The Now and the Not Yet Nature of the Kingdom of God

This is a version of a talk given by Jon the freelance theologian at Glenwood Church on 3 March 2013. You can listen to the audio recording here.

The Church is looking at a series of creative tensions within the Christian faith and Jon was asked to talk about the ‘Now and the Not Yet’.

Now & Not YetThis is a way of referring to the situation we find ourselves in as Christians – we function in this world and yet we also have an awareness of another world that lies deeper than this one. One way of looking at this is to contrast what Jesus said about the Kingdom of God – that the Kingdom of God has come and that the Kingdom of God is near. It’s now and it’s not yet.

I’ve been searching for a way to explain this idea of ‘duality’. I’m not a qualified scientist. I enjoy talking about scientific things, from a layman’s point of view. I follow New Scientist on Twitter. I’m curious about this world and I honestly feel that there is a lot that we take for granted. Like theology, when we start peeling back some of the simple things that we ‘know’, then it can get pretty deep, pretty fast. But I want to peel back some layers this morning to illustrate the point I’m trying to make. (more…)

Could there be traces of Jesus’ DNA in his tomb?

Question 187, from Ben

If the tomb that Jesus was laid in was found, might it be possible to find traces of his DNA and what significance would that mean for the Christian Church (Perhaps in reference to the his Humanity and divinity)? The bible states ‘You will not let your Holy One see decay’, but that doesn’t imply decay as in a scientific perspective but decay as in rotting of the body.

The practicality of DNA surviving two thousand years depends on several factors. DNA is destroyed by sunlight, water, and the action of some enzymes. It can survive far longer in teeth and bones. So, for Jesus’ DNA to be recoverable, it would need to be in a body.

If a body was exhumed and could be proven to be the body of Jesus that would have a major impact on Christianity, as the resurrection of Jesus is one of the cornerstones of theology. The DNA sequencing wold be an interesting part of that discovery, but probably would not be the one with the biggest ramifications. (more…)

The ‘Great Schism’ between Roman and Orthodox Christianity

Question 186, from Ava, USA

Why was there a schism between eastern and western Christianity?

The division between the branches of Christianity now known as Roman Catholicism and Orthodox (or Eastern Orthodox) is often referred to as the ‘Great Schism’. It is usually dated to 1054CE when the then Pope and Patriarch of Constantinople (modern-day Istanbul) excommunicated each other. There were some theological differences, but the primary reasons were political.

To understand the division between eastern and western Christianity, it is important to know that the Roman Empire was politically divided for practical purposes . Rome was the western capital and Constantinople was the capital of the eastern empire. When Rome was conquered by the Goths in 476CE, the eastern empire continued. Although often referred to as the Byzantine Empire (as Constantinople was renamed Byzantium), the Byzantines regarded themselves as ‘true Romans’. (more…)