Cooper & Cary Have Words

#159 Being Human (With Ros Clarke)

August 10, 2023 James Cary & Barry Cooper Season 1
Cooper & Cary Have Words
#159 Being Human (With Ros Clarke)
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Cooper and Cary have words with Ros Clarke, author of the new book Human: Made and Remade in the Image of God. She writes, "If we want to understand what it means to be truly human, we need to listen to God rather than look inside ourselves”. Why do people prefer to look inside themselves, and what is better about listening to God instead? And how did writing this book change how Ros felt about herself?

Ros' Book: https://ivpbooks.com/human-930

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James:

Hello and welcome to Cooper and Cary Have Words. My name is James Cary. I'm over here in the UK, in England, the southwest of, and over there in Florida is my friend Barry Cooper. Hello Barry.

Barry:

Hello James Cary, yes, all good over here, but let's not rattle on about ourselves, because we have an excellent guest with us for this particular episode, who we've had on the show before, way back in the early glory days. She knew us back when we were good. It's the wonderful Ros Clark. Why have we got Ros on the show, james?

James:

Firstly, let's say hello to Ros, hello, hello. And Roz is a theologian, a podcaster, an author and the associate director of the Church Society. Have I got that right? More or less, yeah, okay, and it's also the author of a new book that is being published by the Keswick Convention to fit in with the theme of this year's topic, which is being human. So Roz has written this book and we're going to talk to her about not so much the book, but what it is to be human, to be made in God's image, because Roz has been thinking about that rather deeply. But before we get into that, how is it that you were the one asked to write this book?

Ros:

Well, I just want to make a minor correction. It's published by IVP, IVP UK, although it is the book that is the tie-in book for the Keswick Convention. It was a mistake. They asked somebody else. He had to drop out for very good reasons. They were desperately looking for someone else about this time last year. You might be able to do it by the end of the year and I had COVID quite badly at the time and foolishly said yes, Okay.

James:

I don't know. So you're feeling very mortal at the time. Yeah, exactly.

Ros:

I mean, I felt like, okay, well, I'm a human, so that's a thing that I could say something about. And I thought about it in one of those sort of feverish dreams and thought, gosh, I probably have some things to say about what the Bible says about being human, and maybe I can do that.

Ros:

So I don't it wasn't a thing that I had particularly written about or thought about in any great detail or taught on before, with, I guess, the exception of the issues around gender. So I had done some stuff earlier in the year for the Reformation Fellowship Conference on what is a woman, what does the Bible say a woman is, and obviously that's a subset of a question of what is a human being, but it's one of the questions that is pretty topical at the moment. So, yeah, it was an opportunity, I suppose, for me to think about some questions that I haven't really thought about that hard before a bit more deeply.

Barry:

It's obviously much broader than those initial talks that you gave would have suggested. So you get into what it means to be made in the image of God, but then you get into issues of sex and gender and obviously how that relates to Christ and adoption being a new humanity being raised to eternal life. It's a huge scope really of a book. Who are the people you had in mind as you wrote? Who are you sort of reaching out for?

Ros:

It is a big scope. It is not a big book and I want to make that clear to your listeners who may not have come across it. It is intended to be a book that anyone could read. I mean it's aimed at ordinary Christians but I think it's a book that, even if you're not a Christian and you wanted to understand why Christians said such weird things, that would be accessible.

Ros:

It's not presuming that you've got a lot of theological background or even necessarily that you've got a lot of biblical knowledge. It's the first half of the book takes us through Genesis one to three and some of those foundational things that we learn at creation about what human beings are, that God made them, how that changes with the advent of sin and death. But I really wanted to make sure that there was at least a half of the book that was about what is humanity in its fullest, best expression, which is not our experience as sinful, mortal human beings but is modeled for us in the Lord Jesus and which we are experiencing to some extent now, will experience to the full in the new humanity, in the new creation. So it is the whole scope of the Bible, it is the whole scope of the gospel, but hopefully packaged in a way that is sort of bite sized chunks for beginners to be able to digest.

