My opinion as it regards the gospel is a big question mark (?). And here’s why:
I never knew Jesus face to face. Even if I had known his mom and dad or earthly siblings face to face, it would not be the same as knowing him face to face.
Sometimes we can play someone voice in our head over and over as if the person was sitting right next to us. Sometimes we remember the face, but not the name. Sometimes we remember the name, but not clearly the face. Even a scent of some sort may remind us of a particular person. But you and I may have shared our remote presence with one another through writings or audio recordings. We may not even know what each one of us truly looks like or sounds like. As a side note, not even I can sometimes remember what I look like or sound like to others simply because my human conscience sometimes can only account for what’s in the mind, real and unreal. And what I thought to sound like and look like to others is so much different than what I see and hear even in a video recording of my own self.
When people started interacting with each other through writings, they must have immediately filled in everything that was missing using their imagination simply by following the spirit of the writing. Some writings are sincere and genuine, while others are simply misleading and detached from the real facts due to hidden agendas or ignorance.
Seeing someone face to face, gazing into one’s eyes, is highly valuable to the human conscience. Apostle John, in one of his letters referring to Jesus, said:
“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched–this we proclaim concerning the Word of life.” (1 John 1:1)
Yet, Apostle Paul, for as much as he craved to see Jesus face to face, though he once heard his voice, believed it to be of more importance to know Jesus not simply according to what our human conscience would readily appreciate but according to who Jesus truly is, which is someone that our human conscience may naturally struggle to grasp. He thus said,
“So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer.” (2 Corinthians 5:16)
In saying so, it is as if Paul was inferring that Christ, to the world, was known as just another human being whom some have met and seen face to face, without much understanding of his divine nature and the benefits that come along.
You and I may interact at will at least through writings. Our human conscience appreciates such by imagination. Yet, you can try to look through my eyes, hear through my ears, touch through my hands and you will not find Jesus as you would of those who surround me face to face. So don’t beat yourself up at trying to hold your human conscience accountable for something that it cannot conceive by its own means.
Some say that Jesus is a figment of someone’s imagination. To some, that may be the case, if not to all of us. And one can say the same to anyone about anybody else whom they’ve never met face to face.
But even if it’s fiction, we appreciate certain characters based on values that are portrayed through their acts. We do see them through our human conscience whether by imagination or theatrical plays. And our human conscience can maybe get a “high” from such exposure.
Many people relate to Jesus by what they read of him saying, like “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her”. Whether it’s fiction or not, the value from such saying can be appreciated by anyone walking this earth knowing everyone who is able throw a stone surely has something they’ve done wrong. It’s very intriguing. It is the display of the natural wisdom of “Jesus” that still captivates the world, keeping the world by some form of a hook to maybe very soon set free.
The writings of the Bible said that Jesus came in the natural. Now, even if Jesus hadn’t come in the natural and was someone’s fictional character, there’s so much more one could easily appreciate from such fictional character. He walks on water, calms the storms, heals the sick, feeds the hungry, raises the dead back to life, died and was risen back to a better life by his father that no man on earth can see. It would be such a great fictional story.
I remember being hooked on Star Trek – The Next Generation. I would watch the episodes over and over again with all the fictional characters like Data, Captain Picard, and Commander Riker, Geordi travelling worlds, galaxies etc… And my human conscience doesn’t know the difference between fiction and reality. Reality to my human conscience is whatever it has experienced regardless of how virtual or factual. If it can see it, all it knows is that it’s possible. And when there’s a fine line between reality and virtuality, it could even propose a scenario not based just on one or the other but both. And at times, you could hear a feedback from another, saying “genius!”. At the end of the day, it’s all about possibilities. What is possible and what do we hope or want to be possible. Those two questions have been driving mankind up a ladder of innovation for millennia.
There are things that are possible that we hoped were never possible. Even if we were to consider the story of Adam and Eve to be fictional, we could at least understand that Eve made the decision, as poorly advised by the serpent as she was, to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil without thinking or fully understanding her creator’s word saying, “the day you eat of this fruit, you will surely die”. She may not have been hoping to die, but was surely inclined to “know” not only good, but also evil.
In all actuality, it’s rather impossible to have something and never ever put it to any use to see its outcome. So having the knowledge of evil also mandates them to put such knowledge to work even it’s just a venture caused by curiosity. It’s almost God had initially taught Adam and Eve, “here’s something bad you can do: eat of this fruit”. Or did He?
Whether you consider the story to be fictional or not, all things considered, Adam and Eve would not have disobeyed God had God not set a rule that can be subjected to disobedience.
So some of us may then ask, “Where was God? How come God didn’t intervene?” Well, maybe, just maybe that God was allowing Adam and Eve to understand that without His Spirit being the strength to obey Him, they were just as weak as the rest of the animals. When the serpent fooled Adam and Eve, it was almost one animal winning against another by wit. The only difference is that such animal was being led by a supernatural being called the devil. And God, knowing everything, was more than at peace with Himself because he has already set a mechanism in place to undo all of the work of the serpent and forever preserve the new creation.
So, can our human conscience welcome Christ even as a fictional character? I think so. At the end of the day, it’s about not only possibilities but also values. Is it not? Therefore the very little our human conscience appreciate of the character of Christ, the Holy Spirit may extrapolate on such so that we see and imagine new things by simply exposing our minds to the possibilities that we would value so much as human beings. Possibilities like rest, never-ending joy, unbreakable peace, end of hunger, life without death, are craved for by all mankind. If all of our movies, TV and Radio shows, books and speeches, were all centered around the things that are not only possible but also highly valuable, we would all be richer than poorer in every category of this earthly life.
Whether our human conscience processes the gospel as fictional or not, like the Star Trek – The Next Generation TV Show, what matters at the end of the day are the possibilities, values and hope it instills in us and keep our imagination entertained with.
Like every great movie or TV Show or book, wouldn’t it be super-awesome if all that is written in the gospel were all true?