I don’t know if the people who read here have any interest in this subject or not, but I’ve often thought that Christianity at times doesn’t explain itself too well. Or maybe it’s just that Christians don’t.
The prime example of inadequate explanation is the very essence of the thing. On Good Friday Christians supposedly commemorate the death of Jesus on the cross which was, you know, the Big Event or at least the first part of the Big Event. Why was it the Big Event? He “died for our sins”, it is said.
Well, just what does that mean? Assuming we have sins and that Jesus died “for” them, what are we talking about here?
Christian theology is all bound up with Greek philosophy. Whether that is because it “steals” a lot of its ideas from Greek philosophy; or because in some respects Greek philosophy and Christianity deal with a lot of the same questions and answers them similarly because one substantially correct answer is going to resemble any other substantially correct answer; or for some other reason is not the point right now. We’re just trying to figure out what is being said in the first place.
Christianity says, over and over again, in explicit and implicit ways, that God is “perfect”. And the ancient Greeks had an impersonal conception of the perfect themselves: the perfect would be one thing, the same throughout, eternal, unchanging, and completely separated from anything that was imperfect, since even contact with the imperfect would render the perfect less than perfect, which of course is impossible if it’s perfect to begin with.
Sorry. This is how these things have to be expressed. At least, it’s the only way I know to express them.
Then of course you remember: Walk before me, and be thou perfect. And don’t forget: Be ye therefore perfect, even as your father which is in heaven is perfect.
So this sets up the problem: 1) God is perfect; 2) We are imperfect – because of “sin”; 3) the perfect can have no contact with the imperfect; 4) therefore, we can have no contact with God.
But since “salvation”, as conceived by Christians, is precisely to have contact with God, then by this chain of reasoning salvation is impossible. But it might not be impossible if the imperfect can somehow be made perfect.
I know this doesn’t strictly make sense, but if you’re interested bear with me. I’m not advocating for the idea here, I’m just trying to explain it.