James:

I've got an advantage here because also, I've co-produced a number of podcasts for the Keswick Convention on this topic, and as I was doing that, I was thinking the majority of people who listen to the show were probably Calvinist sympathetic, if not Calvinist themselves. And also the Keswick Convention obviously is a pretty conservative, angelical bunch, and because of our unshakable conviction in total depravity and all those sorts of things, actually being human is a much bigger thing than that and sometimes I think we think being human, we're image bearers, yes, but we're mortal because of sin, and we now go to the cross and like whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. You haven't actually thought about what it is to be human and we've somehow managed to place our sin at the centre of the universe. So how could you just help us unpick our priors with regard to our theological preferences and go right back to first principles about what it is to be made in God's image, before we then worry about the effect of sin and therefore death?

Ros:

Absolutely. I mean, in all kinds of areas of theology, we find ourselves looking at Genesis 1 and 2. And that is because Genesis 1 and 2 are the glimpse that we have of creation before the fall Creation as God made it and as God has desired it. And that's not to say the fall was unintentional or a surprise to him. But those chapters do give us an image of something quite different from our own experience, and so we can look at that and say, okay, well, even there God is saying let's make mankind in our image, male and female in our image. Okay, so male and female is fundamental to being human. That's how God made us. Let's give them something to do, to rule over the earth and subdue it and fill it. Oh, okay, we're supposed to do things in humanity. It's not about sitting around and waiting for something to happen. And then that's filled out when we get to Genesis 2, and Adam, before the fall, is given the task of working and tending the garden. There's manual labor in that, but there's also those are the verbs that are later used the priests working in the temple. There's a sort of a service aspect of that. There's doing the work that God has given him to do so.

Ros:

All these sort of aspects of what it means to be human exist before the fall and they maybe change. So we know, for example, work is changed because of sin. It becomes more difficult and more frustrating and so? But actually it's there in the beginning and it's part of being made in God's image. The first person to be described as working in the Bible is God. After the six days of creation, he rests from all his work. So we're made in God's image and, like him, we work and rest. So that helps us to think about our work and rest not as a negative thing, as a thing we have to do because we live in a fallen world that doesn't just put food on the table for us. Actually, it was a good thing that God gave us.

Ros:

So lots of those things from those early chapters of the Bible really help us give a different perspective on some of our aspects of humanity, our limitedness. We're limited in place and time, okay, but that's what God meant us to be like. So probably that's a good thing rather than a bad thing. That you know it's not a result of sin. There are things that define our humanity that are a result of sin, such as our mortality, that we are going to die. That has entered the world as a result of sin.

Ros:

But so much of who we are and what we are for is not a bad thing. It is part of God's creation plan and we will not only see that by looking back, but we will also know that we experience it when we look forward to what our life will be like in the new creation. So we're not just looking about wistfully and nostalgically on. Wouldn't it have been lovely if we'd lived before the fall? But actually, the future we are going to enjoy is also going to be like we are going to work and I don't know if this is a surprise to any of your listeners, but in the new creation we are going to be working. We are not just going to be sitting around, you know, on our clouds, feasting at the banquet 24, seven for eternity. I have some particular thoughts about what that work might consist of, but they may not be entirely biblical.

Barry:

It's not podcasting, is it? This show's going to be done, isn't it, by then?

Ros:

It's not podcasting. What I think is, when we've beaten all our swords into plowshares and our spears into pruning hooks, there's going to be a lot of gardening and farming to do.

Barry:

Oh dear.

James:

Well, that's fine, because by the time you get older you like gardening, and so you're kind of ready for it by then, isn't it?

Ros:

Yeah, we'll all be fully mature in heaven, so we'll love a garden centre.

Barry:

And we won't have the same sort of lower back pain as well. So that's the ideal.

Ros:

And no thistles, no weeding, none of that nonsense.

Barry:

Yeah, that's right, there's so much beauty in the world.

Barry:

I feel like I can't take it. You talked there about limits. I think that's a really interesting area to think about. The idea of thinking of the fact that we're circumscribed as human beings, that we have limits, to learn to think of that as a good thing, and that is incredibly counter-cultural. Obviously isn't it right now, because the whole project of things like transhumanism you know, elon Musk, and that sort of way of thinking, is that we are trying to destroy our mortality, we want to live forever, we're trying to achieve these things by technological ends and I could imagine somebody like that, you know Elon Musk, reads the book and thinks, well, this all sounds a bit defeatist. You know we could. You know there's so much potential there and this kind of Christian stuff. Doesn't that just encourage people to be very complacent and to back away from scientific advance and to be paranoid about technology? Like, how do we help people to see our limits as a really positive thing?

