X. Genetic Jesus
Why a Messiah, and Why Would He Look Like Jesus?
(A somewhat scientific defense of the New Testament and the Christian
version of the Jewish Messiah)
It seems to me that by following the implications of what we now know
about human nature, we can understand why we humans, in fact, ‘need’
a "messiah" and why we need him to have the characteristics
In other words, the Jesus concept seems to be written into
And consequently, Jesus probably was
the prophesied Messiah…
The Jesus concept is intellectually so unexpected because human nature
is so complicated and animalistic, and because we are so ignorant of this
nature -- and also, because we are so intellectually “challenged”
But, if we study the Jesus concept in light
of an adequate understanding of human nature, Jesus begins to stand out
like a ‘sore’ thumb.
While there may be questions as to the fit between the OT Messiah and
the NT Jesus, the NT Jesus seems to fit perfectly with our complicated
human nature and what we should need in a Messiah.
In other words again, if the OT was not pointing
to a Jesus kind of Messiah, it should have been.
And, as you will see, this is not to deny an underlying mystical, magical
and transcendent nature of Jesus and reality…
1. The Old Testament is like a cloud with a face in it.
2. Those who wrote the New Testament believed they saw Jesus in that cloud.
3. So, apparently, did Jesus.
4. Admittedly, the face is not that well defined -- but from one perspective
at least, it sure looks a lot like Jesus. We cannot positively ID Jesus
from comparing the Old and New Testaments, and from compiling the scientific
and documentary evidence, but (given the possibility of the “supernatural”)
Jesus surely could be the Messiah. Personally, I perceive no smoking gun,
or even pattern, against his apparent claim
-- whereas on the other hand, I do perceive (or imagine) a pattern supporting
his claim. And then, if the Old Testament is actually prophetic, Jesus
probably was the Messiah. What’re ya’
5. And, that’s before we consider the human nature angle...
6. It turns out that the New Testament interpretation
of the face -- of who is being prophesied as the Messiah in the Old Testament
-- seems to mesh quite well with human nature and with what we would theoretically
need from a Messiah. As described in the New Testament: Jesus’ purposes
meet our needs; his instructions work; and his explanations make sense.
7. This seems to me the most impressive evidence for Jesus actually being
the Messiah -- and, it does seem impressive.
8. Here’s what I mean.
9. The “Garden of Eden” is probably a metaphor
for the realm of our ancestors before they began to “reflect,”
or think – while they were still "just animals." Our “ignorance”
back then was blissful.
10. But, while our natural aggressiveness was useful in terms of our natural
selection, so was unselfishness – to best protect and advance our
offspring and species, we needed alliances. We needed to love our neighbors
– at least to some extent.
11. But then, unselfishness didn’t come naturally – it needed
to be taught. Without punishment as “babes” (from peers if
not parents or other adults) we would have grown up entirely selfish.
12. To be unselfish as adults required that we be punished
13. And, this is how we gained our conscience, our super-ego.
14. And how lower animals gained a vestige of conscience – it’s
easy to see (or at least, suspect) in our dogs.
15. Reflection, then, allowed us humans to gain the whole nine yards.
16. This is how we got our notions of good and bad.
17. This is also how we became guilt-ridden. We learned to expect
punishment when we did bad, and found ourselves waiting for the shoe to
fall when we weren’t caught and punished.
18. And, this is how we got expelled from the Garden – waiting for
the shoe to fall ruined our otherwise blissful existence.
19. Guilt -- along with our fear of death -- was/is the bane of human
20. And then, without guilt, our fear of death decreases enormously –
if it doesn’t drop out of sight entirely. And to some extent at
least, a sense of guiltlessness makes us feel immortal…
21. So anyway, we humans are genetically predisposed to develop a "conscience,"
22. For the vast majority of us, this predisposition does actualize.
23. This genetically based conscience involves a sense that there is such
a thing as "right and wrong."
