Years ago I was in a semi-accredited bible college in Aloha, Oregon when I heard some historical insights about Jesus that have stuck with me for years and in this past year have taken on a new context.
In a class that covered theology of who Jesus is called Christology, I heard about Plato foretelling Jesus without knowing it. The instructor said that Plato saw three realms that are parts of all of existence. The first realm was in our present world that we can see in touch; which is easy to comprehend.
The second is in this small, bitty realm that is too small to see. Those small things that are considered in their own realm but make up our matter were called atomes. Scientists can say, “Thanks, Plato!”
The third realm could be called heaven by modern Western culture. It is a pure realm that is above corruption like our world. And in that world exists a god. No, Plato was no Jew or any other monotheist that we would recognize by tradition (for more about that idea among Greeks, look at Acts 17).
But Plato did not stop there. He theorized that there could be away for this god to bring in the incorruptible to the corruptible. But if he were to do that, he would have to provide input of his very essence. The word he chose to use for this essence in the theory was logos. By the end of this lecture I imagined Plato being whisked away in a Delorean for time travel for four hundred years in the future to convert to Christianity. Below is why.
John 1: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…. 14 And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.
The reason why this is connected is that the word for “Word” was logos. Jesus was before Abraham and was one with the Father (John 10:31). He was from the outside and came into the world to bring incorruption to this world of decay.
But things have become more relevant to me this past year.
Last summer I was learning different therapeutic modalities in my Masters in Social Work program at Arizona State University. There was a man named Carl Rodgers in a film with a client named Gloria. His therapy was called Client-Centered Therapy.
His rules for the road were to stay in the present, develop an authentic relationship with the client and by being in that bubble with them create a blank slate by which the client can redefine themself.
This is almost Christianity! It’s personal, practical and relational. Seeing the beauty in what Rodgers did with a woman with profound pain and insecurity inspired me as a future social worker to carry that authenticity that goes beyond being a reflective listener. An example is Rodgers saying to Gloria when she grieved for rejection by her father, “I think you would make a great daughter.”
But before the reader gets hit with goose bumps, remember that I said “Almost Christianity.”
First, you can’t have Christianity without Jesus Christ. He is the center as the anti-decay to the world of decay.
Second, I have to use a four-letter word: Lord. He desperately loves us but to receive Him, even if we have a foggy past with religion that lacked love, we must come to a fundamental surrender that He is Lord. If a healthy parent does things right, they know not to be their kids’ “friend”. But they can still get down on their knees and play Legos. They can be a logos of sorts with the legos. It is a tension that can be brought in with wisdom from above.
For a picture of this wisdom that comes from above, I will leave the reader with this.
James 3:17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy.
Here is a link to Rodgers introducing his method.