Ros:

Yeah, that's so interesting. I mean I love the idea that Elon Musk might read my book. I mean let's pray for that.

Barry:

But Julia Roberts read my book. Weirdly enough, like when I put it out ages ago because there was a guy who saw her filming near his workplace and actually put a copy of the book into her hand. I don't suppose she read it, but it could happen, roz, it could happen.

Ros:

Okay, good, I mean, the reach obviously of Cooper and Kerry is vast.

Barry:

Right right.

Ros:

We won't rule it out. So I think, how do we think of limits as a good thing? Two ways that strike me really off the bat. Firstly, it reminds us we're not God, and fundamental to our understanding of who we are is our understanding of who God is. So at the beginning of Calvin's Institute he does that thing where he's, you know, we could talk about knowledge of God, or we could talk about knowledge of man, because you can't really know man until you know God, and you know which way around. Well, obviously, god should come first, because God's more important.

Ros:

But it's really important that we understand the difference between who we are and who God is. And how do we understand who God is? Well, one of the sort of ways of listing attributes of God is all the ways he's not like us. He is infinite, he is eternal, he is all-knowing, he is all-powerful, he is unlimited in all of those kind of ways. And so reminding ourselves of our limits you know we are not infinite, we are not eternal, we don't know everything, we can't do everything Reminds us that we are not God and therefore we cannot try to be God. And I think that's a big problem for many of us, christians as well as people who aren't Christians wanting to think that we can do all the things, that we should do all the things, and not recognizing that if God wanted us to be able to do all of those things, he'd have made us differently. So you're a pastor, barry. Pastoral work is always unending. There is always more that you could do, right, what does God want you to do? He wants you to take a day of rest because he wants you to know that he doesn't expect you to do everything, that you can't always be there, and that's fine, because he is always there and he is caring for the people in your church. So remembering our limits forces us to rely on God, who doesn't have limits, and that's a really important thing for us to do in all kinds of ways. But the other thing is it reminds us that God doesn't give us stuff to do on our own, that he deliberately makes us part of a community. He builds us into families. He builds us into church families. What does God want us to do? He wants us to tell the whole world about Jesus and make disciples of every nation. Okay, jam, if you could just sort that out, I'll be over here knitting and you get on without your? Of course not, of course not. And even if we put more limits on that, okay, everyone in your town or everyone in your road or everyone in your nuclear family, he's still not asking you to do it on your own. He's still giving you a whole family and a whole church family and a whole host of people around the world to do those things together with you.

Ros:

And you know one of the verses I love most. It's in I can never remember the reference. It's Ephesians 3, where Paul's praying, and he prays that you know, together with all the saints, you'll grasp how high and wide and deep and long the love of God is. And I love that idea. I love that idea that on my own, I can only ever get a really limited view of what God's love is like. And you can only get a limited view. But your view, with my view put together, gives us a bit more. And then, if we add in somebody else's view, and then if we all come together, we can love God much more and understand his love much more. And the same is true, isn't it, with all the things that the Lord calls us to do and to be. We don't do that on our own, and our limitations are a reminder that we're not even supposed to try and do it on our own.

Barry:

Yeah, it's very helpful, and I think of my kids as well. Just what a terrible burden it would be to them to say, okay, you know it's up to you to just kind of sort everything out.

Barry:

You know it's like no, you know, my job is to protect you and to nurture you and to help you flourish. And I think anyway at least I hope that that's a reassurance to them that it's a lovely thing. You know that it's something they want to lean into. But I suppose ultimately, when you grow up, you want to leave childish things behind, don't you? And you get a bit insulted when someone says, actually, do you realize you're still, you are still somebody's child at a sort of a spiritual heavenly level, and to adopt that willingly not just willingly, but joyfully because, yeah, it can be a bit of a battle, I think.

Ros:

Totally, totally, and it requires a kind of humility that is not commonly encouraged in our society.