24. But this is a ‘magical’ sense –
there is no such thing as “right and wrong” (in this -sense)
25. However unscientific this implicit belief is, we humans, nevertheless,
are strongly predisposed to have it, especially as children. And unconsciously
at leasy, it never goes away.
26. This sense of right and wrong implies at least something like a G-d.
It involves an at least primitive concept of G-d. That's because, in order
for there to be an ultimate “right” and “wrong,”
the Universe has to care…
27. As it turns out, we humans are also predisposed to believe in a much
more sophisticated, all-powerful, and loving, G-d – the ultimate
father figure -- who, naturally enough, defines right and wrong.
27.1. We seem to have a round hole in our collective
unconscious just waiting for this round and all-powerful peg.
28. In addition, our conscience assumes that we have free
will. (How could right and wrong have any meaning if we had no choice
in the matter?)
29. So, we don’t have to do the right all the time – and (very)
often, we don’t.
30. But also predisposed in our genes is the potential sense of sin, shame,
guilt and expected punishment -- for application when we don't
do the right.
31. And as noted above, most likely, this sense of guilt is directly tied
to our subconscious expectation of punishment.
32. Over a lifetime, we develop a strong subconscious expectation of punishment
yet to come – this is what we mean by “guilt.”
33. It is this sense of guilt (or, looming punishment) that can make life
so painful -- and can threaten to make life not worth living. It is guilt
that gives pain its edge.
34. Without guilt, life would just be an exciting game.
35. Doing the wrong -- committing sin -- also gives us
a sense of separation from G-d.
36. The sense of committing sin has serious tangible repercussions
in regard to our sense of well-being and what the future holds for us.
37. All these senses and tendencies are predisposed in
38. Not that they will necessarily actualize, just that they will under
the right circumstances -- and the right circumstances are pretty much
universal as far as we humans are concerned.
39. In most human environments, the human genome will develop the senses
and tendencies described above.
40. Also, we humans have the innate predisposition to
sense, or believe in, ultimate meaning and an ultimate purpose in life.
41. The ultimate purpose that we at least vaguely sense is “returning
42. Fortunately, and naturally, there is a way to cancel
out our sins -- and thereby assuage our guilt, fulfill our purpose, and
return to G-d.
43. Assuaging our guilt, involves two steps: repentance and ‘payback.’
44. And, if we do these right, we can actually rise above all that pain
I’ve just spelled out.
45. But then, neither is easy – far from it. And as it turns out,
we need some help with both – a lot of
46. This is where a Messiah comes in.
46.1. And, this seems to be what Jesus was all about.
46.2. Jesus was here to help us return to G-d.
47. Full repentance requires
what might best be called, “surrender to G-d.”
47.1. We need to repent to the one who defines right
and wrong; and, full repentance is unconditional.
47.2. We need to put our lives in G-d’s hands
and allow Him to do with it as He will -- with no backtalk or disclaimers
47.3. We need to give up.
47.4. We can’t say, “Do what you will -- but I won’t
47.5. We need to surrender to the one who makes the rules (or at least,
the one we subconsciously imagine to make the rules).
47.6. We need to surrender to G-d.
48. But, the G-d concept is so abstract. At least most of us, in order
to really surrender, need something more “concrete” and personal
to which to surrender.
49. And so, the Messiah would come to make it personal. (You
might want to see A Farmer and His Geese.)
50. Full payback involves sufficient punishment
(as well as a gift to the aggrieved party).
51. Unfortunately however, we need to know that
we have been punished enough, and we won't know that until the person
in charge tells us that we have… (You
might want to see Knowledge of Sufficient Punishment.)
52. In addition, however hard we try, we cannot quit sinning…
53. Nor, can we keep up with our payments.
54. And, we develop a ‘backlog.’
55. So our sense of sin, guilt and separation is, at best, always with
us -- at worst, it keeps getting worse.
56. In Biblical terms, this is how we were expelled from the Garden of
Eden -- our lives became weighted down with guilt.
57. To some extent, the stronger our sense of conscience,
the worse our feeling of guilt.
