Creating Jesus 22: God's psyche

I have been home doing improvement projects lately, so the blog has been quiet on my end. Back in the office for the day today, so here is the next post.

There has been some activity in the comments to my last post about whether or not the Logos is really God or just sharing his nature. This discussion is a Nicene discussion, and is reading John in light of those later theological wars. John was read and claimed to support both the Arians and the anti-Arians and the marginal Arians. It was read to be a subordinianist document - that the Son was the Logos (lesser or other than God), a mediator between God the Father and humanity. And it was read to be a homoousian document, identifying the Father with the Son. It came to be read as a document that supports the two-natures doctrine that prevailed at Chalcedon, as well as the monophysite position.

So John is a difficult document to work with, especially if we are trying to understand the text as a pre-Nicene document. But if we look internally, we see that the author appears to have understood Jesus to be the pre-existent Logos, God's very mind, and that this mind came to exist in flesh. So what we have here is an ensoulment Christology. In other words, God's mind or psyche (=soul in English translation) took on flesh and became a human being. Thus Jesus didn't have his own normal human soul or psyche like you and I have. His soul or psyche was God's mind. Quite literally he was God manifested as a human being.

Again, Sophia traditions cannot explain Jesus' equivalence with the eternal God. It appears that we are dealing again with the Angel of YHWH traditions, the manifestation of God that bears his NAME, the Tetragrammaton. The NAME in Jewish traditions was understood to be a hypostasis of God's eternal nature, and thus, was viewed as equivalent to him. The NAME was instrumental in creation and was present in the Angel of YHWH. So what we seem to be seeing in the Johannine gospel is retrospective thinking about the embodiment model. Jesus' identification with the Angel of YHWH is pushed back pretemporally, from pre-existent to precosmogonic.

This traditional Jewish thinking is combined with Hellenistic-Greek understanding about the origin of the human being, particularly the origin of the psyche or rational aspect of the human being. The psyche or soul fell from the heavens into the material body. This becomes a human being and is birthed from the womb. So what we have in John is the idea that God's Logos, his mind becomes a soul embodied as Jesus.

More on this in the next post.