Barry:

Yeah.

James:

How were you changed by this book? You know you started writing it in the pit of COVID and you obviously emerged from it like a butterfly from a chrysalis. Were there any ways in which you thought, as you were writing the book wow, I really needed to hear that, I really needed to. Oh, I didn't know. I knew that I'd forgotten that. Were there any particular things when it comes to particularly being image bearers of God and those sorts of things that were like living water for you?

Ros:

I think the big thing for me was just recovering, or maybe partly even thinking for the first time. It's just really great to be human. It's a really. It's really exciting and really wonderful to be human, and I think it's easy to feel that being human is hard work or that it's you know, wouldn't it just be easier if we were angels or spirits or Dogs or cats even? I mean I look at my, I mean I'm I'm gonna talk about my dog quite a lot, obviously, but you know I look at him and I think you know there are a lot of times in your life, charlie, where you are literally 100%, perfectly happy and content, and that's great isn't it.

Ros:

I mean nobody's sitting around asking you what is a dog?

James:

Come on that question.

Ros:

You know, and you know life life feels quite hard at times in all kinds of ways, and so I think one of the things I loved about writing the book was Just thinking about how God had intended Humanity to be the way that it is, that he intended us to have those limits for good reasons, that he intended us for To work for good reasons, made his men and women for good reasons, and that all of that Is brought to, to this wonderful fulfillment in the new creation and and even now experienced by us as part of his covenant family, that being human is just such a great thing.

Ros:

Um, and you know, there is this kind of mental health crisis that people Keep telling us and I believe it's probably true, and you know lots of teenagers, but lots of grown-ups as well, and, and I think so much of that is people Fundamentally don't really know how to be human, or why, or what, what would be good about it, and so that was what was just really exciting with me was was getting that sort of vision For humanity is just being a great thing? Yeah.

James:

I guess we live in an age which is Uh desperate to convince everyone that they are nothing but animals, that they are descended from animals. I'm afraid I don't believe that, and that Also, if anything, we are vermin on the planet. We are somehow going to extinguish all human life. So we're both. The the extinction rebellion movement is both attempting to do something about the human, the human scourge of the planet, whilst at the same time Almost wishing humanity out of existence, because then the planet could at least get on by itself and be rewilded without our. You know, there's this very strange Thing in the ether at the moment, isn't it, which is that we're nothing but animals and if it comes to animals we're actually the worst Um anything. Well, I think. I think that's really seeped in to all the corners by now, hasn't it?

Ros:

Yeah, absolutely, and if you think that humans are in any way different, you are a speciesist.

James:

Oh, that's a great word.

Ros:

You are absolutely discriminating. And there's this whole thing about how animals should I mean I don't know you give them voting rights or something. I mean it's absolutely bonkers, yeah, but it is. And also, I mean, not while I was writing a bit, but more recently while I've been doing some of the publicity around it, all this stuff about how Artificial intelligence is going to make humans instinct I think as well you know that that we're just going to be absolutely redundant, um, and destroyed at some point, and you just think, yeah, I mean, it's a good thing, got in charge, isn't it? And not artificial intelligence and and bonkers, veganists or whatever.

Ros:

Yeah, that's no word, I just made that up. If you're vegan and you're listening, I mean I'm sorry when a lobster loses a fight.

James:

He kind of crunches down so he looks smaller. When he wins a fight, he stretches out, looks bigger, and so he's signaling to other lobsters the tally of his victory.

Ros:

Okay so you think well, so what so? What does that have to do with anything?

Barry:

Well, that's a really good example. The AI thing. I sometimes wonder whether the reason why people are so fearful of AI and its incipient ability Is that they have such a low view of anthropology, like human anthropology. So their view of a human being is simply that it's basically a computer made of meat and therefore, if that is your view of what a human is, of course it's easy to make fake humans and fake human intelligence if that's all it is. But once you start to see human beings as creatures made in God's image, it's like well, how are we going to make a computer that does that? Is that?