58. But then, to a large extent, even we guilt-ridden types can sweep
these feelings under our conscious rugs and outwardly live happy lives.
59. But then, under our rugs, these things are festering, metastasizing,
haunting us, messing with our lives, and threatening to take away life’s
meaning. They ‘sour’ us. They keep us from living life fully.
They keep us separated from G-d. They can make life miserable.
60. And so, it is guilt that gives pain its edge. Without guilt, as noted
before,life would be an exciting game.
61. Our sins have serious, perhaps devastating, lifetime repercussions.
62. And this is what we need “saving” from.
63. And, they really needed saving back in the first century (G-d was
much harsher and demanding then (and they didn’t have Psychiatrists)).
64. And then, we also harbor a sense -- or illusion --
of transcendence and eternal life...
65. But consequently, we can seriously worry that if we don’t pay
for our sins during our physical lifetimes, we will suffer separation
from G-d -- and damnation -- for eternity...
66. We don’t have to come to that conclusion
consciously, but we do have to be concerned about that possibility until
if and when we can put it to rest.
67. This idea will naturally occur to some of us and we will naturally
spread the word and the rest of us will then have to worry – whether
we admit it or not.
68. In addition, we naturally expect, or at least wonder about, eternal
"salvation" for the ‘good’ people among us.
69. And we naturally expect something – some place – different
for the bad people among us. (Surely, the bad won’t be treated the
same as the good.)
70. And we may be among the bad!
71. We anguish about appropriate punishment for a lifetime of sin. We’re
naturally waiting for the other shoe to fall – from which, there
may be no appeal.
72. In other words, Hell is a natural, and serious, human concern, and
cannot be dismissed lightly.
73. This, also, we need saving from (either Hell itself -- or, the fear
74. These are natural consequences of basic human nature.
75. We suspect that we have eternal life. But if we do, it may not be
pretty -- to say the least.
76. So, we need a way to somehow guarantee that we will avoid Hell --
and reside with the Father forever, instead…
77. And, going back to #39, one thing we need in order
to save us from our earthly misery, at least,
is the knowledge of sufficient payback.
78. But, how do we do that? How do we know when we have paid enough --
especially, with all the sinning we've done and are still doing?
79. First of all, payback has to "hurt." It
has to be significantly undesirable. As noted in #38, in order to work,
payback has to involve punishment.
80. And naturally enough, death would be seen as the ultimate punishment
-- and payback.
81. With death, we should know that we have paid enough...
82. (But, short of death, as adults, we would never know.)
83. And, what kind of solution is that anyway?
84. But, one obvious, possible, alternative solution for our own death,
is the death of somebody, or something, else -- some sort of substitute
for our own death... Could that work?
84.1. Well, it certainly could if we "identify with," or love,
85. From another angle, for primitive peoples, blood must
have been magical -- as blood drained out, life followed.
86. And, many primitive peoples did resort to one form of blood sacrifice
or another in order to appease the forces that they had come to believe
ruled the universe.
87. And, while other ancient societies resorted to blood sacrifice simply
to keep the gods satiated and friendly, ancient Judaism saw blood sacrifice
as a magical way to pay for their own sins...
88. So 3500 years ago, Judaism took a giant step in its
own evolution and Moses gave the Israelites what they needed. He spelled
out the do's and don'ts of proper behavior -- as dictated by G-d (allegedly)
-- and these included the specifics of repentance and payback for sins.
With what became Torah, the Israelites were good to go.
89. And for the Israelites, once the proper blood had been properly spilled,
the sinners' sins were paid for and the sinners knew they could rest easy.
90. And, it probably worked. To a large extent, on the
Day of Atonement, after the "scapegoat" had been pushed off
a cliff, the sinners would feel free of guilt, saved and happy.
91. So even then, guilt was the bane of human existence,
and once separated from their sins, the sinners could rise above their
earthly pains. Hallelujah!
92. But then came the Assyrians and Babylonians who destroyed
the Temple and abducted the Israelites -- separating them from their potential
"salvation." (I'm not sure of all the different barriers there
were to Moses' prescription, but the necessary magical sacrifices were
not available to the Israelites living in Babylon.)
