I am sorry that my little blog here can’t drive more traffic to Jason Micheli’s “Tamed Cynic” blog. According to his most recent post, not a single entry in his “Top Ten Reasons Christmas Doesn’t Need the Cross” (he’s posted eight of ten so far) made his Top 5 most popular of the year, despite my linking to them here and here. What can I say? I’m no Scot McKnight.
I’m not recommending that you read his blog for your edification. In fact, almost every week I find something new to get under my skin (which is a credit to his skill as a writer)—and I comment to the sound of crickets. He did tell me that he doesn’t have much time to respond to blog comments, so it’s nothing personal.
But I would love for someone to read yesterday’s post in his Christmas series, and tell me what, if anything, is wrong with the following two statements:
“But according to scripture, Jesus not Adam and Eve constitute the imago” (by which he means imago Dei, “image of God”).
“Rather we only know what ‘sin’ means and the extent to which it defines us because God has come in Jesus.”
On his side, he’s using Colossians 1:15-16 to make his case (which is a lot of weight for those verses to bear). Doesn’t Genesis 1 tell us that God created male and female in his image? Micheli might allow himself some wiggle room by using the word “constitute” (emphasis mine): “Implicit in this logic is the assumption that Adam and Eve were fine before they fell, that they already constituted what God initiated when God declared ‘let us make humankind in our image‘”—as if, perhaps, there’s some difference between God creating in God’s image and the two being so “constituted” in that image? Who knows? I’ve never heard this before.
For the sake of my monthly student loan bills, I’m hoping that my Emory education didn’t fail to teach me something so blindingly obvious that Micheli need not explain himself.
What he is saying is that God initiated but did not complete the process of making humanity in his image. That only happened in the incarnation. I guess there’s no sense pointing out to a Methodist pastor like himself that John Wesley would contradict him, not to mention the plain meaning of Genesis 1. “Let us make,” God says… and so they were made.
Doesn’t Paul, in Romans 7, contradict the idea that we only know what sin is because of the incarnation of Christ? Specifically, we have Paul saying the following:
“What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, ‘You shall not covet.’… Did that which is good, then, bring death to me? By no means! It was sin, producing death in me through what is good, in order that sin might be shown to be sin, and through the commandment might become sinful beyond measure.”