Episode:Jesus—Human and Divine (Part 2)
During a break from public teaching, the apostles Nathaniel and Thomas held extensive conferences with Rodan of Alexandria. This Greek philosopher was seeking to harmonize his philosophy of life with Jesus' new religious teachings. The personality of God and the divine nature of Jesus were the major issues that the two labored to teach Rodan. And after much earnest debate and wise counsel, the learned Greek came to a firm recognition of the truth.
Summary by Kermit
Paper 161: Further Discussion with Rodan
Continuing our exploration of the human and divine aspects of Jesus’ nature we turned to Paper 161: Further Discussions with Rodan. Here we are graced with a presentation of discussions of Rodan of Alexandria with the two apostles, Thomas and Nathaniel who were assigned by Jesus to help Rodan harmonize his philosophy of life with Jesus’ gospel. In our discussions, we reflected on why Jesus himself declined to enter into these discussions with Rodan. We were reminded that Jesus’ mission as spiritual uplifter was to focus on the ideals of God the Father. Rodan was seeking to translate the ideals of God into ideas of God, suitable for his day. Essentially, this task was out of the scope of Jesus’ mission, therefore he assigned the task to Thomas and Nathaniel. Citations for the descriptions of both apostles given in Paper 139: The Twelve Apostles clarified why these particular apostles were chosen.
1. The Personality of God
Rodan accepted all that was presented to him regarding the attributes of God (including apparently the doctrine of the Trinity), but contended that God cannot be a personality as man conceives personality.
Rodan contended that the fact of personality infers the fact of full and mutual communication between beings of equality. Further, God being infinite and eternal, as well as the creator of all other beings makes Him alone in the universe. God may be the source of all personality and as such is transcendent of personality and therefore there is no one who can communicate with him as an equal. So we see Rodan has hold of God as superabsolute.
Thomas’s contention that God does communicate with man was rejected by Rodan on the grounds that God does not reveal himself personally. Nathaniel’s appeal to jointly held personal experiences with God, were affirmed by Rodan, but only that he had similar experiences, and this only proved the reality of God not the personality of God.
Nathaniel was ultimately successful in persuading Rodan to believe in the personality of God. Nathaniel’s reasoning is given to us in five steps.
1. The Father enjoys equality of communication with the Eternal Son and Infinite Spirit in the other two persons of the Trinity. This caused Rodan to concede the personality possibility of the Father.
We discussed at length the problems associated with the general belief in Jesus as one and the same as the Eternal Son.
2. Jesus’ equality with God and at the same time his ability to manifest his personality to his earth children proved the fact and demonstrated the possibility of the personality of all three of the Godheads.
3. Jesus mutual association and communication with man, and that he was the Son of God, presupposes equality of communication and mutuality of understanding with the Father. So Jesus is in fact and truth the living link between time (man) and eternity (The Father).
4. The transcendent parallel concepts of PERSONALITY representing man’s highest concept of human reality and divine values, and GOD representing man’s highest concept of divine reality and infinite values, remind Rodan that God must be a divine and infinite personality, albeit transcending man’s concept and definition of personality.
5. Since God is the Creator of all personality and the destiny of all personality, God must BE a personality. Rodan we are told was tremendously influenced by Jesus’ command: “Be you therefore perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect”. Such a command would be meaningless were not God a person.
Rodan thus concedes the personality of God, although, reflecting the elevated sense Rodan had of God he attached to the meaning of personality a whole set of extended values, as superhuman, transcendent, supreme, infinite, eternal, final, and universal.
This summary hardly does justice to the illuminating discussion. Time and space prevent me from epitomizing the numerous points touched on in our broadcast. The serious student will be well rewarded in perusing the archive of this program.
It’s important to remember that the precision of language and depth of concept given to us is reflective of the midwayer authors’ representation of the topics of the discussion of nearly two thousand years ago. This is the 5th ER version of what actually was said.