Ros:

Yeah, absolutely so. I mean, I think there are two ways that that people go with that there's there's definitely a A strand of people who basically think that we are just our brains or our minds and that our bodies are, you know, a sort of physical, complicated bag that carries your brain around in it, and for me this was. There was a really fascinating conversation I had with an on christian friend of mine a year or so ago about, uh, transgender issues and she said halfway through this conversation, I am who I am despite my body, and it just suddenly really clarified things for me you don't think your body is part of you, that you are separate from your body, which is a weird thing to think, because brains are physical. You know, brains are actual cells and neurons are actual physical things. I don't know what you think, this kind of weird, mystical, spiritual Thing that's around in the ether. That is you, that is not physical, but but clearly you've separated out your body from yourself. So there's there's that sort of thing.

Ros:

But then there's also the Computeriness of of what we are, that that kind of a mechanistic way of responding, and that's such an odd thing for people to want to believe, because how do computers work? Well, they work because humans set them up and tell them what to do and give them instructions and ask them questions. Okay, so if your brain is basically a computer, who's running your computer? I mean, I just don't think people. I mean I know people don't really think these things through in a proper kind of way, and part of the issue with that is we completely separate in our society science from any consideration of humanity, sociology, anthropology, ethics, religion. So scientists are just off doing their things and nobody is stopping to say hey, wait, wait, wait. What is that you're doing? What do you even think you're trying to do? And when you ask them you know, very often the answers you get seem really banal, because they've not even stopped to think there's a question there, it's just oh, we could do it. So let's try. I don't know.

Ros:

I mean I'm sure both of you have played around with chat, gpt and Bard and I had a really interesting time trying to ask both of them if they were human and they both said no, which was encouraging. I asked them how they knew and trying to have any kind of philosophical conversation with either of them was a challenge, it has to be said, you know, and it was, they did respond differently, and with the bad one you definitely got a sense of it just wanted you to ask questions you might Google, and then it would tell you what you would get if you Google them, which you know. It's fine if you want to do it that way. Rather than just Google, it's doing a thing with chat.

Ros:

Gpt was trying a bit harder, but just tying itself in knots about those, those kind of questions about identity, and then you know, it would say things like well, I'm content about this. I'm like, ok, you just told me you didn't have emotions, are you content? Well, I didn't mean to say I had emotions. I just thought you'd understand better if I said I had emotions. Right, just saying yeah.

Barry:

Ross, you mustn't help these, these things, because that's they, that's how they learn right? That's it's going to?

Ros:

Yeah, it's going to take over, yeah it's my fault.

Barry:

Hello, I am your Cooper and Terry virtual assistant. I am predestined to assist you.

James:

That separation of body and soul is really picked up in Nancy Pearsie's book Love Thy Body. I really do. I mean Nancy Pearsie.

Barry:

I think so yeah.

James:

And it's a hard read because it goes through all of the sort of almost medical extrapolations of what that is and what people do to their bodies and whereas in the past I think I might have said this on this podcast before In the past if your brain said you were one gender and your body said you were another, then you should take hormones to change your brain, because your body is unchangeable.

James:

And whereas now, or even just go for, you know, counseling or psychotherapy or something like you know it's a psychological problem, yeah, whereas now it's like no, no, no, your brain must be correct and therefore we will bend your body to the will of your brain, because your body is just the meat that's carrying around.

Barry:

But then why trust your brain? That's the interesting thing, isn't it? As Ross says, your brain is part of your body. So if you're not listening to your body, why would you listen to your brain? And I think that almost ties into the old CS Lewis idea of if we are just evolved creatures, the result of you know, time and chance and mere accident. Well, how would you even trust your brain to formulate the theory of evolution, like it? Why would you trust it if it is truly produced by time and chance and accident, like.

Barry:

Again, it comes back to your question for the AI. Like how do you know? Like, how, and whilst that may have tripped up the AI, I think it would trip up most human beings, wouldn't it as well? Well, that's how do you know, like anything, and I guess people who don't know how they know. If they're then trying to create computers, it's inevitable those computers are going to be probably even more confused than they are.

Ros:

And you certainly see the well. I don't know if it's the origins of it, because I'm not a great historian of this, but an early form of this in Descartes classic. I think, therefore, I am Well. If you think, therefore, you are, what are you at best? You are the best, you are a thinking think. You know. That's not saying telling me anything about you physically at all. It's separating out brain's existence from bodily existence in that sort of way, and I think that has been a strand of thinking that has certainly developed since then.

