plan was to redeem mankind and once this redemption was achieved the whole creation will be released from its law of order to disorder  and the law will be reversed to grow from glory unto glory.  This is the reversal of the principle of Second Law of Thermodynamics.  Every Physicist knows that there is no a priori reason for the current state of order to disorder law.

 

The Plan was that this will be reversed when mankind is redeemed to their rightful state of Sons of God.  It was this reversal process that was started by Jesus at the instant of resurrection.  The body of Jesus which was destined to decay in the cave was instantly reversed from decay to fullness of life.  It is this resurrection power that will transform every man when they put their trust in Jesus.

 

1Co 15:21-22  For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead.  For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.

 

Rom 8:19-24   “For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God; for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of him who subjected it in hope;  because the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the glorious liberty of the children of God.

 

We know that the whole creation has been groaning in travail together until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. “

The redemption is not a one time event.  This is because of the few choice given to free willed created beings.  That is why resurrection occurs in order. 

Co 15:22-24   For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. Then comes the end. 

Any resolution should take into consideration this ever present factor if the created being has to have the status of the Son.  This process of going back to the position of Sonship is a long process which we will discuss in the section of the theory of ages. The redemption of man and participation of mankind on the divinity is known in the Eastern Churches as Theosis