The Evolution of Jesus I: from Itinerant Preacher to Death-Defying Vision

Image by Doppler, from YouTube video The Evolution of Jesus Christ.

Everything evolves. Not just Life, but the Mind, Personality, Morality and Culture. This is the thesis of Matt Ridley’s book, The Evolution of Everything: How Small Changes Transform Our World, in which he demonstrates that everything, from the Economy and Technology to Government and Education, were originally, and to some extent remain, bottom up phenomenon. Each emerged because of the developments that had preceded them; for this reason, they couldn’t arrive before they did, but their arrival, when it came, was inevitable. The time was right. Once each did arrive, it embarked on an inexorable process of change. It evolved.

‘Everything’, of course, includes Religion. As Ridley says (p259):

Further evidence for the man-made nature of gods comes from their evolutionary history. It is a little-known fact, but gods evolve. There is a steady and gradual transformation through human history not only from polytheism to monotheism, but from gods who are touchy, foolish, randy and greedy people, who just happen to be immortal, to disembodied and virtuous spirits living in an entirely different realm and concerned mainly with virtue. Contrast the vengeful and irritable Jehovah of the Old Testament with the loving Christian God of today.’

This is undoubtedly the case (Ridley presents his evidence); religion is an entirely human enterprise that developed from the bottom up. It too evolved. As Ridley shows, there is no other way.

While Ridley doesn’t discuss it, this evolutionary process applies to Jesus too. This seems to me apparent, rather than a little-known fact. He didn’t spring from nowhere; the time was right for him. By the start of what is now the first century, an apocalyptic brand of Judaism had emerged, inspired in part by the book of Daniel and other late Old Testament prophecy. It was whipped to fever pitch during the Roman occupation. People were anticipating that the Messiah would soon rescue them by force; the time was right for him to appear. And appear he did, in multiple forms, all of them eliminated by the Romans. Jesus was one of these.

He began either as an itinerant preacher with delusions of grandeur or he was an imaginary being whom a few people thought miraculously appeared to them. It doesn’t matter which; even if he existed, he very quickly evolved into a supernatural being. As an itinerant preacher he would have wandered around a small part of Palestine with a handful of followers, mouthing platitudes and predicting that God’s Kingdom would soon be arriving, and that he would be its king. Instead, he was executed for insurgency. Shortly afterwards, a couple of his followers swore they’d seen him alive again. With this claim Jesus made an evolutionary leap, from troublesome Jewish preacher to death-defying vision.

His evolution was underway.

To be continued…


9 thoughts on “The Evolution of Jesus I: from Itinerant Preacher to Death-Defying Vision

  1. It’s all so clear and understandable … yet True Believers™ (need I mention names?) come up with 1001 reasons why this factual information is wrong-wrong-wrong. To them, such individuals have (obviously) been blinded to the truth by that horned guy in the red suit.

    IMO, the unemotional and “non-spiritual” facts are so obvious, yet so many simply refuse to even consider their validity simply because this is not what has been/is preached from the pulpit.

    Of course there’s a word for this, but I’ll let readers fill in the blanks.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re so right, and as if to prove your point, that certain True Believer claimed, in a comment I declined to post, that the fact there are 45,000 Christian denominations is a myth. I’m dishonest in mentioning it, apparently.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Torah faith as contrasted by the faith framed by the religions of avoda zarah.

        Religion totally misses the boat in matters of Torah faith. This faith defined by permitted types of מלאכה, commonly known as justice. This faith shapes the meaning and intent of all the תרי”ג \ 613 Commandments together with the Talmud’s lateral common law legal system. What’s the point of the logic system revelation IF Man abhors justice between and among his fellow Man? The Oral Torah logic format/system spins around a rational method by which to interpret Prophetic mussar. Mussar has zero connections with theological belief dictates.

        Theological belief dictates define all religions of avoda zarah/alien מלאכה. Both Shabbat and the rest of the days of the week spin against acts of forbidden מלאכה – injustice. From the vile sale of Josef to Egyptian slavery to the oppression of Par’o, and how he enslaved all Israelites… forbidden מלאכה not just limited to the acts of building the Mishkan/Tabernacle of the Congregation.

        As מלאכה defines Torah justice. Sin defines Xtian avoda zarah. Paul justified the theology of belief in JeZeus as the false messiah based upon his absurd theory of ‘Original Sin’. A perversion of the Torah comparable to how the Rambam’s statute law halachot perverted Talmudic common law. Both this and that established new religions of avoda zarah. The Rambam has his famous 13 points of theological belief, something like the Nicene Creed.