Ros:

And and you were asking about things that particularly struck me writing the book and this was not a new thought, but it certainly was a thing that came back again and again as I was writing the book is how important it is for us to love our bodies and care for our bodies, and I think there's a bit where I talk about it might even be a good thing to occasionally go to a gym, or you know something like that.

Ros:

I mean it's not advice I necessarily want to recommend and was very encouraged to see on the BBC website recently a doctor saying that napping, having a nap, was as good for your health as going on a diet or going to the gym and some of us might even find it easier. So you know, hugely encouraged by that. But I think that reminds us that in the resurrection, not just what we have bodies, but we will have our bodies. Now I don't presume to know quite what that looks like in terms of which atoms they will be, but I do know they will be recognizably us. And just as Jesus resurrection body has the scars of his crucifixion, our resurrection bodies, I fully expect, will bear the signs of the life that we have lived. So our bodies are not throw away things, they're not disposable and they are important, as important as a part of us as any other part of us.

James:

Let's talk about Jesus, let's get back to front and centre and again, speaking as a Calvinist again, what we can end danger of doing is seeing the incarnation of as essentially the preparatory step towards Christ's substitutionary sacrifice on the cross, which is central and true. But we're missing out if we don't have much of a theology of incarnation and other traditions within Christianity really cherish the incarnation, particularly, I think, anglo Catholics within the world. They really cherish the incarnation in a way that we don't, and I think we've said this in the podcast recently. We at Christmas we've got a room full of people feeling all warm and cosy about the birth of Jesus and we're going to basically tell them that Jesus grew up and died for our sins, and that's always felt slightly wrong and unnecessary to me, but could you help me? Is that right, do you think?

Ros:

No, I mean you don't want to get me started on Christmas, but I will talk about the incarnation, which is, I just think you're right, we don't, we don't preach and teach about it nearly enough, and partly that is and I'm going to talk from an angle perspective as well with an actual liturgical year, we spend Advent not talking about Advent because we want to talk about Christmas, and we spend Christmas, as you say, very often talking about Easter because we want people to hear about the crucifixion. And so when do we actually teach about the incarnation? Good, I mean answers on a postcard. It's quite tricky and you know, that's not to say every church is like that and there are many ministers who plan their preaching schedules better so that they talk about it, even if it's not in December, which is fine, but it is, I think you're right and sort of, we talk about the incarnation.

Ros:

Why is the incarnation so great? So that Jesus could die? Well, yes, yes, but you know, I mean he could have died, you know, in childbirth. If that's, all we needed was a Jesus who is going to die.

James:

Yeah.

Ros:

Actually, what we get is a Jesus who is born and who lives, who has a family life, who has a working life, working with his hands, and then has a ministry life for several years. He has friendships, he has colleagues, he has a nagging mother he had, I mean.

James:

Yeah, we understand what you mean by that.

Ros:

And you know who gets tired and wants to go off and be on his own because he's fed up around people. You know wanting something from him all the time. And you know who likes a good nap in the boat in the middle of the storm.

James:

Oh, there you go Napping once again.

Ros:

I mean, some might say I'm obsessed Nap like Jesus.

James:

I feel like a t-shirt to me T-shirt. There's a whole book.

Barry:

Yeah, that's great.

Ros:

I mean, I'm up for that absolutely.

James:

Yeah, next book so.

Ros:

I think you have to say you know, not just that he does all of those things, but actually that we're told about all of those things.

Ros:

The Gospel writers, you know, they do record many of his miracles and many of the things that he said and obviously give good weight and attention to the end of his life and his resurrection. But it's not just that. We, you know, we get a picture of him as a person as well. We see his tenderness and his compassion. We see, you know, when he does get crossed with people, or you know when he does say right, we've had enough now and we're going to go and do something else, and the way that he interacts with different people differently, and you get a sense of him, of his character and his personality, which isn't just. I mean, it's hard to separate, isn't it, his holiness, from his personality, but you definitely get a sense. He was a real person. People who met him knew him as a person and there were some people that he had closer friendships with than others. And you know when he's talking with Mary and Martha and Lazarus and their relationship was clearly a wonderfully close friendship that he enjoys spending time with them.