93. But then, Ezekiel explained to the Israelites in Babylon that while
they couldn't expect the immediate salvation (relief) provided by blood
sacrifice, they needn't worry about parental sins, or their own past sins,
in regard to their ultimate salvation -- all they needed to worry about
in regard to their ultimate salvation was committing themselves to righteousness
and then repenting for whatever sins they would inevitably commit anyway.
(Ezekiel allowed that even those committed to righteousness would make
94. Then finally, the Israelites were allowed to return
home, rebuild the Temple, perform the necessary rituals for payback, and
all was well -- for awhile.
95. But naturally enough, Judaism evolved over the next
several centuries, and by the time Jesus came along, the Israelites really
needed a new "covenant" -- for various reasons, animal sacrifice
was no longer an effective, or dependable, substitute. (And soon, their
Temple would be destroyed once again.)
96. The Israelites needed a replacement for their substitute -- a replacement
that Moses seems to have foreshadowed with the story about Abraham almost
(Keep in mind that these "steps" are dictated
by human nature -- rather than metaphysics or cosmology.)
96. So, naturally enough, the perfect, loving, Father would answer their
prayers, and provide the perfect replacement.
97. Being the penultimate father, the G-d of our
genes will do whatever He can to bring us back into the fold. (Even an
ordinary father will do whatever he can to save his child.)
98. And, the natural, perfect, replacement would be Himself.
99. If He can somehow sacrifice Himself for us,
that’s what He will do. He will suffer and ‘die’ for
100. He will offer Himself in our stead.
101. We have no choice in the matter – He just does it for us.
102. He goes to His torture and death.
103. If we can get caught up in the story, the substitution works, and
we can fall to our knees sobbing.
104. Our choice is in the accepting.
105. But it works if we accept.
106. As the ultimate (the one in charge) and timeless (eternal) father,
this payback is both perfect and lasting.
107. But then, to sacrifice Himself, He must come in the flesh.
108. And, to be fully meaningful, this has to hurt this human projection
of Him as much as it does us – so He has to come to us as fully
human. He has to come to us as an infant and grow to manhood.
109. He has to be born of a woman but have no physical father.
110. As he grows up and matures, He will naturally tell us what we need
to do in order to take advantage of his offer.
111. But, being committed to our free will and self-determination, He
will let us accept this offer for ourselves. He won’t force it upon
112. And, at the same time, this decision has to be meaningful –
it can’t be just to either take His hand or go to Hell. (We’d
all take His hand. We may be crazy, but we’re not stupid. This can’t
be a giveaway – it would be meaningless then.)
113. And so, for us to effectively accept His offer, we have to feel our
love for Him. This allows Him to fully substitute for us.
114. But to feel our love for Him, mostly what we have to do is to recognize
who he is and what he did for us.
115. And, since this story is written into our genes, all we have to do
is look (hard enough) and we’ll recognize Him.
116. But, pride and fear keep most of us from looking that hard…
117. This all suggests that the Christian interpretation
of the Old Testament is correct, and that the Sanhedrin, perhaps more
political than priestly, not fully understanding the scripture, and blinded
by its own power, turned a deaf ear to Jesus – they should have
recognized His story. They just didn't want
118. We humans absolutely do need to feel saved, and Jesus presented the
story of salvation that the Sanhedrin needed to hear. The Sanhedrin just
didn’t have the ears for it.
119. Our conscience, or super-ego, is really just a giant
neurosis. We need something a-rational to save us from it.
120. This also explains why Jesus is so readily assimilated
by so many societies. They all recognize the story. It's down in their
genetic libraries just waiting to be dusted off.
121. Note also that this remedy apparently described in the human genome
actually works. ‘Accepting Jesus as our Savior,’ means feeling
His realness and a personal love for Him, and does have the effect of
sweeping away our sense of accumulated and overpowering guilt -- which
leaves us feeling cleansed, whole, saved, loved, eternal and right with