Updated: Oct 25, 2021
The Hebraic Perspective part 1.
My unitarian conversion hinged upon the Shema Principle in 2011, and how was it I did not know OF this First Principle and Command of Faith as the Jew understood it? How ODD and unfathomable. And yet it was the condition of the condition I was in. AFTER 25 years of being “Christian?” Maybe now it was time to quit being a babe in the faith and…step up.
I was participating on the CARM.org theological forums and encountered the statement, “The Bible never says Jesus is God.” WOW, WHAT? How could THAT be? As I turned this over in my mind, I realized that this issue had to be investigated. And it brought me to a place I had known EVEN BEFORE my Christian conversion some 25 years previous. I was among Sikhs and the group was 3HO, followers of the eminent Yogi Bhagan, self-entitled “Siri Singh Sahib, of the Sikh Assembly.” We used to make fun of Christians, who we considered worshiping three Gods and not one. As he did too.
And as I researched the various Deity of Jesus “proof-texts,” it gradually became obvious that if Jesus WAS proclaimed God, this was indirectly spoken in Text, and not simply and clearly said. And too, the disparity between the Old Covenant God, being always spoken of as a SINGLE Character, Referent, Being or Subject…and the new God of the Nicene Progression. Being Three-in-One. The Shema then came to fore as the Dividing Line. The crux or fulcrum of the dichotomy so to speak.
Notably Jews for Jesus also came to this conclusion, but toward the opposite end of the absolute divinity of Jesus. They had to REdefine then, the “echad of Adonai.” To be a composite, or compound unity of “one.” As I researched this, I realized that this position was false. The ECHAD in Hebrew means what a child first learns as the dominant meaning: singular (as adjective). And in fact there IS NO context of Shema ANYWHERE in Text, which intimates or even HINTS of a complex or compound Echad of Adonai.
IF the “echad” of YHWH is COMPOUND or COMPLEX, then would not the Text mention this, even if in terms of a “mystery?” Something which would give us a “heads-up” about an ADDED revelation of…a pluralistic God of SOME kind? There IS NO intimation of this in any context in Text of Shema at all. IN FACT the meaning of “echad” is basically only two: ordinally first, and numerically singular.
And thus the Shema changed my life forever. It turned my world upside-down. Eventually I came to realize that this First Principle of Faith is actually the OUTLINE of our own daily covenant with God. This principle by itself CHANGES theology in MANY ways, some which I have not even realized yet. Being God’s First Command, mentioned especially by Mk 12 (whereby the echad is defined the most CLOSELY in NT as ‘no other one but he’) and also Mt 22 and Luk 10…it was known by the scribe to be THAT PRIORITIZED first command of his faith. And…Jesus affirms him, saying what he never said even to his own disciples, “You are not far from the Kingdom of God.” So then most or all of my succeeding posts will be of some aspect of this…LIFE CHANGING Principle, which after all is the only thing I feel a real obligation to share. Mt 22 has an addendum which the other parallel verses do not: All Law and the Prophets hang upon the Shema (and the Golden Rule).
Those who read my posts will possibly get tired of this SAME SUBJECT, and indeed any friend of Jesus who invites me to their church or to read their books or to understand their own take on theology…gets this question:
What is the First Command of your faith? And this is the exact way I do frame all things.