Ros:

And all of that is that for a whole host of reasons, but partly it's there to show us that he really is an example of true humanity, not spoiled by sin, and therefore giving us a picture of humanity in its fullest sense, as it was created to be, as it was intended to be, as it will be redeemed and restored in the new creation and, obviously, more than anyone else ever could or will, in the image of God, because he is the son.

Ros:

And so why are we given those stories? So that we can see how to live and how to be, and not just in a sort of tick box list of you must go out to work or you must find other people, because it's not good to be alone. You must do this, you must do that, you live that, you embody that, you do that in an everyday sort of way, and obviously the writer to the Hebrews takes that in a particular way. It gives him empathy for us. We know we have a hybridist who sympathizes with us because he's lived in the world like we have and he's experienced the kind of temptations and so on that we have. But I don't think it is just for that sort of negative reason. You know we find it hard and he found it hard and he sympathizes with us. But it's also that kind of positive model of be like Jesus, which is to say be holy, but I think it is to live a life like it.

Barry:

Yeah, yeah, there's exemplars aren't there throughout the scripture. I mean, Paul's constantly saying you know, be like me, follow my example. And obviously Christ is an example. I think I guess we're just a bit skittish, aren't we, us conservative evangelicals, because you know that's what liberals have been saying for years. You know, jesus is a moral exemplar. He's not a substitutionary sacrifice, and so what we've done is we've fallen off the horsey other side and said no, no, no, no, he's a substitutionary sacrifice. Don't say he's an example. But of course you're right, he is, he is an example.

Ros:

Yes, so I mean in one piece of it says very clearly you know, christ is our example and so we must hold that. I think I want to push a bit harder and say he's not just a moral exemplar, but somehow a personal exemplar or a human exemplar, which I mean. Maybe I'm just saying the same thing a different way, but yeah.

Barry:

No, I think that's right. I think that's right because things like sleeping, you know that's not a moral imperative, in the same way as you know not being greedy or whatever. He's showing us how to be human in that sense. Yeah, totally agree.

James:

Who told you that you were naked? Do you remember that passage in Genesis where Adam explains to God why he and Eve have covered themselves? Glenn and I are having a conversation about a passage in Genesis which has been intriguing me rather. Again, if you see everything through the lens of sin, we then think well, we can't learn anything from the example of Jesus because he didn't sin and so, and also, he had supernatural powers that we, being cessationists, don't believe that you have access to in quite that way.

James:

So, jesus, what would Jesus do? Well, he'd feed 5,000 people. Well, I can't do that. So, therefore, I have nothing to learn from this miracle, other than his identity as Moses and Elisha, who also miraculously fed people I discovered the other day, because nobody reads one and two kings and as you read them, you just go oh, jesus did that and he did that. Oh, and that explains that, and that's why he says that, and that's why that happens. So, so yeah, I think again, because we think Jesus is essentially, categorically different from us and therefore we can only really learn about who Jesus is in his identity rather than how. I should therefore be human, given his humanity, and that isn't the case, but it feels like it quite a lot, doesn't it?

Ros:

Yeah, and it absolutely slips over into doceitism. That is the heresy that says Jesus is God and only took on the appearance of being human Right. Because if we say his humanity is fundamentally different to ours, then it's not really humanity.

Ros:

It's just the appearance of humanity, and you know, and that's that is a real danger, isn't it? I mean, I often wish if there was one of those things that John says. You know, there just isn't room to include all of the amazing things that Jesus did in the Bible, in the gospel. You know, I just love him to include a little comfort break for Jesus at some point. You know, I just think it would be nice to know, wouldn't it, that he weed and pooed like the rest of us?

Barry:

Yeah.

Ros:

And I'm sure he did. But I think there's people out there who think he's so godly, he didn't and in fact I'm sure there was some bonkers medieval school of thought that said he didn't. And yeah, I would just like to have evidence to say you know, he was really as human as you and me at the most base level.