        All religions of avoda zarah spin around the central axis of some cult of personality. From christ, to mohammad, to buddha all belief systems dictate a theology and creed that followers of that religion MUST believe. The church murdered and tortured people who embraced opposing theological beliefs. The 30 Years War, killed about as many as did WWI, Protestants and Catholics slaughtered one another because the Protestant Cross stripped Jesus from off its crucifix; combined with Protestant rejection of the cult of Mary, and her eternal virginity.

        Avoda zarah makes God or Gods the focus of the faith parameters. The Torah by stark contrast makes justice as the focus of faith; all generations equally bear the moral burden to live just lives. A key Torah negative commandment defines the 2nd Sinai commandment not to worship avoda zarah through the common law precedent: the negative commandment not to assimilate to foreign cultures and customs and not to marry Goyim, whose people never accepted the revelation of Sinai & Horev. Avoda zarah emphasizes a Universal scope of faith.

        Oral Torah logic as opposed by ancient Greek philosophy spins solely around the axis of interpreting the mussar commanded by and within the Books of the T’NaCH prophets. Plato and Aristotle’s logic have Universal applications as does Hegel logic format which Marx, Lenin, and the Bolsheviks later embraced.

        Torah faith spins around the oath sworn lands, only within the brit Republic of Tribes can Jews observe Talmudic common law as expressed through lateral courtrooms. Religious Orthodox Judaism perverts the Beit Din courts. The Orthodox Beit Din fails to assign a court judge to serve each of the opposing parties in a legal conflict – prosecutor and defence. הלכה למעשה/practical halacha\ today, consequent to the Rambam Civil War, has assimilated to Roman statute law rather than Jewish common law.


      • If you say so. Your comments need to be concise and relevant to the issue in hand, not merely a diatribe pasted from your own blog. As far as I can tell, you’re proselytising for your particular interpretation of the Torah, which is not what the comments section here is for.

        Liked by 1 person

    • It was a perfect spring day. The sun was shining, the birds were singing, and a light breeze limited the sun to a comfortable warm. Don stepped out of his pickup truck sporting his best Levi’s, a western shirt, cowboy boots and hat.

      Half the parking lot had been roped off for the church’s annual rummage sale, making finding a parking spot difficult if not impossible. But Don had said a short prayer as he pulled in and a spot had immediately opened up just in front of him.

      The rummage sale provided a way for members of the church to declutter their homes by gathering up unwanted items and selling them to other members of the church. The Rummage Sale Effect ensured that everyone would return home with more random stuff than they had brought to sell. Physicists had no explanation of the Effect. But Don knew it was God working his God magic to bless his people.

      Don wandered from card table to card table, searching the treasures on offer – porcelain figurines, pillows embroidered with scripture or inspirational sayings, end tables, lamps, book cases, books and more. A few items sparked his interest and he made mental notes to come back to them on his second pass. He didn’t like to make impulsive purchases. Besides, the pie auction was later and he wanted to save his money to bid on Mrs. Murphy’s key lime pie.

      He’d come to a table covered in boxes of books. Don couldn’t resist going through the boxes, reading and considering each and every title in turn. About halfway through the boxes, he pushed the box he’d just finished perusing aside and pulled the next toward him. At the front of the box was a massive tome with a bright and colorful cover. With some effort he freed it from the box, lifted it out, and turned it for examination. Friendly cartoon illustrations of Bible stories as well as the solar system, dinosaurs, space ships, beakers and vials and scientific equipment enlivened the front and back cover.

      Colorful letters in a friendly and inviting font declared the volume’s title: The Junior CHRISTIAN’S Big Book of Apologetics, Illustrated Edition, 1001 Reasons Reality is Wrong and You Are RIGHT.

      Slowly, lovingly, Don thumbed through the pages. Outdated science described with Christian™ misrepresentation met his gaze. Ancient Greek philosophy, once used to prove the Greek gods, had been Christianized™ to prove the Christian God. And scriptures. Lots and lots of quoted scriptures.

      Don had recently ventured onto this new internet thingy. He’d found it to be a vile den of secular science and free thought debauchery. It was godless to its core and Don felt called, even compelled, to preach Christ Jesus and Him Crucified® to that electronic wasteland.

      And this book! This book would be his guide as he preached and sermonized and proved the godless wrong!

      He turned the book over, found the sticker with the price. 25¢. It would cut into his pie money, but he had to have it. He dug into his pocket change and fished out a dime, a nickel, and ten pennies.

      He wouldn’t win any pies at the auction that day. But he walked away new man. A new man with a new calling. A new man with a book that would answer every question, every objection. With it he was transformed. With it he was Don Camp, Apostle to the Internet®.

      – – – – – – –

      Well. That’s the way I imagine the story.

      Liked by 1 person

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