Sunday, January 15, 2006

Judas

I have very little time to blog right now, as I am taking care of the Imperatrix pulcherrima Africae occidentalis after her ACL reconstruction surgery. I offered to perform the surgery myself with a rubber band and a corkscrew, but she insisted on having a "real" doctor. She is recovering well.

I just wanted to point out an interesting article I came across on a possible re-evaluation of the figure of Judas Iscariot. It raises some interesting questions, questions that have always haunted theology. The question of God's mercy vs. God's justice. If Judas did not betray Jesus, then there would be no crucifixion, so in a way he was fulfilling God's plan for salvation. Yet, if he were only a tool for that plan, that raises problems about free will. Food for thought.

3 comments:

Andrew Schamess said...

That's a fascinating article - thank you for posting the link.

It made me think immediately of Joseph's words to his brothers when they are reunited (Genesis 45 4-8). You know of course that his brothers, jealous of their father's favorite, ambushed Joseph as a youth and sold him into slavery in Egypt.

Joseph rose despite many tribulations to become Pharoah's advisor, the second-in-command of the kingdom of Egypt. The reason for this is that he correctly interpreted Pharoah's dream, in which seven thin cows devour seven fat ones. The dream, Joseph explained, means that seven fertile years in Egypt will be followed by seven years of famine. He advised Pharoah to store grain and dispense it in the lean years.

The prediction is correct, and Egypt is saved from famine. Joseph's brothers, thinking him long dead, now come to Egypt seeking food. When Joseph reveals himself to them, he says:

"I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt. And now be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither; for God did send me before you to preserve life... So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God; and He hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and ruler over all the land of Egypt."

Joseph's graceful absolution of his brothers seems very similar to the argument being made about Judas - i.e. that even in doing evil, he was an agent of God's mercy - and thus, not culpable.

Liam said...

I've always found that story incredibly moving -- though I would prefer to think that Joseph's absolution as reflecting God's mercy and providence. Joseph's brothers were perhaps not faultless, but God's mercy forgives and providence undoes the damage.

Andrew Schamess said...

That is quite well put!