Sunday, September 30, 2012

Good Had He Not Been Born?

Matthew 26:21-25 (21) And as they did eat, he said, Verily I say unto you, that one of you shall deliver me. (22) And they were exceeding sorrowful, and began every one of them to say unto him, Lord, is it I? (23) And he answered and said, He that dips his hand with me in the dish, the same shall deliver me. (24) The Son of man goes as it is written of him: but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is delivered! it had been good for that man if he had not been born. (25) Then Judas, which delivered him, answered and said, Master, is it I? He said unto him, Thou hast said.

The statement expresses a sentiment, not a logical proposition. It derives from the writings of Scripture, not those of Greek philosophers. Accordingly, it supports neither a logical conclusion that individual consciousnesses suffer eternally, nor a logical conclusion that Judas is in hell.

Coming as it does in the wake of a warning of extreme woe, perhaps it refers back to the story of Job. In that case, the suffering which leads the sufferer to curse the day of his birth is not attributed to divine retribution, but to divine permission given to Satan to work evil in the life of one who would be honored in the end. Or perhaps it refers back to the consideration of the son of David, king over Israel in Jerusalem, that better is he who has not been, who has not seen the evil works done under the sun.

All things were given into the hands of Jesus. That Scripture might be fulfilled, Jesus chose and sent to deliver him the one who had lifted up his heel against him. He washed that heel just prior to intimating to him his choice and the reason for his choice.

As he was not remiss before – preparing the twelve for what they would experience when he sent them out to preach the good news that the kingdom of heaven is at hand, so he was not remiss now – preparing the one for what he would experience when he sent him out to deliver him. The woe that Judas experienced was comparable to the Passion, and Jesus made that comparison to prepare him for it. Subsequently,  as Jesus knew it would, that woe led Judas to repentance unto salvation – Judas crucified his old man.

These ideas represent a paradigm apart from the tradition which was given to us.

I offer them only in my own name.

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