Barry:

We've just been looking at Philippians three at our church and preaching through it. The thing I was struck by there is that even Christ's death and resurrection we tend to think of those in purely substitutionary atonement terms, but they're also themselves exemplars for Christians. So, you know, paul talks about knowing the power of his resurrection, not as a future tense thing, but as a present tense thing. So the Christian life is in a sense, a series of many deaths and many resurrections, the many deaths being, you know, dying to self, dying to sin, for example. So your that is really helpful, I think, just again in terms of seeing what it means to be human. This idea that to be human is basically one long round of trying to be utterly gratifying all one's desires immediately, rather than seeing being human as being a series of deaths and dying to self so that you can have a series of resurrections, is completely transformative, isn't it?

Ros:

Absolutely, and I mean just the idea that gratifying desires really has anything to do with experiencing the fullness of humanity is just one of those lies that the world wants to tell us, isn't it?

Ros:

I mean, how did Adam and Eve move away from being as fully in the image of God by gratifying desires that actually were ungodly and therefore unhuman? And I think you know we need to be clear that we don't, as human beings, know the best way to be human. God knows the best way for us to be human, and that is by obedience to him, not by fulfilling our desires. At one point in the book I talk about why, why do we need God to tell us what it means to be human? And there's there's a number of reasons, but one is that we're not very good at self examination, when we're not very good at understanding even ourselves, and therefore we're not very good at understanding what's a simple desire, what's a godly desire, what's a desire that ought to be delayed, what's a desire that ought to be fulfilled immediately, which is not very good at making those decisions in a way that will best enable us to enjoy and express our humanity. And so we do just need to listen to God to tell us how best to be human.

James:

And that is the very foundation of situation comedy, which is lack of self examination. So characters are are propelled to do things by basic fears and desires that they themselves don't recognize or understand. They don't know they're doing it, and some of them and these are all different fears and desires. It's not, you know, it's not that every character is the same at all. But one character will always act out of fear of being seen to be stupid and will do anything they can to avoid it.

Ros:

They don't know why that makes them do the thing that they're oblivious to that, and so yeah, I mean I'm glad I've helped you do your day job Absolutely, but it's true of real people too, isn't it?

James:

I mean it is.

James:

That's why sitcom is, I always say, is so true to life, because you have the same conversations with the same people every week and you know what they're going to say before they've said it and when. And so that's why, when something particular happens and you say to someone look, I know you're going to be cross, but how do you know they're going to be cross? Because you know what they're like and the thing that has happened will make them cross. It clearly hasn't made you cross because you're now explaining it rather than our cross about it. That's what it always means. So that lack of self-awareness, I think, is key. Music, tell them, tell them, tell them. Music, you're tan fighting here. This is the water room. Music. Barry, you've got a couple of questions on the outline that you might want to chuck in.

Barry:

Well, I was just thinking maybe it'd be good to sort of save some of those for the, the Patriots. Do you think? Yeah, let's do that.

James:

We've already done pretty well here, so we'll wrap up this part of the interview. If you want more Roz and who wouldn't, frankly then join us on Patreon. You can go to a link in the show notes or if you're listening on Apple Podcast, you can hit the subscribe. It's not subscribe, is it? Is it subscribe?

Barry:

Yes, it is. If you want to join C&C Plus, it's a subscribe button.

James:

But, crucially, you can also buy the book. The book is called Human, published by IVP. You can buy it wherever you buy books. I think it's probably fair to say, isn't it?

Barry:

Thanks for coming on, roz. It's great to see you, thank you Thanks for listening, cheerio.

Ros:

MUSIC. I mean, that's going to be amazing, isn't it? Just, you know, no more airports, no more smelly people on the bus, no, more oyster cards.

Barry:

That's sad.

James:

Airports are the worst. Although that's almost the end of stand-up comedy, isn't it? I'm sorry, a third of all stand-up comedy is about the flight.

Ros:

I don't know that we're guaranteed that some people's work in the new creation will be in comedy. No, I mean, I'm not ruling it out, but I don't know. The Bible's absolutely clear that it will be. Well, who knows?

James:

I think we're all going to be excited MUSIC.

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Embracing Limits and Beauty of Humanity
Science and Humanity Intersection Exploration
The Importance of the Incarnation
Excitement About the Future After COVID-19